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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 24: Maleficium and its forms, and a brief note on the power of evil spirits,   pp. 1-6


Page 2

I 1I
one has served it, neither hard words, nor daily troubles, nor blows an$
l
other ill treatment, unworthy of civilised man, nor the deaths (around |
one) are sufficient to release a man from the lordship of this very great
tyrant.  On the contrary, even if one has sweated away for twenty five  
it
years in its service, only the end of life itself prevents a man from
returning to look on its face. Is this not astonishing? I am shabbily
treated all the time, and yet I seek excuses, pretexts, dodges, in
to serve it,(and this) at bodily risk.  It is not the risk to the sot!,l
am considering, for those who love this dungeon can have no soul. Could
there be worse blindness and ignorance? Solomon spoke truly when he
said that the world is full of fools.(o) (
Let us continue our list of physical ills. Mdaleficium also causes
sexual sterility, as stated in the canonist's chapter "Concerning frigiI
i
and maleficium". As far as maleficium amatorio is concerned, it must
bel
noted that devils cannot control man's will. The imagination and fancies
of man can only be set moving by feeling, which is controlled by the wilfnIIj
Beauty makes the partner appear more lovable and also excites the sexualii
appetite. But the will always remains free, so that the devil can only
persuade and cannot constrain.  "He can bark but not bite", as
St. Auguse  t
put it.  Maleficio does not work by itself.  Evil spirits do it all,
introducing men to poison, or working at their plea and request, but with
God's permission.
The other sort of venefacio, which harms things, destroying vines
trees, tearing down houses in storms, and killing animals, is completely
the work of evil spirits, on the demand of the poisoners. These wretchelIIl
are such miserable beings that even when they want to do evil they can
/f.109v/ do it with the help of their masters. They pay dearly for this
service, in that when they make images of wood or other material and bea:f
them or stick pins or needles into them, so that the poor wretch feels
blow or the torture in those parts of his body where the image is ill-
treated, the feeling of pain does not come from the image which the wit
so treats but from the devil who, by imitating the action, subtly carrie,
out the same on the human body. The truth is that the devil deceives t
poisoners themselves.
(c) "The number of fools is infinite". And what a heavy burden
is a weIeli 1(
like this.                                              ;
In a certain republic, a scholar committed a crime worthy of death.qi
Since he was useful to the state, he was sentenced to perpetual
conversation with an ignoramus.
k 6i1


 


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