A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.

From the island of Mozambique, which belongs to Portugal, it brought much gold and ivory, but these come from the continent of Ethiopia.  This island is not large, but has a commodious port, and is inhabited by black Mahometans[118], who are in great want of all the necessaries of life, having no corn or provisions but what are brought from the continent.  We landed on the continental part of Ethiopia to see the country, where we saw a barbarous Vagabond people of blacks, both men and women going entirely naked, except covering their parts of shame with leaves of trees.  Their lips are two fingers thick, their foreheads very large, and they have great teeth as white as snow.  They are exceedingly timorous and fearful of armed men; wherefore six of us, well armed with muskets, and accompanied by a black slave who knew the country, went a considerable way inland to view the country.  When we had gone forwards a days journey, we came to many herds of elephants, and our guide recommended to us to carry burning firebrands in our hands, as these beasts are afraid of fire above all things; but we chanced to fall in with three female elephants that had lately calved, and they could not be scared by our fire, but followed us so far that we were obliged to save ourselves by scrambling up a steep mountain.

[Footnote 118:  Perhaps this expression ought to have been black-a-moors, the old name for negroes.—­E.]

When we were about ten miles inland, we came to a cave on the side of a mountain inhabited by some of the black natives, whose manner of speech was so strange and chattering, like so many apes, that I am unable to express the manner of their language, which comes near the strange jargon used by the muleteers of Sicily, when they drive their mules[119].  Our pilot asked us if we were inclined to purchase any cattle from these people, saying that we might have them at a very low price; but suspecting that he either mocked us, or meant, in concert with the natives, to impose upon us, we said that we had no money.  Then he told us that these people wanted no money, having already gold in greater plenty than we, which they procure not far from where we were.  On asking him what articles they were desirous of in payment for their cattle, he said they preferred things of small value, such as pins, knives, scissars, looking-glasses, hawks-bells, bags, or boxes, to contain their gold, copper rings, janglings to hang at their timbrils, bosses, laces, broaches, copper-chains, caskanets, bracelets, and such like baubles to deck their wives and children.  We then said that we would willingly give them such things for their cattle if they would bring them to us at the shore; but the pilot said the natives would drive them to the next mountain, but no farther on any condition.  Then one of our companions said that he had a boss of engraven copper, and a small bell; and as I had none of such merchandise, and yet was desirous of eating fresh meat, I said I would

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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