A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.
On the approach of night, considering that the place in which our ships were anchored was altogether unsafe in the event of any storm arising, we determined to quit this part of the coast in the morning, for the purpose of seeking out some harbour where our ships might ride in safety.  We accordingly made sail along the coast, and in sight of the shore, on which we could always see the natives, and after two days sail we found a convenient anchorage for the ships at the distance of half a league from the shore.  At this place we saw a great multitude of people, and being anxious to examine them, and to establish a friendly intercourse, we landed that same day with about forty of our men in good array.  But the natives shewed themselves extremely averse to any communication with us, and could not be allured to a conference by any means.  At length a small number of them were induced to come near by presents of bells, small mirrors, glass beads, and similar toys, and a friendly intercourse was thus established.  As night came on, we left them and returned to the ships.  At dawn of the following day, we saw immense numbers of the natives on shore, men, women, and children:, and could observe that they had all their household stuff along with them, of which an account will be given hereafter.  On our approach towards the shore, many of the natives threw themselves into the sea, being most expert swimmers, and came to meet us with much appearance of kindness, and joined us in perfect confidence of security, as if we had been old acquaintances, which gave us much pleasure.

The whole of these people, men as well as women, went entirely naked.  Though of rather small stature, they are exceedingly well proportioned, their complexion being reddish brown, like the hair of lion; but if they were always clothed, they would in my opinion become as white as our people.  They have no hair on any part of their bodies, except on the head, where it is long and black; especially the women, who wear their long black hair in a very comely manner.  Their faces are by no means handsome, being broad like the Tartars, and they allow no hair to remain on their eyebrows or eyelids, nor on any other part of their bodies, as already mentioned, it being esteemed by them quite beastly to have hair remaining on their bodies.  Both men and women are amazingly agile in walking and running, as we frequently experienced, the very women being able to run one or two leagues at a stretch with the utmost ease, and in this exercise they greatly excelled us Christians.  They are likewise wonderfully expert swimmers, in which the women excel the men and we have seen them swim two leagues out to sea without any aid whatever.  Their arms are bows and arrows, which are more craftily made than ours; and, being destitute of iron or any other metal, they arm the points of their arrows with the teeth of wild beasts or fishes, often hardening their ends in the fire to make them stronger. 

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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