The Author’s Progress in his Flight
from Anarodgburro, into the Woods,
unto their arrival in the Malabars Countrey.
Now God of his Mercy having prospered our Design hitherto, for which we blessed his Holy Name, our next care was how to come off clear from the People of Anarodgburro, that they might not presently miss us, and so pursue after us. Which if they should do, there would have been no escaping them. For from this Town to Colliwilla, where the Sheriff lived, with whom we left our Goods, they are as well acquainted in the Woods as in the Paths. And when we came away we must tell the People, that we were going thither, because there is no other way but that. Now our fear was, lest upon some occasion or other any Men might chance to Travel that way soon after we were gone, and not finding us at Colliwilla, might conclude, as they could do no otherwise, that we were run into the Woods. Therefore to avoid this Danger, we stayed in the Town till it was so late, that we knew none durst venture to Travel afterwards for fear of wild Beasts. By which means we were sure to gain a Nights Travel at least, if they should chance to pursue us.
So we took our leaves of the Governor, who kindly gave us a Pot of Milk to drink for a farewel; we telling him, We were returning back to the Sheriff at Colliwilla, to whom we had given some Gunpowder when we came from him to shoot us some Deer, and we doubted not but by that time we should get to him, he would have provided flesh enough for our lading home. Thus bidding him and the rest of the Neighbours farewel, we departed, they giving us the Civility of their accustomed Prayers, Diabac, that is, God bless, or keep you.
It was now the Twelfth day of October on a Sunday, the Moon eighteen days old. We were well furnished with all things needful, which Page 162we could get, Viz. Ten days Provision, Rice, Flesh, Fish, Pepper, Salt, a Bason to boil our Victuals in, two Calabasses to fetch Water, two great Tallipats for Tents, big enough to sleep under if it should rain, Jaggory and Sweet-meats, which we brought from home with us, Tobacco also and Betel, Tinder-Boxes two or three for sailing, and a Deers Skin to make us Shooes, to prevent any Thorns running into our feet as we travelled through the Woods; for our greatest Trust under God was to our feet. Our Weapons were, each man a small Axe fastned to a long Staff in our hands, and a good Knife by our sides. Which were sufficient with God’s help to defend us from the Assaults of either Tiger or Bear; and as for Elephants there is no standing against them, but the best defence is to flee from them. In this Posture and Equipage we marched forward. When we were come within a Mile of this River, it being about Four in the Evening, we began to fear, lest any of the People of Anarodgburro from whence we came, should follow us to Colliwella. Which place we never intended to come at more: the River along which we intended to go, laying on this side of it. That we might be secure therefore that no People came after us, we sat down upon a Rock by a hole that was full of water in the High-way; until it was so late, that we were sure no People durst Travel. In case any had come after us, and seen us sitting there and gotten no further, we intended to tell them, That one of us was taken Sick by the way, andtherefore not able to go But it was our happy chance there came none. So about Sundown we took up our Sacks of Provisions, and marched forward for the River, which under God we had pitched upon to be our guide down to the Sea.
Being come at the River, we left the Road, and struck into the Woods by the River side. We were exceeding careful not to tread on the Sand or soft Ground, lest our footsteps should be seen; and where it could not be avoided, we went backwards, so that by the print of our feet, it seemed as if we had gone the contrary way. We were now gotten a good way into the Wood; when it grew dark and began to Rain, so that we thought it best to pitch our Tents, and get Wood for Firing before it was all wet, and too dark to find it. Which we did, and kindled a fire.
Then we began to fit our selves for our Journey against the Moon arose. All our Sale-wares which we had left we cast away, (for we took care not to sell too much) keeping only Provisions and what was very necessary for our Journey. About our Feet we tied pieces of Deers-hide to prevent Thorns and Stumps annoying our feet. We always used to Travel bare foot, but now being to travel by Night and in the Woods, we feared so to do. For if our feet should fail us now, we were quite undone. And by the time we had well-fitted our selves, and were refreshed with a Morsel of Portuguez Sweet-meats, the Moon began to shine. So having commended our selves into the hands of the Almighty, we took up our Provisions upon our shoulders, and set forward, and travelled some three or four hours, but with a great deal of difficulty; for the Trees being thick, the Moon gave but little light thro, but our resolution was to keep going.
Now it was our chance to meet with an Elephant in our way just before us: which we tryed, but could not scare away: so he forced us to stay. We kindled a Fire and sate down, and took a Pipe of tobacco, waiting till Morning. Then we looked round about us, and it appeared all like a Wilderness, and no sign that People ever had been there: which put us in great hopes that we had gained our Passage, and Were past all the Inhabitants. Whereupon we concluded that we were now in no danger of being seen, and might Travel in the Day securely. There was only one great Road in our way, which led to Portaloon from the Towns which by and by we fell into; this Road therefore we were shy of, lest when we passed it over, some Passengers travelling in it, might see us; and this Road we were in expectance about this time to meet withal, secure, as I said before, of all other danger of People.But the River winding about to the Northward brought us into the midst of a parcel of Towns called Tissea Wava, before we were aware. For the Countrey being all Woods, we could not discern where there were Towns, until we came within the hearing of them. That which betrayed us into this danger was, that meeting with a Path, which only led from one Town to another, we concluded it to be that great Road above mentioned; and so having past it over, we supposed the Danger we might encounter in being seen, was also past over with it; but we were mistaken; for going further we still met with other Paths, which we crossed over, still hoping one or other of them was that great Road; but at last we perceived our Error; viz. That they were only Paths that went from one Town to another.
And so while we were avoiding Men and Towns, we ran into the midst of them. This was a great trouble to us, hearing the Noise of People round about us, and knew not how to avoid them; into whose hands we knew if we had fallen, they would have carried us up to the King, besides Beating and Plundring us to boot.
We knew before that these Towns were here away, but had we known that this River turned and run in among them, we should never have undertaken the Enterprize. But now to go back, after we had newly passed so many Paths, and Fields and places where People did resort, we thought not advisable, and that the danger in so doing might be greater than in going forward. And had we known so much then, as afterwards did appear to us, it had been safer for us to have gone on, than to have hid there as we did; which we then thought was the best course we could take for the present extremity: viz. To secure our selves in secret until Night, and then to run thro in the dark. All that we now wanted was a hole to creep in to lye close, for the Woods thereabouts were thin, and no shrubs or bushes, under which we might be concealed.
We heard the noise of People on every side, and expected every moment to see some of them to our great terror. And it is not easie to say in what Danger, and in what apprehension of it we were; it was not safe for us to stir backwards or forwards for fear of running among People, and it was as unsafe to stand still where we were, lest some body might spy us: and where to find covert we could not tell Looking about us in these straits we spyed a great Tree by us, which for the bigness thereof ’tis probable might be hollow. To which we went, and found it so. It was like a Tub, some three foot high. Into it immediately we both crept, and made a shift to sit there for several hours, tho very uneasily, and all in mud and wet. But however it did greatly comfort us in the fright and amazement we were in.
So soon as it began to grow dark, we came creeping out of our hollow Tree, and put for it as fast as our Legs could carry us. And then we crossed that great Road, which all the day before we did expect to come up with, keeping close by the River side, and going so long till dark Night stopped us. We kept going the longer, because we heard the Voice of Men hollowing towards Evening: which created us a fresh disturbance, thinking them to be People that were coming to chace us. But at length we heard Elephants behind us, between us and the Voice, which we knew by the noise of cracking the Boughs and small Trees, which they break down and eat. These Elephants were a very good Guard behind us, and were methought like the Darkness that came between Israel and the Egyptians. For the People we knew would not dare to go forwards hearing Elephants before them.
In this Security we pitched our Tents by the River side, and boiled Rice and roasted flesh for our Supper, for we were very hungry, and so commending our selves to God’s keeping laid down to sleep. The Voice which we heard still continued, which lasting so long we knew what it meant; it was nothing but the hollowing of People that lay to watch the Corn Fields, to scare away the wild Beasts out of their Corn. Thus we past Monday.
But nevertheless next Morning so soon as the Moon shone out bright, to prevent the worst we took up our Packs, and were gone: being past all the tame Inhabitants with whom we had no more trouble. But the next day we feared we should come among the wild ones; for these Woods are full of them. Of these we were as much afraid as of the other. For they would have carried us back to the King, where we should be kept Prisoners, but these we feared would have shot us, not standing to hear us plead for our selves.
And indeed all along as we went, by the sides of the River till we came to the Malabar Inhabitants, had been the Tents of wild Men, made only of Boughs of Trees. But God be praised, they were all gone, tho but very lately before we came: as we perceived by the Bones of Cattle, and shells of Fruit, which lay scattered about. We supposed that want of water had driven them out of the Countrey down to the River side, but since it had rained a shower or two they were gone again. Once about Noon sitting down upon a Rock by the River side to take a Pipe of Tobacco and rest our selves; we had almost been discovered by the Women of these wild People, coming down, as I suppose, to wash themselves in the River. Who being many of them, came talking and laughing together. At the first hearing of the noise being a good distance, we marvailed what it was; sitting still and listning, it came nearer a little above where we sat; and at last we could plainly distinguish it to be the Voices of Women and Children. Whereupon we thought it no boot to sit longer, since we could escape undiscovered, and so took up our Bags and fled as fast as we could.
Thus we kept travelling every day from Morning till Night, still along the River side, which turned and winded very crooked. In some places it would be pretty good Travelling, and but few Bushes and Thorns, and in others a great many. So that our Shoulders and Arms were all of a Gore, being grievously torn and scratched. For we had nothing on us but a clout about our Middles, and our Victuals on our Shoulders, and in our hands a Tallipat and an Ax.
The lower we came down this River, the less Water, so that sometimes we could go a Mile or two upon the Sand, and in some places three or four Rivers would all meet together. When it happened so, and was Noon, the Sun over our head, and the Water not running, we could not tell which to follow, but were forced to stay till the Sun was fallen, thereby to judge of our course. We often met with Bears, Hogs, Deer, and wild Buffaloes, but all ran so soon as they saw us. But Elephants we met with no more than that I mentioned before. The River is exceeding full of Aligators all a long as we went; the upper part of it nothing but Rocks. Here and there by the side of this River is a World of hewn Stone Pillars, standing upright, and other heaps of hewn Stones, which I suppose formerly were Buildings. And in three or four places are the ruins of Bridges built of Stone; some Remains of them yet standing upon Stone Pillars. In many places are Points built out into the River like Wharfs, all of hewn Stone; which I suppose have been built for Kings to sit upon for Pleasure. For I cannot think they ever were employed for Traffick by Water; the River being so full of Rocks that Boats could never come up into it.
The Woods in all these Northern Parts are short and shrubbed, and so they are by the River side, and the lower the worse; and the Grounds so also.
In the Evenings we used to pitch our Tent, and make a great Fire both before and behind us, that the wild Beasts might have notice where we lay; and we used to hear the Voices of all sorts of them, but, thanks be to God, none ever came near to hurt us. Yet we were the more wary of them, because once a Tiger shewed us a cheat. For having bought a Deer, and having nothing to salt it up in, we packed it up in the Hide thereof salted, and laid it under a Bench in an open House, on which I lay that Night, and Stephen layd just by it on the Ground, and some three People more lay then in the same House; and in the said House a great Fire, and another in the Yard. Yet a Tiger came in the Night, and carried Deer and Hide and all away. But we missing it, concluded it was a Thief. We called up the People that lay by us, and told them what had happened. Who informed us that it was a Tiger, and with a Torch they went to see which way he had gone, and presently found some of it, which he let drop by the way. When it was day we went further, and pickt up more which was scattered, till we came to the Hide it self, which remained uneaten.
We had now Travelled till Thursday Afternoon, when we crossed the River called Coronda oyah which was then quite dry; this parts the King’s Countrey from the Maladars. We saw no sign of Inhabitants here. The Woods began to be very full of Thorns, and shrubby Bushes with Clifts and broken Land; so that we could not possibly go in the Woods; but now the River grew better being clear of Rocks, and dry, water only standing in holes. So we marched along in the River upon the Sand. Hereabouts are far more Elephants than higher up: by Day we saw none, but by Night the River is full of them.
Friday about Nine or Ten in the Morning we came among the Inhabitants. For then we saw the footing of People on the Sand, and tame Cattel with Bells about their Necks. Yet we kept on our way right down the River, knowing no other course to take to shun the People. And as we went still forwards we saw Coracan Corn, sowed in the Woods, but neither Towns nor People; nor so much as the Voice of Man. But yet we were somewhat dismayed, knowing that we were now in a Countrey inhabited by Malabars. The Wanniounay or Prince of this People for fear pay Tribute to the Dutch, but stands far more affected towards the King of Cande. Which made our care the greater to keep our selves out of his hands; fearing lest if he did not keep us himself, he might send us up to our old Master. So that great was our terror again, lest meeting with People we might be discovered. Yet there was no means now left us how to avoid the Danger of being seen. The Woods were so bad, that we could not possibly Travel in them for Thorns; and to Travel by Night was impossible, it being a dark Moon, and the River a Nights so full of Elephants and other wild Beasts coming to drink; as we did both hear and see laying upon the Banks with a Fire by us. They came in such Numbers because there was Water for them no where else to be had, the Ponds and holes of Water, nay the River it self in many places being dry.
There was therefore no other way to be taken but to Travel on in the River. So down we went into the Sand, and put on as fast as we could set our Legs to the ground, seeing no People (nor I think no body us), only Buffaloes in abundance in the Water.