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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 11

11 .
with its baby, and will go from branch to branch, without hurting
the baby, and indeed looking after it with loving care.(h)    A dari
takes a small quantity of chaveo (palm nuts) and with a stone in its
hand breaks the nuts and eats them. If someone hurts it, it will cry;
it is usual to punish daris for their robberies and misbehaviour, as
their mothers do in the bush. They even steal cloths which have
been overlooked, from slave women and from anyone else they can, in
order to cover themselves with at night. They look after themselves
so well that instead of sleeping rough, like the other animals, they
prepare their place in the forest; they sleep in the trees, on twigs
and leaves that serve them as mattresses. At ineal times, if they are
denied anything they cry throughout.
In this Province, not so long ago--there was a dari which
belonged to Estevao da Costa, from Algarve.   When food was being
served, it would immediately bring its own feeding dish and its
drinking vessel. This dari was called Pilot. As soon as it saw
/f.51r/ an oar being carried to a canoe, it would board the canoe at
once, sitting at the prow. If it was told to get out, it became very
upset and began to scream; to an extent that is almost unbelievable.
When Costa had guests, those that were nice to the dari it would allow
to come back another time; (but) the others it would not allow in,
seizing sticks to beat them with,and slamming the door on them.
Daris are good musicians. In the forest, they make such an
extraordinary thundering sound that it seems that we hear war druns
being played. Usually it is said that they bang their bellies; other
people say that they bang their feet on the ground, all together.
When they are alone in the bush, they normally put their hands on
their heads and walk on their feet. A person who sees their foot prints
will not recognize them, thinking they are human.    A sight worth
seeing is a dari eating an orange like the natives, by sucking it,
after making a hole in it with its fingers. To watch them Ipoachi'g'
(h) They have natural compassion. I ordered a boy from this Serra,
who looked after one of our daris, to be punished. The animal
persistently refused to allow the boy to be punished. It
attacked, making ferocious faces, and so they had to release him,
out of fear.


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