Their spies having descried from the top of a high mountain the Duke of Austria, the King of Bohemia, the Patriarch of Aquileia, the Duke of Carindiia, and as some say, the Earl of Baden, approaching with a mighty power towards them, the accursed crew immediately retired into the distressed and vanquished land of Hungary, departing as suddenly as they had invaded, and astonishing all men by the celerity of their motions. The prince of Dalmatia took eight of the fugitives, one of whom was recognized, by the Duke of Austria as an Englishman, who had been perpetually banished from England for certain crimes. This man had been sent twice as a messenger and interpreter from the most tyrannical king of the Tartars to the king of Hungary, menacing and fortelling those mischiefs which afterwards happened, unless he would submit himself and his kingdom to the yoke of the Tartars. Being urged by our princes to confess, the truth, this man made such oaths and protestations, as I think might have served to make even the devil be trusted.
He reported of himself, that presently after his banishment, being then about thirty years of age, and having lost all he possessed at dice in the city of Acon he set off from thence, in the middle of winter, wearing nothing but a shirt of sacking, a pair of shoes, and a hairy cap; and, being shaven like a fool, he uttered an uncouth noise, as if he had been dumb, and wandered about through many countries in search of food. At length, through fatigue, and change of air and diet, he fell grievously sick in Chaldea, insomuch that he was weary of his life. Being compelled to remain there a long time to recover his strength, and having some learning, he began to write down the words he heard spoken, and in a short time made himself so much master of the language, as to be reputed a native; and in this manner he attained expertness in many languages. The Tartars got notice of this man by means of their spies, and drew him by force among them; and, having been admonished by an oracle or vision to extend their dominion over the whole earth, they allured him by many offers of reward, to serve them as an interpreter. He gave the following account of the manners and superstitions of the Tartars, of the disposition and stature of their bodies, and of their country and manner of fighting.