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212                      JOURNEYS IN PEESIA           LETTER xxvi

a glittering sky and a hot sun over scorched, glaring
yellow soil, a measure of greenness just round the tent
is most refreshing to eyes which are suffering from the
want of the coloured glasses which were ground under a
yabu's hoofs a fortnight ago.

The Khan of the village was very courteous, and
sent a tray of splendid grapes, and six watchmen.
Buffalo bulls of very large size were used there for
burden. Buffaloes are a sure sign of mitigated aridity,
for they must bathe, i.e. lie down in water three times
daily, if they are to be kept in health, and if the water
and mud are not deep enough for this, boys go in along
with them and pour water over them with a pannikin.
In these regions they are almost exclusively used for
burdens, draught, and milk, and everywhere their
curved flat horns and sweet, calm, silly faces are to be
seen above the water of the deep irrigation ditches. The
buffalo, though usually mild enough to be driven by small
children, has an uncertain temper, and can be roused to
frightful ferocity. In Persian Kurdistan, if not else-
where, this is taken advantage of, and in the spring, when
the animals are in good condition after the winter's rest,
the people have buffalo fights, in which cruel injuries
would be inflicted *were it not for the merciful provision
of nature in giving these animals flat incurved horns.1

As I sat at my tent door a cloud of dust moved along
the road towards the village, escorting an indefinite
something which loomed monstrously through it. I have
not seen a cart for nine months, and till the unmistak-

1 While I was sleeping in a buffalo  stable in Turkey two buffaloes
quarrelled and there was a terrible fight, in which the huge animals inter-
locked their horns and broke them short off, bellowing fearfully. It took
twenty men with ropes, or rather cables, two and a half inches in diameter,
which are kept for the purpose, to separate them ; and their thin skins,
sensitive to insect bites and all irritations, were bleeding in every direction
before they could be forced apart.