How We Moved On and Were Welcomed
After departing from the Indians whom we left weeping, 1 we went with others to their dwellings and were well received. They brought their children for us to touch their hands and gave us much mesquite flour. The mesquite 2 is a fruit like the carob. It is very bitter while on the tree, but when eaten with dirt, it is sweet and good to eat. This is how they prepare it: they dig a hole in the ground as deep as they wish. They put the fruit into this hole and grind it fine with a pole as thick as a leg and one and a half fathoms long. Besides the dirt, which sticks to the fruit, they add other handfuls of dirt to the hole and grind a while longer. Then they put this into a basket-like vessel and cover the mixture with water. The one who has ground it tastes it and if he does not find it sweet enough he asks for more dirt which he stirs into it. He does this until he considers it sweet enough. All the people sit around and each one takes what he can with his hand. They toss the seeds and the hulls on a piece of hide. The person who did the grinding takes them and puts them into the basket, adding water as before and squeezing the juice and water from them. Then they toss the seeds and hulls onto the piece of hide once again. That way they grind and regrind each batch three or four times. The people who are present at this banquet, which is a great one for them, find that their bellies are swollen by the water and the dirt that they have consumed. With this the Indians had a great celebration for us and they held many dances and areítos while we were with them. While we slept during the nights, six men guarded each one of us, keeping a careful watch at the entrance to our shelters and not allowing anyone to enter until after sunrise.
When we were ready to leave them, some women belonging to a group that lived further away arrived. Finding out where their lodges were, we set out for them, although the Indians pleaded with us to wait until the next day because these lodges were far away and there was no trail to them. They said that the women had arrived tired, but that after they had rested, they would leave with us the following day and be our guides. Nonetheless, we