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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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the waist and around whose respectable face snow-white head aureolated, welcomed us with a trembling voice, and told us that he was alone at home with his mad daughter. As we settled over our intent, the bailiff approached, and the old man began to wail aloud and to curse his sons, one of whom, for jealousy, had also murdered his uncle. Terrified, we beheld that unhappy, bloodstained house before us, and ordered the guide to return, preferably, to the pristine solitude of the woods. The old man taught us a path to the main road, and we came across an abandoned hut a short distance from there on a cotton plantation in front of which we lit a large fire. The tiredness of the hot day had worn us out, but we could not fall asleep; the figure of the old man always haunted us, and the bailiff entertained us by telling stories of murders that, according to his statement, happen so constantly in the termo of Minas Novas,

Minas Novas to Bahia

where in one year twenty-seven took place, and in another year, eighteen. He also pointed out that the children of Portuguese immigrants were more subject to degeneration and immorality than the native Brazilians, and explained this fact above all for the lack of experience in dealing with house slaves and not used to them in Europe.

The night of that day, with such drama, was going to be even more horrible. Just asleep, we were awakened by violent bonfire bursts and singular hisses. As we were leaving the cabin, rifle in hand, the guide stopped us, and showed us a huge snake, which furiously jumped about and around, trying to scatter the biting tics.

Bo9throps surucucu

It was a surucucu (Bothrops surucucu, Wheat nocephalus alecto, Cuv.), the most powerful among the venomous snakes in Brazil, and which, because of this, was doubly fearful at night. We took some shots at the monster; We dared not, however, go after him in the dark, after all was settled down.

The next morning we could not find the snake in the vicinity; but the horses, whose front legs we had tied, were still terrified, close together at the entrance of the woods, from which they had probably witnessed the sudden appearance of the dangerous snake.

The break of dawn already found us busy preparing a frugal lunch, instant rapadura and farina flour, stirred with water, and soon after, we continued the trip to Aguada Nova. This is the name of the nucleus of houses scattered in an extensive valley along Ribeirao Calhau, whose inhabitants are mainly concerned with the cultivation of cotton.

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