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.

[4] Probably alluding to tatooing, which will be explained in the voyages
    to the islands of the Pacific ocean.—­E.

SECTION VII.

Of certain Trees which produce Meal, Honey, Wine, and Poison.

Near to Java is another country called Panten, or Tathalmasin[1], the king of which has many islands under his dominion.  In this country there are trees which produce meal, honey, and wine, and likewise the most deadly poison in the world; the only remedy for which is human ordure dissolved in water, which, drank in considerable quantify, acts as a cathartic, and expels the poison.  These trees are very large; and, when cut down, a quantity of liquor exudes from the trunk, which is received into bags made of leaves, and after exposure for fifteen days to the sun, it hardens into meal.  This is first steeped in sea water, and is afterwards washed in fresh water, when it becomes a savoury paste, which may either be eaten as bread, or cooked in various ways[2].  I have eaten of this bread, which is fair on the outside, and somewhat brown within.  Beyond this country, the Mare Mortuum, or Dead Sea[3], stretches with a continual current far to the south, and whatever falls into it is seen no more.  In this country there grow canes of an incredible length, as large as trees, even sixty paces or more in height.  There are other canes, called cassan, which spread over the earth like grass, even to the extent of a mile, sending up branches from every knot; and in these canes they find certain stones of wonderful virtue, insomuch, that whoever carries one of these about him, cannot be wounded by an iron weapon; on which account, most of the men in that country carry such stones always about them.  Many of the people of this country cause one of the arms of their children to be cut open when young, putting one of these stones into the wound, which they heal up by means of the powder of a certain fish, with the name of which I am unacquainted.  And through the virtue of these wonderful stones, the natives are generally victorious in their wars, both by sea and land.  There is a stratagem, however, which their enemies often successfully use against them, to counteract the power of these stones.  Providing themselves with iron or steel armour, to defend them from the arrows of these people, they use wooden stakes, pointed like weapons of iron, and arrows not having iron heads, but infused with poison which they extract from certain trees, and they thus slay some of their foes, who, trusting to the virtue of these stones, wear no defensive armour.  From the canes formerly mentioned, named cassan, they build themselves small houses, and manufacture sails for their ships, and many other things are made from them.  From thence, after many days travel, I came to another kingdom, called Campa[4], which is a very rich and beautiful kingdom, abounding in all kinds of provisions.  The king who reigned at the time of my being there, had so many wives and concubines, that he had three hundred sons and daughters.  He had likewise 10,004[5] tame elephants, which were pastured in droves as we feed flocks and herds.

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