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 proper. 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.