Friday, February 06, 2009

Martin Frobisher’s voyage to Baffin Island “for the finding of a passage to Cathay”

But when the people perceived our departure, with great tokens of affection they earnestly called us back again, following us almost to our boats: whereupon our general taking his master with him, who was best acquainted with their manners, went apart unto two of them, meaning, if they could lay sure hold upon them, forcibly to bring them aboard, with intent to bestow certain toys and apparel upon the one, and so to dismiss him with all arguments of courtesy, and retain the other for an interpreter.

The general and his master being met with their two companions together, after they had exchanged certain things the one with the other, one of the savages for lack of better merchandise cut off the tail of his coat (which is a chief ornament among them) and gave it to our general for a present. But he presently upon a watchword given with his master suddenly laid hold upon the two savages. But the ground underfoot being slippery with the snow on the side of the hill, their handfast failed, and their prey escaping ran away and lightly recovered their bows and arrows, which they had hid not far from them behind the rocks. And being only two savages in sight, they so fiercely, desperately, and with such fury assaulted and pursued our general and his master, being altogether unarmed, and not mistrusting their subtlety, that they chased them to their boats, and hurt the general in the buttock with an arrow, who the rather speedily fled back because they suspected a greater number behind the rocks.

But a servant of my Lord of Warwick, called Nicholas Conger, a good footman, and uncumbered with any furniture, having only a dagger at his back, overtook one of them, and being a Cornishman and a good wrestler, showed his companion such a Cornish trick that he made his sides ache against the ground for a month after. And being so stayed, he was taken alive and brought away, but the other escaped

-George Best, 1578


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