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Page 082

THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS
WASHINGTON IRVING

When the day dawned, Columbus saw before him a level and beautiful island, covered with trees, like a continual orchard. Though everything appeared in the wild luxuriance of untamed nature, yet the island was evidently populous, for the inhabitants were seen running from all parts to the shore. From their attitudes and gestures, they appeared lost in astonishment at the sight of the ships. Columbus made signal to cast anchor, and to man the boats. He entered his own boat, richly attired in scarlet, and bearing the royal standard.
As they approached the shore they were delighted by the beauty of the forests and the variety of unknown fruits on the trees which overhung the shores. On landing, Columbus threw himself upon his knees, kissed the earth, and returned thanks to God with tears of joy. His example was followed by his companions, whose breasts, indeed, were full to overflowing. Columbus, then rising, drew his sword, displayed the royal standard, and took possession, in the names of the Castilian sovereigns, giving the island the name of San Salvador.
The natives of the island, when at the dawn of day they had beheld the ships hovering on the coast, had supposed them some monsters, which had issued from the deep during the night. Their veering about, without any apparent effort, and the shifting and furling of their sails, resembling huge wings, filled them with astonishment. When they beheld the boats approach the shore, and a number of strange beings, clad in glittering steel, or raiment of various colors,

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