The country on the Onon and Kerlon, in Daouria,
or the land of the
The Introduction of Rubruquis to Mangu-khan.
The people brought us from the court ram-skin coats, and breeches of the same, with shoes, which my companion and interpreter accepted, but I thought the fur garment which I brought from Baatu was sufficient for me. On the 5th of January, we were brought to the court, and some Nestorian priests, whom I did not know to be Christians, came and asked me which way we worshipped; to which I said, that we worshipped to the east. The reason of their making this demand was, that we had shaven our heads by the advice of our guide, that we might appear before the khan after the fashion of our country, which made the Nestorians take us for Tuinians or idolaters. On being demanded what reverence we would pay to the khan, I said, that though as priests, dedicated to God, the highest in our country did not suffer us to bow the knee, yet we were willing to humble ourselves to all men for the sake of the Lord. That we came from a far country, and with permission, would first sing praises to God, who had brought us hither in safety, and should afterwards do whatever might please the khan; providing he commanded nothing that was derogatory to the worship and honour of God. Then they went into the presence, and reported what we had said, and they brought us before the entrance of the hall, lifting up the felt which hung before the decor, and we sung A solis ortus cardine, &c.
When we had sung this hymn, they searched our bosoms, to see that we had no concealed weapons, and they made our interpreter leave his girdle and knife with one of the doorkeepers. When we came in, our interpreter was made to stand at a sideboard, which was well supplied with cosmos, and we were placed on a form before the ladies. The whole house was hung with cloth of gold, and on a hearth, in the middle, there was a fire of thorns, wormwood-roots, and cowdung. The khan sat upon a couch covered with a bright and shining spotted fur, like seal’s skin. He was a flat-nosed man, of middle stature, about forty-five years of age, and one of his wives, a pretty little young woman, sat beside him; likewise one of his daughters, named Cerina, a hard-favoured young woman, with some younger children, sat on another couch next to them. The house had belonged to the mother of Cerina, who was a Christian, and the daughter was mistress of this court, which had belonged to her deceased mother, We were asked whether we would drink wine of caracina, which is a drink made of rice, or caracosmos, or ball, which is mead made of honey; for they use these four kinds of liquor in winter. I answered, that we had no pleasure in drink, and would be contented with what he pleased to order; on which we were served with caracina, which was clear and well flavoured like white wine, of which I tasted a little out of respect. After a long interval, during which the khan amused himself with some falcons and other birds, we were commended to speak, and had to bow the knee. The khan had his interpreter, a Nestorian; but our interpreter had received so much liquor from the butlers at the sideboard, that he was quite drunk; I addressed the khan in the following terms: