A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.

I afterwards conversed with a very honest, learned and curious Mahometan, whom I asked if he could tell where the Jews crossed the Red Sea; on which he told me that both in tradition and in some old writings it was said that the Jews, fleeing from the Egyptians, arrived on the coast of Egypt directly opposite to Toro, where Moses prayed to God for deliverance, and struck the sea twelve times with his rod, on which it opened in twelve several paths, by which the Jews passed over to the other side to where Toro now stands; after which the Egyptians entering into these paths were all destroyed to the number of about 600,000 men.  That from Toro Moses led the Israelites to Mount Sinai, where Moses spake many times with God.  I approved much of this opinion; for if the passage had been at Suez, as some insist, the Egyptians had no occasion to have entered into the sea for persecuting the Jews, as they could have gone round the bay and got before them, more especially as they were horsemen and the Jews all on foot.  For though all these things came about by a miracle, we see always on like occasions there is a shew and manner of reason.  I asked of this Moor if it were true that the Christians of Cairo had carried away the body of St Catharine from Mount Sinai; but he said he had never heard of it, neither did he believe the story; and that only four months before he had been in Cairo, which city they call Mecara[320], where he heard of no such thing.  He thought likewise that the Christians about Mount Sinai would never have permitted such a thing, as they all considered that woman as a saint, and held her body in great reverence.  He told me also that two or three leagues before coming to Suez there is a fountain which was given to the Jews at the intercession of Moses, whom they call Muzau, the water of which surpasses all others in goodness.  On inquiring what kind of a place was the town of Suez, he said he had never been there, as no person could enter that town except those appointed by the governor of Cairo for taking care of the gallies, nor come nearer than two leagues under pain of death.

[Footnote 320:  Mecara, perhaps by mistake for Mecara or Mezara, which is very near Mesr as it is called by the Turks.  Cairo is an Italian corruption of Kahera or al Kahira—­Astl.]


Continuation of the Voyage from Taro or al Tor to Suez.

We set sail the day after our arrival at Toro, being the 23d of April 1541, and on the 24th we were in the lat. of 27 deg. 17’ N. At this place, which is 20 leagues beyond Toro and 52 leagues from al Kossir, the land of Egypt, or that coast of the Red Sea which continueth all the way from Abyssinia, comes out into the sea with a very long and low point, which winds a great way inwards to the land and more crooked than any other I have seen.  After forming

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