About the mice of this island of Hispaniola and of these Indies.

Translated by Kendal Simmons ’23

While inquiring about these matters, I have come across individuals who tell me that when Christopher Columbus, the first Admiral, came to discover this island, there were many mice in these parts, or at least in the parts of these Indies that I myself have seen. I believe that these mice are also found in other parts of the world, which means that those who came in the year 1492 with the aforementioned admiral would have taken notice of them. These mice are a species that needs no seed (even if there are both males and females which, through coitus or intercourse, reproduce), so even if they were all to go missing and all of them that exist in this world die, those animals and others like them will not be scarce. Therefore, it must not be believed that the mice of this island, other islands, and of the Mainland ceased to exist before the Christians passed through here. They must exist because they can reproduce out of all manners of corruption in nature. El Abulensis discusses this issue at length in his commentaries about Eusebio’s De los tiempos.[1] So, we have seen and continue to see this irritating breed in abundance throughout these islands of the northern and southern seas and throughout the Mainland. They are seen in the fields as well as the mountains, and in the villages and inhabited parts. I can say the same about moles and similar creatures, about bees and wasps and flies and horseflies and mosquitos and other animals of this type, and about worms and leeches, etc. The procreation of field mice should be feared because they are continuously increasing in numbers and the many sugar cane fields on this island are more to their purpose than they are to ours. With regard to the moles, there are very few of them on this island and I do not hear complaints from anyone about their procreation, God forbid it is permitted. Pliny[2] says that the mole births are more numerous than those of all other animals. Citing Aristotle, he says that Alexander’s soldiers claim that the procreation of the mole is not because of coitus, but rather because of licking and that one mole gave birth to one hundred and twenty offspring. Let us return to our story.

[1] Abul., lib. I, cap. 128.

[2] Plin., lib. X,  cap. 65.