VASCO NUNEZ de BALBOA
A beautiful love story of Vasco Nunez and Maria
It was at the fiesta of Chima that our Captain went soft about a girl; a young espave (which in their tongue means a maid of noble rank); and she was the daughter of the cacique himself. She was a slender creature of great loveliness and fine spirit, and was ardently desired by many. But she cared only for Vasco Nunez; and indeed, in all patience and virtue has continued in that love unto this day. Lord Chima led forth his daughter dressed in much beauty, with bracelets of gold and necklaces of pearls and blue stones, that she might dance and sing for us. The dance where she imaged the slow opening of a flower. At the end of the dance, she came before Vasco Nunez…..”I drink your beauty, daughter of sorrows” The friars began to speak to the lord Chima of our Holy Faith, urging him to accept baptism. Vasco embraced the cacique with joyful tears in his eyes; and taking him by the hand, he led him to the church, his people and the Castilians following. There they were baptized. Chima was given the Christian name of Fernando in honor of our Sovereign; and his daughter was christened Maria after the Holy Virgin. To seal their pact, Don Fernando sent his daughter with her full consent and likeing to live with the Captain in his house. That same night she silently crossed his threshold; and with the mysterious contentment of her kind she merged her life with his. They had no need of words; they squandered none of time’s sands in the civilized game of conquest and surrender. She yielded herself. For her it was the supreme ritual of a woman’s life The priests of her people supplicated heaven for rain that it might impregnate the earth. They sacrificed to the maiz goddess that she might conceive in her golden womb a greater abundance. They sang to their God: “then art the dew of heaven; thou art the dew of the clouds.” Careta, the seat of the cacique Don Fernando Chima whose daughter Balboa had taken for a wife; September 1513…
September 25, 1513…date of discovery our captain general knelt down on both knees upon the ground, then lifted up his arms, looking to heaven in the manner of a saint who sees a vision; “the sea! The sea!”
Balboa gave orders to gather together the materials of Acla and to depart at once for Las Balsas; At the very instant of his leavetaking, Maria, Balboa’s Indian wife daughter of Chima, came to him and after embracing him, asked; “My lord, you have not given me away?” “At no hand would I lose you, palomita. But I have much preoccupied with the ships” “Then you did not send that Captain to me?” “ Which Captain? Who came to you and what did he say to you?” “Captain Andres. He has said, Your lord is done with you, Cacica…..””Then I sent him away. I said Vasco is my lord forever. He was angry” Leonicico is dead. He die to the poison” A Castilian give him poison.” Botello, proceed alone into the village. Go secretly to my house. There you will find my woman, Maria. Tell her that I sent you, and give as truth of your mission the word ‘huimaca’ from her tongue. Learn from her tongue. Learn from her what passes in Antigua and whether Sosa has come. At the execution: Our great Captain and most noble Adelantado then embraced his Indian wife and saluted the Indians who mourned for him there. And he took leave of the companions, persuading them to unity, obedience and good faith. This done, he said in a loud voice; “Padre, commend my soul to God and my substance to Pedrarias, who watches secretly from that house” After that he knelt once more and in very quiet and reverent sort, laid his head upon the block and there ended his life.....