Narrative of Le Moyne

kept it in a certain village in a pit not less than a man’s height in depth, and as large as a cask; and that, if I could make my way to that place with a hundred arquebusiers, they could put all that wealth into my hands besides what I might obtain from the richer of the natives. They said further, that, when the women met for the purpose of dancing, they wore, hanging at their girdles, flat plates of gold as large as quoits, and in such numbers that the weight fatigued and inconvenienced them in dancing ; and that the men were similarly loaded. The greater part of all this wealth, they were of opinion, came from Spanish ships, of which numbers are wrecked in that strait ; the rest from the trade between the king and the other chiefs in the neighborhood. That this king was held in great veneration by his subjects, whom he had made to believe that it was owing to his magical incantations that the earth afforded them the necessaries of life. The better to maintain this belief, he was accustomed to shut himself up along with two or three confidential persons in a certain building, where he performed these incantations ; and any one inquisitive enough to try to see what was going on was at once killed by the king’s orders. They added, that every year at harvest time, this barbarous king sacrificed a man who had been set apart expressly for this purpose, and who was chosen from among the Spaniards wrecked in the strait. One of them also told how he had for a long time’ acted as a courier to this chief, and had often been sent by him to a certain chief named Oathkaqua, who lived four or five days’ journey from Calos, and had always been his faithful ally. Midway on this journey there is, in a great fresh-water lake called Sarrope, an island about five miles across, abounding in many kinds of fruit, and especially in dates growing on palm-trees, in which there is a great trade. There is a still greater one in a certain root of which flour is made, of so good a quality that the most excellent bread is made of it, and furnished to all the country for fifteen miles round.

Hence the inhabitants of this island gain great wealth from their neighbors, for they will not sell the root except at a high price. Moreover,’ they are reckoned the bravest of all that region, as they showed by their actions when King Calos having allied himself to King Oathkaqua by taking the daughter of the latter in marriage, she was taken prisoner after the betrothal. The account of this was as follows : —

“Oathkaqua, accompanied by a great number of his people, had brought to King Calos one of his daughters, a person of great beauty of form, and of an unusually lovely complexion, to give her to him in marriage. When the people of this island found this out, they laid an ambush for Oathkaqua ; and, attacking and routing him, they captured the bride and all her women, and carried them off to their island. This is reckoned by the Indians a peculiarly splendid victory ; and they are accustomed tomarry virgins whom they take in this manner, and to be excessively in love with them.

” Calos is on a river forty or fifty miles beyond the promontory of Florida that looks toward the south ; while Oathkaqua lives this side of the promontory to the north of it, at the place called in the maps Cannaveral, twenty-eight degrees from the equator.

“About the 25th of January, my neighbor Paracousi Saturioua sent me some presents by two of his men, and wanted to engage me to unite my force with his in an attack on Outina, a friend to me ; and asking particularly that I would recall some of my men who were staying with Outina, and on whose account he had refrained from attacking and overthrowing Outina. A number of other chiefs, who had leagued themselves together, repeatedly sent messages to me to the same effect, during three weeks or a month. I was, however, disinclined to comply with this request ; but, on the contrary, used all the means in my power to put them on friendly terms. They consented to this, and in a way

Tagged with  
, ,

3 thoughts on “Narrative of Le Moyne

  1. […] Narrative of Le Moyne (1859 English translation of Le Moyne’s writings about Florida) Learn more about the ancient Native American civilizations of Florida at our sister site, Learn more about Le Moyne and the French explorations in the southeastern U.S. with the following books & videos: […]

  2. […] likelihood that Fontaneda actually visited Fort Caroline. Le Moyne includes in his accounts an episode where he has two Spanish castaways living among the Indians brought to the fort. They stated they […]

  3. […] “All the troops being now on board, a fair wind for an hour or two was all that was needed to bring us up with the enemy ; but just as the anchors were about to be weighed the wind changed, and blew directly against us, exactly from the point where the enemy were, for two whole days and nights, while we waited for it to become fair.” Narrative of Le Moyne […]