Sunday, September 20, 2009

Maravilloso Aracabucero

Another passage from Cieza's Discovery and Conquest of Peru. pp.112-113. This one on the effects of the arquebus or matchlock musket.

"He and they [Lord of Tumbez & his entourage] were surprised to see Pedro de Candia's stature, and they begged him to discharge an arquebus that he carried because he had done it on a ship several times in the presence of some Indians, which was the reason why the others knew about it. In order to please them, he placed the fuse, and aiming it at a thick board that was near there, he hit it and shot through it as if it were a melon. When the arquebus discharged, many of the Indians fell to the ground, and others screamed, and they judged the Christian very brave because of his stature and for discharging those shots. Some say that the lord of Tumez ordered that they should bring a lion and a tiger [puma and jaguar? - and I have to wonder if Candia must have been having second thoughts at this point] they had there to see if Candia could defend himself from them or if they would kill him. They brought them and set them loose on Candia, who having the arquebus loaded, fired it, and more Indians than before fell to the ground in fright. And without the Indians, the animals came to him as gentle as if they were lambs, as Candia told it. The cacique ordered them returned to where they had been. He asked Candia for the arquebus and poured many cups of their maize wine into the barrel, saying: "Take it, drink, since one makes such great noise with you that your are similar to the sounds of the heavens." And he ordered Pedro de Candia to sit down. They gave him plenty to eat and asked him many things about wht they wanted to know. He answered what he could to make them understand. he saw the fortress. The mamaconas, who are the sacred virgins, wanted to see him, and they sent to beg the ruler to bring him there. Thus it was done. They were extremely pleased to see Candia...Most of them were beautiful, and all very affectionate.

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