A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 778 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 02.

They have nine lords on this island, who are called dukes, and who do not succeed by inheritance or descent, but by force; on which account they have perpetual civil wars among themselves, in which they commit great slaughter.  Their only weapons are stones, maces or clubs, and darts or lances, some of which are pointed with horn, and others have their points hardened in the fire.  They all go naked, except a few who wear goat skins before and behind.  They anoint their skins with goats tallow, mixed up with the juice of certain herbs, which thickens the skin, and defends them against the cold, of which they complain much, although their country is so far to the south.  They have neither walled, nor thatched houses, but dwell in grottos and caverns of the mountains.  They feed on barley, flesh, and goats milk, of which they have abundance, and some fruits, particularly figs.  As the country is very hot, they reap their corn in April and May.

We learnt all these things from the Christians of the four settled islands, who sometimes go over by night to the three other islands, and make prisoners of the natives, whom they send into Spain to be sold as slaves.  Sometimes the Spaniards are themselves made prisoners on these expeditions, on which occasions the natives do not put them to death, but employ them to kill and flea their goats, and to cure the flesh, which they look upon as a vile employment, and therefore condemn their Christian prisoners to that labour in contempt.  The native Canarians are very active and nimble, and are exceedingly agile in running and leaping, being accustomed to traverse the cliffs of their rugged mountains.  They skip barefooted from rock to rock like goats, and sometimes take leaps of most surprising extent and danger, which are scarcely to be believed.  They throw stones with great strength and wonderful exactness, so as to hit whatever they aim at with almost perfect certainty, and almost with the force of a bullet from a musket; insomuch that a few stones thrown by them will break a buckler to pieces.  I once saw a native Canarian, who had become a Christian, who offered to give three persons twelve oranges a-piece, and taking twelve to himself, engaged, at eight or ten paces distance, to strike his antagonists with every one of his oranges, and at the same time to parry all theirs, so that they should hit no part of him but his hands.  But no one would take up the wager, as they all knew he could perform even better than he mentioned.  I was on land in Gomera and Ferro, and touched also at the island of Palma, but did not land there.

[1] In Grynaeus, this person is called a patrician or nobleman of Venice,
    and his surname is omitted.—­Astley.

[2] Con Veuto da greco et tramantana in poppe; literally, having a Greek,
    and beyond the mountain wind in the poop.  The points of the compass,
    in Italian maps, are thus named, N. Tramontana.  N. E. Greco.  E.
    Levante S. E. Sirocco.  S. Mezzoni.  S. W. Libeccio.  W.
    Ponente.  N. W. Maestro.—­Clarke.

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