Published Date

May 1, 2004

Resource Type

Primary Source

This resource was developed in 2004 as part of “The Conquest of Mexico” by Nancy Fitch.

From Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Historia Verdadera, Volume 2, Chapter 128

From that small town and house where we slept, the hills over next to Tlaxcala could be seen, and when we saw them we were as delighted as though they had been our own homes. But how could we know for certain that they were loyal to us or what their disposition was, or what had happened to those who were settled at Villa Rica, whether they were alive or dead ? Cortés said to us, that although we were few in number, and there were only four hundred and forty of us left with twenty horses and twelve crossbowmen and seven musketeers, and we had no powder and were all wounded, lame, and maimed, we could see very clearly how our Lord Jesus Christ had been pleased to spare our lives, and for that we should always give Him great thanks and honor. Moreover, we had come again to be reduced to the number and strength of the soldiers who accompanied him the first time we entered Mexico, four hundred soldiers. He begged us not to upset the people in Tlaxcala, and not to take anything from them, and this he explained to the followers of Narváez, for they were not as used to obeying their Captains in the wars as we were. Moreover, he said he trusted in God that we should find them true and very loyal, and that if it were otherwise, which God forbid, we must turn aside the blows with stout hearts and strong arms, and for this we must be well prepared.

With our scouts ahead of us, we reached a spring on the hillside where there were some walls and defenses from past times, and our friends the Tlaxcalans said that this was the boundary between them and the Mexicas, and, in welcome tranquility after the misery we had gone through, we halted to wash and to eat. Then we soon resumed our march and went to a Tlaxcalan town named Guaolipar where they received us and gave us food to eat, but not much, unless we paid them with some small pieces of gold and chalchihuites [precious green or turquoise stones] which some of us carried with us; they gave us nothing without payment. There we remained one day resting and curing our wounds and we also attended to the horses. Then as soon as they heard the news at the Capital of Tlaxcala, Masse Escasi and Xicotencatl the elder, and Chichimecatecle and many other Caciques and Chieftains and those of Guaxocingo promptly came to us. When they reached the town where we were, they came to embrace Cortés and all of us captains and soldiers, some of them weeping, particularly Masse Escasi, Xicotencatl, and Chichimecatecle, and Tecapaneca, and they said to Cortés: “Oh! Malinche, Malinche ! How grieved we are at your misfortunes and those of all your brothers, and at the number of our own people who have been killed with yours. We have told you so many times not to trust in the Mexica people, for one day or the other they were sure to attack you, but you would not believe us. Now it has come to pass, and no more can be done at present than to heal you and give you [food] to eat; rest yourselves for you are at home, and we will soon go to our town where we will find you quarters. Do not think, Malinche, that it is a small thing you have done to escape with your lives from that impregnable city and its bridges, and I tell you that if we formerly looked upon you as very brave, we now think you much more valiant; and although many Indian women in our towns will bewail the deaths of their sons, husbands, brothers and kinsmen, do not trouble yourself about that. Much do you owe to your Gods who have brought you here and delivered you from such a multitude of warriors who were awaiting you at Otumba. I knew for four days that they were waiting for you, hoping to massacre you. I wanted to go in search of you with thirty thousand of our own warriors, but I could not leave because they were not assembled and men were out gathering them.”

Cortés and all our Captains and soldiers embraced them and told them that we thanked them, and Cortés gave to all the chieftains gold jewels and [precious) stones, and as every soldier had escaped with as much as he could some of us gave it to our acquaintances from what we possessed. Then what rejoicing and happiness they showed when they saw that Doña Luisa and Doña Marina were saved, and what weeping and sorrow for the other Indians who did not come but were left behind dead. Especially did Masse Escasi weep for his daughter Doña Elvira and the death of Juan Velásquez de Leon to whom he had given her.

In this way we went to the Capital of Tlaxcala with all the Caciques, and Cortés lodged in the houses of Masse Escasi, and Xicotencatl gave his quarters to Pedro de Alvarado, and there we took care of our wounds and began to recover our strength, but, nevertheless, four soldiers died of their wounds and some other soldiers failed to recover.