He looked at me, and then from a little trickling spring he took water in a calabash no larger than an orange and from another vessel a white dust which he stirred into it, and made me drink. I did not know what it was, but I went to sleep.
But that sleep did not refresh. It was filled with heavy and dreadful dreams, and I woke with an aching head and a burning skin. Juan Lepe who had nursed the sick down there in La Navidad knew feebly what it was. He saw in a mist the naked priest, his friend and rescuer, seated upon the sandy floor regarding him with a wrinkled brow and compressed lips, and then he sank into fever visions uncouth and dreadful, or mirage-pleasing with a mirage-ecstasy.
Juan Lepe did not die, but he lay ill and like to die for two months. It was deep in October, that day at dawn when I came quietly, evenly, to myself again, and lay most weak, but with seeing eyes. At first I thought I was alone in the cavern, but then I saw Guarin where he lay asleep.
That day I strengthened, and the next day and the next. But I had lain long at the very feet of death, and full strength was a tortoise in returning. So good to Juan Lepe was Guarin!
Now he was with me, and now he went away to that village where was Guacanagari. He had done this from the first coming here, nursing me, then going down through the forest to see that all was well with his wounded cacique and the folk whose butio he was. They knew his ways and did not try to keep him when he would return to the mountain, to “make medicine.” So none knew of the cavern or that there was one Spaniard left alive in all Hayti.
I strengthened. At last I could draw myself out of cave and lie, in the now so pleasant weather, upon the ledge before it. All the vast heat and moisture was gone by; now again was weather of last year when we found San Salvador.
I could see ocean. No sail, and were he returning, surely it should have been before this! He might never return.
When Guarin was away I sat or lay or moved about a small demesne and still prospered. There were clean rock, the water, the marvelous forest. He brought cassava cake, fruit, fish from the sea. He brought me for entertainment a talking parrot, and there lived in a seam of the rock a beautiful lizard with whom I made friends. The air was balm, balm! A steady soft wind made cataract sound in the forest. Sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight, were great glories.
It was November; it was mid-November and after.
Now I was strong and wandered in the forest, though never far from that cliff and cavern. It was settled between us that in five days I should go down with Guarin to Guacanagari. He proposed that I should be taken formally into the tribe. They had a ceremony of adoption, and after that Juan Lepe would be Guarico. He would live with and teach the Guaricos, becoming butio—he and Guarin butios together. I pondered it. If the Admiral came not again it was the one thing to do.