Mandeville's travels : the Egerton version
Mandevill, John, Sir, British Library. Manuscript. Egerton 1982.
Warner, George F. (George Frederic), Sir, 1845-1936.
Page  81

CHAPTER XVIII

[Of the customs of yles abouten Ynde; of the difference betwix ydoles and simulacres; of iii. maner growynges of peper vpon o tree; of the welle that chaungethe his odour euery hour of the day, and that is meruaylle.]

IN Inde er many diuerse cuntreez; and it es called Inde by cause of a water þat rynnez thurgh þat land, þe whilk men callez Inde. In þat water men fyndez elez of xxx. fote lang. And folk þat dwellez nere þat water er ill coloured, ȝalow and grene. In Inde er ma þan vm iles þat men dwellez in, gude and grete, withouten oþer þat men dwellez noȝt in. And in ilke ane of þase iles er many citez and tounes and mykill folk. For men of Inde er of þat condicioun þat þai passe noȝt comounly oute of þaire awen land, for þai dwell vnder a planett þat es called Saturnus. And þat planet makes his turne by þe twelfe signes in xxx. ȝere; and þe mone, þe whilk es oure planet, passez by þe xii. signes in a moneth. And for Saturnus es [folio 68] of so late mouyng, þerfore men þat dwellez vnder him and in þat climate hase na gude will to be mykill stirrand aboute, bot for to dwell still in þaire awen land and to couaite nan oþer. Bot in oure cuntree es euen þe contrary. For we er in a clymate þe whilke es vnder þe gouernaunce of þe moone, þat es a planet of light mouyng; and it es þe planet of way. And þerfore it giffez vs will to be mykill stirrand aboute and to ga in to diuerse cuntrez of þe werld; for it passez aboute þe world mare lightly þan anoþer planet.

Also men gase thurgh Inde by many cuntreez vnto þe grete see Occean; and þan þai fynd þe ile of Chermes, whider marchandes of Venice, of Geen and of many oþer cuntreez commez to bye marchandysez. Bot it es so hate þare in þat ile þat men ballokes hyngez doune to þaire schankes for þe grete violence of hete, þat dissoluez þaire bodys. And men of þat cuntree þat kennez þe manere byndez þam vp and vsez certayne oynementz calde and restrictiue to hald þam vpp, or elles myȝt þai noȝt liffe. In þis land and in Ethiopy and many oþer cuntrez men and wymmen gase comounly to waters and lays þam in þam all naked fra vndrun of þe day to it be passedPage  82 none, for þe grete hete of þe sonne; and þai ligg all vnder þe water bot þe heued. And wymmen þare schamez noȝt þof men see þam naked. And þare may a man see mykill dishonestee. 1. [many foule figure assembled, and namely nygh the gode townes, C.] In þis ile er schippes made withouten nayles or bandes of yrne; and þat es by cause of roches of adamaundez þat er in þe see, whilk wald [folio 68b] drawe schippes to þam. And þare es so grete plentee of þase rochez in þase parties þat, if any schippes passed þer away in þe whilk ware any maner of yrne, þai schuld be drawen [supplied by ed.] to þe rochez by þe vertu of þe adamaund, so þat þai schuld eschape on na wyse.

Fra þis ile men wendez by see to þe ile of Cana, whare es grete plentee of wyne and of corne. It was sum tyme a grete ile, and a gude hauen þerin; bot it es destruyd by þe see for þe mare party. Þe kyng of þat ile was sum tyme so grete and so myghty þat he faght with grete Alexander. Folk of þat ile hase diuerse lawes; for sum wirschepez þe sonne in steed of Godd, sum þe fire, sum nedders, sum treessez, sum þe first thing þat þai mete at morne, sum wirschepez simulacres, sum ydoles. Betwene simulacres and ydoles es a grete difference. For simulacres er ymages made to þe liknes of sum thing þat es kyndely; and ydoles er ymagez made to þe liknes of what thing a man will þat es noȝt kyndely. For amanges all maner of bestes ȝe schall fynd nane þat hase three heueds, ane of a man, anoþer of a hors, anoþer of ane ox or of sum oþer beste, as þai make þaire ydoles. And ȝe schall vnderstand þat þai þat wirschepes simulacres wirschepes þam for sum worthy men, þat ware sum tyme doghty men in armes, as Hercules, Achilles and swilk oþer, whilk didd many meruailes in þaire [folio 69] tymes. For þai say þai wate wele þai er noȝt Godd of kynde, þat made all thing, bot þai er riȝt wele with Godd for meruailes þat þai didd. And so say þai of þe sonne; for it chaungez oft þe tymes of þe ȝere and giffez hete to nurisch all thinges of þe erthe. And, for it es of so grete profit, þai say þai wate wele þat it es wele with Godd and þat Godd lufes it mare þan any oþer thing; and þerfore þai wirschepe it. And þe same þai say of oþer planets and of þe fyre, by cause of þe grete profit þat commes of þam. And of ydoles þai say þat þe ox es þe halyest beste þat es in erthe and maste profitable, for he duse mykill gude and nane ill. And þai wate wele, þai say, þat may noȝt be withouten speciale grace of Godd; and þerfore þai make þaire godd half man and half ox, for man es þe fairest and þe best creature þat Godd made and þe ox þe halyest. Þai do wirschepe also to nedders and oþer bestez whilk þai mete first at morne, and namely to þase bestez þat er gude and happy to mete,Page  83 after whaym þai spede wele all þe day efter, whilk þai hafe proued of lang tyme. And þerfore þai say þis gude metyng commez of Godd; and þerfore hafe þai gert make ymagez lyke to þase in þaire houses, þat þai may wirschepe þam before þai mete with any oþer thinges. 1. [The passage following in the French text, down to "esperance en nostre Seignur," omitted here, is translated in C (see [commentary]).] In þis ile of Cana er many wylde bestez, as lyouns, leoperds, beres and swilk oþer. 2. [lyouns and many oþer wylde bestes, C.] And þare er ratouns als grete as hundes er here; and þai take þam with grete mastyfes, for cattes er to smale to take þam. In þis cuntree and in many oþer, when men er deed, þai graue þam noȝt; for þer es so grete hete þat alssone þe flessh es consumed euen to þe bane.

[folio 69b]

Fra þeine men commez to a citee þat es called Sarchie, and it es a faire citee and a gude. And þare dwellez many gude Cristen men of gude beleue; and þare er many men of religioun, and namely of freres. 3. [mendyuantes, C.] Fra þeine men gase to þe land of Lombe by see. In þat land growez peper in a forest, whilk es called Combar; and it growez in na place of þe werld bot anely in þat forest. Þat forest es xxiiii. iournez on lenth. And þare er twa gude citez, of þe whilk þe tane hat Flabryne and þe toþer Ȝinglauns; and in bathe þir citez dwellez Cristen men and Iews in grete noumer, for þe cuntree es right plentifous and gude. Bot it es riȝt hate, and þerfore þer es grete haboundance of diuerse nedders and wormes. And ȝe schall vnderstand þat pepre growez in maner of wilde wynes be syde þe treesse of þe forest, for to be suppoweld by þam. Þe fruyt þeroff hinges in grete clustres in maner of bobbes of grapes 4. [in manere as reysynges, C.]; and þai hing so thikk þat, bot if þai ware suppoweld by oþer treesse, þai myght noȝt bere þaire fruyt. Qwhen þe fruyt es rype, it es all grene lyke þe berys of wodbind 5. [as it were iuy beryes, C.]; and þan þai gader þe fruyt and driez it at þe sonne and seyne layez it apon a flure 6. [owven, C.] til it becom blakk and runklid. And so þai hafe þare three maners of peper growand on a tree, þat es to say lang peper rype of þe awen kynde, whyte peper noȝt brynt ne birstlid with fyre ne with hete of þe sonne, and blak peper dried with hete of þe fyre or of þe sonne. Lang peper call þai Spotyn, 7. [sorbotyn, C.] blakk Fulphul, 8. [fulfull, C.] and whyte Bonoile. 9. [bano, C.] First commez oute þe lang peper, when þe lefez begynnez to spring; and it es lyke vnto þe floure of þe hesill, 10. [chattes of hasell, C.] [f.70] þat springes oute before þe lefes.Page  84 Þan commez oute white peper with þe lefes in grete clustres, as 1. [at, MS] it ware grene grapes; þe whilk, when it es gaderd, es whyte, and it es sum what lesse þan blakk peper. Seyne springes oute blak peper in grete haboundaunce. Of þe white peper sell þai bot lytill til oþer cuntrez or elles noȝt, bot kepez it till þaire awen vse; for it es better and mare profitable and of mare attemperee wirkyng þan þe oþer, and langer will be [supplied by ed.] kepid in his vertu. And ȝe 2. [And ȝe … fresch and new, not in French text or in C.] sall vnderstand þat, ay þe heuer peper es, þe better it es and þe newere. Neuerþeles it fallez oft tyme þat marchands sophisticatez peper, when it es alde, as Ysidoris tellez. For þai take alde peper and stepez it and strewez apon it spume of siluer or of leed and driez it agayne, and so by cause of þe weight it semes fresch and new. And þai hafe of nane of þir three maners of peper so grete haboundaunce as of þe blakk. In þat cuntree, as I said before, er many diuerse maners of nedders and of oþer wormes by cause of þe grete hete of þe cuntree and also of þe peper. And sum men saise þat a certayne tyme of þe ȝere, when þai ga for to gader þis peper, þai make fyres here and þare, for to brynne þe nedders or elles make þam to flee þeine. Bot, saue þaire grace, it es noȝt so. For, if þai þus made fires aboute þe peper, þai schuld brynne þe peper and þe treess þat it growez on, or elles drie þam so þat þai schuld na mare bere fruyt; and þat es noȝt trew. Bot þai [folio 70b] enoynt þaire hend and þaire fete and oþer placez of þaire bodys with ane oynement made of þe iuys of a fruyte þat þai call lymons 3. [þei enoynten here hondes and here feet [with a juice] mad of snayles, C. A confusion between "limons" and "limaçons."] menged with oþer certayne thinges, and þan þai ga baldely for to gader þe peper. And þe nedders and venymmous wormes, when þai fele þe reflaire of þe oynement, fleez away; and on þis wyse in sothefastnes get þai þe peper.

At þe heued of þis ilk forest es þe citee of Polombe; and besyde þat citee es a mountayne, wharoff þe citee takez þe name, for men callez þe mountayne Polombe. And at þe fote of þis mountayne es a well, noble and faire; and þe water þeroff has a swete sauour and reflaire, as it ware of diuerse maner of spicery. And ilke houre of þe day þe water chaungez diuersely his sauour and his smell. And, wha so drinkes fastand thryes of þat well, he sall be hale of what maner of malady þat he hase. And forþi þe þat wonnez nere þat well drynkez þeroff þe ofter, and þerfore þai hafe neuermare sekeness, bot euermare þai seme ȝung. I, Iohn Maundeuill, sawe þis well and drank þeroff thrys and all my felawes, and euermare sen þat tyme I fele me þe better and þe haler and supposez for to do till þe tyme þat Godd of his grace will make me to passe oute of þis dedly lyf. 4. [I haue dronken þere of iii. or iiii. sithes, and ȝit me thinketh I fare the better, C.] Sum men callez þat well Fons iuuentutis, 5. [welle of ȝouthe, C.] þat es for to say, þe well of ȝowthehede; for þai þat drinkez þeroff semez all way ȝung. And þai say þis well commez fra Paradys terrestre, for it es so vertuous. Thurgh oute all þis cuntree þer growes þe best gynger þat es ower whare; and marchaunds commez þider fra ferre cuntreez for to bye it.

Page  85 [folio 71]

And in þis 1. [An þis, MS.] cuntree þe folk þeroff wirschepez þe ox, in steed of Godd, for þe sympilnes and þe gudeness þat commez of him. And þai say þare þat þe ox es þe halyest best of þe werld and many vertuz has in him; for sex ȝere or seuen þe ox will drawe in þe plugh and helpe to labour for mannes sustynaunce, and efter þat men may ete him. Þe king of þat land hase euermare ane ox with him, whare so euer he be, and honoures it as his godd. And he þat kepez þis ox gaders þe dung of him in a vessell of gold and þe vryne in anoþer; and all þat euer he gaders on þe nyght on þe morue he beres to þaire prelate, whilk es called Archiprothopapaton, and he berez it to þe kyng and makes þar ower many blissings. And þan þe kyng puttez his handes in þe vryne of þe ox, þe whilk þai call gaul, and þerwith he rubbez his frunt and his breste. And þan with grete reuerence he takez of þe dung and rubbez it on his visage and his breste, as he did with þe vryn, in þat entent þat he be fulfilled with þe vertu of þe haly ox and þat he be blissed with þat haly thing. And after þe kyng oþer lordes and princez dose on þe same maner; and efter þaim seruandes and oþer men, ilk ane in þaire degree, als lang as oght lastez þeroff. In þat cuntree þaire ydoles, þat es þaire fals goddes, hase half schappe of man and half of ane ox; and in þase ydoles þe fende spekez to þam and giffes answere of what so þai ask. Before þise fals goddes þai sla þaire childer many tymes in steed of sacrifice, and takes þaire blude aud sprenklez it apon þaire mawmets, [folio 71b] and þus þai make þaire sacrifice to þam. And, when any man dies in þat land, þai brynne his body, for þat he suld suffer na payne, when he es in his graue, thurgh etyng of wormes. And, if he hafe na childer, þai brynne his wyf with him. For þai say þat it es resoun þat scho bere him cumpany in þe toþer werld as scho did here in þis werld. And, if scho hafe childer, þai late hir liffe for to bring þam vp, if scho will. And, if it be swa þat scho chese rather to liffe with hir childer þan to be brynned with hir housband, þan sall scho be arettid vntrew and vnkynde, 2. [men holden hire for fals and cursed, C.] and scho sall neuer be praised, ne na man sall efter þat tyme trist on hir. And, if þe wyf dye before hir husband, he schall noȝt be brynt with hir agayne his will; bot, if him list, he may take him anoþer wyf. In þat cuntree also growez gude wynes; and þare sall þe wymmen drinke wyne, and noȝt þe men. And wymmen schafez þer beerdes, and noȝt men.