• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Dedication
 Preface
 I
 II
 III
 IV
 V
 XV
 VI
 VII
 VIII
 IX
 X
 XI
 XII
 XIII
 XIV
 XVI
 Addenda
 Advertising














Group Title: Story of Ponce de Leon
Title: The story of Ponce de Leon
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055647/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of Ponce de Leon soldier, knight, gentleman, whose quest for the fountain of youth in the land of Bimini, led to the discovery of Florida
Physical Description: 199 p. : front. (port.) ; 19cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mann, Florian Alexander
Publisher: Printed for the author by E. O. Painter & company
Place of Publication: De Land Fla
Publication Date: 1903
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Florian A. Mann.
General Note: At head of title: Florida historical tale.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055647
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000119572
oclc - 01489143
notis - AAN5463
lccn - 04000467

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
        Front page 2
    Frontispiece
        Front page 3
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Copyright
        Page 2
    Dedication
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Preface
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    I
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    II
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    III
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    IV
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    V
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    XV
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
    VI
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    VII
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    VIII
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    IX
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
    X
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    XI
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    XII
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    XIII
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
    XIV
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    XVI
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
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        Page 136
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        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
    Addenda
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
    Advertising
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
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FLORIDA HISTORICAL


TALE


THE


STORY


OF


PONCE DELEON


Solater, intibt, ocntltman,
bWho qtut fot tb fmuta oLa l
int e sMasof sdrimi le to s
btown at fiornf


FLORIAN


MANN


Author of Story of tb Haugwaots.'



PfINTTD FOB THE AUTHOR BY
E. 0. PAINTm & COomPAN, DuLAND, FLA.
1908.







U/s









Copyright, 19,
BY P. A. MANN.
AI rights resrwd.


0z{






















3ebicatton
It was a good old custom, which in these
modern times of many books is much
shiglted,for an author to dedicate his
work to a friend whom he held in high
esteem, so that as long as the book existed
it should be a token of that regard. Fol-
lowing the old custom and for the reason
given, this little book, with its story of
times long vanished, presents the name of

MrO. obn U. foster,
eatbric awnter, Iowa


- The Author







I


'1





I
.1

*1












PREFACE.
is
There is no name in our history around which
clusters such a halo of romance as that of Juan
Ponce de Leon, the Don Quixote of his century, yet
true gentleman and loyal knight, soldier and hero;
whose search for the Fountain of Youth resulted in
the discovery of Florida.
Brief is the record history has made of him and
his deeds, yet his character and acts stand out in
striking contrast with his age and compeers.
That he possessed sterling and admirable quali-
ties as a brave soldier, a wise leader of men and an
indomitable explorer is plainly shown by that record.
However, it is not to these qualities he chiefly
owes his title to fame; but rather others, which
are usually deemed weaknesses and yet are so
human as to be admirable.
To the people of this present time, governed in
all their acts and motives by the grossest material-
ism, believing in nothing except the solidly tangible,
the credulous faith that sent this Knight of Leon
into unknown seas and lands in quest of the Foun-
tain of Youth seems a mark of marvelous folly.
And yet out of this credulous faith, which stimu-
lated Juan Ponce de Leon, there came great results.








PREFACE.


There is so close a relation between the ideal
and substantial, the imaginary and'the actual, as
to almost make the terms interconvertible.
No man has risen above the obscurity of com-
mon human life without a belief in the unknown,
the unrealized, the intangible.


Had Moses, Zoroaster,
of those of like character
down to modern Luther,
and other illustrious men,
lived in the messages that
realm not of materiality
unseen, what other deeds
than those of common men
whether they were saints
encircled their heads?
Mahomet's visions of


Buddha and all the host
amongst the ancients,
Cromwell, Washington
not listened to and be-
came to them, from the
and reason, but of the
would they have done
? What nimbus of glory,
or sinners, would have


Paradise,


reason


says,


were woven from the mists of superstition, and as
such, were not even shadows of reality, but they
nerved him and his followers to the conquest of
a world;, inducing them to set aside difficulty,
danger, even death itself, as of small consequence.
Behold the result; a material empire over a quar-
ter of the world lasting until this day.
Can something come from nothing?
Ever the ideal triumphs over the material when
the two are wrongfully placed in opposition, even
in mathematics and philosophy.
The diamond has a soul more indestructible than








PREFACE. 7

its material elements, by virtue of which it is a dia-
mond; so with each atom that goes to build a world.
It is the mind of a God that makes a God.
Whatever protean shapes materiality may take
upon itself, in the last analysis its foundation is the
intangible which is nevertheless the indestructible,
therefore the sovereign, vital and eternal.
When the universe, viewed in the light of science,
resolves itself primevally into the formlessness of a
nebulous dream of the Creative Mind, out of which
is born the practical material reality; who shall say
of this or that idea, it is but a phantasm of disor-
dered intellect that can never have fruition in
reality?
Four hundred years ago Juan Ponce, a Knight
of Leon, dreamed of the Fountain of Youth. So
also many a thousand years before his time, other
men dreamed and thirsted for a draught of its reju-
venating waters.
Does that fountain exist? As surely as the
River of Life, the glory of Eden, for it is the river's
fountain source.
Through all the ages its waters have welled up
from the heart of mother earth as inexhaustible and
life-giving as at the beginning, when the first man
dipped his hollowed hand into its pellucid pool.
Human beings, male and female, quaffing of its
waters, have gone straightway rejoicing in glorious
youth.
Have those who drank, grown old and decrepid,







8 PREFACE.

died and turned to dust and ashes? Verily not.
Such seemings are but the delusions of the senses,
proclaiming as facts what are but the hidings of
the truth.
On yesterday's battlefield, two comrades faced
the foe, who fought side by side at Marathon; long
before that passed through the gates of Illium hid-
den in the body of the great wooden horse.
Two, walked to-day, the modern city's streets,
who rambled through Babylon the mighty, elbow
to elbow, marvelling at its glories; and yet Babylon
is dust.
Life is never new; it is as old as the heavens.
Yet it is as young and fresh as this morning's dew,
and in the infinite future as in the never beginning
past, can find no finite end.
Was it then so mad a search as many deem it,
this Knight of Leon so bravely made for the Foun-
tain of Youth, over emerald seas, in palm-covered
islands, through mainland fen and forest and wide
extending plains and valleys-shall it be said in
vain? Nay, for that would not be true.
Whatever is worth the winning must be striven
for and is to be so won. So strove this hero; so won
he at last the goal.













THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.



CHAPTER I.

CASTLE D'ARIA. JUAN PONCE SETS OUT FOR VALLA-
DOLID AS A PAGE AT THE COURT OF JOHN II.

There was in the ancient Kingdom of Len, one
of the divisions of the peninsula of Hispaniola, a
stout rock-built castle, set upon a steep cliff over-
looking the valley .of the Aria (or Eria as it is now
known), a tributary of the Esla-in its turn an afflu-
ent of the Douro,-which belonged to a family by
the name of Ponce. This castle commanded a bridge
across the river, built, it is said, by the Romans, over
which passed the main road to the capital, the ancient
city of Leon.
Beyond this bridge, in the beautiful valley,
backed by olive groves and vineyards on the hill-
sides, lay the village of Aria, quaint and old, with
its one fairly broad street marked out by the Roman
road.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


It was an old time Spanish village, whose inhab-
itants counted existence not by ordinary methods
but by saints' days and festivals, with as little labor
and as many siestas as possible between.
Nominally an extensive estate was attached to
the Castle of Aria. but the richer portions of the


land had long
of the peasant
for their tenu
oil or kine, to
of much value
family of sucl
So, when
sented a third
named Juan
the child was
some way for
Of the tw


s,
ts,


igo practically passed into the hands
who under the old feudal laws paid


ire a light tribute in corn, wine, olive
the lord of the manor; the whole not
e in creating an income suitable to a
h noble lineage as that of Ponce.
to Don Pedro, the Donna Maria pre-
son in the year 1460, whom he piously
because of the saint's day on which
born, it behooved him to provide in
* the boy's future.
o older brothers, Fernando the senior


was to have the succession of the family e
hereditary honors; the second, Bernardo,
apart for the church. But as Juan grew
if not in grace, Don Pedro scarcely knew
do with him.
Donna Maria had a horror of the sea
had lost two of her nearest and best loved


S

1:


tate and
was set
n years,
what to


Sfor she
relatives








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


by drowning in its remorseless depths in a shipwreck
on the Biscayan coast; so she therefore besought her
husband to train the boy to some peaceful pursuit,


even should it be necess
separate estate, purchased
of their scant income.
But as the lad passed
more evident every day,
material suited to the life


to provide for him a
pinching savings out


into his teens, it became
that he was not made of
Proposed. He was rest-


less and adventurous, loving a mock tournament in
the castle courtyard with his elder Irother, whom
he often vanquished to the latter's chagrin; a fight
or a wild frolic, better than the teachings of Father
Ambrose, the family chaplain.
So after one of his most serious escapades, which
came nigh to involving the people of the castle and
those of the village in hostile conflict, it was decided
to secure for him a position as page at the court of
John the II. at Valladolid, Don Pedro having influ-
ence enough for that purpose.
To fit out the lad for the journey and his intro-
duction to the Prince's court in proper style, occa-
sioned much anxious thought and contriving on the
part of Juan's parents, but at last it was accomplished
and the day of final parting came.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Don Pedro chose from the herd of horses bred
on the estate, a young steed of the best Andalusian
stock for Juan's own riding; a second for his serv-
ant Miguel, with two sumpter mules as baggage
carriers. He provided also two armed horsemen,
retainers of the castle, brave and trusty men, to
accompany Juan upon his journey; for in those days
folks who traveled ran no slight risk of their lives
or valuables, even in so short a journey as that to


Valladolid, an hun
men were armed
armored with steel
lers.


dred English miles distant. These
with pikes and battle axes and
I morions, breastplates and buck-


The lad himself, too young to bear much armor,
was clad in a stout leather jerkin,. well studded with
small metal disks, offering no inconsiderable resis-
tance to spear thrust or stroke of sword, but other-
wise with the usual garments.
His only weapons were a light sword swinging
from his saddle bow and a dagger in his girdle.
Miguel, an expert archer, carried a crossbow, so that
the party although small in number, was capable of
making a stout defense if assaulted.
It was on a bright sweet morn in May, that the
sun, gilding the mountain peaks girdling the valley








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


wherein he was born, sent down its shafts of light
upon Juan's little cavalcade awaiting the parting.
As he stepped to the archway of the castle's outer
gate, mingled feelings of joy and sorrow struggled
for the mastery in his boyish heart; for now had
come the hour that marked not only his entrance
into the boundless world beyond his natal home, but
of parting with those in it dear to him, his mother
dearest of all.
But 'twas his father that was first to speak fare-


well words, saying, after
a little roll of gold and
much pains to gather:
"My son, we part to
your patron saint only kn


placing in his son's hand
silver coins that had cost


-day. The good God and
low whether you .will soon


or ever return. Remember you
name to maintain, one that has
stain for generations. Do your
and serve your God, your king
fully. My blessing be upon


have an honorable
been kept clean of
best to keep it so
and country faith-
youl" To which


Father Ambrose, making the sign of the cross, said,
"Amen 1"
Letting go his father's hand, the lad turned to
his mother, who threw her arms about his neck and
sobbing, kissed him many times, uttering only bre-








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


ken words, because of her tears, of fare
blessing.
To which also the good padre added his
though little did Juan heed the solemn
words; for, so often had the good man's
been irksome to him, it was not until long
the efforts in his behalf were remembered v


-well and

in Latin,
sonorous
discipline
afterward
vith grat-


itude. Then came the two brothers, to whom Juan
gave his last instructions concerning the care and di-
vision of certain pets of his left with them. 'After
which he bade a personal farewell to all the men
and maids of the castle with whom he had always
been a favorite, and vaulting into his saddle was
ready for the last "Adios" to all collectively.
But as he gathered up the bridle rein, his mother
sprang forward, seizing the free hand to kiss it, then
letting go of it turned her tear-wet face towards the
doorway to climb the stairway leading to thelookout,
whence she might see him pass down the road to its
turning.
As to his brothers, it is scarcely to be doubted in
their hearts they were right glad to see him off.
In this guise Juan Ponce set his face eastward to
win and lose fortunes, but in the end to gain a name
which will not be forgotten in a thousand years.













CHAPTER II.


THE LITTLE MAID, DOLORES. JUAN ARRIVES AT VAL-
LADOLID.


At a curve on the downward winding road from


which could be had the last near view of
Juan turned himself in his saddle for one
well glance. There, at the gateway, still
Pedro with the padre by his side, the la
the beads of his rosary, reputed to have


the castle,
more fare-
stood Don
tter telling
been made


of olive wood grown in the garden of Gethsemane;
though, truth to tell, it would have required a great
olive forest to have filled all similar claims; but the
two older brothers had disappeared.
From the arrow-slit above the archway there


fluttered a wh
lad well knew
Taking off
it, Juan wave
his horse the
caring only to


rite handkerchief or scarf,


which the


was held in his mother's hand.
his cap, that had an eagle feather in
d it vigorously in answer, then gave
spur, reckless of the steep descent,
bring the parting to a final end.


As a boy he came not back apain. 'Twas years
afterward that he rode up the same pathway, nay


w








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


even more sorrowful than on this morn he rode down
it, although at his horse's tail followed a glittering
troop and his knightly shield bore his own well won
emblazonment; for within those old walls towering
from the cliffs of Aria, a wan face brightened for
the last time to give him welcome and blessing.
But not a forethought of this was in his mind,
rather something far from akin; for when the gate-
way was hidden by intervening rocks he beckoned
to Miguel to ride alongside and exclaimed:
"God knows I grieve only because my mother
does. But it makes me fume, Miguel, to think
those two, my brothers Fernando and Bernardo,
are already quarreling over my pet falcon, my dog
or the young colt my father gave me last Christmas
day. Saw you not the rascals had already left the
gate?"
"What boots it, Master Juan, to you, how they
may quarrel over such things? You cannot be
there to make them cease. Forget it in remember-
ing that you are entering a wider world with greater
things before you."
"Well, much good may it do them. I am glad
of one thing I did at dawn this day. That young
eagle you and I captured in the Sierra a month back









THE STORY OF PONCE DE


cannot be theirs to contend over.


LEON. 17

For as I passed


his cage he looked at me as
thou leave me a captive wl
leased from prison?' So I
and bade him God speed 1
You should have seen how
he cleft the morning air,
highest tower and made s
For a moment only did he 1


much as
ien thou
opened
back to
joyousl
soaring
straight


if to say,


art
his
the
y a
far
for


'Wilt


thyself re-
prison door
mountains.
nd gallantly
above the
the Sierra.


halt over the court yard


to send me down the eagle's cry of triumph, which I
take to be a good omen."
"I doubt it not," answered Miguel, "for truly


the bird and you are much alike. Neither can abide
the bars or be tamed easily."
By this time they had reached the bridge and
went clattering over its flags into the village.
There were few men about, for most of them
were at work in the vineyards, gardens and fields
that dotted the valley or climbed the hillsides. But


as they came abreast of the gray old posada, as
ancient as the castle, with its cattle yard and stables,
a little girl, seeing Juan, ran out to greet him.
"Hola I Muy Bonita, little Dolores with the
sunny curls! Would you ride with me? Hold up
both hands and I will swing you to the saddle bow


" I


P


k
\








IS THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

for a canter to the barrier, where you shall kiss me
good-by and Diego shall bring you back 1"
Then to the mother, who had come after the
child, Juan said, "Fear not; she shall return to you
in safety as if she were in her mother's arms."
So to the child's infinite delight he gave her a
merry gallop through byways and narrow streets,
scattering squealing pigs and squaking geese in
every direction, greatly to the consternation of the
village women who ran to their doors and catching
a glimpse of the frolickers, poured upon Juan's
head objurgations not of the choicest. Arrived at the
village confines where in time of need a barrier gate


closed across the main road, Jut
"Now, sweetheart! kiss me
some day, when thou art grove
maiden, Juan Ponce will ride
as the third son only of a poor
with bearings of his own upon
thou shalt ride upon a parlfrey


in halted, saying:
and forget not that
vn into a beautiful
back this way, not
lord, but a Knight
his shield and then
by his side through


these same streets, if it will please thee."


The child put up her red lips for the kiss, which
she forgot not through all the passing years.
Then he handed her to Diego, who speedily gave
her back to her mother.


ww








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


"Now, by the Holy Cross I" ejaculated the lad,
"that the pretty child should have so come to greet
me is another good omen. So let us ride on to the
crossing of the Esla and the highroad to Valladolid
full of hope."


Through
coated cork
meager fields
lowlands ful
mountain pi
whereat their
thirst with c
teau, rock str
thorny braml
Sometime
to ride in si
where the ro;
path. Atoth
where scarcel
ing rivers still
to the beasts
day, from the


forests of acorn-bearing oaks, rough-
and chestnut trees in the valleys; by
or pasture lands on higher levels; over
l of rich gardens; underneath somber
ies; with here, a tumbling, noisy rill,
Sbeasts and themselves could slake their
ool sweet water; or there, a broad pla-
wewn and covered with spiney cactus or
bles, the cavalcade passed steadily on.
sJuan and his people were compelled
igle file along the edges of precipices
adway dwindled to a mere thread-like


ers they
y ever she
1 in spring
that bor
Summit


lived down into rocky gorges
own the sun, or forded foam-
g freshet-all with great toil
e them. But on the fourth
f a hill they saw the evening


sun reflected in many tints from the walls and spires
of Valladolid, having come through all the dangers
and difficulties of the. journey scathlcss.


. .








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


It was a proud moment for young Ponce v
he held forth to the captain of the San Pablo
his passport from the king and was directed cou
ously how to find the palace.
Of Juan's life as a page at the royal court t
is little record, but it is said that through all
court experiences he retained his native simple
of soul uncorrupted.
The court of King John was then the chief
in Spain unless exception be made in favor of
at Granada, where the Moors still held their
against the Spaniards, awaiting the sad time
them when young Fernand of Arragon, as the
band of Isabella of Castile, under the name of


rhen
gate
irte-

here
his
city


one
that
own
for
hus-
Fer-


dinand the Fifth, should hurl against them the com-
bined forces of Leon, Arragon and Castile, united
by their marriage in this same city of Valladolid,
and drag them down to ruin.
That it was not all roses to the country lad from
Leon is certain, for otherwise he never could have
retained his love for hardy enterprises or achieved
the advancement he did.
In due time he doffed his pages' costume and as
a valiant squire followed his king to the wars.
His home training had made him even as a boy








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


an expert equestrian.


Was there a spirited horse,


fresh from the wide pastures, to
grooms and pages or squires dread
was called upon and never vainly.
Gothic ancestors was in him and gav


will and power as made him co
with beasts or men. Born amid
were hardier. With the heart
no danger, but rather sought it,
as gentle in the brief hours of
not what strife and war were.


llqu4


break in, that
ed, Juan Ponce
The blood of
re him such iron
tror in strivings


the mountains, none
of a lion, he feared
and yet withal was
peace as if he knew













CHAPTER III.

JUAN PONCE IS KNIGHTED ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE.
A MESSENGER COMES FROM CASTLE D'ARIA.


In the year 1485, an expedition was made by
Ferdinand and the Duke of Medina into the heart
of the Emirate of Granada and a fierce battle was
fought on the banks of the Guadalquiver.
The Emir, although at first having an inferior
force, held a strong Rosition from which the Span-
iards attempted in vain to dislodge him. Mean-


time the Moors were rallying from all quarters and
shortly the Spanish vanguard, assaulted both front
and flank, gave way.
A storm of arrows, javelins and arquebus balls
fell thick and fast uoon the only battalion of spear-
men that faced the swarthy foe in martial order.
Then came thundering down upon them, with
the ring of twice two thousand hoofs, the Emir and
his choicest cavalry. The sheen of their scimintars
was like the lightning on the edge of a storm cloud,
and the shouts of "Allah ilAllah l" mingled with the


P







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


clash of cymbals and the rattle of war drums fairly


SMoors swept down upon t
s, there was a crash as of
sapling forest. Striving to
standard, trampling over
ting aside the living, right


ner guard pressed the I
was held aloft until a j
Seeing it go down,


doors.
javelin
Juan


from another part of the
shouting victors, and alk
cle around him with his
staff from the dead man's


hand he raised it
thrust and stroke
baned enemies at
places.
Then a piken


horse's side and
Juan had dra
ever, and as he
horsemen drove
himself rode up,


the Spaniards.
he belt of lev-
many axemen
make way to
the dead and
up to the ban-


Bravely the standard
slew its holder.
Ponce came dashing
into the midst of the
sweeping a clear cir-


sword, wrenched the flag
clenched hands. With one


aloft, and with the other so parried
with his sword as to keep the tur-
bay, although wounded in many


nan


drove


weapon


it stumbled to its death.
wn his feet from the stirrups,
struck the 'round the king's
back the Moors. When the
Juan was still standing erect,


how-
own
king
hold-


ing the banner aloft, though so weak from loss of


drowned the answering battle cries of


As the
eled spear
hewing a
the royal
dying, bea







24 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

blood that had he been a common man, he would
have been lying by his dead steed.
The King halted and springing to the ground,
seeing the faintness stealing over his page of former
days, and squire already renowned for courage and
skill at arms, ordered the Knight of Eseguera to
relieve him of the banner, then said:
"Kneel, Juan Ponce, as becomes a true man who
has done so valiant a deed, to arise as the Knight
Juan Ponce de Leon, who shall henceforth bear upon
his shield two lions rampant, one for Castile and one
for Leon I" then gave him the accolade.
But Ponce de Leon could not for very weakness
arise from his knees and saw only the King's face
through a mist
He was far spent, and so was carried from the
field upon a stretcher and placed under the charge
of the King's own surgeon, to whom Ferdinand
gave orders to spare no efforts in the new Knight's
behalf.
The Moors fell badk to their former position
among the orange groves and gardens with their
irrigation ditches which had proved so strong a
defence, while the King and his army moved back








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


across the Sierra Morena to the permanent camp in
La Mancha, carrying Ponce de Leon in a litter.
For many days he lay between life and death.
Don Pedro and Donna Maria came from the castle
of Aria to nurse him, accompanied on the journey
by Domingo Lopez, his wife and daughter, the lat-
ter only remaining a day or two. The Knight knew
not that a young girl had begged so urgently to but
look upon him once, they let her have her will, but


when the fever delirium had abated there came
his mind the picture of a sweet sad face that haun
him, and yet which he could not place.
During this time Queen Isabella came often
visit him and her gracious presence seemed to
him more good than even the surgeon's skill.
With such ministration Ponce de Leon s
began to mend, and one day near the end of his c
valescence a page brought a message from


to
ted


)on
on-
the


Queen commanding his attendance.
Presenting himself at the royal quarters,
bella, after welcoming him with the punctillious
mony of the times, said:
"Don Juan Ponce de Leon, I would in
small manner requite your gallant service in
cuing the royal standard from the hands of the


Isa-
cere-


some
resin
infi-


v .








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


There is here a suit of armor such as may well


become so brav
cers of Toledo.
surface are the
your insignia.
ever be ready tc
your sovereigns


e a Knight, made by the best artifi-
Also a shield upon whose silver
two lions the King has ordained as
This sword goes with them. May it
Slap from its scabbard for God and
.And that your panoply might be


complete there is without, in Miguel's charge, as
noble a steed as my equerry could find in all Cas-
tile.


"These are Isabella's bequests as tokens of her
regard."
Forthwith the Knight fell upon his knees before
the Queen and gave thanks to her, to God and all
the saints with fervor.
Henceforth in all the army there was no one
more ready to do and dare for Isabella than Juan
Ponce de Leon.
For a brief season all went well with the Knight,
but fortune seldom comes with both hands full of
good gifts that she does not even up with sorrow.
One day there rode into Valladolid a travel-
stained and dusty messenger bringing a summons
to the Knight that if lie wished to see Donna Maria
on earth again, he should straightway ride to Aria.


!
!


I







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LBON. 27

The messenger had much difficulty *i eluding
brigands that held mountain passes on the road, so
in order there might be no detention possible,
Ponce de Leon gathered a squadron of ten well
armed mounted men and set forth immediately.
On the evening of the second day, so unceas-
ingly had he pushed the journey, he rode through
the village of Aria, halting not until before the
castle gate on the very spot where in his boyhood
he had parted from his people.
"Wind your horn gently, Miguel, for though I
would that Donna Maria should hear it if she be
awake, its clamor must not rouse her from sleep."
At the call the drawbridge was lowered, the
gates opened wide, for the warder, though he had
never seen Don Juan in knightly armor, knew that
it must be him.
Father Ambrose met them at the threshold with
a kindly greeting but withal a sad look on his face.
"My mother-"
"She is still alive, my son, the saints be praised I
and knows that you are coming. 'Tis that, I think,
that gives her a frail hold on life.-Don Pedro leaves
not her bedside. Follow me." So saying, the old
padre led the way sighing, to that same room where-







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


in Ponce de Leon was born and had passed his in-
fancy.
And of the meeting what shall be said but this
-it was too full of the most sacred and holy emo-
tions known to human hearts to.be portrayed by
feeble words.
Juan was her Benjamin. She had missed him
long and deeply. He was here now, kneeling by
her bedside with a few broken words, so gently
uttered it seemed impossible the same voice had
ever pealed forth a battle cry ringing over all the
din of fighting hosts like a clarion call.
She laid her hand upon his head and uttered
faintly:
"My son-now I am content !"
"My mother!" he answered, and then softly
kissed the thin wan cheeks.
Some little other talk she essay ed, but chiefly
lay silent with a smile in her eyes. But after a little
while she whispered, "Bring in your helmet, shield
and sword and place them so that I may see how
they have honored my Juan.'"
Then Miguel brought all in, even to the banner,
and so arranged the things that the taper's light
fell fair upon them, especially the shield bearing







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


upon a field of silver two red lions. Turning her
face so that she might view them well she let her
eyes rest long and lovingly upon the trophies of her
son's prowess in silence, Juan holding her hand in
his.
But after a while her mind wandered back to
the days of Juan's childhood; so judged those around
her by the broken words, sometimes of endearment
or gentle chiding. Then, she was a bride standing
by Don Pedro's side in the quaint old chapel in her
father's house; and yet again a maid, making merry
gently with other maids; a child prattling on her
father's knee, thus tracing backward the thread of'
life.
The time wore on into the small hours when
she was heard to say, "The night grows darker,
Don Pedro. Light more tapers. I cannot see."
Then as Juan bent his face over her she made the
sign of the cross upon his forehead and murmur-
ing a blessing on them all, fell asleep.
Thus the gentle soul of Donna.Maria passed to
the angels.











CHAPTER IV.

OF INTEREST TO THOSE WHO LOVE THE OLD STORY.

Of all the castle folk there was not one so uni-
versally beloved as Donna Maria, and as the tidings
of her departure spread through the neighboring
hamlets, many came to see her lying in state, with
gift of flowers and words of sympathy and sorrow-
ing bereavement.
During the lady's illness often had Dolores, the
daughter of Domingo Lopez, the inn-keeper,--erst-
while the little girl who rode with Juan through the
village streets on that May morn, long gone but not
forgotten, the lad had parted from his home-vis-
ited her and given gentle attendance.
Dolores had grown as Juan had prophesied she
would, into a most beautiful maiden.
She had a form as faultless and graceful as the
Greek Diana. Gray eyes that sometimes seemed blue
and at others hazel, yet always with a witchery in
them a heart of steel could not resist. Lips mete for
kissing, red as coral. A skin soft and fair as the
white rose petal, but with a tint of dawn shining








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


through it. Small hands, and feet with arching in-
step. A voice like silver bells all atune. Her heart,
too, was as gentle as her ways. There were no
shadows lingering in its corners.


All in all, she was a
love-this Dolores, the
freshness of her youth.
Dolores had seen, t
casement, Ponce de Le


maiden worthy of knightly
pride of Aria-in the dewy


through the grating of her
n at the head of his troop


pass up the street and on towards the Castle in the
evening twilight, and she had said to herself with
her hand upon her bosom to still the fluttering of her
heart,
"I will not go to Donna Maria to-night," (she
dreamed not how near to the end it was,) "but to-
morrow I will see him. I wonder if he remembers,"
-and then she paused and blushed.
But with the morning came a servitor from the
Castle who told the inn people "Donna Maria is
with the saints."
Then Dolores went into her garden, and sigh-
ing, gathered her most beautiful flowers, that with
deft fingers she wove into a cross to be placed on
Donna Maria's bier.
Days passed, but not until the chapel services








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


that marked the closing rites, did she see Ponce de
Leon, and then the sorrow darkening his face smote
her to her heart.
Then other days went on until losing hope of
meeting she said, "He has forgotten I"
But one bright balmy morning when larks and
nightingales were singing, there was a stir at the
inn door and a little neighbor maid rushed into her
room exclaiming,
"The Knight Ponce de Leon is at the door! He
has come for you and has brought a milk-white
palfrey with oh! such housings on it-fit for a
queen i"
"Ah, chatterbox! How know you he has come
for me?"
"Why, I heard him say so to the madre."
"And what did she say ?"
"I know not what, I did not stay but hastened


to be first
Then
her arms
What
Through


to tell you!"
Dolores caught the merry little sprite in
and kissed her.
was the end? What should it be but this:
the village streets, out into the smiling


country rode Juan Ponce and Dolores, not as they
did once before upon the same horse-though doubt-








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


less the Knight would have so preferred had it been
admissible-but side by side; their roadway lined
with wild rose hedges, fragrant jasmine and way-
side flowers. As for the rest, it is the same old story
told in every generation, yet ever sweet and new.
In returning when they came to the barrier, the
two instinctively halted.
"Do you remember, Juan,-'twas here-"
For answer, the Knight bent his face to hers and
in a moment her cheeks glowed with sunset colors.
And as Dolores looked out of her window that
night at the blue dome of Heaven, with eyes as
bright as the stars, she whispered, "He did not for-
get-my Juan-my Knight of Leon I"
For she had found her love and he his, and so
this little chapter in their lives which began in sor-


row ended in gladnes.











CHAPTER V.
EL CABALLERO NEGRO VISITS THE POSADA OF ARIA
HE CARRIES OFF DOLORES.


In those days, nay even in more modern times,
brigandage was common in Spain. The many
mountain ranges of greater or less extent every-
where bounding the valleys and plains furnished
almost inaccessible retreats to bands of desperate
men, outlawed for various offences against church
and state.
Leon was no exception to the general rule. In-
deed it had long been terrorized by one brigand
chief whose Christian name, if ever he had one, was
unknown. From his swarthy countenance he was
called "El Caballero Negro," the Black Horseman.
Heretofore, his forays had extended no nearer
to Aria than the valley of the Rio Esla and none
dreamed that he would visit that neighborhood.
One day shortly after the events last noted,
there rode up to the door of the posada a stranger
on a coal black steed accompanied by only one com-
panio.







THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON. 35

There was nought about the two men to excite
Domingo Lopez' suspicions or particular attention,
except that the face of the first was almost as dark
in hue as his steed. But renegade Moors were com-
mon even in this region and Domingo, thinking he
was one, gave but little heed.
While eating their meal and sipping their wine,
the two conversed in a language Lopez did not un-
derstand. He recollected afterward, that they were
very watchful, keeping their weapons at hand,
throwing sharp glances in every direction and that
they asked many questions concerning the neighbor-
hood and those people rumored to have most wealth.
The table at which they sat faced a door into
the central court, left ajar because the day was very
warm.
Into this courtyard, which was full of flowers
with a little fountain in its midst, not knowing there
were strangers in the public room, came Dolores car-
rying a basin full of wheat and barley grains to
feed her pigeons.
She called and in a moment was encircled by
the fluttering birds, some of whom made bold to
alight upon her arms and shoulders; others upon







36 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

the dish. Laughingly, she chided them and
brushed them off but still they came again.
Then she threw a cloth over the dish and setting
it down upon the fountain's base delivered to the
thronging birds a mockly serious lecture on the sin
of greediness.
It was a pretty picture, this of the maid sur-
rounded by her pets, some pecking at the lacings of
her shoes; some flying in and out; others strutting
around her swelling their purple shining or silver
white throats with loving cooings, never heeding
her gentle chiding; with one upon her shoulder press-
ing its pink bill against her cheek, begging to be
caressed-and all keeping their bright eyes fixed
on her slightest motion.
Beauty and grace, in guise of flowers and birds
and maid, love and sweet innocence, there can be
no fairer sight, not even in Paradise.
But the trail of the serpent-'tis everywhere.
"By the patron god of robbers-that is a pretty
maid!" ejaculated the swarthiest of the twain, more
loudly than he thought for, so that Dolores, hearing
the strange voice, turning saw a pair of fierce, gleam-
ing eyes fixed on her. With a swift motion she







THE STORY OP PONCE DE LEON.


scattered the grain to the birds and hurried out of
sight
Tossing a peso upon the table, the leader said
mockingly, "Adios, Senor Landlord, for the pres-
ent. When I come again I will bring with me more
guests for your hostelry."
As they rode down the street together the
swarthy horseman said to his companion,


"Look you, Antonio, I am tired of Pepita
may have her. Yon girl of Domingo Lopez'


be
giv

it i
El
an(


queen of the mountains and old Domingo
e up a rich dowery with the bride."
"I doubt not he has a goodly store of coin
s well enough to ease him of, but as to thl
Negro, you had best let her alone. Touc
1 you touch the very heart of Ponce de Leo


You
shall
shall


which
girl,
h her,
nand


'tis said, he never yet has been vanquished, and that
his sword bites steel like as a wolf does mutton."
"Tomorrow night she shall be mine The pesos
to the band, the girl to me. Carramba! Shall El
Negro turn his hand for a milksop from the court?"
And so they rode on out of sight and hearing.
The day passed in sunny peace for the village,
as many other days have done, and the next came
in equal beauty and serenity, fading away into the
4







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


cool, fragrant twilight bringing the Knight to
Dolores.
Together they passed a happy time, sitting in the
courtyard, with mandolin and lute chiming to the
cooing of the pigeons in the dove-cote, or words of
courtly song, after the fashion of the times. Then
when the moon began to touch with silver gleaming
the western Sierra, Juan parted from her with a
promise of a meeting on the morrow.
Anita, the little neighbor girl, had been with
them to play duenna all the evening, and besought
Dolores to stay with her the night, a petition readily
granted, for Dolores was sisterless and the newly
betrothed must have some one to talk with on such
occasions ere sleep can come.


In the midst of pleasant dreams, there came a
sudden clamor, at the great door of the posada
arousing its inmates.
Domingo hastened to investigate what occa-
sioned it, and found a group of horsemen before
the house, some of whom were dismounted.
"Open in the name of the King!" commanded
one sternly, as if he had authority. But scarcely
had Domingo opened the wicket ere several men








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


rushed upon him, threw him and in a trice had him
securely bound with stout thongs.
His cry for help rang through the house, but
El Negro-for he it was indeed-put his poinard
to the inn-keeper's throat and bade him cease or he
would end it once for all.
The inner doors of the house were chiefly open
because the night was warm, and Dolores heard and
recognized the voice as that of the swarthy caballero
whose burning glance had so disturbed her the pre-
ceding day. In a moment it flashed across her mind
this could be none other than El Negro whose law-
less deeds were known to all Leon. For a second
she knew not what to do. The next she turned to
Anita saying,
"Little friend, you are swift of foot as a fawn I
Would you fear too much to run.through the dark-
ness to the Castle and tell the Knight Ponce de
Leon, robbers have stormed the inn ?"
"Not I, but how ? They will not let me pass the
gate."
Dolores shut the door and bolted it. Seizing a
strong scarf and bidding the girl follow to a little
balcony overhanging the outer wall, she swiftly low-
ered her to the ground and in a moment the light-








40 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

footed messenger was out of sight-not a second too
soon, for El Negro seeking to prevent egress sent
men to guard all sides.
Meantime a delay was made by the search for
the treasure it was reported Lopez had, the bandits
being determined to lay hands upon it before secur-
ing Dolores for their captain.
This, however, was speedily accomplished
through threats of death to Lopez and his wife, and
promises they should receive no farther harm if the
money should be given up. In doing so, Domingo
was deluded into believing the promise included
Dolores.
This accomplished, and learning from one of
the terrified servants which was Dolores apartment,
El Negro made his way to it and rapping loudly
on the barred door demanded admittance.
Dolores answered not. Indeed she could not, for
her heart was in her throat and choked her utter-


ance.
Re-itterating the demand and still receiving
reply, without more ado, El Negro proceeded
batter down the door with his battleaxe.
When the door fell in fragments, the ban
stepped across the threshold to see, by the light


idit
of








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


a single taper,
Was she prayi
to seek protect


appeal to heave
much to God
speedy coming
rifled to know
Negro came fo
sprang bravely
"Touch me


Dolores kneeling before a crucifix


Sio


r


Sor was it the instinct
n in the only way left
? The cry in her heart
nd the saints for help
I Ponce de Leon. She
what she was doing.


of despair
to her, an
was not so
as for the
was too ter-
But as El


wward to lay hands upon
to her feet and cried out,
not !


"Nay I but I will, if you go not with me at once
in silence!"
And indeed there was reason for his haste. A
backward glance through the open door showed
torches flashing about the Castle on the cliffs. He
knew men were arming there in hot anger, and
would shortly be down upon him.
So locking Domingo, his wife and servants, in
a room, that they might not impede his retreat, he
ordered his men to their horses with what plunder
they had secured, and drove Dolores with threats
into mounting a led horse provided for that purpose,
then seizing the bridle dashed away just as the distant
ring of iron horseshoes came from the Castle cause-
way. As they gathered speed on the roadway pass-


U
*,







THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON.


ing the barrier, El Negro shouted: "Ho, men I Saint


Satan stands 1
The first to y
Dolores a
his face toward
ised to meet
never broke a


speed him
was gone
ing hoofs,
she knew
and Juan


to
and
her
the
Pon


by his own again. Booty and Beauty I
ou, the other mine !"
iswered not his thought as he turned
ds her, but her heart said, "He prom-
ne today and he will. The boy Juan
Promise nor will the Knight. God
the rescue!" and when her numbness
her ears caught the echoes of gallop-
heart gave a bound of hope, because
n her little messenger had succeeded
ce de Leon was speeding in pursuit.













CHAPTER XV.

SANNATOWAH INFORMS THE KNIGHT OF CERTAIN
GREAT SPRINGS. THE HORSES ARE LANDED AND
FRAY ANTONIO'S MULE CREATES CONSTER-
NATION. THE SPANIARDS ARE GUID-
ED TO THE BOUNDARY OF TEGESTA

Fortunately for these people there was little gold
among them. The Cacique Sannatowah had one
ornament of this metal shaped like a little sun which
he parted with to Ponce de Leon in exchange for
presents he esteemed of greater value.
When questioned as to the Fountain of Youth,
the Cacique was well acquainted with the legend
and said that in old times it was certain according
to their traditions it had existed but not in that
vicinity. However, there were two days easy jour-
ney to the westward several great springs and a
mighty river, whose beginning and end were un-
known to him.
One of these springs was in the territory of a
tribe with whom they were now at war. But when
he was a youth there was peace and he had often








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


visited it. This spring was deemed sacred. It was
a great fountain that welled up from the depths of
the earth seemingly bottomless, with waters, azure
as the sky but clear, so that one could see far down
into it. This perhaps might be the one sought, but
he could not say that it was so.
Continuing his account he said: "I drank not of
it for the wise men of the tribe said it was forbidden
by the Great Spirit, especially to one of any tribe
save that in whose land it was."
It was in the country of Tegesta, but that to
reach it there were thick jungles of hammock lands,
pine woods, cypress swamps and bogs wherein
were many alligators, serpents and wild animals, to
pass through. The country beyond was a pleasant


and fertile one with many gardens and villages.
Trouble had existed between the tribes of the
coast and interior for many moons and there had
been many severe battles and reprisals but not so
many of late.
For three days Ponce de Leon tarried quietly
in the bay each day visiting Sannatowah whose
friendship he had won completely, or being visited
on board the ships.
At the end of this time Ponce de Leon had set








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


to begin his expedition to the province of Tegesta.
Now there were but ten horses on the caravels be-
sides the mule of Fray Antonio, and men in full
armor, such as would be needed if the people of the
interior were as numerous and warlike as reported,


could only travel on horseback,


so the


expedition


must be confined to a small
Being assured that his
trusted, he had the horses
swam ashore. For each h
panion was selected besides


ranging that th
opposite shore f
close to it, with
in command not


force.
new friend was to be
lowered overboard and
orseman one foot com-


Indian


e caravels should
rom the village so
strict orders to his
to provoke on any


porters, and ar-
anchor near the
as not to be too
subordinates left
account quarrels


with the natives, the Knight disembarked upon the
most singular quest ever rode Knight errant.
In whatever light the search for the Fountain
of Youth may now be viewed, it was neither madness
nor over credulity that prompted Ponce de Leon to
this expedition, although doubtless he did believe
the legends to a certain extent and was animated by
the hope of its existence.
But this land which he had discovered had been
given him by his King and already was he con-








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


vinced that it was no mere island of limitel extent,
such as the many he had visited in these seas, and so
it behooved him to thoroughly explore it, learn its
capacities for settlement and discover its supposed
riches as soon as possible.
The landing of the horses occasioned as much
surprise and astonishment amongst the natives as
anything they had yet witnessed.


At first they viewed the
emotions of fear and distrust
dined to betake themselves to
deed, when Fray Antonio's
clambered out of the water
earth with his hoofs, as if pr
his kind to come to Florida,
piercing brays manifesting


strange animals with
and seemed to be in-
the forests. Nay, in-
thrice blessed mule
and striking the solid
noud to be the first of
gave utterance to ear
his delight, not even


Sannatowah could prevent his people from impul-
sive flight.
But seeing the grooms wiping off the wet animals
and handle them in putting on their accoutrements
as if it were common work, they soon regained their
courage and returned. Nor was it long before some
of the boldest even volunteered to hold them by their
bridles, excepting in the case of the cadre's long-
eared quadruped, of whom they stood in awe.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Sannatowah in his desire to befriend De Leon
sent with him guides and, much averse as the In-
dians are usually to such labor, a number went as
porters, agreeing of their own free will to go at least
as far as their own boundaries.
As everything had been prepared including pro-
visions, furnished partly from the ships' stores and
the remainder by the cacique, the sun was scarce
an hour high when the trumpets sounded and the
march began.
Winding by narrow paths amid the gardens that
covered the immediate vicinity, the cavalcade moved
westward chiefly in single file by reason of the scan-
ty width of the roadway, and soon was buried in a
heavy forest of great oaks, magnolias and nalm trees;
the former hanging full with streamers of long gray
moss and matted vines which with the undergrowth
made progress slow and toilsome.
These forests were full of game of various kinds,
and often brown deer, startled from their coverts,
leaped up before them at which the bowmen shot;
or a great bear with startled snorts would plunge in
cumbrous but rapid flight crashing through the tan-
gled growth. So also other wild wood creatures
new to the Spaniards.







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


A league of such journeying and at last they
emerged into the more open pine woods.
There the breeze refreshed the travelers with
resinous scents and coolness.
Flowers of many kinds bestrewed their path;
while cranes stalked as sentinels along the borders
of smiling water pools; high over head soared eagles
and fishhawks, sending down wild cries of defiance,
at these strange invaders of the land; black-winged
vultures swept slowly in spiral circles high into
azure skies, keeping with far-seeing eyes a watch
upon the earth beneath; huge alligators on banks
of little streamlets or shores of lakelets, lay still until
the soldiers came near enough to almost touch them
with their pikes, then splashed into the wine colored
waters to turn again and watch as if they wondered
what manner of beings these might be, making so
strange a parade through the wilderness.
All these and more were there, but with them
all it was yet a lonely, solemn land.
Carrying his helmet at his saddle bow so that he
might feel the refreshing of the breeze, the Knight
rode at the head of the little column of horse and
foot, forming as small a speck in the wide extending
land as a lone ship drifting over the bosom of the







124 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

sea; but not even the sunlight streaming through
the open ranks of sparsely branched and lofty pines
could banish the feeling of sadness bred by the end-
less sighing of the wind that made aeolian harps of
their leaves.
It seemed to Ponce de Leon that spirits of the
forest were sighing requiems over dead human hopes
and aspirations, which thick as the autumn leaves in
Valambrosa cover the bosom of the earth. And
there are others who have ridden after him through
these same forests-today almost as they were then
-with the like feeling in their souls.
They came to cypress strands across which, how-
ever, their guides found ready paths; but midway
between and sundown there loomed in front
of them ss of cypress trees, taller than ship's
spars an densely ranked they could see no
glimpse of sky beyond.
"This," said the Indians who had come with
them so far, "is the border of our lands. Beyond is
Tegesta. We can go no farther; for while the
flower of peace* blooms there is a truce between
us and those who live beyond.
*The "flower of peace" i a small star-like one growing close to the
ground and blooming through the planting time, when war is laid asde
except in great emergences. So named by the Indans.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. 125

So Ponce de Leon called a halt and gave orders
that a camp should be prepared for the night which
his men did with right good will.











CHAPTER VI.

THE BATTLE AT THE TWO SPRINGS. RESCUE OF
DOLORES.

Ponce de Leon and his men galloped with all
speed to the inn, arriving only a brief period after
the departure of the bandits. He flung himself from
his horse and rushing through the corridor leading
to the family rooms, came to Dolores' own apart-
ment. One glance at the wrecked door and empty
room-told him what had happened.
Giving orders for the release of Domingo and
his household but tarrying not for a lengthy account
of what had happened except to learn El Negro had
done the deed, he resumed the pursuit with an
anathema upon the soul of the miscreant.
As the robbers dashed through the village in
swift retreat, the barking of the dogs and other
clamor marked their course, which was northward
towards the mountains separating the vale of Aria
from that of the Esla. But when they entered the
lanes between the fields and vineyards their horses'
hoofs made little noise, beating on the soft earth,







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


and no sound was borne back to the pursuer's ears
to guide them.
A league beyond Aria the road forked into two
routes that led by separate passes into the Esla val-
ley where they re-united.
It was near dawn when the pursuing party ar-
rived at this point. Which route had El Negro
taken? The marks of horses' hoofs were plentiful
on both. While cogitating which road to follow,
one of De Leon's men brought him a crumpled
handkerchief, which he recognized as belonging to
Dolores. It was found upon the left hand turning
and had been dropped by her unnoticed in the dark-
ness and the haste of flight
The road chosen by El Negro was the most diffi-
cult and less used of the two, but presented many
points easy of defense against a pursuing party.
Knowing all the country' and that Miguel did also,
Ponce de Leon planned to catch the bandits in a
trap.
To Miguel he gave one-half his troop of horse-
men with orders to make his way as rapidly as pos-
sible over the main road to the place where they
joined again. If there he found no signs of the







THE STORY OF PONCE DB LEON.


bandits having passed, he was to turn southward
upon the road himself followed.
"Somewhere between us, Miguel, will El Negro
be. Nay, it is likely that his noon rest will be in the
glen of the two springs where we have ourselves
camped in the old days. There will we meet Be


watchful, that you fall not into an ambuscade for he
is a wary miscreant."
With the other five of the troop of tried soldiers
he had brought from Valladolid, Pence de Leon
took the route which he now knew the main band
at least of the bandits had followed.
El Negro supposed the Knight had donned his
full armor, which would much impede his progress
over the rough mountain road. But in this he was
mistaken for Ponce de Leon had slipped on over his
garments a hauberk only, of ring mail which was
flexible to every movement and of no great weight.
A Moorish buckler, a battleaxe and his own good
sword, were all his arms.
As they rode forward, about sunrise they were
startled by a crash some distance in advance and


when they came to a deep gorge at the bottom of
which was a mountain torrent, that had been







THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON.


spanned by a wooden bridge, its fragments
were found; the bandits had hewn it away.
Here again De Leon's knowledge of the r
served him in good stead. A short distance
there was a place where it was possible to cross
pursuit was delayed an hour or more but in tt


it was fortunate, for the
ascent of the declivities
by forest growth from


only

region
below
. The
e end


way to the crossing and the
to the old road were hidden
the observation of the rob-


bears' rear guard, who thinking they had interposed
an insurmountable obstacle to pursuit grew careless.
Knowing that he had desperate men to deal with
and desiring to take the bandits by surprise Ponce
de Leon moved with the utmost caution; keeping


under cover and reconnoitering
road. When he finally reached
pass from whence he could see
Esla valley, he caught a glimpse
turning into the very glen he
Miguel as a likely placid for their


every turn of the
the summit of the
far down into the
of the robber band
had spoken of to
noon halt.


Beyond the glen, however, the country was too
Heavily covered with forest growth to reveal the
presence of Miguel and his party, but the Knight
believed they were not far off.
Making a slight detour De Leon guided his men,







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LKON.


leading their horses, down the bed of a trickling
stream which in the rainy season was a raging tor-
rent, from whence they could look into the glen
without themselves being seen.
There, sure enough, El Negro and his bandits
were busily engaged around their camp fires prepar-
ing food, feeding their horses or patroling the en-
trance to the glen, by which only they thought it was
possible for mounted men to assail them.
Ponce de Leon judged there were from twenty-
five to thirty of the bandits. And there was Dolores
in their midst, evidently guarded, sitting with her
back to a great oak, close by one of the fountains.
The distance was too great to permit him to dis-
tinguish her features. Neither could he give her a
token of his presence that would not apprise the rob-
bers.
He must learn before he assaulted them where
Miguel was. The thought occurred to him that he
might send one of his men back upon the plateau
far enough to display a pennon which could be seen
beyond the glen but by none in it.
This was done and for half an hour he scanned
the forest beyond vainly, for an answering sign. He
could look down upon the tree tops but the verdure








48 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

was too dense to permit him to see aught beneath
it
His gaze rested upon one tall tree whose top was
partially dead, that he remembered as having an
eagle's nest in it when he was a lad. There was
even now a dark bunch in one of the forks that
might be a nest but the distance was too great to be
certain.
All of a sudden, a great bird arose from and cir-
cled screaming around the tree. Yes, it was an
eagle and something was threatening the safety of
its young. Then a pennon fluttered above the
green boughs.
It waved in answer to the pennon on the plateau.
It was Miguel's way of signalling that he was at
hand and ready.
Calling in the signal man De Leon moved cau-
tiously down to the opening of the gorge from
whence the ground was comparatively open to the
rear of the bandit camp. He bade his men prepare
for the charge, then drew his sword, set his feet
firmly in the stirrups and in the fore front of his lit-
tle squad galloped toward the robbers with a battle
cry of "San Juan! San Juan! to the rescue."
Astounded by the sudden appearance of an ene-








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


my that seemed to have dropped like lightning from
a clear sky upon them, for a moment the robbers
were paralyzed.
First to recover was El Negro. With a bound
he gained his horse; with another he was in the sad-
dle and levelling his spear rushed to meet De Leon.
A glance had told him how meager was the latter's
following. Some bowmen seized their weapons and
plied them vigorously; other spearmen followed El
Negro to the counter charge.
Now indeed the lately peaceful glen echoed with
the din of battle, the shouting of fighting men, the
neighing and trampling of horses, the clang of
weapons-all the fierce savagery of mortal strife.
Aghast, horrified at the scene, Dolores with
trembling lips could only give utterance to a prayer,


repeated again and again, that her Knight might
come out of the melee unharmed,-that the robbers
might be discomfitted-that she might be freed.
Ponce de Leon and El Negro in their mutual
eagerness to come at each other were both disap-
pointed. El Negro's spear point missed De Leon's
throat at which it was aimed, and the latter's sword
whistled in the air over the bandit chiefs suddenly








50 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

lowered head, their chargers passing each other in
a flash.
El Negro's horse struck that of a follower of
Ponce de Leon and having more momentum threw
horse and rider to the ground, the man receiving a


wound from the spear
other was stricken by
four were left to face


Negro
expert
other
breast
caught
turning
charge


exulted in the p


which disabled him.
an arrow shaft so that <
twenty. For a moment
respect of final victory.


horseman he deftly wheeled his steed for an-
charge with his lance leveled at De Leon's
seeking to at least unhorse him. The latter
t the bandit's spear point upon his buckler,
g it aside. For the third time El Negro came
ng down upon the Knight while two other


spearmen joined in the attack. It was a moment of
desperate peril for De Leon. Before El Negro's
spear could touch him one swift blow from De Le-
on's sword sheared off its point and swerving his
horse he let El Negro pass him by and turned to
face the others.
But now came from the glen's mouth a new
alarm of battle. Miguel and his spearmen came
charging with ringing war cries through the gap.
The tide of battle changed from this moment.


I








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


As one by one his comrades went down before the
Knight's men or the biting steel of their leader's
sword, El Negro saw the fight was lost But he
would have revenge. Dropping the useless spear
he dashed towards Dolores, still guarded by two of
his men, and seizing hold of her dragged her partly
across his saddle and sped toward the pass, then
clear because all the combatants had surged towards
the center of the glen.
So quickly was it done none saw the act at first
but Miguel. The best archer of Leon his bow was


already
Negro's
fly with
throat.
The
and the
Dolores'
his hope
an oath
der-bolt,
the land
Thu,
bandits
and the


in his hand and fitting a shaft to it as El
horse swerved, showing its side, Miguel let
unering aim, striking the horse in the


horse struggled a moment to keep his feet
n fell The bandit sprang off still holding
insensible form. Seeing now the end of
s was at hand, he drew a poniard and with
raised it to strike the girl. But like a thun-
Ponce de Leon's sword fell upon him and
was rid of its most dreaded robber chief.
s was Dolores rescued. A few only of the
escaped. The treasure of Domingo Lopez
plunder from the inn were recovered and


I







52 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

in addition many horses, arms and other booty
secured, well rewarding the soldiers, even the two
wounded.
As for Ponce de Leon he held his richest reward
in his arms; while she recovering from her swoon
looked up into his face, with a smile of gratitude
and sweet content, saying,
"Thou hast again well redeemed thy promise!"
and hesitated not before them all to clasp her arms
about his neck.
Because the day was waning and he had, not
only his own wounded to care for, but Dolores,
Ponce de Leon left the dead robbers where they had
fallen and hastened back to Aria.
And when the night shadows had gathered there
came into the glen a man and woman. She seemed
distraught with fear and grief and he was leading
her.
At last they came to an open spot where lay a
black charger with an arrow through its throat and
the form of its rider across it, both stiffened in the
moonlight.
The woman uttered a wild cry and throwing her-
self down beside the dead robber chief, lay sobbing








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


and moaning with her head upon the
breast.
She called him her Hamid, her Pri
Zincale,* her King of the Sierra, and at
her storm of grief had spent its force t
tween them bore the body to a hollow
rocks, buried it beneath a mound of stone
away.
These two were Antonio and Pepita.


motionless


ne of the
last when
he two be-
among the
sand went


The ZIa.l. we Spabh GIda
U












CHAPTER VII.


A WEDDING AND THE END OF THE FIRST PART
THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Not long after the rescue of Dolores from the
robber band there was a wedding in the Castle
Chapel at which Father Ambrose officiated with lov-
ing pride and deep solemnity. This time with bowed
head Juan listened intently to the good old padre's
closing blessing, albeit it was in Latin, the language


which as a boy he had so hated.
Anita was bridesmaid and often
asked about the wedding, would say,
beautiful! It was just heavenly !"
When they went to Valladolid to


after, when
"Oh, it was


ether in obe-


dience to the royal call all the court said, the bright-
est star amid its galaxy of beauty was Juan Ponce
de Leon's bride, the Rose of Leon.
And the King, not.to be outdone by Isabella,
also in token of the land's freeing from such danger-
ous and lawless men as El Negro and his bandits by
the Knight gave him an estate in the Valley of the








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. 55

Esla which included the glen, the forest and the
field lands beyond, even to the river.
Nor was Dolores' messenger, the brave girl
Anita, forgotten, but so rewarded that in due time
she became a bride well dowered.
Ordinarily were this story of Ponce de Leon,
romance pure and simple, it should end here with
saying; these trials to their true love over, Dolores
and Don Juan were happy ever after.
But those days were no pipine times of peace in
Spain and a man like Ponce de Leon could no more
be content with the avocations and obscurity of com-
mon men than the eagle of the Sierra could become
a barnyard fowl.
Sometimes he led the "hermendara" against in-
surrectionists and robbers, doing good service to the
state; at other times expeditions against the Moors,
in all of which he distinguished himself as a bold
and tireless soldier, more at home, however, in the
camp than.at court or even on his own estate.
But these exploits did not satisfy his ambition
because they did not open avenues to pre-eminence
and fame. Other men, more skilled in courtier arts
but less in real worth than himself, constantly
mounted over his head, at which he chafed.








THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON.


However, through the far-sightedness and grace
of one immortal woman, peerless among all the
Queens of Spain, a new era of greatness for the
land and opportunities for such spirits as Ponce de
Leon soon dawned, made possible by the discovery
of a new world.
Recalled to the court in the moment of his great-
est despondency over the failure of his petitions,
Columbus was at last equipped, chiefly by Isabella,
for that renowned voyage which resulted in the dis-
covery of the marvelous islands in the western
ocean.
Needless to say that his safe return from that
first voyage; his reports of the success that attended
it; and the trophies he brought with him; utterly
confounding the learned doctors who had opposed
the enterprise as chimerical, foolhardy and even im-
pious, set all Spain, more that that, all the old world
aflame with the spirit of daring enterprise.
As Ponce de Leon listened to the Genoese re-
counting all that he had done and seen, to Ferdi-
nand and Isabella, for the Knight was then'at court,
his heart was seized with an overmastering desire to
participate in exploring the new world opened up
by the daring discoverer. The more so that his








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. 57

voice had been one of the few to speak in favor of
Columbus at the first, doubtless with some weight,
for Queen Isabella thought well of him.
So, leaving his estate to the management of his
wife and her father, Ponce de Leon accompanied
Columbus upon his second voyage.
From that time he was consumed with a desire
to join in conquering and colonizing the new lands,
although compelled to return to Spain and tarry
briefly by his personal affairs.
A tide of fortune seekers turned toward the
golden lands of San Domingo and Cuba and
amongst the first of these was Ponce de Leon.
To Columbus the sovereigns had granted the
supreme governorship of the islands. Hayti or San
Domingo was the first to be colonized, and was div-
ided into several provinces, one of which-Higuey
-was given to Ponce de Leon. Selling his estate
in Leon, he fitted out several caravels and sailed
from Santander in 1498, taking with him many peo-
ple as settlers, from Aria and the valley of the Esla,
Domingo Lopez and his family, also his wife, the
Donna Dolores, who was not to be denied in sharing
his adventures in the new world, although the Queen
besought her to stay at court until a future time.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


They safely arrived in due time at Higuey. The
life of Ponce de Leon henceforth had little to do
directly with Spain, but was identified with the new
world.
So closed the romance of his younger days, to
make way for the wilder romance and realities of
his later ones; for Florida and the Fountain of
Youth.











PART SECOND



CHAPTER VIII.

PONCE DE LEON EXPLORES AND SETTLES HIS PROV-
INCE OF HIGUEY. HE REMOVES TO BORIQUMN.

For a period of several years, the adventurous
energies of Ponce de Leon found employment and a
field of action in Higuey. He explored the recesses
of this land of many wonders and surpassing beau-
ties; searched its streams for shining flakes of gold;
traversed its lovely vegas, so unlike the bare plains
of his native country in their exhaustless fertility;
hewed his way through tangled forests whose every
tree and vine were unlike those of the old world;
climbed mountains clad to their very summits with
everlasting verdure; battled successfully with its
most warlike tribes, conciliating others; built towns
and fortresses, thus placing his mark for all time to
come upon this land.
It was all well so long as he was free to act and








60 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

his authority was not disputed. But there came a
time when a change of government, superseding his
old friend and comrade Ovando, brought the med-
dling he could not brook.
Stern in dealing with insubordination or crime;
unimpeachable in every private or public trust; he


would not stain his hands with the atroci
ties pereptrated by the greater majority of
iards upon the inoffensive but naturally


natives. Within his jurisdiction there
ing of the Indians with hounds-as
wild beasts and not human beings
common practice in many parts.
On several occasions he punished v
ited severity his own subordinates f(
manity or utter disregard of morality,
there were many who sought to emb


ous cruel-
the Span-
indolent


was no hunt-
if they were
with souls-a

with well mer-
)r their inhu-


. As
roil I


the higher authorities, and successfully; for
perament could not abide what he deemed
or intentional slighting. So that, tiring of
tion, he looked about for an independent
tration.
Not far from the province of Higuey
island of Boriquen, afterwards known
Rico. Hitherto it had been little visit<


a'result
rim with
his tem-
an insult
the fric-
adminis-


was the
is Porto
i by the


[








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Spaniards. Its inhabitants were more warlike than
those of Hayti, because of frequent conflicts with
the Caribs, the most ferocious natives of all the isl-
ands. They had also learned from those of their
own race that from time to time fled to Boriquen, to
escape the intolerable oppressions of the Spaniards,
that the latter were even more to be dreaded than
their hereditary foes.
But of all the Spaniards, Ponce de Leon was
most disposed to treat the natives with justice and
mercy-these fugitives reported-so that occasion-
ally some of the Borquenians would visit his prov-
ince in their canoes.
When these visitors were shown the crude orna-
ments of gold found in Hayti and were asked if
there was any metal like that of which they were
made, in their land, the Indians in their simplicity,
answered, there were streams in Boriquen in whose


sands it was often found.
Keeping this knowledge to himself,
sent a petition to the King by the hands
on his return to Spain, for authority to
sion of the island.
This was readily granted. The at
habitants had no rights which the King


the Knight
of Ovando,
take posses-


original in-
Swas bound








02 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

to respect They and their land were his property.
What mattered justice against might?
Ponce de Leon first visited the island to gain a
little preparatory knowledge of its capacities, land-
ing at Agueybaney. Its chief welcomed him with
great courtesy and hospitality, because of the reports
of those who had visited him in Higuey.
In truth, had all the Spaniards who came in con-
tact with the natives been of the same disposition as


Ponce de Leon, there would have been no need
bloodshed in securing sovereign rule over these
lands, for the natives were naturally averse to w
simply children of nature in a bounteous land wh
readily supplied all their primitive wants.
From Agueybaney, DeLeon went to the bay


of
is-
ar,
ich


of


San Juan, upon whose shores he finally chose the
site for his new settlement, not far from the present
city of San Juan. For a year or two all went well
with the new colony. But the thirst for gold came
upon his people, consuming all feelings of justice
and humanity, so that it was not long before they
began to perpetrate upon the Indians such indigni-
ties and oppressions that they revolted. But it was
children fighting wolves.
Up to this time they had believed the invaders








THE STORY OF PONCE DB LEON. 63

to be immortals, descendants of the sun, and that it
was sacrilege to resist them. But driven at last to
desperation, the most hardy and daring planned to
throw off the yoke of bondage.
First, however, they must demonstrate that the
Spaniards were mortals like themselves, and there-
fore not supernatural beings.
The colonists were accustomed to send messen-
gers from one settlement to another, who were au-
thorized to compel the Indians toract as porters, even
to carrying the messengers on their backs across
the intervening streams.
One of these men coming to a village and
demanding carriage across the river near by, the
wily sub-chief, who was in the conspiracy, determ-
ined to experiment with him. He privately
instructed the men selected to carry the Spaniard
across the ford to throw him into the water and
hold him under until his struggles should cease.
"If," said the chief, "he be a god, as many think,
it will not hurt him, but if he drowns, why then we
shall know these Spaniards are but mortal men even
as we are."
Coming to the deepest part of the ford the car-
riers did as they were directed, and held the man








64 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

under for so long a time that he was indeed beyond
all possibility of resuscitation had they been even so
minded.*
The result was bruited about the island and a
great insurrection broke out. By sheer force of
numbers, although ill-armed, the insurgent Indiais
swept the island of Spaniards, save those who
gained refuge in Ponce de Leon's fort at San Juan.
This fort they in due time attacked, but were
held at bay until it happened their chief leader, a
man of more than ordinary courage and skill in the
native arts of war, was shot by an arquesbusier in
leading an assault, which so disordered the plans of
the Indians that the arrival of young Perez de Ese-
guera with an armed company from Higuey enabled
Ponce de Leon to bring the war to an end.
About the time of its conclusion a new governor
and other officers arrived, appointed by the King,
with directions, however, "in no wise to interfere
with Ponce de Leon, or any houses, lands or Indians
that were his." The King also sent word to the

*This test has been paralleled amongst more civilized people and in
later times in the case of witches: not. however, with such sensible rea
soning as that of these Indians, for if the suspected drowned they were
declared not witches; if they escaped drowning, then they were put to
death as witches.







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Knight that in some way, as he might choose, he
should be idemnified for the loss of his governor-
ship.
During all these troublous times there was near
De Leon's settlement a village of peaceable natives
who never became involved in the war between the
Spaniards and the other Boriquenians, but remained
faithful to him.
This state of good feeling for the Knight person-
ally came about in this way:
Some of his soldiers, drunken with a liquor made
of maguey, came across the wife of the village chief
upon the beach, bathing her child and teaching it to
swim, for it was the custom of these people to make
their children expert in this art at tne earliest pos-
sible age.
One soldier, more brutal minded that the rest,
took the child from her, and despite her entreaties,
exclaiming, "This is the way to teach the devil's
spawn how to swim I" threw it as far as possible into
the water. Instantly the mother sprang in to res-
cue it, but when she endeavored to make the shore
the soldiers, in their ruthless sport, prevented her
until her strength was exhausted.
At this moment Ponce de Leon, in a ramble along







66 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

the beach, came unexpectedly upon them. With
flashing eyes he sprang upon the leader, hurling hhi
full length into the shallow water near the shore,
beat him soundly with the flat of his sword, and
exclaimed, "Get you gone, miscreants! or I will use
my sword's edge on you all It is needless to say
they tarried not in obeying, although one was well
nigh crippled.
Then he called to the woman to come to the shore
without fear, which doing, he escorted her to the
village, carrying the child himself, for its mother
was well nigh spent. Afterward he issued orders
that these villagers should be considered under his
especial protection and were in no manner to be
molested.
Once also, there was a time of great scarcity of
food, because their little crops of maize and beans
had been blighted and from some cause, probably a
sub-marine volcanic eruption, the fish left this coast.
Neither did the villagers dare venture into the for-
ests in pursuit of game, for the other Indians hated
them on account of their fidelity to the Spaniards.
The generous-hearted Knight, seeing their distress
and knowing its cause, fed them equally with his
own people out of his private stores.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Thus it came about there was one little si
all these beautiful islands of the sun, that wa
an inferno of lust and cruelty. That one und
shadow of Ponce de Leon's banner.
The lessons of honorable knightly chivalry
Ponce de Leon were not empty aphorisms.
had been taken too deeply into his heart to be li
laid aside or forgotten On the contrary they
dignified and ennobled by his deeds.
Was it to be wondered at, that the chief
mara, to whom his wife related the affair menti


otin
s not
erthe


with
They
ghtly
were


Ata-
oned,


conceived a warm friendship for the Knight, which.
seeing the chief's manly and grateful character, he
returned, or that they often met in friendly enter-
tainment and conversation in which Atamara related
to De Leon, the latter having learned the native lan-
guage, the lore and traditions of his people? So
that if the Knight had been a bookman instead of
soldier little versed in letters, he might have placed
on record much that would have been of great inter-
est and value concerning the real character, history,
manners and customs of a people, erased from the
face of the earth apparently through no fault of
their own, but because of their simplicity and desire
for peace and good will.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


Among other


legends


mentioned


Atamara


was one concerning a fountain o
one drank, it was said they had
diseases and restore, no matter
might be, the full vigor of youth
Something of this also had Dc
the natives of Higuey, but none


f whose waters, if
power to heal all
how old that one

TLeon heard from
-had been able to


give any particulars except that it was in a land far
northward and that it did as truly exist as any foun-
tain in their own land.













CHAPTER IX.

ATAMARA RELATES TO PONCE DE LEON THE LEGEN
OF THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH SAID TO EXIST IN
THE LAND OF BIMINI.

One day Ponce de Leon, having the matter in


mind because of
years physically,
dauntless as evei
"Tell me the
waters are said
Dolores is with
So Atamara


his beginning to feel the weight of
even if at heart he was young and
r, said to Atamara:
whole legend of the fountain whose
to restore youth. See, the Donna
us and would also hear it"
recited the legend, which ran thus:


"In the beginning there was but one God, the
Great Spirit who made all things. This Lord of the
Universe first gathered the light spread through all


space and moulded it with his hand
and stars.
Then he gathered the darkness
and made of it the earth. What
light is immortal and cannot die.
of the darkness cannot live except a


s into sun, moon


in like m
is made c
What is
LS the light


anner
)f the
made
gives


it life.
6








70 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

Then when the world was made he created
servants to do his will. To these he gave dominion
over the things he had made. One was lord of the
sun, another of the moon and others of the stars, the
air and sea. For a long time these only were in the
universe.
But the Spirit of the Earth was a woman. She
too lives forever, yet not as the others do. Even
as the earth changes, its rocks decay and yet are
renewed. she also changes but is forever renewed.
She is the first Mother of men.
One day, the Great Spirit, seeing that the earth
was very fair but lonely, said to the Spirit of the
Earth, "Bring forth a Man child."
And when the ninth moon waned thereafter, the
child was born, for the Spirit of the Earth took upon


herself the form of a human mother, t
obey the supreme will.
She nursed the child as mortal mot
as it grew she dowered it with every i
within her power.
She had much to bestow and
dominion for everything she thought
him or foster his growth.
Day by day, the man child gre'


hat she might


hers do. And
grace and gift

searched her
would please


w and


in the









THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


changes from infancy
delight and rejoiced
her own doing


As an
make no
for his cr
balmy for


to maturity his mother found
at each one as a marvel of


infant he was hers alone. She could
iest too cosy for him; no bower too fair
adle. No wind could be too pure and
him; no songs were ever sweeter than


those she and her birds sang to him.
When he began to walk she led him along the
ocean beach, where he could hear the lapping of
the waves and see the sheen of sunlight in a thous-
and tints upon the bosom of the sea; into the forest
whose great trees made cooling shades; by moun-
tain falls tumbling over spray-wet rocks; through
valleys full of flowers with fragrant breath, and col-
ors rare, and taught the secrets of their lives and
growths and uses.
And the boy had her alone for a companion
and teacher through many moons, -increasing with
every one in grace and strength, because through all
this time, the Spirit of the Earth gave him her heart
and life, rejoicing in his vigor and dawning man-
hood.
But there came a time when this first man
dreamed of a counterpart. As he had grown. his


r


- -








THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON.


mother had imperceptibly changed to
before. The dim image of the rarely
and face that had bent above him
reshaped itself into the object of his
would have a companion that was
unlike.
The Spirit of the Earth knew th
would satisfy his longing bit to be gr


So she
mortals to
she him. B
way. It is
There i


what she was
beautiful form
as an infant,
lodging. He
like him, yet


at naught else
anted his wish.


begged one of the daughters of the im-
go his way, that he might see her and
ut she said, "Nay, it shall be done another
not mete that I should seek him."
is in the land of Bimini, a little vale en-


circled by gentle hills in whose center is a shining
lake fed by many springs. The birds there are of
many colors and sing all the songs known to birds.
There are many pleasant fruits and embowering
vines, and flowers bloom all the year.
Towards this place one day, not knowing that
he was led in spirit, by his mother, the First Man
wended his way. He knew not why or wherefore
he was pleased and joyous. Or why with each for-
ward step his heart grew lighter and his pulse beat
stronger.
From the summit of a hill he saw the little vale

'*?








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


with its flashing water
turned his steps toward it
be there, that was new c
brought him to the lakelet


mirror before him, and
.Naught else seemed to
or strange, until the path
's edge.


Then he seemed 1
the bank sat the moa
graced the earth. S
with flowers, using th
She looked not up
see his reflection in tf
He gazed a time
to her. Then at last h
said, "Look up, oh, t
And she, rising, a


to be in a dream.
st beautiful maiden
ihe was weaving hi
Le water as a mirror.
1, but down, because
ie water.
entranced, his soul


There on
that ever
er tresses

she could


going out


e stretched forth his hands and
iou, my soul I"
answered:


"Thou art the First Man. I am thine forever !"
And thereafter for many years they were happy
together through good and ill, sunshine and storm;
while sons and daughters grew up around them.
As time passed, the years wore on them and
burdened them.
For Nomi, his wife, had said_ when first
she placed her hand in his, "Thy fate shall be
mine. Whatever shall come to thee, Idona, shall
come to me also. Not for to-day, nor to-morrow
alone, but forever."







74 THE-STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

So had they grown old together. He, because
his mother was the earth and she, for that she loved
him so.
One day, sitting side by side before their lodge,
built close by the spot where in their youth they had
betrothed themselves to each other, he looked upon
her sadly and said to her:


"Beh
me no l
thy true
mother.
mortals.
thine an
thee the


old, Nomi; I am old.
)nger in the chase. I
love these many years
To her I must go. It
Do thou go back to the
d perchance the Great
unchanging life that


My limbs will bear
have been happy in
. The Earth is my
Sis the way with all
home that was once
: Spirit will restore
on the day we met


thou did'st renounce for me. I have spoken! Is it
not well?"
But still he held her hand in lingering clasp.
She looked down and sighed. She remembered
how in that day so long gone, she had looked upon
the water's bosom and smiled at his reflection. Then
he stood bending over her, so full of grace and vigor
her heart was too large for her bosom. Now, alas!
he was old and broken. And she too had grown old
with him.
How sad it was!







THE STORY OF PONCE DR LEON.


But when she thought of all
to her and she to him, she held h
and answered :
"I cannot, will not leave thee,
"But I say again it is best for
art indeed Nomi, my soul "
Yet still he held fast to her ha
Then tears trickled down he
vered again:
"On that day I said, 'Idona,
Mine.' Do you not remember?
Great Spirit with a falsehood in
Meant it not?"
Then silence came upon them


that he had been
is hand the closer

Idona I"
thee, though thou

fd.
* face as she ans-


thy fate shall be
Can I go to the
my mouth saying


while the shadows


of evening gathered in the little vale and gray mists
swept towards them from the lake.
And that he might comfort her a little he drew
her closer. Even as he did so the mists grew into
form before them and on the threshold stood the
Spirit of the Earth. as the mother of the First Man


Child. Then a voice thrilled throw
sweetest music I
S"Idona, my son, and Nomi,
his wife and love has made you
is no parting hour for you.


ugh them like the

daughter, because
twain one, there







76 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

"Together you have journeyed through life for
many years. It shall be as you will forever. Thy
name he gave thee, Nomi my soul and his name,
Idona the First Man, shall mean forever what they
meant that bridal day. Go seek the spot where you
two pledged each other. Upon it springs the rarest
fountain on earth. Its waters will renew the youth
for whose loss you grieve so sadly. Go quaff of it
'Tis but your bodies that have grown weak and frail
your souls are immortal, for deathless love is theit
living power."
Then, still clinging to each other's hands, they
went down the gentle slope together, through the
fire-fly lighted darkness of the evening, full of hope.
At last they came to the spot so full of happy
sacred memories to both, where she was first to find
the fountain-which was so like many others, that
had it been there before, they would have thought
it all a dream-and bending her knees Nomi filled
a pearly shell lying by it and handing it to him, said:
"Drink first, Idona, that I may know thou wilt
not part from me forever."
Then he filled the cup for her, and when both
had drank, a marvel came to pass.
There stood Nomi, beautiful as in her youth,
garlanded with flowers as when Idona first saw her,








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


and facing her was the First Man, now the Last
also, in all the glory of his primal manhood.
In the language of Bimini, this fountain bears
another name which means 'Immortal Love.'
And because these two had been so faithful to
their pledges, and borne the pains of life so bravely
together, the Spirit of the Earth led them to her
own home, where they dwell happily even now in
their prime.
But once in a hundred times twelve moons they
come to the fountain to drink together of its


waters.
"This


is the legend of the fountain," concluded


Atamara, "as it has been known amongst us from a
time so far away our wise men cannot measure it."
Ponce de Leon doubted not the possibility of the
truth of this legend. Had not his old teacher, Father
Ambrose, told him often of the Fountain of Life
whereof men might drink freely and live forever?
Truly so. And then had he not seen himself many
things in these wonderful lands almost as strange?
Why then should this be incredible?
As to Miracle, what greater one can there be
than the coming of the first man upon the earth,


whether one believes in Adam or Idona; Nature,
the Great Spirit or the Almighty?


~-~---~--


|











CHAPTER X.


ATAMARA TELLS THE KNIGHT OF OTHER LANDS.
LEON RECEIVES AUTHORITY FROM THE. KING
TO SEARCH FOR BIMINI.


Ponce de Leon asked many questions i
concerning his knowledge of other lands
and learned enough to satisfy himself
such existed in the unexplored seas to
ward.


of Atamara
and islands,
that many
the north-


The Knight had acquired wealth enough for
many years, and therefore had no fear of poverty.
His plantations in Higuey and Boriquen had been
confirmed to him by the King and under the man-
agement of Domingo Lopez brought in a good an-
nual revenue.
It troubled him not that for reasons of State,
his office was transferred to another. An iron con-
stitution, built up by sound habits, training and tem-
perate living, was still his. As long as this was so,
with his good sword he could readily carve for him-
self in the new lands a greater dominion. He also
had reached the downward turn of life and the tale







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


of the Fountain of Youth had won upon him the
more he pondered it.


Could he be master of its waters what of the
world he wished for could be his. Life is full of
possibilities which are denied to age, but with the
energy of unflagging youth and the wisdom of years
combined all things were possible.
So to the King he sent for permission to dis-


cover, explore and colonize
such authority over it that
King Ferdinand was gl


the land
none cou
d to find


ing his promises to De Leon, with no


of Bimini with
id question.
a way of keep-
cost to himself,


and at the same time securing relief from future
trouble that might arise in the official administration
of affairs in Boriquen and Hayti, by the continued
presence of Ponce de Leon in those parts; for the
Knight's disposition to protest against the doings
not only of the lesser but the greater officials set
over these lands, on the score of humanity and jus-
tice, caused difficulties hard to manage.
It therefore was not long before the King sent
to him the document petitioned for, which is trans-
lated as follows.
El Rey:
"To the Knight Don Juan Ponce de Leon: In-








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


asmuch as you, Juan Ponce de Leon, have sent
and asked permission to go and discover the Island
of Biminin in accordance with certain conditions
herein stated and in order to confer on you this
favor--
"We grant you that you may discover, explore
and colonize said island, provided it be not one here-
tofore discovered and under conditions herein
stated, to-wit:
"First, that you, Juan Ponce de Leon, take with
you such ships as you require for the discovery of
said Island, and for the carrying out of such pro-
jects. We grant you a period of three years, dating
from the day you receive this document, with the
understanding that you are to set out on this voy-
age of discovery the first year, also during your out-
ward bound course you are privileged to touch at
such islands, or mainlands in the ocean, as yet undis-
covered-provided they do not belong to the King
of Portugal, our much beloved son, including those
specified in the limit between. Nor can you take
anything whatever except such articles as are re-
quired for your sustenance, and the equipment of
your ships. paying for them according to value


received.
"Moreover, to you, Ponce de Leon,
and discovering said islands, we a
governorship, also the administration (
during your lifetime, and to insure this


in finding
:cord the
)f justice,
privilege,








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. 81

we will make your authority extend to the civil and
criminal jurisdiction, including every and all issues,
and rights annexed.
"I order that the Indians be distributed among
the people who make the first discoveries, as they
should receive the most advantages.
"Dated at Burgos, January 22, 1512.
"I, THE KING FERNANDO.
"Signed by the Bishop of Valencia."
Ponce de Leon did not await the arrival of the
King's answer to make his preparations for the voy-
age to Bimini. He was certain that it would be
favorable to his wishes.
He overhauled his caravels and fitted them out
as thoroughly as possible, accumulated stores of
arms, provisions, gifts and trinkets of various kinds
that would be suited to the tastes of the Indians
whom he should find in the lands he might discover;
arranged his home affairs, and by the time the royal
decree arrived, which came with a squadron of ves-
sels from Spain that touched first at his port of San
Juan de Porto Rico, he was ready to depart.
His vessels lay at anchor in the quiet waters of
the harbor, presenting a goodly sight One, his
own craft, the largest of the three, was called Dol-
ores; the second, the Donna Maria; the-third, San








82 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

Salvador. Juan de Cosa commanded the Donna
Maria. He had been with Columbus in two voyages
and the Knight appointed him because he was the
most skillful mariner, chief pilot and sailing master
of the little squadron. Emrique de la Vega, also a
good sailor as well as soldier, commanded the San
Salvador.
These vessels carried in all about three hundred
men, soldiers and sailors included, besides several
priests for whose accommodation a chapel was built
upon the after deck of the Dolores which, though
small, was fitted with all the paraphernalia neces-
sary for their holy offices.
All things being now ready, the time came which
had been set for sailing.
Woman-like, Donna Dolores to the last, hoped
that she might persuade De Leon not to adventure
this voyage which she feared might prove disastrous
to one whom she still loved as in the never-to-be-
forgotten days in Leon; but finding her entreaties
were of no avail to turn him from his purpose,
resigned herself to the parting. But every sail that
was set, every pennon flung to the breeze, brought
a sigh from her gentle, loving heart.
De Leon's boat was the last at the landing, with








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


his banner, which Dolores' own hands had embroid-
ered, trailing over its stern. Juan de Cosa awaited
but the arrival on board of the Knight to give the
signal for sailing.
Then, releasing her from his embrace, he said:


"Thou


done


bravely,


Dolores,


restrain your tears. 'Tis as the wife of a soldier
and a Knight should do. If it be God's will, I shall
return, not.as I am now,standing on the verge of
age and darkening days, but even as I was when I
first won thee. And I will bring to thee the same
gift of youth, though thou needst it not so much as
I. So farewell for but a brief time."
"Nay, come back in any guise it may happen-
'twill be a happy day for me. Adios! God guard
and keep thee!"


Again a well-marked period in Ponce de Leon's
life was closed with the sailing of his ships from
San Juan bound for Bimini hidden in the blue haze
of unknown seas.
SAnd the last eyes that caught the gleaming of his
vanishing sails were those of the fair woman who
could hardly see them through the mist of tears, but
whose heart like his was strong with blessed hope.












:PART


THIRD


Ponce de Leon in Florida

CHAPTER XI.

THE VOYAGE IN SEARCH OF BIMINI. THE KNIGHT
OF LEON EXPLORES THE BAHAMAS AND DIS-
COVERS FLORIDA.

The Knight of Leon then began a voyage of
search and exploration only paralleled by that of
Ulysses among the Cyclades, or in King Arthur's
time by the search for the Holy Grail.
He glided on through azure seas, whose very
fish were rainbow tinted; whose beds seen through
the emerald waters, blossomed into royal gardens,
clothed with pearl and purple shells, sea anemones
with as many hues as Joseph's coat, bright coral; sea
fans waving in gentle currents; over which often
sailed fleets of nautilus, matchless in symmetry and
beauty, with dolphins and porpoises to keep them
company whether the winds were swift or gentle.







THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


From one fairy island to anc
fragrant with the breath of flo
tarried briefly at to 'search for
people coming out of the fore
fruits and flowers for which th
pense.
There were islands everywl
verdure and beauty they might
ural paradises.
There were gently rounded
glens, rocks grouped in quaint
of cathedral spires and castle ga
ing forts or pleasant palaces.
ening in the sunlight as if their


their, green clad and
wers, they passed or
the Fountain, their
sts bearing gifts of
ey sought no recom-


here and all of such
Sbe well called nat-


hills and lovely
but pleasing shapes
teways, grim frown-
White beaches glist-
sands were polished


grains of silver; quiet coves and little streams and
broad lagoons shining like 'great mirrors.
Flamingos in their scarlet plumage paraded the
shore in mimicry of soldiers. There were also pink
curlews, white herons, golden singing birds and par-
roquets with'radiant feathers, giving life and grace
to sylvan solitudes or foam wreathed shores. There
were towering palms and pines, oaks and cedars,
with many other trees of every shade and shape and
kind of flower, fruit and foliage.
No wonder as they voyaged on amid such scenes







86 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.

of beauty, Ponce de Leon thrilled with the hope of
finding at last the treasure that he sought, worth
more, when found, than all the gold of earth; nor
was daunted when in answer to his queries if they
knew aught of the Fountain of Youth, the island-
ers vainly showed him all their springs and rivulets,
from which he drank to little purpose, save to quench
his thirst.
Columbus discovered a few of the most southern
islands of this wonderful archipelago, but to Juan
Ponce de Leon belongs the credit for the greater
portion.
His caravels were the first to thread the narrow
channels between the islands or sail the broader
sounds. And as they touched at each, it was his hand
that first flung the flag of Spain to their balmy gen-
tle breezes, and his voice that pronounced the solemn
words in which possession for his King was pro-
claimed.
But the people of these islands knew little of
Atamara's legend of the fountain. They would
only affirm that there was a great land beyond in
which it must be, but where they knew not.
Confirmation of these statements "strong as
Holy Writ," came to the Knight one moonlit eve, as








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. 87

he sat upon the high deck of his caravel with the gen-
tie, sweetly fragrant night-wind barely distending
the sails, whose weather stains vanished in the re
flected lunar rays, gilding also with their siver those
of the other vessels close by.
They were threading a channel between islands
to port and starboard, whose forms were shadows of
fairy lands only, while before their prows stretched
the vast illimitable ocean expanses no other ships
had ever furrowed with their keels.
Calm was the ocean's bosom, save the undulating
swells which seemed but to mark its breathing, as if,
like lesser creatures, it slept and dreamed.
Over all, there was the blue dome of heaven,
where triumphed royally the Queen of Night, with
all her train of starry satellites almost eclipsed by
her effulgence.
It was an hour when revery would take the form
of dreams.
At first, Ponce de Leon saw northward only the
sea fading into distant meeting with the sky and the
Pole Star smiling down upon the wedding. But
anon, in that quarter, dawned a faint auroral light,
,waxing brighter into an overarching roseate aureole.
Then within the space embraced, what first were







88 THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON. I

shadows but dimly seen took form and being as
coast and headland; gulfs, bays and ports of refuge;
continental outlines momentarily growing vaster
and at last into a majestic panorama of forests, lofty
mountains, shining rivers, and plains, apparently as
boundless as the mighty sea. Perez de Eseguera,
son of the Knight who came with the King to Juan
Ponce's rescue in the battle with the Moors, sat with
him. When De Leon turned towards him doubting
whether he was awake or dreaming, he saw the same
light reflected from his companion's face which had
changed the silver of the sails to gold, so knew it was
not all a dream.
"See, Perez! The Lord's fingers have outlined
the land which He and the King have given us where-
to we are sailing. A land from which many Spains,
nay all Europe, might be carved and scarcely missed.
We shall surely find it not many days hence. Pray,
that the saints guide us to the land of Bimini and the
wonderful fountain of the legend."
As it came, so faded the amazing picture which
these two with others on the ships saw that evening.
Perhaps it was only a mirage or subtle mirroring by
nature of the great land shortly to be discovered, but
nevertheless it foreshadowed the truth.








THE STORY OF PONCE DE LEON.


So Ponce de Leon left these regions and sailed
on toward the north.
One cloudy night the sailors on De Leon's cara-
vel heard the distant booming of breakers and
awakened him. Listening a moment and finding


they were not mistaken, he called to the s
ter to take soundings, which being done,
the anchors let go, the sails furled and
to abide the coming of the day.
At dawn, far to the north and south


;ailing mas-
he ordered
the vessels


of the an-


chorage, stretched upon the leeward side of the
vessels a multitude of sand dunes fringed by a beach
on which tumbled the rough billows of the Atlantic
Ocean.
Beyond the sand dunes, which were of no great
height, were seen green forests. The lookout on
the masthead saw also between the seaward ridges
and the forests the winding waters of a river with
grassy marshes. This river broadened to the south-
ward.
The day was Palm Sunday, or Pasqua Florida,
March 27th, 1512, not 1513, as some historians
have it.
Ponce de Leon being a pious man, after the fash-
ion of the times, had the usual services of the day




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