The journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536 Page: 91 of 253
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ALVAR NUNEZ CABEZA DE VACA
eases by breathing on the sick, and with
that breath and their hands they drive the
ailment away. So they summoned us to do
the same in order to be at least of some
use. We laughed, taking it for a jest, and
said that we did not understand how to cure.
Thereupon they withheld our food to
compel us to do what they wanted. Seeing
our obstinacy, an Indian told me that I did
not know what I said by claiming that what
he knew was useless, because stones and
things growing out in the field have their
virtues, and he, with a heated stone, placing
it on the stomach, could cure and take away
pain, so that we, who were wiser men, sure-
ly had greater power and virtue.
At last we found ourselves in such
stress as to have to do it, without risk-
ing any punishment. Their manner of
curing is as follaws: When one is ill
they call in a medicine man, and after
they are well again not only do they give
him all they have, but even things they
strive to obtain from their relatives. All
the medicine man does is to make a few cuts
where the pain is located and then suck the
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Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Núñez. The journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528-1536, book, 1922; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3001/m1/91/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .