Books > Old Books >The Elson Readers Book Six (1910)


Page 083

THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS

landing upon the beach, they fled in affright to their woods. Finding, however, that there was no attempt to pursue them, they gradually recovered from their terror, and approached the Spaniards with great awe. During the ceremony of taking possession they remained gazing, in timid admiration, at the complexion, the beards, the shining armor, and the splendid dress of the Spaniards. When they had still further recovered from their fears, they approached the Spaniards, touched their beards, and examined their hands and faces, admiring their whiteness.
The natives of the island were no less objects of curiosity to the Spaniards, differing, as they did, from any race of men they had ever seen. They were painted with a variety of colors, so as to have a wild and fantastic appearance. Their natural complexion was of a copper hue, and they were entirely destitute of beards. Their hair was straight and coarse, partly cut above the ears, but some had locks behind left long, and falling upon their shoulders. Their features, though disfigured by paint, were agreeable; they had lofty foreheads and remarkably fine eyes. They were of moderate stature and well shaped; most of them appeared to be under thirty years of age. They appeared to be a simple people, and of gentle and friendly dispositions. Their only arms were lances, hardened at the end by fire, or pointed with a flint or the bone of a fish. There was no iron to be seen among them, nor did they know its properties, for when a drawn sword was presented to them, they unguardedly took it by the edge. Columbus distributed among them colored caps, glass beads, hawks' bells, and other trifles, which they received, and decorating themselves with them, were wonderfully delighted with their finery.
As Columbus supposed himself to have landed on an island at the extremity of India, he called the natives In-

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