Chapter 41

 

One day I asked him about his tribe and the way he was taken a prisoner. He told me that they used to eat human flesh just like their opponents. In fact he had taken part in that ritual on the other side of my island. He must have been one of the savages I had seen feast there a long time ago.

He also explained that no canoe was ever lost coming to my island. After an explanation of the currents which they had to struggle with to come here I was finally able to figure out where the island was located. The land to the west and northwest was Trinidad.

He also told me he had previously seen people with beards like mine. From his account I supposed they had been Spaniards. He had heard about them and their cruelties to other tribes. He knew which lands they had taken and settled on. He even knew how we can reach them “in two canoes”. I did not get that at first, but it seemed to me he meant that we would need a boat as big as two canoes.

From Friday’s account I learned about the traditions and beliefs of his people. I also told him my story and I described England and Europe to him. When I felt I could trust him enough, I showed him how gunpowder works and taught him how to use a gun. I gave him a knife, a hatchet and a belt to carry them on. He was delighted with my presents.

I showed him where my ship had crashed and the remains of the boat with which I had been saved. He said he had seen a boat like that before. When I inquired further he explained that his nation had saved white men from a similar boat and that they were still living with them. He counted seventeen Europeans living with his people.