The Discovered

The American Story
The Discovered
Feb 26 1944



_CAST_:
GARCILASSO DE LA VEGA
NARRATOR
ARCHIBALD MacLEISH
MAN'S VOICE
CHORUS OF MEN'S VOICES
ANNOUNCER

NOTE: This transcript includes some material from the published script in 
brackets.

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MUSIC: YNCA FLUTE ... FOR AN INTRODUCTION, THEN IN BG

GARCILASSO 
DE LA VEGA: They reckoned the months by the moons, from one new moon to 
another. . . . 

They detested the house where a thunderbolt had fallen. They closed the door 
of such a house with mud and stones that no one might enter it. . . . 

In great terror, when an eclipse of the moon began, they sounded trumpets, 
horns and drums and all other instruments they possessed, so as to make a 
great noise. They tied up all the dogs, both large and small, and gave them 
many blows to make them call and yell to the moon, for according to a certain 
fable they recount, the moon was fond of dogs owing to a service they had done 
her. 

NARRATOR: But men in Europe, facing the same moon low in their west, low among 
the cypress trees of their gardens or over their tiled roofs, did not hear the 
sound. Men in Europe and men in Cuzco, thinking themselves alone on their 
continents under the night sky surrounded by silence -- men in Europe and men 
in America had watched the same moon together over centuries in ignorance of 
each other's eyes. 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ["as though it were played in the 
moonlight from a housetop of that ancient city. It stops and there is 
silence."]

MacLEISH: This is Archibald MacLeish in the fourth of a series of broadcasts 
called THE AMERICAN STORY, a series devoted to the firsthand narratives, the 
basic accounts of the American experience.

This is about the men in Cuzco who watched the moon come up across the Andes 
and did not know that there were other eyes than theirs that met their eyes 
upon her stained and silver face. [This is about the men in all the stone 
cities and the skin houses and the bark huts from one end of America to the 
other end, who were there before the "discoverers" who saw the ships off shore 
or heard the stories of their coming who saw the riders in metal on the bare-
foot paths or heard the reports of their arms and horses.] 

This is about the city and the empire of the Yncas as the one man who knew 
that city and could tell of it has set it down -- the one man who knew it as 
an Ynca and was able to write of it as a Spaniard -- the Ynca Garcilasso de la 
Vega, grand-nephew of the great Ynca Huaiyna Ccápac and son of a Spanish 
Conquistador, who was born in Cuzco in Peru, reared in the shadow of the 
Temple of the Sun and educated as a Spanish nobleman -- "an Indian," as he 
says of himself, "born amongst the Indians, and brought up amidst horses and 
arms" -- a mestizo or half-breed, proud of the two bloods in his veins and not 
least of his mother's, for the word mestizo, he says, "means that we are a 
mixture of both nations . . . and being a name given by our parents, I call 
myself by it with open mouth and pride myself upon it." The Ynca Garcilasso de 
la Vega was the first man of the New World, the first to speak of it in terms 
and language the Old World could understand.

Having gone to Spain at the age of twenty after the death of his father, and 
having fought under Philip II and Don John of Austria in their wars, and 
having returned, poor and in debt, to hired lodgings in the old city of 
Cordova, he wrote, in his last years, a book which must be accounted one of 
the great American documents and one of the great documents also of the world 
-- the "Royal Commentaries of the Yncas." 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... FILLS A PAUSE, THEN IN BG, OUT GENTLY AT [X]

NARRATOR: What the Ynca Garcilasso remembered in his lodgings in Cordova was 
the city of his youth, the royal city of the Yncas, a city of stone but 
without wheels or iron hoofs or hard leather, a city of many people, of 
scuffing feet, of pipes, voices. In the city of Cuzco in the ancient evenings 
there was a hush and murmur of men against stone and the hollow answer of 
stone to the human presence. There were pipes over the roofs far off; first 
one, then another answering, then another. [X] Then a man's voice singing. 

MAN'S VOICE: (SINGS) Caylla lapi 
Pufiunqui 
Chaupi tuta 
Hamusac . . . (REPEATS, THEN OUT FOR--)

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... OUT GENTLY AT [X]

NARRATOR: The Ynca Garcilasso says the words of the song mean -- 

This song of mine 
Will bring you sleep. 
When the night is deep 
I will come to you. 

The Ynca Garcilasso says that each tune had its words in Cuzco before the 
Spaniards came and everyone knew them [X] so that a man might be said to talk 
to the whole world with his pipe because the tune he played had only one 
meaning to anyone who heard him. 

MAN'S VOICE: (SINGS) Caylla lapi 
Pufiunqui 
Chaupi tuta 
Hamusac . . . (REPEATS, THEN OUT FOR--)

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... OUT GENTLY AT [X]

NARRATOR: The Ynca Garcilasso remembered that there was a Spaniard after the 
Conquest who met an Indian girl he knew on the streets of the city and asked 
her to go with him to his lodging. There was a pipe playing and she would not 
go. "Know you not," she said, "that that flute is calling me with much love 
and tenderness, so that it obliges me to go toward _it_? [X] I cannot help 
going for love drags me to where the flute-player will be my husband, and I 
his wife." 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... OUT GENTLY AT [X]

NARRATOR: This was the city of Cuzco, the capital of the Yncas, in the years 
the Ynca Garcilasso remembered, and the years before that of which his 
mother's brother told him in the long evenings of his boyhood. [X]

GARCILASSO: In my time the Spaniards opened a street which divided the schools 
from the palace called Cassana. I saw the walls which were of masonry 
beautifully cut, showing that they had belonged to royal dwellings. Here also 
was a most splendid hall which, in the time of the Yncas, was used for the 
celebration of the festivals in rainy weather. 

MUSIC: DRUM ... CONTINUES BEHIND SOLEMN CHORUS OF MEN'S VOICES

MEN'S VOICES: (SING) Sun - Moon 
Day - Night 
Summer - Winter 
To their destined 
Places marching . . . 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES HUMMING THE MELODY ... CONTINUES IN BG

GARCILASSO: In front of their royal palaces was the principal square of the 
city called Huacay-Pata, which means the terrace for enjoyment and delight. 
From north to south it is about two hundred paces and from east to west as far 
as the stream, one hundred and fifty paces. At the north end of the square 
there were other palaces. ... I remember, among these buildings, a great hall. 
... I remember also a very beautiful round tower which stood in the 
square. . . . 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES HUMMING SLOWLY FADE OUT 

SOUND: PAUSE

NARRATOR: We speak of the discovery of America, thinking of Columbus sailing 
westward through the promises and portents, or thinking of Frobisher and 
Magellan at the two ends of the endless line of surf, trying the bays and 
inlets for the passage to Cathay, or of Cabot or Cartier or Thorfinn on the 
northeast coast. But in one sense America was no more discovered by these men 
than China was discovered by Marco Polo or Europe by the first Mongolian 
horseman to cross the Carpathians. There were men before the discoverers in 
those countries, and in America also there were men, and festivals and palaces 
and cities made of stone and gold. 

MUSIC: DRUM ... CONTINUES BEHIND SOLEMN CHORUS OF MEN'S VOICES

MEN'S VOICES: (SING) Sun - Moon 
Day - Night 
Summer - Winter 
In their order 
O Creator! 
To their destined 
Places marching. 
Hear me! Choose me! 
Let me know thee 
Though my eyes are 
Blind that see thee. . . . 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES FINISH SONG

NARRATOR: There were temples to the Sun of which the stones still stand as 
marvels of workmanship, though the metal and the emeralds -- the chairs of 
gold and the gardens made of gold and silver in the shape of grain and 
serpents and the butterflies -- have vanished. 

GARCILASSO: That garden which now supplies the convent with vegetables was in 
the time of the Yncas a garden made of gold and silver such as they had also 
in the royal palaces. It contained many herbs and flowers of different kinds, 
many small plants, many large trees, many large and small animals both wild 
and domestic, and creeping things such as serpents, lizards and toads, as well 
as shells, butterflies and birds. Each of these things was placed in its 
natural position. There was also a large field of maize, the grain they call 
quinua, pulses, and fruit trees with their fruit, all made of gold and silver 
... all for the ornamenting and majesty of the house of the Sun -- their god. 

NARRATOR: These fruit trees of gold and silver with their golden fruit, and 
this great field of maize with the silver leaves and the ears of gold had 
stood in the garden of the temple for how many years, unknown to any man in 
Europe -- even the mountains over the roofs unknown, and even the earth, or 
even that there _was_ an earth there! For three hundred and fifty years 
through the Fifteenth Century, and the Fourteenth Century, and the Thirteenth 
Century and into the Twelfth -- almost as far back as the Norman Conquest of 
England -- the Yncas had ruled their city of Cuzco and the empire that 
increased around it. 

MUSIC: DRUM ... CONTINUES BEHIND SOLEMN CHORUS OF MEN'S VOICES

MEN'S VOICES: (SING) Sun - Moon 
Day - Night 
Summer - Winter 
To their destined 
Places marching. . . . 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES HUMMING THE MELODY ... CONTINUES IN BG, OUT 
GENTLY AT [X]
 
NARRATOR: Garcilasso de la Vega was indeed, as he says, "a mixture of both 
nations," when he spoke of these things. The great Temple of the Sun at Cuzco 
he saw at once as a Spaniard, comparing the golden figures with the altar and 
the paintings of a Spanish church, and as an Ynca, as an Indian, proud of the 
golden image and the single worship of the Sun. [X]

GARCILASSO: All the four walls of the temple were covered, from roof to floor, 
with plates and slabs of gold. In the side where we should look to find the 
high altar, they placed a figure of the Sun made of a plate of gold of a 
thickness double that of the other plates that covered the walls. The figure 
was made with a circular face and rays of fire issuing from it, all of one 
piece, just as the Sun is represented by painters. It was so large as to fill 
the whole of one side of the temple from one wall to the other. The Yncas had 
no other idols in that temple save the image of the Sun because they 
worshipped no other. 

MUSIC: DRUM ... CONTINUES BEHIND SOLEMN CHORUS OF MEN'S VOICES

MEN'S VOICES: (SING) Let me know thee 
Though my eyes are 
Blind that see thee, 
O Creator. 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES HUMMING THE MELODY ... CONTINUES IN BG

GARCILASSO: On either side of the image of the Sun were the bodies of the dead 
kings, arranged according to precedence, as children of that Sun, and embalmed 
so as to appear as if they were alive, although the process is not known. They 
were seated on chairs of gold, placed upon the golden slabs on which they had 
been used to sit. Their faces were toward the city except that of Huaiyna 
Ccapac which was placed facing the figure of the Sun, as the most beloved of 
his children. 

MUSIC: DRUM AND MEN'S VOICES HUMMING SLOWLY FADE OUT 

NARRATOR: Garcilasso says that in the year 1559, which was the year before he 
left Peru, "the licentiate Polo" discovered five of the bodies, three of the 
kings and two of the queens, which the Indians had been able, as he says, to 
hide "with the rest of the treasure." One was the Ynca Huira Ccocha whose 
hair, it was said, was altogether white. 

GARCILASSO: 
[Against the walls of these temples looking 
towards the cloister, on the outside, there were 
four porches of masonry. . . . The mouldings 
around the corners and all along the 
inner parts of the porches were inlaid with 
plates of gold as well as the walls and even 
the floors. At the corners of the mouldings 
there were many settings of fine stones, 
emeralds, and turquoises, but there were neither 
diamonds nor rubies in that land. The Ynca 
sat in those porches when there were festivals 
in honor of the Sun, sometimes in one and at 
another in another. I remember having seen 
many holes in the mouldings made through 
the stones. . . . 

NARRATOR: For a hundred years or two hundred or maybe 
three, the gold and the silver and the emeralds 
and the turquoises were untouched on the 
mouldings and the great stone walls, being 
the god's and being beautiful.] 

GARCILASSO: There were, within the edifice, five fountains of water, that 
flowed from different directions. The pipes were of gold and some of the 
pillars were of stone and others were jars of gold and silver. In these 
fountains they washed the sacrifices according to their importance and to the 
magnificence of the festival. I have only seen one of these fountains, which 
was used to irrigate the vegetable garden of the monastery. The others had 
been lost and even the one I saw was lost for six or seven months so that the 
garden was destroyed for want of irrigation, the whole monastery and even the 
city being concerned at the loss; for there was not an Indian who could 
explain whence the water of the fountain came. 

NARRATOR: This is the parable of the fountain. There were other things in 
Cuzco no one could recover when the gold was melted down to ducats. For the 
Yncas who could bring water under the beds of streams and through the living 
rock knew many mysteries. The Ynca Garcilasso speaks of this, not without 
irony. 

GARCILASSO: With all their rusticity, the Yncas understood that the course of 
the sun's movement was completed in a year, which they called huata. The 
common people counted the year by the harvests. 

[The Yncas had a knowledge of the 
summer and winter solstices, which were 
marked by large and conspicuous signs, consisting 
of eight towers on the east, and another 
eight placed on the west side of the city of 
Cuzco, placed in double rows, four and four, 
two small ones between two other high ones. 
The high towers were used as observatories, 
whence the smaller ones could be more con- 
veniently watched; and the space between the 
small towers, by which the sun passed in rising 
and setting, was the point of the solstices. 
The towers on the east corresponded with 
those on the west, according as it was the 
summer or winter solstice. 

NARRATOR: This would have been in the Fifteenth 
Century or maybe the Fourteenth, when the 
calendar in Europe was sliding out of the seasons 
of the sun until the months had lost their 
meanings.] 

GARCILASSO: The Yncas were also acquainted with the equinoxes and observed 
them with great solemnity. To ascertain the time of the equinox they had a 
stone column very richly carved erected in the open spaces in front of the 
Temple of the Sun. The pillar was erected in the center of a large circle 
occupying the whole width of the courtyard. Across the circle a line was drawn 
from east to west. When the priests thought that the equinox was approaching, 
they carefully watched the shadow thrown by the pillar every day. 

MUSIC: FLUTES, FIFES AND DRUMS ... JOYOUS, FOR THE HOLIDAY ... THEN IN BG

GARCILASSO: When the shadow was exactly on the line from sunrise to sunset, 
and the light of the sun bathed the whole circumference of the column at noon 
without any shadow being thrown at all, they knew that the equinox had 
arrived. Then they adorned the pillar with all the flowers and sweet herbs 
that could be gathered and placed the chair of the Sun upon it, saying that on 
that day the Sun with all its light was seated upon the pillar. 

MUSIC: FLUTES, FIFES AND DRUMS ... UP AND OUT

NARRATOR: The empire of the Yncas was an empire of coastal deserts and river 
valleys and mountain highlands, bound together by the fame of the Kings Yncas, 
and by the governors of thousands and the governors of hundreds and the 
governors of tens, and by the historians and accountants who wrote their 
histories and kept their records in knots in hanks of yarn, and by the runners 
on the Ynca roads but most of all by the runners on the roads. 

GARCILASSO: Of the two royal roads which extend throughout Peru, from north to 
south, historians speak in terms of admiration, but all praise comes short of 
the grandeur of the work. Its length was fifteen hundred miles over a country 
where there are ascents and descents several leagues in extent. The Indians 
made, on the highest parts of the road, large platforms with masonry steps to 
ascend to them, where those who carried the royal litter might rest 
themselves, and where the Ynca might enjoy the view in all directions from the 
summit of those snowy heights. In some parts, according to the heights of the 
mountains over which the road passes, there is a view extending over fifty, 
sixty, eighty and one hundred leagues of country, and the peaks appear to be 
so high as to reach the heavens. Nothing remains of this magnificent work 
except what time and war have been unable to destroy. Only on the road of the 
coast valleys, and in the vast sandy deserts, where there are also sand hills 
of various heights, the tall poles remain to guide the traveller. 

NARRATOR: In the days of the Ynca there were two roads under the moon in that 
empire and both were marvels. The one was of stone in the cordilleras, the 
other ran in the valleys between walls. 

Pedro Cieza de León, who saw them as a boy in the childhood of Garcilasso, has 
this to say of the coast road in his famous "Chronicle of Peru," published at 
Antwerp in 1554: "The Caciques and officers, by order of the Yncas, made a 
road fifteen feet wide through these coast valleys with a strong wall on each 
side. The whole space of this road was smooth and shaded by trees. These 
trees, in many places, spread their branches laden with fruit over the road, 
and many birds fluttered amongst the leaves. The walls on each side extended 
from one place to another, except where the sand drifted so high that the 
Indians could not pave the road with cement, when huge posts, like beams, were 
driven in at regular intervals to point out the way.

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... THEN IN BG, OUT GENTLY AT [X]

NARRATOR: For twenty-five hundred miles along the narrow coast between the 
Southern Ocean and "that never trodden by man nor animal nor bird, that 
inaccessible chain of snowy mountains," as Garcilasso puts it, the empire of 
the Yncas stretched its length of stone its great roads of heavy masonry, its 
majestic temples and its cities. And there were other monuments and cities 
white with moonlight in those centuries. [X]

Far north of the northern boundary of the Yncas' empire, in the endless 
forests that are Yucatan and Guatemala, and north of that in Mexico, and north 
into the mountains by the Colorado, the moon above America found squares and 
blocks of white where men had cut the stones or shaped the clay to make their 
cities. Some of the cities were alive. Some had long been dead but the white 
squares showed where they had been. There was Tenochtitlan beyond the Woman 
Mountain by the mountain water of the Aztecs. There was Uaxactun, the oldest 
city of the Mayas, and men had forgotten it before Columbus but the stones 
were there. And there were things that lasted longer even than the stones: 
things made of breath that the living left for the living from one time to the 
next and on beyond. T[here were t]hings like this that the Yncas listened to 
for centuries before the ships came. 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... THEN IN BG

NARRATOR: [Things like this that the Mayas 
heard in their palaces with the painted 
beams and the woven mats, in the smell of 
the lake water. 

VOICE: You, great nocturnal tippler, flayer-father, 
Why do you make us beseech you? 
                       Why hide away? 

Why does rain not fall in the fields? 
Clothe yourself in your human skin, 

                       Your garments of gold, 
Let it rain, let rain-water fall --

O father! Your precious jewels of water have 
fallen at last! 
The tall cypress is full of humming birds.]

NARRATOR: Things like this that the Mayas heard in their tall temples of stone 
with the stone steps at the edge of evening. 

MAN'S VOICE: Most sorrowing star 
Adorns the chasm of night, 
Hushes with fear in the house 
                      of sorrow. 
Terrible trumpet blares loud 
In the vestibule of the house of 
the nobles. 
The dead understand not, the 
living will understand. 
Every moon, every year, every day, 
every wind, 
Pursues its way and passes. 
Thus comes all blood to the place 
of its quietude, 
As it comes to its power and throne. 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... OUT

NARRATOR: These things, ancient things of stone and breath, were there before 
the discoverers. They are there still. 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... THEN IN BG

NARRATOR: The moon rising out of Europe, out of the ocean, had seen the shapes 
of stone across America for centuries before the men of Europe saw them. But 
the men of Europe called it the New World and were right to call it so. It was 
new to them, new to their hopes. To them it was the future in the west: to the 
Yncas, the ancient land beyond the mountains. . . . 

MUSIC: THE FLUTE ... FOR A FINISH ... THEN FADES OUT

MacLEISH: The Kings Ynca are gone and the gold is gone from the Temples of the 
Sun and the temples themselves have fallen or are changed. But the life of the 
Ynca peoples has not vanished. The music they made still echoes in songs and 
phrases of the Peruvian upland, phrases like those you have just heard in this 
broadcast, for some of these are very old and their past has become a part of 
the past of the American peoples, nations and peoples of other bloods than 
theirs and other tongues. The history of the American continent is the history 
also of the peoples of whatever origin who came to it, and the Yncas and their 
cities and their music stand for us all at the dim beginning of this land. 
They cannot be forgotten while men who love this continent still live in it.

ANNOUNCER: Thus ends the fourth in a series of broadcasts called THE AMERICAN 
STORY and devoted to the firsthand accounts, the original narrations of the 
American experience in all the countries of the American continent. This 
broadcast was based upon the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas, written by 
Garcilasso de la Vega, son of one of the conquerors of Peru and nephew of the 
last of the great Kings Ynca. The translation of the poem was by Muna Lee. The 
narrator was Arnold Moss; the cast included Alexander Scourby and David 
Gothard. The direction was by Frank Papp. 

Next week's chapter of THE AMERICAN STORY will present the discovery and 
settlement of America as it appeared to the Indians and particularly to the 
Indians of Mexico. 

Special handbooks which give extensive background material for this series 
have been published by the Columbia University Press and are available for 
twenty-five cents to cover the cost of printing and mailing. Those who wish 
handbooks should write to AMERICAN STORY, Station J, Box Thirty, New York, New 
York. Station J, Box Thirty, New York, New York.

This is the National Broadcasting Company.

MUSIC: NBC CHIMES