The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Azerbijan

Nomad encampments

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At dawn the ambassadors departed, with the knight who had been sent by the great lord, and travelled all night, and all next day, without seeing any habitation, except a large deserted building, where they rested, and procured barley for the horses. They were told that they were twelve leagues from any inhabited place. They departed, in the night, with good fresh horses, and travelled in the night, on account of the great heat, and during all this time they came to no water. The journey was so long that the horses were tired, and unable to move, being ready to perish of heat and thirst; the country was a sandy desert, and they were all in danger of dying of thirst. A lad, belonging to the knight, had a horse which was a little fresher than the rest, and he went on as fast as he could, and arrived at a river, where he wet some shirts and other clothes, and returned with all haste; and those who could get a chance, drank the water, for they were ready to faint from heat and thirst. A little before sunset they reached a valley where there were some tents of the Chatagais, near a river they call Morghan {The Moorghab or Murghab River? a deep stream of very pure water, with precipitous banks, fringed with tamarisks and a few reeds. On the east banks there are sloping sand hills, on the west a desert sandy plain, overrun with camel thorn, and extending to the mountain barrier of Khorassan (Iran/Afganistan) . The valley abounds in pheasants and rock pigeons. The ancient city of Merve is in a plain, watered by the Moorghab.-Abbott's Khiva}. The journey which they made, during the last day and night, was twenty good leagues of Castille, and more; and they rested here all night. On Tuesday they departed, and, after two leagues, arrived at a large building, which they call caravanserai, where there were Chatagais, guarding the horses of the lord. They slept here, and, at the hour of vespers, departed with good horses, and travelled over great plains, where there were tents of the Chatagais; and they remained there all Wednesday. On Thursday they departed, and took their siesta near a village, passing the night on the plain, near the banks of this river. On Friday they again started, and rested, at noon, by the tents of some Chatagais, departing, in the afternoon, on fresh horses, and sleeping in the open air. On Saturday, the 9th of August, they dined at a place called Salugar-sujassa, which once belonged to a great Caxis, whom they look upon as a saint. It was in a valley, near a river, and many channels of water passed through the place, which was well peopled, and full of gardens, and beautiful vineyards. This Caxis, the lord of this place, was dead, and he left two children. When Timur Beg passed through the place, about ten days before, he took these children with him, to bring them up, as the Caxis was of a noble family. The place was governed by the mother of these children, who received the ambassadors with much honour, and gave them plenty of food, and all that they required, and dined with them. At night they departed on good horses, and travelled all night. On Sunday they dined, and took their siesta, amongst some tents of the Chatagais, remaining there all day. On Monday they started very early, and slept in the plain; and, at these tents, they gave them meat, and fruit, and all they required; and, notwithstanding that they belonged to the lord's army, they were obliged to provide all that the ambassador wanted, and men to watch their horses day and night; and they had to give up their tents to the ambassadors. When they crossed any desert, these people had to supply meat, fodder, and water, at their own cost, though they wanted them for their own use. On Tuesday, the 12th of August, they dined and took their siesta on a great plain, where there was a large building, and men watching the horses of the lord; and they mounted, and rode away from that place, at the hour of vespers. At the hour of vespers they departed, and reached a city called Anchoy, of which one of the attendants of the ambassadors was a native. This city was beyond the land of Media, in a land called Tagiguinia, and the language of the people differed from the Persian. The men of the city received the ambassadors with much honour, and they remained there until Thursday, the 14th of August. They were well supplied with plenty of meat and wine; and were presented with a robe, and a horse. This city is in a plain, and is surrounded, for two leagues, by many gardens, vineyards, and houses, with numerous channels of water.