CHAPTER 21: Why We Named the Island "Doom"

WITHIN A FEW DAYS of the departure of the four Christians, the weather turned so cold and stormy that the Indians could not pull up roots; their cane contraptions for catching fish yielded nothing; and the huts being very open, our men began to die.

Five Christians quartered on the coast came to the extremity of eating each other. Only the body of the last one, whom nobody was left to eat, was found unconsumed. Their names were Sierra, Diego Lopez, Corral, Palacios, and Gonzalo Ruiz.

The Indians were so shocked at this cannibalism that, if they had seen it sometime earlier, they surely would have killed every one of us. In a very short while as it was, only fifteen of the eighty who had come survived. [Strictly speaking, there must have been more than ninety who made it to the island, and sixteen of them proved later to be living].

Then half the natives died from a disease of the bowels [doubtless infected with the soldiers' dysentery] and [the rest] blamed us.

When they came to kill us, the Indian who kept me interceded. He said: If we had so much power of sorcery we would not have let all but a few of our own perish; the few left did no hurt or wrong; it would be best to leave us alone. God our Lord be praised, they listened and relented.

We named this place Malhado - the "Island of Doom."