The Travels Of Marco Polo - Volume 2 Of 2 By Marco Polo And Rustichello Of Pisa

 -  (Wheelers India, I. 400.)

Hiuen Tsang's version of the legend agrees with Marco's in placing the
Woman's Island to the - Page 403
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(Wheelers India, I. 400.)

Hiuen Tsang's version of the legend agrees with Marco's in placing the Woman's Island to the south of Persia.

It was called the Kingdom of Western Women. There were none but women to be seen. It was under Folin (the Byzantine Empire), and the ruler thereof sent husbands every year; if boys were born, the law prohibited their being brought up. (Vie et Voyages, p. 268.) Alexander, in Ferdusi's poem, visits the City of Women on an island in the sea, where no man was allowed.

The Chinese accounts, dating from the 5th century, of a remote Eastern Land called Fusang, which Neumann fancied to have been Mexico, mention that to the east of that region again there was a Woman's Island, with the usual particulars. (Lassen, IV. 751.) [Cf. G. Schlegel, Niu Kouo, T'oung Pao, III. pp. 495-510. - H.C.] Oddly enough, Columbus heard the same story of an island called Matityna or Matinino (apparently Martinique) which he sighted on his second voyage. The Indians on board "asserted that it had no inhabitants but women, who at a certain time of the year were visited by the Cannibals (Caribs); if the children born were boys they were brought up and sent to their fathers, if girls they were retained by the mothers. They reported also that these women had certain subterranean caverns in which they took refuge if any one went thither except at the established season," etc. (P. Martyr in Ramusio, III. 3 v. and see 85.) Similar Amazons are placed by Adam of Bremen on the Baltic Shores, a story there supposed to have originated in a confusion between Gwenland, i.e. Finland, and a land of Cwens or Women.

Mendoza heard of the like in the vicinity of Japan (perhaps the real Fusang story), though he opines judiciously that "this is very doubtful to be beleeved, although I have bin certified by religious men that have talked with persons that within these two yeares have beene at the saide ilands, and have seene the saide women." (H. of China, II. 301.) Lane quotes a like tale about a horde of Cossacks whose wives were said to live apart on certain islands in the Dnieper. (Arab. Nights, 1859, III. 479.) The same story is related by a missionary in the Lettres Edifiantes of certain unknown islands supposed to lie south of the Marian group. Pauthier, from whom I derive this last instance, draws the conclusion: "On voit que le recit de Marc Pol est loin d'etre imaginaire." Mine from the premises would be different!

Sometimes the fable took another form; in which the women are entirely isolated, as in that which Mela quotes from Hanno (III. 9). So with the Isle of Women which Kazwini and Bakui place to the South of China. They became enceinte by the Wind, or by eating a particular fruit [or by plunging into the sea; cf. Schlegel, l.c. - H.C.], or, as in a Chinese tradition related by Magaillans, by looking at their own faces in a well! The like fable is localised by the Malays in the island of Engano off Sumatra, and was related to Pigafetta of an island under Great Java called Ocoloro, perhaps the same.

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