chapter  IX
11 Pages

Chapter IX

The country through which we were to pass was an uninterrupted and impassable jungle of trees and reeds. The sultan gave orders that every man in the army, great and small alike, should carry a hatchet to cut it down, and when the camp was struck, he rode forward with his troops and they cut down those trees from morning to noon. Food was then brought, and the whole army ate in relays, afterwards returning to their tree-felling until the evening. All the infidels whom they found in the jungle were taken prisoner, and brought to the camp with their wives and children. Their praCl:ice is to fortify their camp with a wooden palisade, which has four gates. Outside the palisade there are platforms about three feet high on which they light a fire at night. By the fire there is posted a mght guard of slaves and footsoldiers, each of whom carries a bundle of thin canes. If a party of infidels should attempt to attack the camp by night each sentry lights the bundle he has in his hand, so that the night becomes as bright as the day, and the horsemen ride out in pursuit of the infidels. In the morning the infidels whom our troops had captured the previous day were divided into four groups and impaled at the four gates of the camp. The1r women and little children were butchered also and the women tied by their hair to the pales. Thereafter the camp was struck and they set to work cutting down another patch of jungle, and all those who were taken prisoner were treated in the same way. This [slaughtering of women and children] is a dastardly praCl:ice, which I have never known of any [other] king, and it was because of it that God brought him to a speedy end.