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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 9: The famous islands of the Bijagos heathen, the fertility of their soil, and the character and industry of their inhabitants,   pp. 1-6


Page 5

5.
the strings vibrate in the air, to make sweet music to these heathen, so
must good humour vibrate from the eyes, the tongue and above all the hands
*- for the black loves him who gives most. Nowadays should a great lord
give an Ethiopian ten of anything and should his slave offer a trifle more
- the latter is the better man. As for the devil, let him offer not a scrap
more and he will outbid the lord and the slave. You are given no thought
by
,-these people unless you reward them or unless they hope you will - even
though
in Guinea there is no room for hope!') Here the verbs are not conjugated
in
*the future tense but are entirely in the present. : Do [I give]7 not Dabo
[ I will give_7. If you promise something in the future they disregard the
condition. They always understand the promise to be of now(i) so that if
you
fail to act accordingly, they mark you out as a liar, as daily /f.35v/ we
see
happening.  Moreover they never understand our requests.  If you ask them
for
something, they say they cannot understand you; yet if you offer them
something, no matter how uncommon the term is, they always understand its
meaningk)   Suppose we are making a bargain.  The seller starts off with
a
storm of preposterous and wild talk, so that one is willing to suffer a
considerable loss merely to avoid the sight and sound of the savage's face.*
Observe the pleadings that make the black so persistent. If you do not buy
from him you are a bad man, the worst man in the world - though I reckon
that
the worst man is he who buys Bijago loot  )Since the strings of disharmony
may be played, wine must be in evidence from morning to night.   Wine is
the
(i) General characteristic of our age.
(j) The heathen of Ethiopia only know the present tense.
(k)  Their verb has no imperative or future tense.
--(1) Dub.(?) Should one buy loot from heathen pirates or robbers?
Surely not.  Then why is the piratical trade of the Bijago tolerated?
Vide et nota tu qui legeris aliquando haec [ See and note you who
read this here.]7


 


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