To return to my voyage. I departed from Malacca in a great ship bound for St Thome on the coast of Coromandel, and as at that time the captain of Malacca had intelligence that the king of Acheen meant to come against Malacca with a great fleet and army, he refused to allow any ships to depart. On this account we departed from Malacca under night without having made any provision of water; and being upwards of 400 persons on board, we proposed to have gone to a certain island for water, but by contrary winds we were unable to accomplish this, and were driven about by the tempests for forty-two days, the mountains of Zerzerline near the kingdom of Orissa, 500 miles beyond St Thome, being the first land we got sight of. So we came to Orissa with many sick, and had lost a great number for want of water. The sick generally died in four days illness. For the space of a year after, my throat continued sore and hoarse, and I could never satisfy my insatiable thirst. I judged the reason of this hoarseness to be from the continual use of sippets dipped in vinegar and oil, on which I sustained my life for many days. We had no scarcity of bread or wine; but the wines of that country are so hot that they cannot be drank without water, or they produce death. When we began to want water, I saw certain Moors who were officers in the ship who sold a small dish of water for a ducat, and I have afterwards seen a bar of pepper, which is two quintals and a half, offered for a small measure, and it could not be had even at that price. I verily believe I must have died, together with my slave, whom I had bought at a high price, had I not sold him for half his value, that I might save his drink to supply my own urgent wants, and save my own life.
Of the Kingdom of Orissa and the River Ganges.
This was a fair and well regulated kingdom, through which a man might have travelled with gold in his hand without danger, so long as it was governed by its native sovereign who was a Gentile, and resided in the city of Catecha six days journey inland. This king loved strangers, especially merchants who traded in his dominions, insomuch that he took no customs from them, neither did he vex them with any grievous impositions, only that each ship that came thither paid some small affair in proportion to her tonnage. Owing to this good treatment twenty-five ships, great and small, used to lade yearly in the port of Orissa, mostly with rice and with different kinds of white cotton cloths, oil of zerzerline or verzino which is made from a seed, and answers well for eating or frying fish, lac, long pepper, ginger, dry and candied mirabolans, and great store of cloth made from a kind of silk which grows on trees requiring no labour or cultivation, as when the bole or round pod is grown to the size of an orange, all they have to do is to gather it. About sixteen