Of the Disposition of the Body
WE have said in the last chapter that dancing is profitable for the preservation of health. Also it is one of the causes why our savages do delight so much in it; but they have yet some other preservatives which they use very often, that is to say sweats, whereby they prevent sicknesses. For they be sometimes touched with this phthisis wherewith the men of Captain James Cartier and Monsieur de Monts were annoyed [Bk. i., ch. I 6J, which notwithstanding is but seldom. But when it happeneth they have in Canada the tree called an nedda, which I term the tree of life for the excellency thereof, wherewith they heal themselves; and in the country of the Armouchiquois they have sassafras, and in Florida esquine. The Souriquois, which have none of these kinds of woods, do use sweats, as we have said, and. they have their. aoutmoins for physicians, who for that purpose do dig in the ground, and make a pit which they cover with wood and big flat stones over it; then they put fire to it by a hole, and, the wood being burned, they make a raft with poles, which they cover
. with all the skins and other coverings which they have, so as no air entereth therein; they cast water upon the said stones, which are fallen in the pit, and do cover them; then they put themselves under the same raft, and with motions the aoutmoin singing, and the others saying (as in their dances): Het, het, het! they put themselves into a sweat. If they happen to fall into sickness (for one must die in the end) the aoutmoin doth blow, with exercisings, upon the member grieved, doth lick it and suck it; and, if that be not sufficient, he
letteth the patient's blood, scotching his flesh with the point of a knife or something else. If they do not heal them always, one must consider that our physicians do not always cure their patients neither.