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In addition to these medical consultations, there was no shortage of pleasant distractions, to which the cheerful residents of Salgado invited us.

Valley of the Rio Sao Francisco

Big-trawl fisheries brought us innumerable genera of fish from the river (Note V), alternating with alligator, otters and rheas. The fish were lured by pieces of meat on hooks, pulled to the shore and stabbed to death, or hung from trees and strangled.

The otter (Lutra-brasiliensis, L.) usually leave early in the morning in a pack from their location, traveling upstream, and announce their approach by blowing loudly and snoring. We saw a lot of these packs, but we weren't lucky enough to get in firing range, because the animals sniff the enemy and instantly change

direction. With greater success we hunted the ostrich (Struthio rhea, L.), sighted in innumerable flocks in the fields that extend between Serra do Salgado and the river, to the south of the village. A group of horse-riding hunters led us to a low mountain slope, from where we could see the grazing ostriches from a good distance. As soon as the arrangements were made to place the birds between two rifles, we approached cautiously; but they were soon foreboding, rushing into a wild race with a lively fluttering of wings. The horses, accustomed to this hunt, chased them so fast that in half an hour we had followed them for a league, and finally, under a low scrub of aricuris palm trees, we reached them when they were taking a breath. As we stepped in to attack them, new shots were fired, and we killed many of these light-footed birds. As one does not eat the meat of the ostrich, it is hunted for sport and because of its beautiful feathers. With them, they make beautiful dusters, which get a high price in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, and are exported to Europe.

  Although in the heart of the hinterland, we were pleased to note how commerce and wealth have already brought sociability and civilized customs there. Many feasts of the Church are solemnly celebrated here, among them one entirely new for us. A rich farmer from the surrounding area had made Our Lady the promise of a procession, to which the people of the parish and we were also invited. The lady, dressed in gala, led the followers to the church to attend Mass, and from there we all returned to her house, where a large table was set with the finest delicacies and wines, and, above all, delicious sweets, which the friends of the beautiful penitent were invited to attend all day long. The most ironic thing is that, with this act of contrition, the promoter of the expiatoria party takes the superb title of queen, appoints her closest friends and the people of her following, forming an ostensible court, and, as a reminder of the feast of her humility, she distributes gold and silver medals. This Queen's Party, ex-vote party,