Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/26

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INTRODUCTION.

to eat, and for women to serve tliem as wives, whom they do not eat. He gives them also many pigs, as well as fish, cotton cloth, and salt, and such worked pieces of gold as they want. These Indians only trade with the cacique Davaive, and with no one else.

"This cacique Davaive has a great place for melting gold in his house, and he has a hundred men continually working at the gold. I know all this of a certainty, for I have never received any other account, in whatever direction I may have gone. I have heard it from many caciques and Indians, as well from natives of the territory of this cacique Davaive, as from those of other parts, so that I believe it to be true, because I have heard it in many forms, obtaining the information from some by torments, from others for love, and from others in exchange for things of Castile.[1] I also have certain information that, after ascending this river of San Juan for fifty leagues there are very rich mines on both sides of the river. The river is navigated in the small canoes of the Indians, because there are many narrow and winding mouths overhung with trees, and these cannot be passed except in canoes three or four palmos in breadth. After the river is entered ships may be built of eight or more palmos, which may be rowed with twenty oars, like fastas,[2] but the river has a very strong current, which even the Indian canoes can hardly stem. When it is blowing fresh the vessels may make sail, assisted by the oars in turning some of the windings.

"The people who wander along the upper course of this great river are evil and warlike. It is necessary to be very cunning in dealing with them. I have news of many other

  1. The Dobaybe was as famous a person as the El Dorado, amongst the early Spanish conquerors. He appears to have been a chief whose territory stretched along the banks of the river Atrato.
  2. Lateen rigged craft in the Mediterranean.