A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 641 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
they suffered extremely for want of water, during which five of them died in consequence of drinking sea-water too freely.  Owing to this necessity they were again obliged to land on the continent, where they found water and fish ready dressed in some Indian houses.  At night these people attacked them, and the cacique of Apalache whom they had hitherto kept along with them made his escape, leaving a mantle of sables behind him so strongly scented with ambergris that it could be smelt from a considerable distance.  Obliged to reimbark, and the weather proving stormy, the barks were all dispersed, and none of them ever more heard of except that in which Cabeza de Vaca was, which was thrown ashore.  Panfilo de Narvaez and most of his men were assuredly lost in the storm, or destroyed by the Indians on shore; though there was a foolish report long current that he had penetrated to the South Sea.

[Footnote 133:  These intricacies may possibly have been between Mobile Bay, and the western bay of Spiritu Santo at the mouths of the Mississippi.—­E.]

* * * * *

SECTION III.

Adventures and wonderful escape of Cabeza de Vaca, after the loss of Narvaez.

When cast on shore, as mentioned at the close of the former section, Cabeza de Vaca and the people along with him were relieved by the Indians; and on endeavouring again to put to sea, the bark was overset, three of the Spaniards were drowned, and Cabeza and a few more got again on shore, naked and without arms.  On seeing the miserable plight of these unhappy Spaniards, the Indians came to them with provisions, sat down by them and lamented their misfortunes, carried them to their houses, and made fires by the way to warm them, otherwise they must have perished with the cold, as they were naked and it was now the month of November.  They were put into a house with a good fire, the natives dancing all night close by them, which the Spaniards were sadly afraid was a prelude to their being sacrificed next day.  But as they were plentifully supplied with provisions they began to recover their spirits and confidence next day.  Cabeza de Vaca and his companions were soon afterwards joined by the Spaniards who had escaped from the wreck of another bark.  At first they were in all eighty men; but in a short time their number was reduced to fifteen, as they were forced to winter on the island, exposed to excessive cold and great scarcity of provisions.  Owing to their misfortunes, they called this Isola de Mal-hado, or the isle of Bad-Luck[134].

[Footnote 134:  As we have no information in the text which could lead to suppose that Cabeza ever crossed the great river Missisippi, either before landing on the island of Mal-hado, or in his subsequent journey to New Spain, the isle of Bad-Luck may have been to the west of the Missisippi.—­E.]

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