Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fr. Sebastien Rasles, S.J. In The Land Of The Illinois Indians

Their rivers are covered with swans, bustards, ducks, and teals. One can scarcely travel a league without finding a prodigious multitude of turkeys, who keep together in flocks, often to the number of two hundred. They are much larger than those we seen in France. I had the curiosity to weigh one, which I found to be thirty-six pounds. They have hanging from the neck a kind of tuft of hair, half a foot in length. Bears and stags are found there in very great numbers, and buffaloes and roebucks are also seen in vast herds. Not a year passes but they kill more than a thousand roebucks and more than two thousand buffaloes. From four to five thousand of the latter can often be seen at one view, grazing on the prairies. 
They have a hump on the back and an exceedingly large head. The hair, except that on the head, is curled, and soft as wool. The flesh has naturally a salt taste, and is so light, that although eaten entirely raw, it does not cause the least indigestion. 
When they have killed a buffalo which appears to them too lean, they content themselves with taking the tongue, and going in search of one which is fatter.
Link (here) to the mentioned portion of the book entitled, The Early Jesuit Missions in North America by William Ingraham Kip

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