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Title: The Arrow-Maker - A Drama in Three Acts
Author: Austin, Mary Hunter, 1868-1934
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  THE ARROW-MAKER

  A Drama in Three Acts


  BY
  MARY AUSTIN

  _Revised Edition_

  AMS PRESS
  NEW YORK

  Reprinted from the edition of 1915, Boston
  First AMS EDITION published 1969
  Manufactured in the United States of America

  Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 70-90082

  AMS PRESS, INC.
  New York, N. Y. 10003

  DEDICATED
  IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO
  H. C. H.
  AS ONE WHO AMONG MANY PROTESTANTS
  “MADE GOOD”



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION


The greatest difficulty to be met in the writing of an Indian play is
the extensive misinformation about Indians. Any real aboriginal of my
acquaintance resembles his prototype in the public mind about as much
as he does the high-nosed, wooden sign of a tobacco store, the fact
being that, among the fifty-eight linguistic groups of American
aboriginals, customs, traits, and beliefs differ as greatly as among
Slavs and Sicilians. Their very speech appears not to be derived from
any common stock. All that they really have of likeness is an average
condition of primitiveness: they have traveled just so far toward an
understanding of the world they live in, and no farther. It is this
general limitation of knowledge which makes, in spite of the
multiplication of tribal customs, a common attitude of mind which
alone affords a basis of interpretation.

But before attempting to realize the working of Indian psychology,
you must first rid yourself of the notion that there is any real
difference between the tribes of men except the explanations. What
determines man's behavior in the presence of fever, thunder, and the
separations of death, is the nature of his guess at the causes of
these things. The issues of life do not vary so much with the
conditions of civilization as is popularly supposed.

Chiefest among the misconceptions of primitive life, which make
difficult any dramatic presentation of it, is the notion that all
human contacts are accompanied by the degree of emotional stress that
obtains only in the most complex social organizations. We are always
hearing, from the people farthest removed from them, of “great
primitive passions,” when in fact what distinguishes the passions of
the tribesmen from our own is their greater liability to the pacific
influences of nature, and their greater freedom from the stimulus of
imagination. What among us makes for the immensity of emotion, is the
great weight of accumulated emotional tradition stored up in
literature and art, almost entirely wanting in the camps of the
aboriginals. There the two greatest themes of modern drama, love and
ambition, are modified, the one by the more or less communal nature
of tribal labor, the other by the plain fact that in the simple,
open-air life of the Indian the physical stress of sex is actually
much less than in conditions called civilized.

When the critics are heard talking of “drama of great primitive
passions,” what they mean is great barbaric passions, passions far
enough along in the process of socialization to be subject to the
interactions of wealth, caste, and established religion, and still
free from the obligation of politeness. But the life of the American
Indian provides no such conditions, and, moreover, in the factor
which makes conspicuously for the degree of complication called Plot,
is notably wanting,--I mean in the factor of Privacy. Where all the
functions of living are carried on in the presence of the community,
or at the best behind the thin-walled, leafy huts, human relations
become simplified to a degree difficult for our complexer habit to
comprehend. The only really great passions--great, I mean, in the
sense of being dramatically possible--are communal, and find their
expression in the dance which is the normal vehicle of emotional
stress.

In _The Arrow-Maker_ the author, without dwelling too much on tribal
peculiarities, has attempted the explication of this primitive
attitude toward a human type common to all conditions of society. The
particular mould in which the story is cast takes shape from the
manner of aboriginal life in the Southwest, anywhere between the
Klamath River and the Painted Desert; but it has been written in vain
if the situation has not also worked itself out in terms of your own
environment.

The Chisera is simply the Genius, one of those singular and powerful
characters whom we are still, with all our learning, unable to
account for without falling back on the primitive conception of gift
as arising from direct communication with the gods. That she becomes
a Medicine Woman is due to the circumstance of being born into a time
which fails to discriminate very clearly as to just which of the
inexplicable things lie within the control of her particular gift.
That she accepts the interpretation of her preëminence which common
opinion provides for her, does not alter the fact that she is no more
or less than just the gifted woman, too much occupied with the use of
her gift to look well after herself, and more or less at the mercy of
the tribe. What chiefly influences their attitude toward her is
worthy of note, being no less than the universal, unreasoned
conviction that great gift belongs, not to the possessor of it, but
to society at large. The whole question then becomes one of how the
tribe shall work the Chisera to their best advantage.

How they did this, with what damage and success is to be read, but if
to be read profitably, with its application in mind to the present
social awakening to the waste, the enormous and stupid waste, of the
gifts of women. To one fresh from the consideration of the roots of
life as they lie close to the surface of primitive society, this
obsession of the recent centuries, that the community can only be
served by a gift for architecture, for administration, for healing,
when it occurs in the person of a male, is only a trifle less
ridiculous than that other social stupidity, namely, that a gift of
mothering must not be exercised except in the event of a particular
man being able, under certain restrictions, to afford the
opportunity. There is perhaps no social movement going on at present
so deep-rooted and dramatic as this struggle of Femininity to
recapture its right to serve, and still to serve with whatever powers
and possessions it finds itself endowed. But a dramatic presentation
of it is hardly possible outside of primitive conditions where no
tradition intervenes to prevent society from accepting the logic of
events.

Whatever more there may be in _The Arrow-Maker_, besides its Indian
color, should lie in the discovery by the Chisera, to which the
author subscribes, that it is also in conjunction with her normal
relation for loving and bearing that the possessor of gifts finds the
greatest increment of power. To such of these as have not discovered
it for themselves, _The Arrow-Maker_ is hopefully recommended.



NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION


_The Arrow-Maker_ was first published as produced at The New Theatre,
New York, in the spring of 1911. In that edition certain concessions
were made to what was thought to be the demand for a drama of Indian
life which should present the Indian more nearly as he is popularly
conceived.

After four years the success of the published play as an authentic
note on aboriginal life as well as a drama suitable for production in
schools and colleges, seems to warrant its publication in the
original form. As it now stands, the book not only conforms to the
author's original conception of the drama, but to the conditions of
the life it presents.

With the addition of notes and glossary it is hoped the present
edition will meet every demand that can be made on an honest attempt
to render in dramatic form a neglected phase of American life.

  M. A.



PERSONS OF THE DRAMA


In the order of their appearance

  CHOCO        }

  PAMAQUASH    } _Fighting men_

  TAVWOTS      }

  YAVI           _A youth_

  SEEGOOCHE      _The Chief's wife_

  TIAWA          _A very old woman_

  WACOBA         _Wife to Pamaquash_

  THE CHISERA    _Medicine Woman of the Paiutes_

  BRIGHT WATER   _The Chief's daughter_

  WHITE FLOWER }

  TUIYO        } _Friends of Bright Water_

  PIOKE        }

  SIMWA          _The Arrow-Maker_

  PADAHOON       _Rival to Simwa for leadership_

  RAIN WIND      _Chief of the Paiutes_

  HAIWAI         _A young matron_



THE ARROW-MAKER

ACT FIRST



THE ARROW-MAKER



ACT FIRST


SCENE.--_The hut of the_ CHISERA, _in the foot-hills of the Sierras.
It stands at the mouth of a steep, dark cañon, opening toward the
valley of Sagharawite. At the back rise high and barren cliffs where
eagles nest; at the foot of the cliffs runs a stream, hidden by
willow and buckthorn and toyon. The wickiup is built in the usual
Paiute fashion, of long willows set about a circular pit, bent over
to form a dome, thatched with reeds and grass. About the hut lie
baskets and blankets, a stone metate, other household articles, all
of the best quality; in front is a clear space overflowing with
knee-deep many-colored bloom of the California spring. A little bank
that runs from the wickiup to the toyon bushes is covered with white
forget-me-nots. The hearth-fire between two stones is quite out, but
the deerskin that screens the opening of the hut is caught up at one
side, a sign that the owner is not far from home, or expects to
return soon._

_At first glance the scene appears devoid of life, but suddenly the
call of a jay bird is heard faintly and far up the trail that leads
to the right among the rocks. It is repeated nearer at hand,
perfectly imitated but with a nuance that advises of human origin,
and two or three half-naked Indians are seen to be making their way
toward the bottom of the cañon, their movements so cunningly
harmonized with the lines of the landscape as to render them nearly
invisible._ CHOCO _and_ PAMAQUASH _with two others come together at
the end of the bank farthest from the_ CHISERA'S _hut._

  CHOCO

Who called?

  PAMAQUASH

It came from farther up.

  CHOCO

Yavi, I think.

  PAMAQUASH

He must have seen something.

  CHOCO

By the Bear, if the Castacs have crossed our boundaries, there are
some of them shall not recross it!

  PAMAQUASH

Hush--the Chisera--she will hear you!

  CHOCO

She is not in the hut. She went out toward the hills early this
morning, and has not yet returned. Besides, if the Castacs have
crossed, we cannot keep it from the women much longer.

  PAMAQUASH

(_Who has moved up to a better post of observation._) There is some
one on the trail.

    (_The jay's call is heard and answered softly by_ PAMAQUASH.)

  CHOCO

Yavi. But Tavwots is not with him. (YAVI _comes dropping from the
cliffs._) What have you seen?

  YAVI

Smoke rising--by Deer Leap. Two long puffs and a short one.

    (_The news is received with sharp, excited murmurs._)

  PAMAQUASH

More than a score--and with all our youths we cannot count so many.

  CHOCO

And this business of war leader still unsettled--The Council must sit
at once. Go, one of you, and tell Chief Rain Wind that Tavwots has
signaled from Deer Leap that more than a score of Castacs are out
against us.

  PAMAQUASH

And tell the women to prepare a gift hastily for the Chisera. Who
knows how soon we shall have need of her medicine.

    (_One of the Indians departs on this errand._)

  CHOCO

Never so much need of it as when we have neglected our own part of
the affair! Even before the Castacs began to fill up our springs and
drive our deer, we knew that the Chief is too old for war; and now
that the enemy has crossed our borders we are still leaderless.

  PAMAQUASH

So we should not be if we had followed the tribal use and given the
leadership to years and experience. It is you young men who have
unsettled judgment, with the to-do you have made about the
Arrow-Maker.

  CHOCO

I have nothing against years and experience, but when one has the
gods as plainly on his side as Simwa--

  YAVI

Never have I seen a man so increase in power and fortune--

  PAMAQUASH

Huh--huh! I too have watched the growth of this Simwa. Also I have
seen a gourd swelling with the rains, and I have not laid it to the
gods in either case. But the Council must sit upon it. We must bring
it to the Council.

  YAVI

(_Hotly._) Why should you credit the gods with Simwa's good fortune
since he himself does not so claim it? For my part, I think with the
Arrow-Maker, that it is better for a man to thrive by his own wits,
rather than by the making of medicine or the wisdom of the elders.

  PAMAQUASH

(_From above._) Tst--st, Tavwots!

    (TAVWOTS _comes down the cañon panting with speed. He drops
    exhausted on the bank, and_ YAVI _gives him water between his
    palms from the creek._)

  CHOCO

Have they crossed?

  TAVWOTS

Between Deer Leap and Standing Rock--more than a score, though I
think some of them were boys--but they had no women.

  CHOCO

They mean fighting, then!

  YAVI

Well, they can have it.

  TAVWOTS

But they should not be let fatten on our deer before they come to it.
Winnemucca, whom I left at Deer Leap, will bring us word where they
camp to-night. In the mean time there is much to do. (_Rising._)

  CHOCO

Much. No doubt Simwa will have something to suggest.

  TAVWOTS

The Arrow-Maker is not yet war leader, my friend. I go to the Chief
and the Council. (_He goes._)

  CHOCO

And yet, I think the Chief favors Simwa, else why should he prefer to
put the election to lot rather than keep to the custom of the
fathers?

  YAVI

(_Going._) There might be reasons to that, not touching the merits of
the Arrow-Maker.

  PAMAQUASH

Tavwots has met the women!

    (_Sounds of the grief of the women in the direction of the
    camp._)

  CHOCO

They are coming to the Chisera. We should not have let them find us
here; they will neglect their business with her to beset us with
questions.

    (_To them enter three women of the campody of Sagharawite,
    carrying perfect-patterned, bowl-shaped baskets, with gifts of
    food for the_ CHISERA. SEEGOOCHE, _the Chiefs wife, is old and
    full of dignity._ TIAWA _is old and sharp, but_ WACOBA _is a
    comfortable, comely matron, who wears a blanket modestly yet to
    conceal charms not past their prime._ SEEGOOCHE _and_ TIAWA _wear
    basket caps, but_ WACOBA _has a bandeau of bright beads about her
    hair. They show signs of agitation, instantly subdued at sight of
    the men_.)

  SEEGOOCHE

Is this true what Tavwots has told us, that the Castacs are upon us?

  CHOCO

No nearer than Pahrump. Not so near by the time we have done with
them. What gifts have you?

  TIAWA

The best the camp affords. Think you we would stint when the smoke of
the Castacs goes up within our borders?

  WACOBA

Where is she?

  CHOCO

Abroad in the hills gathering roots and herbs for to-night's
medicine. Wait for her.--We must go look to our fighting gear.

    (_He goes out in the direction of the campody._)

  PAMAQUASH

(_To_ WACOBA.) My bow case, is it finished?

  WACOBA

And the bow inside it. See that you come not back to me nor to your
young son until the bowstring is frayed asunder.

  PAMAQUASH

If you do your work with the Chisera as well as we with Castac, you
shall not need to question our bowstrings. (_Going._)

  SEEGOOCHE

Leave us to deal--though if she cannot help us in this matter, I do
not know where we shall turn.

  TIAWA

Never have I asked help of her, and been disappointed.

  WACOBA

(_Gathering flowers._) Aye, but that was mere women's matters, weevil
in the pine nuts, a love-charm or a colicky child. _This is war!_

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Still peering about._) As if that were not a woman's affair also!

  TIAWA

You may well say that! It was in our last quarrel with Castac I lost
the only man-child I ever had, dead before he was born. When the
women showed me his face, it was all puckered with the bitterness of
that defeat. You may well say a woman's matter!

  SEEGOOCHE

That was the year my husband was first made Chief, and we covered
defeat with victory, as we shall again. It was Tinnemaha, the father
of the Chisera, went before the gods for us, I remember.

  TIAWA

Well for us that he taught her his strong medicine. Not a fighting
man from Tecuya to Tehachappi but trusts in her.

    (_Goes to the creek and dips up water to drink in her basket
    cap._)

  WACOBA

(_Tentatively._) It is believed by some that she makes medicine for
Simwa, the Arrow-Maker, and that is why his arrows are so well
feathered and fly so swiftly to the mark.

  SEEGOOCHE

Simwa! Why, he scoffs at charms and speaks lightly even of the gods.

  TIAWA

(_Giving the others to drink from her cap._) Aye; Simwa puts not
faith in anybody but Simwa.

  SEEGOOCHE

And with good reason, for he is the most skillful of the tribesmen.
He has made all the arrows for the fighting men. Do you think they
will make him war leader?

  WACOBA

(_Ornamenting the basket she has brought with a wreath of flowers,
which she plucks._) Padahoon will never agree to it.

  TIAWA

But if Simwa is the better man?

  WACOBA

The Sparrow Hawk is older, and has the greater experience.

  SEEGOOCHE

Prutt! If age and experience were all, my husband would not ask that
a new leader be chosen. Young men are keenest-eyed and quickest
afoot.

    (_She moves up the trail looking for signs of the_ CHISERA.)

  TIAWA

(_Going over to_ WACOBA, _aside from_ SEEGOOCHE.) So the Chief favors
Simwa? I would not have thought it.

  WACOBA

(_Significantly._) Seegooche's daughter is not married, and the
Arrow-Maker has many blankets.

  TIAWA

Ugh, huh! So the scent lies up that trail? Well, why not?

  WACOBA

Why not? The Chief's daughter and the war leader? A good match.

  TIAWA

(_Going across to the hut._) Aye, a good match!... Do you know, I
have never been in the Chisera's house. It is said she has a great
store of baskets and many beads. Let us look.

  SEEGOOCHE

No, no; do not go near it.

  WACOBA

(_Alarmed._) _Kima!_ Tiawa, she may be watching you.

  TIAWA

(_By the hut, but not daring to enter it._) What harm to visit a
neighbor's house when the door is open. Besides, she makes no bad
medicine.

  SEEGOOCHE

We know that she does not, but not that she could not if she would.

  TIAWA

(_Returning reluctantly._) Why should we hold the Chisera so apart
from the campody? Why should she not have a husband and children as
other women? How can she go before the gods for us until she knows
what we are thinking in our hearts?

  WACOBA

(_Jumping up._) I have seen something stirring in the alder bushes. I
think the Chisera comes!

  SEEGOOCHE

Do not be seen too near the hut. Come away, Tiawa.

  TIAWA

Have you the presents ready? (_The women take up their baskets
hastily._) Hide your basket, Seegooche. It is not well to let all
your gifts appear on the first showing, for if she is not persuaded
at first, we shall have something of more worth.

    (_The_ CHISERA _comes out of the trail by the almond bushes,
    young and tall and comely, but of dignified, almost forbidding,
    carriage. She is dressed chiefly in skins; her hair is very long,
    braided with beads. She carries a small burden basket on her
    back, supported by a band about her forehead. She removes this,
    and drops it at the hut, coming forward._)

  THE CHISERA

Friends, what have we to do with one another? Seegooche, has your
meal fermented? Or has your baby the colic again, Wacoba?

  SEEGOOCHE

We have a gift for you, Chisera.

    (_The women draw near timidly, each, as she speaks, placing her
    basket at the_ CHISERA'S _feet, and retire._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Looking at the gifts, without touching them._) The venison is fat
and tender; Seegooche, there is no one grinds meal so smoothly as
you. The honey is indeed acceptable.

    (_After a pause, during which the medicine woman looks keenly at
    them._)

  TIAWA

We do not come for ourselves, Chisera, but from the tribeswomen.

  SEEGOOCHE

From every one who has a husband or son able to join battle.

  THE CHISERA

(_Eagerly._) Is there battle?

  SEEGOOCHE

Even as we came, there was word that the Castacs are camped at
Pahrump, and before night our men must meet them.

  THE CHISERA

And you ask me--?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Approaching appealingly and sinking to the ground in the stress of
anxiety._) A charm, Chisera!

  TIAWA

(_Approaching with_ WACOBA.) A most potent medicine, O friend of the
gods!

  WACOBA

That our men may have strength and discretion. That their hearts may
not turn to water and their knees quake under them--

  TIAWA

(_Urgently._) May the bows of Castac be broken, and their arrows
turned aside--

  SEEGOOCHE

For the lords of our bodies and the sons of our bodies, a blessing,
Chisera!

  WACOBA

That our hearths may be kept alight and our children know their
fathers--

  TIAWA

When the noise of battle is joined and the buzzards come, may they
feed on our foes, Chisera--

  SEEGOOCHE

O friend of the gods, befriend us!

    (_The women cast dust on their hair and rock to and fro while
    the_ CHISERA _speaks, lifting up their arms in an agony of
    entreating._)

  THE CHISERA

Am I not also a tribeswoman? Would not I do so much for my people?
But your gifts and your prayers will be acceptable to the gods, for
of myself I can do nothing. (_She stoops to the gifts, but
hesitates._) Who is this that comes?

    (_The young girls steal up noiselessly through the bushes, led by
    the Chief's daughter._ BRIGHT WATER _is lovely and young; her
    hair, flowing loosely over her shoulders and breast, is mingled
    with strings of beads and bright berries. Her dress of fringed
    buckskin is heavily beaded, her arms are weighted with armlets of
    silver and carved beads of turquoise; about her neck hangs a disk
    of glittering shell. She walks proudly, a little in advance of
    the others, who bunch up timidly like quail on the trail, behind
    her. The women, catching sight of the girls, spring up,
    frightened, and stand half protectingly between them and the_
    CHISERA.)

  TIAWA

It is the Chief's daughter.

  SEEGOOCHE

What do you here? You have neither sons nor husbands that you should
ask spells and charms.

  BRIGHT WATER

How, then, shall we have husbands or sons, if the battle goes against
us?

  THE CHISERA

Well answered, Chief's daughter.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Surprised._) You know me?

  THE CHISERA

I have heard that the loveliest maiden of Sagharawite is called
Bright Water, daughter of Rain Wind, Chief of the Paiutes.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Going over to_ BRIGHT WATER.) You should have stayed in the
wickiup, my daughter; you are too young to go seeking magic medicine.

  BRIGHT WATER

The more need because we are young, mother. If the loss of battle
come to you, at least you have had the love of a man and the lips of
children at the breast. But we, if the battle goes against us, what
have we?

  THE CHISERA

Ay, truly, Seegooche, there are no joys so hard to do without as
those we have not had.

  BRIGHT WATER

Therefore, we ask a charm, Chisera, for our sweethearts; and, in the
mean time, may this remind you--

    (_She drops a bracelet in the_ CHISERA'S _basket._)

  WHITE FLOWER

(_Going forward._) The scarlet beads from me, Chisera. I am to be
married in the time of tasseling corn.

  TUIYO

The shells from me, Chisera. Good medicine!

  PIOKE

Strong Bow is my lover, Chisera. Bring him safe home again.

    (_The girls retire after dropping their gifts in the_ CHISERA'S
    _basket._)

  THE CHISERA

(_A little stiffly._) You have no need of gifts. Am I not young, even
as you? Should _you_ pray for your lover any more or less for the
sake of a few beads?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Anxiously._) Be not angry, Chisera. They would repay you for the
dancing and the singing.

    (_The_ CHISERA _gathers up the gifts that the older women have
    brought and goes into the hut. The girls take up their gifts,
    puzzled._)

  SEEGOOCHE

I am afraid you have vexed her with your foolish quest.

  BRIGHT WATER

Has the Chisera a lover also, that she speak so?

  SEEGOOCHE

It is not possible and we not know of it, for since her father's
death if any sought her hand in marriage, he must come to my husband
in the matter of dowry.

  WACOBA

No fear that any will come while she is still the Chisera.

  BRIGHT WATER

She is the wisest of us all.

  TIAWA

Wisdom is good as a guest, but it wears out its welcome when it sits
by the hearth-stone.

  BRIGHT WATER

She has great power with the gods.

  WACOBA

So much so that if she had a husband, he dare not beat her lest she
run and tattle to them.

  SEEGOOCHE

She is our Chisera, and there is not another like her between
Tehachappi and Tecuya. If she were wearied with stooping and
sweating, if she were anxious with bearing and rearing, how could she
go before the gods for us?

  TIAWA

Aye, that is the talk in the wickiups, that we must hold her apart
from us to give her room for her great offices, but I have always
said--but I am old and nobody minds me--I have always said that if
she had loved as we love and had borne as we have borne, she would be
the more fitted to entreat the gods that we may not lose.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_As the_ CHISERA _comes out of the hut._) If you are angry, Chisera,
turn it against our enemies of Castac.

  THE CHISERA

You know that I cannot curse.

  TIAWA

Is it true, Chisera, that you make no bad medicine?

  THE CHISERA

Many kinds of sickness I can cure, and give easy childbirth. I can
bring rain, and give fortune in the hunt, but of the making of evil
spells I know nothing.

  SEEGOOCHE

But your father, the medicine man--he was the dread and wonder of the
tribes.

  THE CHISERA

Aye, my father could kill by a spell, and make a wasting sickness
with a frown, but he thought such powers not proper to women:
therefore he taught me none.

  WACOBA

But you will bring a blessing on the battle? Oh, Chisera, they do not
tell us women, but we hear it whispered about the camp that the men
of Castac are five and twenty, and even with the youths who go to
their first battle we cannot make a score of ours. It is the Friend
of the Soul of Man must make good our numbers.

  THE CHISERA

Even now I go to prepare strong medicine.

  WACOBA

Come away, then, and leave the Chisera to her work. (_Going._)

  SEEGOOCHE

May the gods befriend you. If we have your blessing, we care little
for another's curse. (_Going._)

  THE CHISERA

Stay. After all, we are but women together, and if a woman may give
counsel, women may hear it.

  TIAWA

Would we might hear yours to-day!

  THE CHISERA

When the smoke of the medicine fire arises, so as to be seen from the
spring, do you come up along the creek as far as the black rock.

  WOMEN

Yes, yes!

  THE CHISERA

When you hear the medicine rattles, stand off by the toyon.

  WOMEN

By the toyon--yes!

  THE CHISERA

But when the rattles are stopped, and the singing falls off, come up
very softly, not to disturb the Council, and hear what the gods have
said. If the men speak against it, I will stand for you.

  SEEGOOCHE

Our thanks to you, Chisera, for this kindness.

  TIAWA

And though you are a Chisera, and have strange intercourse with the
gods, I know you a woman, by this token.

  THE CHISERA

Doubt it not, but go.

  SEEGOOCHE

Come away, girls.

    (_They go out, the girls with them. But_ BRIGHT WATER _lingers,
    and comes back to the_ CHISERA.)

  BRIGHT WATER

Chisera--

  THE CHISERA

Chief's daughter?

  BRIGHT WATER

Call me by my name.

  THE CHISERA

Bright Water, what would you have of me?

  BRIGHT WATER

Can you--will you make a charm for one going out to battle whose name
is not spoken?

  THE CHISERA

How shall the gods find him out, if he is not to be named?

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Earnestly._) Oh, he is handsome and strong in the shoulders; the
muscles of his back are laced like thongs. He is the bravest--

  THE CHISERA

(_Laughing._) Chief's daughter, whenever I have made love charms,
they have been for men handsome and strong in the back.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Abashed._) I know not how to describe him.

  THE CHISERA

(_Still smiling._) And his name is not to be spoken? (BRIGHT WATER
_continues to look down at her moccasin._) If I had something of his:
something he had shaped with his hands or worn upon his person, that
I could make medicine upon--

  BRIGHT WATER

Like this?

    (_Takes amulet from her neck and holds it out._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Taking it._) Did he give you this?

  BRIGHT WATER

He made it.

  THE CHISERA

(_Examining it._) It is skillfully fashioned.

  BRIGHT WATER

Will it answer?

  THE CHISERA

To make a spell upon? Yes, if you can spare it.

  BRIGHT WATER

Shall I have it again?

  THE CHISERA

When the time is past for which the spell is made.

  BRIGHT WATER

Make it, then; a powerful medicine against ill fortune in battle. And
this for your pains, Chisera. (_Holds out bracelet._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Proudly._) I want no gifts. Keep your bracelet.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_With equal pride._) The Chief's daughter asks no favors.

  THE CHISERA

But if a Chisera choose to confer them? (_With sudden feeling._) What
question is there between us of Chief's daughter and Chisera? We are
two women, and young.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Uncertainly._) The Chisera is the friend of the gods.

  THE CHISERA

And therefore not the friend of any tribeswoman? (_Passionately._)
Oh, I am weary of the friendship of the gods! If I have walked in the
midnight and heard what the great ones have said, is that any reason
I should not know what a man says to a maid in the dusk--or do a
kindness to my own kind--or love, and be beloved?

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Moved._) Therefore take it (_offering bracelet again_) as one woman
from another--and you shall make a charm for me for love.

  THE CHISERA

(_Taking the gift._) I shall make it as though I loved him myself.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Startled._) Oh, I did not say I loved him.

  THE CHISERA

(_Smiling._) No?

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Studying the pattern of her moccasin._) Is it true, Chisera, that
you have been called to the Council that decides upon the war leader
who is to be chosen in my father's place?

  THE CHISERA

I am to inquire of the gods concerning it.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Diffidently._) Chisera, I have heard--my father thinks--Simwa, the
Arrow-Maker, is well spoken of.

    (_The first note of the love call is heard far up the cliffs.
    The_ CHISERA _starts and controls herself._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Coldly, in dismissal._) Simwa needs the good word of no man. It
shall be as the gods determine.

    (_Goes over to hut. The love call sounds nearer._)

  BRIGHT WATER

(_After a moment's hesitation._) Farewell, Chisera. (_She goes._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Looking up the trail._) Ah, Simwa, Simwa, what bond there is
between us, when, if I but pronounce thy name in my heart, thy voice
answers.

    (_The love call is repeated far up the cliffs above her hut, and
    she answers it, singing:_)

  Over-long are thy feet on the trails,
      O Much Desired!!
  Dost thou not hear afar what my blood whispers,
  Betraying my heart as the whir
  Of the night-moth's wings betray the lilies?

    (_As she sings_, SIMWA, _in full war dress, comes dropping down,
    hand over hand, from the rocks, until he stands beside her._)

  SIMWA

Did you not hear me when first I called?

  THE CHISERA

I heard you, Most Desired. When do I not? Even when I sleep, my heart
wakes to hear you. The women have been with me.

  SIMWA

You know, then?

  THE CHISERA

That this very night a war party of ours must go out to meet the
Castacs.

  SIMWA

And before that there will be a Council to choose a war leader? Has
the Chief told you?

  THE CHISERA

Not since this latest word, but yesterday he bid me prepare a strong
medicine, for he thought the election would be made by lot. But I did
not tell him, O Much Desired, that I had already made medicine a
night and a day to let the choice fall on you. A day and a night by
Deer Leap on Toorape, where never foot but mine had been, I made
medicine, and the answer is sure.

  SIMWA

That I shall get the leadership?

  THE CHISERA

When have the gods denied me anything that I asked for your sake,
Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite?

  SIMWA

The Padahoon hunts on a cold trail, and there is nothing for me to
do?

    (_He sits on the bank and the_ CHISERA _sits below him._)

  THE CHISERA

Beloved, there is much to do, for before the shadow which lies
between my feet has grown tall again, I must make medicine for the
sake of this war; and I have spent so much on you, the power goes
from me. Now, you must put your hand upon my heart, and nurse it
warm, so that the people lack nothing of their Chisera.

  SIMWA

Is that good, Chisera? (_Puts his arm about her._)

  THE CHISERA

Very good, Friend of my heart. (_She leans upon his arm._)

  SIMWA

(_Quickened by the caress._) Chisera, what did you do before I came?

  THE CHISERA

Oh, then I lived in the dream of you. When I ran in the trails, my
heart expected you at every turn, and in the dark of the hut the
sense of you brooded on my sleep. But I thought it was all for the
gods.

  SIMWA

(_Fatuously._) Until I came.

  THE CHISERA

Did I tell you, Simwa, that day when first you found me dancing in
the sun--you had been gathering eagle's feathers for your arrows, do
you remember?--I thought that day that you were of the gods yourself,
for I was sick with longing, and the spring was in my blood.

  SIMWA

And when I came again, what did you think?

  THE CHISERA

That you were the man most deserving their favor, and that all the
medicine I had learned until then was merely that I might persuade
them for your sake.

  SIMWA

(_Sitting up._) Chisera, when you go up to the Friend of the Soul of
Man, you cannot be always asking for the tribespeople. Do you not
sometimes ask for yourself?

  THE CHISERA

What should I ask for when I have your love?

  SIMWA

For friends, perhaps, who are to be rewarded, or those who have done
you injuries? (_Watching her._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Laughing._) Once, Simwa, before I was sure of you, I made a singing
medicine to draw you from the camp. And you came, Arrow-Maker of
Sagharawite, you came. (_Laying her hands on his bosom._) Did you not
feel me draw you?

  SIMWA

Often and often, as it were a tie-rope in my bosom between us.
(_Letting go her hands and stretching himself preparatory to
rising._) But I did not think it was your medicine.

  THE CHISERA

What then?

  SIMWA

(_Rising and walking about._) Your beauty and the wonder of your
dancing.

  THE CHISERA

Tell me, Simwa, in the beginning I know you did not believe; but now
you understand the power I have from the Friend of the Soul of Man?

  SIMWA

Surely; now that I am about to be made war leader by means of it.

  THE CHISERA

(_Rising and going back to the feathering of the prayer-stick._) But
I have heard the women gossiping at the spring--

  SIMWA

What did they say?

  THE CHISERA

That Simwa does not believe in charms and scoffs at the gods.

  SIMWA

That was true (_recovering_)--once. But now that I am become the most
notable arrow-maker in Sagharawite--

  THE CHISERA

Now--now you do not scoff at the Chisera?

  SIMWA

(_Embarrassed._) But it is not always well for a man to say what he
thinks. If I were to tell in the campody whence my good fortune is,
would not Padahoon do me some mischief for it?

  THE CHISERA

But, Simwa, am I never to come to you as other women to the wickiups
of their husbands?

  SIMWA

What need, Chisera, when I come so often to yours?

  THE CHISERA

The need of women to serve openly where they love.

  SIMWA

But what service could you do me when you had lost the respect of the
tribesmen? You know the tribal custom. It is not for the friend of
the gods to dig roots and dress venison.

    (_Throws himself on the bank beside her._)

  THE CHISERA

I have not found the gods any the less friendly since I have loved,
Arrow-Maker; and I know not why it should seem strange to others that
I should know love as--as we have known it. Only to-day the girls of
the village came to me to buy a charm to keep their lovers safe in
war. There was not one but dared to ask, even though she would not
speak her lover's name for bashfulness. See, one of them gave me this
to make medicine upon.

  SIMWA

(_Taking it._) Bright Water gave you this?

  THE CHISERA

(_Surprised._) How did you know?

  SIMWA

I thought you said--that is, I have seen her wear it. Did she tell
you from whom she had it?

  THE CHISERA

Not by his name, but by the way he looked to her.

  SIMWA

How was that?

  THE CHISERA

As every lover looks to every maid--tall and strong and straight of
back. Even as you look to me, Beloved.

  SIMWA

(_Relieved, giving back the amulet._) May your medicine preserve him.
And, as for me, Chisera, I wish I could persuade the tribesmen to
look as favorably on me as you do.

  THE CHISERA

But you have no enemies.

  SIMWA

The Sparrow Hawk, without doubt. Could you give me a curse for him?

  THE CHISERA

(_Rising._) Ah, you should not have asked me that. Never since my
father died have I thought to regret that he did not teach me the
making of evil medicine. Would I had all the curses in the world!
(_Turning piteously to him._) But you do not love me any the less
because I have not one little, little curse to give you?

  SIMWA

No, it is nothing. No curse can reach me past your blessing. But I
would not have thought the old man would leave you wholly
unprotected. Why, even I could wrong you, and, without a curse
(_trying to speak lightly_) you could not punish me for it.

  THE CHISERA

If no one does me no more wrong than you, Simwa, I need no cursing.
But, in truth, my father did give me--Ah, now I have thought of
another gift for you, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite! Before he died, the
medicine man, my father--did I not tell you? (_she rummages eagerly
in her medicine bag_)--gave me this magic arrow against my evil hour.
(_Drawing it out._) See how heavy it is, and how the blood drain is
cut in a medicine writing round and round the shaft.

  SIMWA

What magic has it?

  THE CHISERA

That however far and feebly it is shot, it flies straight to the
mark, over hills and high mountains, in the dark or light, and death
rides upon its shaft. (_Laughing._) Why, you could kill even me with
this arrow. See, I have tied it in your quiver, so that you may not
mistake it and shoot it away on any slight occasion. It is my latest
gift to you, Beloved.

  SIMWA

Thanks for the gift, Chisera. Now give me the quiver. I must join the
others before the Council. The fighting men were painting their faces
when I came.

    (_A war-whoop is heard at a distance._)

  THE CHISERA

I hear shouting.

  SIMWA

I must go quickly. I would not have Padahoon find me here.

  THE CHISERA

Yes, he would brood upon it like a sage hen, until he had hatched
mischief. Oh, Simwa, though I have prayed the gods until they and I
are weary, to keep you safe in this war, yet my heart shakes to see
you go. There is a beating in my breast as of the wings of vultures
after battle.

  SIMWA

You have wearied yourself too much making medicine. If you have no
more faith in the gods, have a little in me. If I can go out of
Sagharawite as war leader, I shall come back with the spoil of
Castac. (_Shouts are heard nearer than before._) Now I go quickly!
(_He turns carelessly from her lingering caress and crosses to the
toyon, starting back at the sight of_ PADAHOON, _moving noiselessly
through the chaparral, blanketed and watchful._) What! Has the
Sparrow Hawk eaten _when-o-nabe_ that he must visit the Chisera on
the eve of Council?

  PADAHOON

I come from the Chief--but I had not expected to find Simwa, the
scoffer, before me.

  SIMWA

(_Uneasily._) I have been gathering eagles' feathers for my arrows
under Toorape.

  PADAHOON

Quite so--and are not the first hunter to find the shortest way past
the house of the Medicine Woman. But it is well known that Simwa
seeks no charms for himself. The Chief has been asking for you.

    (_He passes on to the_ CHISERA, _standing stiffly with strained
    attention by her hut._ SIMWA _hesitates, recovers himself, and
    passes out with the appearance of indifference._)

Chisera, Rain Wind, Chief of Sagharawite, greets you, and bids me say
that at the moth-hour he will be here with the fighting men to invite
the favor of the gods in this war with Castac.

  THE CHISERA

And before that--?

  PADAHOON

There will be a Council--

  THE CHISERA

To choose a war leader.

  PADAHOON

So the Chief has said.

  THE CHISERA

And it is the purpose of the Council to put this election to the
gods?

  PADAHOON

It may come to that--(_A pause._) Chief Rain Wind is a dotard. What
should a woman know of these matters?

  THE CHISERA

All that the gods are thinking in their hearts.

  PADAHOON

The gods, aye! But what word have the gods of the affairs of
Sagharawite except as you carry it? Now between us--Chisera--

  THE CHISERA

What is there between us, Padahoon, that our talk should be otherwise
than appears at the Council?

  PADAHOON

There should be a matter of two doeskins, tanned white and fine (_he
produces them from under his blanket_) if the gods are friendly.
Look, Chisera!

    (_He spreads them out before the_ CHISERA, _who is seated by the
    hut, feathering a prayer-stick._)

  PADAHOON

(_Dropping the doeskins negligently._) Oh, the man can make an arrow.

  THE CHISERA

But not lead a war party?

  PADAHOON

A war leader, Chisera, should be neither old and timid, nor young and
overbold, but of middle years and discretion; not so hot in his heart
that his head cannot reason with it, nor so reasonable that it cools
his heart.

    (_As he stands again, his hands are folded inside his arms; he is
    not so sure of his errand_.)

  THE CHISERA

Like ... Padahoon.

  PADAHOON

(_Wheedling._) What will the gods think of a blanket of the Navajoes
(_he spreads it out before her_)--thick and fine--and four strings of
shells--and a cake of mesquite meal--?

  THE CHISERA

Are the gods a-cold, Padahoon, that you bring them a blanket? Is
there hunger in their camp, think you?

  PADAHOON

Let the things stay in yours, Chisera; they will remind you to speak
well of me when you go before the Friend of the Soul of Man.

  THE CHISERA

Put up your pack, Padahoon!

  PADAHOON

It is a little matter, Chisera; a handful of sticks thrown on the
ground. What should the gods care for a handful of sticks? And the
blanket is very thick. Shall I leave it a little while, that you may
admire it?

  THE CHISERA

Put up your pack, Padahoon, and learn not to think so lightly of the
gods, lest they visit it upon you!

  PADAHOON

(_Reluctantly putting up the bribe; after a pause, revolving new
measures._) Chisera, this is a man's business which comes before you
in the Council. Will you hear man-talk from me?

  THE CHISERA

Is it possible the Sparrow Hawk does so much credit to my
understanding?

  PADAHOON

Chisera, we have had peace now at Sagharawite so many summers that
scarcely a man of us besides myself has seen battle; also we are a
little outnumbered. Have you thought, Chisera, what will come to
Sagharawite if we go out under an untried leader?

  THE CHISERA

What will come will be as the gods determine. What reason have you to
think they will favor you more than Simwa?

  PADAHOON

It is my experience, Chisera, that the gods are inclined to the
better man. And, look you, Chisera, this is perhaps my last chance to
serve my people. Comes another war, if there are enough of us left
after this to make another war possible, I shall be too old for
leadership. And I have that in me which I would prove before I die.
This is man-talk, Chisera. Do you understand it?

  THE CHISERA

I understand that you want greatly this election, but I can do
nothing except as the gods declare. Put up your pack, Padahoon, I
have work to do. (_Rising._)

  PADAHOON

(_Putting up his pack._) How much did Simwa give you?

  THE CHISERA

(_Startled._) Simwa! (_Recovering herself._) The Arrow-Maker of
Sagharawite leaves all higher matters where they belong.

  PADAHOON

Simwa put trust in the gods! Simwa believe that by singing and
dancing and waving of arms, with a rag of buckskin and a hair of your
head and three leaves of a seldom-flowering plant, you can turn the
fortunes of war? This will be news for the fighting men, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

(_Quivering, but controlling herself._) Padahoon, now by this I am
minded to prove what the gods can do against tale-bearers and snakes
in the grass! (_Balancing her medicine stick for a moment, she seems
on the point of invoking the gods against him, but thinks better of
it._) Nay, but the gods have greater affairs. (_Sound of the drums in
the direction of the camp._) Now I go to prepare strong medicine so
that you shall know, Padahoon, how the gods choose between you and
the Arrow-Maker.

    (_She goes into the hut and lets fall the curtain._)

    (_Enter_ PAMAQUASH, YAVI, _and other youths to prepare for the
    Council._)

  PAMAQUASH

Is the Chisera advised of the Council?

  PADAHOON

Even now she prepares herself in the wickiup. Where is the Chief?

  PAMAQUASH

He stays only until the fighting men are gathered together.

  PADAHOON

I will join them. See that the Chisera is not disturbed before her
time. (_He goes out._)

  PAMAQUASH

Over there in front of the wickiup, one of you light the medicine
fire, but do not light it until the Chisera comes.

    (YAVI _and another prepare the fire._)

  YAVI

How is it that the Chisera will discover the will of the gods?

  PAMAQUASH

Spread a blanket there, where the Chief and the Chisera will
sit--(_To_ YAVI.) By the casting of the seven sacred sticks. As the
gods will they make the sticks to fall in a sign that she can read.

  YAVI

Is it so that the Medicine Worker sometimes fails?

  PAMAQUASH

Medicine men have died at it before now--and better so, for otherwise
they should have died by the law.

  YAVI

Is that the law?

  PAMAQUASH

Surely, surely. For of what use is an advocate with the gods if he
cannot get to them. It would be so with the Chisera.

    (_As the preparations have gone forward, the sound of the drums
    and rattles, with an occasional subdued whoop, has drawn nearer,
    and the Fighting Men, led by the_ CHIEF, _in full fighting gear,
    arrive in single file marching to the drums. The procession halts
    in the open space before the_ CHISERA'S _hut._)

  CHIEF

Let the Council sit.

    (_Eleven of the elders seat themselves in a circle about the
    fire, turning toward the_ CHIEF. _The others stand or sit
    attentively in the background. The_ CHIEF _at the fire hands the
    ceremonial pipe to_ YAVI _who lights it._ RAIN WIND _blows a puff
    of smoke to all the gods, returning to his place in the Council;
    the pipe passes from hand to hand; when it has passed all about,
    each tribesman blowing smoke and saluting, the_ CHIEF _rises and
    stands before the_ CHISERA'S _hut_.)

Chisera, Chisera, come to Council!

  THE CHISERA

(_Advancing to his side._) Rain Wind, Chief of Sagharawite, what will
you have of me?

    (PAMAQUASH _lights the medicine fire._)

  CHIEF

To carry a matter too hard for us before the Friend of the Soul of
Man.

  THE CHISERA

Nothing that men contrive in their hearts is too hard for the gods.
Speak, then!

    (_Goes and sits beside the_ CHIEF.)

  CHIEF

(_Rising._) Tribesmen, for as many years as a fir tree needs to bear
cones, I have been Chief in Sagharawite. Now I am old, and, like a
badger, see only my own trail (_grunts of dissent_), and my legs
carry me no farther than my eyes see. Therefore, since there is war
with Castac concerning the piñon trees which are ours (_grunts and
exclamations_), it is right you have a younger man to lead you. But,
since it has never happened that there must be a war leader chosen
while there is a chief alive and sitting in Council, I think it well
to inquire how the gods stand toward us. Tribesmen, what do you say?
(_Sits with great dignity._)

  CHOCO

(_Rising and saluting the_ CHIEF _with lifted hand. Speaking with
great deliberation and winning sober approval._) Chief Rain Wind has
said. The occasion is strange and the candidates of such diverse but
equal merit that it is impossible for a just man to choose between
them. Let the Chisera carry it to the gods.

  CHIEF

This is truth which Choco says--whom the gods will favor they favor.
They are not greatly bound to the choice of men.

  THE COUNCIL

Good counsel! good counsel! (_Assent from the bystanders._)

  TAVWOTS

(_Continuing, with earnestness._) Tribesmen, I am not myself of two
minds in this business. I speak freely for Padahoon according to our
custom which is, without discredit to the Arrow-Maker, for the
leadership of the elder. But at least let us remember that the gods
have high affairs; they are not always listening to the gossip of the
camp-fire and hut. What word have they of Sagharawite except as the
Chisera carries it? If we put the choice to them, let her know what
we are thinking in our hearts. Let Simwa and Sparrow Hawk declare it
so that we and the gods shall know how they stand toward the conduct
of this war. I have said. (_Seats himself amid general approval._)

  OLD MEN

Good counsel! Good counsel!

  TRIBESMEN

Simwa! Padahoon! The Arrow-Maker! Padahoon!

  CHIEF

Padahoon, you have the more years; say what you will do. And do you,
Chisera, bear it well in your heart as you go up before the Friend of
the Soul of Man.

  THE CHISERA

The trail of the gods is hard and none may walk therein save those
that walk sincerely. Speak, then!

  PADAHOON

(_Rising._) Chief and tribesmen, you know me. What I think in my
heart, I say; and what I say I do. The piñon trees are ours, since
the time of our father's fathers (_general assent_), and this is a
vain fight for the men of Castac. Inasmuch as they have crossed our
borders, they do evilly, but they are also Paiutes, as we are, and
sons of the Bear. Aforetime when the Tecuyas came against us, they
were as our brothers. Now, were I war leader, I should leave them at
Pahrump and, going up behind the ridge of Toorape, strike at their
villages. When we have their women and children and their stores, we
can make terms with our brothers of Castac. So shall we save our
honor and our allies.

  INDIANS

Good counsel! Ugh! Huh! Padahoon! Good counsel!

  CHIEF

Speak, Simwa!

  SIMWA

(_Rising._) Shall I call a thief my brother, and is a poacher my
fellow that I should respect him? Sons of the Bear are the men of
Castac? Aye, bastard sons, and the coyote is their mother. (_Grunts
and cries of approval._) The Castacs have filled up our springs and
driven our deer. They have stalked our hunters in the hills.
(_Grunts._) Aye, but we have given the stalkers arrows of ours to
keep. (_Grunts of satisfaction._) Shall we go after our arrows, men
of Sagharawite, or shall we wait until our “brothers” of Castac come
and stroke us? I am not so old as Padahoon, nor so wise, but, by the
Bear that fathered us, were I war leader for the space of one moon,
there would be no more men of Castac to trouble our harvest.

  YOUNG MEN

Simwa! Simwa! The Arrow-Maker!

  OLD MEN

Padahoon! Padahoon!

  CHIEF

Tribesmen, the wisdom of Padahoon is sound, and such as every man has
in his own head; but the speech of Simwa is a water of mirage about
our understanding. Shall we try what the gods will do? (_Nods and
grunts of approval._)

  OLD MEN

The gods--the Chisera--the Chisera!

  CHIEF

The best of the spoil of Castac is yours, Chisera, if the choice be
fortunate.

  THE CHISERA

(_Rising to begin._) I want no spoil; this is also my quarrel. How
will you have the venture tried?

  INDIANS

The sticks! The sacred sticks!

    (_The_ CHISERA _produces the sticks from her medicine bag, and
    hands them to one of the Old Men. To each of the others who will
    dance with her (two or three) she gives a fetish from her bag.
    They have already put on appropriate headdresses and are prepared
    for dancing. She motions the rattles to begin. Behind her are the
    Old Men, with the drums and rattles; on each side, the Fighting
    Men seated on the ground. The dance begins, the_ CHISERA
    _singing. The Old Men keep up a crooning accompaniment; from time
    to time the Fighting Men join the singing and exhibit a growing
    excitement as the dance progresses. At intervals, one and another
    of them, leaps to his feet and joins the dance. At the last, the_
    CHISERA, _whirling rapidly, falls to the ground. Instantly the
    rattles are stopped, and the people wait in suspense the word of
    the gods. The women are seen to steal up through the toyon
    bushes. The_ CHISERA _lifts herself slowly on one elbow, as if
    waking from a drugged sleep. She stretches out her hand for the
    sacred sticks. She drops them with a quick turn of the wrist,
    gathers them up and drops them again, seeking for an augury. She
    throws up the arm with the medicine stick and begins to chant_.)

  THE CHISERA

  The bows of Castac shall be broken.
  The bowstring shall break asunder.
  The bows of thy foes shall be broken and the vultures come to the
      battle.

    (_Excitement and confusion._)

  INDIANS

The omen, the omen! the war leader!

  THE CHISERA
  (_Chanting_)

  The Maker of Arrows shall lead you.
  He that makes arrows of eagles' feathers,
  Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite, he shall lead you,
  Simwa shall break the bows of Castac.

  TRIBESMEN

Simwa!

    (_The Indians break into a great shout for_ SIMWA. RAIN WIND
    _puts a collar of bears' claws about_ SIMWA'S _neck, lifts his
    war-bonnet and places it on his head._ SIMWA _raises his war-club
    with a great shout, dancing about the half-prostrate form of the_
    CHISERA, _the Fighting Men one by one falling into the dance with
    wild exultant movements, chanting_.)

  The bows of Castac shall be broken!
  The bowstring shall break asunder!
  He shall break the bows of Castac!

    (_As they pass out on the war trail shouting, the women are seen
    to come to the help of the_ CHISERA.)

  CURTAIN



ACT SECOND



ACT SECOND


SCENE.--_The campody of Sagharawite, three months later, near the new
wickiup of the Arrow-Maker. At the right, the house of_ RAIN WIND,
_and behind all a spring under a clump of dwarf oaks. A little trail
runs between stones to connect the Arrow-Maker with the rest of the
campody, and beyond it the valley rises gently to the Sierra
foothills, brooding under the spring haze. A little to the fore of_
SIMWA'S _house lies a great heap of blankets, baskets, and camp
utensils, displayed to the best advantage, the wedding dower of the
Chief's daughter. By her father's house_ BRIGHT WATER _is being
dressed for bridal by her young companions. They braid her hair,
paint her face, tie her moccasins, and arrange her beads over the
robe of white doeskin; they laugh as they work and are happily
important as is the custom of bridesmaids. The older women are
winnowing grain and grinding at the metate._

_At the left and front_, SIMWA, TAVWOTS, _and others are gambling
with dice made of halves of black-walnut hulls, filled with pitch;
the number indicated by bits of shell embedded in the pitch. They are
shaken in a small basket and turned out on a basket plaque._

_The older men look on, smoking._ TAVWOTS _is broad-faced and merry,
and does not neglect to ogle the girls at intervals, which causes
them to giggle and hide their heads in their blankets. The men have
on their holiday dress, especially the younger companions of_ SIMWA.

  TAVWOTS

(_Throwing._) Five!

  SIMWA

(_Throwing._) And five again!

  INDIANS

Hi! Hi!

  TAVWOTS

Four!

  SIMWA

Seven! (_Exclamations._)

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Bringing a blanket._) Here, let us spread the blanket where the
newly married pair shall sit when first my daughter comes to her
husband's house.

    (_The women assist her, spreading it in front of_ SIMWA'S
    _house._)

  TIAWA

And this time next year, may you be a grandmother.

  SEEGOOCHE

I pray so. To-morrow I shall go to the Chisera and get a charm to
make it sure.

  WACOBA

Does not the Chisera come to the wedding?

  SEEGOOCHE

I wished it so, but Simwa has no faith in magic medicine. He thinks
we show her too much respect because of her mumblings and wavings of
arms.

  WACOBA

It would have been neighborly to invite her.

  TIAWA

I should be afraid lest some mischief came of this neglect.

  SEEGOOCHE

So am I; but Simwa would not have her asked.

    (_She passes to her own hut and brings out grain and pine nuts,
    with which the other women fill their ceremonial baskets._)

  TIAWA

No doubt Simwa feels that the gods have done so much for him that he
can afford to dispense with an advocate.

  HAIWAI

(_Who has approached unnoticed._) Small wonder he thinks so when you
remember how he brought our men back scatheless with the spoil of
Castac. Seegooche, I bring the best of my share to grace your
daughter's wedding. (_Offers basket._)

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Taking it and handing it about._) My thanks to you. (_Noticing the
papoose which she carries strapped in a basket at her back._) And who
is this that comes to my house uninvited?

  HAIWAI

Nay, but he came to mine but five days since; and already he grips
like a man! (_Showing him about proudly._)

  TIAWA

Hey, little warrior!

  TUIYO

Ah, let me have him, Haiwai! I will hold him carefully.

    (_Still seated, she reaches up her arms for the child and coos
    over it._)

  BRIGHT WATER

Let me!

    (_Takes the basket from_ TUIYO _and rocks the basket, crooning._)

  Hey, little dove, hush, little dove,
  'Tis the wind rocking
  Thy nest in the pine tree.
  Hey, little dove.

  WHITE FLOWER

Chief's daughter, do you think you will be able to do so well by your
husband?

    (BRIGHT WATER _gives back the child to its mother in great
    confusion_.)

  SEEGOOCHE

Do not plague her. (_The women return to their work._) It is the way
with maids, the nearer they are to mothering the less they wish to
hear of it.

  TIAWA

Still I would see the Chisera if I were you. It is a pity she is not
invited.

  TUIYO

(_Painting_ BRIGHT WATER.) Tell me, Seegooche, do I put the white on
her cheeks too, or only on the forehead.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Alarmed._) No, no white at all, not on her wedding day. It is an
evil omen.

  TUIYO

(_Wiping it off hastily._) Then I will take it off again. All the
misfortune be on my head.

  BRIGHT WATER

Never fear, mother, I am so defended by happiness no evil could get
near me.

  WHITE FLOWER

Besides, the bride of Simwa need fear no omens. The luck of her
husband will protect her.

  TUIYO

(_With a final touch._) There, come to the spring and see how lovely
you are. (_The girls all rise._)

  TAVWOTS

That's bad medicine you make for us unmarried men.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Standing forth in her bridal array._) Is it so bad, Simwa?

    (SIMWA _answers with his eyes_.)

  TAVWOTS

Already he is speechless, and I have staked him my collar of elks'
teeth as a charm against it.

  BRIGHT WATER

Tavwots, you have eaten meadowlarks' tongues. If you had a wife, you
would keep her in a gambling basket. (_At the spring._) Now I need
only flowers for my hair. Let us go get them. (_The girls go out._)

  TAVWOTS

(_Throwing down his collar of elks' teeth._) By the Bear, Simwa, I do
not know how it is you persuade the gods to be always on your side.
First you are made war leader, then you marry the Chief's daughter,
and now you have my collar of elks' teeth to top all.

  SIMWA

(_Gathering up the stakes._) Will you take a chance to have it back
again?

  TAVWOTS

I would, if I had anything to stake you; but my luck has left me
little but my shirt.

  SIMWA

I will play you for that.

  TAVWOTS

Not until after the wedding. (_Rises._)

  SIMWA

As you like. Your shirt against the collar. Do you play, friends?

  FIRST INDIAN

Not I.

  YAVI

Nor I. The luck is all to Simwa. (_All rise._)

  TAVWOTS

Yes. One would think he had been courting the Chisera.

  SIMWA

(_Who has risen, turning sharply._) How?

  TAVWOTS

I said I could not guess how you manage to be always winning, unless
you have made love to the Chisera, and she has persuaded the gods for
you. (_Slapping him on the back._) Why, this is the first time you
were ever accused of love-making and looked sourly over it!

  SIMWA

(_Smirking._) No fault of mine if the women like a good figure.

  TAVWOTS

No advantage either from this time henceforward. Here comes Chief
Rain Wind to marry you to his daughter.

  CHIEF

(_Issuing from his wickiup in full holiday dress, blanketed._) Where
is she?

  SEEGOOCHE

She gathers flowers with her young companions. She comes presently.

  CHIEF

Bid the married women prepare to bless the bridal. Are the guests all
here?

  SEEGOOCHE

Choco and the others who went out to hunt early this morning have not
yet returned.

  CHIEF

I would speak with them when they come. And Padahoon?

  TAVWOTS

I do not know, unless he visits the Chisera.

  SIMWA

(_Startled._) Padahoon?

  TAVWOTS

So often does he go to her house, if he did not have a wife already,
I should think he had an eye to her. The best cut of my next kill
against my shirt, Simwa, that he goes to find ways to make good
against you the loss of the leadership.

  SIMWA

(_Complacently._) Padahoon cannot forgive me the victory at Castac.

  TAVWOTS

Well, if the Tecuya Creek tribes keep up their quarreling, we are all
likely to wish you had not killed off so many of their fighting men.

  SIMWA

I shall deal with the Tecuyas as I did with Castac.

  TAVWOTS

The gods were with you. Next time Padahoon may win the Chisera to be
on his side.

  SIMWA

(_Suspiciously._) What do you mean? Am I not war leader of
Sagharawite?

  TAVWOTS

So long as we and the gods approve you. But if I were the gods, and
the Chisera came dancing before me--

  CHIEF

Tavwots, your wit misleads you. The Chisera is not a subject for jest
or the favor of men; she is an advocate with the gods for us.

  TAVWOTS

Well, the gods have a handsome advocate. I should give her anything
she asked. (_Looking off._) See, bridegroom, the girls are dancing,
and you not with them! (SIMWA _and several of the younger men go
out._)

  CHIEF

(_Detaining_ TAVWOTS.) Tavwots, what do you know of this Tecuya Creek
matter?

  TAVWOTS

More than I like to spoil a feast-day with.

  CHIEF

Nevertheless, tell it.

  TAVWOTS

They have forbidden all the campodies east of us from fishing in the
river. Also they watch all the trails toward Toorape and take toll of
passers.

  CHIEF

On what grounds?

  TAVWOTS

None, I think, except that they are able. A bowman of Tehachappi
inquired of me how many fell at Castac, and I, thinking to glorify
the tribe,--I told him.

  CHIEF

What said he to that?

  TAVWOTS

What I should have expected. He grinned upon me like a sick coyote
and said, “They are poor allies, the dead.”

  INDIANS

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

  CHIEF

Here are the hunters. They will know if there is mischief stirring.

    (_Enter from the left_, CHOCO, PAMAQUASH, _and others, carrying
    game._)

  TAVWOTS

And with the Arrow-Maker's own luck!

  CHOCO

So far as the quarry goes.

  CHIEF

But not for the hunters--?

  CHOCO

(_To him._) Send the younger men away. I have a word for you.

  CHIEF

You, Fleet-Foot, Yavi, all of you--carry the game to the women and
help them dress it for the feast. (_The young men take up the game
and go out, leaving_ CHOCO, TAVWOTS, _and the Old Men with the_
CHIEF.) Let us hear your word, Choco.

  CHOCO

(_Taking a long arrow from under his blanket._) What make you of
that?

  CHIEF

(_Examining it._) Tecuya Creek, surely.

  OLD MEN

(_Handing it about._) Tecuya--Tecuya.

  CHIEF

Where did you find it?

  CHOCO

Where I like least to see it--in the body of a friend.

  MEN

Ah--a--a--ah!

  CHIEF

What friend?

  CHOCO

Winnedumah. He went out to the hunt yesterday and was to have joined
us this morning at Deer Leap. I found him by the crossing of the
trails, with that through him.

  CHIEF

Bad business. What say you it means?

  CHOCO

That the Tecuyas think we dare not avenge it.

  CHIEF

Dare not! Simwa must hear of this, but not on his wedding day.
To-morrow we will take counsel. I would I might have a word with
Padahoon.

  TAVWOTS

He is there on the _barranca_; I will call him. Oh--ee, Padahoon!

  PADAHOON

(_Appearing on the barranca._) What now? (_Ironically._) Can not the
Arrow-Maker so much as take a wife without calling all the tribes to
witness? (_Coming down the barranca, noting their gravity._) What has
happened? Is the Council called?

  CHIEF

For to-morrow. In the mean time there is this. (_Handing up the
arrow._)

  PADAHOON

(_Standing halfway down the bank as he examines it._) An arrow of
Tecuya. Blood? Blood of Sagharawite?

  TAVWOTS

Of Winnedumah.

  PADAHOON

(_Blazing forth._) By the Bear that fathered us! It is likely to
prove an open wound in the honor of Sagharawite. Not ten sleeps have
passed since the last of our fighting men returned from the killing
of our blood brothers, and already we have a witness to our folly!
The Tecuyas are three to one of us.

  PAMAQUASH

But the luck of Simwa is more than three times that of Tecuya.

  PADAHOON

The fortunes of Simwa! What are they but the accidents of time and
weather. A landslip on the trail, a rainstorm that wetted their
bowstrings and left ours dry. The damp has slacked your wits, Rain
Wind, that you are not able to distinguish between the Arrow-Maker
and his luck.

  CHIEF

The witness of the gods in his favor.

  PADAHOON

The gods are not always so attentive. Where was the luck of the
Arrow-Maker that it has not saved us from this? (_Shaking the arrow
as he descends._) Show me something which we owe to Simwa if you
would have me trust in him.

  CHIEF

I will show you the pit of your own heart, Padahoon, and the adder
that bites at the root of it. You are jealous of the fame and the
office of Simwa, but you shall not sink your venom in the minds of
the Fighting Men.

  PADAHOON

I would I could sting them to understand that if Tecuya comes against
us, they will not trust so much to luck as to war craft.

  CHIEF

Understand yourself that whatever comes of this business of Tecuya,
Simwa is still war leader. You are too old a man, Padahoon, to be
told that whoever lessens the credit of the war leader saps at the
strength of Sagharawite.

  PADAHOON

Aye, I am an old man and in my dotage when I seek to set years of
good faith and experience against the fortunate moments of a fool.

  CHIEF

The Chief has spoken. No more of this until the Council. In the mean
time, not a word to the women. It is an ill omen for a feast.

    (_He goes out, followed by all but_ TAVWOTS, CHOCO, PAMAQUASH,
    _and_ PADAHOON.)

  TAVWOTS

(_Laying his hand on the shoulder of_ PADAHOON.) By the Bear,
Padahoon, I have been on your side in this matter heretofore, but now
I think the Chief is right. It is an ill business setting men against
the war leader in time of danger.

  PADAHOON

You too, Tavwots--you have looked at the lure of the Arrow-Maker's
luck and do not see the snare which his want of wit spreads for your
feet?

  TAVWOTS

(_Uncertainly._) But if the fortune of Simwa is not his own, whence
is it?

  PADAHOON

Tell me, Tavwots, when another man seeks favor from the gods, by whom
does it come?

  TAVWOTS

By the Chisera. But what--

  PADAHOON

On the morning of the election, when I went from the Chief to advise
the Chisera, I met Simwa by her hut.

  PAMAQUASH

I also met him when I came back from Leaping Water to bring word to
the women--he said he had been gathering eagles' feathers for his
arrows.

  PADAHOON

So he said to me. Feathers for arrows when every man had his quiver
full at his back!

  TAVWOTS

But Simwa puts no faith in magic medicine. Why, he has not even asked
the Chisera to his wedding!

  PADAHOON

No, not even though the Chief's daughter urged it. (_A pause full of
significance._)

  TAVWOTS

No, no! Padahoon! Unless the Chisera owned to it herself, I would not
believe it. The Chief is right. The wound of your jealousy festers
and corrupts your tongue. (_Turning his back on_ PADAHOON _he claps_
PAMAQUASH _on the shoulder._) Come and dance!

  CHOCO

(_Gathering his blanket around him._) Even if the Chisera owned it, I
would not believe it.

    (_The men move in the direction of the merrymaking and are met by
    the younger people, laughing and shouting for_ SIMWA. PADAHOON
    _watches them bitterly for a while, and, revolving many things,
    draws his blanket up and departs in the direction of the_
    CHISERA'S _hut._)

  PAMAQUASH

Come, Arrow-Maker, a speech for your bridal. (_Laughter and
approval._)

  SIMWA

(_Drunk with popularity._) The war leader loves deeds rather than
talking.

  TAVWOTS

We have seen what your fighting is like. Give us a speech.

  SIMWA

Friends and tribesmen, the fortune of Simwa is Simwa. Does the Bear
take weapons against the woodchuck, and shall the sons of the Bear
make charms against their enemies? The spoil of Castac is in our camp
(_cheers_) and our young men hunt within their borders. (_Applause._)
If any of the tribes inquire where are the fullest harvests, the
fattest deer, the prettiest maidens (_he flings his blanket about_
BRIGHT WATER), bid him look for the land of Simwa the Arrow-Maker.
(_Shouts and laughter._)

  YOUNG MEN

Come, now, a dance, a dance! Tavwots, dance for us!

    (_The cries increasing_, TAVWOTS _is pushed forward to dance,
    others cry for_ PAMAQUASH _and_ YAVI, _who join_ TAVWOTS,
    _laughing, to dance the blanket dance, all the others singing and
    keeping time with swaying bodies. The girls hover about the
    dancers, and as at certain points in the dance the Young Men
    attempt to cast their blankets about the heads of the girls, they
    duck and squeal. Finally, amid much laughter, each dancer
    captures a girl, rubbing his cheek against hers, the Indian
    equivalent of a kiss. With great merriment the crowd moves off in
    the direction of the mesa, disclosing_ PADAHOON _and the_
    CHISERA, _who have come up unobserved_.)

  PADAHOON

Come this way, Chisera. The girls are out on the _mesa_, dancing with
the bride, and the women are grinding at the metate for the marriage
feast.

  THE CHISERA

But where is Simwa?

  PADAHOON

With the bride, no doubt. Here is his wickiup, and here the marriage
dower beside it.

  THE CHISERA

All this?

  PADAHOON

Never so many gifts went to a wedding in Sagharawite. Every woman
whose man came back safe from the war gave a basket or a blanket, and
Simwa gave all of his share of the spoil of Castac.

  THE CHISERA

And that, I doubt not, is bitter for you to see, Padahoon.

  PADAHOON

Why, as to that, Chisera, it is good to see spoil of our foes in the
camp; but the fighting men of Castac were our blood brothers. See,
here is the blanket where the newly married pair shall sit to receive
the blessings of the fruitful women.

  THE CHISERA

(_Bitterly._) But not the blessing of the Chisera. Never before, in
my time, has there been a bride of Sagharawite but sent to ask my
blessing.

  PADAHOON

Aye, but Simwa does not believe in charms and spells. (_The_ CHISERA
_seems about to break out angrily, but restrains herself._ PADAHOON
_watches her narrowly as he speaks._) Look, Chisera! Is not the bride
fair? Fit to set a man beside himself with desiring?

  THE CHISERA

She is but a child. Her breasts are scarcely grown. No fit mate for a
war leader.

  PADAHOON

(_Watching her._) But a man so well furnished with wisdom need not
look for it in a wife. Is it not so, Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

Padahoon, why do you tell me this?

  PADAHOON

(_With the appearance of candor._) As often as I came to your house
to get medicine, you asked me for news of the campody, and seemed
best pleased with news of Simwa, the war leader; and with reason,
since he has become the most notable man of the Paiutes. Yet, when I
told you he was to be married to-day to the Chief's daughter, you
were slow to believe. Now tell me if I have lied, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

You have not lied, Padahoon, but Simwa, he has lied. How long have
you known this?

  PADAHOON

Since the time of Taboose.

  THE CHISERA

And why not told me?

  PADAHOON

How could I think the Chisera wished to know? It was a thing you
might have heard from the women grinding meal or weaving baskets. But
the Chisera does not often come to the village, except there is
illness.

  THE CHISERA

I have no time to gossip with the women. I have to go before the gods
for them and their children.

  PADAHOON

And now that you are told, what will you do?

  THE CHISERA

Is there so much to do?

  PADAHOON

Only to give him your blessing.

  THE CHISERA

(_Bitterly._) Did I not give him that at Castac?

    (_Begins to search about among Simwa's effects._)

  PADAHOON

What seek you, Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

The arrow! the quiver! Surely Simwa does not dance at his wedding
wearing his quiver?

  PADAHOON

No; but when he is not wearing it, no man knows where he hides it.

  THE CHISERA

(_Searching._) The quiver! I must find the quiver!

  PADAHOON

'Tis said he has a magic arrow in it of such power he would have it
fall into no man's hands.

  THE CHISERA

(_Muttering._) Aye, the arrow; the black arrow.

  PADAHOON

Chisera, why does this marriage disturb you?

  THE CHISERA

Padahoon, why should you think it disturbs me?

  PADAHOON

You have come.

  THE CHISERA

Why should not one maid come to the marriage of another? There is
scarce two summers' difference between me and the Chief's daughter.

  PADAHOON

Yes, but you come in your blanket. Such has not been your custom when
you have come among us on errands of healing; then you dressed
sumptuously, as befitted one bearing the word of the gods. Now you
come like an angry woman who would hide what is in her heart.

  THE CHISERA

(_With dignity._) Cover your own heart, Padahoon, lest I ask what
mischief breeds in it to bid you observe me so much. I have not
forgot that you would have paid me a blanket to be made war leader in
the room of Simwa.

  PADAHOON

(_With ugly insinuation._) Ugh! huh! Perhaps I had been as fortunate
as the Arrow-Maker, if, instead of giving it, I had offered to share
it with you.

  THE CHISERA

_Kima!_ Padahoon, you do tempt me to try if I can curse.

  PADAHOON

(_Conciliatory._) I have no wish to anger the friend of the gods, but
I am a plain man wishing good to my campody, and it seems not good to
me that Simwa has grown suddenly so great.

  THE CHISERA

(_Recovering herself._) What has that to do with the Chisera?

  PADAHOON

I have known this Simwa since he was first tied in a basket, and,
though he has grown to be war leader, I think he is most like a pod
of rattleweed that is swollen to twice its size at the end of the
season, yet has no more in it than at the beginning. And I do not
know how, without the help of magic medicine, he has come to be what
he is with so little in him.

  THE CHISERA

The Chief's daughter has trusted him.

  PADAHOON

She loves him. (_During this scene bursts of Indian music and singing
have been heard at intervals. It grows louder._ PADAHOON _and_
CHISERA _look off._) They come this way, Chisera. You are right. When
a man has married so fair a wife, there is not much left to be done
for him.

  THE CHISERA

(_With bitter irony, as she moves over against_ SIMWA'S _hut and puts
up her blanket._) I am not so sure.

  TIAWA

It is Chisera.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_With alarm._) Where is my daughter?

    (BRIGHT WATER _enters with the young girls, laughing and talking.
    Her hair is braided with golden poppies and falls over her
    shoulders. She sees the_ CHISERA _standing, tall and still, by_
    SIMWA'S _hut, her whole figure shrouded in a blanket, which is
    drawn up to cover all of her face but the eyes._)

  BRIGHT WATER

Who is it comes to my wedding uninvited? How her eyes burn upon me!

  SEEGOOCHE

Hush! She will hear you. It is the Chisera.

  BRIGHT WATER

The Chisera? Never have I seen her like this. But she has come to
bring me a blessing.

  SEEGOOCHE

Do not speak to her, my daughter; she is not in the humor for it.

  BRIGHT WATER

Shall I not be courteous to the first guest who has come to my
husband's house? Chisera, I am pleased that you have come to bless my
marriage.

  THE CHISERA

(_Out of her blanket._) Where is Simwa?

  BRIGHT WATER

He comes soon. (_Going to her._) Last night I thought of you, and how
you alone, of all Sagharawite, had kept away from my happiness--

  SEEGOOCHE

Let be, daughter. (_Pulling her sleeve._) It is ill stirring a coiled
snake. (_To the_ CHISERA, _with intent to draw her off._) Come this
way, Chisera, and I will show you the wedding presents.

  THE CHISERA

(_Lowering her blanket a little._) Show me the Arrow-Maker.

    (_The elder men have entered, among them_ RAIN WIND.)

  CHIEF

What is this?

  TIAWA

It is the Chisera asking for Simwa.

  MEN

Ah! ah! ah--ah!

    (_Exchanging glances of inquiry and amazement._)

  CHIEF

Who is that behind her?

  WACOBA

Padahoon!

  MEN

Ugh! huh!

  CHIEF

So? Why does she cover her face?

  TIAWA

She makes medicine in her blanket.

    (_The Indians draw close in two groups, the women together and
    the men on the other side. They watch the_ CHISERA _uneasily._
    BRIGHT WATER _stands a little apart, the bridesmaids moving
    timidly toward the elder women._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Putting down her blanket._) The Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite is slow
to the bridal.

  BRIGHT WATER

He comes. He comes.

    (_The young men enter, with_ SIMWA _in their midst, painted and
    befeathered as befits a handsome man on his wedding day.
    Observing the_ CHISERA, _he checks and falters in his walk._)

  SIMWA

Chisera!

  THE CHISERA

Is it you, Simwa, who wed with the Chief's daughter?

  SIMWA

You are come, Chisera--(_Wholly at a loss._) You are come--

  THE CHISERA

I am come to your marriage, Simwa, though I am not invited.

  BRIGHT WATER

But now that she is here, Simwa, you will ask her to bless us?

  SIMWA

(_Recovering himself with an effort._) Surely, surely. But the
married women have not blessed us yet. (_Taking the bride's hand and
leading her to the blanket. They seat themselves._) Come, Tiawa, have
you no pine nuts in your basket? (_With an effort to carry it off
jovially._) What! will you have my wife dig roots before her wedding
year is out?

    (_The married women take up their baskets and begin the ceremony
    of sprinkling the bride with nuts and seeds in token of
    fruitfulness._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Warningly._) Simwa! Simwa!

    (_The women leave off, huddling together, looking fearfully at
    the_ CHISERA.)

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Getting between her and_ BRIGHT WATER.) What harm to you, Chisera,
if the Arrow-Maker weds where he loves?

  THE CHISERA

(_Looking steadily at_ SIMWA.) Aye--where he loves--(_Pleadingly._)
Simwa! Simwa!

    (_She drops her blanket and turns away._)

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Lifting her basket to her shoulder again._) Let us go on with the
marriage.

  PADAHOON

(_To the company._) If the Chisera knows any reason why this marriage
should not go on, should she not say it openly? A word half spoken
breeds suspicion faster than flies at killing time.

  CHIEF

What talk is this of reasons? Have I not the disposing of my daughter
in marriage? Reason enough, if I wish it so.

  PADAHOON

That which is most reasonable to men, the gods see otherwise.

    (_A murmur begins in the camp, but_ SIMWA _takes it up
    instantly._)

  SIMWA

He is thinking of the war with Castac. Truly, you were not eye to eye
with the gods on that occasion, Padahoon.

  PADAHOON

Were I so sure it was of the gods, I had not stood out so against it.

  CHIEF

Was not Simwa approved of the gods through the mouth of the Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

So you think.

  CHIEF

Is there another Arrow-Maker so skilled between Tehachappi and
Tecuya? Are any shafts better fashioned to fly straight to the mark?
Is there any hunter knows more surely where the herds feed, or
strikes quicker the slot of a deer?

  THE CHISERA

As you think.

  CHIEF

Let be this talk of reasons. This is mere woman's mischief, to nod
and wink and to make signs with the eyebrows. A woman would have you
think reason enough for marrying if she liked or misliked it.
Chisera, this is no matter for the gods, but a plain mating of man
and maid.

  THE CHISERA

(_Flashing._) Since when have you talked with the gods, that you
think to lesson me in their business?

  CHIEF

Since you have been a father, to know reasons for the bestowal of
daughters.

    (_Grunts of appreciation._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Letting her blanket slip to her breast._) Know, then, that if these
are your reasons, Rain Wind, there is no more meat in them than in
the husk of acorns. If good fortune hangs on all Simwa's movements,
it is by reason of the medicine I make that binds him in the favor of
the Friend.

  SIMWA

(_Leaning on his elbows, with the manner of being quite at ease._)
You are very free with your blessing, Chisera, if it is so; for it is
well known in the camp that Simwa, the Arrow-Maker, does not believe
in charms, nor seek them.

  INDIANS

(_Grunting in assent._) Ugh! huh!

  THE CHISERA

(_Letting fall her blanket in a burst of indignation._) “Nor seek
them!”--Ah! Simwa! Simwa!

    (_A short pause of embarrassment and consternation ensues. Then_
    PADAHOON, _in a manner meant to seem impartial--_)

  PADAHOON

The medicine of the Chisera is very powerful, but one must allow a
little credit to the gods. Simwa was chosen war leader by the trial
of the seven sticks. As the gods willed, they made the sticks to
fall. Is it not so, Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

(_Sullenly, from her blanket._) I do not know. I did not look.
(_Letting fall her blanket and speaking proudly._) I had persuaded
the Friend to give victory to the war leader. What should I care for
the sticks? A day and a night I made medicine, and the sign was sure.
I said “Simwa” and the gods confirmed it.

    (_The Indians remain silent, but draw a little away from_ SIMWA.)

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Rising and turning toward her._) Chisera, why should you make
medicine for Simwa?

  THE CHISERA

Chief's daughter, do not ask.

  BRIGHT WATER

Chief's daughter I am, and wife of the war leader. Why should you
concern yourself with his affairs?

  THE CHISERA

(_After a pause, with great dignity._) Because he loved me.

  INDIANS

Ah! Ah--ah! Ah!

  SIMWA

(_Laughing._) The Friend of the gods has eaten rattleweed. Does a man
love a wild woman who goes muttering and waving her arms, when she
should be weaving and grinding meal? Would he take a wander-thought
to his bed, and have witless children? Sooner I had a snake in my hut
to run and tattle to the gods of me.

  TAVWOTS

(_To_ PADAHOON.) Now, if it is true that he owes his fortune to the
gods, they have deserted him, else he would not speak so to a jealous
woman.

  SIMWA

(_Looking long at the_ CHISERA, _haggard and unpainted, her blanket
trailing, and then to the Chief's daughter, and back again, all the
eyes of the campody following._) Is there any comeliness in a witch,
that a man should desire her?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Alarmed._) Simwa, Simwa! If you have no care for yourself, at least
remember my daughter!

  SIMWA

(_Rising._) Have no care, mother. If I do not believe she can bless,
neither do you believe that she can curse.

  BRIGHT WATER

Mother, let be. If this be true that she speaks, I am already cursed.

  SIMWA

(_Going to his wife._) What have we to do with blessings or cursings?
The Chisera is unsound in her mind. I have seen her dancing in the
hills sometimes where I went to gather eagle's feathers for my
arrows, and her madness has made a curious tale of it.

  BRIGHT WATER

I would I might believe it.

  SIMWA

(_With returning complacency._) Do you find it so hard to have a
husband whom other women admire?

  PADAHOON

Chief and tribesmen, if it be true that Simwa values charms so
little, let him declare what it is he keeps sewed in his quiver so
precious that he must hide it even on his wedding day.

    (_Murmurs. The_ CHISERA, _in alarm, endeavors to check_ PADAHOON.
    SIMWA _turns upon him with a snarl._)

  SIMWA

_Kima!_ (_Wildly._) You cannot prove that I had it of the Chisera!

  PADAHOON

(_Suddenly darting out two fingers from his mouth, moving them
rapidly in the manner of a snake's tongue, with a hissing sound._)
Snake of two tongues! Now I know you for the man you are, braggart
and liar!

  SIMWA

Coyote whelp!

    (SIMWA _grasps a war weapon, a stone tied in a crotched stick,
    from the heap of wedding gifts, and smites_ PADAHOON _to the
    earth, standing threateningly over him. The others stiffen into
    tense attitudes, drawing their blankets tighter, their eyes
    burning bright._ PADAHOON _draws the knife that hangs in a sheath
    at his neck._)

  CHIEF

(_Putting_ SIMWA _back with a hand at his breast._) Peace! Though you
are made my son by this day's work, you shall not usurp judgment.
(_To_ PADAHOON, _as_ SIMWA _moves slowly back, his weapon lowered._)
What charge do you make?

  PADAHOON

(_Rising on his elbow to spit blood._) Thou art a liar, if ever there
was one in Sagharawite, and have nothing which is not owed to the
Chisera.

  CHIEF

Speak straight, Padahoon, or, by the Bear, I shall let him kill you
where you lie.

  PADAHOON

Three nights after the return from Tecuya, I saw you at the Chisera's
house--and again in the rains--and at the time of Taboose.

  CHIEF

Is it so, Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

It is so.

  PADAHOON

Did you go there for love or profit?

    (SIMWA _lets slip his weapon from his hand to the ground._)

  CHIEF

Simwa, if you were the son of my body, I should not know which to
believe.

  SIMWA

Believe him if you like. (_Sullenly._) If a skunk walk in my trail
and leave a stink there, shall I go out of my way to deny that it is
mine? No doubt the woman is both mad and shameless.

    (_Murmurs of indignation._)

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Afraid, but furious._) Then if you are shameless, begone! Stay not
to vex the marriage of a maiden. Go! Have to do with your gods, and
leave my daughter.

  BRIGHT WATER

Mother! Mother!

  THE CHISERA

Shameless, am I, Seegooche? Then there is one of your blood shall
know a greater shame. Great hunter does she think her man? Aye, but
she shall come to dig roots for him when he fails of the hunt and be
glad of the offal the other women give her for pity. For this I say
to you, tribesmen of Sagharawite, that, though I cannot curse, yet I
can take back my blessing.

  BRIGHT WATER

All this is of no account, Chisera. No doubt you can contrive against
the fame of Simwa and bespeak the gods to neglect him; I wait to hear
what proof you have that he loved you.

  SEEGOOCHE

Do not vex her, daughter, lest she turn the gods against you also.

  BRIGHT WATER

No matter, mother. What Simwa bears, I can bear. What proof, Chisera?

  THE CHISERA

What proof?

    (_She turns toward_ SIMWA, _faltering. He smiles
    contemptuously._)

  BRIGHT WATER

That Simwa loved you.

  THE CHISERA

(_Slowly, her eyes on_ SIMWA.) He came to my hut--in the
night--Chief's daughter (_boldly_), even as he comes this night to
yours.

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Impatiently._) But did he love you?

  THE CHISERA

He made me so believe. (_Looking about and noting the lack of
conviction._) How else had he held me, since last the poppies
bloomed, a lure to snare the favor of the gods? Does he say he was
not blessed? Aye, twice blessed. (_She takes from her bosom the
amulet._) Was it not this you gave me to make medicine upon, to keep
your lover safe in war? Twice blessed he was; but, as I made my
blessing, so do I break it.

    (_Drops the amulet and grinds it underfoot_.)

  INDIANS

(_Moving uneasily._) Ah! Ah!

  THE CHISERA

And this is the proof that I speak truly. From this day, whoever
brings me arrows shall have medicine upon them without price, and who
would have news of the passing of the deer shall have it for the
asking. Only Simwa shall have nothing but his own wit and the work of
his hands, and by what befalls, you shall know the truth.

  BRIGHT WATER

By this I know the truth! You never loved him, or you would not now
betray him.

  THE CHISERA

(_Moving toward the trail._) And you, Bright Water, that think to lie
in your husband's arms this night, know that I have lain there before
you. And you shall not dare to laugh as a bride laughs, lest it be to
him my voice in the dusk; and if he turns and sighs in his sleep, you
shall wonder if he dreams of the Chisera. Long and anxiously you
shall look in the trail when he is late from the hunt, and the men
shall mock him that he could not keep the blessing he had got.
(BRIGHT WATER _turns despairingly and sinks on the ground, holding
her mother by the knees and sobbing bitterly. All the Indians draw
away from_ SIMWA, _leaving him standing, discomfited, in the middle
of the camp. All look with awe and dread at the_ CHISERA. _She
produces a small medicine stick from under her blanket and twirls it
with menace. Going._) As for you, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite, though
I cannot curse, yet am I the friend of the gods, and they have regard
to me. Look well to yourself, Simwa. Look well.

  CURTAIN



ACT THIRD



ACT THIRD


TIME.--_One year later._

SCENE.--_The top of Toorape, where the tribe has been driven by their
enemies of Tecuya. The women and children hide in holes in the rocks.
Off to the right on a jutting boulder, against the sky, stands_ YAVI,
_as sentinel; two or three wounded lie about. Crouching over the fire
are_ SEEGOOCHE, WACOBA, _and_ TIAWA, _showing in their dress and
appearance the marks of a year of distress, as do all the others as
they appear upon the scene._

  YAVI

(_To them._) St--st!

  WACOBA

(_Rising._) Some one on the trail!

  SEEGOOCHE

What is it?

  WACOBA

(_To her._) Hush!

  YAVI

The Sparrow Hawk!

  SEEGOOCHE

News from the Fighting Men!

  TIAWA

The gods grant it be good news!

    (PADAHOON, _weary and with disordered dress, comes clambering up
    the face of the cliff._)

  YAVI

(_Calling down in a whisper._) What news?

  TIAWA

Are the gods still against us?

  PADAHOON

As they have been since the day the Chisera took away her blessing
from the war leader.

  WOMEN

(_Wailing._) Ai! Ai!

    (_Others come out of the rocks to join in the general grief._)

  WACOBA

Could you but persuade her to give it back again. (_Hopefully._)

  PADAHOON

If I cannot, then this is like to be the last fight of Sagharawite!

  WACOBA

If you cannot, then must the chief enforce her, for since we were
driven from our homes, neither the anguish of the women nor the
hunger of the children has moved her.

  PADAHOON

I will speak with her at once.

    (_He goes up among the rocks, and the women huddle wretchedly
    together watching._)

  WACOBA

Do you think she will consent?

  SEEGOOCHE

She cannot choose but do it. The men have kept her supplied with
venison, but she must know that there is hunger in the camp of the
women and children.

  WACOBA

And that the Tecuyas have taken the best of our fighting men.

  TIAWA

But no man of hers. I have always said--but because I am old nobody
minds me--that if there was one of her household to go to battle, she
would need no persuasion to go before the gods. I would Simwa had
given her a child.

  WACOBA

(_Aside from_ SEEGOOCHE.) Then you believe that he was her lover?

  TIAWA

What else? Would any but a jilted woman sit and mope while our
wickiups go up in smoke?

  WACOBA

I would she had a child, but not Simwa's. One of that breed is
enough.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Who has moved nearer the hut._) Hush, see the curtain! (_They
start._)

  TIAWA

It was the wind.

  SEEGOOCHE

They say she has not made medicine since my daughter's marriage.

  WACOBA

(_Looking off to the right where the mountains dip abruptly
valleyward._) And to think that even now they must be fighting under
Toorape.

  SEEGOOCHE

Hush! Hush!

    (PADAHOON _and the_ CHISERA _come out of the hut. The_ CHISERA'S
    _whole appearance is of heartbreak and neglect. She leans against
    the boulders at the left, holding her blanket close, and answers_
    PADAHOON _sullenly._)

  PADAHOON

And is this all your answer?

  THE CHISERA

The trail is cold between the gods and me.

  PADAHOON

Then you will not make medicine?

  THE CHISERA

And would not if I could.

  PADAHOON

Have you turned renegade, Chisera, and side with our enemies of
Tecuya?

  THE CHISERA

No, Padahoon, but I see that no good comes of persuading the gods to
do more for man than his natural destiny.

  PADAHOON

You have always persuaded them to our advantage.

  THE CHISERA

What good came of having Simwa made war leader? Had I not persuaded
them to meddle with that business, the leadership would have fallen
to you as the elder, and we should not now be without allies in our
need.

  PADAHOON

I am not sure the gods had so much to do with that: but if the
mischief came through them, the gods must repair it.

  THE CHISERA

I will not make medicine. Send the women away.

  PADAHOON

What shall I say to them?

  THE CHISERA

To count themselves already blessed in having those for whom they
desire blessing. Tell them that to have loved and given the breast is
enough to salve the wounds of loss.

  PADAHOON

You are hard, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

I am jealous of their griefs. Their very pangs I envy them. Who is
there of mine goes to this war that I should grieve for his wounding
or look for his return? (_She looks bitterly toward the women who
have crept from the caves to peer from the rocks in the direction of
the fighting._) Persuade me no more, Padahoon. I will not do it.

    (_She disappears among the rocks to the left, and_ PADAHOON
    _turns to the women who crowd around him anxiously._)

  WACOBA

Has she promised?

  TIAWA

Will she help us?

  PADAHOON

The Chisera will not make medicine.

  WOMEN

(_Rocking themselves to and fro._) Ai! Ai!

  SEEGOOCHE

Is it because our gifts are so small? She should consider how hard it
is to get venison in war-time.

  PADAHOON

Her heart is so full of bitterness that there is no room in it for
the gods.

  WACOBA

That is Simwa's doing--though he is your son, Seegooche, I must say
it--there was no better Chisera between here and Tehachappi until he
curdled her wisdom with his lies.

  TIAWA

Ah, Simwa! I spit upon his name.

    (_The women spit between their teeth with sharp hisses._)

  WACOBA

How the Chisera hates him!

  PADAHOON

How she loves him!

  TIAWA

(_Struck with this._) You think so? Yet there is not one word of the
evil she said of him a year ago that has not come to pass.

  WOMEN

Ai! Ai! On him and us.

  PADAHOON

And hate would have been satisfied to strip him of his honors, but
now she lets the whole tribe go down in the ruin of her love.

  WACOBA

(_Hopefully._) Then if she loves him, perhaps he can persuade her.

  PADAHOON

As well persuade the rattlesnake not to strike him.

  SEEGOOCHE

If the Chief should insist, she would not dare refuse.

  PADAHOON

There is little she would not dare. But you can try.

  WOMEN

Let us bring the Chief. (_They go out._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Reappearing cautiously._) Have they gone?

  PADAHOON

To bring Rain Wind to command you.

  THE CHISERA

Can he command the sap to rise or bid the deer-weed spring when there
is no rain? My power is gone from me.

  PADAHOON

Chisera, it is a grave matter to refuse service in time of war--be
advised by the word of a friend--

  THE CHISERA

Has the Chisera indeed a friend?

  PADAHOON

Have I not proved--

  THE CHISERA

Padahoon, when did you ever visit me for any but your own advantage?
For what else did you stir me against Simwa, and why now do you seek
my blessing but to make good against him the honor of which he has
robbed you? Does any one of you bring me venison except for profit or
grind my meal for love?

  PADAHOON

Seeing how little good you had of the love of the Arrow-Maker, why
should you desire it?

  THE CHISERA

You spit poison like a toad, Padahoon, but your fangs are drawn. The
Arrow-Maker never loved me.

  PADAHOON

(_Approaching her with the manner of having gained a point._) If you
have the wit to know so much--

  THE CHISERA

(_Commanding him from her with a gesture as she seats herself._)
Padahoon, there is no more power in me than there is tang in a wet
bowstring. (_She rocks her head between her hands._) It is gone from
me as the shadow goes up the mountain. As the wild geese go northward
at the end of the rains, so is my power--How shall I win it again who
cannot win the love of man?... Ah, leave me, Padahoon, leave me!

    (_She covers her head with her blanket._)

(_Enter_ CHIEF RAIN WIND, _stumbling blindly, led by his wife and
followed at a respectful distance by the other women. He walks with
dignity, in spite of his blindness, and has on all the insignia of
rank except the war-bonnet._ SEEGOOCHE _has a hasty, eager manner,
ingratiating but timid._)

  PADAHOON

(_To them._) You will get nothing.

  CHIEF

I do not come asking: I command.

  SEEGOOCHE

No, no, do not be harsh with her! Let me speak, we women will
understand one another.

  CHIEF

(_Putting his wife aside._) Chisera. (_The_ CHISERA _starts at the
tone of authority, but controls herself._) Friend of the gods. (_She
makes a movement of protest._) I have that to say to you which should
be said but once, which to say at all is shame to you. Great powers
have been given you to turn the favor of the gods as a willow is
turned in the wind. How is it you have not turned them when your
people are in war and bad fortune? We are driven as hunted rabbits to
hide in holes in the rocks, and our fighting men are outnumbered;
even now we do not know if there be one left alive of them--Our tribe
shall be as a forgotten tale unless you intercede for us.

  THE CHISERA

(_Over her shoulder._) What? Is it possible Simwa cannot bring this
affair to pass without the gods?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Breaking in eagerly._) Yes, yes; the gods are very great, there is
nothing without them.

  THE CHISERA

(_Still to the_ CHIEF.) Does Simwa ask it?

  CHIEF

The chief commands it.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Cringingly._) No. No. Chisera, mind him not! He is not himself, the
hunger and the loss of battle do distress him. We beg of you, we
implore you, Chisera--we will bring gifts to you--gifts, Chisera.
(_She looks about despairingly for a suitable gift, snatches a great
rope of beads from the Chief's neck and drops it in the_ CHISERA'S
_lap._) Spoil of our enemies when the war is over, and this to keep
as a reminder--So--if only you will persuade the gods to friend us.

  THE CHISERA

(_Lifting the collar and letting it fall._) And if I will not?

    (_Still with her eyes on the_ CHIEF, _ignoring Seegooche._)

  CHIEF

Chisera, I am an old man, and I knew your father. We had much good
talk together--I am very old--but I am not blind in my judgment as I
am in my eyes. In war-time there is but one law for those faithless
to the tribal obligation. You know it.

  THE CHISERA

(_Drawing her blanket._) I know it.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Dropping to the ground and beating the earth with her palms._) Do
not, do not refuse it, wise one, friend of the Friend! What has Simwa
done that you should destroy us?

  THE CHISERA

_You ask me that, Seegooche?_

  SEEGOOCHE

I know--you said--Such a small thing, Chisera. To love you a little
before he loved my daughter. Young men do often so--and you were very
fair and no doubt beguiled him--Ah, who could withstand you, daughter
of the gods? (_Wheedling._) But your punishment is heavy upon him.

  THE CHISERA

Is it so?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Thinking she has gained a point._) It is indeed as you said; he
makes no more arrows, and his luck in the hunt is gone from him. And
the men mock him. A war leader should not be mocked, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

No more should a friend of the gods, but Simwa mocked me.

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Loosing hope._) He was mad, Chisera, he had eaten rattle-weed. But
my daughter did not mock you. Think of my daughter!

  THE CHISERA

When does your daughter ever think of me?

  SEEGOOCHE

(_Broken and drooping._) Every day she thinks of you. When she is
a-hungered, when her man brings her nothing from the hunt--as--you
have said, Chisera. When she digs roots with the old women and no one
prevents her for the sake of a child to be born.

  THE CHISERA

(_With relish._) Does she dig roots?

  SEEGOOCHE

With the barren women. Also her beauty goes, she is so thin with the
famine.

  THE CHISERA

(_Baring her arm._) I also am thin.

    (_From this moment some perception of the pervasive misery of the
    situation enters her mind and begins to color her speech._)

  CHIEF

Hunger and sickness and war have come into the camp because you kept
not your heart, Chisera. Yet a greater than all these shall come upon
you if you forget your tribal obligation.

  THE CHISERA

(_Rising on one knee._) What obligation have I owed, Chief Rain Wind,
and not remembered it?

  CHIEF

That which lies upon all that have power with the Friend of the Soul
of Man. Only the gods can save us, and only you know the true and
acceptable road to them.

  THE CHISERA

(_Rising and moving toward her hut._) I am overweary for the road;
let Simwa find it.

    (_An arrow, with a feather and a fragment of bark attached to it,
    is shot into the camp from the direction of the fighting._
    PADAHOON _takes it up and carries it to the_ CHIEF, _the others
    crowding about._)

  CHIEF

What was that?

  PADAHOON

A message from the Fighting Men.

  CHIEF

Read me the token.

  PADAHOON

A vulture's feather and a bark of _whenonabe_. Defeat and flight.

  WOMEN

Ai! Ai!

    (_They throw up their arms in despair._)

  CHIEF

They will not be far behind their arrows.

    (_All listen. A faint whoop is heard._ PADAHOON _answers with his
    mouth covered with his hands. The rest of the women and children
    come out of the rocks. Fighting Men come clambering up the steep.
    They show torn clothing and streaks of blood. The women bring
    them the water-bottles as they drop upon the ground._ WACOBA'S
    _husband_, PAMAQUASH, _with an arrow in his side, leaps once in
    air and drops dead. His wife sinks on the ground beside him,
    rocking and moaning. One breaks his unstrung bow across his knees
    and stamps the pieces in the earth. Finally comes_ SIMWA, _his
    war-bonnet bedraggled._)

  SIMWA

Ugh! Is it so I find the fighting men of Sagharawite--huddled
together like rabbits when the coyotes are after them?

  WACOBA

(_Scattering dust on her head._) Ai! Ai! My man, my man!

  SIMWA

Be still, you fool! Would you call up our enemies with your noise?
(_The wailing drops to a moan._) Put out that fire--they can sniff
smoke as far as a vulture smells carrion. (CHOCO _stamps out the
fire._) You, Choco, do you show your face to me, misgotten whelp of a
coyote! It was you who led the fleeing.

  CHOCO

(_Sullenly._) It was Tavwots.

  TAVWOTS

By the Bear, you shall have a wound for that, though you ran too fast
to have one in battle.

    (_He draws the obsidian knife at his belt._)

  PADAHOON

Fools! (_He strikes up_ TAVWOTS' _arm; another Indian jerks_ CHOCO
_by the ankles causing him to sit down._) Have you killed so many in
battle, Tavwots, that you can afford to lose us a fighting man?

    (_The men subside, exhausted._)

  CHIEF

Peace! Though I am too old for battle, yet am I master in the camp.
What has happened?

  SIMWA

We have shown the Tecuyas what running is like.

  TAVWOTS

The gods send we have run fast enough to throw them off the trail,
else they will attack before morning.

    (_Consternation among the women._)

  CHIEF

(_To them._) _Kima!_ (_Their grief falls off to a whimper. To_
SIMWA.) Where met you?

  SIMWA

Under Waban where they stayed to cook venison they had killed. We had
every way the advantage--

  TAVWOTS

As much as rabbits when they have met with coyotes. They were three
to one of us.

  SIMWA

(_Ignoring him with an effort._) We were between them and cover--we
were driving them toward Waban--but they sent one out against us
armed--Chief and father, how do you think he was armed who put the
sons of the Bear to flight? With a stick--a painted stick with
feathers on it. (_Angry and protesting murmurs._) An old man with a
stick, Rain Wind, and they ran before him like squaws who deserve a
beating! Faugh! (_Native movement of disgust._)

  TAVWOTS

(_Rising on his elbow._) You shall be sicker, Simwa, when you have
eaten your words. That old man was Tibu, the medicine man of the
Tecuyas. I knew him.

  SIMWA

Then it was you, Tavwots, who broke and ran?

  TAVWOTS

He came upon us with charms and spells. He had the gods on his side.

  CHOCO

Our hearts were turned to water because of his evil medicine.

  CHIEF

Are not the gods of Sagharawite stronger than the gods of the
Tecuyas?

  TAVWOTS

Not when we have one to lead us who despises their blessings.

  SIMWA

Well, I believe in the medicine of Tibu. He has made old women of
you.

  CHIEF

Think no more of that. Let us consider what is to be done.

    (_Shadows of vultures appear on the rocks, attracted by the
    dead._ WACOBA _springs up from casting dust upon her head to flap
    them away with her blanket, which she spreads over the body of
    her husband._)

  PADAHOON

(_As he motions to the men to move the body near the shelter._) Yes,
it is time to take counsel when the birds of the air betray us to our
enemies.

    (_The women gather together about the dead. One of them takes
    the place of the sentry who comes to Council. The men collect
    near the_ CHISERA'S _hut with the exception of_ SIMWA, _who
    remains seated, re-stringing his bow._ BRIGHT WATER _goes to
    him._)

  BRIGHT WATER

Simwa, how long will you let your pride destroy us?

  SIMWA

Is that a word for a man's wife?

  BRIGHT WATER

It is a true one. Do we not know, you and I, that it is but pride
that makes you stand out against the friend of the gods? Look at me,
Simwa, is it not proved on my body that she spoke truly when she said
that you throve only by her blessing?

  SIMWA

Can you bear to admit so much?

  BRIGHT WATER

Bear? What have I not borne? Have I complained when I dig roots? Have
I quivered when I was mocked? Has there been any sign of shame on my
face for all the scorne on theirs? Have I said, “Give me children,”
when the nursing mothers pitied me? Oh, I have borne, I have borne;
but this I cannot bear.

  SIMWA

What is now so hard?

  BRIGHT WATER

To know that you and I know the truth and that you will see the tribe
wiped out before you will admit it.

  SIMWA

The truth?

  BRIGHT WATER

That you were the Chisera's lover for the sake of what she could do
for you, and your denial left her no way to prove it except by taking
away the help of the gods from us all. Is not that the truth?

  SIMWA

Would you have me ashamed before all men?

  BRIGHT WATER

When have I not been ashamed since I married you?

  SIMWA

Let her alone! They will kill her if she refuses to make medicine and
then we shall be rid of her.

  BRIGHT WATER

And you would permit that? (_He shifts uneasily under her gaze._)
Simwa--(_With profound entreaty._) Simwa!

  SIMWA

What is the witch to me?

  BRIGHT WATER

My sister, I think, for she has loved you even as I have, to my
sorrow.

    (_She turns away from him meditating some deep purpose, and from
    this time on the progress of that purpose in her mind is evident
    in her bearing toward her husband._)

  CHIEF

(_Coming forward._) Let the Council sit. (_They sit as in_ ACT I.)
Simwa, as war leader, what plan have you?

  SIMWA

It wants not plans so much as men to do them.

  CHIEF

Whatever is in any man's mind for the good of the tribe, let it be
delivered. Observe not the rule of the elders, but speak at once. (_A
moment, during which black looks are cast at_ SIMWA.) Will no one
speak?

  PADAHOON

Chief and tribesmen, once I gave counsel and you despised it--

  CHIEF

No more of that. Give counsel now.

  PADAHOON

It is the same counsel, but time has not mended the occasion. Penned
here on the edge of the precipice we can but starve. We must break
through our enemies and strike at their women and their stores.

  TAVWOTS

Every trail is watched. Not so much as a weasel can go in and out
from Toorape and they not know it.

  PADAHOON

With so many watchers, then, they cannot have much of a fighting
force at any point. In an hour it will be dark; we shall go down by
Deer Leap with the women and children, and stay not for fighting,
but, fleeing for our lives, break through to their villages--

  CHOCO

But if they move on us to-night? If the vultures have already
betrayed us--even now they may be within earshot?

  TAVWOTS

If they come up with us before we reach Deer Leap it is to run into
the wolf's mouth.

  PADAHOON

I have thought of that. To-night they expect us to mourn our dead and
go before our gods--

  CHIEF

So should we.

  PADAHOON

That they may think so, leave one behind to sound the medicine drum
throughout the night. So they shall fear to attack and expect an
easier victory in the morning when we are exhausted with dancing to
the gods.

  TAVWOTS

But he that stays, what shall become of him--

  CHIEF

He shall die as becomes him (_rising_)--as becomes a chief of his
people.

    (_Murmurs of consternation and then silence._)

  PADAHOON

But another--whose counsels we prize less--

  CHIEF

It is the tribal use. None else too blind for the trail and too
feeble for the sortie (_with grim humor_)--but I can drum. (_Solemn
grunts of approval._)

  PADAHOON

If we win through Deer Leap, we can make terms for you. Tribesmen,
what say you? (_A pause._)

  TAVWOTS

What I say is for myself only; but I go not out against the Tecuyas
again unless the Chisera has blessed the going.

  THE COUNCIL

Good counsel; good counsel! He has it!

  SIMWA

There are two or three things to the making of fighting men, Tavwots,
beside the blessing of women.

  TAVWOTS

Two or three things, Simwa, that I think you have not: honor to win
advantage and wit to keep what you have got.

  PADAHOON

As for me, I am with Tavwots; but (_he looks at_ SIMWA)--the gods
have no favors for unbelievers.

  TAVWOTS

Nor have we, by the Bear!

  INDIANS

(_Springing up._) Nor have we! No; by the Bear! Out with him! (_They
hustle_ SIMWA. _One snatches off the war-bonnet, another the collar
of bears' claws. Even the women strike dust upon him with their feet
in an excess of contempt._)

  CHIEF

Peace, tribesmen!

  TAVWOTS

Perhaps we shall have peace when we have a leader against whom
neither the gods nor women have a spite. Tribesmen, who shall lead
the going out but he who planned it?

  INDIANS

Hi! Hi! Padahoon! Padahoon! (_They fling the collar about his neck._
TAVWOTS _hands him the bonnet._) Hi! Hi! The Sparrow Hawk.

  PADAHOON

Do not count on me too much with the Chisera; all this time I have
kept in camp with my wound I have reasoned with her, but still she
refuses me.

  CHIEF

There shall be an end to that--

  PADAHOON

How then--?

  CHIEF

Who denies service to the tribe in extremity must be dealt with as an
enemy. (_Consternation._)

  CHOCO

But a friend of the gods--

  TAVWOTS

Let the gods save her--

  CHIEF

There are times when the gods must be content to stand still and see
what men will do. Who serves not us, serves our enemies. It is the
law.

  PADAHOON

(_Reluctantly._) It is the law--

  CHIEF

Death or good medicine--Speak, tribesmen!

    (_Above the silence of the Council is heard the deep, excited
    breathing of the women._)

  THE COUNCIL

(_One after another._) Death. Death. Death or good medicine. It is
the law.

  CHIEF

(_To_ PADAHOON.) Bid her come.

  PADAHOON

(_At the hut._) Chisera, come to Council!

  THE CHISERA

(_Issuing, wrapped in her blanket._) Who sends for me?

  CHIEF

Death is hot upon our trail. Stay him with your spells.

  MEN AND WOMEN

Good medicine, Chisera, good medicine!

  THE CHISERA

Have you not a war leader--

    (_She stops, noticing the bonnet on_ PADAHOON--_looks from him
    to_ SIMWA.)

  PADAHOON

Who invites your blessing, Chisera!

  CHIEF

Make spells for thy people!

  THE CHISERA

What have my people done for me that I should weary myself to make
medicine for them?

  CHIEF

Are you not respected above all women of the campody? Even in
war-time--

  THE CHISERA

Ah--respect! What have I to do with respect? Am I not as other women
that men should desire me? Are my breasts less fair that there should
never be milk in them?

  CHIEF

We honor you after the use of medicine men. What more would you have?

  THE CHISERA

The dole of women. Love and sorrow and housekeeping; a husband to
give me children, even though he beat me.

  CHIEF

Love you have given, and sorrow you have got. Shame and defeat are
your children. So it is always when power falls upon women. The word
has passed in Council, Chisera; will you repair this damage, or will
you die for it?

  THE CHISERA

(_As her eye travels the circle of the camp._) I do not find the
taste of life so sweet that I should turn it twice upon my tongue;
but--(_Her gaze halts on_ SIMWA, _and all the attention of the camp
seems to hang a moment in suspense as_ SIMWA _ignores her._) Do I
die, then?

  PADAHOON

Let Simwa die!

  INDIANS

Ah--ah--!

  SIMWA

What, old fox, are you out of cover at last?

  PADAHOON

By whom trouble came into the camp, let it depart. Who prevented the
wisdom of the gods at the throwing of the sacred sticks? By whose
counsel were our allies of Castac destroyed? Who hardened the
Chisera's heart so that she kept not our foes from us?

  INDIANS

Simwa! Simwa!

  PADAHOON

Sons of the Bear, do you think to win favor of the gods when you have
one who mocks them in your midst? Would you see the backs of the
Tecuyas? Would you win to your homes again? Let Simwa die!

  INDIANS

Aye, aye. Let Simwa die! A judgment! A judgment!

  SIMWA

(_Aside to his wife._) My quiver, hand me my quiver!

  CHIEF

Simwa, as thou art a son to me, I fear the charge is just. But do you
entreat the Chisera to go before the gods for us, then will this evil
pass.

  SIMWA

(_Rising._) And if I choose to have it said that when the tribesmen
of Sagharawite took a woman to Council, only Simwa stood out against
it?

  CHIEF

Then must I give judgment.

  BRIGHT WATER

Simwa!

  SIMWA

(_Folding his arms._) It shall not be said of me that I have borne to
take my life of a woman.

  THE CHISERA

Whether you can bear it or not, it shall be said of you, for though I
am unhappy, I am still the Chisera, and I declare unto you that
neither the life nor the death of a broken man can avail to turn the
gods. But you, Chief Rain Wind, and you tribesmen of Sagharawite,--if
you must visit the loss of my power, let it be on your own heads, for
you only are blameworthy.

  CHIEF

This is no time for riddles, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

I mean none. What did Simwa other to me than the occasion allowed
him? Was it his fault that he found me alone and love-hungry? Was it
he who ordered that I should live apart where no woman could see how
my heart went and give me counsel? Was it any fault but yours--you
that kept me far from your huts lest I should see and carry word to
the gods how unworthy you were! You that feared yourselves lessened
when I walked among you with my power--Ai! Ai! Did you think at all
what became of the woman so long as you had my medicine to help you?

  TIAWA

(_Creeping forward._) So I said, so I said from the beginning. She
was taught to be a Chisera, but she was born a woman! (_Excitement
among the women._)

  CHIEF

Your words are sharp, Chisera.

  THE CHISERA

The fact is sharper. It has eaten through my bosom.

  CHIEF

We meant the best--we judged you companioned by the gods.

  THE CHISERA

Did ever a woman serve them the less because she had dealt with a
man? Nay, all the power of woman comes from loving and being loved,
and now the bitterest of all my loss is to know that I have never had
it.

    (_She draws up her blanket._)

  BRIGHT WATER

And not you only--

  THE CHISERA

You--?

    (_She turns away confounded._)

  SIMWA

Wife--wife--if she finds the gods again, they will surely kill me.

  BRIGHT WATER

Let them. Though I am your wife, I am the Chief's daughter, and the
tribe is still something to me. I will save them if I can. Chisera--

    (_The_ CHISERA _listens and turns slowly._)

  CHIEF

Is that my daughter?

  TAVWOTS

Hush! Perhaps she will move her!

  BRIGHT WATER

Do you think yourself aggrieved so much, Chisera? Come, I will match
sorrow with you, I and all these (_the women surge forward_), and the
stakes shall be the people. Here is my pride that I throw down, in my
bride year to know my husband an impostor. Have you any sorrow to
match with that?

  WACOBA

Since you wish a man so much, Chisera, here is mine whom the vultures
seek.

    (_The women part to show the dead man stark in his blanket._)

  HAIWAI

Would you have a child at your breast, Chisera, here is mine, for my
milk is dried with hunger.

    (_She holds up her swaddled child which_ BRIGHT WATER _takes and
    holds toward the_ CHISERA, _who stands confused, for the first
    time acutely aware of their misery._)

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Measuring the effect of her words._) Chisera, my breast is as
fruitless as yours--but you ... you have ... good medicine.

  TIAWA

Lay hold on the gods, Chisera, these are ills from which man cannot
save us!

    (_The_ CHISERA _throws out her hands to signify the loss of her
    power, her blanket slips to the ground and she covers her face
    with her hands._)

  THE CHISERA

Gone--gone! It is gone from me!

  BRIGHT WATER

(_Signing to the women to hide the blanket._)

By dancing you shall bring it back again--for the sake of the women
and children--dance, Chisera!

    (_Her voice has a kindling sound, and the women echo it with a
    breath._)

  THE CHISERA

Oh, I have danced until the earth under me is beaten to dust, and my
heart is as dry as the dust, and all my songs have fallen to the
ground. (_She begins to walk up and down excitedly._) With what cry
shall I call on the gods, now my songs are departed? (_She begins to
chant._)

  And my heart is emptied of all
  But the grief of women.

    (_The women watch her breathlessly; as she gradually swings into
    the dance, they seem to urge her with the stress of their
    anxiety._)

  All the anguish of women,
  It smells to the gods
  As the dead after battle,
  It sounds in my heart
  As the hollow drums calling to battle,
  And the gods come quickly.

    (_As she falters the tribe surges forward._)

  TRIBE

Dance, Chisera, dance!

    (_She tries again and no strength comes--the men hold up their
    hands, palms outward, in the sign of prayer. The drum begins
    hollowly._)

  Come, O my power,
  Indwelling spirit!
  It is I that call.
  Childless, unmated--

    (_Drums and rattles are brought out, at first cautiously, lest
    she take alarm and be turned from her purpose, but as the fervor
    of her dancing increases, with increased confidence._ SIMWA
    _remains seated at one side, watching her, his foot touching his
    quiver._ PADAHOON, _who has moved over near him, observes him
    narrowly in the interval of dancing._ CHISERA _sings._)

  Nay, I shall mate with the gods,
  And the tribesmen shall be my children.
  Rise up in me, O, my power,
  On the wings of eagles!
  Return on me as the rain
  The earth renewing,
  Make my heart fruitful
  To nourish my children.

    (SIMWA _is seen to strip the magic arrow from his quiver._)

  BRIGHT WATER

Simwa, Simwa, what do you do?

  SIMWA

No more than the gods will do to me if they hear her.

  THE CHISERA

  This is my song that I make,
  I, the Chisera,
  The song of the mateless woman:
  None holdeth my hand but the Friend,
  In the silence, in the secret places
  We shall beget great deeds between us!

    (_As she rises on the last movement of the dance toward ecstasy,
    the excitement rises with her, expressing itself in short,
    irrepressible yelps, at the highest point of which a scream from_
    BRIGHT WATER _arrests the dancers._)

  BRIGHT WATER

Chisera, the arrow, the black arrow! (SIMWA _shoots._)

  THE CHISERA

(_Dying._) Ah, Simwa! (_Dies._)

    (_In the distance is heard the shout of the approaching
    Tecuyas._)

  CURTAIN



  GLOSSARY OF INDIAN WORDS AND PHRASES
  THE DANCES
  COSTUMES


GLOSSARY OF INDIAN WORDS AND PHRASES

The names and phrases used in _The Arrow-Maker_ were chosen from the
culture area comprising the central valleys of California, from
tribes belonging to or affiliated with the Paiute group. Exact
definitions could not always be ascertained and frequently the
meaning given by different villages differed widely. Whenever
possible the nomenclature of the locality in which the incident
occurred is preferred.

_Choco._ “Fatty”; a nickname of doubtful origin, possibly from the
Spanish _Chopo_.

_Pamaquash._ “Very tall”; the Paiute equivalent of Longfellow.

_Castac._ “Place of Springs”; a small valley in the southerly Sierra,
from which the inhabitants take their name.

_Yavi._ A common given name, meaning unknown.

_Tavwots._ “Mighty Hunter”; a name given to the rabbit in Paiute
lore.

_Seegooche._ “Woman who gives good things to eat.” Lady Bountiful.

_Tiawa._ A familiar title frequently given to old women, like
“Grannie.”

_Wacoba._ “Flower of the Oak”; oak tassel, also the plume of the
quail.

_Chisera._ Medicine Woman; witch. (See last chapter of _The Flock_
for account of the original Medicine Woman from whom the character
was drawn.)

_Tuiyo._ “Shining”; very bright.

_Pioke._ “Dew drop.”

_Simwa._ Applied in humorous sense, meaning a “swell.”

_Padahoon._ The Sparrow Hawk.

_Tecuya._ Oak thicket, _encinal_.

_Pahrump._ Corn water. A place where there is water enough to grow a
crop of corn.

_Sagharawite._ “Place of the mush that was afraid.” An Indian village
named from the quaking, gelatinous mush of acorn meal.

_Paiute._ More properly “Pah Ute”: the Utes who live by running water
as distinguished from the Utes of the Great Basin; one of the
interior tribes of the Pacific Coast.

“Friend of the Soul of Man.” The Great Spirit; the Holy Ghost.

_Toorape._ “Captain”; chief; a name given to one of the peaks of the
Sierras.

“The Sacred Sticks.” A number of small sticks with peculiar markings.
Divination was practiced by throwing them on the ground and
interpreting the pattern in which they fell.

_Haiwai._ “The dove.”

_Winnedumah._ “Standing Rock”; a legendary hero.

_Tinnemaha._ Probably “Medicine Water.” Mineral spring. Brother of
the hero in the legend of Winnedumah.

“Eaten meadowlarks' tongues.” Said of one nimble of wit. With the
idea that like cures like, Indians were accustomed to feed backward
or defective children with associated parts of animals.

_Whenonabe._ Bitter brush; a decoction of the bark producing colic
and griping; a symbol of disaster.

“Rattle-weed.” _Astragalus_; produces madness when eaten.

“Toyon.” California Christmas Berry.

“Snake-in-the-grass ... tattle to the gods.” Snakes are believed to
be the messengers and familiars of the gods; therefore the Paiutes
tell no important matter in the summer when they are about.

“To dig roots before her wedding year is out.” A curse equivalent to
barrenness. The work of digging roots was not performed by expectant
mothers.

“Wickiup.” A wattled hut of brush, made by planting willow poles
about a pit four or five feet deep and six to eight feet in diameter.
The poles were then drawn over in a dome and thatched with reeds or
brush.

“Campody.” An Indian village; from the Spanish _campo_.

_Barranca._ A bank, the abrupt face of a _mesa_. From the Spanish.


THE DANCES

All tribal or emotional occasions among Indians are invariably
accompanied by singing and dancing. These are frequently derived from
the movements of animals and are both pantomimic and symbolic.

The object of the medicine dance is to work up the dancer to a state
of trance, in which he receives a revelation in regard to the matter
under consideration.

Some of these medicine dances are ritualistic in character and must
be performed with great strictness, but in the case of the Chisera
the dance is assumed to be made up of various dance elements
expressing the emotion of the moment, combined by individual taste
and skill.

Power is supposed to descend upon the dancer as he proceeds.
Sometimes the dance lasts for hours, and even for days before the
proper trance condition is attained. Even then the revelation may not
come until a second or third climax has been reached.

The blanket dance is common throughout the Southwest, and possibly
elsewhere. It is accompanied by a song which says, in effect, “How
lovely it will be when you and I have but one blanket.” By the young
people it is not taken any more seriously than “drop the
handkerchief” and other courtship games.


COSTUMES

While the scene of this play is laid among the Paiute peoples, there
is nothing which makes it absolutely unlikely among any of the
hunting tribes.

Considerable latitude is therefore permissible in costume and
accessories. The only indispensable thing is that all these should be
kept within a given culture area. Every article of Indian use or
apparel is determined by some condition of living, and it is a
mistake to mix costumes from various tribes.

Concessions must be made to the objections of the modern audience to
the state of nudity which would be natural to the time in which the
story is laid. But even making allowance for this, the tendency is
always to overdo, to have too many beads and fringes and war-bonnets.
No more than his white brother did the Indian wear all his best
clothes every day.

The blanket is the most considerable item of Indian equipment. At
once by its quality, its color, and its pattern it announces
something of the wearer's rank and condition.

The way in which it is worn betrays the state of his mind as does no
other garment. It is drawn up, shrugged off, swung from one shoulder,
or completely shrouds the figure according as his mood runs, or it is
folded neatly about the body to get it out of the way of his arms
when he has need of them. Blankets would be worn to Council, but not
going to battle. They would be worn by young and modest women on
public occasions, but by old women only for warmth and protection.
They are also worn as an advertisement of the desire for privacy.

When an Indian is seen completely shrouded in his blanket, standing
or sitting a little apart from the camp, he either has a grouch or he
is praying. In either case it is not good manners to interrupt him.

As far as possible the use of the blanket is indicated in the text.
Always it may be safely taken as an indication of the wearer's
attitude toward whatever is going on about him.





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ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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