|CHAPTER XI: OF OTHER KINDS OF WINE WHICH THEY HAVE [p.43]
THEY have a kind of tree, or rather a plant something between a bush and a thistle, whose leaves are as thick as the leg of a man just above the knee, and about as long as the arm, more or less, according to its age. It throws up a stem in the middle which grows to twice or three times the height of a man approximately, and the thickness of a six-year-old boy. When the time arrives and the plant is ripe, they bore a hole at the foot whence a liquor distils which they keep in vessels of the bark of a tree, made expressly for that purpose. One or two days afterwards they drink it till they fall down from pure drunkenness, and to drink of it excessively and to get intoxicated they consider highly honorable. This tree is most useful, for they get from it wine, vinegar, honey, and arrope.26 They make of it cloth for men  and women, shoes,27 cordage, beams for houses, and shingles for covering them. The ends of the leaves are very hard and pointed, and they are used as needles for sewing, and for making stitches in sword cuts, and other matters. The leaves of this bush or thistle are to them what our vines are to us, and they call the plant maguey. They make still another drink of it, but out of the leaves. These they steep until they can remove the thick cuticle; then they pound the fleshy substance with a wooden tool made for the purpose, and cook this pulp in underground ovens.28 This makes a wine which they drink to drunkenness. Another is called Chicha, and this is made from the grain which they eat,29 and is of different kinds, red and white.