The True Story of Christopher Columbus
How Columbus Gained A Queen For His Friend
When you wish very much to do a certain thing it is dreadfully hard to be patient; it is
harder still to have to wait. Columbus had to do both. The wars against the Moors were of
much greater interest to the king and queen of Spain than was the finding of a new and
very uncertain way to get to Cathay. If it had not been for the patience and what we call
the persistence of Columbus, America would never have been discovered—at least not in
He staid in Spain. He grew poorer and, poorer. He was almost friendless. It seemed as if
his great enterprise must be given up. But he never lost hope. He never stopped trying.
Even when he failed he kept on hoping and kept on trying. He felt certain that sometime
he should succeed.
As we have seen, he tried to interest the rulers of different countries, but with no success.
He tried to get help from his old home-town of Genoa and failed; he tried Portugal and
failed; he tried the Republic of Venice and failed; he tried the king and queen of Spain
and failed; he tried some of the richest and most powerful of the nobles of Spain and
failed; he tried the king of England (whom he got his brother, Bartholomew Columbus, to
go and see) and failed. There was still left the king of France. He would make one last
attempt to win the king and queen of Spain to his side and if he failed with them he
would try the last of the rulers of Western Europe, the king of France.
He followed the king and queen of Spain as they went from place to place fighting the
Moors. He hoped that some day, when they wished to think of something besides
fighting, they might think of him and the gold and jewels and spices of Cathay.
The days grew into months, the months to years, and still the war against the Moors kept
on; and still Columbus waited for the chance that did not come. People grew to know him
as "the crazy explorer" as they met him in the streets or on the church steps of Seville or
Cordova, and even ragged little boys of the town, sharp-eyed and shrill-voiced as all such
ragged little urchins are, would run after this big man with the streaming white hair and
the tattered cloak, calling him names or tapping their brown little foreheads with their
dirty fingers to show that even they knew that he was "as crazy as a loon."
At last he decided to make one more attempt before giving it up in Spain. His money was
gone; his friends were few; but he remembered his acquaintances at Palos and so he
journeyed back to see once more his good friend Friar Juan Perez at the Convent of
Rabida on the hill that looked out upon the Atlantic he was so anxious to cross.
It was in the month of November, 1491, that he went back to the Convent of Rabida. If he
could not get any encouragement there, he was determined to stay in Spain no longer but
to go away and try the king of France.