A General History And Collection Of Voyages And Travels - Volume 1 - By Robert Kerr


















































































































 -  I shall describe their office, as I
learnt it from the goldsmith and others. Of these soothsayers there are
great - Page 390
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I Shall Describe Their Office, As I Learnt It From The Goldsmith And Others.

Of these soothsayers there are great numbers, under the direction of a chief priest, whose house is always about a stone's throw in front of the great house of Mangu-khan, and under his charge are all the chariots which carry idols.

The other soothsayers dwell behind the court, in places appointed for them; and such as have confidence in their art come to consult them from various distant parts. Some of them are skilful in astronomy, especially their chief, and they foretel eclipses of the sun and moon. When these are to happen, all the people prepare their food, that they may not be under the necessity of going out of doors, and during the eclipse they play on various instruments of music, and set up loud shouts: when it is over, they indulge in feasting and carousing, to express their joy.

These soothsayers pretend to foretell lucky and unlucky days for all affairs; and the Tartars never levy an army, or undertake a war without their approbation. They had long since resumed their attack on Hungary, but that the soothsayers have always opposed it. They make every thing which is sent to court pass between two fires, as a purification, likewise, all the household stuff belonging to a dead person must be purged in the same manner; and, if any living creature drop down, or any thing whatever fall to the ground during the ceremony, it becomes the property of the soothsayers, who, besides, have a certain proportion of every thing which they purify as their due.

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