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

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

Page 5

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for himself. There he was, though free (from bonds) yet as if a captive.
His prison was merely the House of Our Lady, his bonds only her eyes,
which had only needed to take note of the Banhu for him to become her
prisoner. And so it happened that when the matter was reported to the
king, he treated the man as a thief, stating that he believed that he
had gone to the church in that capacitye) and he then presented the
holy house with ornaments./f.23v/ When the man would not publicly admit
it, sufficient clear evidence was found in the damage he had done to the
railings of the church, cutting through one of them in order to carry
out his scheme, which was nothing else than the sacrilegious plunder of
the objects dedicated to the Sacred Virgin, and some say that he had
already parcelled them up. The sacrilegious Banhu would doubtless have
carried them away if Our Lady, when she captured him with her eyes, had
not closed his with a sleep so deep that it was seen as a marvel, not
only by the youth who at this period was paid to light the lamp and care
for the holy House and who came there in the morning to carry out his
duties, but also by the rest of the faithful. As I said abzve, the king
was much enraged and wanted to kill his Banhu subject, in view of his
ingratitude to Our Lady. For his part, the king, though a heathen showed
much respect for her. On her solemn festival, to the sound of trumpets
and drums, he arrived with his brothers and kinsmen. The king was mounted
on a horse, since he always owned between 6 and 10 of these which the
Portuguese had brought either from (Santiago) Island or from the (Windward)
Coast and had sold to him. The king would have (killed the Banhu) if the
merchants of the port and those devoted to Our Lady had not successfully
interceded for him; and they persuaded the king that he could not serve the
House better than by giving it possession of the sacrilegious Banhu.
Since the man was already a captive of Our Lady, it would not be right to
take him away from her. The savage was much impressed by these arguments
which he considered very powerful ones, and he found in them such
opportunity for grace that he granted the man his life, and also did Our
Lady some small service, by giving her as her prize the man who had
intended to make a prize of her goods. As a result of this miracle, the
king gained a high opinion of the great merits of Our Lady, to whom he
increasingly showed affection and respect. In this holy House are buried
several of the Christian sons and kinsmen of this king, who was himself
such a sincere friend of the Portuguese and the whites.
> .(e) A capacity which at that time was held in more esteem, when it
was acquired without a sense of guilt (?) .


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