CHAPTER 29: Last Up-Dating on the Fate of the Others

THE REMAINING [eight] Christians prevailed on the Indians to receive them as slaves. [The Joint Report says that they first lingered with the fishing and blackberry-picking Indians who did not migrate with the group who had Figueroa, the priest, and the young swimmer; but that these hosts tired of seeking food for their guests and turned five of them away, telling them to go to some Indians to be found in another bay six leagues farther on. Three of these five - Alonso del Castillo, Pedro de Valdevieso, and Diego de Huelva went there (San Antonio Bay?) and stayed a long time. Diego Dorantes and the unidentified fifth man sought relief elsewhere, down near the coast. The two hidalgos (who would be Andrés Dorantes and Castillo; therefore Castillo is probably listed mistakenly as one of the group of three who left) and the Negro (Estevánico, who belonged to Andrés) stayed at the first place, carrying backloads of wood and water as slaves. But in only three or four days, they too were turned away. They wandered lost for some time, without hope of relief. One night they were robbed of their clothes.

It was while trudging naked among the coastal marshes that they came upon the dead bodies of Diego Dorantes and his companion. Andrés and his two companions continued along that path until they found some Quevenes, with whom they remained.

These Indians (members of whose tribe manhandled Cabeza de Vaca and Oviedo when the latter crossed the lower Colorado a few years later) lived close to the shore, but on the Opposite side of the bay where Valdevieso and his two companions had gone. Valdevieso came over to report to the newcomers that the swimmers (Figueroa, the priest, and the young man) had passed in that direction, stripped and badly bruised about the head with sticks because of leaving. But they had gone on anyway, having taken an oath never to stop, even if death stood in their path, before reaching a country of Christians. Dorantes saw in the ranchería where he was kept the clothes of the priest and of one of the swimmers, with a breviary or prayer book. Valdevieso went back to the other side of this bay, and a couple of days later was killed because he wanted to flee. Not long after that, Huelva was killed because he forsook one lodge-house for another.]

In the service of the Indians, the Dorantes party [following the abduction of the two swimmers] were abused as slaves never were, nor men in any condition have ever been. Not content with frequently buffeting them, striking them with sticks, and pulling out their beards for amusement, they killed three of the six for only going from one house to another. These were the persons I have named before: Diego Dorantes, Valdevieso, and Diego de Huelva. The three who remained looked forward to the same fate. [Joint Report: The Christians (in two groups on opposite sides of the bay) were there made slaves and forced to serve with more cruelty than the Moor would have used. Besides going stark naked and barefoot over the coast which burned like fire in summertime, their constant occupation was bringing wood and water on their backs, or whatever the Indians needed, and dragging canoes over marshy ground in hot weather. Andrés Dorantes lived in constant dread of being killed.]

Not to endure this life, Dorantes fled [at noon one day in August 1530, according to the Joint Report, back more than twenty leagues to a river near Matagorda Bay] to the Mariames, the people among whom Esquivel had last tarried. They told him that Esquivel had wanted to run away because a woman dreamed that a son of hers would kill him; and that they overtook and slew him. They showed Dorantes his sword, beads, book, and other of his effects.

[Now only the men of the Téllez-Peñalosa barge remained unaccounted for. Cabeza de Vaca heard about them in the summer of 1535, as he reports farther on.]