chapter  X
9 Pages

Of the Shape and Dexterity of the Savages

They are all of an olive colour, or rather tawny colour, like to the Spaniards-not that they be so born, but, being the most part of the time naked, they grease their bodies, and do anoint them sometimes with oil, for to defend them from the flies, which are very troublesome not only where we were but also through all that new world and even in Brazil, so that it is no wonder if Beelzebub, prince of flies, hath there a great empire. These flies are of a colour drawing towards red, as of corrupted blood, which maketh me to believe that their generation cometh but from the rottenness of woods. And, indeed, we have tried that the second year: being in a place somewhat more open, we have had fewer of them than at the first. They cannot endure great heat, nor wind; but otherwise (as in close dark weather) they are very noisome by reason of their stings which they have, long for so small a body; and they be so tender that if one touch them never so little they are

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squeezed. They begin to come about the 15th of June, and do retire themselves in the beginning of September. Being in the Port de Campseau in the month of August I have not seen nor felt anyone; whereof I did wonder, seeing that the nature of the soil and of the woods is all one. In September, after that this vermin is gone away, there grow other flies like unto ours, but they are not troublesome, and become very big. Now our savages, to save themselves from the stinging of these creatures, rub themselves with certain greases and oils, as I have said, which make them foul and of a tawnish colour. Besides that always they lie on the ground, or be exposed to the heat and the wind.