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
How We Escaped

Two days after we moved, 1 we commended ourselves to God our Lord and fled, confident that, although the season was near its end and the prickly pears were almost gone, there would be enough of them left to allow us to march a good distance. Going on our way that day, greatly fearing that the Indians would follow us, we saw some smoke. Going towards it, we arrived there after sundown. There we saw an Indian who fled without waiting for us when he saw us coming. We sent the black man 2 after him, and when the Indian saw that he was going alone, he waited for him. The black man told him we were looking for the people who were making that smoke. He replied that the lodges were near there and that he would guide us there. So we followed him and he ran ahead to announce that we were coming. At sunset we saw the lodges, and at a distance of two crossbow-shots before we reached the lodges, we found four Indians waiting for us. They received us well. We told them in the language of the Mariames that we were looking for them. They indicated that they were pleased with our company and took us to their lodges. Dorantes and the black man stayed in a medicine man's lodge and Castillo and I in another.

These people, called the Avavares, speak another language. They are the ones that would take bows to our Indians and trade with them. Although they are of another people and language, they understand the language of the people with whom we were. They had arrived there 3 with their lodges that very day. Then the people offered us many prickly pears because they had heard about us and how we healed and about the wonderful works that our Lord did through us. If God had done nothing else, it would have been wonderful enough for him to have led our way through such a desolate land and to provide us with people where for a long time there had been none, and to deliver us from so many dangers and not allow us to be killed, and to feed us when we were so hungry, and to inspire those people to treat us well, as we shall explain later.

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