GENTLEMAN OF ELVAS
CHAPTER XXIII: HOW THE GOVERNOR WENT FROM AQUIXO TO CASQUI AND THENCE TO PAC[A]HA; AND HOW THAT LAND DIFFERS FROM THAT BEHIND.
Having got across the great river, the governor marched a league and a half and reached a large town of Aquixo, which was abandoned before his arrival. Over a plain they saw thirty Indians coming whom the cacique had sent to learn what the Christians were intending to do, but as soon as the latter had sight of them they fled. Those of horse pursued them killing ten and capturing fifteen. And since the town whither the governor was marching, was near the river, he sent a captain with the men he deemed sufficient to take the piraguas up stream. And because by land they frequently turned away from the river in order to get around arms which thrust out of the river, the Indians had opportunity to attack those in the piraguas and put us in great danger. For because of the strong current of the river, they did not dare to go any distance from land and they [the Indians] shot arrows at them from the bluff. As soon as the governor reached the town, he immediately sent some crossbowmen down stream who were to come as his rear guard. When the piraguas reached the town he [the governor] ordered them taken apart and the nails kept for other piraguas when they might be needed. He slept there one night and next day marched in search of a province called Pac[a]ha, which he was informed lay near Chisca where the Indians said there was gold. He marched through large towns in Aquixo which had been abandoned for fear of the Christians. From some Indians who were captured, he learned that a great cacique lived three days' journey thence, called Casqui. He reached a small river where a bridge was made on which he crossed. On that day, they walked continually through water until sunset, which in places reached to the middle and in places to the knee. When they came to dry land, they were very glad, for it seemed to them that they would be walking about lost through the water all night. At noon they arrived at the first town of Casqui. They found the Indians off guard for they had not heard of them [the Christians]. Many Indians, both men and women, were seized, besides a quantity of clothing -- blankets and skins -- both in the first town and in another which was within sight of it [the first town] in an open field a half league from it, whither the horsemen had galloped. That land is more high, dry, and level than the land of the river behind which they had thus far seen. In the open field were many walnut trees with soft nuts shaped like acorns; and in the houses were found many which the Indians had stored away. The walnut trees did not differ in any other way from those of Spain, or from those seen before except only in having a smaller leaf. There were many mulberry trees and plum trees having red plums like those of Spain, and others gray, differing, but much better, and all the trees as verdant all year as if set out in gardens and in a clear grove. For two days the governor marched through the land of Casqui before arriving at the town where the cacique [resided], and most of the way continually through land of open field, very well peopled with large towns, two or three of which were to be seen from one town. He sent word to the cacique through an Indian that he was coming to where he was for the purpose of procuring his friendship and of considering him as a brother. To which he [the cacique] answered that he [the governor] would be welcome, that he would receive him with special pleasure, and that he would do everything his Lordship ordered. He sent his offerings to him on the road, namely, skins and blankets and fish. After these gifts, the governor found all the towns through which he passed inhabited, in which the Indians were awaiting him peacefully and offered him blankets and skins and fish. The cacique, accompanied by many Indians, came out of the town where he was living for a half league on the road to welcome the governor, and meeting him spoke as follows: "Very lofty, powerful, and illustrious Lord: May the coming of Your Lordship be very propitious. As soon as I had notice of your Lordship, of your power and perfections, although you entered my land killing and making captive the inhabitants of it and my vassals, I resolved to conform my will to yours, and as yours to consider as good all that your Lordship might do; believing that it is proper that it might be so for some just consideration, in order to provide for some future event, revealed to your Lordship, but concealed from me; for, indeed, one evil may be permitted in order to avoid another greater evil, and therefrom good may result, which I believe will be so; for from so excellent a prince it is not right to presume that the nobility of your heart and the effect of your good will would allow you to permit an injustice. My capacity to serve you as your Lordship merits is so slight that if my good will should abundantly and humbly offer every kind of service, you would acquire no honor [thereby]. In your Lordship's presence, I merit very little. But if it is proper that that capacity may be esteemed, may you receive it, and me and my land and vassals as your own, and of me and them make use according to your pleasure; for if I were lord of all the world, your Lordship would be received, served, and obeyed with the same good will." The governor replied to him fittingly and in few words made him happy. For a while after that, they both went on exchanging words generous in offers and of great courtesy, and he [the cacique] begging that he [the governor] should lodge in his houses, The governor, in order to preserve peace better, excused himself, by saying that he preferred to lodge in the open field; and because the heat was very great, the camp was established a quarter league from the town among some trees. The cacique went to his town and returned with many Indians singing. As soon as they came to the governor, they all bowed themselves to the ground. Among them were two blind Indians. The cacique made a speech which, in order not to be prolix, I will relate In a few words only the substance of the matter. He said that since he [the governor] was the son of the sun and a great lord, he begged him to do him the favor of giving health to those blind Indians. The blind men immediately rose and with great earnestness begged this of the governor. He replied saying that in the lofty heaven was He who had power to give them health and everything they might ask of Him, whose servant he [the governor] was; and that that Lord made the heavens and the earth and man in His likeness; that he suffered on the tree of the true cross to save the human race, and rose again on the third day; that inasmuch as He was man He died, and inasmuch as He was divinity, He is immortal; that He ascended to heaven where He was with open arms in order to receive all those who wished to be converted to Him. He [the governor] immediately ordered him [the chief] to make a very high wooden cross which was set up in the highest part of the town, [the governor] declaring to him that the Christians adored it in conformity to, and in memory of, that on which Christ suffered. The governor and his men knelt before it and the Indians did the same. The governor told him [the cacique] that thenceforth they should adore and beg the Lord, of whom he had told them and who was in heaven, for everything of which they had need. He asked him [the cacique] how far it was from there to Pacaha. He said it was a day's journey and that on the edge of his land was a marsh like an estuary which gave into the large river; that he would send men to build in advance a bridge by which he might cross. The day on which the governor left, he went to sleep at a town of Casqui; and the next day he passed in sight of the other towns and reached the swamp, which was half a crossbow flight in width and very deep and flowing. When he reached it, the Indians had just finished building the bridge, which was constructed of wood in the manner of beams [viroes] extending from tree to tree, and at one of the sides a line of wood higher than the bridge in order to support those who should cross. The cacique of Casqui went to the governor and took his men with him. The governor sent word by an Indian to the cacique of Pacaha that although he [the cacique of Pacaha] was hostile to the cacique of Casqui and the latter should be there, he would make no quarrel with him or do him no harm if he waited peacefully and wished his friendship, but that he would treat him as a brother. The Indian whom the governor had sent came and said that the cacique gave no heed to what he had told him but that he had gone away in flight with all his people out of the other side of the town. The governor immediately entered and together with the men of horse charged ahead where the Indians were fleeing; and at another town situated a quarter of a league from that place captured many Indians. And as the horsemen captured them, they delivered them over to the Indians of Casqui, who, being their enemies, carefully and with great pleasure took them to the town where the Christians were; and the greatest sorrow they had was in not having permission to kill them. Many blankets, deer, lion, and bear skins, and many cat skins were found in town. Many [of the men] were still poorly clad and there clothed themselves. From the blankets were made loose coats and cassocks; and some made gowns and lined them with the catskins, as well as the cassocks. From the deerskins were also made some jerkins, shirts, stockings, and shoes and from the bear skins very good cloaks, for water would not go through them. They found there shields made of raw cowhide with which the horses were provided with armor.