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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)
(1990)

Chapter 6: The port of Bichangor, its site and the fertility of the land, and the heathen of the district,   pp. 1-5


Page 4

They are Banhus. In general those in the interior are always the betsj
disposed.   They are excellent farmers.  Their country is about 20 leaf
long and 12 wide, and it has a chief every 4-5 leagues. All these chief
recognise and pay tribute to the sons of Massatamba who today possess'jn
kingdom of Casamansa, the kings of this house being of the family of cj]
i
emperor. The king with most power and authority over these (Banhu)
heathen is the king of Bichangor, a town which lies two leagues from
Buguendo, in the land of the same people. Although they are excellenji|'1
farmers and raise stock of various kinds, cows, goats and so on, they
nevertheless /f.23/ make good use of the verbs 'grab' and 'steal'.    In
other words, they are great thieves, so much so that if those watching
stock doze off, they take the animals as they graze. They hole into ajj1l
undermine the combetes belonging to the Portuguese, carrying off all the
can, and not only cloths and other goods, for sometimes they seduce awj!
the more 'bush' slaves and give them shelter.   However the kings are
punctilious in punishing crime, for if the offence is proved and the
criminal known, then he becomes the slave for life of the victim;    and
if he is caught red-handed and killed, no more is said.    At this poin
it is appropriate to explain how Our Lady of Jesus has acquired the epit.
'miracle-worker'.
The House of Our Lady
Passing over those other benefits which individuals devoted to
the house receive, I will relate a miracle which happened in it.    When[F
Father Miguel Simnes, with the help of charitable gifts from all,       IT
founded this House, he sought the goodwill and permission of the king,
his sons and the gentry.   In this the devout initiator of the institutf
behaved with great prudence, since he was a man with experience of howj
important it is to have the favours-of the great and how necessary to
obtain their goodwill.   For with these people it is certain that what
brings a matter to a successful conclusion is, after the divine grace,
the grace they find in those who approach them. The padre endeavour'ed
greatly to achieve this, and so he completed the task to the great
satisfaction of the king.   The Banhus are aggressive, and they become
deeply involved when the matter concerns the commerce of their own
salvation.  One of these Banhu entered the House of Our Lady with ill
intent, not seeking that remedy of grace which Our Lady, because she ii
His mother, is privileged also to dispense.    The wretched heathen had
nothing worthy to do there, his perverse intent being to become a
sacrilegious thief.   His secret was jod's, and only He knew it.  Next
morning the faithful came to greet the Virgin. All of them were taken
aback by a novel sight, the Banhu so helpless that he could do nothing


 


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