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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 12: About the government of the heathen, the elevation of their king, and their war medicines,   pp. 1-5

Page 4

I have stated that there are various war-medicines.    Some are waili
medicines, which make such a noise that a commander who uses them in war
makes those who intend to oppose him have cowardly hearts. Another kind
are wind medicines, which make an arrow fly with speed to wound the ene
Another kind provide an enchantment, so that when a commander prepares -1
for battle and discusses with his men, the enemy do not hear the sound of,
his drums:   this medicine is put in the ear.   Siti is the medicine most
commonly used by the Manes. They take a cow's tail, roll it up, and IK \
apply to it a certain herb, then they name the most courageous persons in
the village which they wish to capture;   and all of them come to surrend
Then there is the celebrated medicine Keke.   On a fire made of certain
herbs they heat a small iron bar, and they place it in the ground.    If
those who are making the war are going to be defeated, the iron will not
penetrate the ground, nor will it enter it however hard it is hit but W1
leap out. But if they are going to gain the victory, / f.82v / the oppos-
ite happens and it penetrates immediately.   WhIen the battle comes, the
arrows (of the enemy) fall around this ircr. without hurting anyone.
The medicine core is famous. It consists of tails of elephants, dogs
antelopes, and cows, placed in a piece of iron like a manacle and bound
an iron chain called Ju1   c).   When they decide to carry out the ceremcjj,
(b)  They wear this around them. A man who carried the medicine and
boasted that his life was safe, lost his life when his head was
cut off, at the time he most trusted the medicine.
(c)  Others carry a wrought-iron bracelet, and when they lose anything
they ask the bracelet to find what has been lost, as we ask
St. Anthony.  A Portuguese lost a black woman, then found her.
As he despised their invocations and hellish oracles he mentioned
the matter (of the loss) to his host.   (He said:) "You will find
her soon, have confidence in your oracle." The Portuguese replied:
"I have already found her, so that you may understand that God
alone gives and God alone takes away."                             




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