[Footnote 283: The word used here in the edition of Purchas is Alarbes.—E.]
It is alleged in the history of Abyssinia, that when one of the Soldans of Babylon in Egypt made war many years ago upon their emperor, he gathered a multitude of people and turned the course of the Nile, so that it might not run into Egypt. The Soldan, amazed at this vast enterprize, which he believed would entirely ruin the land of Egypt, sent ambassadors with great gifts, and made peace with the emperor, giving a privilege to the Abyssinians to pass through his country without paying tribute, when on their way to visit the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem, and the shrine of St Catharine on Mount Sinai. Some learned Moors whom I conversed with while in the Red Sea confirmed the truth of this relation.
[Footnote 284: According to Bermudez, this attempt was begun by Ale Beale, predecessor to Onadinguel or Atine-tingil.—Astl.]
Continuation of the Journal of De Castro from Massua to Swakem.
We set sail at sun-rising on the 19th of February from the bay which is half a league beyond Massua and half a league from the land. This day was very close and rainy, and numbering our fleet I found 64 rowing vessels; that is 3 galliots, eight small gallies, and 35 foists. By night our north-west wind lulled, and it blew a little from the west. In the second watch it came on to rain; and in the middle of the morning watch we weighed anchor and rowed along shore till morning, during which time it rained hard. By evening of the 20th we were as far as the extreme point of the range of islands on the north side, about 14 leagues from Massua. The coast from Massua hither stretched N.N.W. and S.S.E. for these 14 leagues, and in some of the islands which lay to seaward we knew that there were cattle and water, with some few poor dwellings. The distance from these islands to the African coast might be about four leagues. The islands in this range having cattle and water are Harate, Dohull, and Damanill, which are all low and surrounded with shoals and flats. All the first watch of the night, having the wind fair at east, we sailed N.N.W. At the beginning of the second watch we came suddenly to certain very white spots, which threw out flames like lightning. Wondering at this strange event, we took in our sails believing we were upon some banks or shoals; but on casting the lead I found 26 fathoms. As this great novelty to us made no impression on the native pilots, and being in deep water, we made sail again. On the 21st at day light, we saw off to seawards a low island of which the Moorish pilot had been afraid in the night. At day light on the 22nd we again set sail, and at noon my pilot took the altitude of the sun, and found our latitude 18 deg. 30’ N. At this time we were abreast of a very long point of sand projecting from