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LETTER sxv    '          MOSLEM PILGRIMS                          189

hardened gypsum floor, recalling the Baptist's words,
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly
purge his floor." The wheat was everywhere being
gathered " into the garner "—the large upright clay re-
ceptacles holding twenty bushels each with which every
house is supplied.

This village of only 200 houses owns 7000 sheep
and goats, 60 horses and mares, and 400 head of cattle,
and its tribute is only 230 tumans. It and very many
other villages belong to Haidar Khan, Governor of
Achaz, of whom the villagers speak as a lenient lord.
Apricot and pear orchards abound, and on a piece of
grass in one of these I found my camp most delectably
pitched. The ketckuda and several other men came to
meet me; indeed, the istiJcbal consisted of over twenty
Kurdish horsemen. The village was absolutely crowded
with men and horses, 200 pilgrims being lodged there
for the night.

The road at intervals all day had been enlivened by
long files of well-mounted men in bands of 100 each on
their way to the shrines of Kerbela, south of Babylon, to
accumulate "merit," receive certificates, and be called
Kerbelai for the remainder of their lives. Superb-looking
men in the very prime of life most of them are, cheerful
and ruddy, wearing huge black sheepskin caps shaped like
mushrooms, high tan-leather boots, gaily embroidered,
into which their full trousers are tucked, and brown
sheepskin coats covering not only themselves but the
bodies of their handsome fiery horses. A few elderly
unveiled women were among them. They ride mostly
on pads with their bedding and clothing under them, and
their kalians and cooking utensils hanging at the sides.
All are armed with guns and swords. I met over
1000 of them, most of them Eussian subjects, and those
who had occasion to pass in front of my tent vindicated