I, Fray RamÃ³n, a poor anchorite of the Order of St. Jerome, write by order of the illustrious Lord Admiral, viceroy, and governor of the islands and mainland of the Indies what I have been able to learn concerning the beliefs and idolatry of the Indians, and the manner in which they worship their gods. Of these matters I shall give an account in the present treatise. Each one adores the idols or cemies that he has in his house in some special way and with some special rites. They believe that there is an immortal being in the sky whom none can see and who has a mother but no bPginning. They call him Yocahu Vagua Maorocoti, and his mother Atabex, Yermaoguacar, Apito, and Zuimaco, which are five different names. I write only of the Indians of the island of EspaAola, for I know nothing about the other islands and have never seen them. These Indians also know whence they came and where the sun and moon had their beginning, and how the sea was made, and of the place to which the dead go. They believe that the dead people appear on the roads to one who walks alone, but when many go together, the dead do not appear. All this they were taught by their forebears, for they cannot read or count above ten.
I. Of the place from which the lndians came, and how they came. In EspaÃ±ola there is a province called Caonao, in which is found a mountain called Canta, having two caves named Cacibayagua and Amayauba. From Cacibayagua came the majority of the people who settled the island. When they lived in that cave, they posted a guard at night, and they intrusted that charge to a man named Marocael; they say that one day the sun carried him off because he was late in coming to the door. Seeing that the sun had carried away this man for neglecting his duties, they closed the door to him, and so he was changed into a stone near that door. They say that others who had gone fishing were caught by the sun and changed into the trees call jobos or myrobalans. The reason why Marocael kept guard was to see in what direction he should send or distribute the people; and his lateness was his undoing.