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

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.
and corn, and all that he possesses, may flourish and prosper.  The khan has a stud of horses and mares all pure white, nearly ten thousand in number; of the milk of which none are permitted to drink, unless those who are descended from Zingis-khan, excepting one family, named Boriat, to whom this privilege was granted by Zingis, on account of their valour.  These white horses are held in such reverence, that no one dare go before them, or disturb them in their pastures.

There are two sects of idolatrous priests, called Chebeth and Chesmu, who ascend the roof of the palace in the midst of storms, and persuade the people they are so holy, that they can prevent any rain from falling on the roof.  These people go about in a very filthy condition, as they never wash or comb themselves.  They have also an abominable custom of eating the bodies of malefactors who are condemned to death, but they do not feed on any who die naturally.  These are likewise called Bachsi, which is the name of their order, as our friars are named predicants, minors, and the like.  These fellows are great sorcerers, and seem to be able to do any thing they please by magic art.  When the great khan sits in his hall at a table, which is raised several feet above the others[10], there is a great sideboard of plate at some distance in the midst of the hall, and from thence these sorcerers cause wine or milk to fill the goblets on the khans table, whenever he commands.  These Bachsi also, when they have a mind to make feasts in honour of their idols, send word to the khan, through certain officers deputed for the purpose, that if their idols are not honoured with the accustomed sacrifices, they will send blights on the fruits of the ground, and murrains among the beasts, and entreat, therefore, that he will order a certain number of black-headed sheep, with incense, and aloes-wood, to be delivered to them, for the due and honourable performance of the regular sacrifices.

These priests have vast monasteries, some of which are as large as small cities, and several of them contain about two thousand monks, or persons devoted to the service of the idols, all of whom shave their beards and heads, and wear particular garments, to denote that they are set apart from the laity, for the service of their gods; yet some of them may marry.  In their solemnities, these men sing the praises of their idols, and carry lights in their processions.  Some of them, called Sensim, or Santoms, lead an austere life, eating nothing but meal mingled with water, and when all the flour is expended, they content themselves with the bran, without any savoury addition.  These men worship the fire, and those who follow other rules, allege that these austere Santoms are heretics against the religious law, because they refuse to worship idols, and never marry.  These Santoms shave their heads and beards, wear coarse hempen garments of a black, or bright yellow colour, sleep on coarse thick mats, and live the severest life imaginable, amid every conceivable deprivation and austerity[11].

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 01 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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