Journal of Antonio Pigafetta

17th of December, 1521

Tuesday, we presented to the king some pieces of artillery; that is some arquebuses which we had taken as prizes in the Indies, and some of our swivel-guns with four barrels of powder. We took on board each ship eighty barrels of water. Wood we were to find at the island of Mare, where the king had already five days ago sent a hundred men to prepare it, and near which we were to pass.

This day, the King of Bachian, with the consent of the King of Tadore, came on shore, preceded by four men holding up daggers in their hands, to make alliance with us: he said, in the presence of the King of Tadore and of all his suite, that he would always be ready for the service of the King of Spain, that he would keep in his name the cloves left in his island by the Portuguese, until another Spanish squadron arrived there, and he would not give them up without his consent. He sent through us to the King of Spain a present of a slave and two bahars of cloves. He would have wished to have sent ten bahars, but our ships were so heavily laden, that we could not receive any more.

He also gave us for the King of Spain two most beautiful dead birds. These birds are as large as thrushes; they have small heads, long beaks, legs slender like a writing pen, and a span in length; they have no wings, but instead of them long feathers of different colours, like plumes: their tail is like that of the thrush. All the feathers, except those of the wings, are of a dark colour; they never fly, except when the wind blows. They told us that these birds come from the terrestrial Paradise, and they call them “bolon dinata” that is divine birds.

The King of Bachian was a man of about seventy years of age Not only did the King of Bachian recognise the King of Spain as his Sovereign; but every king of Maluco wrote to him that he desired always to be his faithful subject.

One day the King of Tadore sent to tell our men, who dwelt in the magazine for the merchandise, that they should take care not to go out of the house by night, since there were certain men, natives of the country, who by anointing themselves, walk by night in the shape of men without heads: and if they meet anyone to whom they wish ill, they touch his hand and anoint his palm, and that ointment causes him soon to grow ill, and die at the end of three or four days. But if they meet three or four persons together they do not touch them, but make them giddy. He added that he had a watch kept to discover them, and he had already had several executed.

When they build a new house, before going to inhabit it, they make a fire round it, and give many feasts there. Then they fasten to the roof of the house a pattern or sample of everything that is to be found in the island, persuaded that by that means none of those things will be ever wanting to whoever inhabits the house.