Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/25

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ix
INTRODUCTION.

"Two days' journey from his house there is a very beautiful country inhabited by a very evil Carib race, who eat as many men as they can get. They are a people without a chief, and there is no one whom they obey. They are warlike, and each man is his own master. They are lords of the mines, and these mines, according to the news I have heard, are the richest in the world. They are in a land where there is a mountain which appears to be the largest in the world, and I believe that so large a mountain has never before been seen. It rises up on the Uraba side of this gulf, somewhat inland, it may be twenty leagues from the sea. The way to it is in a southerly direction. At first the land is flat, but it gradually rises, and at last it is so high that it is covered with clouds. During two years we have only twice seen its summit, because it is continually obscured by clouds. Up to a certain point it is covered with a forest of great trees, and higher up the mountain has no trees whatever. It rises in the most beautiful and level country in the world, near the territory of this cacique Davaive. The very rich mines are in this land towards the rising of the sun, and it is two days' journey from the rich mines to the abode of this cacique Davaive.

"There are two methods of collecting the gold without any trouble. One is by waiting until the river rises in the ravines, and when the freshes pass off, the beds remain dry, and the gold is laid bare, which has been robbed from the mountains and brought down in very large lumps. The Indians describe them as being the size of oranges or of a fist, and others like flat slabs. The other way of gathering gold is by waiting until the plants on the hills are dry, which are set on fire, and when they are consumed the Indians go to search in the most likely places, and collect great quantities of very beautiful grains of gold. The Indians who gather this gold, bring it in grains to be melted, and barter it with this cacique Davaive, in exchange for youths and boys