The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

pices, with vast masses of earth and rock; tumbling into the valleys with terrific noise, and choking the course of rivers. The fearful sounds in the air and on the earth, the pealing thunder, the vivid lightning, the howling of the wind, the crash of falling trees and rocks, filled every one with affright; and many thought that the end of the world was at hand. Some fled to caverns for safety, for their frail houses were blown down, and the air was filled with the trunks and branches of trees, and even with fragments of rocks, carried along by the fury of the tempest. When the hurricane reached the harbor, it whirled the ships round as they lay at anchor, snapped their cables, and sank three of them, with all who were on board. Others were driven about, dashed against each other, and tossed mere wrecks upon the shore by the swelling surges of the sea, which in some places rolled for three or four miles upon the land. The tempest lasted for three hours. When it had passed away, and the sun again appeared, the Indians regarded each other in mute astonishment and dismay. Never in their memory, nor in the traditions of their ancestors, had their island been visited by such a storm. They believed that the Deity had sent this fearful ruin to punish the cruelties and crimes of the white men, and declared that this people had moved the very air, the water, and the earth, to disturb their tranquil life, and to desolate their island.*


CHAPTER X.
DISCOVERY OF THE MINES OF HAYNA.

[ 1496.]

In the recent hurricane the four caravels of Aguado had been destroyed, together with two others which were in the harbor. The only vessel which survived was the Niña, and that in a very shattered condition. Columbus gave orders to have her immediately repaired, and another caravel constructed out of the wreck of those which had been destroyed. While waiting until they should be ready for sea, he was cheered by tidings of rich mines in the interior of the island, the discovery of which

____________________
*
Ramusio. tom. iii. p. 7. Peter Martyr, decad, i. lib. iv.

-343-

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