University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Africa Focus

Page View

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

Of the Province of the Sousos: single chapter,   pp. 1-8 ff.

Page 8

When traders travel, they do not take their wives with th;m they
carry and cool: for themselves. Their superstitions are those common to
all the heathen. If daybreak is not clear (?), they will not sow or out
or thresh rice, end will not be guests anywhere.
The circumncision of women takes place at the age of sixteen or
seventeen. This is a time of great festivity which counts much as a
wedding, because'it is after this ceremony that the husbands take the
women home and give them four or five pieces of clothing.
There is nothing (further) to say about idolatry; all forms are
general. The Souse drink the milk of the Mohammedan sect. Women of the
neighbourhood who are about to give birth make confessions in a way not to
be approved. Also there has reached here the evil belief concerning those
who fall ill, that witches are eating them, as they say. If one of them
falls ill and dies, the Icing puts out a decree that they should all
assemble( ) and bring chickens, each family head bringing his own marked
M?) chicken. They take 'red vwater', and when ten grandees are present, teoy
open its mouth and pour in a few drops, then they release it. If someone
dies, they say that there is a witch in that house. Up to three times thay
will forgive, but the fourth time there is no pardon or remedy, and they
punish the culprit sith death, as they do thieves also. Before they give
the red water to the criminal, they first give it to the chicken; if this
dies, they take the matter to the king; then they administer the water in
the manner already mentioned.
(f) Having now an advocate of his/theirs (to speak) for and against the
party. The party accused in this form: 'You, there, turn yourself
into an elephant, or a leopard, etc.", until they specify the one
to which he is understood to belong. They say, "Turn yourself into
a pumpkin". They name all the creatures and plants, and if he
happens to fall down as one is being named, they say that he turned
into that.  If he does not die, he is considered innocent and ( ? they)
pay him.


Go up to Top of Page