Of a Monastery where many strange beasts of divers kinds do live upon an hill

In the foresaid city four of our friars had converted a mighty and rich man unto the faith of Christ, at whose house I continually abode, for so long time as I remained in the city. Who upon a certain time said unto me: Ara, that is to say, father, will you go and behold the city. And I said, Yea. Then embarqued we ourselves, and directed our course unto a certain great monastery: where being arrived, he called a religious person with whom he was acquainted, saying unto him concerning me: this Raban Francus, that is to say, this religious Frenchman, cometh from the western parts of the world, and is now going to the city of Cambaleth to pray for the life of the great Can, and therefore you must show him some rare thing, that when he returns into his own country, he may say, this strange sight or novelty have I seen in the city of Canasia. Then the said religious man took two great baskets full of broken relies which remained of the table, and led me unto a little walled park, the door whereof he unlocked with his key, and there appeared unto us a Pleasant fair green plot, into the which we entered. In the said green stands a little mount in form of a steeple, replenished with fragrant herbs, and fine shady trees. And while we stood there, he took a cymbal or bell, and rang therewith, as they use to ring to dinner or bevoir in cloisters, at the sound whereof many creatures of divers kinds came down from the mount, some like apes, some like cats, some like monkeys. and some having faces like men. And while I stood beholding of them, they gathered themselves together about him, to the number of 4200 of those creatures, putting themselves in good order, before whom he set a platter, and gave them the said fragments to eat. And when they had eaten he rang upon his cymbal the second time, and they all returned unto their former places. Then, wondering greatly at the matter, I demanded what kind of creatures those might be. They are (quoth he) the souls of noble men which we do here feed, for the love of God who governeth the world: and as a man was honourable or noble in this life, so his soul after death, entereth into the body of some excellent beast or other, but the souls of simple and rustical people do possess the bodies of more vile and brutish creatures. Then I began to refute that foul error: howbeit my speech did nothing at all prevail with him: for he could not be persuaded that any soul might remain without a body.

From thence I departed unto a certain city named Chilenso, the walls whereof contained forty miles in circuit. In this city there are 360 bridges of stone, the fairest that ever I saw: and it is well inhabited, having a great navy belonging thereunto, and abounding with all kind of victuals and other commodities. And thence I went unto a certain river called Thalay, which, where it is most narrow, is seven miles broad: and it runneth through the midst of the land of Pygmaei, whose chief city is called Cakam, and is one of the goodliest cities in the world. These Pigmacans are three of my spans high, and they make larger and better cloth of cotton and silk, than any other nation under the sun. And coasting along by the said river, I came unto a certain city named Janzu, in which city there is one receptacle for the friars of our order, and there be also three churches of the Nestorians.

This Janzu is a noble and great city, containing forty-eight thuman of tributary fires, and in it are all kinds of victuals, and great plenty of such beasts, owls and fishes, as Christians do usually live upon. The lord of the same city hath in yearly revenues for salt only, fifty thuman of balis, and one balis is worth a florin and a half of our coin: insomuch that one thuman of balis amounteth unto the value of fifteen thousand florins. Howbeit the said lord favoureth his people in one respect, for sometimes he forgiveth them freely two hundred thuman, lest there should be any scarcity or dearth among them. There is a custom in this city, that when any man is determined to banquet his friends, going about unto certain taverns or cooks' houses appointed for the same purpose, he saith unto every particular host, you shall have such, and such of my friends, whom you must entertain in my name, for so much I will bestow upon the banquet. And by that means his friends are better feasted at diverse places, than they should have been at one. Ten miles from the said city, about the head of the foresaid river of Thalay, there is a certain other city called Montu, which hath the greatest navy that, I saw in the whole world. All their ships are as white as snow, and they have banqueting houses in them, and many other rare things also, which no man would believe, unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

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