Far Off eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 246 pages of information about Far Off.

It is not surprising that the Toorkmans do not eat these thin horses, though other Tartars are so fond of horse-flesh.  They prefer mutton.  When they invite a stranger to dinner, they boil a whole sheep in a large boiling-pot; then tear up the flesh,—­mix it with crumbled bread, and serve it up in wooden bowls.  Two persons eat from one bowl, dipping their hands into it, and licking up their food like dogs.  The meal is finished by eating melons.

These coarse manners suit such fierce and wild creatures as the Toorkmans.  It is their boast that they rest neither under the shadow of a TREE nor of a KING:  meaning that they have neither trees nor kings to protect them in the desert.

The men wear high caps of black sheep-skin, while the Women wear high white turbans.  The tents are adorned with beautiful carpets, not only the floors, but the sides, and it is the chief employment of the women to weave them.  As for the men, they spend most of their time in sauntering about among the tents; for the fierce dogs guard the flocks.  But when their hands are idle, their thoughts are still busy in planning new robberies and murders.

It was by such men that the earth was inhabited when God sent the flood to destroy it.  It is written, “The earth was filled with VIOLENCE.”

Is there any man brave enough to go to these men to warn them of the judgment to come, and to tell them of pardon for the penitent, through the blood of Jesus?[9]

    [8] Taken from Sir Alexander Burnes, and from Kanikoff, the
        Russian, and from Rev. Joseph Wolff.

    [9] Extracted from Sir Alexander Burnes’ “Bokhara.”


Very little is known in Europe of this part of Tartary; and why?  Because the Emperor of China, who reigns over it, does not like travellers to go there.

It is divided by high and snowy mountains from the rest of Tartary.  When a traveller has passed over these mountains, he finds on the other side Chinese officers, who inquire what business he has come upon.  If he have come only to wander about the country, he is desired to go home again; because the Chinese are afraid lest strangers should send spies, and then ARMIES—­to conquer their empire.

One traveller, because he stayed too long in Tartary, was imprisoned for three months; and before he was let go, a picture of him was taken.  What was done with this picture?  It was copied, and the copies were sent to various towns on the borders of Chinese Tartary, with this command, “If the man, who is like this picture, enter the country, his head is the Emperor’s, and his property is yours.”  Happily the traveller heard of this command, and was never seen again in the country.  You see how cunning it was of the Chinese to allow any one who killed the traveller to have his property; for thus they made it the interest of all to kill him.

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Far Off from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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