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.
targets of iron or steel, large enough to cover and protect their whole bodies.  All the prisoners whom they take in war, unless they can ransom themselves with money, are eaten; but those who are able to pay ransom are set free.  The king of this country wears a string of 300 large and fair pearls about his neck, which he employs as a rosary for counting his prayers; and says every day as many prayers to his god.  He wears also on his finger a marvellously large and brilliant stone, of a span long, which resembles a flame of fire, so that no one dare approach him, and it is said to be the most valuable precious stone in all the world.  The great Tartar emperor of Cathay, hath often used every endeavour to procure this wonderful jewel, but has never been able to prevail, either by force, policy, or money.

[1] It is impossible even to conjecture what island is here meant; but as
    Ceylon follows next in succession, it may possibly refer to Sumatra,
    though that island appears to have been mentioned already, under the
    name of Symolora—­E.


Of the Island of Ceylon, and of the Mountain where Adam mourned the Death of Abel.

From thence I passed another island named Sylan, or Ceylon, which is 2000 miles in circuit, in which there are infinite multitudes of serpents, great numbers of lions, bears, and all kinds of ravenous beasts, and a great many of elephants.  In this island there is a great mountain, on which the inhabitants pretend that Adam mourned for the death of his son Abel, during 500 years.  On the top of this mountain there is a most beautiful plain, in which is a small lake always full of water, which the inhabitants allege to have proceeded from the tears of Adam and Eve; but this I proved to be false, as I saw the water to flow out of the lake.  This lake is full of horse-leeches, and numbers of precious stones are to be found on its bottom, which the king of the island, instead of appropriating to his own use, allows certain poor people to dive for once or twice a-year, for their own profit, that they may pray for blessings upon his soul.  On this occasion they smear their bodies with lemon juice, which prevents the leeches from hurting them while they are in the water.  The water from this lake runs into the sea, at which place the inhabitants dig on the shore, at low water, for rubies, diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones, which are found in such abundance, that the king of this island is believed to possess more precious stones than any other monarch in the world.  There are wild beasts and birds of all kinds in this island in great numbers; and I was informed by the natives, that these beasts never attack or do harm to strangers, but only kill the indigenous inhabitants.  I saw in this island certain birds, as large as our geese, having two heads, and other wonderful things I do not here write of.

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