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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 11: The numbers of the heathen, and their various names and languages,   pp. 1-4

Page 2

the rice, cooked within the belly of the child as in a pot, and the   '
roast meat. What dire cruelty, what tyranny: The original Sumbas were
not content to eat this extraordinary meal themselves; they also
recruited eating-companions, because they wished to have soldiers of
spirit. Thus they made those they conquered eat flesh, and those who
refused when invited they killed as a punishment. It was their normal
custom to take those who were fattest, even if they were the kings or
lords of the conquered people. If he made a good meal, that was enough.
The malice of these savages reached such a height that if they happened to
take any of the women who had been captured for themselves, when the fancy
struck them they would send them to bath and on their return kill them and
have them cooked.
One must add that all this was a long time ago, and much has happeneat
since. Still, I will mention two or three incidents which have occurred in
this Province and which are'frightening. The first involves Sambalate the
ruel(a) son of Feran Messera, whom I will describe in his turn. It seems
that Sambalate acquired a taste for human flesh even when in /f.80/ his
mother's womb, at which time Vat he passed into the power of Farma, to
whom he was presented by his father as a mark of the great affection
Messera felt for his slave, on account of what he had received from Farma,
as will be described later. Sambalate was born in this Province. When he
was old enough to have two wives, a native brought his daughter. The
Sumba accepted her and thanked him for his present. At a later date, this
poor father-in-law came to see his son-in-law, but he was drawn there more
because he missed his daughter. What would Sambalate do to mark the
occasion of this visit ? He devised a cruel dish, the most cruel that had
been heard of up to that time. He killed the wife and served her to her
own father when he came to see her. When the banquet, which had been
entirely at the expense of the father-in-law, was concluded, the man asked
his Sumba son-in-law to let him see his daughter. Sambalate replied:
"A fine time to ask this! After you have just eaten her4. how can you
me to let you see her ? " The native was overwhelmed by the reply and
left completely heartbroken. Sambalate's cruelty was so much the cause
of envy on the part of others that once, when a pagan was killed in the
country of Farma, Mundufare, his brother, who was present, asked the king
for permission to eat the raw heart of the dead man, so that he would be
given the name of Sambalate. The king replied that he would if Mundufare

(a) Sambalate, King of Macosse, and married, so rumour says.


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