The following year it was hoped matters would mend, but instead a plague was added to the famine, and more and more vain the prayers offered up appeared to be. It seemed as if the whole population would starve to death like the fish in the proverbial pool [none of which survive on its drying up]. At last even men who wore hats and whose feet were covered and who were well dressed began to go around begging from house to house. Such poor wretches would often fall to the ground from weakness as one looked at them wondering how they could stand on their feet. The number of those who perished of hunger is incalculable, they lay dead under walls and by roadsides, and as there were none to carry away the bodies the air was filled with the stink of their corruption, and sorry indeed were the sights that met one's eyes. Of course, the banks of the river were impassable for horses and vehicles [because they were crowded with corpses]. Even the poor woodcutters lost their vigour, and foggots became scarce, so that men in their helplessness destroyed their own dwellings and took the wood to market, but the value of a man's load was not enough to buy a single day's food. A strange thing was that among these faggots were to be seen pieces of wood painted with red lead or showing patches of gold and silver foil. On inquiry it was discovered that destitute wretches had plundered the temples of images of Buddha and broken sacred vessels and ornaments for mere firewood. That one should be born into such a world of dross and evil as to witness so sinful a deed, which I, alas, did !