Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
A Useful Hostage
By Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?1618)
From The Discovery of Guiana
AS we abode there a while, our Indian pilot, called Ferdinando, would needs go ashore to their village, to fetch some fruits, and to drink of their artificial wines, and also to see the place, and to know the lord of it against another time, and took with him a brother of his, which he had with him in the journey. When they came to the village of these people, the lord of the island offered to lay hands on them, purposing to have slain them both; yielding for reason, that this Indian of ours had brought a strange nation into their territory, to spoil and destroy them; but the pilot being quick, and of a disposed body, slipped their fingers, and ran into the woods; and his brother, being the better footman of the two, recovered the creeks mouth, where we stayed in our barge, crying out that his brother was slain. With that we set hands on one of them that was next us, a very old man, and brought him into the barge, assuring him that if we had not our pilot again we would presently cut off his head. This old man, being resolved that he should pay the loss of the other, cried out to those in the woods to save Ferdinando our pilot; but they followed him notwithstanding, and hunted after him upon the foot with their deer dogs, and with so main a cry, that all the woods echoed with the shout they made; but at last this poor chased Indian recovered the river side, and got upon a tree, and, as we were coasting, leaped down, and swam to the barge half dead with fear; but our good hap was, that we kept the other old Indian, which we handfasted, to redeem our pilot withal; for being natural of those rivers, we assured ourselves he knew the way better than any stranger could; and indeed but for this chance I think we had never found the way either to Guiana or back to our ships; for Ferdinando, after a few days, knew nothing at all, nor which way to turn, yea and many times the old man himself was in great doubt which river to take. Those people which dwell in these broken islands and drowned lands are generally called Tivitivas: there are of them two sorts, the one called Ciawani, and the other Waraweete.