« PreviousContinue »
place, the women whom we sent away re- seated with their faces turned to the turned, and said they had found very wall, their heads down, the hair brought few people; nearly all had gone for cat- before their eyes, and their property placed tle, being then in the season. We ordered in a heap in the middle of the house. From the convalescent to remain and the well this place they began to give us many to go with us, and that at the end of blankets of skin; and they had nothing two days' journey those women should they did not bestow. They have the finest go with two of our number to fetch up persons of any people we saw, of the the people, and bring them on the road to greatest activity and strength, who best receive us. Consequently, the next morn- understood us and intelligently answered ing the most robust started with us. our inquiries. We called them the Cow
At the end of three days' travel we nation, because most of the cattle killed stopped, and the next day Alonzo del Cas- are slaughtered in their neighborhood, and tillo set out with Estevanico, the negro, along up that river for over 50 leagues taking the two women as guides. She they destroy great numbers. that was the captive led them to the river They go entirely naked after the manwhich ran between some ridges, where was ner of the first we saw. The women are a town at which her father lived; and dressed with deer skin, and some few men, these habitations were the first seen, hav- mostly the aged, who are incapable of ing the appearance and structure of fighting. The country is very populous. houses.
We asked how it was they did not plant Here Castillo and Estevanico arrived, maize. They answered it was that they and, after talking with the Indians, Cas- might not lose what they should put in tillo returned at the end of three days to the ground; that the rains had failed for the spot where he had left us, and brought two years in succession, and the seasons five or six of the people. He told us he were so dry the seed had everywhere been had found fixed dwellings of civilization, taken by the moles, and they could not that the inhabitants lived on beans and venture to plant again until after water pumpkins, and that he had seen maize. had fallen copiously. They begged us This news the most of anything delighted to tell the sky to rain, and to pray for us, and for it we gave infinite thanks to it, and we said we would do so. We also our Lord. Castillo told us the negro was desired to know whence they got the maize, coming with all the population to wait and they told us from where the sun for us in the road not far off. Accordingly goes down; there it grew throughout the we left, and, having travelled a league region, and the nearest was by that path.. and a half, we met the negro and the Since they did not wish to go thither, we people coming to receive us. They gave us asked by what direction we might best beans, many pumpkins, calabashes, blank- proceed, and bade them inform us conets of cowhide, and other things. As this cerning the way; they said the path was people and those who came with us along up by that river towards the north, were enemies, and spoke not each other's for otherwise in a journey of seventeen language, we discharged the latter, giv- days we should find nothing to eat, except ing them what we received, and we de- a fruit they call chacan, that is ground parted with the others. Six leagues from between stones, and even then it could there, as the night set in we arrived at with difficulty be eaten for its dryness the houses, where great festivities were and pungency — which was true. They made over us. We remained one day, and showed it to us there, and we could the next set out with these Indians. They not eat it. They informed us also took us to the settled habitations of that, whilst we travelled by the river others, who lived upon the same food. upward, we should all the way pass
From that place onward was another through a people that were their eneusage. Those who knew of our approach mies, who spoke their tongue, and, though did not come out to receive us on the they had nothing to give us to eat, they road as the others had done, but we found would receive us with the best good-will, them in their houses, and they had made and present us with mantles of cotton, others for our reception. They were all hides, and other articles of their wealth. Still it appeared to them we ought by of it, until reaching permanent habitano means to take that course.
tions, where was abundance of maize Doubting what it would be best to do, brought together. They gave us a large and which way we should choose for quantity in grain and flour, pumpkins, suitableness and support, we remained two beans, and shawls of cotton. With all days with these Indians, who gave us beans these we loaded our guides, who went back and pumpkins for our subsistence. Their the happiest creatures on earth. We gave method of cooking is so new that for thanks to God, our Lord, for having its strangeness I desire to speak of it; brought us where we had found so much thus it may be seen and remarked how food. curious and diversified are the contriv. Some houses are of earth, the rest all ances and ingenuity of the human family. of cane mats. From this point we marchNot having discovered the use of pipkins, ed through more than a hundred leagues to boil what they would eat, they fill of country, and continually found settled the half of a large calabash with water, domiciles, with plenty of maize and beans. and throw on the fire many stones of such The people gave us many deer and cotton as are most convenient and readily take shawls better than those of New Spain, the heat. When hot, they are taken up many beads and certain corals found on with tongs of sticks and dropped into the South sea, and fine turquoises that the calabash until the water in it boils come from the North. Indeed, they gave from the fervor of the stones. Then us everything they had. To me they gave whatever is to be cooked is put in, and five emeralds made into arrow-heads, until it is done they continue taking out which they use at their singing and dancooled stones and throwing in hot ones. cing. They appeared to be very precious. Thus they boil their food.
I asked whence they got these; and they Two days being spent while we tarried, said the stones were brought from some we resolved to go in search of the maize. lofty mountains that stand towards the We did not wish to follow the path lead- north, where were populous towns and ing to where the cattle are, because it very large houses, and that they were is towards the north, and for us very purchased with plumes and the feathers circuitous, since we ever held 'it certain of parrots. that going towards the sunset we must Among this people the women are treatfind what we desired.
ed with more decorum than in any part Thus we took our way, and traversed of the Indias we had visited. They wear all the country until coming out at the a shirt of cotton that falls as low as the South sea. Xor was the dread we had knee, and over it half sleeves with skirts of the sharp hunger through which we reaching to the ground, made of dressed should have to pass (as in verity we did, deer skin. It opens in front and is brought throughout the seventeen days' journey of close with straps of leather. They soap which the natives spoke) sufficient to hin- this with a certain root that cleanses der us. During all that time, in ascend- well, by which they are enabled to keep ing by the river, they gave us many cov- it becomingly. Shoes are worn. The erings of cow-hide; but we did not eat of people all came to us that we should the fruit. Our sustenance each day was touch and bless them, they being very about a handful of deer-suet, which we urgent, which we could accomplish only had a long time been used to saying for with great labor, for sick and well all such trials. Thus we passed the entire wished to go with a benediction. journey of seventeen days, and at the closeThese Indians ever accompanied us unwe crossed the river and travelled other til they delivered us to others; and all seventeen days.
held full faith in our coming from heaven. As the sun went down, upon some plains While travelling, we went without food that lie between chains of very great moun- all day until night, and we ate so little tains, we found a people who for the as to astonish them. We never felt exthird part of the year eat nothing but the haustion, neither were we in fact at all powder of straw, and, that being the sea- weary, so inured were we to hardship. son when we passed, we also had to eat We possessed great influence and author.
ity: to preserve both, we seldom talked cover their nudity. They are a timid and with them. The negro was in constant dejected people. conversation; he informed himself about We think that near the coast by way the ways we wished to take, of the towns of those towns through which we came are there were, and the matters we desired more than a thousand leagues of inhabited to know.
country, plentiful of subsistence. Three We passed through many and dissimi- times the year it is planted with maize lar tongues. Our Lord granted us favor and beans. Deer are of three kinds; one with the people who spoke them, for they the size of the young steer of Spain. always understood us, and we them. We There are innumerable houses, such as are questioned them, and received their an- called bahíos. They have poison from a swers by signs, just as if they spoke our certain tree the size of the apple. For eflanguage and we theirs; for, although we fect no more is necessary than to pluck knew six languages, we could not every- the fruit and moisten the arrow with it, where avail ourselves of them, there be- or, if there be no fruit, to break a twig ing a thousand differences.
and with the milk do the like. The tree Throughout all these countries the peo- is abundant and so deadly that, if the ple who were at war immediately made leaves be bruised and steeped in some Íriends, that they might come to meet us, neighboring water, the deer and other anand bring what they possessed. In this imals drinking it soon burst. way we left all the land at peace, and we We were in this town three days. A taught all the inhabitants by signs, which day's journey farther was another town, they understood, that in heaven was a at which the rain fell heavily while we Man we called God, who had created the were there, and the river became so swolsky and the earth; him we worshipped len we could not cross it, which detained and had for our master; that we did what us fifteen days. In this time Castillo he commanded and from his hand came saw the buckle of a sword-belt on the neck all good; and would they do as we did, of an Indian and stitched to it the nail all would be well with them. So ready of of a horseshoe. He took them, and we apprehension we found them that, could asked the native what they were: he anwe have had the use of language by which swered that they came from heaven. We to make ourselves perfectly understood, questioned him further, as to who had we should have left them all Christians. brought them thence: they all responded Thus much we gave them to understand that certain men who wore beards like the best we could. And afterward, us had come from heaven and arrived at when the sun rose, they opened their that river, bringing horses, lances, and hands together with loud shouting tow- swords, and that they had lanced two Indards the heavens, and then drew them ians. In a manner of the utmost indifdown all over their bodies. They did ference we could feign, we asked them the same again when the sun went what had become of those men. They andown. They are a people of good condi- swered us that they had gone to sea, puttion and substance, capable in any pur- ting their lances beneath the water, and suit.
going themselves also under the water; In the town where the emeralds were afterwards that they were seen on the presented to us the people gave Dorantes surface going towards the sunset. For orer six hundred open hearts of deer. this we gave many thanks to God our They ever keep a good supply of them for Lord. We had before despaired of ever food, and we called the place Pueblo de hearing more of Christians. Even yet we los Corazones. It is the entrance into were left in great doubt and anxiety, many provinces on the South sea. They thinking those people were merely persons who go to look for them, and do not en- who had come by sea on discoveries. Howter there, will be lost. On the coast is ever, as we had now such exact informano maize: the inhabitants eat the pow. tion, we made greater speed, and, as we der of rush and of straw, and fish that is advanced on our way, the news of the caught in the sea from rafts, not having Christians continually grew. We told the canoes. With grass and straw the women natives that we were going in search of that people, to order them not to kill nor more than two thousand back - loads of make slaves of them, nor take them from maize, which we gave to the distressed their lands, nor do other injustice. Of and hungered beings who guided us to this the Indians were very glad.
that place. The next day we despatched We passed through many territories four messengers through the country, as and found them all vacant: their inhab- we were accustomed to do, that they itants wandered fleeing among the moun- should call together all the rest of the tains, without daring to have houses or Indians at a town distant three days' till the earth for fear of Christians. The march. We set out the day after with all sight was one of infinite pain to us, a the people. The tracks of the Christians land very fertile and beautiful, abounding and marks where they slept were continin springs and streams, the hamlets de- ually seen. At mid-day we met our mes. serted and burned, the people thin and sengers, who told us ihey had found no weak, all fleeing or in concealment. As Indians, that they were roving and hid. they did not plant, they appeased their ing in the forests, fleeing that the Chriskeen hunger by eating roots and the bark tians might not kill nor make them of trees. We bore a share in the famine slaves; the night before they had observed along the whole way; for poorly could the Christians from behind trees, and disthese unfortunates provide for us, them- covered what they were about, carrying selves being so reduced they looked as a way many people in chains. though they would willingly die. They Those who came with us were alarmed brought shawls of those they had con- at this intelligence; some returned to cealed because of the Christians, present. spread the news over the land that the ing them to us; and they related how the Christians were coming; and many more Christians at other times had come would have followed, had we not forbidthrough the land, destroying and burning den it and told them to cast aside their the towns, carrying away half the men, and fear, when they reassured themselves all the women and the boys, while those and were well content. At the time we who had been able to escape were wander- had Indians with us belonging 100 ing about fugitives. We found them so leagues behind, and we were in no condialarmed they dared not remain anywhere. tion to discharge them, that they might They would not nor could they till the return to their homes. To encourage earth, but preferred to die rather than them, we stayed there that night; the day live in dread of such cruel usage as they after we marched and slept on the road. received. Although these showed them. The following day those whom we had selves greatly delighted with us, we feared sent forward as messengers guided us to that on our arrival among those who held the place where they had seen Christians. the frontier, and fought against the Chris- We arrived in the afternoon, and saw at tians, they would treat us badly, and re- once that they told the truth. We pervenge upon us the conduct of their ene- ceived that the persons were mounted, by mies; but, when God our Lord was pleased the stakes to which the horses had been to bring us there, they began to dread and tied. respect us as the others had done, and From this spot, called the river Petueven somewhat more, at which we no lit- tan, to the river to which Diego de Guztle wondered. Thence it may at once be man came, we heard of Christians, may seen that, to bring all these people to be be as many as 80 leagues; thence to Christians and to the obedience of the the town where the rains overtook us, Imperial Majesty, they must be won by 12 leagues, and that is 12 leagues from kindness, which is a way certain, and no the South sea. Throughout this region, other is.
wheresoever the mountains extend, we They took us to a town on the edge of saw clear traces of gold and lead, iron, a range of mountains, to which the ascent copper, and other metals. Where the setis over difficult crags. We found many tled habitations are, the climate is hot; people there collected out of fear of the even in January the weather is very Christians. They received us well, and warm. Thence toward the meridian, the presented us all they had. They gave us country unoccupied to the North sea is unhappy and sterile. There we underwent there, and of the manner of my coming, great and incredible hunger. Those who which they accordingly did. From this inhabit and wander over it are a race of river to the town of the Christians, named evil inclination and most cruel customs. San Miguel, within the government of the The people of the fixed residences and province called New Galicia, are 30 leagues. those beyond regard silver and gold with Five days having elapsed, Andrés Doindifference, nor can they conceive of any rantes and Alonzo del Castillo arrived use for them.
with those who had been sent after them. When we saw sure signs of Christians, They brought more than six hundred perand heard how near we were to them, we sons of that community, whom the Chrisgave thanks to God our Lord for having tians had driven into the forests, and who chosen to bring us out of a captivity so had wandered in concealment over the melancholy and wretched. The delight we land. Those who accompanied us so far felt let each one conjecture, when he shall had drawn them out, and given them to remember the length of time we were in the Christians, who thereupon dismissed that country, the suffering and perils we all the others they had brought with underwent. That night I entreated my them. Upon their coming to where I was, companions that one of them should go Alcaraz begged that we would summon back three days' journey after the Chris- the people of the towns on the margin tians who were moving about over the of the river, who straggled about under country, where we had given assurance cover of the woods, and order them to of protection. Neither of them received fetch us something to eat. This last this proposal well, excusing themselves was unnecessary, the Indians being ever because of weariness and exhaustion; and diligent to bring us all they could. Dialthough either might have done better rectly we sent our messengers to call than I, being more youthful and athletic, them, when there came six hundred souls, yet seeing their unwillingness, the next bringing us all the maize in their posmorning I took the negro with eleven Ind- session. They fetched it in certain pots, ians, and, following the Christians by closed with clay, which they had concealed their trail, I travelled 10 leagues, passing in the earth. They brought us whatever three villages, at which they had slept. else they had; but we, wishing only to
The day after I overtook four of them have the provision, gave the rest to the on horseback, who were astonished at the Christians, that they might divide among sight of me, so strangely habited as I was, themselves. After this we had many high and in company with Indians. They words with them; for they wished to stood staring at me a length of time, so make slaves of the Indians we brought. confounded that they neither hailed me In consequence of the dispute, we left nor drew near to make an inquiry. I at our departure many bows of Turkish bade them take me to their chief: accord- shape we had along with us and many ingly we went together half a league to pouches. The five arrows with the points the place where was Diego de Alcaraz, of emerald were forgotten among others, their captain.
and we lost them. We gave the ChrisAfter we had conversed, he stated to me tians a store of robes of cowhide and oththat he was completely undone; he had er things we brought. We found it diffinot been able in a long time to take any cult to induce the Indians to return to Indians; he knew not which way to turn, their dwellings, to feel no apprehension and his men had well begun to experience and plant maize. They were willing to hunger and fatigue. I told him of Cas- do nothing until they had gone with us tillo and Dorantes, who were behind, 10 and delivered us into the hands of other leagues off, with a multitude that con- Indians, as had been the custom; for, if ducted us. He thereupon sent three they returned without doing so, they were cavalry to them, with fifty of the Indians afraid they should die, and, going with us, who accompanied him. The negro return they feared neither Christians nor lances. ed to guide them, while I remained. I Our countrymen became jealous at this, asked the Christians to give me a certifi- and caused their interpreter to tell the cate of the year, month, and day I arrived Indians that we were of them, and for a