The principal palace in which the khan resides is very large, and contains fourteen pillars of gold, and all the walls are hung with red skins, which are reckoned the most costly in the world. In the midst of this palace, there is a cistern two yards high, all of a precious stone called merdochas, which is wreathed round with gold, having the golden image of a serpent at each corner, as it were furiously menacing with their heads. This cistern is farther ornamented by a rich net-work of pearls; and, by means of certain pipes and conduits, it continually supplies certain kinds of drink that are used at the court of the emperor. Around this there stand many golden vessels, so that all who choose may drink abundantly. There are likewise many golden peacocks; and when any of the Tartars drink to the prosperity of their lord, and the guests clap their hands from mirth and joy, the golden peacocks spread their wings and expand their trains, and appear to dance. This, I presume, is occasioned by magic art, or perhaps by means of some secret machinery below ground.
 These red skins, in the Latin of Hakluyt, pelles
rubes, are probably
the zaphilines pelles, or sables, of other travellers; converted into
red skins by some strange blunder.—E.
 This fountain of four drinks, seems copied
from honest Rubruquis; but
with corrections and amendments.—E.
Of the Magnificence of the Great Khan.