The first evil is want of water. There is no river in Arabia: and the small streams are often dried up by the heat.
The second evil is many locusts, which come in countless swarms, and devour every green thing.
The third evil is the burning winds. When a traveller feels it coming, he throws himself on the ground, covering his face with his cloak, lest the hot sand should be blown up his nostrils. Sometimes men and horses are choked by this sand.
These are the three great evils; but there is a still greater, the religion of Mahomed: for this injures the soul; the other evils only hurt the body.
The animals for which Arabia is famous are animals to ride upon.
Two of them are often seen in England; though here they are not nearly as fine as in Arabia; but the third animal is never used in England. Most English boys have ridden upon an ass. In Arabia the ass is a handsome and spirited creature. The horse is strong and swift, and yet obedient and gentle. The camel is just suited to Arabia. His feet are fit to tread upon the burning sands; because the soles are more like India-rubber than like flesh: his hard mouth, lined with horn, is not hurt by the prickly plants of the desert; and his hump full of fat is as good to him as a bag of provisions: for on a journey the fat helps to support him, and enables him to do with very little food. Besides all this, his inside is so made that he can live without water for three days.
A dromedary is a swifter kind of camel, and is just as superior to a camel as a riding-horse is to a cart-horse.
These are coffee, dates, and gums.
For these Arabia is famous.
The coffee plants are shrubs. The hills are covered with them; the white blossoms look beautiful among the dark green leaves, and so do the red berries.
The dates grow on the palm-trees; and they are the chief food of the Arabs. The Arabs despise those countries where there are no dates.
There are various sweet-smelling gums that flow from Arabian trees.
You see from what I have just said that there are plants and trees in Arabia. Then it is clear that the whole land is not a desert. No, it is not; there is only a part called Desert Arabia; that is on the north. There is a part in the middle almost as bad, called Stony Arabia, yet some sweet plants grow there; but there is a part in the south called Happy Arabia, where grow abundance of fragrant spices, and of well-flavored coffee.
Arabia has long been famous for three cities, called Mecca, Medina, and Mocha.