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138                       JOUKNEYS IN PEKSIA           LETTER xxn

fertility. Its walnut trees are magnificent, and its
gardens are filled with, noble fruit trees. The wheat
harvest was being brought in, and within the walls it was
difficult to find a place to camp on, for all the open spaces
were threshing - floors, piled with sheaves of wheat and
mounds of Tcah, in the midst of which oxen in spans of
two were threshing. That is, they drew machines like
heavy wood sleds, with transverse revolving wooden rollers
set with iron fans at different angles, which cut the straw
to pieces. A great heap of unbound sheaves is in the
centre, and from this men throw down the stalked ears
till they come up to the bodies of the oxen, adding more
as fast as the straw is trodden down. A boy sits on the
car and keeps the animals going in a circle hour after
hour with a rope and a stick. The foremost oxen are
muzzled. The grain falls out during this process.

On a windy day the great heaps are tossed into the
air on a fork, the straw is carried for a short distance,
and the grain falling to the ground is removed and
placed in great clay jars in the living-rooms of the houses.
All the villages are now surrounded with mounds of Jcah
which will be stored before snow comes. The dustiness
of this winnowing process is indescribable. I was nearly
smothered with it in Sahmine, and on windy days each
village is enveloped in a yellow dust storm.

Sahmine, though it has many ruinous buildings, has
much building going on. It has large houses with
lalaTchanas, a Khan's fort with many houses inside, a
square with fine trees and a stream, and a place with a
stream, where madder-red dyers were at work, and there
are five small mosques and imamzadas. The gardens
are quite beautiful, and it is indeed a very attractive

The people also were attractive and friendly. After
the Jcetchuda's official visit the Khan's wives called, and