The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919 Page: 206
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206 The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Indians were never quiet, nor together, they presently each went
to his own part . . . with his masters, to eat those nuts
and when they arrived there Cabeza de Vaca came to
There they laid plans for their escape, and the nature of the
plans is clearly set forth by Cabeza de Vaca:
Castillo asked me whither I went. I told him my purpose was
to go to a country of Christians, and that I followed this direc-
tion and trail. Andres Dorantes said that for many days he had
been urging Castillo and Estebanico to go further on but they
did not risk it, being unable to swim and afraid of the rivers and
inlets (ancones) that had to be crossed so often in that country.
. They at last determined upon fleeing, as I would take
them safely across the rivers and bays (ancones) we might meet.
But they advised me to keep it secret from the Indians
lest they .. . kill me forthwith. . . . To avoid this it
was necessary to remain with them six months longer, after which
time they would remove to another section to eat prickly pears
[tunas]. . .. Now at the time they pluck this fruit, other
Indians from beyond come to them with bows for barter and
exchange, and when those turn back we thought of joining them
and escaping in this way. With this understanding I remained,
and they gave me as a slave to an Indian with whom Dorantes
stayed. . .. These are called Mariames, and Castillo was
with others, who were their neighbors, called Iguaces.
Dorantes remained only a few days with those Indians and then
escaped. Castillo and Estebanico went inland to the Iguaces.
When I had been with the Christians for six months,
waiting to execute our plans the Indians went for tunas at a dis-
tance of thirty leagues from there, and as we were about to flee
the Indians began fighting among themselves over a woman
. and in a great rage each one took his lodge and went
his own way. So we Christians had to part, and in no manner
could we get together again until the year following.76
Oviedo is much less explicit about the details of the plan to
escape but adds some facts concerning the Tuna region which
Cabeza de Vaca omits:
They . . . could not communicate except in the region of
the tunas, which they went forward to eat in the, field and on
that occasion they were many times on the point of leaving but
. they separated them, each to his own district. Thus
passed six years and .in the seventh year, at the time of this fruit
7Cabeza de Vaca, 81-82, 95.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 22, July 1918 - April, 1919, periodical, 1919; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117156/m1/220/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.