XXI. Mode of Tilling and Planting

XXI. Mode of Tilling and Planting


Plate XXI.

Mode of Tilling and Planting

The Indians cultivate the earth with diligence. They have learnt to make hoes with fish bones and to fit them with wooden handles. With these they can dig the soil quite easily as it is not heavy. Once the earth has been well broken up and leveled, the women sow beans or millet or maize. To do this they are helped by people who precede them with a stick, and make holes in the soil where the grain or bean or millet is thrown. The sowing completed, they leave the field alone. It is, in fact, then their winter season which is quite cold in this region and which lasts three months, from 24 December to 15 March. Being always naked, the Indians then seek shelter in the forests. The winter over, they return to their houses, anticipating the ripening of the crops. The harvest gathered, they store the corn for the year’s uses, and do not trade with any of it except perhaps for some exchange of household articles.

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