The story

The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha (part 7)

The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha (part 7)



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I believe, Lord, that I have not yet realized Your Highness here of the form of your bows and arrows. The bows are black and long, the arrows too long and their irons trimmed with reeds, according to Your Highness you will see for some that - I believe - the Captain will send to Her.

On Wednesday we did not go ashore, because the captain walked all day on the supply ship to dump it and bring to the ship what each could carry. They went to the beach; many, according to the ships we saw. In the words of Sancho de Tovar, who went there, they would be the work of three hundred.

Diogo Dias and Afonso Ribeiro, the accused, whom the Captain yesterday ordered them to sleep in anyway, turned at night because they did not want them to stay there. They brought green parrots and other black birds, almost like magpies, unless they had white beaks and short tails.

When Sancho de Tovar retired to the ship, some wanted to come with him, but he wanted nothing more than two willing young men and men of proleteness. He sent them tonight to think and heal. They ate all the way they gave them; and had them made a bed of sheets, he said. They slept and rested that night. And so there was no more to this day than to write.

On Thursday, late April, we ate early, almost in the morning, and went ashore for more wood and water. And, wanting the Captain to leave this ship, came Sancho de Tovar with his two guests. And because he hasn't eaten yet, they put him towels. They brought him vianda and ate. To the guests, they each sat in their chair. And from all that they gave them they ate very well, especially boiled, cold, and rice.

They didn't give them wine, because Sancho de Tovar said they didn't drink it well.

When the meal was over, we all got into the boat and they and us. He gave one of them a big cabin of a mountain pig, very angry. So much so that he took it, immediately put it on his lip, and because if he did not want to hold it, they gave her a small red wax. And he adjusted her prop behind her to be safe, and put her on her lip, so revolting upwards. And he was so pleased with her, as if he had a great jewel. And so much so that we went ashore, went away with her, and no longer appeared there.

They would walk on the beach when we left, eight or ten of them; and soon they began to come more. And it seems to me that they would come to the beach this day four hundred or four hundred and fifty.

They brought some of them bows and arrows, which they all traded for carapes or whatever they gave them. They ate with us from what we gave them. They drank some of them wine; others could not drink it. But it seems to me that if they do, they will drink it willingly.

They were all so willing, so well made, and gallant with their dyes, that they looked good. They would take it from the firewood, as much as they could, and willingly take it to the barges.

They were tighter and safer among us now than we were among them.

It was the Captain with some of us a piece of trees through this grove to a large river with a lot of water which, in our opinion, was the same, coming to the beach, and where we drank water.

There we were a piece, drinking and playing, along it, among this grove, which is so large, so thick and so plump, that men cannot count them. There are many palms among them, from which we gather many good hearts of palm.

When we got off the boat, the captain said that it would be good to go straight to the cross, which was leaning against a tree by the river, to rise tomorrow, which is Friday, and to all kneel down and kiss it. they see the compliance we had with him. And so we did. Those ten or twelve who were there were beckoned to do so, and they all went to kiss her.

It seems to me people of such innocence that if men understood them and they to us they would soon be Christians, because they apparently do not have, nor do they understand, any belief. And therefore, if the exiled, who will be here to learn their speech well and understand them, I do not doubt that they, according to the holy intention of Your Highness, will make Christians and believe in our holy faith, to which they are pleased. Our Lord bring them, because, right, these people are good and of good simplicity. And there will be a slight imprint on them whatever they may wish to give them. And for our Lord, who gave them good bodies and good faces, as he did good men, hath brought us here, I believe was not without cause.

Therefore Your Highness, who so longs to add the holy catholic faith, must take care of his salvation. And it will please God that with little work be so.

They neither plow nor create. There is no ox here, no cow, no goat, no sheep, no chicken, no other food, which is customary for men to live. They eat nothing but this yam, which has long been here, and this seed and fruit, which the earth and the trees of themselves sow. And with it go such and so hard and so fierce that we are not so much, how much wheat and vegetables we eat.

On this day, while walking there, they always danced and danced with ours, to the sound of an angler fish, so that they are much more our friends than we yours.

If men waved to them if they wanted to come to the ships, they were soon about to do so, in such a way that if we all wanted to invite, they all came. But we brought not tonight but four or five ships, namely, Captain-Major, two; and Simon of Miranda, one, who already had his page; and Aires Gomes, another, also by page.

One of those the captain brought was one of the guests, who brought him the first time when we arrived here, who came here today, dressed in his shirt, and with him a brother of his; and they were very well bundled up tonight, as well as the way, and the bed, and the mattress, and the sheets, to tame them.

And today, which is Friday, the first day of May, in the morning, we go ashore with our flag; and we landed above the river against the south, where it seemed to us that it would be better to blacken the Cross, for a better view. There the captain pointed to the place where they would dig the pit to blackmail it.

While they were doing it, he and all the others went down the cross where she was. From there we brought her with these religious and priests before singing, in the procession.

There were already some of them, the work of seventy or eighty; And when they saw us coming, some went under it to help us. We passed the river, along the beach and put it where it was to be, which will be from the river the work of two crossbow shots. Walking in there, well come a hundred and fifty or so.

Blackmailed the Cross, with Your Highness's weapons and motto, which they first preached to her, they set an altar at her feet. There said mass Father Fr Henrique, which was sung and officiated by those already said. There she had with us the work of fifty or sixty of them, all sitting on their knees, just like us.

And when it came to the Gospel, that we all stood up with their hands raised, they stood up with us and raised their hands, staying like that until it was finished; and then they settled back like us. And when they raised up to God, that we knelt down, they all stood, as we were with our hands raised, and in such a quiet manner, that, I certify Your Highness, has made us very devoted.