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Title: Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) - A Record of Five Years' Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan
Author: Lumholtz, Carl, 1851-1922
Language: English
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                             Unknown Mexico
  A Record of Five Years' Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western
  Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among
                       the Tarascos of Michoacan


                          Carl Lumholtz, M.A.

  Member of the Society of Sciences of Norway; Associé Étranger de la
 Société de l'Anthropologie de Paris; Author of "Among Cannibals," Etc.

                                Volume I

                      Morris K. Jesup, M.A., LL.D.
    President of the American Museum of Natural History of New York
                    The Patron and Friend of Science
 This Work Is Respectfully Dedicated As a Token of Gratitude and Regard


In the course of my travels in Australia, and especially after
my arrival at Upper Herbert River in Northern Queensland, I soon
perceived that it would be impracticable for me to hunt for zoological
specimens without first securing the assistance of the natives of
the country. Thus it came about that for over a year I spent most of
my time in the company of the cannibalistic blacks of that region,
camping and hunting with them; and during this adventurous period
I became so interested in these primitive people that the study of
savage and barbaric races has since become my life's work.

I first conceived the idea of an expedition to Mexico while on a
visit to London in 1887. I had, of course, as we all have, heard of
the wonderful cliff-dwellings in the Southwest of the United States,
of entire villages built in caverns on steep mountain-sides, accessible
in many cases only with the aid of ladders. Within the territory of
the United States there were, to be sure, no survivors of the race
that had once inhabited those dwellings. But the Spaniards, when
first discovering and conquering that district, are said to have
come upon dwellings then still occupied. Might there not, possibly,
be descendants of the people yet in existence in the northwestern
part of Mexico hitherto so little explored?

I made up my mind, then and there, that I would answer this question
and that I would undertake an expedition into that part of the American
continent. But my ideas were not realised until in 1890 I visited
the United States on a lecturing tour. On broaching the subject of
such an expedition to some representative men and women, I met with a
surprisingly ready response; and interest in an undertaking of that
kind being once aroused, the difficulties and obstacles in its way
were soon overcome.

Most of the money required was raised by private subscription. The
principal part of the fund was, however, furnished by a now deceased
friend of mine, an American gentleman whose name, in deference to
his wishes, I am bound to withhold. The American Museum of Natural
History of New York and the American Geographical Society of New York
contributed, each, $1,000, and it was arranged that I should travel
under the auspices of these two learned institutions. Many scientific
societies received me most cordially.

The Government in Washington readily furnished me with the official
papers I required. The late Mr. James G. Blaine, then Secretary of
State, did everything in his power to pave my way in Mexico, even
evincing a very strong personal interest in my plans.

In the summer of 1890, preparatory to my work, I visited the Zuñi,
Navajo, and Moqui Indians, and then proceeded to the City of Mexico
in order to get the necessary credentials from that Government. I
was received with the utmost courtesy by the President, General
Porfirio Diaz, who gave me an hour's audience at the Palacio Nacional,
and also by several members of his cabinet, whose appreciation of
the importance and the scientific value of my proposition was truly
gratifying. With everything granted that I wanted for the success of
my expedition--free passage for my baggage through the Custom House,
the privilege of a military escort whenever I deemed one desirable,
and numerous letters of introduction to prominent persons in Northern
Mexico who were in a position to further my plans--I hurried back to
the United States to organise the undertaking. My plan was to enter,
at some convenient point in the State of Sonora, Mexico, that great
and mysterious mountain range called the Sierra Madre, cross it to
the famous ruins of Casas Grandes in the State of Chihuahua, and then
to explore the range southward as extensively as my means would permit.

The western Sierra Madre may be considered a continuation of the
Rocky Mountains and stretches through the greater part of Mexico into
Central and South America as a link of the Cordilleras, which form a
practically uninterrupted chain from Bering Strait to Cape Horn. The
section occupying Northwestern Mexico is called Sierra Madre del
Norte, and offers a wide field for scientific exploration. To this
day it has never been surveyed.

The northernmost portion of the Sierra Madre del Norte has from time
immemorial been under the dominion of the wild Apache tribes whose hand
was against every man, and every man against them. Not until General
Crook, in 1883, reduced these dangerous nomads to submission did
it become possible to make scientific investigations there; indeed,
small bands of the "Men of the Woods" were still left, and my party
had to be strong enough to cope with any difficulty from them.

Inasmuch as my expedition was the first to take advantage of the
comparative security prevailing in that district, I thought that
I could best further the aims of Science by associating with me a
staff of scientists and students. Professor W. Libbey, of Princeton,
N. J., took part as the physical geographer, bringing with him his
laboratory man; Mr. A. M. Stephen was the archæologist, assisted
by Mr. R. Abbott; Messrs. C. V. Hartman and C. E. Lloyd were the
botanists, Mr. F. Robinette the zoölogical collector, and Mr. H. White
the mineralogist of the expedition.

All the scientific men were provided with riding animals, while the
Mexican muleteers generally rode their own mounts. Our outfit was
as complete as it well could be, comprising all the instruments
and tools that might be required, besides tents and an adequate
allotment of provisions, etc. All this baggage had to be transported
on mule-back. We were, all in all, thirty men, counting the scientific
corps, the guides, the cooks, and the muleteers, and we had with us
nearly a hundred animals--mules, donkeys, and horses--as we crossed
the sierra.

It was a winter campaign, and from Nacori, in Sonora, to Casas
Grandes, in Chihuahua, we were to make our own trail, which we did
successfully. Ancient remains were almost as rare as in the rest of
the Sierra Madre del Norte; yet traces of ancient habitations were
found in the shape of stone terraces, which had evidently served
agricultural purposes, and at some places rude fortifications were
seen. In the eastern part we came upon a considerable number of
caves containing house Croups, the builders of which, generally,
rested in separate burial-caves. In the same locality, as well as
in the adjacent plains of San Diego, Chihuahua, we found numerous
mounds covering house groups, similar in construction to those in the
caves. From underneath their floors we unearthed about five hundred
beautifully decorated pieces of pottery.

Among the further results of the expedition may be mentioned the
gathering of large collections of plants, among them twenty-seven
species new to science; fifty-five mammals, among which the _siurus
Apache_ was new to science, and about a thousand birds. A complete
record was made of meteorological observations.

Thus far, although the question regarding surviving cliff-dwellers was
answered negatively, the field southward in the sierra was so promising
that I was eager to extend my explorations in that direction. The
funds of the expedition, however, began to run low, and in April,
1891, I had to return to the United States to obtain more money with
which to carry on a work that had opened so auspiciously. I left
my camp in San Diego in charge of one of my assistants, instructing
him to go on with the excavations during my absence. This work was
never interrupted, though the force of men was now considerably
reduced. The law prohibiting excavations without the special permit
of the Government of Mexico had not yet been promulgated.

I was so absolutely confident of the ultimate success of my efforts,
in spite of discouragements, that I twice crossed the entire continent
of North America, went down to the City of Mexico and came north
again--a journey of over 20,000 miles--seeing prominent people and
lecturing to arouse a public interest. Finally, the American Museum
of Natural History of New York decided to continue the explorations,
the funds being this time supplied mainly through the munificence
of the late Mr. Henry Villard, and toward the end of that year I was
able to return to my camp, and in January, 1892, lead the expedition
further south. My scientific assistants were now: Mr. C. V. Hartman,
botanist; Mr. C. H. Taylor, civil engineer and photographer, and
Mr. A. E. Meade, mineralogist and zoological collector.

This time we came upon Cave-Dwellers. The Tarahumare Indians of
the Sierra Madre, one of the least known among the Mexican tribes,
live in caves to such an extent that they may properly be termed
the American Cave-Dwellers of to-day. I determined to study these
interesting people, especially the so-called _gentiles_ [1] (pagans),
and as this was not practical, even with the present reduced size of
the expedition, I gradually disbanded the entire company and at last
remained alone.

By selling most of my animals, and a large part of my outfit, and
through the untiring efforts of two American ladies, whose friendship
I highly esteem, I was enabled to continue my researches alone until
August, 1893, when I took my Tarahumare and Tepehuane collections to
Chicago and exhibited them at the World's Fair. Extensive vocabularies
of the Tarahumare and Tepehuane languages, as well as a vocabulary
of the now almost extinct Tubares, were among the results of this
expedition, besides anthropological measurements, samples of hair
and osseous remains.

The great possibilities Mexico offers to ethnology proved an
irresistible incentive to new researches, and seeing the results
of my previous expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History
of New York again sent me out on what was to be my third and most
extensive Mexican expedition, which lasted from March, 1894, to
March, 1897. During these three years I again travelled alone, that
is, without any scientific assistants, at first with two or three
Mexicans. Soon, however, I found that my best companions were the
so-called civilised Indians, or even Indians in their aboriginal state,
who not only helped me by their mere presence to win the confidence
of their tribesmen but also served me as subjects of observation. As
before, I stopped for months with a tribe, discharging all alien
attendants, and roughing it with the Indians. In this way I spent
in all a year and a half among the Tarahumares, and ten months among
the Coras and Huichols. At first the natives persistently opposed me;
they are very distrustful of the white man, and no wonder, since he
has left them little yet to lose. But I managed to make my entry and
gradually to gain their confidence and friendship, mainly through my
ability to sing their native songs, and by always treating them justly.

Thus I gained a knowledge of these peoples which could have been
procured in no other way. When after five or six months of such
sojourns and travel my stock of "civilised" provisions would give out,
I subsisted on what I could procure from the Indians. Game is hard
to get in Mexico, and one's larder cannot depend on one's gun. As
in Australia, my favourite drink was hot water with honey, which,
besides being refreshing, gave a relish to a monotonous diet.

All along my route I gathered highly valuable material from the
Tarahumares, the Northern and the Southern Tepehuanes, the Coras,
the Huichols, and the Tepecanos, all of which tribes except the last
named dwell within the Sierra Madre del Norte; also from the Nahuas on
the western slopes of the sierra, as well as from those in the States
of Jalisco and Mexico; and, finally, from the Tarascos in the State
of Michoacan. Of most of these tribes little more than their names
were known, and I brought back large collections illustrating their
ethnical and anthropological status, besides extensive information
in regard to their customs, religion, traditions, and myths. I also
completed my collection of vocabularies and aboriginal melodies. On
my journey through the Tierra Caliente of the Territory of Tepic,
and the States of Jalisco and Michoacan, I also obtained a number of
archaeological objects of great historical value and importance.

In 1898 I made my last expedition to Mexico under the same auspices,
staying there for four months. On this trip I was accompanied by
Dr. Ales Hrdlicka. I revisited the Tarahumares and Huichols in order
to supplement the material in hand and to settle doubtful points that
had come up in working out my notes. Sixty melodies from these tribes
were recorded on the graphophone.

Thus from 1890 to 1898 I spent fully five years in field researches
among the natives of northwestern Mexico. The material was collected
with a view to shedding light upon the relations between the ancient
culture of the valley of Mexico and the Pueblo Indians in the southwest
of the United States; to give an insight into the ethnical status
of the Mexican Indians now and at the time of the conquest, and to
illuminate certain phases in the development of the human race.

So far the results of my expeditions to Mexico have been made public
in the following literature:

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Explorations in Mexico," Bulletin of the American
Geographical Society, 1891.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: Letters to the American Geographical Society of
New York, "Mr. Carl Lumholtz in Mexico," Bulletin of the American
Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1893.

J. A. ALLEN: "List of Mammals and Birds Collected in Northeastern
Sonora and Northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico, on the Lumholtz
Archæological Expedition, 1890-1892," Bulletin of the American Museum
of Natural History, Vol. V., Art. III., 1893.

B. L. ROBINSON and M. L. FERNALD: "New Plants Collected
by Mr. C. V. Hartman and Mr. C. E. Lloyd upon the Archæological
Expedition to Northwestern Mexico under the Direction of Dr. Carl
Lumholtz," Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
Vol. XXX., 1894.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "American Cave-Dwellers; the Tarahumares of the Sierra
Madre," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol. III., 1894.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "The Cave-Dwellers of the Sierra Madre," Proceedings
of the International Congress of Anthropology, Chicago, 1894.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: Four articles in SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE: "Explorations
in the Sierra Madre," November, 1891; "Among the Tarahumares, the
American Cave-Dwellers," July, 1894; "Tarahumare Life and Customs,"
September, 1894; "Tarahumare Dances and Plant Worship," October, 1894.

C. V. HARTMAN: "The Indians of Northwestern Mexico," Congrès
International des Americanistes, Dixième Session, Stockholm, 1894.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Blandt Sierra Madres huleboere," Norge, Norsk Kalender,
Kristiania, 1895.

CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALES HRDLICKA: "Trephining in Mexico," American
Anthropologist, December, 1897.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "The Huichol Indians in Mexico," Bulletin of the
American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898.

TARLETON H. BEAN: "Notes on Mexican Fishes Obtained by Carl
Lumholtz." Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History,
Vol. X., 1898.

CARL LUMHOLTZ and ALES HRDLICKA: "Marked Human Bones from a Prehistoric
Tarasco Indian Burial-place in the State of Michoacan, Mexico,"
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Vol. X., 1898.

ALES HRDLICKA: "Description of an Ancient Anomalous Skeleton from the
Valley of Mexico, with Special Reference to Supernumerary Bicipital
Ribs in Man," Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History,
Vol. XII., 1899.

CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Symbolism of the Huichol Indians," Memoir of the
American Museum of Natural History, Vol. III., May, 1900; 228 royal
quarto pages and 3 coloured plates.


CARL LUMHOLTZ: "Conventionalism in Designs of the Huichol Indians,"
Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History.

The present volumes give a succinct account of my travels and
work among the remote peoples of the Sierra Madre del Norte and
the countries adjacent to the south and east as far as the City of
Mexico. Most of what I tell here refers to a part of the Republic
that is never visited by tourists and is foreign even to most
Mexicans. Primitive people are becoming scarce on the globe. On the
American continents there are still some left in their original
state. If they are studied before they, too, have lost their
individuality or been crushed under the heels of civilisation, much
light may be thrown not only upon the early people of this country
but upon the first chapters of the history of mankind.

In the present rapid development of Mexico it cannot be prevented that
these primitive people will soon disappear by fusion with the great
nation to whom they belong. The vast and magnificent virgin forests
and the mineral wealth of the mountains will not much longer remain
the exclusive property of my dusky friends; but I hope that I shall
have rendered them a service by setting them this modest monument,
and that civilised man will be the better for knowing of them.

That I have been able to accomplish what I did I owe, in the
first place, to the generosity of the people of the United States,
to their impartiality and freedom from prejudice, which enables
foreigners to work shoulder to shoulder with their own advance
guard. I wish to extend my thanks in particular to the American
Geographical Society of New York, and still more especially to
the American Museum of Natural History of New York, with whom I
have had the honour of being connected more or less closely for ten
years. To its public-spirited and whole-souled President, Mr. Morris
K. Jesup, I am under profound obligations. I also take pleasure in
acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who initiated
my Mexican ventures with a subscription of $1,000; furthermore to the
Hon. Cecil Baring, Mr. Frederick A. Constable, Mr. William E. Dodge,
Mr. James Douglass, Mrs. Joseph W. Drexel, Mr. George J. Gould, Miss
Helen Miller Gould, Mr. Archer M. Huntington, Mr. Frederick E. Hyde,
Mr. D. Willis James, Col. James K. Jones, the Duke of Loubat,
Mr. Peter Marié, Mr. Henry G. Marquand, Mr. F. O. Matthiessen,
Mr. Victor Morawetz, Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, Mrs. Edwin Parsons,
Mr. Archibald Rogers, Mr. F. Augustus Schermerhorn, Mr. William
C. Schermerhorn, Mr. Charles Stewart Smith, Mr. James Speyer,
Mr. George W. Vanderbilt, Mr. William C. Whitney, of New York;
to Mr. Frederick L. Ames, Mrs. John L. Gardner, Mrs. E. Mason,
Mr. Nathaniel Thayer, Mr. Samuel  D. Warren, Dr. Charles G. Weld,
of Boston; to Mr. Allison D. Armour and Mr. Franklin MacVeagh, of
Chicago; to Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, Mr. Frank G. New. lands, Mrs. Abby
M. Parrot, Mr. F. W. Sharon, of San Francisco; to Mr. Adolphus Busch,
of St. Louis; to Mr. Theo. W. Davis, of Newport; and to the late
Mr. E. L. Godkin.

Much valuable support or assistance I have also received from
Mrs. Morris K. Jesup; Mrs. Elizabeth Hobson, of Washington, D. C.;
Miss Joanna Rotch, of Milton, Mass.; Mrs. Henry Draper, of New York;
Mrs. Robert W. Chapin, of Lenox; the late Mr. E. L. Godkin; Professor
Alexander Agassiz; Professor F. W. Putnam, Curator of the American
Museum of Natural History in New York; Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, of
Philadelphia; Professor Franz Boas, Curator of the American Museum of
Natural History in New York; Dr. B. L. Robinson and Dr. M. L. Fernald,
of Harvard University; Professor J. A. Allen and Mr. L. P. Gratacap,
Curators of the American Museum of Natural History.

I am under obligation to Mr. Marshall H. Saville, Curator of the
American Museum of Natural History, especially for the placing of
the names of the ruins of Southern Mexico on one of the maps; to
Miss Alice Fletcher, of Washington, D. C., and Mr. Edwin S. Tracy for
transcribing from the graphophone three of the songs rendered in this
book, and to Mrs. George S. Bixby for aid in transcribing the native
music. Finally I desire to express my appreciation of the untiring
services of my private secretary, Mrs. H. E. Hepner.

The upper illustration on page 65 is a reproduction of a photograph
kindly furnished me by Mr. Frank H. Chapman, and the illustration in
Vol. I., pages 145-146, is made from a photograph acquired through
the late Dr. P. Lamborn. The illustration in Vol. II., pages 464-465,
I owe to the courtesy of Mr. D. Gabriel Castaños, of Guadalajara.

The coloured illustrations are represented as the objects appear when
the colours have been brought out by the application of water.

The maps do not lay claim to an accuracy which, under the
circumstances, it was impossible to obtain, but they will, I hope,
be found to be an improvement on the existing ones.

Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, who has just returned from the Hyde expedition,
informs me that in visiting the western part of Sonora he found pure
Opata spoken west of Rio de Sonora and north of Ures, _e.g_., in Tuape.

Wherever dollars and cents are given Mexican currency is meant.

In the Indian Songs II., 10 and 18, I have made an attempt at rendering
the native words in English in such a form that the translations
could be sung, without, however, deviating from the original.

In the native words "x" should be given the sound of the Greek chi.



Preparations for the Start--Our Dry Goods Relished by the
Cattle--I Become a "Compadre"--Beautiful Northern Sonora--Mexican
Muleteers Preferable in Their Own Country--Apache Stories--Signs
of Ancient Inhabitants--Arrival at Upper Yaqui River--Opata
Indians now Mexicanised--A Flourishing Medical Practice--Mexican
Manners--Rock-carvings--How Certain Cacti Propagate, Pages 1-16


A Remarkable Antique Piece--A New Species of Century Plant--Arrival
at Nacori, at the Foot of the Sierra Madre--Trincheras--A
Mammoth Tusk Secured--Climbing the Sierra Madre--A New Squirrel
Discovered--Solitude--Apache Monuments--Arrival at Upper Bavispe River,
Pages 17-40


Camping at Upper Bavispe River--Low Stone Cabins, Fortresses, and
Other Remains Indicating Former Habitation--The Animals Starve on the
Winter Grass of the Sierra and Begin to Give Out--A Deserted Apache
Camp--comfort at Last--The Giant Woodpecker--We Arrive at the Mormon
Settlements of Pacheco and Cave Valley, Pages 41-59


A Splendid Field Prepared for Us by the Ancient Agriculturists of Cave
Valley--House Groups in Caves Along a Pretty Stream--Well-preserved
Mummies Found in Caves--More Trincheras--Our Excavations in
Caves and Mounds Confirm to the Mormons their Sacred Stories--We
Move to the Plains of San Diego--Visit to Casas Grandes and the
Watch-tower--Successful Excavations of the Mounds near San Diego,
Pages 60-98


Second Expedition--Return to the Sierra--Parrots in the
Snow--Cave-dwellings at Garabato, the most Beautiful in Northern
Mexico--A Superb View of the Sierra Madre--The Devil's Spine
Ridge--Guaynopa, the Famous Old Silver Mine--Aros River--On Old
Trails--Adventures of "El Chino"--Cure for Poison Ivy, Pages 99-117


Fossils, and One Way of Utilising Them--Temosachic--The First
Tarahumares--Ploughs with Wooden Shares--Visit to the Southern
Pimas--Aboriginal Hat Factories--Pinos Altos--The Waterfall near
Jesus Maria--An Adventure with Ladrones, Pages 118-135


The Uncontaminated Tarahumares--A Tarahumare Court in Session--The
Power of the Staff--Justice has its Course--Barrancas--Excursion to
the Gentiles--Tarahumare Costumes Simple and Inexpensive--Trincheras
in Use Among the Tarahumares,  Pages 136-155


The Houses of the Tarahumares--American Cave-dwellings of
To-day--Frequent Changes of Abode by the Tarahumare--The Patio or
Dancing Place--The Original Cross of America--Tarahumare Storehouses,
Pages 156-178


Arrival at Batopilas--Ascent from Batopilas to the Highlands of the
Sierra--A Tarahumare who had been in Chicago--An Old-timer--Flight
of Our Native Guide and its Disastrous Consequences--Indians Burn the
Grass All Over the Country--Travelling Becomes too Difficult for the
Animals--Mr. Taylor and I Go to Zapuri--Its Surroundings--The Pithaya
in Season, Pages 179-189


Nice-looking Natives--Albinos--Ancient Remains in Ohuivo--Local
Traditions, the Cocoyomes, etc.--Guachochic--Don Miguel and "The
Postmaster"--A Variety of Curious Cures--Gauchochic Becomes My
Head-quarters--The Difficulty of Getting an Honest Interpreter--False
Truffles--The Country Suffering from a Prolonged Drought--A Start
in a Northwesterly Direction--Arrival at the Pueblo of Norogachic,
Pages 190-202


A Priest and His Family Make the Wilderness Comfortable for
Us--Ancient Remains Similar to those Seen in Sonora--The Climate of the
Sierra--Flora and Fauna--Tarahumare Agriculture--Ceremonies Connected
with the Planting of Corn--Deterioration of Domestic Animals--Native
Dogs of Mexico, Pages 203-217


The Tarahumares Still Afraid of Me--Don Andres Madrid to the
Rescue--Mexican Robbers Among the Tarahumares--Mode of Burial in
Ancient Caves--Visit to Nonoava--The Indians Change their Minds about
Me, and Regard Me as a Rain-god--What the Tarahumares Eat--A Pretty
Church in the Wilderness--I Find at Last a Reliable Interpreter and
Proceed to Live à l'Indienne, Pages 218-234


The Tarahumare Physique--Bodily Movements--Not as Sensitive to Pain as
White Men--Their Phenomenal Endurance--Health--Honesty--Dexterity
and Ingenuity--Good Observers of the Celestial Bodies and
Weather-forecasters--Hunting and Shooting--Home Industries--Tesvino,
the Great National Drink of the Tribe--Other Alcoholic Drinks,
Pages 235-257


Politeness, and the Demands of Etiquette--The Daily Life of the
Tarahumare--The Woman's Position is High--Standard of Beauty--Women
Do the Courting--Love's Young Dream--Marriage Ceremonies, Primitive
and Civilised--Childbirth--Childhood, Pages 258-275


Many Kinds of Games Among the Tarahumares--Betting and
Gambling--Foot-races the National Sport--The Tarahumares are the
Greatest Runners in the World--Divinations for the Race--Mountains
of Betting Stakes--Women's Races, Pages 276-294


Religion--Mother Moon Becomes the Virgin Mary--Myths--The Creation--The
Deluge--Folk-lore--The Crow's Story to the Parrot--Brother
Coyote--Beliefs about Animals, Pages 295-310


The Shamans or Wise Men of the Tribe--Healers and Priests in
One--Disease Caused by Looks and Thoughts--Everybody and Everything
has to be Cured--Nobody Feels Well without His "Doctor"--Sorcery--The
Powers of Evil are as Great as those of Good--Remarkable Cure for
Snake-bite--Trepanning Among the Ancient Tarahumares, Pages 311-329


Relation of Man to Nature--Dancing as a Form of Worship Learned
from the Animals--Tarahumare Sacrifices--The Rutuburi Dance Taught
by the Turkey--The Yumari Learned from the Deer--Tarahumare Rain
Songs--Greeting the Sun--Tarahumare Oratory--The Flowing Bowl--The
National Importance of Tesvino--Homeward Bound, Pages 330-355


Plant-worship--Hikuli--Internal and External Effects--Hikuli both Man
and God--How the Tarahumares Obtain the Plant, and where They Keep
It--The Tarahumare Hikuli Feast--Musical Instruments--Hikuli Likes
Noise--The Dance--Hikuli's Departure in the Morning--Other Kinds of
Cacti Worshipped--"Doctor" Rubio, the Great Hikuli Expert--The Age
of Hikuli Worship, Pages 356-379


The Tarahumare's Firm Belief in a Future Life--Causes of Death--The
Dead are Mischievous and Want Their Families to Join Them--Therefore
the Dead Have to be Kept Away by Fair Means or Foul--Three Feasts
and a Chase--Burial Customs--A Funeral Sermon, Pages 380-390


Three Weeks on Foot Through the Barranca--Rio Fuerte--I Get My Camera
Wet--Ancient Cave-dwellings Ascribed to the Tubar Indians--The Effect
of a Compliment--Various Devices for Catching Fish--Poisoning the
Water--A Blanket Seine, Pages 391-407


Resumption of the Journey Southward--_Pinus Lumholtzii_--Cooking
with Snow--Terror-stricken Indians--A Gentlemanly Highwayman and
His "Shooting-box"--The Pernicious Effect of Civilisation Upon the
Tarahumares--A Fine Specimen of the Tribe--The Last of the Tarahumares,
Pages 408-421


Cerro de Muinora, the Highest Mountain in Chihuahua--The Northern
Tepehuanes--Troubles Cropping Out of the Camera--Sinister Designs
on Mexico Attributed to the Author--Maizillo--Foot-races Among the
Tepehuanes--Influence of the Mexicans Upon the Tepehunaes, and _Vice
Versa_--Profitable Liquor Traffic--Medicine Lodges--Cucuduri, the
Master of the Woods--Myth of the Pleiades, Pages 422-436


On to Morelos--Wild and Broken Country--The Enormous Flower-spike of
the Amole--Subtropical Vegetation of Northwestern Mexico--Destructive
Ants--The Last of the Tubars--A Spectral Ride--Back to the United
States--An Awful Thunder-storm--Close Quarters--Zape--Antiquities--When
an "Angel" Dies--Mementos of a Reign of Terror--The Great Tepehuane
Revolution of 1616--The Fertile Plains of Durango, Pages 437-450


Winter in the High Sierra--Mines--Pueblo Nuevo and Its Amiable Padre--A
Ball in My Honour--_Sancta Simplicitas_--A Fatiguing Journey to
the Pueblo of Lajas and the Southern Tepehuanes--Don't Travel After
Nightfall!--Five Days Spent in Persuading People to Pose Before the
Camera--The Regime of Old Missionary Times--Strangers Carefully
Excluded--Everybody Contemplating Marriage is Arrested--Shocking
Punishments for Making Love--Bad Effects of the Severity of the Laws,
Pages 451-470


Pueblo Viejo--Three Languages Spoken Here--The Aztecs--The
Musical Bow--Theories of Its Origin--Dancing Mitote--Fasting
and Abstinence--Helping President Diaz--The Importance of Tribal
Restrictions--Principles of Monogamy--Disposition of the Dead,
Pages 471-483


Inexperienced Help--How to Acquire Riches from the Mountains--Sierra
del Nayarit--The Coras--Their Aversion to "Papers"--Their Part in
Mexican Politics--A Déjeuner à la Fourchette--La Danza,  Pages 484-495


A Glimpse of the Pacific from the High Sierra--A Visionary Idyl--The
Coras Do Not Know Fear--An Un-Indian Indian--Pueblo of Jesus
Maria--A Nice Old Cora Shaman--A Padre Denounces Me as a Protestant
Missionary--Trouble Ensuing from His Mistake--Scorpions, Pages 496-507


A Cordial Reception at San Francisco--Mexicans in the Employ of Indians
--The Morning Star, the Great God of the Coras--The Beginning of
the World--How the Rain-clouds were First Secured--The Rabbit and
the Deer--Aphorisms of a Cora Shaman--An Eventful Night--Hunting
for Skulls--My Progress Impeded by Padre's Ban--Final Start for the
Huichol Country--A Threatened Desertion, Pages 508-530


    Portrait of the Author  _Frontispiece_
    A Dasylirion,    1
    Cottonwood,    4
    _Cereus Greggii_, a small cactus with enormous root,  5
    Fronteras,  7
    Remarkable Ant-hill,  8
    Church Bells at Opoto,  10
    Also a Visitor,  11
    A Mexican from Opoto,  12
    Rock-carvings near Granados,  15
    The Church in Bacadehuachi,  17
    Aztec Vase, Found in the Church of Bacadehuachi,  18
    _Agave Hartmani_, a new species of century plant,  19
    Ancient Pecking on a Trachyte Boulder one foot square, 20
    In the Hills of Northeastern Sonora,  24
    Adios, Señor!  27
    View toward the Northwest from Sierra de Huehuerachi,  29
    Our Principal Guide Leaving Us,  32
    A Mule with its Pack of Crates,  33
    The Photographic Mule,  34
    On the Crest of the Sierra,  37
    Apache Monument,  39
    Camp in the High Sierra,  47
    Bringing in Deer,  51
    The Largest Woodpecker in the World,  54
    Distant View of Cupola-shaped Granary in Cave,  58
    Single Wall in Cliff,  61
    Ground Plan of House Groups in Granary Cave,  62
    Cupola-shaped Granary in Cave,  64
    Granary in Tlaxcala,  65
    Bases of Granaries in Cave,  65
    Ground Plan of House Groups in Cave on East Side of the
    River, 66
    Sandal Plaited from Yucca Leaves,  67
    Heel of a Sandal, Showing Plaiting,  68
    Piece of Wood Showing Drill Mark,  68
    Pendant of Wood,  69
    Implement for Throwing,  69
    Burial Caves in Cave Valley,  70
    A Mummified Body,  71
    Rock Paintings in White on the Inside of a Burial Cave in
    Cave Valley, 72
    A Trinchera in Cave Valley,  73
    Ancient Cave-dwellings in Strawberry Valley,  75
    Interior View of Cave-dwellings Shown on Page 75,  76
    Exterior View of Cave-dwellings in Strawberry Valley, 77
    Objects Found in Mounds at Upper Piedras Verdes River,  81
    Painting on Rock on Piedras Verdes River,  82
    Figures on Walls of a Cave-house on Piedras Verdes River,  83
    Figure on Rock on Piedras Verdes River,  83
    Hunting Antelope in Disguise,  84
    Casas Grandes,  85
    Ceremonial Hatchet with Mountain Sheep's Head. From Casas
    Grandes. Broken,  88
    Earthenware Vessel in Shape of a Woman. From Casas Grandes, 89
    Cerro de Montezuma and the Watch Tower Seen from the South,  91
    Double Earthenware Vessel, from San Diego, with Hollow
    Connection at Base,  92
    Extension of Designs on Plate I., _a_,  95
    The Horned Toad Jar, Seen from Above and Below. Plate I.,
    _c_,  95
    Extension of Designs on Plate I., _d_,   95
    Extension of Designs on Plate III., _e_, 95
    Extension of Designs on Plate V., _e_,   97
    Black Ware, Highly Polished,   97
    Extension of Design on Plate IV., _a_,   98
    Extension of Design on Plate IV., _b_,   98
    Extension of Designs on Plate IV., _c_,   98
    Extension of Designs on Plate IV., _f_,   98
    Extension of Designs on Plate V., _c_,   98
    Ancient Cave-dwelling at Garabato,   101
    Part of Cave-dwellings at Garabato,   103
    Design in Red on Second-story Wall,   105
    Piece of Matting from Garabato Cave,  107
    Ancient Cave-houses and Granaries near Aros River,  111
    Tarahumare,  119
    Tarahumare Plough with Wooden Share,  121
    Tarahumare Ploughshare Made of Oak,  122
    Tarahumare Ploughshare of Stone,  122
    Young Southern Pima,  123
    Middle-aged Southern Pima,  124
    Southern Pimas Living in a Brushwood Inclosure,  125
    Pine Cone Serving as a Comb,  127
    Southern Pima Arrow Release,  128
    Small Crosses Placed in a Log in Front of Southern Pima
    House, 128
    The Waterfall of Basasiachic,  129
    Tarahumare Ploughman,  133
    Ancient Stone Hammer Seen in the Presidente's Yard,  134
    Tarahumare Indians from Pino Gordo,  137
    Tarahumare Court in Session at Cusarare,  140
    Barranca de Urique,  145
    Our Tarahumare Carriers and the Gobernador,  148
    Tarahumare Men,  149
    Tarahumare Woman,   150
    Necklace of Seeds of _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_,  151
    Tarahumare Ear-ornament: one seed _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_ at
    top. Natural size,  151
    Tarahumare Ranch near Barranca de Cobre, showing ploughed
    fields supported by stone walls,  152
    Tarahumare Ranch near Barranca de Cobre, showing agriculture
    on terraces,  152
    Tarahumare House near Barranca de Cobre,  157
    Tarahumare House in the Hot Country,  158
    Cappe of Sandstone Pillar, showing effect of erosion,  159
    Tarahumare Family Camping under a Tree,  161
    Inhabited Cave, the Home of a Tarahumare Belle,  162
    The Belle of the Cave,  163
    Side View of Cave on Page 165, Showing Store-houses and
    Inclosure, 164
    Inhabited Cave, Showing Store-houses, Inclosure, and Extended
    Floor, 165
    Cave with Wooden Ladder Leading to a Store-room,  169
    Crosses Made from the Natural Growth of Pine-trees in Front
    of Tarahumare House,  172
    Crosses in Front of Tarahumare House,  173
    Cross,  174
    Tarahumare Store-house of Stones and Mud,  175
    Caves Used as Store-houses,  176
    Tarahumare Store-houses Made of Logs,  178
    Cactus Flowers,  179
    Making Larvae Ready for the Pot,  182
    Gathering Pithaya,  188
    In the Highlands of the Sierra,  194
    Tarahumare Interpreters,  201
    Indian Trail Cut in a Ridge of Tuff,  202
    Pecking on Rock in the Neighbourhood of Norogachic,  203
    Tarahumare Girl from the Neighbourhood of Norogachic,  205
    Pecking on Rock in the Neighbourhood of Norogachic,  207
    Winter Morning in the Sierra,  209
    Dogs of Chihuahua,  216
    Tarahumare Girdles,  219
    Aspect of the Tarahumare Country in Humarisa,  227
    Taking My Baggage Down an Indian Trail in the Barranca de
    San Carlos,  231
    Tarahumare Woman,  236
    Tarahumare Man,  237
    Usual Crouching Position of the Tarahumare,  238
    Tarahumare Man,  239
    Tarahumares Sunning Themselves,  240
    Tarahumare Girl. The Hair Worn in Mexican Fashion,  242
    Weaving a Girdle,  249
    Patterns of Tarahumare Belts,  249
    Woman Pottery Maker and Some Results of Her Labour, 250
    Tarahumare Pottery from Panalachic,  252
    Basket for Straining Tesvino,  254
    Tarahumare Blanket,  259
    A Tarahumare Call,  260
    Tarahumare Arrow Release,  262
    Tarahumare Baskets,  263
    Tarahumare Girl Carrying Water,  265
    Tarahumare, Showing Mode of Wearing Blanket,  268
    Tarahumare Blankets,  274
    Stone Disk for Playing, 277
    Sticks Used by Tepehuanes for Playing,  278
    Value of the Different Sides of a Knuckle-bone,  278
    Tarahumares Playing Quinze,  279
    Cross Marking the Track of the Foot-runners,  283
    Tarahumares Racing by Torch-light,  285
    Making Wagers at a Foot-race,  288
    Part of Tarahumare Rattling Belt,  290
    Tarahumare Foot-runners, Photographed after the Race,  291
    Tarahumare Women Crossing a Stream in Their Race,  293
    Fork and Wooden Ball Used in Women's Game,  294
    Stick and Ring Used in Women's Game,  294
    The Coyote, _Canis Latrans_,  303
    Tarahumare Shaman's Rattles,  313
    Rubio, the Shaman,  316
    Rubio, the Shaman, and His Wife at Home in Their Cave,  319
    Shaman Rubio's Cave, Seen from the Outside,  320
    Rubio, the Shaman, Examining a Man Accused of Sorcery,  324
    Trepanned Tarahumare Skull, Female,  328
    The Beginning of the Rutuburi and the Yumari Dance,  335
    Dancing Yumari,  341
    Sacrificing Tesvino after a Yumari Dance,  345
    Ready to Begin Eating and Drinking after a Night's Dancing
    of Rutuburi,  349
    _Echinocactus_,  357
    Hikuli or Peyote, the principal sacred cacti,  358
    Dry Hikuli,  359
    Shaman's Notched Stick,  366
    Ancient Notched Sticks,  366
    Tarahumare Women Dancing Hikuli at Guajochic Station,  369
    _Mammilaria fissurata_,  373
    Shaman Rubio and His Company at a Hikuli Feast. Photographed
    after a Night's Singing and Dancing,  376
    Tarahumare Medicine Figure, Mexico,  378
    Ancient Ritualistic Petrograph, Arizona,  378
    Mourning,  380
    View from the North across Barranca de San Carlos, near
    Guachochic, 392
    Barranca de San Carlos, in its Upper Part,  395
    One of My Companions in Barranca de San Carlos,  397
    The Widow Grinding Corn in Her Camp,  399
    Bow and Throwing-stick for the Fish-spear,  401
    The Amole, a Species of Agave,  402
    Tarahumares on the Rio Fuerte Fishing with Their Blankets,  405
    _Pinus Lumholtzii_,  409
    Civilised Tarahumare Boy,  417
    Juan Ignacio and His Son, Pagan Tarahumares,  419
    A Tepehuane Family,  423
    Old Log-houses near Nabogame,  424
    Tepehuanes from Nabogame,  427
    Tepehuane Medicine Lodge near Mesa de Milpillas,  432
    A Well-known Tepehuane Shaman,  434
    _Salvia elegans_, var. _sonorensis_,  438
    The Flower-spike of the Amole,  439
    _Cereus cæspitosus_,  440
    Tubar Man,  442
    Tubar Women,  443
    Beads of Burnt Clay, from Tubar Tombs,  444
    Tepehuane Sling made from Maguey Fibre,  458
    Tepehuane Pouch made from Maguey Fibre,  459
    Tepehuane Store-house, near Lajas,  461
    The Musical Bow of the Tepehuanes of the South, and of the
    Aztecs, 475
    Rattle for Ankle, made from Empty Pods of a Palm,  477
    Cora Men and Women from Santa Teresa,  489
    Cora Pouch, of Unusual Shape, made of Wool. Patterns represent
    Flying Birds and a row of Deer,  492
    Cora Indians from Mesa del Nayarit,  501
    The Sacred Dancing-place of the Coras, called Towta, the
    supposed residence of the great Taquat of the East of the
    same name. Photographed after the Dancing was over,  517
    God's Eye, made by the Cora Tribe as a Prayer for My Health
    and Life, 521


    PLATES I., II., III., IV. Pottery from San Diego  _at end
    of volume_
    PLATE V. Pottery from San Diego and Casas Grandes _at end
    of volume_
    PLATE VI. A Tarahumare Beauty  _facing page 266_


Chapter I

    Preparations for the Start--Our Dry Goods Relished by the
    Cattle--I Become a "Compadre"--Beautiful Northern Sonora--Mexican
    Muleteers Preferable in Their Own Country--Apache Stories--Signs
    of Ancient Inhabitants--Arrival at Upper Yaqui River--Opata
    Indians now Mexicanised--A Flourishing Medical Practice--Mexican
    Manners--Rock-carvings--How Certain Cacti Propagate.

Heavy floods in the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico, with
consequent wash-outs along the railroads, interfered with my plans and
somewhat delayed my arrival at Bisbee, Arizona, a small but important
mining place from which I had decided to start my expedition. It is
only some twenty odd miles from the Mexican border, and the Copper
Queen Company maintains there well-supplied stores, where the necessary
outfit, provisions, etc., could be procured. The preparations for
the start consumed more than two weeks. Animals had to be bought, men
selected and hired, provisions purchased and packed. In the meantime
I was joined by the various scientific assistants appointed to take
part in the expedition.

The horses and mules were bought in the neighbourhood. In purchasing
animals much caution is required in that part of the country,
as even men who pose as gentlemen will try to take advantage of
the situation. One such individual not only raised his prices, but
delivered unbroken animals. Much loss of time and endless annoyance
were caused, first in the camp and later on the road, by unruly
mules, that persistently threw off their packs and had to be subdued
and reloaded.

Gradually, I had succeeded in finding the necessary men; This was
another hard task to accomplish. There are always plenty of fellows,
ready for adventures, greedy to earn money, and eager to join such
an expedition. But to select the right ones among the cow-boys and
miners of the border lands is most difficult.

By what appears, furthermore, to be the compensating justice of Nature,
the treasures of the earth are always hidden in the most unattractive,
dismal, and dreary spots. At least all the mining places I ever
visited are so located, and Bisbee is no exception. To get away from
the cramped little village and its unsavoury restaurant, I established
my first camp four miles south of it on a commodious and pleasant
opening, where we could do our own cooking. But here a new annoyance,
and rather a curious one, was met with. The cattle of the region
evinced a peculiar predilection for our wearing apparel. Especially
at night, the cows would come wandering in among our tents, like the
party who goes about seeking what he may devour, and on getting hold
of some such choice morsel as a sock, shirt, or blanket, Mrs. Bossie
would chew and chew, "gradually," to quote Mark Twain, "taking it in,
all the while opening and closing her eyes in a kind of religious
ecstasy, as if she had never tasted anything quite as good as an
overcoat before in her life." It is no use arguing about tastes, not
even with a cow. In spite of this drawback, it was pleasant to be out
in the country, which was growing delightfully green after the rains,
and gave us a foretaste of what we might expect.

The last thing to do, after all other preparations had been completed,
was to get into the camp three small bags containing seven hundred
and fifty Mexican dollars, since among the Mexican country population
paper money is hardly of any use. There was some talk about a raid on
the camp by some toughs in the neighbourhood, but we made our start
unmolested, on September 9, 1890.

Thanks to my letters from the Mexican Government, I had no trouble
at the custom-house in San Pedro. I stopped a few days there,
nevertheless, to buy some Mexican pack-saddles, called aparejos,
which, roughly speaking, are leather bags stuffed with straw, to be
fastened over the mules' backs. Through the courtesy of the Mexican
custom officials I also secured two excellent and reliable Mexican
packers, to take the place of some Americans who had been fighting
in the camp and proved themselves unfit for my purpose.

As a mark of regard, one of the custom officers invited me to act as
godfather to his child. I had to support the baby's head during the
ceremony, while an elderly woman held the little body. According to
custom, I gave twenty-five cents to every member of the party, and to
the child a more adequate present. From now on I was called compadre
by most of the people in the village, and that sacred relationship was
established between myself and the baby's family, which is deemed of
so much importance in the life of the Mexicans. During ten years of
travel and ethnological activity I have never met the child again,
but I hope that he is getting on well.

How beautifully fresh the country looked as we travelled southward
in Northern Sonora! The dreary plains of Arizona gave way to a more
varied landscape, with picturesque hills studded with oaks and mountain
cedars. Along the rivers cottonwood was especially noticeable. There
was also an abundance of wild-grape vines. Everywhere near the shady
creeks I saw the evening primrose, brilliantly yellow, while the
intense, carmine-red flowers of the lobelia peeped out from under the
shrubs. But of all the flowers on the banks of the streams, the most
remarkable was the exquisitely beautiful _Datura meteloides_, with
its gorgeous white crown, six inches long and four inches wide. We
saw one cluster of this creeper fully fifty feet in circumference. It
is well known among the Navajo Indians that the root of this plant,
when eaten, acts as a powerful stimulant; but the better class among
the tribe look upon it with disfavour, as its use often leads to
madness and death. The effect of the poison is cumulative, and the
Indians under its influence, like the Malays, run amuck and try to
kill everybody they meet.

There is also found a species of cactus, with a root which looks like
an enormous carrot. One small plant had a root four feet long. It is
used as soap.

Among the birds, doves and flycatchers were most commonly seen, one
species of the latter frequently dazzling our eyes with its brilliant
vermilion plumage.

The men I had hired before crossing the border did not work at all well
with the Mexicans. They generally considered themselves vastly superior
to the latter, whom they did not recognise as "white men." Personally,
I preferred the Mexicans, who were obedient, obliging, and less lawless
than the rough, mixed-white citizens of the American Southwest. As
an illustration of the moral status of the frontier population, I may
relate that when about sixty miles south of the border, a custom-house
official stationed in the neighbourhood insisted upon examining all my
baggage, which, of course, would have involved a lot of trouble. He
was neither worse nor better than other custom officers, who seem to
exist only to annoy people, and by the exertion of a little patience I
succeeded in settling the matter satisfactorily. But one of my foremen,
who had noticed my annoyance, came up to me and asked if I desired
"to get rid" of him; if I did, said he, he knew how he could serve
me so that nothing more would be heard from the Mexican!

I gradually weeded out this unscrupulous element among the men,
and replaced most of the American with Mexican muleteers, who are
far superior in that particular line of business. In hiring them,
only one precaution had always to be observed: never to accept one
unless he had a good recommendation from his village authorities or
some prominent man in the neighbourhood.

The first village of any importance we passed was Fronteras. It
is built on the summit and slopes of an elevated plateau and looks
extremely picturesque at a distance. Seen close, however, it turns
out to be a wretched little cluster of adobe, or sun-dried brick,
houses. Not only the town itself, but also all the ranches in the
neighbourhood are erected on elevations, a precaution from former
days against the bloodthirsty Apaches.

Not so very long ago Fronteras was quite an important place, numbering,
it is said, some 2,000 inhabitants. But the Apaches, by their incessant
attacks, made the life of the villagers so miserable that the place
became depopulated. Once it was even entirely abandoned. Many stories
of the constant fights with these savages are related by the survivors
of those struggles. Never was it safe in those days to venture outside
of the town limits. Yet the conflicts did not always end in one way,
and the Mexicans sometimes got the better of the raiders, although
it may be doubted whether the methods by which these results were
brought about would come under the rules of modern warfare.

One bright moonlight night an old man, who had himself taken part in
many an Apache fight, led me to a deep gorge where seven Apaches once
met their doom. The story he told was as follows:

A large band of warriors came threateningly into the town. They had
killed two hawks and, decorated with their feathers, were on the
warpath. As they were in such numbers the Mexicans realised that it
would be useless to attempt resistance, and therefore sued for peace,
which was granted. A peace-banquet followed, during which mescal,
the Mexican brandy, flowed freely, distributed without stint to the
warriors by their wily hosts, who were abiding their time. When the
Apaches were intoxicated the villagers fell upon them and captured
seven men; most of the band, however, managed to escape. Next day
the prisoners were taken to the ravine and speared, charges of powder
being deemed too good for them. Only el capitan, pointing to his head,
requested, as a special favour, to be shot, which was done. Their
bodies were buried in the ravine where they fell, but too long a time
had already elapsed since the event to enable me to secure for my
collections the specimens for which I had been on the lookout. Yet
I was told by the inhabitants that the ground about the town was so
full of Apache remains that I should have no difficulty in gaining
my object in places close by. A number of Apaches, men and women,
I was informed, had once been dumped into a well. I set to work at
the place indicated, and our efforts were rewarded by the exhumation
of eight skulls in perfect condition, besides many typical bones. The
last raid of the Apaches on Fronteras was in 1875.

Passing Cochuta about a hundred miles south of Bisbee, we came upon
a deposit of fossils. It was scarcely more than a mile in extent, but
many bones were said to have been taken away from it as curiosities. I
had already observed isolated fossil bones along the creeks on several
occasions during our travels, but we could find nothing here of value.

Signs that the country was in former times occupied by another race
than its present inhabitants are seen everywhere throughout the
region we traversed following the road to the south. Here they appear
frequently as remarkable groupings of stones firmly embedded in the
ground. Only the tops of the stones (the total length of which is
about one foot) are seen above the surface, much as stones are used
in parks and gardens for ornamental purposes. They are arranged in
circles or in rectangles. I saw two circles close to each other, each
six feet in diameter. One rectangle measured fifty feet in length
by half that in width. Low walls divided it into three indistinct
partitions. There was never any wall built underneath these surface
stones, nor were there any traces of charring. Among the ruins found
on top of the hills we collected a lot of broken pottery and some
flint arrowheads. In several places in this district we found gold
and coal, but not in paying quantities.

Some forty miles south of Cochuta we turned in a southerly direction,
ascending a hilly plateau 3,200 feet above sea-level. Here we observed
the first orchids, yellow in colour and deliciously fragrant, and in
the cañon below we met the first palms. The rocks continued to show
volcanic and metamorphic formation.

About 130 miles south of Bisbee we caught the first glimpse of the
Sierra Madre rising above the foot-hills, some forty miles off
to the east. Its lofty mountain peaks basking in the clear blue
ether, beckoned to us inspiringly and raised our expectations of
success. This, then, was the region we were to explore! Little did I
think then that it would shelter me for several years. It looked so
near and was yet so far, and as we travelled on southward the sight
of it was soon lost again.

We gradually descended to the Bavispe River, a name here given to the
Yaqui River, in accordance with the custom which the Mexicans have
in common with people in other parts of the world of giving different
names to one river in its course through different districts. It was
a treat to catch the first sight of the magnificent sheet of water
the river forms near the town of Opoto, as it slowly wends its way
through green shrubs. It is the largest river of the west coast of
Mexico and is here about 1,400 feet above the level of the sea.

Following the river to the south, we soon passed the towns of Guasavas
and Granados. The vegetation along the river banks is in strong
contrast to the land in general. Here are fields of sugar-cane, and
in the orchards, orange, fig, and lime trees grow in abundance. The
country, though fertile, is dry, and the heat is great. Even at the
end of October the thermometer sometimes registered 100° F. in the
shade. The grass had become dry and scarce, and it was difficult to
keep the animals in satisfactory condition.

This territory was once in the possession of the large tribe of
Opata Indians, who are now civilised. They have lost their language,
religion, and traditions, dress like the Mexicans, and in appearance
are in no way distinguishable from the labouring class of Mexico with
which they are thoroughly merged through frequent intermarriages.

As we passed the hamlets, our large party and outfit created quite a
sensation and aroused the people from the uneventful routine of their
daily existence. They used to surround my tent, especially mornings
and evenings, as if an auction had been going on inside. Some of
them wanted to sell things that would come in handy, such as fowls
or panoche (brown sugar). One woman offered me three chickens for one
dollar. I told her she charged too high a price, as chickens were not
worth more than twenty-five cents apiece; but she insisted that she
wanted a dollar, because she had promised that amount to the padre
for reading a mass for a man who had died in the time of Hidalgo at
the beginning of the century.

But most of the crowd flocked to my tent to consult me about their
ailments. It was useless to tell them that I was not a medical man, or
that I had not much medicine to spare, carrying only what I expected
to use for my own party. If I had given them all they wanted, our
little stock would have been exhausted on the first day; but in
order to soften my heart they would send me molasses, sugar-cane,
and similar delicacies. One poor old woman who was suffering from
cancer even offered me her donkey if I would cure her--an offer in
a way equivalent to a Wall Street magnate's millions, for the donkey
was her sole possession on earth.

They all were anxious to have me feel their pulse, whether there was
anything the matter with them or not. They firmly believed that this
mysterious touch enabled me to tell whether they were afflicted with
any kind of disease and how long they were going to live. A woman in
delicate condition wanted me to feel her pulse and to tell her from
that when her child was going to be born. I only hope that my practical
advice and the little medicine I could give them relieved some of their
backaches and sideaches, their felons, croups, and fevers and agues,
and above all, their indigestion, which is the prevailing trouble in
that section of the country. But I confess that I was nearly tired out
with these consultations. In consequence of frequent intermarriages
there are many deaf and dumb persons among them, and epilepsy and
insanity are by no means rare.

On the other hand, I was assured that such a character as a thief was
here unknown. However this might be, it was certain that the Mexicans
of Eastern Sonora were a nice class of people. They were pleasant to
deal with, very active and obedient, and I never wish for better men
than those I then had in my camp, nearly all of whom were from these
parts. The people were poor, but genuinely hospitable. Of course
they were ignorant, and might not, for instance, recognise a check
unless it was green. In each town, however, I found one or two men
comparatively rich, who knew more of the world than the others, and
who helped me out in my difficulties by going from house to house,
collecting all the available cash in town, or what coffee and sugar
could be spared to make up the deficiency. One thing is certain, I
should never have gotten on so well had it not been for the friendly
and obliging attitude of the Mexicans everywhere. As an instance, when
the great scarcity of grass began to tell seriously on the animals,
I was efficiently helped out by the courtesy of some influential
men. Without any personal letters of introduction I received many
services whenever I showed my letters of recommendation from the
Governor of the State, and had a hearty welcome.

I was so much impressed with the readiness of the people to accommodate
and serve me that my notebook contains the remark: "I find the Mexicans
more obliging than any nation I have ever come in contact with." It
has been my lot to travel for years in Mexico, and my experience with
her people only tended to deepen the pleasant impression I received
at the outset. Anyone who travels through Mexico well recommended
and conducts himself in accordance with the standard of a gentleman
is sure to be agreeably surprised by the hospitality and helpfulness
of the people, high and low, and it is not a meaningless phrase of
politeness only by which a Mexican "places his house at your disposal."

It is of the utmost importance to have as your chief packer a man
who thoroughly understands how to take care of the animals. It is not
the custom in Mexico, as it is everywhere in Australia, to wash the
backs of the animals as soon as the packs or saddles are taken off--a
precaution which is very beneficial, as it strengthens the skin and
prevents inflammation and sores. In the Southwest they do not wash
their beasts of burden until the mischief is done and they have to
allay the swelling and heal up the cuts. If not properly cared for
from the beginning, the animals will soon be ailing; some grow unfit
for service, and much time is lost mornings and evenings curing their
sores. Through the carelessness of some packers I lost several valuable
mules from such wounds. In summer the blue-bottle fly aggravates
the annoyance, as it lays its eggs in the open spaces of the skin,
and maggots develop in a very short time. Of course there are many
ways of ridding an animal of this pest, but here, as everywhere,
the proverbial ounce of prevention is better than the pound of cure.

A curious case of a man whose life was threatened by a blue-bottle
fly and its maggots came to nay notice. He was a soldier, and once in
a fight he had his nose cut off so that the nostrils became entirely
exposed. One night when he was asleep, drunk, a fly laid its eggs in
his nose, and when these were hatched it seemed as if the man was to
be eaten up alive. I gave him some relief by syringing the parts with
a solution of corrosive sublimate. Then an intelligent Mexican, who
had an extensive knowledge of the numberless native medicinal plants
(many of which, no doubt, are very valuable), treated the patient,
and in two days the poor wretch seemed to be in a fair way to be saved.

Near Granados I heard of some petroglyphs, or rock-carvings, and
sent Mr. Stephen to examine them. The Mexicans called them "Painted
Face." They were to be found only two miles and a half to the northwest
of the town, and were interesting. The designs were rudely pecked on
the moderately smooth felsite cliffs on a nearly perpendicular wall
in the foot-hills, about forty feet above the bed of the arroyo, or
gulch. All the human figures were drawn in the characteristic style
that we find farther north, the hands and feet being defined with
three radiating lines, like a bird's track. The size of the figure,
carved in something like a frame, is about twenty by twenty-four
inches, and each of the three figures in the group close below is
about eighteen inches high. Some of the drawings evidently represent
the deified dragon-fly found almost everywhere among the ruins of
Arizona and Northern Mexico. There are also the concentric circles,
the conventionalised spiral, and the meander design, so common among
the North American Indians, and still in use among the Moquis.

Our botanist, Mr. Hartman, drew my attention to an interesting cactus,
which is beautifully shaped like a candelabra, and attains a height of
three to five feet. As it grows old, the top joints of the branches
become thick and heavy and are easily broken off by the wind. The
joints, like all other parts of the plant, are beset with numerous
inch-long spines, and many of them fasten in the loose, moist soil
and strike root. In this way many new plants are formed, standing in
a circle around the mother plant. On sloping ground the young plants
form rows, some forty feet long. There was a fruit to be observed,
but very scarce in comparison with that of other species of _Cereus_
growing in the vicinity.

Chapter II

    A Remarkable Antique Piece--A New Species of Century Plant--Arrival
    at Nacori, at the Foot of the Sierra Madre--Trincheras--A
    Mammoth Tusk Secured--Climbing the Sierra Madre--A New Squirrel
    Discovered--Solitude--Apache Monuments--Arrival at Upper Bavispe

From Granados we took an easterly course, being at last able to
cross the Bavispe River, which, owing to heavy rains in the sierra,
had for some time been overflowing. Starting from this point, the
ground gradually rising, we arrived at Bacadehuachi, a small village
remarkable for its church, a massive adobe structure, the grand style
of which looked somewhat out of proportion in these mountains. It had
been built by the Franciscans more than 100 years ago, on the site
of an older Jesuit church, remains of which are still in existence,
and which in turn had been erected on the ruins of an ancient temple.

While inspecting the church Professor Libbey discovered that one
of the holy water fonts or stoups was a piece of great antiquity,
and we were informed that it had been dug up from the débris of the
ancient temple when the foundations for the present building were
laid. Its aesthetic value appealed even to the unscientific builders
of the church, who deemed the vessel worthy of a place in the new
cathedral, where it served as a bénitier. Unfortunately, it had been
found necessary to engrave on the ancient carving some Roman letters
dedicating the vessel to its new purpose. Though this somewhat mars its
general character, the vase is a most valuable relic of prehistoric
Mexico, not only as a masterpiece of ancient art, but still more as
a way-mark or sign-post showing the trend of Aztec migrations.

It was not possible to obtain it right away, but a few days later
I sent a messenger to a gentleman in Granados, whose wife had been
relieved from illness by some remedy of mine, requesting him to use his
influence with the priest, and in due course I had the satisfaction
of possessing this valuable relic of history. The vase is made of
a soft, unctuous stone resembling steatite (soapstone); it is true
agalmatolite, a mineral popularly called pagoda stone. Through the
mouth of the human head carved out in front passes a copper tube,
which once no doubt pierced the thick wall of the vessel and penetrated
into its interior. This tube had been stopped up to make the piece
available for its new purpose.

Marching for several days through oaks and mesquites, over hills and
rising country, we reached Nacori, a poor village in the foot-hills of
the Sierra Madre. It is scarcely forty miles from Granados, and lies
at an elevation of 3,700 feet. Our camp, about two miles outside of
the village, was permeated with a delicious odour of acacia blossoms,
and water in the neighbouring mountains, though strongly impregnated
with iron, was quite palatable.

In this region Mr. Hartman found a new form of agave with delicate
stripes of white on the lanceolate leaves that constitute the basal
rosette of the plant. The flower stalk is only twelve or thirteen
inches high, and I should not wonder if this diminutive and beautiful
century plant some day became fashionable in greenhouses. It grows in
large numbers in the crevices of the rocks, the perpendicular walls
of cañons often being studded with the bright little rosettes when
the drought has withered all herbaceous vegetation.

From here I made an excursion to an ancient pueblo site. As usual,
there were traces of small dwellings, huts of undressed stone,
and fragments of pottery. We found three mortars and one pestle,
a remarkable number of metates (the stone on which corn is ground),
and the corresponding grinding stones, showing that a large population
must have once lived here, huddled together in a small space.

But the most striking feature of antiquity met thus far on our journey
were curious stone terraces built across the small gullies. They
are called trincheras (trenches). Some of them do not appear to be
very old, and many present the appearance of tumble-down walls, but
the stones of which they are constructed were plainly used in their
natural state. Although many of the boulders are huge and irregular in
shape, they were used just as they were found. The building material
always conformed to the surroundings: in places where conglomerate
containing water-worn boulders abounded, this was used; where porphyry
was prevalent, blocks of that material were employed. There is no
trace of dressing or cutting, but in the mason work considerable
skill is evident. The walls are not vertical, but incline somewhat
toward the slope on which they are erected. The terrace thus formed
is often filled with soil to the height of the wall-top for a space
of from fifteen to twenty feet. Earth taken from them does not show
any colours. Some of these trincheras measure thirty feet in length
by four feet in height, while the smallest ones I saw were only five
feet long and three feet high. Naturally enough, the largest ones are
in the lower part of the gullies; then, some twenty-five feet back
and above, others almost as large may be found. As the arroyo rises
and narrows, the walls, each placed a little higher up the slope than
the preceding one, are necessarily smaller.

In the mountains near Nacori, especially on their eastern and
southeastern sides, trincheras were encountered in every gulch as high
up as six thousand feet, though steep crests and the mountain tops
bear no traces of them. In one arroyo, which was about a thousand feet
in length and of comparatively gentle slope, twenty-nine trincheras
were counted from the bed of the main drainage to the summit of the
mountain. Some of them were quite close together, three being within
eighteen feet of one another.

These trincheras somewhat resemble the small terrace gardens of
the Moqui Indians, and have undoubtedly been used for agricultural
purposes, just as they are used by the Tarahumares to this day (page
152). It is true that they are built in great numbers, sometimes
in localities that would appear unsuitable for farming; but, on the
other hand, they are seldom, if ever, found far from the remains of
habitations, a fact from which it may also reasonably be inferred
that the ruined houses, as well as the trincheras, were originally
built by the same race. Some of the terraces were, no doubt, erected
as a protection of the crop against enemies and wild animals; but
it is impossible to think that they were intended for irrigation
dams, though we did see water running through some, coming out of a
marsh. Still less likely is it that they had been used as mining dams.

As soon as the plains of Northern Sonora were left behind, and the
country became hilly and broken, these peculiar structures were
conspicuous. At first they appeared more like walls built simply
along the slopes of the hills, and not crossing gulches. They seem
to be more numerous in the western and central part of the sierra,
its spurs and foot-hills, than in the eastern part of the great
range. As regards their southern extent, they are not found further
south than the middle part of the state of Chihuahua. Captain Bourke,
in his book, "An Apache Campaign," mentions that "in every sheltered
spot could be discerned ruins, buildings, walls, and dams, erected by
an extinct race once possessing these regions." Mr. A. F. Bandelier,
on his journey to the Upper Yaqui River, in 1885, which took him as
far as Nacori, also refers to them, and Professor W. J. McGee, on his
expedition in 1895, found in Northeastern Sonora ruins locally known as
_Las Trincheras_, which he considered the most elaborate prehistoric
work known to exist in Northwestern Mexico. They comprise, he says,
terraces, stone-walls, and inclosed fortifications, built of loose
stones and nearly surrounding two buttes.

I must not omit to mention that in a week's exploration in the
mountains near Nacori, Mr. Stephen and his party did not find any
pottery fragments, nor flint flakes, nor grinding stones. They reported
that there was in that region no other trace of an early people  than
the hundreds of trincheras in the lower portions of the arroyos.

Noteworthy, however, was the frequent occurrence of old trails across
the hills, some quite plainly traceable for three and four hundred
yards. Old oaks stretched their limbs across many of them quite close
to the ground.

While at Nacori I learned from the inhabitants that at no great
distance from their town there were several deposits containing _huesos
giganteos_ (giants' bones), a name given to fossils in this part of the
world, where the people imagine that the large bones were originally
those of giants. I had then neither time nor men to make excavations
of any importance; but Mr. White, the mineralogist of the expedition,
whom I sent to look into the matter, and who devoted a week to the
examination of the deposits, reported that one of them, in a valley
sixteen miles south of Nacori, was a bed of clay thirty feet thick and
about a mile and a half long. On the edge of this field he discovered
a tusk six feet eight inches long and twenty-six inches at its widest
circumference, and having almost the curve of a circle. It was not
petrified and had no bone core, but the hole filled in with clay,
and its colour was a rich mahogany. It was undoubtedly the tusk of
a mammoth.

From the beginning it had surprised me how very ignorant the people
of Sonora were regarding the Sierra Madre. The most prominent man
in Opoto, a town hardly forty miles from the sierra, told me that
he did not know how far it was to the sierra, nor was he able to say
exactly where it was. Not even at Nacori, so close to this tremendous
mountain range, was there much information to be gotten about it. What
the Mexicans know about that region may be briefly summed up thus:
That it is a vast wilderness of mountains most difficult of approach;
that it would take eight days to climb some of the high ridges;
that it contains immense pine forests alive with deer, bear, and
wonderfully large woodpeckers, able to cut down whole trees; and that
in its midst there are still existing numerous remains of a people
who vanished long ago, but who once tilled the soil, lived in towns
and built monuments, and even bridges over some of its cañons.

This general ignorance is mainly due to the fact that until very
recently this entire part of the sierra, from the border of the
United States south about 250 miles, was under the undisputed control
of the  wild Apache Indians. From their mountain strongholds these
marauders made raiding expeditions into the adjacent states, west
and east, sweeping down upon the farms, plundering the villages,
driving off horses and herds of cattle, killing men and carrying off
women and children into slavery. Mines became unworkable; farms had
to be deserted; the churches, built by the Spaniards, mouldered into
decay. The raiders had made themselves absolute masters, and so bold
were they that at one time a certain month in the year was set apart
for their plundering excursions and called "the moon of the Mexicans,"
a fact which did not prevent them from robbing at other seasons. Often
troops would follow them far into the mountains, but the "braves"
fought so skilfully, and hid so well in the natural fortresses of
their native domain, that the pursuit never came to anything, and
the Mexicans were completely paralysed with fear. The dread of the
terrible pillagers was so great that even at the time when I first
went into the district, the Mexicans did not consider it a crime to
shoot an Apache at sight.

Such a scourge did this tribe become that the Governor of Chihuahua
had a law passed through the Legislature, which put a certain price
upon the head of every Apache. But this law had soon to be repealed,
as the Mexicans, eager to get the reward, took to killing the peaceful
Tarahumares, whose scalps, of course, could not be distinguished from
those of the Apaches.

It was not even now safe for a small party to cross the Sierra Madre,
as dissatisfied Apaches were constantly breaking away from the San
Carlos Reservation in Arizona, and no Mexican could have been induced
to venture singly into that vast unknown domain of rock and forest,
about which lingered such painful memories of bloodshed and terror. [2]
In the early part of our journey a Mexican officer had called on me
to offer, in the name of the Governor of the State of Sonora, his
services as escort and protection against the Apaches; but I declined
the courtesy, preferring to depend rather upon my own men. I am happy
to say that I had no personal encounter with the dreaded "Shis Inday,"
or Men of the Woods, as they call themselves, though on one occasion
we came upon fresh tracks near one of our camps, and also upon small
bunches of yucca leaves tied together in a peculiar way known to the
Mexicans as signs intelligible only to the Apaches.

The only precaution I had taken against possible attacks was to augment
my force of trustworthy Mexican muleteers. Among the new recruits
was an honest-looking Opata Indian, who joined the camp one evening,
clad in the national costume of white cotton cloth, and carrying in
his hand a small bundle containing his wife's petticoat (probably
intended to do duty as a blanket) and a pair of scissors. This was his
whole outfit for a winter campaign in the Sierra Madre. They are hardy
people, these Indians! This man told me that he was thirty years old;
his "señora," he said, was twenty-five; when he married her she was
fifteen, and now they had eleven children.

Finally I succeeded in securing two guides. One of them was a very
intelligent man, who had been several times in the sierra; the other
one had been only as far as Chuhuichupa, and, although he did not
remember the way very well, still he thought that with the help of
the other man he would be able to make out the route. As we could do
no better, we had to take him as the best guide available.

After having received some supplementary provisions from Granados,
I at last, on December 2, 1890, began the ascent. It was a beautiful
day; the air was clear and warm and the sun shone bright, as it always
does at this time of the year in this favoured region. The genius of
spring seemed to hover about, and snow, frost and scarcity of grass
seemed far removed contingencies. Everything looked promising.

As I left the town, following the pack-train after having made the
last settlements with the natives, I passed a little hut, the last
homestead on this side of the sierra. In front of it stood a young
girl, her hand raised to shade her eyes against the rays of the sinking
sun. She had watched the expedition go by, and was much excited by the
strange sight of so many men, the wonderful array of animals and great
quantity of baggage never before seen in those parts of the world. With
her fine dark eyes, her loose wavy hair and graceful figure, she made
a strikingly beautiful picture, and as she called out in a sweet,
melodious voice, _"Adios, Señor!"_ I took this kindly greeting from a
pretty girl as a good omen for my journey. On the spur of the moment
I dismounted and perpetuated the auspicious scene by means of a kodak
which I carried fastened to the pommel of my saddle. I wish it had been
possible for me to send her that picture as a token of my gratitude
for her cheery greeting. She surely would have appreciated it, as
all Mexicans delight in seeing their photographs. Then I turned my
face to the east and soon overtook my men.

To reach the Sierra Madre from the Bavispe River by way of Nacori,
two--or, as the Mexicans consider it, three--sierras have to be
crossed, all running, generally speaking, in a northwesterly to
southeasterly direction. The first two ranges are quite easy to
climb. The third is the Sierra Madre proper, which the Mexicans here
call Sierra de Nacori, as the upper Bavispe River from its source makes
a great detour toward the north around it, thereby partly separating
it from the main chain. Even this range does not really present any
unsurmountable difficulties if the weather is fine; in bad weather, I
admit, some parts of the trail we made would be all but impracticable.

Having reached the second range called the Sierra de Huehuerachi,
near its northern terminus, and looking backward, we see the Sierra de
Bacadehuachi lying farthest to the west. On its eastern flank tower
steep-tilted broken masses of conglomerate, and the frowning row
of hog-backs just north and east of Nacori are only a continuation
of that range. But looking east from where we were we obtained the
first close view of the main range of the Sierra Madre (Sierra de
Nacori). It rises bold and majestic on the opposite side of the valley,
at the bottom of which runs the little river of Huehuerachi.

In this valley we camped for two days, being delayed by rains. It was
early in December, but we found _Helianthus_ ten to twelve feet high in
bloom everywhere in the cañons. A _Salvia_ with a blue corolla, dotted
with red glands, was very striking, a new variety, as it proved. We
also observed elders with flowers and leaves at the same time, and
the _Bambusa_ formed a thick light-green undergrowth in beautiful
contrast to the darker shades of the oaks, elders, and fan palms. The
latter were the last of their kind we saw on this side of the sierra.

We then went six miles further to the northeast. At first the trail
followed the little river, whose clear and rapid water is about a
foot deep and on an average six feet wide. Frequently its bed had
to be cleared of palm trees to make it passable for the pack train,
and big boulders and heavy undergrowth made travel rough. Then,
ascending a cordon which led directly up to the main range, we
followed for a while a dim trail on which the Apaches used to drive
the herds of cattle they had stolen, and which is said to lead to a
place so inaccessible that two Indians could keep a whole company at
bay. The surface soil we had lately been travelling over was covered
with boulders and fragments of conglomerate.

The Sierra Madre was now so close that the tilted masses of its rocks
seemed to overhang our tents threateningly where we had pitched them
at its foot. From this camp we had about the same splendid view as
from the ridge of Huehuerachi we had just left behind; and between
us and the foot-hills of the Sierra de Bacadehuachi stretched out a
vast mass of barren-looking rocks and hills. The Mexicans call them
_agua blanca_, a designation also applied to the small water course
that runs through them in a northerly and southerly direction, but
which from our point of view could not be made out in the chaotic
confusion. Away off toward the north, at a distance of from fifteen
to twenty miles, could be seen a high chain of sharp peaks.

I may mention here that I found the water of many streamlets and
brooks throughout the western mountains of Mexico to have a slightly
whitish colour and a dull, opalescent look, like a strong solution
of quinine. The Mexicans call it _agua blanca_, or _agua zarca_, and
consider it the best water they have. Many places, especially ranches,
are named after it. In the locality where we now found ourselves the
water had a slightly bitter taste, owing to a strong admixture of
iron and other minerals, but generally it was very palatable.

Here, only twenty-three miles from Nacori, and at an elevation
of 4,000 feet, we were obliged to make camp for three days. Dense
fogs and occasional hard showers made travel impossible. Besides,
our principal guide, Agustin Rios, became dangerously ill. He was
sixty-five years old, and I decided to send him back.

When I hired him I had not been aware that he was afflicted with an
incurable disease, and that on this account his wife had tried to
keep him at home. Now he had to be carried on a sort of palanquin
constructed for the occasion, and I regret to state that he died
before he reached his home in Nacori. He had been a reliable man,
and his loss was very deplorable.

Before he left he gave me directions for finding a rather large ancient
pueblo, which he had come across once in the sierra, and of which he
frequently spoke to us. However, our search for it proved fruitless,
and I am inclined to think that it would probably not have differed
much from those we found later on Bavispe River.

From now on I made it a rule to send three or four men about two days
ahead of the main body of the expedition, to make a path. Occasionally
they were guided by Apache tracks, but for the most part we cut our own
way through the wilderness. Instead of adopting the Mexican method of
going uphill as straight as practicable, I had the trail cut zigzag,
and to this I attribute the fact that I was able to pull through at
all, as it saved the animals an immense amount of strain. The steepest
inclination we ascended was 40°, while for the most part we climbed
at an angle of about 30°. On some of the ridges, in order to help an
animal up, one man had to drag it by a line, while two others pushed
it from behind. In many places the mules had to be led one by one
along the narrow edge of chasms.

To look at these mountains is a soul-inspiring sensation; but to travel
over them is exhaustive to muscle and patience. And the possibility
of losing at any moment perhaps the most valuable part of your outfit
is a constant and severe strain on your mind. Nobody except those who
have travelled in the Mexican mountains can understand and appreciate
the difficulties and anxieties attending such a journey. Not only the
animals themselves, but everything they carry is vital to the success
of the expedition, and there is always a danger that, for instance,
your camera and photographic outfit, and the priceless collection of
negatives already taken, may roll down a precipice.

A mule with its bulky pack is, to a certain extent, helpless on these
narrow mountain trails. Old and experienced animals often manoeuvre
their packs with a cleverness that is almost human: yet, whenever a
mule runs accidentally against some projection, or its foot slips,
the poor beast invariably loses its balance, and over it  goes,
down the hill with ever-increasing velocity.

On one occasion I heard a noise coming from above without being at
first able to discern what caused it. A few stones came tumbling down,
and were presently followed by a donkey, pack and all, turning over
and over with astounding speed. It cleared a perpendicular rock some
twenty feet high and landed at its base, rolling over twice. Then,
to my amazement, it rose to its feet in the midst of its scattered
cargo. And do you know what that cargo consisted of?--a case of
dynamite and our tool chest! As fast as their legs could carry them,
two Mexicans were by its side, promptly reloading the donkey and
leading it up to the trail as coolly as if nothing had happened. A
very fine mule, raised on the plains of Arizona, was naturally giddy,
and met with such a mishap three times in one day, tumbling down 150
to 200 feet without, however, being seriously hurt. At first I was
greatly shocked to see the animals thus rolling over and over with
their packs, down the mountain sides, never stopping until checked by
some large tree or rock, sometimes 200 feet below. But the Mexicans
were evidently quite accustomed to such happenings, which seemed to
be in the regular line of their travel.

I could not help admiring the agility as well as the valour of my
Mexican packers and muleteers on such occasions. They moved about as
sure-footed and quick as sailors on their ship, and always on the
alert. Whenever one of the poor beasts lost its foothold, the men
would instantly run after it, and as soon as some obstacle stopped
its downward career they would be by its side and relieve it of its
burden. Of course, sometimes the animal was badly bruised about the
head, and unable to carry a pack for a few days; but, _mira-bile
dictu!_ in the majority of cases it rose to its feet. Then, after
giving it a few moments' respite, the packers would strap the cargo
again on its back, unless they deemed it proper to take a part of
it upon themselves, so that the beast might more safely climb the
declivity. The men really seemed indefatigable. One of them once took
upon his head a large case of honey and carried it up the ridge on a
run. Strange as it may sound, on my first journey across the Sierra
Madre I did not lose one animal by such accidents.

Climbing, climbing, climbing, one massive cordon after another, at the
start through dense oak thickets, and over hills flattened and eroded
with countless deep, precipitous gashes seaming the rock in every
direction. Numerous springs oozed and trickled from the stratified
conglomerate along the edges, sides, and bottoms of the ravines. The
tops of some of these truncated knolls were quite swampy in the
depressions, and covered with a thin-stemmed feathery grass. Here and
there was a clump of scrub oaks; sparsely scattered about were small
pines. We found great numbers of _Opuntia Missouriensis_, called by
the Mexicans nopal; small mesquite shrubs, too, are seen everywhere,
while the resurrection plant covers great areas, like the heather
on the Scotch hills. Here are also found century plants, or agaves,
and many species of small ferns, such as the graceful maidenhair. In
the larger water-courses are poplars and maples, now presenting their
most brilliant hues, and carrying the thoughts of the Americans back
to their Northern homes.

Thus we advanced for about six miles and made camp, at an elevation
of 6,300 feet, on some old trincheras, with a fine view over the vast
country we had left below. Large flocks of gray pigeons of remarkable
size squatted on the pine trees nearby, and two specimens of the
gigantic woodpecker we here observed for the first time. Here, too,
Mr. Robinette shot a new species of squirrel, _Sciurus Apache_. It
was large, of a pale grayish-yellow color varied with black, and
having a long, full and bushy tail.

We had now arrived in the pine region of the sierra. The Mexican
scouts reported that the country ahead of us was still more difficult
of access; but the track having been laid out well by Professor Libbey
along the pine-covered slopes, we safely arrived at the crest of the
sierra, which here has an elevation of 8,200 feet. The steep slopes
of the valleys and crevices were covered with slippery pine needles
eight to twelve inches long, while the pines rose up to a height
of a hundred feet or more. The forest, never touched by a woodman's
axe, had a remarkably young and fresh look about it. Now and then,
however, at exposed places we came upon trees broken off like matches,
telling of what terrific storms may rage over these solitary regions
that received us calmly enough. Not until we had reached the top did
we feel the wind blowing pretty hard from the east and encouraging
us in  our hopes that the fine weather would continue, although the
moon appeared hazy.

Having ascended the sierra, we made a picturesque camp on the top
of the cordon, in the midst of forests so dense that we did not get
any view of the landscape. While here, Mr. Stephen discovered, on
the summit of a peak, about four hundred and twenty feet above the
brow of the ridge, a small, circular structure about four feet in
diameter. Four or five large fragments of scoria, each about fifteen
inches high, were set around in a circle, and the space between them
was filled in with small fragments. No nicety was shown in the work,
but the arrangement of the stones was not accidental. It was, however,
quite old, for in several places the fragments were cemented together
with a thick coat of lichen. The purpose of the circle is a matter
of conjecture.

We were now obliged, as the guide did not seem to know any more
of the country, to explore ahead of us before the main body of the
expedition could proceed further. Several of us went out in different
directions, and I happened to strike the right course, which here
unexpectedly goes first northward. Accompanied by my dog "Apache,"
I walked in the fresh morning air through the sombre pine woods,
the tops of which basked in glorious sunshine, and along the high
cordon, which ran up to a height of 8,900 feet (the highest point
reached on my first expedition over the Sierra Madre), until I came
to a point where it suddenly terminated. But I soon ascertained that
a spur branching off to the east would lead us in the right direction.

I sat down to gaze upon the magnificent panorama of the central
part of the Sierra Madre spread out before me. To the north and
northeast were pine-covered plateaus and hills in seemingly infinite
successions; on the eastern horizon my eyes met the dark, massive
heights of Chuhuichupa, followed towards the south by ridge upon
ridge of true sierras with sharp, serrated crests, running mainly
from northwest to southeast. And between them and me was an expanse
of gloomy, pine-hidden cordons, one succeeding close upon another,
and running generally in the same direction as the sierras. Primeval
stillness and solitude reigned all over the woodland landscape. I
like the society of man, but how welcome and refreshing are occasional
moments of undisturbed communion with Nature!

On the following day the pack train moved along the path I had walked
over. We were pleasantly surprised to find at this season, the middle
of December, and at this elevation, a species of violet in bloom,
while _Lupinus_ and _Vicia_ were already in seed. We made our camp
at a place 7,400 feet above sea level, and here we noticed trincheras
close by, with water running through them from a marsh.

We also happened to come upon some stone piles made of rough stones
laid on top of each other to a height of about three feet. The Mexicans
called them  "Apache Monuments," and I saw here eight or ten, three
at a distance of only twenty yards from each other and lying in a
line from east to west. On the next day we found an Apache track with
similar monuments. Some of these piles did not seem to be in places
difficult to travel, and therefore could hardly have been intended
for guide-posts, though others might have served that purpose; nor
is it easy to see how they could have been meant for boundary marks,
unless they were erected by some half-castes who kept company with the
Apaches, to divide off the hunting grounds of various families. It
seems to me more likely that they are connected with some religious

We had some little difficulty in making our descent to the Bavispe
River, but at last we discovered, and travelled down, an old but
still practicable trail, dropping nearly 1,000 feet. A little further
northward we came down another 1,000 feet, and thus we gradually
reached Bavispe, which is here a rapid, roaring stream, girth-deep,
and in many places deeper. It here flows northward, describing the
easterly portion of the curve it forms around the Sierra de Nacori.

I selected as a camping ground a small mesa on the left bank of the
river, among pines and oaks and high grass, about forty feet above
the water edge. A meadow set park-like with pines extended from here
nearly three-quarters of a mile along the river, and was almost half a
mile wide. Near our camp we found several old and rusty empty tin cans,
such as are used for putting up preserved food. One of them was marked
"Fort Bowie." Doubtless this spot had been used before as a camping
ground, probably by some of General Crook's scouts.

Chapter III

    Camping at Upper Bavispe River--Low Stone Cabins, Fortresses, and
    Other Remains Indicating Former Habitation--The Animals Starve on
    the Winter Grass of the Sierra and Begin to Give Out--A Deserted
    Apache Camp--comfort at Last--The Giant Woodpecker--We Arrive at
    the Mormon Settlements of Pacheco and Cave Valley.

At Bavispe River we had to remain for some little time to allow
the animals to recuperate, and to get them, as far as possible,
in condition for the hard work still ahead. I also had to send back
to Nacori for fresh provisions. Of course, not much was to be gotten
there, but we got what there was in the line of food stuffs, panoche
(brown sugar) and corn. My messengers had orders to bring the latter
in the form of pinole, that is, toasted corn ground by hand into a
fine meal. This is the most common, as well as the most handy, ration
throughout Mexico. A little bag of it is all the provisions a Mexican
or Indian takes with him on a journey of days or weeks. It is simply
mixed with water and forms a tasty gruel, rather indigestible for
persons not accustomed to it. When boiled into a porridge, however,
pinole is very nourishing, and forms a convenient diet for persons
camping out. Aside from this we still had a supply of wheat flour
sufficient to allow the party fifteen pounds a day, and our stock
of canned peas and preserved fruit, though reduced, was not yet
exhausted. The jerked beef had given out even before we reached the
main sierra, and we had to depend on our guns for meat. Luckily, the
forest was alive with deer, and there were also wild turkeys. Thus
there was no difficulty about provisions, although the Americans
sighed for their beloved bacon and hot biscuits.

Fish seemed scarce in this part of the Bavispe River; at least we
did not succeed in bringing out any by the use of dynamite. We got
only five little fish--one catfish, and four suckers, the largest
six inches long.

On Christmas Day the black bulb thermometer rose in the sun to 150°
F., although that very night the temperature fell to 22.9° F., a
difference of nearly 130°. The warmth was such that even a rattlesnake
was deceived and coaxed out by it.

We made every effort to celebrate Christmas in a manner worthy of our
surroundings. We could not procure fish for our banquet, but one of
the Mexicans had the good luck to shoot four turkeys; and Kee, our
Chinese cook, surprised us with a plum pudding the merits of which
baffle description. It consisted mainly of deer fat and the remnants
of dried peaches, raisins, and orange peel, and it was served with a
sauce of white sugar and mescal. The appreciation of this delicacy by
the Mexicans knew no bounds, and from now on they wanted plum pudding
every day.

On the upper Bavispe we again found numerous traces of a by-gone
race who had occupied these regions long before the Apaches had
made their unwelcome appearance. In fact, all along on our journey
across the sierra we were struck by the constant occurrence of rude
monuments of people now long vanished. They became less numerous in
the eastern part, where at last they were replaced by cave dwellings,
of which I will speak later.

More than ever since we entered the Sierra de Nacori, we noticed
everywhere low stone walls, similar to those we had seen in the
foot-hills, and evidently the remains of small cabins. The deeper we
penetrated into the mountains, the more common became these hut-walls,
which stood about three feet high, and were possibly once surmounted
by woodwork, or, perhaps, thatched roofs. All the houses were small,
generally only ten or twelve feet square, and they were found in
clusters scattered over the summit or down the slopes of a hill. On one
summit we found only two ground plans in close proximity to each other.

The stones composing the walls were laid with some dexterity. They
were angular, but never showed any trace of dressing, except, perhaps,
by fracture. The interstices between the main stones were filled
in with fragments to make the walls solid. Neither here nor in any
other stone walls that we saw were there any indications of any mud
or other plaster coating on the stones.

On top of a knoll in the mountains south of Nacori, at an elevation
of 4,800 feet, well preserved remains of this kind of dwelling were
seen. The house, consisting of but one room about ten feet square,
was built of large blocks of lava. The largest of these were eighteen
inches long, and about half as thick, and as wide. The walls measured
about three feet in height and one foot and a half in thickness, and
there was a sufficient amount of fallen stone debris near-by to admit
of the walls having been once four or five feet high. There were the
traces of a doorway in the northwest corner of the building. Numerous
fragments of coarse pottery were scattered around, some gray and some
red, but without any decoration, except a fine slip coating on the
red fragments.

In the Sierra de Nacori, on the summit of a steep knoll, and at an
elevation of about 6,500 feet, we found two huts of such laid-up
walls. The rough felsite blocks of which they were composed were
surprisingly large, considering the diminutive size of the cabins. We
measured the largest block and found it to be two feet long, ten inches
wide, and eight inches thick. There were many others almost as large
as this one. But there was only one tier of stones left complete in
place. Although there were well-built trincheras in all the surrounding
arroyos, there were no traces of either tools or pottery on that hill.

On the western slope of the Sierra de Nacori, on top of another knoll,
and at an elevation of 6,400 feet, we found numerous rude ground plans,
some of which showed rubble walls fifteen inches thick. They formed
groups of four or five apartments, each ten by twelve feet. But on
the north side of that summit there was a larger plan, nearly eighteen
feet square; however, the outlines of the entire settlement were not
distinct enough to enable us to trace its correct outlines.

Many fragments of pottery lay about, but neither in number nor in
interest could they be compared with those found near the ruins in the
southwest of the United States, for instance, near the Gila River. Some
of the potsherds were one-third of an inch thick, and large enough to
show that they had been parts of a large jar. They were made of coarse
paste, either gray or brown in colour. Some had a kind of rude finish,
the marks of a coarse fibre cloth being clearly discernible on the
outside. Others were primitively decorated with incisions. One sherd
of really fine thin red ware was picked up, but there was no trace
of ornamentation on it. We found, besides, a few cores of felsite
and some shapeless flakes and several fragments of large metates.

In the valley formed between the mountains on the upper Bavispe River
we met with very many such houses. The clusters which we came across
seemed to have been composed of a larger number of houses. Parapets,
also built of undressed stones and surrounding these villages,
now became a constant feature. Even within sight of our camp was
such a parapet, six feet high, and house ruins were near by. We also
discovered an ancient pueblo consisting of thirty houses, all of the
usual small dimensions, but not all alike in shape. Some were round,
others triangular, but most of them were rectangular, measuring eight
by ten feet. Along two sides of this village ran a double wall, while
the other two sides were bound by a single wall constructed on the
same principle. Evidently these walls were built for the protection
of the people in time of war.

About five miles south of our camping place the river turns eastward,
and again two miles below this point it receives a tributary from
the west. One day I followed the broken cordon on its eastern bank,
then turned north and ascended an isolated mountain, which rises
about fifteen hundred feet high above the river. There is a small
level space on top, and on this there has been built, at some time,
a fortress with walls of undressed stones from two to six feet high
and three feet thick. It was about fifty paces long in one direction,
and about half that length in the other. Remains of houses could be
traced, and inside of the walls themselves the ground plan of three
little chambers could be made out.

On the Bavispe River we photographed a trinchera which was about eight
feet high and thirty feet long; and one of the foremen observed one
which was at least fifteen feet high.

I decided to move the camp one and a half miles down the river, and to
its right bank, on a cordon, where Mason, one of my Mexican foremen,
had discovered some ruins. It was very pleasant here after the rather
cool bottom of the valley, which in the morning was generally covered
with a heavy fog. On this ridge were many traces of former occupancy,
parapet walls and rude houses divided into small compartments. The
parapets were lying along the north and south faces of the houses,
and just on the brink of the narrow ridge. On the south side the ridge
was precipitous, but toward the north it ran out in a gentle shallow
slope toward the next higher hill. The building material here is a
close-grained felsite, and huge fragments of it have been used in
the construction of the parapets. These boulders were, on an average,
thirty-five inches long, twenty-five inches thick and fifteen inches
wide; while the stones used in the house walls measured, on the
average, fourteen by nine by seven inches.

On the western end of the ridge is a small house group, which, for
convenience sake, I will designate as "Mason's Ruins." They showed
a decidedly higher method of construction, and the walls were better
preserved, than in any we had seen so far. The ground plans could be
readily made out, except in a small part of the southwest corner. These
walls stood three to five feet high, and the stones here too were
dressed only by fracture. They were laid in gypsiferous clay, a mass
of which lay close to the southwest corner. This clay is very similar
to the material used by the Moquis in whitening their houses. The
stones themselves were felsite, which abounds in the locality. The
blocks have an average size of twelve inches square by six inches
thick. It should be noted that no regard was paid to the tying of the
corners and the partition walls; but considerable care had been taken
in making the walls vertical, and the angles were fairly true. The
walls were almost twelve inches thick, and on the inner side they
had evidently never been plastered.

Being coated with some white plaster, these ruins look white at a
distance, and the Mexicans therefore called them _casas blancas_. I
heard of an extensive group of such buildings near Sahuaripa, and
there are also some ruins of this category near Granados, and in
the hills east of Opoto. Undoubtedly they belong to a more recent
period than the rude stone structures described before. Most of the
ancient remains of the Sierra are remnants of tribes that expanded
here from the lowlands, and only in comparatively recent times have
disappeared. I also perceived that they were built by a tribe of
Indians different from those which erected the houses in the caves of
the eastern and northern Sierra Madre, and in the country east of it,
and may safely be ascribed to Opatas.

In spite of the rest here, the animals did not seem to improve on the
grama and buffalo grass. It was rather perplexing to note that they
grew weaker and weaker. The grass of the sierra, which was now gray,
did not seem to contain much nourishment, and it became evident that
the sooner we proceeded on our journey, the better. To save them as
much as possible, we loaded only half the regular weight on the mules
and donkeys, and sent them back the next day to fetch the balance of
the baggage. In this way, and by strengthening the poor beasts with
a judicious use of corn, I managed to pull through and overcome this
most serious of all difficulties, which, at one time, threatened to
paralyse the entire expedition.

On December 31st we moved up a steep zigzag trail cut out by us,
and then went north and east through broken foot-hills. We got into
a series of cordon mesas, but the breaks between them were not at
all difficult to pass. On the mountain sides grew oaks and, higher
up, pines.

The country was wild and rugged. Everywhere we encountered fallen
rocks, and there was a scarcity of water. It was a kind of comfort
to see now and then some trincheras in these desolate regions. At
four o'clock we camped on a steep place amidst poor grass, and only
a trickling of water in the bed of a little rill.

Here, at last, the men whom I had sent to Nacori for provisions
overtook us, bringing eighteen dollars' worth of panoche, and two and
a quarter fanegas of pinole. Measuring by fanegas was then still in
vogue in Mexico; a fanega equals about sixty-four kilograms.

This, the messengers stated, was all that the women would grind for
us. Twenty of them had been set to work to fill our order, and when
they had laboured until their hands were tired, they declared they
would grind no more; and if the _caballeros_ in the mountains wanted
further quantities, they should come and make mills of themselves. From
this we judged that their tempers had risen in proportion to the heaps
of pinole they were producing, and that they did not bless the day
when we had come into their peaceful valley, since it meant so much
hard work for them.

Though we were now provisioned for some time to come, I was anxiously
looking forward to the day when we should reach the eastern side
of the sierra. The animals were rapidly giving out, and it was the
opinion of the packers that they could not last longer than a week;
but what little corn we could spare for them each day worked wonders,
and in this way we enabled them to carry us through.

The most noticeable among the plants in the valleys was the madroña or
strawberry tree (_Ardutus Texana_) growing singly here and there. Its
beautiful stem and branches, ash-grey and blood-red, are oddly twisted
from the root to the top. Now and then, in this world of pine trees,
we came upon patches of grama grass. We also observed piñon trees,
a variety of pine with edible seeds.

Apache monuments were plentiful in this part of the sierra, and
after four days of travel, on January 5, 1891, we arrived at an
old Apache camping place, called by the Mexicans "Rancheria de los
Apaches." It was a sheltered place, and we decided to stop again and
rest, as now we could not be very far from the Mormon colonies in the
eastern part of the sierra. We had, on the day before, heard a shot,
which had not been fired by anyone of our party, and we had met some
short-horn cattle that must have belonged to some settlers.

We halted on a bare conglomerate scalp near a little creek, which we
called "Bonito," and which shortly below our camp joins the Gabilan,
an affluent of the Bavispe River which probably has its origin near
Chuhuichupa. The elevation of our camp was 6,620 feet. The summit
of the sierra toward the east appeared to be 2,000 feet high, and
the first ridge, at the foot of which we camped, rises here almost
perpendicularly about a thousand feet. The little stream already
mentioned originates in a deep cañon and adjoining it are four large
cordons descending from the ridge east of us and spreading themselves
out like a gigantic fan, which we had noticed from some distance on
the previous day. From our camp led a track eastward, up along one
of these cordons, and a reconnoitring party found a Mormon settlement
ten or twelve miles off.

The day after our arrival I went out to take a look at the
country. South of us, at no great distance from the camp, I found
patches of fertile black soil partly cultivated with corn and
turnips that did not appear to be flourishing, and with potatoes
which were doing well. An old horse stood there, and I also noticed a
small tent. Going up closer I found a plough standing outside. This
made quite a queer impression in these solitary mountains, but the
implement was apparently not out of place, judging from the beautiful
black soil near-by. In the tent I saw a heap of bed-clothes piled up
on some tin pails, and there were also some pots with potatoes and
corn. The owner of all this was not at home; but the atmosphere was
American, not Mexican. I had evidently come upon an outpost of one
of the Mormon colonies.

Throughout January the days continued to be fine, though at times a
southerly cold wind was blowing; but at night it was cold and the
water in our buckets was often frozen. Then we felt what a real
comfort a large camp-fire is. Before sundown we would gather the
fallen trees and such sorts of wood, and roaring fires were built
in front of each tent. The smoke, to be sure, blackened our faces,
but the fire made the tents wonderfully comfortable, filling them
with light and warmth. For beds we used fragrant pine boughs.

We also had several falls of snow, the heaviest two and a half inches,
and on the coldest night, on January 10th, the thermometer went down
to 6° F. As the rays of the sun partly melted the snow in the course
of the day, the animals could at least get a meagre meal. On January
15th a cup of water froze inside of my tent, but during the day we
had 57° F.

We soon found out that in the river Gabilan, some four miles south of
our camp, there were immense quantities of fish, which had come up to
spawn. No one ever interfered with them, and their number was simply
overwhelming. As the task of feeding thirty men in these wild regions
was by no means a trifling one, I resolved to procure as many fish as
possible, and to this end resorted to the cruel but effective device
of killing them by dynamite. I trust that the scarcity of provisions
in the camp will serve as my excuse to sportsmen for the method I
employed. We used a stick of dynamite six inches long, and it raised a
column of water twenty feet in the air, while the detonation sounded
like a salute, rolling from peak to peak for miles around. In two
hours three of us gathered 195 fish from a single pool. Most of them
were big suckers; but we had also thirty-five large Gila trout. All
were fat and of delicate flavour, and lasted us quite a long time.

Never have I been at any place where deer were so plentiful. Almost
at every turn one of them might be seen, sometimes standing as if
studying your method of approach. I sent out five men to go shooting
in the northwesterly direction from the camp, and after a day and a
half they returned with ten deer. At one time we had fifteen hanging
in the kitchen.

One morning our best marksman, a Mexican named Figueroa, brought
in three specimens of that superb bird, _campephilus imperialis_,
the largest woodpecker in the world. This splendid member of the
feathered tribe is two feet long; its plumage is white and black, and
the male is ornamented with a gorgeous scarlet crest, which seemed
especially brilliant against the winter snow. The birds go in pairs
and are not very shy, but are difficult to kill and have to be shot
with rifle. One of their peculiarities is that they feed on one tree
for as long as a fortnight at a time, at last causing the decayed tree
to fall. The birds are exceedingly rare in the museums. They are only
found in the Sierra Madre. On my journeys I saw them as far south
as the southernmost point which the Sierra Madre del Norte reaches
in the State of Jalisco, above the Rio de Santiago. I frequently
observed them also in the eastern part of the range.

Here, too, a great many specimens of the rare Mexican titmouse and
some beautiful varieties of the duck tribe were procured.

A few days after our arrival at the Rancheria de los Apaches, Professor
Libbey left our camp, returning to the United States by way of Casas
Grandes. After bidding him good-bye, I made an excursion of a week's
duration to the north of our camp, to look for possible antiquities,
especially a _casa blanca_, of which I had heard considerable from
the people in Nacori.

The woods, considering that it was midwinter, were quite lively
with birds. Everywhere I saw bluejays; crested titmice, too, were
plentiful, as well as crossbeaks. A large yellowish squirrel also
attracted my attention. It was of the same kind as that recently found
by our expedition. The country was hilly and full of small cañons,
and well watered by springs. Outcroppings of solidified volcanic
ash looked in the distance like white patches in the landscape. We
searched diligently for some twenty-five miles to the north of the
main camp, and also toward the east and west, but no trace of former
habitation was found except trincheras and house ruins such as we had
seen before. Near one of the group of houses I saw three metates in
an excellent state of preservation.

While out on this trip I was one day surprised by the appearance of
a Mormon in my camp. It was really a pleasure to see someone from
the outside world again; and this was a frank and intelligent man,
very pleasant to talk to. He told me that he had never been farther
north than where he was now; nor had he ever been farther west than
the little creek about two miles west of the place where he met me,
which he called the "Golden Gulch." This creek probably originates
in the mountains near by; there was still another creek west of us
which joined the Golden Gulch near the Mormon's tent, and this he
called "North Creek." The ranch near our main camp he had taken up
only about three years ago, and he considered agriculture in this
region successful, especially with potatoes. Maize, too, may also
ripen. Furthermore, he told me of some interesting cave dwellings
near the Mormon settlement on the eastern edge of the sierra, which
I decided to investigate.

When the Mormons had come to colonise parts of northern Mexico, an
American called "Apache Bill," who had lived for a number of years
with the Apaches, told them of a large, fertile valley showing many
evidences of former cultivation. Probably he referred to a locality
that had once been inhabited by a remnant of the Opata Indians,
who had become christianised and had received fruit trees from the
missionaries. The trees, when found, were said to be still bearing
fruit, while the people had vanished--having probably been killed
off by the Apaches.

I returned to the main camp, leaving, however, two men behind to
search still further for the _casa blanca_. When they returned after
a few days, they reported that nothing could be found, and that the
country was difficult of access. On my return I found the men who had
gone to Casas Grandes back already, bringing with them some provisions
and the first mail for three months.

Two miles east of our camp obsidian was found _in situ_. It was not
in the natural flow, but in round, water-worn pebbles deposited in
the conglomerate. Many of these had been washed out and had rolled
down the hill, where a bushel of them might be collected in a few
hours. The outcrop does not extend over a large area, only about two
hundred yards on one side of the bank.

On January 22d I started eastward toward the Mormon settlement,
passing the watershed at a height of 8,025 feet. After fifteen
miles of travel we arrived at the Mormon colony called Pacheco, and
situated on the Piedras Verdes River. It consists of small wooden
houses lying peacefully on the slope, surrounded by pine forests,
at an elevation of seven thousand feet. A saw-mill bore evidence of
industry. There were sixteen families living here, and as we arrived
some eighty children were just streaming out of school. Near by stood
a kindly looking old man, possibly their teacher. The children, who
ranged in age from seven to eighteen years, were all studying in one
class. They showed remarkably varied physiognomies, yet all looked
healthy and sturdy, and were demure and well-behaved.

We made camp one and a half miles from the village, and in the evening
we were visited by my friend from the sierra and another Mormon. Both
expressed their readiness to serve us in every way they could; we
bought some potatoes and half a hog.

As is the custom with the Mormons, they have several colonies outlying
from a central one. Among these is Cave Valley, about five miles east
to north from Pacheco, immediately upon the river already mentioned. On
the following day I went there with the scientific corps to examine the
cave dwellings of which the Mormons had been speaking. The settlement
(having an elevation 6,850 feet) consisted of eight houses. Knocking
on the door of one of these I walked in, introduced myself, and stated
the purpose of my visit. "How do you do?" said my host; "my name is
Nelson"--as if he had been accustomed to receive strangers every day.

Mr. Nelson was quite a charming old man, more than seventy years old,
but hardy. In spite of the cold, he walked out in his shirt sleeves
in the full moonlight to select a camping place for me. The animals,
he suggested, might be left in the field for the night; he would see
about them in the morning, and he did not think there would be any
difficulty about keeping them there. We got a fine camp on top of a
hill with a view of the valley in which the caves are.

Mr. Nelson told us of two interesting caves on this side of the river;
also, that there were numerous "inscriptions" (petroglyphs), that the
country was full of mounds, and that skeletons and mummies had been
found but had been buried again. From his statement it was evident
that we had a rich field before us, and the results of the following
day more than came up to our expectations.

The old man, acting as our guide, showed us on the way to the valley
a primitive kind of corn-mill driven by water power, and with some
pride he pointed out to us an "infant industry," the product of which
so far was a dozen wooden chairs with seats of interwoven strips of
green hide, instead of cane.

A number of caves were found to contain houses. One of them
especially made a great impression on us on account of an extraordinary
cupola-shaped structure, which from a considerable distance sprang into
view from the mouth of the cave. Most of the caves were found on the
western side of the river; but there were also some on the eastern
bank, among them a number of burial caves. In one of the latter a
well-preserved mummy was shown to us. It had already been taken up
two or three times to be looked at; but our guide intimated that the
influential Mormons in Utah did not want to have the skeletons and
caves disturbed. I therefore left it for the present, but thought that
in time we might get this, with whatever others might be found there.

I was introduced to a Mormon in the neighbourhood, who invited me to
excavate a large mound close to his house. He would even help to dig,
he said, and I was free to take whatever I might find inside of it. He
was sure that there would be no difficulty about the mummies I might
want to remove from the burial caves.

Chapter IV

    A Splendid Field Prepared for Us by the Ancient Agriculturists
    of Cave Valley--House Groups in Caves Along a Pretty
    Stream--Well-preserved Mummies Found in Caves--More Trincheras--Our
    Excavations in Caves and Mounds Confirm to the Mormons their
    Sacred Stories--We Move to the Plains of San Diego--Visit to Casas
    Grandes and the Watch-tower--Successful Excavations of the Mounds
    near San Diego.

Finding the locality so inviting for research, I decided to remain
here, returning to Pacheco only to despatch the rest of my party to
make excavations at the ranch of San Diego, thirty miles to the east,
down on the plains of Chihuahua. The ranch was temporarily leased
by an American, Mr. Galvin, who received my expedition hospitably,
and invited the members to remain as long as they pleased and to make
excavations wherever they wanted.

Cave Valley is the widening of a long, low-walled cañon through which
the Piedras Verdes River flows. As its name implies, it contains
many caves in the felsitic conglomerate overlying the region. It is
from one-quarter to half a mile wide, and has a fine, rich, loamy
soil. The stream is ten to twenty feet wide and from one to three
feet deep. Fine forests of pine, oak, cedar, and maple surround it,
and make it an ideal dwelling-place for a peaceful, primitive people.

The little knoll on which we were encamped rises on the north side
of a brook which empties itself in the river. It was in equally close
proximity to the dwellings of the living and the dwellings of the dead.

Up the main stream, on the western wall of the cañon, and about
a mile from our camp, is a large cave containing the curious
cupola-shaped structure already mentioned. The cave is easy of
approach up a sloping bank from its south side, and arriving at it
we found it quite commodious and snug. It is about eighty feet wide
at its mouth, and about a hundred feet deep. In the central part it
is almost eighteen feet high, but the roof gradually slopes down in
the rear to half that height.

A little village, or cluster of houses, lies at its back and sides. The
interior of most of the rooms must have been quite dark, though the
light reaches the outside of all the houses. The walls are still
standing about six feet high. The compartments, though small, are
seldom kennel-like. Some of the houses have shallow cellars. The roof
of the cave was thickly smoked over its entire surface. From traces
of walls still remaining on it, we may infer that a second story
had been built toward the centre of the cave, though this could only
have been five feet high. These traces of walls on the roof further
prove the important fact that this second story had been built in
terrace-fashion, receding about four feet back from the front of the
ground story.

The cave had evidently been occupied for a very long time, the houses
showing many alterations and additions, and on the walls I counted as
many as twelve coatings of plaster and whitewash. The conventional
design of the ear of corn is well preserved in every doorway. Rude
scrawlings of soot and water cover nearly all the front  walls,
mixed here and there with a few traces of red ochre. There are
meander designs, lightning, and drawings of cows and horses; but
the latter were doubtless put on after the walls were demolished,
and their general appearance denotes recentness.

Several of the cyclopean riffles lead from the cave cliff to the

The houses here, as well as in all other caves we examined, were
built entirely of a powdery substance, the decomposed material of
the cave itself. Great quantities of it were found on the floors
of caves which had not been occupied by man. It is not of a sandy
nature, and its colour is light brown, sometimes almost grey, or
even white. The ancient builders simply had to mix it with water
and mould it into bricks, which, though fairly uniform in thickness,
were very irregular in size. There were no marks of implements on the
walls; all the work seems to have been done by hand and smoothed over
with some wetted fabric. In one cave of this valley the walls show
finger-marks on the plaster. Occasionally we found a small boulder
of hard stone embedded in the wall.

The most unique feature of this cave, however, is the cupola-shaped
structure which stands in an open space in front of the house group,
near the mouth of the cave, but still under its roof. Its height,
measured inside, is twelve feet, and its widest inside diameter is
eleven feet. Its walls average eight inches in thickness. It has
one aperture three feet wide at the top, another one of the same
dimension near the base, and there are several others nearly opposite
each other. In the two upper ones are seen distinct impressions of
timber in the plaster.

The building was made by twisting long grass into a compact cable
and laying it up, one round upon another. As the coil proceeded,
thick coats of plaster were laid on inside and outside. This plaster,
which is the same material as that of which the houses are constructed,
got thoroughly mixed with the straw during the process of building,
and the entire structure was finished without any opening except
the one at the top. The other apertures were undoubtedly cut out
afterward. There is no trace of withes or other binding material to
hold the straw cables in place. They are kept in position only by
the plaster, which here, as in the houses, is almost as hard as the
conglomerate of the surrounding rocks.

My Mexicans from Sonora called it _olla_, a jar, and insisted that it
was a vessel used for keeping water; but this is entirely improbable,
for several reasons, mainly because the river is in close proximity and
easy of access. It was without the slightest doubt a granary. Similar
structures, used for that purpose to the present day, may be seen in
the States of Vera Cruz and Tlaxcala. In a cave only a short distance
away, the rear portion of which also contained a group of houses, we
found between the mouth of the cave and the house walls the remains
of five of these peculiar buildings which I call granaries. They,
too, were made of straw and plaster, similar to the one described,
but the walls here were only two inches thick. The remains showed
that they had not been set up in any special arrangement, nor were
all five alike. Two of them were deeply sunken into the floor of the
cave, and inside of them we found, between the rubbish and debris
that filled them, several grains of corn and some beans.

The other caves which we examined in this valley were of the same
general character as these two, although we found no granaries in
them. On this page is shown the ground plan of a cave on the east
side of the river, and attention is drawn to the singular concrete
seats or blocks against the wall in the house on the west side of
the cave. A floor of concrete had been made in this cave extending
inward and fairly level.

Evidence of two-storeyed groups of houses was clearly noticeable
in many caves; but our investigations were somewhat impeded by the
destruction wrought by some Mormon relic-hunter, who had carried off
almost everything removable. He had even taken away many of the door
lintels and hand-grips, in fact, most of the woodwork, from the houses.

In the rear of some of the caves it was so dark that we had to light a
candle to find our way, crawling from house to house. In one instance
we found a stone stairway of three steps.

In spite of the tremendous dust which is raised by digging into the
ground, and which makes the work very arduous, we searched diligently
and succeeded in bringing to light a number of objects which fairly
welt illustrate the culture of the ancient people. Among them were
needles and awls of bone; a complete fire drill with a stick showing
drilling, basketry work covered with piñon pith mats and girdles,
threads of fibre or hair, and sandals plaited of yucca leaves. Wads
of cotton and pieces of pottery were found in many places; and an
interesting find was a "boomerang" similar to that used to this day
by the Moqui Indians for killing rabbits. The handle is plainly seen,
but the top is broken. The implement, which is made of very hard,
reddish wood, has but a slight curve. We discovered many smooth pieces
of iron ore that had probably been used for ceremonial purposes,
and a bow that had been hidden away on a ledge.

That the ancient cave-dwellers were agriculturists is evident from
the numerous corncobs, as well as grains of corn and beans, that we
came upon. Datems, a green, sweet fruit still eaten by the Mexicans,
were identified everywhere in the cave-dwellings.

Having effectually started the work of investigation here, I went to
look after the second section of my expedition, which had been sent
to San Diego. I covered the thirty-five miles with four pack mules in
one day. There is a charming view from the brow of the sierra over
the plains of San Diego, which are fully  ten miles wide; but after
descending to them  I found a hard, cold wind blowing. The weather
here is not at all as pleasant as in the sheltered Cave Valley up in
the mountains.

I went to Casas Grandes, a village of 1,200 souls, six miles north
of San Diego, and succeeded in getting a draft cashed. On learning
that Mr. Moses Thatcher, a prominent Mormon apostle from Utah, was on
a tour of inspection of the colonies, I proceeded to Colonia Juarez,
a prosperous Mormon settlement on the Piedras Verdes River, ten miles
from Casas Grandes and six miles from San Diego. It was only four
years old, but had already a number of well laid-out broad streets,
set on both sides with cottonwood trees, and all the houses were
surrounded by gardens. I explained to Mr. Thatcher that I desired
to make excavations in Cave Valley, and he courteously acceded to my
wishes, adding that I might take away anything of interest to science.

To reduce expenses, I paid off many of my Mexican men, who then
returned to their homes in Sonora, going over the sierra by the
trail we had made in coming east. A few months later several of them
returned, bringing others with them, and asked to work again in the
camp, which remained in San Diego for about nine months longer--long
enough for us to see quite a little trade in oranges, sugar, tobacco,
etc., developing between Sonora and Chihuahua by way of the road cut
out by us, and called, after me, _el camino del doctor_.

Excavations in Cave Valley were continued, and the burial caves gave
even better results than the cave-dwellings. They were located in
the eastern side of the cañon, which is rarely touched by the sun's
rays. With one exception the ceilings and sides of these caves were
much blackened by smoke. There was not the slightest trace of house
walls, and no other sign that the place had ever been inhabited;
therefore, a fire here could have had no other purpose than a religious
one, just as the Tarahumares to this day make a fire in the cave in
which they bury their dead. Indeed, at first sight there was nothing
in the cave to indicate that they had ever been utilised by man;
but below the dust we came upon a hard, concrete floor, and after
digging through this to a depth of three feet, we fortunately struck a
skull, and then came upon the body of a man. After this we disinterred
that of a mother holding a child in her arms, and two other bodies,
all lying on their left sides, their knees half drawn up, and their
faces turned toward the setting sun. All were in a marvellous state
of preservation, owing to the presence of saltpetre in the dust. This
imparted to the dead a mummy-like appearance, but there was nothing
to suggest that embalming or other artificial means of preservation
of the bodies had been used. The entire system was simply desiccated
intact, merely shrunken, with the skin on most of the bodies almost
unbroken. The features, and even the expression of the countenance,
were in many cases quite distinct. Some had retained their eyebrows and
part of their hair, and even their intestines had not all disappeared.

The hair of these people was very slightly wavy, and softer than
that of the modern Indian; in fact, almost silky. The statures were
quite low, and in general appearance these ancients bear a curious
resemblance to the Moqui Indians, who have a tradition that their
ancestors came from the south, and who, to this day, speak of their
"southern brethren"; but it would be very rash to conclude from
this that the cave-dwellers of northwestern Chihuahua are identical
with the Moqui ancestors. I afterwards brought to light several
other bodies which had been interred under similar conditions. The
bottom of the burial caves seems to have always been overlaid with
a roughly level, concrete floor. There was no trace here of cysts,
or other formal sepulture.

None of the remains wore ornaments of metal, but various shell
ornaments, anklets and bracelets of beautifully plaited straw, which,
however, crumbled into dust when touched. Their clothing consisted of
three layers of wrappings around the loins. Next to the body was placed
a coarse cotton cloth; then a piece of matting, and over that another
cotton cloth. Between the legs was a large wad of cotton mixed with
the feathers of the turkey, the large woodpecker, and the bluejay. In
a few instances, the cotton cloth was dyed red or indigo. Near the
head of each body stood a small earthenware jar of simple design;
in some cases we also found drinking gourds placed at the head,
though in one instance the latter had been put on the breast of the
dead. Buried with the person we found a bundle of "devil's  claws"
(_Martynia_). These are used by the Mexicans of to-day for mending
pottery. They drill holes through the fragments to be joined and pass
into them one of these claws, just as we would a rivet. The claw is
elastic and strong, and answers the purpose very well. My Mexicans
understood at once to what use they had been put.

As already alluded to, trincheras were also found in Cave Valley,
where they were quite numerous. There was one or more in every
ravine and gully, and what was a new feature, some were built across
shallow drainages on the very summit of a hill. This summit was a
bald conglomerate, about 150 feet above the valley. In one place we
observed eight trincheras within 150 feet of each other, all built
of large stones in the cyclopean style of masonry. The blocks were
lava and hard felsite, measuring one and a half to three feet. As
a rule, these trincheras had a lateral extent of thirty feet, and
in the central part they were fifteen feet high. After all the great
labour expended in their construction, the builders of these terraces
had secured in each only a space thirty feet long and fifteen feet
wide; in other words, these eight terraces yielded together barely
3,000 square feet, which means space enough for planting five or
six hundred hills of corn. People who do not know the Indians would
consider this too small a result to favour the theory that these
terraces were erected for agricultural purposes. But the Indian's
farming is, in proportion to his wants, conducted on a small scale,
and he never thinks of raising more corn than he actually needs;
in fact, many tribes, as for instance the Tarahumares, seldom raise
enough to last the family all the year through.

Further groups of cave-dwellings were found some ten miles higher
up the river, in what is called the "Strawberry Valley," probably
through the prevalence of the strawberry tree, of which several
beautiful specimens were seen. The largest cave there contained
fourteen houses. Unlike the dwellings in the Cave Valley, here a
gallery ran in front of the houses. The woodwork here was fresher than
that of the Cave Valley houses, and as the walls had only three coats
of plaster and whitewash, and the corners did not show much wear,
these dwellings were undoubtedly of more recent origin. But the
general character of the structures was similar to those we first
investigated. No implements were found in these caves. In the same
locality were quite a number of smaller caves containing houses in
demolition. In one of them the walls were composed of stones and mud,
and here we also saw the first circular-shaped house in a cave.

By digging below the concrete floor of one of the rooms, we came upon
the skeletons of five adults. This was a singular fact, showing that
these ancient cave-dwellers observed the custom of burying their
dead under the floors of their houses when conditions permitted
it. Cave-dwellings comprising twenty rooms were also seen by the
Mormons at the head of Bavispe River.

My relations with the Mormons continued to be friendly, and in my
dealings with them I found them honest and business-like. While
thriftily providing for the material requirements of this life, they
leave all their enjoyment of existence for the future state. Their life
is hard, but they live up to their convictions, though these, in some
points, date from a by-gone stage in the development of the human race.

They were much interested in our work, never doubting but that
it could only be to their advantage to have light thrown upon the
mysteries buried in their caves, as, in their opinion, our researches
would only confirm the statements made in the "Book of Mormon,"
which mentions the prehistoric races of America. They told me that
the book speaks of the arrival of three races in America. The first
landing was made at Guaymas in Sonora, the people being fugitives
from the divine wrath that destroyed the Tower of Babel. They were
killed. The second race landed in New England, coming from Jerusalem;
and the third, also coming from Jerusalem, landed in Chile.

We spent altogether about six weeks in Cave Valley, and the weather,
as far as our experience went, was pleasant enough, although in
February, for several days, a strong, cold wind was blowing, so as to
interfere with our work in the mounds at daytime and with our sleep
at night. In addition to the discomforting feeling that at any moment
my tent might be blown down, I was worried by the possibility of its
falling on the results of our excavations, the pottery and skeletons,
which, for safety's sake, I kept in my tent. The situation was not
improved by some indiscreet burro (donkey), who would stray into the
camp and get himself entangled in the tent ropes.

On January 30th nearly seven inches of snow fell. One day a flock of
twenty-five turkeys was observed near our camp; but our efforts to
get within shooting distance proved futile, as these cunning birds,
who apparently move about so unconcernedly, always disappeared as if
they had vanished into the ground, whenever one of us, no matter how
cautiously, tried to approach them.

News of Apaches was again afloat, and one day a Mexican officer called
at the camp obviously in pursuit of Apaches from whom he had recently
taken twelve horses: but unfortunately the men had escaped. The
presidente of Casas Grandes had been advised of the killing of two
Americans near San Bernardino by some Apaches, and had also ordered
some men to look for the miscreants in the sierra.

Having thoroughly investigated the caves, we turned our attention to
the mounds, which are very numerous in this part of the country. They
are always covered with grass, and sometimes even trees grow on
them. When excavated they disclosed the remains of houses of a type
similar to that of the cave-dwellings. Some of the mounds were high
enough to justify the supposition that the houses had two stories,
each six or seven feet high, and containing a number of rooms. From
the locality in which the mounds were found it becomes at once
evident that the houses which once stood there were not destroyed by
inundations and covered by diluvial deposits. The mounds are composed
of gravelly cement and fine debris of house walls, and the rooms left
are completely filled with this material. It is easy to imagine how
the mounds were formed by the gradual demolition of the ceilings,
plastering, and roofs, forming a heap which to-day appears as shapely
as if it had been made by man for some definite purpose.

The houses were communal dwellings, each consisting of one room,
which generally was not quite ten feet square. The walls, eight
to nine inches thick, built of a mixture of clay and earth, were
fairly well preserved in places. In one house, which had unusually
solid compartments, the walls were twenty, and in some places even
thirty-three, inches thick. Here nothing could be found, either in
the rooms or by excavating below the floor. The same conventional
doorways were met with in all the mound houses, but there was hardly
any trace Of woodwork.

Excavations in one of the mounds near our camp disclosed very
interesting composite structures. One part of the walls consisted of
large posts set in the ground and plastered over, forming a stuccoed
palisade. At right angles with this was a wall of cobble-stones,
and among the buried debris were fragments of adobe bricks. In one
room of this group, at a depth of less than five feet, we struck a
floor of trodden concrete. Breaking through we found a huddle of six
or seven skeletons, which, however, were not entire.

Rarely if ever was any object found in these rooms, except, perhaps,
some stray axe, or some metates and grinding stones, and in one case
a square stone paint pot. But by digging below the concrete floors
we came upon skeletons which seemed to have been laid down without
regard to any rule, and with them were invariably buried some household
utensils, such as earthenware jars and bowls, beautifully decorated;
axes and mauls, fairly carved and polished. One very rare object was
secured: a doubled-grooved axe. The skeletons were badly preserved,
but we were able to gather several skulls and some of the larger bones.

The floor material was so hard that only by means of heavy iron
bars could we break through it. As it was impracticable for us to
make complete excavations, the number of rooms each mound contained
cannot be stated. There were in the immediate neighbourhood of Cave
Valley at least ten or twelve separate groups, each of which had
from four to eight rooms on the ground floor. The entire district is
richly studded with mounds. On an excursion three or four miles down
Piedras Verdes River I saw several groups of mounds, some of which,
no doubt, contained many objects of antiquity. On top of one low hill
was a large group, and half a mile north of this another, 160 paces
long and containing two oblong mounds. Some of the mounds were ten
or twelve feet high.

A very trustworthy Mormon informed me that there were no ruins,
in caves or otherwise, along the river between this settlement and
Colonia Juarez; nor were there any, he said, for a hundred miles south
of Pacheco, though mounds could be seen in several places. Therefore
when I at last departed from Cave Valley, I took his advice and did
not follow the course of the Piedras Verdes River down to San Diego,
but led the pack train the safer, though longer, way over the regular
road. The country along the river was afterward explored by members of
my expedition. They came upon several small caves high up on the side
of the cañon, some of which had once been inhabited, to judge from the
many potsherds and the smoky roofs; but no cave-houses were found until
higher up the river, where some were seen in the sandstone cliffs.

I broke camp in Cave Valley on March 11th, and arrived on the same
day at Old Juarez, a few miles from my camp at San Diego. Now the
weather was warm; the grass was sprouting, and I noticed a flock of
wild geese going northward.

The plains of San Diego used to swarm with antelopes, and even at
the time of my visit herds of them could be seen now and then. One
old hunter near Casas Grandes resorted to an ingenious device for
decoying them. He disguised himself as an antelope, by means of a
cloak of cotton cloth (manta) painted to resemble the colouring of
the animal. This covered his body, arms, and legs. On his head he
placed the antlers of a stag, and by creeping on all fours he could
approach the antelopes quite closely and thus successfully shoot
them. The Apaches, according to the Mexicans, were experts at hunting
antelopes in this manner.

We excavated a mound near Old Juarez and found in it a small basin of
black ware. There were twelve or fifteen other mounds, all containing
house groups. The largest among them was 100 feet long, fifty feet
wide, and ten feet high; others, while covering about the same space,
were only three or four to six feet high. They were surrounded,
in an irregular way, by numerous stone heaps, some quite small,
others large and rectangular, inclosing a space thirty by ten feet.

From an archæological point of view, the district we now found
ourselves in is exceedingly rich, and I determined to explore it as
thoroughly as circumstances permitted. One can easily count, in the
vicinity of San Diego, over fifty mounds, and there are also rock
carvings and paintings in various places. Some twenty miles further
south there are communal cave-dwellings, resembling those in Cave
Valley, which were examined by members of the expedition at the San
Miguel River, about eight miles above the point at which the river
enters the plains. Inside of one large cave numerous houses were
found. They had all been destroyed, yet it was plainly evident that
some of them had originally been three stories high.

But the centre of interest is Casas Grandes, the famous ruin situated
about a mile south of the town which took its name, and we soon went
over to investigate it.

The venerable pile of fairly well preserved ruins has already been
described by John Russell Bartlett, in 1854, and more recently
by A. F. Bandelier; a detailed description is therefore here
superfluous. Suffice it to say that the Casas Grandes, or Great Houses,
are a mass of ruined houses, huddled together on the western bank
of the river. Most of the buildings have fallen in and form six or
eight large mounds, the highest of which is about twenty feet above
the ground. Low mesquite bushes have taken root along the mounds
and between the ruins. The remaining walls are sufficiently well
preserved to give us an idea of the mode of building employed by the
ancients. At the outskirts of the ruined village the houses are lower
and have only one story, while in its central part they must have been
at one time at least four stories high. They were not palaces, but
simply dwellings, and the whole village, which probably once housed
3,000 or 4,000 people, resembles, in its general characteristics,
the pueblos in the Southwest, and, for that matter, the houses we
excavated from the mounds. The only features that distinguish these
from either of the other structures are the immense thickness of the
walls, which reaches as much as five feet, and the great height of the
buildings. The material, too, is different, consisting of enormous
bricks made of mud mixed with coarse gravel, and formed in baskets
or boxes.

A striking fact is that the houses apparently are not arranged in
accordance with any laid-out plan or regularity. Nevertheless they
looked extremely picturesque, viewed from the east as the sun was
setting. I camped for a few days on top of the highest mound, between
the ruined walls.

No circular building, nor any trace of a place of worship, could be
found. The Mexicans, some of whom have nestled on the eastern part
of the ruins, have from time to time come upon beautiful jars and
bowls, which they sold to relic hunters or used themselves. Such
pottery is far superior in quality and decoration to anything now
made in Mexico. The ancient metates of Casas Grandes, which are much
appreciated by the present inhabitants of the valley, are decidedly
the finest I have ever seen. They are square in shape, resting on
four legs, and well finished. There have also been taken out some
stone axes and arrowheads, which are much like those found in the
Southwest of the United States.

Some years ago a large meteorite was unearthed in a small room
on the first floor of one of the highest of the buildings. When
discovered it was found carefully put away and covered with cotton
wrappings. No doubt it once had served some religious purpose. On
account of its glittering appearance, the Mexicans thought it was
silver, and everybody wanted to get a piece of it. But it was taken
to Chihuahua, and the gentleman who sent it to Germany told me that
it weighed 2,000 pounds.

There are still traces of well-constructed irrigation ditches to be
seen approaching the ruins from the northwest. There are also several
artificial accumulations of stones three to fifteen feet high and of
various shapes. One of them has the form of a Latin cross measuring
nineteen feet along its greatest extent. Others are rectangular,
and still others circular. About three miles off, toward the west,
are found pictures pecked on large stones, one representing a bird,
another one the sun.

An interesting relic of the population that once prospered in Casas
Grandes Valley is a watch tower, plainly visible on a mountain
to the southwest, and about five miles, in a straight line, from
the ruins. Well-defined tracks lead up to it from all directions,
especially from the east and west. On the western side three such
trails were noticed, and several join at the lower part of the ridge,
which runs southward and culminates in the promontory on which the
watch tower stands 1,500 feet above the plains.

The western side of the ridge is in some places quite precipitous,
but there is a fairly good track running along its entire extent to
the top. Sometimes the road is protected with stones, and in other
places even with walls, on the outer side. Although the ascent is,
at times, steep, the top can be reached on horseback.

The path strikes a natural terrace, and on this is seen a ruined
house group built of undressed stones on the bare rock. Some of the
walls are twenty-four inches thick. And a little to the south of
it is a large mound, from which a Mormon has excavated two rooms. A
very well-built stone wall runs for more than 100 paces from north
to south on the western, or most easily accessible, side of the pueblo.

After leaving this ancient little village, we made a pleasant ascent
to the top, where a strikingly beautiful panorama opened up before us
on all sides. The summit commands a view of the fertile valleys for
miles around in every direction. To the west is the valley of the
Piedras Verdes River, and to the east the valley of Casas Grandes;
and in the plains to the south the snakelike windings of the San
Miguel River glitter in the sun. Toward the north the view is immense,
and fine mountains form a fitting frame for the landscape all around
the horizon.

What a pre-eminently fine position for a look-out! As I contemplated
the vast stretches of land commanded from this point, I pondered
for how many centuries sentinels from this spot may have scanned
the horizon with their eagle eyes to warn their people of any enemy
approaching to disturb their peaceful occupations.

The fort is circular and about forty feet in diameter. The surrounding
wall is on one side about eleven feet high and very broad, while in
other places it is much lower and narrower. There are four clearly
outlined chambers in the centre; but by excavations nothing could be
found in them, except that the flooring was one inch thick.

It was quite warm here. Some birds were about, and there were a few
flowers out. Wild white currant bushes were growing inside of the
fortress, breathing delicious fragrance. But aside from the top,
the mountain was all but barren of vegetation.

A few days afterward I went on an excursion up the Casas Grandes
Valley, as far as the Mormon colony Dublan. This valley, which is about
fifteen miles long and equally as broad, is very fertile where properly
irrigated, and maize and wheat fields delight the eye. Naturally, the
country is well populated, and the mounds which are met with everywhere
prove that this was already the case in ancient times. In fact,
mounds, in groups or isolated, are numerous as far north as Ascension.

How richly the apparently poor soil repays the labour which man
expends on it may be seen in the flourishing colony the Mormons have
here. Wherever they go, the Mormons transform waste land into scenes
of prosperity, so much so that the Mexicans attribute the success of
these indefatigable developers to a gold mine, which they are supposed
to work secretly at night.

As I found it imperative to return to the United States in the interest
of the expedition, I considered it expedient to reduce my scientific
corps to three. My camp at San Diego I left in charge of Mr. H. White,
who later on was relieved by Mr. C. V. Hartman. During my absence
they conducted excavations of the mounds along the southern bank of
the Piedras Verdes River, near its junction with San Miguel River,
and in convenient neighbourhood to the camp. Neither the mounds
themselves nor the houses inside of them differ much from those
already described on the upper part of the river, except that some
of the mounds here were somewhat larger. Judging from the beams
left, they probably contained a few three-story houses. However, in
either locality most of the mound houses were only one story high,
and where second or third stories were indicated, they were never
found intact. In neither place were circular houses observed. The
mounds here were located on a rich, alluvial clay soil.

Here, as on the upper part of the river, the treasures we secured
were taken from underneath the floors of the houses, where they
had been buried with the dead. Here, as there, they consisted of
beautifully decorated earthenware jars and bowls, some of them in
bizarre representations of animal and human forms, besides stone
implements, shell beads, pieces of pyrites and turquoise, all being
generally unearthed intact.

The things were found alongside of skeletons, which were huddled
together in groups of from two to five in one of the corners. The
jars, bowls, etc., had generally been deposited close to the body,
as a rule near the head. The skulls of the skeletons were mostly
crushed, and crumbled to dust when exposed to the air. There was no
trace of charring on the bones, although in some cases charcoal was
found close to the skeletons.

To excavate such mounds is slow and tedious work, requiring much
patience. Sometimes nothing was found for weeks. Small mounds gave
results as good as, if not better than, some large ones. In shape they
are more or less conical, flattened at the top; some are oblong, a few
even rectangular. The highest among them rose to twenty or twenty-five
feet, but the majority varied from five to twelve feet. The house
walls inside of them were from eight to sixteen inches thick.

The pottery which was excavated here may be judged by the accompanying
plates. It is superior in quality, as well as in decoration, to that
produced by the Pueblos of the Southwest of the United States. The
clay is fine in texture and has often a slight surface gloss, the
result of mechanical polishing. Though the designs in general remind
one of those of the Southwestern Pueblos, as, for instance, the cloud
terraces, scrolls, etc., still most of the decorations in question
show more delicacy, taste, and feeling, and are richer in colouring.

This kind of pottery is known only from excavations in the valleys of
San Diego and of Piedras Verdes River, as Well as from Casas Grandes
Valley. It forms a transition from the culture of the Pueblos of
Arizona and New Mexico to that of the Valley of Mexico, a thousand
miles farther south. In a general way the several hundred specimens
of the collection can be divided into four groups:

(1) The clay is quite fine, of white colour, with a slightly
grayish-yellow tinge. The decorations are black and red, or black
only. This is the predominant type, and may be seen in Plates I. and
II.; also Plate III., _a_.

(2) Of a very similar character, but somewhat coarser in texture, and
heavier. See Plate III., _b_ to _g_, and Plate IV., _f_ Both these
groups include variations in the decorative designs, as may be seen
in the rest of Plate IV.

(3) Brown pottery with black decorations. See Plate V., _a, b, c_,
and _e_.

(4) Black ware.

Here follows a condensed description of the more important specimens
shown in the plates:


Heights: _a_, 18.5 cm; _b_, 15.2 cm; _c_, 16.2 cm; _d_, 18.8 cm; _e_,
11.3 cm; _f_, 8.5 cm.

_a_, particularly graceful in outline and decoration, is a
representative type that is often found.

_c_, from Colonia Dublan, is made in the shape of a horned toad,
the lizard so familiar to anyone who has visited the Southwest of
the United States. The head with its spikes, and the tail as well,
are well rendered; the thorny prominences of the body are represented
by the indentations around the edge.

_d_, the principal decoration here is the plumed serpent with a
bird's head.

_e_, a vase in the shape of a duck.

_f_, a bowl decorated only around the edge and in the interior.


Height, 16.5 cm.

Here is shown what, in regard both to manufacture and to decoration,
is the best specimen in the collection. Its principal ornaments are the
plumed serpent and two birds, all clearly seen in the extension of the
design above and below the vase. The lower section is a continuation
of the upper one.

The birds are represented as in flight. Mr. M. H. Saville is
probably right in considering them as quetzals, though the habitat
of this famous trogon is Central America and the southernmost part
of Mexico. The bird and the serpent form the decoration of other
jars of this collection and would indicate that the makers of this
pottery were affiliated with the Aztecs in their adoration of the
great deity Quetzalcoatl.


Heights: _a_, 18.5 cm; _b_, 18 cm; _c_, 17 cm; _d_, 11 cm; _e_,
14.5 cm; _f_ 15.3 cm; _g_, 24.2 cm.

_c_, a jar in the shape of a conventionalised owl.

_d_, a jar in the shape of a fish.

_f_ is a much conventionalised representation of four horned
toads. Around its upper part it has two serpents, apparently coral
snakes, attached in high relief.


Heights: _a_, 14 cm; _b_, 16.8 cm; _c_, 18.6 cm; _d_, 12.2 cm; _e_,
22 cm; _f_, 18.5 cm.

_a_, a very realistic representation of the rain-grub.

_c_ has a black slip.

_d_ is very strong and highly polished, and differs also in colouring
from the rest.


Heights: _a_, 3.7 cm; _b_, 9.8 cm; _c_, 25.6 cm; _d_, 17 cm; _e_,
20.7 cm; _f_, 19.3 cm; _g_, 19.3 cm.

This brown ware is very handsome, and its ornamentation is strikingly
artistic in its simplicity. See, for instance, Plate V., _e. D, f_,
and _g_ represent pottery from Casas Grandes, distinguished by a
certain solidity and a higher polish.

Chapter V

    Second Expedition--Return to the Sierra--Parrots in the
    Snow--Cave-dwellings at Garabato, the most Beautiful in Northern
    Mexico--A Superb View of the Sierra Madre--The Devil's Spine
    Ridge--Guaynopa, the Famous Old Silver Mine--Aros River--On Old
    Trails--Adventures of "El Chino"--Cure for Poison Ivy.

When in the middle of January, 1892, I resumed my explorations,
my party was only about one-third as large as it had been the year
before. In pursuance of my plan, I again entered the Sierra Madre,
returning to it, as far as Pacheco, by the road on which we had come
down to San Diego. We travelled over freshly-fallen snow a few inches
deep, and encountered a party of eight revolutionists from Ascension,
among whom I perceived the hardest looking faces I had ever laid eyes
on. All questions regarding their affairs they answered evasively,
and I could not help feeling some anxiety for three of the men, who
with a Mexican guide, had for some weeks been exploring the country
around Chuhuichupa, a discarded cattle range some forty miles south of
Pacheco. Next day I sent a man ahead to warn them against the political
fugitives. The Mormons told me that for more than a fortnight they
had been keeping track of these suspicious-looking characters who
had been camping in the neighbourhood.

There were repeated falls of snow, and the sierra assumed a thoroughly
northern aspect. Only the multitude of green parrots with pretty
red and yellow heads, chattering in the tree-tops and feasting on
pine cones, reminded us that we were in southern latitudes. As all
tracks had been obliterated by the snow, I secured a Mormon to guide
us southward.

About ten miles south of Pacheco we passed Mound Valley, or
"Los Montezumas," so named after the extraordinary number of
montezumas, or mounds, found in the locality, probably not far from
a thousand. Looking at them from a distance, there seemed to be some
plan in their arrangement, inasmuch as they formed rows running from
north to south. They are small, and nearly all of them are on the
south side of a sloping plain which spread itself over about 500
acres in the midst of densely pine-covered highlands.

On making camp a few miles south of this plateau we found that one
of the mules had strayed off. My dismay over the loss of the animal
was not alleviated by the news that the mule was the one that carried
my blankets and tent, and that I had a good prospect of passing at
least one uncomfortable night on the snow. The American who had been
intrusted with keeping count of the animals on the road immediately
went back to look for the lost one; but not until next day did a
Mexican, who had been sent along with him, bring back the pack,
which the mule had managed to get rid of. The animal itself and its
aparejo were never recovered by us.

On my arrival at Chuhuichupa I found everything satisfactory. There
are extensive grass-lands here, and a few years after our visit the
Mormons established a colony. The name Chuhuichupa is interesting,
as it is the first one we came upon that was of undoubted Tarahumare
origin "chuhui." being the Spanish corruption of "Chu-i," which means
"dead." The name signifies "the place of the dead," possibly alluding
to burial caves.

Here Mr. Taylor had discovered very interesting cave-dwellings, fifteen
miles southeast to east in a straight lilac from the camp, but fully
twenty-five miles by the track he had followed. The Mexicans called
the cave Garabato, a Spanish word, which in Mexico is used in the
sense of "decorative designs," and refers here to ancient paintings
or scrawlings on the house walls. The cave is situated in a gorge on
the northern slope of the Arroyo Garabato, which drains into the Rio
Chico. It is in conglomerate formation, faces east, and lies about 215
feet above the bottom of the gorge. The ascent is steep and somewhat
difficult. At a little distance the high, regular walls of the houses,
with their many door and window openings, presented a most striking
contrast to their surroundings of snow-covered jagged cliffs, in the
lonely wilderness of pine woods. Some of the walls had succumbed to
the weight of ages, but, on the whole, the ruins are in a good state
of preservation, and although I found cave-dwellings as far south as
Zapuri, Chihuahua, none of them were nearly as well preserved nor
on such an extensive scale. Time would not allow me to visit the
cave myself, and the following description is based on notes taken
by Mr. Taylor on the spot, as well as on his photographs and his
verbal explanations.

The space covered by the houses and fallen walls was 125 feet from
side to side, and at the central part the dwellings were thirty-five
feet deep. The roof of the cave, or rather, the overhanging cliff,
was at the highest point eighty feet above the floor. The houses were
arranged in an arc of a circle so large as hardly to deviate from a
straight line. The front row seems to have been of but one story,
while the adjoining row back of it had two stories. The roof of
the houses at no place reached the roof of the cave. Each room was
about twelve feet square, and the walls, which showed no evidence
of blocks or bricks, varied in thickness from fifteen inches at the
base to seven inches at the top of the highest. At some places large
stones were built into the walls; in another wall wooden posts and
horizontal sticks or laths were found. The surface of the walls,
which were protected against the weather, was smooth and even, and
the interior walls showed seven or eight coatings of plaster. The
floors, where they could be examined, were smoothly cemented and so
hard as to effectively resist the spade. The pine poles which formed
the roof were smooth, but not squared; they were three to four inches
in diameter; and some of them were twenty-four feet long. According
to all appearances, they had been hewn with a blunt instrument, as
they were more hacked than cut. Many of them were  nicely rounded
off at the ends, and several inches from the ends a groove was cut
all around the pole.

In the centre of the back rooms of the ground floor there was
usually a pine pole, about ten inches in diameter, set up like a
rude pillar. Resting on this and the side walls of the rooms in a
slight curve was a similar pole, also rounded, and running parallel
to the front of the houses; and crossing it from the front to the
rear walls were laid similar poles or rafters about four inches in
diameter. The ends of these were set directly into the walls, and
covering them was a roofing of mud, some three inches thick, hard,
and on the upper surface smooth. The second story, where it had not
caved in, was covered in the same manner. None of the lower story
rooms had an outlet to the apartments above, and the evidence tended
to prove that the second story houses were reached from the bottom of
the cave over the roofs of the front row of houses by means of ladders.

Most of the rooms were well supplied with apertures of the usual
conventional form; sometimes there were as many as three in one
room, each one large enough to serve as a door. But there were also
several small circular openings, which to civilised man might appear
to have served as exits for the smoke; but to the Indian the house, as
everything else, is alive, and must have openings through which it can
draw breath, as otherwise it would be choked. These holes were three or
four inches in diameter, and many of them were blocked up and plastered
over. A large number of what seemed to have been doorways were also
found to be blocked up, no doubt from some ulterior religious reason.

A peculiar feature of the architecture was a hall not less than forty
feet long, and from floor to rafters seven feet high. Six beams were
used in the roof, laid between the north and south walls. There were
rafters of two different lengths, being set in an angle of about
ten degrees to each other. The west wall contained twelve pockets,
doubtless the cavities in which the rafters had rested. They were,
on an average, three inches in diameter, and ran in some six inches,
slanting downward in the interior. The east wall was found to contain
upright poles and horizontal slats, forming a framework for the
building material. The interior was bare, with the exception of a ledge
running along the southern side and made from the same material as the
house walls. It was squared up in front and formed a convenient settee.

At the end of this hall, but in the upper story, was found a house
that was distinguished from the others by  a peculiar decoration in
red, while the space around the door was painted in a delicate shade
of lavender.

There seems to have been still another hall of nearly the same length
as the one described, but which must have been at least one foot and
a half higher. It is now almost entirely caved in.

No objects of interest were found that could throw any light on the
culture of the builders of these dwellings, except the fragment of
a stone axe and a piece of matting.

The day after my arrival at Chuhuichupa I continued my journey, now
accompanied by Mr. Taylor and Mr. Meeds. We had as a guide an old
Mexican soldier, who had been recommended to us as a man who knew the
Sierra Madre better than anyone else. He had, no doubt, lived a wild
life; had taken part in many a "scrap" with the Apaches, as his body
showed marks of bullets in several places, and he had prospected for
gold and silver, traversing a good deal of ground in the mountains at
one time or another. But topographical knowledge _per se_ does not
necessarily make a good guide. Although "Don Teodoro," by something
like instinct, always knew where he was, it did not take us long to
discover that he had not judgment enough to guide a pack-train, and his
fatuous recklessness caused us a good deal of annoyance, and even loss.

After leaving the grass-lands of Chuhuichupa, we passed through
extensive pine regions, full of arroyos and cordons, and it struck
me how silent the forest was here. No animal life could be seen
or heard. About ten miles south we caught sight of the Sierra de
Candelaria, which suddenly loomed up in the southeast, while the
Arroyo de Guaynopa yawned on our left. We slowly ascended a beautiful
cordon running toward the southwest. The track we followed, our guide
assured us, was _el camino de los antiguos_, but it probably was
only an Apache trail. The cordon was rather narrow, and from time
to time gave us sweeping views of the stupendous landscape in one
direction or another, as the animals slowly made their way up and
finally reached the summit. A grandly beautiful sight awaited us;
we went a little out of our way to gain a promontory, which, our
guide said, was designated "Punto Magnifico." It was at an elevation
of 8,200 feet, and gave us certainly the most strikingly magnificent
view of the Sierra Madre we yet had enjoyed.

An ocean of mountains spread out before and below us. In the midst
of it, right in front of us, were imposing pine-clad mesas and two
weathered pinnacles of reddish conglomerate, while further on there
followed range after range, peak after peak; the most distant ones,
toward the south, seeming at least as far as eighty miles away. The
course of the rivers, as they flow deep down between the mountains,
was pointed out to us. The principal one is the Arros River, which
from the west embraces most of the mesas, and then, turning south,
receives its tributaries, the Tutuhuaca and the Mulatos, the latter
just behind a pinnacle. West of the Arros River stretches out the
immense Mesa de los Apaches, once a stronghold of these marauders,
reaching as far as the Rio Bonito. The plateau is also called "The
Devil's Spine Mesa," after a high and very narrow ridge, which rises
conspicuously from the mesa's western edge and runs in a northerly
and southerly direction, like the edge of a gigantic saw. To our
amazement, the guide here indicated to us where the camino real from
Nacori passes east over a gap in the "Devil's Spine" ridge, and then
over several sharp buttes that descend toward the mesa. An odd-looking
mesa lay between Rio Bonito and Rio Satachi. Farthest to the west
were the big hogbacks near Nacori, standing out ominously, like a
perpetuated flash of lightning. The sun was nearing the horizon; the
air was translucent, and the entire panorama steeped in a dusky blue.

Immediately below us, to our left, lay Guaynopa. The mountainside
looked so steep that it seemed impossible for us to descend from
where we were. But we already heard the voices of our muleteers
singing out to the animals 1,000 feet below, and that reminded us
that we also had better reach camp before darkness should overtake
us. We descended 2,500 feet, and, leaving the pines behind, found
ourselves in a warmer climate. It never snows here, according to our
guide. That the precipitation took the shape of rain we learned when
we were impeded by it for two days.

There were yet eighteen miles between us and the deserted
mines of Guaynopa. It was a laborious journey over the hills,
mostly ascent. Finally we came to a steep slope covered with oaks,
along which there was a continuous descent toward Guaynopa. While
zigzagging our way down, we caught sight of a large cave with houses
and some white cone-shaped structures staring at us across an arroyo
midway up the opposite side, which was at least two thousand feet
deep. Through my field glasses I could make out very distinctly a
group of houses of the usual pattern; and the large, white structures
could without difficulty be recognised as granaries, similar to those
observed in Cave Valley. It was my intention to go back and examine
this cave more closely, as soon as I had found a camping place; but
circumstances interfered. Several years later the cave was visited
by Mr. G. P. Ramsey, to whom I owe the following brief description.

The cave is situated about twenty-five miles in a straight line south
of the Mormon colony of Chuhuichupa. There are indications of a spring
in the cave, and there is another one in the arroyo itself. The
buildings are in a very bad condition, owing to the action of the
elements and animals; but fifty-three rooms could be counted. They were
located on a rocky terrace extending from the extreme right to the
rear centre of the cave. This extreme right extended slightly beyond
the overhanging cliff, and contained groups of two-storied houses. In
the central part of the cave were a number of small structures, built
of the same material and in a similar manner as those I described
as granaries in Cave Valley. They were still in excellent condition,
and, as will be seen at a glance, they are almost identical with the
granaries used to the present day in some southern States of Mexico.

We continued our descent, and, having dropped altogether some 2,000
feet, at last found ourselves alongside some lonely and unattractive
old adobe houses. They were built by the Spaniards and are reputed
to have once been the smelter of the now abandoned silver mine of
Guaynopa. Only the naked walls remain standing on a decline, which
was too steep to give us sufficient camping ground. So we went still a
little further, to the top of a hill near by, where we made a tolerably
good camp.

This then was the famous locality of Guaynopa, credited with hiding
such fabulous wealth. There was still another mine here of the same
repute, called Tayopa, and both of them are said to have been worked
once by the Jesuits, who before their expulsion from Mexico were
in possession of nearly all the mines in the country. According to
tradition, the Apaches killed everybody here, and the mines were
forgotten until recent times, when ancient church records and other
Spanish documents revealed their existence. Several expeditions have
been sent out, one, I believe, by the Government for the purpose of
locating them; but being situated in the roughest and most inaccessible
part of the Sierra Madre, they are still awaiting their rediscovery,
unless, contrary to my knowledge, they have been found in recent
years. There is no doubt that the country carries very rich silver
ore, and we ourselves found specimens of that kind; but the region
is so difficult of access that it probably would require too great
a capital to work the mines.

There was now a plain track leading along the hillside down toward
the Rio Aros, which is scarcely two miles off; but the country was so
wild and rugged that the greatest care had to be exercised with the
animals to prevent them from coming to grief. The path runs along the
upper part of a steep slope, which from a perpendicular weathered cliff
drops some 400 feet down into a gorge. As the declivity of the slope
is about forty-five degrees, and the track in some places only about
a foot wide, there is no saving it if an animal loses its foothold,
or if its pack slips. All went well, however, until we reached a point
where the track commenced to descend, when our villain of a guide tried
to drive some burros back on the track, instead of leading each one
carefully. The result was that one of the poor beasts tumbled down,
making immense bounds, a hundred feet at a time, and, of course,
was killed.

We had no difficulty in fording the Guaynopa Creek near its junction
with the Aros River, and selected a camping place on a terrace 200 feet
above it. The stream, which is the one that passes the cave-dwellings,
carries a good deal of limpid water, and there are abundant signs
that at times it runs very high. The elevation of the ford, which
is here about the same as that of Aros River, 3,400 feet, was the
lowest point we reached in our crossing of the Sierra Madre between
Chuhuichupa and Temosachic. It took us almost the entire day to move
the animals the one mile and a half to this camp. On the way we had
found some good quartz crystals in the baryte, about four inches high
and one inch in width.

The country before us looked more forbidding than ever, as if it
did not want us to penetrate any further into its mysteries, but our
guide seemed to be quite at home here.

Our march toward Rio Chico was about thirty miles of ups and downs,
ascending to a height of 7,600 feet and descending again some 3,000
feet. In the beginning it was almost impossible to make out the track;
where it did not lead over bare rocks, it was nearly obliterated
by overgrown grass. The first ascent was over a mile long in a
straight line; then, after a little while, came the most arduous
climbing I had until then ever attempted. Following the slope of the
mountain, the track rose higher and higher in long zigzags, without
any chance for the animals to rest, for at least three-quarters of
a mile. It was necessary to push them on, as otherwise the train
would unavoidably have upset, and one or the other have rolled down
the declivity. One large white mule, El Chino, after it had almost
climbed to the top, turned giddy at the "glory-crowned height" it
had reached, and, sinking on its hind legs, fell backward and rolled
heels over head down, with its two large canvas-covered boxes, like
a big wheel. As luck would have it, it bumped against a low-stemmed
old oak that cropped out of the hillside in an obtuse angle to it,
some ninety feet below. Making one more turn up the stem, the mule was
nicely caught between the forked branches, which broke the momentum,
loosened the cargo, and caused the animal to fall back into the high
grass. One box landed close by, the other, containing our library,
pursued its course downward 200 feet further, bursting open on the
way and scattering the wisdom of the ages to the winds, while the
mule escaped without a scratch.

The burros came into camp three hours after us, and the drivers
explained how they had succeeded in bringing them up the long slope
only by constantly punching them to prevent them from "falling asleep."

As we continued our journey toward Rio Chico the panorama of the
sierra changed continuously. We got a side view of the big Mesa de
los Apaches, and many weathered pinnacles of eroded conglomerate were
seen standing out like church spires in this desert of rock, varying
in colour from red to lead gray. Once we caught sight of a stretch of
the Rio Aros deep down in a narrow, desolate valley, some 3,000 feet
below us. The geological formation of the region is mostly volcanic;
then follows conglomerate, and on the high points porphyry appears.

We camped on the crest of the eastern side of the Rio Chico Cañon,
in an ideal place with bracing air. A fine, sloping meadow afforded
quite an arcadian view with the animals peacefully grazing and resting;
but looking westward, the eye revelled in the grand panorama of the
sierra. The two sides of the Rio Chico Valley rise here evenly from
the bottom of the gorge so as to suggest the letter V. In many places
its brow is overhung by precipitous cliffs, and further down still
more steeply walled chasms yawn up from the river bed.

My chief packer now became ill from the effects of poison ivy. He was
one of those unfortunate individuals who are specially susceptible to
it. According to his own statement it sufficed for him to pass anywhere
near the plant, even without touching it, to become afflicted with the
disease. In this case he did not even know where he had contracted it,
until the cook showed him some specimens of the plant near an oak tree
close by the kitchen tent. The poor fellow's lips were badly swollen;
he had acute pains in his eyes, and felt unable to move. Sometimes, he
said, the disease would last ten days, and his skin become so tender
that he could not endure the weight or contact of his clothes. But
by applying to the afflicted parts of his body a solution of baking
soda in water, I was able not only to relieve his suffering, but to
enable him, after two days, to continue with us on our journey.

In the meantime we had investigated some caves in the conglomerate
of the steep cañon side, about 250 feet above the bottom of the
gorge, and rather difficult of access. The house group occupied the
entire width of a cave, which was eighty feet across, and there was
a foundation wall made of stone and timber underneath the front
part. The walls were made of stone, with mortar of disintegrated
rock that lined parts of the cave and were plastered inside and out
with the same material. Lintels of wood were seen in the windows,
and rows of sticks standing in a perpendicular position were found in
two of the walls inside of the plastering. On one side of the cave,
some two feet off, was a small tower, also in ruins, measuring inside
four feet in diameter, while the walls were about six inches thick.

Pinnacles of eroded conglomerate are a prominent characteristic of
the landscape west of the Rio Chico; further on, the usual volcanic
formation appears again. After fully twenty miles of travel we found
ourselves again in pine forests and at an altitude of 7,400 feet. Here
we were overtaken, in the middle of February, by a rain and sleet
storm, which was quite severe, although we were sheltered by tall
pine trees in a little valley. It turned to snow and grew very cold,
and then the storm was over. Here a titmouse and a woodpecker were
shot, and the bluebirds were singing in the snow.

Travelling again eleven miles further brought us to the plains of
Naverachic, where we camped. It was quite a treat to travel again
on comparatively level land, but, strange to say, I felt the cold so
much that I had to walk on foot a good deal in order to keep warm. The
word Naverachic is of Tarahumare origin; navé means "move," and ráchi
refers to the disintegrated trachyte formation in the caves.

We had just emerged from a district which at that time was traversed
by few people; perhaps only by some illiterate Mexican adventurers,
though it had once been settled by a thrifty people whose stage of
culture was that of the Pueblo Indians of to-day, and who had vanished,
nobody knows how many centuries ago. Over it all hovered a distinct
atmosphere of antiquity and the solemnity of a graveyard.

Chapter VI

    Fossils, and One Way of Utilising Them--Temosachic--The First
    Tarahumares--Ploughs with Wooden Shares--Visit to the Southern
    Pimas--Aboriginal Hat Factories--Pinos Altos--The Waterfall near
    Jesus Maria--An Adventure with Ladrones.

About thirty miles from the village of Temosachic (in the Tarahumare
tongue Remosachic means Stone Heap) we entered the plain of Yepomera,
and came upon an entirely different formation, limestone appearing
in an almost horizontal layer some thirty feet deep. In this bed
the Mexicans frequently find fossils, and at one place four large
fossil bones have been utilised as the corner posts of a corral
or inclosure. We were told that teeth and bones were accidentally
found at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet and some bones were
crystallised inside. This formation, which stretches itself out toward
the east of Temosachic, but lies mainly to the north of this place,
has an extent of about fifteen miles from north to south, and from
three to four miles from east to west.

Fossils picked up by Mr. Meeds in the cutting of a creek near Yepomera
consisted of some fragmentary teeth and pieces of bones from some
small animal. They were found in the hard clay that underlies the
lime-stone. Large fossil bones also are said to have been gathered
near the town of Guerrero, Chihuahua, quite recently. It seems to
be a custom with the common people to make a concoction of these
"giants' bones" as a strengthening medicine; we heard of a woman who,
being weak after childbirth, used it as an invigorating tonic.

Here in Temosachic we were joined by Mr. Hartman, who had brought
part of our baggage from San Diego by wagon in order to enable us to
travel as unencumbered as possible.

From now on, until as far as the southern border of the State of
Chihuahua, the country is occupied by the large Indian tribe of the
Tarahumares. They are now confined to the Sierra Madre, but in former
times they also occupied the entire plain of Chihuahua, as far west
as the present capital of that State, and in a narrow strip they may
have reached as far as 100 miles north of Temosachic. They were the
main tribe found in possession of the vast country which is now the
State of Chihuahua, and although there are still some 25,000 left,
the greater part of them have become Mexicanised, adopting the
language and the customs of the whites, together with their dress
and religion. Father Ribas, in the seventeenth century, speaks of
them as very docile and easily converted to Christianity.

The high plateau of the Sierra Madre for a couple of hundred miles
southward is not difficult to follow. Most of it is hilly and clad in
oaks and pines; but there are also extensive tracts of fine arable
land, partly under cultivation, and fairly good tracks connect the
solitary villages and ranches scattered over the district. The country
of the aborigines has been invaded and most of the descendants of
the former sovereigns of the realm have been reduced to earning a
precarious living by working for the white and mixed-breed usurpers
on their ranches or in their mines. The native language, religious
customs, and dress are being modified gradually in accordance with the
new régime. Only in the less desirable localities have the Tarahumares
been able to hold their own against the conquerors.

There is not much interest attached to the study of half-civilised
natives, but the first pure-blooded Tarahumares I met on their little
ranch about ten miles south of Temosachic were distinctly Indian and
very different from the ordinary Mexican family. There was a kind of
noble bearing and reserve about them which even the long contact with
condescending whites and half-breeds had not been able to destroy. The
father of the family, who, by the way, was very deaf, was a man of some
importance among the native ranchers here. When I approached the house,
mother and daughter were combing each other's hair, and did not allow
themselves to be disturbed by my arrival. The younger woman wore her
long glossy tresses plaited in Mexican fashion. She evidently was in
robust health and had well-moulded, shapely arms and an attractive
face, with an eagle nose. She was beautiful, but I could not help
thinking how much better she would have looked in her native costume.

On the road we had several times overtaken donkey-trains carrying
corn to the mines of Pinos Altos. In the small Rio Verde we caught
three kinds of fish: suckers, catfish, and Gila trout, which grow
from one to three feet long, and, according to Tarahumare belief,
change into otters when they are old.

The name of the village of Tosanachic is a Spanish corruption of
the Tarahumare Rosanachic, which means "Where there is White," and
alludes to a number of white rocks or cliffs of solidified volcanic
ash, which rise to a height of some fifty feet and give to the little
valley quite a striking appearance. There are caves in these rocks,
and three poor families of Pima Indians lived in some of them.

In the village we noticed the first Tarahumare plough, the share
of which was made of a section of oak. In its general appearance it
is an imitation of the ordinary Mexican plough, in other words, is
simply a tree stem with a branch as a handle. But, however primitive
in design and construction, the civilised man's implement always has
an iron share. Of course, such among the Tarahumares as can afford
iron shares, never fail to get them; but in several parts of their
country ploughs made entirely of wood, that is to say, ploughs with
wooden shares, are seen. The foremost part of such a plough is cut to
a point, and into a groove made for the purpose a section of tough oak
is inserted, to serve as a share. It is held in place by the tapering
of the groove, and some wedges or plugs. The share has naturally to be
renewed quite frequently, but it serves its purpose where the ground
is not stony. Later on, in Cusarare, Nararachic and other places,
I found ploughshares of stone applied in the same manner as were the
wooden ones.

Here at an elevation of 7,600 feet, and at the end of February,
I saw the first flowers of the year, some very fresh-looking yellow
_Ranunculus_. On crossing the ridge to Piedras Azules, sixty-odd miles
south of Temosachic, a decided change of climate and vegetation was
noticeable. I found another kind of _Ranunculus_, as well as various
other flowers, and as we passed through a small but gorgeous cañon,
with the sun shining against us through the fresh leaves of the
trees, everything in Nature made the impression of spring. All was
green except the ground, which was gray. The road was stony, and bad
for the feet of the animals; altogether the country presented a new
aspect with its small volcanic hills, many of them forming cones.

A few Indian hamlets surrounded by peach trees in full bloom were
found here. The Indians here are Pimas, who, in their general
characteristics, resemble the Tarahumare, although they impress you
as being less timid and suspicious, and more energetic, perhaps also
more intelligent, than the latter. We had no difficulty in taking some
photographs. Among those who agreed to have their pictures taken was a
dignified, courteous old man, who thought he was a hundred years old,
but was probably only eighty. He showed me some scars on his body,
which were a souvenir from a fight he once had with a bear.

In order to see more of the Southern Pimas I went to the near-by
village of Yepachic, which I think is also a Tarahumare name, yepá
meaning snow. There are, however, more Mexicans than Pimas in the
village, and the presidente was a half-caste Tarahumare; he was once
a shepherd, but had made money by trading mescal to the natives--six
bottles for a cow.

Although the Pimas whom I visited in the neighbourhood, were very
reserved, and even more Indian-like than the Tarahumares I had seen
so far, still in their dress they showed more traces of advancing
civilisation than the latter tribe. Everything here betrays the
nearness of the mines, with the characteristic accompaniment of cheap
clothes, cheap, tawdry jewelry, and a slight influx of iron cooking
utensils. The Pimas, like the Tarahumares, use pine cones for combs;
and we picked up several discarded ones near their houses.

I went still fifteen miles further northward, but found that most
of the Indians there had gone to the Pinos Altos mines to look for
work. That "March comes in like a lion" I realised even here in the
sierra, when, on this excursion, on which I had not taken my tent
along, I was overtaken by a snow-storm. We had gone to bed with the
stars for a canopy, clear and beautiful; we woke up under blankets
of snow, which turned to rain, drenching us to the skin and making
us shiver with cold.

I saw several small, shallow caves, and learned that many of them
were utilised by the Pimas during the wet season. I also passed a
rock-shelter, which served as a permanent home. The housewife was
busy making straw hats. She was very shy, as her husband was away;
but I elicited the information that she gets two reales (25 cents)
for each hat. The making of straw hats and mats is quite an industry
among the Pimas. In the houses they have a cellar-like dug-out outside
of the dwelling and covered with a conical roof of dry grass. These
cellars, in many cases, serve not only as the work-rooms, but also
as store-rooms for their stock in trade.

In one or two instances I found Pima families living in open
inclosures, a kind of corral, made from cut-down brushwood. I
noticed two small caves that had been transformed into storehouses,
by planting poles along the edge and plastering these over with mud,
to make a solid wall, behind which corn was stored.

In Yepachic I estimated there were about twenty Pima families. I
had some difficulty in inducing them to pose before the camera; the
presidente himself was afraid of the instrument, thinking it was a
diabolo (devil).

There are probably not more than sixty Pima families within the State
of Chihuahua, unless there are more than I think near Dolores. Some
twenty-odd families of these live in caves during the wet season,
and a few of them are permanent cave-dwellers. I understand that the
Pimas in Sonora utilise caves in the same way.

I made an excursion from the mine of Pinos Altos (elevation 7,100 feet)
to Rio Moris, about ten miles west, where there are some burial caves;
but they had already been much disturbed by treasure seekers, and I
could secure only a couple of skulls. An interesting feature of the
landscape near Rio Moris is a row of large reddish pinnacles, which
rise perpendicularly from the river-bed up along the hillside, and form
a truly imposing spectacle. An excited imagination may see in them so
many giants suddenly petrified while walking up the mountain. Around
Pinos Altos and Jesus Maria the rock is of blue porphyry, quite hard
in places, and speckled with little white patches. It is in this rock
that the gold- and silver-bearing quartz occurs.

Through the courtesy of the bullion-convoy I was enabled to dispatch
some of my collections via Chihuahua to the museum at New York,
among other things eight fine specimens of the giant woodpecker.

Then, sending my train ahead, I made with a guide a little detour to
visit the beautiful waterfall near Jesus Maria. It is formed by the
River Basasiachic, which, except during the wet season, is small and
insignificant. Before the fall the stream for more than a hundred
yards runs in a narrow but deep channel, which in the course of
ages it has worn into the hard conglomerate rock. The channel itself
is full of erosions and hollowed-out places formed by the constant
grinding and milling action of the rapidly rushing water, and the
many large pebbles it carries. Just at the very brink of the rock,
a low natural arch has been eroded, and over this the stream leaps
almost perpendicularly into the deep straight-walled cañon below. The
height of the cascade has been measured by a mining expert at Pinos
Altos, and found to be 980 feet. Set in the most picturesque, noble
environments, the fall is certainly worth a visit.

I arrived at its head just as the last rays of the setting sun
were gilding the tops of the mountains all around. The scenery was
beautiful beyond description. Above and around towered silent, solemn
old pine-trees, while: the chasm deep down was suffused with a purple
glow. About midway down the water turns into spray and reaches the
bottom as silently as an evening shower, but as it recovers itself
forms numerous whirlpools and rapids, rushing through the narrow gorge
with an incessant roar. When the river is full, during the wet season,
the cascade must present a splendid sight.

I wanted to see the fall from below. The guide, an elderly man,
reminded me that the sun was setting, and warned me that the distance
was greater than it seemed. We should stumble and fall, he said,
in the dark. But as I insisted on going, he put me on the track, and
I started on a rapid run, jumping from stone to stone, zigzagging my
way down the mountainside. The entire scenery, the wild, precipitous
rocks, the stony, crooked path, the roaring stream below--everything
reminded me of mountains in Norway, where I had run along many a
_säter_ path through the twilight, alone, just as I was running now.

As luck would have it, I met an Indian boy coming up from the river,
Where he had been trout fishing, and I asked him to accompany me,
which he did. About half-way down we arrived at a little promontory
from which the fall could be seen very well. The rock seemed to be
here the same as on top, showing no sign of stratification. A few
yards from the point we had reached was a spring, and here we made
a fire and waited for the moon to rise. To make him more talkative,
I gave the boy a cigarette. He spoke only Spanish, and he told me that
he had neither father nor mother, and when his uncle died he was quite
alone in the world; but a Mexican family brought him up, and he seemed
to have been treated well. At present he was paying two dollars a
month for his board, earning the money by selling grass in Pinos Altos.

At nine o'clock we began to ascend through the moonlit landscape. I
had left my mule some hundred yards from the fall, and here I also
found the guide. At two o'clock in the morning I arrived at my camp.

The road continued through rather monotonous country, the altitude
varying from 6,300 to 7,700 feet. Grass began to be scarce, and
the animals suffered accordingly. It is the custom with Mexican
muleteers to select from among themselves a few, whose business
throughout the journey it is to guard the animals at night. These men,
immediately after having had their supper, drive the animals to a
place where suitable pasture is found, never very far from the camp,
and bring them back in the morning. They constitute what is called
la sabana. Comparatively few men suffice for this duty, even with a
large herd, as long as they have with them a leader of the mules,
a mare, preferably a white one. She may be taken along solely for
this purpose, as she is often too old for any other work. The mules
not infrequently show something like a fanatic attachment for their
yegua, and follow blindly where they hear the tinkling of the bell,
which is invariably attached to her neck. She leads the pack-train,
and where she stops the mules gather around her while waiting for the
men to come and relieve them of their burdens. Sometimes a horse may
serve as a leader, but a mare is surer of gaining the affection of
all the mules in the train. This is an important fact for travellers
to bear in mind if they use mules at all. In daytime the train will
move smoothly, all the mules, of their own accord, following their
leader, and at night keeping close to her. In this way she prevents
them from scattering and becomes indispensable to the train.

But in spite of the vigilance of the sabana and the advantage of a
good yegua, it may happen, under favourable topographical and weather
conditions, that robbers succeed in driving animals away. While giving
the pack-train a much-needed rest of a day in a grassy spot, we woke
next morning to find five of our animals missing. As three of the lot
were the property of my men, they were most eagerly looked for. The
track led up a steep ridge, over very rough country, which the Mexicans
followed, however, until it suddenly ran up against a mountain wall;
and there the mules were found in something like a natural corral.

Not until then did our guide inform me that there lived at Calaveras
(skulls), only three miles from where we were stopping, a band of
seven robbers and their chief, Pedro Chaparro, who was at that time
well-known throughout this part of the Tarahumare country. I had
no further experience with him, but later heard much of this man,
who was one of a type now rapidly disappearing in Mexico. He did
not confine his exploits to the Mexicans, but victimised also the
Indians whenever he got an opportunity, and there are many stories
in circulation about him.

On one occasion he masqueraded as a padre, a black mackintosh serving
as his priestly garb. Thus attired he went to the unsophisticated
Tarahumares in the more remote valleys and made them send out
messengers to advise the people that he had come to baptise them,
and that they were all to gather at a certain place to receive his
blessings. For each baptism he charged one goat, and by the time
he thought it wise to retire he had quite a respectable herd to
drive home. When the Indians found out that they had been swindled,
they caught him and put him into jail, intending to kill him; but
unfortunately some of his Mexican confrères heard of his plight
and came to his rescue. However, a few years later, this notorious
highwayman, who had several murders to answer for, was caught by the
government authorities and shot.

On the road, as we travelled on, we met many Tarahumares carrying on
their backs trays (_huacales_) with apples, which they were taking
to market. The price per tray was $2, and the apples were delicious.

At night it was very cold, the thermometer falling to 13° below the
freezing point. I was sorry to learn from my men that the prospects
of grass further south were small.

At the village of Bocoyna (elevation 7,100 feet) we were 400 miles from
San Diego by the track we had made. Bocoyna is a corruption of the
Tarahumare Ocoina (ocó = pine; ína = drips; meaning Dripping Pine,
or Turpentine). Here I had to stop for two days, because no less
than six of us, including myself, were suffering from the grippe,
which a piercing, dry, cold wind did not tend to alleviate. However,
as the worst cases did not last more than five days, we soon were all
well again, though the Mexicans were almost overcome by the effects
of the disease.

The presidente here was a powerful-looking half-caste and very
original. After I had read to him twice my letter from the governor
of the state, in which the people were told, among other things,
to promote the success of the expedition in every way, especially by
selling us what provisions we needed and not to overcharge us, he,
by way of obeying the orders of his superior, immediately ordered
that not more than $6 should be charged for a fanega of corn. He
also had at once four nice, fat hens killed and sold them to us at
the market price.

After we passed Bocoyna, the country for ten miles was flat, but
fertile. It was gratifying to observe that here the Indians had some
ranches with considerable land still left to them. We passed several
such homesteads lying close together, and as many as four yokes of oxen
were ploughing, each attended by a Tarahumare, whose entire clothing
consisted of a breech-cloth. The Indians here are very numerous and
they are still struggling to resist the encroachments of the whites
upon their land, though the ultimate result is in all cases the same.

Chapter VII

    The Uncontaminated Tarahumares--A Tarahumare Court in Session--The
    Power of the Staff--Justice has its Course--Barrancas--Excursion
    to the Gentiles--Tarahumare Costumes Simple and
    Inexpensive--Trincheras in Use Among the Tarahumares.

We were lucky enough to secure a guide who, spoke the Tarahumare
language very well, and our next stop was at the pueblo of Cusarare
(a Spanish corruption of Usarare, usáka = eagle), an Indian village
situated in a rather rough country full of weathered porphyry
rocks. We made camp a few miles outside of the village and sent the
guide to prepare the people for our coming. There had recently been
considerable talk among the Mexicans of the wild people in the deep
gorges, called barrancas, and it was with no little anticipation that
I approached the country now immediately before us. There were no
Mexicans living in Cusarare, nor in the country ahead of us; in fact,
with the exception of the small mining camp in Barranca de Cobre,
there were none within fifty miles to the south, and almost an equal
distance from east to west.

Indian pueblos throughout Mexico are almost abandoned for the greater
part of the year. I refer, of course, only to those which have not
yet become Mexican settlements. The first thing the missionaries in
the early times had to do was to force the Indians to leave their
scattered ranches and form a pueblo. To make a place a pueblo they
had to build a church. The Indians were pressed into service to erect
the building, and kept at work, if necessary, by a troop of soldiers
who often accompanied the missionaries and in this way assisted them
in spreading the gospel.

From the missionaries' point of view this was a very practical
arrangement; but the purpose of having the Indians remain in the
villages has not been accomplished to this day. Only the native-chosen
authorities, who are obliged to reside there during their term of
office, form something like a permanent population in the pueblos. The
natives come together only on the occasion of feasts, and on Sundays,
to worship in the way they understand it. Someone who knows the short
prayer, generally the gobernador, mumbles it, while the congregation
cross themselves from time to time. If no one present knows the prayer,
the Indians stand for a while silently, then cross themselves, and
the service is over.

After church they meet outside for the second purpose that brings them
to the village, namely, the transaction of whatever judicial business
may be on hand, generally the adjustment of a theft, a marriage, etc.

I arrived in the pueblo on a Sunday, and a great many Indians had come
in. Easter was approaching, and every Sunday during Lent, according
to early missionaries' custom, the so-called "Pharisees" make their
appearance. These are men who play an important part in the Easter
festival, which always lasts several days. They paint their faces
hideously, tog themselves up with feathers on their sombreros, and
carry wooden swords painted with red figures. Such ceremonies were a
clever device of the Jesuits and Franciscan missionaries to wean the
Indians from their native feasts by offering them something equally
attractive in the new religion they were teaching. The feasts are
still observed, while the teachings are forgotten.

I found the people assembled before the old adobe church, where they
had just finished their service. The gobernador at once attracted my
attention as he stood with his large white blanket wrapped around him,
Indian fashion, up to his chin--a fine, almost noble personality,
with a benign expression on his eagle face.

The Indian never allows anything to interfere with whatever business
he may have on hand, be it public or private. Presently all rose,
and eight men, the authorities of the pueblo, marched in two rows to
the court house, followed by the rest of the people. There is always
found near the church a commodious building, called La Comunidad,
originally intended as city hall, court house, and hotel. In this
case it was so dilapidated that the judges and officers of the court
about to be held took seats outside on the lawn in front of one of
the walls. They were preparing to administer justice to a couple of
offenders, and as this is the only occasion on which I have seen the
details of Indian judicial procedure carried out so minutely as to
suggest early missionary times, I am happy to record the affair here
in full.

The gobernador and four of the judges seated themselves, white man's
fashion, on a bench erected for the purpose, where they looked more
grand than comfortable. Two of them held in their right hands canes of
red Brazil wood, the symbol of their dignity. The idea of the staff
of command, sceptre, or wand, is wide spread among the Indians of
Mexico; therefore, when the Spaniards conquered the various tribes,
they had little difficulty in introducing their batons (_la vara_),
as emblems of authority, which to this day are used by the gobernadors
and other officials. They are made much in the same way as the ancient
staffs, and of the same material, the heavy, red Brazil wood. Below
the head of these canes there is always a hole bored, and through this
a leather thong is passed, by which the staff is hung up on the wall
when not in use. Those of the highest authorities are ornamented with
silver caps; the lesser officers have smaller canes, in proportion to
the degrees of their dignity, while the lowest officials have only a
thin stick, about a foot and a half long, through the hole of which
a red ribbon is passed. The small canes are not carried in the hand,
but stuck in the girdle on the left side. Nobody summoned before the
judges by a messenger carrying a staff of red Brazil wood dares to
disobey the command. The most desperate criminal meekly goes to his
doom, following often a mere boy, if the latter has only a toy vara
stuck in his belt with the red ribbons hanging down. It is the vara
the Indians respect, not the man who carries it.

No supreme court in any civilised community is so highly respected
and so implicitly obeyed as were the simple, grave men sitting in
front of the crumbling adobe wall and holding on to their canes with a
solemnity that would have been ridiculous, if it had not been sublime.

Four "soldiers" formed a line on each side. There was nothing to
distinguish them from ordinary civilians, except their "lances,"
or bamboo sticks to which bayonet points had been fastened. These
lances they planted in the ground and seated themselves. Presently
the two culprits, a man and a woman, came forward, with never a
suggestion in their placid faces that they were the chief actors in
the drama about to be enacted. They seated themselves in front of
the judges, while the witnesses took their places behind them. The
mother of the woman sat close by her guilty daughter, but there was
no other exhibition of sentiment. The judges did most of the talking,
addressing questions to the defendants, who made a few short answers;
the rest of the assemblage observed a decorous silence. There were
neither clerks nor lawyers.

I was, of course, not able to follow the testimony, but it was very
short, and it was explained to me that the woman had run away with a
married man. They had provided themselves with plenty of corn from the
man's former home, and furthermore had stolen some beans, and lived
very happy in a cave for a year. The man could not be captured, even
though on several occasions he visited his family. But they frequently
made native beer, and got drunk, and while in this condition they
were caught and brought before this tribunal.

While the trial was going on, one of the "soldiers" got up and went
some twenty yards off, dug a hole in the ground and planted a thick
pole or post in it. No sooner had he completed his task, when the
accused man rose with a queer smile on his face, half chagrined,
half sarcastic.. Dropping his blanket, he walked deliberately up
to the pole, flanked by two soldiers, each of whom took hold of his
hands, and by putting them crosswise on the further side of the pole,
made the culprit hug the pole very tightly. Now another man, wrapped
closely in his blanket, stepped briskly up, drew as quick as a flash
a leather whip from under his garment, and dealt four lashes over
the shoulders of the prisoner, who was then released, and stolidly
walked back to his seat, as if nothing had happened.

Now came the woman's turn to be punished for her part in the
thefts. They took off her blanket, but left on a little white
undergarment. She was marched to the pole and held in the same manner
as the man; but another man acted as executioner. She, too, received
four lashes, and wept a little when they struck her; but neither she
nor her fellow-sufferer made any attempt at, or sign of, revolt against
the sentence of the court. While the chastising went on, the audience
rose and stood reverently. After returning to her seat, the woman
knelt down, and both delinquents shook hands with the chief judge.

There still remained the second part of the accusation to be dealt
with, the one relating to the marital complications. The man asked
permission to leave his first wife, as he wanted to marry the woman
with whom he ran away. But no divorce was granted to him. He was
ordered to return to his legitimate spouse, who was present at the
proceedings with her child in her arms. Evidently disappointed, he
slowly stepped over to where she was standing and greeting him with
a happy smile.

But the woman with whom he had been living had now to be provided
with another husband. Who would take her? The judge addressed the
question to a young man, a mere boy, standing near by, and he replied
that he would marry her, if she were willing. She said yes, so he sat
down beside her. Their hands were placed together, the gobernador
said a few admonishing words to them, and they rose, man and wife,
duly married. How was this for rapid transit to matrimonial bliss?

The next day the guide took us up along some higher ridges, and
after ten or twelve miles of slow ascent, we arrived at the summit of
Barranca de Cobre, where we made a comfortable camp about half a mile
back of the point at which the track descends into the cañon. Here
we had an inspiring view; deep gorges and ravines, the result of
prolonged weathering and erosion, gashing the country and forming
high ridges, especially toward the south and west. In other words,
here we observed for the first time barrancas, which from now on
form an exceedingly characteristic feature of the topography of the
Sierra Madre. These precipitous abysses, which traverse the mighty
mass of the sierra like huge cracks, run, as far as Sierra Madre
del Norte is concerned, mainly from east to west. In the country of
the Tarahumare, that is to say, the State of Chihuahua, there are
three very large barrancas. They are designated as Barranca de Cobre,
Barranca de Batopilas, and Barranca de San Carlos. The Sierra Madre
del Norte runs at an altitude of from 7,000 to 8,000 feet, at some
points reaching even as high as 9,000 feet. It rises so gradually in
the east, for instance, when entered from the direction of the city
of Chihuahua, that one is surprised to be suddenly almost on top of
it. The western side, however, falls off more or less abruptly, and
presents the appearance of a towering, ragged wall. In accordance
with this general trait of the mountain system, the beginnings of
the barrancas in the east are generally slight, but they quickly
grow deeper, and before they disappear in the lowlands of Sinaloa
they sometimes reach a depth of from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Of course,
they do not continue equally narrow throughout their entire length,
but open up gradually and become wider and less steep.

Besides these large barrancas, which impede the traveller in the
highlands and necessitate a course toward the east, there are
innumerable smaller ones, especially in the western part of the
range, where large portions of the country are broken up into a mass
of stupendous, rock-walled ridges and all but bottomless chasms. A
river generally flows in the barrancas between narrow banks, which
occasionally disappear alltogether, leaving the water to rush between
abruptly ascending mountain sides.

As far as the first of the large barrancas was concerned, near the top
of which we were standing, we could for some little distance follow
its windings toward the west, and its several tributaries could be made
out in the landscape by the contours of the ridges. Barranca de Cobre
is known in its course by different names. Near the mine of Urique
(the Tarahumare word for barranca), it is called Barranca de Urique,
and here its yawning chasm is over 4,000 feet deep. Even the intrepid
Jesuit missionaries at first gave up the idea of descending into it,
and the Indians told them that only the birds knew how deep it was. The
traveller as he stands at the edge of such gaps wonders whether it
is possible to get across them. They can in a few places be crossed,
even with animals if these are lightly loaded, but it is a task hard
upon flesh and blood.

It was in these barrancas, that I was to find the gentile (pagan)
Indians I was so anxious to meet. From where I stood looking at it
the country seemed forgotten, lonely, untouched by human hand. Shrubs
and trees were clinging to the rocky brows of the barrancas, and
vegetation, could be seen wherever there was sufficient earth on the
mountain and the sides of the ravines; but, on the whole, the country
looked rather barren and lifeless.

Still, it did not take us long to find traces of human beings. Our
tents were pitched on an old trinchera. Cut deep into a rough ledge
not far off was the rough carving of a serpent, sixty feet long, that
must have been left here by a race antecedent to the Tarahumares. And
a little further off we came upon the ruins of a modern Tarahumare
house. It seems as if the Indians must extract a living out of the
rocks and stones; though when we got down into the barranca and into
the ravines we came upon patches of land that could be cultivated; and
there were some small areas of pasture, although extremely precipitous.

The first thing to do was to despatch the guide into the valleys
and gorges below, which from our camping place could not be seen,
only surmised, that he might persuade some Tarahumares to act as
carriers on an excursion I contemplated making through the region. In
a couple of days a party was made up, consisting, besides myself, of
Mr. Taylor, the guide, two Mexicans, and five Tarahumares with their
gobernador. Bundles weighing from forty to seventy-five pounds were
placed on the backs of the Indians and the Mexicans; even the guide
took a small pack, though it would have been beneath the dignity
of the gobernador to take a load upon himself. But his company was
valuable on account of his great influence with his people.

It was an exceedingly interesting excursion of several days'
duration. Owing to the presence of the gobernador the Indians received
us well. Nobody ran away, though all were extremely shy and bashful,
and the women turned their backs towards us. But after a while they
would offer us beans from a pot cooking over the fire. They served
them in earthenware bowls with a couple of tortillas (corn cakes). In
another vessel, which they passed around among us, they offered
the flavouring, coarse salt and some small chile (Spanish peppers),
which vegetable is cultivated and much relished by the Tarahumares.

But the most interesting dish was iskiate, which I now tasted for the
first time. It is made from toasted corn, which is mixed with water
while being ground on the metate until it assumes the consistency
of a thick soup. Owing to certain fresh herbs that are often added
to the corn, it may be of a greenish color, but it is always cool
and tempting. After having tramped for several days over many miles
of exceedingly rough country, I arrived late one afternoon at a cave
where a woman was just making this drink. I was very tired and at a
loss how to climb the mountain-side to my camp, some 2,000 feet above;
but after having satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate,
offered by the hospitable Indians, I at once felt new strength,
and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without
much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so
strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery,
interesting to mountain climbers and others exposed to great physical
exertions. The preparation does not, however, agree with a sedentary
life, as it is rather indigestible.

The dress of the Tarahumare is always very scanty, even where he
comes in contact with the whites. One may see the Indians in the
mining camps, and even in the streets of the city of Chihuahua,
walking about naked, except for a breech-cloth of coarse, home-spun
woollen material, held up around the waist with a girdle woven in
characteristic designs. Some may supplement this national costume
with a tunic, or short poncho; and it is only right to add that most
of the men are provided with well-made blankets, which their women
weave for them, and in which they wrap themselves when they go to
feasts and dances. The hair, when not worn loose, is held together
with a home-woven ribbon, or a piece of cotton cloth rolled into a
band; or with a strip of palm leaf. Often men and women gather the
hair in the back of the head, and men may also make a braid of it.

The women's toilet is just as simple. A scrimpy woollen skirt is
tied around the waist with a girdle, and over the shoulders is worn
a short tunic, with which, however, many dispense when at home in the
barranca. The women, too, have blankets, though with them they are not
so much the rule as with the men. Still, mothers with babies always
wear blankets, to support the little ones in an upright position
on their backs, the blanket being tightly wrapped around mother and
child. The women nowadays generally wear sandals of the usual Mexican
cowhide pattern, like the men; but there is ample evidence to prove
that such was not the case in former times.

The people are, for Indians, not especially fond of  ornaments, and
it is a peculiar fact that mirrors have no special attraction for
them. They do not like to look at themselves. The women often wear
ear-ornaments made of triangular pieces of shell attached to bead
strings, or deck themselves with strings of glass beads, of which the
large red and blue ones are favourites; and necklaces made from the
seed of the _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_ are used by both sexes, chiefly for
medicinal purposes. The men wear only single strings of these seeds,
while the necklaces of the women are wound several times around the
neck. The shaman, or medicine-man--a priest and doctor combined--is
never without such a necklace when officiating at a feast. The seed
is believed to possess many medicinal qualities, and for this reason
children, too, often wear it.

Peasant women in Italy and Spain use the same seed as a protection
against evil, and even American women have been known to put strings
of them on teething children as a soothing remedy.

An important fact I established is that the Indians in the barrancas,
in this part of the country, use something like trincheras for the
cultivation of their little crops. To obtain arable land on the
mountain slopes the stones are cleared from a convenient spot and
utilised in the construction of a wall below the field thus made. The
soil is apt to be washed away by heavy rains, and the wall not only
prevents what little earth there is on the place from being carried
off, but also catches what may come from above, and in this way
secures sufficient ground to yield a small crop. Fields thus made
can even be ploughed. On the slopes of one arroyo I counted six such
terraces, and in the mountainous country on the Rio Fuerte, toward
the State of Sinaloa, chile, beans, squashes, _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_,
and bananas are raised on trincheras placed across the arroyos that
run down the hills. There they have the form of small terraces,
and remind one of similar ones found farther north as ancient ruins,
to such an extent that one might suppose that the Tarahumares have
made use of the relics of antiquity. Mr. Hartman in one long arroyo
thereabouts observed four at some distance from one another. They were
from four to ten feet high, and as broad as the little arroyo itself,
some eight to sixteen feet.

Chapter VIII

    The Houses of the Tarahumares--American Cave-dwellings of
    To-day--Frequent Changes of Abode by the Tarahumare--The Patio
    or Dancing Place--The Original Cross of America--Tarahumare

The houses we saw on this excursion were of remarkable uniformity, and
as the people have had very little, if any, contact with the whites,
it is reasonable to infer that these structures are original with
them. On a sloping mesa six families were living in such buildings
not far from one another.

These houses have a frame of four forked poles, planted firmly into
the ground, to form a square or rectangle. Two joists are laid over
them parallel to each other. Under one of them, in the front of the
house, is the doorway. The joists support the fiat roof of loose pine
boards, laid sometimes in a double layer. The rear joist is often a
foot or so lower than the front one, which causes the roof to slant
towards the back. The boards may simply be logs split in two and with
the bark taken off. The walls are made by leaning boards, ends up,
against the roof, while the door consists of a number of boards,
which are removed or replaced according to convenience. In most
instances the doorway is protected from the outside against wind
and weather by a lean-to. Access to the house is gained sideways,
even where a small vestibule is built, extra poles being driven in
the ground to support the porch-roof boards.

While this style of architecture may be said to be typical throughout
the Tarahumare country, there are many variations. Generally attempts
are made to construct a more solid wall, boards or poles being laid
lengthwise, one on top of the other, and kept in place by sliding the
ends between double uprights at the corners. Or they may be placed ends
up along the side of the house; or regular stone walls may be built,
with or without mud for mortar. Even in one and the same house all
these kinds of walls may be observed. A type of house seen throughout
the Tarahumare country, as well as among the pagan Tarahumares in
the Barranca de Cobre, is shown in the illustration.

It is also quite common to see a frame work of only two upright poles
connected with a horizontal beam, against which boards are leaning
from both sides, making the house look like a gable roof set on the
ground. There are, however, always one or more logs laid horizontally
and overhung by the low eaves of the roof, while the front and rear
are carelessly filled in with boards or logs, either horizontally or
standing on ends. In the hot country this style of house may be seen
thatched with palm-leaves, or with grass.

The dwelling may also consist only of a roof resting on four
uprights (_jacal_); or it may be a mere shed. There are also regular
log-cabins encountered with locked corners, especially among the
southern Tarahumares. Finally, when a Tarahumare becomes civilised,
he builds himself a house of stone and mud, with a roof of boards,
or thatch, or earth.

It is hardly possible to find within the Tarahumare country two houses
exactly alike, although the main idea is always easily recognised. The
dwellings, though very airy, afford sufficient protection to people
who are by no means sensitive to drafts and climatic changes. The
Tarahumares do not expect their houses to be dry during the wet
season, but are content when there is some dry spot inside. If the
cold troubles them too much, they move into a cave. Many of the
people do not build houses at all, but are permanent or transient
cave-dwellers. This fact I thoroughly investigated in subsequent
researches, extending over a year and a half, and covering the entire
width and breadth of the Tarahumare country.

In this land of weather-worn porphyry and inter-stratified sandstone,
natural caves are met with everywhere, in which the people find a
convenient and safe shelter. Although it may be said that houses are
their main habitations, still the Tarahumares live in caves to such
an extent that they may be fitly called the American cave-dwellers
of the present age.

Caves were man's first abode, and they are found in certain geological
formations in all parts of the globe. Human imagination always peopled
the deep, dark caverns with terrible monsters guarding treasures, and
legends and fairy tales still cling about many of them. Shallow caves,
however, have from the earliest time attracted man to seek shelter in
them, just as the animals took refuge in them against the inclemency
of the weather. Prehistoric man in Europe was a cave-dweller, and
modern investigations have given us a clear and vivid picture of the
life of the ancient race, who existed in France while the mammoth
and the reindeer were roaming over the plains of western Europe.

As civilisation advanced, under changing climatic conditions, and as
man began to improve his tools and implements, he deserted the caves
and preferred to live in houses of his own building. But a long time
after the caves had been abandoned as abodes of the living, they were
still used for interring the dead. Do we not remember the story told
in Genesis, how Abraham bought for 400 shekels a cave from Ephron
that he might bury Sarah there and have a family tomb?

The cave-dwellers of France vanished many thousand years ago; but
there are yet in several parts of the globe, for instance, in Tunis
and in Central Africa, races who still adhere to the custom of living
in caves, although their condition of life is different from that of
the antediluvian cave-dwellers.

In Mexico the cave-dwellers are in a transitory state, most of them
having adopted houses and sheds; but many of them are still unable to
perceive why they should give up their safe and comfortable natural
shelters for rickety abodes of their own making. Padre Juan Fonte,
the pioneer missionary to the Tarahumares, who penetrated into their
country eighteen leagues from San Pablo, toward Guachochic, speaks
of the numerous caves in that country and relates that many of them
were divided into small houses. Other records, too, allude to the
existence of cave-dwellers in that part of the Sierra Madre. Still,
the fact of there being cave-dwellers to-day in Mexico was until
recently known only to the Mexicans living in their neighbourhood,
who regard this condition of things as a matter of course.

While most of the Tarahumares live permanently on the highlands,
a great many of them move for the winter down into the barranca,
on account of its warmer temperature, and, if they have no house,
they live wherever they find a convenient shelter, preferably a cave;
but for want of better accommodations they content themselves with
a rock shelter, or even a spreading tree, This would suit them well
enough were it not that, at least in recent years, there has not been
rain enough in the barrancas to enable the people to raise there the
corn they need. They therefore go back to the highlands in March,
because in the higher altitudes rainfall can be depended upon with
more certainty. The general custom among the Indians living near to
a barranca is to plant two crops of corn; one in early March on the
crest, and the other one in June, at the beginning of the rainy season,
down in the barranca, and after having harvested at both places they
retire to their winter quarters to enjoy themselves. Sometimes the cave
of a family is not more than half a mile from their house, and they
live alternately in one or the other abode, because the Tarahumares
still retain their nomadic instincts, and even those living permanently
on the highlands change their domicile very frequently. One reason
is that they follow their cattle; another that they improve the land
by living on it for a while; but there are still other reasons for
moving so much about, which are known only to themselves. In summer
many people leave their caves on account of the scorpions, tarantulas,
and other pests that infest them.

In front of the entrance to the cave there is generally a wall of
stone, or of stone and mud, raised to the height of a man's chest, as
a protection against wind and weather, wild beasts, etc. The cave is
fitted up just like the houses, with grinding stone, earthen jars and
bowls, baskets, gourds, etc, The fire is always in the middle, without
hearth or chimney, and the jars in which the food is cooked rest on
three stones. A portion of the ground is levelled and made smooth for
the family to sleep on. As often as not there are skins spread out
on the floor. Sometimes the floor space is extended by an artificial
terrace in front of the cave. In a few cases the floor is plastered
with adobe, and I have seen one cave in which the sides, too, were
dressed in the same way. Generally there are one or two store-houses
in the caves, and these constitute the chief improvement. Of course,
there are a good many caves where there are no storehouses; still they
are the striking feature of the cave. A few times I found walls of
stone and mud erected inside of the cave, breast high, to partition
off one or two rooms for the use of the family, as well as for the
goats and sheep. Often, inclosures are built of wooden fences for
the domesticated animals and occupy the greater part of the cave.

The largest inhabited cave I have seen was nearly a hundred feet in
width and from twenty to forty feet in depth. If caves are at all deep,
the Indians live near the mouth. They never excavate caves, nor do they
live in dug-outs. I heard of one arroyo, where six inhabited caves,
only thirty or fifty yards apart, can be seen at one time; but this
is a rare case. Generally they are farther apart, maybe a hundred
yards to a mile, or more; and that suits the Tarahumares very well,
each family preferring to live by itself.

In one place I saw a cave, or rather a shelter under a big boulder,
utilised as a dwelling; and here a kind of parapet had been built of
stone gravel, terrace fashion, to enlarge the area of the cave floor.

Inhabited caves are never found in inaccessible places, as is the
case with cliff-dwellings in the southwestern part of the United
States. Where caves are difficult of access, the Indians may place
a wooden ladder, or rather, a notched tree trunk, which is the
national style of staircase. Once I saw steps cut into the soft "rock"
(solidified volcanic ash), leading up to a dwelling. There was also
a kind of settee cut out of the cave-wall.

Many of the caves are remarkably symmetrical in shape, and naturally
quite comfortable. Caves may be found in the arroyos in the highlands,
as well as in the barrancas. If I were to designate a region where
they are more plentiful than elsewhere, I should mention the country
from Carichic towards Urique, and also to the north and west of
Norogachic. Many caves have within the memory of man been permanently
abandoned, owing to the occupancy of the land by the Mexicans, as
the Indians dislike to be near the whites.

The Tarahumares are not the only tribe still clinging to caves. As we
have seen, the Pimas, too, are, to a limited extent, cave-dwellers,
and the same is the case with the northern Tepehuanes, as well as
with the allied Huarogios in their small area.

Are these cave-dwellers related to the ancient cliff-dwellers in the
southwestern part of the United States and northern Mexico? Decidedly
not. Their very aversion to living more than one family in a cave
and their lack of sociability mark a strong contrast with the
ancient cliff-dwellers, who were by nature gregarious. The fact
that the people live in caves is in itself extremely interesting,
but this alone does not prove any connection between them and the
ancient cliff-dwellers. Although the Tarahumare is very intelligent,
he is backward in the arts and industries. It is true that the women
weave admirable designs in girdles and blankets, but this seems
to be the utmost limit of their capabilities. In the caves they
sometimes draw with ochre clumsy figures of animals and women, and
on some rocks may be seen outlines of feet scratched with stone "in
order to leave their imprint in this world when they die." Tarahumare
pottery is exceedingly crude as compared with the work found in the
old cliff-dwellings, and its decoration is infantile as contrasted
with the cliff-dwellers' work. The cliff-dwellers brought the art of
decoration to a comparatively high state, as shown in the relics found
in their dwellings. But the cave-dweller of to-day shows no suggestion
of such skill. Moreover, he is utterly devoid of the architectural
gift which resulted in the remarkable rock structures of the early
cliff-dwellers. These people as far as concerns their cave-dwelling
habits cannot be ranked above troglodytes.

The Tarahumare never lives all his life in one house or cave;
nor will he, on the other hand, leave it forever. He rarely stays
away from it for more than two or three years. A family, after
inhabiting a house for a time may suddenly decide to move it, even
if it is built of stone. The reason is not always easy to tell. One
man moved his house because he found that the sun did not strike it
enough. After a death has occurred in a dwelling, even though it was
that of a distant relative incidentally staying with the family, the
house is destroyed, or the cave permanently abandoned; and many other
superstitious apprehensions of one kind or another may thus influence
the people. Very often a man moves for the sake of benefiting the
land, and after tearing down his house he immediately plants corn
on the spot on which the house stood. A family may thus change its
abode several times a year, or once a year, or every other year. The
richest man in the Tarahumare country, now dead, had five caves,
and moved as often as ten times in one year.

A never absent feature of the Tarahumare habitation, be it house or
cave, is a level, smooth place in front of it. This is the dancing
place, or patio, on which he performs his religious exercises, and
he may have more than one. The formation of the land may even oblige
him to build terraces to obtain space enough for his religious dances.

On this patio, which measures generally about ten yards in every
direction, one, two, or three crosses are planted, as the central
object of all ceremonies (except those in the cult of the sacred cactus
híkuli [3]). The cross is generally about a foot high; sometimes it
stands two feet above ground. It is made of two sticks of unequal
length, preferably sticks of pine wood, tied together in the form of
the Latin cross. I saw two crosses raised outside of a man's house,
which were formed by the natural growth of small pine trees, and
these were four feet high. The shamans, for their curing, use small
crosses--three or four inches long.

It is a well-known fact that on their arrival in America the Spaniards
to their amazement found Indians in possession of the cross. Omitting
here the cross of Palenque, the symbol of a tree, the tree of life,
it is safe to say that the original cross of most Mexican tribes is
the Greek cross, though the Latin was also used. To them the former
is of fundamental religious moment, as indicating the four corners
of the world; but a word for cross, or anything corresponding to
it, does not occur in the language of any of the tribes known to
me. Nevertheless the cross (the Greek), to the Indian the symbol of
a cosmic idea, is pecked on the rocks, or drawn on the sand, or made
in corresponding strokes with medicine over the patient's body.

With the Tarahumare the cross is the pivot around which all his
ceremonies and festivals move. He always dances to the cross, and on
certain occasions he attaches strings of beads, ears of corn, and other
offerings to it. It is used by the heathen as well as by the Christian
Tarahumares. The question is whether this tribe has changed its form
since its contact with the whites or whether the cross was originally
like the one in use to-day. From many of the Tarahumares' utterances
I incline to think that their cross represents a human figure with
arms outstretched, and is an embodiment of Father Sun, the Perfect
Man. When two crosses are placed on the patio, the smaller stands
for the moon. This conception also explains the custom of setting up
three crosses at the principal dance, the rutubúri, the third cross
representing probably the Morning Star. Among Christianised natives
the three crosses may come gradually to mean the Trinity.

On one occasion I saw a cross at least ten feet high with a cross
beam only one foot long, raised next to two crosses of ordinary
size, all standing on the patio of a well-to-do Indian, and the
inference was easily drawn that the high cross was meant for Father
Sun. The Northern Tepehuanes say that the cross _is_ Tata Dios,
the Christianised Indian's usual designation of God.

The impression that the cross represents a human figure gains further
probability by the fact that a cross is erected on the special patio
of the dead, and I have noticed that this cross is moved in the course
of the ceremonies to the principal dancing place "to see the dancing
and drink tesvino," as the Indians explained it. Surely, this cross
represented the dead.

On this page are seen the front and rear view of a cross which is
of great interest, although its shape is evidently an exaggerated
imitation of a Catholic cross or crucifix. I came upon it in the
mountainous country east of Morelos, and the Tarahumares near the
Ranch of Colorados presented it to me. It had apparently not been made
long ago, and was painted with red ochre. The arms have been tied on
in the usual fashion with a twine of fibre, the mode of fastening it
appearing most distinctly on the back of the cross.

Seen from the front the designs on the head, or the uppermost part,
represent the Morning Star, the dots being his companions, the other
stars. But it is significant that this constellation is also called
the "eyes" of the cross. The dots on the other side of the cross are
also meant for stars, in order that, as the Indian explained to me,
Tata Dios may see the stars where they are dancing; he lives in the
stars--a belief evidently arising from Catholic influence. The human
figures painted on the cross are intended to emphasise its meaning. The
most important of these human-like contours are those directly below
the junction of the arms with the vertical stem. They are evidently
repetitions of the main cross, the arms being expressed in the crude
carvings. What the various pairs Of curved sidelines mean, I am unable
to say.

What is of more importance to the Tarahumare than his dwelling is
his store-house, which he always builds before his domicile. In fact,
his personal comfort is made secondary even to that of his domestic
animals. As a survival of the time when he had no house at all may
be noted the fact that husband and wife, after having been away on a
journey for several days or longer, do not on the first night after
their return sleep in the house or cave, but at some convenient place
near the store-house.

These store-houses are always well put together, though many of
them are not large enough to accommodate a medium-sized dog, the
Tarahumares preferring number to size. In them he stores what little
property he has beyond that in actual use, chiefly corn and beans,
some spare clothing and cotton cloth, hikuli, herbs, etc. The door of
the house is made from one or more short boards of pine wood, and is
either provided with an ingeniously constructed wooden lock, or the
boards are simply plastered up with mud along the four edges. The
Tarahumare rarely locks his house on leaving it, but he is ever
careful to fasten the door of his storehouse securely, and to break
open a store-house sealed up in the manner described is considered
the most heinous crime known to the tribe. Mexicans have committed
it and have had to pay for it with their lives.

The most common kind of store-house is from four to six feet high,
round, and built of stones and mud, with a roof of pine boards,
weighed down with earth and stones. Other store-houses of similar
size are square and built of boards with corners interlocked. They,
too, are covered with boards. These diminutive buildings are often
seen inside of caves; or else they are erected in places difficult of
access, on tops of boulders, for instance. Sometimes they are seen in
lonely places, more often, however, near the dwellings; and the little
round structures make a curious effect when erected on boulders in the
vicinity of some hut, looking, as they do, like so many diminutive
factory chimneys. They proclaim more clearly than anything else the
fact that when the people reach that stage in their development in
which they begin to till the soil, they soon become careful of the
little property they have, in marked distinction to the savage and
nomadic tribes, who are always lavish and improvident. I have seen as
many as ten store-houses of the kind described, and once even fourteen
near one dwelling, but generally one or two only are found near by.

Small caves, especially when difficult to reach and hidden from view,
may be utilised as store-houses, and are then sealed up in the same
way as the other varieties are. Sometimes regular log-houses are used.

Chapter IX

    Arrival at Batopilas--Ascent from Batopilas to the Highlands of the
    Sierra--A Tarahumare who had been in Chicago--An Old-timer--Flight
    of Our Native Guide and its Disastrous Consequences--Indians
    Burn the Grass All Over the Country--Travelling Becomes too
    Difficult for the Animals--Mr. Taylor and I Go to Zapuri--Its
    Surroundings--The Pithaya in Season.

We continued our way toward the south, crossing Barranca de Cobre
where it is 3,300 feet deep. The track we followed was fairly good,
but led along several dangerous precipices, over which two burros
rolled and were killed. The highest point we reached on the track over
the highlands south of the barranca was 8,300 feet. There seemed to
be a divide here, the climate being cool and moist, and the farthest
ranges toward the south and west enveloped in mist and fog. Although
Barranca de Batopilas is not as narrow and impressive as the barranca
we had just left, still the mighty gap, as we looked into its hazy
bottom from the highlands, presented an imposing, awe-inspiring sight.

Following the windings of the well-laid-out road we descended into the
cañon and made camp a few miles this side of the town of Batopilas. The
silver mines here, which are old and famous, were discovered in the
seventeenth century. I was cordially received by Mr. A. R. Shepherd,
the well-known mining expert, whose courtesy and kindness were much
appreciated by the members of the expedition.

My recent experience had convinced me that the only way to study
the natives properly was to live among them for a length of time,
and as such a thing was out of the question with so large a party
as I still had with me, I made up my mind to discharge as soon as
possible everybody and to remain alone.

The country was now suffering from a relentlessly scorching sun. The
heat increased as the wet season approached, and, as the animals were
getting weaker and weaker, I disposed here of about half of them, and
the number of attendants and the amount of baggage were correspondingly
reduced. On continuing the journey with the weak and hungry mules,
we found the ascent of the southern side of Barranca de Batopilas
quite laborious; but on the crest we enjoyed the fresh breeze, the
more gratefully after the enervating heat in the bottom of the cañon.

Thus we arrived at the village of Yoquibo (yokí = bluebird; ivo =
mesa: bluebird on the mesa). Here I had to stop for a few days to
reconnoitre the road. I was told that the grass had been burned
by the Indians almost as far as the ranches of Guachochic, our
main objective point. The Indians at that time (May) always burn
the grass, and the entire country is wrapped in smoke. This, they
think, is necessary to produce rain; smoke-clouds and rain-clouds,
in their opinion, bringing about the same ultimate result. But it is
exceedingly trying for travellers, man and beast. Only by accident is
some little spot of grass spared here and there, and progress becomes
almost an impossibility.

Immediately upon our arrival I went to see the gobernador, and,
strange to say, I found him engaged in teaching his young wife how
to weave. Three months ago his first wife had died of smallpox. Old
bachelors and widowers have a hard time in getting wives, because
the Tarahumare belles have a decided preference for young men. But
the wifeless Indian feels very unhappy, as it means that he has to
do all the woman's housework, which is very laborious, and therefore
thoroughly distasteful to him. By way of fascinating this young girl,
the gobernador had to exert himself to the extent of teaching her
how to make girdles and wearing apparel.

The next day this gentleman returned my call, carrying his bow
and arrows. I had already learned in Batopilas that the party of
Indians who, about two years ago, had been exhibited by a now deceased
traveller as representative cave-dwellers, had been gathered mainly in
the neighbourhood of Yoquibo. My visitor had been one of the troupe,
and I was eager to find out what impression the civilised world had
made on this child of nature, who had never known anything but his
woods and his mountains. Therefore, almost my first question was,
"How did you like Chicago?" "It looks very much like here," was the
unexpected reply. What most impressed him, it seemed, was neither the
size of the city nor its sky-scrapers, though he remembered these,
but the big water near which those people dwelt. He had liked riding
in the railroad cars, but complained that he had not had enough to
eat on the journey.

His experience on the trip had familiarised him with the white man
and his queer, incomprehensible ways, and made him something of a
philosopher. I wanted him to accompany me on my visits to the few
houses here, as the people were very shy and timid. Although he was
very much engaged, as I could see, having to look after his animals
as well as his wife, he obligingly went with me to two houses. We
saw a woman with twins; one of them a miserable-looking specimen,
suffering from lack of food.

There were also some cave-dwellings near Yoquibo, one or two of
which were occupied. In the afternoon, when I went out alone, the
people all disappeared the moment they saw me approaching, except one
group of strangers who had come to beg and did not pay any attention
to me. They were too busily engaged in making ready for the pot a
certain kind of larvae, by extracting them from the cocoon, a small
white sac of silky texture found on the strawberry tree.

The guide told me that Indians like these, who beg for food, always
return, to those who give them alms, the amount of the gift, as soon
as their circumstances allow.

Here in Yoquibo I met one of those Mexican adventurers who under
one pretext or another manage to get into the Indian villages and
cannot be routed out again. Certain of them ply some little trade,
generally that of a blacksmith, others act as "secretaries," writing
what few communications the Indians may have to send to the government
authorities; some conduct a little barter trade, exchanging cheap
cotton cloth, beads, etc., for sheep and cattle; but most of them
supply the Indians with Mexican brandy, mescal. The one in Yoquibo had
established himself in the only room left intact in the old dilapidated
vicarage, and eked out a living by selling mescal to the Indians.

This fellow's appearance, especially his unsteady, lurking eyes,
suggested the bandit. No doubt, like most of his class, he was
in hiding from the government authorities. He was something of a
hypochondriac, and among other ailments he thought he had an animal
in his stomach, which he got in there by way of a knife-stab he
had received some time ago. When he came to me to get some remedy,
he carried a rather fine rifle, and in spite of all his suffering,
real or imaginary, the bandit nature asserted itself, when I made
some complimentary remark regarding his weapon. His half-closed eyes
slurred in a crafty, guileful manner from side to side as he drawled:
"_Despues de Dios, mi rifle!"_ ("Next to God, my rifle!")

After considerable looking about, I at last found an Indian willing
to act as guide for the next stage of our journey. He was an elderly
man, and at dusk he was quietly sitting near the camp fire, eating
his supper, when the tall figure of Mr. Hartman appeared on the scene,
wrapped in a military overcoat. He probably looked to the Indian very
martial and threatening as he approached through the twilight. At any
rate, his appearance had a most unexpected effect on our guide. I
suddenly heard a noise behind me, and on looking around, I saw him
running as fast as his legs would carry him, leaving his supper,
dropping his blanket, splashing through the creek and disappearing in
the night, never to be seen again by us. He imagined that a soldier
was coming to seize and kill him; that the meat-pot in which he
was to be cooked was already on the fire, while the skulls of other
unfortunates that had been eaten were lying in a heap near one of the
tents. He alluded apparently to four skulls which I had taken out of
an ancient burial cave. In explanation I will say that some time ago
he had been arrested for some crime and had broken away from jail;
soldiers, or rather, the police, were after him, and he mistook
Mr. Hartman for one of his pursuers and ran for safety.

The incident proved somewhat unfortunate for us. In consequence
of the wild stories he told about us, the Indians, of a suspicious
nature anyway, sent messengers all over the sierra, warning the people
against the man-eaters that were coming. Our strange proceedings in
Cusarare, namely, the photographing, had already been reported and
made the Indians uneasy. The terrible experience of our runaway guide
seemed to confirm their wildest apprehensions, and the alarm spread
like wildfire, growing in terror, like an avalanche, the farther it
went. We found the ranches deserted on every hand, women and children
hiding and screaming whenever they caught a glimpse of us. At every
turn our progress was impeded. Wherever I came I was abhorred as
the man who subsisted on babies and green corn, and the prospect
of my ever gaining the confidence of the Indians was exceedingly
discouraging for the next four or five months.

Though it was impossible to secure a new guide, I still made a start
next day, following a fairly good track which leads south toward
Guachochic. Yet further obstacles presented themselves. The animals
began to give out. It was the season of the year when they change their
coats, and are in poor condition even under the best circumstances,
and mine were exhausted from lack of food. They would not eat the dry
grass, and the green pasture was still too scanty to suffice for their
maintenance. The information that the natives had burned all the grass
proved correct to its fullest extent, so there was nothing for me to
do but to establish a camp, scarcely a day's journey off, at Tasajisa,
where there was some pasture along the ridges that had as yet escaped
the fire of the Indians. Leaving the larger part of my outfit and
about half of my mules in charge of my chief packer, Mr. Taylor and
I continued the journey with the best and strongest of the animals,
making a circuitous tour to the little mining town of Zapuri, in the
neighbourhood of which were some caves I wanted to investigate.

After a day's journey we turned westward and got beyond the range
of the fires. Turkeys were seen close to our camp and appeared
plentiful; I also saw a giant woodpecker, but just as I got ready
to shoot, it flew away with a great whirr of its wings. We soon
began to descend, and after a long and fatiguing day's travel over
cordons and sierras, and through a wide barranca surrounded by
magnificent towering mountains, we arrived, late in the afternoon,
at Zapuri. The superintendent of the mine, to whom I brought a letter
of introduction from the owner of the property, received us with
cordial hospitality. Here the climate was splendid; the nights were
just pleasantly cool, the mornings deliciously calm; they were all
the more enjoyed after the windy weather of the sierra.

Immediately upon my arrival here I had a chance, through the courtesy
of the superintendent, to secure a Mexican and some strong mules,
which took Mr. Taylor over to Parral on his way back to the United
States. Mr. Hartman remained with the expedition two months longer,
to join me again the following year for a few months. I also got a
guide for myself and made an excursion to the caves in the neighbouring
barrancas. After we had gone some ten miles over very bad roads, we
came to the home of an old Tarahumare woman, who was reputed to be very
rich. Knowing Mexican exaggeration in this regard, I computed that the
twelve bushels of pesos she was supposed to have hidden might amount,
perhaps, to $50 or $100 Mexican money. Whatever her wealth was, she
showed it only in a lavish display of glass beads around her scrawny
neck; they must have weighed at least six or eight pounds. But then,
her homestead was composed mainly of four or five substantial circular

The wealth of the Tarahumare consists in his cattle. He is well
off when he has three or four head of cattle and a dozen sheep and
goats. There is one instance where a man had as many as forty head
of cattle, but this was a rare exception. They rarely keep horses,
and never pigs, which destroy their cornfields; and are believed,
besides, to be Spaniards (_Gachupines_). Pork,  though sometimes eaten,
is never sacrificed. No tame turkeys are kept, but occasionally the
people have some hens, and in rare cases a family may keep a turtle
dove or a tame quail. When a man has oxen, he is able to plough a
large piece of land and raise enough corn to sell some. But corn is
seldom converted into money.

Here we packed the most necessary things on our best mule, and with
the guide and two Indians, who carried bundles, we descended to the
river. The road was fairly good, but as we approached the river we
came to several bad places. In one of these the mule's aparejo struck
a rock, which caused the animal to lose its foothold. Unresistingly
it slid down the steep slope for about seven yards and came against a
tree, forefeet on one side, hindfeet on the other. The boy who led it,
eager to do something, managed to get the halter off, so that there
was nothing by which to hold the animal except its ears. I held fast
to one of these, steadying myself on the loose soil by grabbing a root
sticking out of the ground. The intelligent animal lay perfectly still
over the trunk. Finally I managed to get out my bowie-knife and cut
the ropes off the pack, which rolled down the hill, while the mule,
relieved of its bulky burden, scrambled to its feet and climbed up. It
was born and bred in the barranca, otherwise it would never have been
able to accomplish this feat.

Toward evening we arrived at the section of a barranca called Ohuivo
(Oví = return, or "the place to which they returned") on the Rio
Fuerte. The Indians here, although many of them have been affected
by the nearness of the mines, are reticent and distrustful, and our
guide evidently had not much influence with them. They refused to
be photographed, and even the gobernador ran away from the terrible

During the several days I remained in this valley the heat never
varied from 100°, day and night, which was rather trying and made
doing anything an exertion. The country looked scorched, except for
the evergreen cacti, the most prominent of which was the towering
pithaya. Its dark-green branches stand immovable to wind and storm. It
has the best wild fruit growing in the north-western part of Mexico,
and as this was just the season when it ripens, the Indians from all
around had come to gather it. It is as large as an egg and its flesh
soft, sweet, and nourishing. As the plant grows to a height of twenty
to thirty-five feet, the Indians get the fruit down with a long reed,
one end of which has four prongs, and gather it in little crates of
split bamboo, which they carry by straps on their backs. It is a sight
to see men, women, and children start out gaily at daybreak, armed
with slender sticks, climbing rugged heights with grace and agility,
to get the pithaya, which tastes better when plucked at dawn, fresh
and cool, than when gathered during the heat of the day. The fruit,
which lasts about a month, comes when it is most needed, at the height
of the dry season (June), when the people have a regular feasting-time
of it. Mexicans also appreciate the pithaya, and servants frequently
abscond at that time, in order to get the fruit. The beautiful white
flowers of the plant are never found growing on the north side of
the stem.

With the Indians, the pithaya enters, of course, into religion,
and the beautiful macaw (guacamaya), which revels in the fruit,
is associated with it in their beliefs. The bird arrives from its
migration to southern latitudes when the pithaya is in bloom, and
the Indians think that it comes to see whether there will be much
fruit; then it flies off again to the coast, to return in June,
when the fruit is ripe. The following gives the trend of one of the
guacamaya songs: "The pithaya is ripe, let us go and get it. Cut off
the reeds! [4] The guacamaya comes from the Tierra Caliente to eat
the first fruits. From far away, from the hot country, I come when
the men are cutting the reeds, and I eat the first fruits. Why do
you wish to take the first fruits from me? They are my fruits. I eat
the fruit, and I throw away the skin. I get filled with the fruit,
and I go home singing. Remain behind, little tree, waving as I alight
from you! I am going to fly in the wind, and some day I will return
and eat your pithayas, little tree!"

Chapter X

    Nice-looking Natives--Albinos--Ancient Remains in Ohuivo--Local
    Traditions, the Cocoyomes, etc.--Guachochic--Don Miguel and
    "The Postmaster"--A Variety of Curious Cures--Gauchochic
    Becomes My Head-quarters--The Difficulty of Getting an Honest
    Interpreter--False Truffles--The Country Suffering from a Prolonged
    Drought--A Start in a Northwesterly Direction--Arrival at the
    Pueblo of Norogachic.

Followed the river a day's journey up and noticed some small tobacco
plantations on the banks. I met some good-looking people, who had come
from Tierras Verdes, the locality adjoining on, the south. Their
movements were full of action and energy. Their skins showed a
tinge of delicate yellow, and as the men wore their hair in a braid,
they had a curious, oriental appearance. The women looked well in
black woollen skirts and white tunics. The people from that part of
the country are known for their pretty, white, home-made blankets,
and it was evident that in those inaccessible parts the Indians had
still something for the white man to take away.

The natives of this valley had a curious habit, when they were made
to dive for fish, of afterward throwing themselves in a row on the
sun-heated sand to warm their stomachs for a minute or two.

Near Ohuivo, in the mountains toward Morelos, there used to live a
family of ten albinos. When I was there only two survived, smallpox
having made havoc among them. Their skin was so delicate that even the
contact with their clothing irritated it. Mr. Hartman visited one of
them, an old woman who lived in a cave with her husband, a small,
dark-skinned fellow, and the two certainly were "mated, but not
matched." Her features were entirely Indian, but her complexion was
unique in Mexico, even among the white population. She reminded one
of a very blond type of Scandinavian or Irish peasantry. Her hair was
yellowish-white, but her eye-brows and -lashes were snow-white. The
face and body were white, but disfigured with large red spots and
small freckles. She kept her eyes more than half shut, and as she
was very shy it was not possible to ascertain the color of the iris;
but Mr. Hartman was assured by the husband that it was bluish.

Most of the Indians in Ohuivo live in houses. The few caves that are
occupied are not improved in any way. One cave contained ancient
habitations, and tradition says that there the Tubares had once
established themselves. The cave is nothing but a nearly horizontal
crack in the rock, situated on the southern side of the river, some
300 feet above the bottom of the valley. It runs from south-east to
north-west to a length of about 200 feet, interrupted perpendicularly
by a crevice. Entering the cave at the southernmost end I found twelve
low-walled rooms, standing singly, but closely side by side. They were
square with rounded corners. The walls were built of stone and mud and
one foot thick, and the floors were hard and smooth. A store-room, in a
good state of preservation, resembled in every detail the store-houses
used by the Tarahumares of the present day, being square and built of
stone and mud. In none of these rooms was it possible for me to stand
upright. Apart from this group, a few yards higher up in the cave,
were two small houses. The floor of the cave was getting higher and
higher. I had to crawl on my stomach for about ten yards and came
suddenly to the edge of a precipice; but a track led around it to the
other side, where I found the main portion of the houses, eighteen
in all, the largest having a side thirteen feet long, though the
others were considerably smaller. They were arranged just like those
of the first section, in one row, and were made of the same material,
except a few, which were built of adobe. In these the walls were only
eight inches thick. One of the rooms was still complete, had square
openings, and may have been a store-room. The others seem to have had
the conventional Indian apertures. In two chambers I noticed circular
spaces sunk into the floor six inches deep and about fourteen inches
in diameter. What I took to be an estufa, nineteen feet in diameter,
was found in the lowest section. Behind it was only a small cluster
of five houses higher up in the cave.

Though this is the only ancient cave-dwelling I visited in Ohuivo,
I was assured that there were several others in the neighbourhood. The
broken country around Zapuri is interesting on account of the various
traditions which, still living on the lips of the natives, refer to a
mysterious people called the Cocoyomes, regarded by some Tarahumares
as their ancient enemies, by others as their ancestors. They were
the first people in the world, were short of stature and did not
eat corn. They subsisted mainly on herbs, especially a small agave
called tshawí. They were also cannibals, devouring each other as
well as the Tarahumares. The Cocoyomes lived in caves on the high
cliffs of the sierra, and in the afternoon came down, like deer, to
drink in the rivers. As they had no axes of iron they could not cut
any large trees, and were unable to clear much land for the planting
of corn. They could only burn the grass in the arroyos in order to
get the fields ready. Long ago, when the Cocoyomes were very bad,
the sun came down to the earth and burned nearly all of them; only
a few escaped into the big caves.

Here in Zapuri the Cocoyomes had four large caves inside of which
they had built square houses of very hard adobe; in one of the caves
they had a spring. The Tarahumares often fought with them, and once,
when the Cocoyomes were together in the largest cave, which had no
spring, the Tarahumares besieged them for eight days, until all of
the Cocoyomes had perished from hunger. From such an event the name of
Zapuri may have been derived. Intelligent Mexicans, whom I consulted,
agree that it means "fight" or "contest" (Spanish, _desafio_).

From a place called Tuaripa, some thirty miles farther south, near the
border of the Tepehuane country, and in the same mountainous region,
I have the following legend, about the Cocoyomes and the serpents:

Two large serpents used to ascend from the river and go up on
the highlands to a little plain between Huerachic and Tuaripa,
and they killed and ate the Cocoyomes, returning each time to the
river. Whenever they were hungry they used to come up again. At last
an old man brought together all the people at the place where the
serpents used to ascend. Here they dug a big hole and filled it with
wood and with large stones, and made a fire and heated the stones until
they became red hot. When the serpents were seen to make their ascent
on the mountain-side, the men took hold of the stones with sticks,
and threw them into the big, wide-open mouths of the serpents, until
the monsters were so full with stones that they burst and fell dead
into the river. Even to this day may be seen the marks on the rocks
where the serpents used to ascend the mountain-side.

Once having again ascended to the highlands, I found rather level
country as far as Guachochic, some forty-five miles off by the track
I followed. The name of the place signifies "blue herons," and the
fine water-course, which originates in the many springs here, was
formerly the abode of many water-birds. The locality thus designated
is to-day a cluster of Mexican ranches, most of them belonging to one
family. There is an old church, but at present no independent Indians
live in Guachochic; the aborigines found about the place are servants
of the Mexicans.

Guachochic lies at an elevation of 7,775 feet and at the southern
end of a mesa, the largest one in the Sierra Madre del Norte, being
twelve miles long and three miles wide. Except on the southern end
this plateau is bordered with stately pine forests. Many Indians live
on the mesa and in the numerous valleys adjoining it, but they are all
"civilised"; that is, contaminated with many Mexico-Christian notions,
and have lost their pristine simplicity.

I had a letter of introduction to the principal personage in
Guachochic, Don Miguel, who enjoys the rare reputation of being just
and helpful toward the Indians; and, being a large land-owner, he is
a man of considerable influence also with his fellow-countrymen. To
those in need he lends money on liberal terms out of the pile of
silver dollars buried under the floor of his house. Robbers know
from sad experience that he is not to be trifled with. Once, when a
band of marauders had taken possession of the old adobe church and
were helping themselves to the buried cash of the inhabitants of the
ranches, he rallied the terrorised people, gave the robbers battle and
routed them effectually. He upholds authority against lawlessness,
and wants justice to have its course, except when one of his own
relatives has done the shooting--I was sorry to learn that in this
regard he was probably not beyond rebuke; but his many good deeds to
the needy and oppressed, whether Mexican or Indian, should make us
lenient toward this failing. The Indians appeal to him of their own
accord. Three ruffians once went to the house of a well-to-do Indian,
recently deceased, and told his mourning relatives that they had come
to see to the division of the property among the heirs, and that they
must have good things to eat and plenty to drink while thus occupied;
calling upon the relatives to brew plenty of beer and kill an ox. Their
orders were promptly obeyed; but in addition they charged the heirs
a fee of three oxen, one fanega of corn, and some silver money. This
struck the simple and patient Indians as rather excessive, for what
would then be left to divide between themselves? So they took their
grievance to Don Miguel to be settled. I do not know of any white
man in those parts who would have taken the trouble, as he did,
to protect the poor Indians' rights against the wily schemers.

The old gentleman was not at home when I arrived at his ranch, but
I met one of his sons, who lives at Guachochic.

"I am the postmaster," he said proudly, stepping forward and showing
me, at the same time, his credentials, which he evidently always
carried in his pocket. The mail from the lowlands to the mining
towns passes over this place, and the mail-carrier sleeps in this
house. In the course of the year he may also bring a few letters to
the inhabitants of this part of the country. We soon entered into
a conversation about postal matters, which naturally interested me
greatly, as I was anxious to communicate as often as possible with the
outside world. In spite of the great pride this man took in his office,
his notions regarding his duties were rather vague. Being desirous of
knowing what was going on among his neighbours, he had no compunction
about opening the few letters they got; not that he destroyed them
after reading them--he very coolly handed them over opened. The people
did not like this, and considered it rather high-handed on his part;
but then, what was there for them to do about it?

He said he had heard that I could cure people. When a man is called
Doctor, the Mexican peasantry expect him to possess comprehensively
all useful knowledge in the world. Looking at me for a moment, this
healthy, ruddy-cheeked man suddenly, without saying a word, took hold
of my hand and pressed it against his forehead for a little while;
then, all the time in silence, he carried it backward until my fingers
touched a small excrescence on his back. Now was the chance to find
out whatever was the matter with him!

On my next visit to his office he received me with a queer, hesitating
expression on his face, and suddenly blurted out, "Can you cut out
trousers?" For some time he had had a piece of cloth in his house,
and he said he would pay me well if I could help him to have it made
into trousers. To cure people, mend watches, repair sewing-machines,
make applejack, do tailoring, prognosticate the weather--everything
is expected from a man who comes from far away. And the good people
here are astonished at a confession of ignorance of such matters, and
take it rather personally as a lack of good-will toward them. It is
the old belief in the medicine man that still survives in the minds
of the people, and they therefore look upon doctors with much greater
respect than on other persons.

People who live outside of civilisation are thrown upon their own
resources in cases of sickness. The daughter of my Mexican guide was
confined and the coming of the afterbirth was delayed. I give here, for
curiosity's sake, a list of the various remedies applied in the case:

1. The carapace of the armadillo, ground and taken in a little
water. This is a Tarahumare remedy, said to be very effective for
the trouble mentioned.

2. The skunkwort (the herb of the skunk).

3. The patient to hold her own hair in her mouth for half an hour.

4. The wood of _Palo hediondo_, boiled.

5. _Urina viri_, half a cup. This remedy is also externally used for
cuts and bruises.

6. Fresh excrement from a black horse. A small quantity of water is
mixed with it, then pressed out through a piece of cloth and taken

7. Perspiration from a black horse. A saddlecloth, after having been
used on the horse, is put over the abdomen of the woman.

8. A decoction of the bark of the elm.

9. Pork fat.

After a number of days the patient recovered. Whether it was _propter
hoc_ or merely _post hoc_ is a matter of conjecture.

Guachochic served admirably as a central point from which excursions
in various directions could be made, as it lies in the very midst of
the Tarahumare country. It is true that the Mexicans have appropriated
all the best land round about, and their extensive and fertile ranches
lie all around Guachochic. Toward the east, in the direction of the
pueblos of Tonachic and Lagunitas, the broad strip of good arable
and pasture land as far as Parral is owned exclusively by Mexicans.

But in the immediate neighbourhood of Guachochic toward the west
and south lie the ridges and barrancas that run toward Sinaloa,
and these are inhabited by pagan Tarahumares. Toward the north the
Indians hold undisputed sway over that extensive region of mountains,
pine-covered plateaus and well-watered arroyos around the pueblos
of Norogachic, Pamachic and Nararachic, and here are found the most
independent Tarahumares that are left, who still defy the whites to
take their land away from them. They are more valiant than the rest
and not easily intimidated.

The first thing for me to do, after establishing camp near Guachochic,
was to secure strong mules and the necessary men to bring up the
outfit that had been left behind in Tasajisa, and after a week's
absence they returned with all the animals and goods intact.

Guachochic is an uninteresting place at its best, and at this season
it seemed especially dreary, on account of the crop failure from
which the sierra had been suffering for the last two years. There is
never much to get here, but now even corn and beans could hardly be
bought. It was therefore quite a treat to have a square meal with
Don Miguel, whose wife was a clever cook, and who, considering all
circumstances, kept a fair Mexican table. He could also give me some
general information about the Indians; but not only here, but in
many other parts of Mexico, I was often astonished at the ignorance
of the Mexican settlers concerning the Indians living at their very
doors. Aside from certain conspicuous practices, even intelligent
Mexicans know little of the customs, much less of the beliefs, of
the aborigines. Regarding the pagans in the barrancas, I could get
absolutely no information beyond a general depreciation of them as
savages, _bravos_ (fierce men) and _broncos_ (wild ones). One Mexican
whom I interviewed about certain caves thought that the only thing
I could be looking for was the silver possibly hidden in them, and
therefore told me that there were 12,000,000 pesos buried in a cave
near the mining town Guadalupe y Calvo, waiting to be recovered. Thus
it was exceedingly difficult in the beginning to determine just which
would be the best way to start my investigations, and all that was
left for me to do was to find out for myself where my best field was
by making extensive excursions into the domains of the Tarahumare in
company with an intelligent interpreter. And there was the rub! There
are in this part of the sierra a certain number of men who make a
living by dealing with the Indians, and who, having been born and
bred in the country, speak the difficult language of the Tarahumares
as well as the Indians themselves. But as each man operates in a
certain district and has a monopoly of the trade with the Indians
within its confines, the temptation to cheat the unsophisticated
natives out of their little property is naturally very great, and by
far the greater number of the dealers succumb to it. As soon, however,
as one of them is found out, he loses his influence with the Indians,
and to go with a man of that stamp would have been disastrous to my
purpose. The duty of the _lenguaraz_, as the interpreter is called,
is to smooth the traveller's way among the distrustful Indians with
skilful words, to get provisions, make bargains, and explain to the
Indians the purpose of his visit. Last but not least, he must obtain
all possible information from them. This may mean one day's hard work,
and the trying of his patience with many apparently futile questions
which are made to get at the Indian's real meaning. Thus it may be
understood how one is completely at the mercy of one's lenguaraz,
and how important it is for the success of an expedition to find
the right man. There is nothing else to do but to try and try again,
one after another.

The Indians near Guachochic seemed all to be depressed, poor, and
hungry. Most of their animals had died from lack of food, and the
few that had not succumbed to starvation had to be sold in exchange
for corn. A couple of Indians who were on their way to Parral to buy
wheat died of starvation before they reached their destination. The
Indians ascribed the hard times to the presence of the whites, who had
deprived them of their lands as well as of their liberty. The gods,
as they put it, were angry with the whites and refused to send rain.

In the summer, especially in July, a false truffle is found on the
highlands of Guachochic, which serves as a food to the Indians. It
grows abundantly a couple of inches below the ground, raising the earth
a little; and is found also under the limb of a fallen tree. The dogs
help in finding this fungus, and they are so fond of it that they
go of their own accord to look for it. Pigs grow fat on this food,
and coyotes, bears, and grey foxes also eat it. It is considered by
Professor W. G. Farlow as a variety of _Melanogaster variegatus_, which
he calls _Mexicanus_. It tastes like an over-ripe pear, with a flavour
of onion when one first bites into it. The ordinary _Melanogaster
variegatus_ is eaten in Europe, and esteemed for its pleasant taste.

It was disagreeable to travel during the dry season, on account of
the difficulty in getting provisions and finding pastures for the
animals. But I made up my mind to start under any circumstances on an
excursion toward the north-east, knowing that the fresh grass would
come up quickly after a few of the thunder-storms not infrequent at
that season. Toward the end of June I selected a few of my strongest
animals, and, leaving one of my Mexicans to take care of the remainder,
started out with two. As luck would have it, a heavy storm drenched
our first camp, and afterward the rain seemed almost to pursue me,
much to the delight of the Indians I visited, who had been praying and
dancing for rain for a long time. One day I had the imposing spectacle
of three thunder-storms coming up from different directions. The one
in the south sent flashes of lightning out of its mass of dark clouds
over the clear sky; but after all, not much rain resulted.

There was no difficulty in finding one's way from Guachochic to
Norogachic. At one place I noticed an Indian trail leading up a ridge
apparently consisting of volcanic tuff. To facilitate the ascent,
steps, now worn and old, had been cut for a distance of a couple of
hundred feet. I made my way among the Indian ranches to Norogachic,
the residence of the only priest living at present in the Tarahumare
country. The name of the place contains an allusion to a certain rock
in the vicinity. There is another priest who pays some attention to
the Tarahumares, but he lives in Nonoava, and makes only annual visits
to baptise infants or marry their elders who wish for the blessings
of the Church.

Chapter XI

    A Priest and His Family Make the Wilderness Comfortable for
    Us--Ancient Remains Similar to those Seen in Sonora--The Climate
    of the Sierra--Flora and Fauna--Tarahumare Agriculture--Ceremonies
    Connected with the Planting of Corn--Deterioration of Domestic
    Animals--Native Dogs of Mexico.

Called on the padre and found him to be a very social, nice,
energetic-looking person with a tinge of the "red man" in his veins.

He complained to me that the Indians were lazy about coming to
mass. None of them paid taxes, and there was no way of forcing
them. Nearly all of them he considered heathens, and only about a
thousand came to the feasts. They arrive in the village on the evening
before, and hear vespers. Then they give themselves up to drinking,
and on the feast day proper are not in a condition to go to church.

He thinks there are some great men among the Tarahumares, but that,
their mental faculties being entirely uncultivated, they are, as it
were, rough diamonds. In the padre's opinion not only all the Indians,
but also the Mexicans living' among them, will soon relapse into
paganism altogether.

Living under rough conditions as he does, it is a lucky thing for
the padre that his physique is equal to emergencies. Once at the
neighbouring village of Tonachic (= where there are pillars) he
admonished the people, in a powerful sermon, to mend their ways. As
they were coming out of the church, a scoundrel who resented the
charges attacked him with a stick, but the padre managed to disarm
him and gave him such a sound thrashing with his assailant's own
weapon that the latter had to keep his bed for a fortnight.

He showed me his stately old adobe church, built in missionary
times. The ceiling, however, was infested with myriads of bats,
the smell of which was quite sickening, and I was glad to get out
again. With him in this uttermost outpost of Christendom lived
his aged mother and six sisters, and they treated us with all the
hospitality their very limited means permitted. We especially enjoyed
their home-made macaroni.

In the family of the good priest lived a little Indian orphan girl,
about five years old, as nice and sweet a child as one might wish to
see. He was teaching her how to read and write, and she had learned
her letters in two months.

The padre, good-natured to officiousness, helped me to get Indians
to be photographed, fie also would insist upon arranging them before
the camera. His efforts, however, were directed more toward achieving
artistic triumph than scientific truth, and he wanted, for instance,
to decorate the Indians with peacock feathers. He yielded, however,
to my suggestion that turkey feathers would be more appropriate,
and straightway ordered one of his turkeys to be caught and deprived
of some of its tail feathers. The only way in which I could show
my appreciation of the disinterested kindness of the family was by
photographing them, too.

It was a new sensation to them, and the ladies asked to have it done
next day, as they wanted to arrange their hair and prepare themselves

After them it was the turn of the presidente of the village "to look
pleasant," but at this juncture the camera met with an accident. The
ring holding the lens broke and fell out. This happening miles away
from civilisation was decidedly annoying. But the sisters proved
themselves equal to the occasion. Their father having been a tinsmith,
they had picked up the trade and had tools; and the ring was soldered
on so well that it lasted until I returned to the United States the
following year.

Norogachic is situated in the most populous part of the Tarahumare
country, and its presidente exercises authority over the large
surrounding district. He told me that his municipality counted
4,168 souls, among them about 300 Mexicans. With the help of a
very intelligent Mexican I made a rough calculation of the number
of Indians belonging to Tonachic and Guachochic, next neighbours
of Norogachic, and estimated in the former 350, and in the latter
250 families. Counting each family as consisting of eight members,
this would give us a population of 4,800. Thus the most populous
part of the Tarahumare country, including the three municipalities
of Norogachic, Tonachic, and Guachochic, would contain a population
of about 8,500 Indians,

As the presidente of Norogachic is an honourable man and speaks the
native language, he exercised great influence over them, and on one
occasion, when they had gathered in large numbers and threatened to
avenge some abuse, he was able to avert disaster. Nature had endowed
him with the doubtful blessing of bloodshot eyes, a feature generally
attributed to powerful sorcerers, and this was perhaps more a point
in his favour than otherwise with the Indians.

One day he took us to the top of a hill where there were some stones
set in circles, about one foot above and half a foot under the
ground. They reminded us of similar stone arrangements we had come
upon in Sonora, but these were larger and more primitive. Altogether
there were nine circles, varying in size from nine to thirteen feet in
diameter. One, however, measured only five feet across, and the stones
forming it were fully two feet above the ground. Close by was another
similar small circle, and some little distance off still another. On a
small mesa I found a flint arrow-point. There were also some potsherds
there, but of the same kind as those used by the people of to-day.

The natives rightly count only three seasons--the dry, the rainy,
and the winter. The first lasts from March till June, and is very
warm and windy. Throughout July and August one can generally count on
thunder-storms and heavy rains, while the mornings are bright. The
rains then rarely extend over a large territory, but are confined
to local showers, a circumstance very annoying to the agricultural
inhabitants, who often see dark clouds rolling up, apparently full
of moisture, yet resulting in nothing but gusts of wind. A ridge may
change the course of the clouds. Sometimes one valley may be flooded
with rain, while not far away the heat is drying up everything. During
September and October more constant rains occur, and may last more
or less for a week at a time.

In the beginning of the wet season (July and August) the rains come
from the south-west, but later on north-eastern winds bring rain. In
winter there are constant winds from the south-east to the north,
somewhat trying until one gets used to them. Snow is by no means
unknown, and Indians have been known to freeze to death when caught
out intoxicated.

The climate in the sierra, although not so pleasant on account of the
constant winds, is extremely salubrious, the heat never exceeding 97°
F., while the nights are deliciously cool. Lung diseases are here
unknown. When I asked an old American doctor in Guadalupe y Calvo
about his experience in regard to the health of the people, he said,
"Well, here in the mountains they are distressingly healthy. Despite a
complete defiance of every sanitary arrangement, with the graveyards,
the sewers, and a tannery at the river's edge, no diseases originate
here. When cholera reached the mountains some years ago, nobody
died from it. The people simply took a bath in Mexican fashion,
and recovered." Down in the barrancas, however, where the heat often
becomes excessive, the climate is far from healthy, and I have seen
even Indians ill with fever and ague, contracted generally during
the rainy season.

Between these two extremes, on the slopes of the sierra, toward
the warm country, at an elevation of 5,000 feet, I found the most
delightful climate I ever knew. It was like eternal spring, the
air pure and the temperature remarkably even. There is a story of
a Mexican woman, who, settling in this part of the country, broke
her thermometer because the mercury never moved and she therefore
concluded that it was out of order. The pleasantness of the climate
struck me particularly on one occasion, after a prolonged stay in
the invigorating though windy climate of the sierra. I had caught a
cold the night before, and was not feeling very well as I dozed on
the back of my mule while it worked its way down the mountain-side,
but the sleep and the delightful balmy air made me soon feel well
again. At times a mild zephyr played around us, but invariably died
out about sunset. The night was delightfully calm, toward morning
turning slightly cooler, and there was nothing to disturb my sleep
under a big fig-tree but the bits of figs that were thrown down by
the multitudes of bats in its branches. They were gorging themselves
on the fruit, just as we had done the afternoon before.

Journeying on the pine-clad highlands, the traveller finds nothing to
remind him that he is in the southern latitudes, except an occasional
glimpse of an agave between rocks and the fantastic cacti, which,
although so characteristic of Mexican vegetation, are comparatively
scarce in the high sierra. The nopal cactus, whose juicy fruit,
called tuna, and flat leaf-like joints are an important article of
food among the Indians, is found here and there, and is often planted
near the dwellings of the natives. There are also a few species of
_Echinocactus_ and _Mammilaria_, but on the whole the cacti form no
conspicuous feature in the higher altitudes of the sierra.

Along the streamlets which may be found in the numerous small
valleys we met with the slender ash trees, beside alders, shrubs,
_Euonymus_ with brilliant red capsules, willows, etc. Conspicuous in
the landscape was still the madroña, with its pretty, strawberry-like,
edible berries.

Flowers on the whole are not abundant in the sierra. The modest
yellow _Mimulus_ along the water-courses is the first to come and the
last to go. Various forms of columbine (_Aquilegia_) and meadow rue
(_Thalictrum_) should also be remembered. In August and September I
have seen the sloping hills of the sierra north-west of the pueblo
of Panalachic (Banalachic; banalá = face, _i. e_., the outline of a
prominent rock near by), covered with large crimson flowers, and also
certain yellow ones, called _baguis_, making the country appear like
a garden. I noticed in the same locality two kinds of lovely lilies,
one yellow and one containing a single large red flower. The Tarahumare
have names for all these plants.

Before all, however, should be mentioned the carmine-red
_Amaryllis_. Like the crocus and the snowdrops of northern climates
it appears before the grass is green. It is a perfect treat to the
eye to meet now and then in this dry and sandy country, and at such
a chilly elevation, this exquisitely beautiful flower, which is
here appreciated only by the humming-birds. Edible plants, species
of _Mentha, Chenopodium, Cirsium_, for instance, and the common
water-cress, are, at a certain time of the year, numerous; but fruits
and berries are rare, blackberries being the most common ones.

Animal life is not particularly plentiful in the sierra. Still, deer,
bears, and mountain lions are fairly common, and there are many kinds
of squirrels and rats. The jaguar (_felis onza_) is found now and then
on the summits of the barrancas. Eagles, hawks, turkeys, blackbirds,
and crows are the most noticeable birds. The turkey is called by
the Tarahumares, tshiví; by the Mexicans of the sierra of Chihuahua,
_guajolote_; while farther south he is designated _cocono_. Now and
then the brilliant green trogon is met with.

There are many species of woodpeckers, all familiar to and named by
the Tarahumares. The giant woodpecker is seen in the more remote parts,
but it is on the point of being exterminated, because the Tarahumares
consider his one or two young such a delicacy that they do not hesitate
to cut down even large trees to get at the nests. The Mexicans shoot
them because their plumage is thought to be beneficial to health. It
is held close to the ears and the head in order to impart its supposed
magnetism and keep out the maleficent effects of the wind. In the
pairing season these birds keep up a chattering noise, which to my
ears was far from disagreeable, but very irritating to a Mexican whom
I employed. He used to shoot the birds because they annoyed him.

Corn is the most important agricultural product of the Tarahumares. The
average crop of a family may be estimated at six or twelve fanegas. One
exceptionally rich Tarahumare, now dead, is said to have raised as
much as four hundred fanegas a year, but this was a fact unique in the
history of the tribe. The people also raise beans, squashes, chile,
and tobacco, all on an exceedingly small scale. On the highlands,
the primitive plough already described (page 121) is still used
sometimes, though it is rapidly being superseded by ploughs of Mexican
pattern. In the arroyos and barrancas, where the condition of the
land makes ploughing impossible, the Indians use the ancient mode
of agriculture, still in vogue among remote natives of Mexico and
called _coamillar_. They cut down the trees, clear a piece of land
from brushwood, and leave it in this condition until just before the
wet season sets in. Then they burn the wood, which by that time is
well dried up, and plant the corn in the ashes. They simply make a
hole in the earth with a stick, drop a few grains of corn into it,
and close it up with the foot. Of the usual number of grains I am
not aware. The Tepehuanes use four. Their hoes are generally bought
from the Mexicans or else home-made, the natural knotted growths of
tree limbs being utilised. Women never assist in ploughing, though
they may be seen helping in the fields with the weeding and hoeing,
and even with the harvesting.

In the sierra a piece of land may yield good crops for three years
in succession without manure, but in the broad mountain valleys and
on the mesas a family can use the same field year after year for
twenty or thirty seasons. On the other hand, down in the barrancas,
a field cannot be used more than two years in succession, because
the corn-plants in that time are already suffocated with weeds. The
planting is done from the middle of April to the first week in July,
and the harvest begins about the first week in October and lasts
until the beginning of December.

Communal principles prevail in clearing the fields, in ploughing--each
furrow in a field is ploughed by a different man--in corn planting,
in hoeing, weeding, harvesting, gathering wood for feasts, in fishing
and in hunting.

If a man wants to have his field attended to, the first thing he
has to do is to prepare a good quantity of the national stimulant,
a kind of beer called tesvino. The more of this he has, the larger
the piece of land he can cultivate, for the only payment his helpers
expect and receive is tesvino.

The master of the house and his sons always do first one day's work
alone, before their friends and neighbours come to help them. Then
they begin in earnest to clear the field of stones, carrying them
in their arms or blankets, and cut down the brushwood. Tesvino is
brought out into the field, and iskiate, and the men, all very much
under the influence of the liquor, work with the animation of a heap
of disturbed ants.

When the work of hoeing and weeding is finished, the workers seize
the master of the field, and, tying his arms crosswise behind him,
load all the implements, that is to say, the hoes, upon his back,
fastening them with ropes. Then they form two single columns, the
landlord in the middle between them, and all facing the house. Thus
they start homeward. Simultaneously the two men at the heads of the
columns begin to run rapidly forward some thirty yards, cross each
other, then turn back, run along the two columns, cross each other
again at the rear and take their places each at the end of his row. As
they pass each other ahead and ill the rear of the columns they beat
their mouths with the hollow of their hands and yell. As soon as they
reach their places at the foot, the next pair in front of the columns
starts off, running in the same way, and thus pair after pair performs
the tour, the procession all the time advancing toward the house.

A short distance in front of it they come to a halt, and are met
by two young men who carry red handkerchiefs tied to sticks like
flags. The father of the family, still tied up and loaded with
the hoes, steps forward alone and kneels down in front of his
house-door. The flag-bearers wave their banners over him, and the
women of the household come out and kneel on their left knees, first
toward the east, and after a little while toward each of the other
cardinal points, west, south, and north.

In conclusion the flags are waved in front of the house. The father
then rises and the people untie him, whereupon he first salutes the
women with the usual greeting, "Kwira!" or "Kwirevá!" Now they all
go into the house, and the man makes a short speech thanking them all
for the assistance they have given him, for how could he have gotten
through his work without them? They have provided him with a year's
life (that is, with the wherewithal to sustain it), and now he is going
to give them tesvino. He gives a drinking-gourd full to each one in the
assembly, and appoints one man among them to distribute more to all.

The same ceremony is performed after the ploughing and after the
harvesting. On the first occasion the tied man may be made to carry
the yoke of the oxen, on the second he does not carry anything.

The southern Tarahumares, as well as the northern Tepehuanes,
at harvest time, tie together some ears of corn by the husks,
two and two. The ears are selected from plants which have at least
three or four ears, and after a while tesvino is made from them. At
the harvesting feast, the stalks of these plants are strewn on the
ground, as well as stalks of squash plants, and over them the people
dance kuvála.

The Tarahumare takes good care of his domestic animals and never kills
one of them, unless it be for a sacrifice. Sheep and goats are kept at
night in enclosures or caves. The shepherd follows his flock wherever
the animals choose to find their food, and there are no better herdsmen
than the Tarahumares, who wisely trust to the natural instinct of the
beasts. They do not pride themselves on breeds. It is astonishing to
notice the number of rams with two pairs of horns among the tribe. In
every flock two or three specimens may be observed, one pair bending
forward, the other to the side. I have seen some with three pairs of
horns. Near Nonoava, where the Indians are much Mexicanised, they make
butter and cheese, using the rennets from the cow, sheep, and deer,
but they do not drink the milk, saying that it makes them stupid, and
they are watchful to prevent their children from drinking it. Dogs
are not much liked except for hunting. A great number of them hang
around the houses, but they have to make their own living as best
they can. They are of the same mongrel class found everywhere among
the Indians of to-day. They are generally of a brownish color and
not large, but some of them are yellow and with ears erect.

The so-called dogs of Chihuahua, which command quite a price among
dog-fanciers, are found only in the capital of the state. They are
small pet dogs and very timid, with large ears and prominent eyes. I
understand that the yellowish-brown are considered the purest breed,
but they are found in many different colors, from snow-white and
black-and-white to dark-brown. They are said to have a small cavity
on the top of the head, though according to some authorities this is
not an unfailing mark of the breed, which seems to be indigenous. The
illiterate Mexican, in his tendency to connect everything good with
Montezuma, thinks that the pure dogs of Chihuahua are descendants
of those which were left behind by that regent near Casas Grandes
at the time when he started south, which afterward became wild and
degenerated into the prairie-dogs of to-day.

Another dog indigenous to Mexico is the hairless dog, also a pet,
found throughout the republic among the Mexicans. It is credited with
possessing curative properties, for which reason people keep them in
their beds with them at night.

Chapter XII

    The Tarahumares Still Afraid of Me--Don Andres Madrid to the
    Rescue--Mexican Robbers Among the Tarahumares--Mode of Burial
    in Ancient Caves--Visit to Nonoava--The Indians Change their
    Minds about Me, and Regard Me as a Rain-god--What the Tarahumares
    Eat--A Pretty Church in the Wilderness--I Find at Last a Reliable
    Interpreter and Proceed to Live à l'Indienne.

As I travelled along I found the natives unobliging and afraid of
me. One man who had hid himself, but was after a while forced to
reappear, bluntly asked, "Are you not the man who kills the fat girls
and the children?" At another time I was taken for Pedro Chaparro,
the famous robber, who had notoriously deceived the Indians. The
guide took only a half-hearted interest in me, as he feared that by
being seen with me he was ruining his trade with the natives, who
were especially suspicious about my writing in my note-book, taking
it as a proof of my design to take their land away from them. Still,
I accomplished a good deal and made interesting observations, though
the difficulties under which I had to labour were quite exasperating.

It was a positive relief, when in the beginning of August, six weeks
after my start from Guachochic, I arrived at Guajochic (guajo =
_sancudo_, a small mosquito), one of the stations where the bullion
trains stop on their travels between Batopilas and Carichic. The man
then in charge of this rather lonely looking place, Andres Madrid,
turned out to be very interesting. Born of Tarahumare parents,
in the town of Carichic, he had received quite a liberal Mexican
education and was virtually a Mexican, though in hearty sympathy
with his native tribe. His grandfather had been a noted shaman,
or medicine man, whom Don Andres, as a boy, had accompanied on his
travels. He was intelligent, lively and imaginative, of a strong
humourous vein, and very entertaining. Generous in giving information
about the Indians, and speaking the native language, he would have
made an ideal interpreter, except for the fact that he grew tired too
easily. Only by piecemeal and when having an abundance of time could an
ethnologist expect to take advantage of his accomplishments. As he was
honest, and helpful to the Indians, and besides was a representative
of the Mexican authorities, the Indians had unlimited respect, nay,
adoration, for him.

Knowing all that happens in the sierra, he had already heard of me some
time ago, and laughed at the cannibalistic propensities attributed
to me. He immediately sent a messenger to el capitan at Nararachic,
to advise him of my arrival, and to request him to tell the Indians
to present themselves to be photographed by a man who came from
Porfirio Diaz, a name to conjure with in Mexico, who wanted to know
all about the Tarahumares. Nararachic is an insignificant pueblo,
to which the Indians of this locality belong. The name means "where
one was weeping."

Being taken under the wing of Don Andres benefitted me in many
ways. When the Indians from the hills all around could see my white
tent close by his little home, they understood that I could not be so
bad, or else the good Don Andres would not have anything to do with me.

The Indians in the vicinity had recently gone through the sensation of
fighting with four real robbers, who had several times succeeded in
plundering store-houses while the owners were off at some feast. At
last the Indians had caught them. The thieves travelled on foot,
but had a pack-horse which carried all the blankets and handkerchiefs
stolen, the total value of which ran up to $112. Sixty-five Tarahumares
had banded together in the course of four or five hours, and obliged
the robbers to take refuge in a cave, from which they defended
themselves with rifles for several hours. The Tarahumares first threw
stones at them, as they did not want to waste their arrows. Finally
Don Andres, who had been sent for, arrived at the place, and induced
the robbers to surrender; but only with difficulty could he prevent the
Tarahumares from attacking them. "What does it matter," they said, "if
one or two of us are killed?" Cowards as the Tarahumares are when few
in number, they do not know fear when many of them are together. They
are harmless when not interfered with, but neither forget nor forgive
an injury. On several occasions they have killed white men who abused
their hospitality, and they even threatened once, when exasperated by
abuses, to exterminate all the whites in some sections of their domain.

The robbers were taken by an escort of Indians to the little town of
Carichic, and from there sent to Cusihuiriachic ("where upright pole
is") to be tried. This place is about a hundred miles from Nararachic,
and as the Indians during the next weeks were called to be present at
the trial as witnesses, it annoyed them not a little. They were sorry
they had not killed the evil-doers; and it would even have been better,
they said, to have let them go on stealing.

In the fight the gobernador had got a bullet through his lung. I
saw him a fortnight afterward, smoking a cigarette and on the way to
recovery, and after some days he, too, walked to Cusihuiriachic. A few
months later the robbers managed to dig themselves out of the prison.

On an excursion of about ten miles through the picturesque Arroyo
de las Iglesias, I passed seventeen caves, of which only one was
at present inhabited. All of them, however, had been utilised as
dwellings before the construction of the road to Batopilas had driven
the Indians off.

I saw also a few ancient cave-dwellings. Of considerable interest were
some burial-caves near Nararachic, especially one called Narajerachic
(= where the dead are dancing). A Mexican had been for six years
engaged there in digging out saltpetre, with which he made powder,
and the cave was much spoiled for research when I visited it. But
I was able to take away some thirty well-preserved skulls and a few
complete skeletons, the bodies having dried up in the saltpetre. Some
clothing with feathers woven in, and some bits of obsidian and of
blue thread were found, but no weapons or utensils. According to the
miner, who appeared to be trustworthy, he had excavated more than a
hundred corpses. They were generally found two and a half feet below
the surface, and sometimes there were others underneath these. With
many of them he found ear ornaments made of shells, such as the
Tarahumares of to-day use, besides some textile made of plant fibre,
and a jar with beans.

A few months later at Aboreachic (Tarahumare: Aoreachic = where
there is mountain cedar) I examined a burial-cave in which the dead
were interred in a different manner from that described before. The
cave is somewhat difficult of access. The ascent of 300 feet has
to be made over a track at some places so steep that holes have
been cut for the feet, to enable a person to climb up. On reaching
the top I found a spacious cave, which had been used as a kind
of cemetery, but unfortunately the peculiarity of the cave had
attracted treasure-seekers, whose destructive work was everywhere to
be seen. Still I could see that the corpses had been placed each by
itself in a grave in the floor of the cave. The graves were oblong or
circular basins lined with a coating of grass and mud and about three
feet deep. Apparently no earth had been placed immediately over the
body, only boards all around it laid lengthwise in a kind of box. The
bodies were bent up and laid on their sides. Over the top boards
was spread a layer of pine bark about an inch thick, which in turn
was covered with earth and rubbish three inches deep, and this was
overlaid with the coating of grass and mud so as to form a solid disk
four or five inches, thick. The edge of the basin was slightly raised,
thus making the disk a little higher than the level of the floor. I
secured four skulls from here, besides a piece of excellently woven
cloth of plant fibre, another piece interwoven with turkey feathers,
and a fragment of a wooden needle.

Don Andres told me that he had observed similar modes of burial in
the neighbourhood of Nararachic. It may be worth mentioning that
the miner who excavated in the burial-cave near Nararachic mentioned
above, told me of having met with somewhat similar structures in his
cave; the material was the same, but they were of different sizes,
not larger than two feet, and he found them empty.

The ancient modes of burial that I have come upon, in the Tarahumare
country are either like those in Nararachic or in Aboreachic. There
scarcely seems any doubt that the bodies buried here were
Tarahumares. The Indians of to-day consider the dead in the ancient
burial-caves their brethren, and call them Ana-yáuli, the ancients.

From Guajochic I went to Nonoava (in Tarahumare: Nonoa, nonó = father),
although this town is outside of the Tarahumare country proper. The
natives here, as may be expected, are pretty well Mexicanised, and
losing their customs, religion, and language. The Apache raids were
well remembered here, as they were in Carichic, Cusarare, and Bocoyna.

I came upon a Mexican here who had married a Tarahumare woman. His
predilection for her tribe was also attested by his dress, which
was exactly like that worn by the natives. He had a dark, almost
swarthy complexion, but otherwise he did not resemble an Indian. His
big; stomach and short arms and legs betrayed his real race, and
contrasted strangely with the slender limbs and graceful movements
of the Tarahumares.

Near Nonoava I photographed a magnificent fig-tree of the kind called
_beyota_, the fruit of which is appreciated even by the Mexicans. It
was 116 feet across, and the leaves, as in other trees of the species,
were very small. There are larger trees of this kind to be found,
but they are rare. In the wet season, when the figs are ripe, the
Tarahumares have a habit of singing under the trees while gathering
the fruit.

I noticed some beautiful mezquites in the bed of a creek, the bottom
of which was clayish. Although the season for it was late, Indians
were gathering the fruit. The proper season is before the rain sets
in. The Indians throw the seeds away, but boil the fruit, grinding
it between stones and mixing it with water. This drink is also used
through Sonora and Chihuahua by the Mexicans.

On my return I again spent some time in Guajochic. The Indians came
to visit me every day, and following my rule of giving to every
visitor something to eat, I was making satisfactory progress in
cultivating their friendship. Some of them after eating from my
plates and cups, went to the river to rinse their mouths and wash
their hands carefully, to get rid of any evil that might lurk in
the white man's implements. To be generous is the first step toward
gaining the confidence of both the Indians and the Mexicans, and a
gift of food is more eloquent than a long speech. The Indian, however,
before he knows you, always wants to see you eat first.

I interviewed many of the shamans, and began to gain some little
knowledge of their songs, which helped to bring me nearer to
them. Shortly after my first arrival here it happened that rain fell,
and precipitations continued quite frequently during my stay. The
Indians, who are intensely interested in rain, to obtain which they
make so many exertions and sacrifices, evidently began to connect my
presence with it. Before my departure they confided to Don Andres
that "It was no good that that man went away; it might happen that
he carried the rain with him." They even seemed to delight now in
posing before my mysterious camera, which they imagined to be a
powerful rain-maker. I heard no more excuses for not wanting to
be photographed. They no longer told me that it would cause their
death, and that their god would be angry with them; nor was there
any more of that unwillingness expressed by one Indian who told me
that, inasmuch as he did not owe me anything, he did not want to be
photographed. Thus, almost without knowing it, I established friendly
relations with the people.

However, it must not be thought that all my troubles were ended
yet. The Indians are very clannish, and, although my damaged prestige
was now almost restored, and, no doubt, favourable rumours heralded
me wherever I went, still the good-will of each district had in a way
to be won. Many months later, when I found myself among the pagans
farther south, I was interpellated quite persistently on the subject
of the skulls in Yoquibo. They wanted to know why I had dug them
up. My Mexican interpreter, whom they took to task on the subject,
advanced an explanation, which was no doubt strictly in accordance
with his best knowledge and belief. He declared that my object had
been to find out whether those people had been properly baptised--a
reason which apparently perfectly satisfied the Indians.

I travelled in a southeasterly direction, making my way back to
Guachochic, over the highlands of Humarisa (húmashi = to run). This
locality is of considerable elevation, with the Indian ranches lying
about here and there on strips of level land, which run in among
the rocky hills like _fjords_. Bears are quite common here, and the
Indians have difficulty in guarding their fields against them. They
are not even to be frightened by stones, and at night they will eat
corn until they have enough, and then walk away.

The time of the year in which it is most difficult for the Indians
to subsist had passed, and the copious rains of the past months had
developed ears of corn. Rarely or never do the Indians plant corn
enough to last them all the year round, and they have, therefore,
during the summer to depend for support mainly on herbs, roots, fruits,
etc. The leaves and flowers of the ash-tree are cooked and eaten,
and the flowers of the pine-tree. They never suffer from hunger when
living near a river, where they can fish, but in the highlands they
have been known to die of starvation.

These natives are fonder of corn than of any other food, and when
working for the whites would leave without a word if no more corn
or flour were forthcoming. They like, too, to have meat every day,
though they cannot always get it. They rarely, if ever, kill any of
their domestic animals for food, as, according to their views, man is
only the manager for the gods to whom these creatures really belong,
and cows, sheep, and the like can be killed only as sacrifices and
eaten at the feasts. But any kind of animal in the forest and field,
in the air and the water, is acceptable. I once asked a strong and
healthy-looking Indian how he managed to keep in such good condition,
when food was so scarce, and he said that he ate meat, "What kind of
meat?" I asked, and he replied, "Mice, gophers, and small birds." Their
favourite meat, however, is deer, mice, and skunks.

Chunks of meat are simply laid upon the coals to roast, or turned
before the fire on a wooden spit, the ends of which rest on
stones. This, by the way, is the universal method of cooking meat
in Mexico. These Indians often eat their meat almost raw, nor have
they any repugnance to blood, but boil and eat it. Fish and frogs are
broiled by being placed between two thin sticks tied together at the
ends to do duty as a gridiron.

The flowers of the maize are dried in the sun, ground and mixed
with water; if not required for immediate consumption they are put
in jars and kept for the winter. Many herbs are very palatable, as,
for instance, the makvásari (of the _Crucifercæ_), which is also kept
for winter use after having been properly dried. In the autumn the
Indians sometimes eat potatoes, which, when cultivated at all, are
planted between the corn, but grow no larger than pigeon eggs. The
people eat three kinds of fungi, and they have an extensive knowledge
of the poisonous ones. Salt and chile are used as relishes.

A peculiar delicacy is arí, the secretion of a scale insect, _carteria
mexcicana_. In the months of July and August it is gathered from the
branches of certain trees in the barrancas, rolled by hand into thick
brown sticks, and thus preserved for the winter. A small portion is
boiled in water and eaten as a sauce with the corn porridge. Its taste
is sweetish acid, not particularly pleasant to the palate, but very
refreshing in effect, and it is said to be efficacious in allaying
fever. The Indians prize it highly, and the Mexicans also buy it.

Just a few miles before reaching Guachochic, one passes the pueblo of
Tonachic, from whence the Indians have been more or less driven off
by the whites. In missionary times the village appears to have been
of some importance, to judge from the church, which is quite pretty,
considering its location in the middle of the sierra. In the sacristy
I saw lying about three empty cases, but the silver crucifixes
and chalices they once contained had been carried off by Mexican
thieves. The man in charge of the building showed me three immense
drawers full of gold- and silver-embroidered silken robes of exquisite
fineness and great variety. There were at least several dozens of them.

The altar-piece was arranged and painted very tastefully in red and
gold. Several oil paintings were hanging in the church, but so darkened
by the hand of time that it was impossible to make out whether they
were of any artistic merit. Wonderful men those early missionaries,
who brought such valuables into this wilderness, over hundreds and
thousands of miles, on the backs of mules or Indians. It was rather
anomalous to see the poor, naked Indians outside the door, for whose
benefit all this had been done. A woman was sweeping away the dirt
from the swarms of bats that nested in the ceiling.

The richest and most prominent man in the village enjoyed the
reputation of being a great ladron. When I called on him I found
him in bed suffering from a tooth-ache. He had his head wrapped up
and was completely unnerved, and many people came to sympathise with
him in his affliction. When I told him that I liked the Tarahumares,
he answered, "Well, take them with you, every one of them." All he
cared for was their land, and he had already acquired a considerable
portion of it. His wife was the only person in the village who knew
how to recite the prayers in the church. This made the husband feel
proud of her, and he evidently considered her piety great enough to
suffice for the family.

On my return to Guachochic I discharged the Mexicans who had been
with me since my travels through Sonora; they were here of little
use to me, as they did not know the country. I also disposed of the
greater number of my mules, keeping only about half a dozen.

With the kind permission of Don Miguel I installed most of my baggage
in one of his houses, and considered his ranch a kind of headquarters
from which I made several long excursions in various directions. Thanks
to my pack and riding mules I could take along, as barter, corn, glass
beads, tobacco, and cotton cloth, and bring back collections made on
the road. I was accompanied by a couple of Mexicans from this part
of the country and some Indians who acted as carriers. Of course,
whenever I went down into the barrancas, I had to leave my mules
and cargo in some safe place on the highlands and take along only
the most necessary stores as we proceeded on foot. On such trips I
had to depend entirely on the natives; they secured the food, and
selected the cave or rock shelter, or the tree under which we slept.

Our bill of fare was made up mainly of corn and beans, with an
occasional sheep or goat, and some herbs and roots as relishes. Corn
was prepared in the styles known to the Indians, either as corn-cakes
(tortillas) or, more often, by simply toasting the grains on a piece
of crockery over the fire. The dish is easy enough to prepare and
does not taste at all bad, but it is hard work for one's teeth to
make a meal of it, as the kernels assume the consistency of little
pebbles, and many months of such a diet lengthens your dentist's
bill at about the same ratio as that in which it shortens your
molars. You will ask why I did not carry provisions along with
me. Simply because preserved food is, as a rule, heavy to carry,
to say nothing of its being next to impossible to secure more when
the supply is exhausted. Some chocolate and condensed milk which I
ordered from Chihuahua did not reach me until seven months after the
date of the order. Besides, the Indians are not complaisant carriers,
least of all in this exceedingly rough country.

For over a year I thus continued to travel around among the
Tarahumares, visiting them on their ranches and in their caves, on
the highlands and in the barrancas. There are few valleys into which
I did not go in this central part of the Tarahumare country, that is,
from the Barranca de Batopilas and Carichic in the north toward the
regions of the mining place Guadalupe y Calvo in the south. By and by I
also found a suitable lenguaraz, Don Nabor, who lived a day's journey
from Guachochic. He was a tall, lank, healthy-looking fellow, some
fifty years old, very poor and blessed with a large family of sons and
daughters, some of them full grown. All his life he had been intimate
with the Indians; he spoke their language as well as he did Spanish,
and really liked the Tarahumares better than his fellow Mexicans. Being
a great hunter but a poor shot he brought home but little game,
and made his living chiefly by trading with the Indians. He was the
picture of good-nature, laughing with the Indians at their jokes,
and weeping with them at their sorrows. Among them he passed as a wit,
and being very honest was a general favourite. He never took anything
without asking, but was not backward about that. Of his teeth he had
hardly any but two of his upper incisors left, which was rather hard
for a man of his ravenous appetite; but he utilised them with such
squirrel-like dexterity as almost to keep pace with others.

Chapter XIII

    The Tarahumare Physique--Bodily Movements--Not
    as Sensitive to Pain as White Men--Their Phenomenal
    Endurance--Health--Honesty--Dexterity and Ingenuity--Good Observers
    of the Celestial Bodies and Weather-forecasters--Hunting and
    Shooting--Home Industries--Tesvino, the Great National Drink of
    the Tribe--Other Alcoholic Drinks.

The Tarahumare of to-day is of medium size and more muscular than his
North American cousin, but his cheek-bones are equally prominent. His
colour is light chocolate-brown. I was rather surprised often to find
the faces of the people living in the warm barrancas of a lighter
colour than the rest of their bodies. The darkest complexions,
strange to say, I encountered on the highlands near Guachochic. In
the higher altitudes the people also develop higher statures and are
more muscular than in the lower portions of the country.

Both men and women wear long, flowing, straight black hair, which
in rare cases is a little wavy. When a woman marries, I am told,
she cuts her hair once. When the hair is cut because it has grown
too long and troublesome, they place it under a stone or hang it in
a tree. A shaman once cut his hair short to get new thoughts with the
new hair, and while it was growing he kept his head tied up in a piece
of cotton cloth to keep his thoughts from escaping. When the people
are very old, the hair turns gray; but they never grow bald. Beards
are rare, and if they appear the Indians pull them out. Their devil is
always represented with a beard, and they call the Mexicans derisively
shabótshi, "the bearded ones." Much as they enjoy tobacco, an Indian
would not accept some from me, because he feared that coming from a
white man it would cause a beard to grow on his face.

There are more women in the tribe than men. They are smaller, but
generally just as strong as the other sex, and when angered, for
instance by jealousy, the wife may be able to beat her husband. Hands
and feet are small. Many of the women have surprisingly small and
well-shaped bones, while the men are more powerfully built. The corner
teeth differ from the front teeth in that they are thicker, and, in
spite of exceptionally fine teeth, tooth-ache is not unknown in the
tribe. Men, even those who are well nourished, are never stout. The
women are more inclined to corpulency.

Eight people with hair-lip, seven hunchbacks, six men and four women
with six toes to their feet, and one or two cases of squint-eyes came
under my notice. One boy had a club-foot with toes turned inside, and I
saw one man who had only stumps of arms with two or three finger-marks
on each. I have observed one case of insanity among these Indians.

_Pediculi_ (lice) from the heads and clothing of the Tarahumare are
blackish in colour, but the claw is not different from that of the
white men's parasites.

When at ease, the Tarahumare stands on both legs, without stiffness. In
micturition he stands, while the Tepehuane sits down. The body is
well balanced. The gait is energetic. He swings his arm and plants his
foot firmly, with the toes generally in, gliding along smoothly with
quick steps and without swaying to and fro, the body bent slightly
forward. The palm of the hand is turned to the rear. Tarahumares climb
trees by embracing the tree as we do; but the ascent is made in jumps,
the legs accordingly not embracing the tree as, much as is the case
with us. In swimming they throw their arms ahead from one side to
another. They point with the open hand or by protruding the lips and
raising the head at the same time in the desired direction. Like the
Mexicans they beckon with their hands by making downward movements
with their fingers.

To the casual observer the native appears dull and heavy, so much
so that at first it would seem hopeless to get any intelligent
information out of him; but on better acquaintance it will be found
that their faces, like those of Mexican Indians in general, have more
variety of feature and expression than those of the whites. At the
same time it is true that the individual does not show his emotion
very perceptibly in his face. One has to look into his eyes for an
expression of what passes in his mind, as his face is not mobile;
nor does he betray his feelings by involuntary actions. If he blushes,
as he sometimes does, the colour extends down the neck and is visible
in spite of his dusky skin. Laughter is never immoderate enough to
bring tears to the eyes. The head is nodded vertically in affirmation
and shaken laterally in negation only by the civilised Tarahumares.

There is a slight though undefinable odour about the Tarahumare. He
is not aware of it; yet he will tell you that the Mexican smells
like a pig, and the American like coffee, both offensive odours to
Tarahumares. They all love to feel warm, and may often be seen lying
in the sun on their backs or stomachs. Heat never seems to trouble
them. Young babies sleep on their mothers' backs without any covering
on their heads to protect them from the fierce rays of the summer
sun. On the other hand, the Tarahumare endures cold unflinchingly. On
an icy winter morning, when there are six inches of snow on the ground,
many a man may be seen with nothing on but his blanket fastened around
his waist, pursuing rabbits.

While their senses are keen, I do not consider them superior to
those of any well-endowed white man. To test eyesight, Sir Francis
Galton directs us to cut out a square piece of white paper one and
a half inches a side, paste it on a large piece of black paper, and
mark how far a person can distinguish whether the square is held
straight or diagonally. None of the Indians could distinguish the
different positions until they were within seven hundred and ten
feet. On another occasion, however, when I tested six individuals,
four men could tell the position of the square at a distance of nine
hundred and five feet. One of these had syphilis. They certainly
do not feel pain in the same degree as we do. On this point any
collector of hair could have reason to satisfy himself. Scientists
consider the hair a particularly distinguishing feature among the
races of men, not only in regard to its colour, but also as to its
texture. In fact, the human race is by some classified according to
the character of the hair of the head. Compared under the microscope
a section of the hair of a Chinaman or an American Indian is found to
be circular, that of a European oval in shape. As a rule, the flatter
the hair the more readily it curls, the perfectly cylindrical hair
hanging down stiff and straight. A section of the straight hair of a
Japanese, for instance, forms a perfect circle. So much importance
being attached to the structure of the hair, I made a collection
from different individuals. They were willing enough to let me have
all the samples I wanted for a material consideration, of course,
but the indifferent manner in which they pulled the hair from their
heads, just as we should tear out hairs from the tail of a horse,
convinced me that inferior races feel pain to a less extent than
civilised man. I once pulled six hairs at a time from the head of
a sleeping child without disturbing it at all; I asked for more,
and when twenty-three hairs were pulled out in one stroke, the child
only scratched its head a little and slept on.

They are not so powerful at lifting as they are in carrying
burdens. Out of twelve natives, ten of whom were eighteen and
twenty years old, while two owned to fifty years, five lifted a
burden weighing 226 2/5 pounds (102 kilograms). I was able to lift
this myself. The same five lifted 288 3/5 pounds (130 kilograms),
as also did two strong Mexicans present, aged respectively eighteen
and thirty years. In order to test their carrying capacity, I had them
walk for a distance of 500 feet on a pretty even track. One very poor
and starved-looking Tarahumare carried 226 2/5 pounds (102 kilograms)
on his back, though tottering along with some difficulty; two others
carried it with ease, and might have taken it farther. All three were
young men.

Their endurance is truly phenomenal. A strong young man carried a
burden of over 100 pounds from Carichic to Batopilas, a distance of
about 110 miles, in seventy hours. While travelling with such burdens
they eat nothing but pinole, a little at frequent intervals.

The wonderful health these people enjoy is really their most attractive
trait. They are healthy and look it. It could hardly be otherwise
in this delightful mountain air, laden with the invigorating odour
of the pines combined with the electrifying effect of being close to
nature's heart. In the highlands, where the people live longer than
in the barrancas, it is not infrequent to meet persons who are at
least a hundred years old. Long life is what they all pray for.

They suffer sometimes from rheumatism, but the most common disease is
pleurisy (_dolor de costado_), which generally proves fatal. Syphilis
rages in some parts of the country. There was at the time of my
visit to Pino Gordo hardly a native there who had not, at one time
or another, been afflicted with it; but the victims get quickly over
it without special treatment, sometimes within a year. Children of
syphilitic parents show the symptoms soon after birth. Small-pox, too,
plays havoc among the population. I have seen some people suffering
with cataract in the eyes, and some foot-runners complained that
their sight sometimes became impaired during or after a race. The
Tarahumares have not any cases of tape-worm, although their sheep
have it; probably the large quantities of tesvino drunk during the
winter may have something to do with this.

Medicine takes remarkably strong hold of the Indians. One man suffered
for two weeks from fever and ague, lost his appetite, and seemed
a general wreck; but after a two-grain quinine pill became at once
himself again, and a few days later was able to take a message for
me to a place forty miles off and return the same day.

The natives do not bathe except in the wet season. When they go to
feasts, they wash their hands and faces, and the women comb their
hair. Sometimes they may wash their feet, but more frequently they
clean their heads. In fact, the regular way of taking a bath is to wash
the head. For this purpose they use an agave called soké. Occasionally
they use a white earth from Cusarare, called _javoncillo_; it is very
soft and it is also used as white colour in decorating pottery. When
the men go into deep water to bathe they smear fat all over their
bodies to guard against all kinds of bad animals in the water; women
do not usually take this precaution.

A Tarahumare does not commit homicide unless he is drunk. There are
only isolated exceptions. A _jefe politico_ (prefect) told me that
in forty years he had heard of only two murders. In both of these
cases a drunken husband had killed his wife at a feast, and knew
nothing of the crime after he became sober. I have been told that in
some rare instances a Tarahumare woman will sit on her child right
after its birth to crush it, in order to save herself the trouble
of bringing it up. The Tepehuanes are reputed to do the same thing,
and for the same purpose. Still with both tribes crimes of this kind
are exceedingly rare.

Suicide is never committed unless a person is drunk and angered by some
slight or by jealousy. At one time there was a veritable epidemic of
suicides among the Indians near Guachochic, the men hanging themselves
with their girdles; one of them even suspended himself by the feet. But
it is doubtful whether a pagan Tarahumare ever killed himself.

As a rule, the Tarahumare is not a thief. Only when he thinks himself
entirely unobserved, he may appropriate some trifle that particularly
strikes his fancy, but the indications are that he learned the art
from the Mexicans. Once on our travels we passed a man who was weeding
his field. We tried to induce him to give us some information, but
he was too busy to talk, and we went on. Soon he noticed that we had
accidentally dropped our large axe, and immediately he interrupted
his pressing work and came running after us with it. I wanted to
compensate him for the trouble he had put himself to, but he would
not accept the money I offered, saying that he had not had to go far,
and, anyway, he did not bring the axe to get payment for it.

As long as he is in his native state, a Tarahumare never cheats
at bargains. He does not like to sell anything that is in any way
defective. He always draws attention to the flaw, and if a jar has
any imperfection, it requires much persuasion to make him part with
it. He shows honesty also in other ways. Often I trusted Indians with
a silver dollar or two for corn to be delivered a few days later, and
never was I disappointed by them. On the other hand, they are chary of
selling anything to a stranger. When a Mexican wants to buy a sheep,
or some corn, or a girdle, the Tarahumare will first deny that he has
anything to sell. What little he has he likes to keep for himself,
and he considers it a favour to part with any of his belongings for
money. A purchase, however, establishes a kind of brotherhood between
the two negotiants, who afterward call each other "naragua," and a
confidence is established between them almost of the same character
as that which exists between compadres among the Mexicans.

From outsiders they accept silver coins, but not paper money,
because they have been cheated with wrappers from cigarette boxes,
and besides, they have no means of keeping such money safe and sound
from mice, moisture, etc. Among themselves a little trading goes on,
the highlands obtaining from the barrancas in the west copal, chile,
ari, ear ornaments made from shells, and goats, in exchange for
corn and beans. The Indians from Nararachic go to Rio Concho for the
shells from which they make their ear pendants. The powder produced
in working the shells is saved and mixed with salt to be used as a
remedy for eye troubles.

The tribe has undeniably a certain gift for mechanics. The people are
deft with their fingers and do everything neatly. This shows itself
in their ingeniously constructed wooden locks and in the niceness
with which they stuff animals. They are also very clever in following
tracks, and even recognise the hoof-prints of particular horses among
others in the same trail. They will also tell you that a tired deer
keeps its toes more closely together than an animal just aroused from
its lair. And never do they lose their way in the forest, not even
when drunk. They love to sit among their corn plants, and will hide
among them when strangers approach.

The Tarahumares are inquisitive, and will stand for a long time
looking at you from a distance, if anything unusual attracts their
attention. They are very critical and there is much gossip going on
among them. They also laugh at the Mexicans, and say that the hair on
their faces is like the fur on a bear. Squint-eyes also afford them
much amusement. They are smart, attentive and patient. They have no
qualms of conscience about telling an untruth, but my experience with
them shows appreciation and gratitude for benefits received. An Indian
whom I had occasion to treat to a good meal, many months afterward
at a feast came up and said to me, "You were good to me when I was
very hungry," and he proved his thankfulness by assisting me in
various ways in establishing friendly relations with his people,
which otherwise would have been very difficult to bring about.

Children are bright, and when sent to school learn Spanish
quickly. They also master reading and writing without difficulty. They
are diligent, eager to learn, and very religious, docile, and easily
converted to Christianity.

There is a story about a padre who asked a Tarahumare boy, "What is
God doing in Heaven?" The boy said, "The same as the macaw does in the
tree." The padre asked, "What does the macaw do in the tree?" and
the boy replied, "He eats the good seeds and lets the bad ones
drop." A Mexican asked me if God was going to walk on earth again,
and my Tarahumare attendant remarked, "No, he is now afraid to come,
because people have too many rifles."

When they learn something their ambition runs high, and the boys
always want to become generals and presidents of the republic.

The Tarahumares are careful observers of the celestial bodies,
and know the Pleiades, the Belt of Orion, and the Morning and the
Evening Star. The Great Dipper is of no special interest to them. Near
Guachochic the Tarahumares plant corn in accordance with the positions
of the stars with reference to the sun. They say if the sun and the
stars are not equal the year will be bad; but when the stars last
long the year will be good. In 1891, the sun "travelled slowly,"
and the stars "travelled quickly," and in June they had already
"disappeared." Therefore the Tarahumares predicted that their crops
would be below the average, which came true. On June 3d I asked an
Indian how much longer the sun would travel on, and he told me that
it ought not to be more than fifteen days. The Tarahumares are reputed
to be good weather prophets among the Mexicans, who frequently consult
them upon the prospects of rain. The Indians judge from the colour of
the sun when he rises as to whether there will be rain that day. If the
crescent of the moon is lying horizontally, it is carrying much water;
but when it stands up straight, it brings nothing. This belief is
shared by the Mexicans. When the moon is full and has "a ring around,"
she is dancing on her patio. At the period of the dark moon she is
dead, but will return after three days. Eclipses are explained as
collisions between the sun and the moon on the road, when they fight.

The Tarahumare men make bows and arrows, and in the central part of
the country are great hunters and clever at shooting. The fore-shaft of
their arrows is made of palo hediondo, a wood used also in the making
of needles. But the people living near the pueblo of Panalachic and
the Barranca de Cobre are poor shots, and their favourite weapon is
the axe. The boys still play with slings, which not so long ago were
used for killing squirrels. A club with a stone (Spanish, _macana_)
is said to have been formerly in common use. The grandfathers of the
present generation of Nararachic had flint-tipped arrows. The Indians
also know how to prepare excellent buckskin. They peg the hide on the
ground and leave it for three days, and when it is sufficiently dry
the hair is scraped off with a knife. It is then smeared over with
the brain of the animal and hung up in the sun for four days. The
next step is to wash it well in warm water in a wooden trough. Then
it is well kneaded, and two people taking hold of it draw it out of
the water and stretch it well between them. It is dried again and is
then tanned with the crushed bark of the big-leaved oak-tree.

A natural cavity in a rock is chosen for a vat, in which the skin is
left for two days. After this it is well rinsed and squeezed until no
water remains in it. Two persons are required for the operation, which
is always performed in a place on which the sun beats strongly, while
at the same time it is sheltered from the wind by surrounding rocks.

Deer are caught in snares fastened to a bent tree, so that the animal's
foot is held, while the tree when released hoists the quarry up. The
Indians also chase deer with dogs toward some narrow passage in the
track where they have placed sharp-pointed pine sticks, two feet long,
against which the deer runs and hurts itself. Blackbirds are decoyed
by kernels of corn threaded on a snare of pita fibre hidden under
the ground. The bird swallows the kernel, which becomes entangled in
its oesophagus and is caught. Small birds are also shot with bow and
arrows, or killed with stones.

The Tarahumare is ingenious in devising many kinds of traps for birds
and animals. Into the burrow of the gopher he places a small upright
frame cut from a piece of bark. There is a groove inside of the frame,
and in this the snare runs; and a string is attached to a bough above
ground. Another string, on which some grains of corn are threaded,
keeps the snare set and obstructs the gopher's passage through the
frame. When trying to get at the kernels the gopher cuts the string,
the snare is released, and he is caught in his own burrow.

Squirrels are hunted in the most primitive way--by cutting down the
tree on which an animal is discovered. Sometimes it will escape when
the tree falls, and then the man has to cut down another tree, and
thus he may go on felling as many as ten trees before he can bag his
game, not a very substantial reward for a whole day's work.

The women make girdles and blankets on primitive looms, inserting
characteristic designs in the weaving. It takes four days of constant
work to make a girdle, but no woman weaves more than one blanket in a
year, and it is almost an event when it is finished. The weaving frame
consists simply of four sticks--placed on the ground tied together in a
rectangle or triangle, and pieces of reed on which the thread is wound,
one for each colour, are used as shuttles. Textiles from Pamachic are
especially highly valued. The blankets from that locality are sold
all over the Tarahumare country and are the finest made by the tribe.

The Tarahumares are not far advanced in the art of making
pottery. Their work is crude and not very substantial. The industry
is practised only by the women, and the degree of ability varies
considerably. The art is often hereditary. The nicest pottery I found
in the neighbourhood of Panalachic, where it is decorated with certain
designs in red and white. One woman in a western barranca cultivated
a specialty of making large jars for holding tesvino. The largest
jar shown in the illustration was nearly eight feet in circumference.

Women when making pottery taste a little of the clay before commencing
work, ascertaining whether it is the right kind or not. Some of the
clay is acid and not good. The clay which is serviceable is a little
sweet and of a pale yellow colour. The clay is dried and ground, and
then mixed with ground pieces of old pottery instead of sand. To make a
piece of pottery, a lump of clay is hollowed out in the shape of a cup,
and on this foundation the jar is built up, thin layers of clay being
placed on successively, and smoothed carefully over with wet hands,
making the walls thinner and thinner. The vessel is built up standing
on a bowl filled with ashes and covered with a piece of cotton cloth.

I saw a clever woman make a medium-sized jar in twenty-seven
minutes. She was seated in the sun, and finished four vessels in one
afternoon. Then, assisted by her husband, she began to even them
on the outside with a small, smooth, oblong piece of a gourd. The
vessels were then put into the house in order that they might not
dry too quickly. After an interval of fifteen minutes, during which
she nursed her infant, which had been bothering her all the while,
she began work again. First, with the edge of a sharpened stick
she removed all irregularities on the outside and on the brim, and
then with a stone she polished the vessel. To polish the jars seemed
to take the longest time, for each of the workers was engaged on a
vessel for over an hour, and even then had not completed the task. They
polished outside and a little way inside below the brim. Finally they
painted decorations with ochre, and polished again for a long time,
but only the outside. Now the jars were again put into the house to
dry a little more before the polishing was finished.

To burn the jars, they must first be thoroughly dried, as otherwise
the fire would crack them. When the weather is nice the fire may be
made outside the house; but usually it is built inside on the ordinary
fireplace. Each vessel, one at a time, is turned upside down over
charcoal, and pieces of pine bark are built up all around and over it
like a square little hut, then ignited. Care is taken that no piece
of bark comes so near to the jar as to touch and injure it. Where
bark cannot be readily procured, wood is used. The heat first turns
the clay dark, and afterward a pretty yellow colour.

There is one industry which has a peculiar bearing on the whole life
of the Tarahumare, namely, the making of native beer.

Nothing is so close to the heart of the Tarahumare as this liquor,
called in Mexican Spanish _tesvino_. It looks like milky water, and
has quite an agreeable taste, reminding one of kumyss. To make it,
the moist corn is allowed to sprout; then it is boiled and ground,
and the seed of a grass resembling wheat is added as a ferment. The
liquor is poured into large earthen jars made solely for the purpose,
and it should now stand for at least twenty-four hours; but inasmuch
as the jars are only poorly made, they are not able to hold it very
long, and the people take this responsibility on themselves. A row of
beer jars turned upside down in front of a house is a characteristic
sight in the Tarahumare region.

The tesvino forms an integral part of the Tarahumare religion. It is
used at all its celebrations, dances, and ceremonies. It is given
with the mother's milk to the infant to keep it from sickness. In
"curing" the new-born babe the shaman sprinkles some over it to make
it strong. Beer is applied internally and externally as a remedy
for all diseases Tarahumare flesh is heir to. No man could get his
field attended to if he did not at first make ready a good supply
of tesvino, because beer is the only remuneration his assistants
receive. Drinking tesvino at the feast marks the turning-point in
a person's life. A boy begins to drink tesvino because now he feels
himself a man; and when a girl is seen at feasts, it is a sign that she
is looking for a husband. No marriage is legitimate without a liberal
consumption of tesvino by all parties present at the wedding. Hunting
and fishing expeditions are accompanied by beer-drinking to insure
luck. No matter how many times the Tarahumare changes his abode in
the course of his life, he always makes tesvino when moving into a
new house or cave. Even the dead would not get any rest, but come
back and harm the survivors, if a quantity of tesvino were not set
aside for them. In fact, there is absolutely no act of importance
that is not, in one way or another, connected with the drinking of
this beer. Never is a jar commenced unless some of the liquor is
sacrificed before the cross, for the gods are believed to be as fond
of the beer as are mortals. Rain cannot be obtained without tesvino;
tesvino cannot be made without corn; and corn cannot grow without
rain. This, in a nutshell, is the Tarahumare's view of life.

There are many occasions during the year, especially during the winter
time, when regular symposiums are held, generally inside of the house;
but the people never drink tesvino unless there is some purpose to
be attained, be it luck in some undertaking, or good crops, or the
health of the family, or some similar benefit. They may dance yúmari
for a little while at any of these functions.

It is the custom to appoint one man to distribute the liquor among
the guests. In doing this the host offers to the chosen one three
drinking-gourds full of tesvino, which the latter empties, and he
enters upon his duty by giving to every man present three gourds
in succession and to every woman four. The guests, although from
politeness hesitating between each gourd-ful, are only too delighted
to comply with this inviolable rule, which speaks eloquently for
their constitutions.

The seat beside the distributer is the most coveted. I, too, was always
glad to get it, because it gave me the best chance to observe the
behaviour of the Indians at the feasts. The dispenser establishes
himself close to the big jar, and being immensely popular with
everybody he is never left alone. The geniality of the Tarahumares,
their courteousness and politeness toward each other in the beginning
of a feast, is, to say the least, equal to that of many a civilised
gentleman. When the cup is offered to anyone, he most urgently
protests and insists that the distributer shall drink; often this
remonstrance is heeded, but the gourd is never emptied; something
is always left in it, and this the guest has to take, and a second
gourdful is immediately held out to him. Though he again refuses, he
generally allows himself to be persuaded to drink it, and this mock
refusing and urging goes on as long as they have their wits together.

To my knowledge, this beer is not known outside of the Tarahumare
tribe and their immediate neighbours, the northern Tepehuanes, the
Tubars, and some Mexicans in Chihuahua who have also adopted it. It
must not be confounded with the well-known Mexican drink, pulque,
to which it is superior in flavour. It is very nourishing, and the
Indians as well as the Mexicans are in the habit of abstaining from
food before partaking of the beer, which they assert would otherwise
not agree with them. But, food or no food, at all feasts and dances
they drink such incredibly large quantities that they are invariably
completely overpowered by it, though when taken in moderation tesvino
is only mildly stimulating.

Another national beverage, maguey wine, is made from a favourite
sweet food of many Indian tribes, which a white man's stomach can
hardly digest, namely, the baked stalk of the maguey plant, or that
of other agaves. To prepare the liquor, the leaves are cut from the
bulb-shaped stalk or heart, which looks like a hard white head of
cabbage. These hearts contain a great deal of saccharine matter,
and are baked between hot stones in earth mounds, being protected
against contact with earth by layers of grass.

When the Tarahumares want to make maguey wine they leave the baked
stalks in water in natural hollows or pockets in rocks, without any
covering. The root of a certain plant called frijolillo is added as
a ferment, and after two days the juice is wrung out with a blanket.

An intoxicating drink is also made from another agave, called tshawí,
which, though common on the higher slopes of the barrancas, has only
recently become known to science. According to tradition it is the
first plant God created, and the liquor made from it is considered
by the pagan Tarahumares as indispensable to certain ceremonies. The
Tepehuanes, too, put much importance on this brew, and say that the
plant is so sensitive that if one passes a jar in which it is being
boiled the liquid will not ferment.

Finally it should be mentioned that an intoxicating, though extremely
distasteful drink is made from the stalk of the maize plant (_caña_),
by pounding this material into a pulp, then allowing it to soak in
water for three days, when it is fermented, whereupon the liquor is
prepared in the same way as the maguey wine.

Chapter XIV

    Politeness, and the Demands of Etiquette--The Daily Life of the
    Tarahumare--The Woman's Position is High--Standard of Beauty--Women
    Do the Courting--Love's Young Dream--Marriage Ceremonies, Primitive
    and Civilised--Childbirth--Childhood.

For a barbarian, the Tarahumare is a very polite personage. In
his language he even has a word "rekó" which is the equivalent of
the English "please," and which he uses constantly. When passing a
stranger, or leaving a person, he draws attention to his action by
saying, "I am going." As he grows civilised, however, he loses his
good manners.

In spite of this he is not hospitable; the guest gets food, but there
is no room for him in the house of a Tarahumare. A visitor never
thinks of entering a house without first giving the family ample time
to get ready to receive him. When he approaches a friend's home, good
manners require him to stop sometimes as far as twenty or thirty yards
off. If he is on more intimate terms with the family, he may come
nearer, and make his presence known by coughing; then he sits down,
selecting generally some little knoll from which he can be readily
seen. In order not to embarrass his friends he does not even look at
the house, but remains sitting there gazing into vacancy, his back
or side turned toward the homestead. Should the host be absent the
visitor may thus sit for a couple of hours; then he will rise and go
slowly away again. But under no circumstances will he enter the home,
unless formally invited, "because," he says, "only the dogs enter
houses uninvited." Never will the lady of the house commit such a
gross breach of etiquette as to go out and inform him of her husband's
absence, to save the caller the trouble of waiting, nor will she if
alone at home, make any statements as to that gentleman's whereabouts.

The Tarahumare never does anything without due deliberation; therefore
he may, for quarter of an our, discuss with his wife the possible
purport of the visit, before he goes out to see the man. They peep
through the cracks in the wall at him, and if they happen to be
eating or doing anything, they may keep the visitor waiting for half
an hour. Finally the host shakes out the blanket on which he has been
sitting, throws it around himself, and, casting a rapid glance to the
right and left as he passes through the door, goes to take a seat a few
yards distant from the caller. After some meditation on either side,
the conversation, as in more civilised society, opens with remarks
about the weather and the prospects for rain. When this subject is
exhausted, and the host's curiosity as to where the man came from,
what he is doing, and where he is going to, is satisfied, the former
may go back to the house and fetch some pinole and meat for the
traveller. The object of the visit not infrequently is an invitation
to take part in some game or foot-race; and as the men are sure to
remain undisturbed, they generally reach some understanding. A friend
of the family is, of course, finally invited to enter the house, and
the customary salutation is "Assagá!" ("Sit down!") In this connection
it may be noted that the Tarahumares in conversation look sidewise,
or even turn their backs toward the person they speak to.

After having eaten, the guest will carefully return every vessel in
which food was given to him, and when he rises he hands back the skin
on which he was seated. Should occasion require, the host will say:
"It is getting late, and you cannot return to your home to-night. Where
are you going to sleep? There is a good cave over yonder." With this
he may indicate where the visitor may remain over night. He will also
tell him where he may find wood for the fire, and he will bring him
food; but not unless the weather is very tempestuous will he invite
an outsider to sleep in the house.

When at home the Tarahumare keeps regular hours, rising and retiring
with the sun. Having slept on a skin on the floor, rolled up in his
blanket, without anything for a pillow except perhaps a stone or a
chunk of wood, he sits for a while near the fire, which is kept up
most of the year at night in the house or cave. His wife brings him
his breakfast of pinole. While combing out his long black hair with a
pine cone, he may ask the boys and girls whether they have attended
to the traps he told them to set on the night before. They run out
and soon they come in with some mice. "Here they are," they say,
"but they are very poor!" The father, however, may consider them fat
and nice, and the mother affably adds: "Of course, they are fat,
since they have eaten so much corn." They go about to roast them,
while the husband looks on. Generally the Tarahumares have a number
of traps set to catch mice. They are so fond of this "game" that,
when civilised, they have been known to ask permission from Mexican
acquaintances to go through their houses to hunt for them. The mice
are skinned and threaded on a thin stick, which is stuck through
their necks and serves as a spit.

Having enjoyed the dainty morsel thus set before him, the husband
now tells his wife what he is going to do to-day. He will run deer or
hunt squirrels, and accordingly takes his bow and arrows or his axe
with him. In spring-time he may go to the field. The wife also tells
of her plans for the day. The work that engages most of the time of
the housewives in Mexico is the grinding of the corn, on the metate,
for corn-cakes; and if she has any time to spare she boils beans,
looks for herbs, or works on her weaving-frame; but she never sits
about idle. She looks as conscientiously after her duties as any white
woman; she has always something to do, and many things to take care
of in her small way.

About sunset the husband returns, bringing a squirrel or rabbit,
which he carries concealed in his blanket, that no neighbour may
see it and expect an invitation to help to eat it. As he goes and
comes he never salutes his wife or children. He enters in silence
and takes his seat near the fire. The animal he caught he throws
toward her where she is kneeling before the metate, so that it
falls on her skirt. She ejaculates "Sssssssssss!" in approval and
admiration, and, picking it up, praises its good points extravagantly:
"What a big mouth! What large claws!" etc. He tells her how hard he
worked to get that squirrel, how it had run up the tree, and he had
to cut down that tree, till finally the dog caught it. "The dog is
beginning to be very good at hunting," he says. "And now I am very
tired." She spreads before him a generous supper of beans, herbs,
and maize porridge, which she has ready for him. And while he eats
she goes industriously to work removing the fur from the game, but
leaving on the skin, not only because it keeps the meat together
while it is boiling, but mainly because she thinks there is a good
deal of nourishment in it, which it would be a shame to waste.

When the man is at home, and neither sleeping nor eating, he may sit
down and make a bow or some arrows; or, stretched out on his back,
he may resort to his favourite amusement, playing his home-made
violin. Like all Indians of Mexico, the Tarahumares are fond of
music and have a good ear for it. When the Spaniards first came,
they found no musical instruments among the Tarahumares except the
short reed flute, so common to many Mexican tribes, the shaman's
rattle, and the rasping stick. But they soon introduced the violin
and even the guitar, and throughout Mexico the Indians now make these
instruments themselves, using pine wood and other indigenous material
in their construction, sometimes with remarkable skill and ingenuity,
and for glue the juice of a certain lily root. Having no idea of the
value of money, they frequently sell a tolerably good instrument for
fifty or even twenty-five cents.

Toward evening the Tarahumare father of a family gets more talkative
and chats with his wife, and then

        "The day is done, and the darkness
        Drops from the wings of night
        As a feather is wafted downward
        From an eagle in his flight."

And as the shadows deepen, he wraps himself closer in his blanket,
and before he knows it childlike slumber enfolds him. Frequently he
grows hungry in the middle of the night, and reaches out for food,
as well as for his violin, devoting himself to music for half an hour,
before he drops off to sleep again.

There are more women in the tribe than men, and they are looked upon
as of less importance. There is a saying among the people that one
man is as good as five women. Her prayers are not of as much value as
his, because she prays only to the moon, and her deity is not as big
as his, the sun. For this reason her place is behind the man in all
dances. Yet she occupies a comparatively high position in the family,
and no bargain is ever concluded until the husband has consulted his
wife in the matter. I am bound to say, however, that on such occasions
every member of the household, even the youngest and smallest child,
is asked to give an opinion, and, if one of the little tots objects,
the sale will not be closed. In such cases there is nothing for the
customer to do but to try to influence the young business man who
raised the objection, not directly, but through his parents. This
accounts for a good deal of the frightful loss of time incurred
in dealing with these Indians. The purchase of a sheep may require
two days, and the negotiations concerning an ox may extend over an
entire week.

That a woman of intelligence and character is appreciated even among
barbarians is proven by the fact that once a woman was made gobernador,
or chief, because "she knew more than men." She did not assume the
title, but she is said to have ruled with more wisdom and justice
than many of her predecessors and successors.

Husband and wife never show their affection in public except when
drunk. Parents kiss their little ones on the mouth and on the stomach,
and the youngsters express their love for each other in the same
way. On some occasions I have seen lovers sitting closely together, she
holding on to his forefinger. The women are of a jealous disposition.

The Tarahumare standard of beauty is not in accordance with the classic
ideal as we perceive it, nor is it altogether in conformity with modern
views on the subject. Large, fat thighs are the first requisite, and
a good-looking person is called "a beautiful thigh." Erect carriage is
another essential to beauty. In the face, the eyes attract more notice
than any other feature, and the most admired ones are "the eyes like
those of a mouse." This is the highest praise that can be bestowed
upon anyone's personal appearance. They all like straight hair, and
consider hair very ugly when it has a curl at the end. I once asked
a bright young Tarahumare how the man must look who is most admired
by women, whether his mouth and nose should be large or small, etc.,
and he replied, "They must be similar to mine!" Aside from good looks,
the women like best men who work well, just as in civilised countries
a woman may look out for a good _parti_.

But wealth does not make the possessor more attractive to the girls. In
Nararachic was an elderly man who owned forty head of cattle and
eighteen horses. When he became a widower, he had to live with an
elderly woman of bad reputation, as he could not get another woman
to marry him.

The young women enjoy absolute liberty, except as regards Mexicans,
against whom they are always warned. They are told that they become
sick from contact with such men. Never are they forced to contract what
would turn out to be a loveless marriage. A beautiful Indian girl was
much sought for by a Mexican. He spoke the Tarahumare language very
well, and offered to give her a good house and fine clothes and a
whole handful of silver dollars. Her brother, who was half civilised,
and therefore more corrupt than the ordinary Indian, also tried to
persuade her to accept the rich suitor. But she tossed up her head
and exclaimed, "Tshíne awláma gátsha negalé" which, freely translated,
means: "I do not like that fellow; love goes where it chooses."

The custom of the country requires the girl to do all the courting. She
is just as bashful as the young swain whom she wishes to fascinate,
but she has to take the initiative in love affairs. The young people
meet only at the feasts, and after she hag gotten mildly under the
influence of the native beer that is liberally consumed by all, she
tries to attract his attention by dancing before him in a clumsy
way up and down on the same spot. But so bashful is she that she
persistently keeps her back turned toward him. She may also sit down
near him and pull his blanket and sing to him in a gentle low voice
a simple love-song:

    Se-(se)-ma-te re-hoy i-rú Se-(se)-ma-te re-hoy i-vá
    Beau-ti-ful man to be sure, Beau-ti-ful man to be sure.

If occasion requires, the parents of the girl may say to the parents
of the boy, "Our daughter wants to marry your son." Then they
send the girl to the boy's home, that the young people may become
acquainted. For two or three days, perhaps, they do not speak to
each other, but finally she playfully begins to throw pebbles at
him. If he does not return them, she understands that he does not
care for her. If he throws them back at her, she knows that she
has won him. She lets her blanket drop and runs off into the woods,
and he is not long in following her.

Sometimes the boy, when he likes a girl very much, may make the
first advances, but even then he has to wait until she throws the
first pebbles and drops the blanket, for, among the Indians, it is
the woman who seeks the man, and the fair who deserve the brave.

Next day they come home together, and after this they do not hide
themselves any more. The parents of the girl are advised to make
tesvino, as the young couple should not be separated any more, and
word is sent out to a few friends and relatives to come to the wedding.

The guests arrive in the afternoon and most of the people remain
outside of the house during the ceremony, but the bridegroom and his
parents go inside, where they seat themselves on skins spread out on
the floor. The mother of the girl has placed a large skin next to a
big jar of tesvino, and on this the father of the boy sits down. As
soon as he has taken his place, the host offers him three gourds
full of the drink and requests him to accept the office of honour,
the distribution of tesvino to all present, and he immediately enters
upon his duties. He first gives four gourds full to the mother of the
bride, as the mistress of the tesvino, and three gourds full to the
host, the master; then four gourds full to his own wife. The bridal
couple have been called in and told to sit down side by side, and
all the rest of the people come in and stand around the pair. There
is no special place assigned to anyone; but the father of the boy
stands up and his mother sits down, while the girl's father sits
down and her mother stands up. The boy's father now makes a speech,
telling the bridal couple that they must remain together, and never
separate nor fight. He specially tells the young man that he has to
kill deer and take care always to bring some animal home to his wife,
even if it be only a chipmunk or a mouse. He also has to plough and
to sow corn and to raise crops, that he and she may always have enough
to eat and not go hungry.

The father of the girl next takes the word, addressing himself mostly
to the bride. Now that she is united to the man of her choice, she
should always comply with her wifely duties. She must make blankets
for her husband, and be industrious, make tesvino and iskiate,
pinole, tortillas, gather herbs, etc., that her husband may always
have something to eat and not go hungry. He names all the herbs
singly. She must also help him, in her way, with the ploughing and
sowing, so that he may raise plenty of corn to make tesvino that
others may help him. She never must be lazy.

The father of the girl now gives tesvino to his future son-in-law,
whose father in turn gives some to the bride. The bridal couple are
covered with blankets, and in some cases his and her right hands
are tied together. There is no other marriage ceremony. But all the
guests partake of the liberally flowing bowl, and the festivities
end in general and complete intoxication.

About two weeks later, the parents of the bridegroom make a feast
exactly the same in character, but now the father of the girl
occupies the seat of honour next to the big tesvino jar and acts as
distributer. He also makes the first speech. The bridegroom gives
to his brother-in-law a flint for striking fire, and six arrows. No
matter how many brothers the bride has, they all get this present. It
is considered an exchange for the girl. The shamans avail themselves
of _jus primæ noctis_.

After the marriage the bridal couple separate, each staying in the old
home for several weeks, after which the young man comes to live with
his father-in-law for half a year or a year, until he has had time to
make a house for himself. In the meantime the young couple are fed,
but they receive nothing else. The young man has his own animals, which
he got when he was small, and now his father gives him a piece of land.

Among the Christian Tarahumares the fiscal is advised of any
contemplated marriage. This functionary has charge of the church
edifice and the teaching of the children. It is his duty to take the
young couples to the padre to be married. But the padre is far away and
comes around only once a year, and sometimes even less frequently,
and then the fiscal, so to say, rounds up all the matrimonially
inclined. On account  of their innate ardour to comply with all
religious requirements the Tarahumares are willing to go through the
ceremony, though to them it has no significance beyond the payment of
one dollar. On this account they do not mind waiting for the padre's
blessing for a couple of years, until they get ready to part with
the dollar, thereby generally saving an extra trip for baptising.

As the padre's visits are so few and far between, the fiscal even
considers it incumbent upon himself to make up matches on his own
account, telling the people that when the padre comes they should
be ready to get married. But so independent are the Tarahumare girls
that it has happened that when the padre asks the portentous question,
they cry, "Kæke, kæke" ("No, no"), and run away.

In my time there was a padre (now removed) who emulated the example
of the shamans and was frequently in his cups. On one occasion he
was unable to perform the marriage ceremonies, and the sacristan
accompanying him had to take his place. All this man knew about the
rite was to ask the man and the woman whether they would have each
other. On hearing their "Yes" he would say, "Where is the dollar?" and
pocketing it send the couple off with, "Now you are all right."

When an addition is expected in the family the chief preparation of
the woman is to get ready a quantity of beer, calling on her friends
to help her, while the husband goes to look for the shaman. When
she feels her time is approaching, she retires to some lonely spot,
as she is too bashful to bear her child while others are about. She
tightens her girdle around her waist, and bears her child sitting up,
holding on to something above her, like the branch of a tree. After
the little stranger has arrived the husband may bring her a jar with
warm water from which she occasionally drinks. He also digs a hole,
in which, after he has gone, she buries the placenta, placing stones
on top of the place on account of the dogs. The umbilical cord is
cut with a sharp reed or a sharp-edged piece of obsidian, but never
with a knife, for in that case the child would become a murderer
and could never be a shaman. I once asked a Tarahumare where he was
born, expecting him to give me the name of some ranch; I was rather
amused when he pointed to a big stone a little farther on along the
slope. That was his birthplace.

The mother may lie down for that day, but the following morning she
works as usual, as if nothing had been the matter with her. The husband
does not work for three days, because he thinks his axe would break,
or the horns of his ox would fall off, or he would break a leg. The
third day he takes a bath.

When the baby is three days old the shaman comes to cure it. A big
fire is made of corn-cobs, the little one is placed on a blanket, and
with the father's assistance the shaman carries it, if it is a boy,
three times through the smoke to the four cardinal points, making
the ceremonial circuit and finally raising it upward. This is done
that the child may grow well and be successful in life, that is, in
raising corn. Then the shaman takes a burning corn-cob from the fire
and with the charred end makes three parallel lines lengthwise over
the child's head and three across them. He also sprinkles tesvino
on the head and other vital parts of the body to make them strong,
and cures the umbilical cord. He may, too, anoint the child with the
fat of the rattlesnake mixed with herbs, and leave it in the sun,
that the light may enter its heart. For his services the shaman gets
a little maize, beans, salt, etc.

On the fourth day the mother goes down to the river to bathe, and
while bathing leaves the little one naked, exposed to the sun for
at least an hour, in spite of all its wailings, that Father Sun may
see and know his new child. The baby is not washed until it is a year
old. Then it is cured again, by the shaman, who on various occasions
throughout its life repeats his curing, that the child may grow well
and that no sickness or bad accidents may befall it. To protect
it still further, pieces of palo hediondo or the chuchupate root,
the strong smell of which is supposed to avail against disease,
are wrapped in a piece of cloth and tied around the child's neck.

The mother nurses the child until it is three years old. In some
instances she begins to give it once in a while a little pinole when
it is only six months old. When two years of age a child begins to
walk and to talk. Sometimes when the mother is busy, for instance
at the metate, and will not stop to nurse him, the little rascal may
take a stick and in his way try to beat her.

The Tarahumare woman is a faithful mother, and takes good care of her
children. She generally has from six to eight, often more. While small
the children play with primitive dolls. They dress up corn-cobs with
scraps of textiles and put them upright in the sand, saying that they
are matachines and drunken women. They also play, like other children,
with beans and acorns, or with young chickens with their legs tied
together. Of course the youngsters maltreat these. Sometimes they
play, too, with stuffed squirrels, but there are no special children's
games. The father makes bows and arrows for the boys, and instructs
them in hunting and agricultural work. As the girls grow up, the mother
teaches them how to spin yarn and weave blankets, "for," she tells
them, "otherwise they will become men." She also warns them not to
have children too rapidly in succession, for there is no one to carry
them for her. Women cannot eat the tenderloin until they are very old,
because if they did they could have no children. For the same reason
they must not eat the pancreas. The women who fear lest they may have
difficulty in giving birth to a child make soup of an opossum and eat
it. Girls must not touch deer antlers, or their breasts would fall off.

A characteristic custom is that the children, no matter how old they
get, and even after they are married and have families of their own,
never help themselves to anything in the parents' house. The mother has
to give all the food, etc., and she gives as long as she has anything.

Parents never inflict corporal punishment upon the young people. If
a boy does not behave himself, he gets scolded, and his father's
friends may also remonstrate with him at a feast. Otherwise, the
children grow up entirely independent, and if angry a boy may even
strike his father. A girl will never go so far, but when scolded will
pout and weep and complain that she is unjustly treated. How different
is this from the way in which, for instance, Chinese children treat
their parents! It does not favour much the theory that the American
Indians originally came from Asia.

Chapter XV

    Many Kinds of Games Among the Tarahumares--Betting and
    Gambling--Foot-races the National Sport--The Tarahumares are the
    Greatest Runners in the World--Divinations for the Race--Mountains
    of Betting Stakes--Women's Races.

To my knowledge there is no tribe so fond of games as the
Tarahumares. There are few days in the year when a man has not a game
of some kind to play. Even when they become civilised and demoralised,
in spite of their depression and poverty this passion of theirs still
clings to them. While it is true that there is always something of
value, however insignificant, put at stake, their gambling spirit
is not vicious. They have some curious practices in their play: when
going to run a race, or when intending to play _cuatro_ or _quinze_,
they do not eat chile. Where holes in the ground are required for a
game, as in cuatro and quinze, they are generally made in the level
space on a rock.

Very common is it to see two young men amusing themselves with
shooting-matches, shooting arrows at an arrow which has been
shot out into the ground some fifty yards off as a mark. This
arrow, as well as the game itself, is called in Mexican Spanish
_lechuguilla_. In Tarahumare the game is called chogírali, and the
target-arrow chogira. The arrow coming nearest the chogira counts
one point; and if it comes within four fingers' width of the aim,
it counts four. The game  is for twelve points. The distance is not
measured from the points of the arrows, but from the winged parts,
one man measuring for all. If a shot arrow strikes so as to form a
cross with the chogira, it counts four. If it only touches the point
of the latter in the ground it counts two. If two arrows happen to
form crosses, neither counts.

Instead of arrows, three sticks may be employed. One is thrown
out at a distance and is the chogira, and the other two sticks are
thrown toward it, and count in a similar way as the arrows. Often
while travelling, the Tarahumares play this game, in either form,
as they go along the road, perhaps for the entire distance. Two and
three pairs may play together.

There is also a game very similar to quoits, played with stone disks,
fiat on one side and convex on the other. It is called rixiwátali
(rixíwala = disk), and two and two play against each other. First one
stone is moistened with spittle on one side to make it "heads or tails"
and tossed up. The player who wins the toss plays first. Each has
three stones, which are thrown toward a hole in the ground, perhaps
twenty yards off. One of each party throws first, then goes to the
hole and looks at it, while the other players make their throws. The
stone falling nearest to the hole counts one point; if it falls into
the hole, it counts four; if the stone of the second player falls on
top of the first stone in the hole, it "kills" the first stone. The
game is out at twelve. To measure distances, they break off small
sticks. Lookers-on may stand around and bet which of the players will
win. Another game is called tákwari, "to beat the ball"; in Spanish,
_palillo_. It is played only by women. Two play at a time. One knocks
a small wooden ball toward one goal, while her opponent tries to get
it to another. This game is also played by the northern Tepehuane
women, who sometimes use two short sticks tied together in the middle,
instead of the ball. The sticks are thrown ahead from their places
on the ground with a kind of quick, prying movement, with the aid of
a longer stick.

Civilised Tarahumares, as well as the Mexicans, play with knuckle-bones
as dice. The game is called _la taba_, and the bones are taken from
either the deer, the sheep, or the goat. Only one bone is used by the
two players. Twelve points make a game, and each player has twelve
grains of corn with which he keeps count. He makes two rings in
the sand, and puts his twelve grains in one ring, and as the game
progresses he transfers them into the second ring until the game
is out.

Their greatest gambling game, at which they may play even when tipsy,
is quinze; in Tarahumare, romavóa. It is played with four sticks
of equal length, called romálaka and inscribed with certain marks
to indicate their value. Practically they serve the same purpose
as dice, but they are thrown in a different way. The player grasps
them in his left hand, levels their ends carefully, lifts his bundle,
and strikes the ends against a flat or square little stone in front
of him, from which they rebound toward his opponent. The sticks
count in accordance with the way they fall. The point of the game
is to pass through a figure outlined by small holes in the ground
between the two players. The movements, of course, depend upon the
points gained in throwing the sticks, and the count is kept by means
of a little stone, which is placed in the respective hole after
each throw. Many accidents may impede its progress; for instance,
it may happen to be in the hole into which the adversary comes from
the opposite direction. In this case he is "killed," and he has to
begin again from the starting-point. The advance is regulated by a
number of ingenious by-laws, which make the game highly intellectual
and entertaining. If he has the wherewithal to pay his losses, a
Tarahumare may go on playing for a fortnight or a month, until he has
lost everything he has in this world, except his wife and children;
he draws the line at that. He scrupulously pays all his gambling debts.

The northern Tepehuanes also know this game, and play with sticks
eighteen to twenty inches long. As these larger sticks fly quite a
distance off when rebounding, the players sit rather far apart.

Wrestling also may be observed, but what may be termed the national
sport, of which the Tarahumares are inordinately fond, is foot-racing,
which goes on all the year round, even when the people are weakened
from scarcity of food. The interest centres almost entirely in
the betting that goes with it; in fact, it is only another way of
gambling. It is called ralá hípa ("with the foot throw"), the word
alluding to a ball used at the race.

No doubt the Tarahumares are the greatest runners in the world, not
in regard to speed, but endurance. A Tarahumare will easily run 170
miles without stopping. When an Indian is sent out as a messenger,
he goes along at a slow trot, running steadily and constantly. A
man has been known to carry a letter in five days from Guazapares to
Chihuahua and back, a distance of nearly 600 miles by the road. Even
considering shortcuts, which he, no doubt, knew, it was quite a feat
of endurance; for he must have lived, as the Indians always do while
travelling, on pinole and water only.

Where the Indians serve the Mexicans they are often employed to run
wild horses into the corral. It may take them two or three days,
but they will bring them in, the horses thoroughly exhausted, while
the men, who, of course, economise their strength, and sleep, and eat
pinole, are comparatively fresh. In the same way they will run down a
deer, following it for days through snow and rain, until the animal
is cornered and easily shot with arrows, or until it is overtaken
utterly jaded and its hoofs dropping off.

This propensity for running is so great that the name of the tribe
alludes to it. Tarahumare is a Spanish corruption of ralámari, the
meaning of which, though somewhat obscure, may doubtless best be
given as "foot-runners," because ralá certainly means "foot."

The race is always between two localities, each side being represented
by from four to twenty runners. The two parties show in their
apparel some distinctive mark; for instance, all of one troop have
red head-bands, while the others may wear white ones.

A peculiar feature is that the men toss along a small ball as they
run, each party having one of their own. These balls are about
two and a half inches in diameter and carved from the root of the
oak. The foremost runner kicks it with the toes of his right foot,
so as to make it bound along as far as 100 yards, and he and all
the men behind him follow in the same trot as before. The first man
reaching it again kicks it onward. It must never be touched by the
hand, unless it happens to fall in some awkward place, as between
stones or in a water-pool, when it is picked up and kicked on.

There is never any laid-out track, but the circuit is determined in a
general way by crosses cut in trees. There are certain favourite places
always used as race-courses. The runners seem to have a preference
for the level tops of low ridges lying in a circle, wherever this is
possible. If this is not feasible, they may run forward and back on
a ridge, starting always near the middle, from some little plane or
other convenient place, where the people gather for the occasion.

There is a manager for each party, and the two arrange the time
and place for the race to be held, also the number and length of
the circuits to be made. A circuit may measure from three to twelve
miles in extent, and when the circuits are short as many as twenty
may be agreed upon. At one race-course near Carichic, the circuit
is about fourteen miles long, and twelve circuits may be run here
without stopping. Runners of equal ability are matched against each
other, each side being, of course, anxious to secure the best. The
managers take care of their men until the race comes off. The training
consists mainly in abstinence from tesvino for two or five days before
the event. When preparing for a big race the runners may practise;
not that they need training in running, for that comes to them as
naturally as swimming to the duck; but only that they practise kicking
the ball and try the ground.

Much more important are the magical devices by means of which they
endeavour to secure their own success and to defeat their opponents. A
daring manager may go to a burial cave, taking two balls with him. He
digs out a bone, preferably the tibia from the right leg, and sets
it on the floor of the cave in which it has been found. In front of
it he places a jar with tesvino and some vessels containing food. On
either side of these he lays one of his balls, and in front of all
he plants the cross. The food and the beer are the payment to the
dead that he may help to win the race by weakening the adversaries.

As human bones are supposed to induce fatigue, some may be brought
to the race-track and secreted there in such a way that the competing
runners have to pass over the spot, while the manager's own crew are
advised of the danger, to avoid it. The man uses the utmost care not
to touch the bones with his fingers, lest he should dry up; instead,
he uses sticks in handling and carrying them.

Scores of remedies are brought to the scene, either to strengthen
friends Or to weaken opponents. Certain herbs are thrown into the
air or shaken before the runners to enervate them. Some enterprising
Mexican may bring a white powder or similar substance, declaring that
it is very efficacious, and get a Tarahumare to pay a high price for
it. But whatever means are employed, one way or the other, there
is always a counter-remedy to offset its effect. Specially potent
is the blood of the turtle and the bat, stirred together, dried,
and mixed with a little tobacco, which is then rolled into a cigar
and smoked. Hikuli and the dried head of an eagle or a crow may be
worn under the girdle as a protection.

The services of the shaman are indispensable for the foot-runners. He
helps the manager, himself often a shaman, to rub the men with herbs
and smooth stones to make them strong. He also makes passes over them
to guard them against sorcery. On the day before the races he "cures"
them. Food and remedies are placed on a blanket beneath the cross,
together with many magical things. The herbs are very powerful and
have to be tied up in bags of buckskin or cotton cloth, as otherwise
they might break away. The water for the runners to drink is also
placed underneath the cross, and candles are set on either side of the
pile. The runners bring their balls and stand in a row around the
cross. Then the shaman, taking his position in front of the latter,
smokes incense of copal over them, and sings of the tail of the grey
fox, and other songs. He also makes a speech, warning them not to
accept pinole or water in other people's houses. All their food and
drink must come from their relatives as a guard against witchcraft
and illness. The runners drink three times from the water and the
strengthening remedies; then the principal runner leads the others in a
ceremonial circuit around the cross, walking as many times around it as
there are circuits to be run in the race. The men sleep near the cross,
to watch the remedies on the blanket. With them they have some old man,
for old men see even when they sleep, and watch against sorcery.

After the ceremony the shaman takes each runner aside and subjects him
to a rigid examination in regard to his recent food and his relations
with women. Fat, potatoes, eggs, and anything sweet are prohibited,
because all these things make the men heavy; but rabbits, deer, rats,
turkeys, and chaparral-cocks are wholesome, and such nourishment
enables them to win.

An augury as to which side will win is also taken. Water is poured into
a large wooden tray, and the two balls are started simultaneously and
rolled through the water over the tray. The party whose ball first
reaches the other end will surely win. This test is gone through as
many times as there are to be circuits in the race.

A race is never won by natural means. The losers always say that they
have been bewitched by the others. Once I was taking the temperature
of some foot-runners before they started, and their opponents,
seeing this, lost heart, thinking that I had made their contestants
strong to win the race. Often one of the principal runners becomes
disheartened, and may simulate illness and declare that their rivals
have bewitched him. Then the whole affair may come to nothing and the
race be declared off. There are stories about injurious herbs that
have been given in pinole or water, and actually made some racers
sick. It may even happen that some dishonest fellow will pay to the
best runner of one party a cow if he lets the other party win. But,
as a rule, everything goes on straightforwardly. No one will, however,
wonder that there are six watchmen appointed by each side to guard the
runners from any possible peradventure, and to see that everything
goes on in a proper, formal way. Tipsy persons are not admitted,
and women in a delicate condition are carefully kept away, as the
runners become heavy even by touching such a woman's blanket.

On the day of the race the forenoon is spent in making bets, the
managers acting as stakeholders. These people, poor as they are,
wager their bows and arrows, girdles, head-bands, clothes, blankets,
beads, ari, balls of yarn, corn, and even sheep, goats, and cattle. The
stakes of whatever nature are tied together--a blanket against so many
balls of yarn, a stick of ari against so many arrows, etc. At big
races the wagers may amount to considerable heaps of such articles,
and the position of manager requires a man of decision and memory,
for he has to carry all the bets in his head and makes no written
record of them. The total value of the wagers may reach a thousand
dollars, and what to the Indians are fortunes may change hands in
accordance with the result of the race. One man on one occasion had
$50 worth of property at stake.

The scene is one of great animation. As many as two hundred people
may assemble, among them women and children. At the gathering-point,
which is called in Tarahumare "the betting-place," all the bets are
made, and here the race is started and concluded. Here the managers
also place a row of stones, one stone for each circuit to be run,
and whenever a circuit is completed one stone is taken away. In
this way the count is kept. The runners walk about wrapped in their
blankets like the rest of the people. They have had nothing to eat
all day but pinole and tepid water, and their legs have been rubbed
with warm water in the morning by the managers.

When finally all the people have arranged their stakes the gobernador
steps forward and makes a speech, in which he specially exhorts the
runners not to throw the ball with their hands; if they do, they
certainly will go to hell! He also warns them against cheating of
any kind.

At a given signal, quick as lightning, the runners throw off their
blankets, and one man in each party, previously selected, throws his
ball as far as he can, and all the runners start after it. A second
ball is always kept in reserve, in case the first should be lost.

The racers wear rattles of deer-hoofs and bits of reeds tied together
on a strip of leather, which they stick in the backs of their girdle
or hang over their backs. The magic rattling keeps them from falling
asleep while running, so they say; besides, the deer-hoofs lend
them the swiftness of the stag. Some runners adorn themselves with
feathers from various birds, preferably the macaw and the peacock,
tying them to short sticks. The few Tarahumares who have ever seen
a peacock think a good deal of this bird, because it is considered
light-footed and mystic, being foreign to their country. Some runners
may be seen who paint their faces and legs with white chalk, near
Batopilas, for instance.

They do not run at an extraordinary speed, but very steadily, hour
after hour, mile after mile. Good runners make forty miles in six or
eight hours. At one race, when they covered according to calculation
twenty-one miles in two hours, I timed the leading runner and found
that he made 290 feet in nineteen seconds on the first circuit, and
on the next in twenty-four seconds. At a race rehearsal I saw them
cover four miles in half an hour.

The public follows the race with great enthusiasm from beginning to
end, the interest growing with each circuit. Many begin to follow the
runners, shouting to them and urging them on. They also help them by
pointing out the ball so that they can kick it without stopping to look
for it. The wives of the contestants heat water and prepare pinole,
which they hold out in drinking-gourds to the men as they pass. The
latter stop for a few seconds to partake of this their favourite
dish; and if this cannot be done, the tepid water is thrown over
the shoulders of the runners, by way of refreshing them. As darkness
comes on, torches of resinous pine wood are lighted and carried along
to illuminate the path for the runners, that they may not stumble,
making the scene one of extreme picturesqueness, as these torchbearers,
demon-like, hurry through the forest.

One contestant after another drops out. The excitement becomes wilder;
more and more people join in accompanying the few runners left, their
principal motive being to shout encouraging words to the runners and
urge them to exert themselves to the utmost. And at last the best
man comes in, generally alone, the others having either given up the
contest or being far behind.

The race usually commences at midday; but often the bets are not
finished until late in the afternoon. It may last four hours and
even longer. A famous runner, now dead, could run from midday until
sunrise. There is no prize for the winner himself, except the golden
opinions he earns among the women; and his father may accept presents
from lucky bettors. A man who wins a cow is expected to give two pesos
to the victorious runner; in case he wins a goat he gives half a real.

The race over, the wagers are immediately paid and the Indians quickly
disperse, soon to arrange for another contest.

Sometimes there is an old man's race preceding that of the young men,
the latter being always the principal event of the day. Races are
also run by women, and the betting and excitement that prevail on
these occasions run as high as at the men's races, though on a smaller
scale. Instead of tossing the ball with their toes, they use a large
wooden fork, with two or three prongs, to pitch it forward. Sometimes
they have a ring of twisted strips of yucca leaves instead of the
ball, but more often two interlocked rings which they throw ahead
with a stick curved at the end. This game, which is called rowé-mala
(rowé signifies a ring), must be very ancient, for rings of this kind
have sometimes been found in ancient cliff-dwellings. It is certainly
a strange sight to see these sturdy amazons race heavily along with
astonishing perseverance, when creeks and water-holes come in their
way, simply lifting their skirts _à la Diane_ and making short work
of the crossing.

Chapter XVI

    Religion--Mother Moon Becomes the Virgin Mary--Myths--The
    Creation--The Deluge--Folk-lore--The Crow's Story to the
    Parrot--Brother Coyote--Beliefs about Animals.

The pagans or _gentiles_ in the barrancas say that they have two gods,
but no devil. These gods are Father Sun (Nonorúgami) and Mother Moon
(Yerúgami). The Sun guards the men in the daytime; therefore the
Tarahumares do not transact business after sunset. He also makes the
animals sleep. The Moon watches at night, and is the special deity
of the women. In her nightly vigils she is assisted by her son, the
Morning Star, who commands all the other stars, because they are his
sons and they are Tarahumares. The Stars advise their brothers on
earth when thieves are entering their houses. When the Tarahumares
affirm anything solemnly, they say, "By those above!" meaning the Sun,
Moon, and the Stars.

But the greater part of the Tarahumares are nominally Christians,
though all that they know of Christianity are the words _Señor San
José_ and _Maria Santissima_. Moreover, they have adopted the words
_Tata_ (Father) _Dios_ (God) for their Father Sun; and the Virgin
Mary becomes with them a substitute for Mother Moon, and in natural
sequence the wife of Tata Dios. They celebrate in their own peculiar
way all the Christian feasts they know, with as much pleasure and as
elaborately as their own native ceremonies.

Next in importance is the Devil, whom they fear even more than their
own sorcerers. He is always represented with a big beard, such as the
Mexicans wear. He is old and has only one eye, and the shamans have
seen him often. He plays the guitar, but never the violin, because
the bow and the strings form a cross. He would like very much to go
to heaven, and the shamans have to work hard to keep him from doing
so. There is also a female devil, his wife, who bears many children,
always twins, who are the original Mexicans.

Their paradise consists in big ranches, where they will get all the
animals which in this life they sacrificed to Tara Dios. The occupation
of Tata Dios in heaven is to run foot-races with the angels, while the
Devil vies with the sorcerers in making the lives of the Tarahumares
uncomfortable, he being the chief sorcerer of all.

The Tarahumares are the sons of God, and the Mexicans the sons of the
Devil. For this reason the Tarahumares say that it is no crime to eat
the cows of the Mexicans; they think the cows do not really belong to
the Shabotshi anyway. Neither do they tell when a Tarahumare steals
anything from a Mexican, while they are very quick to find out if
one Tarahumare steals from another.

I give here some of the myths and traditions of the tribe. Those
which Christian ideas have entered into will easily be recognised,
and it is not necessary to draw special attention to them.

Creation Myths

In the beginning there were many worlds before this, but one after the
other came to an end. Just before the world was destroyed for the last
time, all the rivers flowed toward the place where the sun rises. But
now the waters also flow toward the other side, where the sun sets. [5]

The bears put the world into shape. Before their time it was nothing
but a waste of sand.

In ancient times there were plenty of lagoons around Guachochic;
but the land was put in order, when the people came and began to
dance yumarí.

The rocks were at first soft and small; but they grew until they
became large and hard. They have life inside.

The people grew up from the soil, while the earth was as level as a
field ready for sowing. But in those days they lived to be only one
year old, and then they died like the flowers.

According to another tradition they descended from heaven with corn
and potatoes in their ears, and were led by Tata Dios into these
mountains, the middle of the world, having originally come from the
north-east or east.

The Sun and the Moon in the Beginning of the World

In the beginning the Sun and the Moon were alone, and they were
children. They wore dresses made of palm-leaves, and they lived
in a house thatched with palm-leaves. They had neither cattle nor
sheep. Both the Sun and the Moon were dark, and the Morning Star was
the only one that shed any light on the earth. The Moon Was eating
lice from the hair of the Sun, and the Morning Star was watching at
night. There were 600 Tarahumares at that time, and they were much
hampered by the darkness. They could not do their work, and they had
to hold each other's hands, and they were stumbling all the time. Then
they cured the Sun and the Moon by dipping small crosses into tesvino,
and touching the Sun and the Moon on the chest, on the head, and on
the back. Then the Sun and the Moon began to shine and to shed light.

Star Legend

A man lived with three women. He was making arrows while they went
to look for squirrels and woodchucks, and when they could find none
they killed their father. Then they said: "It is of no use to stop
here any longer. Let us go away." When the man saw them running
away he shot arrows after them. The women were ascending to heaven,
holding each other's hands, and he transfixed them to the sky, where
they can still be seen just as they rose, as three bright stars in
the belt of Orion. The three women remained in heaven, but the man
remained in the world and was changed into a coyote.

Deluge Legends

When the world became full of water, a little girl and a little boy
climbed up on a mountain, called Laváchi (gourd), which is south of
Panalachic, and when the waters subsided they came down again. They
brought three grains of corn and three beans with them. The rocks
were soft after the flood, and the footprints of the little boy and
the little girl may still be seen. They planted the corn and went to
sleep and had a dream that night; then they harvested, and all the
Tarahumares are descended from them.

The Tarahumares were fighting among themselves and Tata Dios sent
much rain, and all the people perished. After the flood he sent three
men and three women to people the earth. They planted corn at once,
bringing three kinds, the same varieties still found here--soft corn,
hard corn, and yellow corn.


On the heights once lived giants. They were as big as pine-trees and
had heads as big as bowlders. They taught the Tarahumares how to plant
corn, by cutting down trees and burning them, but they ate children.

A woman bore a giant in a cave, which was situated very high up on
the side of a valley. She died, because the child was so large, and
he was taken care of by his grandmother. Once when she was asleep,
she turned over and crushed him.

From Wasivori (near Cusarare) came giants to Nararachic to ask
alms. Tesvino they liked very much. They worked very fast, and the
Tarahumares put them to hoe and weed the corn, and gave them food and
tesvino. But the giants were fierce, and ravished the women while the
latter were under the influence of the Moon; therefore the Tarahumares
got very angry and they mixed a decoction made from the chilicote-tree
with the corn that they gave the giants to eat, and the giants died.

Tata Dios and the Devil--The Sheep and the Deer--Why the Cocks Crow
in the Morning [6]

Tata Dios came down into the world, and he had in his house many
large jars filled with strong tesvino. On the other side of the river
Huerachic, in the big arroyos, lived the Devil. He was very poor,
and he had only one small jar with tesvino, and that was bad. The
Devil and his brother invited Tata Dios to come and drink tesvino
with them. Tata Dios went to the Devil's house, and they gave him
the jar and the drinking-gourd, and he sat down to drink; but he
did not get intoxicated because there was not enough tesvino. When
he had emptied the jar, Tata Dios said: "Now we will go to my house
and drink tesvino; I have some, too." They accepted the invitation,
and all went away together, and Tata Dios gave them a large jar full
of tesvino and the drinking-gourd. They drank much, and the Devil and
his brother sang like the Mexicans, until they lay down on the ground
completely overcome. Later in the night the Devil rose, and he went
to the wife of Tata Dios. And when she awoke, she was very angry,
and roused her husband, and he fought with the Devil, until Tata
Dios got killed. But after a while he rose and said to the Devil,
"Now go away, go below." "I am going home to get my weapons," said
the Devil. But first he went into the house of Tata Dios and robbed
him of his money, and [noticing the reporter's book] of his books and
everything. He hid all the things in his house and Tara Dios came to
look for them. Tata Dios again was very angry, and they fought until
he was killed. But this time, too, he rose and said to the Devil,
"Go below," and the Devil went below and remained there, and Tata
Dios went home.

One day at dawn the people saw the lands full with sheep everywhere. On
a flat stone Tata Dios drew figures like the tracks of the deer,
and from them all the deer originated.

When Tata Dios returned to heaven, he carried in his right hand a
rooster, which he placed on top of a palm-tree. The cock crowed three
times while Tata Dios ascended to heaven. After this, whenever the
sun rises in the morning, the cocks on earth respond when they hear
the cocks in heaven crow.

After Tata Dios had gone to heaven he never came back. He is angry with
the Tarahumares, and he wants to destroy the world, but the Virgin
says: "Let the people alone; I pity the family we left behind." This
is the reason why the world stands.

When Tara Dios went away, he said, "I will leave two crosses here." He
then put up a cross where the sun sets at the end of the world,
and another where the sun rises. The cross in the east he uses
when he rises to heaven and when he comes to visit the Tarahumares,
and the cross in the west is for the Tarahumares when they die and
go to heaven. Between these two crosses the Tarahumares live. They
would like to go to the crosses and worship before them, but they are
prevented from doing so by large bodies of water. They therefore set
up small crosses in front of their houses, and before them they hold
their dances, and God comes to eat near these crosses. He only eats
the soul or substance of the food, and leaves the rest for the people.

The Giants, the Crow, and the Blackbird

The Crow, who is very knowing, told the following story to the Parrot,
who told it to the pagans:

The Blackbird and the Crow, long, long ago, saw a contest between
two giants, who made a bet as to which of them could throw a stone
farthest. The stakes were four deer. One giant, called Golí, carried
a bird in his hand and threw it instead of the stone; so he won; then
he returned to where the Blackbird and the Crow were standing. The
Blackbird said to the Crow, "They will not do us any harm until they
stoop to pick up a stone." But the Crow replied, "Maybe they bring the
stone in their hands." So they flew away, and while they were flying
the Crow said, "I am going to the mountain to look for my wife and
my son. They went away and have been lost for six days."

The Deer, the Toad, and the Crow

The Crow set out for the mountain, where the Deer and the Toad were
making a bet. "Let us try," they said, "who can see the sun first in
the morning." The stakes were twenty-five Gadflies, and they asked
the Crow to be a witness to the contest. In the morning they were
ready to watch for the sun. The Toad was looking westward from the
highest mountain, but the Deer looked to the east. The Toad said,
"Look here, Brother Crow, I have already seen the sun starting," and
the Crow said to the Deer: "Brother Deer, you have lost. Give him
the twenty-five Gadflies." The Deer asked one day's time to catch
the Gadflies, but the Toad thought he was not going to pay him,
and said to the Deer, "Let us have a race, that you may settle your
bet." The Deer readily consented to this, and a stone was put up as
the goal. The Toad went away to call many other toads, and placed
them at intervals toward the goal, and when the Deer arrived at the
stone the Toad was already sitting on it, and said, "Brother Deer,
you have lost." And the Deer went away.

Then the Toad said to the Gadflies: "Go and sting the Deer much, that
he may have to run quickly. If you will sting him much, I will never
eat you." The Gadflies were vexed with the Deer, because he had put
them up on a bet, therefore they were very willing to sting the Deer,
and they have been stinging him ever since.

Story of the Coyote

The Coyote asked permission from Tata Dios to come into the world, and
Tara Dios asked him what he would do there. The Coyote replied that
he would steal the animals and the corn from the Tarahumares. Then
Tata Dios gave him permission to go and make a living in this way,
because the Coyote did not know how to work.

The Mountain Lion, the Coyote, and the Grey Fox

The Coyote challenged the Mountain Lion to a contest, that they might
see which of them had the better eyesight and was the smarter. The Lion
said, "Let us see who can first shoot an animal." Then he proposed
that they should go to a water-hole, and to this the Coyote agreed;
so they started out on the hunt. The Lion climbed up on a tree,
but the Coyote remained below on the ground, and paid no attention
to what the Lion was doing. A deer came, and the Lion struck it
dead. The Coyote saw this from where he was hunting, and by and
by he found a dead mare. When they met again the Lion said to the
Coyote, "Well, how did you get on?" The Coyote replied: "Very well;
I killed a mare." But the mare had been dead so long that she was
smelling. Therefore the Lion said to the Coyote, "Don't be a liar,"
and he chased him off, and the Coyote was ashamed of himself.

The Coyote next met the Grey Fox, and told him to go and challenge the
Lion. The Grey Fox went to the Lion and said: "How do you do, Brother
Lion? I hear you got the best of Brother Coyote." The Lion replied:
"No, Brother Grey Fox; the Coyote made a fool of himself." Then the
Grey Fox said: "Let us see whether you can get the best of me, and
which of us can catch a rabbit first." So they went to the mountain
to look for rabbits. At sunrise the Lion took a position facing the
north, and the Grey Fox faced south, and both of them watched for
rabbits. After spying for a while, the Lion saw one, but by that
time the Grey Fox was asleep alongside of him. So the Lion said to
the rabbit: "Pass right between us, and then go to the hole in the
oak-tree on the rock, and act as if you wanted to go into the hole,
but go away to one side." Then the Lion woke up the Grey Fox and
said: "Over there is a rabbit. He went into a small hole into which
I cannot follow him; but you are small, and you can catch him." The
Grey Fox just saw the rabbit's tail disappearing behind the rock,
but the rabbit hid himself, and did not enter the hole, as the Lion
had told him. "All right," said the Grey Fox, "I will go; but, as you
saw the rabbit first, you have won the bet." But the Lion said: "No;
you go into the hole, and fetch the rabbit out and eat him." Then the
Grey Fox entered the hole, and the Lion made a fire in front of it,
and when the Grey Fox came out again he was burned, and his feet
were sore from the fire. That is why the Grey Fox always walks so
lightly. And he reproached the Lion, saying that he was very bad,
and begged him to let him go and not to kill him. He cried and went
to hide himself in a cave, because he was afraid of the Lion. Then
the Humming-bird who lived in the cave stung him in the face with
his bill and in the eyes, and he went away and never came back again.

The Hens, the Grey Fox, and the Coyote

The Woodpecker made a guitar and gave it to the Butterfly to play on,
and the Cock danced a pascual, and the Cricket danced with the Locust,
and the Hen was singing. While the dance was going on, the Coyote
came to see what he could get from the feast, and the Grey Fox also
came, and he brought some tunas (fruit of the nopal cactus). They
were very nice and sweet, and he gave one to the Coyote and said,
"Here, Brother Coyote, take this nice mouthful." He had well rubbed
off the spines, and the fruit tasted well to the Coyote. It made his
heart glad, and he wanted more. The Grey Fox said to the Coyote,
"I will give you more tunas, but you must eat them with your eyes
shut." He gave him some tunas from which he had not cleaned off the
spines, and as the spines hurt the Coyote he became very angry and
wanted to eat the Grey Fox. But the Fox said to him: "Don't be angry,
Brother Coyote: I will give you a drink; and don't howl, because there
are dogs around." He went to the Cock and to the Hen, and asked them
for tesvino, and he brought it to the Coyote and said, "Here, Brother
Coyote, drink this." The Coyote drank two gourdsful, and then a third
one, and when he had finished this he began to howl, because he was
very drunk, and he asked the Grey Fox, "Why are they all dancing?" The
Grey Fox replied: "They dance, because Miss Cricket married Mister
Locust; therefore the Butterfly is playing on the guitar, and the Cock
dances with delight, and the Hen is singing." But the Coyote said:
"I don't want the Hen to sing; I want to eat her." Then the Grey
Fox took the Coyote into the arroyo and told him to remain there,
while he went to fetch the Hen. But instead of the Hen he got two very
fierce dogs and put them in a bag, and carried them into the arroyo,
where the Coyote was waiting. He was very drunk and very angry,
and he said to the Grey Fox, "Why did you keep me waiting so long,
you cursed old Grey Fox t" The Grey Fox replied: "Don't be angry,
Brother Coyote; here I bring you some very nice Hens. I was looking
for many of them, that is why I remained away so long. Now, shall I
let them out one by one, or do you want them all at once?" The Coyote
replied, "Let them out all at once, that I may have a good old time
with them." Then the Grey Fox opened the bag, and out came the two
fierce dogs; and they caught the Coyote and bit him and tore him to
pieces. The Grey Fox ran away and hid himself, but afterward he came
and got the paws of the Coyote and threw them into a water-pool.

The Mountain Lion and the Bear

The Mountain Lion killed a deer, and the Bear wanted to take it away
from him. They fought, and the Lion won, and the Bear asked his pardon,
because the Lion is more powerful than the Bear.

The Frog and the Coyote

The Frog and the Coyote made a wager as to which of them would gain
in a foot-race. They were to run along a ridge, and return to a point
close by the starting-point. The Coyote lost, because the Frog jumped
directly over to the finishing-point. This happened twice, and the
Coyote wanted to kill the Frog, but the Frog dived into a water-hole,
where the Coyote could not catch him.

The Bears, whose skin is of the same color as the Tarahumares, are
called "grandfathers," amúli, and are so to speak their forebears. In
ancient times they danced on top of the mountains, where they have
roads yet.

Often the bears are sorcerers, who, after death, assumed the shape
of these animals. In fact, there are two kinds of bears, one that
is real, and another one that is a dead Tarahumare. The people do
not know which is which. Only the shamans can make the distinction,
and it is useless to try and kill the man-bear, because he has a very
hard skin, and arrows cannot pierce it. He is the very devil.

The following curious incident happened near Nararachic a few years
ago: A bear had done much damage to a Tarahumare's corn-field. Some
forty Indians with over fifty dogs gathered together to kill the
bear. In order to make the dogs ferocious, the Indians set them to
fight among each other, by way of preparing them for the hunt. The
Indians now divided themselves into several parties, and presently
one lot encountered the bear. They asked the shaman who was with them
whether the creature was a bear or something else, and he replied,
"Let the dogs on and see." As the dogs had never seen a bear, they were
timid, and did not bark or attack the beast; therefore the shaman said:
"This is not a bear. All is lost. The dogs do not know him, and the
bear does not see the dogs with his eyes. He is from hell, and he is
a devil, who came here in the shape of a bear, because he wants to
eat us. Let him alone and let us all go away." And they all retreated.

The mountain lion is a good animal and watches over the people. When
he sees an animal such as the bear or the coyote approach a man,
he roars to warn the man; and if the man pays no attention, the lion
attacks the animal to save the man; therefore strips of his skin are
worn around the ankles and the neck as a protection.

The grey fox is considered an astute animal and is feared. If he passes
by a house in which there is a sick person, and calls three times,
the patient will die. One of my Indian men related the following
story: One night he and another man were sleeping in a house when
he heard the grey fox whistle. At first he did not know what it was,
and he said to his companion,

"Listen, what is that?" The other one said, "This is a very bad
thing, very ugly." He was a man who knew something, and he said,
"If this grey fox returns for two nights more and whistles outside
of the house of our sick neighbour, that man will die." My informant
did not believe this at the time; but the next night the grey fox
returned and whistled very uncannily, and on the third night he did
it again. And on the following morning a man came and asked the Indian
to help him to bury the neighbour who had died during the night. They
went to the house of the dead man, and "then," the narrator concluded,
"I knew that the grey fox had said the truth, for the grey fox never
tells a lie."

The grey fox and the rabbit in ancient times danced rutubúri.

The horned toad holds the world. It says: "Don't tread on me! I am the
colour of the earth and I hold the world; therefore walk carefully,
that you do not tread on me."

The master of the deer lives inside of the mountains, in the earth;
therefore the Tarahumares place small quantities of corn and beans,
or three arrows in a jar, on top of the highest mountain to buy the
deer from the one below.

The brown ground squirrel (chipawíki), which lives among rocks and
seldom ascends trees, is thought to become a serpent. This belief is
also current among certain classes of Mexicans. A Mexican told me that
a man once smashed the head of a chipawíki in the hollow of a tree,
and when he wanted to take his game out, he found that the rest of
the animal had the body of a serpent. It cannot be used for sacrifices.

Rats become bats.

The owl is very bad. Whenever it comes to a house and screeches,
somebody falls ill. If it calls three times, in three consecutive
nights, the sick person will die. The owl is also very smart. It knows
when the Tarahumare's blanket (in which he is wrapped when sleeping
along the fire) is going to be burned. When the owl hoots near a home
it says, "Chu-i, chu-i, chu-i,"--"dead, dead, dead." Owls are killed
but not eaten.

The goat sucker makes darts through the air and calls down rain. It has
two nice fat young, which the Tarahumares consider a great delicacy.

The crow is much in disfavour because it eats the corn. Only the
young crows are eaten.

The large swifts (olamáka) are thought to be witches, who pierce the
souls of people and eat them. They are used by the sorcerers, whom they
obey like dogs. Once a woman was sitting in a corn-field watching it
by the side of a fire, and making yarn, when a swift settled on her
skirt. She told a girl to bring a large basket, with which she covered
the bird up, caught it and had it for many years. Every night the bird
flew away, and then returned in the morning. Once, when the woman
was absent at a tesvino feast, the girl killed the bird and roasted
it. She could not eat it, however, because it had such a bad smell, and
the woman found it on her return in the basket, dead and roasted. The
girl ran away and the raccoons ate the corn the woman was watching.

The giant woodpecker during the wet season rises high up toward the
sun; that is why he gets his tail burned.

When the Tarahumares handle any kind of fish they take care not to
touch their hair, for fear that it may turn grey and they become old.

The rattlesnakes are the companions of the sorcerers and watch to meet
them and then talk with them. A Mexican once killed a rattlesnake,
and the Indian grew very angry and said that the snake had protected
his house; now he had no one to guard it.

Large serpents, which only the shamans can see, are thought to live
in the rivers. They have horns and very big eyes.

The dragon-fly has no song; it flies about without making a noise.

Tata Dios put sheep into the world; they are good animals because they
give wool from which people can weave blankets, and their meat is good,
and they do not weep when they are killed. But goats were put into
the world by the Devil; their hair is of no use, their meat is bad,
and they howl much when they are killed.

Chapter XVII

    The Shamans or Wise Men of the Tribe--Healers and Priests
    in One--Disease Caused by Looks and Thoughts--Everybody and
    Everything has to be Cured--Nobody Feels Well without His
    "Doctor"--Sorcery--The Powers of Evil are as Great as those
    of Good--Remarkable Cure for Snake-bite--Trepanning Among the
    Ancient Tarahumares.

Without his shaman the Tarahumare would feel lost, both in this life
and after death. The shaman is his priest and physician. He performs
all the ceremonies and conducts all the dances and feasts by which
the gods are propitiated and evil is averted, doing all the singing,
praying, and sacrificing. By this means, and by instructing the people
what to do to make it rain and secure other benefits, he maintains
good terms for them with their deities, who are jealous of man and
bear him ill-will. He is also on the alert to keep those under his care
from sorcery, illness, and other evil that may befall them. Even when
asleep he watches and works just as if his body were awake. Though
real illness is the exception with him, the Tarahumare believes that
an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and for this
reason he keeps his doctor busy curing him, not only to make his body
strong to resist illness, but chiefly to ward off sorcery, the main
source of trouble in the Indian's life. The demand for shamans is
therefore great, but the supply is quite equal to it. For instance,
in the little village of Nararachic and the neighbouring ranches,
where there are about 180 households, twenty-five shamans are living,
each of whom takes care of about twenty souls, though only about ten
of them enjoy great reputation in the community.

Before a man is allowed to consider himself a shaman, he is examined
by a "board" of recognised members of the profession, who pass upon
his fitness to enter their ranks.

These priest-doctors have their specialties. Some sing only at
rutuburi or yumari dances, others only at hikuli-feasts. A few of
them do not sing at all, but are merely healers, although far the
greater number also sing at the feasts. Those who make a specialty
of the hikuli cult are considered the greatest healers. They all
conscientiously fast and pray, complying with the demands of the
gods, which impose restrictions and abstinence, and they are therefore
called "righteous men" (owirúami). They are the wise men of the tribe;
and as rain-makers, healers, and keepers of the heritage of tribal
wisdom and traditions, their influence is powerful.

Their services are never rendered gratuitously; in fact, what with
the payments they receive from singing at feasts and curing the
sick, they generally manage to live better than the rest of the
people. Whenever a shaman is hungry, he goes to the house of some of
his well-to-do clients and cures the family, receiving all the food he
wants in payment for his efforts, for what would become of the people
if the shaman should die? The Devil would surely take them away at
once. Therefore the best parts of the meat from the animal killed
for the feast is given to the shamans, and they generally get all
the tesvino they can hold. In winter time, when numerous feasts are
being held, the shamans are nearly all the time under the influence
of their native stimulants. Yet this does not seem to harm them, nor
does it in the estimation of the people detract from the efficacy of
their singing; the curing is no less potent, even though the doctor can
hardly keep from falling all over his patient. It is always incumbent
on the shamans to be peaceful, and they never fight at the feasts.

The singing shamans invariably have a primitive musical instrument,
the rattle, with which they beat time to their singing and
dancing. Ordinarily it is made from a gourd filled with pebbles and
mounted on a short stick which serves as a handle. Another kind
is made from coarse shavings glued together. The latter variety
is not infrequently decorated with daubs of red or some similar
painting. Sometimes at the feast the shaman, even nowadays, may be
seen wearing a head-dress made of the plumes of birds. Through the
plumes the birds are thought to impart all that they know. Besides,
the plumes are supposed to keep the wind from entering the shaman's
body, and thus prevent him from falling ill.

When curing, the shamans may sometimes use rational means. There is
in existence around Norogachic for instance, a kind of sweating-bath,
made by placing in a hole in the ground, just large enough for a man
to sit in, several hot stones, pouring water on them, and covering
them up with branches of the fragrant mountain cedar. The steam
passing through the latter is credited with curative power.

The Indians know several excellent medicinal herbs. Palo amarillo is
a kind of household remedy used extensively in every family. There
are many other highly valued herbs and trees, some of which have a
wonderfully refreshing and invigorating aromatic scent. Headache is
cured by a green herb called pachoco, of which they smell until they
begin to sneeze. To cure constipation they boil ari with a grain
of salt, or they heat stones and pour water over them and sit over
the steam.

Both the sacred little cactus called híkuli and the maguey have
undoubtedly medicinal properties, but the administration of these
remedies, especially of the former, is connected with so many rites and
ceremonies that their therapeutic value becomes obscured. The curative
power of tesvino is absolutely magical, and this is the remedy to
which recourse is most commonly had. In administering it the shaman
makes his customary passes, and exhales over the patient to blow away
the disease. He also dips a small cross into the liquor, and with the
wetted end taps the sick man on the head, neck, shoulders, and back,
and draws crosses over his arms. Finally the patient is given three
spoonfuls of the liquor, while all the members of the family stand
around and murmur approvingly, "Thank you, thank you." Occasionally
tesvino is exclusively used for curing, with the aid of two small
crosses, one of red Brazil wood, the other of white pine. If he
chooses, a shaman may provoke illness as well as cure it, but he
cannot cure the person he made ill.

When a shaman is asked to cure a person of any complaint,
real or imaginary, his first move is to find the cause of the
trouble. According to his opinion illness is brought on either by
the wind or by sorcery. From the former kind of disease nobody dies,
although the heart, the liver, or the head may be attacked; but the
other kind is serious. Sorcerers may put snakes into the legs, and
such animals as centipedes, toads, larvae, scorpions, or even small
bears into the body of some unfortunate person, and these disturbers
have to be drawn out at once or else they will eat the sick man's
heart. The shaman therefore first feels the patient all over, to
find if something--in other words, the disease-bringing animal--is
moving underneath the skin. Illness may also result from small stones,
or the spine of the nopal placed in the body by the same agency.

A person suspected of having been bewitched is told to hold his mouth
open to the sun, that the shaman may see whether the evil entered the
body through this aperture. People become bewitched at night through
the openings of the body, and the shaman also examines the nostrils,
ears, etc. It is also the shaman's business to find out who caused
the trouble, and since he can see more than ordinary people he is
able to track the offender.

Some people by their mere looks or thoughts are liable to make
a. person ill. Such illness may be brought on in retaliation for some
slight or offence, and may even result in death. The first thoughts
of a person falling ill are: Whom have I offended? What have I taken
that I should have left alone, and what have I kept that I should have
given? Then the shaman may tell him to find the person to whom he had
refused to give food, and the sick one and his wife go from house to
house asking the people: "Was it you whom I refused food? Someone
has made me ill, and I want him to make me well again." If he can
find the person whom he had offended, and arrange matters with him,
he will recover.

The doctor may find that the person's heart is on the wrong side,
and prescribe a liberal allowance of tesvino to get it back to its
proper place. But generally the skill of the shaman is taxed more
severely and he resorts to the more direct and powerful methods of
magic. A common occurrence is that of illness caused by maggots, which
the shaman has to extract from the patient by means of a sucking-tube,
a short piece of reed about three inches long, cut from a kind of reed
different from that of the arrow-shaft. He places it on the afflicted
spot, and after sucking vigorously for a minute or so empties from
his mouth into his hand or into a corn-leaf, what purports to be the
maggots. I never had an opportunity of examining closely the small
white bits of something or other that he spit out, but they seemed
to me to be tiny pieces of buckskin which the man had secreted in his
mouth and which swelled up when saturated with saliva. To the shaman
they represent maggots; that is, the embodiment Of the disease, and
all the people firmly believe that they are maggots. The corn-leaf
and its contents are buried; a cross is made on the ground over the
spot and a ceremonial circuit run around it. When resting between
operations, the shaman places his sucking-tube into a bowl of water
in which some herbs are soaking.

The mode of curing, however, varies. A common way in use near
Guachochic is to make the patient stand on all fours and bathe him
well with water; then to place him on a blanket and carry him over
a fire toward the cross and the four corners of the world. When put
down on the ground again he lies or kneels on the blanket, and the
shaman places his tube against the afflicted part and begins to suck
forcibly, while the rest of the people stand around with sticks, ready
to kill the disease so as to prevent it from returning and doing harm
to others. Presently the shaman produces from his mouth a small stone,
which he asserts was the cause of the disease. While the people are
furiously beating the air, he proceeds at once to bury it in the earth,
or in the bottom of the river, into which he dives. He may suck out
as many as eight stones, but generally contents himself with four;
and for treating a man in this way he receives four almuds of maize.

On one occasion, when I had taken a little cold, I asked a shaman
friend whether he could cure me. "Certainly I can," was the confident
reply. He took from a little basket, in which he kept his hikuli
or sacred cacti and probably similar valuables, three black stones
and said that he would sell one of these to me; if I put it into
warm water it would cure me. This was not quite to my liking, as I
wanted him to perform the magical feat of sucking maggots out of the
skin. He complied with my request, and told me to go ahead to my camp,
whither he would follow me soon. On his arrival I offered him some
food, as my case was not urgent, but he declined, and proceeded
to cure me. A saddle blanket was spread out for me to kneel on,
and my Mexican and Indian attendants were told to retire, while he
made his examination. Having ascertained that I had a headache,
he took my head between his dirty hands, pressed it, applied his
lips to my right ear, and commenced to suck very energetically. This
was rather trying to my nerves, though not unendurably so. Presently
he let go his hold, and spit out quite a lot of blood into a cup an
Indian boy was holding out to him. He repeated the operation on my
left ear with the same result. "More pain?" he asked. "Yes," I said,
"in my right hand." He immediately grabbed that member in his mouth,
biting almost through the skin over the pulse, and after having
sucked for a little while, deposited contents, of a similar nature,
into the cup from his mouth. It was afterward found that the blood
was mixed with a considerable number of grass seeds, which had been
the cause of my illness. I had not known that I was so "seedy."

The curing is often performed at dances, during the  night, as
the family who give the feast expect to receive, in return for
all their trouble and expense, the benefit of the shaman's magic
powers, whether any of them are ill or not. Once a man, his wife,
and his child had been cured with tesvino, but nevertheless they still
anxiously looked to the shaman for more treatment, apparently feeling
that they needed more strength against coining evil. The woman said:
"Yesterday I fell into the water and got wet and felt ill, and in the
night I dreamed that I was dead and that you cured me." To this the
doctor replied, "Yes, that is why I came to cure you." Then, yielding
to their beseeching glances, he daubed them again, this time holding
their hands and with a little cross in his left hand. Then he said:
"Now you need not be afraid; I have cured you well. Do not walk about
any more like fools and do not get wet again." And they were content.

There is a shaman near Baqueachic (baká = bamboo reed) who has a
great reputation for curing cattle, or rather for keeping them in
health. Every year he makes a tour of the different ranches, and the
Indians bring their animals to him to be treated. A large hole is dug
in the ground and a fire kindled in it. Then some green branches of
the mountain cedar and some copal are thrown in and burned, and the
animals driven one by one through the smoke. Since the veterinary
gets one animal for each ceremony, he becomes quite rich.

The shamans also undertake to cure the sun and the moon, because these,
too, are often ill and have to be righted. Not a feast is held in which
some spoonfuls from the jars containing the remedies are not thrown
up for the benefit of the sun and the moon. Occasionally, however,
special ceremonies have to be performed to cure the celestial bodies,
particularly the moon, because from her all the stars receive their
light. At the period of the dark moon she is considered to be sick and
tied up by the Devil, and the world is sad. Then the shamans assemble
to consult about her ailment and the means of curing her. An ox may
be killed and tesvino made. In killing the animal, care is taken
not to injure the heart, which is treated with great ceremony. The
people always avoid touching it, and at sacrifices they hang it
with the lungs to a stick raised near the cross. The shamans stand
near, with small earthenware dishes containing copal incense; while
the oldest cuts with his knife four crosses on four diametrically
opposite points of the heart, and from the upper part all but slices
off a piece, which is left hanging down beside the main part. All the
blood the heart contained is sacrificed to the four cardinal points
with much singing. Then the shaman asks for an earthen bowl which has
never been used before, and in this he places the heart and burns it
without adding fat or anything else. The ashes he rubs between his
fingers until reduced to a fine dust, which he mixes with water and
some medicinal herbs. The shamans stand in the middle, and the people
around them, and all are unanimous in their prayer that they may see
the moon. Each shaman takes three spoonfuls of medicine, the rest of
which is thrown on the cross, and the shamans watch all night.

The Christian Tarahumares even feel called upon to cure the church when
those buried in and around it have been noisily dancing and damaging
the building to make the people give them tesvino. The principal shaman
heads the procession, carrying a jar of the liquor. His assistant holds
in one hand a bowl containing water mixed with the crushed leaves of
the maguey, and in the other some fresh maguey leaves. The tesvino,
as well as the green water, is liberally thrown upon the walls and
the floor of the church to lay the perturbed spirits.

How to cure smallpox is beyond the ken of the shamans, but they try
to keep off the dread enemy by making fences of thorny branches
of different trees across the paths leading to the houses; and
snake-skins, the tail of the grey fox, and other powerful protectors or
charms, are hung around the doors of their dwellings to frighten the
disease away. The same purpose is accomplished through the pungent
smell produced by burning in the house the horns of cows, sheep,
and goats.

The shamans also profess to produce springs by sowing water. They make
a hole one yard deep in the rocky ground. Water is brought in a gourd
and poured into it, together with half an almud of salt. The hole is
then covered up with earth, and after three years a spring forms.

High as the shamans stand in the estimation of the people, they are by
no means exempt from the instability of mundane conditions, and the
higher a man rises the less secure is his position. The power to see
everything, to guard against evil, and to cure illness issues from the
light of his heart, which was given him by Tata Dios. It enables him to
see Tata Dios himself, to talk to him, to travel through space at will,
for the shamans are as bright as the sun. But all this supposed great
power to do good may at any moment be turned to evil purposes. There
are indeed some shamans whose kindly, sweet-tempered manners and
gentle ways enable them to retain their good reputation to the end;
but few go through life who can keep themselves always above suspicion,
especially when they grow older; and innocent persons have on this
account been cruelly persecuted. Such a fate is all the more liable
to befall them on account of the recognised ability of a shaman to
both cure and produce disease.

No doubt the great quantity of stimulants taken by shamans in the
course of their career causes them to go periodically through a
state of excitement, which, combined with the enthusiasm which
they work themselves up to, gradually gives to these men, who
frequently are richly endowed with animal magnetism, a supernatural
appearance. Advancing years have their share in making such a man
look odd and uncanny, not only on account of his grey hair, wrinkled
face, and shaggy eyebrows, but still more by his reserved bearing
and distinctive personality. Women shamans, too, may turn bad and
become witches.

Much as in cases of heresy among Christian ministers, the other shamans
hold a consultation regarding a suspected colleague, and may decide
that the light of his heart has failed him and that he is no longer one
of them. From that time on, good people avoid him; they no longer give
him food, and do not tolerate him about their homes; they are afraid
of him; and the better a shaman he was before, the more terrible a
sorcerer he is now supposed to have become. Soon every accident that
happens in the locality is laid at the accused man's door.

There are, on the other hand, many evil-minded persons who pretend to
possess supernatural powers to do harm, and accept payment for services
of that kind; in short, who make it a business to be sorcerers. The
power of the sorcerer to do evil is as great as the ability of the
good shaman to cure it. The sorcerer may rasp on his notched stick,
and sing death and destruction to a person or to attain his ends
he may use hikuli, smooth stones, the corpse or the foreleg of
some highly venerated animal and powerful rain-maker, as the toad,
which is never killed except by bad persons. A terrible thing in
the hands of a sorcerer is a humming-bird stripped of its feathers,
dried, and wrapped in pochote wool. To the Tarahumares the brilliant
little bird, often mentioned in their songs, is a good and mighty
hero-god, but the sorcerer perverts his great power to his own evil
purposes. The sorcerer is feared by all; pregnant women, especially,
go out of his way, as he may hinder them from giving birth to their
children. When Tarahumares see a shooting star they think it is a
dead sorcerer coming to kill a man who did him harm in life, and they
huddle together and scream with terror. When the star has passed,
they know that somewhere a man has been killed, and that now the
sorcerer is taking out his heart.

If a man does any harm to a powerful sorcerer, the latter, after
death, enters into a mountain lion or jaguar or bear, and watches by
the wayside until the offender comes, when he kills him.

Sorcerers are also believed to prevent rain from falling, and therefore
the people were once much pleased when they saw me photographing a
sorcerer. The camera was considered a powerful rain-maker, and was
thought to make the bad man clean. The people may chastise a man
suspected of sorcery, to frighten him from doing further mischief. A
sick person also is supposed to improve when the sorcerer who made
him ill is punished; but if accidents and misfortune continue to
happen, the accused man may be killed. Such extreme measures have
been resorted to even in recent years, though rarely.

The magical powers of a sorcerer are appalling. When a Tarahumare walks
with a sorcerer in the forest and they meet a bear, the sorcerer may
say: "Don't kill him; it is I; don't do him any harm!" or if an owl
screeches at night, the sorcerer may say: "Don't you hear me? It is
I who am calling."

The sorcerer dies a terrible death. Many dogs bark and run away and
come back; they look like fire, but they are not; they are the evil
thoughts of the sorcerer. The river, too, makes a greater noise
as it flows, as if somebody were dipping up water and pouring it
out again. Uncanny, weird noises come from every part of the house,
and all the people in it are much frightened. Hardly anyone goes to
talk to the dying man, and no one bids him good-bye. The Christian
Tarahumares do not bury him in the churchyard with other people, but
alone in a remote cave, and they bury all his things with him--his
machete his axe, and heavy things that other people never take along,
but which the sorcerer, because he is very powerful, can carry with
him when he goes to heaven.

As we have seen, the medical education of the shamans is extremely
limited. Their rational _materia medica_ is confined to the hikuli
cactus and a few roots and plants. Aside from this they have a cure
for snakebites which is really remarkable. The injured man kills the
reptile, cuts out its liver and gall, and smears the latter over the
wound; he may also eat a piece of the liver, but it must be taken from
the animal that inflicted the injury; then he will be well again in
three days. If people die of snake-bites, it is because the reptile
escaped. The gall of a rattlesnake has a sickening smell; even my
dogs were repulsed by it when I once killed a four-foot rattler. The
method may be considered as in accord with the modern theory that
the bile of many animals contains strong antitoxins.

However, there is nothing new under the sun. In the Talmud we find
recommended as a cure for hydrophobia to eat the liver of the dog
that bites one; and in the Apocrypha we read that Tobias was cured
of blindness by the gall of a fish.

Most surprising of all is the fact that this tribe, which to-day
shows but very slight knowledge of surgery, should in former times
have practised trepanning. That the Tarahumares understood this art is
evident from two skulls which I brought back from their country. The
skulls were found under the following circumstances:

In 1894 I stayed for a fortnight in a remote part of the Sierra Madre,
called Pino Gordo on account of its magnificent pine-trees. The
district is separated on the north from the central part of the
Tarahumare country  by the deep Barranca de San Carlos, and there are
no Mexicans living within its confines. The place in which I found one
of the skulls is twenty miles north of the mining town of Guadalupe
y Calvo. A lonely trail leads through it on which, only occasionally,
perhaps once in the course of a month, a Mexican from the ranches at
Guachochic may journey to Guadalupe y Calvo.

One day the principal man of the locality, who had been very friendly
to me, showed me a burial-cave. I had persuaded him that it was
better for me to take away the bones contained in it, in order to
keep them in a good house, than to let them remain where they were,
"killing sheep and making people sick." "But why do you want them?" he
asked. Having been satisfied on this point, he one day led the way to
a wild, steep arroyo, pointed at its head, and having thus indicated
where the cave was, at once left me. I made my way as best I could
up the steep little gorge, accompanied by one of my men. On arriving
at the top I found the entrance to the cave completely covered with
stones plastered together with mud. A heap of stones was also piled
outside against the wall.

The cave I found very small, and, contrary to the exaggerated reports
of the Indians, it contained only three skeletons. According to the
custom prevailing throughout part of the country of the Tarahumares,
these remains had not been buried. The skeletons were simply lying
on their backs, from east to west, as if looking toward the setting
sun. A few crudely made clay vessels of the ordinary Tarahumare type
were found alongside of them. On gathering the three skulls I was at
once struck by a circular hole in the right parietal bone of one of
them. As they undoubtedly belonged to the Tarahumares, the question
at once occurred to me: Can it be possible that this barbaric tribe,
not particularly advanced in the arts, was capable of trepanning? The
remoteness of the place entirely negatives the suggestion that a
civilised surgeon could have had anything to do with it.

The skull, the lower jaw of which is missing, is that of a Tarahumare
woman over fifty years of age. The age of the specimen itself is
impossible to arrive at, on account of the peculiar circumstances in
which it was preserved. However, the cranial walls still contained
some animal matter, were still somewhat fatty to the touch, and
retained some odour. A spindle provided with a whorl made from a
piece of pine-bark, which was lying among the bones in the cave,
indicates that the body of this female had not been put there in
recent times. This variety of whorl, so far as I can ascertain, has
not been observed among the Tarahumares of the present day. It is,
indeed, possible that the skeleton may be pre-Columbian.

The skull does not present any deformities or fractures, and the
singular aperture is almost exactly round, measuring two centimetres
in diameter. A careful examination shows that the cut was made a long
time, several years in fact, before death. The regularity of the hole
indicates beyond doubt that it is artificial.

Another skull taken from a burial-cave near Nararachic is also that of
a female, and the opening here, too, is in the parietal bone, and in
almost the same place as the opening in the first skull described. In
this second specimen the cavity is almost filled in with new bone,
and as in this instance the edges are very regular and uniform,
and distinctly beveled, they show that the operation was performed
by scraping. This cannot be said of the first specimen found; the
almost circular form of the opening, and its perpendicular walls,
prove conclusively that in this instance the surgeon did not employ
the simple method of scraping the bone. I have never found among the
Tarahumares any implement with which such an operation could have
been performed. Possibly it was done with a kind of flint wimble with
three teeth, much like the instrument used to-day in trepanning by
the Berbers in L'Aurés, who cure even headaches by this method. It
is, of course, impossible to say now whether the ancients performed
the operation simply to relieve the patient of bone splinters, pus,
blood, etc., pressing on the brain, or whether it was done to let
out an evil spirit. It is the first time that cases of trepanning
have been found in Mexico.

Chapter XVIII

    Relation of Man to Nature--Dancing as a Form of Worship Learned
    from the Animals--Tarahumare Sacrifices--The Rutuburi Dance Taught
    by the Turkey--The Yumari Learned from the Deer--Tarahumare Rain
    Songs--Greeting the Sun--Tarahumare Oratory--The Flowing Bowl--The
    National Importance of Tesvino--Homeward Bound.

Since the people obtain their subsistence from the products of the
soil, they naturally are deeply concerned in the weather upon which
their crops depend. Rain, therefore, is the focal point from which
all their thoughts radiate. Even the plough is dipped into water
before it is put to use, in order that it may draw rain. The people
may try to force the moon and the sun to give them rain. In times
of drought they reproach especially the moon for making the people
live on the leaves of the ash-tree and what other poor stuff they
can find; on her account they are getting so thin that they can no
longer recognise themselves. They scold her, and threaten to denounce
her to the sun. The sun himself may be rebuked for lack of rain. At
other times they may throw up water to heaven with many ceremonies,
that Tata Dios may replenish his supply. Generally, however, their
relations with the gods, as with men, are based on the business
principle of give and take.

Sacrifices of food, the meat of domestic animals or of game, and
of tesvino, are needed to induce Father Sun and Mother Moon to let
it rain. The favour of the gods may be won by what for want of a
better term may be called dancing, but what in reality is a series of
monotonous movements, a kind of rhythmical exercise, kept up sometimes
for two nights. By dint of such hard work they think to prevail upon
the gods to grant their prayers. The dancing is accompanied by the
song of the shaman, in which he communicates his wishes to the unseen
world, describing the beautiful effect of the rain, the fog, and the
mist on the vegetable world. He invokes the aid of all the animals,
mentioning each by name and also calls on them, especially the deer
and the rabbit, to multiply that the people may have plenty to eat.

As a matter of fact, the Tarahumares assert that the dances have
been taught them by the animals. Like all primitive people, they
are close observers of nature. To them the animals are by no means
inferior creatures; they understand magic and are possessed of much
knowledge, and may assist the Tarahumares in making rain. In spring,
the singing of the birds, the cooing of the dove, the croaking of
the frog, the chirping of the cricket, all the sounds uttered by the
denizens of the greensward, are to the Indian appeals to the deities
for rain. For what other reason should they sing or call? For the
strange behaviour of many animals in the early spring the Tarahumares
can find no other explanation but that these creatures, too, are
interested in rain. And as the gods grant the prayers of the deer
expressed in its antics and dances, and of the turkey in its curious
playing, by sending the rain, they easily infer that to please the
gods they, too, must dance as the deer and play as the turkey.

From this it will be understood that dance with these people is a very
serious and ceremonious matter, a kind of worship and incantation
rather than amusement. Never do man and woman dance together, as in
the waltz and polka of civilised people. The very word for dancing,
"nolávoa," means literally "to work." The wise old man may reproach
laggard, inexperienced younger ones, saying, "Why do you not go to
work?" meaning that they should go to the dance and not stand idly
about while the feast is going on. If the Tarahumares did not comply
with the commands of Father Sun and dance, the latter would come down
and burn up the whole world.

The Indian never asks his god to forgive whatever sin he may have
committed; all he asks for is rain, which to him means something to
eat, and to be free of evil. The only wrong toward the gods of which
he may consider himself guilty is that he does not dance enough. For
this offence he asks pardon. Whatever bad thoughts or actions toward
man he may have on his conscience are settled between himself and
the person offended. I once asked a prominent heathen shaman why the
people were not baptised, and he said: "Because Tata Dios made us
as we are. We have always been as you see us. People do not need to
be baptised, because there is no devil here. Tara Dios is not angry
with us; why should he be? Only when people do bad things does he
get angry. We make much beer and dance much, in order that he may
remain content; but when people talk much, and go around fighting,
then he gets angry and does not give us rain."

Dancing not only expresses prayers for rain and life, but also
petitions the gods to ward off evil in any shape, as diseases of man,
beast, or crops. The people may dance also in case too much rain is
falling, or for luck in field work, hunting, despatching the dead,
etc.; and in this way they also give thanks for the harvest. By
dancing and with tesvino they express all their wants to the gods,
or, as a Tarahumare told me, "We pray by dancing and the gourd."

With the dances is always connected the sacrifice of an animal;
the greater portion of the meat is eaten by the people themselves,
who, beside, bring forth all kinds of nice food, the best they
have. Such dancing festivals, as a matter of course, are given either
by individuals or by the community. It is thought that Tara Dios
himself comes down each time to make his demands on the Tarahumares
for dancing and sacrificing. He communicates his wishes in a dream
to someone, not necessarily a shaman; and in the dry season, when the
Indians begin to prepare their fields, most of these notices come and
are generally made known to all at a race, where many people always
come together. During all these months hardly a day passes without
a messenger being sent out from some place in the country to advise
one or the other of the principal shamans that God has come down and
demanded a feast. Sometimes Tata Dios asks for an ox to be killed;
at other times he wants only a sheep. Frequently he indicates that
the animal must be white; on other occasions he is not particular
about the colour. The threat is added that if the sacrifice is not
forthcoming, and the people do not dance soon, all the corn will
be burned up, and they will have to die of hunger. Or, if there has
been too much rain, the notice may say that, unless they sacrifice
and dance at once, all will be drowned, because it is going to rain
tremendously. Occasionally it is directed that they dance only a
little while, then rest, then dance again; or else they have to keep
on dancing for a night and a day, or two nights in succession. When a
great many sacrifices have been made and animals begin to be scarce,
Tara Dios may have to content himself with iskiate and tortillas. The
people may continue to make feasts and to dance, and yet get no other
results but fresh messages, ordering still more sacrifices. Then the
Indians begin to argue with Tata Dios that he must not be so greedy;
he has filled himself up with oxen and sheep and tesvino, and they
cannot give him any more. When such revolt seems imminent the shaman
may throw out an ominous hint that the sacrifices have to be made;
for what would the Tarahumares say if Tata Dios wanted one of them
to be killed?

Among the reasons given by the Christian Tarahumares for continued
dry weather are the following. The Devil has made Tara Dios sick and
has tied him up; or the Moon (Virgin Mary) is sick; or the people
have not given Tara Dios enough food and he is very hungry; or the
railroad engines of the Americans are making so much smoke that Tara
Dios is angry; or, finally, someone at a feast has infringed upon
the law of decorum, and thereby annulled its value.

At present domestic animals are considered more valuable at sacrifices
than the beasts of the field and the forest; yet squirrels (chipawiki),
turkeys, deer, rabbits, and fish are still used to some extent,
especially by those who do not possess domestic animals. Twenty men
may go out to hunt a deer, or from six to ten men try to bring in
four or five squirrels for a communal feast, to which all contribute
the corn necessary for the tesvino, say, half an almud, more or less,
according to the means of each householder. Never does any one man
give all the corn required for a tribal feast, though he may donate
all the meat, in the shape of an ox, a cow, or a sheep. Goats are
sacrificed only at burial functions. If the people do not give the
best they have for the sacrifice, they will obtain only poor results.

The dances are always held in the open air, that Father Sun and Mother
Moon may look upon the efforts of their children to please them. They
dance on the level space in front of the dwelling, preferably each
danced on its own patio. Some people have as many as three such
dancing-places, but most of them have to content themselves with
one. If a Tarahumare could afford it, he would have ten patios to
accommodate more people and dances near his house.

To my knowledge there are six different dances, but of these I will
describe only two, the rutuburi and the yumari, as these are the most
important and the two almost exclusively used in the central part of
the country. The other four I saw only among the southern Tarahumares.

The rutuburi was taught to the people by the turkey. Generally three
crosses are put up, and there are three shamans, the principal
one being in the middle; his assistants need not be shamans,
but the master of the house and his son, or some trusted friend,
may officiate. When the dancing is about to begin, these men take a
position in a line before the crosses, facing east, and shake their
rattles continuously for two or three minutes from side to side,
holding the instruments high up in the air, as the rattling is
meant to attract the attention of the gods. Then, with the singing
and shaking of the rattles--now down and up--they move forward in a
manner similar to that of a schoolgirl skipping over a rope, passing
the crosses to a point as far east as the starting-point was to the
west, altogether about eighteen yards. They then turn around and move
back to the starting-point. In this way they keep on dancing forward
and back three times, always in an easterly and westerly direction,
swinging their rattles down and up, while passing from one point
to the other, and from side to side whenever they reach it. The
down-and-up movement of the rattle is not a simple down and up, but
the down stroke is always followed by a short after-clap before the
arm rises for the new swing, producing thus a three-part rhythm. They
sing the following stanza, repeating it over and over again:

    Ru-tu-bú-ri væ-ye-na Ru-tu-bú-ri væ-ye-na
    Rutuburi, from one side to the other moving! Rutuburi,
    from one side to, etc.

    Ó-ma wæ-ka xá-ru-si. Ó-ma wæ-ka xá-ru-si.
    All! many! Arms crossed! All! many! Arms crossed!

This is the introduction and prelude to the whole dance. After this
formal opening the men take their places in line to the right of the
shamans, and the women to the left. They stand for a few minutes while
the shamans sing and swing their rattles, the men silently holding
their arms folded over their breasts, as described in the song. This
crossing of the arms I take to mean a salutation to the gods. While
the Tarahumares of to-day never salute each other by shaking hands,
neither is there any trace at present of their ever having saluted
each other by crossing arms over the breast, which form was probably
never used except with the gods, at ceremonies.

All the people are closely wrapped in their blankets, which they wear
throughout the dance. In its general traits, the dance is performed
in the same way as the opening ceremony. The shamans, or sometimes
only the leader, jumps along as described, but the men just walk
to and fro, and have to take long steps in order to keep abreast
with the leaders. The women follow the men after the latter have
gone several yards ahead, skipping in the same way as the shamans,
though less pronounced. They stamp the, hard ground with the right
foot and run without regard to time, so that the pattering of their
naked feet reminds one of a drove of mules stampeding. They overtake
the men, so as to turn around simultaneously with them and wait again
for a few seconds for the men to get ahead of them. Thus the dance
is continued without interruption for hours and hours. This may sound
as if the spectacle was monotonous; but such is not the case. On the
contrary, there is a certain fascination in the regular, rhythmical
movement from side to side--like the double pendulum of some gigantic,
unseen clock. The shaman specially captivates the attention of the
observer, being the very incarnation of enthusiasm. He swings his
rattle with energy and conviction, as if bent on rousing the gods
out of their indifference, while he stamps his right foot on the
ground to add weight to the words, which he pours forth in a loud,
resonant voice from his wide-open mouth. Although the Tarahumare, as
a rule, has a harsh and not very powerful singing voice, still there
are some noteworthy exceptions, and the airs of the rutuburi songs
are quite pleasing to the ear. These, as all their dancing-songs,
are of great antiquity and strangely enchanting.

                       Rutuburi Dance.

    Vá-sa-ma du-hú(-hu-ru)-si Sæ-va-gá wi-li
    In flowers (is) jaltomate, [7] in flow-ers stands up,

    Sæ-va-gá wi-lí wú-ka wú-ka.
    In flowers stands up getting ripe, getting ripe.

                      Rutuburi Dance.

    Ra-ya-bó va-mí va-mí-(ru) ra-ya-bó
    (On the) ridge yon-der, yon-der (On the) ridge

    be-mó-ko ra-ya-bó be-mó-ko.
    fog (on the) ridge  fog.

    The water is near;
    Fog is resting on the mountain and on the mesa.
    The Bluebird sings and whirs in the trees, and
    The Male Woodpecker is calling on the llano,
    Where the fog is rising.
    The large Swift is making his dashes through the evening air;
    The rains are close at hand.
    When the Swift is darting through the air he makes his
    whizzing, humming noise.
    The Blue Squirrel ascends the tree and whistles,
    The plants will be growing and the fruit will be ripening,
    And when it is ripe it falls to the ground.
    It falls because it is so ripe.
    The flowers are standing up, waving in the wind.
    The Turkey is playing, and the Eagle is calling;
    Therefore, the time of rains will soon set in.

In the wet season, when the rabbits are about, the shamans sing of
the rabbit. In winter time they sing of the giant woodpecker, and
in harvest time, when the people begin to make merry, they sing of
the blackbird.

The yumari was learned from the deer. According to tradition it is
the oldest dance. At the hour appointed, the shaman, facing the cross
and the east, here, too, opens the proceedings by shaking his rattle
to both sides to notify the gods. Then he begins to walk around the
cross, humming a song and marching in time to the rattle, which he
now swings down and up. He makes the ceremonial circuit, stopping at
each cardinal point for a few seconds. After this he begins his dance,
and the rest of the assemblage gradually join in. The dance consists
in short walks, forward and backward, with lock-step, the men being
arrayed in line on both sides of the shaman, their eyes fixed on
the ground, their elbows touching. In this way they swing to and
fro, generally describing a curve around the cross, or, sometimes,
forming a circle against the apparent movement of the sun. The women
dance in a similar way, in a course of their own behind the men;
but they frequently break ranks, jumping forward and backward with
movements wholly devoid of grace. When the dance goes in a circle,
the women move with the sun.

The tones marked with the accent > in each of the following yumari
songs are grunts.

The yumari songs tell that the Cricket wants to dance; the Frog wants
to dance and jump; and the Blue Heron wants to fish; the Goatsucker
is dancing, so is the Turtle, and the Grey Fox is whistling. But it
is characteristic of the yumari songs that they generally consist
only of an unintelligible jargon, or, rather, of a mere succession
of vocables, which the dancers murmur.

Unlike the rutuburi, the yumari soon becomes tiresome, in spite of
its greater animation. Yet the spectacle has something weird in it,
especially when seen by the fitful flicker of the fire, which throws
a fantastic light upon the grotesque figures, like goblins moving
about on the same space. Many mothers carry their sleeping infants on
their backs. Sometimes, the blanket which supports the baby loosens,
and the little thing hangs half out of it, following every movement
of the parent.

At most feasts both these dances are performed, and the Indians
themselves consider them to have the same general purpose. It is,
therefore, not easy to see the relation of the two dances to each
other. Rutuburi is the more serious dance, and is more efficacious
than yumari, though the latter, of course, has its own special value;
for instance, it expresses a prayer that the shaman may have strength
to cure. In yumari, all sing and dance, and very frequently all the
performers are drunk, while during the former dance absolute decorum
is observed. Both dances are for the sun and the moon--rutuburi,
in order to call them down; yumari, to despatch them. Therefore, the
usual dancing-feasts commence with rutuburi. When the function is about
to be concluded, an hour or two before sunrise, yumari is commenced,
and leads over to the second part of the festival, the eating and
drinking. After this, yumari may be continued throughout the day,
while the Indians get drunk. Rutuburi is also danced at thanksgiving
for the harvest, while on such occasions yumari asks for a good year
to come. Then, again, rutuburi may be danced throughout the day, and
yumari at night; but generally the former dance commences soon after
sunset. On one occasion, while I was waiting for the performance
to begin, the son of the house, in answer to my query, pointed to
the sky, and told me that the dance would not commence until the
Pleiades reached a certain spot in the heavens, which I calculated
to mean about eleven o'clock. This indicated that the stars have some
connection with the dancing.

At the break of dawn busy hands begin to get everything ready for the
great ceremony of the sacrifice. For several days the women of the
household and their friends have been making tortillas and boiling
beans and _tamales_ (small quantities of unsalted ground corn, wrapped
and boiled in corn-husks). An animal was killed on the preceding day,
and the meat has been boiling (without salt) in large jars all day
and all night. Tata Dios does not like bones, therefore no bones
are cooked with this meat. Several of the women have been dividing
their time between dancing and watching the food-supply, to guard
it against mishap from any source: A blanket is spread underneath,
just to the west of the cross, or the three crosses, as the case may
be, and on it in a line they place the jars of tesvino; behind these
are set three small earthenware bowls filled with the stringy mass
of the meat; then come three baskets of tortillas; and finally three
little jars with wooden spoons in each are brought on and put in their
proper places, behind the rest of the food. The latter vessels contain
medicines to be taken, for the welfare of the people is looked after
from every point of view.

In the meantime the dancing goes on with undiminished force. Nearly
every night during the dry season, for nobody knows how many centuries,
the Morning Star has been looking down upon his sons, the Tarahumares,
as they dance in the heart of the sierra, casting his last rays
upon the weird scene around their dying fires before he flees from
the approaching keeper of the day. Just before the first beam of
the rosy light announces the coming of Father Sun, the dancing
ceases, and the rattles are added to the sacrificial offerings on
the blanket. Everybody now is ready to do homage to the deity about
to appear above the horizon. The shaman greets him with the words,
"Behold, Nonorugami is coming!" and then solemnly proceeds toward
the cross, while the people form a line behind him and preserve a
respectful silence throughout the ensuing ceremony. He fills a large
drinking-gourd with tesvino, and, holding it in his left hand, throws a
small dipperful of the liquor with his right hand into the air, three
times to each cardinal point, making the ceremonial circuit. Then
the meat and the tortillas are sacrificed in the following way:
The shaman takes up from the ground the vessel in front of him, and
lifts it three times toward heaven. Then with his fingers he takes
up a little meat, offers it to the cross with the word "Koá!" (Eat),
and throws it up into the air. Next he breaks off a small piece of
tortilla, and repeats the same ceremony. Thus he sacrifices to all
the cardinal points. The two assistants of the shaman follow their
principal in every act he performs.

The solemnity of the scene is by no means impaired by the numerous
dogs, which are gathering to see what they can snatch up. Of course,
the people drive them away, but in the end they always get Nonorugami's
share of the food, while the god is supposed to eat only the nourishing

What is left in the jars or bowls after the sacrifice is placed back on
the blanket under the cross. The broth of the meat, too, is sacrificed,
and so is the blood of the animal that has been killed for the feast.

Whenever the shaman returns to the people after performing the
sacrifice, he says, "This was done on behalf of Nonorugami," and
all the people respond: "Matetravá! Matetravá! Kalahúpo!" (Thank
you! Thank you! It is all right!)

When the gods have had their share of the tesvino and the food,
the curing begins. The medicines are cold infusions of different
medicinal plants. The shaman standing directly in front of the
middle cross, takes up the jar containing the chief medicine, palo
hediondo; his assistant to the north takes up the bowl containing
a root called ohnoa; and the one on the south maguey water. After
having duly sacrificed to the gods, the great shaman himself takes
three spoonfuls of the medicine, and gives the same quantity to his
assistant to the north, who in turn first takes his remedy and then
gives some to the shaman. In the same way the latter exchanges with
his assistant to the south, and then the two assistants exchange
remedies. The bowls are then handed by the shaman to the owner of the
house, who in turn passes them on to the first man in the row, and
from him they go from hand to hand to the last man in the line, each
man taking three spoonfuls out of each bowl, while each of the women
gets four. The man who drinks last gives the bowls back to the owner
of the house, who in turn hands them to the shaman, who puts them back
on the blanket underneath the cross. Meanwhile the incense-burners
have been filled with hot coals, on which the shaman now throws
some copal, the smoke of which he waves over all the people. He, as
well as the other men, open their blankets a little to get the smoke
on their bodies. This finishes the curing act, and now a speech is
made. At private festivals the shaman is the orator of the occasion,
but at communal or tribal festivals the gobernador is expected to,
and generally does, perform this part of the proceedings. Rhetoric is
one of the accomplishments of the Tarahumares, though it is not to be
judged in accordance with the white man's standard. Here is a speech
made by the gobernador at the end of one of the feasts I witnessed:

Listen to me! Stand up in a row and listen to what I have to tell
you. All of you stand up in line, men, women, and children, because
I am going to give you my words, to present to you the words which
the One Above bids me to tell you. Now all is over! We have done
something good to Tara Dios, and he has given you life to dance; and
now he is giving you life for another year. All of you will have to
make feasts like this. You have no experience; therefore listen to
me and hear what I have to tell you. If you do not believe what I am
telling you, the Devil will carry you off. You all are inexperienced,
all of you who are standing here in a row around. Be quiet, and do all
your business quietly. Drink quietly, talk quietly, sing quietly. And
do not fight, because if in the fight you kill somebody, what will
you have afterward? Nothing but sorrow and sadness! The One who
is above us bids me to tell you, to say to all of you, men, women,
and children, that this water, this tesvino that we are drinking is
what makes us lose our heads. You know it all, and the One Above
knows that this is the truth that I am telling you. Don't fight,
don't pull each other's hair, don't beat anyone in the face until he
bleeds. For the blood and the hair belong to Tata Dios, and you pull
his hair and shed his blood. Drink tesvino to your hearts' content,
get much drunk, but then lie down and sleep, and in the morning you
return to your homes without coming to blows with anyone.

All the time the speech is punctuated with expressions of approval,
and at the end they all say: "Matetrava! Matetrava! Kalahupo!" (Thank
you! Thank your It is all right!)

A speech is also often made in the beginning of the feast, when much
the same sentiments are expressed. The orator tells the people to
follow the good example of the host, that sacrificing and dancing may
go on here, there, and everywhere, so that the gods will get plenty to
eat and grant the prayers of the Tarahumares. He strongly admonishes
them to keep away from women, as otherwise the value of the feast
would be lost. This day belongs to Tara Dios, and nothing else is to
be thought of. If anyone transgresses this command, he will have to
give an ox or a sheep and tesvino, to make the feast all over again.

While the dancing and singing, sacrificing and speechmaking, are going
on, the people behave with decorous solemnity and formality. The
ceremonies are never interrupted by unseemly conduct; everybody
deports himself with grave sobriety, and refrains from loud talking and
laughing and from making any disrespectful noise. But after the gods
have been given their share, the people go in, no less energetically,
for enjoying themselves.

Food and tesvino are never distributed by the same man, nor are men
and women waited on by the same functionary; in other words, one man
is appointed for each sex, to dispense the tesvino, and two others
to serve the food.

They eat but little of the solids, as it is customary for the
guests to take home their portions, the women bringing jars and
baskets along for the purpose. Little or nothing of the tesvino is
spared, and it is the avowed intention and aim of everybody to get
"a beautiful intoxication." They all like to get drunk. An Indian
explained to me that the drunken people weep with delight, because
they are so perfectly happy. Every Tarahumare has in his heart a
cross which Tata Dios placed there long, long ago, and this cross
they respect. When drunk they remember Tata Dios better. At their
feasts they sit alongside of him and drink with him. The women sit
alongside of the Moon and remember ancient times.

But unfortunately this blissful stage of their intoxication does not
last long, and then the animal nature in them manifests itself. Under
the influence of the liquor, men and women rapidly lose that
bashfulness and modesty which in ordinary life are such characteristic
traits of their deportment. Furthermore, whatever grudge one man
may' have against another now crops out, and very likely a fight
will ensue, in which the two opponents recklessly pull each other's
hair and punch each other's faces. Sometimes in such an outbreak of
unreasoning animalism one of the combatants will seize a stone and
batter the other one's head to crush it. Afterward, when sober again,
the murderer may deeply deplore his deed--if he remembers it at all.

Mothers, when overcome by the spirit of the feast, may unawares allow
their babies to fall out of the blankets and into the fire. Children
may frequently be seen with bruises and scars which they carry as
mementoes of some tesvino feast. I know one man who had no hair on
one side of his head, having when a child been a victim of such an
accident. But seldom, if ever, is a child allowed to become fatally

Taking it all in all, it is a good-natured, jolly, silly crowd,
out for a good time and enjoying themselves. All are good friends,
and familiarity becomes unlimited. Late in the afternoon those still
able to walk start on their way home. Rarely, however, can they
reach their domiciles, if these are any distance off, before nature
enforces her rights; and the track is strewn with men and women, who,
overcome with the effects of their spree, have lain down wherever
they happened to be, to sleep themselves sober. Tarahumare society has
not yet advanced far enough to see anything disgraceful in debauches
of this kind, which, if viewed from their standpoint, are _pro bono
publico_; and we ourselves need go back only to our grandfathers'
and great-grandfathers' time to find that inebriety was not at all
inconsistent with good morals and high standing. Moreover, no matter
how often the Tarahumares indulge in such saturnalia, as soon as they
recover their senses they are as decorous and solemn as ever. Their
native stimulant does not seem to affect either their physical or
their mental faculties, and, all scientific theories to the contrary,
their children are strong, healthy, and bright.

Aside from social and religious considerations, the drinking of tesvino
is a vital factor in the national life of the tribe. Incredible as
it may sound, yet, after prolonged and careful research into this
interesting psychological problem, I do not hesitate to state that
in the ordinary course of his existence the uncivilised Tarahumare
is too bashful and modest to enforce his matrimonial rights and
privileges; and that by means of tesvino chiefly the race is kept
alive and increasing. It is especially at the feasts connected with
the agricultural work that sexual promiscuity takes place.

A large gathering is not necessary in order to pray to the gods by
dancing. Sometimes the family dances alone, the father teaching the
boys. While doing agricultural work, the Indians often depute one
man to dance yumari near the house, while the others attend to the
work in the fields. It is a curious sight to see a lone man taking his
devotional exercise to the tune of his rattle in front of an apparently
deserted dwelling. The lonely worshipper is doing his share of the
general work by bringing down the fructifying rain and by warding off
disaster, while the rest of the family and their friends plant, hoe,
weed, or harvest. In the evening, when they return from the field, they
may join him for a little while; but often he goes on alone, dancing
all night, and singing himself hoarse, and the Indians told me that
this is the very hardest kind of work, and exhausting even to them.

Solitary worship is also observed by men who go out hunting deer or
squirrels for a communal feast. Every one of them dances yumari alone
in front of his house for two hours to insure success on the hunt;
and when putting corn to sprout for the making of tesvino the owner
of the house dances for a while, that the corn may sprout well.

In certain parts of the country, near Aboreachic, for instance,
a dance called valixíwami is in vogue. Here the line of the women
faces that of the men, and the two rows dance backward and forward,
following each other all the time.

In a dance called cuváli, which is found still further south, the
movements are the same as in the dance just mentioned, but the steps
are different. It is danced for the same reason as rutuburi is, and
it makes the grass and the fungi grow and the deer and the rabbits
multiply. This is the only dance known to the Tepehuanes.

In the winter they dance for snow, a dance called yohé; and finally
there is a dance called ayéna, which calls the clouds from the north
and south that they may clash and produce rain.

I was present at feasts in which four of these dances were performed,
and the order in which they followed each other was: Rutuburi, yumari,
valixiwami, cuvali.

According to one version of the tradition, both yumari and rutuburi
were once men who taught the Tarahumares to dance and sing. They live
with Father Sun. Valixiwami and cuvali were also men and companions
of the former, but much younger.

At certain feasts for the benefit of the moon, three cigarettes are
offered under the cross. The shaman takes one of them, gives a puff,
raising the cigarette at the same time upward toward the moon and
saying: "Suá" (rise) "vamí" (yonder) "repá" (upward). This is repeated
three times. The master of the house and his wife do the same. The
ceremony is performed in order to help the moon to make clouds. Now
all present may smoke. The Tarahumare never smokes in the middle of
the day; he would offend the sun by so doing. He indulges in the
"weed" mostly at feasts when drunk. When an Indian offers another
man tobacco and a dry corn-leaf to roll his cigarette it is a sign
that everything is well between them.

Every year between March and May a large performance takes place on a
special patio in the woods. Its purpose is to cure or prevent disease,
and much tesvino is consumed. A straw-man, about two feet high, dressed
in cotton drawers, and with a handkerchief tied around its head is
set up next to the cross. It represents Father Sun, and the cross
is his wife, the Moon. Sometimes a stuffed recamúchi (cacomistle,
_bassariscus_) is used either in the place of a straw-man or in
addition to it. After the feast is over, the manikin is taken to
the place from which the straw was obtained, in order to make the
grass grow. The Christian Tarahumares keep it in the sacristy of
their church.

The latter also celebrate Christmas, and on this occasion some of
them, the so-called _matachines_, paint their faces and carry on their
backs stuffed animals, such as the grey fox, squirrel, or opossum,
while dancing to the music of the violin. They jokingly call the skins
their _muchachitos_, and hold them as women carry their babies. At
present the only object is to make the beholder laugh; but of course
the play is a remnant of some ancient custom, the meaning of which is
now forgotten through the new associations with which the missionaries
of old imbued the ceremonies and rites found among the pagans.

A similar suggestion of antiquity is unmistakably embodied in the
deer masks, as well as in the heads with antlers attached, which the
same men also may wear.

During Easter week live rattlesnakes are carried about, but the heads
of the reptiles are tied together so that they can do no harm. One
man may have as many as four serpents with him.

Chapter XIX

    Plant-worship--Hikuli--Internal and External Effects--Hikuli both
    Man and God--How the Tarahumares Obtain the Plant, and where They
    Keep It--The Tarahumare Hikuli Feast--Musical Instruments--Hikuli
    Likes Noise--The Dance--Hikuli's Departure in the Morning--Other
    Kinds of Cacti Worshipped--"Doctor" Rubio, the Great Hikuli
    Expert--The Age of Hikuli Worship.

To the Indian, everything in nature is alive. Plants, like human
beings, have souls, otherwise they could not live and grow. Many are
supposed to talk and sing and to feel joy and pain. For instance,
when in winter the pine-trees are stiff with cold, they weep and pray
to the sun to shine and make them warm. When angered or insulted,
the plants take their revenge. Those that are supposed to possess
curative powers are venerated. This fact, however, does not save them
from being cut into pieces and steeped in water, which the people
afterward drink or use in washing themselves. The mere fragrance of
the lily is supposed to cure sickness and to drive off sorcery. In
invoking the lily's help the shaman utters a prayer like this:

    "Sumatí okiliveá sævá rakó  cheeneserová
    "Beautiful this morning in bloom lily thou guard me!
    waminámela ke usugitúami cheeotshéloaya
    drive them away (those who) make sorcery! thou make me
    grow old!
    cheelivéva tesola chapimélava otshéloa
    thou give me walking-stick (to) take up  (in) old age
    rimivélava Matetravá Sevaxóa
    (that I may) find! thanks exhale fragrance

("Beautiful lily, in bloom this morning, guard me! Drive away
sorcery! Make me grow old! Let me reach the age at which I have to
take up a walking-stick! I thank thee for exhaling thy fragrance there,
where thou art standing!")

High mental qualities are ascribed especially to all species of
_Mammilaria_ and _Echinocactus_, small cacti, for which a regular cult
is instituted. The Tarahumares designate several varieties as hikuli,
though the name belongs properly only to the kind most commonly used
by them. These plants live for months after they have been rooted up,
and the eating of them causes a state of ecstasy. They are therefore
considered demi-gods, who have to be treated with great reverence,
and to whom sacrifices have to be offered.

The principal kinds thus distinguished are known to science as
_Lophophora Williamsii_ and _Lophophora Williamsii_, var. _Lewinii_. In
the United States they are called mescal buttons, and in Mexico
_peyote_. The Tarahumares speak of them as the superior hikuli (hikuli
wanamé), or simply hikuli, they being the hikuli _par excellence_.

The Huichol Indians, who live many hundred miles south of the
Tarahumares, also have a hikuli cult, and it is a curious and
interesting fact that with them the plant has even the same name,
although the two tribes are neither related to nor connected with each
other. The cults, too, show many points of resemblance, though with the
southern tribe the plant plays a far more important part in the tribal
life, and its worship is much more elaborate. On the other hand, the
Huichols use only the species and variety shown in the illustration,
while the Tarahumares have several. Major J. B. Pond, of New York,
informs me that in Texas, during the Civil War, the so-called Texas
Rangers, when taken prisoners and deprived of all other stimulating
drinks, used mescal buttons, or "white mule," as they called them. They
soaked the plants in water and became intoxicated with the liquid.

The plant, when taken, exhilarates the human system, and allays all
feeling of hunger and thirst. It also produces colour-visions. When
fresh, it has a nauseating, slightly sour taste, but it is wonderfully
refreshing when one has been exposed to great fatigue. Not only does
it do away with all exhaustion, but one feels actually pushed on, as I
can testify from personal experience. In this respect it resembles the
Peruvian coca; but unlike the latter, it leaves a certain depression,
as well as a headache. Although an Indian feels as if drunk after
eating a quantity of hikuli, and the trees dance before his eyes,
he maintains the balance of his body even better than under normal
conditions, and he will walk along the edge of precipices without
becoming dizzy. At their nocturnal feasts, when drinking heavily
of both tesvino and hikuli, many persons may be seen to weep and
laugh alternately. Another marked effect of the plant is to take
away temporarily all sexual desire. This fact, no doubt, is the
reason why the Indians, by a curious aboriginal mode of reasoning,
impose abstinence from sexual intercourse as a necessary part of the
hikuli cult.

The effect of the plant is so much enjoyed by the Tarahumares that
they attribute to it power to give health and long life and to purify
body and soul. The little cacti, either fresh or dried, are ground
on the metate, while being mixed with water; and this liquor is the
usual form in which hikuli is consumed.

Hikuli is also applied externally for snake-bites, burns, wounds, and
rheumatism; for these purposes it is chewed, or merely moistened in
the mouth, and applied to the afflicted part. Not only does it cure
disease, causing it to run off, but it also so strengthens the body
that it can resist illness, and is therefore much used in warding off
sickness. Though not given to the dead, since the dead are no longer
in need of remedies, hikuli is always partaken of at the feasts of
the dead.

Moreover, hikuli is a powerful protector of its people under all
circumstances, and it gives luck. If a man carries some hikuli in
his belt, the bear cannot bite him and the deer cannot run away, but
become quite tame and can easily be killed. Should he meet Apaches,
hikuli would prevent them from firing off their guns at him. It
gives luck in foot-races and all kinds of games, in climbing trees,
etc. Hikuli is the great safeguard against witchcraft. It sees even
better than the shamans, and it watches that nothing bad is put into
the food. The Christian Tarahumares, when they partake of hikuli,
think that the devil runs out of their stomachs. Hikuli purifies any
man who is willing to sacrifice a sheep and to make native beer. There
is, however, no remedy for a murderer; not even hikuli can cure him.

The Christian Tarahumares make the sign of the cross when coming into
the presence of the plant, and I was told to lift my hat to it. It
is always saluted in the same way as a man, and is supposed to make
the customary responses to the salutations. Hikuli is not as great as
Father Sun, but sits next to him. It is the brother of Tata Dios; and
the greatest hikuli is his twin brother, and is therefore called uncle.

Sometimes these plants are dressed up in pieces of blankets, and
cigarettes are placed before them. Boys must not touch hikuli, and
women only when they act as the shaman's assistants and have to grind
it. As a matter of fact, only shamans can handle it properly, and even
they wash their hands carefully, and sometimes elect not to touch it
at all, making use of little sticks instead of their fingers. Certain
shamans washed their hands and rinsed their mouths immediately after
eating from my vessels, because hikuli would be angry with them for
eating strange food cooked by strange people.

Hikuli is not kept in the house, because it is extremely virtuous,
and might become offended at the sight of anything immodest. It is
placed in a special jar or basket, in a separate store-house, and is
never taken out until tesvino and meat have been offered to it. If this
were neglected, it would eat the Indian's soul. If anything happens
to hikuli--for instance, if irreverent mice eat it--the owner fears
that he may be made crazy as a punishment for his failure to guard
it. If anyone should steal hikuli, he would be sure to go crazy,
unless he returned the plant to its original owner. He must also kill
an ox and make a big feast, in order to set himself right again with
the mighty god and with the people.

After four years, hikuli grows old and mouldy, and loses its
virtues. It is then buried in a corner of the cave or the house, or
taken to the place where it came from, and fresh plants are obtained
instead. According to tradition, when Tata Dios went to heaven in the
beginning of the world, he left hikuli behind as the great remedy of
the people, Hikuli has four faces and sees everything. Its power is
well shown in the following myth:

The Bear in a cave said to Hikuli, "Let us fight and let us first
smoke over there." They smoked and they fought, and Hikuli was stronger
than the Bear. When Hikuli threw the Bear down, all the wind went out
of the Bear; but the Bear said again, "Let us smoke and let us fight
a few times more." And they did so, and Hikuli again threw down the
Bear, and the Bear seated himself on a stone and wept, and went away,
and never returned.

Hikuli is not indigenous to the Tarahumare country of to-day. To
obtain it long and until recently perilous journeys have to be
undertaken every year to the plateaus of eastern Chihuahua, in the
Sierra del Almoloy, near the railroad station of Ximenez, and to
the Sierra de Margoso, beyond Santa Rosalia de Camarga, crossing
the tracks of the Mexican Central Railroad. From two or three to a
dozen men start out to get the plants, first purifying themselves
with copal incense. It takes a week or ten days to get to the Sierra
de Margoso, where the plants are chiefly found, and about a month is
consumed on the entire journey. Until they reach the hikuli country,
the Tarahumares may eat anything; but once there, they must abstain
from everything except pinole. Upon arriving at the spot, the pilgrims
erect a cross, and near it they place the first plants taken up, that
these may tell where others may be found in plenty. The second batch
of plants gathered is eaten raw, and makes the men drunk. As speech
is forbidden, they lie down in silence and sleep. The following day,
when perfectly sober again, they begin early in the morning to collect
the plants, taking them up with the utmost care, by means of sticks,
so as not to touch or injure them, because hikuli would get angry
and punish the offender. Two days are spent in gathering the plants,
each kind being placed in a separate bag, because, if they were mixed
together, they would fight. The bags are carefully carried on the
backs of the men, as the Tarahumares generally have no horses.

In the field in which it grows, it sings beautifully, that the
Tarahumare may find it. It says, "I want to go to your country, that
you may sing your songs to me." It also sings in the bag while it is
being carried home. One man, who wanted to use his bag as a pillow,
could not sleep, he said, because the plants made so much noise.

When the hikuli-seekers arrive at their homes, the people turn out
to welcome the plants with music, and a festival at which a sheep or
a goat is sacrificed is held in their honour. On this occasion the
shaman wears necklaces made of the seeds of _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_. In
due time he takes them off, and places them in a bowl containing water
in which the heart of the maguey has been soaked, and after a while
everyone present gets a spoonful of this water. The shaman, too, takes
some, and afterward wears the necklaces again. Both plants, the _Coix
Lachryma-Jobi_ as well as the maguey, are highly esteemed for their
curative properties; and in his songs the shaman describes hikuli
as standing on top of a gigantic seed of the _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_,
as big as a mountain.

The night is passed in dancing hikuli and yumari. The pile of fresh
plants, perhaps two bushels or more, is placed under the cross, and
sprinkled with tesvino, for hikuli wants to drink beer, and if the
people should not give it, it would go back to its own country. Food
is also offered to the plants, and even money is placed before them,
perhaps three silver dollars, which the owner, after the feast,
takes back again.

During the year, feasts may be held especially in honour of hikuli,
but generally the hikuli dance is performed simultaneously with,
though apart from, the rutuburi or other dances. On such occasions
some shamans devote themselves exclusively to the hikuli cult, in
order that the health of the dancers may be preserved, and that they
may have vigour for their work.

The hikuli feast consists mainly in dancing, which, of course, is
followed by eating and drinking, after the customary offerings of
food and tesvino have been made to the gods. It is not held on the
general dancing-place, in front of the Tarahumare dwelling, but on a
special patio. For the occasion a level piece of ground may be cleared
of all stones and rubbish, and carefully swept with the Indian broom,
which is made of a sheaf of straw tied in the middle.

Meanwhile some people go into the woods to gather fuel for the
large fire which will be needed. The fire is an important feature
of the hikuli-feast, a fact indicated by the name, which is napítshi
nawlíruga, literally, "moving (_i.e_. dancing) around (nawlíruga) the
fire (napítshi)." There seems to be a preference for fallen trees,
pines or oaks, but this may be because they are found in plenty
everywhere, are drier and burn better, and finally save the men the
labour and time of cutting them down. Quite a number of such trunks
are brought together, and placed parallel to each other in an easterly
and westerly direction; but not until after sunset is the fire lighted.

The master of the house in which the feast is to be held gives some
plants to two or three women appointed to the office of shaman's
assistants. At an ordinary gathering, a dozen or two of the plants
suffice. The women are called rokoró, which means the stamen of the
flower, while the shaman is the pistil The women grind the plants
with water on the metate, and then take part in the dance. They must
wash their hands most carefully before touching them; and while they
are grinding a man stands by with a gourd, to catch any stray drop
of liquor that may drip from the metate, and to watch that nothing
of the precious fluid is lost. Not one drop must be spilled, and
even the water with which the metate is afterward washed, is added
to the liquid. The drink thus produced is slightly thick and of a
dirty brown colour.

The shaman (sometimes there are two) takes his seat on the ground
to the west of the fire, about two yards off. On the opposite side
of the dancing-place, toward the east, the cross is placed. The
shaman's male assistants, at least two in number, seat themselves
on either side of their principal, while the women helpers take a
position to the north of the fire. On one occasion I observed that
the men grouped themselves on one side of the shaman, the women on
the other. Close by the shaman's seat a hole is dug, into which he or
his assistants may spit, after having drunk or eaten hikuli, so that
nothing may be lost. After this improvised cuspidor has been used,
it is always carefully covered with a leaf.

As soon as the shaman has seated himself, he takes a round
drinking-gourd, and by pressing its rim firmly into the soil and
turning the vessel round, makes a circular mark. Lifting up the bowl
again, he draws two diametrical lines at right angles in the circle,
and thus produces a symbol of the world.

In the centre he puts a hikuli, right side up; or he may dig a hole
in the centre, to the depth of five or six inches, and place the
hikuli in this. He then covers it up with the gourd, bottom up,
so that the plant stands within a hollow sphere. The gourd may be
replaced by a wooden vessel of similar shape; but in any case it is
firmly planted in the ground to serve as a resonator for the musical
instrument,--the notched stick, which the shaman leans against the
vessel, and on which with another stick he rasps an accompaniment to
his songs. If he does not plant the gourd carefully in the ground,
it will make a discordant sound, which will vex the demi-god, and he
will cause someone in the house to die. The noise produced by the
rasping is enjoyed by Hikuli; that is why he is placed beneath the
bowl. He is powerful, and manifests his strength by the noise produced.

The notched stick, as well as the rasping-stick, is made from the
heavy, hard Brazil-wood, brought from the vicinity of San Ignacio,
the hikuli country. The shaman holds the notched stick in his left
hand, a little away from himself, so that it touches the vessel at a
point below the middle of its length, the part between the shaman's
hand and the point of contact being a little longer than the portion
from that point to the end of the stick.

The notched sticks which are shown in the illustration, from a
Tarahumare burial-cave, are apparently of considerable age. The Indians
to whom I showed them did not know them, but they all affirmed that
they were rasping-sticks. On two sides of one of them are slanting
lines, which symbolize the road of Tata Dios; on the intervening sides
are transverse lines which represent falling rain. As the implements
were found near Baborigame, they may possibly have belonged to the
Tepehuanes, the northern members of whom also have the hikuli cult.

When the shaman begins to rasp, he starts from the farther end
of the notched stick, though not quite at the point, and runs his
rasping-stick quickly and evenly, about twenty-six times, toward
himself, and away again; then he makes three long strokes down and
outward, each time throwing out his arm at full length, and holding
the stick for a second high up toward the east. This is repeated
three times, and is the prelude to the ceremony. Now he begins to
sing, accompanying himself with even strokes on the notched stick,
playing regularly, one stroke as long and as fast as the other,
always first toward himself, then down again. His songs are short,
lasting only about five minutes.

Presently the shaman's assistants, men and women, rise. They carry
censers filled with burning charcoals and copal, and emitting a heavy
smoke, and proceed toward the cross, to which they offer the smoking
incense, kneeling down, facing east, and crossing themselves. This
feature, if not wholly due to Catholic influence, is at least strongly
affected by it.

Having offered incense to the cross, they return to the shaman. The
women now sit down again in their previous places. The men receive
from the shaman rattles (_sonajas_) consisting of deer-hoofs tied with
bits of reed to a strap of leather. They are either held in the right
hand or slung over the shoulder. When there are not enough rattles
for all assistants, a bell may be substituted.

Finally everything is ready for the dance to commence. The men wear
white blankets, in which they keep themselves wrapped up to the chin
throughout the night; but they have no sandals. The dance is performed
by the shaman's assistants, and consists of a peculiar, quick, jumping
march, with short steps, the dancers moving forward one after another,
on their toes, and making sharp, jerky movements, without, however,
turning around. They dance in the space between the fire and the cross,
and move in a direction opposite to the sun's apparent movement. Nobody
present is allowed to walk in contra-direction to the dancers. After
six or eight rounds, they enlarge the circuit so as to include the
fire; and whenever a dancer finds himself just between the shaman and
the fire, he quickly turns around once, then, dancing as before, moves
on to the dancing-place proper. Now and then the dancers give vent
to what is supposed to be an imitation of the hikuli's talk, which
reminded me of the crowing of a cock. Beating their mouths quickly
three times with the hollow of their hands, they shout in a shrill,
falsetto voice, "Hikuli vava!" which means, "Hikuli over yonder!"

The women take their turns separate from the men, though sometimes they
dance simultaneously with them. They move around in silence, and their
dance is slightly different from that of the other sex. Sometimes two
and two may be seen dancing toward each other. They all wear freshly
washed, clean white skirts and tunics, and the entire scene around
the big fire is marvellously picturesque.

The dancing may sometimes lag, but the singing and the rhythmical
rasping of the shaman are kept up through the night, interrupted
only once or twice, when he sees fit. He politely excuses himself to
Hikuli, and formal salutations are exchanged with the plant under
the bowl both when he goes and when he returns. On such occasions
he stops his singing and rasping, and notifies Hikuli by striking
the notched stick several times quickly with the rasping-stick,
and finishing off with three slow beats.

His songs describe how Hikuli walks with his rattles and with his
staff of authority; he comes to cure and to guard the people and to
grant a "beautiful" intoxication. To bring about the latter result,
the brownish liquor is dispensed from a jar standing under the cross. A
man Serves it in small quantities from agourd, which he first carries
around the fire on a rapid run, making three circuits for the shaman,
and one for the rest of the assemblage. The spirits of the feasters
rise in proportion to their potations. Sometimes only the shaman and
his assistants indulge in the drinking; on other occasions all the
people partake of the liquor.

                Song to the Hikuli.

    Hí-ku-li o-ku-lí-va-va Ta-mi-sæ-li-va re-gá
    Hikuli, uncle! Our authority thus!

    A-go-ná wi-lí si-næ Na-na-já re-gá we-lá
    Yonder standing upright, see! The ancients thus placed him.

The secondary effect of the plant, depression and drowsiness, shows
itself more plainly on the company when they sit down between the
dancing, than on the well-trained shaman, who, besides, is kept awake
by his occupation. As one or the other of his assistants succumbs to
sleepiness, he has to ask permission of Hikuli, through the shaman,
to go off and rest for a while, and must properly notify Hikuli of
his leaving and returning to duty. Toward morning all the assistants
are struggling hard to overcome somnolence, while the shaman sings
and rasps as conscientiously and enthusiastically as ever.

But all rouse themselves for the important acts of curing the people
by rasping and of despatching Hikuli. Just at daybreak, as the fire is
dying out, the shaman gives the welcome signal that the dance is over,
by the three final raps on his notched stick. Then the people gather
at the eastern end of the dancing-place, near the cross. The shaman
rises from his seat, carrying in his hands his rasping implements, and,
followed by a boy who carries a gourd with water, he proceeds to confer
upon everybody present the benediction. Stopping in front of each
one, he solemnly dips the point of the rasping-stick into the water,
and after touching the notched stick lightly with the wetted end,
first in the middle, then on the lower end, and finally on the top,
he daubs the head of the person three times with it. Then he rests
the end of the notched stick against the man's head and rasps three
long strokes from end to end, throwing out his hand far into the air
after each stroke. The dust produced by the rasping, infinitesimal
though it be, is powerful in giving health and life. Now he turns
toward the rising Sun, holding out his implements to him; and, quickly
rubbing up and down a few times at the lower end of the notched stick,
he makes a long stroke from end to end, passing the hand far out from
the stick toward the Sun. By this act, three times performed, he waves
Hikuli home. In the early morning, Hikuli had come from San Ignacio
and from Sara-polio, riding on beautiful green doves, to feast with
the Tarahumares at the end of the dance, when the people sacrifice
food, and eat and drink. The greatest Hikuli eats with the shaman,
who alone is able to see him and his companions. If Hikuli should
not come to the feasts, there would always be on the Tarahumares the
breath or stain of sorcery.

Having bestowed his blessings, Hikuli forms himself into a ball, and
flies home to his country, accompanied by the owl, who also flies to
its shelter at that hour.

The dust produced by the rasping of the shaman in the course of
the night is carefully gathered up and kept in a buckskin bag as a
powerful remedy for future use.

After the feast everybody has to wash his face and hands, a duty
esteemed most important.

Besides hikuli wanamé ordinarily used, the Tarahumares know and
worship the following varieties:

1. Mulato (_Mammilaria micromeris_).--This is believed to make the
eyes large and clear to see sorcerers, to prolong life and to give
speed to the runners.

2. Rosapara.--This is only a more advanced vegetative stage of the
preceding species--though it looks quite different, being white and
spiny. This, too, must only be touched with very clean hands, in the
moral sense, it would seem, as much as in the physical, for only people
who are well baptised are allowed to handle it. It is a good Christian
and keeps a sharp eye on the people around it; and when it sees anyone
doing some wrong, it gets very angry, and either drives the offender
mad or throws him down precipices. It is therefore very effective in
frightening off bad people, especially robbers and Apaches.

3. Sunami (_Mammilaria fissurata_).--It is rare, but it is believed
to be even more powerful than wanamé and is used in the same
way as the latter; the drink produced from it is also strongly
intoxicating. Robbers are powerless to steal anything where Sunami
calls soldiers to its aid.

4. Hikuli walúla sælíami.--This is the greatest of all, and the
name means "hikuli great authority." It is extremely rare among
the Tarahumares, and I have not seen any specimen of it, but it was
described to me as growing in clusters of from eight to twelve inches
in diameter, resembling wanamé with many young ones around it. All
the other hikuli are his servants. The reason why so few of these
plants are brought to the Tarahumare country is that he is very
greedy, requiring oxen for food, not being satisfied with sheep,
goats, or anything else. Therefore but few Tarahumares can afford
to entertain him in their country. If an ox is not killed for him,
he will eat the Indian. He always holds his head down, because he is
listening to all the ceremonies that are being held in the Tarahumare
land, and he is always full of thoughts of how he may cure his sons,
the Tarahumares. He never dies. When a person is very ill, and there
is no such hikuli in the country, the shaman in his thoughts flies
to the hikuli country, where "the great authority" stands looking
at his children, the people, and offers him the soul of an ox that
has been sacrificed. Hikuli accepts the offering, and sends back his
blessings by his servants, who are always well dressed and wear straw
hats, "like regular Americans," as my shaman friend Rubio expressed
it. Only the shamans, however, can see them come, to cure the hearts
of the people and to clean their souls.

All these various species are considered good, as coming from Tata
Dios, and well-disposed toward the people. But there are some kinds
of hikuli believed to come from the Devil. One of these, with long
white spines, is called ocoyome. It is very rarely used, and only for
evil purposes. If anyone should happen to touch it with the foot,
it would cause the offending leg to break. Once when I pushed one
of these globular spiny cacti out of my way with a cane, my Indian
attendant immediately warned me, "Leave it alone, or it will make
you fall down precipices."

At one of the feasts which I witnessed I wished to taste hikuli, as
it was new to me. A lively discussion arose between the shamans, and
I was finally told that I might sit with them, as it was known that I
had some of the sacred plants in my possession. The condition was made,
however, that I should take off my sombrero. It happened to be a cold
and windy December night, but I obeyed and put my handkerchief over
my head, to which no objection was raised. The man who carried the
gourd, first danced in front of the shaman, then around the fire,
and finally brought it to me. The liquid tasted somewhat bitter,
but not exactly disagreeable; and while I drank, the man looked at
me with astonishment, as if he had expected that hikuli would refuse
to be taken by me.

I drank only a small cupful, but felt the effect in a few
minutes. First it made me wide awake, and acted as an excitant to the
nerves, similar to coffee, but much more powerful. This sensation
lasted for about ten minutes, when it was followed by a depression
and a chill such as I have never experienced before. To get warm
I almost threw myself into the fire, but not until morning was the
feeling of cold conquered. Some Tarahumares told me that they are
similarly affected, and for this reason they do not take it. When I
told the shaman about the effect hikuli had on me, he asked whether
I had rasped on the notched stick, because, he said, hikuli does not
give chills to people who rasp. In other words, according to him,
the effect might be warded off by physical exercise.

A shaman who agreed to sell me some hikuli took me with him to his
house. Then he walked over to a store-house of pine boards, and with
a long stick undid the lock from within, taking off a few boards from
the roof to get at it. After some searching, he produced a small
closed basket. Holding this in his hand, he rapidly ran around me
in one ceremonious circuit, and said in a scarcely audible voice:
"Thank you for the time you have been with me; now go with him; I
will give you food before you go." The smoke of copal was blown over
the plants in the basket, that they might eat; and I had to smell
of the incense, so that hikuli might find pleasure in being with
me. The shaman then opened the basket and asked me to select what I
wanted. I picked out twelve plants, but, as he asked $10 for them,
I contented myself with three.

On my way back to civilisation, I spent some time at Guajochic,
near which place the great hikuli expert, Shaman Rubio, lives. He
is a truly pious man, well-meaning and kind-hearted, living up to
his principles, in which Christianity and Paganism are harmoniously
blended. He is highly esteemed by all his countrymen, who consider him
the greatest hikuli shaman in that part of the Tarahumare country. His
profession brings him a very comfortable living, as his services are
constantly in demand, and are paid for by fine pieces of the animals
sacrificed. For curing the people he even gets money; and what with
praying and singing, drinking tesvino and hikuli, fasting and curing
the sick, he passes his days in the happy conviction that he keeps
the world going. From him I obtained specimens of the various kinds
of cacti which the Tarahumares worship,--a betrayal of the secrets
of the tribe, for which the other shamans punished him by forbidding
him ever to go again on a hikuli journey. Though in the first year
he obeyed the sentence, he did not take it much to heart, feeling
himself far superior to his judges, who, he knew, could not get along
without him, and in the end would have to come to him; for he is the
most virtuous of them all, and therefore knows the commands of Tata
Dios better than anyone else.

It is to him that I owe a good deal of what I know about this
plant-worship, as well as several songs used in the cult. He came
often to see me, and one day told me in confidence that the hikuli
in my possession would have to be fed before they started on their
long journey to the United States; for it was a long time since they
had had food, and they were getting angry. The next time he came he
brought some copal tied up in a cotton cloth, and after heating the
incense on a piece of crockery he waved the smoke over the plants,
which he had placed in front of him. This, he said, would satisfy
them; they would now go content with me, and no harm would come to
me from sorcerers, robbers, or Apaches. This was a comfort, for to
reach Chihuahua I had to pass through some disturbed country, and
there were rumours of a revolution.

It seems that at present only the districts around Nararachic and
Baqueachic get hikuli from its native country, and that all the others
procure it from these two. Until recently the people of Guachochic
also went to fetch plants, and a few may yet undertake the journey. One
old man showed me some hikuli which he had gathered thirty-five years
ago. At Nararachic they use hikuli all the year round, that is, as
long as they have corn, because "hikuli wants tesvino." The people in
the barrancas are too timid to go on the expeditions, and they buy the
plants at the price of a sheep apiece. The purchaser holds a feast,
not only when he brings the demi-god to his home, but also a year
after the event. In the eastern section of the country, and in the
foothills around Rio Fuerte, hikuli is not used at all. It is very
rarely planted by the Tarahumares; the only instance I saw of it was
in Tierras Verdes.

A significant light is thrown on the antiquity of the cult, as
well as on the age of the tribe itself, by a certain variation in
the ceremonial which I observed in the southwestern part of the
Tarahumare country. There it is the custom of the shaman to draw
underneath his resonator-gourd a mystical human figure in the sand,
and to place the hikuli in its centre. Regarding this mystical figure,
my lamented friend, Frank Hamilton Cushing, informed me that similar
or almost identical drawings are found depicted on the lava rocks of
Arizona. In a letter dated October 30, 1893, he said:

    The figure you sketch for me is closely allied, for example,
    to very ancient ritualistic petrographs in the lava regions
    of Arizona. You will see this at a glance by the figure of
    one of those petrographs, which I reproduce in juxtaposition
    with yours:

    Others which I have recorded are even more strikingly
    similar. I have always supposed that these figures were
    designed for "medicine" ceremonials, but thought of them
    rather as pertaining to the medicines of the elements, wind,
    rain, water, etc., used in connection with sacrifices (with
    which ceremonial rites were terminated) than as connected
    with actual medicinal ceremonials. I was led to this belief
    by finding in connection with some of them little cup-shaped
    concavities pecked into the angles of the figures (as _a, a,
    a_). You will observe that a line is drawn from the middle and
    straight portion of my figure and coiled around the concavity
    at the right side, and that the terminations of the upper
    cross lines are bifurcated around similar though smaller
    concavities. This entire figure represents a water-animal
    god, one only of a number of semi-human mystic monsters. For
    convenience his heart is drawn out to one side, and within it
    is placed the cup of the "chief" medicine; while in his left
    hand is the cup of the "good" medicine, and in his right hand
    the cup of "bad" (_i.e_., strong) medicine. If in the light of
    this you re-examine your figure, you will see with me that it
    represents a man-god sitting, his legs doubled under him and
    his medicines distributed around and upon him according to his
    parts, and in accordance also, probably, to their importance
    and the case in hand. He must always have the chief of all
    medicines placed on his heart, as the renewer of life. Then,
    strictly with reference to the ailment to be treated, and its
    location in the body or limbs of the patient (I should say),
    the other medicines. I throw this out as a suggestion, yet
    with much confidence in its at least approximate correctness as
    indicated by my comparative studies. Probably a consultation of
    your notes and the remembrance of variations of the ceremony
    you have seen, will signify to you whether I am right or
    not. Remember that if these people have this ceremonial in
    connection with the treatment of disease, they will also have
    it in the treatment of the weather, etc., when "diseased,"
    so to say. You have opened up a new significance of many
    outlines among the older lava-remains, and if my record
    of these in turn has helped to explain your diagram, etc.,
    you can judge of my pleasure and appreciation."

Chapter XX

    The Tarahumare's Firm Belief in a Future Life--Causes of
    Death--The Dead are Mischievous and Want Their Families to Join
    Them--Therefore the Dead Have to be Kept Away by Fair Means or
    Foul--Three Feasts and a Chase--Burial Customs--A Funeral Sermon.

The idea of immortality is so strong with the Tarahumares that death
means to them only a change of form. They certainly believe in a future
life, but they are afraid of the dead, and think that they want to
harm the survivors. This fear is caused by the supposition that the
dead are lonely, and long for the company of their relatives. The dead
also make people ill, that they too may die and join the departed. When
a man dies in spite of all efforts of the shamans to save his life,
the people say that those who have gone before have called him or
carried him off. The deceased are also supposed to retain their love
for the good things they left behind in this world, and to be trying
every way to get at them. So strong is the feeling that the departed
still owns whatever property he once possessed, that he is thought to
be jealous of his heirs who now enjoy its possession. He may not let
them sleep at night, but makes them sit up by the fire and talk. To
soothe his discontent, tesvino and all kinds of food are given him,
because he needs the same things he needed here. In the course of
the year several ceremonies are performed, by which he is actually
chased off, and the survivors constantly take precautions against
his return to bother them.

Sometimes the dead are sent by sorcerers to harm people and make them
ill, but generally they come of their own accord. They enter the house
at night and drink the tesvino and eat the food prepared for a feast,
and what they cannot eat they spoil. To protect the beer against such
mischief the people place bows and arrows next the jars, and cover
the vessels with sprigs of the odorous artemisia. The dead will also
kill cattle and sheep, and spit and blow in the faces of the people,
to make them ill, and possibly cause their death. Sometimes the dead
are viewed as spirits, and the shaman sees them flying through the
air, like birds. If the spirit of a dead person takes up his abode
in a house, the owner of the dwelling will feel a choking sensation,
dry up, and die, unless the shaman gives to the dead plenty of tesvino,
and drives him away with incantations.

The dead are supposed to be about at night; therefore the Tarahumares
do not like to travel after dark, for fear of meeting the dead, who
whistle when they pass the living. Only shamans can travel at night,
although sometimes even they have to fight with the dead, who come
running out of the caves on all fours. In the daytime the Tarahumares
are not afraid of the dead, though even then they do not dare to visit
burial-places, modern or ancient. I found it difficult to get Indians
to carry bones of skeletons excavated from ancient burial-caves, and
even the Mexicans would not allow their animals to carry burdens of
that kind, for fear that the mules would get tired, that is to say,
play out and die.

When a person dies, his eyes are closed, his hands crossed over
his breast, and the relatives talk to him one by one, and bid him
good-bye. The weeping widow tells her husband that, now that he has
gone and does not want to stay with her any longer, he must not come
back to frighten her or his sons or daughters or anyone else. She
implores him not to carry any of them off, or do any mischief, but
to leave them all alone.

A mother says to her dead infant: "Now go away! Don't come back
any more, now that you are dead. Don't come at night to nurse at my
breast. Go away, and do not come back!" And the father says to the
child: "Don't come back to ask me to hold your hand, or to do things
for you. I shall not know you any more. Don't come walking around here,
but stay away."

The body is wrapped in a blanket almost before it is cold, to be
buried later, but food is at once placed around it, and ashes are
liberally strewn over and around the corpse, to enable the relatives
to discover, by the tracks, into what kind of animal the dead has
changed. At night some fox or coyote, polecat or rat, is sure to be
attracted by the smell of the food; but the people believe that it
was the departed who returned in the form of the animal to get his
food. A shaman, without even looking at the tracks, may be able to
tell what animal shape the dead assumes.

Within twenty-four hours the corpse is taken away to be buried. It
is tied in three or four places to one or two poles and carried by
two men. Women never go with them to the funeral. As soon as the
undertakers have accomplished their task, they immediately wash their
persons well. Upon their return, branches of the mountain cedar are
burned inside of the house, to "cure" it.

The body is laid at rest in a shallow grave inside of a cave or
just outside of it, with the head to the east and the feet to the
west. In some caves, however, this rule is not adhered to, for I
found corpses placed in accordance with the formation of the floor
of the cave. The body is covered with an inch of earth, then with a
row of pine or palm sticks put on lengthwise, and over this a layer
of earth is spread five or six inches deep. On top of all, stones
are thrown. The bodies of grown persons are stretched out to their
full length, but with children the knees are generally drawn up.

This is one Way in which the pagan Tarahumares bury their dead. Another
mode, equally common, is to place the body lying on its back, on the
surface, without any earth to cover it; in this case the mouth of the
cave is walled up with stones, or stones and mud, and several bodies
may be found inside.

When exhuming skeletons I have frequently found bits of charcoal,
which was explained by the fact that during the first night the
mourners keep a fire near the grave, which to-day serves the same
purpose as candles. This also accounts for the smokiness of the
interior of the burial-caves, even of the ancient ones.

The dead keeps his buckskin pouch and three small gourds with
beans. Three ears of corn are placed to the left of his head,
as well as a small jar of tesvino. Another small jar of tesvino
is placed near his feet, as well as his bow and arrows, the stone
with which the arrows are stretched, reeds and sinews, his steel for
striking fire, the small stick with which paint is put on the arrows,
his sucking-tubes when the deceased has been a shaman, in fact all
his light-weight belongings, besides balls of gum from the pine-tree,
necklaces of _Coix Lachryma-Jobi_ and a hikuli plant. Everything heavy,
such as his axe, machete, beads, and money, he leaves, as it is thought
that the weight would hinder him from rising to heaven. This is the
practical view the Indians have taken since their contact with the
whites, as valuables frequently attract marauders. The dead man's
sandals, his violin, and the vessels from which he used to take his
food, are kept in a separate place for a year, that is, until after the
last function for the dead is over; then at night the shaman and other
men take them away and bury them somewhere, but not with the dead. The
skins on which he died are treated in the same way, and are never
used again, lest a very ugly dog might be born of them. The house is
always destroyed, and the me-tare and many jars and baskets are broken.

On the third day after the death, the relatives begin to prepare
the first feast for the dead, which is held within a fortnight. One
or two sheep or goats are killed, and the lungs, the heart, and the
windpipe are hung from a stick outside the burial-cave.

As soon as the tesvino is ready the feast comes off, although
comparatively little of the liquor is used at this first function. The
relatives, men and women, visit the grave and leave a jar with pinole,
a small jar with tesvino, three tortillas, and three cigarettes
with the dead, if he was a man; with a woman, four tortillas, etc.,
are required. The size of the tortillas varies with the age of the
person. For adults the ordinary tortilla is used; to young people over
six years old, medium-sized ones are given; and children get small
ones, about an inch and a half in diameter. I have seen medium-sized
ones made into the shape of a cross.

All the mourners talk to the departed, the shaman first. He tells
him that he had better take away everything they have given him, and
not come and disturb the people he has left behind. He should leave
them alone, and some day they, too, will have to go where he is. He
should not kill any of the animals belonging to the family, as they
have killed a sheep for him and given him the best part, the lungs,
that he may eat and be satisfied and not take what now is theirs.

At the first feast I have seen worn in the hair by both men and Women
a peculiar kind of artificial flower. It is made from a short bit
of reed in one end of which four incisions are made, with the parts
turned outward to stand out like the corolla of a flower. It is stuck
under the hair-ribbon at one side of the head. The mourners also make
crosses on their foreheads with charcoal.

The second feast is given half a year later, and again animals are
killed and a large quantity of tesvino is made. Three men and three
women carry food and tesvino to the grave, the relatives remaining
at home. On their return they stop at a distance from the house and
throw ashes over each other's heads before entering.

For the third function, which is the largest, an animal is selected
from among those last acquired by the deceased, and quantities of food
and beer are prepared. This feast is the final effort to despatch the
dead. A large earthen bowl is made especially for the purpose. It is
about two feet in diameter and six inches deep. It is filled with
water, and a drinking-gourd placed inside of it, upside down. The
shaman beats this gourd with a corn-cob fastened to the end of a
little stick. His assistants help him, one by swinging the rattle,
the other by singing. After a while the shaman lifts the bowl up and
after carrying it about in three ceremonial circuits throws it into
the air. It falls to the ground and breaks into many pieces, and the
people dance and trample on the shreds and on the drinking-gourd.

The young people conclude the function by running a race of some
hundred yards. The men have their ball, and as they run they scatter
ashes to the four cardinal points to cover the tracks of the dead. They
return rejoicing, manifesting their delight by throwing up their
blankets, tunics, and hats, because now the dead is at last chased
off. If the deceased be a woman, the women run a race with rings
and sticks.

A very elaborate third function, given by a widow, was described to me
as follows: There were five patios. On one, for the dead, was erected
one large cross and two small ones, and three gourds with tesvino and
a basket with uncooked meat were placed near by. A fire was lighted,
and one man had to watch here. On another patio one cross was raised,
and a branch from a pine-tree placed next to it. Here, too, a jar
with tesvino and a basket with uncooked meat were deposited, and one
man and two women kept watch, but no ceremonies were performed. A
third patio was for the hikuli cult, where the shaman rasped and
sang. On the fourth patio, yumari was danced, and one large cross
and two smaller ones had been erected. Finally, on the fifth patio
four torches of resinous pinewood, each a yard high, were placed at
the four cardinal points. A peculiar feature was that one man alone
danced here between these four torches, cutting with his knife three
times through each flame as he danced. This he did in reprises.

According to the names which the Tarahumares apply to the three
functions for the dead, the main idea of the first is to give food;
of the second, to replenish the first supply; and of the third to give
drink. The three feasts are on an increasing scale of elaborateness,
the first being comparatively insignificant. Each generally lasts one
day and one night, and begins at the hour at which the dead breathed
his last. There is always a special patio prepared for the dead, and
another one for the hikuli cult, besides the ordinary dancing-place,
and much howling and singing goes on, especially at the last.

At the feasts, the shaman steeps herbs in water and Sprinkles this
medicine over the people. Hikuli dancing and singing always play a
prominent part at all the festivities, for the plant is thought to be
very powerful in running off the dead, chasing them to the end of the
world, where they join the other dead. Yumari is danced at intervals
and much tesvino is used, and at all feasts the survivors drink with
the dead.

There are three feasts for a mall, and four for a woman. She cannot
run so fast, and it is therefore harder to chase her off. Not until
the last function has been made will a widower or a widow marry again,
being more afraid of the dead than are other relatives.

After the death of a person, anyone who rendered him any service, as,
for instance, watching his cattle for a week, claims something of what
the dead left. He is satisfied, however, with a girdle or the like.

Once I was present at the burial-feast for a man who had hanged himself
a fortnight before, while under the influence of liquor and angry
over some property out of which he considered himself cheated. He had
changed into a lion. Two men and two women carried food and tesvino;
the wife did not go with them, as the deceased had died alone, and
she was afraid of being carried off by him. His father-in-law led the
procession, carrying a goat-skin with its four feet remaining. The
animal had belonged to the deceased and had been sacrificed for him,
and the skin was to be given to him that in his new life he might
rest on it. The suicide had been buried in a little cave with his
feet toward the entrance. Having deposited the food near the dead
man's head, the women sat down on a stone inside, while the men stood
up near the mouth of the cave, all faces turned toward the grave. The
father-in-law seated himself on a stone near the feet of the dead. It
was a dreary winter evening in the Sierra and the scene was singularly
impressive. The old man was a strong personality, powerfully built,
and a shaman of great reputation, who in his entire bearing showed
his determination to keep the dead at bay. He seemed to exercise a
reassuring influence over the whole assembly.

I shall not easily forget the solemn and convincing way in which he
upbraided the dead for his rash act. Taking the reed flower from his
hair and holding it in his right hand, he waved it down and up, as if
swayed by the force of his own thoughts, in accentuating his points,
and he talked and argued with the dead for a quarter of an hour. The
man was a great orator, and spoke so earnestly that my interpreter
Nabor was affected almost to tears. The speech was a kind of dialogue
with the dead, the speaker supplying the responses himself, and this
is the gist of it:

Why are you there?--Because I am dead.--Why are you dead?--Because I
died.--Why did you die?--Because I chose to.--That is not right. You
have no shame. Did your mother, who gave you birth, tell you to do
this? You are bad. Tell me, why did you kill yourself?--Because I
chose to do it.--Now what did you get for it, lying there, as you are,
with stones on top of you? Were you not just playing the violin in
the house with us? Why did you hang yourself in the tree?

Here I leave this tesvino and food for you, the meat and tortillas,
that you may eat and not come back. We do not want you any more. You
are a fool. Now I am going to leave you here. You are not going to
drink tesvino in the house with us any more. Remain here! Do not come
to the house, for it would do you no good; we would burn you. Good-bye,
go now; we do not want you any more!

All present then said good-bye to him, and all the women added,
"Fool!" and then they all ran quickly into a deep water-hole, splashing
into it clothes and all, that nothing from the dead might attach
itself to them. They changed their wet attire after their arrival
at the house. Later in the evening a magnificent hikuli feast was
held. The Indians sat around the big fire, which cast a magical light
over the tall old pine-trees around the patio, while the dancers moved
about in their fantastic way through the red glow. Such a scene makes
a deeper impression than any that could be produced on the stage.

The Christian Tarahumares believe that the shaman has to watch the
dead throughout the year, or the deceased would be carried away by
the Devil. If the feasts were not given, the departed would continue
to wander about in animal shape. This is the direful fate meted out
to people who are too poor to pay the shaman. Sometimes, if the dead
person has not complied in life with the customary requirements
in regard to feasts and sacrifices, the shamans have a hard time
in lifting him to heaven. It may take hours of incantations and
much tesvino to get his head up, and as much more to redeem his
body. Sometimes the head falls back, and the shamans have to call
for more tesvino to gain strength to lift him up again.

The Tarahumares had no great scruples about my removing the bodies of
their dead, if the latter had died some years before and were supposed
to have been properly despatched from this world. Where a body had
been buried, the bones that were not taken away had to be covered up
again. One Tarahumare sold me the skeleton of his mother-in-law for
one dollar.

Chapter XXI

    Three Weeks on Foot Through the Barranca--Rio Fuerte--I Get
    My Camera Wet--Ancient Cave-dwellings Ascribed to the Tubar
    Indians--The Effect of a Compliment--Various Devices for Catching
    Fish--Poisoning the Water--A Blanket Seine.

On a cold day in the end of October I started from Guachochic bound
for the upper part of the great Barranca de San Carlos and the country
southward as far as there were Tarahumares. Everything seemed bleak
and dreary. The corn was harvested, the grass looked grey, and there
was a wintry feeling in the air. The sere and withered leaves rustled
like paper, and as I made camp near an Indian ranch I saw loose stubble
and dead leaves carried up in a whirlwind, two or three hundred feet
up toward a sky as grey and sober as that of northern latitudes at
that time of the year. We travelled to the southeast from Guachochic
over pine-clad hills, coming now and then to a lonely ranch.

About seven miles before reaching the barranca I arrived at a point
8,600 feet high, from which I could look over this vast expanse of
woodland, extending all the way up to the deep gorge and diminishing
in breadth toward the northwest. At San Carlos, a ranch but recently
established in this wilderness, I left my animals, and immediately
prepared for an extended excursion on foot into the barranca and
its neighbourhood.

Nearly the whole country of the Tarahumares is drained by the river
Fuerte, which, with its many tributaries, waters as many barrancas. The
main one, namely Barranca de San Carlos, is from 4,000 to 4,500 feet
deep, and sinuous in its course. If there were a passable road along
its bottom, the distance from the source of the river to a point
a little below the village of Santa Ana, where Rio Fuerte emerges
from the Sierra, could be easily covered in two days; but as it is,
a man requires at least a week to travel this distance, so much is
he impeded by the roughness of the country.

Having descended into the barranca, which now felt almost uncomfortably
warm, after the piercing winds of the highlands, I first visited
the plateaus on the southern side, where the Indians have still kept
themselves tolerably free from the white man's evil influence and are
very jealous of their land. One night, while camping in a deep arroyo
with very steep sides frowning down on us, one of the Indian carriers
woke us with the startling news: "Get up! A stone is falling and will
strike us!" I heard a noise, and instantly a stone, half the size of
a child's head, hit the informant himself, as he sleepily rose. He
lost his breath, but soon recovered, and no further damage was done.

I secured the necessary carriers and went down again to the river,
which I now followed westward from Nogal for about twenty-five
miles. The elevation at Nogal is 4,450 feet, about 800 feet higher than
the place at which we left the river again. At the outset we came upon
two very hot springs, the water of which had a yellow sediment. The
gorge was narrow throughout. Sometimes its two sides rise almost
perpendicularly, leaving but a narrow passage for the river. We then
had either to wade in the water or to ascend some thousand feet, in
order to continue our way. But generally there was a bank on one side
or the other, and now and then the valley widened, yielding sufficient
space for some bushes, or even a tree to grow, though it soon narrowed
again. In some such spots we found a shrub called baynoro, with long,
flexible branches and light-green leaves. Its small, yellow berries
were as sweet as honey, but they did not agree with the Mexicans,
who had stomach-aches and lost their appetites after eating them. The
Indians made the same complaints, but I felt no ill effects from them.

Along the river we saw the tracks of many raccoons and otters, and
there were also ducks and blue herons.

The colour of the water in the deep places was greyish green,
and as the river rises in the high sierra, it felt icy cold to wade
through. One day we had to cross it eight times. On one such occasion,
while wading waist-deep, the Indian who carried the photographic outfit
in a bag on his back, forgot for a moment, on account of the stinging
cold, how far his burden hung down, and let it dip into the water. The
prospect of being prevented, perhaps for a long time to come, from
photographing, was very annoying. Six plate-holders were so wet that I
could not even draw the shutters out, but luckily I had more elsewhere.

We came upon several ancient cave-dwellings, all of which were rather
small, and attributed by the Tarahumares to the Tubar Indians. One of
them was situated about 250 feet above the bottom of the barranca. A
two-storied, rather irregularly shaped building occupied the entire
width of the cave, without reaching to the roof. The floor of the house
was scarcely two yards broad, but the building widened out very much,
following the shape of the cave. The materials used in the construction
were stone and mud or, rather, reddish grit; and smaller stones had
been put between larger ones in an irregular way. The walls were only
five or six inches thick and were plastered with mud. An upright pole
supported the ceiling, which was rather pretty, consisting of reeds
resting on the rafters, and covered on top with mud. The ceiling of
the second story had been made in the same way, but had fallen in. A
piece of thick board half covered the entrance. In the first story I
found an additional chamber, and in it a skeleton, of which I secured
the skull and some typical bones.

Not far from this, and situated in very rough country, was another
cave, that contained ten one-storied chambers of the same material
and construction. The cave was fifty feet long and at the mouth seven
feet high. The apertures of the chambers were fairly squared, and not
of the shape of the conventional ear of corn. One door was a foot
and a half broad, and two feet and a half high. I crawled through
the chambers, which were miserably small. The floor was plastered,
and in some rooms I noticed circular holes sunk into the ground in
the way that I had already observed in Zapuri. There were also small
square holes, the sides being six inches long in the front wall.

Twenty miles from here, just north of the pueblo of Cavorachic, was a
third cave which contained thirteen houses in ruins, The material here,
too, was the same as before, but the houses were built to the roof of
the cave, and were rounded at the corners. Peculiar round loop-holes
were seen here, too. Eight of them formed a horizontal line, and one
extra hole was a little higher up. A track could be made out at certain
places along the river, but the country was very lonely. In the course
of several days only six Indian families were encountered, and two of
those lived here only temporarily. We also met five stray Indians that
had come down from the highlands to fetch bamboo reeds for arrows,
etc. It was quite pleasant to meet somebody now and then, although,
unfortunately, no one had anything to sell, except a few small fish,
the people being themselves as hard up for food as we were. We
carried our little metate on which we ground corn for our meals,
but we found it very difficult on this trip of four weeks' duration
to secure from day to day corn enough to satisfy our wants. One item
in our menu, new to me, but common throughout northern Mexico, was
really excellent when we could procure the very simple material from
which it was made, namely squash-seeds. These were ground very fine
and boiled in a saucepan. This dish, which is of Tarahumare origin,
is called pipian, and looks like curds. Mixed with a little chile it
is very palatable, and in this period of considerable privation it
was the only food I really enjoyed.

But such luxuries were not served every day. Far from it. For several
days in succession we had nothing but corn-cakes and water. Therefore
our joy was great when at last we one day espied some sheep on the
other side of the river. They belonged to a woman who watched them
herself, while wintering among the rocks with her herd of about a
dozen sheep and goats. I sent my interpreter over to make a bargain
for one of the animals, and as he did not return after a reasonable
lapse of time, and as we were all hungry, I went across the river
myself to see the dashing widow. I found my man .still bargaining,
lying on the ground stretched out on his stomach and resting his head
on his hands. She was grinding corn on the metate and seemed to pay
little attention to either of us, but her personal attractiveness
at once impressed me. She was still in her best years and had fine
bright eyes. A ribbon dyed with the native yellow dye from lichens
ran through the braids of her hair, and was marvellously becoming
to her almost olive complexion. I could not help saying, "How pretty
she is!" to which the interpreter, in a dejected mood, replied: "Yes,
but she will not sell anything, and I have been struggling hard." "Of
course, she will sell," said I, "handsome as she is!" at which remark
of mine I noticed she smiled. Though I judged from the way in which
she wore her hair, in two braids, hanging in a loop in the neck, that
she had been in association with the Mexicans, I did not expect that
she could understand Spanish so well. I immediately returned to my
camp to fetch some beads and a red handkerchief to make an impression
on my obdurate belle. But on my way back to her I met my interpreter,
who brought the glad tidings that she had made up her mind to sell, and
that I might send for the animal whenever I wanted it. The price was
one Mexican silver dollar. So I sent my "extras" along with the money,
and in return received a fine sheep with long white wool, when all
we had hoped for was only a goat. There is not the slightest doubt in
my mind that my felicitous compliment brought about this happy result.

During our travels along the river, every day we came upon traps for
catching fish. The Tarahumares have various modes of fishing. Sometimes
they manage to catch fish with their hands in crevices between stones,
even diving for them. In the shallow parts of the rivers and in the
brooks, following the course of the stream, two stone walls a foot or
two high are built. These walls converge at the lower end and form a
channel, in which is placed horizontally a mat of stalks of the eagle
fern (_Pteris aquilina_). When the fish attempt to cross this mat,
through which the water passes freely, they are intercepted. Often
the fish caught in this way are only an inch long, but none is too
small for a Tarahumare to reject.

Other similar walls form square or oblong corrals, where the fish
can easily enter, but not so readily find a way out. After dark the
owners come with lighted torches and carefully examine the corrals,
turning up every stone. The fish are blinded by the glare of the
light and can be caught and thrown into baskets. Frogs, tadpoles,
larvae, and water-beetles are also welcome.

In the central part of the country they use a spear made of a thin
reed and tipped with thorns of the nopal. Sometimes it is shot from
a diminutive bow, like an arrow. But a more interesting way is to
hurl it by means of a primitive throwing-stick, which is nothing but
a freshly cut twig from a willow (_jaria_) about six inches long,
left in its natural state except for the flattening of one end on one
side. The spear is held in the left hand, the stick in the right. The
flat part of the latter is placed against the end of the spear, which
is slightly flattened on two sides, while the end is squarely cut
off. By pressing one against the other, the throwing-stick is bent,
and sufficient force is produced by its rebound to make the spear
pierce small fish. Many a Tarahumare may be seen standing immovable
on the bank of a streamlet, waiting patiently for a fish to come, and
as soon as he has hit it throwing himself into the water to grab it.

But a more profitable way of catching fish is by poisoning the
water. In the highlands a kind of polygonum is used for this
purpose. It is pounded with stones and thrown into the small
corrals. When the fishing is to be done on a somewhat extensive scale,
two species of agave--the amole (the soap-plant) and the soke--are
used, and many households join in the sport. First of all maguey plants
have to be collected, and wine made, as this is indispensable to the
success of the undertaking. At the place selected for the fishing
the people assemble, and two managers are appointed, one for each
side of the river. It is their duty to see that everything is done
in the right and proper way and all the requisite ceremonies are
observed. The women are a couple of hundred yards back cooking herbs
and making pinole for the men to eat. No pregnant women are allowed
to be present, as then the fish would not die.

Half-circular corrals of stone are built to intercept the fish that
drift along, irrespective of any private traps that may be found on
the place. Fish caught in the latter belong to those who put up the
traps. While constructing these corrals, the men catch a few fish with
their hands, between the rocks, open them in the back and give them to
the women, to broil. When they are done, the men pound the fish to a
pulp, mix it with pinole, and roll the mass into a ball two or three
inches in diameter. One of the managers then goes down stream, below
the corrals, and places the ball in a water pool. It is a sacrifice to
the master of the river, a large serpent (Walúla), which makes an ugly
noise. Every river, water-hole, and spring has its serpent that causes
the water to come up out of the earth. They are all easily offended;
and therefore the Tarahumares place their houses some little distance
from the water, and when they travel avoid sleeping near it.

Whenever the Tarahumares make pinole while away from home, they
sacrifice the first part to the water-serpents, dropping it with
the little stick with which the pinole is stirred. They sprinkle
it first forward, then to the left, then to the right, and then
upward, three times in each direction. If they did not do this, the
water-serpents would try to catch them and chase them back to their
own land. Besides the sacrifice of the fish ball, they offer axes,
hats, blankets, girdles, pouches, etc., and especially knives and
strings of beads, to the master of the fish, who is considered to
be the oldest fish. This is in payment for what they are going to
catch, and the donations are either hung to a cross or a horizontal
bar specially erected in the middle of the river, and remain hanging
there until daybreak, when their respective owners take them back.

In the meantime eight or ten men have gathered the amole and soke. They
wrap the plants in their blankets and bring them direct to the river,
where they are to be used. The leaves are pounded with stones and
spread out for a while before sunset. As soon as it is dark the men
throw them into the water, and trample on them to make the juice come
out. Three or four men take turns, standing waist-deep in the water,
treading with all their might and howling. The effect of the poison
in the course of the night is said to reach down some 300 yards. It
stupefies the fish, and although many of them revive, a few are killed
and may be eaten, as the poison does not affect the meat.

The managers see to it that everybody does his duty and that no one
falls asleep during the night, while the women help by watching the
mats, that the otters may not eat the fish caught in them.

A curious detail is that one man on each side of the river is deputed
to heat stones and throw them into the river three or four at a time,
every half-hour, possibly to frighten off the serpent. During the night
not one fish is taken up, but at daybreak the managers go down the
river to investigate the effect of the poison, and upon their return
the fish are gathered in, the men often diving into deep water for
them. The work is done with great earnestness and almost in silence,
the women helping the men in catching the fish. While. the fishing is
going on they do not eat any of the fish, for fear of not getting more,
but during the day quantities are broiled and eaten, without salt or
chile, however, and the bones are invariably thrown into the fire. Most
of the fish are cut open in the back and placed on rocks or on trees
to dry for future use. Such fishing may last for two days and nights,
and is finished by dancing yumari and drinking maguey wine. On one
occasion as much was caught as ten men could carry. Expeditions of
this kind may be repeated two or three times a year; but when food
is plentiful a whole year may pass without one being undertaken.

Palo de la flecha, too, is used as poisoning material, and seems to
be even more powerful than the two plants mentioned. There is a milky
juice under the bark of this tree which, when it comes in contact with
the human skin, makes it smart like a burn. The water is poisoned by
cutting the bark from the trunk and boughs directly into the water,
the people taking care to stand to the windward. One man who neglected
this precaution got some juice in his eyes and was blinded for three
days, though an application of salt water finally cured him.

Although a single man may poison fish in a small way even in winter,
he is hardly likely to do so except in summer-time, when provisions
are low. The Indians dislike going into cold water; besides, they
say that the cold impairs the effect of the poison.

In summer-time the Indians may also improvise a net with the help
of their blankets, and drag the river at suitable places. Farther
down on the Rio Fuerte, I once saw them make a large and serviceable
net by fastening sixteen blankets together lengthwise with a double
row of wooden pins. Along the upper edge of this net they made a hem
three inches deep, and through this they passed vines securely joined
together by means of the fibres of the maguey to do duty as ropes. The
opposite edge of the net had a hem four inches deep and this was filled
with sand to sink it as it was dragged in. The boys and girls were
told to go ahead and splash all they could in the water to prevent
the fish in the net from swimming out, and it was funny to see them
dive heels over head into the water over and over like porpoises,
the girls as well as the boys, with their skirts on. The fishermen
advanced slowly, as the net was heavy. When it was brought in toward
the shore, the women, even those with babies on their backs, helped
to drag it. As the two ends of the net reached the bank, the big fish
were picked out and thrown landward, while the remainder were brought
up with a dip-net made of three blankets. Eighty good-sized suckers
were secured, besides a large quantity of "small-fry."

Chapter XXII

    Resumption of the Journey Southward--_Pinus Lumholtzii_--Cooking
    with Snow--Terror-stricken Indians--A Gentlemanly Highwayman
    and His "Shooting-box"--The Pernicious Effect of Civilisation
    Upon the Tarahumares--A Fine Specimen of the Tribe--The Last of
    the Tarahumares.

From this trip I returned to San Carlos, mainly over the highlands
south of the barranca, and shortly afterward was able to continue my
journey toward the southwest. The cordons here, generally speaking,
have a southerly direction, running parallel to each other.

Reaching at one place an elevation of 8,800 feet, I had a fine view
of the entire central part of the Tarahumare country, seeing as far
as Cerro Grande, at the northern end of the llano of Guachochic,
in which direction the country, as a matter of course, looked quite
flat. Nearest to us were wild-looking arroyos and cordons, covered
in the lower portions with oak-trees, and higher up with pines. We
were in the midst of vast pine forests, and even the country north
of us looked like one uninterrupted forest of pines.

The Tarahumares have names for six kinds of pines. One species, first
met with near Tutuhuaca, was new to science. Though not a large tree,
it is very ornate, owing to its slender, whip-like branches, and its
hanging needles, from eight to ten inches long. It grows here and
there in groups at high altitudes, on decomposed volcanic tuff. The
needles are boiled by the Indians and the Mexicans, and the decoction
used as a remedy for stomach troubles. It is not disagreeable to take,
the taste resembling that of anise-seed. The Tarahumares prefer the
wood of this variety of pines for the making of their violins. I
found this species as far south as the sierra above Pueblo Nuevo,
in the State of Durango.

The vegetation of the Sierra Madre is incomparably stronger and
more luxurious than that of the cold North. The pine-trees in higher
altitudes, for instance in Norway, appear miserably puny and almost
stunted when compared with the giants of the South. Trees of 100 to
150 feet high and 10 to 15 feet in girth are frequent. We noticed
some species of pines the needles of which were over a foot long.

The region through which we were passing seemed uninhabited, and there
were really but few Indians living here. The cordon nearest to the
one on which we were standing was covered with snow, and we climbed
without difficulty to a point 9,300 feet high. There was no water,
but snow three inches deep in some places, yielding all the water we
required, though it had a slight flavour of the pines. The Mexicans
did not like it, and said they would not eat food cooked with snow;
but after I had shown them that the water obtained in this way was
very good, they also took to it.

On our arrival at some Indian ranches, the people screamed with terror,
ran away and hid themselves. There was something so unusual about their
fright, that the interpreter and I went out of our way to investigate
the matter. I saw two children making their escape among the bushes
as best they could, a boy leading a three-year-old girl all the time,
never deserting her. We found the children and a young woman on top of
a rock. After we had succeeded in allaying their fears, they answered
our questions readily. It appeared that two men from this place had
recently been hanged by some people from Cienega Prieta, the ranch
for which we were making. One of the victims had been revived, but
the other had died. My Indian boy Patricio knew about the outrage, too.

I had at the outset been warned against robbers south of Guachochic,
and advised never to sleep in houses--a thing I rarely did, anyway,
for other reasons. One man especially, Teodoro Palma, had an unsavoury
reputation as a "gentlemanly highwayman." In the desolate region
where his residence lies, his father had maintained a band of valiant
men, who made regular plundering expeditions, driving cattle away,
etc. It was a common tale that travellers who had to pass his place
were invited to come in, but never came out again. The bodies of the
victims, it was said, were buried at night in the cemetery of the
Indian village of Chinatu, a few miles distant. Times had changed
since then, and the son was more guarded in his operations, but still
sufficiently active.

In order to avoid a long detour to the east, I had chosen to follow
the track which passes this place, though travellers generally give
it a wide berth; besides, I thought best to take the bull by the
horns. When I reached the robber's stronghold, I did not find Don
Teodoro at home, though he was expected to return the next day. In
the mean time the superintendent showed me around the house and sold
me some necessary provisions.

The house looked forbidding enough. A wall of adobe, eighteen feet
high, ran all around the establishment, shutting it in securely. It
was provided with two small towers, which had loop-holes for rifles.

In the house was a small chapel, in which Don Teodoro and his father
before him had frequently knelt to pray. The altar was decorated with
the pictures of many saints, and in the centre was a painting of the
Christ-child, a crucifix, and an artificial apple.

When the lord of the manor arrived the following day, I immediately
went to see him. As I passed through the enclosure he was scolding
the superintendent, but on perceiving me he stepped forward to
receive me. This modern Fra Diavolo was about thirty years old,
rather short of stature, but unusually well built. He wore an
embroidered brown jacker and a blue waistcoat, and around his neck
was thrown a many-coloured scarf. On one side of his sombrero was a
scarlet rosette. Under it gleamed brown, piercing eyes. His hair was
cut short. Altogether he was quite good-looking, except for a cruel,
sensual expression of the features. His entire manner, erect carriage,
and quick, decisive movements told me he was a man of violent temper
and extreme determination.

He led the way into a room, and I handed him my letter of
recommendation from the Mexican Government, and explained what I
was doing in the sierra. After he had read the letter, he said that
he was my friend. I told him that I had heard there were robbers in
the vicinity, and in case I was molested I should apply to him for
assistance, since he was a very influential man. Of course I knew as
long as he did not rob us we were quite safe. I then photographed him
and his house, and he evidently felt quite flattered. He accompanied
me for a mile down the road, and then, taking me aside, handed me
back the paltry sum I had paid for the provisions, saying he did
not accept payment from his guests. This was rather embarrassing,
but there was no way out of it, and I had to accept it. I afterward
sent him a copy of his photograph to even up matters.

The guide with whom Don Teodoro had provided me pointed out to us
a place where his master last year killed and robbed a man. "He is
a poor shot," he added, "except at close range, and he generally
travels at night." In 1895 Don Teodoro Palma himself was killed by
the Indians. If half the rumours about him are true, he certainly
deserved his fate. He never dared to go down to the lowlands, because
"he owed so many dead," as the saying goes. A few years before my
visit, an American had been killed and robbed in the vicinity, and
his countrymen in Chihuahua offered a reward for the apprehension of
the murderer, dead or alive. Don Teodoro knew that a certain friend
of his had perpetrated the crime, and in order to secure the reward
he invited him to his house and shot him down in cold blood.

I arrived safely in Guadalupe y Calvo, a once flourishing place, but
now quite dead, since the mines have ceased to be worked. There are
large Mexican ranches southeast of the town, and whatever Tarahumares
live hereabout are servants of the Mexicans and frequently intermarry
with the Tepehuanes.

I thus traversed from north to south the country over which the
Tarahumares once held sway. To-day we find this tribe, approximately,
between Guadalupe y Calvo and Temosachic; roughly speaking, between
the twenty-sixth and twenty-ninth degrees northern latitude.

Civilisation, as brought to the Tarahumare, is not fraught with
benefits for him. It rudely shakes the columns of the temple of
his religion. The Mexican Central Railroad crushes his sacred plants
without thought of its anger, which is vented on the poor Tarahumare by
sending him bad years and ill-luck. While the Indians deny themselves
the pleasure of smoking tobacco in the daytime for fear of offending
the sun with the smoke, the white men's furnaces and engines belch
forth black clouds of smoke day after day, keeping the people out
of the sight of Tara Dios, and thus preventing him from guarding
them. In the engine itself they see the Devil with a long tongue and
a big beard.

Worse than that, the foot of civilisation destroys his home; for the
whites draw the boundary line of his country closer and closer. The
better class of Mexicans keep to themselves, and seldom, if ever,
bother about the Indians at their doors, whose mode of living and
way of thinking are so different from their own. The class of whites
on the borderland of such civilisation as the Tarahumare comes in
contact with is not the kind that will or can improve him, being
ignorant and unscrupulous. The Indian civilised by them is a very
unpleasant person to deal with. He has learned to cheat and to steal,
and he no longer carries out his contracts and agreements. Having
learned the value of money, his greed is awakened, and he begins to
look out only for his own profit.

The first white men with whom the Indian gets acquainted are the
traders who speak his language, and whose sole aim is to enrich
themselves at his expense and compel him to deal with them. If the
Indian does not want to sell, the lenguaraz loses his patience, throws
a few dollars toward him, takes the ox, and goes off. Many will go
still further. They force the native to borrow from them, whether
he wants the money, the cloth, the mescal, or the use of the horse,
or not. Many Indians would refuse mescal, satisfied with their native
stimulants, but see no other way of getting rid of the unwelcome and
obtrusive white than by yielding to his demand. The agreement is made
that he must return the so-called loan on a certain date, two or three
months hence; the Indian, of course, having no almanac, easily makes a
mistake in his calculation, and the date passes. The dealer has gained
his point. He saddles his horse, looks up the Indian, and makes a
great to-do about all the trouble he is put to in collecting the debt,
charging not only enormous interest for overtime, but adding exorbitant
travelling expenses and fees. He succeeds by threats and intimidation
in getting his damages adjusted in such a way that, in return for
the paltry sum he lent the Indian, he now drives off two or three oxen.

The Indians, being honourable in their dealings, do not at first
contact with the whites suspect rascality, and many stories are told
illustrating the ease with which they have been cheated.

Once a Mexican bought a sheep from a native on credit, and,
after killing it, paid for it with the head, the skin, and the
entrails. Another man did still better. He paid for his sheep with
the same valuables, and "spoke so well" that the Indian was content to
remain in his debt as the final result of the transaction. On another
occasion a native was induced to sell eleven oxen, almost his entire
stock, to a Mexican. It was agreed that the latter should pay two cows
for each ox, but not having any cows with him he left his horse and
saddle as security. The Indian is still waiting for the cows. When
I expressed my surprise at the ease with which he allowed himself
to be swindled, he replied that the Mexican "spoke so well." They
are so delighted at hearing their language spoken by a white man,
that they lose all precaution and are completely at the mercy of the
wily whites, who profit by their weakness.

Some tough lenguaraz is not ashamed to cheat at games until the
Indian has lost everything he has. One poor wretch lost several
oxen in one game of quinze. Other sharpers borrow money from the
natives and never pay back the loan, or else impose fines on the
Indians under the pretext of being authorities. Some foist themselves
upon the Tarahumares at their feasts, which they disturb by getting
drunk and violating women. Where the Indians are still masters of the
situation they catch such an offender and take him before the Mexican
authorities, insisting upon his paying for all the requirements for
another feast, as he has spoiled the value of the one on which he
intruded. In the central part of the country, near Norogachic, they
may even kill such a transgressor.

It is generally through mescal that the Indians become peons. When
the Indian has once developed a taste for mescal, he will pay anything
to get it, first his animals, then his land. When he has nothing more
to sell, the whites still give him this brandy and make him work. And
there he is. To work himself free is next to impossible, because his
wages are not paid in money, but in provisions, which barely suffice
to keep him and his family alive. Indians are sometimes locked up
over night to force them to work.

The children of such parents grow up as peons of the Mexicans, who
deal out miserable wages to the descendants of the owners of the
land on which the usurpers grow rich. Before the occupancy of the
country by the new masters, the Tarahumares never knew what poverty
was. No wonder that the Christian Tarahumares believe that hell is
peopled so thickly with Mexicans that there is not room for all. Some
have been crowded out, and have come to the Tarahumares to trouble
them. The Indians in some districts have been cheated so much that
they no longer believe anything the white men tell them, and they do
not offer food any more to a white stranger if he is what they call
"deaf," in other words, unable to speak and understand their language
and explain what he is about.

They make very good servants when treated right, although they often
want a change; but they will return to a good master. I once had a
Tarahumare woman in my employ as cook. She was very industrious and in
every way superior to any Mexican servant I ever had. When not busy
with her kitchen work, she was mending her own or her two children's
clothes. While very distrustful, she was good-tempered and honourable,
and spoke Spanish fairly well, and her eyes indicated unusual
intelligence. A white man had deserted her to marry a Mexican woman,
and she grieved much, but in time she became reconciled to her fate,
though she declared she would never marry again, as all men were bad.

The Tarahumares have made excellent soldiers in fighting for the
Government. In one of the civil wars, their leader, Jesus Larrea,
from Nonoava, a pure-bred Tarahumare, distinguished himself, not only
by bravery and determination, but also as a commander. In private
life he was civil and popular.

The majority speak their own language, and in the central and most
mountainous part, the heart of the Tarahumare country, they are of
pure breed. Here the women object to unions with outsiders, and until
very recently light-coloured children were not liked. Mothers may
even yet anoint their little ones and leave them in the sun, that
they may get dark. The consensus of opinion among the tribe is that
half-castes turn out to be bad people and "some day will be fighting
at the drinking-feasts." A few instances are known in which women
have left their half-caste babies in the woods to perish, and such
children are often given away to be adopted by the Mexicans. In the
border districts, however, the Indians have become much Mexicanised
and intermarry freely with the whites.

Be it said to the credit of those high in authority in Mexico, they
do all in their power to protect the Indians. But the Government
is practically powerless to control the scattered population in
the remote districts. Besides, the Indians most preyed upon by the
sharpers cannot make themselves understood in the official language,
and therefore consider it hopeless to approach the authorities. In
accordance with the liberal constitution of Mexico, all natives are
citizens, but the Indians do not know how to take advantage of their
rights, although sometimes large bodies have banded together and
travelled down to Chihuahua to make their complaints, and have always
been helped out--for the time being. The efforts of the Government
to enlighten the Indians by establishing schools are baffled by the
difficulty in finding honest and intelligent teachers with a knowledge
of the Indian language.

Where the Indians have had little or nothing to do with the whites,
they are obliging, law-abiding, and trustworthy. Profit is no
inducement to them, as they believe that their gods would be angry with
them for charging an undue price. As a matter of fact, they sell corn
all the year round, whether it be scarce or plentiful, at the same
price, though the Mexicans charge them very different prices. The
almighty dollar has no devotees among these Indians. They have no
need of aught that money can buy, and are swayed by persuasion and
kind and just treatment more than by gold. If they have a few coins,
they place them in a jar and bury them in some remote cave, taking from
the horde only a little when they have to buy some necessity of life.

Among the pagans in Pino Gordo I met the finest specimen of the
Tarahumare tribe, a shaman, called Juan Ignacio. Although he had
never been as far as Guadalupe y Calvo, and only twice in his life
to Babori-game, and had thus spent all his life in the mountains
among his own people, he showed a courtesy and tact that would have
graced a gentleman. He took splendid care, not only of myself, but
of my men and animals as well, giving us plenty to eat, sending his
man to chop wood for us, etc. He was possessed of the nicest temper,
and was truthful, a rare quality among Tarahumares, as well as square
in his dealings. His uprightness and urbanity commanded respect even
from the lenguarazes, and they did not rob him as much as the other
Indians of the district; consequently he was quite well-to-do.

While living among the heathen, of whom there are vet some three
thousand left, I had no fear of being robbed of any part of my
outfit. The Indians themselves would not touch anything, and there were
no strange Mexicans about. If they had come, the Tarahumares would
have immediately warned me. Everything was perfectly safe as long as
I had an honest interpreter. The Tarahumare in his native condition
is many times better off, morally, mentally, and economically, than
his civilised brother; but the white man will not let him alone as
long as he has anything worth taking away. Only those who by dear
experience have learned to be cautious are able to maintain themselves
independently; but such cases are becoming more and more rare.

It is the same old story over again, in America, as in Africa, and
Asia, and everywhere. The simpleminded native is made the victim of
the progressive white, who, by fair means or foul, deprives him of his
country. Luckily, withal, the Tarahumare has not yet been wiped out
of existence. His blood is fused into the working classes of Mexico,
and he grows a Mexican. But it may take a century yet before they
will all be made the servants of the whites and disappear like the
Opatas. Their assimilation may benefit Mexico, but one may well ask:
Is it just? Must the weaker always be first crushed, before he can
be assimilated by the new condition of things?

Future generations will not find any other record of the Tarahumares
than what scientists of the present age can elicit from the lips of
the people and from the study of their implements and customs. They
stand out to-day as an interesting relic of a time long gone by; as a
representative of one of the most important stages in the development
of the human race; as one of those wonderful primitive tribes that
were the founders and makers of the history of mankind.

Chapter XXIII

    Cerro de Muinora, the Highest Mountain in Chihuahua--The Northern
    Tepehuanes--Troubles Cropping Out of the Camera--Sinister Designs
    on Mexico Attributed to the Author--Maizillo--Foot-races Among
    the Tepehuanes--Influence of the Mexicans Upon the Tepehunaes, and
    _Vice Versa_--Profitable Liquor Traffic--Medicine Lodges--Cucuduri,
    the Master of the Woods--Myth of the Pleiades.

On my return from an excursion southward from Guadalupe y Calvo as
far as Mesa de San Rafael, I ascended on January 12, 1895, Cerro
de Muinora, probably the highest elevation in northern Mexico. I
say probably, because I had no opportunity of measuring Cerro de
Candelaria. Approached from the north it looked like a long-stretched
mountain, covered with pines, and falling off abruptly toward the
west. It is conspicuous in the songs and beliefs of the Tepehuane

We made a camp about 1,000 feet below the top, among the pines, with
snow lying all around us, and in the night a flock of parrots flew
screeching past the tents. I was surprised to find the temperature so
mild; there was no ice on the water, not even at night. The aneroid
showed the height of the top to be 10,266 feet (20.60 in. at a
temperature of 40° F., at 5.15 P.M.). I noticed more birds between
our camping-place and the top than I had ever seen before in pine
forests. Blackbirds, the brown creepers (_certhia_), and red crossbills
were seen on the very top.

From Guadalupe y Calvo I continued my journey to the northwest in order
to visit the Tepehuanes, about fifteen hundred of whom still exist
here in the northernmost outpost of the tribe's former domain. Only
seventeen miles north of Guadalupe y Calvo is the Tepehuane village
Nabogame (in Tepehuane, Navógeri, "where nopals [navó] grow").

The Tepehuane region includes some fine agricultural land. There
are fields there which have been planted for forty and fifty years
in succession, as for instance in Mesa de Milpillas; but here, too,
the whites have appropriated a considerable portion of the country,
though the Tepehuanes are largely in possession of their land, because
they are more valiant than the Tarahumares, and can only be deprived
of their property through the agency of mescal, for which they have
an unfortunate weakness.

The Tepehuanes are less phlegmatic and more impressionable and
impulsive than the Tarahumares. One woman laughed so much that she
could not be photographed. They are noisy and active, and in the
fields they work merrily, chatting and laughing. Even when peons of the
Mexicans they are not so abject-looking as the Tarahumares, but retain
their proud and independent manners. They behave almost like men of
the world in comparison with the unsophisticated Tarahumares. In the
eyes of some of the Tepehuane women I noticed a fire as bright as in
those of Italians.

These Indians live in commodious log-cabins, with interlocked
corners. The roofs are gabled and often supported by piles of
wood. They are covered with shingles, over which are placed rows of
stones to keep them in place. The doors are furnished with jambs.

The Tepehuanes call themselves Ódami, the meaning of which I could
not find out. By the Tarahumares they are called Sæló ("walking-stick"
insects (_phasmidæ_), in Mexican-Spanish _campamoche_). The Tepehuane
language is not melodious, being full of consonants, and hard like the
people themselves. They still speak it among themselves, though there
are but few who do not understand Spanish. The Mexicans frequently
enter into marriage with them.

    So-(só-)da-gi u-ki-(ji-)ru tu-vá-ni-mi.
    (There is) water (_i.e_., tesvino) in the house; He is coming
    down (to us).

As to their religion they are far more reticent than the Tarahumares,
and it is difficult to get information on this subject. One reason for
this is that they are afraid of being laughed at by the Mexicans. They
still keep up their dances and secret rites and their ceremonies,
customs, and beliefs. Although in many points they resemble the
Tarahumares, in others fundamental differences exist, such as the
complex observances of rules in regard to puberty, none of which have
been found among the Tarahumares.

Ignorant Mexicans, who have but a faint idea as to who is president
of their country, more than once have attributed land-grabbing
intentions to my expedition. With my three or four Mexicans and
Indians and a dozen pack mules, I have been credited with designs of
conquering Mexico for the Americans. Even here in Nabogame a Mexican
settler felt uneasy about his holdings and stirred the Indians up,
saying that if they allowed "that man to photograph them, the Devil
would carry off all of them, and it would be better to kill him." I
was to meet the people on a Sunday, and in the morning I received this
discouraging letter written by a Mexican for the Indian gobernador or
"general," who, to affirm or authenticate the letter, had put a cross,
as his mark or signature, underneath his name:

    Pueblo De Nabogame, January 29, 1893.

    Dear Mr. Picturemaker:

    Do me the favour not to come to the pueblo to photograph, which
    I know is your intention. I believe the best for you to do is
    to go first to Baborigame, because, as far as this pueblo is
    concerned, I do not give permission. Therefore, you will please
    decide not to pass this day in this pueblo photographing.

    Your obedient servant,

    José H. Arroyos,


    To Mr. Picturemaker.

Taking my Mexican attendant with me, I walked over to the place
where some twenty Indians and several Mexicans had assembled. The
scheming instigator of the trouble had brought his rifle with him,
to give weight to his words; but the Mexican judge was on my side,
and after he had read my letters from the Government, he made a
speech in which he convinced the people that they must obey the
authorities. The Tepehuanes soon saw the force of his argument, and
the defeated agitator slunk away. The outcome of the dispute was that
the Indians expressed their regret that there were not more of them
present for me to photograph; if I desired, they would send for more
of their tribe to come and pose before the camera.

Around Nabogame grows a plant called _maizillo_, or _maizmillo_. It
is more slender than the ordinary corn-plant and the ears are
very small. It grows among the corn and has to be weeded out, as
it injures the good plants. However, several Mexicans assured me
that, when cultivated, the ears develop. After three years they grow
considerably larger and may be used as food. A man in Cerro Prieto
raises this kind only; others mix it with the ordinary corn. I was
told that people from the Hot Country come to gather it, each taking
away about one almud to mix with their seed corn. The combination is
said to give splendid results in fertile soil.

Can this possibly be the original wild plant from which the ordinary
Indian corn has been cultivated? If the information I received about
it in Mexquitic, State of Jalisco, is correct, then this question must
be answered negatively, because my informant there stated that the
plant is triennial. In that locality it is called _maiz de pajaro_,
and it is cultivated as a substitute for the ordinary corn, or for
use in making atole. The Huichol Indians also know it and raise it;
they call it tats.

For about a month I stopped at Mesa de Milpillas, which is a fertile
high plateau. The country is now almost open, yet magnificent pines
still remain, and Cerro de Muinora stands guard to the south. This
is the stronghold of the northern Tepehuanes.

I then descended toward the west to the village of Cinco Llagas,
and found the Tepehuanes there pure-bred, although speaking
Spanish. Ascending again to the sierra over the mining camp of San
José, I arrived in Baborigame (Tepehuane, Vawúlile = "where there is
a large fig-tree"). The pueblo is finely situated on a llano one mile
and a half in diameter, and surrounded by pretty hills. I took up my
abode in a Tepehuane shanty in the neighbourhood of the village. The
owner asked for the rent in advance, and for the amount of fifty
centavos Mr. Hartman and I secured the right of occupancy, without
time limit. I stayed there from March 31st to April 30th. There are
a couple of Mexican stores at Baborigame, and the village is more
Mexican than Indian. The Tepehuanes live on their ranches, and come
in only on festive occasions, to mingle with their "neighbours,"
as the Mexicans are designated by the Indians in all parts of Mexico.

I was told that native travelling merchants from southern Mexico,
called Aztecs and Otomies, pass through Baborigame every five years,
to sell their goods. They bring articles of silk and wool, wooden
spoons, needles and thread, and do nice embroidery work, and make or
mend garments.

The Tepehuanes of the north have much the same games and sports as
the Tepehuanes, and at Easter-time, foot-races _à la_ Tarahumare were
arranged as part of the general festivities of the season. Two hundred
and ninety people assembled, among them a few Tarahumares. There
were several races, the runners being divided into different groups,
men and women (married and unmarried), and children. As among the
Tarahumares, two parties opposed each other in each race, and the
men ran with balls, the women with rings. The married women, although
fat and heavy, made better time than the young girls.

The runners who distinguished themselves most were the married men,
ranging in age from eighteen to thirty years, the best of whom made
thirteen circuits in three hours and one minute and a half. I measured
the circuit, and found it to be 9,223 feet long; therefore the total
distance run was nearly twenty-three miles. The two men who came in
first, one a Tepehuane, the other a Tarahumare, showed no signs of
fatigue. By way of comparison, I will add that the best one among
some young Mexicans, who raced at the same time, took twelve minutes
for the circuit, and all arrived breathless, and would apparently
not have been able to continue much longer. I was credibly informed
that eight years ago a man who had died but a short time before
could make twenty-seven circuits, or more than forty-seven miles,
on this race-course. This runner was well known in that part of
the sierra. His antagonist made twenty-six circuits, then fell down
exhausted, while the victor indulged in a prolonged dance the next
day. The race lasted from noon until eight o'clock in the evening.

Some of the Tepehuane customs have been adopted by the Mexicans. For
instance, after the harvesting is over, the owner or his son is
tied on to a horse, and has to carry a cross made from three ears
of corn. The horse is led to the house, and is received with rifle
shots; and the men tell the women in the house that the man on the
horse has stolen the corn, and they will not let him go unless they
are given tesvino and a ball. The demand, of course, is acceded to,
and drum and violin furnish the music for the dance.

The Tepehuanes around Baborigame now frequently rent their lands to
the Mexicans for a term of years, but rarely get it back, for the
"neighbours" have a powerful agent in mescal. The enormous profit
accruing from trading in this brandy with the natives may be judged
from the fact that a demijohn of the liquid costing $5 contains 24
bottles, for each of which the trader gets from the Indians one sack
of corn, worth $1. On this quantity he realises elsewhere at least
$5. In other words, on an outlay of, say, $50, he earns a gross $1,200;
deducting expenses for transportation of the corn, etc., leaves still
a net profit of at least $1,100.

The Tepehuanes have medicine lodges in remote places, where they
secretly gather once a month, or every other month. The name of the
lodge is Vakir Nuídadu (vakir = the inside of the house; nuídadu =
where there is singing; _i.e_., "the house where there is singing
inside"). Here they sing to call down their god Túni, whom they
also call their brother-in-law (Gunósi). He instructs the shaman
how to proceed to get rain, and to avert evil, by making tesvino and
by dancing.

The gathering at the medicine lodge begins at dusk, three shamans being
present. A cross is raised and many kinds of flowers from the barrancas
are attached to it. Eagle feathers, too, are hung to it, as well as
strings of beads. From each arm of the cross is suspended an "eye of
the god" (Vol. II, Chap. XI), called in Tepehuane, yágete. There are
three jars with tesvino, and three bowls with meat are placed before
the cross.

The fire is put out, and the shamans begin to sing different songs with
different melodies, continuing until nearly midnight, when a noise
is heard on the roof, as if somebody were walking there. The Indians
sing on, and the walking on the roof is heard three times. At last the
roof opens, and behold somebody jumps on the floor three times. The
singing stops, and Tuni (Tata Dios) is among the people. He looks
like a Tepehuane, with a breech-cloth and tunic, but without blanket,
and with a bandana around his head. The borders of the breech-cloth
and of the tunic are of gold, and so are the ends of his hair. Only
the shamans see him.

He greets them with the usual salutation, "Váigase!" and the
assemblage responds in the same way. He plays with the Indians,
and calls them his brothers-in-law. Three cigarettes are made and
placed near the tesvino. "Smoke, brother-in-law!" they say, and all
laugh and make merry with Tuni. He then makes a speech, telling them
to make plenty of tesvino in their houses, in order that the world
may not come to an end. He is invited to drink, and to sing three
different songs, in which all the men join. He then drinks tesvino,
with such a gurgle that all can hear it. "How strong it is," he says;
"I may not even be able to get home!" He also sprinkles tesvino over
them. Anyone who wants to drink simply stretches out his arm, saying
nothing, and a full drinking-gourd is placed in his hand. When empty,
the gourd vanishes. Such a person will remain drunk until morning,
for Tuni's hand is strong.

He remains for about half an hour, and when he leaves he says that
he will come back if the people make tesvino for him. He vanishes
like a breath, noiselessly.

Immediately after he has gone, a female deity comes, whom they call
Santa Maria Djáda (mother; that is, the moon). The same salutations are
exchanged, and the women ask her to sing. She, too, receives tesvino,
and makes a speech, the trend of which is that they must go on making
the liquor through the year, lest their father should get angry and
the world come to an end. Afterward the Snow and the Cold also come
to play with the people in a similar way.

Cúcuduri is the name of the master of the deer and the fish. He
also makes rain and he is heard in the thunder. He is a small but
thick-set man, and in foggy weather he rides on a deer over the
mountain-tops. When there is much fog and rain, a Tepehuane may go to
a wrestling-contest with Cucuduri in the forest. He throws an arrow
on the ground, and the little man appears and agrees to put up a deer
against the arrow. They wrestle, and often Cucuduri is thrown, although
he is strong. Then the man will find a deer close by, and shoot it.

The fisherman hears in the ripple of the flowing water the weeping of
Cucuduri, and throws three small fish to him. If he should not do this,
he would catch nothing. Cucuduri would throw stones into the water and
drive the fish off, or he would even throw stones at the man himself.

The Tepehuanes never drink direct from a brook, but scoop up the
water with their hands, else in the night the master of the spring
might carry them inside of the mountain.

They never cut their finger and toe nails, for fear of getting blind.

They say that the seat of the soul is between the stomach and the
chest, and they never wake up a man who is asleep, as his soul
may be wandering about. Sometimes a man is ill because his soul
is away. The doctors may be unable to make it come back, and still
the man lives. Soul is breath; and when a man dies, his soul passes
through the fontanels of the head, or through the eyes or the nostrils
or the mouth.

If anyone steps over a man, the latter will not be able to kill
another deer in his life. A woman can be passed in this way without
such danger.

When the wind blows hard, it is because a woman delayed curing herself.

The reason the Tepehuanes make four feasts to despatch a dead woman
from this world, and only three for a man, is their belief that a
woman has more ribs than a man.

Unmarried women are not allowed to eat meat from the spinal column
of the deer, as those bones look like arrows. If they ate this meat,
their backs would grow curved and they would have back-aches.

The Tepehuanes do not eat pinole with meat, because their teeth would
fall out. After eating pinole they rinse their mouths.

One kind of squirrel is thought to change into a bat, another into
a parrot. The ground-squirrel changes into a serpent. Catfish become
otters, and larvae on the madroña-tree are transformed into doves.

When a hen crows, an accident is going to happen, unless the hen is
immediately killed.

The moon sometimes has to fight with the sun. If weather depended only
on the moon, it would rain always, for the benefit of the Tepehuanes.

The Pleiades are women, and the women of this world are their
sisters. They were living with a man who used to bring them their
food. One day he could not find anything, and drew blood from
the calf of his leg, and brought it in a leaf from the big-leaved
oak-tree. He told the women it was deer-blood, and thus he sustained
them. On discovering that it was his blood, they became very angry
and ascended to heaven, where they are yet to be seen.

When he came home in the afternoon he missed them, and followed their
tracks, but could not find them. He slept alone, and in the night he
said to the mice, which he took for the women, "Come, come to boil the
deer-blood!" He continued his search until he reached the place where
they had disappeared. The women, seeing from above how he went around
looking for them, laughed, and he caught sight of them and called out,
"Tie your girdles together that I may get up also." He climbed up;
but when he had almost reached them, the oldest of the women told
the others to let him drop, because he had deceived them. He became a
coyote and has remained in that shape ever since. If he had succeeded
in getting up, he would have become a star, the same as the women.

The three stars in the Belt of Orion are deer.

Chapter XXIV

    On to Morelos--Wild and Broken Country--The Enormous
    Flower-spike of the Amole--Subtropical Vegetation of Northwestern
    Mexico--Destructive Ants--The Last of the Tubars--A Spectral
    Ride--Back to the United States--An Awful Thunder-storm--Close
    Quarters--Zape--Antiquities--When an "Angel" Dies--Mementos of
    a Reign of Terror--The Great Tepehuane Revolution of 1616--The
    Fertile Plains of Durango.

After having at last succeeded in getting men, I continued my journey
to the northwest, over the very broken country toward the town of
Morelos, inhabited almost entirely by pagan Tarahumares. There were,
of course, no roads, only Indian trails, and these in many places
were dangerous to travel with beasts of burden. The barrancas during
the month of May are all but intolerably hot, and it was a relief to
get up now and then on the strips of highland that intersperse the
country and look as fine as parks. At the higher altitudes I noticed
a great number of eagle ferns, and the Indians here plant corn in
the small patches between the ferns, merely putting the grains into
the gravelly red ground without tilling the soil at all.

Lower down were groves of big-leaved oak-trees. Their leaves are
sometimes over ten inches long and of nearly the same breadth, and
are frequently utilised by the Indians as improvised drinking-vessels.

On the summits of the barrancas, and on the slopes over which we
descended into the valleys, an astonishing number of parasites and
epiphytes was observed, especially on the pines and oaks. The round
yellow clusters growing on the branches of the oaks sometimes give the
entire forest a yellow hue. In the foot-hills I saw a kind of parasite,
whose straight, limber branches of a fresh, dark green colour hang
down in bunches over twenty feet in length. Some epiphytes, which most
of the year look to the casual observer like so many tufts of hay on
the branches, produce at certain seasons extremely pretty flowers.

In the valleys of the western inclines of the sierra there is nothing
suggestive of tropical luxuriance or romance in the landscape,
which impresses one chiefly with its towering mountains and vast
slopes. Grass is plentiful enough among the stones and rocks, and
groups of fresh green trees indicate where ground is moist and water
to be found. The country is dry, and from January to June there is
no rain. Yet an aloe, which smells like ham, is so full of juice
that it drips when a leaf is broken. This, too, is the home of the
agaves, or century-plants, and I know of nothing so astonishing as
the gigantic flower-spike that shoots upward from the comparatively
small plant called amole. One fine day in May I came upon one, which
I measured. It was by no means the largest one to be found, but the
spike itself, without the stalk, was 15 feet 8 inches in height, and
31 inches in circumference at its thickest part. It seemed a pity
to cut down such a magnificent specimen, but, as I wanted to count
the flowers, I had one of my men fell it with a couple of blows of
an axe. After counting the flowers on one section, I estimated that
the entire spike bore at least 20,000 beautiful yellow blossoms,
each as large as a tulip. It required two men to carry the spike, and
as they walked they were followed by a multitude of humming-birds,
which remained fearlessly at work among the flowers of what they
evidently considered their own private garden. They might have to
fly miles before finding another like this. The flower-stalk of the
maguey is eaten before it flowers. It looks like a big bamboo stick,
and when roasted in the hot ashes is very palatable, sweet, and tender.

Below the Indian village of Coloradas stands an isolated peak 400 to
500 feet high, in regard to which the Tarahumares have the following
legend: A Tepehuane once cut bamboo reeds and tobacco, down on the
river, and being followed up by the Tubars changed himself into this
stone. The man's girdle can still be made out.

At the village my interpreter asked me for the cover of a copy of
London _Truth_, and for the wrapper on my photographic films, that
with these pictures he might adorn the altar of the old adobe church.

The country is but thinly populated east and north of Morelos, and
the steepness of the valleys through which the Indians are scattered,
makes it difficult to reach them. At the time of my visit these
Indians had absolutely nothing to sell us but the sweet mescal
stalks. In the end of May I reached Morelos, an old mining place,
about 1,800 feet above sea-level.

The surrounding hills and mountains were covered with the typical
Mexican vegetation of the warm regions. The many odd-shaped cacti
form a strong contrast to the light and pinnate leaves of the
numerous leguminous shrubs, acacia, sophronia, etc. The chilicote,
or coral-tree (_erythræa_), with scarlet flowers, is seen everywhere;
also palo blanco, with a white stem, looking like an apple-tree. The
year 1893 was an exceedingly dry one throughout northern Mexico. My
mules, obliged to travel under a scorching sun, sometimes had to be
without water for twenty-four hours. Still, in those hot barrancas,
I saw no difference in the vegetation. The trees and plants did not
seem affected by rain or no rain. The only exception I noticed was that
the fiat, leaf-like joints of the nopal cactus shrivelled up a little
on the surface, but the fleshy inside seemed as juicy as ever. Even
during the dryest season the trees and shrubs here blossom and bear
fruit, and mornings and evenings the air is filled with the perfume of
acaciæ, cacti, and other plants. One is at a loss to understand how the
cattle can subsist on these shrubs, but they have adapted themselves to
circumstances, and are able to chew up the thick stems of the cacti, in
fact the whole plant, with the result, however, that their stomachs are
so filled with spines that the Mexicans cannot utilise the tripe. The
frugal Indian is the only one who does not reject it, but manages to
burn off the biggest spikes while toasting the tripe on cinders.

Near Morelos are ancient house ruins, some round and some square, and
also traces of circular fortifications built of loose stones. Several
of the latter were from sixteen to twenty yards in diameter and
located on the top of mountain ridges. The remains are attributed to
the Cocoyomes.

The commonly accepted idea that in southern latitudes anything
may be easily cultivated is often proved by actual observation to
be fallacious. Sometimes there may be too much rain, sometimes not
enough. The worst enemies of plant-life in the warm countries are the
many pests. One evening my host, Don Manuel Perez, showed me some of
the foes he had to combat in order to maintain his garden. Certain
kinds of ants bite off the flowers and leaves and carry away the
pieces. The insects come out at night and may strip a tree of its
leaves and fruits before morning. It was an astonishing sight to see
the dark stem of an elder looking .as if it were green, on account
of the multitude of ants, each of which carried a bit of green leaf
half an inch long. Every evening a man went around to burn them off
with a torch of resinous pine-wood.

Some Tubar Indians were induced to come to Morelos to be measured
and photographed. The few representatives of the tribe I saw had
good figures and small hands and feet. They seemed to be shy, but
rather kind-hearted, jolly people, resembling the Tarahumares in
appearance. They are found from the village of San Andres, three
miles from Morelos, as far as the village of Tubares. According
to tradition their domain extended in former times much higher up
on both sides of the river, to where Baborigame is now. But they
were gradually restricted to the locality on which the remnant of
the tribe at present resides. They are said to have been fierce and
constantly fighting the Tarahumares. There are now not more than a
couple of dozen pure-bred Tubars left, and only five or six of these
know their own language, which is related to the Nahuatl. The name
of the tribe as pronounced by themselves is Tuvalím.

Most of the Tubars are found in the pueblo of San Miguel, seventeen
miles from Morelos, down the river. An old woman told me that she did
not know what the Tubars had done that they were disappearing from
the world. The few remaining members of the tribe were related to
one another, and the young people had to marry Mexicans. The customs
of the Tubars evidently resembled much those of their neighbours,
the Tarahumares, who until recent years invited them to their
dances. The Tubars danced yohe, and the dancers accompanied their
singing by beating two flat sticks, like two machetes. They did not
use hikuli. In the sacristy of the church in the old Tubar village of
San Andres, I found a complete tesvino outfit, jars, spoons, etc.,
the vessels turned bottom up, ready for use. The saints, too, must
have tesvino, because they are greedy and exacting, and have to be
propitiated. The Tubars are said to have worn white girdles.

Mr. Hartman, whom I left in San Miguel to conclude some investigations,
returned a few weeks later to the United States. On the small plateaus
near San Miguel, two hundred feet or more above the river, he found
interesting old tombs, which were well known to the inhabitants under
the name of _bovedas_. The presence of a tomb was indicated on the
surface by a circuit of stones from three to five feet in diameter
set in the ground. There were groups of ten or twelve circuits, and
the tombs underneath were found at a depth of five or six feet. They
consisted of small chambers excavated in the clayey soil, and were
well preserved, though they contained no masonry work; still at one
place a yoke of oxen while dragging the plough had sunk down into
the subterranean cavity. The entrance to such a tomb is from one
side, where a large slab, placed in a slanting position, protects the
inside. Nothing was discovered in the four tombs that were opened but
some curious slate-coloured beads of burnt clay. People of the district
reported, however, that small jars of earthenware had been found in
the _bovedas_. No doubt the absence of skeletons was due solely to the
length of time that had elapsed, for even in the cemetery of the church
Mr. Hartman found similar tombs that contained several skeletons. These
tombs were indicated by the same kind of stone circuits as the rest,
but were only about three feet down in the hard clay, and had no slabs
in front of the entrance. In one of them Mr. Hartman found six corpses
more or less decomposed, the sepulchre having evidently been used
for a long time. In the same cemetery the Mexicans buried their dead.

I continued my journey down the river through the country once
inhabited by the Tubars. As the heat was intense, I availed myself
of the light of the full moon and travelled at night. Now and then
the read touched the big river where the croaking of the frogs was
intensely doleful and monotonous, but withal so loud that on a quiet
night like this they could easily be heard two miles off.

Warm winds fanned me to sleep, and only when my mule ran me against
some spiny branch, did I wake to find myself in a fantastic forest of
leafless, towering cacti, that stood motionless, black, and silent
in the moonlight, like spectres with numberless arms uplifted. The
overwhelming noise of the frogs seemed to voice their thoughts and
forbid me to advance farther. But the mule accelerated its pace, the
shadows glided quicker and quicker, up and down the stony, slippery
path that wound its way through this ghostly forest.

In the daytime there was a disagreeably strong, warm wind blowing,
making it difficult even to get the saddles on our mules, but the
nights were calm. At the pueblo of San Ignacio nobody speaks the
Tubar tongue. Blue herons have a permanent breeding-place here on
an almost perpendicular rock, four to six hundred feet high, where
I counted twenty nests.

In travelling down to Tierra Caliente there is one place at which
one must leave the river and ascend to the pine region. This is below
the village of Tubares. The river narrows here and forms rapids, and
it has been calculated that the water in flood-time rises sixty-five
feet. Alligators do not go above these rapids. In two days' journey
from Morelos one may reach the undulating country of Sinaloa, _la
costa_, which is warmer even than the barrancas.

At San Ignacio I left the river, and turned in a northeasterly
direction to Batopilas. After five days' pleasant sojourn at
Mr. Shepherd's hospitable home there, I again ascended the sierra,
and, after visiting the Indians of Santa Ana and its neighbourhood,
arrived at Guachochic. Leaving my mules here in charge of my friend
Don Carlos Garcia, I soon started again toward the northeast on my
way back to the United States, passing through the Indian ranches,
and finally arriving at Carichic (in Tarahumare Garichi, "where
there are houses," probably ancient) on July 31st. At less than an
hour's distance from the place I was overtaken by a thunder-storm,
the heaviest my Mexicans or I had ever experienced. In a few minutes
the almost level fields were flooded as far as the eye could see,
and the road we followed began to run with brown water. As we advanced
through the mud, the small arroyos were rapidly filling. The rain did
not abate, and the force of the currents steadily increased. When
only three hundred yards from the town we found ourselves at the
edge of a muddy stream, running so rapidly that it tore pieces from
the bank, and carried small pines and branches of trees with it. As
it was impossible to cross it, we had to wait, however impatiently,
for the rain to subside sufficiently to allow us to wade through the
water. And all the next day was spent in drying my things.

One year later I was again in Carichic, and from there I made my way
to Guachochic. One night I had to spend in the house of a civilised
Indian, as it rained too heavily for us to remain outdoors. The
house was made of stone and mud, without windows, and the door had
to be closed on account of the dogs. There was no way for air to get
in except through the chimney, over the fireplace. There were nine
people and one baby in the small room. Strange to say, I slept well.

My mules and outfit had been well taken care of at Guachochic, and
I now arranged with Don Carlos Garcia to take most of my belongings
to Guanazevi, a mining town in the neighbouring State of Durango,
while with a few of the best mules I crossed Barranca de San Carlos
near Guachochic, and pursued my way through regions inhabited by
Tarahumares and Tepehuanes. A stammering Tarahumare was observed,
the only Indian with this defect that has come to my notice.

The road I followed to Guanazevi from Guadalupe y Calvo leads through
a part of the Sierra Madre which is from nine to ten thousand feet
high and uninhabited, and for two days we met nobody. In winter the
region is dreaded on account of the heavy snowfalls that are liable
to occur here. Several people are said to have perished, and one
freighter on one occasion lost twenty-seven mules. In the wet season
bears are numerous, and, according to trustworthy information, have
attacked and eaten several Tarahumares.

We camped one night at a place where a man had been killed by robbers
some time before, and one of the Mexicans shudderingly expressed his
fear that we should probably hear the dead man cry at night. This
led to a discussion among the men as to whether the dead could cry or
not. The consensus of opinion was that the dead could cry, but they
could not appear. This, by the way, is the common Indian belief. My
Tepehuane servant took an intense interest in the arguments. His
face became suddenly animated with fear, and the thought of the dead
changed him from an indolent fellow into a valuable aid to my chief
packer in watching the animals at night. His senses became so keen
as to be quite reassuring in regard to robbers at night, and from
that time on he was really a valuable man, active and alert.

There is a small colony of Tarahumares living a few miles north of
Guanazevi, near San Pedro. Here I excavated some corpses that had
been buried several years before on a little plain. The graves were
about four feet deep. In Guanazevi a silver "bonanza" was in full
blast and much activity prevailed.

We were now outside of the sierra proper; but on the route south,
which I followed for several days, I was never farther away from
the mountain range than thirty miles. At Zape, about twenty miles
to the south, there are some ancient remains. As the principal
ones have been described by E. Guillemin Tarayre, who explored
Mexico under Maximilian, it is not necessary for me to dwell on the
subject. Suffice it to say that walls constructed of loose stones
are commonly seen on the crests of the low hills and are attributed
to the Cocoyomes. Circles and squares made of stones set upright in
the ground may also be seen, and nicely polished stone implements
are frequently to be found near by.

Outside of Zape are a number of ancient burial-caves, which have been
disturbed by treasure-seekers. As a curiosity, I may mention that a
Mexican once brought to light a big lump of salt that had been buried
there. It was given to the cattle.

One afternoon a gay little procession of men and women passed my camp,
some on horseback, others walking. One of the riders played the violin,
another one beat a drum. An old woman who just then stepped up to sell
something explained to me that "an angel" was being buried. This is
the designation applied to small children in Mexico, and I could see
an elaborate white bundle on a board carried aloft by a woman. My
informant told me that when a child dies the parents always give it
joyfully to heaven, set off fireworks and dance and are jolly. They
do not weep when an infant dies, as the little one would not enter
Paradise, but would have to come back and gather all the tears.

The way southward led through undulating country devoid of interest. To
judge from the clusters of ranches, so numerous as to form villages,
the land must be fertile. There were no more Indians to be seen,
only Mexicans. All along the road we observed crosses erected, where
people had been killed by robbers, or where the robbers themselves
had been shot. A man's body is generally taken to the cemetery for
burial, whether he was killed or executed, but a cross is raised on
the spot where he fell. The crosses are thus mementos of the reign
of terror that prevailed in Mexico not long ago. Most of the victims
were so-called Arabs, or travelling peddlers, sometimes Syrians or
Italians, but generally Mexicans.

The most important place I passed was the town of Santiago
de Papasquiaro, which is of some size, and situated in a rich
agricultural country. The name of the place means possibly _"paz
quiero"_ ("I want peace"), alluding to the terrible defeat of the
Indians by the Spaniards in the seventeenth century. There is reason
to believe that before 1593 this central and western part of Durango
had been traversed and peopled by whites, and that many Spaniards
had established haciendas in various parts of the valley. They held
their own successfully against the Tepehuanes until 1616, when these,
together with the Tarahumares and other tribes, rebelled against
them. All the natives rose simultaneously, killed the missionaries,
burned the churches, and drove the Spaniards away. A force of Indians
estimated at 25,000 marched against the city of Durango, carrying
fear everywhere, and threatening to exterminate the Spanish; but
the governor of the province gathered together the whites to the
number of 600, "determined to maintain in peace the province which
his Catholic Majesty had placed under his guardianship." He routed
the enemy, leaving on the field more than 15,000 dead insurgents,
without great loss to his own troops. The Indians then sued for peace,
and after their leaders had been duly punished, they were dispersed
to form pueblos. The insurrection lasted over a year, and many bloody
encounters between the natives and their new masters occurred in the
course of the following centuries, the result being that the Indians
in the State of Durango have not been able to maintain themselves,
except in the extreme northern and southern sections.

There was an epidemic of typhoid fever in some of these ranch-villages,
and in one place I saw two dogs hung up in a tree near the road, having
been killed on account of hydrophobia. A strong wind was blowing day
and night on the llanos along the river-course, which annoyed us
not a little. It was a real relief to get up again on the sierra,
about fourteen miles south of Papasquiaro, and find ourselves once
more among the quiet pines and madroñas.

Chapter XXV

    Winter in the High Sierra--Mines--Pueblo Nuevo and Its Amiable
    Padre--A Ball in My Honour--_Sancta Simplicitas_--A Fatiguing
    Journey to the Pueblo of Lajas and the Southern Tepehuanes--Don't
    Travel After Nightfall!--Five Days Spent in Persuading People
    to Pose Before the Camera--The Regime of Old Missionary
    Times--Strangers Carefully Excluded--Everybody Contemplating
    Marriage is Arrested--Shocking Punishments for Making Love--Bad
    Effects of the Severity of the Laws.

The sierra for several days' journey southward is about 9,000 feet
high, and is not inhabited, except in certain seasons by people who
bring their cattle here to graze. I doubt whether anyone ever lived
here permanently. The now extinct tribes, to whose territory this
region belonged, dwelt, no doubt, in the valleys below. The high
plateau consists of small hills, and travelling at first is easy,
but it becomes more and more rough as one approaches the big, broad
Barranca de Ventanas.

Having passed for several days through lonely, cold, and silent woods,
now and then interspersed with a slumbering snow-field, it was a real
pleasure to come suddenly, though only in the beginning of February,
upon plants in full bloom on the high crest that faced the undulating
lowlands of Sinaloa, which spread themselves out below, veiled in
mist. The warm air wafted up from the Hot Country brings about this
remarkable change in the flora of the precipitous inclines toward
the west. The air was filled with perfume, and it was lovely to be
on these high, sunny tops. Foliage trees, especially alders, began
to appear among the pines, basking in the dazzling sunshine. I also
noticed some fine ferns spreading out their graceful fronds.

A few miles farther and much lower I made camp above the Indian pueblo
of San Pedro, as far as I could make out the most eastern extension
of the northern Aztecs (Mexicanos or Mexicaneros, as they are called
here). From here southward I found them in many of the warm valleys
of the Sierra intermingled with Tepehuanes and Coras.

There is an excellent road zigzagging down to the mining place of
Ventanas ("Windows," from the formation of a rock) for the greater
part of the distance; but at the outset the way, at two places, is
so narrow that parties coming from opposite directions could neither
pass nor turn back, which is not pleasant with a yawning chasm of a
couple of thousand feet so close at hand.

I was anxious to secure men to go up again into the sierra and farther
south; but the people were afraid of the cold, and nobody seemed to
know anything about the country except the postmaster, and he only in
a vague way. Mazatlan is not much more than 100 miles off and Durango
125 miles. There are here a great many dykes of porphyry of different
ages, but neither slate nor granite in the immediate vicinity, though
there is some granite farther up the river.

Among the mine-owners who lived in Ventanas I was surprised to find
a Swedish gentleman. They all received me hospitably, providing me
also with two men, whom I badly needed. We had to ascend on the other
side of the barranca as high as we had been north of this place,
and for a day we travelled through snow and rain. Corn does not grow
here. From one point the Pacific Ocean can be seen. We then descended
again a couple of thousand feet to the village of Chavaria, which
is the only Mexican village I have seen where the houses had gable
roofs covered with shingles. The walls of the houses were adobe, but
I was told that the earth at this place is not suitable for making
the usual flat roofs.

While camping here I saw, on the 15th of February, a flock of six giant
woodpeckers pass by in the morning. Except in the pairing season these
birds are not seen in such numbers. The journey over a high part of
the Sierra Madre to the Mexican village of Pueblo Nuevo requires two
days. On the second day I obtained a magnificent view toward the east
and southeast. The high peak towering in the distance is Cerro Gordo,
very broad at the base and conical in shape. Patches of snow were
visible on it, and snow lay in the crevices wherever we travelled.

I descended through magnificent groves of cedar-trees to Pueblo
Nuevo, making my camp on top of a hill, from which I overlooked
the little settlement and the valley in which it nestles. As every
house is surrounded by its little garden of orange-trees, aguacates,
and guayahas, the landscape presented a mass of verdure of different
shades, the ugly, often dilapidated houses being almost lost in the
green. Lemons grow wild, and therefore there is no sale for them. Lemon
juice mixed with milk is in many parts of Mexico considered a remedy
for dysentery.

A young priest, who exercised a supreme but judicious authority in
this secluded spot, treated me with much consideration. He took an
honest pride in the development of his little village, and showed me
its sights, first the church, which he was embellishing in many ways,
and then the spring which supplied the place with water, and where
the women gathered to wash their clothes and gossip. We met many
graceful figures carrying jars on their shoulders, as in ancient times.

In order to give me an opportunity to see the people, el Señor Cura
allowed them to come and dance on his veranda. His organist was a
musical genius, and a composer of no mean ability, and on the cabinet
organ the priest had brought from Durango on mule-back he played not
only hymns, but also excellent dance music.

The climate here was delightful, the valley fragrant with the perfume
of oranges, and one felt reluctant to leave this restful camp. But
I was soon reminded that nothing in this world is perfect, as one
night a storm lifted my tent up and carried it several yards off,
leaving me to sleep as best I could till morning. The wind was so
powerful as to fell trees.

The Pueblo Nuevo was once inhabited by Aztecs. The present inhabitants,
though amiable, are indolent and lazy, and there is a saying that
in Durango not even the donkeys work. I therefore had considerable
trouble in finding a guide, the difficulty being aggravated by the
fact that nobody seemed to know anything about the country toward
Lajas, the Tepehuane village I was making for.

The sierra to the south where the Tepehuanes live is not frequented
by the people here, who maintain communication only toward the east,
principally with the city of Durango, where they market their garden
crops of chile and tomatoes. Nevertheless, some of the Tepehuane
pueblos belong to the Cura's parish, and he seemed to be the only
one Who could give definite information about the country southward.

The track leading down to the San Diego River runs through an idyllic
valley where picturesque brooks trickle down the slopes between groves
of semi-tropical vegetation. In one of the limpid streams a couple of
pretty girls were bathing and washing their clothes, as is the custom
among the poorer classes of Mexico, who rarely possess more than the
clothing they wear. As we appeared on the scene, they gracefully
slipped into a deep pool, leaving nothing but their pretty faces,
like water-lilies, floating above the crystal-clear water, and thus
nodded a friendly greeting toward us.

Not more than ten miles' travel brought us to the San Diego River. Its
source is said to be in the sierra, apparently toward the north, and
it flows in a southerly direction. It was not very difficult to cross,
but in flood-time it must be large. Its elevation at this point was
about 3,300 feet.

Here began the ascent into the sierra again. Although the road on the
first day was very good, it required rather hard climbing to get to
the top. I was anxious to reach my destination that day, which was
Saturday, in order to be in time for the gathering of the Indians
in the pueblo on Sunday. I therefore travelled on after nightfall,
though the road was much longer than I expected, leading through
extensive pine forests, the monotony of which was interrupted only
once by the appearance of a couple of beautiful macaos.

Just as the moon rose, we entered on the "spine of the coyote," as
the Tepehuanes call a narrow ridge, six to eight yards broad, with
yawning abysses on both sides. Then we came on grassy slopes covered
with trees. What a magnificent view there must be here, by daylight,
of this wild country! To the southeast could clearly be seen a sloping
table-land among hills; I even could distinguish some small houses
on it. That was Lajas. It appeared to be but a league off, but in
reality it was still three times as far away.

We descended among oak-trees, when suddenly the track ran down
a precipitous volcanic rock, utterly impracticable for the mules
to follow. Evidently we had strayed on a side trail; and while we
guarded the mules, a man was sent back to look for the main track,
which luckily was found after a short time. The worst of it was
that the animals had to be led back one by one, along the side of a
dangerous precipice, and it was a wonder that none of them rolled down
the steep sides. I was glad when we could safely proceed on our way.

It is disagreeable to travel with a pack-train after nightfall, even
on a moonlight night like this, but particularly when without a guide
and on an unfamiliar track. The journey seems interminable. The fear
of losing one's road, or having something happen to the animals,
or dropping some part of the pack; the uncertainty regarding what
camping-place one may find; and the anxiety lest the backs of the
animals may become sore, while the men are getting hungry and in as
bad a temper as one's self,--all tend to demonstrate the advisability
of going into camp when the sun is still well above the horizon.

Another harassing consideration, which, however, does not apply to
this part of the country, is the possibility of arousing a suspicion
that pack-trains which travel at night carry treasures.

After a continuous journey of ten hours and a half we arrived without
further mishaps at Lajas at 9.30 P.M., the middle of the night in
that part of the world. One of my men, who had a habit of singing
whenever we entered a village, had been ordered to keep silent, that
the people in this lonely place, susceptible as they are, might not
become alarmed at the sudden arrival of such a party.

A few houses lay scattered about in the dim moonlight, and I with
my chief man rode ahead. "Ave Maria!" called out Catalino, knocking
at the door of a hut. "God give you a good night," he continued,
but there was no response. After having in this way tried several
huts, we at last succeeded in getting an answer, and learned where
Crescencio Ruiz lived, to whom the priest in Pueblo Nuevo had given
me a letter of introduction, and who was a kind of secretary to the
Indians. We now directed our steps toward his house, aroused him from
his slumbers, and after some parleying brought him to the door. He
was a small-statured, kindly-looking man, a half-caste, who displayed
a friendly manner and showed me where I could camp near his house. As
he was very talkative, it was late in the night before I could retire.

The name of the village is San Francisco de Lajas, the word _laja_
(flat stone) referring to stones which abound in the neighbourhood. The
Indian name, "Eityam," has the same meaning. The next day many Indians
came fearlessly and curiously up to see me. They wore the ordinary
dress of the working-class of Mexico, except that their flat straw hats
were trimmed with black and red woollen ribbons and some flowers. The
women had flowers and leaves in their hair, which they wore in Mexican
fashion, in two braids. Some of the men had their hair put up in one
braid and fastened at the end with a narrow hair-ribbon, but most of
them had it cut short. I was surprised to see many baldheaded men,
some not over thirty years old. Surely it must be more healthy for
the hair to be worn long.

Fortunately for me the Indians had just come into the pueblo for a week
to repair the old adobe church, in which work Don Crescencio greatly
assisted them. This man, nine years ago, was sent to the place as a
teacher by the Mexican authorities in Durango. On his arrival he was
met at the old curato by 140 children, none of whom had ever seen
a Mexican before, and, of course, they did not understand a word of
Spanish. They soon went back to their homes, and five days afterward
the preceptor was left without a pupil. He induced the parents to make
the children return, and 48 came back. Out of these, five remained
with him for six months. At the close of that period they were able
to read and to write their names. Of late years, however, teaching
has been given up altogether. The fact is that the Indians do not
want schools, "because," as an intelligent Huichol afterward told me,
"our sons lose their native tongue and their ancient beliefs. When
they go to school, they do not want to worship the Sun and the Water
any more." The white teacher's aim should be to incite the desire for
instruction rather than to force his pupils to listen to his teachings;
not to destroy the Indian's mental world, but to clear it and raise
it into the sphere of civilisation.

But Don Crescencio remained with the Indians as their "secretary"
(escribano), attending to whatever correspondence they had with the
authorities, and gradually becoming their factotum and adviser. As
he was an honourable and straightforward man, his influence was all
for their good. To swell his meagre income, he carries on a small
trade, going twice a year to Durango to replenish his stores;
and so invaluable has he become to the Indians that they send,
some men along with him to watch that he does not remain with the
"neighbours." He has learned the language tolerably well, and has
risen to such importance that the gobernador, as I saw myself,
visited him every morning, asking his advice in every movement.

These Indians visited me all day long, accompanied by their wives
and children, undauntedly seating themselves in front or outside of
my tent. In response to my expressed desire to see and buy articles
made by them, they brought me, during my short stay here, girdles and
ribbons of wool or cotton, as well as a great variety of bags of all
sizes, knotted from twine of maguey fibre.

The people here do business on a basis entirely different from
that of the "neighbours," inasmuch as they have a fixed price for
everything. There is no bargaining with them; when they have once told
the price of a thing (and it is always a high one), they adhere to it
firmly, and as money is no object to them, they make trading rather
difficult. On my tours among the people, I found them hospitable. They
always asked me to come in and sit down, and they have good manners.

The one thing they strenuously objected to, and which they were deadly
afraid of, was the camera, and it took Don Crescencio's and my own
combined efforts for five days to induce them to pose. When at length
they consented, they looked like criminals about to be executed. They
believed that by photographing a person I should be enabled to carry
his soul off to eat it later, at my ease, if I chose. They would die
as soon as their pictures arrived in my country, or some other evil
would result, anyhow. The women disappeared like frightened quails,
when I was about to perform the dreadful operation on the men. However,
most of them returned to see how their spouses stood the painful
ordeal. When I then asked for some women to pose, they ran away,
in spite of the demonstrations of the men; only three sturdy ones
with "great souls" remained and were "taken" after having been duly
"shaken" with fears.

The Tepehuanes feel at home only in their ranches. They clear land in
the numerous little valleys of which their rugged country consists,
and plant corn in places where no plough could ever be used.

They always have sufficient corn for their wants. Their store-houses
are square upright cribs of bamboo sticks held in place with withes
on a framework of pine poles. Sometimes they stand at considerable
distances from the dwellings. The floor is raised about a foot above
the ground, and the entrance is made from the top. The ears of corn
can plainly be seen behind the bamboo sticks. In March they are taken
out and shelled, and the corn is put in home-made sacks and replaced
in the store-houses.

The Tepehuanes make pulque, but not tesvino, and cotton is cultivated
on a very small scale. They gather the fibre of the maguey and other
plants, and make sacks and ropes of excellent quality, for their own
use as well as for sale in Durango, to which market they also take
any fruit not required for home consumption.

Their only amusement is to drink mescal and pulque. No games are
in use, and to stake money or valuables in any of the "neighbours'"
games is forbidden.

The commonest disease here, strange to say, is malaria, which
sometimes proves fatal. The first thing a Tepehuane does in the
morning is to wash his head, face, and hands with cold water, letting
it dry without wiping it off. He starts to do his work with the water
dripping from him.

The Southern Tepehuanes perform a religious dance called by the
Mexicans _mitote_; it is also found among the Aztecs, the Coras,
and the Huichols. In the vicinity of Lajas is a circular plain set
pleasantly among the oak-trees. This is the dancing-place. At its
eastern side is a jacal, a gable-shaped straw-roof resting on four
poles, the narrow sides standing east and west. Inside of it is found
an altar, consisting simply of a matting of large, split bamboo sticks
(_tapexte_) resting on a framework of four horizontal poles, which
in turn are supported by two pairs of upright forked sticks. On this
altar the people put the food used at the dances, and many ceremonial
objects are placed here or hung under the roof of the jacal.

In regard to their native religion, they are as reticent as their
northern brethren, if not more so. "I would rather be hanged than
tell anything," said one shaman to me. Still, all things come to
him who waits. This very man, who was so tragic, became my friend,
and when we parted he asked me to write my name on a piece of paper,
that he might salute me every morning. A name is a sacred thing,
and they never tell their real native names.

Nowhere else in Mexico have the institutions founded by the
missionaries of early times remained intact as in Lajas. Not only so,
but the regulations are carried even further than was originally
intended, and this in spite of the fact that the Indians have not
given up their own ancient religion. No priest is now living among
them; and only at rare intervals does the Cura come from Pueblo Nuevo
to baptise and malry.

The native chosen civil authorities are composed of fourteen,
the ecclesiastical of seven members. The gobernador has supreme
authority with both bodies, and when important matters are at issue
the people are brought together and consulted. The decisions or
orders are given to the so-called captain, who sees that they are
carried into effect. The officers are elected every year, and meet
in sessions almost every day, to settle the affairs of the people,
and to inflict punishment even on the shamans when necessary. They
have recently renovated the prison, and put in a new set of stocks;
and the whipping-post is still in constant use, to supplement the laws
of the Mexican Government, which are considered altogether too mild.

The punishments which these people inflict are severe and barbarous. I
have heard that Mexican criminals, who have been caught and punished
by them, on complaining of their harsh treatment to the government
authorities, did not receive any sympathy, the latter no doubt
considering it meritorious rather than otherwise, on the part of
the Indians, to maintain order so effectually without the aid of
soldiers. The captain in Lajas is on duty day and night, watching
that nothing untoward may happen to man, beast, or property. But
few strangers come to this remote pueblo, and no one can pass
it unnoticed. The only trail that runs through the place is swept
every afternoon with branches of trees, and the next morning it is
examined by the captain to ascertain if anyone has gone by. White
men are wisely prohibited from settling here; and when a "neighbour"
comes, his business is at once inquired into, and sufficient time,
perhaps a night and a day, is given him to attend to it, after which
he is escorted out of the village.

Safety to life and property is thus insured among these Indians. "I
guarantee you that none of your animals will be stolen here,"
Crescencio said to me the first night, and a very short experience
convinced me that he was right. Theft is practically unknown here,
unless some "neighbour" tempts an Indian with a promise of a part of
the booty.

Murder is committed only by intoxicated individuals, and then the
culprit is chained in the stocks for three or four weeks, and gets a
whipping at regular intervals. Afterward he is sent to the Mexican
authorities in the city of Durango to be dealt with according to
the law.

There is no capital punishment for murder in Mexico, and when criminals
have served their terms and return to their native village the Indians
may even send them back to Durango, saying that they are better off
without them. Suicide is unknown. When murder or theft has been
perpetrated, they do not at once try to apprehend the suspected
person, but first call the shaman to ascertain by divination who
the culprit may be, by placing ceremonial arrows, smoking tobacco,
and waving plumes.

I was told that three years ago two travelling Mexican peddlers
arrived here, and after having done a little trading went away
without informing the authorities of their departure. This aroused
the suspicion of the Indians, who began to look around to see what
was missing. Two cows, it seemed, had disappeared, and in two days
the peddlers were overtaken, brought back, put in the stocks, and
held in prison for eight days, and three times a day they received
a thrashing. They had very little food. They were finally taken
to Durango.

Once two cows and an ox were stolen from Crescencio, and the Indians
followed the tracks of the thieves, their leader frequently touching
the earth with his hands to assure himself by the smell that they
were going in the right direction. After a while two Tepehuanes and
their accomplice, the "neighbour" who had put them up to the crime,
were caught. The "neighbour," as soon as he arrived in the village,
was given twenty-five lashes, and for two hours was subjected to the
agonizing torture of having his head and his feet in the stocks at
the same time. Next day he was given ten lashes, and the following
day five, and eight days later they took him to Durango. His two
Indian associates, father and son, were also put in the stocks, and
for two weeks each of them got daily four lashes and very little food;
besides which their blankets were taken away from them.

Although the Tepehuanes keep up their ancient rites and beliefs along
with the new religion, they strictly comply with the external form
of Christianity, paying due attention to all the Christian feasts and
observances. Every day the bells of the old church are rung, and the
saints "are put to bed," as the Indians express it. When Crescencio
first came here he found the people on Sundays in the church, the men
sitting on benches and the women on the floor. They had gathered there
from habit, though nobody knew how to pray, and they sat around talking
and laughing all the time. It was their Christian worship. Crescencio
has now taught them to say prayers.

The teachings of Christianity, however, are for the most part
forgotten. No trace of the religion of charity remains among them, but
the severity of the early missionaries survives, and their mediæval
system of punishment. Evidently the tribe always entertained extreme
views regarding the relation of the two sexes toward each other,
or else the spirit of the new law would never have been imbibed so
eagerly. "The slightest want of modesty or exhibition of frivolity is
sufficient reason for a husband to leave his wife, and for young women
never to marry," says Padre Juan Fonte, of the Tepehuane Indians. There
is no sign of relaxation in their strictness, or of any inclination
to adopt more modern views on marital misdemeanour.

In the greater number of cases husband and wife live happily together
"till death doth them part." If either should prove unfaithful, they
immediately separate, the wife leaving the children with the husband
and going to her parents. Then the guilty one and the correspondent
are punished by being put in the stocks and given a public whipping
daily for one or two weeks. Neither of the parties thus separated is
permitted to marry again.

If a girl or widow has loved "not wisely, but too well," she is not
interfered with until her child is born. A day or two after that she
and the baby are put into prison for eight or ten days, and she is
compelled to divulge the name of her partner. The man is then arrested
and not only put into prison, but in the stocks besides. There are no
stocks for women, only two horizontal bars to which their hands are
tied, if they refuse to betray their lovers. The two culprits are kept
separate, and their families bring them food. Twice a day messengers
are sent through the village to announce that the punishment is about
to be executed, and many people come to witness it. The judges and the
parents of the delinquents reprimand the unfortunate couple, then from
two to four lashes are on each occasion inflicted, first upon the man
and then upon the woman. These are applied to an unmentionable part
of the back, which is bared, the poor wretches standing with their
hands tied to the pole. The executioner is given mescal that he may
be in proper spirit to strike hard. The woman has to look on while
the man is being punished, just as he afterward has to witness his
sweetheart's chastisement. She opens her eyes "like a cow," as my
informant expressed it, while the man generally looks down.

Many times the judges are ashamed to go through this performance,
the character of which is below the standard of propriety of most
primitive tribes; but, strange to say, the parents themselves compel
them to let the law have its course. Afterward the girl is handed over
to her lover in order that they may become officially married by the
Church the next time the priest arrives. This may not happen for two
or three years, but the two are meanwhile allowed to live together,
the girl going to her lover's home. To avert all the misery in store
for her, an unfortunate woman may try to doctor herself by secretly
taking a decoction of the leaves of the chalate, a kind of fig-tree.

Sometimes punishment is dealt out to young people for being
found talking together. Outside of her home a woman is absolutely
forbidden to speak to any man who does not belong to her own immediate
family. When fetching water, or out on any other errand, she must under
no circumstances dally for a chat with a "gentleman friend." Even
at the dancing-place it is against the law for her to step aside
to exchange a few words with any young man. If discovered in such a
compromising position, both offenders are immediately arrested, and
their least punishment is two days' imprisonment. If their examination
by the judges proves that their conversation was on the forbidden
topic of love, they get a whipping and may be compelled to marry.

Some of the boys and girls who have been punished for talking together
in this manner, are so frightened that they never want to marry
in Lajas, but the more defiant ones deliberately allow themselves
to be caught, in order to hasten their union and steal a march on
their parents. For these Indians are by no means beyond the darts
of Cupid, and both men and women are known to have arranged with a
shaman to influence the objects of their tender thoughts, and have
paid him for such service. A woman may give a shaman a wad of cotton,
which he manages to put into the hand of the young man for whom it
is intended. Afterward the shaman keeps the cotton in his house,
the affection having been transmitted by it.

On the other hand, men and women, to subdue their natural instincts,
go into the fields and grasp the branches of certain sensitive
plants. As the plant closes its leaves, the girls pray that they
may be able to shut themselves up in themselves. There are two kinds
of sensitive plants growing in the neighbourhood of Lajas (_Mimosa
florribunda_, var. _albida_, and _Mimosa invisa_), and recourse
may be had to either of them. Many men emigrate to other pueblos,
though they may in time return. Others remain bachelors all their
lives, and the judges in vain offer them wives. "Why should we take
them?" they say. "You have thrashed us once, and it is not possible
to endure it again." The legitimate way of contracting marriage is to
let the parents make the match. When the old folks have settled the
matter between themselves, they ask the judges to arrest the boy and
girl in question, whereupon the young people are put into prison for
three days. The final arrangements are made before the authorities,
and then the girl goes to the home of the boy to await the arrival
of the priest.

When the Señor Cura is expected in Lajas, all the couples thus united,
as well as all persons suspected of harbouring unsafe tendencies, are
arrested. On the priest's arrival, he finds most of the young people of
the place in prison, waiting for him to marry them. For each ceremony
the Indians have to pay $5, and from now on every married couple
has to pay $1.50 per year as subsidy for the priest. No marriage
in Lajas is contracted outside of the prison. Crescencio himself,
when about to marry a Tepehuane woman, barely escaped arrest. Only
by threatening to leave them did he avoid punishment; but his bride
had to submit to the custom of her tribe.

Contrary to what one might expect, unhappy unions are rare. Probably
the young people are glad to rest in the safe harbour of matrimony,
after experiencing how much the way in and out of it is beset with
indignities and leads through the prison gates. However, imprisonment
for love-making does not appear so absurd to the aboriginal mind as it
does to us, and the tribe has accommodated itself to it. I learned that
some of the boys and girls after a whipping go to their homes laughing.

The obligation to denounce young people whom one has found talking
together, under penalty of being punished one's self for the omission,
does not create the animosity that might be expected. Besides, the
law on this point is none too strictly obeyed or enforced.

According to Crescencio, the census taken in 1894 enumerated 900
souls belonging to Lajas, and there may probably be altogether 3,000
Tepehuanes here in the South. As far as I was able to ascertain,
the following Tepehuane pueblos are still in existence:

1. San Francisco de Lajas.

2. Tasquaringa, about fifteen leagues from the city of Durango. The
people here are little affected by civilisation, though a few Mexicans
live among them.

3. Santiago Teneraca, situated in a deep gorge. The inhabitants are
as non-communicative as at Lajas, and no Mexicans are allowed to
settle within their precinct. This, as well as the preceding village,
belongs to Mezquital, and the padre from there visits them.

4. Milpillas Chico, where the Indians are much mixed with Mexicans.

5. Milpillas Grande. Here the population is composed of Tepehuanes,
Aztecs, and Mexicans.

6. Santa Maria Ocotan, and

7. San Francisco, both little affected by civilisation.

8. Quiviquinta, about fifteen leagues southwest of Lajas.

The latter three villages belong to the State of Jalisco.

On the road from Durango to Mazatlan, passing Ventanas, there are no
Tepehuane pueblos.

Chapter XXVI

    Pueblo Viejo--Three Languages Spoken Here--The Aztecs--The
    Musical Bow--Theories of Its Origin--Dancing Mitote--Fasting
    and Abstinence--Helping President Diaz--The Importance of Tribal
    Restrictions--Principles of Monogamy--Disposition of the Dead.

There are two days journey over rough country to Pueblo Viejo, my next
objective point. Again I had great difficulty in finding a guide,
as the two villages were at loggerheads about some lands. The guide
furnished me by the authorities hid himself when we were about to
start. All the other Indians had gone back to their ranches, except
one, whom I finally persuaded to show me the way at least as far as
the ranch of the shaman with whom I had made friends, where I hoped
that through him I might get another guide. On our way, we passed Los
Retablos ("Pictures drawn on a Board"), the rather fantastic name of a
magnificent declivity of reddish rock, across which the track led. At
this place, tradition says, the Tepehuanes of Lajas, in the war of
independence, vanquished 300 Spanish soldiers, who were trying to reach
the city of Durango from Acaponeta. The Indians had hidden themselves
all around and above the steep slope, and from their ambuscades rolled
stones down on the Spaniards, every one of whom was killed.

Having gotten my mules safely over this dangerous track, where they
could never have been rescued if they had lost their footing, I arrived
after a while at the home of the shaman, near which I camped. When I
went up to the house, I found it empty, and was barely in time to see
a woman making her escape with a child as best she could. I realised
that if the shaman did not return that evening or early next day,
I should have to return to Lajas. The plaintive trumpet sound of a
giant woodpecker about sunset--as far as we could make out, the only
living being in the vicinity--did not detract from the gloominess of
the prospect.

Luckily, however, my shaman friend came to my tent at daybreak next
morning, and thus relieved my anxiety. Though exceedingly busy cutting
down trees and shrubs to clear his field, he spared one of his helpers
to show me the way to Hormigas (ants), charging only three reales for
the accommodation, and one real extra (twelve cents in Mexican money)
to be paid to the man in case I should want him to go farther and show
me the way to Aguacates. I also improved the opportunity to get from
him some ethnological information and a short Tepehuane vocabulary.

Thus with lightened heart I started off through a country that, while
it did not present any remarkably steep ascents and descents, was
very rough and hard to travel. The main sierra is here very narrow,
and the large mountainous mass broken up into irregular ridges and
steep valleys. The next day, much of the time we followed a high,
rocky ridge, the highest point of which is called Mojoneras. Here,
ten miles north of Pueblo Viejo, the boundary line of the territory of
Tepic is said to run. For several miles on the road, and particularly
from the last-mentioned ridge, magnificent views of the wild country
northward present themselves, over the steep descent into the cañons
and gorges of the western part of the Sierra Madre. Only three
Tepehuane ranches were observed.

I arrived without any mishap at Pueblo Viejo, which is inhabited
mainly by Aztecs. Of late years they have become much mixed with the
Tepehuanes, who have here taken refuge from drought and the advancing
"neighbours." Indian settlers who thus come from other pueblos are
called poblanos. They receive land from the community in return
for the services they render, and the two tribes freely intermarry,
although "neighbours" are never allowed to settle within the confines
of the village. Still the people, who have considerable intercourse
with Acaponeta, and who also go some distance to work in the mines
of Sinaloa, speak Spanish quite well. Indeed, of the three languages
spoken here, Spanish is the one most generally heard. Several Nahuatlan
words have been forgotten, and in making out my list of collections I
had great difficulty in getting designations for some of the objects,
for instance the word for "quiver," and for the curious rattling
anklets used by dancers. Only elderly people speak Nahuatl correctly,
and the Tepehuane influence is strong here, even in the ancient
religion of the people. It was curious to note that many people here,
as in Lajas, eat neither hens nor sheep, while they freely partake
of beef.

People here are more intelligent and much less reticent than in
Lajas. Women when addressed will answer you, while in Lajas the
inhabitants are guarded, and suspicious even of other Indians,
not to speak of "neighbours." Another difference is that very few
drink mescal.

At a meeting I had with the Indians, I remarked, in my desire to please
them, that the Mexican Government was interested to know whether
they were getting on well or whether they were coming to an end. To
this the principal speaker at once laughingly rejoined. "Of course,
they want to know how soon they can 'finish' us!"

The Indians here have the usual trouble from "neighbours" trying to
encroach upon their territory. Once a delegation from this and the
neighbouring pueblos undertook a journey to the City of Mexico in order
to settle the troubles about their land. They stopped eleven days in
the capital and were well received by the Ministerio del Fomento;
but their money gave out before they finished their business, and
they had to walk all the way back without having accomplished anything.

I found these Indians law-abiding and obliging, and I had no great
difficulty in securing permission to be present at a mitote, which
was to be given at a ranch in the neighbourhood. On March 24th,
a little before sunset, we started out on a ride of an hour and a
half, ascending some 3,000 feet on a winding Indian trail up to a high
mesa. It was a starlit, beautiful night, but the magnificent view which
this mesa commanded could only be surmised. There are a few ranches
here owned by people from the pueblo below, a man sometimes living in
his ranch here during the wet season, while for the remainder of the
year he occupies one in the pueblo. As we entered on the plain we could
distinctly hear the beating of the tawitól, the musical instrument
of the Tepehuanes. At this distance it sounded like a big drum.

We passed the ranch which was giving the mitote, and a hundred yards
farther on we came upon a picturesque scene. Here on a meadow the
Indians were grouped around the many fires whose lights flickered
among the trees. There was just a pause in the dancing, which had
begun soon after sunset. I could at once discern a little plain set
apart for the dancing. On its eastern side was an altar of the usual
description, fenced on two sides with felled trees, on which were hung
the paraphernalia of the dancers, their bows, quivers, etc. In the
centre of the dancing-place was a large fire, and to the west of it
the shaman was seated on a stool. Behind him, similar though smaller
stools were set for the owner of the ranch and the principal men.

Strange to say, the shaman was a Tepehuane. I learned later that the
Aztecs consider the shamans of that tribe better than their own. In
front of the shaman was the musical instrument on which he had been
playing. This was a large, round gourd, on top of which a bow of
unusual size was placed with its back down. The shaman's right foot
rested on a board which holds the bow in place on the gourd. The
bow being made taut, the shaman beats the string with two sticks,
in a short, rhythmical measure of one long and two short beats. When
heard near by, the sonorousness of the sound reminds one of the cello.

This is the musical bow of America, which is here met with for the
first time. It is intimately connected with the religious rites of
this tribe, as well as with those of the Coras and the Huichols,
the latter playing it with two arrows. The assertion has been made
that the musical bow is not indigenous to the Western Hemisphere,
but was introduced by African slaves. Without placing undue
importance on the fact that negroes are very rarely, if at all,
found in the north-western part of Mexico, it seems entirely beyond
the range of possibility that a foreign implement could have become
of such paramount importance in the religious system of several
tribes. Moreover, this opinion is confirmed by Mr. R. B. Dixon's
discovery, in 1900, of a musical bow among the Maidu Indians on the
western slope of the Sierra Nevada, northeast of San Francisco,
California. In the religion of that tribe also this bow plays an
important part, and much secrecy is connected with it.

The shaman's song sounded very different from the songs I had heard
among the Tarahumares. As his seat was high, he had to maintain a
stooping position all the time he played. The dancers, men and women,
made much noise by stamping their fiat soles vigorously on the ground,
as they moved in double column around the fire and the shaman, in a
kind of two-step-walk forward. They danced in a direction against the
apparent movement of the sun, the men leading, the women following. I
noticed that the step of the women was slightly different from that
of the men, inasmuch as they lifted themselves on their toes at each
step. At times the columns would suddenly stop and make the same
kind of movements backward for a little while, with the same small
jumps or skips as when walking forward. After a few seconds they
would again go forward. These movements are directed by the leader,
the man who dances first.

Both men and women wore flowers, the former fastening them to their
straw hats, the latter in their hair with the stem behind the ear. The
flowers were apparently selected according to individual taste, but
the kind I saw most frequently was a white blossom called _corpus_,
the delicious fragrance of which I noticed every time the women
danced by. Two boys had a peculiar kind of white flower fastened with
a handkerchief tied around their heads. It is called _clavillinos_,
and looks like thick, white hair. The shaman wore a narrow hair-ribbon,
but no flower. Around their ankles the men had wound strings of dried
empty pods of a certain palm, which made a rattling noise during the
dancing. Five times during the night, ears of corn and plumes were
brought from the altar, and then the men always removed their hats. The
women wore veils (_rebosos_), but it is considered improper for them
to use sandals on such occasions; these are worn only by the men.

There were five pauses made in the course of the night, and, to
prepare the people for them, the shaman each time began to strike
more slowly. The dancers continued until they arrived in front of the
altar, where they commenced to jump up and down on the same spot,
but with increasing rapidity, until the music stopped, when they
separated and lay down.

Those who did not take any part in the dancing were lying around the
various fires, the number of the dancers changing with the different
songs, according to the degree of enthusiasm among the people. Many
went to sleep for a while, but this is not deemed very polite to the
owner of the ranch, as the effect of the dancing is much greater upon
the gods when everybody takes part. I was told that to keep the people
awake a man sometimes goes around spurting cold water over the drowsy
and nodding heads.

The function had been opened by the owner of the ranch making alone
five circuits around the fire, carrying the musical instrument
and the two playing-sticks and doing reverence to the sun every
time he passed the altar. Just before sunrise the mitote concluded
with the dramatisation of the killing of the deer. Deer-skins were
brought from the bower of the altar, and the men put on their bows
and quivers, each of which contained twenty-five arrows and had two
slings attached to it. The men held the deer-skins in their hands and
danced five circuits. Two light-footed boys next appeared on the scene
to play the part of the deer. They had deer-skins on their backs,
and in their hands held deer-heads with antlers. These they showed
five times, alternately to the shaman who furnished the music, and
to the altar. Then they began to run, followed by the dancers, who
shouted and shot arrows, also trying to catch the deer by throwing
lassos that had been kept in the bower. Often they had to flee from
the deer, who chased them off the dancing-place. But they returned,
and at sunrise the deer were captured on a matting spread before the
altar, where the dancers now took positions. Starting from here they
next made five circuits around the dancing-place in the direction of
the apparent movement of the sun, then five circuits in the opposite
way. The shaman's beating slowed down, once more all the dancers
jumped up quickly, the music stopped, and the dancing was finished.

Now the feasting began. The food, that had been placed on the altar,
pinole and toasted corn, was brought forward, and the host and his
wife ate first. After they had thus broken fast, all sat down, and
to each one the following dishes were served on little earthenware
platters or bowls: A small slice of deer-meat that had been cooked
between hot stones in an earth mound, and a handful of toasted corn;
a ball made of pinole mixed with unbroken beans; four tamales, and
one ball of deer-meat and ground corn boiled together. The last-named
course is simply called chueena (deer). The boys who served it had
on their backs three bun-dies, each containing three tamales, which
the boys afterward ate.

The host always asks his guests to submit for four days longer to
the restrictions that are necessary to insure the efficiency of the
dancing. These refer mainly to abstinence from mescal and women,
and are conscientiously observed for five days before and five days
after the occasion, by the family who arranges the dance. The shaman,
on whom the obligation to observe these formalities is greater than
on anyone else, may have to officiate at another mitote before the
time limit for the first has expired, therefore much of his time is
spent in privations.

After the feast, the tapexte, that is to say, the matting, which
constituted the top of the altar, is hung up in a tree to be used
again the next year. The trees that have formed the bower near the
altar are left undisturbed. The ceremonial objects are placed in
the trees for four or five days, and then put into a basket which is
hung in some cave. At Pueblo Viejo no more tribal mitotes are given,
and it seems that no family anywhere makes more than one a year.

When a newly married couple wish to give their first mitote, they
go away from the house for a month. Both of them bathe and wash
their clothes, and impose restrictions upon themselves, sleeping
most of the time. When awake they talk little to each other, and
think constantly of the gods. Only the most necessary work is done;
he brings wood and she prepares the food, consisting of tortillas,
which must not be toasted so long that they lose their white colour. A
thin white gruel, called atole, made from ground corn, is also eaten,
but no deer-meat, nor fish with the exception of a small kind called
mítshe. Neither salt nor beans are allowed. The blankets they wear
must also be white. During all this time they must not cut flowers or
bathe or smoke; they must not get angry at each other, and at night
they must sleep on different sides of the fire.

Fasting and abstinence form an integral part of the religion of these
people. A man who desires to become a shaman must keep strictly to
a diet of white tortillas and atole for five years. His drink is
water, and that only once a day, in the afternoon. The people here
once fasted for two months, in order to aid General Porfirio Diaz
to become President of Mexico; and they told me that they were soon
going to subject themselves to similar privations in order to help
another official whom they wanted to remain in his position.

Fasting also plays an important part in the curing of diseases. The
patient, with his doctor, may go out and live in the woods and fast
for many days, the shaman smoking tobacco all the time. An omen as
to whether the patient will live or die is taken from the colour of
the tobacco smoke. If it is yellow the omen is bad. Or if the smoke
remains dense the patient will live; but if it disperses he will die.

A very interesting ceremony is performed over a child when it is one
year old. The parents go with the shaman into the field and fast for
five days before the anniversary and for five days afterward. An
hour or two after sunset a big fire is made and four arrows and
the ceremonial object called god's eye are placed east of it. The
parents and those present look east all the time. The shaman first
makes four ceremonial circuits, then puffs tobacco-smoke on the god's
eye and on the child. He sings incantations and again makes four
ceremonial circuits, and smokes as before. Next he places his mouth
to the child's forehead, and draws out something that is called the
cochiste, the sleep or dreams, spitting it out in his hand. He makes
a motion with his plumes as if he lifted something up with them from
his hand, and holds the plumes over the god's eye for a while. The
people now see that two small, white balls are attached to the plumes,
and he shows them to all present, to prove that he does not deceive
them. Then he crushes the balls in his left hand with a sound as
if an egg was cracked, and throws them away. In the morning salt is
offered to the rasters.

The cochiste is taken away from boys twice and four times from girls. A
boy cannot get married until the cochiste is taken away. A girl at the
age of puberty is pledged to a year of chastity, and the same ceremony
is performed on her as in babyhood, to be repeated in the following
year. Should she transgress during that time the belief is that she
or her parents or her lover will die. The principle of monogamy is
strictly enforced, and if a woman deviates from it she has to be cured
by the shaman, or an accident will befall her--a jaguar or a snake
will bite her, or lightning strike her, or a scorpion sting her, etc.

She gives the shaman a wad of white cotton, which he places on
the god's eye. When he smokes tobacco and talks to the god's eye,
information is given to him through the cotton, which reveals to
him whether she has more than one husband, and even the name of the
unlawful one. He admonishes her to confess, explaining to her how much
better the result will be, as he then can cure her with much greater
strength. Even if she confesses, she is only half through with her
trouble, because the shaman exacts heavy payment for the cure, from
$10 to $20. If she cannot pay now, she has to come back in a month,
and continue coming until she can settle her account. By rights, the
man should pay for her, but often he runs away and leaves her in the
lurch. Since the Indians have come in contact with the Mexicans this
happens quite often. When at length the money is paid and she has
confessed everything, there is nothing more for the shaman to do but
to give an account of it to the god's eye, and she goes to her home
absolved. One year afterward she has to come back and report, and,
should she in the meantime have made another slip, she has to pay
more. From all the cotton wads the shaman gets he may have girdles
and hair-ribbons made, which he eventually sells.

The custom related above is of interest as showing the forces employed
by ancient society to maintain the family intact. Fear of accidents,
illness or death, more even than the fine or anything else, keeps
the people from yielding too freely to the impulses of their senses.

The treatment accorded to the dead by these people, and their notions
regarding them, are, in the main, the same as those obtaining with the
tribes which I visited before them, but there are some new features
that are of interest. Here, for instance, near the head of the dead,
who lies stretched out on the ground in the house, the shaman places
a god's eye and three arrows; and at his feet another arrow. He sings
an incantation and smokes tobacco, though not on the dead, while the
widow makes yarn from some cotton, which she has first handed to the
shaman. When she has finished the yarn, she gives it to the shaman,
who tears it into two pieces of equal length, which he ties to the
arrow standing at the right-hand side of the man. One piece he rubs
over with charcoal; this is for the dead, and is tied lower down on
the arrow. He winds it in a ball, except the length which reaches from
the arrow to the middle of the body, where the ball is placed under
the dead man's clothes. The other thread the shaman holds in his left
hand, together with his pipe and plumes. After due incantations he
divides the white thread into pieces of equal length, as many as there
are members of the family, and gives one piece to each. They tie them
around their necks and wear them for one year. Afterward they are mixed
with Some other material and from them a ribbon or girdle is made.

On the fifth day the dead is despatched from this world. In the
small hours of the morning the shaman, with his plumes and pipe,
and a jar of water into which some medicinal herbs have been thrown,
leads the procession toward the west, while the people, including
women and children, carry branches of the zapote-tree. They stop,
while it is still dark, and the shaman steps forward and despatches
the deceased. He returns very soon, and sprinkles water on the people
and toward the west, where the dead has gone.

Chapter XXVII

    Inexperienced Help--How to Acquire Riches from the
    Mountains--Sierra del Nayarit--The Coras--Their Aversion to
    "Papers"--Their Part in Mexican Politics--A Déjeuner à la
    Fourchette--La Danza.

It is practically impossible to travel from tribe to tribe in Mexico
without changing muleteers, not only because the men generally
object to going so far from their homes, but also because it is not
advantageous to employ men who do not know the country through which
they are passing. Whenever the Indians understood something about
packing mules, I preferred them to the Mexicans, because I could learn
much from them on the way. The latter part of my travels I employed
none but Indians.

The unwillingness of desirable men to leave their homes makes a
frequent change very embarrassing. My next destination from Pueblo
Viejo was Santa Teresa, the most northern of the Cora pueblos, and
everybody thought it was too far away. I had finally to take whatever
I could get in the way of carriers. For instance, I had only one man
on whom I could depend, a civilised Tepehuane, who was bright and
knew his business well, but he was hampered by an injured arm. Then
I obtained another man, somewhat elderly. He, too, became suddenly
aware that his right arm was crooked and not strong enough to lift
heavy burdens, while the two remaining carriers had never loaded a
mule in their lives.  The first two directed the other pair how to
proceed, and thus I was treated to the ludicrous spectacle of four
men engaged in packing one mule. Naturally it took all day to load my
ten animals, and when this was accomplished, it was too late to start,
so that the day's work turned out to be nothing but a dress-rehearsal
in the noble art of packing mules. The result was that I had to take
a hand myself in putting the aparejos on the animals, shoeing them
and curing the sore backs, which, as a matter of course, developed
from the inexperience of some of the men.

On the second day, by a stupendous effort, we started, but could go
only eight miles to a beautiful llano surrounded by oaks and pines. A
few ranches are all that remains of the village that once existed
here. On one of them lived a rich Cora who had married a Tepehuane
woman. All Coras get rich, the Indians here assert, because they know
better how to appease the gods. They submit to fasting and restrictions
for a month, or even a year, and then go "to the richest mountain the
ancient people knew." The master of the mountain comes out and the
two make a bargain, the Cora agreeing to pay for the cattle, deer,
corn, and other possessions, with men that he kills. The belief that
the mountains are the masters of all riches--of money, cattle, mules,
sheep, and shepherds--is common among the tribes of the Sierra Madre.

When it devolves upon a Cora to make good his agreement and kill a man,
he makes from burnt clay, strips of cloth, etc., a small figure of
the victim and then with incantations puts thorns through the head
or stomach, to make the original suffer. He may even represent the
victim on horseback, and place the figure upside down to give him
pain. Sometimes a Cora makes a figure of the animal he wants, forming
it of wax or burned clay, or carving it from tuff, and deposits it
in a cave in the mountain. For every cow, deer, dog, or hen wanted,
he has to sacrifice a corresponding figure.

The next day we followed for some time the camino real, which leads
from Acaponeta to the towns of Mezquital and Durango. We then descended
without difficulty some 3,000 feet into the cañon of Civacora, through
which flows a river of the same name, said to originate in the State
of Zacatecas. It passes near the cities of Durango and Sombrerete,
this side of Cerro Gordo. In this valley, which runs in a northerly
and southerly direction, we found some Tepehuanes from the pueblo of
San Francisco.

The Indians here were defiant and disagreeable, and would not even
give us any information about the track we were to follow. They had the
reputation of stealing mules and killing travellers for the sake of the
corn the latter are likely to carry. I therefore put two men on guard
and allowed them to fire off a rifle shot as a warning, something they
always like to do. The sound reverberated through the still night with
enough force to frighten a whole army of robbers. The next morning I
sent for the most important Tepehuane, told him the object of my visit,
and asked him about the track. He gave me what information he could,
but he was unable to procure a guide for a longer time than that
day. We were then left to ourselves, with the odds against us. Twice
we lost our way, the first time passing a mitote dancing-place, and
coming to a halt before a steep mountain wall, passable only for agile
Indians. The second time we landed at the edge of a deep barranca,
and there was nothing to do but to turn back to a ranch we had passed
some time before. Luckily we met there a Tepehuane and his wife,
who assured us that we were at last on the right track. However, we
did not advance farther than the confluence of two arroyos, which the
man had pointed out to us deep down in the shrubbery. Before leaving
us he promised to be at our camp in the morning to show us the road
to Las Botijas, a small aggregation of ranches at the summit. In a
straight line we had not gone that day more than three miles.

When passing one of our guide's ranches--and he had three within
sight--I noticed near the track a small jacal about 100 yards
off. The man told me that he was a shaman and that here he kept his
musical outfit, ceremonial arrows, etc.; though he appeared to be an
open-hearted young man, I could not induce him to show me this private
chapel of his, and we had to go on. He parted from us on the summit,
but described the road so well that we encountered no difficulty
during the remaining two days of our journey.

I was glad to be once more up on the highlands, the more so that we
succeeded in finding there arroyos with water and grass. On reaching
the top of the cordon we had been following, we came upon a camino
real running between the villages of San Francisco and Santa Teresa,
and now we were in the Sierra del Nayarit. I was rather surprised
to find another barranca close by, parallel with the one we had just
left. As far as I could make out, this new gorge begins near the pueblo
of Santa Maria Ocotan, high up in the Sierra; at least my old Mexican
informed me that the river which waters it rises at that place and
passes the Cora pueblos of Guasamota and Jesus Maria. We travelled
along the western edge of this barranca, within which there are some
Aztec, but mainly Cora villages. There is still another barranca to
the east of and parallel to this, and in this the Huichols live.

What is called Sierra del Nayarit is in the beginning a rather level
and often narrow cordon, and the track south leads near the edge of
the Barranca de Jesus Maria for ten or twelve miles. Along this ridge
hardly any other kind of tree is to be seen than _Pinus Lumholtzii_. A
variety of pine which resembles this very much, but is much larger,
and which I think may also be a new species, was observed after
leaving Pueblo Nuevo.

The cordon gradually widens, and open, grass-covered places appear
among the pines, which now are of the usual kinds, and throughout
the Sierra del Nayarit are high, but never large. A few Coras passed
us leading mules loaded with panoche, to be exchanged in Santa Maria
Ocotan for mescal.

The most conspicuous things in the Cora's travelling outfit are
his rifle and one or two home-made pouches which he slings over his
shoulder. There is an air of manliness and independence about these
Indians, and this first impression is confirmed by the entire history
of the tribe.

We passed a few ranches on the road, and at last reached the little
llano on which Santa Teresa is situated. It is always disagreeable to
approach a strange Indian pueblo, where you have to make your camp,
knowing how little the people like to see you, and here I was among
a tribe who had never heard of me, and who looked upon me with much
suspicion as I made my entry.

There were many people in town preparing for the Easter festival,
practising their parts in certain entertainments in vogue at that
season. At last I met a man willing to show me where I could find
water. He led me outside of the village to some deep and narrow clefts
in the red earth, from which a rivulet was issuing. I selected my
camping-place near by, at the foot of some low pine-covered hills,
and then returned to the pueblo.

"Amigo!" shouted a man as he came running toward me from his house. It
was the alcalde, a tall, slender Indian with a slight beard and
a very sympathetic voice. I told him that we were entirely out of
corn, to which he replied that we could not get any in the pueblo,
only on the ranches in the neighbourhood. I asked him if he wanted
us to die from starvation, and then another man offered me half a
fanega. I inquired of the judge whether he did not want to see my
papers. "We do not understand papers," he replied. Still it was agreed
that the Indians should meet me next morning, and that my chief man,
the Tepehuane, should read my letters from the Government, because
the preceptor of the village was away in the city of Tepic, and no
one else was able to read.

Santa Teresa is called in Cora Quemalúsi, after the principal one
of the five mythical men who in ancient times lived in the Sierra
del Nayarit. Reports say an idol now hidden was once found here. A
few miles east of Santa Teresa is a deep volcanic lake, the only
remnant of the large flood, the Coras say. It is called "Mother," or
"Brother," the last name containing a reference to their great god,
the Morning Star, Chulavéte. There are no fish in it, but turtles and
ducks. The water is believed to cure the sick and strengthen the well,
and there is no ceremony, in the Cora religion for which this water
is not required. It is not necessary to use it pure; it is generally
mixed with ordinary spring water, and in this way sprinkled over the
people with a red orchid, or a deer-tail stretched over a stick.

Early next morning a good-looking young Indian on horseback rode up
to the tent to pay me a visit. He spoke Spanish very well. I treated
him with consideration and proffered him some biscuits I happened to
have. In the course of the conversation he offered to sell me a fowl,
if I would send a man to his ranch for it, which of course I was glad
to do.

As he was taking leave, I expressed my admiration for the handsome
native-made halter on his horse. "Do you like it?" he asked, and he
immediately removed it from the horse and presented it to me. I wanted
to pay for it, but he said, "We are friends now," and rode off. The
fowl he sent was the biggest he had in his yard, an old rooster,
very strong and tough, Could there be food less palatable than a
lean old rooster of Indian breeding? The broth is worse than that
made from a billy-goat.

I went to the meeting, and all listened silently while my letters
from the Government were read. Anything coming from Mexico impresses
these people deeply. Yet with the suspicion innate in their nature,
the Indians could not hear the documents read over often enough. We
had meeting after meeting, as the arrival in the pueblo of every man
of any importance was a signal that my papers would have to be read
over again.

The alcalde introduced me to the teacher's wife, a Mexican, who
apparently took her lot very contentedly among "these people whom
no one ever knows," as she expressed it. She liked the climate, and
the security of life and property. Her husband had been working here
for four years. The children, of course, have first to learn Spanish,
and there is no school from June till September. The youngsters seemed
bright and well-behaved, but the Coras told me that they had not yet
learned to read.

Most of the Cora Indians are slightly bearded, especially on the
chin. In this respect, however, there was no uniformity, some being
absolutely beardless, while others looked rather Mexican. They all
insisted, nevertheless, that there is among them no intermixture
with Mexicans, or, for that matter, with the Tepehuanes, and the Cora
women have very strong objections to unions with "neighbours." On the
other hand, it should be remembered that during the latter half of the
last century the tribe was subjected to a great deal of disturbance,
incidental to the revolution of Manuel Lozada, a civilised Aztec
from the neighbourhood of Tepic, who, about the time of the French
intervention, established an independent State comprising the present
territory of Tepic and the Cora country. He had great military talent,
and it was said that whenever he liked he could gather thousands of
soldiers without cost. He was able to maintain his government for a
number of years, thanks chiefly to the Coras, who were his principal
supporters. At one time they had to leave their country, and to live
for five years in an inaccessible part of the Sierra Madre above
San Buena.

Among themselves, the Coras use their own language, but all the
men and most of the women speak and understand Spanish to some
extent. Though the people now dress like the "neighbours," they
are still thoroughly Indian, and proud of it. There are about 2,500
pure-bred among them. They call themselves Nayariti or Nayari, and in
speech, religion, and customs they are akin to the Huichol Indians,
who, however, do not care very much for their relatives, whom they
call Hashi (crocodiles). Yet some intercourse is maintained between
the two tribes, the Coras bringing to the Huichols red face-paint,
wax, and the tail-feathers of the bluejay, while the services of
the Huichol curing shamans are highly appreciated by the Coras. An
interesting home industry is the weaving of bags or pouches of cotton
and wool, in many beautiful designs.

The Coras are not good runners; they have neither speed nor endurance,
and they run heavily. It is astonishing how small the bones of their
limbs are, especially among the females, though this, by the way, is
the case with all the Indians I have visited. A Cora woman made for
me a shirt as an ethnological specimen, which I thought she must have
made too small at the wrist-bands, as they measured about 4 3/4 inches
(barely twelve centimetres); but she showed me how well they fitted
her. Still they always have well-developed hips and better figures
than the Mexican women. The teeth of the Coras are not always perfect;
I have seen several individuals whose front teeth were missing.

Strange to say, in spite of the high elevation, there is fever and
ague here; the alcalde told me that he had an attack every second day.

As Easter was at hand, there was quite a concourse of people, nearly
300 Indians assembling. Oxen were killed, and general eating and
feasting went on. I attended the communal feast, and dishes of food
were brought to me. In accordance with the Indian custom not to eat
much on the spot, I had my men carry some of the food to the camp,
as a welcome addition to our monotonous diet and scanty stores; and
we found that, aside from the usual Indian dishes, they comprised
bananas, salted fish, honey, and squashes.

The authorities newly elected for the ensuing year gave a similar
entertainment to their predecessors in office. At the home of the
"Centurion," the principal official of the Easter festival, a rustic
table and benches had been erected outside of the house. I was invited
to sit down among the men of quality, and it was phenomenal to be
present at an Indian banquet served on a table, the only occasion of
the kind in my experience. As the table was small, the diners were
served in turns, one set after another. Each guest had a man to wait on
him, but there was neither table-cloth nor knife, fork nor spoon. It
was, if you like, a _déjeuner à la fourchette_, except that you were
supposed to handle the solid food with pieces of tortilla, that were
broken off, folded over, and used as a fork, or rather, spoon, and
were eaten with the meat. After the meat had all been fished out,
you drank the soup from your bowl or plate. If you could not manage
with the tortilla, you were excused for using your fingers. When
a bowl or plate was set before an Indian guest, the latter took it
up and immediately handed it to his wife, standing behind him, who
emptied it into the jars she had brought for that purpose. There was
meat with its broth; meat ground on the metate, boiled, and mixed with
chile; and atole to drink with it, all fresh and excellent. As I was
hungry, I pitched in, although at first I was the only one who ate,
which was rather embarrassing. But by and by the others, too, began
to eat, perhaps out of politeness. They were pleased, however, that
I enjoyed their food, and I did enjoy it, after the poorly assorted
diet we had been obliged to maintain. Although the variety of dishes
of primitive man is exceedingly limited, such of them as they have are
well prepared. The dinner was the best I ever had among Indians. The
party was pleasant and animated, and the banquet-hall extended to
the pines and mountains around and the azure sky above.

During the night there was dancing on the tarima, a broad plank resting
on stumps. Dancing on the plank is said to be customary throughout
the Tierra Caliente of the northwest. One man and one woman dance
simultaneously, facing though not touching each other. The dancing
consists in a rhythmical jumping up and down on the same spot, and is
known to all the so-called Christian Indians wherever the violin is
played, although nowhere but among the Coras have I seen it executed
on the plank. It is called _la danza_, and is distinct from the
aboriginal sacred dances, although it may have been a native dance
somewhere in Mexico. _La danza_ is merely a ventilation of merriment,
indulged in when the Indians are in high spirits after church feasts,
and may sometimes be executed even in church.

Gradually the people submitted to being photographed, even the
women. One evening when I changed plates under two wagon-covers in an
old empty house, a curious crowd gathered outside and knocked at the
door, wanting to know what was going on and to see the secret rites
I was performing.

After a few days of deliberation the Indians consented to show me
their dancing-place, or, as they expressed it, their tunamóti (the
musical bow).

Chapter XXVIII

    A Glimpse of the Pacific from the High Sierra--A Visionary
    Idyl--The Coras Do Not Know Fear--An Un-Indian Indian--Pueblo of
    Jesus Maria--A Nice Old Cora Shaman--A Padre Denounces Me as a
    Protestant Missionary--Trouble Ensuing from His Mistake--Scorpions.

After a fortnight's stay I said good-bye to Santa Teresa. The alcalde,
who had become quite friendly, accompanied me over the llano on
which his pueblo lies, extending, interspersed with pine forests,
for about three miles west. He begged me not to forget the Coras
when I came to the Governor of the Territory of Tepic, and to ask
the Mexican Government to let them keep their old customs, which
he had heard they were going to prohibit. This fear, I think, was
unfounded. He also wanted me to use my influence toward preventing
the whites from settling in the vicinity, since they were eager to
get at the big forests.

I had found a friend in a Cora called Nuberto, a kind-hearted and
frank fellow, sixty years old, who became our guide. The trail leads
along the western side of the Sierra Madre, sometimes only a few yards
from where the mountains suddenly give way to the deep and low-lying
valleys and foot-hills. As we approached the end of the day's journey,
a perfectly open view presented itself of the Tierra Caliente below,
as far as the Pacific Ocean, which by mules is a week's journey
distant. The wide expanse before us unfolded a panorama of hills that
sank lower and lower toward the west, where the salt lagoons of the
coast could be clearly discerned as silver streaks in the reddish-grey
mist of the evening. Acaponeta was right in line with the setting
sun. Here, 8,000 feet above the level of the sea, everything was calm
and mild; not a breath of air was stirring. A _prunus_ was in flower,
and oak-trees were growing on the brink of the ridge toward the sea. In
every other direction were to be seen the immense silent pine forests
that shelter the Coras, but no trace of human life. Everything seemed
undisturbed, peaceful, quieting, nerve-resting.

Would it not be delightful to settle down here! Life would be so
easy! The Indians would help me to make a hut. I would marry one of
those beautiful Cora girls, who would be sure to have a cow or two to
supply me the civilised drink of milk. None of the strife and turmoil
of the outer world could penetrate into my retreat. One day would
pass as peacefully as its predecessor; never would she disturb the
tranquillity of my life, for she is like the lagoon, without ever a
ripple on its surface. Once in a while the spirit of the feasts might
inspire her to utter an angry word, but she would not mean much by
it, and would soon resume her usual placid rôle, moving along in the
even tenor of her daily life. What a splendid chance for studying the
people, for knowing them thoroughly, and for familiarising myself with
all their ancient beliefs and thoughts! Perhaps I might solve some
of the mysteries that shroud the workings of the human mind. But--I
should have to buy my fame at the price of living on tortillas and
pinole and beans!

    "We may live without poetry, music, and art;
    We may live without conscience and live without heart;
    We may live without friends, we may live without books,
    But civilised man cannot live without cooks."

Concluding that the eminent authority cited was right, I came back
to realities and continued my journey.

By and by I arrived at a fertile little slope partly covered with corn
stubble. At the farther end of it was a large Cora ranch called La
Cienega, and in front of it grew two or three magnificent oak-trees
with light-green stems and equally light-coloured leaves. The people
here were well disposed and sold me some necessary supplies, so I
stopped with them for a day.

While descending to the famous pueblo Mesa del Nayarit, one gets a
magnificent view of the high mountains which form the western border
of the Huichol country and stretch themselves out on the opposite
side of the cañon of Jesus Maria like a towering wall of a hazy
blue colour. The pueblo lies on a plain less than a mile in extent
in either direction, on the slope of the sierra, with an open view
only toward the east. There is an idol of the setting sun standing on
the mesa above the village, "looking toward Mexico," as the Indians
express it. This mesa is the one called Tonati by the chroniclers,
while by the Coras it is called Nayariti, and the whole sierra derived
its name from it. The same name is given to a cave in that locality,
where the Coras, as well as the Huichols, deposit ceremonial objects
and other offerings. The setting-sun god is worshipped equally by the
two tribes. The Indians jealously guard this cave, which is never
shown to outsiders. This is practically the terminus of the Sierra
del Nayarit. The sierra from now on is lower and gradually falls down
to Rio de Alica, or Rio Grande de Santiago, where Sierra Madre del
Norte ends.

The people here, though friendly, were less sympathetic and much
more reserved than those of Santa Teresa, and I could find no one
who would divulge tribal secrets. They had received a message from
their sister pueblo telling them they had nothing to fear from me,
but the Coras are not easily scared, anyhow. A stranger may enter
a house without any further ceremony than the customary salutation,
"Axú!" One day when I approached a dwelling, a nice-looking little
girl, scarcely three years of age, came running out with a big knife
in her little fist, her mother following after her to catch her. The
small children curiously approach you, rather than run away. My two
dogs intruded into a house and met in the doorway a little girl,
about four years old, who was just coming out. The family dog was
inside and began at once to bark at the new-comers, ready to fight,
but the little one continued her walk without in the least changing
the quiet expression of her face.

Although the Coras here maintain their traditions and customs more
completely than in other places, I did not see any of the adults
wearing the national dress, buckskin trousers and a very short tunic
reaching only below the breast and made of home-woven woollen material
dyed with native indigo-blue. Only one of the boys was seen with this
costume, and his father was said to have it also. Yet the Coras do
not want to be confounded with the "neighbours." When the principal
men submitted to be photographed, I wanted a picture to show their
physique, and therefore asked them to take off their shirts, which
they refused to do. But when I remarked, "You will then look like
neighbours," the shirts came off like a flash.

The gobernador here was an original and peculiar character. First he
wanted me to camp in La Comunidad, to which I objected; but he was
bent upon having me as closely under his supervision as possible,
and I had to agree to establish my camp only half the distance that
I had intended from the village. As soon as my tent had been put up,
he came, accompanied by one of his friends. He had a passion for
talking, which he indulged in for two hours, interrupting himself
about every twenty seconds to spit. His companion wrapped himself in
his blanket and began to nod, and whenever the gobernador stopped
for expectoration, the other one would utter an assenting "hay"
("yes"). The Cora language is guttural, but quite musical, and when
I heard it at a distance it reminded me in its cadence of one of the
dialects of central Norway. However, the gobernador's monologue soon
became very tiresome, and finally I made my bed and lay down. After
a while they retired, but every evening as long as I stayed in the
place, his Honour came to bore me with his talk. I generally took
him out to my men, who entertained him as long as they were able
to keep awake. He wanted to hear about other countries, about the
bears we had met, and the great war, because he thought there must
always be war somewhere. When everybody was asleep after midnight,
he would retire. He was a widower, and he was the most un-Indian
Indian I ever met.

About five miles east of Mesa del Nayarit the descent toward the
pueblo of Jesus Maria begins. The valley appears broad and hilly,
and the vegetation assumes the aspect of the Hot Country. Specially
noticeable were the usual thickets of thorny, dry, and scraggy trees,
seen even on the edge of the mesa. They are called _guisachi_,
and in the vernacular of the common man the word has been utilised
to designate a sharper. A man who "hooks on," as, for instance, a
tricky lawyer, is called a _guisachero_. It is the counterpart of the
"lawyer palm" among the shrubs of tropical Australia.

Jesus Maria looks at a distance quite a town, on a little plain above
the river-bank. A fine, grand-looking old church, in Moorish style, a
large churchyard surrounding it, and the usual big buildings connected
with the churches of Spanish times, make all extraordinary impression
among the pithaya-covered hills. The rest of the houses look humble
enough. I went a little beyond the pueblo to the junction of arroyo
Fraile with the river of Jesus Maria. As a violent wind, caused by the
cooling off of the hot air of the barranca, blows every afternoon,
I did not put up my tent, but had my men build an open shed. The
wind lasts until midnight, and the mornings are delightfully calm
and cool. The Coras consider this wind beneficial to the growth of
the corn, and sacrifice a tamal of ashes, two feet long, to keep it
in the valley.

The Cora of the cañon, and probably of the entire Tierra Caliente,
is of a milder disposition than his brother of the sierra, but he
looks after his own advantage as closely as the rest of them.

The houses of the village are built of stone with thatched roofs,
and, having no means of ventilation, become dreadfully overheated. I
frequently noticed people lying on the floor in these hovels, suffering
from colds. In the summer there is also prevalent in the valley a
disease of the eyes which makes them red and swollen. Although the
country is malarial, the Indians attain to remarkable longevity,
and their women are wonderfully well preserved. All Indian women
age very late in life, a trait many of their white sisters might be
pardonably envious of.

There are twenty Mexicans living here, counting the children; they
are poor, and have no house or lands of their own, but live in the
Convento and rent lands from the Indians. The Coras, of course,
are all nominally Christians, and the padre from San Juan Peyotan
attends to their religious needs. I was told that as recently as forty
years ago they had to be driven to church with scourges. Some families
still put their dead away in caves difficult of access, closing up the
entrance, without interring the bodies, and they still dance mitote,
although more or less secretly.

The Indians catch crayfish, and other small fish, with a kind of
hand-net of cotton thread, which they hold wide open with their elbows
while crawling in the water between the stones. Where the river is
deep they will even dive with the net held in this way.

The day after my arrival I was requested to come to. La Comunidad,
that the people might hear my letters read. This over, I explained
that I wanted them to sell me some corn and beans, a blue tunic of
native make, and other objects of interest to me, that I also wanted
them to furnish me two reliable men to go to the city of Tepic for
mail and money; that I wished to photograph them and to be shown
their burial-caves, and to have a real, good old shaman visit me,
and some men to interpret. The messengers were duly appointed, but it
took them two days to prepare the tortillas they had to take along as
provisions. My desire to see the burial-caves was looked upon with
ill-favour. The old shaman, however, was promptly sent for. He soon
arrived at the council-house, and without having seen me he told the
Indian authorities that "it was all right to tell this man about their
ancient beliefs, that the Government might know everything." When he
came to see me he took my hand to kiss, as if I were a padre, and I
had a most interesting interview with the truthful, dear old man, who
told me much about the Cora myths, traditions, and history. I gathered
from what he said that he could not be far from a hundred years old,
and he had not a grey hair in his head. His faculties were intact,
except his hearing, and while I was interviewing him he was making
a fish-net.

I had him with me one day and a part of the next, but by that time
he was a good deal fatigued mentally, and I had to let him go.

There was an Indian here, Canuto, who could read and write, and,
as he took a great interest in church affairs, he acted as a kind of
padre. I was told that he ascended the pulpit and delivered sermons
in Cora, and that he aspired even to bless water, but this the padre
had forbidden him. He was very suspicious and intolerant and quite
an ardent Catholic, the first Indian I had met who had entirely
relinquished his native belief. He actually did not like mitote
dancing, and the other Indians did not take kindly to him. All the
time I was here he worked against me, because the priest of San Juan
Peyotan, as I learned, had denounced me before the people.

Two traders from that town, who had been visiting Santa Teresa while
I was there, had reported to the padre the presence of a mysterious
gringo (American), who had a fine outfit of boxes and pack-mules,
and who gave the Coras "precious jewellery" to buy their souls,
and visited their dances. The padre, without having ever seen me,
concluded that I was a travelling Protestant missionary, and one
day after mass he warned the people against the bad Protestant who
was on his way to corrupt their hearts and to disturb this valley in
which there had always been peace. "Do not accept anything from him,
not even his money; do not allow him to enter the church, and do not
give him anything, not even a glass of water," he said. This padre,
so I was told by reliable authority, made the judges at San Juan and
at San Lucas punish men and women for offences that did not come under
their jurisdiction. The men were put into prison, while the women had
fastened to their ankles a heavy round board, which they had to drag
wherever they went for a week or two. It caused them great difficulty
in walking, and they could not kneel down at the metate with it.

His speeches about me made a deep impression upon the illiterate
Mexicans in that remote part of the world, who in consequence of it
looked upon me with suspicion and shunned me. Not knowing anything
better, they invented all kinds of wild charges against me: I was
surveying the lands for Porfirio Diaz, who wanted to sell the Cora
country to the Americans; I appealed only to the Indians because
they were more confiding and could be more easily led astray, my
alleged aim being to make Freemasons out of them. A Freemason is
the one thing of which these people have a superstitious dread and
horror. Even my letters of recommendation were doubted and considered
spurious. However, one old man, whose wife I had cured, told me that
Protestants are also Christians, and in his opinion I was even better
than a Protestant. Fortunately, the Indians were less impressionable,
and as their brethren in the sierra had not reported to them anything
bad about me, they could see no harm in a man who did not cheat anyone
and took an interest in their ancient customs and beliefs, while the
padres had always made short work of their sacred ceremonial things,
breaking and burning them.

When at last my messengers returned, after an absence of twelve days, I
was surprised to note that they were accompanied by two gendarmes. The
Commandant-General of the Territory of Tepic had not only been kind
enough to cash my check for about $200, but had deemed it wise to
send me the money under the protection of an escort, a precaution
which I duly appreciated. As the return of the men was the only thing
I had been waiting for, I now prepared to move up the river to the
near-by pueblo of San Francisco, where the population is freer from
Mexican influence.

When my hut was broken up, I found among my effects ten scorpions. The
cañon is noted for its multitude of scorpions, and I was told that a
piece of land above San Juan Peyotan had to be abandoned on account
of these creatures. The scorpion's sting is the most common complaint
hereabout, and children frequently die from it, though not all kinds
of scorpions are dangerous. The consensus of opinion is that the
small whitish-yellow variety is the one most to be dreaded. The Cura
of Santa Magdalena, State of Jalisco, assured me that he had known
the sting of such scorpions to cause the death of full-grown people
within two hours.

The scorpions of Mexico seem to have an unaccountable preference for
certain localities, where they may be found in great numbers. In
the city of Durango the hotels advertise, as an attraction, that
there are no scorpions ill them. For a number of years, according
to the municipal records, something like 60,000 scorpions have been
annually killed, the city paying one centavo for each. Some persons
earn a dollar a night by this means. Yet some forty victims, mostly
children, die every year there from scorpion-stings.

The cura quoted above thinks that there is a zone of scorpions
extending from the mining-place of Bramador, near Talpa, Territory
of Tepic, as far north as the city of Durango, though he could not
outline its lateral extent. At Santa Magdalena the scorpions are not
very dangerous.

Chapter XXIX

    A Cordial Reception at San Francisco--Mexicans in the Employ
    of Indians --The Morning Star, the Great God of the Coras--The
    Beginning of the World--How the Rain-clouds were First Secured--The
    Rabbit and the Deer--Aphorisms of a Cora Shaman--An Eventful
    Night--Hunting for Skulls--My Progress Impeded by Padre's
    Ban--Final Start for the Huichol Country--A Threatened Desertion.

At the pueblo of San Francisco, prettily situated at the bend of
a river, I was made very welcome. The Casa Real, another name for
the building generally designated as La Comunidad, had been swept
and looked clean and cool, and I accepted the invitation to lodge
there. It was furnished with the unheard-of luxury of a bedstead,
or rather the framework of one, made of a network of strong strips
of hide. As the room was dark, I moved this contrivance out on the
veranda, where I also stored my baggage, while my aparejos and saddles
were put into the prison next door. Two Indians were appointed to
sleep near by to guard me. When I objected to this I was informed
that two fellows from Jesus Maria had been talking of killing me as
the easiest way of carrying out the padre's orders. I felt quite at
home among these friendly, well-meaning people, and paid off my men,
who returned to their homes. I thought that whenever I decided to
start out again, I could get men here to help me to reach the country
of the Huichols. A shaman who knew more than all others was deputed
to give me the information I wanted about the ancient beliefs and
traditions of the Coras.

The people also agreed to let me see their mitote, which at this
time of the year is given every Wednesday for five consecutive weeks
in order to bring about the rainy season. The fourth of this year's
series was to be on May 22d. As to burial-caves, they at first denied
that there were any skulls in the neighbourhood, but finally consented
to show me some. Later on, how-ever, an important shaman objected to
this, strongly advising the people not to do so, because the dead
helped to make the rain they were praying for, at least they could
be induced not to interfere with the clouds.

A few Coras here were married to "neighbours," and some Cora women
had taken "neighbours" for husbands. For the first time, and also
the last, in all my travels, I had here the gratification of seeing
impecunious Mexicans from other parts of the country at work in the
fields for the Coras, who paid them the customary Mexican wages of
twenty-five centavos a day. The real owners of the land for once
maintained their proper position.

I saw hikuli cultivated near some of the houses in San Francisco. They
were in blossom, producing beautiful large, white flowers. The plant
is used at the mitotes, but not generally.

On both sides of the steep arroyo near San Francisco were a great
number of ancient walls of loose stones, one above the other, a kind
of fortification. In other localities, sometimes in places where one
would least expect them, I found a number of circular figures formed
by upright stones firmly embedded in the ground, in the same way as
those described earlier in this narrative.

The pueblo, _mirabile dictu_, had a Huichol teacher, whom the
authorities considered, and justly so, to be better than the ordinary
Mexican teacher. He was one of nine boys whom the Bishop of Zacatecas,
in 1879, while on a missionary tour in the Huichol country, had picked
out to educate for the priesthood. After an adventurous career, which
drove him out of his own country, he managed now to maintain himself
here. Although his word could not be implicitly trusted, he helped
me to get on with the Coras, and I am under some obligation to him.

A prominent feature in the elaborate ceremonies of the tribe, connected
with the coming of age of boys and girls, is the drinking of home-made
mescal. The lifting of the cochiste, as described among the Aztecs,
is also practised, at least among the Coras of the sierra, and is
always performed at full moon.

The people begin to marry when they are fifteen years old, and
they may live to be a hundred. The arrangement of marriages by the
parents of the boy without consulting him is a custom still largely
followed. On five occasions, every eighth day, they go to ask for
the bride they have selected. If she consents to marry the man, then
all is right. One man of my acquaintance did not know his "affinity"
when his parents informed him that they had a bride for him. Three
weeks later they were married, and, as in the fairy-tale, lived
happily ever afterward. His parents and grandparents fasted before
the wedding. In San Francisco I saw men and women who were married,
or engaged to be married, bathing together in the river.

Fasting is also a notable feature in the religion of the Coras, and is
considered essential for producing rain and good crops. Abstinence from
drinking water for two days during droughts is sometimes observed. The
principal men on such occasions may undertake to do the fasting for
the rest of the people. They then shut themselves up in La Comunidad,
sit down, smoke, and keep their eyes on the ground.

The Coras of the cañon are not always in summer in accord with Father
Sun, because he is fierce, producing sickness and killing men and
animals. Chulavete, the Morning Star, who is the protecting genius of
the Coras, has constantly to watch the Sun lest he should harm the
people. In ancient times, when the Sun first appeared, the Morning
Star, who is cool and disliked heat, shot him in the middle of the
breast, just as he had journeyed nearly half across the sky. The
Sun fell down on earth, but an old man brought him to life again,
so that he could tramp back and make a fresh start.

The Morning Star is the principal great god of the Coras. In the
small hours of the morning they frequently go to some spring and wash
themselves by his light. He is their brother, a young Indian with bow
and arrow, who intercedes with the other gods to help the people in
their troubles. At their dances they first call him to be present,
and tell their wants to him, that he may report them to the Sun and
the Moon and the rest of the gods.

A pathetic story of the modern adventures of this their great hero-god
graphically sets forth the Indian's conception of the condition in
which he finds himself after the arrival of the white man. Chulavete
was poor, and the rich people did not like him. But afterward they took
to him, because they found that he was a nice man, and they asked him
to come and eat with them. He went to their houses dressed like the
"neighbours." But once when they invited him he came like an Indian
boy, almost naked. He stopped outside of the house, and the host came
out with a torch of pinewood to see who it was. He did not recognise
Chulavete, and called out to him: "Get away, you Indian pig! What are
you doing here?" And with his torch he burned stripes down the arms and
legs of the shrinking Chulavete. Next day Chulavete received another
invitation to eat with the "neighbours." This time he made himself
into a big bearded fellow, with the complexion of a man half white,
and he put on the clothes in which they knew him. He came on a good
horse, had a nice blanket over his shoulder, wore a sombrero and a
good sabre. They met him at the door and led him into the house.

"Here I am at your service, to see what I can do for you," he said
to them.

"Oh, no!" they said. "We invited you because we like you, not because
we want anything of you. Sit down and eat."

He sat down to the table, which was loaded with all the good things
rich people eat. He put a roll of bread on his plate, and then began
to make stripes with it on his arms and legs.

"Why do you do that?" they asked him. "We invited you to eat what
we eat."

Chulavete replied: "You do not wish that my heart may eat, but my
dress. Look here! Last night it was I who was outside of your door. The
man who came to see me burned me with his pine torch, and said to me,
'You Indian pig, what do you want here?' "

"Was that you?" they asked.

"Yes, gentlemen, it was I who came then. As you did not give me
anything yesterday, I see that you do not want to give the food to me,
but to my clothes. Therefore, I had better give it to them." He took
the chocolate and the coffee and poured it over himself as if it were
water, and he broke the bread into pieces and rubbed it all over his
dress. The sweetened rice, and boiled hen with rice, sweet atole,
minced meat with chile, rice pudding, and beef soup, all this he
poured over himself. The rich people were frightened and said that
they had not recognised him.

"You burned me yesterday because I was an Indian," he said. "God put
me in the world as an Indian. But you do not care for the Indians,
because they are naked and ugly." He took the rest of the food,
and smeared it over his saddle and his horse, and went away.

The Coras say they originated in the east, and were big people with
broad and handsome faces and long hair. They then spoke another
language, and there were no "neighbours." According to another
tradition, the men came from the east and the women from the west.

In the beginning the earth was fiat and full of water, and therefore
the corn rotted. The ancient people had to think and work and fast
much to get the world in shape. The birds came together to see what
they could do to bring about order in the world, so that it would be
possible to plant corn. First they asked the red-headed vulture, the
principal of all the birds, to set things right, but he said he could
not. They sent for all the birds in the world, one after another,
to induce them to perform the deed, but none would undertake it. At
last came the bat, very old and much wrinkled. His hair and his beard
were white with age, and there was plenty of dirt on his face, as he
never bathes. He was supporting himself with a stick, because he was
so old he could hardly walk. He also said that he was not equal to
the task, but at last he agreed to try what he could do. That same
night he darted violently through the air, cutting outlets for the
waters; but he made the valleys so deep that it was impossible to
walk about, and the principal men reproached him for this. "Then I
will put everything back as it was before," he said.

"No, no!" they all said. "What we want is to make the slopes of a
lower incline, and to leave some level land, and do not make all the
country mountains."

This the bat did, and the principal men thanked him for it. Thus the
world has remained up to this day.

No rain was falling, and the five principal men despatched the
humming-bird to the place in the east where the rain-clouds are living,
to ask them to come over here. The clouds came very fast and killed
the humming-bird, and then returned to their home. After a while
the humming-bird came to life, and told the principal men that the
clouds had gone back. The people then sent out the frog with his five
sons. As he proceeded toward the east he left one of his sons on each
mountain. He called the clouds to come, and they followed and overtook
him on the road. But he hid himself under a stone, and they passed
over him. Then the fifth son called them on, and when they overtook
him he, too, hid himself under a stone. Then the fourth son called
the clouds and hid, then the third son called, and then the second,
and finally the first, who had been placed on a mountain from which
the sea can be seen to the west of the sierra. When the storm-clouds
went away again, the frogs began to sing merrily, which they do to
this day after rain, and they still hide under stones when rain is
coming to the Cora country.

The rabbit in olden times had hoofs like the deer, and the deer had
claws. They met on the road and saluted each other as friends. Said the
deer: "Listen, friend, lend me your sandals, to see how they feel. Only
for a moment." The rabbit, who was afraid the deer would steal them,
refused at first, but at last he agreed, and the deer, putting them on,
rose and began to dance. "Oh, how beautifully it sounds!" he said. He
danced five circuits, and began to dance mitote and sing. The rabbit
sat looking on, and was in a dejected mood, fearing that the deer
might not give him back his sandals. The deer then asked permission
to run five big circuits over the mountains. The rabbit said no, but
the deer went away, promising to come back directly. He returned four
times, but on the fifth round he ran away. The rabbit climbed up on a
mountain and saw the deer already far off. He wanted to follow him, but
he could not, because his feet were bare. The deer never returned the
hoofs to the rabbit, and hoofless the rabbit has remained to this day.

I had many interesting interviews with the old shaman whom the
authorities had appointed to serve me. He confided to me that for
many years he had faithfully fulfilled his office as the principal
singing shaman of the community, but that the people had once suddenly
accused him of practising sorcery and wanted to punish him. Being
very intelligent and upright, he was of great assistance to me,
and the more eager to do all he could for the grudge he bore his
compatriots for accusing him of sorcery. No doubt he was glad of
my coming, as it gave him a chance to rehabilitate himself, since,
for the first time in three years, he had been engaged to sing at the
dance. Be this as it may, I obtained much valuable information from
him. He could elucidate the trend of Indian thought better than any
shaman I had hitherto met, and his talk was full of aphorisms and
opinions with reference to Indian views of life.

Referring to the many regulations and observances the Indians have
to comply with in order to insure food, health, and life, he said:
"A man has to do a good deal to live. Every tortilla we eat is the
result of our work. If we do not work, it does not rain." That the
"work" consists in fasting, praying, and dancing does not detract
from its hardship.

Other sayings I picked up are as follows:

We do not know how many gods there are.

The Moon is man and woman combined; men see in her a woman, women
see a man.

It is better to give a wife to your son before he opens his eyes very
much; if not, he will not know whom he wants.

Illness is like a person; it hears.

Everything is alive; there is nothing dead in the world. The people
say the dead are dead; but they are very much alive.

My friend went with me in the afternoon to the place where the mitote
was to be given. As the preparations of the principal men consume
two days, and I was bent on seeing everything, I went to the place
the day before the dance was to come off. It was a few miles away
in a remote locality, on top of a hill the upper part of which was
composed mainly of huge stones, some of them as regular in shape as if
they had been chiselled. Here and there in the few open spaces some
shrubbery grew. An opening in the midst of the great mass of stones
had been prepared to serve as a dancing-place. The big stones looked
dead enough, but to the Indians they are alive. They are what the
Coras call Táquats or ancient people. Once upon a time they went to a
mitote, just as we were doing now, when the morning star arose before
they arrived at their destination, and all were changed into stone,
and ever since have appeared like stones. My companion pointed out
the various figures of men, women, and children, with their bundles
and baskets, girdles, etc., and in the waning light of day it was not
difficult to understand how the Indians had come to this conception
of the fantastic forms standing all around the place. Even a mountain
may be a Taquat, and all the Taquats are gods to whom the Coras pray
and sacrifice food; but it is bad to talk about them.

It had often been a puzzle to me why primitive people should make
for themselves stone idols to whom they might sacrifice and pray;
but what is to us a rock or stone may be to the Indian a man or a
god of ancient times, now turned into stone. By carving out features,
head, body, or limbs, they only bring before their physical eyes what
is in their mind's eye. This peculiar kind of pantheism can never be
eradicated from the Indian's heart unless he is from infancy estranged
from his tribal life.

In the centre of the dancing-place stood a magnificent tree not yet
in leaf, called _chócote_, and there was some shrubbery growing about
and around the place, which is very old. Only a few yards higher
up among the rocks is a similar spot, with traces of still greater
antiquity. The Indians had promised me that on this occasion one of
their shamans would make a god's eye for me, and I was shown the stone
on which he would sit while making it. It was near the tree; and back
of it, arranged in a circle around the fire, were six similar stones,
in place of the stools I had seen in Pueblo Viejo. The principal men
had swept the place in the morning, and since then had been smoking
pipes and talking to the gods.

There were also present a female principal, an old woman, with her
little granddaughter who represented the moon. These too, it seemed,
had to attend to certain religious duties which they perform for five
years, the child beginning at the innocent age of three. During her
term she lives with the old woman, whether she is related to her or
not. The old lady has charge of the large sacred bowl of the community,
an office vested only in a woman of undoubted chastity. This bowl is
called "Mother," and is prayed to. It consists of half of a large round
gourd, adorned inside and outside with strings of beads of various
colours. It is filled with wads of cotton, under which lie carved stone
figures of great antiquity. None but the chief religious authority is
allowed to lift up the cotton, the symbol of health and life. The bowl
rests also on cotton wads. On festive occasions the woman in charge
brings the bowl to the dancing-place and deposits it at the middle of
the altar. Parrot feathers are stood up along the inner edge, and each
person as he arrives places a flower on top of the cotton inside of
the bowl. This vessel is really the patron saint of the community. It
is like a mother of the tribe, and understands, so the Indians say,
no language but Cora. The Christian saints understand Cora, Spanish,
and French; but the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe, the native saint of
the Mexican Indians, understands all Indian languages.

Leaving the principales to prepare themselves further for the
dance, my friend and I early next morning went to see a sacred cave
where the Huichols go to worship. It was situated in the same hill,
outside of the country of that tribe. There were a great many caves
and cavities between the stones over which we made our way, jumping
from one to another. Near the lower edge of this accumulation of
stones I noticed, down in the dark, deep recesses, ceremonial arrows
which the pious pilgrims from beyond the eastern border of the Cora
land had left. Soon after passing this point We came to a cave,
the approach of which led downward and was rather narrow. With the
aid of a pole or a rope it can easily be entered. I found myself
at one of the ancient places of worship of the Huichol Indians,
the cave of their Goddess of the Western Clouds. It was not large,
but the many singular ceremonial objects, of all shapes and colours,
accumulated within it, made a strange impression upon me. There were
great numbers of ceremonial arrows, many with diminutive deer-snares
attached, to pray for luck in hunting; as well as votive bowls, gods'
eyes, and many other articles by which prayers are expressed. In one
corner was a heap of deer-heads, brought for the same purpose. As my
companion entered, a rat disappeared in the twilight of the cave.

I wanted to take some samples of the articles, but he begged me not
to do it, as the poor fellows who had sacrificed the things might
be cheated out of the benefits they had expected from them. He had,
however, no objection to nay taking a small rectangular piece of
textile fabric, with beautifully colored figures on it. "This is
a back shield," he said, "and the Huichols do not do right by those
things. They place them in the trails leading out of their country, to
prevent the rain from coming to us. Lions and other ferocious animals
are often represented on them, and they frighten the rain back."

On our return to the dancing-place I found the man who had been
deputed to make the god's eye lying in a small cave in quite an
exhausted condition, having fasted for many days. The ceremonial
object had already been made, under incantations. It was very pretty,
white and blue, and had a wad of cotton attached to each corner. Its
efficacy was, however, lost as far as I was concerned, as I had not
been sitting beside the man while he made it, praying for what I
wanted. This is a necessary condition if the Morning Star is to be
made to understand clearly what the supplicant needs.

On the altar, beside the sacred bowl of the community, had been
placed food and many ceremonial objects, not omitting the five ears of
seed-corn to be used in raising the corn required for the feasts. In
the ground immediately in front of the altar were four bunches of
the beautiful tail-feathers of the bluejay.

Opposite to this, on the west side of the place, was another altar,
a smaller one, on which had been put some boiled pinole in potsherds,
with tortillas and a basket of cherries. This was for the dead, who if
dissatisfied might disturb the feast. Afterward the pinole is thrown
on the ground, while the people eat the rest of the food.

The fasting shaman came forth on our arrival and took his position
opposite the main altar, talking to the gods for half an hour. The
newly made god's eye had been stuck into the ground in front of him. On
his left side stood the little girl, and behind her the old woman,
her guardian, and a man, who was smoking tobacco. Two young men, one
at the right, the other at the left, held in their hands sticks with
which they woke up people who fell asleep during the night while the
dance was going on.

The shaman prayed to the Morning Star, presented to him the ears of
corn that were to be used as seed, and asked him to make them useful
for planting. The gods know best how to fructify the grains, since all
the corn belongs to them. "And as for this man," he added, speaking
of me, "you all knew him before he started from his own country. To
us he seems to be good, but you alone know his heart. You give him
the god's eye he asked for."

A little after dark the singer for the occasion began to play a
prelude on the musical bow, which the Coras always glue to the gourd,
uniting the two parts to form one instrument. The gourd was placed
over a small excavation in the ground to increase its resonance. The
singer invoked the Morning Star to come with his brothers, the other
stars, to bring with them their pipes and plumes, and arrive dancing
with the rain-clouds that emanate from their pipes as they smoke. The
Morning Star was also asked to invite the seven principal Taquats to
come with their plumes and pipes.

The Coras-dance like the Tepehuanes and the Aztecs, but with quicker
steps, and every time they pass the altar the dancers turn twice
sharply toward it. At regular intervals the old woman and the little
girl danced, the former smoking a pipe. The little girl had parrot
feathers tied to her forehead and a bunch of plumes from the bluejay
stood up from the back of her head. In the middle of the night she
danced five circuits, carrying a good-sized drinking-gourd containing
water from a near-by brook, which originates in the sacred lagoon.

The shaman sang well, but the dancing lacked animation, and but
few took part in it. When the little girl began to dance with her
grandmother, I seated myself on a small ledge not far from the
musician. Immediately the shaman stopped playing and the dancing
ceased. In an almost harsh voice, and greatly excited, he called to
me, "Come and sit here, sir!" He was evidently very anxious to get
me away from the ledge, and offered me a much better seat on one of
the stones placed for the principal men. I had inadvertently sat
on a Taquat! This sacred rock of the dancing-place had a natural
hollow, which the Indians think is his votive bowl, and into which
they put pinole and other food. "Never," my friend told me next day,
"had anyone sat there before."

Later in the evening, when there was a pause in the performance,
I noticed that all the men, with the singing shaman, gathered in a
corner of the dancing-place, seating themselves on the ground. They
were discussing what they should do in regard to the skulls I had
asked for. One of the principal men told them that a dream last night
had advised him not to deny the "Señor" anything he asked for, as
he had to have a "head" and would not go without one. "You are daft,
and he comes here knowing a good deal," the dream had said.

They all became alarmed, especially the man who had steadily opposed
their complying with my request, and they agreed that it was better
to give the white man what he wanted. The gobernador even raised the
question whether it would not be best to let me have the skulls early
next morning, together with the other things I was to get; or, if not
then, at what other time? My shaman friend diplomatically proposed
that I should set the time for this.

Next morning I got the god's eye as well as a splendid specimen of
a musical bow with the gourd attached, the playing-sticks, etc., all
of which were taken out of a cave near the dancing-place. There was
another cave near by, into which the principal men are accustomed to
go to ask permission from the sun and moon and all the other Taquats
to make their feasts.

The morning saw the feast concluded in about the usual way. Tobacco was
smoked over the seed-corn on the altar, and sacred water was sprinkled
from a red orchid over everything on the altar, including the sacred
bowl and the flowers on top of it, as well as over the heads of all
the people present, to insure health and luck. This is done on behalf
of the Morning Star, because he throws blessed water Over the whole
earth, and on the corn and the fruit the Coras eat. The flowers are
afterward taken home, even by the children, and put in cracks in the
house walls, where they remain until removed by the hand of time.

The people of Santa Teresa and San Francisco, at certain rain-making
feasts, fashion a large locust (_chicharra_) out of a paste made of
ground corn and beans, and place it on the altar. In the morning,
after the dancing of the mitote, it is divided among the participants
of the feast, each eating his share. This is considered more efficient
even than the dancing itself.

It is evident that the religious customs of the cañon of Jesus Maria
are on the wane, mainly because the singing shamans are dying out,
though curing shamans will remain for centuries yet. As the Indians
now have to perform their dances secretly, the growing generation
has less inclination and little opportunity to learn them, and the
tribe's ritual and comprehensive songs will gradually become lost.

My shaman friend in San Francisco complained to me that the other
shamans did not know the words of the songs well enough. Tayop (Father
Sun) and the other gods do not understand them, he said, and therefore
these shamans cannot accomplish anything with "los señores." It was
like sending a badly written letter: "the gentlemen" pass it from
one to another, none of them being able to make out its meaning.

In the mean time my efforts to obtain anthropological specimens were
more laborious than successful, because it was very difficult to get
anyone to show me where they could be found. To make things worse,
suddenly another man dreamed that I had enough "heads," and so I was
not permitted to search for them any more. But I did not intend to
content myself with the few I had secured. I had made arrangements with
a Cora some time before to show me some skulls he knew of, and after
much procrastination on his part I at last got him to accompany me.

We rode for fifteen miles in the direction of Santa Teresa. The
country was rough and but sparsely inhabited. In fact, I passed three
deserted ranches, and near one of them I killed a Gila monster that
was just making its burrow. There lay an air of antiquity over the
whole landscape. About half a league before reaching the caves we
sought, I came upon quite an extensive fortification; I also noticed
a number of trincheras in one arroyo; and above it on a mesa, running
along the edge, we found a wall built of loose stones. The mesa, 300
by 200 feet in extent, was a natural fortress difficult of access,
except at one point where a little cordon, like an isthmus, led to
it. Here, however, I found no vestige of ancient inhabitants.

There were two shallow caves close to each other in the remote valley
into which the guide had led me. In the larger one, which was eight
feet deep and twelve feet broad, nine skulls were found. In the other
were only a few bones, and I noticed indications of partitions, in the
shape of upright stones, between the skeletons. The bodies must have
been partly buried, with the heads protruding, in spaces a foot square.

It was nearing dusk and I had to get back to my camp that evening. On
the road my mule gave out, and for the last part of the way I had
to walk. I refreshed myself with some zapotes, which were just in
season. This native fruit of Mexico has the flavour of the pear and
the strawberry, and is delicious when picked fresh from the tree;
but as soon as it falls to the ground it is infested with insects.

Contrary to expectation, when I was ready to leave the village,
I found it exceedingly difficult to get men. As the Coras here do
not understand the mule business, I had to resort to the Mexicans in
the valley, who, however, acting under instructions from the padre,
would have nothing to do with me. They even shunned those who were
seen in my company. One man who used to carry on some trading with
the Huichols was more daring than the rest. He declared that he would
serve the devil himself if he got paid for it, and tried to make up a
party for me, but failed. He was ruining his reputation for my sake,
he told me; even his compadre (his child's godfather), on account
of his association with me, ran away when he saw him coming. The
situation finally became so exasperating that I was compelled to write
to the Bishop in Tepic, and lay the case before him. I stated that the
padre, without having seen me, had placed me in a bad light before the
people, and had then left the country, making it impossible for me to
convince him of his error of judgment; that if it were not for the
strong recommendations I had from the Government and the Commanding
General of the Territory, it would be impossible for me to stay here,
except at great personal risk.

To await an answer, however, would have involved too great a loss
of time. Luckily I found three dare-devil fellows, but recently come
into the valley for a living, who were willing to go with me. These,
together with the man already mentioned and one Cora Indian, enabled
me to make a start. Thus I parted from pretty San Francisco, and the
nice Indians there, who had believed in me in spite of the wickedness
the Mexicans had attributed to me. The Coras are the only primitive
race I have met who seem to have acquired the good qualities of the
white man and none of his bad ones.

On an oppressively hot June morning, when I finally got away, the
alcalde rode along with me for a couple of miles. We soon began to
ascend the slope of the mountains that form the western barrier
of the Huichol country, which, among the Mexicans, is reputed to
be accessible only at four points. Next morning, while packing the
mules, the father of one of my Mexicans ran up to us with a message
that seemed quite alarming. Immediately after I left San Francisco
yesterday, the Mexican authority at Jesus Maria had come over to tell
me that the Huichols were on the warpath and determined not to allow
me to enter their pueblos. The messenger impressed upon my men the
necessity of turning back and implored them not to run any risk by
accompanying me. The chief packer came hastily to me with this news,
which I at once declared to be false. But the men, nevertheless,
stopped packing, and proposed to go back. They declared that the
Huichols were bad, that they were assassins, that there were many of
them, and that they would kill us all.

Now, what was I to do? To turn back from the tribe the study of which
had been from the outset my principal aim was not to be thought of;
even to delay the trip would be impossible, as the wet season was fast
approaching, in which one cannot travel for months. I tried to reason
with them and to ease their minds by pointing out the great experience
I had had with Indians in general. I also appealed to their manly
pride and courage. "Have we not five rifles?" I said. "Cannot each one
of you fight fifty Indians?" Still they wavered, and it looked as if
they were going to desert me, when the cook courageously exclaimed:
_"Vámos, vámos!"_ ("Let us go on!") They again began to pack, and I
managed to keep my troupe together.

The real danger for me lay in the evil rumours the Mexicans had spread,
and in. the fact that the whites were afraid of me. The Indians do
not follow the "neighbours" in their reasoning; they only think that
a white man of whom even the Mexicans are afraid must certainly be
terrible. The reason why I had chosen this route was that a friend of
mine in far-away Guadalajara had given me a letter of recommendation
to an acquaintance of his, a half-caste, who acted as escribano
(secretary) to the pueblo of San Andres, or, to give its name in full,
San Andres Coamiata. I had been told that this man was temporarily
absent, in which case I should be at the mercy of the strange Indians.

The immediate prospect looked dark enough to make me consider the
advisability of the long detour to the town of Mezquitic, to get
assistance from the government authorities there and to enter the
Huichol country from the east by way of Santa Catarina. Against
this plan, however, my men urged that they could not be back in
their country before the wet season set in, to attend to their
fields. Finally, I decided to risk going to San Andres. If Don
Zeferino was not there, I would come back and then try Mezquitic. Two
days later, after a laborious ascent, I sent my chief packer ahead to
San Andres, which was still about eight miles off. What a mountainous
country all around us! The Jesuit father Ortega was right when he said
of the Sierra del Nayarit: "It is so wild and frightful to behold that
its ruggedness, even more than the arrows of its warlike inhabitants,
took away the courage of the conquerors, because not only did the
ridges and valleys appear inaccessible, but the extended range of
towering mountain peaks confused even the eye."

My messenger returned after two days, saying that Don Zeferino was
at home and would be at my disposal. In the meantime it had begun to
rain; my men were anxious to return home to the valley, and I started
for San Andres.



[1] I have used once or twice the expression _gentile_ Indians,
referring to these Tarahumares.

[2] Several years after my expedition passed through those regions
the Apaches on more than one occasion attacked outlying Mormon ranches
and killed several persons.

[3] See page 356.

[4] With which the fruit is brought down.

[5] The Rio Fuerte, the only large water-course in the Tarahumare
country, empties into the Pacific Ocean.

[6] As related by an old "Christian" Tarahumare woman in Huerachic,
on the upper Rio Fuerte.

[7] A kind of tomato.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) - A Record of Five Years' Exploration Among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; In the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and Among the Tarascos of Michoacan" ***

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