CHAPTER 34: More Cures

A CROWD OF lndians came to Castillo next morning bringing five sick persons who had cramps. Each of the five offered his bow and arrows, and Castillo accepted them. At sunset [after all-day treatment, or postponing treatment to evening?] he blessed them and commended them to God our Lord. We all prayed the best we could for their health; we knew that only through Him would these people help us so we might emerge from this unhappy existence. And He bestowed health so bountifully that every patient got up the morning following as sound and strong as if he had never had an illness.

This caused great admiration and moved us to further gratitude to our Lord, Whose demonstrated mercy gave us a conviction that He would liberate us and bring us to a place where we might serve Him. I can say for myself that I had always trusted His providence and that He would lead me out of my captivity; I constantly expressed this to my companions.

The Indians having gone with their restored friends, we went over to some thickets where other tribesmen were eating prickly pears. These Indians were Cultalchuiches and Malicones, who speak a different dialect. Adjoining them and opposite us were Coayos and Susolas and, on another side, Atayos, who were at war with the Susolas, daily exchanging arrow shots.

Since the Indians all through the region talked only of the wonders which God our Lord worked through us, individuals sought us from many parts in hopes of healing. The evening of the second day after our arrival at these thickets, some of the Susolas came to us and pressed Castillo to go treat their ailing kinsmen - one wounded, the others sick and, among them, a fellow very near his end. Castillo happened to be a timid practitioner - the more so, the more serious and dangerous the case - feeling that his sins would weigh and some day impede his performing cures. The Indians urged me to go heal them. They liked me, remembering I had ministered to them in the grove where they gave us nuts and skins when I first reunited with the Christians [meaning, apparently, on the Island of Doom].

So I had to go with them. Dorantes brought Estevénico and accompanied me. As we drew near the huts of the afflicted, I saw that the man we hoped to save was dead: many mourners were weeping around him, and his house was already down [to be burned with-the deceased's possessions] - sure signs that the inhabitant was no more. I found his eyes rolled up, his pulse gone, and every appearance of death, as Dorantes agreed. Taking off the mat that covered him, I supplicated our Lord in his behalf and in behalf of the rest who ailed, as fervently as I could. After my blessing and breathing on him many times, they brought me his bow and a basket of pounded prickly pears.

The [local] natives then took me to treat many others, who had fallen into a stupor, and gave me two more baskets of prickly pears. I, in turn, gave these to the [Susola] Indians who accompanied us. We returned to our lodgings, while the Indians whom we had given the fruit waited till evening to return.

When they got back that evening, they brought the tidings that the "dead" man I had treated had got up whole and walked; he had eaten and spoken with these Sosulas, who further reported that all I had ministered to had recovered and were glad. Throughout the land the effect was a profound wonder and fear. People talked of nothing else, and wherever the fame of it reached, people set out to find us so we should cure them and bless their children.

When the Cultalchulches, who were in company with our [Avavare] Indians, were ready to return to their own heath, they left us all the prickly pears they had, without keeping one. They also gave us valuable cutting flints a palm and a half long, and begged us to remember them and pray to God that they might always be well. We promised. They departed the most contented beings in the world, having given us the best of all they had.

We lived with the Avavares eight months, reckoned by moons, during all which time people came seeking us from many parts and telling us we truly were children of the sun. Up to now, Dorantes and his Negro had not attempted to practice; but under the soliciting pressure of these pilgrims from diverse places, we all became physicians, of whom I was the boldest and most venturous in trying to cure anything. With no exceptions, every patient told us he had been made well. Confidence in our ministrations as infallible extended to a belief that none could die while we remained among them.