Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Transcript

Plate XVII
Employments of the Hermaphrodites

In this country there are numerous hermaphrodites, a mixture of both sexes. They are considered odious by the Indians, but as they are robust and strong they are used to carry loads instead of beasts of burden. When the kings set out to war, it is the hermaphrodites who transport the supplies. They place the Indians, dead from either wounds or sickness, on a stretcher made of two stout poles covered with a mat of woven thin canes. The head rests on a fur; a second fur is wound around the stomach; a third around the hips; a fourth is placed around the calves. (I did not ask the reason for this custom, but I suppose it is for show, for sometimes they do not do all this and simply bind one leg.) Next they take belts of leather, about three or four fingers wide and fix them at both ends of the poles and put them on their heads, which are very hard; then they carry their dead to the place of burial. Persons with infectious diseases are carried to places reserved for them on the shoulders of the hermaphrodites who supply them with food until they are well again.


All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).