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When Things Went Wrong -- A Historical Novel From DeSoto to Us

Updated on July 14, 2014

May 23, 1992



Timothy Crawford, a 10 Years old kid is on view. Parents are having a pool party in their backyard. It is little sister Wendy Dawn's birthday party, who is 7. Timothy always hated that pool for one reason. A far away melody invade our ears is PM dawn's "set adrift."

We, as mute uninvited witnesses, happen to see little brother Charlie, dropping a piece of cake two feet from the edge of the swimming pool. Timothy's dad had built it four years ago, back in 1988.

Timothy walks pass by and steps into it. Today -- had to be today -- bad luck struck with vengeance: Timmy's body is jettisoned into the swimming pool. To make things more dramatic, his back head 'hits' the corner of the pool and unconscious falls into the water.


We are inside the pool next to him; the bubbles cover his face. Was he already heading to heaven? His hair was sticking out all directions. Terribly his eyes had a look of imminent death.

We wanted so bad to help, but these images from past lives went through his head. A 360 degrees change made himself face...


A blackboard, writing non stop these numbers:

1932, 1912, 1812, 1612, 1542....



MAY 21, 1542

In the middle of the darkest nights, we noticed 3 boaters approaching slowly toward us located on the other side of the river bank. Is the night of 'a medieval burial.' We recognize these Conquistadors, dressed poorly. Mangled breasted plates and wounded soldiers give us an idea of what they are going through.


The smell of sweat and bad odor in their breathing, make us back off. We cover our mouths and still cannot get rid of the pestilence.

Three years of skirmishing and sudden attacks have already killed half of the 700 warriors that ventured in this suicidal enterprise. They are holding a death body wrapped up in blankets; it is:

Hernando De Soto's decomposed body...

Who the night before had succumbed to yellow fever. His men are doing their best to give him a Christian Burial.

The Dantesque view overcome our senses. Second in command, successor Moscoso, embraces De Soto's head and breaks down. His comrades and fellow Conquistadors are startled with grief.

Not far away, on the river banks 'Tula' Indians carrying torches, are desperately looking for them. The bearded men and their breast plates had always had an especial odor that could be smelled miles away--told you so!


A harquebusier is about to fire, but gets struck with an arrow that inflicts its native hate through the Spaniard's neck. Without delay, they deposed Hernando's body with sandy bags and stones. a Bible is put next to him. His Helmet barely covers his face He is desperately sunk into the river that he discovered two years before. The worst thing is about to happen.,, this is it, the enemy caught up with them.

Horses on the shore did help to give the Conquistadors away. Moscoso, De Soto Chieftain and successor, pushes his Chief body into the river.

"Was an Honor my commander from Badajoz Extremadura. The glory is waiting for you and... rest assure that we will overcome this attack. "Hasta pronto Hermano!"

De Soto's Burial
De Soto's Burial | Source
De Soto Burning Mabila, Today's Mobil Alabama
De Soto Burning Mabila, Today's Mobil Alabama | Source
Hernando De Soto
Hernando De Soto | Source

The Carnage

These intrepid Spaniards have been roaming on North American soil since 1539. The original purpose of the trip has changed dramatically. De Soto didn't do any better by burning down his own ships. How could he? What was he thinking? Historians agree on greed and the pursue of glory. His Conquistadors wouldn't flee back to Cuba. That was a fact!


Once more they are confronting the natives, who knew of the clear and present danger from these merciless invaders.

All of a sudden...

An arrow strikes Garcia De Orellana's leg, who was waiting on the river bank shores; he falls and is taken away by the exacerbated aborigines. Knowing their environment, the Indians come against the Spaniards from all over.

Torches with 'human brains' as fuel, are used against the equines to chase them away. Some Conquistadors manages to use their crossbows, but not being able to cause any harm.

Martin de Alcantara's face is burnt severely and is saved when a fellow harquebusier kills the Indian with a frontal shot. Moscoso screams, "Retreat to the other side of the river, and save your lives!!... Dios mio!"


10 P.M.


Governess Isabella De Bobadilla, came back atop the Watchtower, out of of desperation. She had been waiting for her husband Hernando De Soto, since he departed and sailed on that ill fated day of May of 1539. Nonetheless, tonight she feels restless and cries inconsolably. The Rosary that Hernando gave her from Inca Peru is held between her hands. "... Santa Maria llena eres de gracie...Amen" (Saint Mary, full of grace, amen).

Her heart is aching with unending pain... she fears the worst. Like a premonitory hunch from her own heart, she kneels herself down in one corner of that cold fortress deck. A shooting star covers the sky...

She cleans her tears and gives a nod of celestial agreement to that 'sign from Heaven.'


Flash Forward....




Timmy is now a 30 years old History Teacher who became fascinated with Columbian History. He loves History and teach it in a different way. Today he is teaching pre-Columbian History at LeHigh University in Pennsylvania.


"Yep! my father came on time to save me and applied CPR on me. What really struck me were the things I saw while being unconscious. Dad was worried because, even before I came back to my senses, tears were already rolling down my face. The pain on my chest was unbearable," said Timothy to his students. How in the world he became interested in History?

"But what is that word on the blackboard. That ATAHUALPA name, or whatever you call this Inca?" asks Brian Dempsey with curiosity.

"We know that De Soto became good friends with this Last Inca from Peru, and you want to know something guys? This Inca left us a message today." The class becomes astonished and perplexed; they look to each other.. hum... pretty much concerned.

"If you like puzzles, then here is a good one: We can break down Atahualpa in a more understandable kind of wording: At a H, U, AL PA." Josh Tazcic from Allentown tried to decipher that enigma: "All I can say, or actually see, is my town at the end of that 'Atahualpa' name teacher."

"Just to clear your doubts, this Inca died in 1532, but happened to take 'his time' and be here with us," adds Timothy with energy,

" leaving a message.. and here it is; just have in mind the letters:

At a High University Allentown PA, and you were close Josh!! I will give you 5 more points for your next assignment."

Suddenly a girl raises her hand: "but why Allentown and no Bethlehem Teacher!" asks Tamara.

'Well, simple Tamara, back in the days there was not GPS, maps, or politicians to mislead you. So our Inca thought we were at this neighboring city. Does that helps you better, Tammy?"

"Either way, I don't believe in this stupid reincarnation thing, unless I was a swan before... you know?" finishes Tammy with a smile.

"Okay class, this is it for today!"

De Soto's Epic Journey, as of an update made in 1997
De Soto's Epic Journey, as of an update made in 1997 | Source

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