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.