Crusaders of the Jungle
A challenge came to the Spanish Kings with the discovery of the New World...a challenge to the conquest of empire for Spain, of souls for “the Holy Mother Roman Catholic Church.” And like the conquistadores, the Spanish padres received the challenge eagerly. Armed with breviary and crucifix, inspired by an undying faith, they went forth to conquer the legions of Satan beyond the Ocean Sea.In South America the padres found no El Dorado, no fabled cities of gold, but only tribes of naked savages dwelling in a “Green Hell.”...The Guarani Indians of Paraguay named their children in a repulsive ceremony at which both parents and children partook of a soup made from the flesh of a prisoner of war...Indians of the Maranon ate such of their relatives as died of sickness....The Mojos often buried their children alive to avoid the burden of rearing them....And the Jibaros decapitated their enemies and shrank their skulls to drive out the soul....It was the perilous duty of the missionaries to persuade these heathen to give up their savage practices without themselves becoming victims. And besides the atrocities of the Indians, the brave friars encountered other severe obstacles....There were countless difficult dialects to be learned....Strange maladies afflicted the padres—Father Fritz suffered a prolonged illness, attended only by an Indian boy and visited by rats and a crocodile....Native food was often repulsive to the Spaniards—Father Lucas de la Cueva with great difficulty overcame his prejudice against food.
- 1936 Muriwai Books
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