A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.

That same evening at almost three o’clock of the night[41], ten or twelve elders of the city came into the encampment of our caravan, close by one of the gates of the city, where running about like madmen, they continually cried out aloud, “Mahomet the apostle of God shall rise again:  O prophet of God thou shalt rise again.  God have mercy upon us!” Alarmed by these cries, our captain and all of us seized our weapons in all haste, suspecting that the Arabians had come to rob our caravan.  On demanding the reason of all this outcry, for they cried out as is done by the Christians when any miraculous event occurs, the elders answered, “Saw you not the light which shone from the sepulchre of the prophet?” Then said one of the elders, “Are you slaves?” meaning thereby bought men or Mamelukes; and when our captain answered that we were Mamelukes, the elder replied, “You, my lords, being new to the faith, and not yet fully confirmed in the religion of our holy prophet, cannot see these heavenly things.”  To which our captain answered, “O! you mad and insensate beasts!  I thought to have given you three thousand pieces of gold; but now I shall give you nothing, you dogs and progeny of dogs?” Now, it is to be understood that the pretended miraculous light which was seen to proceed from the sepulchre, was merely occasioned by a flame made by the priests in the open part of the tower formerly mentioned, which they wished to impose on us as a miracle.  After this our commander gave orders that none of the caravan should enter into the temple.  Having thus seen with my own eyes, I can assuredly declare that there is neither iron nor steel, nor magnet stone by which the tomb of Mahomet is made to hang in the air, as some have falsely imagined, neither is there any mountain nearer to Medina than four miles.  To this city of Medina corn and all other kinds of victuals are brought from Arabia Felix, Babylon or Cairo in Egypt, and from Ethiopia by way of the Red Sea, which is about four days journey from the city.

[Footnote 41:  Counting from sunset after the manner of the Italians.—­E.]

Having remained three days in our encampment on the outside of Medina to rest and refresh ourselves and our animals, and being satisfied, or disgusted rather, by the vile and abominable trumperies, deceits, and hypocritical trifles of the Mahometan delusions, we determined to resume our journey; and procuring a pilot or guide, who might direct our way by means of a chart and mariners box or compass, as is used at sea, we bent our journey towards the west, where we found a fair well or fountain whence flowed an abundant stream of water, and where we and our beasts were satisfied with drink.  According to a tradition among the inhabitants, this region was formerly burnt up with drought and sterility, till the evangelist St Mark procured this fountain from God by miracle.  We came into the sea of sand before our arrival at the mountain of the Jews, formerly mentioned, and

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