The Library of History

Page 84

Page 84 Here are exceeding great Serpents, which yet do no harm to any; nay, their Flesh is good Meat and very sweet. They make their Garments of a soft and fine Cotton, contain'd in certain Reeds and Canes. This Cotton they dye with the Shell-Fishes call'd Ostreses, made up in Balls, and mixt and wrought amongst the Wool, and so with great pains make themselves Garments of a Purple Colour.

It produces living Creatures of different Natures from all others, and even incredible because they are unusual.

Their way of Feeding is according to a prescrib'd Rule; for they do not eat all sorts of Meats together at one and the same time, nor the same always; but upon some certain Days Fish, other Fowl, sometimes the Flesh of Land-Cattel, at other times Olives, and on other Days, very low and mean Diet. They help one another in their Callings and Imployments by turns: Some imploy themselves in Fishing; others in Manufactures, and others in other things useful and profitable to the Commonwealth. Some at certain times do exercise publick Offices, except those that are grown old. Upon their Festival Days, and times of Invocation upon their Gods, they celebrate their Praises both in Acclametions and Songs; especially the Sun, to whom they devote themselves and their Islands.

Their Dead they carry to the Sea-shoar at the Fall of the Tide, covering them with a little Sand, that at the time of Full Sea heaps of Sand may be rais'd higher upon them.

Those Canes whence they gather Fruit to eat, are the Compass of a Crown in thickness; they say, that towards the Full of the Moon they increase, and towards the New Moon they proportionably decrease.

The Water of their hot Springs is sweet and wholsom, and ever continues warm, never growing cold, unless it be mixt with Wine or cold Water.

After Iambulus with his Companion had continu'd in this Island Seven Years, they were (as wicked and vile Fellows) ejected. Having therefore their Ship fitted out, and furnish'd with Provision, they set Sail, and after they had continu'd their Voyage for above Four Months together, they fell at length upon the Sandy shallows of India, where Iambulus his Companion was drown'd, and he himself was afterwards cast upon a certain Village, and forthwith carried away by the Inhabitants of the Place, to the King, then at a City call'd Polybothia, many Days Journey distant from the Sea; where he was kindly receiv'd by the King, who had a great love for the Grecians, and was very studious in the liberal Sciences. At length (having obtain'd Provision from the King) he first sail'd into Persia, and thence safely arriv'd in Greece. This Iambulus committed all these Adventures to Writing, and gave an account of many things relating to the Affairs of India, before unknown to Strangers. But having now perform'd what we promis'd in the beginning of this Book, we shall here make an end.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books