The merchants’ young son turns out to be one Marco Polo, the now-legendary Venetian journeyer credited for introducing Asian culture to the west.
To Emmajin, however, he is just another “colored-eye man,” a court curiosity from Christendom whose gallantry and romantic gestures are as ridiculous to the manly Mongolians as his facial hair (“his beard was so thick I could imagine food sticking in it”).
Try as she might, however, Emmajin, caught in the peak of puberty, is unable to resist Marco’s western charm, and quickly finds herself enamored by his worldly vision (“I had learned to see the world through Marco’s eyes”) as well as his pelt.
“What would the hair on his arm feel like?” she often fantasized about at night.
But she was a Mongolian first, and reluctantly sacrifices her blossoming relationship with the foreigner to complete her spy mission (“He was not a friend but a source of information.”).
Discover more “Guest Posts” from Tom Carter with Is Hong Kong Any Place for a Poor American?
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