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LETTER xvi        COMPLIMENTS TO ENGLAND                     7

being strong is far less deaf, and consequently the virtues
of wormwood have forced themselves on the Khan's

The boy had suffered various things. He had been
sewn up in raw sheepskins, his ears had been filled with
fresh clotted blood, and he had been compelled to drink
blood while warm, taken from behind the ear of a mare.,
and also water which had washed off a verse of the
Koran from the inside of a bowl. It transpired that the
Khan, who is a devout Moslem and a mollali, could not
allow his son to take my medicine unless a piece of
paper with a verse of the Koran upon it were soaked in
the decoction.

I asked him why the Bakhtiaris like the English, and
he replied, " Because they are brave and like fighting, and
like going shooting on the hills with us, and don't cover
their faces." He added after a pause, " and because they
conquer all nations, and do them good after they have
conquered them." I asked how they did them good,
and he said, " They give them one law for rich and poor,
and they make just laws about land, and their governors
take the taxes, and no more, and if a man gets money
he can keep it. Ah/' he exclaimed earnestly, " why
don't the English come and take this country ? If
you don't, Eussia will, and we would rather have the
English. We're tired of our lives. There's no rest or

It may well be believed that there are no schools,
though some deference is paid to a mollah, which among
the Bahktiaris means only a man who can write, and
who can read the Koran. These rare accomplishments
are usually hereditary. The chiefs' sons are taught to
read and write by munsJiis. A few of the highest Khans
send their sons to Tihran or Isfahan for education, or
they attend school while their fathers are detained as