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Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

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Author Topic: Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic  (Read 3242 times)
Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2009, 11:39:06 pm »

them a tropic island, soft and graceful, with green shrubs and cocoanut trees, and rising in the distance to mountains whose scooped tops and dark, furrowed sides spoke of extinct volcanoes--yet not so extinct but that a faint wreath of vapor still mounted from the utmost peak of the highest among them. Here and there were seen huts covered with great leaves or sheaves of grass, and among these they saw figures moving and disappearing, watching their approach, yet always ready to disappear in the recesses of the woods. Sounding carefully the depth of water with their imperfect tackle, they anchored off the main beach, and sent a boat on shore from each vessel, Luis being in command of one. The natives at first hovered in the distance, but presently came down to the shore to meet the visitors, some even swimming off to the boats in advance. They were of a yellow complexion, with good features, were naked except for goat-skins or woven palm fibres, or reeds painted in different colors; and were gay and merry, singing and dancing among themselves. When brought on board the

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ships, they ate bread and figs, but refused wine and spices; and they seemed not to know the use of rings or of swords, when shown to them. Whatever was given to them they divided with one another. They cultivated fruit and grain on their island, reared goats, and seemed willing to share all with their newly found friends. Luis, always thoughtful, and somewhat anxious in temperament, felt many doubts as to the usage which these peaceful islanders would receive from the ships' company, no matter how many bishops and holy men might be on board.

All that day there was exploring by small companies, and on the next the archbishop landed in solemn procession. The boats from the ships all met at early morning, near the shore, the sight bringing together a crowd of islanders on the banks; men, women, and children, who, with an instinct that something of importance was to happen, decked themselves with flowers, wreaths, and plumes, the number increasing constantly and the crowd growing more and more picturesque. Forming

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