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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 26: Discussion of the progress of Christianity and the most remarkable events connected with it,   pp. 1-29

Page 28

on them by giving them a new tower of strength and protection in the
Holy Apostle. Apart from the true feasts, there were others which the
vulgar preferred, involving jousts, music and dancing in the style of the
country. The day sacred to Jesus was solemnized with the same state.
When the holy catechism was completed, a very striking altar was erected
in the porch of the church, where our Infant was placed on his throne, it
being His day. 'when night came, and shortly after the Angelus, torches
and other illuminations were lit.. Then a curtain was drawn and the
circumcised King of Glory appeared.
As well as the normal festivities with which the holy day had been
solemnized, it was made especially pleasant by a pastoral dance which was
very enjoyab'e to see. The Portuguese organised it, in company with all
the other sorts of Christians, and they later came, one after the other,
dressed /f.126/ as herdsmen, to worship Him and to bring Him presents of
the products of the land. The captain, Joao Loucao, a gentleman of a
good age, dressed in Moorish style, came singly and he threw himself
on his knees before the desire of the eternal hills with such feeling and
made his adcLess with such devotion that I marvelled. When he had finished
he gave his gift to the Infant, two birds of the sort we call wood-fowl,
whose plumage is marked with white eyes.  Then followed Bras da Costa, a
Portuguese of considerable gentility and a special friend of the poor,
who did the same, with such spirit, shedding tears most indicative (s)
of his innermost love for the Infant (and) with such kindly feeling that
I could not retain my own.
The devotion of the others was no less.  Vihen the act of adoration
was over, Joao Loucao Barros came forward with all the various rarities
he kIew, to thank the Creator, with all the products of nature and art,
for His favours to that kingdom (of Serra Leoa) in giving it, as its
(s) Rewarding the gifts of the divine rubies of his precious blood which
Christ had pledged since the beginning of the world in the person
of Abel thrl ivrr n+


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