But The Present Which We
Considered As Most Valuable, Was Twenty Women; Among Whom Was The
Excellent Donna Marina, So Called After Her Baptism.
Cortes thanked the
chiefs for the presents, but told them that the most certain sign of peace
would be the return of the inhabitants to the town, which he desired might
be in two days; and this was done accordingly.
He likewise exhorted them
to renounce their idolatry, explaining the mysteries of our holy faith,
especially those parts of it which are represented by the cross, and the
image of the holy virgin. They gave a ready assent to this, the caciques
declaring their admiration of the Tecleciquata, which signifies the
great princess in their language.
The chiefs excused their late hostilities, alleging that they had been
instigated to attack us by the cacique of Champoton, and by our
interpreter Melchoreja who had deserted. Cortes was anxious to have this
man delivered up to him, but was told that he had fled; we learned
afterwards that he had been sacrificed. On being questioned whence they
procured their gold, they answered that it came from the west, frequently
repeating Culchua and Mexico, words we did not then understand; but an
interpreter, named Franciso, who had been along with Grijalva, though he
did not understand the language of Tabasco, said that he knew Culchua,
which he alleged lay far inland. On the day following, having erected a
crucifix and built an altar, the name of Tabasco was changed to that of
Santa Maria de la Vittoria; and on this occasion, the twenty Indian
women who had been presented to Cortes by the chiefs were baptized by our
chaplain, Olmedo, who preached to them many good things of our holy faith,
Aguilar serving as interpreter.
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