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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 10: The origins of the Manes, the fertility of the land, and the character of these heathen,   pp. 1-9

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motives for war and they have to fight, because of popular pressure and to
avoid public scandal, they visit Reach other by night and eat together,
although in daytime they seem like (competing) wolves.  And'thus they
say that they are lions who never sleep at night I When one thinks that
something has been settled with them, it has not even started.  They say
of themselves that they are like the fire in a pile of rubbish, which seems
to be dead yet continues to smoulder.
They are very punctilious, and they particularly pride themselves on
being so where the succession to the throne is concerned, since they will
not consent to admit other than legitimate sons of free parents. If a
-woman in child-birth mentions the name of a slave, these people are so
blinded by hatred of this bad blood that they kill the child, in order to
s 'event it from inheriting under any circumstances. This is the reason why
fangrafare, our friend, the brother of Farma, was excluded from the throne,
as he was the son of a slave woman; and so he has been wandering around
for many years in foreign lands, suffering great hardships, and distressed
in his person.
All of them are generally very clean, as stated above. They are very
polite and discreet, in their own way. They are never boring in their
conversation, which'is always conducted most courteously. One never sees
a Mane spit in public, or cough up phlegm. But some of them are given to
the disgusting habit of swallowing lice from their hair. No-one can
surpass them in pretences and dissimulation. On this subject, I will relate
a famous trick that Tora, our great friend, played on the French when he
still a pagan. The savage had a difference with an uncle of the king who
today possesses Sierra Leone, by name Sacena, and he asked the French to
help him against his adversary. They gave him'ntheir word that they would
do this. As a sign of Zff.78vJ7 gratitude he gave them a gold bracelet.
In return he asked them to use their guns to halt the enemy canoes and
disperse them, if they appeared. But they did the opposite, by taking aim
at two of Tora's canoes and killing those in them. The savage remembered
this treachery. A few years later the French returned. The king brought
slaves to his town of Papel and placed them on the beaches in fetters,
telling them to cry out and pretend that &hey were being offered for
But instead of doing this, they fidgeted with their ropes and bonds. Tora
went to them and touched their eyes with red malaguetas, which are a kind
of pepper, making them utter such wailings that the French were persuaded
that they were offered for sale. The strangers landed, their captain
accompanying them. The men in ambush came bounding out of the forest and
attacked the enemy, taking the captain prisoner. They seized so much loot
that the bracelets tsicj were compensated for, and they gained more than


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