The next day (1st August) I sent him (Coiac) a flagon of muscadel wine, which had kept perfectly good during the whole long journey, and a hamper of biscuits which pleased him very much; and that evening he kept our servants with him. The next day he sent me word to come to the court, bringing with me the king's letter, the vestments and the church ornaments and the books, for his master wished to see them. We did accordingly, putting in one cart the books and the chapel, and in another bread, wine and fruit. Then he caused us to explain all about the books and vestments, and many Tartars and Christians and Saracens looked on seated on their horses. When he had finished examining them, he asked if I would give all these things to his master. When I heard this I was shocked, and his words displeased me. Dissimulating, however, I replied: "My lord, we beg that your lord will deign receive this bread, wine and fruit, not as a present, for it is too trifling, but for a blessing, and so that we appear not before him with empty hands. He shall see the letter of the lord King, and by them he shall know why we come to him, and then we will await his pleasure, we and all our belongings. As to these vestments they are holy, and may not be touched except by Friar priests." Then he told us to put them on to go in unto his lord, and this we did. I put on the most costly of the vestments, with a most beautiful cushion (pulvinar) against my breast, and took the Bible which you had given me, and the beautiful Psalter which my lady the Queen had presented me with, and in which were right beautiful pictures. My companion took the missal and the cross, while the clerk (Gosset) put on a surplice and took the censer. And so we came before his (i.e. , Sartach's) dwelling, and they raised the felt which hung before the entry, so that he could see us. Then they made the clerk and the interpreter to bow the knee (three times): of us they did not demand it. Then they enjoined us earnestly to be most careful in going in and coming out not to touch the threshold of the dwelling, and also to chant some blessing for him. So we went in chanting, "Salve, regina!" [J: went in singing the Salve Regina] In the entry of the dwelling there was a bench with cosmos and cups, and all Sartach's wives had come thither and the Mo'al came crowding in around us.
[More Nestorians]Living mixed among them, though of alien race [J: alien status] (tanquam advene), are Nestorians and Saracens all the way to Cathay. In fifteen cities of Cathay there are Nestorians, and they have an episcopal see in a city called Segin [=Hsi-king], but for the rest they are purely idolaters. The priests of idols of the nations spoken of all wear wide saffron-colored cowls. There are also among them, as I gathered, some hermits who live in forests and mountains and who are wonderful by their lives and austerity [J: leading lives that are extraordinarily ascetic] . The Nestorians there know nothing. They say their offices, and have sacred books in Syrian, but they do not know the language, so they chant like those monks among us who do not know grammar, and they are absolutely depraved. In the first place they are usurers and drunkards; some even among them who live with the Tartars have several wives like them. When they enter church, they wash their lower parts like Saracens; they eat meat on Friday, and have their feasts on that day in Saracen fashion. The bishop rarely visits these parts, hardly once in fifty years. When he does, they have all the male children, even those in the cradle, ordained priests, so nearly all the males among them are priests. Then they marry, which is clearly against the statutes of the Fathers, and they are bigamists, for when the first wife dies these priests take another. They are all simoniacs, for they administer no sacrament gratis. They are solicitous for their wives and children, and are consequently more intent on the increase of their wealth than of the faith. And so those of them who educate some of the sons of the noble Mo'al, though they teach them the Gospel and the articles of the faith, through their evil lives and their cupidity estrange them from the Christian faith, for the lives that the Mo'al themselves and the Tuins [=Buddhists, from Chinese T'ao-yen: "man of the path." The term properly refers only to priests but Rubruck applies it here to all Buddhists] or idolaters lead are more innocent than theirs.
The Chan had brought him our books, the Bible and the breviary, and made careful inquiry about the pictures, and what they meant. The Nestorians answered as they saw fit, for our interpreter had not come with us. The first time I had been before him, I had also the Bible in my bosom, and he had it handed him, and looked at it a great deal. Then he went away, but the lady remained there and distributed presents to all the Christians who were there. To the monk she gave one iascot, and to the archdeacon of the priests another. Before us she had placed a nasic, which is a piece of stuff as broad as a coverlid and about as long, and a buccaran [=an expensive cotton cloth]; but as I would not accept them, they were sent to the interpreter, who took them for himself. The nasic he carried all the way to Cyprus, where he sold it for eighty bezants of Cyprus, though it had been greatly damaged on the journey. Then drink was brought, rice mead and red wine, like wine of La Rochelle, and cosmos. Then the lady, holding a full cup in her hand, knelt and asked a blessing, and the priests all sang with a loud voice, and she drank it all. Likewise, I and my companion had to sing when she wanted to drink another time. When they were all nearly drunk, food was brought consisting of mutton, which was at once devoured, and after that large fish which are called carp, but without salt or bread; of these I ate [J: of this I partook sparingly]. And so they passed the day till evening. And when the lady was already tipsy, she got on her cart; the priests singing and howling, and she went her way. The next Sunday, when we read [J: the ...]: "Nuptie facte sunt in Chana," [=There was a marriage in Cana (cf. John 2)] came the daughter of the Chan, whose mother was a Christian, and she did likewise, though with not so much ceremony; for she made no presents, but only gave the priests to drink till they were drunk, and also parched millet to eat.
[The Khan's palace at Karakorum]Mangu had at Caracarum a great palace, situated next to the city walls, enclosed within a high wall like those which enclose monks' priories among us. Here is a great palace, where he has his drinkings twice a year: once about Easter, when he passes there, and once in summer, when he goes back (westward). And the latter is the greater (feast), for then come to his court all the nobles, even though distant two months journey; and then he makes them largess of robes and presents, and shows his great glory. There are there many buildings as long as barns, in which are stored his provisions and his treasures. In the entry of this great palace, it being unseemly to bring in there skins of milk and other drinks, master William the Parisian had made for him a great silver tree, and at its roots are four lions of silver, each with a conduit through it, and all belching forth white milk of mares. And four conduits are led inside the tree to its tops, which are bent downward, and on each of these is also a gilded serpent, whose tail twines round the tree. And from one of these pipes flows wine, from another cara cosmos, or clarified mare's milk, from another bal, a drink made with honey, and from another rice mead, which is called terracina; and for each liquor there is a special silver bowl at the foot of the tree to receive it. Between these four conduits in the top, he made an angel holding a trumpet, and underneath the tree he made a vault in which a man can be hid. And pipes go up through the heart of the tree to the angel. In the first place he made bellows, but they did not give enough wind. Outside the palace is a cellar in which the liquors are stored, and there are servants all ready to pour them out when they hear the angel trumpeting. And there are branches of silver on the tree, and leaves and fruit. When then drink is wanted, the head butler cries to the angel to blow his trumpet. Then he who is concealed in the vault, hearing this blows with all his might in the pipe leading to the angel, and the angel places the trumpet to his mouth, and blows the trumpet right loudly. Then the servants who are in the cellar, hearing this, pour the different liquors into the proper conduits, and the conduits lead them down into the bowls prepared for that, and then the butlers draw it and carry it to the palace to the men and women.
The day before Ascension (20th May), Mangu Chan said he wanted to visit his mother's ordu, for it was quite near; and the monk said he wanted to go with him and bestow his blessing on the soul of his mother. The Chan gave his approval. In the evening of Ascension day (21st May) the before-mentioned lady (i.e., Cota) grew a great deal worse, so that the chief of the diviners sent to the monk ordering him not to beat his board. The next day, when we left with all the court, the ordu of this lady remained behind. When we came to the place for pitching camp, the monk received orders to go farther away from the court than he was wont, which he did. Then Arabuccha came out to meet his brother the Chan, and the monk and we perceiving that he would have to pass beside us, advanced toward him with the cross. He recognized us, for he had been previously to our oratory, and held out his hand and made the sign of the cross at us like a bishop. Then the monk got on a horse and followed him, carrying some fruit with him. He (Arabuccha) alighted before the ordu of his brother, to wait for him until he should return from the chase. Then the monk got down too, and offered him his fruit, which he accepted. And there were seated beside him two men of high rank at the court of the Chan, and they were Saracens. Arabuccha, who knew of the enmity which exists between the Christians and Saracens, asked the monk if he knew these Saracens. He replied: "I know that they are dogs; why have you got them beside you?" "Why," the latter asked, "do you insult us, when we have said nothing to you?" The monk said to them: " It is true what I say, you and your Machomet are low hounds." Then they began to blaspheme against Christ, but Arabuccha stopped them saying: "You must not speak so, for we know that the Messiah is God." In that very same hour there suddenly arose such a violent wind throughout the whole country, that it seemed as if devils were running through it; and after a little while there came reports that that lady (Cota) was dead. 2b1af7f3a8