Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page 309  

CHAPTER XXX.                            309

viz. that the clove is called lavang, because it is im¬
ported from a country called Langa. According to the
uniform report of all sailors, the ships which are sent
to this country land their cargo in boats, viz. ancient
Western denars and various kinds of merchandise,
striped Indian cloth, salt, and other usual articles of
trade. These wares are deposited on the shore on
leather sheets, each of which is marked with the name
of its owner. Thereupon the merchants retire to their
ships. On the following day they find the sheets
covered with cloves by way of payment, little or much,
as the natives happen to own.

The people with whom this trade is carried on are
demons according to some, savage men according to

The Hindus who are the neighbours of those regions a certain

/■   !• T        lANiT             1           1                 n              -             -nil        •          wind as the

(ot Lahka) believe that the small-pox is a wind blowing cause of

„            i-1-if. X1A               -II               •                               small-pox.

from the island of Lahka towards the continent to carry
off souls. According to one report, some men warn
people beforehand of the blowing of this wind, and can
exactly tell at what times it will reach the different
parts of the country. After the small-pox has broken
out, they recognise from certain signs whether it is
virulent or not. Against the virulent small-pox they
use a method of treatment by which they destroy only
one single limb of the body, but do not kill. They
use as medicine cloves, which they give to the patient
to drink, together with gold-dust; and, besides, the
males tie the cloves, which are similar to date-kernels. Page 160.
to their necks. If these precautions are taken, per¬
haps nine people out of ten will be proof against this

All this makes me think that the Lahka which the
Hindus mention is identical with the clove-country
Langa, though their descriptions do not tally. How¬
ever, there is no communication kept up with the latter,
for people say that when perchance a merchant is left
  Page 309