The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

terra firma or an island.* To the last place at which he touched in Jamaica, he gave the name of the Gulf of Buentiempo (or Fair Weather), on account of the propitious wind which blew for Cuba. Just as he was about to sail, a young Indian came off to the ship, and begged the Spaniards would take him to their country. He was followed by his relatives and friends, who endeavored by the most affecting supplications to dissuade him from his purpose. For some time he was dis tracted between concern for the distress of his family, and an ardent desire to see the home of these wonderful strangers. Curiosity, and the youthful propensity to rove, prevailed; he tore himself from the embraces of his friends, and, that he might not behold the tears of his sisters, hid himself in a secret part of the ship. Touched by this scene of natural affection, and pleased with the enterprising and confiding spirit of the youth, Columbus gave orders that he should be treated with especial kindness.

It would have been interesting to have known something more of the fortunes of this curious savage, and of the impressions made upon so lively a mind by a first sight of the wonders of civilization—whether the land of the white men equalled his hopes; whether, as is usual with savages, he pined amid the splendors of cities for his native forests, and whether he ever returned to the arms of his family. The early Spanish historians seem never to have interested themselves in the feelings or fortunes of these first visitors from the New to the Old World. No further mention is made of this youthful adventurer.


CHAPTER III.
RETURN TO CUBA—NAVIGATION AMONG THE ISLANDS CALLED THE
QUEEN'S GARDENS,

[ 1494.]

Setting sail from the Gulf of Buentiempo, the squadron once more steered for the island of Cuba, and on the 18th of May arrived at a great cape, to which Columbus gave the name of

____________________
*
Hist. del Almirante, cap. 54.

-278-

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