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

Part two: The Province of Sierra Leone, chapter 1: the name, situation and bounds of this province and the nature of the land,   pp. 1-18

Page 7


the timbers with it, and so on. There is also plenty of nassinho, used for
making different sorts of rope and all kinds of cord; these they make daily
since they are not long lasting.   But in the absence of the flax we havek
nassinho cordage is employed for most of the fittings on boats. I must not
forget to mention pita, a kind of grass similar to our espadana (Spanish
Iris), but thelleaf wider and thicker; from this many types of cord are
made, and it is employed instead of the thread we use, for mending shoes.
Also, it is employed by sailors to sew the sails, or their clothes, and by
fishermen to make nets, although more often they use the thread of nacome,
which is /f.49r/ made from the tenderest leaf of the young palm tree. For
the hoops of barrels used to store water, we do not need withes from Europe,
for here they can be obtained in plenty from suitable trees, such as the
pau dos arcos (stave-wood), the matampa, and the l        which are long
although not like ours, more like Bengal caneb; these, when split, are good
for'the purpose.
Of all the trees, the highest and the thickest, and the one with most
branches, is the tree called poulan. It is planted over a puppy dog, whose
blood has first been poured into the grountd; so the treeas it grows, is
regarded as an idol by the heathen, and serves as a boundary mark for
villages. No walnut tree or chestnut tree in Europe, however large, is as
big as the poulan. It is a refreshing tree, under whose shade a great crowd
of people can take shelter. Except on younger trees and higher up on old
ones, the bark is covered with thick thorns similar to those on our brambles.
Its fruit is like cotton; it can be usedias stuffing for mattresses, and
when the tree sheds its fruits it is ready for blossoming again. Of the many
different trees here. there is no bigger, and it is the one which is planted
to mark the boundaries of land.
Let us now consider fruit trees, before we deal with grasses and bushes.
The palm tree is the main one, producing chaveo, as was said in Part One
Chapter      . The/S*1l     tree, and the one of most immediate      U  
nhrt , is
the cola tree, of which the Province is full. Trade in cola fruit is the
most regular and common trade. Cola grows in husks like our chestnuts; and
cola trees to some extent resemble chestnut trees, inasmuch as both are large
trees. The manipoleros (orb-apple trees) bear manipolos, which look like
yellow Saragossa plums, although the stone of this fruit is very large.
These plums are so good that they would seem to be closely related to
Sarogossa plums.   The machicas are like docase cherries.   Some of the Ealilas
are like sorb-apples. The foles,a very sweet fruit, grow on small trees,


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