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

Single chapter: the various ceremonies pertaining to public order among the Manes, Calus, Bagas and the other kinds of heathen in this district,   pp. 1-5 ff.

Page 4

During this period they go about dressed in skins covered with sea shells
and with small bells dipped in rioe flour, and with sticks in their
hands and outlandish (?) bows. If they kill a White, they say that they
do this as a suitable offering to the moon. When they dance, they take
on the appearance of a buffalo, (wearing) masks of a human face with
animal horns, and they attack with these those persons who go to see
them when they come out. Also they bring out half-length wooden figures sh-
like women, and amongst these they place a man; he dances with his straw
skirt adorned with coral and other ornaments which come from the Whites,
etc. If during the period of the profession and wrong learning the Cimo
meets anyone, they kill him. And if the false monk or monks cannot do
this, they hide themselves, and when they go to see their people they do
not repeat this because it is a secret. The Cimos of the heathen Calu,
Bagas, Tagunchos, Putazes and Sousos,and Cubales are very strict.    In
Rio de Nuno they do not allow themselves to be seen while they go about
as Cimnos. The Cimos of the (Rio da) Furna call Whites and children to the
meal, because the tables are large during this diabolical exercise.
Normally Cimo is like a school or class where one learns a new
language. This false doctrine has an idol,and when the students leave
their school, where the lesson lasts about a month, they display the idol
in the form of some elephants, or of a buffalo with big horns. Besides
this main idol, they have various others which are sprinkled with rice
flour when the moon is 'dead' and they say that these are deceased
because they have died with the moon. They carry scourges in their hands
and they perform mischief throughout the village for as long as the moon
does not appear. When it does appear, they wash off the paste and say
that they have been born. (If) while they walk around in their 'dead'
form they come across a white man who knows about their nonsense, and he
threatens thcm with a dish of water, they will not harm him, because
they are afraid he may wash them and reveal their identity. And if /f. 140/


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