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Jangada, the raft of northern Brazil

Old Jangada

whose use is almost unknown to them, but with rafts made from buriti palm trunks. They are not man-eating, and their prisoners of war are employed in menial labor. According to an ancient legend of these Indians, God, in the beginning of the world, built a tall house to the sky, and from its collapse came the variety of animals and nations. Marcellin further stated that they have an idea, though vague, of a supreme, kindly being to whom they appeal in times of anguish and danger, of raised and clasped hands, kneeling or throwing themselves to the ground. They also recognize the devil, the evil principle. It was impossible for me to find out to what extent our informant interspersed, in this narrative, Old Testament facts.

In Sao Goncalo do Amarante, we met a pedestrian who asked permission to make the trip to Caxias in the company of our troop. He was a man, as it turned out, of pure European origin, and of old age, whose appearance on foot, with no baggage and no companion, in these inhospitable lands seemed very strange to us. In every aspect he showed by his expression that a horrible fright had disturbed his judgment. Looking more closely at him and combining the unspoken words with the words he uttered, we finally realized that the disheveled Bahia citizen had been on a sea voyage to Maranhao when the boat sank and had seen his wife sinking into the waves, and his daughter being swallowed by a shark. In this way he himself did not know how he had come from the coast and was lost in this region. The horrible ordeal had so strongly impressed his spirit that sometimes, in the middle of the night, he woke us up with frightening screams. This dramatic companion, whom we humanly allowed to stay with us, was only the beginning of the indescribable feelings we were going through ourselves, as our sickening state worsened.

On May 16, I turned off the road and into the nearby virgin forest, where I observed, on the walls of a yellow-grained rock, thick efflorescences of a certain salt material, which the chemical examination revealed to be rich in saltpeter; and I was just persuading the farmer in Coite, where we had scratched, telling him that if he exploited this substance he could start an important source of income, when I felt a violent outbreak of fever manifest in me. Soon I fell almost senseless. Vomiting was vainly employed to cut my fever. With great effort, I continued the trip on horseback, always fighting the fever for a space of two days, passing through the farms of Buriti and Sao Pedro, until the Todos os Santos.

Todos os Santos, the bay of Salvador, Bahia

The most distressing discomfort, violent vomiting, and near-mortal weakness forced me to dismount from time to time to lie on the ground to rest. At the same time,