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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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The last island to which they came was called Raven's Stream, and there
one of the men, who had been very homesick, leaped out upon shore. As soon
as he touched the land he became a heap of ashes, as if his body had lain
in the earth a thousand years. This showed them for the first time during
how vast a period they had been absent, and what a space they must have
traversed. Instead of thirty enchanted islands they had visited thrice
fifty, many of them twice or thrice as large as Ireland, whence the
voyagers first came. In the wonderful experiences of their long lives they
had apparently lost sight of the search which they had undertaken, for the
murderers of Maelduin's father, since of them we hear no more. The island
enchantment seems to have banished all other thoughts.



The young student Brandan was awakened in the morning by the crowing of
the cock in the great Irish abbey where he dwelt; he rose, washed his face
and hands and dressed himself, then passed into the chapel, where he
prayed and sang until the dawn of the day. "With song comes courage" was
the motto of the abbey. It was one of those institutions like great
colonies,--church, library, farm, workshop, college, all in one,--of which
Ireland in the sixth century was full, and which existed also elsewhere.
Their extent is best seen by the modern traveller in the remains of the
vast buildings at Tintern in England, scattered over a wide extent of
country, where you keep coming upon walls and fragments of buildings which
once formed a part of a single great institution, in which all the life of
the community was organized, as was the case in the Spanish missions of
California. At the abbey of Bangor in Wales, for instance, there were two
thousand four hundred men,--all under the direction of a comparatively
small body of monks, who were trained to an amount of organizing skill
like that now needed for a great railway system. Some of these men were
occupied, in various mechanic arts, some in mining, but most of them in
agriculture, which they carried on with their own hands, without the aid
of animals, and in total silence.

Having thus labored in the fields until noonday, Brandan then returned
that he might work in the library, transcribing ancient manuscripts or
illustrating books of prayer. Having to observe silence, he wrote the name
of the book to give to the librarian, and if it were a Christian work, he
stretched out his hand, making motions with his fingers as if turning over
the leaves; but if it were by a pagan author, the monk who asked for it
was required to scratch his ear as a dog does, to show his contempt,
because, the regulations said, an unbeliever might well be compared to
that animal[1]. Taking the book, he copied it in the Scriptorium or
library, or took it to his cell, where he wrote all winter without a fire.
It is to such monks that we owe all our knowledge of the earliest history
of England and Ireland; though doubtless the hand that wrote the histories
of Gildas and Bede grew as tired as that of Brandan, or as that of the
monk who wrote in the corner of a beautiful manuscript: "He who does not
know how to write imagines it to be no labor; but though only three
fingers hold the pen, the whole body grows weary." In the same way Brandan
may have learned music and have had an organ in his monastery, or have had
a school of art, painting beautiful miniatures for the holy missals. This
was his early life in the convent.

[Footnote 1: _Adde ut aurem tangas digito sicut canis cum pede
pruriens solet, quia nec immerito infideles tali animati comparantur_.
--MARTÈNE, _De Antiq. Monach. ritibus_, p. 289, qu. by Montalembert,
Monks of the West (tr.) VI. 190.]

Once a day they were called to food; this consisting for them of bread
and vegetables with no seasoning but salt, although better fare was
furnished for the sick and the aged, for travellers and the poor. These
last numbered, at Easter time, some three or four hundred, who constantly
came and went, and upon whom the monks and young disciples waited. After
the meal the monks spent three hours in the chapel, on their knees, still
silent; then they confessed in turn to the abbot and then sought their
hard-earned rest. They held all things in common; no one even received a
gift for himself. War never reached them; it was the rarest thing for an
armed party to molest their composure; their domains were regarded as a
haven for the stormy world. Because there were so many such places in
Ireland, it was known as The Isle of Saints.

Brandan was sent after a time to other abbeys, where he could pursue
especial studies, for they had six branches of learning,--grammar,
rhetoric, dialectics, geometry, astronomy, and music. Thus he passed three
years, and was then advised to go to an especial teacher in the mountains,
who had particular modes of teaching certain branches. But this priest--he
was an Italian--was suffering from poverty, and could receive his guest
but for a few weeks. One day as Brandan sat studying, he saw, the legend
says, a white mouse come from a crack in the wall, a visitor which climbed
upon his table and left there a grain of wheat. Then the mouse paused,
looked at the student, then ran about the table, went away and reappeared
with another grain, and another, up to five. Brandan, who had at the very
instant learned his lesson, rose from his seat, followed the mouse, and
looking through a hole in the wall, saw a great pile of wheat, stored in a
concealed apartment. On his showing this to the head of the convent, it
was pronounced a miracle; the food was distributed to the poor, and "the
people blessed his charity while the Lord blessed his studies."

In the course of years, Brandan became himself the head of one of the
great abbeys, that of Clonfert, of the order of St. Benedict, where he had
under him nearly three thousand monks. In this abbey, having one day given
hospitality to a monk named Berinthus, who had just returned from an ocean
voyage, Brandan learned from him the existence, far off in the ocean, of
an island called The Delicious Isle, to which a priest named Mernoc had
retired, with many companions of his order. Berinthus found Mernoc and the
other monks living apart from one another for purposes of prayer, but when
they came together, Mernoc said, they were like bees from different
beehives. They met for their food and for church; their food included only
apples, nuts, and various herbs. One day Mernoc said to Berinthus, "I will
conduct you to the Promised Isle of the Saints." So they went on board a
little ship and sailed westward through a thick fog until a great light
shone and they found themselves near an island which was large and
fruitful and bore many apples. There were no herbs without blossoms, he
said, nor trees without fruits, and there were precious stones, and the
island was traversed by a great river. Then they met a man of shining
aspect who told them that they had without knowing it passed a year
already in the island; that they had needed neither food nor sleep. Then
they returned to the Delicious Island, and every one knew where they had
been by the perfume of their garments. This was the story of Berinthus,
and from this time forward nothing could keep Brandan from the purpose of
beholding for himself these blessed islands.

Before carrying out his plans, however, he went, about the year 560, to
visit an abbot named Enda, who lived at Arran, then called Isle of the
Saints, a priest who was supposed to know more than any one concerning the
farther lands of the western sea. He knew, for instance, of the enchanted
island named Hy-Brasail, which could be seen from the coast of Ireland
only once in seven years, and which the priests had vainly tried to
disenchant. Some islands, it was believed, had been already disenchanted
by throwing on them a few sparks of lighted turf; but as Hy-Brasail was
too far for this, there were repeated efforts to disenchant it by shooting
fiery arrows towards it, though this had not yet been successful. Then
Enda could tell of wonderful ways to cross the sea without a boat, how his
sister Fanchea had done it by spreading her own cloak upon the waves, and
how she and three other nuns were borne upon it. She found, however, that
one hem of the cloak sank below the water, because one of her companions
had brought with her, against orders, a brazen vessel from the convent;
but on her throwing it away, the sinking hem rose to the level of the rest
and bore them safely. St. Enda himself had first crossed to Arran on a
large stone which he had ordered his followers to place on the water and
which floated before the wind; and he told of another priest who had
walked on the sea as on a meadow and plucked flowers as he went. Hearing
such tales, how could St. Brandan fear to enter on his voyage?

He caused a boat to be built of a fashion which one may still see in
Welsh and Irish rivers, and known as a curragh or coracle; made of an
osier frame covered with tanned and oiled skins. He took with him
seventeen priests, among whom was St. Malo, then a mere boy, but
afterwards celebrated. They sailed to the southwest, and after being forty
days at sea they reached a rocky island furrowed with streams, where they
received the kindest hospitality, and took in fresh provisions. They
sailed again the next day, and found themselves entangled in contrary
currents and perplexing winds, so that they were long in reaching another
island, green and fertile, watered by rivers which were full of fish, and
covered with vast herds of sheep as large as heifers. Here they renewed
their stock of provisions, and chose a spotless lamb with which to
celebrate Easter Sunday on another island, which they saw at a short

This island was wholly bare, without sandy shores or wooded slopes, and
they all landed upon it to cook their lamb; but when they had arranged
their cooking-apparatus, and when their fire began to blaze, the island
seemed to move beneath their feet, and they ran in terror to their boat,
from which Brandan had not yet landed. Their supposed island was a whale,
and they rowed hastily away from it toward the island they had left, while
the whale glided away, still showing, at a distance of two miles, the fire
blazing on his back.

The next island they visited was wooded and fertile, where they found a
multitude of birds, which chanted with them the praises of the Lord, so
that they called this the Paradise of Birds.

This was the description given of this island by an old writer named
Wynkyn de Worde, in "The Golden Legend":--

"Soon after, as God would, they saw a fair island, full of flowers,
herbs, and trees, whereof they thanked God of his good grace; and anon
they went on land, and when they had gone long in this, they found a full
fayre well, and thereby stood a fair tree full of boughs, and on every
bough sat a fayre bird, and they sat so thick on the tree that uneath
[scarcely] any leaf of the tree might be seen. The number of them was so
great, and they sang so merrilie, that it was an heavenlie noise to hear.
Whereupon St. Brandan kneeled down on his knees and wept for joy, and made
his praise devoutlie to our Lord God, to know what these birds meant. And
then anon one of the birds flew from the tree to St. Brandan, and he with
the flickering of his wings made a full merrie noise like a fiddle, that
him seemed he never heard so joyful a melodie. And then St. Brandan
commanded the foule to tell him the cause why they sat so thick on the
tree and sang so merrilie. And then the foule said, some time we were
angels in heaven, but when our master, Lucifer, fell down into hell for
his high pride, and we fell with him for our offences, some higher and
some lower, after the quality of the trespasse. And because our trespasse
is so little, therefore our Lord hath sent us here, out of all paine, in
full great joy and mirthe, after his pleasing, here to serve him on this
tree in the best manner we can. The Sundaie is a daie of rest from all
worldly occupation, and therefore that day all we be made as white as any
snow, for to praise our Lorde in the best wise we may. And then all the
birds began to sing evensong so merrilie that it was an heavenlie noise to
hear; and after supper St. Brandan and his fellows went to bed and slept
well. And in the morn they arose by times, and then those foules began
mattyns, prime, and hours, and all such service as Christian men used to
sing; and St. Brandan, with his fellows, abode there seven weeks, until
Trinity Sunday was passed."

Having then embarked, they wandered for months on the ocean, before
reaching another island. That on which they finally landed was inhabited
by monks who had as their patrons St. Patrick and St. Ailbée, and they
spent Christmas there. A year passed in these voyages, and the tradition
is that for six other years they made just the same circuit, always
spending Holy Week at the island where they found the sheep, alighting for
Easter on the back of the same patient whale, visiting the Isle of Birds
at Pentecost, and reaching the island of St. Patrick and St. Ailbée in
time for Christmas.

But in the seventh year they met with wholly new perils. They were
attacked, the legend says, first by a whale, then by a griffin, and then
by a race of cyclops, or one-eyed giants. Then they came to an island
where the whale which had attacked them was thrown on shore, so that they
could cut him to pieces; then another island which had great fruits, and
was called The Island of the Strong Man; and lastly one where the grapes
filled the air with perfume. After this they saw an island, all cinders
and flames, where the cyclops had their forges, and they sailed away in
the light of an immense fire. The next day they saw, looking northward, a
great and high mountain sending out flames at the top. Turning hastily
from this dreadful sight, they saw a little round island, at the top of
which a hermit dwelt, who gave them his benediction. Then they sailed
southward once more, and stopped at their usual places of resort for Holy
Week, Easter, and Whitsuntide.

It was on this trip that they had, so the legend says, that strange
interview with Judas Iscariot, out of which Matthew Arnold has made a
ballad. Sailing in the wintry northern seas at Christmas time, St. Brandan
saw an iceberg floating by, on which a human form rested motionless; and
when it moved at last, he saw by its resemblance to the painted pictures
he had seen that it must be Judas Iscariot, who had died five centuries
before. Then as the boat floated near the iceberg, Judas spoke and told
him his tale. After he had betrayed Jesus Christ, after he had died, and
had been consigned to the flames of hell,--which were believed in very
literally in those days,--an angel came to him on Christmas night and said
that he might go thence and cool himself for an hour. "Why this mercy?"
asked Judas Iscariot. Then the angel said to him, "Remember the leper in
Joppa," and poor Judas recalled how once when the hot wind, called the
sirocco, swept through the streets of Joppa, and he saw a naked leper by
the wayside, sitting in agony from the heat and the drifting sand, Judas
had thrown his cloak over him for a shelter and received his thanks. In
reward for this, the angel now told him, he was to have, once a year, an
hour's respite from his pain; he was allowed in that hour to fling himself
on an iceberg and cool his burning heat as he drifted through the northern
seas. Then St. Brandan bent his head in prayer; and when he looked up, the
hour was passed, and Judas had been hurried back into his torments.

It seems to have been only after seven years of this wandering that they
at last penetrated within the obscure fogs which surrounded the Isle of
the Saints, and came upon a shore which lay all bathed in sunny light. It
was a vast island, sprinkled with precious stones, and covered with ripe
fruits; they traversed it for forty days without arriving at the end,
though they reached a great river which flowed through the midst of it
from east to west. There an angel appeared to them, and told them that
they could go no farther, but could return to their own abode, carrying
from the island some of those fruits and precious stones which were
reserved to be distributed among the saints when all the world should be
brought to the true faith. In order to hasten that time, it appears that
St. Malo, the youngest of the sea-faring monks, had wished, in his zeal,
to baptize some one, and had therefore dug up a heathen giant who had
been, for some reason, buried on the blessed isle. Not only had he dug the
giant's body up, but St. Malo had brought him to life again sufficiently
for the purpose of baptism and instruction in the true faith; after which
he gave him the name of Mildus, and let him die once more and be reburied.
Then, facing homeward and sailing beyond the fog, they touched once more
at The Island of Delights, received the benediction of the abbot of the
monastery, and sailed for Ireland to tell their brethren of the wonders
they had seen.

He used to tell them especially to his nurse Ita, under whose care he had
been placed until his fifth year. His monastery at Clonfert grew, as has
been said, to include three thousand monks; and he spent his remaining
years in peace and sanctity. The supposed islands which he visited are
still believed by many to have formed a part of the American continent,
and he is still thought by some Irish scholars to have been the first to
discover this hemisphere, nearly a thousand years before Columbus,
although this view has not yet made much impression on historians. The
Paradise of Birds, in particular, has been placed by these scholars in
Mexico, and an Irish poet has written a long poem describing the delights
to be found there:--

"Oft, in the sunny mornings, have I seen
Bright yellow birds, of a rich lemon hue,
Meeting in crowds upon the branches green,
And sweetly singing all the morning through;
And others, with their heads grayish and dark,
Pressing their cinnamon cheeks to the old trees,
And striking on the hard, rough, shrivelled bark,
Like conscience on a bosom ill at ease.

"And diamond-birds chirping their single notes,
Now 'mid the trumpet-flower's deep blossoms seen,
Now floating brightly on with fiery throats--
Small winged emeralds of golden green;
And other larger birds with orange cheeks,
A many-color-painted, chattering crowd,
Prattling forever with their curved beaks,
And through the silent woods screaming aloud."



The boy Kirwan lay on one of the steep cliffs of the Island of Innismane--
one of the islands of Arran, formerly called Isles of the Saints. He was
looking across the Atlantic for a glimpse of Hy-Brasail. This was what
they called it; it was a mysterious island which Kirwan's grandfather had
seen, or thought he had seen--and Kirwan's father also;--indeed, there was
not one of the old people on the island who did not think he had seen it,
and the older they were, the oftener it had been seen by them, and the
larger it looked. But Kirwan had never seen it, and whenever he came to
the top of the highest cliff, where he often went bird-nesting, he climbed
the great mass of granite called The Gregory, and peered out into the
west, especially at sunset, in hopes that he would at least catch a
glimpse, some happy evening, of the cliffs and meadows of Hy-Brasail. But
as yet he had never espied them. All this was more than two hundred years

He naturally went up to The Gregory at this hour, because it was then
that he met the other boys, and caught puffins by being lowered over the
cliff. The agent of the island employed the boys, and paid them a sixpence
for every dozen birds, that he might sell the feathers. The boys had a
rope three hundred feet long, which could reach the bottom of the cliff.
One of them tied this rope around his waist, and then held it fast with
both hands, the rope being held above by four or five strong boys, who
lowered the cragman, or "clifter," as he was called, over the precipice.
Kirwan was thus lowered to the rocks near the sea, where the puffins bred;
and, loosening the rope, he prepared to spend the night in catching them.
He had a pole with a snare on the end, which he easily clapped on the
heads of the heavy and stupid birds; then tied each on a string as he
caught it, and so kept it to be hauled up in the morning. He took in this
way twenty or thirty score of the birds, besides quantities of their large
eggs, which were found in deep clefts in the rock; and these he carried
with him when his friends came in the morning to haul him up. It was a
good school of courage, for sometimes boys missed their footing and were
dashed to pieces. At other times he fished in his father's boat, or drove
calves for sale on the mainland, or cured salt after high tide in the
caverns, or collected kelp for the farmers. But he was always looking
forward to a time when he might get a glimpse of the island of Hy-Brasail,
and make his way to it.

One day when all the fleet of fishing-boats was out for the herring
fishery, and Kirwan among them, the fog came in closer and closer, and he
was shut apart from all others. His companion in the boat--or dory-mate,
as it would be called in New England--had gone to cut bait on board
another boat, but Kirwan could manage the boat well enough alone. Long he
toiled with his oars toward the west, where he fancied the rest of the
fleet to be; and sometimes he spread his little sprit-sail, steering with
an oar--a thing which was, in a heavy sea, almost as hard as rowing. At
last the fog lifted, and he found himself alone upon the ocean. He had
lost his bearings and could not tell the points of the compass. Presently
out of a heavy bank of fog which rose against the horizon he saw what
seemed land. It gave him new strength, and he worked hard to reach it; but
it was long since he had eaten, his head was dizzy, and he lay down on the
thwart of the boat, rather heedless of what might come. Growing weaker and
weaker, he did not clearly know what he was doing. Suddenly he started up,
for a voice hailed him from above his head. He saw above him the high
stern of a small vessel, and with the aid of a sailor he was helped on

He found himself on the deck of a sloop of about seventy tons, John
Nisbet, master, with a crew of seven men. They had sailed from Killebegs
(County Donegal), in Ireland, for the coast of France, laden with butter,
tallow, and hides, and were now returning from France with French wines,
and were befogged as Kirwan had been. The boy was at once taken on board
and rated as a seaman; and the later adventures of the trip are here given
as he reported them on his return with the ship some months later.

The mist continued thicker and thicker for a time, and when it suddenly
furled itself away, they found themselves on an unknown coast, with the
wind driving them shoreward. There were men on board who were familiar
with the whole coast of Ireland and Scotland, but they remembered nothing
like this. Finding less than three fathoms of water, they came to anchor
and sent four men ashore to find where they were; these being James Ross
the carpenter and two sailors, with the boy Kirwan. They took swords and
pistols. Landing at the edge of a little wood, they walked for a mile
within a pleasant valley where cattle, horses, and sheep were feeding, and
then came in sight of a castle, small but strong, where they went to the
door and knocked. No one answered, and they walked on, up a green hill,
where there were multitudes of black rabbits; but when they had reached
the top and looked around they could see no inhabitants, nor any house; on
which they returned to the sloop and told their tale. After this the whole
ship's company went ashore, except one left in charge, and they wandered
about for hours, yet saw nothing more. As night came on they made a fire
at the base of a fallen oak, near the shore, and lay around it, talking,
and smoking the lately discovered weed, tobacco; when suddenly they heard
loud noises from the direction of the castle and then all over the island,
which frightened them so that they went on board the sloop and stayed all

The next morning they saw a dignified, elderly gentleman with ten unarmed
followers coming down towards the shore. Hailing the sloop, the older
gentleman, speaking Gaelic, asked who and whence they were, and being
told, invited them ashore as his guests. They went on shore, well armed;
and he embraced them one by one, telling them that they were the happiest
sight that island had seen for hundreds of years; that it was called
Hy-Brasail or O-Brazile; that his ancestors had been princes of it, but
For many years it had been taken possession of by enchanters, who kept it
almost always invisible, so that no ship came there; and that for the same
reason he and his friends were rendered unable to answer the sailors, even
when they knocked at the door; and that the enchantment must remain until
a fire was kindled on the island by good Christians. This had been done
the night before, and the terrible noises which they had heard were from
the powers of darkness, which had now left the island forever.

And indeed when the sailors were led to the castle, they saw that the
chief tower had just been demolished by the powers of darkness, as they
retreated; but there were sitting within the halls men and women of
dignified appearance, who thanked them for the good service they had done.
Then they were taken over the island, which proved to be some sixty miles
long and thirty wide, abounding with horses, cattle, sheep, deer, rabbits,
and birds, but without any swine; it had also rich mines of silver and
gold, but few people, although there were ruins of old towns and cities.
The sailors, after being richly rewarded, were sent on board their vessel
and furnished with sailing directions to their port. On reaching home,
they showed to the minister of their town the pieces of gold and silver
that were given them at the island, these being of an ancient stamp,
somewhat rusty yet of pure gold; and there was at once an eager desire on
the part of certain of the townsmen to go with them. Within a week an
expedition was fitted out, containing several godly ministers, who wished
to visit and discover the inhabitants of the island; but through some
mishap of the seas this expedition was never heard of again.

Partly for this reason and partly because none of Captain Nesbit's crew
wished to return to the island, there came to be in time a feeling of
distrust about all this rediscovery of Hy-Brasail or O-Brazile. There were
not wanting those who held that the ancient gold pieces might have been
gained by piracy, such as was beginning to be known upon the Spanish main;
and as for the boy Kirwan, some of his playmates did not hesitate to
express the opinion that he had always been, as they phrased it, the
greatest liar that ever spoke. What is certain is that the island of
Brazil or Hy-Brasail had appeared on maps ever since 1367 as being near
the coast of Ireland; that many voyages were made from Bristol to find it,
a hundred years later; that it was mentioned about 1636 as often seen from
the shore; and that it appeared as Brazil Rock on the London Admiralty
Charts until after 1850. If many people tried to find it and failed, why
should not Kirwan have tried and succeeded? And as to his stretching his
story a little by throwing in a few enchanters and magic castles, there
was not a voyager of his period who was not tempted to do the same.



The prosperous farmer Conall Ua Corra in the province of Connaught had
everything to make him happy except that he and his wife had no children
to cheer their old age and inherit their estate. Conall had prayed for
children, and one day said in his impatience that he would rather have
them sent by Satan than not have them at all. A year or two later his wife
had three sons at a birth, and when these sons came to maturity, they were
so ridiculed by other young men, as being the sons of Satan, that they
said, "If such is really our parentage, we will do Satan's work." So they
collected around them a few villains and began plundering and destroying
the churches in the neighborhood and thus injuring half the church
buildings in the country. At last they resolved to visit also the church
of Clothar, to destroy it, and to kill if necessary their mother's father,
who was the leading layman of the parish. When they came to the church,
they found the old man on the green in front of it, distributing meat and
drink to his tenants and the people of the parish. Seeing this, they
postponed their plans until after dark and in the meantime went home with
their grandfather, to spend the night at his house. They went to rest, and
the eldest, Lochan, had a terrible dream in which he saw first the joys of
heaven and then the terrors of future punishment, and then he awoke in
dismay. Waking his brothers, he told them his dream, and that he now saw
that they had been serving evil masters and making war upon a good one.
Such was his bitterness of remorse that he converted them to his views,
and they agreed to go to their grandfather in the morning, renounce their
sinful ways and ask his pardon.

This they did, and he advised them to go to a celebrated saint, Finnen of
Clonard, and take him as their spiritual guide. Laying aside their armor
and weapons, they went to Clonard, where all the people, dreading them and
knowing their wickedness, fled for their lives, except the saint himself,
who came forward to meet them. With him the three brothers undertook the
most austere religious exercises, and after a year they came to St. Finnen
and asked his punishment for their former crimes. "You cannot," he said,
"restore to life those you have slain, but you can at least restore the
buildings you have devastated and ruined." So they went and repaired many
churches, after which they resolved to go on a pilgrimage upon the great
Atlantic Ocean. They built for themselves therefore a curragh or coracle,
covered with hides three deep. It was capable of carrying nine persons,
and they selected five out of the many who wished to join the party. There
were a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a musician, and the man who had
modelled the boat; and with these they pushed out to sea.

It had happened some years before that in a quarrel about a deer hunt,
the men of Ross had killed the king. It had been decided that, by way of
punishment, sixty couples of the people of Ross should be sent out to sea,
two and two, in small boats, to meet what fate they might upon the deeps.
They were watched that they might not land again, and for many years
nothing more had been heard from them. The most pious task which these
repenting pilgrims could undertake, it was thought, would be to seek these
banished people. They resolved to spread their sail and let Providence
direct their course. They went, therefore, northwest on the Atlantic,
where they visited several wonderful islands, on one of which there was a
great bird which related to them, the legend says, the whole history of
the world, and gave them a great leaf from a tree--the leaf being as large
as an ox-hide, and being preserved for many years in one of the churches
after their return. At the next island they heard sweet human voices, and
found that the sixty banished couples had established their homes there.

The pilgrims then went onward in their hidebound boat until they reached
the coast of Spain, and there they landed and dwelt for a time. The bishop
built a church, and the priest officiated in it, and the organist took
charge of the music. All prospered; yet the boat-builder and the three
brothers were never quite contented, for they had roamed the seas too
long; and they longed for a new enterprise for their idle valor. They
thought they had found this when one day they found on the sea-coast a
group of women tearing their hair, and when they asked the explanation,
"Señor," said an old woman, "our sons and our husbands have again fallen
into the hand of Satan." At this the three brothers were startled, for
they remembered well how they used, in youth, to rank themselves as
Satan's children. Asking farther, they learned that a shattered boat they
saw on the beach was one of a pair of boats which had been carried too far
out to sea, and had come near an islet which the sailors called _Isla de
la Man Satanaxio_, or The Island of Satan's Hand. It appeared that in
that region there was an islet so called, always surrounded by chilly
mists and water of a deadly cold; that no one had ever reached it, as it
constantly changed place; but that a demon hand sometimes uprose from it,
and plucked away men and even whole boats, which, when once grasped,
usually by night, were never seen again, but perished helplessly, victims
of Satan's Hand.

When the voyagers laughed at this legend, the priest of the village
showed them, on the early chart of Bianco, the name of "De la Man
Satanagio," and on that of Beccaria the name "Satanagio" alone, both these
being the titles of islands. Not alarmed at the name of Satan, as being
that of one whom they had supposed, in their days of darkness, to be their
patron, they pushed boldly out to sea and steered westward, a boat-load of
Spanish fishermen following in their wake. Passing island after island of
green and fertile look, they found themselves at last in what seemed a
less favored zone--as windy as the "roaring forties," and growing chillier
every hour. Fogs gathered quickly, so that they could scarcely see the
companion boat, and the Spanish fishermen called out to them, "Garda da la
Man do Satanaxio!" ("Look out for Satan's hand!")

As they cried, the fog became denser yet, and when it once parted for a
moment, something that lifted itself high above them, like a gigantic
hand, showed itself an instant, and then descended with a crushing grasp
upon the boat of the Spanish fishermen, breaking it to pieces, and
dragging some of the men below the water, while others, escaping, swam
through the ice-cold waves, and were with difficulty taken on board the
coracle; this being all the harder because the whole surface of the water
was boiling and seething furiously. Rowing away as they could from this
perilous neighborhood, they lay on their oars when the night came on, not
knowing which way to go. Gradually the fog cleared away, the sun rose
clearly at last, and wherever they looked on the deep they saw no traces
of any island, still less of the demon hand. But for the presence among
them of the fishermen they had picked up, there was nothing to show that
any casualty had happened.

That day they steered still farther to the west with some repining from
the crew, and at night the same fog gathered, the same deadly chill came
on. Finding themselves in shoal water, and apparently near some island,
they decided to anchor the boat; and as the man in the bow bent over to
clear away the anchor, something came down upon him with the same awful
force, and knocked him overboard. His body could not be recovered, and as
the wind came up, they drove before it until noon of the next day, seeing
nothing of any land and the ocean deepening again. By noon the fog
cleared, and they saw nothing, but cried with one voice that the boat
should be put about, and they should return to Spain. For two days they
rowed in peace over a summer sea; then came the fog again and they laid on
their oars that night. All around them dim islands seemed to float,
scarcely discernible in the fog; sometimes from the top of each a point
would show itself, as of a mighty hand, and they could hear an occasional
plash and roar, as if this hand came downwards. Once they heard a cry, as
if of sailors from another vessel. Then they strained their eyes to gaze
into the fog, and a whole island seemed to be turning itself upside down,
its peak coming down, while its base went uppermost, and the whole water
boiled for leagues around, as if both earth and sea were upheaved.

The sun rose upon this chaos of waters. No demon hand was anywhere
visible, nor any island, but a few icebergs were in sight, and the
frightened sailors rowed away and made sail for home. It was rare to see
icebergs so far south, and this naturally added to the general dismay.
Amid the superstition of the sailors, the tales grew and grew, and all the
terrors became mingled. But tradition says that there were some veteran
Spanish sailors along that coast, men who had sailed on longer voyages,
and that these persons actually laughed at the whole story of Satan's
Hand, saying that any one who had happened to see an iceberg topple over
would know all about it. It was more generally believed, however, that all
this was mere envy and jealousy; the daring fishermen remained heroes for
the rest of their days; and it was only within a century or two that the
island of Satanaxio disappeared from the charts.



The young Spanish page, Luis de Vega, had been for some months at the
court of Don Rodrigo, king of Spain, when he heard the old knights
lamenting, as they came out of the palace at Toledo, over the king's last
and most daring whim. "He means," said one of them in a whisper, "to
penetrate the secret cave of the Gothic kings, that cave on which each
successive sovereign has put a padlock,"

"Till there are now twenty-seven of them," interrupted a still older

"And he means," said the first, frowning at the interruption, "to take
thence the treasures of his ancestors."

"Indeed, he must do it," said another, "else the son of his ancestors
will have no treasure left of his own."

"But there is a spell upon it," said the other. "For ages Spain has been
threatened with invasion, and it is the old tradition that the only
talisman which can prevent it is in this cave."

"Well," said the scoffer, "it is only by entering the cave that he can
possess the talisman."

"But if he penetrates to it, his power is lost."

"A pretty talisman," said the other. "It is only of use to anybody so
long as no one sees it. Were I the king I would hold it in my hands. And I
have counselled him to heed no graybeards, but to seize the treasure for
himself. I have offered to accompany him."

"May it please your lordship," said the eager Luis, "may I go with you?"

"Yes," said Don Alonzo de Carregas, turning to the ardent boy. "Where the
king goes I go, and where I go thou shalt be my companion. See, señors,"
he said, turning to the others, "how the ready faith of boyhood puts your
fears to shame. To his Majesty the terrors of this goblin cave are but a
jest which frightens the old and only rouses the young to courage. The
king may find the recesses of the cavern filled with gold and jewels; he
who goes with him may share them. This boy is my first recruit: who

By this time a whole group of courtiers, young and old, had assembled
about Don Alonzo, and every man below thirty years was ready to pledge
himself to the enterprise. But the older courtiers and the archbishop
Oppas were beseeching the king to refrain. "Respect, O king," they said,
"the custom held sacred by twenty-seven of thy predecessors. Give us but
an estimate of the sum that may, in thy kingly mind, represent the wealth
that is within the cavern walls, and we will raise it on our own domains,
rather than see the sacred tradition set at nought." The king's only
answer was, "Follow me," Don Alonzo hastily sending the boy Luis to
collect the younger knights who had already pledged themselves to the
enterprise. A gallant troop, they made their way down the steep steps
which led from the palace to the cave. The news had spread; the ladies had
gathered on the balconies, and the bright face of one laughing girl looked
from a bower window, while she tossed a rose to the happy Luis. Alas, it
fell short of its mark and hit the robes of Archbishop Oppas, who stood
with frowning face as the youngster swept by. The archbishop crushed it
unwittingly in the hand that held the crosier.

The rusty padlocks were broken, and each fell clanking on the floor, and
was brushed away by mailed heels. They passed from room to room with
torches, for the cavern extended far beneath the earth; yet they found no
treasure save the jewelled table of Solomon. But for their great
expectations, this table alone might have proved sufficient to reward
their act of daring. Some believed that it had been brought by the Romans
from Solomon's temple, and from Rome by the Goths and Vandals who sacked
that city and afterwards conquered Spain; but all believed it to be
sacred, and now saw it to be gorgeous. Some describe it as being of gold,
set with precious stones; others, as of gold and silver, making it yellow
and white in hue, ornamented with a row of pearls, a row of rubies, and
another row of emeralds. It is generally agreed that it stood on three
hundred and sixty feet, each made of a single emerald. Being what it was,
the king did not venture to remove it, but left it where it was.
Traversing chamber after chamber and finding all empty, they at last found
all passages leading to the inmost apartment, which had a marble urn in
the centre. Yet all eyes presently turned from this urn to a large
painting on the wall which displayed a troop of horsemen in full motion.
Their horses were of Arab breed, their arms were scimitars and lances,
with fluttering pennons; they wore turbans, and their coarse black hair
fell over their shoulders; they were dressed in skins. Never had there
been seen by the courtiers a mounted troop so wild, so eager, so
formidable. Turning from them to the marble urn, the king drew from it a
parchment, which said: "These are the people who, whenever this cave is
entered and the spell contained in this urn is broken, shall possess this
country. An idle curiosity has done its work.[2]

[Footnote 2: "_Latinas letras á la margen puestas
Decian:--'Cuando aquesta puerta y arca
Fueran abiertas, gentes como estas
Pondrán por tierra cuanto España abarca._"

The rash king, covering his eyes with his hands, fled outward from the
cavern; his knights followed him, but Don Alonzo lingered last except the
boy Luis. "Nevertheless, my lord," said Luis, "I should like to strike a
blow at these bold barbarians." "We may have an opportunity," said the
gloomy knight. He closed the centre gate of the cavern, and tried to
replace the broken padlocks, but it was in vain. In twenty-four hours the
story had travelled over the kingdom.

The boy Luis little knew into what a complex plot he was drifting. In the
secret soul of his protector, Don Alonzo, there burned a great anger
against the weak and licentious king. He and his father, Count Julian, and
Archbishop Oppas, his uncle, were secretly brooding plans of wrath against
Don Rodrigo for his ill treatment of Don Alonzo's sister, Florinda. Rumors
had told them that an army of strange warriors from Africa, who had
hitherto carried all before them, were threatening to cross the straits
not yet called Gibraltar, and descend on Spain. All the ties of fidelity
held these courtiers to the king; but they secretly hated him, and wished
for his downfall. By the next day they had planned to betray him to the
Moors. Count Julian had come to make his military report to Don Rodrigo,
and on some pretext had withdrawn Florinda from the court. "When you come
again," said the pleasure-loving king, "bring me some hawks from the
south, that we may again go hawking." "I will bring you hawks enough," was
the answer, "and such as you never saw before." "But Rodrigo," says the
Arabian chronicler, "did not understand the full meaning of his words."

It was a hard blow for the young Luis when he discovered what a plot was
being urged around him. He would gladly have been faithful to the king,
worthless as he knew him to be; but Don Alonzo had been his benefactor,
and he held by him. Meanwhile the conspiracy drew towards completion, and
the Arab force was drawing nearer to the straits. A single foray into
Spain had shown Musa, the Arab general, the weakness of the kingdom; that
the cities were unfortified, the citizens unarmed, and many of the nobles
lukewarm towards the king. "Hasten," he said, "towards that country where
the palaces are filled with gold and silver, and the men cannot fight in
their defence." Accordingly, in the early spring of the year 711, Musa
sent his next in command, Tarik, to cross to Spain with an army of seven
thousand men, consisting mostly of chosen cavalry. They crossed the
straits then called the Sea of Narrowness, embarking the troops at Tangier
and Ceute in many merchant vessels, and landing at that famous promontory
called thenceforth by the Arab general's name, the Rock of Tarik,
Dschebel-Tarik, or, more briefly, Gibraltar.

Luis, under Don Alonzo, was with the Spanish troops sent hastily down to
resist the Arab invaders, and, as these troops were mounted, he had many
opportunities of seeing the new enemies and observing their ways. They
were a picturesque horde; their breasts were covered with mail armor; they
wore white turbans on their heads, carried their bows slung across their
backs, and their swords suspended to their girdles, while they held their
long spears firmly grasped in their hands. The Arabs said that their
fashion of mail armor had come to them from King David, "to whom," they
said, "God made iron soft, and it became in his hands as thread." More
than half of them were mounted on the swift horses which were peculiar to
their people; and the white, red, and black turbans and cloaks made a most
striking picture around the camp-fires. These men, too, were already
trained and successful soldiers, held together both by a common religion
and by the hope of spoil. There were twelve thousand of them by the most
probable estimate,--for Musa had sent reinforcements,--and they had
against them from five to eight times their number. But of the Spaniards
only a small part were armed or drilled, or used to warfare, and great
multitudes of them had to put their reliance in clubs, slings, axes, and
short scythes. The cavalry were on the wings, where Luis found himself,
with Count Julian and Archbishop Oppas to command them. Soon, however, Don
Alonzo and Luis were detached, with others, to act as escort to the king,
Don Rodrigo.

The battle began soon after daybreak on Sunday, July 19, 711. As the
Spanish troops advanced, their trumpets sounded defiance and were answered
by Moorish horns and kettledrums. While they drew near, the shouts of the
Spaniards were drowned in the _lelie_ of the Arabs, the phrase _Lá
ilá-ha ella-llah_--there is no deity but God. As they came nearer yet,
there is a tradition that Rodrigo looking on the Moslem, said, "By the
faith of the Messiah, these are the very men I saw painted on the walls of
the cave at Toledo." Yet he certainly bore himself like a king, and he
rode on the battle-field in a chariot of ivory lined with gold, having a
silken awning decked with pearls and rubies, while the vehicle was drawn
by three white mules abreast. He was then nearly eighty, and was dressed
in a silken robe embroidered with pearls. He had brought with him in carts
and on mules his treasures in jewels and money; and he had trains of mules
whose only load consisted of ropes, to bind the arms of his captives, so
sure was he of making every Arab his prisoner. Driving along the lines he
addressed his troops boldly, and arriving at the centre quitted his
chariot, put on a horned helmet, and mounted his white horse Orelio.

This was before the invention of gunpowder, and all battles were hand to
hand. On the first day the result was doubtful, and Tarik rode through the
Arab ranks, calling on them to fight for their religion and their safety.
As the onset began, Tarik rode furiously at a Spanish chief whom he took
for the king, and struck him down. For a moment it was believed to be the
king whom he had killed, and from that moment new energy was given to the
Arabs. The line of the Spaniards wavered; and at this moment the whole
wing of cavalry to which Luis belonged rode out from its place and passed
on the flank of the army, avoiding both Spaniard and Arab. "What means
this?" said Luis to the horseman by his side. "It means," was the answer,
"that Bishop Oppas is betraying the king." At this moment Don Alonzo rode
up and cheered their march with explanations. "No more," he said, "will we
obey this imbecile old king who can neither fight nor govern. He and his
troops are but so many old women; it is only these Arabs who are men. All
is arranged with Tarik, and we will save our country by joining the only
man who can govern it." Luis groaned in dismay; it seemed to him an act of
despicable treachery; but those around him seemed mostly prepared for it,
and he said to himself, "After all, Don Alonzo is my chief; I must hold by
him;" so he kept with the others, and the whole cavalry wing followed
Oppas to a knoll, whence they watched the fight. It soon became a panic;
the Arabs carried all before them, and the king himself was either killed
or hid himself in a convent.

Many a Spaniard of the seceding wing of cavalry reproached himself
afterwards for what had been done; and while the archbishop had some
influence with the conquering general and persuaded him to allow the
Christians everywhere to retain a part of their churches, yet he had,
after all, the reward of a traitor in contempt and self-reproach. This he
could bear no longer, and organizing an expedition from a Spanish port, he
and six minor bishops, with many families of the Christians, made their
way towards Gibraltar. They did not make their escape, however, without
attracting notice and obstruction. As they rode among the hills with their
long train, soldiers, ecclesiastics, women, and children, they saw a
galloping band of Arabs in pursuit. The archbishop bade them turn
instantly into a deserted castle they were just passing, to drop the
portcullis and man the walls. That they might look as numerous as
possible, he bade all the women dress themselves like men and tie their
long hair beneath their chins to resemble beards. He then put helmets on
their heads and lances in their hands, and thus the Arab leader saw a
formidable host on the walls to be besieged. In obedience, perhaps, to
orders, he rode away and after sufficient time had passed, the
archbishop's party rode onward towards their place of embarkation. Luis
found himself beside a dark-eyed maiden, who ambled along on a white mule,
and when he ventured to joke her a little on her late appearance as an
armed cavalier, she said coyly, "Did you think my only weapons were
roses?" Looking eagerly at her, he recognized the laughing face which he
had once seen at a window; but ere he could speak again she had struck her
mule lightly and taken refuge beside the archbishop, where Luis dared not
venture. He did not recognize the maiden again till they met on board one
of the vessels which the Arabs had left at Gibraltar, and on which they
embarked for certain islands of which Oppas had heard, which lay in the
Sea of Darkness. Among these islands they were to find their future home.

The voyage, at first rough, soon became serene and quiet; the skies were
clear, the moon shone; the veils of the Spanish maidens were convenient by
day and useless at evening, and Luis had many a low-voiced talk on the
quarter-deck with Juanita, who proved to be a young relative of the
archbishop. It was understood that she was to take the veil, and that,
young as she was, she would become, by and by, the lady abbess of a
nunnery to be established on the islands; and as her kinsman, though
severe to others, was gentle to her, she had her own way a good deal--
especially beneath the moon and the stars. For the rest, they had daily
services of religion, as dignified and sonorous as could have taken place
on shore, except on those rare occasions when the chief bass voice was
hushed in seasickness in some cabin below. Beautiful Gregorian masses rose
to heaven, and it is certain that the Pilgrim fathers, in their two months
on the Atlantic, almost a thousand years later, had no such rich melody as
floated across those summer seas. Luis was a favorite of Oppas, the
archbishop, who never seemed to recognize any danger in having an
enamoured youth so near to the demure future abbess. He consulted the
youth about many plans. Their aim, it seemed, was the great island called
Antillia, as yet unexplored, but reputed to be large enough for many
thousand people. Oppas was to organize the chief settlement, and he
planned to divide the island into seven dioceses, each bishop having a
permanent colony. Once established, they would trade with Spain, and
whether it remained Moorish or became Christian, Oppas was sure of
friendly relations.

The priests were divided among the three vessels, and among them there
was that occasional jarring from which even holy men are not quite free.
The different bishops had their partisans, but none dared openly face the
imperial Oppas. His supposed favorite Luis was less formidable; he was
watched and spied upon, while his devotion to the dignified Juanita was
apparent to all. Yet he was always ready to leave her side when Oppas
called, and then they discussed together the future prospects of the
party: when they should see land, whether it would really be Antillia,
whether they should have a good landfall, whether the island would be
fertile, whether there would be native inhabitants, and if so, whether
they should be baptized and sent to Spain as slaves, or whether they
should be retained on the island. It was decided, on the whole, that this
last should be done; and what with the prospect of winning souls, and the
certainty of having obedient subjects, the prospect seemed inviting.

One morning, at sunrise, there lay before them a tropic island, soft and
graceful, with green shrubs and cocoanut trees, and rising in the distance
to mountains whose scooped tops and dark, furrowed sides spoke of extinct
volcanoes--yet not so extinct but that a faint wreath of vapor still
mounted from the utmost peak of the highest among them. Here and there
were seen huts covered with great leaves or sheaves of grass, and among
these they saw figures moving and disappearing, watching their approach,
yet always ready to disappear in the recesses of the woods. Sounding
carefully the depth of water with their imperfect tackle, they anchored
off the main beach, and sent a boat on shore from each vessel, Luis being
in command of one. The natives at first hovered in the distance, but
presently came down to the shore to meet the visitors, some even swimming
off to the boats in advance. They were of a yellow complexion, with good
features, were naked except for goat-skins or woven palm fibres, or reeds
painted in different colors; and were gay and merry, singing and dancing
among themselves. When brought on board the ships, they ate bread and
figs, but refused wine and spices; and they seemed not to know the use of
rings or of swords, when shown to them. Whatever was given to them they
divided with one another. They cultivated fruit and grain on their island,
reared goats, and seemed willing to share all with their newly found
friends. Luis, always thoughtful, and somewhat anxious in temperament,
felt many doubts as to the usage which these peaceful islanders would
receive from the ships' company, no matter how many bishops and holy men
might be on board.

All that day there was exploring by small companies, and on the next the
archbishop landed in solemn procession. The boats from the ships all met
at early morning, near the shore, the sight bringing together a crowd of
islanders on the banks; men, women, and children, who, with an instinct
that something of importance was to happen, decked themselves with
flowers, wreaths, and plumes, the number increasing constantly and the
crowd growing more and more picturesque. Forming from the boats, a
procession marched slowly up the beach, beginning with a few lay brethren,
carrying tools for digging; then acolytes bearing tall crosses; and then
white-robed priests; the seven bishops being carried on litters, the
archbishop most conspicuously of all. Solemn chants were sung as the
procession moved through the calm water towards the placid shore, and the
gentle savages joined in kneeling while a solemn mass was said, and the
crosses were uplifted which took possession of the new-found land in the
name of the Church.

These solemn services occupied much of the day; later they carried tents
on shore, and some of them occupied large storehouses which the natives
had built for drying their figs; and to the women, under direction of
Juanita, was allotted a great airy cave, with smaller caves branching from
it, where the natives had made palm baskets. Day after day they labored,
transferring all their goods and provisions to the land,--tools, and
horses, and mules, clothing, and simple furniture. Most of them joined
with pleasure in this toil, but others grew restless as they transferred
all their possessions to land, and sometimes the women especially would
climb to high places and gaze longingly towards Spain.

One morning a surprise came to Luis. Every night it was their custom to
have a great fire on the beach, and to meet and sing chants around it. One
night Luis had personally put out the blaze of the fire, as it was more
windy than usual, and went to sleep in his tent. Soon after midnight he
was awakened by a glare of a great light upon his tent's thin walls, and
hastily springing up, he saw their largest caravel on fire. Rushing out to
give the alarm, he saw a similar flame kindled in the second vessel, and
then, after some delay, in the third. Then he saw a dark boat pulling
hastily towards the shore, and going down to the beach he met their most
trusty captain, who told him that the ships had been burnt by order of the
archbishop, in order that their return might be hopeless, and that their
stay on the island might be forever.

There was some lamentation among the emigrants when they saw their
retreat thus cut off, but Luis when once established on shore did not
share it; to be near Juanita was enough for him, though he rarely saw her.
He began sometimes to feel that the full confidence of the archbishop was
withdrawn from him, but he was still high in office, and he rode with
Oppas over the great island, marking it out by slow degrees into seven
divisions, that each bishop might have a diocese and a city of his own.
Soon the foundations began to be laid, and houses and churches began to be
built, for the soft volcanic rock was easily worked, though not very solid
for building. The spot for the cathedral was selected with the unerring
eye for a fine situation which the Roman Catholic Church has always shown,
and the adjoining convent claimed, as it rose, the care of Juanita. As
general superintendent of the works, it was the duty of Luis sometimes to
be in that neighborhood, until one unlucky day when the two lovers,
lingering to watch the full moon rise, were interrupted by one of the
younger bishops, a black-browed Spaniard of stealthy ways, who had before
now taken it upon himself to watch them. Nothing could be more innocent
than their dawning loves, yet how could any love be held innocent on the
part of a maiden who was the kinswoman of an archbishop and was his
destined choice for the duties of an abbess? The fact that she had never
yet taken her preliminary vows or given her consent to take them, counted
for nothing in the situation; though any experienced lady-superior could
have told the archbishop that no maiden could be wisely made an abbess
until she had given some signs of having a vocation for a religious life.

From that moment the youthful pair met no more for weeks. It seemed
always necessary for Luis to be occupied elsewhere than in the Cathedral
city; as the best architect on the island, he was sent here, there, and
everywhere; and the six other churches rose with more rapidity because the
archbishop preferred to look after his own. The once peaceful natives
found themselves a shade less happy when they were required to work all
day long as quarry-men or as builders, but it was something, had they but
known it, that they were not borne away as slaves, as happened later on
other islands to so many of their race. To Luis they were always loyal for
his cheery ways, although there seemed a change in his spirits as time
went on. But an event happened which brought a greater change still.

A Spanish caravel was seen one day, making towards the port and showing
signals of distress. Luis, having just then found an excuse for visiting
the Cathedral city, was the first to board her and was hailed with joy by
the captain. He was a townsman of the youth's and had given him his first
lessons in navigation. He had been bound, it seemed, for the Canary
Islands, and had put in for repairs, which needed only a few days in the
quiet waters of a sheltered port. He could tell Luis of his parents, of
his home, and that the northern part of Spain, under Arab sway, was
humanely governed, and a certain proportion of Christian churches allowed.
In a few days the caravel sailed again at nightfall; but it carried with
it two unexpected passengers; the archbishop lost his architect, and the
proposed convent lost its unwilling abbess.

From this point both the Island of the Seven Cities and its escaping
lovers disappear from all definite records. It was a period when
expeditions of discovery came and went, and when one wondrous tale drove
out another. There exist legends along the northern coast of Spain in the
region of Santander, for instance, of a youth who once eloped with a
high-born maiden and came there to dwell, but there may have been many
such youths and many such maidens--who knows? Of Antillia itself, or the
Island of the Seven Cities, it is well known that it appeared on the maps
of the Atlantic, sometimes under the one name and sometimes under another,
six hundred years after the date assigned by the story that has here been
told. It was said by Fernando Columbus to have been revisited by a
Portuguese sailor in 1447; and the name appeared on the globe of Behaim in

The geographer Toscanelli, in his famous letter to Columbus, recommended
Antillia as likely to be useful to Columbus as a way station for reaching
India, and when the great explorer reached Hispaniola, he was supposed to
have discovered the mysterious island, whence the name of Antilles was
given to the group. Later, the first explorers of New Mexico thought that
the pueblos were the Seven Cities; so that both the names of the imaginary
island have been preserved, although those of Luis de Vega and his
faithful Juanita have not been recorded until the telling of this tale.



Erik the Red, the most famous of all Vikings, had three sons, and once
when they were children the king came to visit Erik and passed through the
playground where the boys were playing. Leif and Biorn, the two oldest,
were building little houses and barns and were making believe that they
were full of cattle and sheep, while Harald, who was only four years old,
was sailing chips of wood in a pool. The king asked Harald what they were,
and he said, "Ships of war." King Olaf laughed and said, "The time may
come when you will command ships, my little friend." Then he asked Biorn
what he would like best to have. "Corn-land," he said; "ten farms." "That
would yield much corn," the king replied. Then he asked Leif the same
question, and he answered, "Cows." "How many?" "So many that when they
went to the lake to be watered, they would stand close round the edge, so
that not another could pass." "That would be a large housekeeping," said
the king, and he asked the same question of Harald. "What would you like
best to have?" "Servants and followers," said the child, stoutly. "How
many would you like?" "Enough," said the child, "to eat up all the cows
and crops of my brothers at a single meal." Then the king laughed, and
said to the mother of the children, "You are bringing up a king."

As the boys grew, Leif and Harald were ever fond of roaming, while Biorn
wished to live on the farm at peace. Their sister Freydis went with the
older boys and urged them on. She was not gentle and amiable, but full of
energy and courage: she was also quarrelsome and vindictive. People said
of her that even if her brothers were all killed, yet the race of Erik the
Red would not end while she lived; that "she practised more of shooting
and the handling of sword and shield than of sewing or embroidering, and
that as she was able, she did evil oftener than good; and that when she
was hindered she ran into the woods and slew men to get their property."
She was always urging her brothers to deeds of daring and adventure. One
day they had been hawking, and when they let slip the falcons, Harald's
falcon killed two blackcocks in one flight and three in another. The dogs
ran and brought the birds, and he said proudly to the others, "It will be
long before most of you have any such success," and they all agreed to
this. He rode home in high spirits and showed his birds to his sister
Freydis. "Did any king," he asked, "ever make so great a capture in so
short a time?" "It is, indeed," she said, "a good morning's hunting to
have got five blackcocks, but it was still better when in one morning a
king of Norway took five kings and subdued all their kingdoms." Then
Harald went away very humble and besought his father to let him go and
serve on the Varangian Guard of King Otho at Constantinople, that he might
learn to be a warrior.

So Harald was brought from his Norwegian home by his father Erik the Red,
in his galley called the _Sea-serpent_, and sailed with him through
the Mediterranean Sea, and was at last made a member of the Emperor Otho's
Varangian Guard at Constantinople. This guard will be well remembered by
the readers of Scott's novel, "Count Robert of Paris," and was maintained
by successive emperors and drawn largely from the Scandinavian races. Erik
the Red had no hesitation in leaving his son among them, as the young man
was stout and strong, very self-willed, and quite able to defend himself.
The father knew also that the Varangian Guard, though hated by the people,
held to one another like a band of brothers; and that any one brought up
among them would be sure of plenty of fighting and plenty of gold,--the
two things most prized by early Norsemen. For ordinary life, Harald's
chief duties would be to lounge about the palace, keeping guard, wearing
helmet and buckler and bearskin, with purple underclothes and golden
clasped hose; and bearing as armor a mighty battle-axe and a small
scimitar. Such was the life led by Harald, till one day he had a message
from his father, through a new recruit, calling him home to join an
expedition to the western seas. "I hear, my son," the message said, "that
your good emperor, whom may the gods preserve, is sorely ill and may die
any day. When he is dead, be prompt in getting your share of the plunder
of the palace and come back to me."

The emperor died, and the order was fulfilled. It was the custom of the
Varangians to reward themselves in this way for their faithful services of
protection; and the result is that, to this day, Greek and Arabic gold
crosses and chains are to be found in the houses of Norwegian peasants and
may be seen in the museums of Christiania and Copenhagen. No one was
esteemed the less for this love of spoil, if he was only generous in
giving. The Norsemen spoke contemptuously of gold as "the serpent's bed,"
and called a generous man "a hater of the serpent's bed," because such a
man parts with gold as with a thing he hates.

When the youth came to his father, he found Erik the Red directing the
building of one of the great Norse galleys, nearly eighty feet long and
seventeen wide and only six feet deep. The boat had twenty ribs, and the
frame was fastened together by withes made of roots, while the oaken
planks were held by iron rivets. The oars were twenty feet long, and were
put through oar holes, and the rudder, shaped like a large oar, was not at
the end, but was attached to a projecting beam on the starboard
(originally steer-board) side. The ship was to be called a Dragon, and was
to be painted so as to look like one, having a gilded dragon's head at the
bow and a gilded tail on the stern; while the moving oars would look like
legs, and the row of red and white shields, hung along the side of the
boat, would resemble the scales of a dragon, and the great square sails,
red and blue, would look like wings. This was the vessel which young
Harald was to command.

He had already made trips in just such vessels with his father; had
learned to attack the enemy with arrow and spear; also with stones thrown
down from above, and with grappling-irons to clutch opposing boats. He had
learned to swim, from early childhood, even in the icy northern waters,
and he had been trained in swimming to hide his head beneath his floating
shield, so that it could not be seen. He had learned also to carry tinder
in a walnut shell, enclosed in wax, so that no matter how long he had been
in the water he could strike a light on reaching shore. He had also
learned from his father acts of escape as well as attack. Thus he had once
sailed on a return trip from Denmark after plundering a town; the ships
had been lying at anchor all night in a fog, and at sunlight in the
morning lights seemed burning on the sea. But Erik the Red said, "It is a
fleet of Danish ships, and the sun strikes on the gilded dragon crests;
furl the sail and take to the oars." They rowed their best, yet the Danish
ships were overtaking them, when Erik the Red ordered his men to throw
wood overboard and cover it with Danish plunder. This made some delay, as
the Danes stopped to pick it up, and in the same way Erik the Red dropped
his provisions, and finally his prisoners; and in the delay thus caused he
got away with his own men.

But now Harald was not to go to Denmark, but to the new western world,
the Wonderstrands which Leif had sought and had left without sufficient
exploration. First, however, he was to call at Greenland, which his father
had first discovered. It was the custom of the Viking explorers, when they
reached a new country, to throw overboard their "seat posts," or
_setstokka_,--the curved part of their doorways,--and then to land
where they floated ashore. But Erik the Red had lent his to a friend and
could not get them back, so that he sailed in search of them, and came to
a new land which he called Greenland, because, as he said, people would be
attracted thither if it had a good name. Then he established a colony
there, and then Leif the Lucky, as he was called, sailed still farther,
and came to the Wonderstrand, or Magic Shores. These he called Vinland or
Wine-land, and now a rich man named Karlsefne was to send a colony thither
from Greenland, and the young Harald was to go with it and take command of

Now as Harald was to be presented to the rich Karlsefne, he thought he
must be gorgeously arrayed. So he wore a helmet on his head, a red shield
richly inlaid with gold and iron, and a sharp sword with an ivory handle
wound with golden thread. He had also a short spear, and wore over his
coat a red silk short cloak on which was embroidered, both before and
behind, a yellow lion. We may well believe that the sixty men and five
women who composed the expedition were ready to look on him with
admiration, especially as one of the women was his own sister, Freydis,
now left to his peculiar care, since Erik the Red had died. The sturdy old
hero had died still a heathen, and it was only just after his death that
Christianity was introduced into Greenland, and those numerous churches
were built there whose ruins yet remain, even in regions from which all
population has gone.

So the party of colonists sailed for Vinland, and Freydis, with the four
older women, came in Harald's boat, and Freydis took easily the lead among
them for strength, though not always, it must be admitted, for amiability.

The boats of the expedition having left Greenland soon after the year
1000, coasted the shore as far as they could, rarely venturing into open
sea. At last, amidst fog and chilly weather, they made land at a point
where a river ran through a lake into the sea, and they could not enter
from the sea except at high tide. It was once believed that this was
Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, but this is no longer believed. Here
they landed and called the place Hóp, from the Icelandic word _hópa_,
meaning an inlet from the ocean. Here they found grape-vines growing and
fields of wild wheat; there were fish in the lake and wild animals in the
woods. Here they landed the cattle and the provisions which they had
brought with them; and here they built their huts. They went in the
spring, and during that summer the natives came in boats of skin to trade
with them--men described as black, and ill favored, with large eyes and
broad cheeks and with coarse hair on their heads. These, it is thought,
may have been the Esquimaux. The first time they came, these visitors held
up a white shield as a sign of peace, and were so frightened by the
bellowing of the bull that they ran away. Then returning, they brought
furs to sell and wished to buy weapons, but Harald tried another plan: he
bade the women bring out milk, butter, and cheese from their dairies, and
when the Skraelings saw that, they wished for nothing else, and, the
legend says, "the Skraelings carried away their wares in their stomachs,
but the Norsemen had the skins they had purchased." This happened yet
again, but at the second visit one of the Skraelings was accidentally
killed or injured.

The next time the Skraelings came they were armed with slings, and raised
upon a pole a great blue ball and attacked the Norsemen so furiously that
they were running away when Erik's sister, Freydis, came out before them
with bare arms, and took up a sword, saying, "Why do you run, strong men
as you are, from these miserable dwarfs whom I thought you would knock
down like cattle? Give me weapons, and I will fight better than any of
you." Then the rest took courage and began to fight, and the Skraelings
were driven back. Once more the strangers came, and one of them took up an
axe, a thing which he had not before seen, and struck at one of his
companions, killing him. Then the leader took the axe and threw it into
the water, after which the Skraelings retreated, and were not seen again.

The winter was a mild one, and while it lasted, the Norsemen worked
busily at felling wood and house-building. They had also many amusements,
in most of which Harald excelled. They used to swim in all weathers. One
of their feats was to catch seals and sit on them while swimming; another
was to pull one another down and remain as long as possible under water.
Harald could swim for a mile or more with his armor on, or with a
companion on his shoulder. In-doors they used to play the tug of war,
dragging each other by a walrus hide across the fire. Harald was good at
this, and was also the best archer, sometimes aiming at something placed
on a boy's head, the boy having a cloth tied around his head, and held by
two men, that he might not move at all on hearing the whistling of the
arrow. In this way Harald could even shoot an arrow under a nut placed on
the head, so that the nut would roll down and the head not be hurt. He
could plant a spear in the ground and then shoot an arrow upward so
skilfully that it would turn in the air and fall with the point in the end
of the spear-shaft. He could also shoot a blunt arrow through the thickest
ox-hide from a cross-bow. He could change weapons from one hand to the
other during a fencing match, or fence with either hand, or throw two
spears at the same time, or catch a spear in motion. He could run so fast
that no horse could overtake him, and play the rough games with bat and
ball, using a ball of the hardest wood. He could race on snowshoes, or
wrestle when bound by a belt to his antagonist. Then when he and his
companions wished a rest, they amused themselves with harp-playing or
riddles or chess. The Norsemen even played chess on board their vessels,
and there are still to be seen, on some of these, the little holes that
were formerly used for the sharp ends of the chessmen, so that they should
not be displaced.

They could not find that any European had ever visited this place; but
some of the Skraelings told them of a place farther south, which they
called "the Land of the Whiteman," or "Great Ireland." They said that in
that place there were white men who clothed themselves in long white
garments, carried before them poles to which white cloths were hung, and
called with a loud voice. These, it was thought by the Norsemen, must be
Christian processions, in which banners were borne and hymns were chanted.
It has been thought from this that some expedition from Ireland--that of
St. Brandan, for instance--may have left a settlement there, long before,
but this has never been confirmed. The Skraelings and the Northmen were
good friends for a time; until at last one of Erik's own warriors killed a
Skraeling by accident, and then all harmony was at an end.

They saw no hope of making a lasting settlement there, and, moreover,
Freydis who was very grasping, tried to deceive the other settlers and get
more than her share of everything, so that Harald himself lost patience
with her and threatened her. It happened that one of the men of the party,
Olaf, was Harald's foster-brother. They had once had a fight, and after
the battle had agreed that they would be friends for life and always share
the same danger. For this vow they were to walk under the turf; that is, a
strip of turf was cut and held above their heads, and they stood beneath
and let their blood flow upon the ground whence the turf had been cut.
After this they were to own everything by halves and either must avenge
the other's death. This was their brotherhood; but Freydis did not like
it; so she threatened Olaf, and tried to induce men to kill him, for she
did not wish to bring upon herself the revenge that must come if she slew

This was the reason why the whole enterprise failed, and why Olaf
persuaded Harald, for the sake of peace, to return to Greenland in the
spring and take a load of valuable timber to sell there, including one
stick of what was called massur-wood, which was as valuable as mahogany,
and may have been at some time borne by ocean currents to the beach. It is
hardly possible that, as some have thought, the colonists established a
regular trade in this wood for no such wood grows on the northern Atlantic
shores. However this may be, the party soon returned, after one winter in
Vinland the Good; and on the way back Harald did one thing which made him
especially dear to his men.

A favorite feat of the Norsemen was to toss three swords in the air and
catch each by the handle as it came down. This was called the
_handsax_ game. The young men used also to try the feat of running
along the oar-blades of the rowers as they were in motion, passing around
the bow of the vessel with a spring and coming round to the stern over the
oars on the other side. Few could accomplish this, but no one but Harald
could do it and play the _handsax_ game as he ran; and when he did
it, they all said that he was the most skilful man at _idrottie_ ever
seen. That was their word for an athletic feat. But presently came a time
when not only his courage but his fairness and justice were to be tried.

It happened in this way. There was nothing of which the Norsemen were
more afraid than of the _teredo_, or shipworm, which gnaws the wood
of ships. It was observed in Greenland and Iceland that pieces of wood
often floated on shore which were filled with holes made by this animal,
and they thought that in certain places the seas were full of this worm,
so that a ship would be bored and sunk in a little while. It is said that
on this return voyage Harald's vessel entered a worm-sea and presently
began to sink. They had, however, provided a smaller boat smeared with
sea-oil, which the worms would not attack. They went into the boat, but
found that it would not hold more than half of them all. Then Harald said,
"We will divide by lots, without regard to the rank; each taking his
chance with the rest." This they thought, the Norse legend says, "a
high-minded offer." They drew lots, and Harald was among those assigned to
the safer boat. He stepped in, and when he was there a man called from the
other boat and said, "Dost thou intend, Harald, to separate from me here?"
Harald answered, "So it turns out," and the man said, "Very different was
thy promise to my father when we came from Greenland, for the promise was
that we should share the same fate."

Then Harald said, "It shall not be thus. Go into the boat, and I will go
back into the ship, since thou art so anxious to live." Then Harald went
back to the ship, while the man took his place in the boat, and after that
Harald was never heard of more.



Sir Humphrey Gilbert, colonel of the British forces in the Netherlands,
was poring over the manuscript narrative of David Ingram, mariner. Ingram
had in 1568-69 taken the widest range of travel that had ever been taken
in the new continent, of which it was still held doubtful by many whether
it was or was not a part of Asia. "Surely," Gilbert said to his
half-brother, Walter Raleigh, a youth of twenty-three, "this knave hath
seen strange things. He hath been set ashore by John Hawkins in the Gulf
of Mexico and there left behind. He hath travelled northward with two of
his companions along Indian trails; he hath even reached Norumbega; he
hath seen that famous city with its houses of crystal and silver."

"Pine logs and hemlock bark, belike," said Raleigh, scornfully.

"Nay," said Gilbert, "he hath carefully written it down. He saw kings
decorated with rubies six inches long; and they were borne on chairs of
silver and crystal, adorned with precious stones. He saw pearls as common
as pebbles, and the natives were laden down by their ornaments of gold and
silver. The city of Bega was three-quarters of a mile long and had many
streets wider than those of London. Some houses had massive pillars of
crystal and silver."

"What assurance can he give?" asked Raleigh.

"He offers on his life to prove it."

"A small offer, mayhap. There be many of these lying mariners whose lives
are as worthless as the stories they relate. But what said he of the

"Kindly disposed," was the reply, "so far as he went, but those dwelling
farther north, where he did not go, were said to be cannibals with teeth
like those of dogs, whereby you may know them."

"Travellers' tales," said Raleigh. "_Omne ignotum pro mirifico_."

"He returned," said Gilbert, disregarding the interruption, "in the
_Gargarine_, a French vessel commanded by Captain Champagne."

"Methinks something of the flavor represented by the good captain's name
hath got into your Englishman's brain. Good ale never gives such
fantasies. Doth he perchance speak of elephants?"

"He doth," said Sir Humphrey, hesitatingly. "Perchance he saw them not,
but heard of them only."

"What says he of them?" asked Raleigh.

"He says that he saw in that country both elephants and ounces; and he
says that their trumpets are made of elephants' teeth."

"But the houses," said Raleigh; "tell me of the houses."

"In every house," said Gilbert, reading from the manuscript, "they have
scoops, buckets, and divers vessels, all of massive silver with which they
throw out water and otherwise employ them. The women wear great plates of
gold covering their bodies, and chains of great pearls in the manner of
curvettes; and the men wear manilions or bracelets on each arm and each
leg, some of gold and some of silver."

"Whence come they, these gauds?"

"There are great rivers where one may find pieces of gold as big as the
fist; and there are great rocks of crystal, sufficient to load many ships."

This was all which was said on that day, but never was explorer more
eager than Gilbert. He wrote a "Discourse of a Discoverie for a New
Passage to Cathaia and the East Indies"--published without his knowledge
by George Gascoigne. In 1578 he had from Queen Elizabeth a patent of
exploration, allowing him to take possession of any uncolonized lands in
North America, paying for these a fifth of all gold and silver found. The
next year he sailed with Raleigh for Newfoundland, but one vessel was lost
and the others returned to England. In 1583, he sailed again, taking with
him the narrative of Ingram, which he reprinted. He also took with him a
learned Hungarian from Buda, named Parmenius, who went for the express
purpose of singing the praise of Norumbega in Latin verse, but was drowned
in Sir Humphrey's great flag-ship, the _Delight_. This wreck took
place near Sable Island, and as most of the supplies for the expedition
went down in the flag-ship, the men in the remaining vessels grew so
impatient as to compel a return. There were two vessels, the _Golden
Hind_ of forty tons, and the _Squirrel_ of ten tons, this last
being a mere boat then called a frigate, a small vessel propelled by both
sails and oars, quite unlike the war-ship afterwards called by that name.
On both these vessels the men were so distressed that they gathered on the
bulwarks, pointing to their empty mouths and their ragged clothing. The
officers of the _Golden Hind_ were unwilling to return, but consented
on Sir Humphrey's promise that they should come back in the spring; they
sailed for England on the 31st of August. All wished him to return in the
_Golden Hind_ as a much larger and safer vessel; the _Squirrel_,
besides its smallness, being encumbered on the deck with guns, ammunition,
and nettings, making it unseaworthy. But when he was begged to remove into
the larger vessel, he said, "I will not forsake my little company going
homeward with whom I have passed so many storms and perils." One reason
for this was, the narrator of the voyage says, because of "hard reports
given of him that he was afraid of the sea, albeit this was rather
rashness than advised resolution, to prefer the wind of a vain report to
the weight of his own life."

On the very day of sailing they caught their first glimpse of some large
species of seal or walrus, which is thus described by the old narrator of
the expedition:--

"So vpon Saturday in the afternoone the 31 of August, we changed our
course, and returned backe for England, at which very instant, euen in
winding about, there passed along betweene vs and towards the land which
we now forsooke a very lion to our seeming, in shape, hair and colour, not
swimming after the maner of a beast by moouing of his feete, but rather
sliding vpon the water with his whole body (excepting the legs) in sight,
neither yet in diuing vnder, and againe rising aboue the water, as the
maner is, of Whales, Dolphins, Tunise, Porposes, and all other fish: but
confidently shewing himselfe aboue water without hiding: Notwithstanding,
we presented our selues in open view and gesture to amase him, as all
creatures will be commonly at a sudden gaze and sight of men. Thus he
passed along turning his head to and fro, yawning and gaping wide, with
ougly demonstration of long teeth, and glaring eies, and to bidde vs a
farewell (comming right against the Hinde) he sent forth a horrible voyce,
roaring or bellowing as doeth a lion, which spectacle wee all beheld so
farre as we were able to discerne the same, as men prone to wonder at
euery strange thing, as this doubtlesse was, to see a lion in the Ocean
sea, or fish in shape of a lion. What opinion others had thereof, and
chiefly the Generall himselfe, I forbeare to deliuer: But he tooke it for
Bonum Omen [a good omen], reioycing that he was to warre against such an
enemie, if it were the deuill."

When they came north of the Azores, very violent storms met them; most
"outrageous seas," the narrator says; and they saw little lights upon the
mainyard called then by sailors "Castor and Pollux," and now "St. Elmo's
Fire"; yet they had but one of these at a time, and this is thought a sign
of tempest. On September 9, in the afternoon, "the general," as they
called him, Sir Humphrey, was sitting abaft with a book in his hand, and
cried out more than once to those in the other vessel, "We are as near to
heaven by sea as by land." And that same night about twelve o'clock, the
frigate being ahead of the _Golden Hind_, the lights of the smaller
vessel suddenly disappeared, and they knew that she had sunk in the sea.
The event is well described in a ballad by Longfellow.

The name of Norumbega and the tradition of its glories survived Sir
Humphrey Gilbert. In a French map of 1543, the town appears with castle
and towers. Jean Allfonsce, who visited New England in that year,
describes it as the capital of a great fur country. Students of Indian
tongues defined the word as meaning "the place of a fine city"; while the
learned Grotius seized upon it as being the same as Norberga and so
affording a relic of the visits of the Northmen. As to the locality, it
appeared first on the maps as a large island, then as a smaller one, and
after 1569 no longer as an island, but a part of the mainland, bordering
apparently on the Penobscot River. Whittier in his poem of "Norumbega"
describes a Norman knight as seeking it in vain.

"He turned him back, 'O master dear,
We are but men misled;
And thou hast sought a city here
To find a grave instead.

* * * * *

"'No builded wonder of these lands
My weary eyes shall see;
A city never made with hands
Alone awaiteth me.'"

So Champlain, in 1604, could find no trace of it, and said that "no such
marvel existed," while Mark Lescarbot, the Parisian advocate, writing in
1609, says, "If this beautiful town ever existed in nature, I would like
to know who pulled it down, for there is nothing here but huts made of
pickets and covered with the barks of trees or skins." Yet it kept its
place on maps till 1640, and even Heylin in his "Cosmography" (1669)
speaks of "Norumbega and its fair city," though he fears that the latter
never existed.

It is a curious fact that the late Mr. Justin Winsor, the eminent
historian, after much inquiry among the present descendants of the Indian
tribes in Maine, could never find any one who could remember to have heard
the name of Norumbega.



When in 1611 the Sieur de Champlain went back to France to report his
wonderful explorations in Canada, he was soon followed by a young
Frenchman named Vignan, who had spent a whole winter among the Indians, in
a village where there was no other white man. This was a method often
adopted by the French for getting more knowledge of Indian ways and
commanding their confidence. Vignan had made himself a welcome guest in
the cabins, and had brought away many of their legends, to which he added
some of his own. In particular, he declared that he had penetrated into
the interior until he had come upon a great lake of salt water, far to the
northwest. This was, as it happened, the very thing which the French
government and all Europe had most hoped to find. They had always believed
that sooner or later a short cut would be discovered across the newly
found continent, a passage leading to the Pacific Ocean and far Cathay.
This was the dream of all French explorers, and of Champlain in
particular, and his interest was at once excited by anything that looked
toward the Pacific. Now Vignan had prepared himself with just the needed
information. He said that during his winter with the Indians he had made
the very discovery needed; that he had ascended the river Ottawa, which
led to a body of salt water so large that it seemed like an ocean; that he
had just seen on its shores the wreck of an English ship, from which
eighty men had been taken and slain by the savages, and that they had with
them an English boy whom they were keeping to present to Champlain.

This tale about the English ship was evidently founded on the recent
calamities of Henry Hudson, of which Vignan had heard some garbled
account, and which he used as coloring for his story. The result was that
Champlain was thoroughly interested in the tale, and that Vignan was
cross-examined and tested, and was made at last to certify to the truth
of it before two notaries of Rochelle. Champlain privately consulted the
chancellor de Sillery, the old Marquis de Brissac, and others, who all
assured him that the matter should be followed up; and he resolved to make
it the subject of an exploration without delay. He sailed in one vessel,
and Vignan in another, the latter taking with him an ardent young
Frenchman, Albert de Brissac.

M. de Vignan, talking with the young Brissac on the voyage, told him
wonderful tales of monsters which were, he said, the guardians of the St.
Lawrence River. There was, he said, an island in the bay of Chaleurs, near
the mouth of that river, where a creature dwelt, having the form of a
woman and called by the Indians Gougou. She was very frightful, and so
enormous that the masts of the vessel could not reach her waist. She had
already eaten many savages and constantly continued to do so, putting them
first into a great pocket to await her hunger. Some of those who had
escaped said that this pocket was large enough to hold a whole ship. This
creature habitually made dreadful noises, and several savages who came on
board claimed to have heard them. A man from St. Malo in France, the Sieur
de Prevert, confirmed this story, and said that he had passed so near the
den of this frightful being, that all on board could hear its hissing, and
all hid themselves below, lest it should carry them off. This naturally
made much impression upon the young Sieur de Brissac, and he doubtless
wished many times that he had stayed at home. On the other hand, he
observed that both M. de Vignan and M. de Prevert took the tale very
coolly and that there seemed no reason why he should distrust himself if
they did not. Yet he was very glad when, after passing many islands and
narrow straits, the river broadened and they found themselves fairly in
the St. Lawrence and past the haunted Bay of Chaleurs. They certainly
heard a roaring and a hissing in the distance, but it may have been the
waves on the beach.

But this was not their last glimpse of the supposed guardians of the St.
Lawrence. As the ship proceeded farther up the beautiful river, they saw
one morning a boat come forth from the woods, bearing three men dressed to
look like devils, wrapped in dogs' skins, white and black, their faces
besmeared as black as any coals, with horns on their heads more than a
yard long, and as this boat passed the ship, one of the men made a long
address, not looking towards them. Then they all three fell flat in the
boat, when Indians rowed out to meet them and guided them to a landing.

Then many Indians collected in the woods and began a loud talk which they
could hear on board the ships and which lasted half an hour. Then two of
their leaders came towards the shore, holding their hands upward joined
together, and meanwhile carrying their hats under their upper garments and
showing great reverence. Looking upward they sometimes cried, "Jesus,
Jesus," or "Jesus Maria." Then the captain asked them whether anything ill
had happened, and they said in French, "Nenni est il bon," meaning that it
was not good. Then they said that their god Cudraigny had spoken in
Hochelaga (Montreal) and had sent these three men to show to them that
there was so much snow and ice in the country that he who went there would
die. This made the Frenchmen laugh, saying in reply that their god
Cudraigny was but a fool and a noddy and knew not what he said. "Tell
him," said a Frenchman, "that Christ will defend them from all cold, if
they will believe in him." The Indians then asked the captain if he had
spoken with Jesus. He answered No; but that his priests had, and they had
promised fair weather. Hearing this, they thanked the captain and told the
other Indians in the woods, who all came rushing out, seeming to be very
glad. Giving great shouts, they began to sing and dance as they had done
before. They also began to bring to the ships great stores of fish and of
bread made of millet, casting it into the French boats so thickly that it
seemed to fall from heaven. Then the Frenchmen went on shore, and the
people came clustering about them, bringing children in their arms to be
touched, as if to hallow them. Then the captain in return arranged the
women in order and gave them beads made of tin, and other trifles, and
gave knives to the men. All that night the Indians made great fires and
danced and sang along the shore. But when the Frenchmen had finally
reached the mouth of the Ottawa and had begun to ascend it, under Vignan's
guidance, they had reasons to remember the threats of the god Cudraigny.

Ascending the Ottawa in canoes, past cataracts, boulders, and precipices,
they at last, with great labor, reached the island of Allumette, at a
distance of two hundred and twenty-five miles. Often it was impossible to
carry their canoes past waterfalls, because the forests were so dense, so
that they had to drag the boats by ropes, wading among rocks or climbing
along precipices. Gradually they left behind them their armor, their
provisions, and clothing, keeping only their canoes; they lived on fish
and wild fowl, and were sometimes twenty-four hours without food.
Champlain himself carried three French arquebuses or short guns, three
oars, his cloak, and many smaller articles; and was harassed by dense
clouds of mosquitoes all the time. Vignan, Brissac, and the rest were
almost as heavily loaded. The tribe of Indians whom they at last reached
had chosen the spot as being inaccessible to their enemies; and thought
that the newcomers had fallen from the clouds.

When Champlain inquired after the salt sea promised by Vignan, he learned
to his indignation that the whole tale was false. Vignan had spent a
winter at the very village where they were, but confessed that he had
never gone a league further north. The Indians knew of no such sea, and
craved permission to torture and kill him for his deceptions; they called
him loudly a liar, and even the children took up the cry and jeered at
him. They said, "Do you not see that he meant to cause your death? Give
him to us, and we promise you that he shall not lie any more." Champlain
defended him from their attacks, bore it all philosophically, and the
young Brissac went back to France, having given up hope of reaching the
salt sea, except, as Champlain himself coolly said, "in imagination." The
guardians of the St. Lawrence had at least exerted their spell to the
extent of saying, Thus far and no farther. Vignan never admitted that he
had invented the story of the Gougou, and had bribed the Indians who acted
the part of devils,--and perhaps he did not,--but it is certain that
neither the giantess nor the god Cudraigny has ever again been heard from.



Those American travellers who linger with delight among the narrow lanes
and picturesque, overhanging roofs of Honfleur, do not know what a strange
tragedy took place on a voyage which began in that quaint old port three
centuries and a half ago. When, in 1536, the Breton sailor Jacques Cartier
returned from his early explorations of the St. Lawrence, which he had
ascended as high as Hochelaga, King Francis I. sent for him at the lofty
old house known as the House of the Salamander, in a narrow street of the
quaint town of Lisieux. It now seems incredible that the most powerful
king in Europe should have dwelt in such a meagre lane, yet the house
still stands there as a witness; although a visitor must now brush away
the rough, ready-made garments and fishermen's overalls which overhang its
door. Over that stairway, nevertheless, the troubadours, Pierre Ronsard
and Clement Marot, used to go up and down, humming their lays or touching
their viols; and through that door De Lorge returned in glory, after
leaping down into the lions' den to rescue his lady's glove. The house
still derives its name from the great carved image of a reptile which
stretches down its outer wall, from garret to cellar, beside the doorway.

In that house the great king deigned to meet the Breton sailor, who had
set up along the St. Lawrence a cross bearing the arms of France with the
inscription _Franciscus Primus, Dei gratia Francorum Rex regnat_; and
had followed up the pious act by kidnapping the king Donnacona, and
carrying him back to France. This savage potentate was himself brought to
Lisieux to see his French fellow-sovereign; and the jovial king, eagerly
convinced, decided to send Cartier forth again, to explore for other
wonders, and perhaps bring back other kingly brethren. Meanwhile, however,
as it was getting to be an affair of royalty, he decided to send also a
gentleman of higher grade than a pilot, and so selected Jean François de
la Roche, Sieur de Roberval, whom he commissioned as lieutenant and
governor of Canada and Hochelaga. Roberval was a gentleman of credit and
renown in Picardy, and was sometimes jocosely called by Francis "the
little king of Vimeu." He was commissioned at Fontainebleau, and proceeded
to superintend the building of ships at St. Malo.

Marguerite Roberval, his fair-haired and black-eyed niece, was to go with
him on the voyage, with other ladies of high birth, and also with the
widowed Madame de Noailles, her _gouvernante_. Roberval himself
remained at St. Malo to superintend the building of the ships, and
Marguerite and her _gouvernante_ would sit for hours in a beautiful
nook by the shipyards, where they could overlook the vessels in rapid
construction, or else watch the wondrous swirl of the tide as it swept in
and out, leaving the harbor bare at low tide, but with eight fathoms of
water when the tide was full. The designer of the ships often came, cap in
hand, to ask or answer questions--one of those frank and manly French
fishermen and pilots, whom the French novelists describe as "_un solide
gaillard_," or such as Victor Hugo paints in his "Les Travailleurs de
la Mer." The son of a notary, Etienne Gosselin was better educated than
most of the young noblemen whom Marguerite knew, and only his passion for
the sea and for nautical construction had kept him a shipbuilder. No
wonder that the young Marguerite, who had led the sheltered life of the
French maiden, was attracted by his manly look, his open face, his merry
blue eyes, and curly hair. There was about her a tinge of romance, which
made her heart an easier thing to reach for such a lover than for one
within her own grade; and as the voyage itself was a world of romance, a
little more or less of the romantic was an easy thing to add. Meanwhile
Madame de Noailles read her breviary and told her beads and took little
naps, wholly ignorant of the drama that was beginning its perilous
unfolding before her. When the Sieur de Roberval returned, the shipbuilder
became a mere shipbuilder again.

Three tall ships sailed from Honfleur on August 22, 1541, and on one of
them, _La Grande Hermine_,--so called to distinguish it from a
smaller boat of that name, which had previously sailed with Cartier,--were
the Sieur de Roberval, his niece, and her _gouvernante_. She also had
with her a Huguenot nurse, who had been with her from a child, and cared
for her devotedly. Roberval naturally took with him, for future needs, the
best shipbuilder of St. Malo, Etienne Gosselin. The voyage was long, and
there is reason to think that the Sieur de Roberval was not a good sailor,
while as to the _gouvernante_, she may have been as helpless as the
seasick chaperon of yachting excursions. Like them, she suffered the most
important events to pass unobserved, and it was not till too late that she
discovered, what more censorious old ladies on board had already seen,
that her young charge lingered too often and too long on the quarter-deck
when Etienne Gosselin was planning ships for the uncle. When she found it
out, she was roused to just indignation; but being, after all, but a
kindly dowager, with a heart softened by much reading of the interminable
tales of Madame de Scudéry, she only remonstrated with Marguerite, wept
over her little romance, and threatened to break the sad news to the Sieur
de Roberval, yet never did so. Other ladies were less considerate; it all
broke suddenly upon the angry uncle; the youth was put in irons, and
threatened with flogging, and forbidden to approach the quarter-deck
again. But love laughs at locksmiths; Gosselin was relieved of his irons
in a day or two because he could not be spared from his work in designing
the forthcoming ship, and as both he and Marguerite were of a tolerably
determined nature, they invoked, through the old nurse, the aid of a
Huguenot minister on board, who had before sailed with Cartier to take
charge of the souls of some Protestant vagabonds on the ship, and who was
now making a second trip for the same reason. That night, after dark, he
joined the lovers in marriage; within twenty-four hours Roberval had heard
of it, and had vowed a vengeance quick and sure.

The next morning, under his orders, the vessel lay to under the lee of a
rocky island, then known to the sailors as l'Isle des Demons from the
fierce winds that raged round it. There was no house there, no living
person, no tradition of any; only rocks, sands, and deep forests. With
dismay, the ship's company heard that it was the firm purpose of Roberval
to put the offending bride on shore, giving her only the old nurse for
company, and there to leave her with provisions for three months, trusting
to some other vessel to take the exiled women away within that time. The
very ladies whose love of scandal had first revealed to him the alleged
familiarities, now besought him with many tears to abandon the thought of
a doom so terrible. Vainly Madame de Noailles implored mercy for the young
girl from a penalty such as was never imposed in any of Madame de
Scudéry's romances; vainly the Huguenot minister and the Catholic
chaplain, who had fought steadily on questions of doctrine during the
whole voyage, now united in appeals for pardon. At least they implored him
to let the offenders have a man-servant or two with them to protect them
against wild beasts or buccaneers. He utterly refused until, at last
wearied out, his wild nature yielded to one of those sudden impulses which
were wont to sweep over it; and he exclaimed, "Is it that they need a
man-servant, then? Let this insolent caitiff, Gosselin, be relieved of his
irons and sent on shore. Let him be my niece's servant or, since a
Huguenot marriage is as good as any in the presence of bears and
buccaneers, let her call the hound her husband, if she likes. I have done
with her; and the race from which she came disowns her forever."

Thus it was done. Etienne was released from his chains and sent on shore.
An arquebus and ammunition were given him; and resisting the impulse to
send his first shot through the heart of his tyrant, he landed, and the
last glimpse seen of the group as the _Grande Hermine_ sailed away,
was the figure of Marguerite sobbing on his shoulder, and of the unhappy
nurse, now somewhat plethoric, and certainly not the person to be selected
as a pioneer, sitting upon a rock, weeping profusely. The ship's sails
filled, the angry Roberval never looked back on his deserted niece, and
the night closed down upon the lonely Isle of Demons, now newly occupied
by three unexpected settlers, two of whom at least were happy in each

A few boxes of biscuits, a few bottles of wine, had been put on shore
with them, enough to feed them for a few weeks. They had brought flint and
steel to strike fire, and some ammunition. The chief penalty of the crime
did not lie, after all, in the cold and the starvation and the wild beasts
and the possible visits of pirates; it lay in the fact that it was the
Island of Demons where they were to be left; and in that superstitious age
this meant everything that was terrible. For the first few nights of their
stay, they fancied that they heard superhuman voices in every wind that
blew, every branch that creaked against another branch; and they heard, at
any rate, more substantial sounds from the nightly wolves or from the
bears which ice-floes had floated to that northern isle. They watched
Roberval sail away, he rejoicing, as the old legend of Thevet says, at
having punished them without soiling his hands with their blood (_ioueux
de les auior puniz sans se souiller les mains en leurs sang_). They
built as best they could a hut of boughs and strewed beds of leaves, until
they had killed wild beasts enough to prepare their skins. Their store of
hard bread lasted them but a little while, but there were fruits around
them, and there was fresh water near by. "Yet it was terrible," says
Thevet's old narrative, "to hear the frightful sounds which the evil
spirits made around them, and how they tried to break down their abode,
and showed themselves in various forms of frightful animals; yet at last,
conquered by the constancy and perseverance of these repentant Christians,
the tormentors afflicted or disquieted them no more, save that often in
the night they heard cries so loud that it seemed as if more than five
thousand men were assembled together" (_plus de cent mil homes qui
fussent ensemble_).

So passed many months of desolation, and alas! the husband was the first
to yield. Daily he climbed the rocks to look for vessels; each night he
descended sadder and sadder; he waked while the others slept. Feeling that
it was he who had brought distress upon the rest, he concealed his
depression, but it soon was past concealing; he only redoubled his care
and watching as his wife grew the stronger of the two; and he faded slowly
away and died. His wife had nothing to sustain her spirits except the
approach of maternity--she would live for her child. When the child was
born and baptized in the name of the Holy Church, though without the
Church's full ceremonies, Marguerite felt the strength of motherhood;
became a better huntress, a better provider. A new sorrow came; in the
sixteenth or seventeenth month of her stay, the old nurse died also, and
not long after the baby followed. Marguerite now seemed to herself
deserted, even by Heaven itself; she was alone in that northern island
without comradeship; her husband, child, and nurse gone; dependent for
very food on the rapidly diminishing supply of ammunition. Her head swam;
for months she saw visions almost constantly, which only strenuous prayer
banished, and only the acquired habit of the chase enabled her, almost
mechanically, to secure meat to support life. Fortunately, those especial
sights and sounds of demons which had haunted her imagination during the
first days and nights on the island, did not recur; but the wild beasts
gathered round her the more when there was only one gun to alarm them; and
she once shot three bears in a day,--one a white bear, of which she
secured the skin.

What imagination can depict the terrors of those lonely days and still
lonelier nights? Most persons left as solitary tenants of an island have
dwelt, like Alexander Selkirk, in regions nearer the tropics, where there
was at least a softened air, a fertile soil, and the Southern Cross above
their heads; but to be solitary in a prolonged winter, to be alone with
the Northern Lights,--this offered peculiar terrors. To be ice-bound, to
hear the wolves in their long and dreary howl, to protect the very graves
of her beloved from being dug up, to watch the floating icebergs, not
knowing what new and savage visitor might be borne by them to the island,
what a complication of terror was this for Marguerite!

For two years and five months in all she dwelt upon the Isle of Demons,
the last year wholly alone. Then, as she stood upon the shore, some Breton
fishing-smacks, seeking codfish, came in sight. Making signals with fire
and calling for aid, she drew them nearer; but she was now dressed in furs
only, and seemed to them but one of the fancied demons of the island.
Beating up slowly and watchfully toward the shore, they came within
hearing of her voice and she told her dreary tale. At last they took her
in charge, and bore her back to France with the bearskins she had
prepared; and taking refuge in the village of Nautron, in a remote
province (Perigord), where she could escape the wrath of Roberval, she
told her story to Thevet, the explorer, to the Princess Marguerite of
Navarre (sister of Francis I.), and to others. Thevet tells it in his
"Cosmographie," and Marguerite of Navarre in her "Cent Nouvelles

She told Thevet that after the first two months, the demons came to her
no more, until she was left wholly alone; then they renewed their visits,
but not continuously, and she felt less fear. Thevet also records of her
this touching confession, that when the time came for her to embark, in
the Breton ship, for home, there came over her a strong impulse to refuse
the embarkation, but rather to die in that solitary place, as her husband,
her child, and her servant had already died. This profound touch of human
nature does more than anything else to confirm the tale as substantially
true. Certain it is that the lonely island which appeared so long on the
old maps as the Isle of Demons (l'Isola de Demoni) appears differently in
later ones as the Lady's Island (l'Isle de la Demoiselle).

The Princess Marguerite of Navarre, who died in 1549, seems also to have
known her namesake at her retreat in Perigord, gives some variations from
Thevet's story, and describes her as having been put on shore with her
husband, because of frauds which he had practised on Roberval; nor does
she speak of the nurse or of the child. But she gives a similar
description of Marguerite's stay on the island, after his death, and says,
that although she lived what might seem a bestial life as to her body, it
was a life wholly angelic as regarded her soul (_aînsî vivant, quant au
corps, de vie bestiale, et quant à l'esprit, de vie angelîcque_). She
had, the princess also says, a mind cheerful and content, in a body
emaciated and half dead. She was afterwards received with great honor in
France, according to the princess, and was encouraged to establish a
school for little children, where she taught reading and writing to the
daughters of high-born families. "And by this honest industry," says the
princess, "she supported herself during the remainder of her life, having
no other wish than to exhort every one to love and confidence towards God,
offering them as an example, the great pity which he had shown for her."



When Juan Ponce de Leon set forth from Porto Rico, March 13, 1512, to
seek the island of Bimini and its Fountain of Youth, he was moved by the
love of adventure more than by that of juvenility, for he was then but
about fifty, a time when a cavalier of his day thought himself but in his
prime. He looked indeed with perpetual sorrow--as much of it as a Spaniard
of those days could feel--upon his kinsman Luis Ponce, once a renowned
warrior, but on whom age had already, at sixty-five, laid its hand in
earnest. There was little in this slowly moving veteran to recall one who
had shot through the lists at the tournament, and had advanced with his
short sword at the bull fight,--who had ruled his vassals, and won the
love of high-born women. It was a vain hope of restored youth which had
brought Don Luis from Spain to Porto Rico four years before; and, when
Ponce de Leon had subdued that island, his older kinsman was forever
beseeching him to carry his flag farther, and not stop till he had reached
Bimini, and sought the Fountain of Youth.

"For what end," he said, "should you stay here longer and lord it over
these miserable natives? Let us go where we can bathe in those enchanted
waters and be young once more. I need it, and you will need it ere long."

"How know we," said his kinsman, "that there is any such place?"

"All know it," said Luis. "Peter Martyr saith that there is in Bimini a
continual spring of running water of such marvellous virtue that the water
thereof, being drunk, perhaps with some diet, maketh old men young." And
he adds that an Indian grievously oppressed with old age, moved with the
fame of that fountain, and allured through the love of longer life, went
to an island, near unto the country of Florida, to drink of the desired
fountain, ... and having well drunk and washed himself for many days with
the appointed remedies, by them who kept the bath, he is reported to have
brought home a manly strength, and to have used all manly exercises. "Let
us therefore go thither," he cried, "and be like him."

They set sail with three brigantines and found without difficulty the
island of Bimini among the Lucayos (or Bahamas) islands; but when they
searched for the Fountain of Youth they were pointed farther westward to
Florida, where there was said to be a river of the same magic powers,
called the Jordan. Touching at many a fair island green with trees, and
occupied by a gentle population till then undisturbed, it was not strange
if, nearing the coast of Florida, both Juan Ponce de Leon and his more
impatient cousin expected to find the Fountain of Youth.

They came at last to an inlet which led invitingly up among wooded banks
and flowery valleys, and here the older knight said, "Let us disembark
here and strike inland. My heart tells me that here at last will be found
the Fountain of Youth." "Nonsense," said Juan, "our way lies by water."

"Then leave me here with my men," said Luis. He had brought with him five
servants, mostly veterans, from his own estate in Spain.

A fierce discussion ended in Luis obtaining his wish, and being left for
a fortnight of exploration; his kinsman promising to come for him again at
the mouth of the river St. John. The men left on shore were themselves
past middle age, and the more eager for their quest. They climbed a hill
and watched the brigantines disappear in the distance; then set up a
cross, which they had brought with them, and prayed before it bareheaded.

Sending the youngest of his men up to the top of a tree, Luis learned
from him that they were on an island, after all, and this cheered him
much, as making it more likely that they should find the Fountain of
Youth. He saw that the ground was pawed up, as if in a cattle-range and
that there was a path leading to huts. Taking this path, they met fifty
Indian bowmen, who, whether large or not, seemed to them like giants. The
Spaniards gave them beads and hawk-bells, and each received in return an
arrow, as a token of friendship. The Indians promised them food in the
morning, and brought fish, roots, and pure water; and finding them chilly
from the coldness of the night, carried them in their arms to their homes,
first making four or five large fires on the way. At the houses there were
many fires, and the Spaniards would have been wholly comfortable, had they
not thought it just possible that they were to be offered as a sacrifice.
Still fearing this, they left their Indian friends after a few days and
traversed the country, stopping at every spring or fountain to test its
quality. Alas! they all grew older and more worn in look, as time went on,
and farther from the Fountain of Youth.

After a time they came upon new tribes of Indians, and as they went
farther from the coast these people seemed more and more friendly. They
treated the white men as if come from heaven,--brought them food, made
them houses, carried every burden for them. Some had bows, and went upon
the hills for deer, and brought half a dozen every night for their guests;
others killed hares and rabbits by arranging themselves in a circle and
striking down the game with billets of wood as it ran from one to another
through the woods. All this game was brought to the visitors to be
breathed upon and blessed, and when this had to be done for several
hundred people it became troublesome. The women also brought wild fruit,
and would eat nothing till the guests had seen and touched it. If the
visitors seemed offended, the natives were terrified, and apparently
thought that they should die unless they had the favor of these wise and
good men. Farther on, people did not come out into the paths to gather
round them, as the first had done, but stayed meekly in their houses,
sitting with their faces turned to the wall, and with their property
heaped in the middle of the room. From these people the travellers
received many valuable skins, and other gifts. Wherever there was a
fountain, the natives readily showed it, but apparently knew nothing of
any miraculous gift; yet they themselves were in such fine physical
condition, and seemed so young and so active, that it was as if they had
already bathed in some magic spring. They had wonderful endurance of heat
and cold, and such health that, when their bodies were pierced through and
through by arrows, they would recover rapidly from their wounds. These
things convinced the Spaniards that, even if the Indians would not
disclose the source of all their bodily freshness, it must, at any rate,
lie somewhere in the neighborhood. Yet a little while, no doubt, and their
visitors would reach it.

It was a strange journey for these gray and careworn men as they passed
up the defiles and valleys along the St. John's River, beyond the spot
where now spreads the city of Jacksonville, and even up to the woods and
springs about Magnolia and Green Cove. Yellow jasmines trailed their
festoons above their heads; wild roses grew at their feet; the air was
filled with the aromatic odors of pine or sweet bay; the long gray moss
hung from the live-oak branches; birds and butterflies of wonderful hues
fluttered around them; and strange lizards crossed their paths, or looked
with dull and blinking eyes from the branches. They came, at last, to one
spring which widened into a natural basin, and which was so deliciously
aromatic that Luis Ponce said, on emerging: "It is enough. I have bathed
in the Fountain of Youth, and henceforth I am young." His companions tried
it, and said the same: "The Fountain of Youth is found."

No time must now be lost in proclaiming the great discovery. They
obtained a boat from the natives, who wept at parting with the white
strangers whom they had so loved. In this boat they proposed to reach the
mouth of the St. John, meet Juan Ponce de Leon, and carry back the news to
Spain. But one native, whose wife and children they had cured, and who had
grown angry at their refusal to stay longer, went down to the water's edge
and, sending an arrow from his bow, transfixed Don Luis, so that even his
foretaste of the Fountain could not save him, and he died ere reaching the
mouth of the river. If Don Luis ever reached what he sought, it was in
another world. But those who have ever bathed in Green Cove Spring, near
Magnolia, on the St. John's River, will be ready to testify that, had he
but stayed there longer, he would have found something to recall his
visions of the Fountain of Youth.


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