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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 3

would add three blacks ( ? to the meal). This is what happened, and I
was personally acquainted with the gentleman. This business occurred in
1601 and he died of small-pox in 1612. It did him no good to eat a
human heart.
A heathen of this Province was judged and found guilty of being a
witch. He was taken before the king so badly cut to pieces that the
king was astonished. He was asked why they had been so cruel to a living
man and they replied : "Father, we were just taking our portions".
punish them for their cruelty the king forbade them to eat the man. Here
in this Serra the king gave me a Dutch child, to whom his vassals had fed
the flesh of the child's compatriots they had killed, and the child was
to die (too), the hair having come away from a large part of his head. At
the present time they are much given to bragging about which parts of the
body are tastiest, and they.say these are the palms of the hand, the soles
of the feet and certain other parts. When they discuss the matter they do
so with great gusto, openly pointing to those parts of the body which would
make a delicacy. Nor do they blush to indicate those persons who seem to
them most suitable for the stew-pot, indeed they treat human flesh is we
treat the meat of /f.80v/ cows, sheep, etc. And they eat great quantities
of it today. At Cape Lopo Goncalvesb) beyond Mina and Calabar, there ore
slaughter-houses for human flesh and the trade in flesh is so common that
the heathen peoples of these parts sell each other. Sometimes the traders
who go to and fro in their canoes, if they happen to seize some of the
heathen and have no other use for them, take them to be dismembered at these
slaughter-houses. (Another atrocity is this.) The young shoots of palm-
trees were used as cabbage by the Sumbas, thus killing the trees and
causing destruction in the districts they conquered, since these trees arc
(b) Cape Lupo, Calabar. At Calabar there are slaughter-houses in whizh
anyone whom the heathen or the Portuguese do not want for the (slave)
trade is killed : they only want the best, and when the sellers
become tired, they kill and sell those rejected. This can be
observed. Here they greatly value the horns of animals, such is
cows and sheep.


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