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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)

Ethiopia Minor: a geographical description of the Province and Kingdom of the Jalofo Heathon, part I, chapter I: the location and fertility of the land, and the nature and occupations of its inhabitants,   pp. [unnumbered]-14 ff.


Page 7

7.


Now that we have given this information (about the kingdom),
we can go on to /f.4v/ speak about the character of these heathen,
or of those as far as Joala, where we are forced to make a digression
as the heathen (there) are different. The Jalofo is one of the most
handsome of the heathen and the tallest and best proportioned in
Ethiopia.   All Jalofos have facial features so pleasing that it is
worth seeing them for that alone. But they accept the burden of
work unwillingly and the seventh of our mortal sins predominates
with them.   To see a Jalofo is to see a true portrait of laziness.
Given then that they are like this, nevertheless there is among them
great ingenuity in skilled work and they have a great variety of
trades. The better part of the Jalofo nobility live in the hinterland
and keep to the Mohammedan sect. Their way of bringing up children
is the same as that among the other heathen. Men who are bexeris
teach boys Arabic and thus educate them to their ministry. The
Jalofo organises his sleeping the same way as do the others, making
a bedframe from poles and using a mat as a mattress and a coverlet,
and protecting themselves from cold at night with the fire they
normally keep.   Their houses are covered W-ith thatch and resemble
pavilions or tents in an army camp.    Their furnishings are limited
to a mat, a quiver and some spears. This is common among persons
of lower rank who practise the following device. They hide the
better part of their precious stones and other valuables out of fear
lest the kings, who are greedy, should learn about them and invent
pretexts to rob them of them, by imputing to the owners, and accusing
them of, deeds which they have not committed. In this way the kings
enjoy the fruit of the labours and achievements of the poor vassals,
against all right.   Normally the people dress in Moorish shirts of
black and white which they make from their own cloth. The women who
also dress in these, are very good-natured and friendly, especially


 


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