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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 01.

This seemed a just judgment from our Lord Jesus Christ upon the caliph; for, in the year 1225, seeking to convert the Christians to the Mahometan superstition, and taking advantage of that passage in the gospel which says, “He that hath faith as a grain of mustard seed, shall be able to remove mountains,” he summoned all the Christians, Nestorians, and Jacobites, and gave them their choice, “In ten days to remove a certain mountain, to turn Mahometans or to be slain;” alleging that there was not one among them who had the least grain of faith.  The astonished and dismayed Christians continued ten days in prayer; when, by a revelation to a certain bishop, a certain shoemaker was chosen to perform this compulsatory miracle.  This shoemaker was once tempted to lust in fitting a shoe to a young woman, and had literally and zealously performed the injunction of the gospel by putting out his right eye.  On the day appointed by the caliph, he and all the Christians of the city followed the cross towards the mountain; then, lifting up his hands, he prayed to God to have mercy on his afflicted people, and, in a loud voice, commanded the mountain, in the name of the holy and ever blessed Trinity to remove:  which it presently did, to the great astonishment and terror of the caliph and all his people, The anniversary of this day, and the evening before, is ever since kept holy by fasting and prayer[6].

[1] Marco Polo having spent much the largest portion of his life among the Tartars, necessarily used their names for the countries, places, and people which he described, and these names have been subsequently much disfigured in transcription.  This has occasioned great perplexity to commentators in endeavouring to explain his geography conformably with modern maps, and which even is often impossible to be done with any tolerable certainty.  The arrangement, likewise, of his descriptions is altogether arbitrary, so that the sequence does not serve to remove the difficulty; and the sections appear to have been drawn up in a desultory manner just as they occurred to his recollection, or as circumstances in the conversation or inquiry of others occasioned him to commit his knowledge to paper.—­E.

[2] Gurgistan, usually called Georgia.—­E.

[3] This manufacture from Mosul or Moxul, on the Tigris, must be carefully
    distinguished from the muslins of India, which need not be
    described.—­E

[4] These buckrams seem to have been some coarse species of cotton cloth,
    in ordinary wear among the eastern nations.  The word occurs
    frequently, in these early travels in Tartary, but its proper meaning
    is unknown—­E.

[5] This word is inexplicable, unless by supposing it some corruption of
    Syra Horda, the golden court or imperial residence, which was
    usually in Tangut or Mongalia, on the Orchen or Onguin.  But in the
    days of Marco, the khans had betaken themselves to the luxurious ease
    of fixed residences and he might have misunderstood the information he
    received of the residence of Mangu.—­E.

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