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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Annual report for 1613: for the provincial of the Society of Jesus,   pp. [unnumbered]-19

Page 14


like a guest with whom one stands on ceremony. I found him very
discreet. I received him with a glad countenance and he greeted me
with such a demeanour and with such indications of real joy both
external and internal that I was amazed. He then said that a portrait
me as ambassador of the true God was circulating among those barbarous
nations, but that to see the original was worth much more. After all
this, I do not know what specific quality it was he found in me that
induced him to take off a ring made of gold and offer it to me. But
how could anyone accept from a caciz what he rejected from the
Portuguese? A profitable meeting in terms of the idol of the Hebrews.
But not for one who runs from sight of this finest metal, whose scorn
makes it tinkle and clang more hollowly. I smiled but also showed
firmness. However these people are emotional and excessively
sensitive, hence they can only be conquered by benevolence and by
tokens of the divine gift of love, a weapon more powerful than any
temporal force of cannon or archers in their ports. (So) immediately
I added that what I came to seek here in Ethiopia was not gifts but the
jewel of his soul, and the souls of so many idolaters. This was my
true line of trade, and I claimed only this divine and spiritual
commerce. For the love of Christ our Saviour, who being rich made
himself poor to obtain my love, I had forsaken gold and all things
of the world.
The caciz was amazed; he ceased his importunities and took
back his metal. I asked him not to be offended at me, since one
should only ask of a friend what is permitted to him. I was already hi
friend, and would be more so when he desired to make himself my brother
by professing the same religion. lie was very pleased; and since I
had the field to myself, I asked him a question, which was this:
what were his views about the Creator? And since he praised Him so
much, could he give me some evidence for his belief? "I believe,"


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