The Account: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relación

By Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; Martin A. Favata et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE
How We Cured Some Sick People

The very night we arrived, some Indians came to Castillo telling him that their heads hurt a great deal, and begging him to cure them. After he made the sign of the cross on them and commended them to God, they immediately said that all their pain was gone. They went to their lodges and brought many prickly pears and a piece of venison, which we did not recognize. Since news of this spread among them, many other sick people came to him that night to be healed. Each one brought a piece of venison and we had so much we did not know where to put the meat. We thanked God heartily because his mercy and kindness grew every day. After the healings were finished, they began to dance and perform their areítos and festivities until sunrise. The merrymaking caused by our arrival lasted three days. At the end of the three days, we asked them about the country ahead and about the people that we would find in it and what food was available in it. They replied that throughout that land there were many prickly pears, but that their season was over, and that there were no people, since they had returned home after having gathered the prickly pears. They said that it was a cold land and that there were few hides. Since winter and cold weather were already beginning when we heard this, we decided to spend it with these people.

Five days after we arrived, they went to look for more prickly pears, to a place where there were other peoples and languages. After five days journey with no food, because there were no prickly pears or other fruit on the way, we reached a river 1 where we set up our lodges. Then we went to look for the fruit of certain trees, 2 which is like the kind of lentils used for fodder. 3 Since there are no trails in this whole land, I took a longer time than the others in this search. The people returned and I was left alone. While I was looking for them that night, I got lost. It pleased God that I should find a burning tree, by the fire of which I endured that cold night. In the morning I gathered firewood, made two firebrands and continued searching for them. And I walked this way for five days, always carrying fire and a

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