Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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stomachs were sated with the dainty repast, they re¬
covered their speech, and would fain have persuaded me
that the Usbecs surpass all other men in bodily strength,
and that no nation equals them in the dexterous manage¬
ment of the bow. This observation was no sooner made
than they called for bows and arrows, which were of a
much larger size than those of Hindoustan, and offered to
lay a wager that they would pierce an ox or a horse
through and through. They proceeded to extol the
strength and valour of their country-women, in com¬
parison with whom the Amazons were soft and timorous.
The tales they related of female feats were endless:
one especially excited my wonder and admiration;
would that I could relate it with genuine Tartar
eloquence. It seems that when Aureng-Zebe was pro¬
secuting the war in their country, a party of five-and-
twenty or thirty horsemen entered a small village ; and
while employed in pillaging the houses, and binding the
inhabitants, whom they intended to carry away as slaves,
a good old woman said to them : ' Children, listen to my
counsel, and cease to act in this mischievous manner. My
daughter happens just now to be absent, but she will soon
return. Withdraw from this place, if you are prudent;
should she light upon you, you are undone.' They made
contemptuous sport of the good lady, continuing to
plunder the property, and to secure the persons, of in¬
dividuals, until, having fully laden their beasts, they
quitted the village, taking with them many of the in¬
habitants and the old woman herself. They had not
gone half a league, however, before the aged mother,
who never ceased to look behind, cried out in an ecstasy
of joy, ' My daughter ! My daughter !' Her person was
indeed hid from view ; but the extraordinary clouds of
dust, and the loud trampling of a horse, left no doubt
on the mind of the anxious parent, that her heroic child
was at hand to rescue her and her friends from the power
of their cruel enemies.    Presently the Tartar maiden was
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