1492 eBook

Mary Johnston
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about 1492.

He said more, and he gave many an explicit direction, but that was the gist of all.  Strength, wisdom and charity.

Likewise he spoke to the Indians and they listened and promised and meant good.  An affection had sprung between Guacanagari and Christopherus Columbus.  So different they looked! and yet in the breast of each dwelled much guilelessness and the ability to wonder and revere.  The Viceroy saw in this big, docile ruler of Guarico however far that might extend, one who would presently be baptized and become a Christian chief, man of the Viceroy of Hispaniola, as the latter was man of the Sovereigns of Spain.  All his people would follow Guacanagari.  He saw Christendom here in the west, and a great feudal society, acknowledging Castile for overlord, and Alexander the Sixth as its spiritual ruler.

Guacanagari may have seen friends in the gods, and especially in this their cacique, who with others that they would bring, would be drawn into Guarico and made one and whole with the people of the heron.  But he never saw Guacanagari displanted—­never saw Europe armed and warlike, hungry and thirsty.

The Nina and La Navidad bade with tears each the other farewell.  It was the second of January, fourteen hundred and ninety-three.  We had mass under the palm trees, by the cross, above the fort.  Fray Ignatio blessed the going, blessed the staying.  We embraced, we loved one another, we parted.  The Nina was so small a ship, even there just before us on the blue water!  So soon, so soon, the wind blowing from the land, she was smaller yet, smaller, smaller, a cock boat, a chip, gone!

Thirty-eight white men watched her from the hill above the fort, and of the thirty-eight Juan Lepe was the only one who saw the Admiral come again.


THE butio of this town had been absent for some reason in the great wood those days of the shipwreck and the building of La Navidad.  Now he was again here, and I consorted with him and chiefly from him learned their language.  The Admiral had taken Diego Colon to Spain, and to Spain was gone too Luis Torres, swearing that he would come again.  To Spain was gone Sancho, but Beltran the cook stayed with us.  Pedro and Fernando also.

Time passed.  With the ending of January the heat increased.  The butio knew all manner of simples; he was doctor and priest together.  He had a very simple magic.  He himself did not expect it to reach the Great Spirit, but it might affect the innumerable zemes or under and under-under spirits.  These barbarians, using other words for them, had letter-notion of gnome, sylph, undine and salamander.  All things lived and took offense or became propitious.  Effort consisted in making them propitious.  If the effort was too great one of them killed you.  Then you went to the shadowy caves.  There was a paradise, too, beautiful and easy.  But the Great Spirit could not be hurt and had no wish to hurt any one else, whether zemes or men.  To live with the Great Spirit, that was really the Heron wish, though the little herons could not always see it.

Project Gutenberg
1492 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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