Probably before long there
will be an autonomous Mongolia with treaty of friendship and commerce with
Prince Teh Wang owns about 35,000 horses, 30,000
camels and the land all the way to the Outer Mongolian border. About 20,000 Sunid form the tribe and the
Prince is the judge. Everyone of the
tribe must come, one time or another, to serve for one year. They are very independent characters and it
is very hard for the Japs to control here.
After 10-18 miles of rushing across the Steppe, we
went over a hill and in the hollow, we saw two collections of strange
buildings. The first was of grey stone
with brightly coloured roofs in Chinese style. A number of yurts surrounded it.
We saw a wall with pictures of big blue birds upon it. That was the palace of Prince Teh Wang.
The other collection of buildings was a
number of temples about 500 yards away, with their Chinese fantastic gables of
dragon designs, rising above a series of mud houses. That was the residence of the Panchen Lama, who, they say, cannot
go back to Tibet because he is anti-British and, of course, we control
We drove towards the
Prince’s palace, when about five Mongol soldiers rushed out with rifles. They had very dark old uniforms, but with
very fine silver work on their daggers and belts.
They had very prominent
teeth and pigtails (all Mongols, except lamas, wear pigtails). One barred the way with his rifle and
grinned. He would not let us go to the
palace, but pointed to a building on the hill with yurts round it. (We learned later that only the Prince and
his family could come down the straight way to the Palace and that ordinary
mortals should come the side way, although we could leave by the princely way.)
The soldier in a blue-grey ragged uniform
jumped on to our sideboard and directed us to a low white washed building with
a grey roof and the yurts on the hill. A yurt is round, made of sheepskins and wool and is warm and
comfortable. Here a number of Mongols
in brilliant, though dirty, red and blue silks bowed to us and led us to a yurt
where we sat cross-legged on Mongol carpets (which were about a yard
square). They brought us Mongol tea
with mare’s milk in it. It was awful! We sat in silence for some time, and then
afterwards wandered about the yurts. After about one hour and a half, word came that the Prince was
ready to receive us.
Gareth at the Lama service.