Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 105
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 105
 
stood very many miles apart. One of these little houses stood on an old Indian mound, exactly like the mounds which form the only hillocks along the lower Mississippi, and which are also of Indian origin. These occasional Indian mounds, made ages ago, are the highest bits of ground in the immense swamps of the upper Paraguay region. There are still Indian tribes in this neighborhood. We passed an Indian fishing village on the edge of the river, with huts, scaffoldings for drying the fish, hammocks, and rude tables. They cultivated patches of bananas and sugar-cane. Out in a shallow place in the river was a scaffolding on which the Indians stood to spear fish. The Indians were friendly, peaceable souls, for the most part dressed like the poorer classes among the Brazilians.
  Next morning there was to have been a great rodeó or round-up, and we determined to have a hunt first, as there were still several kinds of beasts of the chase, notably tapirs and peccaries, of which the naturalists desired specimens. Dom João, our host, and his son accompanied us. Theirs is a noteworthy family. Born in Matto Grosso, in the tropics, our host had the look of a northerner and, although a grandfather, he possessed an abounding vigor and energy such as very few men of any climate or surroundings do possess. All of his sons are doing well. The son who was with us was a stalwart, powerful man, a pleasant companion, an able public servant, a finished horseman, and a skilled hunter. He carried a sharp spear, not a rifle, for in Matto Grosso it is the custom in hunting the jaguar for riflemen and spearmen to go in at him together when he turns at

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