Of the trees that the Christians call çiruelo or plum tree in the province of Nicaragua, and of its fruit, from which good wine and other particulars are made: the tree which the Indians call xocot.

Translated by Laurel Hanson ’23

The xocot or plum tree is a tree in the province of Nicaragua, the fruit of which is used by the Indians to make very good wine, and the Christians call these trees çiruelos and the fruits çiruelas or plums. Truthfully, in my opinion, they are not plums, but rather red jobos or hog plums[1] because both the plum tree and fruit are like everything I have described and written regarding the jobo, except that this fruit is red and a little fleshier than the jobo. The pit is the same, as well as the tree and the leaves, which it loses at some time of the year. The wine that is made from this fruit is mediocre and it keeps for one year, and to me it seems better than the apple cider in Vizcaya. And as I have said that these plums or xocotes are jobos, let me describe a very noteworthy thing about this tree. Being myself in the province of Nicaragua in the year 1529, it so happened that one Tuesday, the second day of February of said year, on the day of the Purification of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin Mary, a religious man of the Order of Saint Domingo by the name of Frey Diego de Loaysa, baptized a cacique, lord of the plaza and people of Ayatega, who was encomendado and served a nobleman named Gonzalo de los Ríos, the godfather of whom was captain Gonzalo de Badajoz. They gave this cacique the name Don Carlos; likewise, many children and some of the elderly of that plaza of Ayatega who speak the language of Nicaragua were baptized. Sometime before, this cacique was at war with other Indians who speak the language of the Chontales, and in one battle or encounter, his enemies defeated him, slit his throat, and left him for dead, which seemed likely considering his gashed throat. It looked like there were many scars and mutilations from the throat-slitting, from which  the things he ate would come out. And it seemed that, although his enemies cut through the tissue and other interior parts of the throat and left him for dead, his Indians recovered his body using armed force and took him while he was still injured, as described. Without a single suture and almost dead, they took him to his plaza and, removing the bark from the base or trunk of one of these plum trees, they scraped the part between the flower or surface of the bark and the tree, not touching the wood, but rather the bud of said bark down to the solid wood, and they put those scrapings on the wound, with which he healed and became whole. And he said that something more than three years had passed since then. I saw him, talked to him, attended his baptism, and ate in that plaza that day with that reverend father; Gonzalo de los Ríos; the bookkeeper, Andrés de Cerezeda; and the captain, Gonzalo de Badajoz. The aforementioned cacique was baptized willingly and had his people, those whom I mentioned before, baptized, as well. There, it was told and recounted that which I have said, and so it was said by that very cacique and other Indians who witnessed it. And they said with much certainty that, under the same circumstances, the tree known as the mamey sapote has the same properties as these plum trees, if it is scraped in the way that I have described and worked in the same way. Hearing the story, it was certainly a frightening thing to see the cacique’s throat and the holes and lumps that it had where they had slit his throat, just as he and the other leaders had told. These plum trees, as well as the ceibas and those which I have described that lose their leaves, are few in number. These plum trees produce fruit throughout the entire month of January, and as the tree rids itself of its fruit, it swells and fill with fruit. By the time the tree loses its leaves, the plums are already ripe and almost eaten. And this fruit first appears in the month of April and lasts two or three months. Some of these plums are yellow, but most are red. A good vinegar is made from these plums, and a good green sauce is made from both the plums and the leaves of the ají or pepper.

[1] Spondias mombin.