His African experiences suggested The African Colony (1903), A Lodge in the Wilderness (1906), and Prester John (1910).
With this mention Prester John ceases to have any pretension to historical existence in Asia (for we need not turn aside to Mandeville's fabulous revival of old stories or to the barefaced fictions of his contemporary, John of Hese, which bring in the old tales of the miraculous body of St Thomas), and his connexion with that quarter of the world gradually died out of the memory of Europe.(fn 3) When next we begin to hear his name it is as an African, not as an Asiatic prince; and the personage so styled is in fact the Christian king of Abyssinia.
Had addressed to Prester John to the Negus Alexander of Abyssinia, but he was detained by that prince and never allowed to leave the country.
The legend of Prester John is based on the idea of the conversion of a Mongol tribe, the Karith, whose chieftain Ung Khan at baptism received the title Malek Juchana (King John).
In Carpini's (1248) single mention of Prester John as the king of the Christians of India the Greater, who defeats the Tatars by an elaborate stratagem, Oppert recognizes Jalaluddin of Kharezm and his brief success over the Mongols in Afghanistan.
How great was the popularity and diffusion of this letter may be judged in some degree from the fact that Zarncke in his treatise on Prester John gives a list of close on 100 MSS.
Before Prester John appears upon the scene we find the way prepared for his appearance by a kindred fable, which entwined itself with the legends about him.
Marco Polo in the latter part of the 13th century, and Friar John of Montecorvino, afterwards archbishop of Cambaluc, in the beginning of the 14th, speak of the descendants of Prester John as holding territory under the great khan in a locality which can be identified with the plain of KukuKhotan, north of the great bend of the Yellow river and about 280 m.
We do not know how far the imaginations about Prester John retained their vitality in 1221, forty-four years after the letter of Pope Alexander, for we know of no mention of Prester John in the interval.
Returning overland across Asia, through the Land of Prester John and through Casan, the adventurous traveller seems to have entered Tibet, and even perhaps to have visited Lhasa.