"…hands were swollen. I camped under a tree. I stayed there no more than four or five days. All I had to do was hear the first human voice close by, and I would take off fast.
I came to hide in a cave for a time. I lived there for a year and a half. . ..I was careful about all the sounds I made, And of the fires. If I left a track, they could follow my path and catch me. I climbed up and down so many hills that my legs and arms got as hard as sticks. Little by little I got to know the woods. And I began to like them. Sometimes I would forget I was a Cimarron, and I would start to whistle. Early on I used to whistle to get over the fear. They say that when you whistle, you chase away the evil spirits. But being a Cimarron in the woods you had to be on the lookout. I didn't start whistling again because the guajiros or the slave catchers would come. Since the Cimarron was a slave who ahd escaped, the masters sent a posse of rancheadores after them. Mean guajiros with hunting dogs so they could drag you out of the woods in their jaws. I never ran into any of them. I never seen any of those dogs up close. They were trained to catch blacks… When a slave catcher caught a black, the master or the overseer gave him an ounce of gold or more.
Truth is that I lived well as a cimarron, very hidden, very comfortable. I didn't even allow other cimarrones to spot me: "cimarron with cimarron sells a cimarron." For a long time I didn't speak a word to anyone. I liked that tranquility. …You live half wild when you're a cimarron.
I found out about the end of slavery from all the people shouting. . . They shouted, "We're free now." But I wasn't affected. To my mind, it was a lie… When I came out of the woods I started in walking, and I met an old woman with two children in her arms. I called to her from a distance, and when she came up to me I asked her: "Tell me, is it true that we're no longer slaves?" She answered me: "No, son, now we're really free." And, with that, as quickly as I became a cimarron… I stopped being a cimaroon. And became myself…a man…again."