I wish to terminate this narrative by a story of a giant who, similar to the formidable Atlas, will serve me as an ending and confirm what I have told. Diego Ordaz, whom I have before mentioned, explored several unknown parts of that region and conquered a number of caciques, amongst whom was one in whose country the fruits used as money grow. He it was who taught the Spaniards how to cultivate that tree, as I have already told. Ordaz found in the sanctuary of a temple the hip-bone of a giant, which was half worn away by age. A short time after Your Holiness had left for Rome, the bone was brought to Victoria by the licentiate Ayllon, one of the most learned jurisconsults in the Senate of Hispaniola. For some days I had that bone in my possession; it measured five cubits in length, and its thickness is in proportion. Some of the men sent by Cortes into the southern mountains afterwards discovered a country inhabited by these giants; in proof of their discovery they have brought back several ribs taken from bodies.
Quiero terminar este capítulo con un relato giganteo, que cual firme y formidable Atlas venga a respaldar mis afirmaciones. Diego de Ordaz, de quien arriba hice mención, reconoció muchos lugares apartados de aquellas tierras, y sometió a muchos de sus régulos, sobre todo al que señoreaba la región del cacao, en la cual aprendió de qué modo se siembra y cría el árbol de la moneda, según lo expliqué en su lugar. En la bóveda de un templo encontró un pedazo del hueso femoral de un gigante, raído y semidestruido por la antiguedad. El licenciado Ayllón, jurisconsulto y uno de los oidores de la Española, trajo dicho hueso a la ciudad de Victoria poco después de la partida hacia Roma de Tu Beatitud. Yo lo tuve en casa durante algunos días; su largura, desde el nudo del anca a la rodilla, era de cinco palmos, y su ancho en proporción. Los que más adelante fueron enviados por Cortés a las montañas del sur, volvieron asegurando que habían encontrado una región habitada por gigantes y en prueba de su aserto dícese que trajeron muchas costilías de muertos.
I wish to end this chapter with a gigantic story, which, like the formidable Atlas, comes to support my claims. Diego de Ordaz, whom I have before mentioned, knew many hidden places in those lands, especially in the land of cacao, where he learned to plant and grow the tree of money, as I have explained on that occasion. He found in the vault of a temple the thighbone of a giant, worn and nearly destroyed by age. The licentiate Ayllón, one of the most learned jurists in Hispaniola, brought this bone to the city of Victoria a short time after Your Holiness left for Rome. For some days I had that bone in my home; it measured, from the knot of the hip to the knee, five palms in length, and its width in proportion. Those who were afterwards sent by Cortes into the mountains if the south returned, saying that they had discovered a country inhabited by giants; in proof of this claim it is said that they brought back many ribs of the dead.
Uno giganteo sermone, qui harum significationum, veluti formidabilis substes Atlas, terga tueatur, extremum statuo marginem hunc fulcire. Diecus Ordacius, de quo supra feci mentionem, multos earum terrarum secessus perlustravit, & pacatos reddidit regulos: illum praecipue cuius monetalium arborum est provincia, ubi quo nam pacto arbor monetalis illa seratur ac nutriatur edidicit, sicuti suo loco differui. Gigantis reperit in templi unius fornice foemerale osseum frustum abrasum & longa vetustate semicorrosum: ad urbem Vicotriam paulo post tuae Beatitudinis ab ea discessum Romam versus, licentiates Aiglionus, e senatoribus Hispaniolae unus iurisperitus, id femur attulit. Id ego habui domi dies aliquot: a nodo coxendicis ad genualem quinque spithamis est longum, in proceritate proportio est. Post hoc missi à Cortesio ad Australia montana, regionem se invenisse renunciaverunt hisce hominibus habitatam & ex vita functorum costis, in rei argumentum, tulisse dicuntur plaerasque.
I wish to end this chapter with an account of giants, who, like the formidable and solid Atlas, will serve as an ending, and will support the outlines of what I have established. Diego de Ordaz, whom I have mentioned above, explored many of the hidden places of this land, and he pacified many chiefs: one of whom in particular is of the province where the money tree grows, where he [Ordaz] learned how the money tree is planted and grown, just as I had explained in his section [of my book]. He discovered in the vault of a temple a piece of the thigh bone of a Giant, worn and partially gnawed away by extreme age: A short time after your Holiness had departed for Rome, the licentiate Allyón, one of the jurisconsults of the Hispaniola Senate, bought this thigh bone to the city of Victoria. This I had in my house for some days: From the knot of the hip to the knee it is five spans long, and proportionate in accordance with its great length. After this, those sent by Cortes to the Southern mountains reported that they had found the region where these men lived, and they were said, in proof of this, to have brought back a great many ribs from the dead.
The lesson here is that translations recreate the original as much as they report its content, and when it comes to extreme claims, it’s essential to get as close as possible to the original since translators, whether through bias or error, can and do screw up.