I sprang to my feet with an oath, and lifting the bow I held I sent an arrow through the vulture and it fell to the earth fluttering and screaming. Then I bade those with me to cut down the corpses of Guatemoc and of the prince of Tacuba and another noble who hung with him, and hollow a deep grave beneath the tree. There I laid them, and there I left them to sleep for ever in its melancholy shadow, and thus for the last time I saw Guatemoc my brother, whom I came from far to save and found made ready for burial by the Spaniard.
Then I turned my face homewards, for now Anahuac had no king to rescue, but it chanced that before I went I caught a Tlascalan who could speak Spanish, and who had deserted from the army of Cortes because of the hardships that he suffered in their toilsome march. This man was present at the murder of Guatemoc and his companions, and heard the Emperor’s last words. It seems that some knave had betrayed to Cortes that an attempt would be made to rescue the prince, and that thereon Cortes commanded that he should be hung. It seems also that Guatemoc met his death as he had met the misfortunes of his life, proudly and without fear. These were his last words: ’I did ill, Malinche, when I held my hand from taking my own life before I surrendered myself to you. Then my heart told me that all your promises were false, and it has not lied to me. I welcome my death, for I have lived to know shame and defeat and torture, and to see my people the slaves of the Teule, but still I say that God will reward you for this deed.’
Then they murdered him in the midst of a great silence.
And so farewell to Guatemoc, the most brave, the best and the noblest Indian that ever breathed, and may the shadow of his tormentings and shameful end lie deep upon the fame of Cortes for so long as the names of both of them are remembered among men!
For two more months I journeyed homeward and at length I reached the City of Pines, well though wearied, and having lost only forty men by various misadventures of travel, to find Otomie in good health, and overjoyed to know me safe whom she thought never to see again. But when I told her what was the end of her cousin Guatemoc she grieved bitterly, both for his sake and because the last hope of the Aztec was gone, and she would not be comforted for many days.
ISABELLA DE SIGUENZA IS AVENGED
For many years after the death of Guatemoc I lived with Otomie at peace in the City of Pines. Our country was poor and rugged, and though we defied the Spaniards and paid them no tribute, now that Cortes had gone back to Spain, they had no heart to attempt our conquest. Save some few tribes that lived in difficult places like ourselves, all Anahuac was in their power, and there was little to gain except hard blows in the bringing of a remnant of the people of the Otomie beneath their yoke, so they let us be