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LETTER XXII                       HOUSE   POOD                                      137

The food does not vary. It consists of from seven to
ten pounds of barley daily, in two feeds, and as much, as
a horse can eat of kah, which is straw broken in pieces
about an inch and a half long. While travelling, barley
and kah are mixed in the nose-bag. No hay is given,
and there are no oats. It is customary among the rich
to give their horses an exclusive diet of barley grass for
one month in the spring, on which they grow very fat
and useless. Old horses are fed on dough-balls made of
barley-flour and water. A grape diet is also given in
the grape - producing regions in the autumn instead of
kah. Boy eats ten pounds of grapes as a mere dessert.

I admire and like the Persian horse. His beauty is
a constant enjoyment, and, ferocious as he is to his fellows,
he is gentle and docile to man. I cannot now recall
having seen a vicious horse in seven months. On the
whole they are very well cared for, and are kindly treated.
The sore backs of baggage horses are almost inevitable,
quite so, indeed, so long as the present form of pack-saddle
stuffed with kah is used. Mares are not ridden in Persia

The march from Deswali to Sahmine is a pretty
one, at first over long buff rolling hills and through
large elevated villages, then turning off from the Kirman-
shah road and descending into a broad plain, the whole
of which for several miles is occupied by the trees and
gardens of the eminently prosperous village of Sahmine,
whose 500 families, though they pay a tribute of 2400
tumans a year, have " nothing to complain of/'I

I was delighted with the oasis of Sahmine. It has
abundant water for irrigation, which means abundant

1 On this journey of 400 miles from Burujird to the Turkish frontier
near Urmi, I never heard one complaint of the tribute which is paid to
the Shah. All complaints, and they were many, were of the exactions
and rapacity of the local governors.