CHAPTER 49: The Town of Hearts

IN THE TOWN where the emeralds were presented us, the [Pima] people gave Dorantes over 600 opened deer hearts, which they always kept in great supply for food. So we called this place the Town of Hearts ( Pueblo de los Corazones). [It stood at or near Ures, on the Río Sonora.] It is the gateway to many provinces on the South Sea, and whoever seeks them without entering here will surely be lost.

The timid, surly Indians of the coast grow no corn; they eat powdered rushes, straw, and fish, which they catch from rafts, having no canoes. The women cover themselves somewhat, with grass and straw.

We think that near the coast, along the line of those permanent towns we came through, must be more than a thousand leagues of settled, productive land, where three crops a year of corn and beans are sown.

Deer in that belt are of three kinds, one of which [the "black tail"] are as big as yearling steers in Castile.

The [Pima and Opata] houses are of the kind called bahíos [or buhío] in the West Indies.

These people get poison from a certain tree [called mago in Opata] which is about the size of our apple trees. All they have to do is pick the fruit and wet the arrow with it or, if there be no fruit, break a twig and the milk will do as well. The tree is so deadly that, if deer or other animals drink where its bruised leaves have been steeped, they will burst.

We stayed in the Town of Hearts three days.