Mulchet, in the Saracen language, signifies the place of Heretics, and the people of the place are called Hulehetici, or heretics in regard to the Mahometan law. The prince of this country is called the old man of the mountain, concerning whom I Marco heard much from many persons during my travels. His name was Aloadin, and he was a Mahometan. In a lovely valley between two high and inaccessible mountains, he caused a pleasant garden to be laid out, furnished with the best trees and fruits that could be procured, and adorned with many palaces and banqueting houses, beautified with gilded bowers, pictures, and silken tapestries. Through this place, by means of pipes, wine, milk, honey, and water were distributed in profusion; and it was provided with beautiful damsels, skilled in music, singing and dancing, and in all imaginable sports and diversions. These damsels were dressed in silk and gold, and were seen continually sporting in the garden and its palaces. He made this garden with all its palaces and pleasures, in imitation of that sensual paradise, which Mahomet had promised to his followers. No man could enter into this garden, as the mouth of the valley was closed up by a strong castle, from which there was a secret entrance into the garden, which was called the Terrestrial Paradise.
Aloadin had certain youths from twelve to twenty years of age, chosen among such as seemed of a bold and dauntless character, who were initiated in all the pleasures and delights of this paradise, and whom he employed to entice others to join the select company of young enthusiasts, by representing the joys and pleasures of the paradise of Aloadin. When he thought proper, he caused ten or twelve of these youths to be cast into a deep sleep, by means of a potion, and then had them conveyed severally into different chambers of the garden palaces; where they were attended upon at their awaking by the beautiful damsels, and supplied with all kind of delicious meats and fruits and excellent wines, and in whose company they enjoyed all manner of luxurious delights, so that they imagined that they were actually transported into paradise. When they had revelled in delights for a few days, they were again cast into a deep sleep, and removed from the garden of pleasure; and being brought into the presence of Aloadin, were questioned by him where they had been. The old man then represented that it was the command of the prophet, that whoever was faithful and obedient to his lord, should enjoy the delights of paradise; and that if they would faithfully obey all his commands, they should be admitted to reside continually among the joys of which they had been permitted to participate for a short time. Having thus roused their passions for pleasure, they thought themselves happy to execute whatever commands they might receive, even at the utmost hazard of their lives, being assured, whether living or dead, that their obedience would secure them the eternal enjoyment of paradise and