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.
tributary fires amount to eighty-five tomans, besides four tomans of the Saracens, making in all eighty-nine tomans; and one toman contains 10,000 fires[3].  The residue of the people consist of some Christians, some merchants, and some who travel through the country.  I marvelled how it were possible for such an infinite number of people to live together, and get food; yet there is great abundance of provisions, such as bread and wine, and other necessaries, especially hogs flesh.

[1] Cansai, Quinzay, or Quinsay.—­Hakluyt.

[2] In the Italian copy, published by Ramusio, the number of bridges is
    extended to 11,000.—­Hakluyt.

[3] This enumeration would give 890,000 fires, or almost ten millions of
    households; which at four persons to each, would produce an aggregate
    population of 39 millions of people for Quinsay alone.  The tribute, as
    stated by Oderic, amounts to 6,675,000 florins.—­E.

SECTION XII.

Of a Monastery, having many different kinds of Animals on a certain Hill.

In this city of Quinsay, four of our friars had converted a powerful man to the Christian faith, in whose house I abode all the time I remained in that place.  This man once addressed me, by the name of Ara or father, asking me to visit the city.  Embarking in a boat, he carried me to a certain monastery, where he spoke to one of the priests of his acquaintance, saying, “this Raban, or religious man of the Francs, coming from the western parts of the earth, is on his way to Cambalu to pray for the life of the great khan, and you must shew him some rare thing, that he may be able to say on his return to his own country, what strange and novel sights he has beheld in our city of Quinsay.”  Then the priest took two great baskets full of broken victuals, and led me to a small walled inclosure, of which he had the key, the door of which he unlocked, and we went into a pleasant green plot, in which stood a small hillock like a steeple, all adorned with fragrant herbs and trees.  He then beat upon a cymbal, at the sound of which many animals of various kinds came down, from the mount, some like apes, some like cats, others like monkeys, and some having human faces, which gathered around him to the number of four thousand, and placed themselves in seemly order.  He set down the broken victuals for them to eat; and when they had eaten, he rung again upon his cymbal, and they all returned to their places of abode.  Wondering greatly at this strange sight, this man informed me that these creatures were animated by the souls of departed persons of rank, and that they were fed by him and his brethren out of love for the God that governs the world.  He added, that, when a man was noble in this life, his soul entered, after death, into the body of some excellent beast, while the souls of the deceased common rude people, possess the bodies of vile animals.  I then endeavoured to refute that gross error, but my arguments were all in vain, as he could not believe that any soul could exist without a body.

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