Printed for the Hakluyt Society,
Text on page 111
GRAIN AND ROOTS.
for they say that they are part of the body, and demand burial as it does; and, indeed, they fold them neatly in cotton; and most of them like to be shaved at the gates of temples and mosques. They are very handy in this matter, and use no warm water for shaving ; their razors cut exceeding ill. They only pass a little cold water over the surface, and however bad a business they make of it, they make 110 complaint, and aver it gives them no pain. I used to take greater precaution, and had the water warmed, and soaked my hair a long while; but sometimes I thought they would rasp all my skin off and tear up my hair by the roots. It is a matter of habit with them, for otherwise they would be as sensitive as we. But it is time to come to a particular description of these islands.
The Maldives are very fertile in fruit and other commodities necessary for human life. There is millet in abundance, which they call Oura, as well as another small grain called Bimby1 which is like millet, except that it is black like turnip-seed. These grains are sown and reaped twice a year. They make of them a kind of flour, whereof they concoct a gruel with milk and coco-milk, and also cakes and fritters, and many other comfits. There grow there also roots of divers kinds, on which they live ; among others, one called Itelpoul,2 which is plentiful without being sown; it
1 M. lira; Sin. tana hal (Setaria Italica) ; M. bimbi; Sin. kurakkan (Cynosurus corocanus). Mr. Bell mentions the former as grown in the southern, the latter in the northern atolls. He also mentions a second kind of milletaM. kudibai; Sin. meneri (Panicum miliaceum)aas found in the south (Report, 84). u All the Maldive islands are destitute of grain, except that in the province of Souweid (Suadiva) there is a cereal like the anly, which is brought thence to Mahal (Male)1a (Ibn Bat., iv, 112).
2 M. hittala-fu (fu = a floura) ; Sin. hiritala (Dioscorea oppositifolia). From it, as Ibn Batuta says, u the natives prepare a flour, with which they make a kind of vermicelli, and this they cook in coco-nut water; it is one of the most agreeable dishes in the world. I had a great taste for it, and ate it often.a2 M. hittala-fu (fu = a floura ) ; Sin. hiritala (Dioscorea oppositifolia). From it, as Ibn Batuta says, u the natives prepare a flour, with which they make a kind of vermicelli, and this they cook in coco-nut water; it is one of the most agreeable dishes in the world. I had a great taste for it, and ate it often.a