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22                         JOURNEYS IN PERSIA            LETTER xvi

Several men have offered me mares and cows if I will
cure their children. All the "patients" ask finally,
" What must I eat, and not eat ?"

The Bakhtiaris have often asked me whether it is
unwholesome to live so much as they do on cheese and
sour milk. They attribute much of their dyspepsia to
their diet. They live principally on mast or curdled
milk, buttermilk, cheese, roghan or clarified butter, nan,
a thin leavened cake, made of wheat or acorn flour,
bannocks of barley meal, celery pickled in sour milk,
kabobs occasionally, and broth flavoured with celery
stalks and garlic frequently. They never use fresh milk.
They eat all fruits, whether wild or cultivated, while they
are quite unripe. Almonds are eaten green.

They hunt the ibex and shoot the francolin and the
bustard, and make soup of them. They are always on
the hills after game, and spare nothing that they see.
I have seen them several times firing at red-legged
partridges sitting on their nests. They use eggs consider-
ably, boiling them hard. Alcohol in any form is un-
known among them, and few, except the Khans, have
learned the delights of tea and coffee. Buttermilk, pure
water, and sharlat, when they can get lime-juice, are
their innocent beverages. The few who drink tea use it
chiefly to colour and flavour syrup. They eat twice in
the day. Though their out-of-doors life is healthy and
their diet simple, they rarely attain old age. A man of
sixty is accounted very old indeed. The men are cer-
tainly not polite to their wives, and if they get in their
way or mine they kick them aside, just as rough men
kick dogs.

We have been marching through comparatively low-
land scenery, like the Chahar Mahals, from which we
are not far. At Shamisiri, except for the fine peak of
Dilleh, there are no heights to arrest the eye. The hills