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 SEVENTEEN
How the Indians Came and Brought
Andrés Dorantes and Castillo and Estebanico

Two days after Lope de Oviedo left, the Indians 1 holding Alonso del Castillo and Andrés Dorantes came to the aforementioned place, 2 to eat those nuts, upon which they subsist solely for two months of the year, ground with small grains. And they do not have this every year because they only come here every other year. The nuts are the size of Galician walnuts and grow on very large trees, of which there are many. 3

An Indian informed me that the Christians had arrived, telling me that if I wanted to see them I should hide and flee to the edge of a forest towards which he pointed, because he and some relatives of his were going to see those Indians and would take me with them to where the Christians were. I decided to trust them and follow the suggestion, because they spoke a language different from that of my Indians. The next day we carried out the plan and they found me in the place we had agreed upon and took me with them. When I arrived near the place where they lived, Andrés Dorantes came out to see who it was, since the Indians had told him that a Christian was coming. When he saw me he was terrified because they thought I had died many days before, and the Indians had told them so. We thanked God very much for being together, and that day was one of the happiest of our lives. When we got to where Castillo was, they asked me where I was going. I told him that my plan was to go to a land of Christians and that I wanted to undertake that search and course. Andrés Dorantes replied that he had been urging Castillo and Estebanico to press onward, but that they did not dare because they did not know how to swim and greatly feared the rivers and inlets they would have to cross, for there are many in that land. Since God our Lord had seen fit to spare me through all my hardships and illnesses and bring me at last to be with them, I agreed to carry them across any rivers or bays that we found if they decided that they wanted to flee. They warned me not to let the Indians know in any way that I wanted to press on because then they would kill me. They told me I should spend six months with them,

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