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.

Dragoian[13] is another of those kingdoms claimed by the khan, which has a king and a peculiar language.  I was told of an abominable custom in this country; that when any one is sick, his relatives send to inquire at the sorcerers if he is to recover?  If they answer no, the kindred then send for a person, whose office it is to strangle the sick person, whom they immediately cut in pieces and devour, even to the marrow of their bones, for they allege, that if any part were to remain, worms would breed in it, which would be in want of food, and would therefore die, to the great torture of the soul of the dead person.  They afterwards carry away the bones, and conceal them carefully in caves in the mountains, that no beast may touch them.  If they can lay their hands on any stranger, they treat him in the same barbarous manner.

Lambri is the fifth kingdom of Java-minor, or Sumatra, in which is great plenty of Brazil wood, some of the seeds of which I brought to Venice, but they would not vegetate, as the climate was too cold for them.  In this country there are great numbers of unicorns or rhinoceroses, and plenty of other beasts and birds.  Fanfur is the sixth kingdom, having the best camphor, which Is sold weight for weight with gold.  In that kingdom, they make a kind of meal from great and long trees, as thick as two men are able to fathom.  Having taken off the thin bark, the wood within is only about three fingers thick, all the rest being pith, from which the meal is made.  This pith is broken to pieces, and stirred among water, the light dross swimming, and being thrown away, while the finer parts settle at the bottom, and is made into paste[14].  I brought some of this to Venice, which tastes not much unlike barley bread.  The wood of this tree is so heavy as to sink in water like iron, and of it they make excellent lances, but being very heavy, they are under the necessity of making them short.  These are hardened in the fire, and sharpened, and when so prepared, they will pierce through armour easier than if made of iron.  About 150 miles to the northward of Lambri, there are two islands, one called Nocueran and the other Angaman,[l5] in the former of which the inhabitants live like beasts, and go entirely naked, but have excellent trees, such as cloves, red and white sanders, coco-nuts, Brazil, and various spices in the other island the inhabitants are equally savage, and are said to have the heads and teeth of dogs.

[1] Probably the gulph of Siam.—­E.

[2] South-west, certainly.—­E.

[3] The inlands in the gulf of Siam are small, and not numerous; so that
    the passage is probably corrupted; and may have been in the original,
    “that, leaving the gulf of Cheinan on the north, they left infinite
    islands, &c; on the south.”  After all, the gulf of Cheinan may mean
    the whole sea of China.—­E.

[4] It is difficult to say precisely what division of farther India is here
    meant by Ziambar. 1500 miles would carry us to the coast of Malaya;
    but 1500 li, or about 500 miles reach only to the coast of
    Cochin-China, or it may be Tsiompa.  Ziambar, in the editions, is
    variously written Ciambau, Ciariban, and Ziambar.—­E.

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