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to him, that he might not have the oil of mercy. But he took him three grains of the same tree that his father ate the apple off; and bade him, as soon as his father was dead, that he should put these three grains under his tongue, and gravel him so: and so he did. And of these three grains sprang a tree, as the angel said that it should, and bare a fruit, through the which fruit Adam should be saved. And when Seth came again, he found his father near dead. And when he was dead, he did with the grains as the angel bade him; of the which sprung three trees, of the which the cross was made, that bare good fruit and blessed, our Lord Jesu Christ; through whom Adam and all that come of him should be saved and delivered from dread of death without end, but= it be their own default.
HOW BOSES CAME FIRST INTO THE WORLD
And a little from Hebron is the mount of Mamre, of the which the valley taketh his name. And there is a tree of oak, that the Saracens clepe^ Dirpc, that is of Abraham's time: the which men clcpe the Dry Tree. And they say that it hath been there since the beginning of the world, and was some-time green and bare leaves, unto the time that our Lord died on the cross, and then it dried: and so did all the trees that were then in the world. And some say, by their prophecies, that a lord, a prince of the west side of the world, shall win the Land of Promission, that is the Holy Land, with help of Christian men, and he shall do sing* a mass under that dry tree; and then the tree shall wax green and bear both fruit and leaves, and through that miracle many Jews and Saracens shall be turned to Christian faith: and therefore they do great worship thereto, and keep it full busily5. And, albeit so, that it be dry, natheless« yet he7 beareth great virtue, for certainly he that hath a little thereof upon him, it healeth him of the falling evil, and his horse shall not be afoundered. And many other virtues it hath; wherefore men hold it full precious.
From Hebron men go to Bethlehem in half a day, for it is but five mile; and it is full fair way, by plains and woods full delectable. Bethlehem is a little city, long and narrow and well walled, and in each side enclosed with good ditches: and it was wont to be clept Ephrata, as holy writ saith, Ecce, audivimus eum in Ephrata, that is to say, 'Lo, we heard
, bury ■' very attentively
2 unless 0 nevertheless
8 call * It 4 cause to be sung
him in Ephrata.' And toward the east end of the city is a full fair church and a gracious, and it hath many towers, pinnacles and corners, full strong and curiously made; and within that church be forty-four pillars of marble, great and fair.
And between the city and the church is the field Floridus, that is to say, the 'field flourished8.' Forasmuch as a fair maiden was blamed with wrong, and slandered; for which cause she was demned to death, and to be burnt in that place, to the which she was led. And as the fire began to burn about her, she made her prayers to our Lord, that as wisely" as she was not guilty of that sin, that he would help her and make it to be known to all men, of his merciful grace. And when she had thus said, she entered into the fire, and anon was the fire quenched and out; and the brands that were burning became red rose-trees, and the brands that were not kindled became white rose-trees, full of roses. And these were the first rose-trees and roses, both white and red, that ever any man saw; and thus was this maiden saved by the grace of God. And therefore is that field clept the field of God flourished, for it was full of roses.
How The Earth And Sea Be Op Round Form And Shape, By Proof Of The Star That Is Clept Antarctic, That Is Fixed In The South*
In that land, ne in many other beyond that, no man may see the Star Transmontane, that is clept the Star of the Sea, that is unmovable and that is toward the north, that we clepe the Lode-star. But men see another star, the contrary to him, that is toward the south, that is clept Antarctic. And right as the ship-men take their advice here and govern them by the Lode-star, right so do the men beyond those parts by the star of the south, the which star appeareth not to us. And this star that is toward the north, that we clepe the Lode-star, ne appeareth not to them. For which cause men may well perceive that the land and the sea be of round shape and form; for the part of the firmament showeth in one country that showeth not in another country. And men may well prove by experience and subtle compassmcnt of wit, that if a man found passages by ships that would go to search the world, men might go by ship all about the world and above and beneath.
s In flower » certainly
• An example of the speculations that were rife long before Columbus undertook his voyage.
The which thing I prove thus after that I have seen. For I have been toward the parts of Brabant1, and beholden the Astrolabe that the star that is clept the Transmontane is fiftythree degrees high; and more further in Almayne2 and Bohemia it hath fifty-eight degrees; and more further toward the parts septentrionalB it is sixty-two degrees of height and certain minutes; for I myself have measured it by the Astrolabe. Now shall ye know, that against the Transmontane is the tother star that is clept Antartic, as I have said before. And those two stars ne move never, and by them turneth all the firmament right as doth a wheel that turneth by his axle-tree. So that those stars bear the firmament in two equal parts, so that it hath as much above as it hath beneath. After this I have gone toward the parts meridional, that is, toward the south, and I have found that in Libya men see first the star Antarctic. And so far I have gone more further in those countries, that I have found that star more high; so that toward the High Libya it is eighteen degrees of height and certain minutes (of the which sixty minutes make a degree). After going by sea and by land toward this country of that I have spoken, and to other isles and lands beyond that country, I have found the Star Antarctic of thirty-three degrees of height and more minutes. And if I had had company and shipping for to go more beyond, I trow well, in certain, that we should have seen all the roundness of the firmament all about. . . .
And wit well, that, after that* I may perceive and comprehend, the lands of Prester John,* Emperor of Ind, be under us. For in going from Scotland or from England toward Jerusalem men go upwards always. For our land is in the low part of the earth toward the west, and the land of Prester John is in the low part of the earth toward the east. And they have there the day when we have the night; and also, high to the contrary, they have the night when we have the day. For the earth and the sea be of round form and shape, as I have said before; and that that men go upward to one coast5, men go downward to another coast.
Also ye have heard me say that Jerusalem is in the midst of the world. And that may men prove, and show there by a spear, that is
1 Holland * And know well that.
2 Germany according to what
3 north 5 and that as men go
upward to one region
• Prester is "presbyter," an elder or priest. This fabulous Christian monarch was supposed to have conquered the Saracens In the East.
pight8 into the earth, upon the hour of midday, when it is equinox, that showeth no shadow on no side. And that it should be in the midst of the world, David witnesseth it in the Psalter, where he saith, Deus operatus est salutem in medio ierraeJ Then, they that part from those parts of the west for to go toward Jerusalem, as many journeys8 as they go upward for to go thither, in as many journeys may they go from Jerusalem unto other confines of the superficialty of the earth beyond. And when men go beyond those journeys toward Ind and to the foreign isles, all is environing* the roundness of the earth and of the sea under our countries on this half.
And therefore hath it befallen many times of one thing that I have heard counted'0 when I was young, how a worthy man departed sometime from our countries for to go search the world. And so he passed Ind and the isles beyond Ind, where be raore than 5000 isles. And so long he went by sea and land, and so environed the world by many seasons, that he found an isle where he heard speak his own language, calling an oxen in the plough such words as men speak to beasts in his own country; whereof he had great marvel, for he knew not how it might be. But I say that he had gone so long by land and by sea, that ho had environed all the earth; that he was come again environing, that is to say, going about, unto his own marches", and if he would have passed further, he would have found his country and his own knowledge. But he turned again from thence, from whence he was come from. And so he lost much painful labor, as himself said a great while after that he was come home. For it befell after, that he went into Norway. And there tempest of the sea took him, and he arrived in an isle. And when he was in that isle, he knew well that it was the isle where he had heard speak his own language before, and the calling of oxen at the plow; and that was possible thing.
But now it seemeth to simple men unlearned, that men ne may not go under the earth, and also that men should fall toward the heaven from under. But that may not be, upon less than's we may fall toward heaven from the earth where we be. For from what part of the earth that men dwell, either above or beneath, it seemeth always to them that dwell that they
e set 9 they are nil the while
7 The Lord wrought sal- encircling
vatlon In the midst 10 recounted
of the earth. (Sec 11 borders
Psalms. 74:12.) 12 unless
8 days' travel
height environ, after mine opinion and mine understanding.
Of The Trees That Bear Meal, Honey, Wins, And Venom; And Of Other Marvels
After that isle, in going by sea, men find another isle, good and great, that men clepe Patheni, that is a great kingdom full of fair cities and full of towns. In that land grow trees that grow meal, whereof men make good bread and white and of good savor; and it seemeth as it were of wheat, but it is not allinges^ of such savor. And there be other trees that bear honey good and sweet, and other trees that bear venom, against the which there is no medicine but one; and that is to take their proper' leaves and stamp them and temper them with water and then drink it, and else he shall die; for triaele* will not avail, ne none other medicine. Of this venom the Jews had let seek of one of their friends for to empoison all Christianity, as I have heard them say in their confession before their dying: but thanked be Almighty God! they failed of their purpose; but always they« make great mortality of people. And other trees there be also that bear wine of noble sentiment*. And if you like to hear how the meal cometh out of the trees I shall say you. Men hew the trees with an hatchet, all about the foot of the tree, till that the bark be parted in many parts, and then cometh out thereof a thick liquor, the which they receive in vessels, and dry it at the heat of the sun; and then they have it to a mill to grind and it becometh fair meal and white*. And the honey and the wine and the venom be drawn out of other trees in the same manner, and put in vessels for to keep.
In that isle is a dead sea, that is a lake that hath no ground": and if anything fall into that lake it shall never come up again. In that lake grow reeds, that be canes, that they clepe Thaby'0, that be thirty fathoms long; and of these canes men make fair houses. And there be other canes that be not so long, that grow near the land and have so long roots that endure well a four quarters" of a furlong or
go more right than any other folk. And right as it seemeth to us that they be under us, right so it seemeth to them that we be under them. For if a man might fall from the earth unto the firmament, by greater reason the earth and the sea that be so great and so heavy should fall to the firmament: but that may not be, and therefore saith our Lord God, Non timeas me, qui suspendi terram ex nihtio/is
And albeit that it be possible thing that men may so environ all the world, natheless, of a thousand persons, one ne might not happen to return into his country. For the greatness of the earth and of the sea, men may go by a thousand and a thousand other ways, that no man could ready him'« perfectly toward the parts that he came from, but if it were by adventure and hap, or by the grace of God. For the earth is full large and full great, and holds in roundness and about environ^, by above and by beneath, 20425 miles, after the opinion of old wise astronomers; and their sayings I reprove nought. But, after my little wit, it seemeth me, saving their reverence, that it is more.
And for to have better understanding I say thus. Be there imagined a figure that hath a great compass. And, about the point of the great compass that is clept the centre, be made another little compass. Then after, be the great compass devised by lines in many parts, and that all the lines meet at the centre. So, that in as many parts as the great compass shall be departed16, in as many shall be departed the little, that is about the centre, albeit that the space be less. Now then, be the great compass represented for the firmament, and the little compass represented for the earth. Now then, the firmament is devised by astronomers in twelve signs, and every sign is devised in thirty degrees; that is, 360 degrees that the firmament hath above. Also, be the earth devised in as many parts as the firmament, and let every part answer to a degree of the firmament. And wit it well, that, after the authors of astronomy, 700 furlongs of earth answer to a degree of the firmament, and those be eighty-seven miles and four furlongs. Now be that here multiplied by 360 sithesi*, and then they be 31,500 miles every" of eight furlongs, after'* miles of our country. So much hath the earth in roundness and of
more; and at the knots of those roots men find precious stones that have great virtues. And he that beareth any of them upon him, iron ne steel may not hurt him, ne draw no blood upon him; and therefore, they that have those stones upon them fight full hardily both upon sea and land, for men may not harm them on no part. And therefore, they that know the manner, and shall fight with them, they shoot to them arrows and quarrels without iron or steel, and so they hurt them and slay them. And also of those canes they make houses and ships and other things, as we have here, making houses and ships of oak or of any other trees. And deem no man that I say it but for a trifle, for I have seen of the canes with mine own eyes, full many times, lying upon the river of that lake, of the which twenty of our fellows ne might not lift up ne bear one to the earth.
Of The Paradise Terrestrial
And beyond the land and the isles and the deserts of Prester John's lordship, in going straight toward the east, men find nothing but mountains and rocks, full great. And there is the dark region, where no man may see, neither by day ne by night, as they of the country say. And that desert and that place of darkness dure from this coast unto Paradise terrestrial, where that1 Adam, our foremost' father, and Eve were put, that dwelled there but little while; and that is towards the east at the beginning of the earth. But that is not that east that we clepe our east on this half, wh<re the sun riseth to us. For when the sun is east in those parts towards Paradise terrestrial, it is then midnight in our part on this half, for the roundness of the earth, of the which I have touched3 to you of before. For our Lord God made the earth all round in the mid place of the firmament. And there asi mountains and hills be and valleys, that is not but only of4 Noah's flood, that wasted the soft ground and the tender, and fell down into valleys, and the hard earth and the rocks abide5 mountains, when the soft earth and tender waxed nesh« through the water, and fell and became valleys.
Of Paradise ne can I not speak properly. For I was not there. It is far beyond. And that forthinketh me7. And also I was not worthy. But as I have heard say ofs wise men beyond, I shall tell you with good will.
i where 5 remained
s first « soft
3 related i causes me rpgrct
* from nothing else than * by
Paradise terrestrial, as wise men say, is the highest place of earth, that is in all the world. And it is so nigh that it toucheth nigh to the circle of the moon, there as the moon maketh her turn; for she is so high that the flood of Noah ne might not come to her, that would have covered all the earth of the world all about and above and beneath, save Paradise only alone. And this Paradise is enclosed all about with a wall, and men wit not whereof it is; for the walls be covered all over with moss, as it seemeth. And it seemeth not that the wall is stone of nature, ne of none other thing that the wall is. And that wall stretcheth from the south to the north, and it hath not but one entry that8 is closed with fire, burning; so that no man that is mortal ne dare not enter.
And in the most high place of Paradise, even in the middle place, is a well that casteth out the four floods that run by divers lands. Of the which the first is clept Pison, or Ganges, that is all one; and it runneth throughout Ind or Emlak, in the which river be many precious stones, and much of lignum aloes'0 and much gravel of gold. And that other river is clept Nilus or Gison, that gocth by Ethiopia and after by Egypt. And that other is clept Tigris, that runneth by Assyria and by Armenia the great. And that other is clept Euphrates, that runneth also by Media and Armenia and by Persia. And men there beyond say, that all the sweet waters of the world, above and beneath, take their beginning of the well of Paradise, and out of that well all waters come and go
The first river is clept Pison, that is to say in their language, Assembly; for many other rivers meet them there, and go into that river. And some men clepe it Ganges, for a king that was in Ind, that hight11 Gangeres, and that it ran throughout his land. And that water is in some place clear, and in some place troubled, in some place hot, and in some place cold.
The second river is clept Nilus or Gison; for it is always trouble12; and Gison, in the language of Ethiopia, is to say, trouble, and in the language of Egypt also.
The third river, that is clept Tigris, is as much for to say as, fast-running; for he runneth more fast than any of the tother; and also there is a beast, that is clept Tigris, that is fast-running.
The fourth river is clept Euphrates, that is to say, well-bearing; for here grow many goods
10 A fragrant oriental wood.
11 was called
12 troubled, murky
upon that river, as corn, fruits, and other goods enough plenty.
And ye shall understand that no man that is mortal ne may not approach to that Paradise. For by land no man may go for wild beasts that be in the desert, and for the high mountains and great huge rocks that no man may pass by, for the dark places that be there, and that many. And by the rivers may no man go. For the water runneth so rudely and so sharply, because that it cometh down so outrageously from the high places above, that it runneth in so great waves, that no ship may not row ne sail against it. And the water roareth so, and maketh so huge a noise and so great tempest, that no man may hear other in the ship, though he cried with all the craft that he could in the highest voice that he might. Many great lords have assayed with great will, many times, for to pass by those rivers towards Paradise, with full great companies. But they might not speed on their voyage. And many died for weariness of rowing against those strong waves. And many of them became blind, and many deaf, for the noise of the water. And some were perished and lost within the waves. So that no mortal man may approach to that place, without special grace of God, so that of that place I can say you no more; and therefore I Bhall hold me still, and return to that that I have seen.
And ye shall understand, if it like you, that at mine home-coming I came to Rome, and showed my life to our holy father the pope, and was assoiledi of all that lay in my conscience, of many a diverse grievous point; as men must needs that be in company, dwelling amongst so many a diverse folk of diverse sect and of belief, as I have been. Anil amongst all I showed him this treatise, that I had made after in
formation of men that knew of things that I had not seen myself, and also of marvels and customs that I had seen myself, as far as God would give me grace; and besought his holy fatherhood that my book might be examined and proved by the advice of his said council. And our holy father, of his special grace, remitted my book to be examined and proved by the advice of his said counsel. By the which my book was proved for true, insomuch that they showed me a book, that my book was examined by, that comprehended full more, by an hundred part, by the which the Mappa Mundi* was made after. And so my book (albeit that many men ne list not to give credence to nothing but to that that they see with their eye, ne be the author ne tho person never so true) is affirmed and proved by our holy father, in manner and form as I have said.
And I, John Mandeville, knight, abovesaid (although I be unworthy), that departed fro^m our countries and passed the sea, the year of grace a thousand three hundred and twenty-two, that have passed many lands and many isles and countries, and searched many full strange places, and have been in many a full good honorable country, and at many a fair deed of arms (albeit that I did none myself, for mine unable insufficience), now I am come home, maugre myself, to rest, for gouts arthritic that me distrain^ that define* the end of my labor; against my will (God knoweth).
And thus, taking solace in my wretched rest, recording the time past, I have fulfilled these things, and put them written in this book, as it would come into my mind, the year of grace a thousand three hundred and fifty-six, in the thirty fourth year that I departed from our countries. Wherefore I pray to all the readers and hearers of this book, if it please them, that they would pray to God for me; and I shall pray for them.
•j Mnp of the World. * mark 3 afflict