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at him as if he was making fun of him. When the man reflected upon the
chemical, he came to the conclusion that it was daws (the water in which
red-hot iron has been quenched). The ironsmith was mixing it with cast
iron after pounding and dilution; in much the same way iron is melted
with it to yield baydats.
It has been said about Dimashqi's description that different kinds of
glitter are produced in swords, and therefore, it is the old sword that is
preferred and valued. Although this is beyond my comprehension. I
should think this probably is due to firing, so that the addition and
mixing of things change each other till such time as either the white or
black colour diminishes. Or polishing may remove the light layer on the
surface, revealing what is inside.
Among the absurd notion about iron is that, although it figures in
many books, when Gandhara was subjugated, an iron column was discovered there. It was 70 cubits in height. When Hisham bin "Amr had it
excavated, it was found to be 30 cubits deep underground. When he
asked about it, he was told by the people that the king of Yemen, together with the Persians, had invaded the city. When these forces occupied Sind, they had this column made from their swords, saying that
they did not intend to proceed beyond these cities. They occupied Sind.
These tales have been narrated by persons having no knowledge whatsoever of minerals and about the feats of eminent people. The absurdity of
such tales is established by the fact that the subjugator of a country
needs more equipment for the prosecution of war rather than to reduce
it. Wars can hardly be fought through columns (of swords).
A similar story is told about a mound of iron which has been described by those who have journeyed between Khwarazm and Ghazziyah.
This iron mound is the size of a large mansion, and is slightly out of their
[Here, there is lacuna in the text, and the concluding part of the text on
IRON and the introductory part on TIN are missing.]
This much labour and expenditure raised the cost beyond one mithqal of
gold and he, therefore, avoided it.
Ceruse (isfidaj) is made from lead, which is, in fact, its lime. When it
melts, a cream deposits upon it which is scooped out with a spoon. More
of it keeps on depositing and is scooped out as before. This process is
repeated till the whole of the lead burns up. It is then diluted with large
volumes of water when it becomes white, with a little of yellowish tinge.
When melted upon fire, it becomes pistachio-coloured like the lesser