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 NINETEEN
How the Indians Left Us

After I had been with the Christians for six months 1 waiting to carry out our plan, the Indians went to gather prickly pears, that grew about thirty leagues from there. 2 When we were about to flee, the Indians we were with fought among themselves over a woman, hitting one another with fists and sticks and striking one another on the head. They were so angry that each one took his lodge and went off by himself, making it necessary for us Christians who were there to leave also. In no way were we able to come together until the following year.

During this time my life was miserable because I was so hungry and so mistreated by the Indians. I tried to escape from my masters three times, but each time they went after me intending to kill me. God our Lord through his great mercy protected and sheltered me from them. When prickly pear season came again, we came together in the same place, since we had already plotted and picked the day we were to escape. On that day the Indians left us and each one of us went his own way. I told my companions that I would wait for them in the prickly pear fields until the time of the full moon. That day was the first of September 3 and the first day of the new moon. I told them that if they did not appear at the time we agreed upon, I would go away without them. So we left, each with his own Indians. I was with mine until the thirteenth day of the moon, and I had decided to flee to other Indians once the moon was full.

On the thirteenth day of the month, Andrés Dorantes and Estebanico came to where I was and told me how Castillo was nearby with other Indians called the Anagados. They told me that they had had great difficulties and had gotten lost and that on the following day our Indians had moved towards where Castillo was. They were going to join the others and become friends, since they had been at war until then. In this manner we found Castillo.

The whole time that we ate the prickly pears we were thirsty. To quench our thirst we drank prickly pear juice. We squeezed the juice into a hole we made in the ground, and when it was filled we drank until we were satisfied.

-74-

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