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The Lost Letter of Christopher Columbus
India, 13 October 1492
To Her Majesty Queen Isabella I of Castile,
Well I guess you’re wondering why I didn’t write sooner. I know I told you the Atlantic couldn’t be wider than Spain but it turns out that it might very well be. It took us two months to get here, so unless we were travelling around in circles most of that time (a very real possibility), then the Atlantic is wider than Spain. I’ll get back to you on this point.
Weather was nice when we got here, just in time for Thanksgiving and the local Indians made us welcome. They have a neat way of greeting people here. It involves shooting flaming arrows in your direction and waving hatchets about. We joined in the frivolities of course by discharging our long guns. Though our men aimed at the clouds, they were so weakened by scurvy that we unfortunately reduced the numbers of the locals considerably. They didn’t seem to mind.
A really weird thing though. We’ve tried all the local cooking and these people don’t use curry! My men and I would kill for some tandori chicken and mango soup but alas, this part of India obviously has a different cuisine.
I perhaps should mention that in exchange for feeding all of us, putting us up in their wigwams and helping reduce our stress, we’ve agreed to cede the entire country to the locals in perpetuity. Please make sure that’s written up will you? They really are a nice bunch of folks and aren’t at all cranky about the way we shot them up.
We introduced the tribes to our Christmas tradition and explained how in our country we give gifts to visitors. Attached to this letter is a trunk filled with gold. It will give you an idea of how generous these people can be. If Spain ever decides to bring religion to the heathen English this gold might come in real handy.
Something is kind of bothering me. When we landed on the shore here we found a sign that said “Welcome to America.” It was signed “Leif.” We tore it down of course and burned it. But I think you should find out who this guy Leif is, and what “America” means.
Last thing I should mention is that our grateful hosts asked if there was some way that they could commemorate our visit for all time. I was pleased to oblige, and told them they should have an annual celebration and call it Isabella Day. What’s amusing is that the cute way they pronounce Spanish terms meant that it comes out sounding like “Columbus Day.” Isn’t that a hoot?
Well it’s over to you Your Majesty, and as there is no mail service yet from India to Spain, I’ll be bringing this letter back with me. So you don’t need to write a reply.
Your Obedient Servant,
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