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More Caravanerís Tales
Marco and the Stranger continued into the night. The stranger said, "I will tell you more of the wonders of Fair Cathay. There is much gold and gems there and the Great Khan's wealth and power are fabulous. He is held in such honor that gold is not needed for money-all that is needed is a paper with his word on it" Marco said, "What have you been drinking! Paper Money?"
Then Marco said, "In our city we preserve in honor the memory of St Mark the Evangelist. Now in days gone by, St Mark's bones were kept in Alexandria. But the Saracens conquered the city and would have defaced his memory. So two brave Venetians devised a cunning plan to rescue them from their clutches."
"How so?" asked the stranger.
Marco replied, "They sailed to Alexandria and with the help of a local Monk smuggled St Mark's bones aboard. They placed the bones in casks that they knew no Saracen would dare touch."
"Why not?", asked the stranger.
Marco replied, "Because each cask was filled with pickled pork."
The stranger said, "Come sir, the Saracens are more wise then that. Surely in all of the city of Alexandria there would be someone who would not regard himself defiled by pork. Besides all the Saracen princes I have come into contact with used slaves to search travelers they were suspicious of. Why would they care if a slave was defiled by pork?"
Marco laughed, "You are shrewd. I was told that tale when I was a boy and in all this time I never thought of that. But somehow they escaped and St. Marks bones are kept in honor in Venice."
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The raid on St. Mark's bones is an old Venetian legend.