CHAPTER 32: Our Escape

THE SECOND DAY after our juncture with the Anagados [i.e., on 22 September 1534], we commended ourselves to God our Lord and made our break. Although the season was late and the prickly pears nearly gone, we still hoped to travel a long distance on acorns which we might find in the woods.

Hurrying along that day in dread of being overtaken, we spied some smoke billows and headed in their direction. We reached them after vespers, to find one Indian. He fled when he saw us coming. We sent the Negro after him, and the Indian stopped when he saw only a lone pursuer. The Negro told him we Were seeking the people who made those fires. He said their houses were nearby and he would guide us. We followed as he ran on to announce us.

We saw the houses at sunset. Two crossbow shots before reaching them, we found four Indians waiting to welcome us. We said in Mariame that we were looking for them. They appeared pleased with our presence and took us to their dwellings, where they lodged Dorantes and the Negro in the house of one medicine-man, and Castillo and me in that of another.

These people speak a different language and call themselves Avavares [also spelled Chavavares farther on]. They are the ones who carried bows to the Mariames and, although different in nation and tongue, understand Maname. They had arrived that day, with their lodges, where we found them [on the upper Medina or Guadalupe River] . Right away they brought us a lot of prickly pears [prickly pears maturing progressively later westward], having heard of us and the wonders our Lord worked by us. If there had been nothing but these cures, they were enough to open ways for us through a poor region like this, find us guides for often uninhabited wastes, and lead us through immediate dangers, not letting us be killed, sustaining us through great want, and instilling in those nations the heart of kindness, as we shall see.