Of the Reverence shewn by Sartach, Mangu-khan, and Ken-chan, to the Christians.
At the time when the Francs took Antioch from the Saracens, a prince named Con-can, or Khen-khan, held dominion over all the northern regions of Tartary. Con is a proper name, and can or khan is a title of dignity, signifying a diviner or soothsayer, and is applied to all princes in these countries, because the government of the people belongs to them through divination. To this prince the Turks of Antioch sent for assistance against the Francs, as the whole nation of the Turks came originally from the regions of Tartary. Con-khan was of the nation called Kara-Catay, or the black Catay; which is used to distinguish them from the other nation of Catayans, who inhabit to the eastwards upon the ocean, of whom I shall speak afterwards. These Kara-Catayans dwelt upon certain high mountains through which I travelled; and in a certain plain country within these mountains, there dwelt a Nestorian shepherd, who was supreme governor over the people called Yayman or Nayman, who were Christians of the Nestorian sect. After the death of Con-khan, this Nestorian prince exalted himself to the kingdom, and was called King John, or Prester John; of whom ten times more is reported than is true, according to the usual custom of the Nestorians, for they are apt to raise great stories on no foundations. Thus they gave out, that Sartach was a Christian, and they propagated similar stories of Mangu-khan, and even of Con-khan, merely because these princes shewed great respect to the Christians. The story of King John had no better foundation; for when I travelled through his territories, no one there knew any thing at all about him, except only a few Nestorians. In these regions likewise dwelt Con-khan, formerly mentioned, at whose court Friar Andrew once was; and I passed through that region in my return. This John had a brother, a powerful prince and a shepherd like himself, who was named Vut-khan, or Unc-khan, who dwelt beyond the mountains of Kara-Kitay, at the distance of three weeks journey from the residence of John. This Vut-khan was lord of a small village named Caracarum, and his subjects were called Crit or Merkit, being Christians of the Nestorian sect. But Vut-khan abandoned the Christian worship and followed idolatry, retaining priests to his idols, who are all sorcerers and worshippers of the devils.
Ten or fifteen days journey beyond the territory of Vut-khan, lay the pastures of the Moal, a poor nation without laws or government, except that they were much given to sorcery and divinations; and near them was another poor nation called Tartars. On the death of John, the khan of the Cara-Kitayans, without male issue, his brother Vut succeeded to all his great riches, and got himself to be proclaimed khan. The flocks and herds of this Vut-khan pastured to the borders of the Moal, among whom was one Zingis,