Of the fish called vihuela and of its weapons.
Translated by Adele Birkenes ’20
The fish called sawfish is a large animal, and its upper jaw or snout is a sword edged with fangs or razors on either side, as long as the arm of a man, some longer and some shorter, according to the size of the body of the animal possessed of such weapon. I have seen it in Darien and on the Mainland, so large that it was a heavy load for the cart drawn by a pair of oxen that carried it from the water to the village. These swords that I describe are edged with teeth made of solid, strong, and very sharp bone on either side, such that no fish that comes across it can survive it. These fish are found on the coasts of this and other islands in these parts. Seamen tell me that these fish can be found in Spain, but without teeth or spikes on the swords. I do not know if I believe it, because in some temples in Spain I have seen them hanging, but I do not know where they were brought from or if the ones in the Spanish seas are as fierce as these; while I have seen many of those I have described in the seas of the Indies and Mainland. They are good fish to eat, but not as good as their young or the small ones of other species. For the most part the very large fish are not healthy to eat here, from what I understand, and most of the time they are eaten only out of necessity, except for the manatee, which even though they are very large, they are very good and healthy (more will be said about the manatee later on in its own chapter).