A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 770 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01.

[10] For this paragraph, the editor is indebted to Mr Pinkerton, Mod.  Geog. 
    II. xxii. who has had the good fortune to procure what he thinks an
    original edition from the MS. of Marco Polo.—­E.

[11] By some singular negligence in translating, Mr Pinkerton, in the
    passage quoted in the preceding note, has ridiculously called this
    country the plain of Formosa, mistaking the mere epithet,
    descriptive of its beauty in the Italian language, for its name.  The
    district was obviously a distinct small kingdom, named Ormus from its
    capital city; which, from its insular situation, and great trade with
    India, long maintained a splendid independence.—­E.

[12] The two Mahometan travellers of the ninth century, give precisely the
    same account of the ships of Siraf, in the same gulf of Persia.—­E.


Account of several other Countries, and their Principal Curiosities.

From Kerman[1], in three days riding, you come to a desert which extends to Cobin-ham[2], seven days journey across, the desert.  In the first three days you have no water, except a few salt, bitter ponds, of a green colour, like the juice of herbs; and whoever drinks even a small quantity of this water, cannot escape a dysentery, and even beasts that are compelled to drink of it, do not escape without a scouring.  It is therefore necessary for travellers to carry water along with them, that they may avoid the inconvenience and danger of thirst.  In the fourth day you find a subterranean river of fresh water[3].  The three last days of this desert are like the first three.  Cobin-ham is a great city, where great mirrors of steel are made[4].  Tutia also, which is a cure for sore eyes, and spodio are made here in the following manner:  From the mines of this country they dig a certain earth, which is thrown into furnaces, from which the vapours, forced downwards, through an iron grate, condense below into tutia of tutty[5], and the grosser matter remaining in the furnace is called spodio.

Leaving Cobin-ham, you meet with another desert of eight days journey in extent, and terribly barren, having neither trees or water, except what is extremely bitter, insomuch, that beasts refuse to drink of it, except when mixed with meal, and travellers are therefore obliged to carry water along with them.  After passing this desert, you come to the kingdom of Timochaim[6], in the north confines of Persia, in which there are many cities and strong castles.  In this country there is an extensive plain, in which one great tree grows, which is called the Tree of the Sun, and by Christians Arbore-secco[7], or the dry tree.  This tree is very thick, the leaves being green on one side, and white on the other, and it produces prickly and husky shells, like those of chesnuts, but nothing in them.  The wood is strong and solid, and of

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