Marco Polo says that Prester John was slain in battle by Jenghiz Khan; and Gregory Bar-Hebræus says, “God forsook him because he had taken to himself a wife of the Zinish nation, called Quarakhata.”

Bishop Jordanus, in his description of the world, sets down Abyssinia as the kingdom of Prester John. Abyssinia used to be called “Middle India.”

Otto of Freisingen is the first author to mention him. This Otto wrote a chronicle to the date 1156. He says that John was of the family of the Magi, and ruled over the country of these Wise Men. Otto tells us that Prester John had “a sceptre of emeralds.”

Maimonidês, about the same time (twelfth century), mentions him, but calls him “Preste-Cuan.”

Before 1241 a letter was address ed by “Prester John” to Manuel Comnenus emperor of Constantinople. It is preserved in the Chronicle of Albericus Trium Fontium, who gives for its date 1165.

Mandeville calls Prester John a lineal descendant of Ogier the Dane. He tells us that Ogier, with fifteen others, penetrated into the north of India, and divided the land amongst his followers. John was made sovereign of Teneduc, and was called “Prester” because he converted the natives to the Christian faith.

Another tradition says that Prester John had seventy kings for his vassals, and was seen by his subjects only three times in a year.

In Orlando Furioso, Prester John is called by his subjec ts “Senapus king of Ethiopia.” He was blind, and, though the richest monarch of the world, he pined wi th famine, because harpies flew off with his food, by way of punishment for wanting to add paradise to his empire. The plague, says the poet, was to cease “when a stranger appeared on a flying griffin.” Thi s stranger was Astolpho, who drove the harpies to Cocytus. Prester John, in return for this service, sent 100,000 Nubians to the aid of Charlemagne. Astolpho supplied this contingent with horses by throwing stones into the air, and made transportships to convey them to France by casting leaves into the sea. After the death of Agramant, the Nubians were sent home, and then the horses became stones again, and the ships became leaves (bks. xvii.—xix.).

  By PanEris using Melati.

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