Inca's Original DeSoto Writings

Garcilaso de la Vega, the "Inca," wrote this History of the Conquest of Florida based on interviews with DeSoto Expedition survivors. This translation was made by Charmion Shelby in 1935 and published in the University of Alabama's DeSoto Chronicles.                                    A different translation of Garcilaso the Inca, by Barnard Shipp

BY STATE: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia,
                   Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas,
Louisiana, Texas, Retreat, Arkansas, Escape to Mexico      



Florida of the Inca
Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca 1539-1616






Toward the end of August of the year 1539 the general left the city of Santiago de Cuba with fifty mounted men to go to La Havana, having left orders that the rest of the horses, three hundred in number, should come after him in troops of fifty, each group leaving eight days after the previous one so that they might be better accommodated and provided for. He ordered that the infantry and all his household and family should go by sea, sailing around the island, all of them meeting at La Havana. The governor, having arrived there and having seen the destruction that the corsairs had made in the town, assisted its vecinos and inhabitants from his own resources in order to help rebuild their houses; and he repaired as best he could the temple and the images destroyed by the heretics. As soon as they arrived in La Havana, he gave orders that a gentleman named Juan de Anasco, a native of Sevilla who was acting as accountant of his Majesty's imperial hacienda and was a great mariner, cosmographer and astrologer, should go with the most experienced seamen in the two brigantines to the coast and explore the shores of La Florida, to see and note the ports, creeks, or bays that might be there.

The accountant went, and traveled for two months up and down the coast. At the end of this time he returned with a report of what he had seen and brought with him two Indians whom he had seized. Seeing the good results that Juan de Anasco had obtained, the governor ordered that he go back again and make a very careful examination of the coast so that the fleet could go directly to a suitable anchorage without having to cruise along the coast. Juan de Anasco returned on this errand and traveled along the coast with all care and diligence for three months, at the end of which he came back with a more accurate report of what he had seen and discovered there, and where the ships ought to anchor and make land. From this voyage he brought two other Indians whom he had picked up by dint of industry and persuasion. From this the governor and all his people derived much satisfaction, in having the ports where they were to disembark known and examined. At this point Alonso de Carmona adds that (because of Captain Juan de Anasco and his companions having been lost for two months on an uninhabited island where they ate nothing except pelicans, which they killed with clubs, and sea snails, and because of the great risk they ran of being drowned when they returned to La Havana) upon disembarking, all who came in the ship went on their knees from the edge of the water to the church where a mass was said for them; and after having fulfilled their promise, be says, they were very well received by the governor and all his people, who had been made very uneasy by the fear that they had perished at sea, etc.

While the adelantado Hernando de Soto was in La Havana preparing and providing what was necessary for his journey, he learned that Don Antonio de Mendoza, then viceroy of Mexico, was making ready forces to send to conquer La Florida. The general, not knowing to what port he was sending them and fearing that the two might encounter and hinder one another, and that trouble might arise between them as had happened in Mexico between the marques del Valle, Hernando Cortes and Panphilo de Narvaez, who had gone in the name of Governor Diego Velazquez to demand an accounting of the forces and the trust that he had given him, and as had occurred in El Peru between the adelantados Don Diego de Almagro and Don Pedro de Alvarado at the beginning of the conquest of that kingdom - for which reason, and in order to prevent the infamy of selling and buying the men, as they told of those captains, it seemed to Hernando de Soto that it would be well to advise the viceroy of the titles and authority that his Majesty had conceded to him, so that he might be informed of them, and also to request him not to recruit men or hinder his expedition, and if necessary to make requisition and protest with them. He sent to Mexico for this purpose a Galician soldier named San Jurge, an able man capable for any business. He returned within a short time with a reply from the viceroy, who said that the governor might safely make his entrada and conquest in the place that he had indicated, without fear that the two would meet, for he was sending the men whom he had recruited to another region far distant from where the governor was going; that the land of La Florida was so large and broad that there was room for all; and that not only would he not attempt to stop him, but on the other hand he was desirous and willing to help and assist him in case of need, and thus he offered his person and property and everything to which his office and administration gave him access. The governor was satisfied with this reply and very grateful for the viceroy's offer.

By this time, which was the middle of April, all the cavalry that had remained behind in Santiago de Cuba had arrived in La Havana, having traversed by very short stages the 250 leagues, more or less, that lay between the two cities.

The adelantado, seeing that all his forces, both cavalry and infantry, were now assembled in La Havana, and that the time when they would be able to sail was drawing near, named Dona Isabel de Bobadilla, his wife and the daughter of Governor Pedro Arias de Avila, a woman of much goodness and discretion, as governor of that great island, and as her lieutenant a noble and virtuous gentleman named Joan de Rojas. In the city of Santiago he left as lieutenant another of his gentlemen, named Francisco de Guzman. These gentlemen were governing those two cities before the general arrived in the island, and because of the good reports he heard of them, he left them in the same positions that they had before. He (DeSoto) bought a very fine ship called the Santa Ana, which happened to arrive at the port of La Havana at that time. This vessel had come as flagship for the conquest and discovery of the Rio de la Plata with the governor and captain-general Don Pedro de Zuniga y Mendoza, who was lost on the journey and, returning to Spain, died of sickness at sea. The ship arrived at Sevilla from that voyage and returned on another to Mexico, whence it was coming back when Hernando de Soto purchased it; it was so large and fine that he took eighty horses to La Florida in it.



The governor was now very nearly ready to embark to go on his conquest and was only awaiting favorable weather, when another ship entered the port, coming from Nombre de Dios. It appeared that it entered unwillingly, forced by the foul weather it had encountered, for during four or five days in which it contended with contrary winds they saw it come up to the entrance of the port three times and as often return to the open sea, as if avoiding that port, so as not to enter it. But it could not withstand the high seas caused by the storm, and though its principal passenger had offered great inducements to the mariners not to enter that port, they were forced to make it, however unwillingly, being unable to do anything else, for there is no resisting the fury of the sea. Wherefore it must be known that when Hernando de Soto left El Peru to come to Spain, as is told in the first chapter, he had made a compact and association with Hernan Ponce to the effect that both should share that which the two of them might gain or lose during their lives, alike in the repartimientos of Indians that his Majesty might grant them and in the other things of honor and profit they might have. For Hernando de Soto's intention, when he left that land, was to return to it to enjoy the reward he had deserved for the services rendered in its conquest, though later, as has been seen, his thoughts were directed elsewhere. This compact was made then and afterward among many other gentlemen and leading persons who took part in the conquest of El Peru; I even came to know some of them who observed it as if they were brothers, enjoying the repartimientos that had been granted them without dividing them.

Hernan Ponce (whose parentage and country I was unable to learn, except that I heard it said that he was from the kingdom of Leon), after the arrival of Hernando de Soto in Spain, received in El Peru a very rich repartimiento of Indians (a concession which the marques, Don Francisco Pizarro, made him in his Majesty's name), which gave him much gold and silver and many precious stones. With these things and with what more he could collect as the value of jewels and household furniture, for then everything was sold in exchange for gold, and with the collection of some debts that Hernando de Soto had left him, he was coming to Spain very well supplied with money. Since he had learned in Nombre de Dios or in Cartagena that Hernando de Soto was in La Havana with such a collection of men and ships to go to La Florida, he desired to pass by at a distance without touching there, in order not to make an accounting between them and share with him things that he was bringing. He even feared that he might take possession of all of it, as a man who was necessitated to do because of heavy expenditures. This was the reason why he had held out for avoiding that port if he could, but it was not possible because fortune and storms at sea have no respect for anyone, and slight or favor whomever they wish. As soon as the vessel entered the harbor, and the governor learned that Hernan Ponce was aboard, he sent visitors to welcome him and offer him his lodgings and all the rest of his possessions, offices and honors, for as companion and brother he owned the half of what he had and could command. Following this greeting, he went in person to see him and bring him ashore.

Hernan Ponce did not desire so much courtesy and brotherliness, but after they had spoken together with the usual fair and polite words, dissimulating his anxiety, he excused himself as best he could from going ashore, saying that because of his great labor and little sleep during those four or five days of storm at sea they were not ready to disembark; that he requested his lordship to permit that he remain aboard the ship, for that night at least, and that in the morning, if he were better, he would come to kiss his hands and receive and enjoy all the courtesies that he offered him. The governor let him have his own way, to show him that he did not wish to oppose him in anything, but sensing his ill will, he ordered very secretly that guards be posted by sea and by land who should keep a careful watch during the ensuing night and see what Hernan Ponce himself was doing.

The latter, not trusting in his companion's courtesy, nor being able to understand that it could be so great as he later saw it to be, nor taking counsel of anything except avarice (whose counsels always are to the prejudice of him who takes them), prepared to place under cover and conceal on land a large part of the gold and precious stones he was carrying, not considering that in that whole region he could not find a safe place for it, either on sea or on land, where it would be better to trust to the good will of another than to his own care; but the timid and suspicious always chooses a remedy which is a greater evil and injury. Thus did this gentleman, who, leaving the silver in order to make a show with it, ordered all the gold, pearls, and precious stones he was bringing in two small coffers, all of which exceeded 40,000 pesos in value, to be taken from the ship at midnight and carried to the pueblo to the house of a friend, or to be buried on the shore [near the) ship, so as to come back and recover it after the quarrel he feared he would have with Hernando de Soto. But the opposite happened, because the guards and sentries who were watching, concealed in the woods, which are very luxuriant in that port and along the whole coast, seeing the small boat coming toward them, remained quiet until whomever it was carrying should disembark, and when they saw the people on land at a distance from the boat they accosted them. The latter, abandoning the treasure, fled to the boat; some reached it and others jumped into the water in order not to be killed or taken prisoner. Those on shore, gathering up the spoils, took all of it to the governor, which occasioned him sorrow, seeing that his companion had become so suspicious of his friendship and amity as was shown by that act. He ordered it to be kept concealed until he saw how Hernan Ponce would come out of the business.



When the next day came Hernan Ponce left his ship in such grief and affliction at having lost his treasure when he was thinking to put it in safety, but dissimulating his sorrow, he went to lodge at the governor's inn, and they talked together alone for a long time about things past and present. Coming to the incident of the night before, Hernando de Soto complained to him with much feeling about the lack of confidence that he had shown in his friendship and brotherliness, for not trusting to it, he had attempted to conceal his property, fearing that he would take it away from him, which he was as far from doing as his future actions would show. So saying, he ordered brought before him everything that had been taken on the night before from the people on the boat and gave it to Hernan Ponce, bidding him look to see if anything were missing, and if so he would have it restored. And so that he might see how different his intent had been in not breaking the association and bond he had formed, he made him to understand that everything that he had spent to make that conquest, and his having asked it of his Majesty, had been under this union, so that the honor and profit of the expedition might go to both; and he could confirm this from the witnesses who were there, in whose presence he had executed the instruments and declarations necessary for it. For his further satisfaction, if he [Hernan Ponce] desired to go on that conquest, or not to go, as he liked, he [De Soto] said that whatever he chose to do he would at once renounce in his favor whatever title or titles he might desire to have therein of those his Majesty had granted to him. He said furthermore that he would be much pleased if be would advise him of everything that would be conducive to his desires, honor, and advantage, so that he might accede to his wishes, much to the contrary of what he had feared.

Hernan Ponce was confused by the governor's great generosity and by his own too great suspicion, and omitting explanations, for he found none to excuse him, he replied that he begged his lordship to pardon his past error and to be good enough to continue and confirm the favors that he had done him in calling him companion and brother, in which he held himself to be very fortunate without pretending to any higher title, because for him there could be none. He desired only that the instruments of their association and friendship be renewed in order to acknowledge it more publicly, that his lordship be attended by very good fortune on the conquest, and that he allow him to go to Spain. God granting them life and health, they would again enjoy their companionship, and afterward, if they wished, they would divide what they had gained. As a sign that he accepted for himself half of that which might be conquered, he begged his lordship to permit that Dona Isabel de Bobadilla his wife receive io,ooo pesos in gold and silver to help defray the expenses of the expedition, for in accordance with the terms of the association there belonged to his lordship half of what he was bringing from El Peru, which was a larger amount. The governor took pleasure in doing what Hernan Ponce asked, and much to the satisfaction of both there were renewed the writings of their association and friendship, and they maintained it during the time they were in La Havana. The governor directed his people secretly and led them by example in public to treat Hernan Ponce as they would [the governor], and this was done; all addressed him as lordship and respected him as the adelantado himself.

The matters we have told being concluded, and it appearing to the governor that the time was now propitious for navigation, he ordered the supplies and other things that were to be taken to be embarked with all haste, and when all were loaded on the ships and ready to go, the horses were embarked. In the ship Santa Ana were eighty; in the ship San Cristobal, sixty; in that called Concepcion, forty; and in the other three smaller vessels, the San Joan, Santa Barbara, and San Anton, they embarked seventy; in all they took 350 horses on this expedition. When the military forces were embarked, which with those of the island who desired to go on this conquest, not counting the sailors of the eight ships, the caravel, and the brigantines, [they] came to a thousand men, all excellent people, well trained in arms, with equipment for themselves and trappings for their horses, so that neither up to that time nor afterward has there been seen here such a good force of men and horses assembled at one place for any expedition made in the conquest of the Indians.

Concerning the whole matter of ships, men, horses and military equipment, Alonso de Carmona and Juan Coles are in accord in their accounts.

The governor and adelantado Hernando de Soto took this number of ships, horses, and fighting men, exclusive of mariners, from the port of La Havana when he set sail on May 12 of the year 1539 to make the entrada and conquest of La Florida. He took his fleet so well supplied with all kinds of provisions that one seemed to be rather in a very well-provisioned city than navigating on the sea. There we shall leave him to return to a new disturbance that Hernan Ponce caused in La Havana, where under pretext of obtaining fresh provisions and awaiting a better season for the voyage to Spain, he had remained until the governor's departure.

Thus it is that, eight days after the general sailed, Hernan Ponce presented a writing to Juan de Rojas, the lieutenant governor, saying that he had given Hernando de Soto Io,ooo pesos in gold that he did not owe, impelled by the fear that he would take away from him, since he had the power, all of the property he was bringing from El Peru. Therefore he demanded that Dona Isabel de Bobadilla, Hernando de Soto's wife, who had received them, be required to return them; otherwise he protested that he would complain of it before the majesty of the emperor, our lord.

When Dona Isabel de Bobadilla knew of this demand she replied that there were between Hernan Ponce and Hernando de Soto her husband many accounts both old and new that must be settled, as would appear from the instruments of the company and association formed between them. From the same it was apparent that Hernan Ponce owed Hernando de Soto more than 50,000 ducats, which was half of the expenditure he had made for that conquest. She therefore ordered the justice to take Hernan Ponce into custody and keep him well guarded until the accounts might be adjusted, which she offered to do at once in her husband's name. Hernan Ponce learned of this reply before the justice performed his duty (for there are double spies wherever there is money), and in order not to get into more difficulties and dangers like the past ones, he set sail and came to Spain, without awaiting the settlement of accounts, in which he would have been found to owe a large sum of money. Very often the avarice of self-interest blinds men's judgment, though they be rich and noble, causing them to do things that serve only to display and publish the meanness and depravity of their spirits.


Where it is told how the GOVERNOR ARRIVED IN LA FLORIDA, and
found traces of Panphilo de Narvaez, and a Christian captive;
the tortures and the cruel life the Indians gave him; the
generosity of an Indian lord of vassals; the preparations
that were made for the discovery; the events that took
place in the first eight provinces they discovered;
and the wild ferocity, in words and deeds,
of an overbold cacique. It contains
thirty chapters.



The governor Hernando de Soto, who as we said was sailing toward La Florida, sighted its shores on the last day of May, having spent nineteen days at sea because of encountering unfavorable weather. The vessels anchored in a deep and good bay, which they named El Espiritu Santo, and because it was late, no one disembarked that day. On the first of June the small boats went to the shore and returned laden with grass for the horses, and they brought also many green grapes from the vines they found growing wild in the woods. The Indians of all this great kingdom of La Florida do not cultivate this plant or regard it as highly as do other nations, though they eat its fruit when it is well ripened or made into raisins. Our people were much pleased with these good specimens they brought from the land, for they were similar to the grapes of Spain, and they had not found them in the lands of Mexico nor in the whole of El Peru. On the second day of June the governor ordered that three hundred infantry go ashore for the act and ceremony of taking possession of the land for the Emperor Charles V, King of Spain. Following the ceremony, the men marched all day along the coast without seeing a single Indian, and they remained that night and slept on land. Toward dawn the Indians fell upon them with such impetuosity and boldness that they retreated to the water's edge, and as they sounded the alarm both infantry and cavalry came out from the ships to their assistance as rapidly as if they had been on land.

The lieutenant general Vasco de Porcallo was in command of the relief party, and he found the infantry who were on the shore as confused and perturbed as raw recruits, getting in one another's way in fighting, and some of them already wounded with arrows. Having brought up the relief and followed the enemy for some distance, they returned to their quarters and had scarcely reached them when the lieutenant general's horse fell dead from an arrow wound near the saddle, which they gave him during the skirmish; the arrow passed through the trappings, saddletree and pads, and penetrated the ribs more than a third [of its length], up to the notch. Vasco Porcallo was much gratified that the first horse employed in the conquest and the first lance thrown against the enemy should have been his.

On this day and the next they continued to disembark the horses, and all the people went ashore. Having rested for eight or nine days and left orders with regard to the ships, they marched inland a little more than two leagues to the pueblo of a cacique (an Indian chief) named Hirrihigua [Rangel calls this the land of a chief named Ocita, Elvas says Ucita], with whom Panphilo de Narviez had fought when he went to conquer that province. Although afterward the Indian had been induced to become a friend, during that time, it is not known for what reason, Panphilo de Narviez, angered, had committed certain offenses against him, which as they are so detestable are not recounted (but mentioned below). Because of these injustices and offenses the cacique (chief) Hirrihigua was left with such fear and hatred of the Spaniards that when he learned of the coming of Hernando de Soto to his country he went to the forest, abandoning his house and pueblo, and despite the friendly messages, gifts and promises the governor sent him by his Indian subjects whom he seized, he was never willing to come back peaceably nor to hear any of the messages he sent him. On the other hand he was incensed against those who brought them, saying that since they knew how offended and aggrieved he was with that nation they should have known better than to bring him their messages; that if it were their heads, he would receive them with pleasure, but their words and names he had no desire to hear. All this and more can infamy bring about, especially if it was done without blame on the part of the injured. So that the extent of this Indian's fury against the Spaniards may be better seen, it is fitting to tell here some of the cruelties and martyrdoms he imposed upon four Spaniards who must have been of Panphilo de Narvaez's party, which though it will prolong our History somewhat is not beside the point, but rather will be very useful for it.

Some days, then, after Panphilo de Narviez left the country of this cacique (chief), having done what we have told, there came to that bay one of his ships that had remained behind, in search of him. Inasmuch as the cacique suspected that it was one of Narviez's ships and that it was searching for him, he wished to capture all who were in it and burn them alive. In order to secure them, he feigned friendship for Panphilo de Narvaez and sent word to them saying that their captain had been there and had left orders as to what that ship was to do if it should make that port; and to persuade them to believe him, he showed from land two or three sheets of white paper and some old letters he had obtained from past friendship with the Spaniards or in some other manner, and had kept carefully.

In spite of all this, those on the ship were cautious and did not wish to go ashore. Then the cacique (chief) sent four of his principal Indians to the ship in a canoe, saying that since they did not trust him he was sending those four men, nobles and caballeros (nobles of highest rank), as hostages and security so that the Spaniards who desired word of their captain Panphilo de Narvaez might leave the ship, and if they still were not reassured, he offered to send them further pledges. Seeing this, four Spaniards came out and entered the canoe with the Indians who had brought the hostages. The cacique, who desired all of them, seeing that only four were coming, did not insist further upon asking for more Castilians, in order that these few who were going to him might not be alarmed and return to the ship.

As soon as the Spaniards set foot on the shore, the four Indians who had remained in the ship as hostages, seeing that the Christians were now in the power of their people, threw themselves into the water, and, diving deeply and swimming like fish, they went ashore, thus carrying out the order that their chief had given them. Those on the ship, seeing themselves victims of a hoax, left the bay before something worse should befall them, very sad at having lost their companions through such an indiscretion.



The cacique Hirrihigua ordered the four Spaniards to be guarded securely so that on the occasion of their deaths he might hold a solemn festival, which according to his heathen custom he expected to celebrate within a few days. When the time came he ordered them to be brought forth naked to the plaza and to be shot with arrows one at a time like wild beasts, running them from one side to the other; and that too many arrows were not to be shot at the same time, in order that they should die more slowly, and their torment be greater, and the Indians' celebration and enjoyment longer and more festive. Thus they dealt with three of the Spaniards, the cacique deriving great satisfaction and pleasure from seeing them run in all directions, seeking help and nowhere finding succor, but only death. When they wished to bring out the fourth, who was a youth scarcely eighteen years of age, a native of Sevilla named Juan Ortiz, the cacique's wife came out accompanied by her three young daughters. Facing her husband, she said to him that she begged him to be content with the three Spaniards killed and pardon that youth, because neither he nor his companions had been to blame for the evil their predecessors had done, for they had not come with Panphilo de Narvaez; and that the boy especially deserved to be pardoned, for his youth absolved him of blame and called for mercy; and that it would be enough for him to remain as a slave and not be killed so cruelly without his having committed any crime.

In order to satisfy his wife and daughters, the cacique granted Juan Ortiz his life for the time, though afterward it was so sad and bitter that often he envied his three dead companions, because the continuous and unceasing labor of carrying wood and water was so great and his food and sleep so scanty, the daily cuffings, buffetings and lashes so cruel, besides the other torments that they inflicted upon him at the time of their special festivals, that often, if he had not been a Christian, he would have taken death by his own hands as a remedy. Thus it was that, aside from the daily torment, for his own pastime the cacique ordered on many festival days that Juan Ortiz run all day without stopping (from dawn to dark) in a large plaza that was in the pueblo, where they had shot his companions to death with arrows. The cacique himself would come out to see him run, and with him would come his nobles armed with their bows and arrows in order to shoot him if he ceased running. Juan Ortiz would begin his race at sunrise and would not pause on one side or the other of the plaza until sunset, which was the time that they set for him. And when the cacique would go to eat he would leave his nobles to watch him, so that, if he should cease running, they might kill him. At the end of the day he was left in the sad state that may be imagined, stretched on the ground, more dead than alive. The pity of the wife and daughters of the cacique succored him on these days, because they took him immediately, clothed him, and did him other kindnesses whereby they saved his life. It would have been better to take it away, in order to free him from those excessive hardships. Seeing that so many and such continuous tortures were not sufficient to kill Juan Ortiz, and the hatred that he bore him increasing hourly, the cacique, in order to put an end to him, commanded on one of his feast days that a great fire be built in the middle of the plaza, and when he saw a large bed of coals formed, he ordered it tended and a wooden framework [barbacoa] be placed over it in the form of a gridiron, one vara above the ground, and that they put Juan Ortiz upon it in order to roast him alive.

This was done, and here the poor Spaniard remained for some time stretched on one side, fastened to the frame. At the cries that the poor unfortunate gave in the midst of the fire, the wife and daughters of the cacique came, and begging the husband and even reproaching his cruelty, they took him from the fire, already half roasted, having blisters on that side as large as half-oranges, some of them broken and bleeding freely, so that it was pitiful to see him. The cacique allowed it because they were women for whom he cared so much, and perhaps he did it also in order to have someone upon whom to visit his wrath in the future and to show his desire for vengeance, because he would have someone to excite it, and though [this was] very little in proportion to his desires, still he could amuse himself with that little. Thus he said many times that he regretted having killed the three Spaniards so quickly. The women carried Juan Ortiz to their house, and moved by pity at seeing him in that state, they treated him with juices of herbs (the Indians, both men and women, since they have no physicians, are great herbalists). Time and again they repented having saved him from death on the first occasion, because of seeing how slowly and with what cruel tortures they were killing him day by day. After many days Juan Ortiz was cured, though large scars from the burns still remained.

In order not to see him thus, and to free himself from the bother that his wife and daughters gave him with their entreaties, and so that he [Juan Ortiz] might not become lazy, the cacique directed that he be exercised in another punishment, less severe than the past ones. This was that he guard day and night the dead bodies of the inhabitants of that pueblo, which were deposited in the country in a forest [Inca uses the Spanish word "monte" here, meaning "clump of forest" or on a "high hill," which look the same from a distance.] at a distance from the settlements, at a place set apart for them. They were placed above ground in wooden chests that served as sepulchers, without hinges or any other security for the cover than some boards placed over them, with stones or timbers on top. Because of the poor protection these chests afforded for the bodies of the dead, they were carried away by the lions [i.e., panthers], of which there are many in that country, much to the grief and anger of the Indians. The cacique ordered Juan Ortiz to guard this place carefully so that the lions should not carry off any body or part of it, protesting and vowing that, if they did so, he would infallibly be roasted to death. For guarding them he gave him four darts [spears] to throw at the lions or at other wild beasts that might approach the chests. Juan Ortiz, giving thanks to God for having rid him of the continued presence of the cacique Hirrihigua, his master, went to guard the dead, hoping to have a better life with them than with the living. He guarded them with all care, chiefly at night, because then there was greater danger. It happened that, on one of the nights when he was thus watching, he fell asleep toward dawn, unable to resist his drowsiness, for at this hour it usually attacks most strongly those who are watching. Just at this time a lion came and, knocking off the covers of one of the chests, dragged out the body of a child, which had been thrown into it two days before, and carried it off. Juan Ortiz heard the noise that the covers made in falling, and as he hurried to the chest and failed to find the child's body therein, he considered himself lost; but with all his anxiety and dismay he did not cease hunting for the lion, so that, if he should find him, he might recover the body or die in the attempt. On the other hand he trusted to our Lord to give him strength to die on the following day, confessing and calling upon His name, for he knew that as soon as daylight came the Indians must visit the chests, and not finding the child's body, they would burn him alive. Walking through the forest from one side to another, in fear of death, he came to a wide path that passed through the center of it, and following it for a time with the intention of fleeing, though it was impossible to escape, he heard in the woods not far from where he was walking a noise as of a dog that is gnawing bones. Listening carefully, he made sure of it, and suspecting that it might be the lion that was eating the child, he felt his way very carefully through the underbrush, approaching the place where he heard the noise. By the light of the moon, which was shining, though not very brightly, he saw near him the lion, which was eating the child at its pleasure. Calling upon God and taking courage, Juan Ortiz threw a dart at it, and though he could not then see the shot that he had made, because of the underbrush, yet he felt that it had not been bad because his hand was left "salty," as the hunters say when they feel that they have made a good shot against wild beasts at night. With this very slender hope, and also because he had not heard the lion leave the place where he had shot at him, he waited for morning, commending himself to our Lord, that he might succor him in that necessity.



With the light of day Juan Ortiz verified the good shot that he had made by guess that night, for he saw the lion dead, the entrails and the center of the heart transfixed (as was found later when they opened it), a thing that he himself, though he saw it, could not believe. With a satisfaction and joy that may be better imagined than told, he dragged it by one foot, not pulling out the dart, so that his master might see it just as he had found it, having first gathered up and taken back to the chest the fragments of the child's body that he found uneaten. The cacique and all those in his pueblo wondered greatly at this deed, for in that land it is held generally to be a miraculous thing for a man to kill a lion, and thus they treat him who succeeds in killing one with great veneration and respect. And because this is such a fierce animal, he who kills it ought to be esteemed everywhere, especially if he does so without a shot from a crossbow or harquebus, as Juan Ortiz did. Although it is true that the lions of La Florida, Mexico, and El Per? are not so large or so fierce as those of Africa, still they are lions, and the name is enough; and even if the popular proverb may say that they are not as fierce as they are painted, those who have been near them say that they are as much f iercer than their descriptions, as there is difference between the real and the imagined.

With this good fortune on the part of Juan Ortiz, the wife and daughters of the cacique took more spirit and courage to intercede for him, that he might be pardoned entirely and made use of in honorable employments worthy of his strength and valor.

For a few days thereafter Hirrihigua treated his slave better, both in the esteem and favor he accorded him in his pueblo and house, and in referring to the heroic deed that they in their vain religion so esteem and honor that they regard it as sacred and more than human. However (and this was the injury that he could not pardon), every time he remembered that they [the Spaniards] had thrown his mother to the dogs and left her to be eaten by them, and when he went to blow his nose and could not find his nostrils, the devil possessed him to avenge himself on Juan Ortiz, as if he had cut them off; and inasmuch as he always carried the offense before his eyes, with the memory of it his ire, rancor, and desire to take vengeance increased from day to day. Though he restrained these passions for some time, being able to resist them no longer, he said one day to his wife and daughters that it was impossible for him to allow that Christian to remain alive because his life was very odious and abominable to him; that every time he saw him past injuries were revived and he was offended anew. Therefore he commanded them that they were in no manner to intercede for him further unless they desired to participate in the same rage and anger, and that in order to finish finally with that Spaniard he had determined that on a certain feast day (which was soon to be celebrated) he was to be shot to death with arrows as his companions had been, notwithstanding his bravery, for as an enemy he should be rather abhorred than esteemed. The wife and daughters of the cacique, because they saw him enraged and understood that no intercession would be effective, and also because it seemed to them that it was too much to importune and so displease the master for the sake of the slave, did not dare say a word in opposition to him. Rather with feminine astuteness they came to tell him that this would be a good thing to do because it was his pleasure. But the eldest of the daughters, in order to further her plan and make it succeed, a few days before the celebration secretly notified Juan Ortiz of her father's determination against him, and that neither she nor her sisters nor her mother would avail or could do anything with the father, he having imposed silence upon them and threatened them if they should break it.

Desiring to encourage the Spaniard, she added to this sad notice others contrary to it and said to him: "So that you may not distrust me, nor despair of your life, nor fear that I will not do all that I can to save it, if you are a man and have courage to flee, I will favor and help you so that you may escape and reach safety. Tonight at a certain hour and in a certain place you will find an Indian to whom I entrust your safety and my own. He will guide you to a bridge that is two leagues from here; upon reaching it, you will order him not to pass beyond but to return to the pueblo before dawn so that they may not miss him, and my own daring and his may not become known, so that evil may not befall him and me for having done you a good turn. Six leagues beyond the bridge is a pueblo whose lord wishes me well and desires to marry me; his name is Mucoco. Tell him on my behalf that I send you to him so that he may succor and favor you, as he ought to do. I know that he will do all he can for you, as you will see. Commend yourself to your God, for I can do no more for you." Juan Ortiz threw himself at her feet in acknowledgment of the mercy and favor that she was conferring and had always conferred upon him, and he at once made ready to travel on the following night. At the hour appointed, after the members of the cacique's household were asleep, he set out in search of the promised guide and left the pueblo with him without anyone hearing them. Upon reaching the bridge, he told the Indian to return at once very cautiously to his house, having first learned from him that there was no chance of his losing the road as far as the pueblo of Mucoco.



Juan Ortiz, as a man who was fleeing, reached the place before dawn but, for fear of causing a disturbance, did not dare enter it. When it was day he saw two Indians come out from the pueblo along the same road that he was taking. They attempted to shoot him with their bows and arrows, as they always go armed with these weapons. Juan Ortiz, who also had them, put an arrow in his bow to defend himself from them and also to attack them. How potent is a little favor, especially if it be from a lady! For we see that shortly before he did not know where to hide himself, being in fear of death; now he dared give it [death] to others with his own hand, simply because of having been favored by a pretty, discreet and generous girl, whose favor exceeds all other human gifts. With which, having recovered spirit and strength and even pride, he told them that he was not an enemy but that he was coming with a message from a lady for the lord of that place.

Hearing this, the Indians did not shoot him but returned with him to the pueblo and notified the cacique that the slave of Hirrihigua was there with a message for him. Mucoco or Mococo - for it is the same - informed of this, went out to the plaza to receive the message Juan Ortiz was bringing to him. After having saluted him as best he could after the manner of the Indians themselves, Juan Ortiz told him briefly of the martyrdom his master had imposed upon him, as evidence of which he showed on his body the scars of the burns, blows and wounds they had given him, and how now finally his lord was determined to kill him in order to celebrate and solemnize with his death such and such a feast day, which he expected to hold soon. He told how the wife and daughters of the cacique, his master, though they had often saved his life, did not now dare to speak in his favor because of the lord's having forbidden it under penalty of his anger; and how the eldest daughter of his lord, desiring that he should not die, as the last and best remedy had ordered and encouraged him to flee and, giving him a guide, had set him on his way to his pueblo and house. In her name he presented himself before him, whom he supplicated by the love that he had for her to receive him under his protection, and as a thing commended by her to favor him, as he ought to do. Mucoco received him affably and heard him with pity at learning of the abuses and torments that he had experienced, which were plainly shown by the scars on his body, for, dressed after the manner of the Indians of the country, he wore only some trousers.

Alonso de Carmona tells at this point, in addition to what we have said, that he embraced him and kissed him on the face as a sign of peace.

He [the chief] replied that he was welcome and told him to try to forget the fears of his past life; that in his company and house he would have a very different and opposite existence; that for the sake of serving the person who had sent him, and for him who had come to his person and house for succor, he would do all he could, as he would see by future actions; and that he might be certain that while he lived no one would be allowed to molest him.

All that this good cacique said in favor of Juan Ortiz he performed, and indeed much more than he promised, for he immediately made him his steward and kept him constantly with him, day and night, doing him much honor, more particularly after he learned that he had killed the lion with the dart. In short, he treated him like a well-beloved brother (for there are brothers who love one another like water and fire), and although Hirrihigua, suspecting that he had gone to Mococo for protection, asked for him many times, Mucoro always made an excuse for not giving him up, saying finally, among other things, that since he had come to his house to let him be, and that he was so odious that he [Hirrihigua] had lost very little in losing such a slave. He made the same reply to another cacique, his brother-in-law, named Urribarracuxi, through whom Hirrihigua made the request. Seeing that his messages were of no effect, he went personally to ask him, and in his presence Mococo replied the same as in his absence, adding other angry words, and told him that since he was his brother-in-law it was unjust to order him to do a thing against his reputation and honor; that he would not be doing his duty if he should turn over to his own enemy an unfortunate who had come to him for refuge, so that the Hirrihigua might sacrifice and kill him like a wild beast for his own entertainment and pastime.

Mococo defended Juan Ortiz from these two caciques, who asked for him so urgently and insistently, with such generosity that he was willing to forgo (as he did) the marriage he affectionately desired to make with the daughter of Hirrihigua, and the relationship and friendship of the father-in-law, rather than return the slave to him who asked for him in order to kill him. He kept the latter constantly with him, much esteemed and well treated, until Governor Hernando de Soto entered La Florida.

Juan Ortiz was among those Indians for ten years, one and a half in the power of Hirrihigua and the rest with the good Mococo. Though a barbarian, he dealt with this Christian in quite another manner than those most famous men of the Triumvirate who at Layno, a place near Bologna, made that never sufficiently condemned proscription and agreement to give and exchange their relatives, friends, and defenders for enemies and adversaries. And he did much better than other Christian princes who later have committed here other acts as abominable and worse than that one, considering the innocence of those given up, the rank of some of them, and the faith that their betrayers should have had and kept with them; considering also that the former were heathen and the latter prided themselves on the Christian name and religion. These latter, breaking the laws and statutes of their kingdoms and not respecting their own position and rank, they being kings and great princes, and disregarding their sworn and promised word (a thing unworthy of such names), simply for the purpose of avenging their own anger, delivered up those who had not offended them in order to obtain the offenders, exchanging the innocent for the guilty, as both ancient and modern historians will testify. But we shall leave them, so as not to offend powerful ears and distress the pious.

It suffices to describe the magnanimity of a heathen so that faithful princes may be forced to imitate and excel him if they can, not in his heathenism, as do some who are unworthy of that name [i.e., faithful], but in virtue and similar noble qualities, to which they are more obligated because of their higher estate. Certainly, considering well the circumstances of the courageous action of this Indian, and seeing by whom and against whom it was performed, and the amount that he was willing to put aside and lose, going even against his own affection and desires in refusing the succor and favor demanded and promised by him, it will be seen that it arose from a most generous and heroic mind, which did not deserve to have been born and to live amidst the barbarous heathendom of that country. But God and human nature often produce such spirits in such uncultivated and sterile deserts for the greater humiliation and shame of those who are born and reared in lands that are fertile and abound in all good doctrine, sciences, and the Christian religion.



The governor heard this account, which we have given, of the life of Juan Ortiz, although in a confused form, in the pueblo of the cacique Hirrihigua, where we have left him at present; and he had heard it before, more briefly, in La Havana from one of the four Indians whom we said that the accountant, Juan de Anasco, had seized when he was sent to explore the coast of La Florida, and who happened to be a subject of this cacique. When this Indian mentioned Juan Ortiz in the account that he gave in La Havana, leaving off the name Juan, because he did not know it, he said Ortiz, and as to the poor speech of the Indian was added the worse understanding of the good interpreters who stated what he was trying to say, and as all the listeners had for their chief purpose going to seek gold, on hearing the Indian say "Orotiz," without waiting for further statements on his part they thought that he was plainly saying that in his country there was much gold and they congratulated themselves and rejoiced merely at hearing it mentioned, although with such a different significance and sense.

But when the governor ascertained that Juan Ortiz was in the power of the cacique Mucoco, he thought it would be well to send for him, alike in order to deliver him from the power of the Indians and because he was in need of a speaker and interpreter upon whom he could depend. He therefore chose a gentleman from Sevilla named Baltasar de Gallegos, who was serving as alguacil mayor of the fleet and the army - who because of his great virtue, strength and valor deserved to be general of a greater army than that oneand told him to take sixty lancers with him and go to Mucoco, and tell him on his behalf how gratified were he and all the Spaniards who accompanied him by the honor and favors he had shown to Juan Ortiz, and how much he desired that he might have an opportunity of requiting them. At present he begged that he give him [Juan Ortiz] to him [De Soto], for he needed him for very important matters, and he asked when it would be convenient for him to make him a visit, as it would give him great pleasure to know and have him for a friend.

In accordance with the orders given him, Baltasar de Gallegos left the camp with the sixty lancers and an Indian guide. The cacique Mucoco, on the other hand, having learned of the coming of the governor Hernando de Soto with such a force of men and horses, and that he had landed so near his own country, and fearing that he might do him some harm there, desired very prudently and advisedly to avert the evil that might come to him. In order to do so, he summoned Juan Ortiz and said to him: "You must know, brother, that in the pueblo of your good friend Hirrihigua there is a Spanish captain with a thousand fighting men and many horses, who are coming to conquer this country. You well know what I have done for you, and how in order to save your life and not deliver you to him who held you as a slave and desired to kill you, I chose rather to fall into disgrace with all my relatives and neighbors than to do what they asked me against you. Now a time and occasion has come in which you can repay me for the good reception, entertainment and friendship I have accorded you, though I never did it with the expectation of any reward, but since events have happened thus it will be wise not to lose what is offered us.

"Go to the Spanish general and on your behalf and my own beg him that, in return for the service that I have done him and his whole nation through you (since I would do the same for any of them), he be pleased not to do me harm in this small land that I have, and that he deign to receive me into his friendship and service; that from this time forth I offer him my person, house and estate to be placed under his guardianship and protection; and so that you may be escorted as becomes both you and me, I send with you fifty nobles of my household, and you will protect them and me as our friendship obligates you to do."

Juan Ortiz, rejoicing at the good news and inwardly giving thanks to God for it, replied to Mucoco that he was much pleased that a time and occasion had arisen in which to repay the kindness and benefits that he had done him, not only in saving his life, but also in the many favors, and the esteem and honor he had received from his great virtue and courtesy. He would give a very full account and report of all this to the Spanish captain and all his people, so that he might concede to and reward him with that which he asked of them now in his name, and in what might come up in the future. He was very confident that the general on his part would do what he asked, for the Spanish nation prided itself upon being a people grateful for favors received, and thus certainly he could confidently hope to obtain that which he sent to ask of the governor. The fifty Indians whom the cacique had ordered to prepare came at once, and with Juan Ortiz they took the public road that goes from one pueblo to the other; and they set out on the same day that Baltasar de Gallegos left the camp to find him [Ortiz].

It happened that, after the Spaniards had marched more than three leagues along the wide and straight highway that went to the pueblo of Mucoco, the Indian who guided them, thinking that it was not a good thing to behave so loyally toward people who were coming to subjugate them and take away their lands and freedom, and who long before had shown them selves to be declared enemies -though up to the present they had not received injuries of which they could complain from that army - changed his plan in guiding them and took the first footpath he saw that led into the highway. After following it a short distance, he left it, as it was not straight, and thus he led them most of the day without a road and lost, drawing them always in an arc toward the seacoast with the design of coming upon some swamp, creek, or bay in which to drown them, if possible. The Castilians did not discover the deception of the Indian, since they were not acquainted with the country, until until one of them saw, through the trees of an open forest through which they were marching, the topsails of the ships they had left and saw that they were very near the coast, of which fact he advised Captain Baltasar de Gallegos. The latter, seeing the guide's iniquity, threatened him with death, making a gesture of throwing a lance at him. Fearing that they would kill him, the Indian indicated with signs and such words as he could that they should return to the highway, but that it was necessary to retrace all their route that lay off the road, and thus they returned by the same way to seek it.



Proceeding along the highway, Juan Ortiz came to the footpath by which the Indian led Baltasar de Gallegos and his Castilians off the road. Suspecting what had happened and fearing that the Castilians would go by another route and inflict some damage on the pueblo of Mucorco, he consulted with the Indians as to what they should do. They all agreed that it would be well to follow the trail of the horses as rapidly as possible until overtaking them, and that they would not take another road for fear of missing them.

Since the Indians followed the trail of the Spaniards, and the latter were returning by the same route that they had gone, they sighted one another on a large plain on a part of which was a dense growth of thick underbrush. The Indians, seeing the Castilians, said to Juan Ortiz that it would be prudent to safeguard their persons and lives by entering that thicket until the Christians should recognize them as friends, so that they should not fall upon them in the open field, believing them to be enemies. Juan Ortiz was unwilling to accept the good advice of the Indians, confiding in the fact that he was a Spaniard and that his people must recognize him as soon as they should see him, as if he were dressed in the Spanish fashion or were in any way different from the Indians, so that he might be known as a Spaniard. He, like the rest, wore only some trousers for clothing, carried a bow and arrows in his hands, and wore a plume half a fathom high upon his head for display and ornament.

The Castilians - being inexperienced and anxious to fight - on seeing the Indians, fell upon them violently, and as much as their captain shouted at them he could not stop them. Who can stop undisciplined troops when they get out of hand?

When they saw how boldly and recklessly the Castilians were coming at them, all the Indians threw themselves into the thicket, there remaining in the field only Juan Ortiz and an Indian who was not so quick as the others in placing himself in safety. He was wounded by a Spaniard from Sevilla who had been a soldier in Italy, named Francisco de Morales, by a lance-thrust in the loins, he overtaking him at the edge of the woods. Juan Ortiz was assailed by another Spaniard, named Alvaro Nieto, a native of the villa of Albuquerque, one of the stoutest and strongest Spaniards in the whole army, who, engaging Juan Ortiz, vigorously thrust a lance at him. Juan Ortiz had good luck and dexterity, so that, warding off the lance with his bow and jumping sideways, he avoided at the same time the blow of the lance and an encounter with the horse. Seeing that Alvaro Nieto was coming at him again, he shouted in a loud voice, saying "Xivilla, Xivilla" for "Sevilla, Sevilla."

Juan Coles adds at this point that Juan Ortiz, being unable to speak in Spanish, made the sign of the cross with his hand and the bow so that the Spaniard might see that he was a Christian. For with the little or no use that he had for the Spanish language among the Indians, he had even forgotten how to pronounce the name of his own country, as I can also say for myself. Because of not having had anyone in Spain with whom to speak my native and maternal tongue, which is the one generally spoken throughout El Peru (although the Incas have another special one that they speak among themselves, one to another), I have forgotten it to such an extent that - having once known how to speak it as well or better, and with more elegance, than the Indians themselves who are not Incas, because I am a son of palla and the nephew of Incas, who are the ones who speak it best and most correctly, because of its having been the language of the court of its princes and they having been the chief courtiers - now I am unable to put six or seven words together in a sentence in order to make clear what I wish to say, and, moreover, many terms have escaped my memory and I do not know what is the word for this or that thing in the Indian tongue. Although it is true that, if I should hear an Inca speak, I would understand all that he said, and, if I should hear the forgotten words, I could tell what they mean, I myself, however I try, cannot say what they are. This I have learned from experience in the use and neglect of languages, which foreigners learn by using them and natives forget in not using them.

Returning to Juan Ortiz, whom we left in great danger of being killed by those who most desired to see him alive, as Alvaro Nieto heard him say "Xivilla," he asked whether he were Juan Ortiz, and as he replied that he was, he grasped him by one arm and lifted him behind his horse as if he were a child, for this good soldier was stout and strong.

Much elated at having found the one he was seeking, and giving thanks to God for not having killed him, though it seemed to him that he was still in that danger, he took him to Captain Baltasar de Gallegos. The latter received Juan Ortiz with great joy and at once ordered them to recall the other horse men who were scouring the woods, anxious to kill Indians, as if they were deer, so that all of them might assemble to enjoy the good fortune that had befallen them, and before they should do some injury to their friends because of not recognizing them. Juan Ortiz entered the woods to call the Indians, shouting to them to come out and not be afraid. Many of them did not stop until they reached their pueblo, to advise their cacique of what had happened. Others who had not gone so far returned in groups of three and four as they happened to be found, and together and singly they very angrily and bitterly reproached Juan Ortiz for his rashness and lack of caution. When they saw the Indian, their companion, wounded because of him they became so enraged that they scarcely could refrain from laying hands on him and would have done so had the Spaniards not been present. But they vented their wrath with a thousand insults they heaped upon him, calling him dolt, fool, meddler, and no Spaniard or soldier, and saying that he had learned little or nothing from his past sufferings and misadventures; that they had been inflicted upon him to no purpose, and he deserved much worse. In short, no Indian came out of the woods who was not quarreling with him; all of them spoke almost the same words and he himself stated them to the other Spaniards, the more to reproach them. Juan Ortiz was well reprimanded for having been too confident, but it was worth it all provided he found himself among Christians. The latter treated the wounded Indian and, putting him on a horse, went with him and Juan Ortiz and the rest of the Indians to the camp, desirous of seeing the governor, in order to bring within so short a time such a good report of what he had ordered them to do. Before they left that place Juan Ortiz sent an Indian to Mucoco with the report of all that had happened, so that he would not be alarmed by what the Indians who fled might have told him.

All that we have said concerning Juan Ortiz, Juan Coles and Alonso de Carmona also tell in their accounts, and one of them says that he had worms in the sores made by the fire when they burned him. The other, who is Juan Coles, says that the governor gave him at once a black velvet suit, and that, because he was accustomed to go about unclothed, he could not tolerate it; that he wore only a shirt and linen trousers, a cap, and shoes, and that he went about thus for more than twenty days until, a little at a time, he was able to wear clothing. These two eyewitnesses say further that, among other benefits and favors that the cacique Mucogo conferred upon Juan Ortiz, one was to make him his captain-general on sea and land.



A good part of the night had passed when Baltasar de Gallegos and his companions entered the camp. The governor, who heard them, was alarmed, fearing that since they were returning so quickly, some accident had befallen them, because he had not expected them until the third day. But upon learning of the good report they brought, all his dismay was changed to rejoicing and pleasure. He thanked the captain and his soldiers, who had done so well, and received Juan Ortiz as his own son, with pity and grief at hearing of so many hardships and martyrdoms as he told of and as his own body showed that he had experienced - for the scars of the burns from the time that they had roasted him were so large that one whole side was nothing but a burn, or a scar of it - from which hardships he thanked God for having delivered him, and also from the peril of that day, which had not been the least of those through which he had passed. He treated kindly the Indians who came with him and ordered that the one who was wounded be treated with great care and attention. At the same hour he dispatched two Indians to the cacique Mucoco with acknowledgments for the kindnesses that he had done Juan Ortiz and for having sent him freely, and for the offer of his person and friendship, which he said he accepted in the name of the emperor and king of Spain, his lord, who was the chief and greatest of all Christendom, in the name of all those captains and gentlemen who were with him, and in his own, in order to acknowledge and repay what he had done for all of them in having rescued Juan Ortiz from death; he said also that all of them begged him to visit them, as they desired to see and know him.

The captains and officials, both of the army and of the real hacienda, and the gentlemen and all the other soldiers in general, entertained Juan Ortiz royally; they refused to accept as comrade anyone who did not come to embrace him and congratulate him on his arrival. So passed the night, in which they did not sleep for general rejoicing.

Then on the following day the general summoned Juan Ortiz so that he might inform him concerning what he knew about that country and might tell him in detail what had happened to him while he was in the power of those two caciques. He replied that he knew little or nothing about the country, although he had been there so long; because while he was in the power of Hirrihigua, his master, when he was not tormenting him with new martyrdoms, did not allow him to go a step beyond the ordinary service that he performed in carrying water and wood for all the households; and while he was in the hands of Mucoco, though he had freedom to go where he liked, he did not make use of it because the vassals of his master, seeing him apart from Mucoco, might kill him, as they had his order and command to do. For these reasons he could not give much information about the nature of the country, but he heard that it was good, and that the farther inland one went, the better and more fertile it became. The life he had led with the two caciques had been of the two extremes of good and evil that could be found in this world; because Mucoco had shown himself as compassionate and humane toward him as the other had been cruel and revengeful, without his being able to extol sufficiently the virtue of the one or the passion of the other, as his lordship had already been informed, as a proof of which he showed the scars on his body, uncovering those that could be seen and amplifying the account of his life, which we have given; and he related anew many other torments through which he had passed, which aroused the compassion of the listeners and which we shall omit, to avoid prolixity.

On the third day after the message had been sent to him by the Indians, the cacique Mucoco came with a large company of his people. He kissed the governor's hands with all veneration and respect and then spoke to the lieutenant general, the maese de campo, and the rest of the captains and gentlemen who were there, each according to his rank, first asking Juan Ortiz who was this, that and the other person, and although one of those who spoke with him told him that he was not a gentleman or a captain, but a private soldier, he treated him with great respect, but those who were nobles and officials of the army with much more, so that all the Spaniards noticed it. After he had spoken and given opportunity for those present to speak with him, Mucoco went again to salute the governor with new expressions of respect. The latter, having received him with much affability and courtesy, thanked him for what he had done for Juan Ortiz and for having sent him in such a friendly manner; he said that he and his army and the whole Spanish nation were so obligated to him that they would show their gratitude for all time. Mucoco replied that what he had done for Juan Ortiz had been done out of self-respect because - he having come to his person and household for refuge and succor, out of necessity - according to their law, he was obligated to do for him what he had done; and it seemed to him little enough because the virtue, strength and bravery of Juan Ortiz alone, without any other consideration whatever, deserved much more. His having sent him to his lordship was more for his own interest and benefit than to serve his lordship, for it had been in order that he might act as defender and advocate to obtain mercy and favor with his intercession and merits, so that he would not harm him in his country. Therefore his lordship was not obligated to reward or receive into his service either of them except as he might be pleased to do so; but he was gratified, however it might have come about, that he had happened to do a thing at which his lordship and those gentlemen and the whole Spanish nation, whose devoted servant he was, had been pleased and had shown their satisfaction. He begged that his lordship would receive him into his service with the same good will, and he placed his person, household, and estate under his protection and patronage, recognizing the emperor and king of Spain as his principal lord, and secondarily his lordship as his captain-general and governor of that kingdom. He would consider himself better rewarded by being granted this favor than his services rendered to Juan Ortiz deserved, or his having sent him freely, a thing that had so gratified his lordship, concerning which he said that he was more pleased and content at seeing him as he saw him that day, favored and honored by his lordship and by all those gentlemen, than at all the good that he had done throughout his life; and he protested that he would exert himself thenceforth to perform such actions in the service of the Spaniards, since those had brought him so much good.

This cacique expressed these and many other civilities with all the gracefulness and discretion that might be found in a practiced courtier, at which the governor and those who were with him marveled, no less than at the generosity he had shown to Juan Ortiz, which was borne out by his words.

Because of all this the adelantado Hernando de Soto and the lieutenant general Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa and other private gentlemen, attracted by the virtue and discretion of the cacique Mucoco, were moved to reciprocate on their own part, insofar as they could, in acknowledgment of such graciousness. Thus they gave many presents not only to him but also to the nobles who came with him, with which all of them were very well content.



Two days after the events that we have related the mother of Mucoco arrived, very anxious and harassed because her son was in the power of the Castilians. Because of having been away, she did not know of her son's coming to see the governor, and would not have consented to it; thus the first words that she said to the general were that he give her the son before doing with him what Panphilo de Narvaez had done with Hirrihigua, and that if he intended doing such a thing that he set free her son, who was young, and do as he liked with her, who was old, so that she might bear the punishment for both.

The governor received her very kindly and replied that her son, because of his extreme goodness and discretion, did not deserve ill-treatment, but rather that everyone should serve him, and her as well, for being the mother of such a son; she might dismiss her fears because no harm would be done either to her or to her son or to anyone in his whole country, but on the contrary all the favors and kindnesses possible. The good old woman was somewhat reassured by these words and remained with the Spaniards three days, but was always so suspicious and fearful that, when eating at the governor's table, she asked Juan Ortiz if she dared eat what they gave her, saying that she feared and suspected that they might give her poison in order to kill her.

The governor and those with him laughed a great deal at this and told her that certainly she might eat, that they did not wish to kill her, but to entertain her; however, not trusting the words of strangers, though they gave her food from the same plate as the governor, she still would not eat or taste it until Juan Ortiz had first tried it. Whereupon a Spanish soldier asked her why she had recently offered her life for her son, since she was so afraid of dying. She replied that she did not abhor living, but loved it like other people, but that for her son she would give her life as often as might be necessary because she loved him more than living; therefore she begged the governor to give him to her, saying that she wished to go and take him with her and that she did not dare trust him to the Christians.

The general replied that she might go whenever she liked, that her son wished to remain for some days among those gentlemen who were young and soldiers and fighting men like himself, and that he would be safe with them; that whenever he desired he might go freely, and no one would molest him. With this promise the old woman left, although not content to have her son remain in the power of the Castilians. At parting she charged Juan Ortiz to free her son from that captain and his soldiers as her son had liberated him from Hirrihigua and his vassals, at which the governor and the other Spaniards laughed a great deal, and Mucoso himself joined in laughing at his mother's anxiety.

Following this time of pleasure and merriment, the good cacique remained with the army for eight days, during which he visited in their lodgings the lieutenant general, the maese de campo, the captains, the officials of the imperial hacienda, and many private gentlemen because they were nobles. He talked with all of them familiarly and with such readiness and courtesy that he seemed to have been brought up among them. He asked particular questions about the court of Castilla and the emperor, and the lords, ladies, and gentlemen in it, and said that he would like very much to see it if he could go there. At the end of the eight days he went to his house. He came later on other occasions to visit the governor, always bringing him presents of the things that were in his country. Mucoco was twenty-six or twenty-seven years old, a man of handsome body and face.


About DeSoto and Garcilaso the "Inca"

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