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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.
border likewise on the country of the Negroes, they carry on trade with these people, from whom they procure millet and pulse, particularly beans.  Owing to the scarcity of provisions in the desert, the Azanhaji are but spare eaters, and are able to endure hunger with wonderful patience, as a poringer of barley-meal made into hasty-pudding will serve them a whole day.  The Portuguese used to carry away many of these people for slaves, as they were preferred to the negroes; but for some time past this has been prohibited by Don Henry, and peace and trade has been established with them, as he is in hopes they may be easily brought over to the catholic faith by intercourse with the Christians, more especially as they are not hitherto thoroughly established in the superstitions of Mahomet, of which they know nothing but by hearsay.  These Azenhaji have an odd custom of wearing a handkerchief round their heads, a part of which is brought down so as to cover their eyes, and even their nose and mouth; for they reckon the mouth an unclean part, because it is constantly belching and has a bad smell, and ought therefore to be kept out of sight; even comparing it to the posteriors, and thinking that both ought alike to be concealed.  On this account they never let their mouths be seen except when eating, as I have often had occasion to observe.  They have no lords among them, but the rich men are respected somewhat more than the rest.  They are of ordinary stature, and very lean, wearing their black hair frizzled over their shoulders like the Germans, and grease it daily with fish oil, which gives them a nasty smell; yet they consider this as modish.  They are extremely poor, egregious liars, the greatest thieves in the world, and very treacherous.  They have never heard of any Christians except the Portuguese, with whom they had war for thirteen or fourteen years, in which many of them were carried off as slaves, as has been already mentioned.  Many of these people informed me, that, when they first saw ships under sail, which had never been beheld by any of their ancestors, they took them for large birds with white wings, that had come from foreign parts; and when the sails were furled, they conjectured, from their length, and swimming on the water, that they must be great fish.  Others again believed that they were spirits, who wandered about by night; because they were seen at anchor in the evening at one place, and would be seen next morning 100 miles off, either proceeding along the coast to the southwards, or put back, according as the wind changed, or the caravels might happen to steer.  They could not conceive how human beings could travel more in one night than they were able to perform themselves in three days; by which they were confirmed in the notion of the ships being spirits.  All this was certified to me by many of the Azanhaji who were slaves in Portugal, as well as by the Portuguese mariners who had frequented the coast in their caravels.

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