the Royal family resided in Shoa. All the churches in Abyssinia are thatched. Some of Roderigo's own retinue, who bore him ill-will, had put it into the king's head how elegant this church would be if covered with lead, a thing he certainly could have no idea of. He asked Don Roderigo, whether the king of Portugal could not send him as much sheet-lead as would serve to cover that church? To which the ambassador replied, That the king of Portugal, upon bare mentioning the thing, would fend him as much sheet-lead as would cover not only that church, but all the other churches he should ever build in Abyssinia; and, after all, the present would be but a trifling one.
Immediately upon this the king changed his discourse; and observed to the ambassador, in a very serious tone of voice, "That, since they were now upon the subject of presents, he could not help letting the king of Portugal know, that, if ever he sent an ambassador again into that country, he should take care to accompany him with presents of value, for otherwise stranger ambassadors that ventured to come before him without these were very ill received." To which the ambassador returned warmly, "That it was very far from being the custom of the king of Portugal to send presents to any king upon earth; that, having no superior, it was usual for him, only to receive them from others, and to accept them or not, according to his royal pleasure; for it was infinitely below him to consider what was the value of the present itself. He then desired the king of Abyssinia might be informed, that he, Don Roderigo, came ambassador from the general of the Indies, and not from the king of Portugal; nevertheless, when the king of Portugal had lately dispatch-
- Alvarez Histojre d'Ethjopjc, p. 157.