Or hyperpyron, a coin said to be of the value
of two German
dollars, or six and eightpence Sterling.—E.
Of a Saracen who desired to be Baptized, and of men who seemed Lepers.
Upon the day of Pentecost, a Saracen came to visit us, to whom we explained the articles of the Christian faith; particularly the salvation of sinners, through the incarnation of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, and judgment to come, and how through baptism all sin was washed out. He seemed much affected with these doctrines, and even expressed a desire to be baptized; but when we were preparing for that ceremony, he suddenly mounted on horseback, saying that he must first consult his wife; and he returned next day, declining to receive baptism, because he would not then be allowed to drink cosmos, without which, he could not live in that country. From this opinion, I could not move him by any arguments; so that these people are much estranged from becoming Christians, by the assertion of that opinion by the Russians, and other Christians, who come among them in great numbers.
On the same day, which was the morrow of the feast of Pentecost, Zagathai gave us one man to conduct us to Sartach, and two others to guide us to the next station, which was at the distance of five days journey for our oxen. We were presented also with a goat to serve us as food, and a great many skin bags of cows milk, but they gave us very little cosmos, as that liquor is in great estimation among themselves.
From the station of Zagathai we travelled directly north, and our attendants began to pilfer largely from us, because we took too little heed of our property, but experience at length taught us wisdom. At length we reached the bounds of this province, which is fortified by a deep ditch, from sea to sea. Immediately beyond this ditch, we came to the station to which our conductors belonged, where all the inhabitants seemed to be infected with leprosy; and certain base people are placed here to receive the tribute from all who come for salt from the salt pits formerly mentioned. We were told that we should have to travel fifteen days farther before meeting with any other inhabitants. With these people we drank