HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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SIR SAMUEL WHITE BAKER
CYPRUS AS I SAW IT IN 1879
page 50

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ι, j GlFSY-VANS ENCOUNTER DIFFICULTIES. the least, the " magpies. " These birds exist in such numbers that unless steps are taken to destroy them it will be hopeless to expect any increase of game. When a magpie wakes in the early morning his first thought is mischief, and during the breeding season there is no bird who makes egg-hunting so especially his occupation. Upon the treeless plains of Cyprus every nest is at his mercy. ' From the base of the barren hill-range a fertile plain slopes towards the sea for a width of about four miles, having received the soil that has been washed from the denuded heights. This rich surface is cultivated with cereals, but there are considerable portions which are covered with a dense mass of thistles, as the land is allowed to rest for a couple of years after having been exhausted by several crops without manuring. On the lowlands of Cyprus nearly every plant or bush is armed with thorns. I have generally observed that a thorny vegetation is a proof of a burning climate, with a slight rainfall. In the scorching districts of the Soudan there is hardly a tree without thorns to the tenth degree of north latitude, at which limit the rainfall is great and the vegetation changes its character. The Cypriotes of both sexes wear high boots to the knees as a protection from the countless thistles, and not as an armour against snakes, as some writers have assumed. These boots are peculiar in their construction ; the soles are about an inch in thickness, formed of several layers of leather, which are fastened together by large-headed nails from beneath ; these are directed in an oblique line, so as to pass through the edge of the upper leather and secure it to the sole exactly as the shoe of a horse is fitted to the hoof. The nails are long and thin, and are riveted by turning the D

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