De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 385 pages of information about De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2).
therefore, to come back to the first river, where at least they could safely anchor.  Here the cacique disclosed his treacherous intentions, for while our men were engaged in filling their barrels, he fell upon them, followed by seven hundred naked men, armed in the native fashion, only he and his officers wearing clothing.  He seized the barque, which he smashed to pieces, and in a twinkling the forty-seven Spaniards were pierced with arrow-wounds, before they could protect themselves with their shields.  There was but one man who survived, all the rest perishing from the effects of the poison.  No remedy against this kind of poison was then known, and it was only later that the islanders of Hispaniola revealed it; for there exists an herb in Hispaniola of which the juice, if administered in time, counteracts the poison of the arrows.  Seven other Spaniards escaped the massacre, and took refuge in the trunk of a gigantic tree hollowed by age, where they concealed themselves till night.  But they did not for that reason escape, for at nightfall the ship of Colmenares sailed away, leaving them to their fate, and it is not known what became of them.

Lest I should weary you if I related all the particulars, Most Holy Father, I omit mention of the thousand perilous adventures through which Colmenares finally reached the Gulf of Uraba.  He anchored off the eastern coast, which is sterile, and from that point he rejoined his compatriots on the opposite bank several days later.  The silence everywhere amazed him; for he had expected to find his comrades in those parts.  Mystified by this state of things, he wondered whether the Spaniards were still alive or whether they had settled elsewhere; and he chose an excellent means for obtaining information.  He loaded all his cannon and mortars to the muzzle with bullets and powder, and he ordered fires to be lighted on the tops of the hills.  The cannon were all fired together, and their tremendous detonation made the very earth about the Gulf of Uraba shake.  Although they were twenty-four miles distant, which is the width of the gulf, the Spaniards heard the noise, and seeing the flames they replied by similar fires.  Guided by these lights Colmenares ordered his ships to cross to the western shore.  The colonists of Darien were in a miserable plight, and after the shipwreck of the judge Enciso it was only by the greatest efforts they had managed to exist.  With hands raised to heaven and eyes overflowing with tears of mingled joy and sadness, they welcomed Colmenares and his companions with what enthusiasm their wretched state allowed.  Food and clothing were distributed to them, since they were almost naked.  It only remains, Most Holy Father, to describe the internal dissensions which broke out among the colonists of Uraba over the succession to the command, after they had lost their leaders.

BOOK III

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De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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