The Project Gutenberg eBook of Children's Stories in American History

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Title: Children's Stories in American History

Author: Henrietta Christian Wright

Release date: March 16, 2013 [eBook #42345]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by D Alexander, Nicole Henn-Kneif and the Online
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  A Mammoth Hunt
A Mammoth Hunt

Children's Stories
American History

Henrietta Christian Wright

Illustrated by J. Steeple Davis


Copyright, 1885, by



Ancient America,

The Mound-Builders,

The Red Men,

The Northmen,

Columbus and the Discovery of America,

The Cabots,

Americus Vespucius,

Ponce de Leon,

Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the Discoverer of the Pacific Ocean,

Cabeca de Vaca,

Hernando Cortez and the Conquest of Mexico,

Pizarro and the Conquest of Peru,

Ferdinand de Soto, the Discoverer of the Mississippi,


Jacques Cartier,

The Huguenots,

Sir Walter Raleigh,

The Story of Pocahontas, the Indian Princess,

The Settlement of Maine, and Discovery of Lake Champlain,

Henry Hudson and the Knickerbockers,

The Pilgrims and the Settlement of New England,

La Salle,

The Story of Acadia,

The Story of Pontiac,

The Revolution,



A Mammoth Hunt, Frontispiece.
The Teaching of an Indian Child, 14
Young Columbus, 38
Vespucius Landing to Chastise the Cannibals, 65
Balboa in Search of the Unknown Sea, 79
The Messengers of Montezuma, 103
De Soto, 172
Jacques Cartier finds Newfoundland Inhospitable, 210
Smith Saved by Pocahontas, 259
The Half-Moon in the Hudson, 292
The Driving out of the Acadians, 331
The Story of Pontiac's Plot, 337



Many ages ago in North America there was no spring or summer or autumn, but only winter all the time; there were no forests or fields or flowers, but only ice and snow, which stretched from the Arctic Ocean to Maryland. Sometimes the climate would grow a little warmer, and then the great glaciers would shrink toward the north, and then again it would grow cold, while the ice crept southward; but finally it became warmer and warmer until all the southern part of the country was quite free from the ice and snow, which could then only be seen, as it is now, in the Polar regions.

Ages and ages after this, grass and trees began to appear, and at last great forests covered the land, and over the fields and through the woods gigantic animals roved—strange and terrible-looking beasts, larger than any animal now living, and very fierce and strong. Among these were the mammoth and mastodon, which were so strong and ferocious that it would take hundreds of men to hunt and kill them. These great animals would go trampling through the forests, breaking down the trees and crushing the grass and flowers under their feet, or rush over the fields in pursuit of their prey, making such dreadful, threatening noises that all the other animals would flee before them, just as now the more timid animals flee from the lion or rhinoceros. Sometimes they would rush or be driven by men into swamps and marshes, where their great weight would sink them down so deep into the mud that they could not lift themselves out again, and then, they would die of starvation or be killed by the arrows of the men who were hunting them.

Besides these mammoths and mastodons there were other animals living in North America at that time, very different from those that are found here now.

These were the rhinoceros, as large as the elephant of to-day, five different kinds of camels, thirty different kinds of horses, some of which had three toes, and some four, on each foot; and then there were a great many smaller animals which we no longer find here. Monkeys swung in the branches of the trees, just as they do now in other parts of the world, and great, strange birds went flying through the air and built their nests in the trees which, ages ago, crumbled away to dust.

But at last all these curious animals vanished from the forests of North America—all, that is, except the reindeer, which is still found in the far north—and the only reason we have for knowing that they really lived here is that their bones have been found in the soil.

Among mountains far from the sea are often found the shells of sea-animals, and the imprints of fishes in the rocks, and so we know those animals must once have lived there, and in the same way when the bones of the mammoth and mastodon, and camel and rhinoceros, are found, we also know that they must have lived here too, although it was so long ago that nobody knows very much about it.

Among these bones have been found human bones also, and tools, and arrow-heads of flint; so it is supposed that there was a race of people living in North America at the same time. But who these people were, or where they came from, or whither they went, we shall probably never know, for they have vanished as utterly from the New World as have the fairies and nymphs and giants from the Old World, and will always remain a mystery.



About two thousand years ago there lived a very curious people in North America known as the Mound-builders. Where they came from no one knows, but it is supposed that they were either descendants of people from Japan, who had been driven across the Pacific by storms, and washed on the western coast of America, or that they originally came from Asia by the way of Behring Strait. Many people suppose them to have been the descendants of the Shepherd Kings, who journeyed from Central India to Egypt about the time of the building of the Tower of Babel; they were called the Shepherd Kings because they were shepherds, and came down into Egypt driving their flocks before them. Here they conquered the country and made themselves kings; they built many wonderful temples, and founded Heliopolis, the City of the Sun, in honor to their great god, the Sun, whom they worshipped, under the name of Osiris; Isis, the moon, being their chief goddess. It was supposed that Osiris dwelt in the body of the sacred bull Apis, and therefore this bull was adored as a god. He lived in a splendid temple, the walls of which shone with gold and silver, and sparkled with gems and precious stones brought from India and Ethiopia; it was the duty of the priests to wait upon him with the greatest care, and he was always fed from golden dishes. At the time of the rising of the Nile there was always a festival to Apis, when he was displayed to the people covered with the richest and finest embroidered cloths, and surrounded by troops of boys singing songs to him. If he lived twenty-five years he was drowned in a sacred fountain, but if he died before that time all Egypt went into mourning, which continued until a new Apis was found. The successor must be a perfectly black calf, with a square white spot on the forehead, the figure of an eagle upon the back, a crescent on the side, and a beetle on the tongue. Of course these marks were made by the priests, but the people did not know that, and supposed that the soul of Apis had passed into this calf, which they received with great joy.

The Egyptians worshipped many other animals besides the sacred bull; the dog, wolf, hawk, crocodile, and cat were all considered gods, and any one who might kill one of these animals, even by accident, was punished with death. When a cat died every one in the family cut off his eyebrows, and when a dog died the whole head was shaven. And if on their journeys the Egyptians found the dead body of a cat or dog, they always brought it home and embalmed it with great care. The reason why the Egyptians reverenced these animals was, that they believed that the soul of man, after his death, passed into the bodies of different animals, and that after three thousand years it would return and inhabit a human form again, so, of course, they did not look upon a cat or dog as we do, merely as an animal to be petted or used, but they thought that in this animal dwelt the soul of some human being, and hence it was sacred to them. One of the great gods of Egypt was the River Nile; and no wonder that they worshipped it, as it was to them the means of life. It never rains in Egypt, and the land would be like a desert were it not for the overflowing of the Nile. Once a year this great river, swollen by the waters that have poured into it from the lake country above, overflows its banks, watering the country on either side of it, and leaving, when it recedes, a deposit of rich mud upon the land; then the people sow and plant, sure of a good harvest. Up and down the Nile Valley extends a chain of rocky mountains, and these the Egyptians used as places of burial. The tombs, or catacombs, as they are called, are ornamented with pictures and sculptures which may be seen to this day. The subjects of these paintings were always taken from life. People were represented planting, sowing, and reaping, spinning, weaving, sewing, washing, dressing, and playing. Even the games of children were shown in these tombs, and the balls and dolls and toys with which they played. Would you not feel strange to stand in one of these catacombs and see the figure of a doll carved in the rock, and to know that it is the tomb of some little Egyptian girl who died three thousand years ago? The games which children play to-day are not new, and when you have a game of ball or top or leap-frog, when you play with your dolls, or sit down and tell each other fairy stories, you are only doing the same thing that the little Egyptian and Grecian boys and girls did thousands of years ago; it makes them seem like real children to think that, doesn't it?

But different as the Egyptian religion was from ours, there was one thing which they believed which we also believe in, the resurrection of the dead; and as to-day we symbolize this belief by pictures of the lily, the egg, the butterfly, and other objects, so the Egyptians used the lotus, which bloomed on the waves of the Nile, opening every morning and closing every night, as the symbol of the resurrection, and we find this flower, carved in stone, used as an ornament all throughout Egypt.

Of all the works of the ancient Egyptians, the greatest are the pyramids, the tombs of the kings; these were mostly built during the reigns of the Shepherd Kings.

After a long time, perhaps five or six hundred years, the ancient inhabitants of Egypt drove out the Shepherd Kings. It is supposed then that they crossed back to Asia, wandering through that country from the south to the north, spending some time in Siberia, where they built mounds like those in our own country, then crossing Behring Strait they reached North America, wandered down the Mississippi Valley, building mounds and temples, journeyed through Mexico, where are found some of the most remarkable of these remains, and so on across the Isthmus of Panama into Peru, where at the time of the conquest of that country by the Spaniards the sun and moon were worshipped as gods, just as had been done in Egypt thousands of years before, and where was found a magnificent temple of the sun, the inside walls of which were covered almost entirely of gold. So you see the reason why it is thought that perhaps the mound-builders were descendants of the Shepherd Kings is that these mounds and temples are like those found in the old world. In Mexico and Peru all the great buildings were made in the pyramidal form, while, as I have said, in Siberia have been found mounds like those in the United States.

Some of the most curious of these mounds are found in the State of Ohio. One, in the form of a serpent, with the tail ending in a triple coil, is very curious. It is about a thousand feet long and extends along a bluff which rises above Brush Creek, in Adams County, Ohio. The neck of the serpent is stretched out and slightly curved over, and in its mouth is another mound in the form of an egg.

Many of these mounds, from their shapes, it is thought, were used for fortifications, and sometimes they are at regular spaces apart, which shows they may have been used for sending signals across the country. They were made almost entirely of earth, but sometimes brick and stone were used. Sometimes they were built very high, and on the tops of these highest mounds have been found pieces of burned wood, showing that they were probably used as places of worship, and that the priests offered up burnt-offerings and sacrifices there. The mounds are sometimes in the form of animals and men. In those that were used as places of worship human bones have been found, and with them many things which show that the Mound-builders must have known some of the arts which the tribes who lived in America at the time of its discovery by the Europeans knew nothing of; among these things are carvings in stone, pottery, articles of ornament in metal, silver and copper tools, such as axes, chisels, and knives, beside beads, bracelets, carved pipes, models in clay of birds, quadrupeds, and human faces, etc.

Is it not strange to think of this race of people who lived here in our own America so many years ago? We would like to know how they lived, what they looked like, and what language they spoke, but we cannot even guess. We only know that ages after the time of the Mammoth and Mastodon, this curious race, coming doubtless from the East, entered the Mississippi Valley; that they settled there and built those wonderful mounds at least two thousand years ago, if not longer; that finally they disappeared, and we should never have known of them but for the works they have left.



When America was first discovered by the whites, all the country along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida was peopled by a dark-skinned people different from any known to Europeans. They were tall, with black or hazel eyes, and straight, black hair. Some of them were mild and friendly toward the whites, but others were very warlike and hated the white men for coming to live in their own woodland homes. They never lived very long in one place, but roamed about here and there, living by hunting, fishing, and sometimes planting corn, beans, pumpkins, etc. Their houses, or wigwams, as they called them, were made of bark, or skins, or matting, stretched on poles driven in the ground, and an Indian village was simply a great many tents in one spot, in the largest of which the chief always lived. These little villages were nothing like those which you would see now, scattered up and down the Atlantic coast, where all kinds of people live together; but each village was the home of one particular family or tribe of Indians, and it was very much as if you and all your brothers and sisters, your uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandmothers, grandfathers, great-grandmothers, great-grandfathers, and everybody else who was the least bit in the world relation to you, lived altogether in one little town by yourselves. Each tribe took some animal for its symbol, or totem, as they called it, such as the turtle, bear, or wolf, and they believed that the spirit of the animal chosen watched over them and protected them. Like the ancient Egyptians, they believed that the soul of man passed at his death into the body of some other man or of some animal, and they drew signs from the flight of the birds and the shapes of the clouds. They worshipped the sun, which they said was the symbol of the Great Spirit, and they believed that the moon could weave charms. They believed also that the wind and the stars, the streams and the lakes, the great trees and the beautiful flowers, all had spirits. And little Indian boys and girls never went to school as you do, to learn about history and geography, but their school was out in the shady woods at their mother's feet, where they sat and listened to the beautiful stories of Hiawatha, the son of the West Wind, who had been sent among them to clear their rivers, forests, and fishing-grounds, and to teach them the arts of peace; of his wife, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, who sat by the doorway of her wigwam, plaiting mats of flags and rushes when Hiawatha came to woo her; of Minnehaha's father, the old arrow-maker, who made arrow-heads of jasper and chalcedony, and of the brave, beautiful, and gentle Chibiabos, the best of all musicians, who sang so sweetly that all the warriors and women and children crept at his feet to listen, and who made from hollow reeds flutes so mellow and musical that at the sound the brook ceased to murmur in the woodland, the birds stopped singing, the squirrel ceased chattering, and the rabbit sat up to listen. And the bluebird and robin and whippoorwill begged Chibiabos that he would teach them to sing as sweetly, but he could not, for he sang of the things they could not understand, of peace and love and freedom and undying life in the Islands of the Blessed.

 The Teaching of an Indian Child

And then, too, the Indian mothers would tell their children the story of Wabun, the East Wind, who brought the morning to the earth, and chased away the darkness with his silver arrows, whose cheeks were crimson with the sunrise, and whose voice awoke the deer and the hunter; and yet, although the birds sang to him, and the flowers sent up their perfume to greet him, and "though the forests and rivers sang and shouted at his coming," still he was not happy, for he was alone in heaven. But one morning while the villages were still sleeping, and the fog lay on the rivers, Wabun, looking downward, saw a beautiful maiden walking all alone in a meadow, gathering water-flags and rushes. And each day after that the first thing he saw was the maiden's eyes, which looked like two blue lakes among the rushes, and he loved the beautiful maiden and wooed her with the sunshine of his smile, and whispered to her in the gentle breezes which sang through the trees, and at last he drew her to him and changed her to a star, and then he was no longer sad, but happy, for he was no longer alone in heaven, but with him was his bride, the beautiful Wabun-Annung, the Morning Star.

And then the story of Kabibonokka, the North Wind, who dwelt among the icebergs and snow-drifts in the land of the White Rabbit; the North Wind, who in autumn "painted all the trees with scarlet and stained the leaves with red and yellow," and who drove the birds down to the land of the South Wind, ere he froze the rivers and lakes and ponds and sent the snow-flakes through the forest.

And the story of Shawondassee, the South Wind, who dwelt in the land of summer, who sent the bluebirds and the robins and the swallows; and the smoke from his pipe

"Filled the sky with haze and vapor,
 Filled the air with dreamy softness,
 Gave a twinkle to the water,
 Touched the rugged hills with smoothness,
 Brought the tender Indian Summer
 To the melancholy north-land."

And the South Wind had also his trouble, for he loved a maiden whom he saw one day standing on the prairies, clothed in bright green garments, and with hair like sunshine; but he did not try to woo the maiden, but only sighed and sighed, until one morning behold he saw that her yellow hair had grown white, and the air seemed full of snow-flakes which rose from the earth and were wafted away by the wind; for, after all, it was not a maiden that the South Wind had loved, but only a prairie dandelion, whose petals had turned to down and floated away. Do you not think these Indian children learned pleasant things in their school? There was one story which they liked very much, and which you may also hear. It was the Legend of the Red Swan, and it told of an Indian warrior, who with his three brothers went out to shoot, and each one said that he would kill no other animal except the kind he was used to killing. The warrior had not gone far before he saw a bear, which he shot, although he should not have done so, as he was not in the habit of killing bears. But as he was skinning the dead bear, the air all around him turned red, and he heard a strange noise in the distance; he followed the noise and found it came from a beautiful red swan, which was sitting far out in a lake, and whose plumage glittered in the sun like rubies, and although the Indian warrior tried very hard to shoot the swan with his magic arrows, still he could not kill it, for it rose and flapped its wings and flew slowly away toward the setting sun.

All these stories and many others, of war and hunting and bravery, did these dusky children of the Western World listen to eagerly. And when an Indian boy wished to excel his friends and become their leader, he did not take his books and study algebra or geometry or Latin, for they had no such books; he did not even try to be best in a game of cricket or ball, or to be a good oarsman, but he would train his eye so he could shoot a bird on the wing so far up in the sky that one could scarcely see it; he would train his muscle so that he could fight hand to hand with bears and wild-cats if need be; he would learn to find the trail of an enemy through the deep forest, guided only by the bent twigs or broken leaves, and he would be able to send his arrow straight through the heart of the deer which bounded over the precipices and mountains. And the little Indian girls would learn of their mothers how to prepare skins of animals and make moccasins and garments out of them; how to ornament belts and leggings with shells and beads and feathers; how to plant corn and cook the food. And do you want to know how the Indian babies were taken care of? They were fastened so tightly in their queer little cradles that they could not move. The cradles were made in such a manner that they could be carried on the mother's back, or hung in a tree, or placed on the ground. If the Indian babies grew tired of being left all alone in this way, no one minded them; they might cry and cry, but no one paid any attention, for their mothers believed in teaching them patience in this way.

The Indians were very fond of games; they used to play ball and have famous ball matches on the ground in summer and on the ice in winter; and then they had races and liked shooting at targets, just as you do now. The game of lacrosse, which is played so much in Canada, is an Indian game, as is also tobogganing and snow-shoeing.

In the winter the Indians travelled from place to place on their snow-shoes; these were made of maple-wood and deer's hide, and fastened on the feet by pieces of deer's hide, and upon these curious shoes the Indians could travel very fast, sometimes forty miles a day, when hunting the deer and moose. Each tribe of Indians had its own peculiar kind of snow-shoe, and one Indian meeting another in the forest could tell by the totem tattooed on the breast and by the pattern of the snow-shoe to what tribe he belonged, and whether he were friend or foe.

They used to travel by water in their graceful birch-bark canoes; these were made by stripping off the bark from a birch tree and fastening it whole around the frame of cedar. Some of the canoes were very long and could carry ten or twelve men. Every little Indian boy and girl could manage his canoe with the greatest ease, either sitting or standing, and long hours they spent in them, paddling on the lakes and fishing in the shadow of the mountains.

The Red Men were a very poetical people, and the names which they gave to their mountains and lakes and rivers were often very fanciful. Many of these we have kept, as Mississippi, the Father of Waters; Minnehaha, Laughing Water; Canadarauga, The Smile of the Great Spirit; Housatonic, Winding Waters; Horicon (the Indian name for Lake George), Silver Water; Ohio, Fair to Look Upon, etc.

The names of the months were also very poetical and pretty; the Indians did not divide the years into months, but moons, and instead of saying last month, or next month, they would say at the time of the last moon, or the next moon, and their weeks were called from the changes in the moon, when it was new or quarter or full. April was the Moon of Bright Nights; May, the Moon of Leaves; June, the Moon of Strawberries; September, the Moon of Falling Leaves; November, the Moon of Snow-shoes, etc.

And besides they had their own names for all the wonderful and curious things in the heavens; thus the Milky Way was the Pathway of Ghosts; the Northern Lights, the Death Dance of the Spirits; the Rainbow was the Heaven of the Flowers, where they all blossomed again after fading on the earth, and the shadows on the moon were the body of an old woman who had been thrown there by her grandson.

Their picture-writing was very curious and interesting. The legend relates that Hiawatha taught the Indians this art, so that they might be able to remember their history better, and also be able to send messages to one another. In this picture-writing the Great Spirit, Gitche Manito, was painted as an egg, with four points, extending north, south, east, and west, which meant that the Great Spirit was everywhere. Mitche Manito, the Evil Spirit, was represented as a great serpent; Life was shown by a light circle, Death by a black circle; a straight line meant the Earth, and a bow above it the Sky; foot-prints going toward a wigwam meant an invitation, but uplifted red hands were a sign of war.

The Indians also knew, or thought they did, what all the cries of the different animals meant, and they believed that these animals could understand them if they spoke to them. The bear was the favorite animal among the Indians and was used most frequently as a totem, and they had a belief that there was a very large bear living somewhere in the woods, naked all over except a spot of white hair on its back, which was more ferocious than any common bear, and they used to frighten their children by saying, "Hush, the naked bear will hear you, be upon you, and devour you." And the little Indian boys and girls were just as afraid of this naked bear as you are afraid of ghosts and hobgoblins and witches. It is true they never actually saw the naked bear, but then neither have you ever seen a ghost.

The Indians were a very warlike people, the different tribes were almost always at war, and sometimes for years at a time. In preparing for battle they used to paint their bodies in very bright colors, called war-paint, and dress their heads with feathers; then all the warriors of the tribe would assemble for a feast, which was followed by a war-dance. A painted post would be driven into the ground, and the Indians would dance in a circle around it, brandishing their hatchets and screaming and shouting in a hideous manner. The night would be spent in this way, and then the Indians would take off their finery and go silently through the woods to the place where they knew the enemy to be. They did not fear death, as they believed that a brave warrior went as soon as he died to the Happy Hunting Grounds, where he would live forever, and they always buried the dead man's weapons with him, as it was supposed he would need them there.



In the far north there is an island so cold and dreary that from time immemorial it has been called Iceland—the land of ice and snow and frosts. Here are no spreading forests or fields of flowers, but only here and there hardy evergreens and a few pale blossoms, that come, perhaps, just to show how beautiful the place might become if only the short Icelandic summer lasted as long as the sunny months farther south. All around the rocky, frozen shores break the white waves of the Northern Ocean, and in the summer one may see the great icebergs sailing past, and hear the voices of the birds that have come northward for a little visit.

In the winter the days are so short and the cold is so intense that the children are almost shut off from out-door life, and are glad to take up with in-door games and plays. But they are very happy in spite of this, for they are a healthy, sturdy race, and like the ice and cold and snow. In the long winter evenings they gather around the fire and listen to the old stories that have been told in their land for hundreds of years, the stories of Odin and Thor and Baldur, for long, long ago the religion of the Northmen was very different from what it is now. Then they believed not in one god but many, of whom Odin was the chief, who dwelt in Valhalla, the Northmen's heaven. And no one could enter there who had not died fighting, which made the Norse heroes very anxious to die in battle. Perhaps you will remember this god better when you hear that one of the days of the week is named after him, for Wednesday means Woden's day, and Woden was only another name for Odin. Thursday is also named after one of the Norse gods, the great Thor, called the thunderer, who held a mighty hammer in his hand which no one else could lift, and of whom every one was afraid. But of all their gods the people loved best Baldur, the beautiful; they called him the fair white god, and not only was he beloved by the people but all things in nature loved him and had promised never to harm him, all things, that is, excepting the mistletoe. One day there was a great company gathered together, and they all agreed to shoot arrows at Baldur just to prove that nothing could hurt him; so they shot arrows of oak and hemlock and pine, and they threw great stones at him, but he remained unharmed amid it all, for all things loved him and refused to do him injury; and Baldur smiled upon the people and they raised their hands above their heads and vowed that they would worship him forever. And now entered Hoerder, an evil spirit, who had found out the secret of the mistletoe; he asked permission to shoot an arrow at Baldur, and took up one made of the mistletoe, the one thing in the world that could harm the beautiful god. Hoerder took aim and the arrow sped on its way, and thus died Baldur the beautiful, by the hand of Hoerder the evil one. And the people mourned for him, and all things in nature wept over the death of the fair white god. And when hundreds of years had passed away, and the people had ceased to believe in Odin and Thor they still loved the memory of Baldur; and when they listened to the story of Christ and his death on the cross, they said He was like the beautiful one who had been slain by Hoerder; so the priests, to please the people, twined the cross with mistletoe, and to this day at Christmastime little English children, descendants of the fierce Norse rovers, gather the mistletoe, together with the holly and evergreen, and all bright and beautiful things, and deck the churches with them in honor of the birth of Him who came to destroy evil, and to bring peace on earth and good-will to men. And thus the name of Baldur lives, for the memory of the good can never die, but lives forever in the heart, even as the stars forever shine in heaven.

Besides the old stories of their gods, the people of these North countries have many other tales they relate of things which actually happened. Living so near the ocean, they were, of course, great sailors, and often went off on long voyages, which lasted sometimes a year or two. In the old histories of Iceland we read that Erik the Red, as he was called, being unjustly treated by his neighbors, resolved to leave Iceland and seek a home elsewhere. So he gathered his friends together and took ship and sailed away boldly toward the west. No one then knew that there was any land west of Iceland, so many of his friends expected never to see him again. But Erik was a brave sailor and kept sailing on and on, still westward, until one day he did see land, and then steering southward along the coast he found a place where he might land safely. Here he stayed the whole winter, calling the place Erik's Island; then he looked around for a spot suitable to live in always, and, having found one, a little village was built, and there he remained two years. When he went back to Iceland he told the people of the new land he had found, and called it Greenland, as he thought that name would sound pleasant to them, and they would be eager to go there and live, and so they were, and Erik soon sailed away again toward Greenland, taking with him this time twenty-five ships filled with people and food and all things they might need in a new country; and having reached the little village which Erik had begun they landed in safety and were soon busy making new homes for themselves in that western Greenland which had been discovered by the bold rover Erik the Red.

This happened about eight hundred years ago. A short time after, Biarni, another brave Icelander, resolved to go to Greenland too. So he set sail, and for three days they went on briskly with a fair wind; then arose a most fearful storm, before which they were driven for many days, they knew not whither. At length the storm ceased, and sailing westward another day they saw land different from any they had ever seen before, for it was low and level and had no mountains. The sailors anxiously asked if this were Greenland, but Biarni said no, it could not be. Then they turned the ship about and sailed toward the North for two days, and again they saw land, but it was still low and level, and they thought this could not be Greenland; so they kept sailing northward for three days more, and then they came to a land that was mountainous and covered with ice; this land they sailed quite around, proving it to be an island; they were almost discouraged, but kept on four days more, and then at last Greenland came in sight. Erik and his companions listened with great interest to the stories which Biarni told of the strange new lands he had seen, but they were all too busy to go in search of them; and so it came about that for many years the places which we now call Cape Cod, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland remained unknown to all of the Northmen except Biarni and his brave followers.

Finally, Leif the Lucky, son of Erik the Red, determined to go in search of the strange lands seen by Biarni. He bought Biarni's ship, and taking thirty-five men with him, started off on one of those perilous voyages so dearly loved by the Norsemen. The first land he saw was the mountainous, icy island round which Biarni had sailed, and which Leif named Helluland, meaning the land of broad stones; then he sailed farther south and came to a land low and level and covered with wood, which they called Markland, the land of woods; now they went still farther south for two days and then touched at an island, probably Nantucket, and sailing through a bay between this island and the mainland, they passed up a river and landed. Here they built rude huts and prepared to pass the winter. It was about the middle of autumn, and finding there wild grapes growing, they called the country Vinland. Leif and his people were much pleased with the pleasant climate and fruitful soil of the new country, and stayed there contentedly all winter. The next spring they loaded their ships with timber and returned to Greenland. In the meantime Erik the Red had died, and Leif, on his return, succeeded him in command of the Greenland colony and made no more voyages.

But the next year Thorvald, Leif's brother, went to Vinland and spent the winter, and the following summer sailed away down the coast as far as the Carolinas, coming back, however, in the autumn to Vinland. The next summer, while coasting around Cape Cod, they saw on the sandy shore of the bay three small elevations; these proved to be three boats made of skin, with three men under each; they seized all the men but one, who ran away with his boat, and they killed all those they had taken. Immediately, from a small bay, hundreds of small skin boats were seen coming toward them all filled with these strange people. Thorvald told his men to set up their battle-shields and guard themselves as well as possible, but to fight little against them, which they did, and the Skraellings, as they called them, shot at the Norsemen for a time, but at last fled away; but they had wounded the brave Thorvald with an arrow so that he died, and his companions becoming discouraged returned the next spring to Greenland, after an absence of three years.

But Vinland was now well known, and there were many voyages made there, chiefly for the timber, of which there was a great want in Greenland. The children of Erik the Red were always ready to go on these voyages, for they inherited their father's bold and roving disposition. There is one story which tells of a voyage to Vinland made by Freydis, Erik's daughter, a cruel, hard-hearted woman, who, during the voyage, killed her husband's brothers and seized the ship; but for this she was punished by Leif on her return. Then there is another story of Gudrid, a beautiful woman who had married Thorstein, Erik's youngest son, who died while getting ready to go to Vinland. Gudrid married after this a man by the name of Thorfinn, who took her to Vinland to live, and here was born their son Snorri, who was perhaps the first white child born in America.

While they were in Vinland, Thorfinn and his companions had many battles with the natives, or Skraellings, and once Freydis, being with them, fought fiercely, killing many natives with her own hand. After spending three years in Vinland, Thorfinn and Gudrid went to Iceland, and remained there the rest of their lives, and the little boy, Snorri, lived and grew to manhood, and among his descendants was the great Danish sculptor, Thorwaldsen.

There are many other tales of these visits of the Vikings to the New World, but they cannot be written here; but you must remember that hundreds of years before anything was known of America to the rest of Europe, the bold Norse sea-kings came here—Erik the Red, Leif the Lucky, Biarni, Thorvald, and Thorfinn—and that Greenland, Newfoundland, Cape Cod, Nova Scotia, and Rhode Island were well known to the Northmen at a time when the rest of the world had never dreamed of a country lying on the other side of the great Atlantic.



If you will look at your map you will see on the western shore of Italy a city which has become celebrated as the birthplace of a great man. It is called Genoa, the Superb, and in this city was born, over three hundred years ago, the man who was to make it immortal. Genoa is a beautiful city. It looks from the sea like a great picture. Its churches, palaces, promenades, and gardens stretch in terraces from the Mediterranean up to the slopes of the Apennines, and behind are seen the ice-covered peaks of the Alps. It has a mild and healthy climate, and on the mountains around grow grain, grapes, oranges, figs, almonds, chestnuts, etc. The streets of the city are mostly narrow, irregular, and sometimes so steep that carriages cannot be used in them, although there are a few that are straight and handsome. Genoa is famed for its palaces and for its great works of sculpture and painting. But its narrow, crooked streets are, after all, the most interesting thing about it, for in them Columbus, when a boy, walked and played. Of course, having been born near the sea, he was naturally very fond of it, and doubtless spent many hours standing on the wharves watching the ships enter and leave the harbor, and while yet a boy he determined that he would be a sailor and spend his life on the great sea which he loved so well. At ten years of age he was sent by his father to the university of Pavia to study navigation and other things, as it was considered necessary that seamen should be well educated, although at that time very few people, even among the nobles, knew how to write. He stayed in Pavia nearly four years, and then returned to Genoa and entered his father's workshop. But here he remained but a short time, for at the age of fourteen he went to sea in a vessel under command of his granduncle, Colombo. For twenty years he followed the sea, during which time he was in many battles, always appearing brave, and often encouraging his sailors by his example. During this time he visited nearly all the ports that were then known, but still he was not satisfied.

 Young Columbus

You must remember that at that time no one knew the real shape of the earth; they had no idea that it was round, but supposed it to be a flat plane, with the ocean lying around its edges. What strange things might be found on the other side of the ocean they did not know. Some said that this ocean, which they called the "Sea of Darkness," and which was supposed to stretch away to the end of the world, had many large islands lying in it, one of which had been visited by some bishops who were flying from the Moors, and who built seven large cities there—one for each bishop; but that, having burned their ships, they could not send back any tidings to the world they had left. A great many people believed this, and there were even some ships sent out to try and find the island, but of course they never did.

Another story which they were very fond of telling was, that a giant called Mildum had actually seen in the western sea an island of gold, with walls of crystal, and offered to swim to it with a ship in tow; but a storm came up, and the giant went ashore and died, and no one ever found the golden island.

But there were some things which made it seem as though there really might be land somewhere out in the Atlantic. For instance, Columbus' brother-in-law had seen a piece of curiously carved wood which had been washed ashore in a westerly gale, and an old pilot had picked up a carved paddle very far west of Portugal. These things were very unlike anything that the Europeans had ever seen before, and they of course supposed that they must have been made by some unknown race of men. Then, besides, cane-stalks of tropic growth had been washed on the Madeiras, and great pine-trees on the Azores; and once, strangest thing of all, two drowned men, of different dress and looks from any they had ever known, had been found on the island of Flores. All these had come from the West—that great, curious, unknown West! Can you not imagine how the little children would go down to the shore and look across the sea, and wonder and wonder what lay beyond it? They had heard such strange stories of giants and monsters and cruel beasts, who were said to live away off there out of the sight of land, and it all seemed so curious to them. They could not believe that there was really land out beyond that blue sea, on which sometimes they could not even see a sail. It only looked to them like a great empty stretch of water, and they felt just as you would feel if you looked up to the sky some cloudless day. You would see nothing but the empty blue stretching away and away and away.

Would you not laugh if some one said to you, "Come, let us take a boat and sail away into the sky, and find a new country that some one says is there?"

Well, in those days, almost every one thought it was just as silly to suppose there was land on the other side of the Atlantic.

But there were some people who really believed there was land lying across the great sea, and one of those persons was Columbus.

He was a very wise man, and had learned all that was then known of geography, and he felt sure from many things that the earth was round in shape, and that if he sailed west across the Atlantic, he would come to land. He did not dream of finding a new country, but he thought that the world was much smaller than it really is, and that by sailing westward he would come to India much sooner than by going the usual way.

At that time India was a very important country. Very rare and beautiful things were brought from there, such as silks, gold, pearls, ivory, diamonds, rare woods, and many other costly and useful things. Great companies of men were all the time going and coming overland to and from India, and it took a long time, and was a very expensive way of going. The merchants travelled part of the way on horses and part of the way on camels, and the long caravan would go winding across the desert, and through mountain passes, over the plains, guided by the stars, or resting at night around great fires; and if you could see such a sight now you would think it was a great gypsy camp. Then, oftentimes, people who wished to travel to India, or to the places on the way thither, would join these caravans, as it was much the cheaper and safer way, and so there would be found every kind of people travelling together—Jews, Arabs, Spaniards, Dutch, and many others—all on their way to obtain those wonderful and beautiful things from the East; if you had lived at that time, and had started on a journey to India, it would have been as different from such a journey now as you can imagine. Then, after leaving Europe you would have travelled all the way on the back of a camel; and although these caravans sometimes moved during the day, resting at night, still, much the greater part of the travelling, owing to the heat of the sun, was done in the night-time. About ten o'clock at night you would have heard the sound of the trumpets. This was to tell you that the caravan was about to move on. Then the tents were folded up, the camels loaded with the merchandise, the travellers mounted on their horses or camels, and about midnight, after the third blast from the trumpets, the march would begin. Great kettles of burning pitch would send their flames flashing over the desert, and the men and beasts travelled onward through the night by this ruddy gleam. Sometimes, in the earlier part of the journey, the line of march would lay along the sea, and then the thunder of its waves would be heard mingling with the songs of the slaves and the bells of the camels. Riding across a desert is much like sailing across the sea. There is very little variety. You see the same thing day after day. In sailing, you see the sea and sky, and occasionally a ship's sail; in journeying across a desert you see the sand and sky, sometimes an Arab or two looking wonderingly at the caravan before darting off to their hidden retreats, and more often only the bones of camels and elephants scattered on either side of the route, and dazzling the sight with their white gleam. The only thing that would break in upon the sameness would be the stops at the springs for water and rest, when the sacks of food and wine were unpacked from the camels, and the travellers would alight and stay until the heat of the day was past.

Of course, you little American boys and girls have never travelled in this way, but it was the usual way at that time, and much labor and time and money it cost; and so it was considered that it would be a great gain to the world if people could find a shorter way of going to India, and this was one reason why Columbus wished to see if the world were really round. For, of course, if it were round, India, they said, must be right on the other side of the Atlantic. You see they had no idea that this big America lay in the way between them and India. They thought that, at the most, there were only some large islands there.

And so Columbus thought it all over and decided to try for himself, and see if he could reach India by sailing across the ocean. But he was to have many disappointments before he started off. In the first place, very few people thought as he did about the shape of the earth, and the different countries were unwilling to risk men and money in an undertaking which they were sure would amount to nothing. Columbus tried to obtain help from his own people; first, from the republic of Genoa, then from the republic of Venice, and the court of Portugal, and for seven years he tried to get help from Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain. And at last, after ten years of waiting and seeking, the wished-for help came. Isabella, queen of Spain, listened to Columbus' plans, and liked them so much that she said she would send the expedition out at the expense of her own kingdom of Castile, and, if necessary, would pawn her jewels to get enough of money; but this last she did not have to do.

It was hard work to find sailors willing to go on this long voyage across the unknown seas, and many of the men had to be forced into the service; but after three months' delay the expedition was ready, and on August 3, 1492, the three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina, left the port of Palos on the most wonderful voyage that has ever been undertaken—the voyage which ended in the discovery of the great New World.

And so Columbus sailed away toward the sun setting. In about a month he reached and passed the Canary Islands, the farthest known land. This was on Sunday, September 6, 1492. And then the voyage really began. The day passed, and, as the sky and the sea grew dark, the sailors became terrified, and when at last night fell, and they lost sight of the land which bordered the great sea of darkness, they wept from fear, and said they should never return to their homes. Columbus had a hard time to quiet their fears, but finally they grew calm and listened to his descriptions of the beautiful country toward which they were sailing. And so they went on, sometimes hopeful and sometimes despairing, and once they made a plot to throw Columbus overboard and then turn the ships about and go home, but happily this was not carried out. As they advanced, the oldest sailors were deceived by frequent signs of land. On the 26th they entered into a region where the air was soft and balmy, and fields of sea-weed began to appear. "This day and the day after," said Columbus, "the air was so mild that it wanted but the song of the nightingales, to make it like the month of April in Andalusia."

One evening, just as the sun was going down there came a cry of "Land!" from the Pinta, which was leading the other ships. Columbus had promised a reward to him who should first see land, and Martin Alonzo Pinzon, who was ahead in the Pinta, now claimed the reward. He said that he saw land in the west; they all looked and saw a dark, cloudy mass about twenty-five leagues away. Columbus and the sailors knelt and sang Gloria in Excelsis Deo; but in the morning, when they looked again for the hoped-for land, they saw nothing but the wide sea stretching away as far as the eye could see. The land which Martin Pinzon had seen from the stern of the Pinta had been but a cloud, which had disappeared in the night.

But Columbus sailed on with hope and faith in his heart. Again and again they thought they saw land, and again and again they were disappointed; but at last they saw land-birds flying around, a piece of carved wood was picked up by the Pinta, and the Nina secured a branch of thorn with red berries, which was drifting by, and Columbus felt sure that they were near their journey's end. The men were called to evening prayer, and the vesper hymn to the Virgin floated out over the waves of the Atlantic, the first time probably that a Christian hymn had ever been sung upon that darkening sea. Then Columbus ordered a double watch to be set. "We shall see land in the morning," said he. He spent the entire night on the deck; no one slept; they were all too much excited at the prospect of seeing land. Can you not imagine how rejoiced Columbus must have been to think that at last his long and weary voyage was nearly over, and that he had been right in saying that the world was round, and that there was land across the ocean? Ah! no one can understand how he felt, for no one before or since ever started out on such a voyage as that. A voyage across the great, mysterious, unknown sea, which was supposed to extend to the ends of the earth, and on whose farther borders demons and terrible beasts were thought to live.

At ten o'clock that night Columbus, looking wistfully seaward, saw a light; he called to two of the sailors, one of whom saw the light and one did not. At two o'clock the next morning, being Friday, October 12, 1492, the Pinta fired a gun, the signal for land. Rodrigo Triana, a sailor of the Pinta, was the first who saw the New World. The ships lay to, and all waited impatiently for morning.

The day broke, and the New World lay before them. About six miles away they saw an island thickly covered with trees and with crowds of natives running up and down its shores. At sunrise the small boats were lowered, and Columbus, bearing the royal standard of Castile, and Martin Pinzon and his brother, each bearing a flag with a green cross, were rowed to the shore to the sound of music. Columbus first stepped on the beach, the others followed, and all knelt and kissed the ground with tears and thanks to God. Then Columbus rose, shook out the gorgeous red and gold flag of Spain, and drawing his sword, took possession of the island in the name of the crown of Castile, calling it San Salvador.

The wondering natives looked on in silence; they thought their visitors were gods who had come down from heaven, whereas the Spaniards thought they had never seen a place so much like heaven as this beautiful island. Birds of gorgeous plumage hovered above them, while others made the place sweet with their music. The air was soft and pleasant, and flowers and fruits were abundant. After their long sea voyage they found it a most pleasant spot, and would gladly have remained there for a long time.

But Columbus did not consider that his work of discovery was yet done. Some of the natives, who wore ornaments of gold, told him of a country in the south from which it had come; so Columbus, taking seven of the natives with him, started off to find this land of gold, which he supposed to be Cipango (Japan). He did not find the gold which he sought, but he did find something else—the island of Cuba—which he first thought was Cipango, but afterward concluded it was the mainland of India. He then sailed on, discovering the island of Hayti, which he thought was Ophir, that land of gold from which had been brought the gold and jewels for Solomon's Temple. He called this island Hispaniola, or Little Spain, and, building a fort there of the timbers of the Santa Maria, and leaving in it thirty-nine men, he sailed for Spain, in the Nina, taking with him several natives. Martin Pinzon had in the meantime started off gold-hunting, on his own account, in the Pinta.

During the voyage back to Spain a fearful storm arose, and it was thought that the ship must go down; of course, if this happened the people in Europe would never know what had become of Columbus and his sailors; so he wrote an account of his voyage and discoveries, and, sealing it up in a cask, threw it overboard. But the storm at last ceased and they reached the Azores in safety, where the crew attended mass and gave thanks for their preservation. In March, six months from the time of their sailing, the Nina entered the harbor of Palos. Columbus was received with great honors by Ferdinand and Isabella. He was allowed to sit in their presence while he told the story of his wonderful adventures. The Spanish are a people very fond of romances and tales of daring, but never before had they listened to such a story as this. A story that told them that Spain would forever stand in history as the discoverer of a new world. No fairy tale was so marvellous as this. Aladdin's wonderful lamp and the vale of diamonds in the Arabian Nights were not to be compared to the riches of this new country, where the sands of every river sparkled with gold, where the stones and rocks shone with its glittering light, where the walls of the houses were studded with jewels, and where the poorest native wore ornaments that kings might envy. And in addition to these dazzling splendors they spoke of the mild and healthful climate, of the rare and delicious fruits that grew so abundantly, of the beautiful flowers, of the birds with sweetest songs and the most gorgeous plumage, of the rivers whose waters were health-giving, and of a wonderful fountain which gave immortal youth to all who might drink of it.

And so Columbus had no difficulty in fitting out a second expedition; men were eager to go, eager for gold, and, what was perhaps better, eager for glory; they did not have to be pressed into the service this time. In September, 1493, Columbus sailed from Cadiz with a fleet of seventeen ships and fifteen hundred men. But he had left his good fortune behind him; never again would such bright skies bend above him; never again would he sail under such benignant stars; henceforth his life was to be saddened by disappointment, and made bitter by the envy and hatred of those whom he had served.

Many of the men who took ship with him on this second voyage were led to do so from the love of gold, and when they reached the New World and did not find the gold they sought, they grew angry and mutinous and quarrelsome, throwing the blame on Columbus, who, they said, had deceived them. It was not pleasant to govern such a lot of unruly, discontented men; but Columbus was a man who never flinched in the face of danger, no matter of what kind; he kept on his way in spite of the murmurings of his men, and was rewarded by the discovery of the Windward Islands, Jamaica and Porto Rico—then he founded a colony in Hayti, and leaving his brother, Bartolommeó, to govern it, sailed for Spain, reaching Cadiz about three years after his departure from it.

Here he soon cleared himself of the complaints made against him, and silenced those who were jealous of his fame. Once, while sitting at table, a courtier said that, after all, it was not such a great thing to have discovered the new world, any one else could have done it. For answer Columbus asked him to make an egg stand on its end; the courtier tried, but could not do it. Columbus then struck the egg on the table, breaking the shell a little, and then stood it on the table.

"Any one can do that," said the courtier.

"When I have shown you the way," replied Columbus.

The courtier was silent, he knew well what Columbus meant.

And now there was to be still another voyage made. In 1498 Columbus left Spain with six ships, and sailed across the Atlantic, taking a route more southerly than he had before done. This time he discovered the mouth of the Orinoco, which he, still supposing that the country he had discovered to be Asia, thought was the river Gihon, which rose in the garden of Eden. He then skirted along the coast of South America, passing the islands of Trinidad and Margarita, and then turned toward Hispaniola, where he hoped to recruit his health. He found the colony in a sad state, and while trying to restore peace he again became the object of jealousy and malice. A commissioner named Francisco de Bobadilla was sent from Spain to settle the trouble, and his first act was to put Columbus and his brother in chains and send them to Spain.

"Are you taking me to death, Vallejo?" asked Columbus, sadly, when the officer came to lead him from his cell.

The officers of the ships wanted to take off his chains, but Columbus replied, "I will wear them as a memento of the gratitude of princes."

When he arrived in Spain, the people were very indignant at the treatment which he had received; and the king, in order to quiet them, said that he had not ordered Columbus to be put in chains. But the real reason why he had allowed him to be thus insulted was that he was disappointed at finding that the New World, after all, was not rich in gold and silver, and after nine months of waiting Columbus only saw a new governor appointed over Hispaniola, and no notice taken of his injuries. One more voyage and then Columbus' work would be over. In 1502 he received command to sail in search of a passage leading westward from the Gulf of Mexico, which was then supposed to be a sea. He believed he should find a strait somewhere near where the isthmus of Panama now is, and that by passing through this strait he would reach the continent of Asia. On his way out he stopped at his colony at Hispaniola, where he hoped to refit, but was refused permission; he sailed along the south side of the Gulf of Mexico, but did not find the strait for which he was looking, and after much suffering from famine and other hardships, he returned home. Here he lay sick for some months; his old friend Queen Isabella was dead, and King Ferdinand refused to give him any reward for his long and faithful service. He was seventy years old, poor, and in ill health. To quote his own words, he had "no place to go to except an inn, and often with nothing to pay for his food." And so the discoverer of the New World, suffering, neglected, deserted by those he had spent his life in serving, died while repeating the Latin words, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit." They are the last words of a great man; a man who lived a noble life, and who met death as bravely and fearlessly as he met the unknown terrors which lay in his way when he sailed for the first time across the great "sea of darkness." Seven years after his death the people, for very shame's sake, placed a marble tomb over his remains, with the inscription:

"A Castilla y a Leon,
Nuevo mondo dió Colon."

("To Castile and Leon, a new world gave Colon.")

Afterward his remains were taken to St. Domingo and placed in a cathedral in that city. And nearly two hundred years later they were removed with great pomp to the cathedral at Havana, where they rest within sound of the waves of the sea, in that beautiful city, where the air is indeed "like the spring in Andalusia," balmy and soft, perfumed with flowers, and made musical with the songs of birds.



About the time of the discovery of America, there was living-in England an old man, who loved the sea better than anything else in the world. He was not an Englishman, but a Venetian, and many years before he had left his home in beautiful Venice to seek a home in England. The name of this old man was John Cabot, and he was considered one of the greatest sailors living. He had guided his ships among the islands of the Mediterranean, and had sailed up the Atlantic coast to the British Isles, and then, not satisfied, he had gone on into the frozen regions of the North, and had sat by Iceland firesides listening to the tales of the Norsemen and their wonderful voyages across the sea to a New World. And while he listened he thought what a fine thing it would be if he too should sail away some day to visit this strange country; so after returning to England, he asked permission of the king to fit out some ships and go on a voyage of discovery. He had heard of the voyage of Columbus, and he thought that by sailing far to the north he might find new lands as rich and beautiful as those which Columbus had discovered. So about the year 1494, or 1497, he sailed from England, taking with him his son Sebastian.

Very different was their voyage from that of Columbus; keeping ever to the north, the waters of the Atlantic showed them no genial skies, or islands adorned with waving forests and beautiful flowers, but instead, they found fog and mist, cold, chilling winds, and great, glittering icebergs. The first land seen by them was Cape Breton, which they called Prima Vista, meaning first seen. They found the country cold and dismal, covered with ice and snow. As this new land was no farther north than England, they were surprised to see instead of green meadows, shady trees, and flowing rivers, only fields of snow, and while they knew the birds were singing in England, they saw here great white bears, which prowled around seeking their prey.

Cabot did not remain long in America, he soon sailed again for England, which he reached three months from the time he had left. His voyage is important, as he was the first European, after the Northmen, to touch the mainland of North America.

On his return he was received with great honor by the king. He went about dressed in silk and velvet, and everywhere great crowds would follow him and point him out as the Great Admiral.

In 1498 Sebastian Cabot sailed with another expedition from England and reached the coast of Labrador. He tried to find a northwest passage to Asia, but the climate was so cold that he gave up the idea and sailed down the coast as far as Virginia, claiming the whole country for the King of England. He made still another voyage and explored Hudson's Bay, but the accounts which he gave of the country were not very pleasing, and no Englishman was willing to leave his own pleasant home to seek another in the New World, and for many, many years after this the English paid little heed to the great continent which Cabot had discovered.

Sebastian Cabot lived to be an old man, and was always greatly honored by the English. He was called the Great Seaman, and as long as he lived he loved the ocean over whose waters he had sailed to honor and fortune.



As soon as it became known in Europe that there really was land across the Atlantic, all the nations wished to send ships and men to gather the gold which they supposed to be there. The Spaniards, of course, thought that they had the best right to the new country, but the English and French sent out expeditions, and soon there arose a great quarrel as to whom the New World should belong. One of the most interesting voyages made at that time was that of Americus Vespucius. Like Columbus, he was an Italian, having been born in the beautiful city of Florence, but at the time of the discovery of the western world he was living in Spain. Vespucius sailed across the sea, and in the summer of 1499 (the year after Columbus discovered the Orinoco), he landed on the coast of Venezuela. Here he saw a queer little village which looked as if some children had been trying to build a "make-believe" Venice. The village was built on piles driven into the water, and the houses, which were of such a shape that they looked like big bells, could only be entered by means of drawbridges. Each house had its own bridge, and when the owner wished he could draw the bridge up and no one could get in, and there he was just as safe as a turtle when it shrinks into its shell.

Vespucius landing to chastise the Cannibals

Vespucius and his men had never seen anything like it before and looked at the funny little place in astonishment. But as soon as the natives saw the Spaniards, they drew up all their bridges and disappeared; in a few minutes, however, Vespucius saw twenty-two canoes filled with these savages coming toward his boats; as soon as they got near enough they began shooting arrows at the Spaniards, and then Vespucius, seeing that they did not mean to be friendly, ordered the guns to be fired. The Indians were terribly frightened by the noise and smoke of the guns; they had never seen such things before, and very soon they rowed back to the shore, and Vespucius sailed on farther south. When he landed next he found a more friendly tribe of Indians; they were at first afraid of the Spaniards, and ran away when they saw them coming. Vespucius and his men went into the wigwams and found that the Indians had fires burning, upon which young alligators were roasting. By and by the Indians, seeing that the Spaniards meant no harm, came back and treated their guests so kindly that Vespucius stayed there nearly two weeks, visiting, in the meantime, some of their villages which were built back from the sea. The natives grew very fond of him, and hundreds of them followed him back to his ship, but when he ordered the cannon fired they all jumped back into the water and swam away. But Vespucius did not mean to harm them, so he called them back, and then the Indians and Spaniards exchanged presents and Vespucius sailed away. He still kept to the coast of Venezuela, and sailing northwest entered the bay of Cremana. Here he found the natives friendly and remained with them more than a month, and they begged him to help them kill their enemies, who lived on an island in the sea, and who were a very great and powerful tribe, and came every year and took away many of their number whom they killed and ate. Vespucius promised to help them, and taking seven of them with him as guides, he started off for the island.

As soon as the cannibals saw him coming they gathered on the shore ready for fight. They were covered with war-paint and feathers, and armed with arrows, lances and clubs. At first it seemed that the Spaniards would be beaten, as the Indians pressed around them so closely they could not use their swords, but finally the cannibals were driven back. Vespucius then tried to make friends with them, but they would not do so, and after a two days' fight he conquered them, burned their town, and sailed away with two hundred and fifty of them whom he sold for slaves on reaching Spain. This seems a very cruel act now, but in those times it was thought to be quite right to sell captives taken in war, and so Vespucius only did what he thought was perfectly fair.

When Vespucius got back to Spain, he wrote a letter to a friend of his in Florence, giving an account of his voyage and the lands he had visited. This letter was published a year or two afterward, and as it was the first printed account of a visit to the mainland of the New World, it was read with much wonder and interest by the people who wanted to learn all they could of the strange lands beyond the ocean.

No one knows just how it happened that the new country was called America. Some of Vespucius' friends thought that the New World ought to be called after him, but it was well known that the honor of the great discovery belonged to Columbus alone. At any rate it came about that after reading Vespucius' book, people began talking about the land of Americus Vespucius, and finally it came to be called the land of Americus, or America. But although the great country itself is not named after Columbus, yet mountains, rivers, and towns bear his name, and in poetry and songs, the United States, the greatest American country, is often called Columbia; while in South America, one of the principal divisions is called the United States of Colombia. All of which shows that the people of the New World are very ready to honor its great discoverer.



Once upon a time there was an old man who had found life so fair a thing that he wished to live forever, and to be forever young. He was born in Spain, and his childhood and youth and early manhood were so happy that when he grew old he was sad and wanted to bring the lost years back. Of course he could not do that; new summers may come and new winters, but the years themselves never come back any more than do the same clouds, or the same sunset, or the same rainbow. But de Leon, for that was the old man's name, did not believe this. When a child he had read many stones and romances in which wonderful things were done. He had all a Spaniard's love for adventure, and he believed there were things on the earth and in the earth which possessed strange power over the life of man. As he grew older he was taught to ride and fence, and many other things which it was considered necessary for a Spanish gentleman to know, but all the time he was dreaming over these marvellous things he had heard. When he became a man he entered the army, and was always a brave soldier, and eager for adventure of every sort. He sailed with Columbus on his second voyage, and afterward was made governor of the island of Porto Rico.

Here in his island home he was not happy, although he had power, and wealth, and fame, for he sighed for the years that were gone, and dreaded the time to come when life would be no longer pleasant, for he was growing old and must die.

And then he heard such a wonderful story, that while he listened, it seemed as if the years of his childhood came back and smiled upon him. Among the natives of Porto Rico it was believed that somewhere among the Bahama Islands there was a fountain of eternal youth; and that whoever should bathe in this fountain, and drink of its waters, would find his lost youth again and be forever young. The Spaniards believed this story as well as the Indians, and when de Leon heard it he determined to go in search of the wonderful fountain. As he was very rich, this was not a hard thing to do; he bought three ships and fitted them out with men, and started off. He sailed for some time among the Bahamas, looking for the magic fountain, and one day, Easter Sunday, March 27, 1512, he came in sight of an unknown shore. He thought he had discovered another island more beautiful than any of the rest. Never before had he seen anything so delightful as this new land; the ground was covered with the most gorgeous flowers, and above, great trees spread out their green boughs and waved them in the soft air, and sweet-voiced birds sang among the fragrant blossoms. It seemed as if he had sailed into a world where there was nothing but beauty, the native home of bird and blossom, the land of eternal summer. De Leon named the new country Florida, partly because he discovered it on Easter Sunday, which is called by the Spaniards Pascua Florida (flowery Easter), and partly because it was indeed a Land of Flowers. After a few days he landed a little north of the place where the city of St. Augustine now stands, and took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. He then began again his search for the wonderful fountain, feeling sure that here where the flowers forever bloomed, and the birds ceased not to sing, he should drink the waters of immortal youth. But though he wandered through the forest, sailed up the silent, shady rivers, and searched eagerly along the coasts, never, save in his dreams, did he hear the music of the fountain, or see its waters shining in the sunlight.

He returned to Porto Rico, and the king made him governor of the new country and sent him back there to found a colony. But when he landed he found that the Indians were all ready for war; there was a dreadful battle, many of the Spaniards were killed, and the rest had to go back to the ships for safety. De Leon himself was mortally wounded by a poisoned arrow, and was taken to Cuba, where he died; and although many people still believed that the wonderful fountain would some day be found, it never was, for the flowers that close at night will open again in the morning, and the little stream that starts from the mountain and goes down to the sea, will have its waters carried back by the clouds to the mountains again, but the years that we leave behind us come not again, they have gone away forever with the daisies and buttercups and violets that shone in the meadow last year.



Among the many adventurers who found their way to the New World after its discovery was one named Balboa. He was a very bold, brave man, always ready for adventure and eager for gold and fame, as were all the Spaniards of that time. But Nunez de Balboa, besides being bold and brave, was also very cruel when he had the chance, and sometimes dishonest. Whenever he could he robbed the Indians of their gold, and often cruelly murdered them; and if he thought he could steal from his fellow-soldiers and friends, he was ready to do that, too. So, altogether, he was a man not very much liked among the people with whom he lived in Hispaniola, and because of this, and also because he owed a great deal of money that he did not wish to pay, he thought it would be a fine thing to run away and let his friends get back the money they had lent him as best they might.

There were always ships touching and leaving Hispaniola, and Balboa thought nothing would be easier than to go on one of these ships some fine day and sail away to some new place where he would have better chances for borrowing and stealing than where he was so well known. But he found it much harder to get away from Hispaniola than he had thought. Either he had no money to pay for his passage, or the captain would not take such a troublesome character on his ship, or the people whom he owed would not let him go without their money, or all three of these reasons together, for at any rate at the last moment he slipped on board a vessel that was just going to sail, and hid himself in a big empty cask, and had to lie there hardly daring to breathe lest he should be heard and put on shore again. But every one was busy trying to get the ship under way, and no one thought of looking into empty casks to see if there were men hiding there, and it was not until they were far, far from land that Balboa ventured to put his trembling head out of the cask and look fearfully around. All the sailors and passengers crowded around, very much surprised to see a man's head sticking out of what they had supposed to be an empty cask, and the captain was very angry indeed at the cheat that had been practised upon him, and vowed he would stop the ship at the first desert island he came to and put Balboa ashore and leave him there to starve to death.

And then the bold runaway quite lost his brave heart and fell upon his knees and begged with tears that the captain would not treat him so cruelly, quite forgetting that he himself had often done things just as cruel, and the captain, moved by the wretched man's tears and prayers, or perhaps because there was no desert island in sight, or even a passing ship that might be hailed to take the runaway back, said that he might finish the voyage with them. Balboa thanked the captain and promised good behavior, but in his heart he was very angry because of the threat to put him on a desert island, and determined to be revenged on the captain if possible.

 Balboa in Search of the unknown Sea

Before very long his chance came. A terrible storm came up and the vessel was dashed to pieces upon a strange coast. Encisco, the captain, felt very glad now that he had kept Balboa on the ship, for, although the country was unknown to the captain and his crew, it was not unknown to Balboa. He had been there before, and said that he knew of an Indian village not far away, where they could find food and shelter. Encisco was very glad to hear this, and they all started off under the leadership of Balboa to find the river Darien, on which the Indian village stood.

They had been wrecked on the coast of Darien, and although neither Encisco nor any of his men had ever been there before, yet other Spaniards had, and had treated the natives cruelly and unjustly, as was their usual way of dealing with them. So when Encisco and his followers tried to march through this strange country they found it very hard work, as the natives attacked them at all times, day and night, killing some, wounding others, and keeping them all from getting food. But Balboa was a skilful leader and knew how to deal with Indians, and after a time they reached the village, though weary and foot-sore and almost starved.

Balboa's boldness made him very much admired by some of the shipwrecked sailors, and soon a large party of them, attracted by his stories of bravery and adventure, declared that they would much rather have him for a captain than Encisco. This was just what Balboa wanted, and as his party grew larger and larger, and Encisco's friends fewer and fewer, Balboa at last declared that Encisco should no longer govern the little colony, as he himself was much more fit to be governor. Most of the party agreed to this, and so Balboa became governor, and a very cruel, bloody tyrant he proved. All the Indians around feared and hated him, and even his own men could not love him, and only respected his courage.

One day the son of an Indian chief came to Balboa and told him that some days' journey away there lay a great sea, and on the other side of it a country so rich that the people ate and drank out of gold and silver dishes. The Spaniards in those days were ready to believe anything that the Indians said, and if Balboa had heard that the new sea was full of golden islands, and that the clouds rained diamonds and rubies into its depths, and that its waves threw pearls and corals on its beach, he would almost have believed it all; and when he heard this wonderful news he immediately gathered his men together and started off to find the new sea.

Again they had to fight tribe after tribe of Indians, who constantly tried to make them turn back, but the Spaniards pushed on, and after a hard journey, which took them quite across the Isthmus of Darien, came one day to a high mountain, from whose top the guide said the great sea could be seen.

Balboa ordered all his men to stay below, while he climbed up the mountain alone, as he wished to be the first Spaniard to look upon the great ocean that so many brave adventurers had tried to find. So Balboa went alone up on the mountain peak, and, looking down on the other side, saw a vast body of water stretching away and away. The Indian's story had been true. Here was a great new ocean that no European had ever looked upon before. Balboa looked north and south and west, and saw only this blue sea, shining and peaceful, as if its waves had gone to sleep.

Balboa knelt down on the mountain-top and thanked God that he had been permitted to make this great discovery, and then he beckoned to his followers, who came rushing up and stood looking in wonder at the great sight beneath them.

The men piled up heaps of stone in token that they had taken possession of the country and ocean, and as they went down the slopes of the mountain, Balboa carved the name of Ferdinand upon the trunks of trees. Then twelve men were sent on ahead to find the shortest path to the shore, and Balboa, cruel as ever, gave orders that all the natives they should meet should be tortured and killed unless they would tell them where their stores of gold were hidden. The twelve men went on, and reaching the shore, saw two Indian canoes that had been washed up on the beach by the waves, and as the tide crept up and floated them off, two of the men—Alonzo Martin and Blaze de Atienza—stepped into them, thus being the first Spaniards to sail upon the new ocean which Balboa had named the South Sea. A few days after, Balboa arrived at the shore, and wading into the water, waved his sword solemnly, and took possession of all the great ocean, and the islands that might be in it, and the countries that bordered it, in the name of the King of Spain, and vowed to defend them against all other European adventurers.

This was in the year 1513, one year after the discovery of Florida. And so Spain claimed the Pacific as well as the Atlantic coast of North America.

The news of this great discovery at once made Balboa famous. All over Europe men talked of the bold man who had been the means of adding still more glory to the Spanish name, and as a reward for his services, the king made him Adelantado, or chief ruler, over all the great sea he had discovered.

But among the Spaniards in Darien, Balboa was very much feared, and now that he was in such great favor at the Spanish court, every one dreaded that he would be more cruel and heartless than before, because he had so much more power. And besides, his companions were jealous of his fame, and thought that the honor of discovering the South Sea belonged quite as much to them as to him, quite forgetting that but for his courage and perseverance they would have turned back long before the sea came in sight.

The man who disliked and feared Balboa the most was Peter Anias, the Governor of Darien, and about five years after the great discovery, he managed to get Balboa into his power, and ordered him to be beheaded.

This was done, and thus perished one of the greatest of the Spanish discoverers.



And now that Florida had been discovered, and the great South Sea added to the possessions of the Spanish crown, it was thought it would be a wise thing to settle as much of the New World as possible, so that when all its treasures were found they would already be in the hands of the Spaniards and there would be no trouble about it. And so many expeditions were sent out from Spain. These expeditions always had two objects in view. First, to get what gold and silver might be found in America, and second, to find a short passage to the East. People had never given up believing that there must be a short way of getting from the eastern coast of America to India, and ship after ship was sent to seek the strait which was supposed to lead across the continent. For, important as the discovery of a new world seemed, it was considered just as important to find a short way to the East, and when once the passage was found, to sail through it with Spanish ships and make its wealth a part of Spain. Very wonderful stories were told of the countries in the East—of Cathay, and Mangi, and Cipango—which had been visited by the great traveller, Marco Polo, and the man who could find the shortest way thither, would, of all men, receive the highest honor from the King of Spain. And so every one who sailed from Spain looked first toward America and then beyond it to the East. And no wonder, for these countries were richer than Mexico and Peru, more fertile than Florida, and more beautiful than Fairyland itself. There was nothing in the world that one might want that could not be found within the borders of these lands. For ages and ages this kingdom had been ruled by the great race of Kublai Khan, and these monarchs had no other thought than to make their kingdom the most beautiful and glorious of the whole earth. They had built great cities, and strong forts, and extensive highways; it was said that within the Province of Mangi alone were twelve thousand cities, all within a short distance of one another. Chief of these cities was Quinsai, which covered a hundred miles of ground. On one side of it was a river, and on another side a lake, and through it flowed clear, winding streams spanned by twelve thousand beautiful bridges, which were so lofty that ships passed under them with ease. The streets were wide and bordered with palm trees, and fragrant flowers bloomed all the year round in the gardens and parks. All the dwellings were of marble, and the temples and palaces were ornamented with precious stones. Warehouses of stone stood in different parts of the city, filled with costly merchandise, silks and velvets, and cloth of gold, and all manner of rare articles made of gold and silver and mother-of-pearl, curiously and beautifully beaten and engraved. And crystal fountains kept the air pure and fresh, and great birds with gold and silver wings flew lazily from tree to tree, and one could not tell whether the city was more beautiful by day, when the sun shone down upon it and brightened the marble roofs and charming gardens, or by night, when the moon and stars were reflected in the lakes and rivers, and when the fountains glistened white in the moonlight, and the great squares and lofty palaces were illumined with a million crystal lamps.

Most beautiful of all the palaces was that of the king, which stood in the centre of the city on a hill overlooking all the country round. It was so large that it covered ten acres, and its wide, lofty corridors, beautified with groups of magnolia and palm, seemed like magnificent avenues stretching from one palace to another.

Within the enclosure were groves of pine and oak and many rare trees, and gardens filled with choicest flowers, and lakes on which swans floated, and in whose waters rainbow-hued fishes darted hither and thither. The palace itself was of the purest white marble, its roof was wrought in gold and supported by hundreds of pillars of pure gold, wonderfully adorned in azure arabesque, and having the capitals studded with precious stones; and all the air was sweet with perfumed fountains, and everywhere it was continual summer from the abundance of flowers and the songs of birds.

And the king and all his people enjoyed their beautiful city as much as possible, for they were so rich they had to work very little, and spent the greater part of every day in pleasant amusements. At any hour one might see pleasure parties on the lakes and rivers, which were always covered with gilded boats, and barges with silken awnings, under which tables were prepared for banquets. And everywhere through the city were scattered inviting bowers, where the people sat when tired with walking, and watched the long procession of elegant chariots, luxuriously fitted up with cushions of silks and velvet and drawn by richly caparisoned horses. And besides these every-day amusements there were a great many days held sacred to the gods, when there were great feasts lasting ten or twelve days, and when ten thousand guests were entertained at a time.

And the health and comfort of the people were provided for as well as their amusement, for there were elegant marble baths, and a number of fine hospitals for the care of the sick, and a wonderful system of lighting the houses and palaces, so that the night seemed almost turned into day again, and a well-trained fire-department, always ready to act at any moment, and in fact, everything that could be done to make the people healthy and happy, and to protect their lives and property, was done. And all the children went to school in the public parks and gardens, for in that beautiful climate it never rained or was cold, and so there was no need of school-houses, and the boys and girls studied botany, and geology, and astronomy out of doors, and no doubt found it very pleasant.

And Marco Polo, summing up his description of the wonderful place, says, "And this city, for the excellence thereof, hath the name of the city of Heaven; for in the world there is not the like, or a place in which are found so many pleasures, that a man would think he were in Paradise."

And all the other countries ruled by the great Khan were as rich as Mangi. In Armenia were tens of thousands of beautiful cities filled with works of art, and out in the open country were wonderful hot springs which cured all manner of diseases, and on the top of one of the high mountains Noah's ark still rested. And Cathay also held many rich towns. Among them, Cambalu, where the king had a marble palace with a roof of gold, as in Quinsai. And here, ten thousand soldiers guarded the palace, and the royal stables, wherein stood five thousand elephants. Great public roads led out from Cambalu to all the other cities in the empire, and along these roads were stationed post-houses where the king's messengers could find rest and refreshment, and where there were elegant apartments in which the king himself might rest when on his journey through the empire. All the king's errands were done by swift messengers, who ran from one post-house to another. These messengers wore belts from which hung gold and silver bells, and as soon as one station was reached, the letters and messages were given to another messenger and carried on to the next station, and so on, the tinkling of the bells notifying the waiting messenger to be in readiness. And so, not a moment was lost; the messengers ran swiftly over the fine roads, scarcely noticing, in their haste, the beautiful scenery or the many works of art that adorned the way, which led through deep, shady forests, and wide, pleasant meadows, and over the numerous rivers and canals, spanned by lofty bridges built of rare stone and costly marble, and ornamented with rows of polished columns and great stone lions, and curiously graven images of gods, and men, and animals.

The roads extended from one great city to another, joining the most distant places together, and the Khan spent a summer in one place and a winter in another, and every city tried to outshine the rest. In the summer months the Khan spent much of his time in his palace at Ciandu, which was as magnificent as Cambalu. Here the palace extended over sixteen miles, and ten thousand white horses stood in the king's stables.

All this country was guarded by soldiers, who were like the sands of the sea for number, and the great generals were held in such esteem by the king that they were allowed to live in the most magnificent style. They all sat in golden chairs, and rode on milk-white horses, and travelled in gorgeous chariots, or in beautiful barges with silk and velvet awnings to keep off the heat of the sun. And so mighty was the Khan, and so great were his generals, that all the other countries round were very glad to live peaceably, and try in every way to please such a powerful monarch. The riches of this country were beyond description; mountains of turquoises reached to the clouds; the lakes were full of pearls; everywhere were gold and silver mines; the rivers sparkled with gold, and the valleys were rich in diamonds. And everywhere, too, there was an abundance of choice fruits and nuts, and rare spices which grew in the gardens all the year round, so there was no lack of them summer or winter. And the people dressed in the richest stuffs, silk and velvet, and cloth of gold, embroidered with pearls and turquoises and diamonds.

And in Cipango, too, which lay east of Mangi, out in the sea, could be found the same magnificence. Here were palaces and temples, with roofs covered with golden plates and floors paved with gold and silver, and here also the people were rich and prosperous and happy.

And when the news of all this wealth reached Europe it was at once determined to seek those far lands, and, if possible, to bring the gold and pearls and diamonds to Spain and France, and other European countries, and many expeditions were sent out; but none of them ever reached Cathay, for all the American Continent and the great Pacific Ocean lay in the way, and the short passage to the East was never seen except in the dreams of some daring adventurers. But it was years and years before men gave up searching for it. France and Spain sent many men to look for it, and if they did not find Cathay they at least found many curious and wonderful things in America, and so it came about, after a while, that America itself was pretty well known, and many attempts were made to settle it. Spain tried very hard to establish her colonies in the New World, and expedition after expedition was sent across the sea. With one of these expeditions sailed Cabeca de Vaca, a Spanish nobleman, and his account of the trials and misfortunes of the settlers shows how very difficult it was to establish a Spanish colony in America.

The expedition was commanded by Narvaez, who landed his men at Tampa Bay, two days before Easter, 1528. They immediately determined to leave the coast and go into the interior of the country in search of gold, although De Vaca tried very hard to persuade the captain to remain near the ships. But here the Indians were not friendly, and the country farther away was said to be rich in gold; and so a short time after landing, a part of them started off to find the gold region which the Indians said was up in the Appalachian Mountains. But they found travelling through this strange country very hard work. Soon after their arrival at Tampa Bay they had angered the Indians by burning the bodies of some chiefs that they had found in a little village, and the natives now tried in every way to show their hatred. They refused to act as guides, and the Spaniards had to toil through swamps and rivers and forests, often losing their way and always in danger of attack from the Indians. At length their food gave out, and then they had to depend upon the fruit that could be found, and so at last, when they reached the little Indian village of Apalachen, they were quite heart-sick, and glad to find shelter and rest. They found no one in the village excepting women and children; all the men had fled to the woods. The village was built in the midst of a great swamp, and although it held some maize and other provisions, they soon found there was no gold there, and that all their long journey had been in vain. And then, too, the Indians kept lurking around, and not only attacked them and burned the wigwams in which they were living, but made it very unsafe for the Spaniards to leave shelter at all. A man could not lead his horse to water without being in danger of death, and as this kept growing worse and worse, they decided to leave Apalachen and go back to the sea. But many days and nights passed, and the sea seemed as far off as ever. They were without food, and had to depend upon getting maize from the Indians, and as this could only be done by force, many battles were fought and many lives were lost, and besides this trouble many fell sick and died from starvation and hardship. But, hard as it was to go on, it would have been harder still to remain, for that would mean certain death at the hands of the Indians; so they toiled on, discouraged and hopeless, and at the end of fifteen days found themselves at last at the sea-coast. But it was not Tampa Bay, and no Spanish ships appeared in sight on which they might embark and sail back to Spain again. And the men, quite worn out, laid down on the sands in despair, and doubted if they should ever see their homes and friends again.

But after a little while their courage came back, and they tried to think of some way of getting back to the ships or of reaching some Spanish settlement. It was impossible to think of travelling by land, and at length they decided that they would have to make boats and put out to sea with them. But how hard it seemed to undertake boat-making without tools and materials! It was thought impossible at first to do more than make some large rafts, but by and by they discovered that their spurs and cross-bows and stirrups could be beaten out into nails and axes and saws and other tools, and that cordage could be made from the manes and tails of the horses, and that the seams could be caulked with palmetto fibre and pitched with pine rosin; and, in fact, with time and patience, they managed to build five very good boats, living in the meantime on horse flesh and shell-fish and the maize which they could get from the Indians. When at last they were ready to start, forty of the men had already died of sickness and hunger besides those that had been killed by the Indians. They kept along the coast for some weeks, hoping to reach a Spanish settlement on the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico, but they could not find this place, and as it was not safe to land anywhere else on account of the Indians, they had a most wretched voyage, suffering from cold and hunger and drenched with rain, and finally separated from one another by a fearful storm which drove the boats far apart.

De Vaca's boat was thrown upon an island, and so hard was it to get it off again into the sea that the men had to take off their clothing and wade into the water to dig the boat out of the sand, and in doing this many of them lost their lives; for no sooner did the boat touch the water than it was upset in the surf, and not only were some of the men drowned, but everything in the boat was lost, and De Vaca and his friends found themselves on this strange island with no boat or food or clothing. But, as it happened, the Indians on this island were kind and pitiful. They built fires to warm the sufferers and gave them food, and when after a few days, they were joined by some men from the other boats, they found that their sufferings had been no worse than their friends', for all had met with the same hard fate. They stayed here many months, and one after another of the company died, until only De Vaca and three others were left.

These four remained many years among the Indians, wandering from one tribe to another, always trying to hear of some Spanish settlement where they might meet friends. Sometimes the Indians were kind to them, but oftener they were treated very cruelly. Several times it happened that they were taken captive and held as slaves, and then their lives would have been most miserable, had it not been that the Indians grew to respect them because they knew so many things that they themselves were ignorant of. De Vaca and his companions really thought that they had the power of curing disease by making the sign of the cross, or repeating pater nosters, and, as in some cases the sick got well, the Indians grew to reverence the white men and hold them in great esteem. But De Vaca and his friends could not grow fond enough of the Indians to be willing to remain among them. Their thoughts were always with the land of their birth, and so they pushed on through the unknown country, living on roots and nuts and the fruit of the prickly pear, suffering from the cold and heat, from which they had no clothing to protect them, and always in danger of death from hostile Indians. In this way they travelled through forests and swamps, across prairies and deserts, over mountains and rivers, for six years, and at last their courage was rewarded. They came one day to the sea, and they found there a Spanish settlement. Their countrymen, who had come there for gold and emeralds, received them with great kindness, and listened with wonder to the story of their wanderings. De Vaca learned that they were now on the coast of the Gulf of California, and that they had travelled from Tampa Bay, through the country bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, and through Mexico itself to the sea coast on the other side, having passed over more territory in North America than any other travellers had yet done.

De Vaca and his three friends returned to Spain as speedily as possible, where they were received as heroes of adventure, whose romantic story passed from place to place, and instead of discouraging others, only made them the more eager to visit those strange lands themselves, for every one felt sure that if he had been in De Vaca's place he would surely have discovered the gold and silver and precious stones that were supposed to be hidden away in the everglades of Florida, or in the mountains of Apalachen, or in the rivers and valleys of Mexico.



High on the table-land of Mexico there was once a beautiful city which was built partly around the shores of a lake and partly on islands within the lake. It had broad streets and fine buildings, and its temples were among the most beautiful in the world, the principal one, that which was devoted to the worship of the sun, being ornamented with gold and silver and precious stones; here and there were great public squares around which splendid temples were built, and in the centre of the city in one of these great squares stood the temple of the god of war. The people who lived in this city were Aztecs, a tribe of Indians very different from those of the Atlantic coast. They worshipped the sun and the moon, and, above all, they worshipped the terrible god of war, in whose honor they burned the bodies of the enemies they captured in battle. The temples were attended by priests, who were held in great honor by the people, and in every temple there were little boys who were being trained to the priesthood. On great festival days the priests and boys and all the people would form a grand procession and march all around the city, singing and playing on instruments. The lake on which the city was built was one of the finest in the world, and the Aztecs were fond of building floating gardens on its waters; these gardens were very beautiful, with flowers of all kinds, and vegetables were also cultivated in them. The palaces of the king and nobles were built of stone and of great size, and very elegant, being ornamented sometimes with gold and silver. The Aztecs were a very powerful people, and all the nations around them were afraid of them and acknowledged the Aztec king as theirs; and everywhere from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico were great roads leading from the city down to the coasts, so that the king could send messages at any time from one part of his kingdom to another; all over the country outside the city were great fields, where cotton, corn, wheat, sugar, coffee, and other things were raised. The Aztecs did not dress in skins, as did the Indians farther north, but they wove cotton into cloth and made garments of that. They also had a written language and wrote their history down in books. The name of the king was Montezuma, and all his people loved and worshipped him as a god, and when he looked over the city and saw the turrets and spires of the palaces and temples glittering in the sunlight, and the floating gardens, filling the lakes with beauty and fragrance, and the fields rich with harvest, and the green forests, stretching away to the base of the great volcano whose snowy peak shone in the golden light of the sun, he felt that his was, indeed, a great and fair kingdom, beautiful and strong and happy.

But the riches of this great city had been heard of across the sea, and the Spaniards, as ever eager for gold, resolved to make its wealth their own. So an army was sent from Cuba to conquer Mexico, and Hernando Cortez was made its leader. Cortez was a brave soldier, but a cruel and treacherous man. In the year 1519 he landed his troops at Tabasco on the southern coast of Mexico; he found the natives prepared for war, but they were soon glad to fly from the Spaniards, leaving many of their number killed. Cortez then went on to Vera Cruz, where Montezuma had sent messengers to meet him; these messengers brought with them magnificent presents of gold and jewels which they gave to the Spaniards, at the same time trying to persuade them to go away from their country. But Cortez would not go away; he said he was going to the City of Mexico to see Montezuma himself, as the King of Spain had ordered him to do, and for fear his soldiers would not go with him, he burned all his ships so they could not go back to Cuba if they wanted to.

 The Messengers of Montezuma

The Aztecs returned to Montezuma and told him that the Spaniards were on their way to his city. Montezuma did not know what to do; for although he was a good and kind king, he was not a great soldier. He sent other messengers and more presents, and commanded Cortez to go back, but Cortez pressed on. Now among the Aztecs there was a tradition that, hundreds of years before, their country had been visited by a glorious stranger from the East, a child of the sun, who had taught them how to till the ground, and all the arts of peace and war; and he lived with them many years, and they loved him and worshipped him as a god, and the stranger was very beautiful to look upon, with hair like the sunlight and eyes as bright as the stars, and his skin was as white as the snow which glistened on the tops of the volcanoes. And one day he called the Indians around him and told them that he must go away forever, but that some time in the years to come a race would come from the East, children of the sun like himself, and that they would demand the Aztec Kingdom for their own, and that it would do no good for the Indians to fight these strangers, for they were the children of the sun and could conquer all before them; and so saying, the stranger from the East vanished from their sight, and they saw him no more, though they mourned for him many days; for he had gone into the mysterious West, whence the sun goes at night, for all things that come from the East find a home at last in the land of the sunsetting, but save the sun himself, nothing ever comes back from that land, but all things remain forever hidden by the shadows which lie on its borders.

And so when Montezuma heard that the Spaniards, who were fair-skinned and light, compared with the Indians, were resolved to come on to his city, he thought that perhaps they might be the children of the sun, and if so, it would be of no use to try and repel them; and when at last Cortez came up to the city, he went out to meet him and gave him a courteous welcome.

The Spaniards were rejoiced when they saw the beautiful city, for they thought that its splendid palaces and treasures would soon be theirs. Montezuma led Cortez into the city and gave him a large and elegant building for his quarters, and to every soldier in the army magnificent presents were made. The army was quartered in the great central square, near the temple of the god of war; it was in the winter, and for a month Cortez remained quiet; he and his soldiers were allowed to go about, and were even permitted to enter the temples and examine the altars and shrines, where the Mexicans offered up human beings every day as sacrifices to their gods. But the thing that interested the Spanish general most were the vast treasures of gold and silver, the huge storehouses filled with provisions, and the great arsenals filled with bows and arrows. He saw that the Aztecs were well prepared for war, and began to grow a little alarmed for his own safety. He knew that by lifting his finger Montezuma could fill all the squares with armed soldiers, and prevent the Spaniards from leaving the city, and he knew also that the Indian warriors were no longer afraid of his men, as they were at first, when they thought them immortal; so thinking over all these things, Cortez resolved upon a bold plan. He knew that if he could get possession of Montezuma the people would be afraid to make war on him; so, one day, he asked Montezuma into his quarters, and then refused to let him go out again, saying that he would kill him if the people should attack the Spaniards.

Cortez was now obliged to leave Mexico for a short time to oppose a force that had been sent against him from Cuba. While he was gone, Alvarado, the general he left in command, attacked the Mexicans one day when they were celebrating a great feast, and killed five hundred of their priests and leaders. The Aztecs became furious, and attacked the palace where Alvarado and his men were, and they would soon have conquered the Spaniards had not Cortez come back just in time.

Cortez tried to make peace, but the Mexicans would not listen to him. In a few days the fighting began all over the city, and the streets were stained with the blood of tens of thousands. Then Cortez compelled Montezuma to go upon the top of the palace, in front of the great square, and ask his people to make peace with the Spaniards. The Aztecs worshipped Montezuma as a god, and when they saw him standing on the palace roof, they dropped their weapons on the ground, and every head was bowed with reverence. But when he asked them to make peace with the Spaniards, they grew very angry and immediately began fighting again. Montezuma was wounded twice by their arrows, which so alarmed the Aztecs, that they stopped fighting again; but soon the battle re-commenced, and in a few days Cortez was compelled to leave the city. In the meantime, Montezuma had died in the Spanish camp; the Spaniards had treated him kindly toward the end, and had nursed his wounds, but he refused to take any food, and died at last from a broken heart. Cortez now saw that there would have to be a great battle fought, so he made ready his men. On the morning of the battle he looked out from his camp and saw the Mexican soldiers extending as far as the eye could reach; he trembled when he saw this great army of men, knowing that his own troops were few, but he resolved to conquer or die. Without giving his men time to think, he began to attack the enemy; at first the Aztecs gave way, but others came in their stead, for the whole valley was lined with armed Indians. The Spaniards gave up hope, and prepared to die, but just then, Cortez advanced to the Mexican standard-bearer and snatched the sacred standard from his hand. The Mexicans believed that on this standard depended the fate of every battle, and that if it were captured, there was no use in fighting any longer. Cortez knew this, and when they saw it in his hands, they threw down their arms and fled to the mountains, and thus the Spaniards won the battle.

And so Cortez conquered Mexico, and all its vast wealth passed into the hands of the Spaniards; its fertile valleys and rich plains, its beautiful capital and prosperous villages, its great mines of gold and silver, its thousands and thousands of inhabitants, all became the property of the King of Spain, a man who cared nothing for the conquered people, but thought only of the great wealth that had so unjustly become his. The gold and silver mines of Mexico were then the richest in the world, and the conquered Aztecs were obliged to work in these mines as slaves, but the gold and silver was no longer used to ornament their temples and palaces; it was sent across the sea to Spain, who thought more of gold than she did of honor or justice.

It was in the year 1521 that Cortez conquered Mexico, and for three hundred years it was ruled by Spain; at the end of that time it became again free. The Mexicans of to-day are partly Indians and partly Spanish in race, but there are some who remember with pride that they are the descendants of the ancient Aztecs, and they point to the ruins of the great temples, which may still be seen in the new Capital, as an instance of the wealth and power of their nation when the Aztecs ruled from ocean to gulf, and when from mountain peak to lowest valley every heart beat with pride in thinking of the glory of the kingdom which Montezuma called his own.



Francisco Pizarro was a little Spanish boy who was very poor and very miserable. Living in a beautiful valley where the climate was agreeable, and where one might gather grapes and chestnuts and oranges at will, it might have been quite possible for him to be poor and happy, too, but there were many things about Francisco's lot that were harder to bear than poverty. Many other children dwelt in this pleasant valley, some of them as poor and wretched and ragged as Francisco, and others who were rich and well clothed and happy. Not far from the little hut that was Francisco's home was a stately castle, where a great duke lived, and the little boy would often go and stand by the stone wall that enclosed the grounds, and wonder how it would seem to live in that splendid mansion, and be allowed to walk in its beautiful parks. Once in a while, when the gates were opened to let in a crowd of gaily-dressed visitors, or when the duke, at the head of a laughing party, went forth on a merry hunting expedition, he would catch a glimpse of the velvet lawns and shady trees and gorgeous flowers, and could see children dressed in dainty garments, and sometimes wearing beautiful jewels, playing on the grass or swinging under the trees. And Francisco would look and look with eyes big with wonder till the gay party had passed and the gates swung back in his face, and he was left out there in the dusty road alone. And then he would turn and watch the hunting party until the brilliant scene faded quite away in the distance, and he was once more left alone. It always seemed to him that no matter how gay or happy this bit of the world might seem, it always ended in his being left outside of that gray stone wall, alone and hungry and ragged, and that in fact these glimpses of another, happier life were only after all just like his dreams, which were sure to fade away when morning came. He could not help sighing sometimes and wishing that the dream would go on for him just as it did for the other children inside the stone wall. Once it did go on just a moment or two, for one day as he stood dejectedly by the gates, they opened, and a beautiful child came out who spoke to him kindly. He was dressed in a suit of velvet, and his long hair fell in curls over his shoulders, and in his cap was a little pearl ornament which fastened a bird's wing. And Francisco, as he looked at the wing, thought he had never in his life seen anything so wonderful, for the feathers were soft like velvet, but glowed and burned in the sunlight like the rubies in the ring on the child's hand.

He raised his hand and touched the lovely object, and the wearer of the cap, being as kind-hearted as he was beautiful, began to tell Francisco the story of the wing—how it had been given to him by a great soldier, who had brought it from a long way off, farther than he himself had ever been; farther than the mountains or the sea even.

Francisco wondered at this, and when the child passed on he stood still thinking a long time; it seemed so strange to hear that there were other places and countries besides this quiet little valley where he had always lived. Then he went back to his work, disagreeable work it was, very, for he had to watch the swine and keep them from straying off; but that night his dreams were brighter than ever, for he dreamed that he had visited those strange lands that he had heard of from the child, and that he had found enough treasures there to make him rich and great. The morning came and the dream was gone, but it left behind a thought that did not go away. And always after the boy Francisco carried with him the resolve to make his dream come true. But for many years there seemed no hope of anything beyond the mean life he was living, and sometimes he quite despaired. He was very proud and ambitious, too, and his lowly lot in life seemed all the more bitter when he compared it with that of the more fortunate boys who had good comfortable homes and could go to school. He thought that he should have a good home and go to school too, for his father was a man of wealth and of good birth; but his mother was only a peasant, and it was with her he had always lived, and the poor woman could not afford to bring up her child in comfort, or even to have him taught to read and write. And so Francisco grew to be a big boy, and still watched the pigs from morning till night, and still sighed restlessly to get away from his distasteful life, and find one fairer and nobler.

One day, when he was quite a big lad, a stranger came to the little valley; he was an old, weather-beaten sailor, and had sailed across distant seas and journeyed through many strange lands, and at night, when the peasant boys were through with their day's work, they all gathered around him and listened to his tales of the great world that lay beyond the mountains that shut in their quiet little valley, just as the stone wall shut in the duke's palace.

Francisco listened with the others, but his heart beat wildly, for, as the old man talked, it seemed that he was again in the land of his dreams. And no wonder, for the sailor's stories were very wonderful and quite true, for he was one of the men that sailed across the ocean with Columbus on his first great voyage. He had seen with his own eyes that far-off, beautiful land, where the air was always soft as the spring in the valleys, and where the flowers bloomed forever, and the trees bore delicious fruits; he had heard the reports of its mountains of gold and mines of precious stones, and rivers whose waves tossed gleaming pearls upon the beach. And it was all true, and all this wealth and beauty lay there waiting for bold hearts and brave hands to claim and keep, for the people of that far country were only poor savages, knowing nothing of the value of the gold and gems they wore, and were so ignorant that they thought the Spaniards were the children of some great god, and were ready to fall down and worship their beauty and strength and courage.

And the old man talked till the stars came out, and the moon had climbed far up the sky, for never before had there been told such wonderful news as this, for all the stories of the fabulous wealth of the East had come true at last, and no one could doubt any more. By and by, as the days passed, the sailor told other stories of other countries, where the soldiers of Spain were winning great victories, and although his words were forgotten by most of the boys, yet Francisco and one or two others thought of them often and pondered over them, and thought what a fine thing it must be to be a soldier fighting for honor and glory. And as time went on they talked more and more about this, and at last they resolved to leave their old miserable life behind them forever, and go out into the world and seek their fortune. But they had to be very careful and secret, for they meant to run away; the summer was gone and the autumn had come to the valley before the three boys found a chance to carry out their plan, and one morning when Francisco and his friends were called to go to their distasteful work, they did not answer, for they were far on their way up the mountains, and had said farewell to the valley forever. It was pleasant travelling through the hospitable country roads, and after they had gone so far that they had no fear of being overtaken, they went on merrily enough. Francisco's heart was the lightest and bravest. He had most detested his old life, and now he most rejoiced that it was past.

So the boys journeyed on and crossed the mountains and passed through the fertile valleys and then climbed other mountains, and everywhere the kind country folk gave them food and drink and shelter, and the young travellers thought they had never had grapes and chestnuts and goat's milk taste as good before, as they ate and drank under the trees by the road-side or in some peasant's cottage; and by and by the journey was over, and they were in Seville. And now the runaways found they were out in the world indeed. No one in all that great, splendid city cared in the least whether they lived or died, whether they suffered from hunger or thirst, or whether they had a place to lay their heads at night. But they kept brave hearts, got what they could to eat, slept where they could at night, and spent the days in wandering through the streets and getting acquainted with the life of a great city. And although they were not sure where bread and cheese were to come from and where they were to lie down at night, still the wonderful sights of this new life, the magnificent houses, splendid palaces, costly dresses, and, above all, the companies of mounted soldiers that were continually parading the streets, all drove thoughts of home from their minds, and they did not regret in the least that they had exchanged the village of Truxillo for the glitter and show of Seville.

In a few days Francisco decided that he would join the army and go to Italy, where the Spaniards were then fighting, and as the king wanted all the soldiers he could get, and as he was large and well developed for his age, he had no trouble in enlisting in one of the regiments, and when he put on the gaudy uniform and began to live in camp, he felt, indeed, that his old life was over and that Francisco Pizarro was quite a different person from the ragged little urchin that tended pigs at Truxillo.

But there was one sad thing about it, and that was the parting from his two friends, for Pizarro's regiment sailed very soon for Italy, and it was with great sorrow that he said farewell to the two companions who had shared the excitement and danger of his escape from home. However, the noise of war soon drove sad thoughts from his mind, and so eagerly did he enter into his new life that he soon became one of the best soldiers in the regiment, and so renowned for bravery that by the time the war was over and the army ready to return to Spain he had been made a lieutenant. This only made him more ambitious, and as he found life in the city very stupid for the next few years, because there was no fighting to be done, he was very glad when he heard one day that a great expedition was to be sent out to America, and that any one who was brave and daring might join it and so have a chance of gaining riches and fame. He hastened to Cadiz at once, and as his courage and bravery were well known, had no trouble in being made one of the company; and when, in a few days, the ships left Cadiz and started on their long voyage across the Atlantic, Pizarro thought with great joy that he was on his way to those strange lands at last, and that perhaps his old dreams might come true.

The voyage was a stormy one, but at last they came safely to Hispaniola, and there Pizarro learned, what all newly-arrived Spaniards were not slow to learn, that of all restless, roving lives, those of Spanish adventurers were the most so. They were never content to remain in one place, but went hither and thither in their mad search for gold, always hoping to find something better, and always ready to risk their lives for the sake of bettering their fortunes. And so, no sooner had Pizarro become a little acquainted with the country at Hispaniola than he straightway caught the mad fever for moving on to some new place; and as there were constant reports of the wealth of the countries of Central America and Mexico, he decided that those places would suit him better than Hispaniola, and he accepted an offer to go to Darien, meaning to explore the country and see for himself what riches it contained.

At that time Balboa was also living in Darien, and Pizarro was one of the company who went with him across the isthmus to discover the Pacific. In this expedition Pizarro noted the country well, and was rejoiced to see the gold and gems which were bestowed upon him by the friendly chiefs, and when he returned to Darien he was very willing to become the leader of an expedition that the governor of the colony was fitting out, to conquer lands on the Pacific. The party reached the ocean in safety, and Pizarro immediately resolved to get all the treasure he could before any other Spaniards should have a chance to come there. On his former visit he had heard from the natives that there were great quantities of pearls to be found on some islands lying out from the land, and now he at once called part of his men together, and leaving the rest on the shore, started out in canoes to reach the islands. The sea was heavy, and the canoes were capsized more than once, but they reached the islands at last, only to find that the natives were thronging the beach ready to drive them off as quickly as they should land. But Pizarro was not to be driven back, and after a hard fight, the Indians retreated to the woods and left the Spaniards in peace. They began their search for pearls at once, and found them in such quantities that Pizarro named the spot the "Isle of Pearls," and after gathering a great store of these precious gems, and securing also a great deal of gold, he went back to Darien with his treasures and reported that the country was as rich as Cathay or Mexico.

The governor of Darien, on hearing this news, thought it would be a very good plan to move his capital from Darien across the isthmus so that he would be nearer the riches of the land, and in a short time the greater part of the colony were living in Panama, and eagerly watching for opportunities of gathering gold and gems.

Here Pizarro lived like a great man. He had a fine house and a long train of Indian servants, and flocks, and fields, and was looked upon as a rich man and a brave soldier. But he was not quite satisfied. Often, as he walked in his broad fields, he would look toward the north, where lay the land of Montezuma, the land that Cortez had conquered, thus winning for himself lasting honor and glory, besides great wealth, greater than Pizarro could ever expect to gain in his quiet home in Panama. And then he sometimes looked southward, too, and wondered what lay there beyond the blue, misty horizon. It could not be possible, he thought, that Cortez and Balboa had made all the great discoveries; perhaps there were other lands away there in the south as rich and great as Mexico. Perhaps it might be his good fortune some day to discover an empire as boundless and wonderful as that of Montezuma. So he pondered, day after day, over what the future might bring, and always listened eagerly for tales of the lands to the southward, where lay the great ocean that Balboa had discovered. And one day a visitor came to his home, who told him just what he wanted to hear, that there was a very great and powerful empire far south of Panama, and that with a good band of resolute soldiers, and a brave leader, it might be easily conquered. And as Pizarro listened he resolved that he would be the leader if he could only find men enough to follow him on his perilous undertaking.

Very wonderful things did the traveller tell of this new country, for a very wonderful country it was, and as Pizarro heard the accounts of its wealth and prosperity, it seemed to him that the old stories of Cathay and the realms of Kublai Khan were actually true. And, indeed, this country that lay to the south, protected on one side by the ocean, and on the other by its giant, snow-capped mountains, was more like the old dreams of Cathay than any land that had yet been seen by the Europeans.

The empire of Peru, like that of the Aztecs, had existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, and its ruler, the mighty Inca, like the great Montezuma, was a descendant of the Sun. He was therefore held in great reverence by his subjects, as a child of their great god. For the sun was the principal deity of the Peruvians. In his honor were built the most splendid temples that the world has ever seen. In Cuzco, the capital of Peru, was a temple of the sun that was so magnificent it was called the "Place of Gold." The walls were covered with solid plates of burnished gold, and on one side was the image of the sun, made of purest gold, its face glittering with diamonds and emeralds and rubies, and the long golden rays reaching from the ceiling to the floor.

In Cuzco, also, was the Temple of the Moon, adorned with silver, and with an image representing the goddess of night; and all the service of the temples was of the purest gold and silver, curiously wrought and beaten, and the great altars were ornamented with great golden lilies set with pearls and diamonds, and the lamps were brilliant with pendant emeralds and rubies and sapphires.

The Peruvian empire extended from Cuzco to Quito, and everywhere throughout the dominion were splendid cities, in which were great palaces and temples, all glittering with gold and silver, and all showing the wealth and power of the Inca. These cities were connected by great public roads that led from one end of the empire to the other, and it is said that in no country in the world were there such fine highways as those in Peru. The roads were very wide and covered with a substance that hardened and became very smooth and even, so the messengers could run easily, and on either side were massive walls, built of great blocks of stone, while inside the walls ran clear streams of water, bordered with beautiful trees. The principal road ran from Cuzco to Quito, straight on through mountains which had been cut away, and over rocky precipices, across which suspension bridges were thrown, and through valleys that had been filled up to the level with lime and stones. A day's journey apart on the roads stood the king's palaces, beautifully furnished and fitted up with everything that a traveller might need, and so pleasant was travelling in this country that a long journey seemed only a succession of pleasant trips through delightful forests and amid grand mountain scenery. And all day long, up and down these roads, passed the servants of the Inca, carrying messages and burdens from one part of the empire to the other, and all over the country the people were busy and happy, working for the emperor whom they loved and revered. There were no poor people in Peru, for the Inca owned all the land and mines and palaces, and he gave to each family enough to support them comfortably, while they in return worked for him, and for the weak and sick, who could not care for themselves. The men worked in the gold and silver mines, and on the public roads, and built the temples and palaces, and tilled the fields, and raised the sheep, the wool from which was spun and woven by the women into beautiful cloth, dyed with rare colors, and interwoven sometimes with threads of gold and silver. And although some of the laws were very strict, yet for the most part they were just and merciful; and so the whole empire seemed liked one great family, of which the Inca was the loved and trusted head.

On great festival days the great public squares in the cities were thronged with the people who came in from the country to take part in the celebration. And there were many festival days during the year, and so the Peruvians had a great deal of pleasure, for on a holiday no one ever thought of working. The reason of this was that most of the festivals were of a religious nature, and it would have been considered a sin not to observe them. The most splendid festival of all the year was the Feast of the Sun. This was always held at Cuzco, and from every part of the empire the people came flocking to the capital, and for days and days before, the roads were filled with travellers on their way to the great feast. The celebration began with the dawn, and as soon as it became light the inhabitants began to pour into the great central square, or to throng the balconies and housetops which overlooked it. All the city was gorgeously decorated, flags and banners floated from the columns and roofs of the temples and palaces, and rich cloths of dazzling hues, embroidered in gold and silver and precious stones, hung from the windows and balconies, while everywhere were great urns of gold and silver and stone, filled with flowers, and rare shrubs and plants brought from the surrounding country. On this day the Inca appeared in his greatest glory and state. Clad in a robe of the softest and most beautiful material, embroidered with leaves and flowers of gold, and with a collar of emeralds around his neck, wearing on his head a glittering diadem from which floated the gorgeous plumes of some rare tropical bird, he appeared in the midst of his people seated on a throne of solid gold, and surrounded by all his great nobles, whose magnificent appearance added still more glory to his own. His litter was borne by courtiers wearing coronets of gold and silver, and near him sat the principal men of his kingdom, whose litters were carried by soldiers dressed in rich and showy uniforms. Behind the Inca and his nobles came the soldiers, wearing helmets of skin studded with jewels, and clothed in white or blue tunics, the officers bearing the royal standards of the country, which were embroidered with gold and silver, and close beside the Inca walked a standard-bearer holding the imperial banner, upon which was wrought a rainbow, the symbol of royalty; and as the great procession advanced into the square amid waving of banners and nodding plumes and to the sound of warlike music, the people all fell on their knees and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Inca, the child of the sun. And then all was silent, for they awaited the coming of the god whose day they celebrated, but as soon as his first rays touched the snowy heights of the lofty Cordilleras, a great shout of joy went up from the multitude, who welcomed with hymns of praise the coming of the mighty god. Then the Inca would rise from his throne, and raising high in the air a golden, jewelled goblet, pour out a libation to the sun, after which the procession wound slowly to the temple, where sacrifices were offered of sheep and birds and flowers, and sometimes, when there had been a great victory in battle, even young maidens and beautiful children were offered up, and then after many other ceremonies the people left the temples and passed the rest of the day in singing and eating and drinking, and all kinds of merry-making. There were many other festival days, but the Feast of the Sun was the greatest, and was held in summer when the days were longest and the god remained for many hours above the horizon.

And it was these happy and contented Peruvians that Pizarro had determined to conquer, and it was their beautiful country that he meant to take possession of. But much as he desired to do this, it would have been impossible without the aid of two good friends, who helped him with money and influence. One of these friends was a bold cavalier by the name of Almagro; the other was a very rich priest named Luque; and it was agreed between the three that Almagro should get the ships ready and enlist the men, that Luque should furnish the money, and that Pizarro should command the expedition and conquer Peru, and then divide the riches of the conquered country equally between his two partners. By this arrangement the hardest part of the work fell to Pizarro; but he did not mind that at all, and, in fact, would have been dissatisfied had it been otherwise, while, on the contrary, Almagro and Luque were equally willing to remain in Panama; and so everybody was satisfied, and the preparations began at once.

Only the bravest and strongest men were chosen, and when the little company assembled, they only numbered one hundred and twelve; but this did not discourage Pizarro, for he was determined to be discouraged at nothing, and on the 17th of November, 1524, after an imposing service in the cathedral, where Luque blessed the commander and his soldiers, and bade them God-speed, the little fleet sailed from Panama and started southwest on its voyage of conquest.

But many misfortunes happened to Pizarro before he saw the coast of Peru. The way was new and strange, and he did not know how far off Peru was, and he landed many times along the coast in hope of finding a path that would lead to the great empire, but found instead only marshes and deserts and tangled underbrush, where his men were bitten by poisonous serpents, and where they suffered from hunger and thirst and disease; and years passed, and all that he knew of the coveted land he heard from some Indians dwelling along the coast, who wore heavy golden ornaments, and said that a great and rich country lay back from the sea, governed by a mighty ruler. But this news only made Pizarro more eager than ever to carry out his plan. Almagro had come from Panama with men and provisions, or long before the whole party would have died of hunger and disease, and then Pizarro sent him back for more men, feeling sure, from a visit that he had paid to an Indian village near the coast, that he was near Peru; but the Governor of Panama refused to let Almagro return, and instead sent an order for Pizarro and his party to come back, as he would no longer allow them to risk money and life in an undertaking that promised nothing but failure. It was three years since Pizarro had first sailed from Panama. Many of his men had died, while the rest had suffered cruelly from hunger and exposure, and when they heard that the governor had ordered them to return home they were very willing to do so, and were glad enough to give up the idea of conquering Peru. But Pizarro himself would not give up. He was angry and indignant that the governor should command him to give up his plan at the very moment that success seemed certain, and he said that he would stay in spite of the governor's orders. Then he drew a line in the sand and stepped across it, and said that all the men who were willing to stay with him and go on to Peru should step across the line, too. At first no one moved; the danger seemed so great and the thought of home so pleasant; but at last, Luiz, the pilot, who had always trusted in Pizarro's luck, stepped across the line, and others followed until thirteen were standing by Pizarro's side. They were few in number, but their hearts were brave, and the bold leader knew that their courage was equal to his own.

Then the rest of the company returned home to Panama, and Pizarro and his little band were left alone on the Island of Gallo without even a ship to take them on their journey. The island was not fit to stay upon, as it offered neither food, nor shelter from the frequent storms that burst over it, and Pizarro thought the better plan would be to leave it at once. So he gave orders for the men to build a raft, and in a few hours they had finished a large, strong one, upon which they placed their arms and stores, and then stepping cheerfully upon it themselves, pushed away from the island out into the sea. A few days' sailing in this way brought them to another island, larger and pleasanter than the Island of Gallo, and here Pizarro decided to land and wait for the arrival of the ships which he knew Almagro would send to his aid. The Indians were friendly, and the island was well watered with clear, running streams. The men built huts of logs and bark beside one of these pleasant streams, and for a time they were very comfortable. Wild cocoa-nuts, pheasants, and rabbits were abundant, and furnished strengthening food, and if the pleasant weather had continued they would have been quite content with their situation; but, after a few weeks, tempests began to blow over the island, beating down their huts and drenching the men to the skin. And even when it did not rain they suffered so much from the intense heat of the sun and from the swarms of mosquitoes and other poisonous insects, that they were almost in despair, when, after seven months of waiting, the ship that Almagro sent appeared in sight. The vessel brought provisions, but no soldiers, for those the governor refused to send, and so, without waiting for further help, Pizarro started with the ship and eleven of his brave companions, and with a fearless heart turned southward again.

In three weeks he reached the Gulf of Guayaquil which washes the shores of a lovely and fertile country, and pointing across the waters, the Indian interpreters that Pizarro had brought from the North, told him that there lay a part of the great empire of Peru, which he had so long been seeking. Here he found, the next morning, a large and prosperous town, very different from any he had yet seen on the South American coast. This town, the name of which was Tumbez, was within the Inca's dominions, and was therefore as fine and wealthy as many of those farther from the coast. Pizarro was surprised to see such magnificent temples and palaces, such fine houses and well-kept roads, and, above all, such intelligent and fine-looking people. They came flocking down to the shore to see the curious ship that the strangers had come in, and the Spaniards noticed that they wore garments of finely woven material, and were adorned with rings, bracelets, and chains of gold, and wore large and brilliant gems in their ears. Pizarro made friends with the Indians by means of his interpreters, and sent a message to the governor of the town, asking for provisions and for leave for one of his men to visit the town.

Both of these wishes were granted; the governor sent immediately a large store of bananas, pineapples, and other fruits, besides meats and fish, with permission to Pizarro to send one of his men to visit the town. The governor also sent one of the chief men to welcome the strangers, and thus Pizarro saw for the first time one of the nobles of the empire he had come to conquer. He saw at once that these people were very different from the savages of the West Indies, or Atlantic coast, and that this courteous stranger, with his noble bearing and rich dress, belonged to a far higher race than the half-clothed Indians of Panama. So he resolved to be as friendly as possible with these people, and not let them imagine for a moment that he had come on a hostile errand. He received the nobleman very politely and invited him to dinner, and on his departure, gave him handsome presents. But the next morning, when the Spaniard Molino went on shore, Pizarro told him to notice carefully everything about the town, its size and wealth and means of defence, for he was more determined than ever to be called the Conqueror of Peru.

Molino was accompanied by a negro servant who carried some presents for the governor, and as the Indians had never seen a negro before, they looked at him very curiously, and tried to rub the black off with their fingers. And they also looked very curiously at the white man, for he was as strange to them as the negro; and they thought that the people from beyond the sea, with their white skin and fair hair, must belong to a great and wonderful race. Molino was well received by the governor, whom he found living in a fine mansion, guarded by soldiers in handsome uniforms, and attended by servants in livery, who served his meals upon golden dishes. Everywhere the Spaniard saw riches and prosperity, and his account of the splendid temples and palaces made Pizarro's heart beat high with hope. The next day he sent another Spaniard, Candia, to visit the town, and his report was as satisfactory as that of Molino. Pizarro was satisfied that he had reached the empire of Peru at last, and taking a friendly farewell of the inhabitants of Tumbez, sailed along down the coast to see still more of this marvellous country. Everywhere he landed he was delighted to find the country as rich and prosperous as at Tumbez, and at length turned his vessel homeward, well supplied with provisions for the voyage, and with a large quantity of gold and jewels, which he intended to show his friends in Panama in proof that he had really discovered the land of his dreams. Stopping at Tumbez again, he left Molino, and one or two more of his men there, and taking two of the inhabitants with him, sailed away, carrying the good wishes of the people with him, and with high hope of a speedy return.

But on his arrival at Panama he found the governor still unwilling to let another fleet be fitted out for the conquest of Peru, and Almagro, and Luque, and Pizarro, after talking it over, decided that the best thing to do would be to get permission of the king himself, and then the governor could not hinder them. So Pizarro sailed off to Spain, which he reached safely after a quick voyage, and as his name was now well known in Spain, the emperor sent for him to come to court, so that he might hear his adventures.

Spain was at that time the greatest country in the world; the emperor, Charles V., son of Ferdinand and Isabella, ruled over Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands; a Spanish adventurer had discovered the Pacific Ocean and added its shores and islands to the possessions of the mother country; Cortez had conquered Mexico and made it a Spanish province, and everywhere the Spanish name was renowned for wealth and power; and Pizarro, when he arrived at the court of Charles V., knew well that he would meet there some of the most famous soldiers and adventurers in the world, and he felt very proud of the honor done him, and rejoiced to think that in the future his own name would shine as brightly as those of the famous men he was about to meet. The emperor received him kindly and listened attentively while he told of his visit to Peru and described its wealthy cities and intelligent inhabitants; and when he added that the principal cities, which he had not seen, were even richer and finer than those near the coast, the emperor readily gave his consent to his returning there with ships and men and everything necessary for the conquest of such a great empire. And then Pizarro showed the king and his nobles the chests of gold, and caskets of precious stones, and beautifully dyed and woven cloths, and the llamas and Indians he had brought with him, and they all exclaimed in wonder at the sight, and Cortez said that just such riches had he found in Mexico, and doubted not that this new land was as wealthy as the country of Montezuma. And so no time was lost in fitting out a fleet, and while this was being done Pizarro took the time to go to Truxillo and see his old home again. He found all the country people ready to welcome him and do him honor, for he was known throughout Spain as a bold soldier and adventurer, and he entered his old village with very different feelings from those he had when he ran away, barefoot and ragged, some thirty years before. The old castle was still there, and little peasant boys still watched the pigs out in the fields; but with him all was different.

His father and mother were dead, and his four younger brothers were very desirous of going to America with him and seeking their fortunes in that wonderful country; and as he consented to this they all went with him to Seville, where the fleet was being fitted out, and when the ships started across the Atlantic the bold commander knew that he had four men, at least, that he could trust to the end, and who would never desert him, no matter how hard his fortune might be.

Panama was reached without any mishap, and then all was bustle and confusion until ships and men were ready for the start. Three vessels were bought, and with about one hundred and eighty soldiers, some thirty horses, and a good supply of arms and ammunition, the little fleet was at last ready, and after a solemn religious service in the cathedral the company embarked, and Pizarro found himself at last on his way to conquer Peru.

It was in the winter of 1531, seven years since the time of his first voyage to the South; then he was ignorant of the country and its dangers, but now he knew the coast, years of experience had taught him how to overcome its dangers, and above all, he had friends in the inhabitants of Tumbez, who would welcome him gladly, and who were ready to believe that he was as great and powerful as he wished them to think. It did not trouble him at all that he meant to repay their kindness and trust with treachery and murder.

In two weeks they came to a pleasant landing-place some distance north of Tumbez, and after sending the ships back to Panama they began marching southward. The way was often difficult, and they had to cross rivers and pass through swamps and thickets, but Pizarro always led them on, cheering his men and hoping for better things. On their way they passed an Indian village, which they captured without resistance from the natives, who fled in dismay from the sight and sound of the guns; here they found a great many large emeralds, as well as much gold and silver, and a good store of corn and other food, and after plundering the village they went on with light hearts, cheered with the prospect of still greater wealth and good fortune in the near future. The character of the country now changed and they found themselves passing through beautiful groves, and over roads bordered with trees bearing delicious fruits; and so they went pleasantly along until they reached the gulf of Quayaquil and saw once more the domes and towers of Tumbez. But now Pizarro did not come as a friend, but as a foe, and his only thought was to take possession of Tumbez and rob it of its wealth. There was a tribe of Indians living on the island of Puna, just opposite Tumbez, who were bitter enemies of the people of that city, and as soon as these Indians saw the arrival of the Spaniards on the other side of the bay, they sent a party over to ask Pizarro and his followers to come over to the island and stay with them. Pizarro knew that these people were unfriendly to those of Tumbez, and he thought it would be a good plan to make friends of them, so they would help him when he attacked the city; so he accepted the chief's offer, and in a little while the Indians had built some large rafts upon which the whole party was taken over to the island of Puna, whose chief stood on the shore to welcome them. Here they were given pleasant quarters and entertained with choice fruits and vegetables, and very glad indeed were they to have this chance of resting after their long and weary march.

But one day one of the Indian interpreters that Pizarro had brought with him came to him and said that the natives of the island were planning to attack him. This at once raised Pizarro's anger, and as several men that he sent around to spy upon the Indians came back and said that the story was true, he immediately ordered his men to fall upon the natives, and in a short time every village on the island was plundered by the Spaniards, and great numbers of the inhabitants slain. And then Pizarro decided to go at once to Tumbez; so he sent the rafts ahead loaded with booty, and getting as many boats as he could, embarked for the mainland.

But during all these days of fighting the people of Tumbez had made up their minds that the Spaniards had come back as foes instead of friends, and as soon as the rafts came to shore they seized the plunder and dragged the men to the woods and murdered them; then, in great alarm lest they should suffer worse things at the hands of the Spaniards than the natives of Puna had, they gathered together all the valuables they could carry and fled to the woods, and when Pizarro came to Tumbez he found its streets deserted, its treasures carried off, and many of its handsome buildings utterly destroyed. And so he was able to take possession of the city without losing a single man in battle, and when after a few days his scouts came in bringing the runaway chief with them, Pizarro decided to pardon the chief for killing the Spaniards who had been on the rafts, and to let him collect his people again and live peaceably in his city as before.

He did this because he intended to go at once to the capital of Peru, and he thought in case any disaster happened to his army it would be well to have the chief of Tumbez friendly to him. The chief was very glad to gather his people together again, and promised eternal friendship to Pizarro; and so one bright day the Spanish army marched out of Tumbez and took its way toward Cuzco.

Before leaving the coast, Pizarro had been joined by Hernando de Soto, the same bold cavalier who afterward spent so many weary years in trying to find on the shores of the Mississippi an empire as rich as Mexico or Peru, and as he had brought with him soldiers and horses, he promised to be of great use to Pizarro. Their way now led through pleasant valleys and thriving villages, and everywhere Pizarro found himself warmly greeted by the natives; often in the larger towns the governors entertained him with splendid banquets, and many times he lodged in the very palaces that were prepared for the Inca's visits. Pizarro made friends with all the Indians they met, as he thought it best to leave no enemy between him and the coast, and so they marched comfortably day after day, until they had nearly reached the lofty ranges of the Cordilleras. While stopping at one of the largest towns that they had yet seen, Pizarro heard that, some distance ahead, a large Peruvian army was collected. Fearing that he might be attacked if he went further, he sent De Soto on ahead to find out if the Inca meant to receive him as a friend. After many days De Soto returned to the camp accompanied by a Peruvian noble, a brother of the Inca, who came with a greeting from the emperor and some presents of fruits, corn, emeralds, and vases of gold and silver. The noble bearing of the messenger and his splendid costume and heavy ornaments of gold made a deep impression upon the mind of Pizarro, and he saw at once that in all his dealing with the Inca he would have to treat him with the respect due to his great rank and power; so he received the messenger very courteously, and expressed great pleasure at seeing a brother of the great Inca. The messenger said that the Inca had sent him to Pizarro to say that he welcomed the Spaniards to his land and invited them to visit him at his camp. Pizarro replied that he would surely visit the Inca, and after receiving a present of a red cap and some glass beads, the nobleman went away. But Pizarro felt sure that the Inca had only sent him to find out how large the Spanish army was, and he listened a little nervously to De Soto's account of the cities he had seen, all well fortified, and able to hold out a long time against a besieging army. And then De Soto told of the riches and greatness of Cuzco, the capital, and said that an Indian noble had described to him its magnificent palaces and temples, whose walls were covered with gold and silver and precious stones; and at this Pizarro determined there was no time to be lost, and set out immediately for Caxamalca, where the Inca held his camp.

Caxamalca was built near a beautiful river that flowed through the valley below, and its great stone fortresses and lofty temples, its palaces and towers, its beautiful gardens and wide, well-paved streets, and its large public square with its fountains and flowers, all showed Pizarro, on his arrival there, that he had come into a land whose people knew well how to be comfortable in peace as well as to defend themselves in war. He at once marched his soldiers into the great square, where he pitched his tents as if resolved to stay. The Inca's army lay upon the slopes of the mountains three miles from Caxamalca, and there was great excitement and wonder among the troops, as Indians from the town came into camp describing the appearance of the Spanish soldiers. The Peruvians had indeed looked with surprise and awe upon these invaders, whose white faces and long, brown hair, and glittering armor, were so different from anything they had ever seen before. And the greatest wonder of all was the fact that many of these strangers rode upon curious animals that were eager to rush into battle, and that the riders guided often with a word or motion, showing that the creatures understood human speech. These were the horses that Pizarro had brought, and they were well calculated to inspire the Peruvians with terror, for as the cavalry charged fiercely in battle, the innocent natives thought that the horse and man all formed one animal; and once, when a man fell from his horse, the Indians ran screaming away, saying that the strange animal had broken all to pieces. Even when they had grown more accustomed to seeing them their fear did not lessen, for the intelligence of the horse and his power to understand his master's speech always seemed like something half-human to the Peruvians, who had never seen horses before. The arms of the Spaniards seemed very terrible too; the flash and smoke and noise of the guns seemed to them like something supernatural, like the lightning or thunder, and frightened them so that at the first sound they were ready to throw down their weapons and fly.

Pizarro knew all this very well, and the next morning after his arrival at Caxamalca, when he sent to the Inca's camp to ask if the Spaniards were welcome to Peru, the men he chose were De Soto, and his brother Hernando, and they both rode on powerful milk-white horses, and had with them an escort of forty horsemen, all clad in glittering armor and with brilliant trappings on their steeds. The party rode rapidly along, and as they came to the river that separated them from the Inca's camp, dashed boldly into the stream and came swiftly up to the line of Peruvian warriors that stood waiting to receive them and conduct them to the presence of the emperor. They found the monarch seated on a golden throne, surrounded by richly attired nobles, and attended by the most beautiful women in the court. All the courtiers and attendants stood with bowed heads, for no one might raise his eyes in the presence of the Inca.

The Spaniards stood for some moments in silence, and then Hernando Pizarro told the Inca, through an interpreter, that he and his countrymen were the subjects of a mighty monarch across the sea, who had sent them to ask the Inca to be his friend. The Inca did not reply to this speech in person, but one of his nobles came forward and said that the emperor bade them welcome, and the next day would visit the Spanish chief at Caxamalca. The Spaniards had to be content with this, as it soon became evident that the Peruvians had no intention of saying any more. De Soto now thought he would show the Inca some of the good qualities of his horse, for he well knew that the splendid animal had attracted his attention, so he wheeled his horse round and round and put him through many difficult exercises, the horse responding intelligently to all his commands, and finally brought him down close to the Inca's throne. The Peruvians were much impressed by these exercises, as was likewise the Inca, but no one showed it by word or manner; when De Soto had finished, the party of Spaniards were invited to a banquet, where they were served by beautiful women, who brought them fruits on golden dishes and drink in golden goblets studded with emeralds.

And then they went back to Caxamalca to report the result of their visit, and when the soldiers heard of the thousands and thousands of Peruvians who lay camping out on the mountain slopes, ready to defend the Inca and their country with their lives, and when they remembered that all over the great empire were other thousands willing to take the places of those who should fall, then, indeed, the conquest of Peru began to look like a very serious matter, and many a Spanish soldier wished himself back in Panama.

The next day the camp was astir at an early hour with preparations for the Inca's visit, for Pizarro had formed a very bold plan in the night, and all his soldiers knew it, and had pledged themselves to help him carry it out. He knew that there would be very little use in fighting pitched battles with the Peruvians, as there were thousands of them to every soldier he had, so he decided to overcome the enemy by the same trick that Cortez had used in conquering Mexico.

The Peruvians, like the Mexicans, held the person of their emperor sacred, and Pizarro knew that if he could get possession of the Inca, the Indians would be afraid of attacking him for fear of injuring their monarch. He would be safe as long as he held the Inca captive, for the Peruvians would understand that any harm done to him would be visited upon the Inca.

There was another reason, too, why this seemed a good plan. The Inca had a brother who was left part of the kingdom by his father's will, but Atahualpa, the present Inca, had dethroned his brother, Huascar, and now unlawfully held his dominions, and Pizarro knew that the imprisonment of Atahualpa would be the means of making Huascar his friend, and as Huascar was really the lawful king of a large part of Peru, and had many faithful and loving subjects among its people, it would be a good thing for the Spaniards to be able to count him among their friends.

It was on Saturday, November 16, 1532, that this bold deed was to be done. Pizarro concealed his soldiers in different places and kept only his officers around him, in order to deceive Atahualpa the better, and when all was ready, and the watchword, "Santiago," was agreed upon as a signal, he waited impatiently for the appearance of the Inca. It almost seemed as if something warned the emperor to keep away from Caxamalca, for he kept putting off his visit from hour to hour, and even at one time sent word that he would not come till the next day; but Pizarro replied that he would not take his supper until his visitor came, and whether from fear of offending the Spaniards, or because he thought there was no use in putting off the visit, Atahualpa finally gave the order for the camp to move, and was soon on his way to the town.

He sat upon his golden throne, with his jewelled diadem upon his head, and with the royal standard, the rainbow-hued banner, carried before him. His litter was borne by the great nobles, all richly dressed, and before the throne, and for a long distance behind, marched company after company of Peruvian soldiers. As they entered the great square of Caxamalca a Spanish monk came forward and saluted the emperor with great respect.

Atahualpa looked upon the fair faces and glittering armor of the Spanish soldiers, and then upon the white robes of the priest and the gilded cross he held in his hand, and turning to his attendants, said impressively: "These strangers are the messengers of the gods; be careful of offending them."

The priest now made a long speech, in which he told the Inca that the Pope, as head of the Christian church, had given the empire of Peru to the king of Spain, and that it was the will of God that the Peruvians should all become Christians and cease to worship the Sun.

The Inca listened to this speech very patiently and asked the interpreter where the priest had learned all that strange news. The priest answered that he had learned it all from the Bible he held in his hand. Atahualpa then took the Bible, and, after looking at it curiously, held it up to his ear as if expecting to learn its secrets in that manner; but as he heard nothing, he threw it angrily from him and exclaimed haughtily, "I am very willing to be a friend of the king of Spain, but not his vassal; the Pope must be a very extraordinary man to give away a country that does not belong to him. I shall not change my religion, and if the Christians adore a God who died upon a cross, I worship the Sun, who never dies."

At these defiant words the priest turned angrily to Pizarro and made a sign. And then shouting "Santiago," the terrible war-cry of the Spaniards that had so often urged them on to victory, Pizarro seized the Inca and called upon his soldiers to come forth from their hiding-places. In a moment the place was alive with the excited Spaniards, guns were fired, and the terrified Peruvians, startled at this unexpected attack, were trampled under the horses' hoofs and blinded by the smoke, and although the Inca's guard tried in vain to protect him, they were all killed or wounded, and of the remaining Peruvians—men, women, and children—very few who had entered the square left it alive, but nearly all were murdered by the relentless Spaniards. Then the gates were closed and guarded, and the Inca was taken to Pizarro's tent, where his robe and jewels were taken from him, and after being clothed in a plainer dress he was invited to take supper with Pizarro.

Then the conqueror told his prisoner his true reason for coming to Peru, and Atahualpa heard it all with bowed head and sad face, and remembered, as he listened, the old legend of his race—how from across the seas fair-haired men were to come, bringing sorrow and destruction to the children of the Sun. The old prophecy had come true, and the last Inca of Peru was a prisoner in the hands of a strange man, with white skin and long brown hair. Pizarro slept well after his easy victory, happy in the thought that that day's work had made his name immortal, for never before in the history of the world had there been such a brilliant conquest as this. Even the name of Cortez would now stand second to his own.

The next morning Pizarro saw that the remainder of the Inca's army were making hasty preparations for departure, and in a short time scarcely a sign remained of the vast host that had been scattered over the slopes of the mountains. As Pizarro's object was simply to get all the treasures he could, he did not take any prisoners, but let the disheartened Peruvians go whither they would, and devoted himself to obtaining all the gold and jewels that could be found in Caxamalca or on the bodies of the slaughtered Indians. The Inca at once noticed the Spaniards' love of gold, and told Pizarro if he would give him his freedom he would give him a large room full of silver, and gold enough to fill half a room. Pizarro's eyes glistened at this proposal, which he at once accepted, and the Inca hastily sent some of his servants to Cuzco to order the people to bring the gold and silver from the temples and palaces. Day after day messengers arrived bringing the precious metals—vases, basins, goblets, table-service and temple-service, all of purest gold, besides golden fountains, birds, fruits, and vegetables, all carved out of the metal in the curious way known to the Indians. Two thousand men were employed in bringing this treasure, and every day Atahualpa's heart grew lighter, for he thought each night brought him nearer freedom.

But one day messengers came to the city from the Inca's brother Huascar, saying that if Pizarro would set him free from the prison where Atahualpa had confined him, he would give the conqueror twice as much gold as the Inca had promised him. Somehow this news reached Atahualpa, and in great fear lest Pizarro should accept his brother's offer, he sent Indians to kill him as he was on his way to Caxamalca. This roused Pizarro's anger, for he had meant to get the gold from both brothers, and then decide to give the kingdom to the one who would be likely to trouble him the least. So when the news of Huascar's death came to him, and he knew he would not get the gold that he had been promised, he determined that the Inca should suffer for his loss. At the same time he heard that the Peruvians were gathering an army under one of their most skilful generals, and intended attacking the Spaniards and rescuing the Inca. No time was to be lost. Pizarro called a council of his chief men, and it was decided that the Inca must be put to death and the army march at once to Cuzco. Atahualpa could not believe the terrible news when it was brought to him; in vain he pointed to the glittering piles of gold that his faithful subjects had brought for his ransom; in vain he reminded Pizarro of his promise. The conqueror of Peru thought nothing of his honor, but only of the gold that he might find in the Inca's stately palaces, and Atahualpa learned to his cost what it meant to trust in a Spanish soldier's plighted word; for, although all the officers declared that the Inca must die, it was Pizarro himself who acted as one of the judges at the trial, and it was his voice that condemned him to death.

He was sentenced to be burned to death, and at night after the trial was over he was led out to the centre of the square and bound to the stake. The Spanish soldiers stood round with torches in hands, watching intently the face of the doomed monarch, whose bearing was as proud and dignified as it had been when he first came to the Spanish camp surrounded by thousands of his faithful subjects.

After the fagots had been piled up around him, the same priest who had first urged him to become a Christian, came to him and said that if he would be baptized he might be strangled instead of burned. As this would be a much easier death, Atahualpa consented, and the priest baptized him.

And then they killed him as he stood there alone, with his hands clasped, and his eyes lifted toward the heavens from which the great god had vanished many hours before, and so perished Atahualpa, the last of the children of the Sun, and the empire of the Incas was at an end.

Pizarro now determined to march at once to Cuzco, and in order to appease the Peruvians, who were horrified and angry at the murder of Atahualpa, a younger brother of the emperor was crowned Inca, although Pizarro meant to keep the real power in his own hands. But it would be safer for the Spaniards to march through the country if they had the person of an Inca in their power, and the young Toparca had a mild and gentle nature, and Pizarro could easily rule him.

De Soto was sent ahead to spy out danger, and although his party, as well as his main army, was attacked once or twice by Peruvians, the Spaniards had only to charge upon them with their fiery horses, when the Indians would break ranks at once and fly in terror to the woods, and so with but little adventure Cuzco was reached at last, and Pizarro found himself in the capital of the great empire he had conquered.

Toparca having died on the way to Cuzco, another brother, Manco, was crowned Inca, with great ceremony, in the midst of thousands of assembled Peruvians, and a treaty of peace was entered into between Manco and Pizarro, and eternal friendship was sworn between them; but although this satisfied the Peruvians, Manco was really kept under guard and was closely watched all the time. And now began the plunder of Cuzco, and its beautiful temples and royal palaces were soon despoiled of all their treasures; it was found when the gold and jewels had been divided that each soldier in the Spanish army was a rich man, and that the king's portion was immense.

But Cuzco was too far from the sea-coast to be a suitable capital for the new kingdom that Pizarro meant to found, and after its stores of gold and silver had been divided among the soldiers, the conqueror proposed to move the capital from Cuzco to some place nearer the coast, and as there was no large town near the sea that suited him, he gave orders that a new city should be built, with palaces, temples, and churches, and all things as fine and beautiful as could be found anywhere else in Peru. The workmen were soon at work, and thousands of Peruvians were daily employed in building the bridges and walls and towers that were to grace this new capital, whose foundations were laid in January, 1535, and which Pizarro named "The City of the Kings," and which is now known as Lima.

But it was only a few years that Pizarro lived to enjoy all his glory and prosperity, for he had many bitter enemies among the Spaniards. His old friend Almagro had been very dissatisfied at his share of the treasures that had been found in Peru, and had even tried to take Cuzco away from Pizarro, and become ruler of Peru himself. There is no doubt that Pizarro was unfaithful to his promise to divide the spoils equally with Almagro and Luque; but Luque was dead, and Almagro was obliged to take whatever Pizarro would give him, and when he attempted to obtain more by force, he was taken prisoner by Hernando Pizarro and put to death. But he left a son, Diego, who resolved to revenge his father's murder. He had many friends in the city, for his father had been very popular among the forces that he led against Pizarro, and a plan was laid to attack Pizarro as he was returning from church on Sunday and kill him. But on the Sunday appointed, Pizarro did not go to church; he had heard of the plot and remained at home. Diego and his friends were not to be baffled, however; they went at once to Pizarro's palace, and forcing their way to his private room, attacked him before his friends could come to his rescue. Pizarro fought bravely for his life, but the odds were against him, and in a few moments he fell dead at the feet of the man whose father had been his old friend, and whose help and trust had been the chief means of his conquering the empire of Peru.



Ferdinand de Soto, who was with Pizarro in Peru, was born in Spain, and the first years of his life were spent in a gloomy castle where it was so quiet, that he often grew lonely and wished that he had some playfellow besides the birds or his dog or horse. His parents were so poor that they could not afford to send him to school, and so he grew to be a big boy before knowing how to read or write; but his family were of noble blood, the noblest in Spain; and although they could not send him to school, still they had him taught to ride and fence, as it was thought disgraceful for a Spanish nobleman not to have these accomplishments. And so the boy learned to ride daringly, and at the age of twelve could use his sword as easily as any other Spanish boy of his age; and in the meantime, in the halls of the dark old castle, he listened eagerly to the tales he heard of the wonderful land which Columbus had discovered, and he resolved that when he became a man he would go himself across the sea and bring back gold and refurnish up the old castle and make it once more a place fit for noblemen to live in. When he learned to read he stored his mind with stories of adventure and romance, and he said that he, too, would go into the world some day and win honor and fame; and so the days passed; the sun brightened the castle walls in the daytime and the shadows hung over them at night, and through sunlight and shadow the boy dreamed on of the years to come when he would be a knight and a soldier and gain glory and wealth under the flag of Spain.

 De Soto

One day a very wealthy Spanish nobleman named Don Pedro de Avila rode up to the castle and asked to see Ferdinand. Ferdinand at this time was an unusually handsome youth, tall and graceful, and remarkable for his strength and agility. He excelled all his friends in fencing and riding, and all those active amusements which the Spanish youth delighted in.

Don Pedro had noticed the handsome boy, and as he had no son of his own he offered to adopt him and educate him; so Ferdinand left his home and was sent to a Spanish university, where he spent six years, during which time he became renowned for his skill in the chivalric entertainments which were all the time going on in Spain. He took the prizes at all the tournaments, and was everywhere praised and admired. Don Pedro became very proud of him and treated him as though he were his own child.

Don Pedro had a daughter, Isabella, who was very beautiful, and her father wished her to marry some rich nobleman, so that she might have a high position at the Spanish court; but while her father was away in Darien, where he had been appointed governor, Isabella fell in love with Ferdinand de Soto and promised to marry him. When Don Pedro came back and De Soto asked permission of him to marry his daughter he was very angry, and from that time he became De Soto's bitterest enemy. He was going back to Darien again, and thinking it would be a fine thing if De Soto were to go with him and get killed by the Indians, he offered to give him a handsome outfit and appoint him captain of a company of soldiers if he would go. De Soto was very poor, his parents were dead, and he thought he might win honor and wealth by going with Don Pedro, so he accepted his offer.

At the time that he left Spain, De Soto was nineteen years of age; he was away fifteen years, during which time he heard only once or twice from Isabella; he wrote to her many times and she answered his letters, but her father always destroyed the letters. During the years that he was away De Soto did indeed become rich and famous; he had left Spain a poor boy, and he returned a wealthy and honored man. Without his help Pizarro would never have been able to conquer Peru, and the fame of the great soldier De Soto was talked of from one end of Spain to the other.

In the meantime Don Pedro had died, and as soon as De Soto reached Spain he married Isabella. For two years they lived in Seville in princely style, but at the end of that time De Soto found that his money was fast melting away, so he resolved to go on another expedition and gather more gold. He asked permission of the king to conquer Florida, where it was believed there was much gold, and offered to fit out the expedition at his own expense. The king consented, and De Soto began his preparations.

As soon as it became known that De Soto was raising an army for the conquest of Florida, all the young noblemen of Spain flocked eagerly around his standard. He accepted only those who were strong and able to endure hardship, for he knew that he had a very difficult task before him. Such an army had never before left Spain; the gallant and daring soldiers were nearly all wealthy and well-born. They wore costly armor and all their outfit was of the richest description. Everything was provided to make the expedition a success. Arms and provisions, chains for the Indians whom they expected to make slaves, bloodhounds for hunting runaways, and cards for the young nobles to amuse themselves with. Twelve priests went with them to convert the natives and keep up religious services. Ten ships left the harbor of San Lucar, with flags flying, bugles pealing, and cannon thundering over the water, and thus De Soto, under sunny skies and with bright hopes, sailed for the summerland of De Leon.

They stopped at Cuba, where De Soto left his wife to govern the colony during his absence, and then sailing through the Gulf they entered Tampa Bay and landed. Here they heard that there was a large Indian town six miles away, and De Soto decided to march there; but when they reached the village they found it entirely deserted. Not an Indian was to be seen. It was quite a large village; the houses were made of timber, thatched with palm leaves; many of them were large, having many rooms; they had useful articles of furniture, some of which were very elegantly carved and ornamented with gold. The dresses of the women were very beautiful and trimmed with shells and embroidery and richly colored; there were exquisite shawls and mantillas woven by hand from the bark of the mulberry tree, and the walls of some of the houses were hung with tapestry of prepared buckskin, while the floors were covered with carpets of the same material. The buckskin had been tanned so that it shone like satin, and was as soft as silk, and it made the rooms look very luxurious and elegant.

All this was very different from the Indian homes De Soto had seen in Darien, and he did not doubt that here he should find a kingdom as rich as Peru. He took possession of the village, and he and his soldiers lived in the houses. One or two of the Indians came back and were taken captive, and from them De Soto learned that Ucita, the Indian chief, was a mortal foe to all Spaniards because he had been so badly treated by Narvaez, a cruel Spaniard who had been there before De Soto's arrival. Narvaez had treated Ucita most wickedly. He had caused his mother to be torn to pieces by bloodhounds; like Don Pedro in Darien, he had hunted down women and girls with his bloodhounds, and had cut infants in pieces and thrown them to the dogs, and once, in a fit of anger, he had caused Ucita's nose to be cut off. Ucita remembered all these things, and when De Soto sent to him and offered his friendship, the Indian chief replied:

"I want none of the speeches and promises of the Spaniards. Bring me their heads, and I will receive them joyfully."

Thus De Soto had to suffer for the crimes of Don Pedro and Narvaez. While he had been in Darien he had always treated the Indians kindly, but he knew how cruelly other Spaniards had acted toward them, so he expected a great deal of trouble here. The Indians thought all Spaniards were alike, and it was a long time before he could make Ucita believe that he meant him no harm. He sent him presents again and again, and whenever an Indian was taken captive by his soldiers De Soto treated him kindly and sent him back to the tribe with presents. At last Ucita seemed to be touched by the kindness of De Soto, who then felt he could continue his march without leaving a powerful enemy behind. Ucita did not say he would be his friend, but then he showed a more friendly spirit, and the Spaniards felt he would not attack them. Ucita was a brave and noble man, generous to his friends and merciful to his enemies; but the Spaniards had treated him so inhumanly that it is no wonder he did not at first believe in De Soto's offers of friendship.

In the meantime a Spaniard had been brought into camp who had been taken prisoner by the Indians when Narvaez was in Florida. This man's name was Juan Ortiz, and he had been with the Indians ten years, so he knew their language and habits. When he was first taken prisoner he had been very cruelly treated and at last was bound to the stake to be burned; as the flames crept around him he cried aloud with pain and terror, and the chief's daughter, a very beautiful princess about sixteen years of age, could not endure the sight of his agony; she threw her arms around her father's neck and begged with tears that Ortiz might be saved. Ortiz was about eighteen years of age, tall, and very handsome, and the sight of his great beauty and the pleadings of the princess Ulelah at last touched her father's heart. Ortiz was spared, but for some time after his life was miserable, as the Indians treated him very cruelly; but at last his lot became easier, and at this time he was treated as a friend by the tribe. Of course De Soto was very glad to meet Ortiz, as he would be very useful in dealing with the natives.

Ortiz told De Soto of a very powerful chief who lived about a hundred miles from Ucita, and offered to lead him there; the Spaniards thought there might be gold there, and they joyfully set off under the command of Gallegos, De Soto remaining behind. The Indians they met told them of a place where there was so much gold that the warriors had shields and helmets made of it; but very few of the Spaniards believed this; they thought it was a trick of the Indians to get them away from the country. In a few days De Soto followed Gallegos with the rest of the army, and they began to work their way through dense forests and swamps, and thickets, and through mud and water, losing their way and harassed by the Indians, in this mad hunt for gold.

One day, while they were travelling along the banks of a river, they saw a canoe with six Indians in it coming toward them; the Indians landed and three of them came up to De Soto, and, bowing very low, said to him: "Do you come for peace or for war?"

"I come for peace," replied De Soto, "and seek only a peaceful passage through your land. I need food for my people and canoes and rafts to cross the river, and I beg you to help me."

The Indians said that they themselves were in want of food, as there had been a terrible sickness the year before, and that many of their tribe had died and others had gone away for fear of the pestilence, thus leaving the fields uncultivated. They also said that their chieftain was a young princess and they had no doubt she would receive them kindly and do everything for them. Having said this, the chiefs returned to the other side of the river.

And now the Spaniards, looking across the river, saw that there was a great stir in the village opposite. First, a very large and beautifully-decorated canoe appeared upon the banks, followed by several other canoes also very beautiful; then a gorgeous palanquin, borne by four men, was seen coming toward the river; the palanquin stopped at the banks, and from it a graceful girl, very finely dressed, entered the state canoe. She sat down upon the cushions in the end of the canoe, over which was stretched a canopy; she was followed by eight female attendants who entered the canoe after she had sat down. Then the six men who had just been to see De Soto entered a large canoe which was rowed by a number of other Indians. The canoe in which the princess sat was fastened to this one, and then they started, followed by several other canoes in which were the most noted warriors of the tribe.

The Spaniards were charmed with the beautiful young princess. Her attendants brought with them a chair of state upon which she took her seat after bowing to De Soto, and then they began a conversation by means of the interpreter, Juan Ortiz. The princess said that it was true the pestilence had left the tribe very poor, but that she would do everything she could to provide them with food; she offered half of her house to De Soto, and half the houses in the village to the soldiers, and said that by the next day there would be rafts and canoes ready to take the Spaniards across the river.

De Soto was much touched by the kindness of the princess and promised to be her friend forever. Then the princess rose and placed a large string of costly pearls around De Soto's neck, and he in return presented her with a gold ring set with a ruby; and then, with promises of help on the morrow, the princess and her people returned to the village.

The next day the princess had the rafts made and the Spanish army crossed the river; while crossing four horses were carried away by the swift stream and drowned, for which the Spaniards grieved very much, as these horses had been of great service to them in their journey. When they arrived at the village they found very pleasant quarters awaiting them; as there were not houses enough to hold all the soldiers, some wigwams had been built in a beautiful mulberry grove just outside the village, and the Spaniards were delighted to stop a while with these friendly Indians.

The mother of the princess was a widow living some miles down the river, and De Soto wished to see her, and, if possible, make a friend of her, so the princess, as soon as she heard this, sent twelve of her chieftains to invite her mother to visit her; but the queen refused to come, and said that her daughter had done wrong to receive the Spaniards. This made De Soto all the more desirous to make the queen his friend, so he sent thirty of his men to see her, with large presents and offer of friendship. The princess sent one of her relatives to guide the party; he was a young man about twenty years old, very handsome, and with fine manners. He was dressed in a suit of soft deerskin which was trimmed with embroidery and fringe, and wore a head-dress made of feathers of various colors; he carried in his hand a beautiful bow, highly polished, so it shone like silver, and at his shoulder hung a quiver full of arrows. The Spaniards were delighted with the fine appearance of their guide, who indeed looked worthy to serve the charming princess, and the party left the village in high spirits.

The guide led them along the banks of the river, under the shade of fine old trees; after a walk of some miles they stopped for their noon-day meal, seating themselves in the shade of a beautiful grove through which they were passing. The young guide, who had been very pleasant and talkative all the way, now suddenly became very quiet. He took the quiver from his shoulder and drew out the arrows one by one; they were very beautiful arrows, highly polished and feathered at the end; he passed them to the Spaniards, who admired them very much, and while they were all busy looking at them, the young Indian drew out a very long, sharp arrow shaped like a dagger. Finding that no one was looking at him, he plunged the arrow down his throat, and almost immediately died.

The Spaniards were much shocked and could not imagine why this had happened, but they afterward found out that the young guide was a great favorite with the queen, and that knowing she did not want to see the Spaniards, who, he thought, might perhaps seize her and carry her away, and not daring to disobey the princess, whom he loved and respected, he had chosen this way to free himself from his trouble.

The other Indians did not know where the mother was, so the Spaniards returned without seeing her. De Soto was much disappointed at this, and tried again to find her place of retreat, but without success. In the meantime the Spaniards had heard from the Indians that there were great quantities of white and yellow metal in their country, and they thought it must be gold and silver; but when the Indians brought it into camp, they found that the gold was copper and the silver mica, and they were again disappointed.

The princess now told De Soto that about three miles away there was a village which was once the capital of the kingdom, and that there was a great sepulchre there, in which all their chieftains and great warriors were buried, and that immense quantities of pearls had been buried with them. De Soto, with some of his officers, and some of the Indian chiefs, visited this place and found it to be a large building three hundred feet long and over a hundred feet wide, covered with a lofty roof; the entrance was ornamented with wooden statues, some of them twelve feet high, and there were many statues and carved ornaments in the inside. By the side of the coffins were small chests, and in these had been placed such things as it was thought the dead chieftains would need in the spirit world. When an Indian died his bow and arrows were always buried with him, as it was supposed he would need them in the "happy hunting-grounds," and, besides, many other things, as you already know. In these chests the Spaniards found more pearls than they had ever dreamed of. It is said that they carried away from this place fourteen bushels of pearls, and the princess told them if they would visit other villages they would find enough pearls to load down all the horses in the army. The Spaniards were delighted and proposed to De Soto that they should make a settlement there, but he was determined to go further on in search of gold.

He had noticed that for some time the Indians had not been so friendly as they were at first; some of his soldiers had ill-treated the natives—although he had given strict orders that they should not—and now he felt sure that the princess meant to escape from the village, and that her tribe would begin a warfare with his army. So he thought the safest thing to do would be to compel the princess to go with him when he marched away. He knew that the Indians would not harm him if she were with him, as they would be afraid of harming her, too; so he told her it was necessary for her to go with him. The princess did not like this plan at all, but she said nothing, and in a few days De Soto began his march accompanied by the Indian princess, in her beautiful palanquin, which was attended by a large number of her chieftains, all handsomely dressed, and wearing their gorgeous head-dresses with their nodding plumes. For some days they travelled through the forests, when one day, as they were passing through a very thick wood, the princess suddenly leaped from her palanquin and disappeared among the trees. She had made this plan with her warriors, and De Soto never saw or heard of her again.

It is very sad to think that a friendship which began so happily should have ended thus, and had De Soto acted differently, the princess would always have remembered him as a noble man; as it was, she must have been sorry she ever trusted him at all. Had he told her that he wished to leave her village, and to part with her and her people as friends, she would, no doubt, have let him go in peace; but by carrying her off he made her his enemy forever. His only excuse is that he thought it would really be safer both for his men and hers to make her go with him.

The Spaniards continued their journey, and in a few days came to a large Indian village. The young chief received De Soto kindly, as he had heard he did not come to make war. He took him to his own house and gave his men pleasant quarters, and they remained there two weeks. The Indians told them that there were copper and gold farther on, and some Spaniards went to find it, but were again disappointed. However, there were pearls in the rivers, and some very beautiful ones were obtained. Many of these pearls which the Indians had were of little value, as they had bored holes through them with a red-hot iron so they might string them for necklaces and bracelets. De Soto was presented with a string of pearls six feet in length, with every pearl as large as a hazelnut, which would have been of immense value, had not the beauty of the pearls been dimmed by the action of fire. The Indians obtained the pearls by laying the oysters on hot coals, and as the heat opened the shells the pearls could be taken out. To please De Soto, the chief ordered his men to do this in his presence, and from some of the largest, ten or twelve pearls were taken about the size of peas. De Soto left this pleasant Indian village and again commenced his march, and now came many dark and sad days. The Indians he met after this were mostly hostile, and there were many dreadful battles in which De Soto lost men and horses. They journeyed summer and fall and winter, passed through dense forests where the horses could scarcely move, and marched over barren tracts of country where they could get no supplies; they suffered from hunger and sickness, and many died on the weary march, but De Soto would not turn back, he was still determined to find gold. At length, when they were almost worn out with travelling for days through a region more dismal than any they had passed through, uninhabited, and filled with tangled forests and swamps, they came to a small village, and here De Soto discovered, not the gold he sought, but something else which has made his name immortal. The little village was built on the banks of a river, and when De Soto went down to its margin he saw that, compared with the other rivers he had seen, it was like a sea. The river was a mile and a half wide, and rolled swiftly by, carrying with it trees and logs and driftwood. For ages this great river had rolled from the lake country above down to the Gulf, but no white man had ever looked upon it until now. De Soto, in his search for gold, had discovered the great Mississippi, the largest river in the United States, and one of the longest on the globe. The Indians called the river Mesaseba, which means, in their language, the Father of Waters.

De Soto did not remain here long, the chief was not friendly, and after a few days' rest the Spaniards crossed the Mississippi and continued their march.

Once they passed near an Indian village whose chief came out to meet them. The chief said, as the Spaniards were more powerful and had better arms than the Indians, he believed that their God was also better than the Indian god, and he asked them to pray to their God for rain, as the fields were parched for want of water. De Soto replied that they were all sinners, but that he would pray to God, the Father of Mercies, to show kindness unto them.

So he ordered the carpenter to cut down a large tree, which was carefully trimmed, and then formed into a gigantic cross; it was so large that they were two days in completing it, and it took one hundred men to raise it and plant it in the ground. It was placed upon a bluff on the western bank of the Mississippi. The morning after the cross was raised the whole Spanish army, and many of the natives, formed a solemn religious procession and walked around it. De Soto and the chief walked side by side, and the natives and soldiers followed after, two by two. It seemed for the time as if Indian and Spaniard were not only friends, but brothers. The priests chanted hymns and offered prayers, and then the whole procession advanced two by two to the cross, knelt before it, and kissed it. Upon the opposite shore of the Mississippi thousands of Indians were gathered, who were watching the service with the greatest interest; at times they seemed to take part in the exercises; when the priests raised their hands in prayer, they too raised their eyes to heaven, and lifted up their arms as if asking help, and the murmur of their voices floated across the waters of the river, and mingled with the sighing of the wind through the trees, and with the notes of the Christian hymns, and with the words of the Christian prayers; and the blue sky above smiled down alike on the haughty Spaniard and on the simple native, as he kissed the great wonder cross, the symbol of Him to whom all men are the same, and whose love reaches down to all.

After the prayers the people returned to the village in the same order, the priests going before and chanting the Te Deum; and Las Casas, the historian, writing of this, says, "God, in his mercy, willing to show these heathens that he listeneth to those who call upon him in truth, sent down, in the middle of the ensuing night, a plenteous rain, to the great joy of the Indians."

So the rain fell, and the Indian sowed his seed and gathered harvests of golden grain; and the cross stood there in the shadow of the forest, and the mighty river rolled on before it, and in the years to come, when the memory of the Spaniard had almost faded away, it was still to the red man a sign of the love of the Great Spirit, who had helped them in their need.

De Soto did not stay long among these friendly Indians, but pressed on his way. There were again toilsome marches and weary hours of disappointment, and, at last, the brave heart of the leader grew sad and hopeless. The climate was unhealthful, and De Soto was taken sick with fever, and at the same time he was told that the chief of that country was getting ready for a great battle, in which all the neighboring tribes would join, and that they meant to kill every Spaniard in the country.

But De Soto could fight no more battles, for he was dying. One by one the faithful soldiers knelt by his bed, and weeping, bade him farewell. He asked them to live as brothers, loving and helping one another, and urged them to convert the natives to the Christian religion. And so the brave soldier died, far from home and that sunny Spain which he loved so well, and the whole army wept for him, for they loved him, and grieved to think that they should see him no more.

It was thought best not to let the Indians know of De Soto's death, as they might attack the Spaniards at once if they knew their great leader was gone. So De Soto was buried at night by torchlight, and no salute was fired over his grave, nor any dirge chanted by the priests; but the Indians suspected that he was dead, and even visited the spot where he was buried; so the soldiers, for fear the natives would remove the body after they went away, decided to take it up themselves and sink it in the river. They cut down an evergreen oak, whose wood is almost as heavy as lead, and hollowing out a place large enough for the body, placed it in it, and at midnight it was taken out to the middle of the river, into whose depths it immediately sank. Then the soldiers, in the silence and darkness, returned to the camp, and De Soto was left alone in the wilderness, and only the stars and the river knew where he slept.

His soldiers built some boats and sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf, and after much hardship reached a Spanish settlement in Mexico. Few were left of the brilliant company that had left Spain three years before, and so ended the expedition which had sailed away from home so gaily. Their search for gold had been like following the will-o'-the-wisp, which leads on and on, and then vanishes at last, leaving you alone in the darkness.



In France, as well as other European countries, the wonderful accounts of the wealth of India and Cathay had been listened to with delight and surprise, and the king, Francis I., determined to send out some ships and see if they might not discover the new way to the East that people had been looking for so long. He thought, too, that he would claim and settle a part of America, so that the New World should not be entirely owned by Spain and England. Before this, France had been content with sending a few fishermen to the northern coasts of America, but they made no settlements, and, as soon as the fishing season was over, always went back to France again.

But in 1523 an expedition left France for the purpose of finding a passage to Cathay, and exploring the coast of America. The expedition was commanded by Giovanni Verrazano, an Italian. Soon after leaving France, a tempest came up, and all the ships but one were obliged to return; but Verrazano, with this one, the Dauphine, went on to the Madeiras, and leaving that place in January, 1524, sailed boldly across the Atlantic. After a voyage of over a month, during which time another very severe storm overtook them, they at last saw land. It is supposed that this was the coast of Carolina. Fires were blazing all along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and Verrazano knew by that that the country was inhabited. He sailed along for many miles, keeping close to the shore, and was delighted with the new country, which seemed more beautiful than any he had ever seen before. The shore was covered with fine white sand, making a beach nearly fifteen feet wide, quite level, except here and there where the sand was formed into hillocks, which were covered with strong short grass. Back from the shore were broad fields, which were kept fresh by the numerous streams that flowed into the sea, and still farther back stood immense forests, whose great variety of color charmed the eye. Verrazano was surprised to find here many kinds of trees that were unknown to him, and said that no words could describe the beauty of these forests. "Think not," he says, "that they are like the Crimean forests, or the solitudes of Scythia, or the rigid coasts of the north, but adorned with palm trees, and cypress, and laurel, and species unknown to Europe, which breathe forth from afar the sweetest of odors."

And combined with the aromatic perfume of the pines was the scent of the violets and roses, and of the beautiful lilies that swung in the lakes, and everywhere birds were singing, and graceful deer looked with startled eyes through the leaves of the hanging vines; and the first impulse of the Frenchmen was to land and enjoy some of the flowers and fruits of this fair land.

In the meantime the natives had come down to the beach, and stood looking with wonder on the Frenchmen; but as soon as the seamen rowed toward the shore the timid Indians fled toward the woods. But the Frenchmen, by signs and friendly motions, made them understand that they need not fear, and soon they all came crowding round the seamen with cries of delight, pointing out at the same time the best place to land. Verrazano, in turn, was delighted at the appearance of the natives, whose fine figures, and beautifully ornamented robes, and gayly decked out hair, placed them above the common savages that the Frenchman expected to find in the wilds of America. After a pleasant little call here, Verrazano kept on his way, still going northward, carefully examining the coasts, and finding everywhere the same luxuriant growth of trees and flowers. Still, there was no good harbor to be seen; but as the ship was in need of fresh water he decided to try and land. But this he found to be impossible, as the waves broke with great force upon the open beach, making it dangerous for any boat that ventured too near. The natives stood on the shore watching his efforts, and stretched out their hands as if inviting him to land, but he was obliged to give up the attempt and go back to the ship. The natives still continued to make friendly signs, and Verrazano replied to them as well as he could, and ordered a sailor to swim ashore with some presents. The man obeyed, and got near enough to the shore to throw the gifts into the ready hands of the Indians; but as he turned to swim back to the boat he was overpowered by the breakers and dashed upon the beach.

The Indians immediately surrounded him, and lifting him up gently, carried him farther up on the beach, out of the reach of the waves. But as soon as the man recovered from his faint, and saw where he was, he began crying loudly for help, and as the natives answered his cries with louder and shriller ones of their own, Verrazano and his companions expected to see the unfortunate seaman speedily killed by the savages; but in this they were mistaken, for the Indians, after they had sufficiently admired the whiteness and delicacy of his skin, built a fire, and did all they could to help him out of his trouble. Verrazano met the same kindness from all the people along the coast; he found them always ready to offer their friendship, and to be of use whenever they could. It is sad to think that for all the good he met at their hands he should allow his men to return evil; but such is the case, for one of them having kidnapped a little Indian boy, the captain not only allowed him to be received on the ship, but carried him away to France, and none of his friends ever heard from him again.

The Dauphine went on up the coast, turning in now and then to explore, a little way, the many bays and rivers which it passed, and reached, one pleasant day, what is now known as the Bay of New York. Leaving his ship, Verrazano took a boat and sailed into the inner bay, approaching the island on which New York City now stands. This was the most beautiful spot that the voyagers had yet seen. All around stretched the wooded heights of New Jersey and Long Island, and the great river coming from the north seemed to promise a fair passage to some far distant land. The natives came thronging down on the beach from both shores, and, from their friendly tones and signs, seemed to offer a welcome; but before Verrazano could go very far into the "beautiful lake," as he called the harbor, he was compelled by the rising of the wind to put back to the ship and sail on. But his visit is interesting, because he was probably the first white man who had visited the beautiful harbor which to-day is known as one of the greatest commercial ports in the world.

And now the course was changed, and the Dauphine sailed east through Long Island Sound until Narragansett Bay was entered, and then a northerly course was taken, and the harbor of Newport reached. Verrazano describes the country as very fair and pleasant, and indeed it must have appeared so, with its fields of blossoming trees and miles of stately forests. Before the boat touched the shore, the natives flocked down to the beach, and thirty canoes surrounded the vessel, all filled with the wondering Indians. At first they did not come very near, but sat at some distance from the ship, silently admiring the white-skinned strangers before them; and then they suddenly gave a long shout of welcome, and began to come near to the ship and take the gifts of beads and bells and knives that the seamen threw out to them, and finally their last fear vanished and they entered the ship. Here, as farther south, Verrazano was struck with the fine faces and figures of the natives. Among them were two kings, the elder one about forty years of age. He was dressed in a robe of deer-skins beautifully embroidered, and wore around his neck a chain of gold set with large stones of various colors. His head was bare, but his hair was carefully arranged, tied behind, and ornamented with pearls and feathers. The younger king, who was about twenty-four, was dressed in the same way, and all the warriors who accompanied them wore deer-skins highly ornamented and polished. The women did not approach the vessel, but remained at a distance, seated in the canoes; but Verrazano saw that they were fine-looking, and modest in behavior, and that they too wore the finely-dressed skins of the deer, and had their hair arranged in a variety of ornamental braids. The hair of the older women was arranged very much like that of the women of Egypt and Syria, and the married women were distinguished by ear-rings of certain, peculiar form.

Verrazano stayed here some fifteen days, pleasantly entertained by the natives, and finding them always friendly and trustful. He made several trips up the bay, and examined the shores closely in search of gold and silver, which he found the natives thought much less of than they did of the brass rings and strings of beads that he bestowed upon them. But evidently the bay did not lead to Cathay, and no precious metals were found on its borders, and so Verrazano got the Dauphine under way again, and taking affectionate leave of the Indians, sailed out into the Atlantic and up the coast toward Maine. And now the country changed very much in appearance, and the natives were less friendly. There were no beautiful palm-trees, or delicate blossoms of apple and peach, and in place of green fields and sunny meadows, were only sand and rocks. The natives would not come near the ships or let the Frenchmen land, and the trading was all done by means of a long cord stretching from the ship to the shore, and over which the articles were passed, the natives retreating hurriedly to the woods as soon as the bargains were made. But Verrazano landed in spite of the opposition of the Indians, and went several miles into the country. He found that the huts were poorer than those at Narragansett Bay, which were made of split logs and nicely thatched, and that the country was poorer, too, than any he had seen yet. When he started back to the ship the natives followed his party, shooting arrows at them, and showing their anger by fierce, wild cries. But the Frenchmen reached the ship in safety, and were soon sailing away, still northward, and soon reached the shores of Maine, whose outlying islands, Verrazano said, reminded him of some portions of the Adriatic. And then, being short of provisions, and knowing that the whole wide sea lay between him and France, he turned the Dauphine homeward, having explored the Atlantic coast, from the Carolinas to Maine, more carefully than any other navigator had yet done. When he returned to France he gave it as his opinion that the passage to Cathay did not lie through the New World, and stated that America was very much larger than Europeans had hitherto believed. His voyage is considered important because of the good idea he gave of the eastern coast of America, and because he corrected the wrong belief that the New World was as small as other navigators had declared.

But he could not make them believe that there was no passage to Cathay through the fair provinces of the New World: that beautiful dream was not dispelled for many a long year after Verrazano and his bold crew had become old and gray.



Verrazano told such wonderful stories of America that many other Frenchmen felt a desire to go and see the country for themselves and find out if the stories were true. But some years passed before any new expedition was sent out, and even then it was only undertaken because the French became jealous of the power that Spain was getting in the New World.

Spain already claimed Mexico, Peru, Florida, and the Pacific, and all at once the French king became alarmed and asked if God had created the new countries for Castilians (Spaniards) alone! His courtiers hastened to tell him no, indeed, and that France had as good a right as any other country to own and settle America. And so Verrazano was sent out, and after him, ten years later, came Jacques Cartier, who left the fort of St. Malo in April, 1534.

 Jacques Cartier finds Newfoundland inhospitable

The ships sailed across the Atlantic, taking a more northerly course than usual, and in twenty days reached Newfoundland. Cartier coasted along until he reached the Straits of Belle Isle, which he passed through and entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and then sailed leisurely along the western coast of Newfoundland. But much to his disappointment the country was not beautiful and pleasant, as he had heard, but, on the contrary, very dismal and inhospitable. The fertile valleys and green fields that Verrazano had spoken of were nowhere to be seen, but instead only rocks and stones, and wild rough coasts.

The natives were very savage in appearance and not very friendly; and Cartier made a very short stay here, and steered across the Gulf to a bay on the opposite side, where he found the natives also in poor condition, living on raw fish and flesh, without clothing, and using their upturned canoes as houses. But the country itself was much pleasanter than that on the opposite side of the Gulf, and so Cartier decided to take possession of it. Accordingly he called all his company together, and with great ceremony raised a huge cross and claimed the whole region for the King of France.

The natives had all gathered round and stood looking on curiously. There stood the cross, thirty feet high, carved with three fleur-de-lys, and the inscription, "Vive le Roi de France;" and not at all understanding what right these strangers had to their country, the chief and his principal men told Cartier, as well as they could by signs, that they would much rather he should take the cross down again and go away with his ships and leave them in peace. And Cartier explained to them in turn that the king he served was very powerful and rich, and able to send many soldiers and take the land by force if he so wished; but that also he was a very kind and loving king, and wanted to do all that he could for the Indians, and that the very best thing that could happen to them would be to have some Frenchmen come there and settle and teach them the arts of peace.

And then he gave them some trifling presents, some strings of glass beads, and yards of bright calico, and bits of colored glass, and shining penknives, and the Indians were so impressed by these gifts that, partly from a desire to obtain more, and partly through fear of the great unknown king, they not only let the cross remain standing, but what was much more, the chief consented to let his two sons go back to France with Cartier, and see for themselves the riches and power of his country and king.

And so the two Indian boys sailed away with these white strangers, and learned stranger things than they had ever dreamed of. Never before had they been farther away from land than they could go in a day's journey in their birch bark canoes; but now, as they stood on the deck of this great ship, and saw the land fade from their sight, and the great, boundless sea all around stretch away and away until it met the sky, and the sun drop down into the water and redden its glossy waves, it was all so different from what they had been used to that their hearts grew sick with longing for home and the fear that they had sailed into a new world and left their friends forever. But by and by, as the familiar stars came out, and the moon's friendly face appeared, and the night came softly down on the sea, the ship ceased to seem so strange and looked very comfortable and pleasant, and when the morning came they did not look backward, but only forward, to that mysterious France toward which they were sailing, and which they reached after a pleasant voyage early in September.

Cartier had been gone four months, and his account of his voyage was so encouraging that it was decided to send out another expedition as soon as the winter was over. The Indian lads were well received at the French court. The king was very kind and condescending and generous, and told them that it would be his greatest pleasure to send over some of his subjects, and make all the Indians Christians. And the two boys, Taignoagny and Domagaia, looked at the silk and velvet robes of the French nobles, and at the diamonds and rubies that glittered in their sword-hilts, and at the king's beautiful palaces, and the marble cathedrals and splendid mansions of Paris, and decided that to be a Christian must be indeed a happy lot, and expressed their willingness to have their whole tribe converted as speedily as possible.

Their whole visit was a succession of wonders and delights, for France was more beautiful even than their wildest dreams of their own "happy hunting-grounds," where it was supposed that the Indians had everything they could desire. But what Canadian Indians had ever dreamed of such a land as this, with its fields of flowers, and miles of ripened grain, and sunny slopes purple with luscious grapes? Even the winter was pleasant, with but little snow and ice outside, and warm, comfortable rooms inside. Very different from their own winter, where the snow lay thick on the ground for months, and the rivers and lakes were frozen, and the pines and balsams hung thick with icicles whose musical tinkling seemed like a sad song for the summer that was gone. Yes, Cartier had told the truth, his king was very powerful and rich and great, and when the spring came and another fleet left St. Malo, Taignoagny and Domagaia were quite in love with France, and very eager for the voyage to be over, so that they could tell their friends all the wonderful things they had seen there.

Cartier and his companions were in fine spirits, for the voyage promised to be a fair one, and they were all sure that honor and wealth awaited them in the New World. In August they arrived at the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and passing Anticosti Island entered the mouth of a great river. Taignoagny and Domagaia said that the name of this river was Hochelaga, and that it came from a far distant country, and was so long that no man had ever seen the beginning of it. Cartier listened to this story with interest; the stream was so broad and deep that he thought perhaps it was not a river at all, but a strait, and that he had at last discovered the long looked-for passage to the East. But the Indians told him that as they went up the river it became narrower, and its waters changed from salt to fresh, and then Cartier saw that it could not be the wished-for strait, and so made no haste to follow its course.

He sailed slowly up the great river, which is now known as the St. Lawrence, examining the country on either side, and looking for a good place to spend the winter. He passed the Saguenay, and some distance beyond anchored at an island called by him Isle-aux-Coudres, because of the abundance of hazels, and after a short stay here, sailed still farther on and stopped at another island, which abounded in grapes and which he called Bacchus Island—now known as the Isle d'Orleans. Here he received a visit from the natives, a large number of whom had come from the shore in canoes to look at these white visitors.

Cartier invited them on board his ship, but they were afraid to come very near until Taignoagny and Domagaia appeared, and assured them there was no danger, and that the Frenchmen were friends. The Indians were rejoiced to see their two young countrymen again, and came crowding aboard the ships to hear their wonderful stories about France. Donnacona, the chief, made a long speech, in which he offered his friendship to Cartier and thanked him for his kindness to his young countrymen, and then kissed his hand and placed his arms about his neck in token of gratitude and trust, and then he invited Cartier and his men to his own home at Stadacona, a little village which stood where now stands the beautiful city of Quebec. The village stood on the cliffs, high above the river, which flowed beneath, and which formed there a pleasant and safe harbor for the ships. So Cartier accepted Donnacona's invitation and they all went to Stadacona, and spent some time there very pleasantly, getting acquainted with the Indians and learning their mode of living, listening to their stories of bear and deer hunts, and their accounts of snow-shoeing and tobogganing, and expeditions up the river and into the great forests all around.

Particularly they liked to dwell upon their battles with another great chief who lived farther up the river. This was Hochelaga, after whom the river was named, and who was the most powerful chieftain in the country. Donnacona was very jealous of him, and was therefore much surprised and grieved when one day Cartier said that he had made up his mind to go and pay Hochelaga a visit.

In vain Donnacona tried to make him believe that the way was long and dangerous, and that Hochelaga would probably take him prisoner and treat him and his men very cruelly. Cartier was all the more resolved to go. And then Donnacona resolved to play a trick upon him, and see if he could not frighten him from going to Hochelaga, and so keep all the shining looking-glasses and knives, and bright basins, and pretty glass beads for himself and his own people, for he could not bear to think that any of this wealth should fall into his rival's hands. So one afternoon, as Cartier and his friends stood looking over the sides of their ship, they saw a most horrible sight. A canoe pushed out from shore and approached the vessel. It was paddled by some disguised natives, and in it were three Indian devils. And dreadful devils they were—the Frenchmen had certainly never imagined such a kind before. Their faces were as black as soot, and they were dressed in black and white hogskins, and wore horns more than a yard long on their heads. And as they neared the ship they shouted and yelled in a very diabolical manner, and altogether acted as much like devils as they knew how. And crowds of natives followed them down to the bank, shrieking and howling and throwing up their hands, and then rushing back to the woods as if in great fright. Taignoagny and Domagaia, who stood by Cartier's side, also threw up their hands, and looking toward heaven declared that these devils had come from Hochelaga, and that the god Cudruaigny had sent them to warn the French that all who attempted to visit Hochelaga should perish on the way, for Cudruaigny would send snow-storms, and ice-storms, and cold piercing blasts from the north, and the French would all die miserably of cold and exposure.

But the French only laughed at the devils, and called Cudruaigny a "noddy," and said they had received word from heaven that the weather would be fair, and that they would all be defended from the cold, and so the Indian devils, who were no match for French priests, turned back to the shore, and the natives, giving three loud shrieks in token of their defeat, took the devils in their midst and began a wild dance on the beach; and the next day, when Cartier started for Hochelaga, they sent their good wishes with him, and promised protection to those who remained behind.

For days and days Cartier sailed along the beautiful banks of the great river, stopping now and then to enter the great forests which were full of all kinds of game, or to gather the wild grapes that hung full on every side; and everywhere the natives came down to the beach and greeted them pleasantly, and when they reached Hochelaga they found a great crowd of Indians waiting to receive them and lead them to their village. Cartier and his companions put on their velvet mantles, and plumed hats, and dazzling swords, and marched on with great pomp, followed by the admiring crowd.

The village was very pleasantly situated; in front flowed the shining waters of the Hochelaga, which was nearly a mile wide at that point, and behind, like a protecting spirit, stood the beautifully wooded mountain which Cartier called Mount Royal, a name which it still bears. The village itself stood in the midst of great fields of Indian corn, ripe for gathering, surrounded by palisades for defence against hostile tribes. There were about fifty huts, that of the chief being the largest, and situated in the centre near the great public square, where all the people now gathered and looked with wonder and reverence on these new-comers. And the mothers brought their little children in their arms, and begged that these white strangers would touch them, thinking in some strange way that even the touch of these wonderful visitors would bring blessing with it. They were quite ready to believe that these white men came from a land richer and greater than their own; indeed they would have believed that they came from heaven itself if Cartier had told them so, for all the Indians always worshipped beautiful objects, and they thought that men whose skin was soft and white, and who wore such rich clothing, must belong in some great land where men were nobler and better than poor half-clothed races like their own.

And so they brought their sick king and laid him down before Cartier, and asked him to touch him and heal him, and Cartier knelt down and rubbed the king's useless limbs and prayed over him; but more than that he could not do. But the sight of the kneeling Christians, and the sound of their prayers uttered to an unseen God, filled the Indians with awe: they too knelt down and looked toward heaven, and made the sign of the cross, and prayed as well as they knew how, that the strangers' God would pity them and heal their sick and lame and blind.

King Agouhanna then gave his crown of porcupine quills to Cartier as a token of gratitude, and as this was the only thing of the least value that the poor chief possessed, Cartier accepted it with great courtesy, and in return presented the tribe with some of those brass rings and brooches and beads and knives that Donnacona had tried in vain to keep for himself. And these made the Indians wild with joy, and so altogether the visit of the Frenchmen was a great success, and when they returned to Stadacona they told such stories of the kindness and good-will of the Indians at Hochelaga that Donnacona was quite devoured with jealousy and hated his rival more than ever.

The French built a fort now, and got ready to spend the winter comfortably, and their preparations were made none too soon, for in a few weeks the river had frozen over, and the ships lay buried in snow, and the strangers began to see a Canadian winter for themselves and judge how they liked it. Although very different from any winter they had ever spent before, it might have been a pleasant one had not a terrible disease broken out among the Indians, which soon spread to the French camp. In a short time twenty-four of Cartier's men had died, and the rest were all sick but three.

Cartier became afraid that the Indians would attack the fort and destroy his men, if they learned of their weakness, so he ordered them to keep away, and whenever any of them came near he had his men beat against the sides of their berths with sticks and hammers, so that the Indians would think they were at work. But the Indians, instead of meaning harm, thought only of doing good. As soon as they learned that the French had taken the disease they came to them and offered their own remedies, and tried in every way to be of use. The squaws brought to the camp the boughs of a certain tree and taught the French how to prepare tea from the bark and leaves, and this medicine was so powerful that in a few days all the sick became well, not only those who were suffering from this disease, but also those who were afflicted with any other malady. It is not known exactly what this tree was; it may have been the sassafras, or possibly the spruce; but whatever it was it cured the sick and the French were very grateful, and said that all the physicians in France could not have done as much in a year as these Indian squaws accomplished in one day by means of this wonderful medicine.

The French made a very cruel return for all the kindness they had received from their dark-skinned friends, for in the spring, when Cartier left Canada, he carried with him the good chief Donnacona and nine of his countrymen as prisoners to France. It was a very wicked and treacherous thing to do, for Cartier had invited the chief and his men on board the ships to take part in a feast that was being given in honor of his departure; but as soon as he saw that the Indians were in his power he gave orders for the ship to sail, and so Donnacona and his friends were carried away from their relatives, who stood crying and begging for mercy on the bank of the river, and that was the way the French left Canada and its friendly people, who had shown them nothing but kindness and trust.

It was not usual for Frenchmen to treat Indians in this way, for of all the Europeans who came to America the French were the most beloved by the natives. They were the only ones who could live peaceably side by side with their Indian neighbors, who grew to love and respect them, sometimes attending their churches and often bringing their children to be baptized by the kindly French priests, and Cartier being a Frenchman was afterward very sorry for the deceit he had practised, and, no doubt, would have taken Donnacona and his captive friends back again to Canada; but the Indians could not live in exile, and before long they had all died of homesickness except one little girl, who indeed grew up and married happily, but who still longed all her life for a sight of the wide shining river and the dark clustered pines of her native land.

Four years after, France made another attempt to settle Canada. Cartier then met with the reward of his former treachery. The Indians were no longer friendly, and refused to believe him when he said that only Donnacona was dead, and the rest were all married and living in France as great lords.

Besides, the French had been disappointed in not finding gold and silver in the country, and so after awhile Cartier's ship sailed back to France again, and it was nearly fifty years before another attempt was made to make a French settlement in the northern part of America.



About the middle of the sixteenth century a great religious quarrel arose in France, because some of the people wished to leave the Roman Catholic Church and found a new religion. These people were called Huguenots, and the king of France and the priests of the Church, and most of the great noblemen, thought they would be doing a very nice and good thing if they could make the Huguenots come back into the Church again and be satisfied with their old faith. So many cruel things were done by the king and his ministers, and the poor Huguenots had a very hard time of it. They were shot and burned and hanged—men and women and little helpless children; and the more Huguenots were murdered, the more the king thought that he was doing God good service.

But there was one great nobleman who thought the Huguenots were right, and joined himself to them and said he would give his money and his life to protect them. This man was Admiral Coligny; and as he was very rich and powerful he decided to send the Huguenots away from France to America, where they would be able to live peaceably, without fear of the cruel king.

So Coligny sent out some ships, carrying as many Huguenots as they could, to the New World, and every one thought that the trouble would be nicely settled in this way and that France was well rid of the Huguenots.

The company was commanded by John Ribault, a very good and brave man, and one not likely to be discouraged, for it needed a brave heart to lead these people so far from their loved France and find homes for them in a strange land. The voyage was very long and so stormy that it seemed sometimes they would never reach America at all, and they grew very tired of the sight of the sea, always so gray and threatening, looking like a great monster ready to devour them all; but at last, one beautiful spring day, as they stood looking wearily toward the west, a very fair and pleasant country met their view.

A shining, level beach stretched up and down, and behind this the land was green with great trees whose waving branches seemed to nod a welcome to the strangers. As far as they could see this beautiful forest was all that met their eyes, not a sign of hill or mountain; and the next day, when, after sailing along the coast a little way, they entered the mouth of a deep, broad river, and saw the fresh meadow grass, and smelled the perfume of the shrubs and flowers, they thought that they had been indeed led to a pleasant home, and hoped that their troubles were over. It was on the first day of May, 1562, that they landed on the banks of this river, and for that reason they called it the river of May—it is now known as the St. John. The Indians, no doubt, wondered very much to see these white strangers, but they received them very kindly and showed them by signs and gifts that they wished to be friends; they brought them finely-dressed skins, and leather girdles, and strings of pearls, and golden ornaments; and the French gave in return some colored beads and shining knives, and—most wonderful of all to the Indians—squares of tiny looking-glasses. These seemed very beautiful to the simple natives, who had never seen their faces before except in the clear waters of their lakes and rivers.

The second day after the landing Ribault set up a stone column on which were engraved the arms of France. He meant by this that he claimed all that country for the king of France, and for any Frenchmen who might want to come there and live, and that no other European nation would be allowed to settle there without his permission. The Indians did not in the least know what the stone column meant; they did not suppose for a moment that these kind-looking strangers, whom they had received so cordially, meant in return to take possession of their land just as much as if it had been given them by their chiefs. But this is just what the French did mean to do, and if the Indians had been unfriendly there would have been a great deal of trouble; but the natives of Florida were among the most peaceable of the Indian tribes, and they and the new-comers got along very peaceably and grew very fond of one another. Everywhere in America the Indians were treated better by the French than by any other nation, and wherever the French settled the Indians soon became their friends. So the Huguenots took possession of their new home and found living there very pleasant, indeed; and in fact they could scarcely have chosen a better place than this fair land, with its abundance of fruits, its rivers full of fish, and its forests abounding in animals, valuable for food and skins. But although this pleasant country seemed almost like heaven after the troubles they had had in France, still they were not satisfied. They noticed that the Indians wore ornaments of gold and silver, and that they had great strings of pearls and turquoises; and these things seemed, in the eyes of the French, of more value than anything else. And then, too, they had heard marvellous stories of Cibola, a place on the Pacific coast, where there were great cities with houses built of lime and stone, and whose inhabitants wore garments of wool and cloth, and decked themselves with turquoises and emeralds, and all their household utensils were made of gold and silver, and the walls of their temples were covered with gold, and their altars were studded with precious stones. A wonderful place was Cibola, containing, perhaps, a valley of diamonds and rivers of gleaming pearls. So they decided not to stay quietly here, but to look around a little and see if they could not find a place as rich in gold and silver and precious stones as Cibola itself.

They sailed up the Atlantic coast and found the country just as beautiful and promising as their first view of it, and found also the same kind welcome from the natives. By and by they entered the harbor of Port Royal, and it was decided that this would be a good place to make a settlement, leaving some of their number there while the rest returned with Ribault to France to report the success they had met with. It, perhaps, would have been better if they had all gone back home, for a very sorry time had those who were left behind. Instead of making provision for the future, they thought only of the gold and silver they might get, and depended entirely on the Indians for their food; and although the Indians were most generous, still their food gave out at last and the Frenchmen had nothing to do but wait for Ribault's return. But as the months passed and he did not come, they set off for France in a small vessel they had built, and after almost perishing of hunger and thirst, were picked up by an English ship and taken on their way. The feeble were sent on to France, but all the strong were taken to England as prisoners; and so ended the first attempt of the Huguenots to settle America.

But Coligny decided to try again, and in 1567 another company of Huguenots left France under the command of René de Laudonnière. They had a pleasant voyage and arrived in June at the River of May. As soon as they stepped on the shore they were greeted with shouts of welcome from the Indians, who came crowding around crying out Ami! Ami! the only French word they remembered.

How glad they were to hear this familiar greeting. Like their friends who had been there before, they felt that this pleasant place would be a haven of rest from the stormy times in France. Then Satournia, the Indian chief, led them to the stone pillar that had been set up two years before, and which they found crowned with wreaths of bay and having at its foot little baskets full of corn which the Indians had placed there. The simple-hearted natives kissed the stone column reverently and begged the French to do the same. And to please them the Huguenots also kissed the pillar on which were engraved the lilies of France, and it seemed for a moment as if they were back in their own loved homes again, peaceful and happy, and that all the trouble that the cruel king had caused them was only an ugly dream.

The next day the chief gave the new-comers a stately reception, for these Indian chiefs believed just as much in ceremony as did the great kings of Europe, and the Europeans who came to America were very much surprised to find such respect paid to rank and station. But this reception was something very different from any they had ever seen at a French court, gorgeous as they always were. Instead of a glittering throne and tapestry of cloth of gold, they saw a beautiful bower of trees and flowers. Dark pines and drooping palms formed a great, graceful arch, which was made still more beautiful with clusters of shining orange blossoms and heavy white magnolias. All the grass beneath was strewn with flowers, and the air was sweet with perfume, and thrilled with the songs of birds. The little Huguenot children, looking on this wonderful scene, thought it must be very pleasant to live in such a place as this, where one might have fruits and flowers all the time, and where even the grown-up men and women had time to take part in such festivities as they had never shared before, except on very rare fête days; and they looked shyly at their little dark-colored Indian friends and held their hands out to them, and they all clasped hands and stood there a very happy circle. Satournia stood under the shadow of the arbor and received his guests with great courtesy. He was clothed in skins so finely dressed that they were as smooth and soft as satin, and painted with strange pictures in bright colors, and so well were the pictures drawn and colored that the French said that no painter, no matter how great he might be, could find fault with them. And then the Indians gave their guests beautiful gifts, but the greatest gift of all was a great wedge of silver which was the present of Athore, the son of Satournia. Athore was a very handsome youth, and had gentle manners and a noble disposition; and as he stood there under the trees and offered the silver wedge to Laudonnière, the Frenchman thought he had never seen a more princely boy than this Indian lad, who had been brought up in the wilds of Florida.

The sight of gold and silver made the French very eager to leave this place, in search of the rich mines which the Indians said were in the interior of the country; and one party after another was sent out to find the treasures that they so much desired. The Indians were constantly telling wonderful stories of the wealth of other tribes, and advising the French to undertake expeditions against them. It was said that the Indians of one tribe wore complete armor of gold and silver, and that the women had ornaments and girdles of the same precious metals; and another tribe was so rich that they had a great pit full of gold for which they had no use; and above all, far back from the sea, were the Apalichi Mountains, which were as full of gold as the trees were full of blossoms.

But by and by the French began to suspect that the Indians were cheating them, and that they only told these stories in the hope that they would go away and leave them undisturbed. So fewer parties were sent out, and it was thought that they might better have planted corn and wheat than to have wasted so much time in a vain search for gold. By and by the men became dissatisfied and said that it was Laudonnière's fault that they had not done differently, and blamed him for not having provided for the safety of his people; and one of the men said that he had discovered by magic a mine of gold and silver which he would lead the rest to if they would kill Laudonnière, so that they might get the keys of the storehouse and provide themselves with food for the journey.

But this was not allowed by the officers, who loved Laudonnière too well to want to see him killed; but it was only the beginning of many plots and a long time of disappointment and discouragement, and it would have ended by their all going back to France again, just as the first Huguenots had done, had not an English fleet appeared, commanded by Sir John Hawkins, who gave them provisions enough to last them until they could get back to France. But before they sailed another fleet appeared, and as the ships came nearer they saw the French flag floating from the masts, and knew that help had come at last. This fleet was commanded by Ribault himself, and now it seemed that all their troubles would be over.

Ribault now took command, and knowing by experience that the search for gold and silver would only be vain and idle, began, instead, to make preparations for the coming winter, and to provide against the attacks of unfriendly Indians. And now it seemed that having been taught by their sufferings that only honest labor and good-will among themselves could bring comfort and peace, they really began this time in the right way.

But hardly had a week passed when the Huguenots learned that they were now to meet an enemy far more terrible than the Indians, and that all the trouble they had passed through would not compare with what was coming. It had been told in Spain that Coligny had sent out a party to relieve the Huguenots in Florida, and as the Spaniards were all Roman Catholics the news was received by them with anger and hatred, and they decided to send immediately a Spanish force to Florida in hope of reaching there before Ribault arrived. In this they did not succeed, as Ribault had already brought hope and comfort to the colonists before the Spanish ships appeared at the mouth of the River of May.

Ribault had left four of his ships there, and when they saw the Spaniards they sailed off to sea, knowing that was their only chance of safety. The Spaniards were commanded by Pedro Menendez. He told the captains of the French ships that he had come there by order of the King of Spain to burn and destroy all the Huguenots in the country. This terrible news reached Ribault, who was at the fort up the river, at the same time with the information that Menendez had landed his troops a few miles southward and was preparing to attack the fort. Ribault immediately decided to take the three ships he had with him and sail down to the mouth of the river, and with the help of the other French, who had come back as soon as Menendez left the River of May, fall upon the Spaniards before they had time to build a fort and destroy them. Laudonnière did not approve of this plan, as he said the ships might be scattered by sudden storms; but Ribault insisted that his plan was wisest, so he took all the best soldiers and sailed down the river, leaving all the women and children and sick at the fort, with only a few men to defend them. But the ships were scattered by storms just as Ribault was ready to make the attack, and Menendez then decided to march at once through the forests and reach Fort Caroline before Ribault could return there.

It was a very bold undertaking, as no one knew the way through the forests and swamps; but, as they were about to start, two Indians appeared, and were made to serve as guides, while a French deserter said he would show them where the fort could be most easily attacked. They marched two days through swamps and woods, drenched with cold rains and suffering from hunger; but their fear of Menendez kept them from turning back, and on the night of the second day they reached the fort, and halting before it stood knee-deep in water waiting for the daylight.

The storm had driven the French sentinels into the fort, and only one man was found at his post, when, at daylight, the Spaniards sent a small party to see if it were safe for them to advance. This man was immediately put to death, and then shouting "Santiago!" their terrible war-cry, the Spaniards rushed into the fort and began their work of destruction. They killed every one whom they could find—old men and feeble women and innocent children—and only those escaped who were able to steal away in the gray twilight of the early morning and hide in the woods and swamps.

And then Menendez, who thought he was doing God service by this cruel deed, raised a cross above the dead bodies, on which was written,

"I do this not as to Frenchmen, but as to Lutherans."

Which meant that he was not fighting against the French nation, but only against the Huguenots, who were also called Lutherans by the Spaniards and Germans.

Among those who escaped was Laudonnière. He was found in the swamp in the morning, and with the others who were left sailed for France in the two vessels that Ribault had left.

And now Menendez turned his attention to Ribault and his companions, who had been wrecked on an island. Ribault's party was divided by an inlet of the sea, and Menendez first attacked one part and murdered them all, and then attacked the remainder, among whom was Ribault himself, and binding their hands behind them led them to the place where their companions lay dead. Then Menendez gave them one chance for life. All who would promise to return to the Roman Catholic Church would be spared. But Ribault and his followers would not accept life on such terms; they answered that they were all Protestants. So Menendez gave the signal and all these Frenchmen were murdered also, and their bodies left exposed on the shore.

And then Menendez went through the swamp and forests of Florida hunting the Huguenots who were still at large, and finally after much trouble he succeeded in killing the most of them, so there were few Huguenots left except the fifers, drummers, and trumpeters, who were spared because they might be of service. Then Menendez returned to the settlement he had made, and with great pomp and ceremony took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. And then they sung the Te Deum and knelt down and kissed the crucifix, and were well satisfied with themselves, thinking they had done a great and glorious thing.

The Indians looked on wonderingly. It no doubt seemed very strange to them to see these two Christian nations so easier to kill one another. But the chief received the Spaniards kindly and gave them his house to live in, and then a fort was built, and from this humble beginning grew the city of St. Augustine, the oldest town in the United States.

The news of the massacre of the Huguenots reached France, but for a long time it seemed that nothing would be done to avenge it. The king cared very little how many Frenchmen where killed if they were not Roman Catholics, and the Huguenots themselves had no power to raise money and arms. But at length a brave soldier, Dominique de Gourgues, returning to France from foreign service, learned the terrible fate of his fellow-countrymen and resolved to punish their murderers. It is not known whether De Gourgues was a Catholic or Huguenot, but he cared little for difference of religion where the honor of his country was concerned. He said nothing of his plan, fearing the king might hinder him from carrying it out. He gave out that he was going on an expedition to the coast of Africa, and selling his estates and borrowing money from his friends he left France, August, 1564, with three ships, keeping his real destination a secret even from his own men. He really did go to the coast of Africa, and from there to the West Indies, and it was not until the next spring that he made known the real object of his leaving France. His ships were lying in a harbor at the western extremity of Cuba, and calling his men around him De Gourgues declared his intention of going to Florida and avenging the death of his countrymen, and asked how many of his soldiers were willing to accompany him. Not a man refused, and De Gourgues had, in fact, great difficulty in persuading them to wait until favorable weather for sailing, so eager were they to reach Florida and begin their work of vengeance. Every man felt, as De Gourgues repeated the story of the murder at Fort Caroline, that France had indeed waited too long to avenge this fearful crime.

De Gourgues sailed from Cuba, and as he passed the Spanish force at the mouth of the River of May, they saluted his little fleet, thinking that the ships were Spanish. He returned the salute, and then stood out to sea again, in order to deceive the Spaniards, and going north a few leagues entered the mouth of a small river. The Indians, thinking that the strangers were Spaniards, rushed down to the beach with shouts and yells of hatred, and prepared to prevent their landing. But no sooner did they see that the new-comers were French than they fell on their knees and kissed their hands and gave them every possible sign of welcome. And their joy was increased when they learned that they had come to make war upon the Spaniards, whom they feared and hated.

Satournia, the old friend of Ribault and Laudonnière, now welcomed their successor with the same marks of friendship he had shown them, and declared himself willing to join all his forces with De Gourgues in his attack upon the Spaniards. All the Indian warriors were called in, and at a solemn meeting they promised faith and help to the French, and as a proof of their good intentions the chief placed his wife and son into the hands of the French.

Then at a council of war they agreed that the French should go by sea and the Indians by land to a certain place farther south, where they would join forces and march to St. Augustine.

They met at the place appointed, and De Gourgues leading the French, and Olotocara, a nephew of Satournia, the Indians, they pushed forward toward the fort. As the Spaniards had done three years before, they had to wade through swamps and streams, and make their way through marshy forest lands, and their feet were bruised and bleeding, and their clothing torn, and their hands wounded with briers and nettles; but they did not care, but went on all through the night, and scarcely felt weary when at dawn they stood in front of the Spanish fort on the north bank of the River of May.

Only one sentinel stood there as the French and Indians came up in the gray light of the early day, and as he saw the stern faces of the enemy he no doubt thought of that other morning, three years before, when he had stood in the drenching rain waiting for the daylight to lighten the walls of Fort Caroline. But he was a brave man, and shouting that the French were upon them he turned his gun upon the enemy, and stood there bravely to defend the fort. But Olotocara springing upon the platform ran the sentinel through with a pike, and when the frightened Spaniards rushed out they were met by French guns and Indian arrows, and knew that the time for vengeance was come. They tried in vain to escape, and cried in vain for mercy; they were only met with scorn and hatred, and so swift and terrible was the work of destruction that in a few moments all the Spaniards were killed except fifteen, who were found and held as captives.

The Spaniards at the fort on the other side of the river knew that some stronger enemy than the Indians must be attacking their friends, but they could do little to help them, and in a short time were obliged to think of defending themselves, for no sooner had De Gourgues completed his work on the north bank than he took ship and sailed across the river, the Indians swimming by the side of the vessels in their eagerness to reach the fort. The Spaniards left their works and fled into the forest, where the Indians hunted them like beasts, and where their cry for quarter was met with the same pitiless response that had greeted the ears of their comrades. Fifteen of them were bound and their lives spared for a short time, and the rest were speedily murdered.

Still another fort remained to be taken. The Spaniards sent out from it a man disguised as an Indian to find out how many French and Indians there were; but the quick eyes of Olotocara saw through the cheat and the man was taken prisoner. There were three hundred Spaniards in the fort, and they might easily have overcome De Gourgues, who only had about a hundred men; but the Spaniards thought his force was far greater, and when, two days after, he appeared in the woods behind the fort, the Spaniards thought that a great part of his soldiers were still on the way, and sent out a party to scatter his forces before help could arrive. But De Gourgues managed to place some of his men between the fort and the Spaniards who had left it, and thus they were in danger of the fire from the fort as well as from the enemy in front. The French fell upon them with their swords, and not a man was left. The Spaniards in the fort, discouraged at this, sought refuge in the woods; but few if any escaped. Still the French cried no quarter, and still the Indians remembered the wrongs they had suffered and rejoiced that their enemies had fallen into their hands. When the dreadful work of death was over, De Gourgues hauled down the flag of Spain and raised the French banners on the fort, and then he had the prisoners brought before him, and told them he had come there to avenge the insult which France had received at their hands three years before. Then they were led to the same trees on which Menendez had hanged his prisoners, and over their heads was placed this inscription, "I do this not as unto Spaniards, but as unto traitors, robbers, and murderers."

And then they were all hanged, and De Gourgues thought his revenge was complete. The Indians were satisfied too. "I am willing now to live longer, for I have seen the French return and the Spaniards killed," said an old squaw, and that was the feeling of all her nation. De Gourgues did not remain long in Florida, and the Indians were very sorry to have him go, and parted from him with many kind words and promises of friendship; and the French, too, parted with regret from their dark-skinned friends, and promised soon to return and make their home among them, and so the fleet sailed away again, and reached France in safety, although the Spanish king hearing of the massacre of his subjects had sent a force to prevent its return home. But De Gourgues found that his brave deed was not approved by the King of France, and he soon had to leave court and live very quietly, lest his enemies should find out where he was. But everywhere throughout the world he was looked upon by the Protestants as a hero, and long years afterward the Indians in Florida remembered affectionately the man who had so bravely taken up the cause of the unfortunate Huguenots.



Sir Walter Raleigh was a brave English knight, the friend of Sir Philip Sidney, and like him renowned for his chivalry. The story is told that when he was a young man he happened one day to be standing on a street down which Queen Elizabeth was passing, and as she came to a crossing that was very muddy, Raleigh stepped to her side and taking off his cloak laid it down for her to walk upon. This act of courtesy was the first thing that made the queen notice him, and she immediately took him into her favor and helped him all she could, and her kindness was well bestowed, for Raleigh was always the courteous, noble-minded gentleman, ready to do any one a kindness, rich or poor, high or low, and to serve his friends and his country as far as was in his power. For a long time after the visit of the Cabots, Englishmen thought very little about the New World, but at length one or two voyages were made there, and after this people began to think that perhaps it would be a good thing to try to make settlements there.

Raleigh was among the first Englishmen who formed plans for the settlement of America, and as he was a great favorite of the queen, he had very little trouble in carrying his plans out. He was also very rich, and after obtaining permission from Queen Elizabeth to settle North America, he sent out two vessels under command of Amidas and Barlow. The ships reached the coast of Carolina in the month of July, 1584, and took possession of the country in the name of the queen. The land seemed to the voyagers like a glimpse of Paradise. They spoke with delight of the "sweete-smelling timber trees," and the abundance of grapes, and of the shady bowers which echoed to the music of wild birds, and of the gentle manners of the natives who seemed to live "after the manner of the golden age." They spent some weeks there trading with the natives, but did not try to make a settlement, and then returned to England, taking with them a cargo of furs and woods.

The queen was delighted to hear that the new country was so rich and beautiful as these sailors described it to be, and said that because it was discovered while she was queen her reign would be forever famous; the name given to the country was Virginia, in honor to the queen, who was unmarried. The sailors said that Virginia had a good soil and fine climate, and that the Indians were very kind and friendly. Raleigh was delighted to hear this, and immediately sent out another expedition which was to settle on Roanoke Island. But when the settlers arrived there they found that the Indians were not so friendly as at first; they got into a great deal of trouble with them, and as they had been getting all their food from the Indians they came very near starving. Instead of planting corn and grain they spent their time in searching for gold and silver mines, and just as they were about to give up in despair, a vessel stopped there on its way to England and the captain took them all back home again.

But Raleigh was not discouraged; he sent out another company, two years afterwards (1587), under John White. This company also settled on Roanoke Island and laid the foundations of the "City of Raleigh." And here, on this wild American island, where a few years before many brave Englishmen had been killed by the savage Indians, where there were only rough log-houses to live in, and where fierce wild animals roamed through the gloomy forests, was born one day a little baby girl. She was the granddaughter of Captain John White, the governor of the colony. This little girl was the first child born in America of English parents, and she was named "Virginia Dare." Some time after White had to go back to England for provisions; he was away three years, and when he returned to Roanoke every trace of the colony had disappeared. And to this day no one knows what ever became of the colonists, and of little Virginia Dare. It is supposed that they might have been carried away by the Indians and spent their lives as captives, but no one knows whether Virginia Dare grew up as an Indian maiden, far away from her friends and not knowing that she was the child of white parents, or whether, with all the rest of the colony, she perished by the hands of the Indians. All we know is that, more than three hundred years ago this little English maiden came to live a while on the Island of Roanoke, and that then she vanished as utterly as do the rain drops that fall into the sea, and only her name is remembered.



Pocahontas was a very beautiful child, and was so good and sweet that she was loved by all the tribe over which her father ruled. Her home was in Virginia, and a very happy life she led there, in the sunny woods, with the birds and squirrels for her companions; and in after years, when she went to live far away across the sea, the memory of her childhood home seemed the sweetest thing in the world to her, for it brought to her mind the songs of the birds, the beautiful flowers, the waving trees, the bright rivers, and the fair skies that she was so familiar with when she was a little happy child.

To have had a happy childhood is a very beautiful thing, it makes all after-life sweeter, it is like the first spring flowers which we gather in the meadow, and although by and by the snow will come and cover the place where they bloomed, it cannot take away the memory of their sweetness and loveliness, for that is in our hearts and will stay there forever.

So Pocahontas grew up in this pleasant home, and learned to embroider her dresses with shells, and to weave mats, and to cook, and to do all those things which Indian maidens were accustomed to.

One day, when she was about twelve years old, an Indian came into the village and told the people a story about a wonderful white man that had been captured some time before. It was said that he could talk to his friends many miles away by putting down words on a piece of paper, and he had a queer little instrument by which he talked with the stars, and he had told them that the earth was round, and that the sun "chased the night around it continually." They had never heard of such curious things before, and they decided that this strange being was something more than a mere man, and that perhaps it was in his power to bring good or evil upon them as he wished. So all the Indian priests and magicians met together and for three days practised all sorts of magic to find out from the invisible world what they had better do with their prisoner; and finally they decided to take him to the great chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, and let him decide for them.

Powhatan received the captive with great courtesy. He asked him about his life, and found that he was one of a company of men who had sailed from England to found a settlement in Virginia.

 Smith saved by Pocahontas

This man was Captain John Smith, a great soldier, who had already won much fame in fighting against the Turks.

He and his companions founded Jamestown, in Virginia, the first English colony which succeeded in America. While exploring the country he had been captured by the Indians. His companions were put to death immediately, but he saved his life by his presence of mind. When the Indians captured him he did not show any sign of fear, but began talking to them about his friends in Jamestown, and wrote a letter which he asked them to send there. Then he took out a pocket-compass and showed them how to use it, and also talked to them about the shape of the earth, and its motion around the sun.

All this surprised the Indians very much. They had never seen a written letter before, and they imagined it could only be done by magic, and they thought that if Smith were guided through the forest by means of the compass it was because he could talk to the stars and the sun. And then, had they not always been taught that the sun came up from the east in the morning, and went down in the west at night, never to return, but that a new sun came each day to light the world? So they listened to all these wonderful things with great awe and fear, and Powhatan and his council decided that it was not safe to let such a man live, as he might do them great harm, being so powerful and wise, and knowing so much about the unseen world. When Pocahontas was told that Smith must die, she felt very sad indeed. During the time that he had been a prisoner in the village she had grown very fond of him, as he also had of her, and it seemed a dreadful thing that such a brave and good man should die.

Many a story had he told her of the lands beyond the sea, where lived the little English boys and girls whom he had left behind him, and Pocahontas was never tired of listening to the tales of that fair England that Smith loved so well. How different it was from her own home, and how she would like to see those blue-eyed, fair-haired children, whose lives were so unlike her own. Ah, it was such a cruel thing to think that this good man must die. If she could only save him in some way, how glad she would be. And he was so brave too, he did not flinch when he was told that he must die—not even when he was told that he was to be put to death in the most cruel way that the Indians could think of. And so the Indian maiden grieved and grieved and tried to think of some way in which she might save her friend's life, but she could not.

At length the time came for his execution. He was brought out in the village square, and after his hands and feet were bound he was stretched on the ground with his head resting upon a great stone. Beside him stood an Indian with a great club in his hand with which he was to dash out the Englishman's brains. The club was lifted in the air and in another moment would have fallen upon Smith's head, had not Pocahontas, who at the last moment resolved to save his life at the risk of her own, rushed up to the spot and, clasping the captive's head in her arms, begged her father with tears in her eyes to spare his life.

Powhatan was touched by his daughter's sorrow and listened to her request; he ordered Smith's bonds to be taken off, and said that he would spare his life.

So Smith rose from the ground a free man, and with an escort of twelve men was sent back to Jamestown.

You can well imagine that he would never forget this brave, beautiful Indian maid who had saved his life. And many times after that he had reason to be grateful to Pocahontas. At that time the Jamestown settlement was in constant fear of attacks from the Indians, and more than once Pocahontas came through the forest at night to warn the English of danger, and Captain Smith said that, had it not been for her help, the Jamestown colony would have died of starvation. The Indians were very unfriendly and very unwilling to supply the English with food, and if Pocahontas and her father had not brought them corn they could not have gotten it anywhere else. Jamestown soon became as familiar to Pocahontas as her own father's home. She often went there to offer help and counsel to the colonists, and always showed the same fondness for Smith that she had shown in early childhood. Smith was obliged to go back to England after a while, to be treated for a wound, and after he went away Pocahontas did not visit Jamestown any more. The English told her that he was dead, and she could not bear to go there without seeing him. But he was not dead, and the two friends were to meet once more—not in Jamestown, it is true, but in England, where Pocahontas went as the bride of the young Englishman John Rolfe.

Rolfe loved the young Indian maiden dearly, but he could not marry her, as it was then considered very wrong for an Englishman to marry a heathen; but after a time Pocahontas became a Christian and was baptized under the name of Rebecca, and soon after she was married.

Powhatan and his chiefs were very glad of this marriage, as were also the colonists, and for many years after the Indians were more friendly. Pocahontas was taken by her husband to England, where she was received with great delight by the English court. The king and queen grew very fond of her and showed her every kindness that they could, and all the great English lords and ladies wished to see the Indian girl who had been so kind to their countrymen in Jamestown. As she was a princess she was called Lady Pocahontas, and every one was surprised that a girl who had been brought up in the society of cruel savages, should have such beautiful and gentle manners. They said that she acted more like one of their own English ladies than the daughter of an Indian chief, but Pocahontas was gentle-mannered because her heart was kind and good; not gentle birth but kind hearts make the truest ladies and gentlemen, and no lady of the English court could say that she had saved another's life at the risk of her own as could the Indian maid from across the sea. Pocahontas was much surprised to find Captain Smith alive and in England; she wept on seeing him, and begged him to let her call him father.

Smith told her that, as she was a king's daughter, this would not be allowed at the court; but she said that she must call him father and he must call her child, and that she would be his countrywoman forever. Smith wrote a letter to the king and queen asking them to receive Pocahontas kindly, and it was through him that she was so much noticed by the English nobility.

Her beauty and sweetness would have won their hearts, but it was the memory of what she had done for the English in Jamestown that made them so eager to be kind to her in return. Pocahontas did not stay very long in England, although she grew to love it dearly, and did not want to go away from the land where she had only known happiness and kindness. But her husband decided to return to Jamestown, and Pocahontas prepared to leave England with a heavy heart. She thought that they could be much happier there than in America, and she wanted to bring up her little son as an English boy, and did not want him to see all the cruelty and wickedness which she knew he would find in the wild life in Jamestown. So all things were made ready, and they left London and went to Gravesend, where they were to take ship for America. But, just as they were about to sail Pocahontas was taken ill and died; the English climate had been too severe for one born in the South, and so Rolfe and his little son went back to America alone, and the beautiful princess was buried in England, far from her own land; and her English friends mourned for the sweet Indian girl whom they all loved; and for years and years her story was listened to with admiration by the boys and girls in the homes of England, for it was the story of a brave and true heart, and such we must always honor.



Although the southern part of North America became very well known to Europe almost immediately after its discovery, yet many years passed away before the whites knew very much about the lands farther north. This was because in settling America the settlers thought more of finding gold and silver than any thing else. Gold and silver had been found in such quantities in Mexico and Peru, and Spain had grown so rich by conquering those countries, that no one thought it worth while to go to any place that had neither gold nor silver nor precious stones to offer. And then, besides this reason, the northern part of America did not have such a warm, delightful climate as the southern. In Florida one could live for the greater part of the year on the fruit, that was so abundant, and one scarcely needed a house where the summer lasted so long; but up in the north one must be well protected from the icy winds, must have heavy fur clothing and warm comfortable houses, and above all, must spend the spring and summer months in planting corn and grain for use in the long, cold winter; and so, as men knew living would be very hard work, and the chance of getting rich very small up there on those northern coasts, they stayed away, and long years passed before white settlers came to live among the beautiful mountains and valleys of New England.

The first people who came were the fisher-folk. They came from France, and spent the warm months in tossing on the waters around the coast of Newfoundland and Maine, taking in large cargoes of fish which they sold readily in European markets. When they went back home again they told very entertaining stories about the northern lands; of their great rivers that came rushing down from the north, and of the beautiful forests of pine and spruce, and of the pleasant inland lakes whose waters were so clear that one could see the pebbles on the bottom, and which were filled with delicious trout.

By and by these fishermen's stories attracted other people to those regions, and men began to go there not only to fish, but to trade with the natives; and gradually it came to be quite a general custom for the traders and fishermen to build a few warm huts and pass the winter on the shores of some sheltered bay, instead of going back to France at the first sign of cold weather. And here they learned many interesting things about the new country, and which made it seem quite worth living in. They learned how the Indian could start from the coast in his bark canoe, and, by means of those large streams, the Kennebec, and the Penobscot, and the lakes that they formed, reach easily the smaller rivers of Canada and so float down to the great Hochelaga or St. Lawrence; thus going from the Atlantic coast, through hundreds of miles of dense forest, to the large Indian villages of Hochelaga or Stadacona. Sometimes the traveller would have to carry his canoe from one lake to another, always a short distance, or around the rapids or waterfalls of the narrowing river; but with these exceptions the journey was made entirely by water. And as the Indians of Canada and those of Maine were constantly trading with one another, the whites soon saw that a country where distant places could be so easily reached, and whose fine forests, and rich furs, and excellent fisheries could be had for the taking, was not so poor after all, and that perhaps they might as easily draw gold from the sea, or find it in the sweet-scented woods, as by wandering through the marshes of Florida, or on the banks of the Mississippi.

And so, little by little, the French king began to believe that it would be a very good thing for France to own and settle Maine and Canada, or, as all the northern part of America was then called, New France; and in 1604 Sieur De Monts, a Huguenot nobleman, sailed from Havre de Grace for the purpose of making a French settlement in Acadia. With De Monts came his friend Jean de Biancourt, Baron de Poutrincourt, also a Huguenot, who wished to find a new home in America, where he would be free from all the religious troubles that were constantly vexing him in France. Samuel Champlain was also one of the company, and as he had been on several voyages before, and knew the country and people better than the others, he was looked upon as a very important member.

The ships reached Nova Scotia without any mishaps, and Poutrincourt, who was delighted with the country, got permission to settle here, and began the foundation of his new home. He had chosen a delightful spot, and for many years lived there peacefully and happily, cultivating the rich soil, and showing the Indians how to improve their own way of farming. And although Poutrincourt was a loyal Frenchman, still he never looked back regretfully to France, for he found, amid the pleasant meadows and blossoming orchards of Acadia, a greater peace than he had ever known in his old home. The Indians all loved him, and the little Indian children came and went freely through the halls of his stately mansion, often lying at his feet while he was dining, and catching in their little dark hands the nuts and raisins which he threw them as their part of the dessert.

Very pleasant indeed would the settling of Maine have been if all Frenchmen had possessed as good and true hearts as Poutrincourt; but when De Monts, who had settled first at the mouth of the St. Croix, went sailing around the coast of Maine to find a better place, he found that the white visitors before him had left a bad name among the Indians, who came down to his ship with scowling faces and angry gestures; and so, although De Monts saw many pleasant spots up among the deep sheltered bays, and would have been very glad to settle there and hunt and fish, yet the natives seemed so unfriendly that he gave up the idea and went back to St. Croix for awhile, and then finally sailed across the bay and settled at Port Royal, in Acadia, the home of Poutrincourt.

But Champlain could not remain content with the idle life that was led there. He was constantly making expeditions into the great forests, and learning all that he could about the country; he went back to France too, and while there a company of merchants employed him to explore the country from Maine to the St. Lawrence. He started off on his travels as soon as he returned to America, and pushing through the forests of Maine and Canada, travelling for the greater part of the way in an Indian canoe, came at last to the St. Lawrence, and floating down the mighty stream to Stadacona, the old resting place of Jacques Cartier, built there a fort in July, 1608. Here he remained for many months, visiting all the country round, going up and down the St. Lawrence, and learning its islands and tributaries, and giving names to rivers, islands, and lakes which they keep to this day. In the spring the men laid out garden plots and planted them carefully, so that they would have corn and vegetables for the next winter; and as soon as the planting was done, and everything in good order, Champlain started off on one of his trips, which proved to be the most interesting he had ever undertaken.

He was accompanied by a large party of his men, and in his journey met, as agreed upon, the Indians of Canada in an expedition against the Iroquois, the tribes of what is now known as New York State. He met his Indian friends at the mouth of the Iroquois River, now called the Richelieu; they were very glad to see him and his men, for they knew that they would be of great help in the coming battle, and probably be the means of their defeating the Iroquois. Champlain noticed the beauty of this river, which he had never sailed on before, and asked his guides where it came from. They told him it came from a beautiful lake not very far away, and which he could easily reach with his vessel. But he soon found that this was not true: the river grew narrower and narrower, and the bed became so rocky and steep that the Indians at last confessed that they had deceived him in the hope that he would join in the coming battle. But as soon as Champlain saw that he could not reach the lake in his own vessel, he sent it back to Quebec, only being able to persuade two of his men to go on with him. The rest of the journey was made in the canoes, and although there were many dangerous places in the river—falls and rapids and immense boulders that almost blocked the way—still, by landing and carrying the canoes around the worst places, they at last came to smooth water without having lost a single boat. And then Champlain saw, as they floated into this shining stretch of water, that of all the lakes he had seen in Maine or Canada none was so beautiful as this. For miles and miles ahead its waves glistened in the July sunlight, and everywhere lovely islands appeared; the shores were bordered with magnificent trees and covered with luxuriant vines; on one side rose the wooded heights of Vermont, and on the other the white peaks of the Adirondacks, and as the admiring party slowly coasted along, visiting the little bays and islands, and gathering the wild flowers and strawberries that grew in abundance, they felt well rewarded for their difficult journey.

Champlain gave the lake his own name, which it bears to this day in honor of its great discoverer.

Two or three days passed very peacefully, and it seemed they had only come to that beautiful place for quiet and enjoyment; but one evening, just as the dusk was creeping over the lake, they saw the dark faces of the Iroquois looking down at them from the leafy heights above. The Canadian Indians gave a shrill cry at the sight, and all that night the two tribes shrieked defiance at one another, and waited impatiently for the sunrise, which was to be the signal for the battle to begin. At break of day the Iroquois stood ready for battle, awaiting the attack of the Canadians, who all this time had kept Champlain and his friends hidden from the sight of their enemies. Now they formed in ranks, still keeping their white friends concealed, and marched slowly toward the Iroquois, who were eager for the fight. But before a single arrow was shot the ranks of the Canadians opened, and Champlain came coolly to the front and fired his gun. The Iroquois were terrified, having never before seen such a weapon, and when they saw that two of their number were wounded, they became still more afraid; and thinking that Champlain was a god, and held a magic instrument in his hand against which it would be useless to fight, they turned and fled into the woods, pursued by the Canadians, who were delighted at the success of their trick, and shrieked out their joy over their easy victory. But the Iroquois went on, not heeding their enemies' triumphant cries, and did not consider themselves safe until they reached their own peaceful valleys, hidden away among the Adirondacks; and years and years after that the children of the tribe, as they gathered the water-lilies from the beautiful mountain lakes, or wandered among the woods plucking dainty flowers and waxen Indian pipes, would tell with wonder and awe the story of the great white god and his magic weapon, and how by his aid the brave Iroquois, always before victorious in battle, had been defeated on the shores of that distant lake which lay beyond the slopes of their snow-capped mountains.

But the Canadians went home rejoicing, and Champlain went back to Quebec, and told of his discovery, and placed the new lake on his maps with much pride, and wrote in his journal an account of his journey thither, which, when the French people at home read it, pleased them so much that they were more determined than ever that the whole of that beautiful region should belong to France, and to no other country. And Champlain lived in honor at Quebec until his death, in 1635; but his name will never be forgotten, for it is heard year after year, and echoed again and again, among the trees that fringe the shores, and the mountains that overlook the beautiful lake that he discovered.

But in the meantime the English had not been idle. The year after De Monts left France the English also sent an expedition to the northern part of what they then called Virginia. The leader was George Weymouth, and the name of the vessel was the Archangel. After a pleasant voyage they landed in May on Monhegan Island, south of Maine, near Pemaquid Point. After the long sea voyage the men were glad to get on land again, and delighted with the island, which had fine shade trees, cool streams of fresh water, and was covered with gooseberries, strawberries, roses and violets, which grew down to the water's edge. But pleasant as this was, they made only a short stay here, and went on along the coast and up some of the large rivers to find a good place for a settlement. They sailed in and out among the many bays, and everywhere found the country as pleasant as their first view of it. Everywhere were good harbors, forests full of deer and other game, trees for ship-building, acres and acres of fertile ground for raising crops, and miles of meadow land, through which ran the brooks that had come rushing down from the high lands. The men declared that the peas and barley grew half an inch a day, and said that it was impossible to describe the beauty and goodness of the land.

The Indians, too, were of orderly and peaceful habits, the different tribes living for the most part very quietly. The principal tribe was the Abnakis, and it was their custom to dwell in villages and to till the soil. The principal villages were on the banks of the Kennebec, the Androscoggin and the Saco. They were all enclosed with high palisades for defence against enemies, and the wigwams were very comfortable, being built of bended poles and covered with bark and moss. These Indians had gardens well laid out in regular manner, and raised corn and peas and beans. They prepared the ground as soon as the snow melted, and planted their corn early in June, making holes in the ground with their fingers or with little sticks.

The Abnakis were also fond of ornamenting their dress with fringes of feathers and shells and stones, and always wore a great number of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and belts embroidered with shells and pearls. But the English never could win the Indian hearts as the French could. They never trusted them as they trusted the French, and when trouble arose between the English and French for the possession of Canada, the Indians always were ready to join with the French against the English, and showed their hatred and distrust in very cruel and savage ways. One reason for this was, that the French tried to win the Indians by kindness; they did not show that contempt for them which the English nearly always showed, and they tried in every way to be just in their dealings with them. They learned the different Indian languages so that they could talk easily with the natives, and in naming rivers and bays and islands, they kept many of the poetical Indian names, which the English would never take the trouble to learn to pronounce. And then, too, it was always very easy for the French to adopt the habits of the Indians. Frenchmen would sleep in wigwams and eat Indian bread, and wear the Indian dress, travel in birch-bark canoes, and hunt Indian fashion. All this was very different from the English, who, wherever they went, changed the names of places for English names, and insisted on the Indians learning the English way of doing things.

And so the Indians grew to love the French, who were always kind to them in health, and whose gentle priests nursed them carefully in sickness; and by and by they came to learn many useful things, and to adopt many French customs, which linger among their descendants to this day.

But all this made it very much harder for the English who tried to settle that part of the country, and Weymouth and his friends soon found that the natives looked upon them with distrust and dislike; and very good reason they had for this, as the English captain, the first chance he got, kept five Indians who had come on board his vessel and carried them off to England.

Here they were looked upon as great curiosities. Great crowds followed them about the streets, as they walked through London wrapped in their skin mantles, and with their strange head-dress of quills and feathers; and none the less curiously did the Indians look at the Londoners, and at the fine buildings and palaces which adorned their famous city.

The returned seamen reported that the coast of Maine would be an excellent place for an English settlement, and gave wonderful descriptions of the fine climate, rich soil, and good fishing, and praised the country so much that from their accounts, and from the stories of the kidnapped Indians, some English gentlemen decided to begin a settlement there at once. There were plenty of men willing to go to a place where the sailors said one could gather pearls on the beach, and where the trees oozed gum as sweet as frankincense, and very soon a ship was sent out to explore the country still farther, and take Nahanada, one of the captive Indians, back to his tribe at Pemaquid.

In 1607 two other ships left England also, and on one of them was the Indian Skitwanoes, who was to act as guide and interpreter.

They landed in July, and immediately received visits from Indians on the coast who came to trade; and after spending a week in visiting the islands near, a boat was sent up the river to an Indian village in Pemaquid. Skitwanoes went with this party to show them the way, and had it not been for his presence the English would have been met with a shower of arrows, for as soon as they came in sight of the village the Indians started up, and snatching up their bows, would have begun fighting at once, had not Skitwanoes stepped in front of the party and called the angry chief by name. It was Nahanada, the Indian who had been sent back from England the year before; as soon as he recognized Skitwanoes and saw that his friends were Englishmen, he dropped his weapons and went up to his visitors, and welcomed them and kissed them in true Indian fashion. After a pleasant visit of some hours they returned to the ship, and in a few days, after choosing a good spot on the banks of a river, built a fort and some houses, and the place soon looked like a thriving little settlement. Some timber was cut and seasoned for the building of a ship, which was named the Virginia, the first vessel ever built by English settlers in America.

The Indians looked on all these preparations with wonder. For the first time they saw substantial houses that would protect the inmates from snow and cold; and the fort, with its twelve mounted guns, looked as if the new-comers meant to stay, and if need be fight for the new homes that had been made with such trouble. But there was one thing the natives could not understand, and that was what right these white men had to come and take away one of their favorite spots, and make it their own without paying for it, or even asking for it. It seemed to them very unfair that they must lose their property in this way, and they soon began to show the settlers that they were very much displeased. They became very troublesome, refused to trade with the English, and showed their ill-will in many ways; and this was very discouraging to the English, who wanted to get along peaceably; and so many of them, before the winter was over, became disheartened at the thought of living in such a cold, dreary region, surrounded by bitter foes, and sailed back to England again in the Virginia, on her first voyage to the old country.

As time went on the Indians grew more and more troublesome, sometimes even coming inside the fort; and once the settlers became so angry that they set the dogs on them and drove them back to the woods. But this only made matters worse, and when a party went up the river to explore the country, they found that the other tribes were just as unfriendly, and that, excepting the chief Nahanada, they had not a friend among the natives.

The second winter was as severe as the first, and quite discouraged the colonists, who could get very little to eat, as their storehouse had been burned by the Indians; and so when spring came and they had a chance to leave Maine they all went back to England, and the settlement of Maine by the English was given up for many years. The next attempt to settle this coast was made by the French, who, not satisfied with claiming Acadia and Canada, wanted also to get possession of Maine, which had been so often described as a good place for settlement. In 1613 Madame la Marquise de Guercheville, a wealthy Catholic, and some French priests sailed from France to make a settlement at Kadesquit on the Penobscot; but, arriving at the coast in a heavy fog, they did not reach the mouth of the Penobscot, and, after waiting two days for the fog to lift, found themselves near Mt. Desert island. The grand and beautiful scenery of this island pleased them so much that they sailed up into Frenchmen's Bay, and made a landing on the coast, intending to stay there awhile before going on.

A number of Indian villages were scattered over the island, and as soon as the French landed they saw smoke arising, and knew by that that the natives had seen them, and that the smoke was meant for a signal; so they built a fire in answer, and the Indians soon came flocking down to the beach in great haste to see the strangers. One of the priests, Father Biard, had met some of these Indians before on his former visit to the Penobscot, and he now asked them the way to Kadesquit. But the cunning Indians did not want their white visitors to go on to Kadesquit; they wanted them to stay there with them, so they told them that their own island was a much better place than Kadesquit. They pointed to the mountains covered with spruce and pine, and to the sparkling brooks, fringed with delicate wild flowers, and to the moss-covered rocks, and clusters of dainty ferns, and said that this fair spot was as healthful as it was beautiful, and that all the neighboring tribes sent their sick to them to be cured by the pure air and delightful waters. But Father Biard was quite determined to go on to Kadesquit, and the Indians, seeing this, gave up coaxing and instead begged of him to visit their sick chief, who, they feared, was going to die. Kind Father Biard consented very willingly to go and see the sick man, and when he reached his home, which was on a bay in the eastern part of the island, he found the place so beautiful that he quite gave up Kadesquit, and decided to stay there.

So they raised a cross, built some huts, and planted corn, for it was in the early summer, with many long months of warm weather still to come.

But the settlement that was begun in such pleasant weather, and with such good will from the natives, came soon to a sad end; for an English captain from Jamestown, who was sailing along the coast, was very angry when he found that the French had begun a settlement, and asked the Indians to show him the way thither; and they, thinking that the English and French were friends, and that the captain wanted to get provisions from the priests, led the way, and, as most of the French were away from the camps, the captain had no difficulty in seizing the place, and in two days he had plundered it of everything, and, driving some of the men away in a boat, took Father Biard and the rest with him to Jamestown; the English governor there said that the captain had done quite right, and sent him back to destroy all the French settlements in Acadia too. The captain was very glad to do this, and landing first at Mt. Desert, he cut down the French cross, and then went on his way to Port Royal, where Poutrincourt's son, Biencourt, was ruling; and here the English did as they had done at other French settlements on their way, for Biencourt had few men and could make no resistance. The English destroyed Port Royal, its fort and monuments and church, and even chiselled out the name of De Monts that was engraved in a stone column, and so the French were driven out of Acadia, and not a single cross remained upon the coast of Maine to show they had ever been there.

The English themselves did not make any permanent settlement there till 1629.



Henry Hudson was the first white man who ever sailed up the Hudson River. He was an English sailor in the service of the Dutch, who sent him on a voyage to North America. While sailing along the Atlantic coast he entered the bay of New York, and passing inland discovered the beautiful river that bears his name. He was charmed with its clear waters and banks which were covered with grass and flowers and trees, and said that the country through which it flowed was "as beautiful as one could tread upon."

The vessel was called the Half Moon, and had a crew of English and Dutch—Hudson's own son being of the number. As they sailed up the river the Indians put out from the shore in their canoes and paddled up to the Half Moon. Hudson would not let them come on board at first, as one of his sailors had been killed by an Indian; but as they seemed very friendly, the sailors at last grew less timid, and traded with them, giving them beads, knives, hatchets, etc., for the grapes, pumpkins, and furs which they brought, and after a time Hudson and his men went on shore and visited the country around.

 The Half-Moon in the Hudson

Hudson sailed up the river as far as he could with the Half Moon, and then sent a small boat as far up as Albany. He was hoping to find a strait through which he could sail to India; but of course he did not find that, so he turned back and sailed down the river again, and out into the ocean and back to Holland.

Some time after he came back to America, and, sailing to the north, discovered Hudson's Bay; while here his men became angry because they did not wish to go any farther in such a region, and taking Hudson and his son and a few others, they bound them and put them in an open boat and set them adrift in the sea. No one ever heard of them again. It is supposed that the boat was dashed to pieces by the floating ice, and that the bold sailor and his companions perished; but in the old stories of the Hudson the legend runs that he and his companions did not die, but found their way down to the Catskills and Highlands; and when it thunders they say it is Henry Hudson and his crew rolling their ninepins among the hills.

How that is we do not know. If the brave sailor and his friends really are living there yet, why, we must admit they could not have chosen a lovelier place, for nowhere in the world is a fairer spot than where the Hudson goes down to the sea, passing on its way the misty blue Catskills, rich with stories of fairies and legends of the old Dutch sailors, and the beautiful Highlands, which stand strong and firm, as if protecting the bright river that sweeps around their base.

This happened over two hundred and seventy years ago, in the year 1609, two years after the settlement of Jamestown by the English.

About five years after a company of Dutch came to trade with the Indians, and just as their ship was ready to sail home again it caught fire and burned up; so they had to stay all winter with the Indians. They had landed on Manhattan Island, on which the City of New York now stands, and from this time the Dutch began coming there to trade with the Indians, and after a few years they bought the island, paying about one hundred and twenty-five dollars for it.

The little Dutch children used to do very much as the little New York children do now. They had their lessons and their games; and although they learned in a different way and about different things, still they played a good deal and worked a very little, as is the way of children all the world over.

Perhaps, though, you would like to imagine yourself a little Dutch child living in New York (or New Amsterdam, as it was then called, after the city of Amsterdam in Holland) over two hundred years ago.

Well, in the first place, you would not be living in a tall, narrow house of brown stone or red brick, standing in a row with thirty other houses just like it. You would be living in a wooden house with a gable roof like a country church, and the ends of the house would be made of black and yellow bricks. Over the door would be some iron letters telling when the house was built, and on the roof a gay weather-cock would be standing. When you came in from the street on a winter day and wanted to warm yourself, you would go up to a great open fireplace and sit up in the corner of it, close to where the great logs of wood were burning.

The fireplaces were all tiled as many of those in new houses are now, only the tiles then were all arranged so as to tell some story, usually from the Bible, and around one fireplace you would read the story of Noah and the Ark; around another, the story of the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea, and so on.

The floors were not covered with carpet, but every day they were sprinkled with fresh white sand, and the little Dutch girls were taught how to draw pretty figures on the sand with their birch brooms; and at night, when they gathered around to listen to the stories of the Catskill fairies, the room would not be lighted with gas or lamps, but with great pine knots or tallow candles, which with the flames from the wood fire made the room full of queer shadows; and I do not doubt that oftentimes the little girls and boys were just a little bit afraid to go to bed after listening to some of these tales of Hendrick Hudson and Rip Van Winkle, and their queer adventures among the mountains up the river.

But the best time in all the year was at Christmas, when the Dutch kept the feast of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas. What a gathering then of all the little folks! what games were played over the nicely sanded floors! and what a treat to sit around the great fire and eat the sweet cakes and crullers, which no one but Dutch mothers knew how to make so well! And you must remember, when at Christmas you have your Christmas tree and invite your little friends to come and spend the evening with you, that you are doing the very thing that the little Dutch boys and girls did in New Amsterdam over two hundred years ago; and when your mamma stands in the parlor on New-year's-day ready to receive callers, she is doing just what the Dutch mammas did so long ago; and at Easter when you have presents of colored eggs and ask your playmates to hunt for the nests which you have hidden away, remember that this, also, was a Dutch custom, for the Dutch were great people for holidays, and to this day many of the Dutch manners and customs are to be found among the New Yorkers who are proud to claim descent from the honest and hospitable Knickerbockers, who looked on life as a thing to be enjoyed, and who have left such pleasant customs to us, as the keeping of Christmas, New Year, Easter, and other holidays.

One morning, about fifty years after the Dutch first settled on Manhattan Island, a fleet of English vessels was seen in New York Bay, and by and by a letter was brought from the English commander to Peter Stuyvesant, the governor of New Amsterdam, asking him to give the town up to the English. The English king, Charles II., thought that as the Cabots had first discovered this part of America, the English had more right to it than the Dutch, and he sent a fleet across the sea and demanded the Dutch to give up the town.

Governor Stuyvesant got into a dreadful rage at this, and stumped wrathfully around on his wooden leg, and threatened dreadful things if the English did not hoist sail and go away again; but it all did no good; the Dutch people themselves thought that they would be better governed, and also better protected from the Indians, if they were ruled by the English; so they made Governor Stuyvesant give their city up to the English, who changed its name to New York, in honor of the king's brother, the Duke of York, to whom the king had given all the Dutch possessions in America. But for years and years the Dutch language and customs held their own in the city, and there are many things about it still which show that it was originally a Dutch settlement.



About two hundred and fifty years ago, there was living in England a class of people who did not think it right to worship God in the same way that most of the English nation did: they did not believe in building so many fine churches and cathedrals, or in having so much chanting and singing in the service; they did not like to see the priests, dressed in rich robes, standing before magnificent altars whereon candles blazed and incense burned. They said that this was all wrong, and that the money that was spent in fine churches and music and candles was only wasted, and that such things were not pleasing to God; and above all they did not believe many of the things which the English Church held sacred. So all these people refused to go to church; they stayed at home and had meeting at their houses, much in the same way that people now, who live far away from churches, meet at one another's houses and have prayer-meeting.

But the king of England, James I., said that these people had no right to stay away from church, and he made a law which said that every one who did not go to church should be punished.

These punishments were very severe, and the people were even sometimes afraid of their lives. After this law was passed they did not dare any more to go to meeting openly, but used to meet at night at their minister's house.

At last things got so bad that they decided to go away from England, and find some place where they could worship God as they thought right; so they sold their houses and lands, gathered their families together, and one day sailed away for Holland.

The king's officers, however, were looking out for them, and some of them were captured before they could get on the ship and taken to prison, where they were kept many weary months; but finally as many of these people as wanted to found their way to Holland. Here they lived very quietly for eleven years, the Hollanders being very willing to have them among them, as they were a very peaceable, honest, and kindly people.

But after a time the Pilgrims—for so these people were called—did not like it so well in Holland as they did at first, for they found that their children were growing up to be Dutch children instead of English; their sons and daughters began to marry into the families of their Dutch neighbors, and they feared that in a few years they would no longer consider themselves English. The Pilgrims were still very fond of England and everything English. Their language and customs were still dear to them, and they considered themselves Englishmen in every way.

So the principal men met together and talked the matter over, and at last decided that they would leave Holland and seek some other place where their children would hear only English spoken and learn only English habits.

As they could not think of any place in Europe where it would be safe for them to go, they all agreed that the best thing for them to do would be to sail away across the ocean to the New World, where they would be free to worship as they pleased, and where they would make a little colony by themselves.

There were so many Pilgrims in Holland at this time that they could not all go to America at once, as they did not have enough ships or money to undertake such a voyage; so they chose some of the youngest and strongest who were most willing to go, and one sunny morning in the month of July, 1620, a little ship sailed away from Holland, carrying with it the brave-hearted Pilgrims who were so determined to seek a home across the sea.

The voyage was very long, the weather cold and stormy, and many times the little Mayflower seemed to make no headway against the rough winds and waves; but at last, after long waiting, they saw the shores of the New World. For a month they sailed up and down the coast looking for a good place to land. They had expected to go to the Hudson River, but the storms drove them farther north, and the first land that they saw was the coast of Massachusetts.

It was not a very pleasant-looking country—with low sand hills, and no sign of grass or flower; but the pines looked fresh and green, and the Pilgrims were determined not to be discouraged. They sent little expeditions to the shore to look for a good place to land, and finally one day they all left the ship at a place which Captain John Smith had named Plymouth, and here they resolved to stay.

If you should ever go to Plymouth you would see in the Hall there some of the curious old furniture which the Pilgrims brought with them—old-fashioned armchairs and queer spinning-wheels, ladles, wooden spoons, a great iron dinner-kettle said to have been owned by Miles Standish, and the "samplers" which little Lora Standish worked. Perhaps the thing that you children would like best would be the old-fashioned cradle wherein slept the little Peregrine White, who was born on board the Mayflower. It is not a very fine cradle, not trimmed with silk and dainty laces, but the little English baby slept in it very comfortably, and every one will admit that it is the most interesting cradle in America to-day.

It was on December 21st that the Pilgrims landed, and you can imagine how cold and bleak it was down there by the sea; the first thing they did was to build a house, a large one that would hold them all; and they lived in this until they had time to build separate houses for the different families. These houses were built of logs, having tiny little windows in which oiled paper was put instead of glass. As soon as they could they built a church, of logs also, with four cannon on the top, to defend it from the Indians.

The Pilgrims had a very hard time of it that first winter, they suffered very much from the cold and from sickness, and, worst of all, they had scarcely enough to eat; nearly one half of them died before spring, but the rest were still not discouraged. They lived on game, killing deer and wild turkeys, and besides, being so near the sea, they could catch fish. As soon as the weather grew warm enough they planted corn, and after that they got along much better.

Seven or eight years after the Pilgrims landed, another company of English people came to America; they, like the Pilgrims, left England because they could not worship there in the way they thought right.

These people were called Puritans, but it made very little difference whether they called themselves Pilgrims or Puritans; they were all alike Englishmen and had come to America for the same purpose; they all suffered the same hardships and endured them bravely, for wherever the Englishman goes he takes a brave heart with him.

The Puritans, looking for a good place for settlement, chose the peninsula of Shawmut, or Tri-mountain, which they found to be a place of "sweet and pleasant springs, and good land affording rich corn-fields and fruitful gardens," and here, in September, 1630, were laid the foundations of the City of Boston.

For many years the colonists could not raise any cattle on account of the wolves which roamed day and night through the forests. The Indians were sometimes friendly and would bring them corn, which the settlers would pay for in clothing, knives, etc.; it is said that once one of the Indians gave a settler a peck of corn in exchange for a little puppy-dog. Whenever food was scarce they all shared alike, so that no one had more than another, and after a time, as they began to raise more crops and as the forests became cleared, they got along very nicely and lived as happily in their log-houses as if they had been marble palaces.

To-day New England is famous for its beautiful villages, with their broad streets shaded with elms and their wide pleasant lawns and comfortable houses; but if you could have seen a New England village two hundred and fifty years ago, it would have been a very different thing.

If you had lived in those days your home would have been a log-house on the edge of a great deep forest. Imagine these little English boys and girls going to bed in a room where the snow could drift in through the cracks, and where they could hear the wolves howling in the forests. How afraid they must have been, and how they must have snuggled under the covers and covered up their faces.

Imagine going to a little church built of logs and having a flag waving from it, and cannon in front of it to protect it from the Indians. Sometimes the people were called to church by the beating of a drum, and every man carried his musket with him, as no one knew when the Indians might come. In these queer little churches, families did not sit together as they do now, but the men sat in one place, the women in another, and the children in another. There was always a man to keep the children in order, and well he did it too. No child dared smile in church, or he might be rapped on the knuckles for it. Every one had to go to church, whether he wanted to or not; if any one was absent the "tithing man" was sent after him, and for many years after this custom was given up, the New England mothers used to frighten their children by telling them that the "tidy man" was coming when they were naughty.

These children used to go to school in queer little log school-houses, and school was not the pleasant place to them that it is to you. Everybody had to be as solemn there as possible, and all the pupils used to sit up stiffly and primly, and look as grave as little owls, for the schoolmaster was feared and respected next to the minister, and no New England child in that age would have thought of even smiling if the minister were present. The fathers and mothers were very solemn people too—life was such a serious thing to them, they thought it wicked to waste time amusing children. They did not even keep Christmas for many years, and the Puritan children did not know as much about Santa Claus as you do about the man in the moon.

You must not think, however, that they were unhappy; children always find some means of having a good time, even if fathers and mothers are stern and sober people; and the Puritan fathers and mothers loved their children just as much as the Dutch fathers and mothers in New York loved theirs, only they showed their love in a different way, that is all. And, after all, these little log school-houses were not such bad places—they were always sure to be near the woods, where were great shady trees, and if the children did not sing pretty songs in school as you do, they could at least hear the birds singing all day long; if they had not bright pictures on the walls of the school-room, they had sweet, dainty wild flowers just outside, and the wind and trees and blossoms whispered their secrets to them; and that is one reason perhaps why they grew up so good and true and brave. Thanksgiving Day was the one day in the year on which the Pilgrims did not think it wrong to be merry. Early in the day they went to church, which was held partly as a service of thanks for the harvest, and partly in grateful remembrance for the relief that came to them from England when they were suffering from famine. When church was over the fun began. All the members of a family from near and far were brought together on this day, and what gay times the children had with their small cousins and nieces and nephews. What games and romps, and what interesting talk around the fire as to who had gathered the most nuts, who had built the strongest and swiftest sled, and who had been bravest when the Indians came prowling around.

For of all the troubles which the settlers of New England had to bear, the trouble with the Indians was the worst.

At first they seemed to get along quite peaceably with them; the chiefs of some of the tribes were very friendly and were kind to the colonists; but as time went on the Indians grew more and more unfriendly, and the settlers lived in constant fear of them.

Sometimes they would come in the night to a house where a mother was alone with her children, and kill them all and then set fire to the house. Sometimes a man would be working at a distance from his home, and go back there only to find that the Indians had been there before him, and had taken his wife and children away with them to make slaves of them.

The little children would go to bed at night and lie awake listening for the Indian warwhoop, which they dreaded even more than they did the howling of the wolves. Every woman in those days knew how to use a gun, and many a time a mother had to defend herself and children from some painted Indians who would come up to the house and ask to be taken in.

About forty years after Boston was settled, these difficulties with the Indians brought about a war which extended over all that country. The most powerful of the Indians at that time was King Philip, chief of the Wamponoags. This tribe had always been friendly to the whites, Philip's father, Massasoit, having formed a treaty with the Puritans soon after their settlement in New England.

King Philip was a very brave and good man, and for a time after his father's death he remained friendly to the whites; but he saw that, no matter how friendly the whites seemed, they really were trying to get all the land from the Indians that they could, and he thought if he could drive the English away from his country it would be much better for his own people. So he sent messengers to all the tribes from Maine to Connecticut, asking the chiefs to join with him and drive the whites away. All the chiefs promised to do this, and soon there was a terrible war all over New England.

The Indians did not like to fight the whites in open field, but they used to come at night, creeping through the forest in the shadow of the trees, steal down the quiet little village street, and then, with dreadful shrieks and war-whoops, begin their horrible work. Sometimes they would not go away until everybody in the village had been killed, and the houses all burned.

Sometimes they would go to lonely houses where the inmates were all quietly sleeping, and forming themselves into a ring, would dance around the house yelling and waving their torches, and the poor people would be awakened by this noise only to know that death awaited them.

This war lasted nearly two years, and in that time many villages were burned, and many people killed; but finally King Philip was killed, and then the Indians lost heart, and in a short time there was peace again.

For some years after this the colonists had no trouble with the Indians, but after a time war broke out again. This time the Indians were stronger and better armed, and besides they were helped by the French.

For a long time the English and French had each been trying to gain possession of North America. The English said they had the best right to it, and the French said that they had the best right; and so it went on, until the French and Indians agreed that they would join together and fight against the English. The Indians liked the French much better than they did the English, as they had always treated them better.

Some of the French had married Indian wives, and they were looked upon by the Indians as brothers. To this day in Canada you can see little dark-eyed boys and girls, who call themselves French, but whose ancestors were Indian and French.

You will learn later that this struggle between the French and English lasted for more than half a century after the time of which I have been telling, and ended in a great war between the nations, that extended in America all over the country that was then settled. But at last the English gained the day and the French gave up all the country that they had owned in America east of the Mississippi to the English, and that is how this country came to be under English rule.

After the French and Indian wars were over the colonists had very little trouble with the Indians, and in a few years there was peace and quiet all over New England.



Many stories had been brought by the Indians to the French settlers in Canada, of the great country that lay west of the St. Lawrence and the lakes; and now and then an adventurous trapper had visited the shores of Lake Michigan, and had heard these stories repeated by the tribes living there; and then French priests found their way thither, and by and by it came to be believed that the country in the west was as well worth exploring as the shores of the Atlantic and St. Lawrence; and travellers began to visit the new territory and to trade more extensively with its natives, and to listen with believing ears to their tales of a great river that flowed from the north away and away, hundreds of miles, to the sea.

At that time France was very desirous of discovering a passage from the St. Lawrence to the Pacific Ocean, and when this new river began to be so much talked about, it was wondered whether it might not flow into the Pacific. But some people thought differently; they said that they had no doubt the great river flowed directly south and emptied into the Gulf of Mexico; and, after a great deal of talk, it was decided to send an expedition from Canada to find this great river, and to see where it rose and into what it flowed. The principal men in the party were Louis Joliet, who had been sent from France to discover the passage to the Pacific, and Father Marquette, a French priest, whose long residence among the Indians, and the love and respect with which he had inspired them, made him a very suitable companion for Joliet.

They left Canada by the way of the St. Lawrence, and, passing through the Great Lakes, entered Lake Michigan, and sailed through its waters in Green Bay. At the head of this bay they came to the last French station near Canada. Hereafter their journey would be entirely among tribes of strange Indians. But at the little settlement on Green Bay they saw a cross that had been erected by some French priest, and which the natives had adorned with flowers; and, encouraged by the thought that even on the farthest limit of French territory they were leaving friends, they started bravely for the undiscovered country, taking with them two Indian lads to show them the way to the Wisconsin River. Their canoes sailed up the beautiful waters of the Fox, whose fresh green banks and bordering trees gave promise of leading into a fair land beyond, and in a short time they had reached its head, and pushed out into the narrow channel, almost choked with wild rice, that led to the Wisconsin. The guides left them as soon as their canoes floated into the current of the larger river, and then their voyage began in earnest.

They drifted down the Wisconsin for a week, examining the country carefully on both sides, and always looking out for the great river they had come to find; and at the end of this time they saw, to their great joy, the shining waters of the Mississippi spreading out before them. And now they were obliged to go more carefully for fear of hostile Indians; they no longer spent their nights on the banks of the river, sleeping comfortably around a blazing camp-fire, but anchored their canoes out from shore, and stationed a sentinel to warn them of any danger that might come while they slept. Day after day they scanned the river-banks for sight of lurking foes, and night after night they rolled themselves in their blankets and went to sleep, expecting to be awakened by the war-whoop of the Indians; but, search as they might, they could find no trace of human beings along the river, and eight days passed before they saw a sign of friend or foe. On the ninth day they saw a well-worn path leading up from the river into the forest beyond. Joliet and Marquette sprang from their canoes and started up the path, while the rest of the party remained on the river to guard against surprise.

A short walk brought the leaders to the Indian village, which they were glad to find occupied by the friendly tribe of the Illinois. The chief welcomed them with uplifted hands, in token of friendly greeting, while his warriors gathered around him and waved the pipe of peace. And hardly had the Frenchmen responded to these greetings, when there came an invitation from the head chief of the whole tribe for the strangers to come to his village. They found him standing in front of his wigwam, with his calumet, or pipe of peace, raised toward the sun. He saluted them with a kiss, and invited them into his dwelling, where a banquet had been prepared. After partaking of this, the Frenchmen were escorted through the village by the entire population, who accompanied them to their canoes and stood on the banks while they embarked. Then, as they pushed out from shore, they waved them pleasant farewells, and the visitors went away delighted with their kind welcome. The chief had given Marquette his calumet, which was carefully preserved, as he knew it would be of value in dealing with other tribes.

And then they went on down the river, past the curious Painted Rocks and the mighty forests and rolling prairies, and saw one day another large river flowing from the west—a rushing, mighty river, with turbid, yellow waves that would not mix with the clear waters of the Mississippi; Marquette thought that perhaps this new stream might lead him to the western ocean, if he would trust his frail canoe to its guidance, and the Indians whom he found there said that it was quite true that the yellow river would take him into the distant prairies, which he could easily cross, carrying his canoe on his shoulders, and that a short journey would bring him to another little stream which led into a small lake, from which started a deep river that flowed westward into the sea.

But, although this sounded like very pleasant travelling, Marquette could not leave his companions just then, and they continued their voyage down the Mississippi, passing the Ohio and Arkansas; at which latter point, discouraged by the reports of the hostile tribes who lived farther down, and afraid of falling into the hands of the Spaniards if they reached the Gulf, they turned back and began a leisurely ascent of the Mississippi.

They turned into the Illinois when they reached that river, and journeyed up its winding course, delighted with its fertile basin, rich with fine forests, cattle, deer, goats, and beaver, and beautiful with clear streams and lovely lakes, on which floated great numbers of swans. When they reached the head of the river, an Indian chief guided them through the forests to Green Bay, which they reached in September, well satisfied with their journey, and convinced that the Mississippi led to the Gulf of Mexico.

Joliet no sooner told the story of his expedition than a gentleman of Normandy living in Canada resolved to undertake a journey to the mouth of the Mississippi, and to the Pacific. This man was Robert Cavalier de la Salle, and in August, 1679, he left Canada equipped for a voyage down the Mississippi; but, being detained by the loss of his vessel and an attack of the Iroquois upon the Illinois, who were the friends of the French, it was two years after that date, 1681, before he found himself actually on his way.

They left by the way of the Chicago River, which they travelled down in sledges, the river being frozen over, and even when they reached the Mississippi they were detained some days by the ice; but at last they were able to begin the descent, and, like the former expedition, passed many days before they came to an Indian village that was inhabited.

The first notice they had of their approach to a settlement came from the drums and war-cries of the people who had assembled on the bank. La Salle immediately landed on the other side of the river; and, setting his men to work, they soon had a fort built, and were prepared to defend themselves. The Indians, seeing this, changed their tactics, and sent some messengers across the river in a canoe. La Salle went down to the shore carrying the calumet, which was received by the savages with respect, and friendly feeling was at once established.

The Frenchmen were very glad of this, as during the three days they spent there they learned many things about the Indians farther down the river, and were also well supplied with food for their journey; for this village was situated in the midst of orchards and fields, and the people were very intelligent and courteous, having pleasant manners, and being liberal and hospitable. La Salle planted a cross bearing the arms of France, and parted from his new friends with many expressions of gratitude. The Indians sent with him some interpreters, who introduced him to a friendly tribe some distance farther down, and La Salle found these Indians also very intelligent and hospitable. He describes their houses as being built of mud and straw, with cane roofs, and furnished with bedsteads, tables, etc. They also had temples where their chiefs were buried, and wore white clothing spun from the bark of a tree. These were very different habits from those that La Salle had seen among the Indians in the north, and he concluded that he must be nearing the end of his journey.

This proved to be true, for two weeks after he found the river dividing into three branches; he took one branch and two of his men the others, and in a short time they found that the water was salt, and knew that they had reached the mouth of the river; a little farther on they saw the sea, and found that they had reached the Gulf of Mexico by the way of the Mississippi.

On April 9, 1682, a cross was raised, upon which were inscribed the arms of France; then, after a religious ceremony, La Salle took possession of the Mississippi and all its branches, together with all the lands bordering them, in the name of the king of France. A few days after he turned his face homeward; but, being detained by sickness, did not reach Quebec until the next year. However, he had sent the accounts of his voyage on before him, and these had been forwarded to France; and, after some delay, a new expedition left France, whither La Salle had gone; the object of this expedition was to found a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi.

All might have gone well, had it not been for the jealousy of Beaujeu, the captain of the fleet, who refused to follow La Salle's advice about landing. As they coasted along the Gulf, from their ignorance of the coast, they passed the mouth of the Mississippi, and went farther westward than they had meant to. La Salle wished to turn back and search for the mouth of the river, but Beaujeu refused to do this, and insisted upon entering Matagorda Bay in Texas. Here La Salle was obliged to have his stores landed; and, as soon as this was done, Beaujeu sailed back to France again, caring little what became of his fellow-voyagers.

But La Salle was not to be disheartened by such a mishap as this. He cheered the hearts of his men by his hopeful words, and they set about establishing the colony at once. They found the climate agreeable, and the natives friendly and willing to trade; they belonged to the same race as those on the Mississippi, and, like them, lived in large villages, and had comfortably furnished houses. La Salle had no fear in leaving his colony among these well-disposed natives; and, as soon as it was possible, he left his company and went in search of the Mississippi, which he had hopes of finding without difficulty.

But the river was farther off than he knew, and he was an utter stranger to the country; and, although he turned again and again, two years passed and he had not yet seen its shining waters. At last he determined to take half the colony and find his way to Canada, where he might obtain supplies, as they had received nothing from France since their arrival, owing to the bad report of La Salle that Beaujeu had taken back.

Canada was two thousand miles away, but there were friends there, and the brave leader could not bear to see his countrymen suffering when it might be possible to bring them help. The little party of twenty was not very well equipped for a long journey through a strange country. They had to make clothing of the sails of one of the vessels; their shoes were of buffalo-hide and deer-skin; they had to make boats of skin to cross the swollen rivers, and they depended for food upon the game they could find. And so their progress was very slow, and it took them two months to reach Trinity River.

But hardship was not the only thing that La Salle had to bear on this wearying march. Part of the men became dissatisfied with him, and rebelled against his authority. They killed his nephew and a faithful Indian servant while they were absent from the camp on a hunting expedition, and when La Salle appeared and asked where his nephew was, one of the murderers raised his gun and shot their leader dead.

La Salle was one of the bravest and noblest of the French explorers. If he had been allowed to carry out his plans, France would have been stronger and richer in America than it was ever her fortune to become. It was ten years after his death before any other attempt was made to settle the Mississippi Valley.

To La Salle belongs the honor of being the first European to sail from the upper part of the Mississippi down to the Gulf of Mexico, and it was he who started that spirit of adventure which led to so many Frenchmen devoting their lives to the exploration of the great river and its many branches, thus making the western part of the country familiar to the Europeans, and laying the foundations of the French power in the valley of the Mississippi; and laying, at the same time, the foundations of that firm and lasting friendship with the Indians which was the strongest safeguard of the French in America; for all the tribes along the great river and on the shores of the northern lakes grew to love and reverence the French name.

They looked upon them as brothers, for they came to their humble villages and led the same simple lives that they themselves led. They hunted and fished with them, wore the same kind of clothing, and slept contentedly in their rude wigwams. They talked with them in their own language, and called their lakes and streams by their poetical Indian names. They even married the daughters of their race, and the kindly French priests knew no difference between white man and red man, but ministered to all alike. The Indians freely entered the little chapels that were scattered up and down along the river, and lovingly hung the cross with flowers; and little Indian children were brought there to be baptized, just as the little French children were, and all was peace and harmony. And the calumet never passed from chief to chief but as a sign of peace, and of the abiding friendship which began when Marquette was greeted by the Illinois chief with hands raised toward heaven, as if calling down the blessing of the Great Spirit upon the meeting.



Once upon a time, in a country in the north dwelt a very happy race of people. The land did not lie so far north but that it had bright springs and sunny summers, and all through the valleys lay pretty little villages surrounded with orchards and fields and meadows. And little dark-eyed children wandered through the orchards in the morning sunshine, and broke off boughs of pink-tinted blossoms whereon the dew lay not yet dried, and through green-carpeted fields, where the young grain waved, and through the high meadow-grass, gathering daisies and sweet, wild forget-me-nots. All day long the place was bright and happy with children's faces and children's voices.

 The Driving out of the Acadians

The tiny streams that crept down from the mountains loved the little faces that leaned over them, and the little hands that threw dainty flowers on their merry, rippling waves; even the birds that flew down into shady, silent corners to drink showed no fear if, perchance, they found a little child there before them. The wind that sung through the pines at the foot of the mountain sung only words of peace, and the whole place seemed only to know blue skies, sweet fragrant breezes, and floods of golden sunshine.

And when the bright, happy days came to an end, then the children would gather on the doorsteps of the quaint little houses, and, while they watched the moon rise large and silvery over the spire of the church, they would listen to the stories told by their fathers and mothers of the land beyond the great sea, which their ancestors had sailed away from forever when they came to find a new home in this northern land.

The children dearly loved to hear the stories of that far-away France which their great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers but dimly remembered; for, although their own homes were in America, they always thought of themselves as French. They knew nothing of England or English customs, and English children would have seemed strangers to them, while the little Indian boys and girls with whom they played seemed dear and familiar friends; for in this northern land, which the French people called Acadia because it was such a lovely and beautiful place, the Indians had always been well treated by the whites, and they were very fond of them in return.

The Indian children played in the streets with the French children, and wandered with them through the meadows and forests. The Indian fathers and mothers went to the village churches, and learned of the good priests how to lead useful and happy lives; and they brought their children to be baptized and confirmed, and wanted them to grow up knowing how to live the same kind of lives that their little French neighbors would live when they grew up.

And so for many years these people lived in this pleasant country, and were contented and happy. But by and by trouble came. Acadia was taken away from the French and given to the English, who sent their soldiers there. The Acadians were very sorry for this; they did not want to belong to England, for they were French and loved France. At that time both England and France had armies in America, and both were trying to get as much land as they could; and, as the English were the more successful in this war, they got possession of Acadia and changed its name to Nova Scotia.

Then there was an English governor sent there to rule the country; and, although the Acadians loved the French, they promised not to help them, but said they would give help neither to the English nor the French.

But the English were not satisfied with this. They were all the time afraid that the Acadians would help the French. So one day the English commander sent a fleet of vessels to Acadia, and all the Acadians were told to gather in the churches and listen to the reading of some papers that had been sent there by him; the Acadians came, but no sooner were they all gathered together than the English soldiers drove them all down to the harbor, where the ships lay. Then they were driven on the ships in crowds, and neighbors and friends and families were all separated; perhaps a father in one ship, a mother in another, and their children in a third. There was no time to say good-by to their pretty little homes—no time to say good-by to dear friends.

As soon as they had been crowded on the ships the soldiers set fire to their homes, and soon the peaceful villages of Acadia were utterly destroyed. Nothing remained of the once lovely place but heaps of ashes, burned fields, and desolate tracts of country.

The ships sailed away to different ports, and the Acadians were scattered all over the country. Friends who had been separated often never met again, and the little boys and girls who had played so happily in the green fields of Acadia were now to go sorrowing all their lives for the dear playmates they would never see again.

It was a very cruel thing to do. It was an act unworthy the heart of an English soldier, who could not but remember his own home in fair, green England. It was something that the English ought to have been ashamed to do, for the Acadians were a peaceful people and not likely to make them any trouble.

But sometimes, in war, men forget that they are men, and act cruelly and wrongly; and that is what the English did when they drove the Acadians from their homes to wander homeless and poor and sad all over the country.

If you should go to Nova Scotia to-day you would not find the Acadia of that far-off time. The country is English now, and the only memories of Acadia are those that linger in the lonely mountain echoes, in the sad sighing of the pines, in the wild flowers of the meadow, which make you think of the children that once played there; in the soft murmur of the streams, which seem to sing, as you listen, long-forgotten tunes; and in the deep roar of the sea, on whose waves the Acadians were borne away forever from that beautiful, happy land which became but a dream of the past.



There was once a little Indian boy whose home was on the shores of a beautiful lake in the midst of a deep forest. He was the son of a powerful chief, and from his earliest years looked forward to the time when he too should be a great warrior, like his father, and lead his tribe in successful battle against his enemies. For although his quiet home was far away from great cities, and most of the neighboring tribes were friendly, yet some of the noise and stir and trouble of the great outside world had crept even to that distant woodland home; and the children there early learned that they must grow up brave and daring men, and ready to defend their homes if need be. This boy Pontiac was always a leader among his companions in all games of daring and skill. He it was who led them into the forests in their hunt after wild, and ferocious animals, or by the courses of distant streams in search of rare flowers and stones, or along the shores of the lakes, where the startled birds made vain efforts to fly beyond his aim—for Pontiac's arrow was always swift and sure—and who carried home at night the largest part of the day's spoils, whether they were fishing in the lake, or hunting in the forest, or searching for the glittering minerals that were scattered over the land.

 The Story of Pontiac's Plot

And the years that he spent in childish sports were also spent in learning many useful things, and by the time he was a well-grown boy he knew every inch of the forests for miles and miles around, and all the winding streams that came down from the hill-country, and every curve and bay in the great lakes that lay not far distant from his home. Although he was a very daring and active boy, sometimes he was very thoughtful too, and he would often leave his companions and hide away in the branches of some great tree, or in some sheltered nook by the lake, and sit alone for hours thinking. At such times he was often sad, for his thoughts were of his brave people, who had suffered so much and been so cruelly treated by the English.

Pontiac had hated the English ever since he could remember, not because they were of a different race and strangers, for the French were of a different race and strangers too, but because, in all their dealings with the Indians, the English had always been cruel, treacherous, and ready to take advantage, while the French had always been kind, trustworthy, and ready to be the red man's friend. And as the boy grew into manhood the hatred still continued, for the English still continued to steal the Indians' land and oppress them by unjust laws; and when his father died, and he became chief over the powerful Ottawas, he resolved to do all that he could to drive the English from his native land, so that the Indians and kindly French alone should live there peaceably and happily.

The Ottawas lived in the region lying between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan, and the neighboring tribes, the Chippeways, Wyandots, Senecas, and Pottawattomies, were also friends to the French and foes to the English, and ready to carry out any plan that the great chief Pontiac might propose.

The French, who hated the English as much as the Indians did, looked on, and were very glad to see that Pontiac and the other chiefs were so bitter against their common enemy; and the French leaders did everything in their power to keep the English and Indians at war.

At that time there was constant war between England and France, because each country thought she had the better right to America, and was trying to drive the other away.

Already the Acadians had been driven from their home by English soldiers, and England had conquered all the Canadian towns; and unless something was done very soon, the Indians and French would have no chance at all, for the English were more and more successful all the time. So Pontiac thought of a very bold plan. He was not so afraid of the English soldiers as some of the chiefs, for once, when leading his brave Ottawas against the English under General Braddock, he had seen them run before the attack of his men, and had come to the conclusion that they were no braver than any other soldiers. The more he thought of his plan the better he liked it; and at last he told it to the French, who approved it heartily, and said they had no doubt of its success. They told Pontiac that the French king had been asleep for a while, and that was the reason the English had gained so many victories; but that soon he would awake, and then he would drive the English away from the land of his "red children."

This was good news to Pontiac, who dearly loved France, and he went home more resolved than ever to carry out his plan, which was—that on a certain day all the Indians should join together and attack all the English forts at once, and so drive their hated enemy from the country forever. So he called the chief men of his tribe together, and they all agreed that this would be an easy thing to do if the other tribes would join. And then Pontiac sent messengers to every tribe between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi; the messengers carried a belt of red beads and a tomahawk stained red, which meant that Pontiac was inviting them to begin war. In every village the messengers entered, the chief took the belt and tomahawk and held them up before his people, as a sign that he was willing to fight, and would help Pontiac drive away the English.

Soon afterward all the great chiefs met in council, and agreed on a day for the attack. It was to be May 7, 1763. Each chief was to lead his tribe against a certain fort, and the English were all to be murdered like dogs. But it happened that all the forts were not attacked on that day after all.

Pontiac was to attack Detroit, the strongest and most important of the forts. Before the appointed day he went to the fort with a number of his men, and asked the commander to let them come in and give an Indian dance. The English officer and his men were very willing to do this, as life was very tedious away from home and friends, and they were glad of anything that would amuse them. So the Indians entered the fort, and went through their strange, outlandish dance; but all the time they were looking carefully about the fort, seeing where it was strongest and where weakest, noticing the number of guns, and finding out about the provisions in case they should not be able to take it at once; and as soon as they had seen all they wanted to they went away, and the English did not imagine for a moment the real reason of their coming. The next thing to do was to take the fort, and Pontiac thought if he could get inside of the walls with some armed men, it would be a very easy thing to surprise the English, and thus make a successful attack. So he planned that he and his warriors should all go to the fort, carrying their guns hidden away under their blankets, and that they would ask the officer to let them come in and hold a council. Of course the officer would agree to this, seeing that they carried no weapons; and then, as soon as they were inside the fort, they would, at a certain signal, kill all the white officers, and so take the soldiers by surprise.

This was a bold plan; but all the warriors agreed to it, and waited impatiently for the time to come.

But among the Indians was a beautiful maiden, who had learned to love and trust the English, and who could not bear to think of their being so cruelly murdered; and she resolved to save them if she could. She was used to going in and out of the fort as she pleased, for she was a favorite with the officers, who had shown her many kindnesses; and one day, before Pontiac had time to carry out his plan, she went to the fort, taking with her, as an excuse, a pair of moccasons as a present to Major Gladwyn, the chief officer. But, when she came into the officer's presence, her courage failed her; she knew what her own fate would be if her words were not heeded, and Pontiac should succeed after all; and so, she quite lost heart, and, laying the moccasons down on the table, talked a little while with the major, and then went out without giving her warning. But when she was again outside, her troubled face attracted the notice of the sentinel, who immediately suspected some plot, and persuaded her to go back to Major Gladwyn. And then, after many promises of protection, she at length told him of Pontiac's plan, and warned him to be prepared. Major Gladwyn immediately began to make ready for Pontiac's visit, and when he appeared the next day, with fifty of his boldest warriors, all carrying their guns under their blankets, he found the English soldiers standing in ranks, armed and prepared for battle.

The chief saw at once that his plan had failed, and, as the English did not intend to fight unless the Indians began the battle, Pontiac and his men were allowed to leave the fort again in peace. And so Detroit was saved by a tender-hearted girl, and once again, as happened many times during the terrible struggles between the Indians and whites, the English had to thank an Indian maiden for help and warning in time of need.

But this failure only made Pontiac and the other chiefs more furious than ever. As soon as possible the other forts were attacked. The Wyandots burned Fort Sandusky, and butchered the soldiers; the Chippeways murdered nearly all the inmates of Fort Mackinaw; and by a clever trick Michilimackinac was also taken. The capture of Michilimackinac was on a holiday; the Indians had approached the fort and were playing ball outside; they had invited the soldiers out to see the game, and as they stood looking on, an Indian suddenly threw the ball near the gate of the fort. This was the sign agreed upon. The Indians all made a rush for the ball, and as they passed the squaws, who had been looking on, each man snatched his hatchet, which had been hidden under the women's blankets, and ran into the fort. The soldiers were not prepared, and in the surprise and confusion most of them were killed.

And so the Indians went on, taking fort after fort, until there remained only three in the hands of the English. One of these was Detroit, which Pontiac had surrounded for months with his own and other tribes; but the English had a large store of provisions, and Pontiac, seeing no hope of success just then, went away with his men to attack places less strong.

But he was still fiercely determined to drive the English from his western home, and for two years he gave them no peace—surprising them here and there, now at dead of night, and then in broad noonday, until the terrible war-cry of the Ottawas became a fear and dread to all the English in the west; but finally, worn out and discouraged with the useless struggle, one by one his warriors left him, and he fled to the Illinois, and lived with that tribe until his death.

His was the most dreaded name in the west, and for years after, when France and England were no longer at war, and the Indians were for the most part peaceful, the English settlers in the lake region and on the banks of the Mississippi still remembered, with shuddering horror, the name of Pontiac, the last of the great Indian chiefs.



Although America had been settled by different nations—one place by the English, another by the Dutch, another by the French, another by the Swedes, and so on—it came to pass at last, as you have seen, that after a great deal of trouble and much fighting, England owned the greater part of it, and that the English language was spoken and English law obeyed from Maine to Florida. In fact, America was no longer looked upon as a country by itself, but as a province of England. And the people called themselves English, and were very proud to do so too; for then, as now, England was one of the greatest countries in the world.

This friendly feeling might have lasted for many years, if it had not been for the foolish and wrong acts of the English king and his advisers.

The great war which England had been carrying on, a part of which was the fighting against the French and Indians in America, had cost a great deal of money, and had left England very much in debt, and the king, George III., ordered the American colonies to be taxed in order to help pay the debt off.

The Americans were quite willing to pay their share; but they said that since America was a part of the English possessions, American statesmen should be sent to the English Parliament to represent the colonies, and see that their interests were guarded; just as from all the different counties of England men were sent to Parliament to see that taxes were not distributed unjustly among the people there.

But George III. utterly refused to permit the colonists to send these representatives; and instead passed some very unjust laws, and laid taxes on many articles that had not been taxed before.

This aroused the indignation of the Americans, who refused to pay the taxes, and even attacked the English officers who tried to collect them. Meetings were held all over the country, and everywhere the same feeling was shown. In Boston, rather than pay the tax on a shipload of tea, the Bostonians, disguised as Indians, went on board the ship and threw the tea into the harbor. In New York an angry mob burned the effigy of the English Governor, and in every place women refused to buy English goods and said they would rather wear homespun than submit to such injustice.

This conduct only angered the king the more. He denied the right of America to resist his laws, and passed measures more irritating still.

The Americans began to wonder if he would force them into an open rebellion. The excitement grew stronger each day, and the king's authority was openly questioned. In large meetings the chief Americans discussed the vexed question, and decided that they had been right in resisting the king, and would continue to resist him until he repealed the unjust laws. Patrick Henry, a great orator of Virginia, made an address, in which he denounced George III. as a tyrant, and warned him against further exciting the indignation of the colonists. The king replied by calling the Americans traitors, and sending an armed force to frighten the rebels into submission.

Many of the wisest Englishmen tried to persuade King George to acknowledge the rights of the Americans in this matter; among them William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, who in an address to Parliament declared that he rejoiced that America had resisted. But they were unsuccessful, and things grew quickly worse.

The presence of English troops in America was the signal for more determined opposition. Companies of militia were formed in all the towns and villages, and the English saw that the Americans were preparing to defend themselves. In Boston, where the anger against the British soldiers was very great, and where some quarrels with them had already happened, the English general saw these preparations on every side. Among other things, he heard that the people had collected ammunition and provisions at Concord, a village some distance away, and he sent a party of soldiers to destroy these stores. As this party passed through Lexington, another village, on the way to Concord, on the morning of April 19, 1775, they found a company of farmers assembled on the village green, to keep them from going further. They fired upon these men, and the Americans fired in return, though they were obliged to give way. Several of the Americans were killed and wounded, and this was the first blood shed in the Revolution.

Two months later, on June 17th, as English troops were preparing to leave Boston, they found that breastworks had been made on Bunker Hill, behind which stood the Americans ready to resist them. The battle which followed showed the English that the Americans were much better soldiers than they had any idea of. They fought with the utmost skill and courage, and only withdrew when their powder and shot were quite exhausted; and although the English thus won the day, still the Americans were far from being disheartened.

But they really did not wish a long and hard war with England, and would have been very glad if the king had shown any signs of relenting; but he did not, and they determined to fight it out. An army of twenty thousand men was soon gathered around Boston; George Washington, one of the heroes of the French and Indian wars, was chosen commander-in-chief of the army, and war really began.

Several battles were fought; sometimes the English were successful and sometimes the Americans, and the end seemed as far off as ever.

At last the Americans, seeing that King George would never come to terms, declared that they would no longer submit to English rule at all; but would make America a free country and govern themselves. For although they had not meant to do this in the beginning of the trouble, they now saw it was the only thing that could be done. Representatives from all parts of the colonies met at Philadelphia, and there drew up a Declaration of Independence, in which they explained the reasons for their action, and then declared that the American colonies should be from that time an independent nation, forever free from English government. It was on July 4, 1776, that they adopted this declaration; so that July 4th has been celebrated ever since as the nation's birthday. The declaration was read in all the towns amid ringing of bells and universal rejoicing, and thus the rebellion of the colonies against England became a revolution, or complete change of government. More troops were sent from England, and the colonies prepared for a long and desperate struggle.

Volunteers came thronging from the hills of New England, the valley of the Hudson, the plantations of Virginia, and the rice-fields of the Carolinas; the colonists had found out that there could only be strength in union. The war went on, and the Americans had the hardest part of the struggle still to come. They had but little money, and often suffered for food and clothing.

While the English army was well fed and comfortably clothed, the Americans, in winter-quarters at Valley Forge, went hungry and ragged, leaving the prints of their bleeding feet on the snow, and encouraged only by the brave heart of Washington, who, amid the universal discouragement still kept on his way, calm, resolute, and incapable of despair. But better days dawned. Robert Morris, of Philadelphia, devoted his large private fortune to the expenses of the army, and established a system of credit by which money could be raised for the soldiers; and soon after there was a great victory at Saratoga, through which a large part of the English army under General Burgoyne had to surrender to the Americans.

The battle of Saratoga showed the nations of Europe that America was likely to win the day; and France, which was very hostile to England, agreed to help the colonies with men and money. In many ways the cause of the colonists gained new strength, and this was the turning-point of the war. From this time the Americans gained courage and hope as one victory followed another, and finally, on October 19, 1781, the English general, Lord Cornwallis, surrendered his army to Washington at Yorktown, Va., and thus ended the war.

The English troops were called home, and articles of peace between England and the United States of America were signed at Paris.

The United States chose George Washington for the president of the new republic. He was inaugurated April 30, 1789, in New York, which was then the capital.

The Revolution separated us forever from England, and made us, politically, an independent nation. But it could not break the ties of race, which will always make most Americans feel strongly bound to the mother country.

To-day there is no nation on earth to which America turns with friendlier eyes than England, which gave to it its language, its laws, and its religion, and whose brave sons crossed the seas, and through much trouble and peril laid the foundations of this great new country; and, in spite of all differences, the American and Englishman must ever feel that they are both descendants of the brave Norse races that crossed the Northern seas hundreds of years ago to choose for themselves a new home in England, and that no difference of time or place can change the mark of race that proves them brothers.

Transcriber's Notes:

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained except in obvious cases of typographical error:

"... who were (faired-skinned —>) fair-skinned"

"... the inhabitants of (Lumbez —>) Tumbez,"

"(Atahuala —>) Atahualpa looked upon the fair faces"

"Don Pedro had a daughter, Isabella(; —>),"

"... commanded by (Giovani —>) Giovanni Verrazano,"

"They marched two days (though —>) through swamps"


Illustrations interrupting paragraphs have been moved.