Quisqueja This island, one of the Great Antilles, now called St. Domingo or Hayti, was, at the time of the discovery of this part of the world, inhabited by a peaceable and harmless population, who were soon annihilated by Spanish cruelty. They adored the sun (Tonatiks) and the moon (Tona). Both luminaries resided at first on the earth, in the island of Quisqueja, of course, where a splendid cave was their mansion. Finally, they went to Turii (the heavens), thence to diffuse their light over the world. The cave is still shown; it has a diameter of 200 feet, and is 130 feet high. The purity of its form betokens the interference of human art. The figures of gods, genii, guardian spirits, are engraved in the mwalls. In a large number of places idols must have stood in ancient times. This supposition is in accordance with the scanty traditions that have reached us. More than a thousand idols were distributed at intervals in the interior (says the tradition), and the two largest, representing the sun and moon, stood at the entrance. This seems to have been the only temple of Quisqueja, for multitudes of worshippers flocked to it every day from all parts of the island. They believed that their country was the cradle of the human race. The first men were shut up in two caves of the Kauta mountain, and there watched by a giant. The jailer, having once ventured out of this recess, was changed into stone by the sun, whose rays were too powerful for him. The captive men, thus liberated, came forth in their turn. Many were those who shared the giant's fate, being transformed into animals, stones, or plants. Little by little those denizens of darkness became used to the light of day. The souls of men repair to the mountains which cover the middle part of the island, and there, in a cool country, rich in springs, they feed on the savory fruit of the memmey-tree, called by the Spaniards apricots of St. Domingo. The living men piously abstain from touching those fruits, so as not to deprive the souls of their subsistence.
Their country was, primitively, much larger, and was not an island; but a terrible flood inundated the land, leaving only discovered the tops of the mountains. This happened under the following circumstances: A rich man, called Toja, lost by a sudden death his youngest son, whose mother had died in giving him birth. Not to part from the dear remains, he lout them into a large pumpkin. After some time he took off the lid, and saw, to his dismay, that the pumpkin was filled with greenish water, in which a multitude of fishes and aquatic monsters were swimming about. In his terror he had recourse to his friends, and deliberated with them what was to be dlone. Meanwhile his other children took the pumpkin in their midst to have a look at the sea which, they had heard, was hidden in it. When they saw their father returning from his call, conscious of punishable inquisitiveness, they put the pumpkin roughly on the ground and ran away. The funereal vessel, thus carelessly handled, got a rent, and hence the waters of the sea flowed, without intermission, night and day, until all lower parts of the earth were covered, and the mountain-tops alone protruded from the universal ocean. Those tops became islands and the abode of the surviving few. The sun and moon sent to Quisqueja as their representatives two other gods, Tokahuna and Temno, the supreme rulers. Other superior beings followed, and were all, more or less, solemnly worshipped. Images of stone and of clay were made of them, and decorated the great temple and the interior of the huts. These gods were thankful for the worship they received. and in return granted the pious people successful fishing and hunting, victory in battle (their images were fastened in battle with a string to the forehead of the combatants), plentiful crops, rain or sunshine, as circumstances required. The women were blessed with happy childbeds and the girls with pleasant husbands. A great festival was solemnized every year in honor of all these gods. The cacique on that occasion appeared with a drum made of the trunk of a hollow tree, which he beat unremittingly. The whole township followed him to the temple, where the priests received every coming crowd with tremendous shouts, and took possession of the offerings. The latter consisted of thin flour cakes which were broken in the presence of the god, and small portions of them given back to the heads of the families. Those little slices were carefully preserved through the whole year. A general dance followed. It was at this solemn occasion that most of the matrimonial offers and arrangements took place. All traces of this ancient pagan worship were destroyed by the fanatical Spaniards, and the small Indian people was exterminated.