Zingis, the first great khan or emperor of the Tartars, left four sons, from whom descended many grandsons, who are daily multiplying and dispersing over that immense waste desert, which is boundless like the ocean. These Moals whom we visited and prayed for, were astonished when we refused their proffered gifts of gold and silver and fine garments. They often enquired whether the great Pope was actually 500 years old, as they had heard from report. They likewise enquired into the nature and productions of our country, especially whether we had abundance of cattle, sheep, and horses. When we spoke to them about the ocean, they could form no adequate conception of its immense expanse, without banks or limits.
On the feast of All-Saints, 1st November, as the people had now descended very much to the southwards, we now discontinued our eastern route, and journied directly south for eight days, along certain high mountains. In the desert we saw many wild asses resembling mules, called colan or coulan by the Tartars, which our guide and his companions often chased with great eagerness, but without success, owing to the great swiftness of these animals. Upon the seventh day of our southern route, we saw directly before us some exceedingly high mountains, and we entered upon a fine cultivated plain, which was irrigated like a garden. Next day, 7th November, we arrived at a town belonging to the Mahometans named Kenchat, the governor of which came out to meet our guide with ale and other refreshments; for it is the custom of all the subjected cities, to welcome the messengers of Baatu and Mangu with meat and drink on their arrival. At this season, the ice was fully bearing, and we found frost in the desert before the feast of St Michael, 29th September. I inquired the name of the province, but being in a strange land they could not inform me, and could only tell me the name of this city, which is very small. Into this district a large river descends from the mountains, which the inhabitants lead off to water or irrigate the whole region; so that this river does not discharge itself into any sea, but after forming many pools or marshes, is absorbed into the earth. In this region we saw vines growing, and drank twice of their wines.
Of the Execution of Ban, and concerning the residence of certain Germans.
The next day we came to another village nearer to the mountains, which, I understood, were called Caucasus, and that they reached from the eastern to the western sea, even passing the Caspian to the west. I likewise inquired concerning the town of Talas, in which, according to Friar Andrew , there were certain Germans in the service of one Buri and I had formerly made inquiries concerning them at the courts of Sartach and Baatu. But I could only learn, that their master, Ban, had been put to death on the following