Journal of Antonio Pigafetta

26th of November, 1521

Tuesday the 26th November the King came to tell us that for us he had done what a King never does here, that was to leave his own island; but he had gone to show the affection he had for the King of Castile, and because when we had got our cargo, we could sooner return to Spain, and afterwards return with greater forces to avenge the death of his father, who had been killed in an island called Buru, and his body had been thrown into the sea.

He afterwards added that it was the custom in Tadore, when the first cloves were embarked in a vessel, or in junks, that the king gave a feast to their crews and merchants, and they made prayers to God to bring them in safety to their port. He wished to do the same for us, and at the same time the feast would serve for the King of Bachian, who was coming with a brother of his to pay him a visit, and on that account he had the streets cleaned. Hearing this, some of us began to suspect some treachery; all the more because we learned that, not long before, three Portuguese of the companions of Francisco Serrano had been assassinated at the place where we got water, by some of the islanders concealed in the thickets; also we often saw them whispering with the Indians whom we had made prisoners. Therefore, although some of us were inclined to accept the invitation, we concluded not to betake ourselves thither, recollecting the unfortunate feast given to our men in the island of Zubu, and we decided on a speedy departure.

Meantime a message was sent to the king to thank him, and to ask him to come soon to the ships, where we would deliver to him the four men we had promised him, with the goods which we had destined for him. The King came soon, and on entering the ship, as though he had observed that we had doubts, said that he entered with as much confidence and security as into his own house. He made us feel how much he was displeased by our unexpected haste to depart, since ships used to employ thirty days in taking in their cargo; and that if he had made a journey out of the island, he certainly had not done it to injure us but to assist us, so that we might more speedily obtain the cloves which we required, and a part of which we were still expecting. He added that it was not then a fit season for navigating in those seas, on account of the many shoals near Bandan, and besides it would be a likely thing that we should fall in with some Portuguese ships. When, in spite of what he had said, he saw we were still determined on going away, he said that we must take back all that we had given him, since the Kings, his neighbours, would consider him as a man without reputation for receiving so many presents in the name of so great a king as the King of Spain, and he had given nothing in return, and perhaps they would suspect that the Spaniards had gone away in such haste for fear of some treachery, so that they would fix upon him the name of traitor. Then, in order that no suspicion might remain in our minds of his honesty and good faith, he ordered his Koran to be brought, and kissing it devoutly he placed it four or five times on his head whilst whispering certain words to himself, with a rite which they call Zambehan,[241] and he said in the presence of us all, that he swore by Allah and by the Koran, which he held in his hand, that he would ever be faithful and a friend to the King of Spain. He said all this almost weeping and with so great an appearance of sincerity and cordiality, that we promised to prolong our sojourn at Tadore for another fortnight. We then gave him the Royal signature and standard. We learned later, by a sure and certain channel, that some of the chiefs of those islands had indeed counselled him to kill all of us, by which thing he would have acquired for himself great merit with the Portuguese, who would have given him good assistance to avenge himself on the King of Bachian, but he, loyal and constant to the King of Spain, with whom he had sworn a peace, had answered that he would never do such an act on any account whatever.