Gonzalo, Coronado's Shepherd Boy by Mary Joe Clendenin

By Mary Joe Clendenin

In 1540, eleven-year-old Gonzalo and his father trip from Spain to accompany Coronado in his travels in the course of the American Southwest looking for the Seven towns of Gold.

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The following day, the people of Tiguex, made up of twelve towns, came out in holiday regalia and paraded for the Spaniards. They marched around Alvarado's tent and played flutes. An old man was their spokesman. Presenting the strange white men with gifts of food, cotton cloth and skins, the people greeted them in peace. In his report Alvarado said that the land along the Rio Grande was a broad valley, spotted with corn fields and dotted with cottonwood groves. He said they had a good food supply of corn, beans, melons, and many turkeys.

Having been driven for many miles, they seemed to enjoy time to graze in peace. Their deep wool coats kept them warm. In the evenings Pedro and Gonzalo went among the flock seeking any sheep with injury or sickness. Tenderly they removed thorns, wiped eyes, and said encouraging words. One day they took one of the skins they had saved, clipped the wool, and took it to Tia. Pedro showed her how to make a strand with which to weave. She indicated that weaving was a man's job and led him to her husband.

They each got the longest, sharpest they could find. It was Gonzalo's time to show Moni how to sword fight. They played there until their hands got so cold they could hardly bend their fingers, then they went inside to continue the games. This day he was in the lead as chase turned into hide-and-seek. With just a whisper of sound from moccasined feet, it wasn't long until he was out of sight and sound. All the rooms looked the same. Delighted by the prospect of really hiding in a difficult place to find, he ran through many corridors and rooms.

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