The Travels of Marco Polo — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,335 pages of information about The Travels of Marco Polo — Volume 2.



You see those who were left upon the Island, some 30,000 souls, as I have said, did hold themselves for dead men, for they saw no possible means of escape.  And when the King of the Great Island got news how the one part of the expedition had saved themselves upon that Isle, and the other part was scattered and fled, he was right glad thereat, and he gathered together all the ships of his territory and proceeded with them, the sea now being calm, to the little Isle, and landed his troops all round it.  And when the Tartars saw them thus arrive, and the whole force landed, without any guard having been left on board the ships (the act of men very little acquainted with such work), they had the sagacity to feign flight. [Now the Island was very high in the middle, and whilst the enemy were hastening after them by one road they fetched a compass by another and] in this way managed to reach the enemy’s ships and to get aboard of them.  This they did easily enough, for they encountered no opposition.

Once they were on board they got under weigh immediately for the great Island, and landed there, carrying with them the standards and banners of the King of the Island; and in this wise they advanced to the capital.  The garrison of the city, suspecting nothing wrong, when they saw their own banners advancing supposed that it was their own host returning, and so gave them admittance.  The Tartars as soon as they had got in seized all the bulwarks and drove out all who were in the place except the pretty women, and these they kept for themselves.  In this way the Great Kaan’s people got possession of the city.

When the King of the great Island and his army perceived that both fleet and city were lost, they were greatly cast down; howbeit, they got away to the great Island on board some of the ships which had not been carried off.  And the King then gathered all his host to the siege of the city, and invested it so straitly that no one could go in or come out.  Those who were within held the place for seven months, and strove by all means to send word to the Great Kaan; but it was all in vain, they never could get the intelligence carried to him.  So when they saw they could hold out no longer they gave themselves up, on condition that their lives should be spared, but still that they should never quit the Island.  And this befel in the year of our Lord 1279.[NOTE 1] The Great Kaan ordered the Baron who had fled so disgracefully to lose his head.  And afterwards he caused the other also, who had been left on the Island, to be put to death, for he had never behaved as a good soldier ought to do.[NOTE 2]

But I must tell you a wonderful thing that I had forgotten, which happened on this expedition.

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The Travels of Marco Polo — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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