Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/512

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434
434
THE CHINESE EMPIRE


Persians. 'Then,' said Ebn Wahab, 'he ordered the Interpreter to ask me if I knew my Master and my Lord, meaning the Prophet, and if I had seen him ? I made answer. How should I have seen him who is with God ? He replied, That is not what I mean, I ask you what sort of a man He was in His person ? I replied that He was very handsome. Then he called for a box, and opening it he took out another contained therein which he set before him, and said to the Interpreter, Shew him his Master and his Lord ; and I saw in the boxes the images of the Prophets, whereat I moved my lips, praying to myself in honour of their memory. The Emperor did not imagine I should know them again, and said to the Interpreter, Ask him why he moves his lips ? I answered, I was praying in memory of the prophets. How do you know them, said the Emperor. I replied that I knew them by the representation of their histories : There, said I, is Noah in the ark, who was saved with those that were with him when God sent down the waters of the flood ; and he afterwards peopled the whole earth with those that were with him at the same time ; and I made the usual salutation to Noah and his company. Then the Emperor laughed and said, Thou art not mistaken in the name of Noah, and thou hast named him right ; but as for the universal deluge it is what we know not. It is true indeed that a flood covered a part of the earth ; but it reached not to our country, nor even the Indies. I made my answer to this and endeavoured to remove his objections the best I could and then said again to him. There is Moses with his rod and the children of Israel. He agreed with me as to the small extent of their country and the manner how the ancient inhabitants there were destroyed by Moses. ... I then said to him, He there, is Jesus upon an ass, and here are His Apostles with Him. He said the Emperor was not long upon earth, seeing that all he did was transacted within the space of some- what better than thirty months. . . . Then, said the same Ebn Wahab, I saw the image of Mohammed riding upon a camel, and his companions about him on their camels with shoes of the Arabesque mode on their feet, and leather girdles about their loins. At this I wept, and the Emperor commanded the Interpreter to ask me why I wept, I answered. There is our prophet and our lord, who is also my cousin.' "

It is interesting to compare Ebn Wahab's description of Sian Fu with the modern city. (See p. 201.)

Abu Zeid proceeds : " We asked Ebn Wahab many questions concerning the city of Cumdan (Sian), where the Emperor keeps his court. He told us that the city was very large, and ex-