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Title: American Indian life
Author: Various
Language: English
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                         AMERICAN INDIAN LIFE

                             BY SEVERAL OF
                             ITS STUDENTS

                     EDITED BY ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS


            NEW YORK      B. W. HUEBSCH, INC.      MCMXXII

                COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY B. W. HUEBSCH, INC.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS


  PREFACE                                                              1

  INTRODUCTION                                                         5
      _By A. L. Kroeber, Professor of Anthropology, University of

                            PLAINS TRIBES:

  TAKES-THE-PIPE, A CROW WARRIOR                                      17
      _By Robert H. Lowie, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
        University of California_

  A CROW WOMAN’S TALE                                                 35
      _By Robert H. Lowie, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
        University of California_

  A TRIAL OF SHAMANS                                                  41
      _By Robert H. Lowie, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
        University of California_

  SMOKING-STAR, A BLACKFOOT SHAMAN                                    45
      _By Clark Wissler, Curator of Anthropology, American Museum
        of Natural History_

                      TRIBES OF THE MIDDLE WEST:

  LITTLE-WOLF JOINS THE MEDICINE LODGE                                63
      _By Alanson Skinner, Assistant Curator, Public Museum,

      _By Paul Radin, Late of the Department of Anthropology,
      University of California_

  HOW MESKWAKI CHILDREN SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP                          81
      _By Truman Michelson, Ethnologist, Bureau of American
      Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution_

                            EASTERN TRIBES:

  IN MONTAGNAIS COUNTRY                                               87
      _By Frank G. Speck, Professor of Anthropology, University of

  HANGING-FLOWER, THE IROQUOIS                                        99
      _By Alexander A. Goldenweiser, Lecturer in Anthropology, New
        School of Social Research_

  THE THUNDER POWER OF RUMBLING-WINGS                                107
      _By M. R. Harrington, Ethnologist, Museum of the American
        Indian, Heye Foundation_

  TOKULKI OF TULSA                                                   127
      _By John R. Swanton, Ethnologist, Bureau of American
        Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution_

                       TRIBES OF THE SOUTH-WEST:

  SLENDER-MAIDEN OF THE APACHE                                       147
      _By P. E. Goddard, Curator of Ethnology, American Museum of
        Natural History_

  WHEN JOHN THE JEWELER WAS SICK                                     153
      _By A. M. Stephen, Sometime Resident Among the Hopi and

  WAIYAUTITSA OF ZUÑI, NEW MEXICO                                    157
      _By Elsie Clews Parsons, Member of the Hopi Tribe_

  ZUÑI PICTURES                                                      175
      _By Stewart Culin, Curator of Anthropology, Brooklyn
        Institute Museum_

  HAVASUPAI DAYS                                                     179
      _By Leslie Spier of the Department of Sociology, University
        of Washington_

  EARTH-TONGUE, A MOHAVE                                             189
      _By A. L. Kroeber, Professor of Anthropology, University of

                            MEXICAN TRIBES:

  THE CHIEF SINGER OF THE TEPECANO                                   203
      _By J. Alden Mason, Assistant Curator in Anthropology,
        Field Museum of Natural History_

  THE UNDERSTUDY OF TEZCATLIPOCA                                     237
      _By Herbert Spinden, Lecturer in Anthropology, Harvard

      _By Sylvanus G. Morley, Associate, Carnegie Institution of

  THE TOLTEC ARCHITECT OF CHICHEN ITZA                               265
      _By Alfred M. Tozzer, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard
        University, and Curator Middle American Archaeology,
        Peabody Museum_

                         PACIFIC COAST TRIBES:

  WIXI OF THE SHELLMOUND PEOPLE                                      273
      _By N. C. Nelson, Associate Curator of North American
        Archæology, American Museum of Natural History_

  ALL IS TROUBLE ALONG THE KLAMATH                                   289
      _By T. T. Waterman, Ethnologist, Museum of the American
        Indian, Heye Foundation_

  SAYACH’APIS, A NOOTKA TRADER                                       297
      _By Edward Sapir, Head of Division of Anthropology,
        Geological Survey of Canada_

                      NORTHERN ATHABASCAN TRIBES:

  WINDIGO, A CHIPEWYAN STORY                                         325
      _By Robert H. Lowie, Associate Professor of Anthropology,
        University of California_

  CRIES-FOR-SALMON, A TEN’A WOMAN                                    337
      _By T. B. Reed and Elsie Clews Parsons. Mr. Reed is an
        Alaskan (Ten’a) student in Hampton Institute_


  AN ESKIMO WINTER                                                   363
      _By Franz Boas, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia

  APPENDIX                                                           381


“She always says she will come, and sometimes she comes and sometimes
she doesn’t come. I was so surprised when I first came out here to find
that Indians were like that,” the wife of the Presbyterian Missionary
in an Indian town in New Mexico was speaking, as you readily infer, on
her servant question.

“Where did you get your impressions of Indians before you came here?”

“From Fenimore Cooper. I used to take his books out, one right after
the other from the library at New Canaan, Connecticut, where I grew up.”

At that time, during the youth of this New Englander past middle age,
few anthropological monographs on Indian tribes had been written, but
it is doubtful if such publications are to be found in New England
village libraries even to-day, and it is more than doubtful that if
they were in the libraries anybody would read them; anthropologists
themselves have been known not to read them. Between these forbidding
monographs and the legends of Fenimore Cooper, what is there then to
read for a girl who is going to spend her life among Indians or, in
fact, for anyone who just wants to know more about Indians?

From these considerations, among others, this book was conceived. The
idea of writing about the life of the Indian for the General Reader is
not novel, to be sure, to anthropologists. Appearances to the contrary,
anthropologists have no wish to keep their science or any part of it
esoteric. They are too well aware, for one thing, that facilities for
the pursuit of anthropology are dependent more or less on popular
interest, and that only too often tribal cultures have disappeared in
America as elsewhere before people became interested enough in them to
learn about them.

Nevertheless, the cost of becoming popular may appear excessive—not
only to the student who begrudges the time and energy that must be
drawn from scientific work, but to the scientist who is asked to
popularize his study in terms repugnant to his sense of truth or
propriety. Hitherto, American publishers appear to have proposed only
to bring Fenimore Cooper up to date, merely to add to the over-abundant
lore of the white man about the Indian.

In this book the white man’s traditions about Indians have been
disregarded. That the writers have not read other traditions from their
own culture into the culture they are describing is less certain. Try
as we may, and it must be confessed that many of us do not try very
hard, few, if any of us, succeed, in describing another culture, of
ridding ourselves of our own cultural bias or habits of mind. Much of
our anthropological work, to quote from a letter from Spinden, “is not
so much definitive science as it is a cultural trait of ourselves.”

For one thing we fail to see the foreign culture as a whole, noting
only the aspects which happen to interest us. Commonly, the interesting
aspects are those which differ markedly from our own culture or those
in which we see relations to the other foreign cultures we have
studied. Hence our classified data give the impression that the native
life is one unbroken round, let us say, of curing or weather-control
ceremonials, of prophylaxis against bad luck, of hunting, or of war.
The commonplaces of behavior are overlooked, the amount of “common
sense” is underrated, and the proportion of knowledge to credulity
is greatly underestimated. In other words the impression we give of
the daily life of the people may be quite misleading, somewhat as if
we described our own society in terms of Christmas and the Fourth
of July, of beliefs about the new moon or ground hogs in February,
of city streets in blizzards and after, of strikes and battleships.
Unfortunately, the necessarily impressionistic character of the
following tales, together with their brevity, renders them, too,
subject to the foregoing criticism. Of this, Dr. Kroeber in the
Introduction will have more to say, as well as of his impression of how
far we have succeeded in presenting the psychological aspects of Indian

The problems presented by the culture, problems of historical
reconstruction, Dr. Kroeber will also refer to, but discussion of the
problems, of such subjects as culture areas, as the current phrase
goes, as diffusion and acculturation, will not be presented in this
book—it is a book of pictures. But if the reader wants to learn
of how the problems are being followed up, he is directed to the
bibliographical notes in the appendix. If the pictures remain pictures
for him, well and good; if they lead him to the problems, good and
better. Anthropology is short on students.

                                                             E. C. P.


The old ethnology, like every science in its beginnings, was
speculative. The new ethnology is inductive. Fifty or sixty
years ago the attempt was first made to read the riddle of human
origins and substantiate the answer by facts. One student after
another—Spencer, Tylor, Morgan, and others—thought out a formula
that seemed a reasonable explanation of how some activity of human
civilization—institutional, religious, or inventive—began, developed,
and reached its present condition; and then ransacked the accounts of
travelers, missionaries, and residents among primitive tribes for each
bit of evidence favorable to his theory. Thus the origin of marriage
was plausibly traced back to the matriarchate and ultimate promiscuity,
of society to totemic clans, of the historic religions to a belief
in souls and ghosts, of pottery to clay-lined basketry. Twenty-five
years ago this theory fabrication was in full swing; and in many
non-scientific quarters it still enjoys vogue and prestige.

It is plain that the method of these evolutionary explanations was
deductive. One started with an intuition, a rationalization, a guess,
then looked for corroborative facts. Inevitably, all contrary facts
tended to be ignored or explained away. What was more, the evidence
being adduced solely with reference to whether it fitted or failed to
fit into the theory under examination, it was torn from its natural
relations of time, space, and association. This was very much as if a
selection of statements, made by an individual on a given topic, were
strung together, without reference to the circumstances under which he
uttered them and without the qualifications which he attached. By the
use of this method of ignoring _context_, a pretty good case might be
made out to show that the Kaiser was really a pacificist republican
at heart, Huxley a devout if not quite regular Christian, and Anthony
Comstock a tolerant personality. Roosevelt could be portrayed as
either a daring radical or as a hide-bound reactionary. Just such
contrary interpretations did emerge in the older ethnology. Totems,
for instance, were held by one “authority” to have had their origin
in magical rites concerned with food supply, by another in a sort
of nicknames, by a third in a primitive, mystic adumbration of the
concept of society itself.

Gradually it began to be recognized by students that this method might
be necessary in the law-courts, where each party advowedly contends for
his own interests, but that in science it led to exciting wrangling
rather more than to progress toward impartial truth. And so a new
ethnology modestly grew up which held for its motto: “All possible
facts first, then such inferences as are warranted.” “All facts” means
not only all items but also these items in their _natural_ order: the
sequence in which they occur, their geographical relation, the degree
to which they are associated.

The anthropologist no longer compares marriage customs from all over
the world as they come to hand. He realizes that marriage is likely to
be a different rite as it is practiced respectively among peoples, with
and without civil government, or among nations that have come under the
influence of a world religion or remain in a status of tribal ceremony.
The whole culture of the group must be more or less known before the
history and meaning of an institution can become intelligible. Detached
from its culture mass, a custom reveals as little of its functioning as
an organ dissected out of the living body.

Equally important for the interpretation of ethnic facts, are their
geographical associations, their distribution. Is a custom or invention
peculiar to one people or is it shared by many distinct peoples
occupying a continuous area? Such a question may seem trivial. But
the answer usually bears heavy significance. A unique institution, or
one found in various spots but in disconnected ones, is, other things
equal, either of recent and independent origin in each locality, or
it is a lingering survival of a custom that was once wide-spread. In
short, it represents the beginning or end of a process of development.

On the other hand, where we find an art or institution possessed in
common by dozens or hundreds of tribes situated without any gaps
between them on the map, it would be far-fetched to assume that each of
them independently evolved this identical phenomenon. Why presuppose a
hundred parallel causes, each operating quite separately, when one will
suffice, in view of the fact that human beings imitate each other’s
manners and borrow knowledge. We know that Christianity, gun-powder,
the printing press, were originated but once. Even with history wiped
out, we could infer as much, from their universality among the nations
of Europe.

Now this is just the situation as regards primitive peoples. Their
history _has_ been wiped out—it was never preserved by themselves or
their neighbors. But knowledge of the geographical occurrence of a
custom or invention, usually affords rather reliable insight into its
history, sometimes into its origin. When the available information
shows that Indian corn was grown by all the tribes from Chile and
Brazil to Arizona and Quebec, it is evident that the history of native
American agriculture is as much of a unit, essentially, as the history
of Christianity or of fire-arms. It is a story of _invention_ only
at its outset, of _diffusion_ and amplification through its greater
length. When pottery is further discovered to possess almost exactly
the same aboriginal distribution as maize, it becomes likely that
this art, too, was devised but once; and likely, further, that it was
invented at about the same time as maize culture and diffused with it.

By evidence such as this, reënforced by the insight gained from the
stratification of prehistoric objects preserved in caves and in the
ground, native, American history is being reconstructed for some
thousands of years past. The outline of this history runs about as

Eight, ten, or twelve thousand years ago, contemporary with the last
phase of the Old Stone Age of Europe or the opening there of the
New Stone Age, man, for the first time, entered the New World. He
came from Asia across Behring Strait, a narrow gap with an island
stepping-stone in the middle, and probably frozen over solidly in
midwinter. In race he was Mongoloid—not Chinese, Japanese, or Mongol
proper, but _proto-Mongoloid_; a straight-haired type, medium in
complexion, jaw protrusion, nose-breadth, and inclining probably to
round-headedness; an early type, in short, from which the Chinese, the
Malay, and the Indian grew out, like so many limbs from a tree. This
proto-Mongoloid stock must have been well established in Asia long
before. This is morally certain from the fact that the proto-Negroids
and proto-Caucasians were living at least ten to fifteen thousand
years earlier, as attested by their discovered fossils, Grimaldi man
and Cro-Magnon man.

Well, somewhere about 8000 B. C., then, bands of proto-Mongolians
began to filter in through the easy, northwest gate of America. Others
pushed them behind; before them, to the south, the country was ever
more pleasantly tempting, and life easier. They multiplied, streamed
down the Pacific coast, wandered across to the Atlantic, entered
the tropics in fertile Mexico, defiled through Panama, and slowly
overran South America. Separate groups of entrants into Alaska may
have brought distinct languages with them; or, if they all came with
one mother-tongue, their migrations to diverse environments and long,
long separations provided ample opportunity for differentiation into
dialects, languages, and families. The history of speech in the Old
World covered by records, is but little more than three thousand years
old, just a third of the ten thousand years with which we are dealing
in America. Multiply by three the difference between twentieth-century
English and ancient Sanskrit or one of its modern representatives such
as Bengali, and there is just about the degree of speech distinctness
that exists between the American language families, such as Siouan and
Algonkin, Aztec and Maya.

So with the racial type. Fundamentally, one physical type stretches
from Cape Horn to Alaska. Superficially, it is intricately
variegated—here with round heads, there with long—with short faces
or hooked noses or tall statures or wavy hair, in this or that group
of tribes. In fact, it might seem that during ten thousand years the
variety of climates and habitats might have succeeded in moulding
the Indian into racial types of even greater distinctness than we
encounter; until we remember that he found the two continents empty,
and was never subjected to mixtures with white or black or dwarf races,
to mixtures such as were experienced by many of the peoples of the
eastern hemisphere.

What the first immigrants brought with them in culture was rudimentary.
They kept dogs, but no other domesticated animal. They were not yet
agricultural, and subsisted on what they wrested from nature. They knew
something of weaving baskets and mats; clothed and housed themselves;
probably had harpoons and possibly bows; made fire with the drill; cut
with flint knives; and believed in magic, spirits, and the perpetuity
of the soul.

In and about southern Mexico they prospered the fastest, became most
numerous, acquired some leisure, began to organize themselves socially,
and developed cults of increasing elaborateness. They “invented”
maize-agriculture and pottery; architecture in stone; irrigation; cloth
weaving and cotton growing; the smelting and casting of copper, silver,
and gold; a priesthood, calendar system, picture-writing, pantheon of
gods, and sacrifices; and accustomed themselves to town life.

Gradually these amplifications of culture spread: slowly to the north,
more rapidly and completely to the south, into the similar environment
of Colombia and Peru. Not all of the civilization devised in Yucatan
and Guatemala, was carried into South America. Writing and time
reckoning, for instance, never squeezed through the Isthmus, and the
Incas got along with traditions and records of strings. On the other
hand the South Americans, also growing populous and wealthy, added some
culture elements of their own—bronze alloying, the hammock, the Pan’s
pipe, the balance scale, the surgical art of trephining the skull, the
idea of a vast, compactly organized empire.

In Peru then, and in Mexico, two nearly parallel centers of
civilization grew up during thousands of years; sprung from the same
foundation, differentiated in their superstructures, that of Mexico
evidently the earlier, and, at the time of discovery, slightly more
advanced. The Peruvian civilization, if we include with it those of
western Colombia and Bolivia, rayed itself out through the whole
southern continent, becoming feebler and more abbreviated with
increasing distance from its focus.

The South Mexican center similarly diffused its light through most
of the northern continent. First its influences traveled to northern
Mexico and the Southwest of the United States—Arizona and New Mexico,
the seat of the Cliff-dwellers. There they took new root and then
spread northward and eastward—altered, diluted, with much omitted.
We may compare Mexico to a manufacturing district, where capital,
inventiveness, resources and industry, flourish in mutual alliance;
the Southwest to one of its outlets, a sort of distributing point
or jobbing center, which imports, both for its own consumption and
for re-export; the articles of trade in this case being elements of
civilization—inventions, knowledge, arts.

Throughout, it was a flow of things of the mind, not a drift of the
bodies of men; of culture, not of populations. And the radiation was
ever northward, counter to the drift of the migrations which had begun
thousands of years before, and which, in part, seem to have continued
to crowd southward even during the period of northward spread of
civilization. It was much as in Europe fifteen hundred years ago, when
Goth and Vandal and Frank and Lombard pounded their way southward into
the Roman empire, but the civilization of Rome—writing, learning,
money, metallurgy, architecture, Christianity, laws—streamed ever
against the human pressure, until the farthest barbarians of the North
Sea had become, in some measure, humanized.

Thus the Southwest learned from Mexico to build in stone, to grow
and weave cotton, to irrigate, to obey priests, and in some rude
measure to organize the year into a calendar. None of these culture
elements traveled farther. But the maize-beans-squash agriculture,
pottery making, the organization of cult societies, the division of
the community into clans, reckoning descent from one parent only,
some tendency toward town life and the confederation of towns, all of
which the Southwest had also acquired from Mexico, it passed on to its
neighbors, notably to those of the Gulf States between Louisiana and
Georgia. Here, these institutions were once more worked over and, in
the main, reduced, and then some of them passed on northward, first to
the Mound-builders of the Ohio valley, and then to the Iroquois of New
York. From the Iroquois, in turn, some of their Algonkian neighbors and
foes were just beginning to be ready to learn certain betterments, when
the white man came and swept their cultures into memory.

We have thus, a series of culture centers—Mexico, Southwest, Southeast,
Iroquois, Atlantic Algonkins—of descending order of advancement, and
subsequent to one another in time. They constitute a ladder of culture
development, and, although undated, represent a real sequence of

One area was but haltingly and sparsely infiltrated from the Southwest:
the North Pacific Coast, centering in British Colombia. In this mild
and rich environment a native culture grew up that, in the main, went
its own way. It did not attain to the heights of Mexico, scarcely even
equaled the Southwest. Pottery and agriculture failed to reach it.
But out of its own resources, it developed, independently, a number of
the arts and institutions which the remainder of North America drew
from Mexico: clan organization and cult societies, for instance, the
beginnings of a calendar and cloth weaving. And it added features, all
its own: plank houses, totem poles, a remarkable style of decorative
art, a society based on wealth. Here then we have a minor, but mainly
independent culture center of the greatest interest.

In a still smaller way, and without as great a freedom from southern
influences, the tribes of the treeless Plains, in the heart of the
continent, developed a little civilization of their own. This was
founded on what they had originally got from the Southwest and
Southeast, was remodeled on the basis of an almost exclusive dependence
on the buffalo, and underwent a brief and stirring efflorescence from
the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, after the Plains tribes
had got horses from the Spaniards. Here, then, grew up customs and
appliances like the tepee, the travois, the camp circle, warfare as a
game with “coups” as counters.

Similarly in the far north, along the shores of the Arctic, where the
Eskimo spread themselves. Here, almost nothing penetrated from Mexico,
but stern necessity forced a special inventiveness on the mechanical
side and the way was near for the entrance of influences from Asia,
some few of which may have diffused beyond the Eskimo to the North
Pacific Coast tribes.

Such, then, are the outlines of the history of the native, American
race and civilization. It is a long and complexly rich story, only
partly unraveled. Those who wish it in greater fullness will find it in
Wissler’s _The American Indian_. Only enough has been sketched here to
show that modern anthropology is an inductive science with a minimum of
speculation; that it aims at truly historical reconstructions and is
beginning to achieve them; and that it lies in the nature of its tasks
to distinguish and analyze the several native culture areas or local
types of Indians before proceeding to conclusions based on combinations.

Therefore it is, that many small items of ethnic knowledge acquire
considerable importance. From the average man’s point of view, it is
of little moment that the Zuñi farm and the Yurok and Nootka do not,
or that the former refuse to marry their dead wives’ sisters and the
latter insist on it. At best, such bits of facts have for the layman
only the interest of idle curiosities, of antiquarian fragments. To the
specialist, however, they become dependable means to a useful end, much
as intimate knowledge of the position of arteries and nerves serves the

But, just as the exact understanding of anatomy which modern medicine
enjoys, bulks to infinitely more than any one anatomist could ever
have discovered, so with ethnology. No one mind could ever observe
or assemble and digest all the cultural facts that are needed. Many
workers are busy, have been systematically busy for two or three
generations. Though they may, now and then, enliven their toil by a
scientific quarrel over this or that set of facts or interpretation,
they are inherently coöperating, laboring cumulatively at a great
joint enterprise. Sometimes, they divide their interests topically:
one specializes on social customs, another on material arts, a third
along lines of religion. But, in the main, the cultural context is so
important that it has been found most productive for each investigator
to try to learn everything possible about all the phases of culture of
a single tribe, or, at most, of two or three tribes.

To do this, he “goes into the field.” That is, he takes up his
residence, for a continuous period or repeatedly for several years,
among a tribe, on its reservation or habitat. He enters into as close
relations as possible with its most intelligent or authoritative
members. He acquires all he can of their language, reduces it to
writing, perhaps compiles texts, a dictionary or grammar. Day after
day he records notes from visual observation or the memory of the best
informants available on the industries, beliefs, government, family
life, ceremonies, wars, and daily occupations of his chosen people. And
with all this, there flow in his personal experiences and reactions.
The final outcome is a monograph—a bulky, detailed, often tedious,
but fundamental volume, issued by the government or a scientific

It is from intensive studies such as these, that the stories which
form the present volume have sprung as a by-product. Have sprung as a
sort of volunteer crop, it might be said, under the stimulus of the
editorial suggestion of Dr. Parsons. The monographs have a way of
sticking pretty closely to the objective facts recorded. The mental
workings of the people whose customs are described, are subjective, and
therefore much more charily put into print. The result is that every
American anthropologist with field experience, holds in his memory many
interpretations, many convictions as to how his Indians feel, why they
act as they do in a given situation, what goes on inside of them. This
psychology of the Indian is often expressed by the frontiersman, the
missionary and trader, by the man of the city, even. But it has been
very little formulated by the very men who know most, who have each
given a large block of their lives to acquiring intensive and exact
information about the Indian and his culture.

There is, thus, something new, something of the nature of an original
contribution, in each of these stories; and they are reliable. To many
of us, the writing of our tale has been a surprise and of value to
ourselves. We had not realized how little we knew of the workings of
the Indian mind on some sides, how much on others.

The fictional form of presentation devised by the editor has definite
merit. It allows a freedom in depicting or suggesting the thoughts and
feelings of the Indian, such as is impossible in a formal, scientific
report. In fact, it incites to active psychological treatment, else
the tale would lag. At the same time the customs depicted are never
invented. Each author has adhered strictly to the social facts
as he knew them. He has merely selected those that seemed most
characteristic, and woven them into a plot around an imaginary Indian
hero or heroine. The method is that of the historical novel, with
emphasis on the history rather than the romance.

There is but one important precedent for this undertaking,[1] and
that single-handed instead of collective, and therefore depictive of
one people only, the Keresan Pueblos. This is _The Delight Makers_ of
Bandelier, archæologist, archivist, historian, and ethnologist of a
generation ago; and this _novel_ still renders a more comprehensive and
coherent view of native Pueblo life than any scientific volume on the

The present book, then, is a picture of native American life, in
much the sense that a series of biographies of one statesman,
poet, or common citizen from each country of Europe would yield a
cross-sectional aspect of the civilization of that continent. France
and Russia, Serbia and Denmark, would each be represented with its
national peculiarities; and yet the blended effect would be that of a
super-national culture. So with our Indians. It is through the medium
of the intensive and special coloring of each tribal civilization, that
the common elements of Indian culture are brought out most truthfully,
even though somewhat indirectly.

There are only a few points at which the composite photograph, produced
by these twenty-seven stories, should be used with caution, and these
disproportions or deficiencies are unavoidable at present. The first
of them is religion. The book is likely to make the impression that
some sixty per cent, of Indian life must have been concerned with
religion. This imbalance is due to the fact that religion has become
the best known aspect of Indian life. Ritual and ceremony follow exact
forms which the native is able to relate with accuracy from memory,
long after the practices have become defunct. Moreover, once his
confidence is gained, he often delights in occupying his mind with the
matters of belief and rite that put an emotional stamp on his youth.
Social usages are much more plastic, more profoundly modified to suit
each exigency as it arises, and therefore more difficult to learn and
portray. The mechanical and industrial arts have a way of leaving but
pallid recollections, once they have been abandoned for the white man’s
manufactures; and to get them recreated before one’s eyes is usually
very time-consuming. Thus, through a tacit coordination of Indians and
ethnologists to exploit the vein of most vivid productivity, religion
has become obtruded; and some excess must be discounted. Yet the
over-proportion is perhaps all for the best. For the Indian is, all
in all, far more religious than we, and the popular idea errs on the
side of ignoring this factor. The stories are substantially truthful in
their effect, in that the average Indian did spend infinitely more time
on affairs of religion than of war, for instance.

On the side of economics and government, the book is underdone. It is
so, because ethnological knowledge on these topics is insufficient.
It is difficult to say why. Possibly ethnologists have not become
sufficiently interested or trained. But economic and political
institutions are unquestionably difficult to learn about. They
are the first to crumble on contact with Anglo-Saxon or Spanish
civilization. So they lack the definiteness of ceremonialism, and their
reconstruction from native memories is a bafflingly intricate task.

As regards daily life, personal relations, and the ambitions and ideals
of the individual born into aboriginal society, in other words the
social psychology of the Indian, we have done much better. In fact,
collectively we have brought out much that is not to be found anywhere
in the scientific monographs, much even that we had not realized
could be formulated. This element seems to me to contain the greatest
value of the book, and to be one that should be of permanent utility
to historians and anthropologists, as well as to the public which
is fortunately free from professional trammels. The exhibit of the
workings of the Indian mind which these tales yield in the aggregate,
impresses me as marked by a rather surprising degree of insight and
careful accuracy.

Only at one point have we broken down completely: that of humor. One
might conclude from this volume that humor was a factor absent from
Indian life. Nothing would be more erroneous. Our testimony would be
unanimous on this score. And yet we have been unable to introduce
the element. The failure is inevitable. Humor is elusive because its
understanding presupposes a feeling for the exact psychic situation of
the individual involved, and this in turn implies thorough familiarity
with the finest nuances of his cultural setting. We could have
introduced Indian jokes, practical ones and witty ones, but they would
have emerged deadly flat, and their laughs would have sounded made
to order. An Indian himself, or shall we say, a contemporary of the
ancients, may let his fancy play, and carry over to us something of his
reaction: witness Aristophanes, Plautus, Horace. But the reconstructor,
if he is wise, leaves the task unattempted. That prince of historical
novelists, Walter Scott, for the most part collapses sadly when he
tries to inject into his romances of the Middle Ages, the humor
that marks his modern novels of Scotland; and so far as he salvages
anything, it is by substituting the humor of his own day for the actual
mediæval one. _Hypatia_ is a superb picture of the break-down of Roman
civilization; but how silly and boring are its humorous passages! A
greater artist, in _Thaïs_, and another in _Salammbô_, have wisely
evaded attempting the impossible, and, at most, touched the bounds
of irony. Where the masters have succumbed or refrained, it is well
that we scientists, novices in the domain of fiction, should hold off;
though we all recognize both the existence and the importance of humor
in Indian life. This element, then, the reader must accept our bare
word for—or supply from his own discrimination and intuition.

                                                        A. L. KROEBER

                         AMERICAN INDIAN LIFE

                    Takes-the-pipe, a Crow Warrior


Horses neighing, women scurrying to cover, the report of guns, his
mother, Pretty-weasel, gashing her legs for mourning,—that was
Takes-the-pipe’s earliest memory. Later he learned that his own father,
a famous warrior of the Whistling-water clan, had fallen in the fight
and that his “father,” Deaf-bull, was really a paternal uncle who
had married the widow. No real father could have been kinder than
Deaf-bull. If anything, he seemed to prefer his brother’s son to his
own children, always petting him and favoring him with the choicest

When Pretty-weasel needed help in dressing a hide or pitching a
tent, her sisters and cousins of the Sore-lip clan came as visitors,
often bringing moccasins and gewgaws for their little clansman,
Takes-the-pipe. One of the sisters stood out more clearly than the
rest, a lusty wench who would pull Deaf-bull by the ear and pour water
on his face when he took an afternoon nap. He in turn would throw her
on the ground and tickle her till she bawled for mercy. Another salient
figure was the grandmother, old Muskrat, who used to croon the boy to
sleep with a lullaby: “The dog has eaten, he is smoking. Haha, huhu!
Haha, huhu!” Whenever she came to the refrain she raised a wrinkled,
mutilated hand, and snapped what remained of her fingers in the child’s

The people were always traveling back and forth in those days. Now
Takes-the-pipe was throwing stones into the Little Bighorn, then with
other boys he was chasing moths in the Wolf Mountains. When he caught
one he rubbed it against his breast, for they said that was the way
to become a swift runner. One fall, the Mountain Crow traveled to the
mouth of the Yellowstone to visit their kin of the River band. All
winter was spent there. It was fun coasting down-hill on a buffalo-rib
toboggan and spinning tops on the smooth ice. Each boy tried to upset
his neighbor’s with his own, and when he succeeded he would cry, “I
have knocked you out!” Takes-the-pipe was a good player, but once he
came home inconsolable because his fine new top was stolen, and another
time a bigger lad had cheated, “knocking him out” with a stone deftly
substituted for the wooden toy. His mother comforted him saying, “That
boy is crazy! His father is of the Bad-honors clan, that’s why he acts
that way!”

Takes-the-pipe was still a little fellow when Deaf-bull made him a bow
and arrows, and taught him to shoot. Now he ran about, letting fly
his darts against birds and rabbits. There was ample chance to gain
skill in archery. The boys would tie together a bundle of grass and
set it on a knoll, then all shot at this target, and the winner took
all his competitors’ arrows. Whenever Takes-the-pipe brought home a
sheaf of darts, his father would encourage him, saying, “You’ll be like
Sharp-horn, who always brings down his buffalo with the first shot.”
And when his son had killed his first cottontail, Deaf-bull proudly
called Sliding-beaver, a renowned Whistling-water, feasted him royally
and had him walk through camp, leading Takes-the-pipe mounted on his
horse and proclaiming his success in a laudatory chant.

One spring there was great excitement. The supply of meat was
exhausted, yet the buffalo remained out of sight. Scouts were sent to
scour the country in search of game, but in vain. At last Sharp-horn
offered to lure the buffalo by magic. At the foot of a cliff he had the
men build a corral. He summoned Deaf-bull to be his assistant. “Bring
me an old unbroken buffalo chip,” he said. Takes-the-pipe found one,
and together he and his father brought it to the shaman. “Someone is
trying to starve us; my medicine is stronger than his; we will eat,”
said Sharp-horn. He smoothed the earth in his lodge and marked buffalo
tracks all over. He put the chip on one of the tracks and on the chip
a rock shaped like a buffalo’s head, which he wore as a neck ornament.
This rock he smeared with grease. “The buffalo are coming, bid the men
drive them here,” he said.

Deaf-bull went out and issued the orders received from Sharp-horn. On
the heights above the corral, old men, women and children strung out in
two diverging lines for the distance of a mile or two. The young men
rode far out till they sighted the herd, got behind it and chased the
game between the two lines nearer and nearer to the declivity. They
drove them down into the corral. Some were killed in leaping, others
stunned so they could be easily dispatched. That was a great day for
Takes-the-pipe. He rode double with his father, and Deaf-bull was a
person of consequence. Had he not assisted Sharp-horn? Then, too, he
was a member of the Big Dog Society, and the Big Dogs were the police
for that season with power to whip every man, woman or child who dared
disobey Sharp-horn’s orders.

After the hunt, the meat-racks sagged with the weight of the buffalo
ribs, and the people made up for past want by gorging themselves with
fat and tongues. One evening the Big Dogs held a feast and dance, the
next evening the Fox society, then the Lumpwoods, and so on. There
were promiscuous gatherings, too, where the valiant warriors rose to
tell the assembled multitude about their exploits, while the old men
exhorted the callow youths to emulate the example of their fathers and
the camp reëchoed the ancient warriors’ songs:—

    Sky and earth are everlasting,
    Men must die.
    Old age is a thing of evil,
    Charge and die!

On one of these occasions Takes-the-pipe was proudly listening to
Deaf-bull’s record. He would have been a chief, had he ever wrested a
gun from an enemy in a hand-to-hand encounter; in every other essential
he more than passed muster. Three times he had crawled into a Piegan
camp and stolen horses picketed to their owners’ tents; six times he
had “counted coup” on enemies, touching them with his lance or bare
hand; twice he had carried the pipe and returned with blackened face as
leader of a victorious expedition.

While Takes-the-pipe was listening spellbound to his father’s
narrative, he felt a sudden pinch. He turned round to smite his
tormentor only to face Cherry-necklace, a boy somewhat older than
himself. He was Sliding-beaver’s son and that put a different
complexion on the matter, for Sliding-beaver, like Deaf-bull, was a
Whistling-water, so their sons might take what liberties they chose
with each other and enjoy complete immunity. At present, however,
Cherry-necklace had more important business than playing a trick on
Takes-the-pipe. “Magpie,” he whispered, “they are playing magpie.” Off
both boys dashed to a creek nearby, where some twenty lads were already
assembled round a big fire. They smeared their faces with charcoal till
one could hardly recognize his neighbor. “Now, we’ll be magpies,” they
said, “Takes-the-pipe is a swift runner, he shall lead.” They scampered
back to camp. The women, seeing them approach in their disguise,
snatched their meat from the racks to hide it inside their tents. But
Takes-the-pipe had already fixed his eye on some prime ribs, pounced
upon them and carried off his prize, followed by the other boys, each
vanishing with what booty he could safely capture.

It was a great gathering about the fireplace by the stream. One of the
lads strutted up and down as a crier and announced, “Takes-the-pipe
has stolen the best piece!” Then he and a few others who had won like
delicacies were granted their choice of the spoils, whereupon all
feasted. When they had done eating, the oldest boy declared, “We’ll
remain seated here. If anyone gets up, we’ll rub our hands with this
grease and smear it over his body.” So they sat still for a long
time. At last Cherry-necklace forgot about the warning and got up.
In an instant they were upon him like a pack of wolves. Here was a
fine chance for Takes-the-pipe to get even for that pinch; he daubed
Cherry-necklace’s face all over with the fat. Others followed suit and
soon his body glistened with grease. He leaped into the creek to wash
it off, but the water glided off the fat.


The people were moving along the Bighorn, with the long lodge poles
dragging along the ground. Some dozen girls with toy tents were
transporting them in imitation of their mothers. Takes-the-pipe was
riding with the Hammers, a boys’ club patterned on the men’s societies.
The members treated dogs or deer as enemies and practised counting coup
on them. Takes-the-pipe as one of the daredevils carried one of the
emblems of the organization, a long stick with a wooden hammer-head
pivoted some two feet from its top. Suddenly an idea struck him.
“Hammers,” he cried, “let us offer a seat on our horses to the girls we
like!” No sooner said than done. He himself had had his eye on Otter
for some time, and presently the two were riding double.

In the evening when the women of the camp pitched their lodges, the
Hammer boys’ sweethearts set up theirs a little way off. They played at
married life. Takes-the-pipe sneaked into his mother’s lodge, purloined
some meat, brought it near Otter’s tent, and bade her fetch the food,
which she then cooked for him. Other boys and girls did likewise. Thus
they played every day while on the march. Once Takes-the-pipe killed
a young wolf and brought a lock of its hair to the young folks’ camp.
He pretended that it was an enemy’s scalp and set it on a pole and all
the girls had to dance the scalp dance around it. There followed a
recital of deeds; the boys who had struck wolves were allowed to claim
coups against the Dakota, and those who had touched deer might boast of
having stolen picketed horses.

It was a gay journey. But one evening when Takes-the-pipe had bragged
of his mock exploits, Cherry-necklace suddenly appeared on the scene
and taunted him before all his playmates, “You think you are a man,
because you are as tall as Deaf-bull,” he cried, “you are nothing
but a child fit to play with little girls. Have you ever been on the
war-path? _I_ went with Long-horse and struck a Piegan.” Takes-the-pipe
hung his head. It was only too true. Cherry-necklace was not so much
older, yet he had already distinguished himself and might recite his
coup in any public assembly. Takes-the-pipe had no answer for he knew
nothing to fling back in his “joking-relative’s” teeth, but he resolved
forthwith to join a war party at the earliest opportunity.

Not long after this Shinbone let it be known that he was setting out
on a horse-raid against the Dakota. Now Takes-the-pipe had his chance.
Well provided with moccasins by his clanswomen, he joined a dozen young
men starting afoot on the perilous adventure,—perilous because, though
Shinbone was a brave man, this was his first attempt at leading a party
and it remained to be seen whether “his medicine was good.” They walked
for four days. As Takes-the-pipe was the youngest of the company, he
had to fetch water and firewood, and one morning when he slept too late
they poured water all over him.

Warily the party advanced. On the fourth evening Shinbone ordered them
to halt on a little knoll. “Yonder are the Dakota lodges,” he said,
“early to-morrow morning we will go there.” He took his sacred bundle,
unwrapping a weasel skin stuffed with deer hair, and pointed it toward
the camp. “The Dakota are tired,” he said, “they will sleep late.”
Before dawn he roused the party. He appointed two young men as scouts.
They came back. “Well,” he asked, “how is it?”

“Where you pointed, there are the Dakota lodges,” they replied.

“It is well,” he said. He chose four others to drive all the loose
horses out of the camp. They left. They had not gone far when they were
overtaken by Takes-the-pipe. “What are you doing? Go back. He did not
send _you_.”

“I am going to the camp to cut a horse or strike a coup.”

“You are crazy! We are older than you and are still without honors. We
are here to steal horses, not to score deeds. The one who is carrying
our pipe is a new leader, he may not be very powerful and you will
spoil his luck. Go back!”

But though they threatened to beat him, Takes-the-pipe would not return
and so all five approached the camp. There were the lodges ranged in a
circle. The inmates seemed plunged in sleep. Near the edge a herd of
horses were peacefully grazing. The scouts quietly stole up to them and
began to drive them off toward the rest of their party. In the meantime
Takes-the-pipe was getting his bearings in the strange encampment. He
cast about for a picketed horse, but there was none to be seen. Then of
a sudden, chance favored him. Out of a little tent on the outskirts of
the circle a wizened old man came hobbling on a staff. Takes-the-pipe
stole up behind him and dealt him a stunning blow. “Hēha!” he
cried, counting coup on the prostrate foe. Then he dashed towards his
friends, who had watched him from a little distance. As yet there was
no alarm, but no time was to be lost. They mounted and drove the horses
before them. When they reached Shinbone, the rest of the party got on
horseback. “Now we will run!” said the captain.

They had come and gone to the Dakota afoot and slowly enough; now they
were mounted, and traveled at top speed, for they knew that before
long the enemy would be in their wake. They rode on and on till they
got to the brink of a rapid stream. Here, some of their stolen horses
turned back, but the greatest number they saved, driving them through
the ice-cold water, where they themselves felt as though they must die
from the cold. They traveled that day and all through the night without
stopping to eat. On the following morning they reached the Crow camp,
sore and worn out, but with sixty head of horses. By rights they all
belonged to Shinbone, but after the fashion of a good leader, he was
generous to his followers and let them have nearly half of the herd.
Takes-the-pipe won three horses.

His parents rejoiced when they heard of his coup and his booty. His
mother and her sisters at once prepared a magnificent feast, to which
all the Sore-lip women contributed. On such occasions it behooved a
young man to give lavish entertainment to his father’s kin, so that
he might live to be an old man. So Deaf-bull invited all the eminent
Whistling-water men, and Takes-the-pipe selected Sliding-beaver from
among them, presenting him with a fine bay horse. Then Sliding-beaver
trudged through camp, leading Takes-the-pipe’s horse and singing the
young man’s praises.


He was rolling a hoop and another youth was hurling a dart at it when
Shinbone clutched him by the arm. “Come, I’ll make a man of you. You
shall take the place of your elder brother.” Takes-the-pipe knew what
he meant: a cousin of his belonging to the Fox society had fallen in a
skirmish with the Dakota, and his fellow-members had been casting about
for a clubbable kinsman.

Now a new sort of life began for Takes-the-pipe. He no longer roamed
about aimlessly or consorted with random companions. His fellow-members
were now his constant associates. Spare time was whiled away in the
lodges of eminent Foxes, beating the drum and singing the songs of the
organization. Now and then the younger members took jaunts to the hills
with their sweethearts. Again there was a philandering when the Foxes
and their girls went berrying or up to the mountains to drag lodge
poles to camp. Often enough a wealthy member had a herald invite all
the Foxes to his lodges, where they were feasted, and held a dance.
There, too, valiant men rose to expatiate on their prowess. The Foxes
had done well that year. Shinbone had struck the first coup of the
season, thus making his club take precedence of the rival Lumpwood
society. By the rules of the game the Lumpwoods had lost the right to
sing their own songs, and when they danced they were obliged to borrow
those of the Big Dogs, exposing themselves to the mockery of the Foxes.
That year Takes-the-pipe joined a number of war parties and succeeded
in capturing an enemy’s gun. Now he, too, would rise and tell about his
martial experiences.

The following spring there were great doings. The Foxes were electing
new officers in place of the last year’s standard-bearers. Three or
four of the elders had had a council and now they came to the club
lodge where all the members were gathered. Two of the emblems of
the society were straight staffs, two were hooked and wrapped with
otter-skin. Each was pointed at the bottom, for in sight of the enemy
the bearer was obliged to plant it into the earth, and stand his
ground regardless of danger or death, without budging an inch unless a
companion plucked out the fatal lance. That was why the officers were
called “men doomed to die.” If they escaped unscathed by the end of the
year, they retired with all the honors of distinguished service; if
they died in battle, they were solemnly mourned by their fellow-members
and other tribesmen; but if they failed in duty, they became the
pariahs of the camp.

There were not many young men eager to undertake so arduous an office.
The electors were passing round the circle, offering a pipe to likely
candidates, for to smoke it meant acceptance. Some of the faint-hearted
ones crouched behind others to escape notice and even some, who were
forward enough on other occasions, shrank back. First the elders
went to the tried warriors. No trouble was expected with Shinbone,
and as a matter of fact he readily consented. Next they came to
Lone-pine, Sliding-beaver’s eldest son. He, too, smoked without sign of
reluctance. But now the electors were beginning to cast about among the
younger fellow-members, for they were coming towards Cherry-necklace.
Cherry-necklace was no coward; he had shown his mettle in more than
one encounter. Yet he was very fond of having a good time. Would
he willingly accept appointment? No, he was squirming uneasily and
refused the pipe. Rather, he would have refused it, but Lone-pine, his
brother, seized him by the bang of his hair and forcibly made his lips
touch the pipestem. Thus Cherry-necklace too was “doomed to die.” And
now the elders passed round once more in search of the last officer.
Takes-the-pipe’s heart began to beat. What if they asked him? It would
be an honor for one so young, but did he wish to die? They were coming
straight toward him. He seemed to hear the old song:

    Sky and earth are everlasting,
    Men must die.

Yes, if he died, what mattered it? He would yield without coaxing and
shame Cherry-necklace. He eagerly clutched the pipe and became one of
the bearers of a hooked-staff.

While the Foxes were holding their annual election, the Lumpwoods were
going through a like procedure. A day or two later, a defiant call
was heard from their lodge. They were ready for the annual indulgence
in licensed wife-stealing. Only the Foxes and the Lumpwoods took
part in this pastime, the other societies being mere spectators. If
a Fox had ever had for his sweetheart a Lumpwood’s wife, he was now
privileged to kidnap her from her rightful husband, who would only
make himself a laughing-stock if he interposed objections, let alone
violence. Takes-the-pipe remembered that Otter was now married to a
Lumpwood named Drags-the-wolf, so he went to the lodge and called her.
Drags-the-wolf was game. He had the reputation of being very fond
of his pretty, young wife, but he knew the proper way for a Crow to
act. Instead of restraining her, he himself said, “He is calling you.
Go!” Takes-the-pipe brought her to his parents’ lodge. His mother and
sisters gave her a beautiful elk-tooth dress and other Sore-lip women
from all over the camp brought her moccasins and beaded pouches. Then
the Foxes selected from their number an old man who had once rescued a
wounded tribesman from certain death by dashing into the thick of the
fray, and carrying him off on his horse. This man, for none other might
venture, rode double with the kidnapped bride, all the other Foxes
parading jubilantly behind and twitting their rivals with the capture
of so handsome a Lumpwood woman.


Shinbone had come home from a war party with blackened face and taken
the rank of chief. No wonder, the people were saying. Had not the
Thunder-bird adopted him when as a young man he prayed and thirsted for
a revelation? Men must undergo suffering if they wanted supernatural
blessing so that they could become great men among their people. Of all
the Crow chiefs, only Drags-the-wolf had been in luck: him the Moon
visited as he was peacefully slumbering in his tent and granted him
invulnerability and coups. The other distinguished warriors had had to
mortify their flesh in order to gain favor.

That spring the herald proclaimed that Red-eye was going to hold a
Sun Dance. He had lost a brother and was hungering for revenge. What
surer way to attain it than to fast and dance before the sacred doll
till it became alive and showed him a scalped Dakota in earnest of
victory and vengeance? But Red-eye’s announcement was a signal for
all the ambitious youths to plan for a public mortification of their
flesh at the same time in the hope of winning supernatural favor. So,
while the pledger of the ceremony was dancing up and down with his gaze
riveted on the holy image in the rear of the lodge, a dozen young men
were undergoing torture for their own ends. Some were dragging through
camp two buffalo skulls fastened to a stick thrust through holes cut
in their backs. Others—and Takes-the-pipe among them—decided to swing
from the lodge poles. So he begged Sharp-horn to pierce the flesh above
his breasts, run skewers through the openings, and tie the rods to
ropes hung from a pole. Thus attached he ran back and forth till he had
torn out the skewers. Yet when he had fallen to the ground faint and
bloodstained no vision came for all his pains.

He wanted to become a chief like Shinbone, so he went on a mountain
peak to fast. Without clothes save his gee-string and a buffalo robe,
he slept there overnight. He awoke early, the sun had just risen. He
took a piece of wood and put on it his left forefinger. “Sun,” he
cried, “I am miserable. I am giving you this. Make me a chief!” With a
huge knife he hacked off the first joint. The blood began to flow. He
lost consciousness. When he came to, it was evening. His finger ached.
He tried to sleep, but the pain and cold kept him awake. Of a sudden
he heard a man clearing his throat and a horse’s neighing came closer
and closer. A voice behind him said, “The one whom you wanted to come
has arrived.” He turned about. He saw a man on a bay horse; his face
was painted red and he wore a shirt with many discs cut out from its
body, yet hanging from it as though by a thread. From the back of his
head rose a chicken-hawk feather. The rider said, “You are miserable. I
have been looking for you for a long time but could never quite reach
you. I will adopt you as my child. Look! I am going to run.” He began
to gallop; the dust flew to the sky. Then the trees and shrubs all
about turned into Piegans began shooting at the horseman. Arrows came
whizzing by him and bullets flew round him and the enemies were yelling
after him, but he wheeled round unscathed. With his spear he knocked
down one warrior and counted coup on him. He rode up to Takes-the-pipe:
“Though you fight all the people of the world, dress as I do and you
need have no fear of death before you are a chief. That man I struck is
a Piegan; you have seen his country, go there, I give him to you. As I
am, so shall you be; arrows will not hurt you, bullets you can laugh
at. You shall be like a rock. But one thing you must not do: never eat
of any animal’s kidneys.”

When Takes-the-pipe got back to his people, he was very glad. Two
things remained to be done before he might call himself chief: one was
to lead a victorious war party, the other to cut a picketed horse.
His vision enabled him forthwith to play a captain’s part. He shot a
chicken-hawk and took one of its feathers to be worn at the back of
his head on his expeditions. He prepared a shirt like the one he had
seen and a spear that resembled exactly that borne by his patron. Then
he gathered his war party. His sisters and other Sore-lip women made
moccasins galore for him. He set out in the dead of night. For several
days they traveled north and west. On the Missouri they ran into a few
Piegans in a hunting-lodge. They killed them all and took their scalps.
Thus they could return with blackened faces. One of the enemies had a
thumbless hand, so the year was known ever after as “the winter when
they killed the thumbless man.”


He had been wounded in the knee. He could not understand it. He had
been promised that his body would be like stone. He had worn his
feather at the back of his head, as in every fight since the time of
his vision, yet his kneecap had been shattered in a skirmish with the
Dakota. And it was an ugly injury. Red-eye had salved it with bear
root, but the cure-all had failed. Bullsnake, foremost of doctors,
blessed by the buffalo, had waded into the river to wash his knee, but
all in vain; he remained crippled. Then he knew that he had unwittingly
broken his guardian spirit’s rule; there had been a feast before the
fatal battle and then he must have eaten of the forbidden food.

Soon there came surety. In a dream appeared the man on the bay horse
and said: “I told you not to eat kidney, you have eaten it. You shall
never be chief.” Takes-the-pipe had now struck many coups and captured
guns and carried the captain’s pipe. His record surpassed that of any
man of his age, but he lacked the honor of cutting a picketed horse.
How could he ever gain it now? Horse-raiders started on foot, and he
could only painfully limp across the camp.

Young women, drawn by his fame, often visited him in his tent, but
their attentions soon palled on him. His mother tried to console him.
“Of all the young men you are the best-off; you have struck more coups
than the rest and own plenty of horses; the young women are crazy about
you. You ought to be the happiest man in camp.” But he would watch the
bustle of preparations for new raids that he could not join; he would
ride about of an evening and chance upon the foot-soldiers setting
out from their trysting-place, and would look after them, wistful and
envious and sick at heart.

Sharp-horn, the aged sage, advised him to go for another vision;
possibly the guardian spirit would relent. So Takes-the-pipe started
out on horseback and rode far away towards the mountain where he had
prayed before. At the foot he hobbled his horse and painfully climbed
to the summit. He lay down, with outstretched arms, facing the sky.
“Father,” he wailed, “I am miserable, take pity on me.” He lay there
during the night but at the first glimmer of dawn there was still no
message from the mysterious powers. All day he stayed about the jagged
bowlders without drink or a morsel to eat.

Long after nightfall a muffled tread became audible and as it came
closer it was the tramp of a buffalo. Then a bull was standing over
him, scenting his breath and caressing his naked breast with shaggy
fur. At last he spoke in Crow. “I will adopt you my son. I have seen
you suffering from afar. What other Indians have prayed for shall be
yours. Look at the inside of my mouth.” He looked and there was not a
tooth to be seen. “So long as you have teeth, my son, you shall not
die. You shall marry a fine, chaste, young woman and beget children and
see your grandchildren about you. When you die you shall be so old
that your skin will crack as you move from one corner of the lodge to

But Takes-the-pipe shook his head and said, “Father, it is not because
I crave old age that I am thirsting; I want to be a chief like

“My son, what you ask is difficult. As I hurried to you from my home, I
overtook another person traveling towards you; perhaps you will still
be able to get what you desire.” Takes-the-pipe sat up to ask further
counsel, but the bull was gone and nothing but a bleached buffalo skull
was gaping at him in the gloaming.

All next day he fasted and prayed on his peak, addressing now the Sun,
then the Thunder, then again the Morningstar. His throat was parched
when he lay down at dark in his old resting place. He did not know
how, but of a sudden the darkness was lifted and the hilltop shone
with a gentle radiance. An old woman was standing at his feet, resting
on a digging-stick; she wore a splendid robe with horsetracks marked
on it in porcupine-quill embroidery. “My child,” she said, “you have
not called me, nevertheless I am here. I heard your groans and started
towards you but another person passed me on the road. I am the Moon.
When children fall sick, doctor them with this root; their parents will
give you horses. I will make you the wealthiest of all the Crows.”

But Takes-the-pipe shook his head and answered, “Grandmother, I am not
suffering to gain wealth, I want to become a chief like Shinbone.”

“My dear child, you are asking for something great. As I came hither,
I saw another person starting to come here. Perhaps he has more power
than I, and can grant your wish.” He was eager to ask her more, but
her form faded into nothing and only the sheen of the waning crescent
remained visible.

Another day he fasted and drank no water. He was now very weak, so that
he dragged himself about with the aid of a cane. Was there no power
to help him in his distress? Night came as he lay wailing and peering
into the darkness, when a handsome young man stood before him. “I was
sleeping far away, you have roused me with your lamentations,” he said.
“I have come to help you. You shall be my son. Do you recognize me?
I am the Tobacco your old people plant every year. So long as they
harvest me, the Crow shall be a great tribe. They have forgotten the
way to prepare the seed, their crops will be poor. I will show you how
to mix it before planting. Then you will make your tribe great and
teach others and receive all sorts of property in payment.”

And Takes-the-pipe answered; “Father, I am not suffering in order to
plant tobacco and gain property, I want to be a chief like Shinbone.”

Then the man replied, “My son, everything else in the universe is easy
for me, only what you ask for is hard. That one who used to be your
father is very strong. ‘Don’t eat kidney,’ he said. You have eaten it.
I cannot make you chief. Listen, my son. All things in the world go by
fours. Three of us have come to help you. We have been powerless. A
fourth one is coming, perhaps he can do it.”

The next day Takes-the-pipe could hardly crawl on all fours. His head
swam. He seized his knife and chopped off another finger joint on his
left hand. Then holding aloft the bleeding stump he cried, “Fathers, I
am giving you this. Make me a chief!”

Suddenly a huge figure came panting toward him, shaking a rattle and
singing a song. “I am the last,” said a big bear; “though I am heavy
and slow, I have arrived.”

Takes-the-pipe called out to him joyfully, “Father, I knew you were
coming. Cure my knee so that I can go out to cut a picketed horse and
become a chief.”

“My son, the one who used to be your father is very strong. He does not
want you to be a chief. Well, I too am strong. If you are a man, I can
help you. If you are faint-hearted, I am powerless.”

“Father,” said Takes-the-pipe, “make me great; make me greater than
other men, and if I die what matters it?”

“My son, there are many chiefs in camp; of _your_ kind there shall
be but one. Tell me, have you ever seen the whole world?” Without
waiting for an answer, the bear lifted him up. Mountains and streams
and prairies and camps came into his vision. The berries were ripe and
the Crow camp loomed in sight and the Tobacco society were harvesting
the precious seed. Far away were hostile lodges. Then the leaves were
turning yellow and the enemy were setting out to raid Crow horses.
One Crow all alone was riding towards them. “My son, do you see that
horseman with trailing sashes? They were trying to hold him back, he
has broken loose. He could not be a chief; he wants to die. He is a
Crazy Dog. He speaks ‘backward’; he cares little for the rules of the
camp. Where there is danger, he is the foremost. Dress like him, act
like him, and you shall be great. The people will speak of you so long
as there are Crows living on this earth. This I will give you if your
heart is strong.”

“Thanks, father, thanks! What you have shown me is great; I will do it.
I wanted to live and be a chief. It cannot be. There is no way for me
to live; I shall die as a Crazy Dog.”

Then the bear vanished.


The people were gathered near the mouth of the Bighorn. There was
merriment in camp after a successful hunt. Suddenly was heard the
beating of a drum and the chanting of a strange song. All ran out of
their lodges to see what was going on. Who is that man on the richly
fitted-out horse? He approaches the center of the circle, shaking a
rattle. Two sashes of deerskin, slipped over his head, descend to the
ground. Sliding-beaver is leading the horse, halting from time to time,
and beating a drum. At the fourth stop he cried aloud: “Young women,
if you would be this man’s sweethearts, you must hasten, he is about
to die!” Then he beat his drum and addressed the rider: “Remain on
horseback, do not dance!”

Forthwith Takes-the-pipe dismounted and danced in position. Then
because he did the opposite of what he was told everyone knew him for
a Crazy Dog pledged to court death. Straightway Pretty-weasel began
to lament: “I begged him not to do it; he has done it!” But the other
women cheered lustily, and Sliding-beaver sang his praises aloud as he
slowly led him outside of the camp circle.

Then for a while he appeared every evening, dancing and shaking his
rattle. He would ride through camp like a madman. When a few were
gathered eating some meat, he would walk his horse into their very
midst as if to run over them. Then they would cry out, “Trample on
us.” And the Crazy Dog would turn aside and let them eat in peace. At
night the best-looking young women paid him visits; even married women
went there and their husbands did not mind it. Sometimes two or three
would come of a single night. Famous Whistling-waters came to tell him
what a great thing he was doing. All the eminent warriors in camp,
Drags-the-wolf, Red-eye, and Shinbone, were looking on him with envy.

The cherries had ripened and one day a woman offered him some. He said,
“When I decided to do this, the grass was sprouting. I did not expect
to live so long, yet to-day I am eating cherries. Well, I will see
whether I can achieve what I wish.” When they went hunting the next
time, he got some buffalo blood and mixed it with badger blood and
water. In the mixture he saw his image with blood streaming down his
face. “Yes,” he cried, “I have seen it. What I am longing for is coming

The leaves were turning yellow when a tribesman caught sight of some
Dakota raiders. The young men drove them off and the enemy took refuge
in the dry bed of a stream. There, the Crow warriors were going to
attack them. They were getting ready when Pretty-weasel rushed into
their midst, crying, “Bind my son! Don’t let him go!” They looked for
him. He was not to be found. All alone he was dashing toward the enemy.
They galloped after him. He was close to the coulée, shaking his rattle
and singing his song:—

    Sky and earth are everlasting,
    Men must die.
    Old age is a thing of evil,
    Charge and die!

He rode straight up to the enemies’ hiding-place. At the edge he
dismounted. Several Dakotas were peeping out. “There is no way for
me to live,” he cried, “I must die!” He shot one foe and struck him
with his rattle. Then another Dakota shot him in the left temple, and
Takes-the-pipe fell dead.

The Crow warriors caught up, and killed every man in the raiding
party. Pretty-weasel reached the spot and wiped the blood from her
son’s forehead. The men put him on a horse and brought him to camp.
Wailing, they went home. There the Sore-lip women clipped their hair
and gashed their legs. The Whistling-water men rode up and down singing
the praises of the dead Crazy Dog. His fellow-Foxes propped up the
corpse against a backrest, knelt before it and wailed. Their officers
ran arrows through their flesh and jabbed their foreheads till the
blood flowed in streams. Then they set up a scaffold on four posts,
wrapped the body in a robe, and placed it on top. Beside the stage they
planted a pole. From it was hung his drum, and his sashes swept down as
streamers blowing in the wind. His rattle they put into his hand. Then
the camp moved.

                                                      ROBERT H. LOWIE

                          A Crow Woman’s Tale

“A story, grandmother, a story!”

“What, in the daytime, outdoors? And in the summer too? Don’t you know
that we tell tales only of a winter night?”

“Oh, grandmother, those old rules are gone. Do tell us a story to keep
us awake on this hot day.”

“Well, what shall it be? Shall I tell you how Old-woman’s grandchild
conquered the monsters that haunted the earth?”

“No, you’ve told us that one many times. Tell us a new one.”

“Well, you shall hear one you have never heard before; a new story and
yet a true one.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

There was a young Crow maiden named Beaver-woman who was as
good-looking as any girl the Crows had ever known. She was neither too
tall nor too short, her waist was slim, and her nose was as straight as
a nose can be. She made the finest moccasins in all the tribe and knew
how to embroider them with the prettiest quill designs. Throughout the
camp there was no one for whom she did not have a kind word. The young
men respected her for they knew she would not romp with them as some
girls did, and those older ones who had been on the war-path were eager
to take her to wife. Yet though one suitor after another came to offer
horses to her father, the beautiful girl refused them all. At length
her parents grew impatient and scolded her. “What are you waiting for?
Your brothers have need of horses. Do you expect Morningstar to come
down from the sky and woo you?”

Then for the first time she spoke of her hopes. “One day when the grass
was sprouting, I went to the creek to fetch some water. There my eldest
brother’s comrade, the one they call White-dog, spoke to me and courted
me, then left with a war party. I have seen him in my dreams, returning
with booty. He is bringing home horses; he will offer you more than all
the other suitors together who have tried to buy me.”

Then one of her brothers laughed in derision, and another
good-naturedly, and still others kept their peace, while her mother
mumbled, “Some dreams have come true and some only mock one. I liked
the looks of the horses you refused.”

But a few days later, when the cherries were ripe, White-dog came
back with his party, driving eighty head of horses stolen from the
Sioux. Many he allotted to his followers and many he gave away to his
father’s clansmen; but of the remainder he offered the twenty finest to
Beaver-woman’s parents. Then she was happy and said, “My dream has come
true.” Her parents, too, were very glad, and she went to live in her
husband’s lodge.

White-dog had an older wife named Turtle, whom he had inherited from
a brother killed in battle. Turtle did not like the newcomer, but
White-dog would not allow her to abuse Beaver-woman. He was very proud
of his young and beautiful wife. When the people moved camp, it was
Beaver-woman who bore his buffalo-hide shield; and when he came back
from the enemy with spoils, she was the one to dance with his bow or
spear while Turtle and other women looked on with envy. There was one
thing he prized even higher than her good looks, and that was her
virtue. Other men were having all sorts of trouble with their wives,
but he was sure of his. When he heard of a married woman eloping with
her lover, he would say proudly, “My wife will soon be the only one who
shall dare chop down the tree for the Sun Dance lodge”; for only a wife
who had never erred was allowed to take part in this sacred rite.

All went well until one spring soon after Beaver-woman had borne her
first child. You young men have your dancing-clubs to-day, some of
you are Hot Dancers and others belong to the Big-Ear-Holes. That’s
the way we Crows used to have it in the old days, only we had _real_
societies, the Foxes and the Lumpwoods. They didn’t just dance and
feast; they tried to be brave in war and each society sought to outdo
the other. But they fought in another way, too. Sometimes it happened
that a Lumpwood or a Fox had once had a mistress who afterwards married
into the other society. Then for a few days in the early spring he
was allowed to kidnap her. No matter how badly he felt about it, her
husband durst not protect her, it would have been a terrible disgrace.
He must never take her back so long as he lived, or the whole camp
would jeer at him for the rest of his days. Often a man might feel
like fighting, but he would control himself and say, “She is nothing to
me, take her.” Then the people would praise him, saying, “That one has
a strong heart.”

Well, one day in the spring, a hooting was heard in camp. The
Lumpwoods, headed by Red-eye, were ready to steal the Foxes’ wives, and
the Foxes had answered the call of challenge. White-dog was not greatly
interested in these doings. He was lounging in his lodge, talking to
his younger brother, Little-owl, while Beaver-woman was crooning a
song over her baby. Of a sudden the tramping of feet was heard, the
door flap was rudely lifted, and Red-eye’s head was thrust through the
opening. Beaver-woman faced him calmly. “What’s the matter?” she asked.

He answered with a song:

    “My sweetheart is the one I love,
     I am taking her away.”

“Go away, you’re crazy,” she said, “I have never been your sweetheart!”

“What, don’t you remember what happened at the spring?”

“Yes, you were going to hug me and I drenched you with water. Go away
to your real sweetheart.”

But now Red-eye had entered the lodge with two of his companions and
was about to lay hands on her. Then she knew that it was no jest, that
he was falsely claiming her as a one-time mistress and she screamed
aloud at her husband.

“He is lying, you know he is lying! Help me!” All this time White-dog
was sitting in the rear of the lodge, stiff and silent. He knew the
charge against his wife was false, and hatred filled him against her
wanton accuser. He also knew that unless he fought for her now she was
lost forever. But it was not a man’s part to show resentment at such
times. Just because no one in camp would believe in Red-eye’s tale, he,
White-dog, would be all the greater for having shown a strong heart. So
with stern face he turned to his wife and said, “They are calling you,
go.” But as they seized her, up sprang Little-owl, White-dog’s younger
brother, a gentle young man who loved Beaver-woman and had always shown
respect for her instead of teasing her as most brothers-in-law do with
their brothers’ wives. He picked up a large butchering knife from the
ground and rushed at Red-eye crying, “You lie, you lie!” But now
White-dog, too, leaped up and with his greater strength pinioned his
brother’s arms behind his back. He wanted no scuffle when his wife was
being kidnapped; it would have been a disgrace. Thus Red-eye dragged
Beaver-woman away without interference.

The Lumpwoods had a grand feast and a dress parade on horseback, and
Beaver-woman had to ride double with the greatest warrior in the
society. They had dressed her up in the finest elk-tooth dress and
everyone admired her good looks, but she was sad and could not hold
back her tears. All the Foxes stood round about to see the spectacle,
and among them was White-dog, looking on as if nothing had happened.
For he wanted to show what a strong heart he had.

When the celebration was over, Beaver-woman had to live as the wife
of Red-eye, whom she hated. One night she stole to White-dog’s lodge
and begged him to take her back. But White-dog got angry and bade her
depart. “Do you believe he was ever my lover?” she asked.

He answered, “I do not believe it, but he has made the charge and
seized you. Go back. I do not want people to sing songs in mockery of
me.” And when she lingered he thrust her out and struck her a blow,—he
who had never beaten her before. Then she mournfully retraced her steps
towards her new home. But before she had gotten very far she felt a
light tap on her shoulder. She turned about and faced not White-dog but
his younger brother.

“The people here are bad,” said Little-owl, “come, let us two flee. By
the mouth of the Yellowstone there are Crows too, and down the Missouri
are the villages of the Corn-eaters. I have relatives among both;
let us go and live with them.” So in the same night they packed some
dried meat and other necessaries and they started northward down the
Yellowstone without being detected in camp.

But on the second day’s journey they were espied by a group of scouting
Cheyenne. Little-owl fought bravely but was killed and scalped.
Beaver-woman with her baby became a captive of the hostile tribe, and
the leader of the party took her as his wife, when they got back to
the Cheyenne camp. Her new husband was a great warrior and treated her
kindly, but he was an elderly man and she could not love him as she had
loved White-dog. She grieved, too, for gentle Little-owl who had died
for love of her, and she longed to go back to her own people.

About a year later another Crow woman was brought to camp as a captive.
That was a joyful day for Beaver-woman. Now she learned all the news
about her own people. She heard that Red-eye was dead, killed by
lightning, and all the Crows said it was because he had abducted an
innocent woman. White-dog had not married again; he had even sent away
Turtle, his elder wife. He was more famous as a brave than ever, for
he had struck several enemies and stolen two picketed horses from the
Sioux. The people talked about his recklessness and thought he would
surely become a chief.

When Beaver-woman heard about her people, she was filled with a great
longing to go back to them. “We are not far from our own people,”
she said, “let us run back there together. My husband is setting out
against the Sioux; then we can escape.” So they made their get-away and
arrived in safety among their own tribe. Beaver-woman went straight
to her first husband’s lodge. She found him alone, smoothing an
arrow-shaft. “They told me that other man was killed by lightning; I
have come back,” she said. But he hardly looked up.

“A man does not take back a kidnapped wife,” he said, “go away.”
Then she saw that she had come in vain and, weeping, she went to her
parents’ home.

White-dog had always had a strong heart. But now the people were saying
that he was positively foolhardy. When enemies were entrenched, he was
the first to lead the attack; when a hostile camp was to be entered,
he was the first to volunteer; he was always planning a raid against
the Cheyenne or Sioux. But one time a Crow party returned wailing:
White-dog had fallen in a reckless charge and they were bearing his
corpse for burial among his people. His kinsfolk and the Foxes and
all the tribe mourned his death, and the women in his family gashed
themselves with knives to show their grief. But none grieved more,
or inflicted more cruel wounds upon herself than Beaver-woman, and
for a whole year she wore ragged clothes, and let her hair hang down
disheveled. Then, because she was still good-looking, men came once
more to woo her, and at length, because her brothers urged her, she
married an oldish man and bore him children. And her children, as they
grew up, married and had children too. But all her life she could not
forget those early days when White-dog came and took her as his wife.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The old woman paused.

“Thanks, grandmother, yours is a good story and a new one, too. What
times! Aren’t we happy now to live in peace, without being disturbed by
Sioux or Cheyenne and without the women being kidnapped by a society of
our own?”

The old woman straightened up and looked at the youth with a disdainful
glance. “You boys who go to school don’t understand anything. The
longer you stay there, the less sense you have. I once hoped to cut
down the sacred tree in the Sun Dance! I bore White-dog’s shield when
the camp moved! I danced, holding his spear, with Turtle and all
the other women looking on in envy! Little-owl died for love of me!
White-dog threw away his life because he could not take me back!”

                                                     ROBERT H. LOWIE

                          A Trial of Shamans

Big-dog was troubled; he knew he should not sleep that night.
White-hip, blind old White-hip, had passed him with a taunt. He did not
mind the old fellow’s gibes, yet....

                   *       *       *       *       *

It all happened long ago. White-hip was stretched out in his lodge one
night when a young kinsman named Shows-his-horse burst in upon him.

“They say you are a great medicine man, take pity on me, I am in

“Well, what ails you?”

“As I approached my tent this evening, a man came out, wrapped in his
robe. He has stolen my wife; I want revenge.”

Then White-hip said, “You are my younger brother; I will help you. Who
is it that has stolen your wife?”

Shows-his-horse replied, “It was Big-dog.”

Then White-hip shrank back and asked, “Are you sure it was Big-dog? The
night is dark, you may have made a mistake.”

But the young man answered, “It was still light when I saw him,—a
short, stocky man with the wolf-tails at his heels plainly visible
dragging along the ground.”

White-hip said, “My younger brother, it is wrong for a man to mind the
loss of a woman. If your joking-relatives should hear of this, they
will sing songs in mockery of you. This is dangerous business. The
Thunder himself has adopted Big-dog as his child.”

Then Shows-his-horse flared up. “They told me you were a great medicine
man, that is why I came to you in my grief. I see you are afraid; your
medicine is worthless.”

Then for a long time White-hip spoke not a word. At length he said, “It
will be very difficult, but my medicine is strong. Though the Thunder
himself be his father, I will lay him low.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

It happened that a few days later Big-dog set out on a war party
against the Sioux. Then White-hip prayed to the sacred stone that
was his medicine. And Big-dog’s war party was met by a superior force
of Sioux that killed one of his followers and scattered the rest.
There was grief in the Crow camp and the people were wondering about
Big-dog’s first failure. But Shows-his-horse brought his three best
horses as a gift to White-hip, and slowly the news leaked out that a
trial of strength was on between the two great shamans of the tribe.

Soon after this event White-hip, too, wanted to go on the war-path, and
the men who had been thwarted by Big-dog’s failure were eager to join
him. But the very night they set out, Big-dog prayed to the Thunder:
“I do not want you to afflict my people; only he that leads them shall
meet with disaster.” And it rained and stormed in the war party’s path,
and a tree, felled by lightening, grazed the captain’s shoulder. Then
the braves were alarmed and insisted on turning back.

Thus, when either of the shamans had set out against the enemy, the
other was sure to thwart him, till neither ventured on a war party,
and the whole camp were wondering who should conquer in the end. At
last Big-dog could contain himself no longer. Once more he addressed
the Thunder: “These scars are from the flesh I cut as an offering to
you, these finger-joints were chopped to make you a present. You made
me your child. That one is mocking me and you. He thinks his is the
greater medicine; smite him with blindness.”

And before the cherries had ripened, White-hip had lost his sight.
Then Big-dog triumphed and the Crows all said that he was the greatest
shaman they had ever had and that his medicine was the most powerful of
all; and White-hip was deserted by all but his next of kin, and became
so poor that for a while a rope served him for a belt.

But the blind man still had faith in his medicine and one day he thus
invoked it: “His father has made me blind and miserable. I do not care
if you can make _him_ miserable too. He has three sons. Kill them all
and make him live till his skin cracks from old age and force him to
beg his food from strangers.”

Then on the next war party Big-dog’s eldest son was slain by the
Blackfoot; and people began to say that perhaps White-hip had not been
conquered for good. And a year later his second eldest son died from
sickness. Then the Crows all said it must be White-hip’s work. And
before the leaves had turned yellow, the shaman’s last son was drowned
in the Yellowstone. Then some said that, for all that, Big-dog had won,
for he himself was well, while his enemy was blind. But others thought
that White-hip, despite his blindness, had shown himself superior.

And as years passed, Big-dog grew infirm. He outlived his nearest kin
and those more remote till no clansfolk remained. He would wander
about from lodge to lodge, feasting on what strangers offered him in
sheer compassion. He would hear mothers whispering to their children,
“Big-dog was a great medicine man once and the whole tribe stood in awe
of him, but White-hip had the greater medicine and laid him low.”

And just now White-hip had passed him with a taunt. He did not mind
the blind fellow’s mockery, but one thought troubled and racked him
and would not let him sleep at night: “Whose medicine was really the
greater? Who had won?”

                                                      ROBERT H. LOWIE

                   Smoking-star, a Blackfoot Shaman

It was one evening in summer, the time of the long day, when the
twilight is equally long, that I sat before the tepee fire of my host,
Smoking-star. According to his own belief, he had seen the snows of
nine times around his hands, or ninety years, as we count it. He was
regarded as by far the oldest living Blackfoot, but his eye was bright
and his memory good. That evening as we smoked in silence, I mused on
the cross-section of man’s history this venerable life would reveal, if
it could be read. I told him how I felt, and my pleasure if he would
tell his story for me. He sat long and silently, as is the way of his
people; then rose, and with great dignity, left the tepee. Presently he
returned and when seated, said, “The Smoking-star, Mars, is high. He
shines approvingly. I have long lived by his power. I believe He will
not be offended if I tell you the story of my life.”

So runs the tale of old Smoking-star as near as my memory can follow:

                   *       *       *       *       *

My father’s name was Old-beaver, chief of the Small-robe band, to which
band I still belong. My mother came from the Fat-roasting band, she was
the younger wife of my father, her older sister being the first, or
head-wife. A child always calls each of his father’s women _mother_ and
also all the women married to father’s and mother’s brothers; just why
this is we do not know, but it is our way. My father was very kind to
me, but my older mother was cross.

I suppose I was born in a small tepee set up outside, for such is
the custom. Also I suppose that for a time my mother laid aside all
ornaments and affected carelessness of person. If anyone should gaze
at her, she would say, “Don’t. My child will look like you; you are
ugly, etc.” She was attended by women only, for men should not approach
the birthplace. Even my father was not permitted to enter and it was
many days before he saw me. In due time, I suppose, I was strapped to
a cradle board. Later, a name was conferred upon me by my father, he
being a chief. Unless a man is great, he does not name his child, but
calls some man possessing these qualifications. Having once captured
two guns from the Cree, my father told the story of that deed, or coup,
and named me Two-guns. It is the belief that the qualities of the
namer and the name itself pass to the child; hence great importance is
given to the name and the conferring of it is a solemn occasion. The
black-robe (priest) tells me it is much the same with your people.

Also, I suppose that when I got my first tooth, my grandmothers
reminded my parents that it was time to do something. So a feast was
made, presents given, and prayers offered. This was, no doubt, repeated
when I took my first step and when I learned to speak. But I do
remember having my ears pierced. That is the first memory of childhood.
I can still see a terrible looking old grandmother standing up before
me, holding up a bone awl. I was never so frightened in my life. You
have seen how it is done at the sun dance, where some old woman cries
out, “I quilled a robe, all with these hands. So I have the power to do
this.” Just like a warrior recounting a coup.

My real mother never reproved me, but when I began to run about, my
older mother did not like to have me meddling with her things. Often
she would make threats to me in a kind of song, as—“There is a coyote
outside. Come coyote, and eat up this naughty baby.” Again, “Come
old Crooked-back woman; bring your meat pounder; smash this baby’s
head.” The woman referred to was a crazy cripple who terrorized the
children because some of them teased her. I was very much afraid, so
that usually all my older mother need say was, “Sh-h-h!” and mumble
something about the coyote or the woman. I have noticed that among your
people, parents strike their children. That is not our way. If they
will not listen to advice, an uncle may be called upon to exercise
discipline and if necessary he will punish, but whipping is the way of
the police societies. Once I saw the police whip a chief because he
broke the rules of the buffalo hunt.

Soon I began to play with the older boys; in winter we spun tops on the
ice and in the snow, coasted the hills on toboggans made of buffalo
ribs, or just stood up on a dry skin, holding up the end. In summer
there were all kinds of games: racing, follow-the-leader, arrow games,
the wheel game, etc. I had a hobby-horse, made of a bent stick, with
a saddle and bridle, upon which I played running buffalo and going to
war. I even learned to play tricks upon old people. Sometimes we would
be playing where old women came to gather firewood and when one of
them had a great heap of wood on her pack line, she would squat with
her back against the wood, the lines in her hands, and call for us to
help raise the load; occasionally, we would assist until she reached
her feet and then, with a quick push, send her sprawling with the wood
on top. Then we would run away to escape a beating. Again, as water
was carried in pails made of buffalo paunch, some boys would ambush
the path and shoot an arrow into the pail, letting out the water. But
usually we let older people alone, for, if caught, we were severely

When about six years old one of my grandfathers made me a bow; he
prayed for me and said if I killed anything I should bring in the scalp
to prove it. He told me the story of Scar-face and the dangerous birds.
Some time after this I killed a bird, my first, and my father made a
feast, calling in many great men, who smoked many pipes, told of great
deeds and predicted that I would be a great warrior. The skin of the
bird was put into my grandfather’s war bundle.

When we traveled my mother carried me on her saddle or put me on a
travois, hitched to a dog or some trusty old mare. But when I was old
enough to ride alone, my father went on the war-path to the Assiniboin
country and brought back six horses; one pony he gave to me. Before I
learned to ride it well, it was stolen by the Cree. At the same time
my older mother was killed and scalped while out picking berries. All
this made a deep impression upon me and I resolved to prepare for the
war-path and to take vengeance on the Cree, particularly for the loss
of my pony. In the meantime my father gave me another pony.

One morning when I was about eleven years old, I was terribly
frightened to find a man from a police society standing at the door,
shouting for me to come out at once. It was cold and stormy, but he
ordered me to the water for a plunge and when I stood on the bank
whimpering, he threw me headlong into the icy current. The older boys
were splashing about gaily, but it was hard for me. When I crept back
to the tepee, shivering, my old grandmother began to sing a derisive
song about a would-be warrior who turned to an old woman. After that I
went daily to the bath and soon became hard and strong.

The next summer our people were camped on Milk River where buffalo
were plenty. The berries were just turning. One day while herding the
horses I fell to eating berries and that night became ill. The next
day I was very sick and a doctor was sent for. Old One-ear came, a
man all of us feared, sat by my bed, beat upon a drum, sang in a loud
voice, then turned down the robes that covered me, held a tube of bone
against my breast and sucked violently. Then he arose and spat out
a grasshopper. Everyone said that I would soon be well, and I was.
But while I was too weak to go out, my grandfather came in and told
me tales of the war-path and occasionally of the Lost Children, the
Woman-who-went-to-the-sky, Morningstar, Scar-face, Blood-clot, and
other tales. I came to take a deep interest in these tales and to think
more and more of going to war. When I could go out, my people were
holding the sun dance and one evening I heard my father reciting his
coups, putting on the fire a stick for each. At last when there was a
great blaze from so much wood, the people all shouted. It was a proud
moment for me and from then on I began to train for the war-path.

Before cold weather our people separated, as was their custom, and our
band, with the Fat-roasters and the Many-medicines, made winter camp on
the Two Medicine River. It was a cold winter, but buffalo were plenty
and we did not mind. In the spring my father led a war party against
the Crow. I knew nothing of it until they had gone, but even had I
known, he would not have taken me. I felt very sad and spent most of
the time sitting on a hill, meditating. One day, on coming to camp I
heard the women and even old men wailing. I saw my mother before our
door hacking her bare leg with her butchering knife. Then I knew what
had happened. The camp crier began to shout out that a runner had come
in from a distant camp to say that Old-beaver and all his party had
been killed by the Crows. When I met my old grandmother, with blood
streaming down her bare arms, the sight sickened me and I fled to
the hilltop and meditated further. As I thought of how coup had been
counted on my father, my anger grew and I vowed to take a Crow scalp at
the first opportunity.

Our camp mourned long after this. It was also necessary to select a
new chief. One Good-runner was well thought of and was our choice, but
an evil-minded fellow named Crow-eye sought the place. Finding that
he was in disfavor, Crow-eye secretly loaded a gun, entered the tepee
of Good-runner and shot him down. Crow-eye’s relatives put him on a
horse and sent him away for a few days, while they made presents to the
relatives of Good-runner. Well, in the end Crow-eye became chief, but
it was a sorry time for us all.

As was the custom, my mother went to live with her people, or the
Fat-roasting band. My mother’s brother now took an interest in me.
He gave me a gun. Guns were scarce in those days. My grandfather
remembered when the first gun came to us and said that his father knew
when the first horse came. I now spent much of my time with my uncle,
though I still looked upon the Small-robes band as my band. He helped
me to buy a place in the Pigeon Society and every spring and summer I
danced with them and sometimes helped guard the camp at night when the
great camp circle was formed.

It was during the summer following my father’s death that I was taken
on my first buffalo hunt. Sometimes boys were severely whipped by
the police if found joining in running buffalo before they were old
enough. But now my uncle took me with him. As guns were scarce, we
kept them for war, and killed buffalo with arrows. When we rode at
the herd, I took after a young cow. She was very fleet, but at last I
drew alongside and sent an arrow into her. When she fell I stood by
in awe. My relations praised me and my mother tanned the skin to make
a robe for me. I was now a hunter and always joined in the killing

That autumn my mother ceased to mourn and married a man in the
Lone-eaters band. After this I saw little of her, for they camped apart
and I stayed with my uncle, but danced with my father’s band, the
Small-robes. About this time my uncle explained to me the ways of women
and the duties of a man, so I began to look forward to having a woman
of my own. I began to practice on the flageolet and to seek meetings
with the girls of the camp on the path to the water hole; but I knew
that though I had become a hunter, I had yet to go to war and to become
a man. The opportunity soon came, for I was now about fourteen years

One day my uncle said, “Now it is time for you to go to war. When the
moon is full, I shall lead a party to the Crow country. You can be the
water boy.” You know how it was with us, a boy might be taken to war to
do errands. This is how he got his experience.

My uncle had a war bundle, or medicine, in which were a collar of
coyote skin, a bird to tie in his hair, some tobacco, a pipe, paints,
a whistle and a rattle. Every night we gathered in his tepee to sing
the songs of his bundle and to work out the plan for our raid. At
last, we were off, eight of us. Though still a boy, I was permitted to
take my gun, my bow, and a knife. As we were leaving the tepee my old
grandmother asked me not to go; she took my hand and began to wail, but
I pulled away. At the edge of the camp stood my uncle’s father-in-law.
He pled for all to return. Said he, “I have many horses, more than you
can get from the Crow. Take what you want and stay at home. I am old
and have not long to be with you.” But we marched by in silence.

Pranks are usually played upon a boy on his first war excursion. The
first night one of the warriors said, “Take this pail and run down that
path for water, it is far.” I set out briskly only to step into a a
deep pool of ill-smelling mud. About this I was teased, and all manner
of jokes were made. Of course, the warriors knew the pool was there.
They joked about my new paint, my new way of deceiving an enemy, my new
perfume (love medicine), and so on. Finally one man in a very solemn
manner conferred a new name upon me—Stinking-legs. From that time on,
all of them called me by that name.

But by the next night we were in the open country and there was little
hilarity. My uncle opened his bundle and performed the ritual for it,
all of us singing in a low subdued tone. After this we traveled mostly
by night and slept by day, though the warriors took turns scouting. On
the fourth day, a scout reported the enemy.

“Now,” said my uncle, “it is time to sing the ‘tapping-the-stick.’” So
we all sat in a circle and my uncle began singing very softly, keeping
time by tapping lightly on the stock of his gun with the end of his
pipe-stick. He sang about a love affair and at the end named the woman.
So it went around the circle. The last man, next to me, sang, and
then named a young girl I was very fond of. Instinctively, I grasped
my knife, but then, Oh shame! I was not yet a warrior, for here no
one must resent. So I desisted, but I lay awake the rest of the day
struggling with my anger. This was all very foolish, for the man was
only teasing me; yet few men would venture to jest in such songs.

That night we stole out and found the Crow camp unguarded. So we took
all the loose horses grazing outside and made off with them. Not even
a dog barked. When at a safe distance my uncle told us to follow a
warrior named Running-crane, that he and one man were going back to
get scalps to pay for my father’s death, that they would join us at
the rendezvous later. My uncle was accompanied by the man who sang
about my girl. On the third day my uncle overtook us, but he was alone.
What became of his companion he knew not; he was never seen after they
separated to steal into the Crow camp. That was what came of jesting
with medicine songs. All holy things must be respected. But my uncle
had brought a scalp, a shield, and a gun. So we were happy.

When we got home there was feasting and scalp dancing for all. Finally,
my old grandmother drew me out into full view, harangued the crowd upon
my greatness as a warrior and said, “Now you must have been given a
new name. What is it?” I hung my head for shame, “Oh!” she said, “my
grandson is modest.”

Then my uncle came forward and told the story of the mud hole and
called me, “Stinking-legs.” Then merriment broke loose and for a long
time I was teased about it.

Two of the captured horses were allotted to me: one I gave to my
grandfather. Not long after my uncle told me it was time to seek power.
This meant that I must fast and sacrifice, seeking a vision. So I took
my other Crow horse to old Medicine-bear, a shaman, offered him a pipe,
and made my request. My instruction took many weeks. I was introduced
to the sweat house and other ceremonies, learned how to make the pipe
offering, to cry for power, and so forth. At last all was ready and old
Medicine-bear left me alone on a high hill to fast, dance, and pray.
Each evening and morning he came and, standing afar off, exhorted me
to greater efforts. By the third day I was too exhausted to stand.
That night I lay on my back looking up at the sky. Then I saw the
Smoking-star.[2] And as I gazed it came nearer and nearer. Then I
heard a voice, “My son, why do you cry here?” Then I saw a fine warrior
sitting on the ground before me, smoking my pipe. At last he said, “I
will give you power. You are to take my name. You must never change it.
Always pray to me and I will help you.”

The next morning when old Medicine-bear came and stood afar off I said,
“Something has been given me.” Then he prayed and took me home. In
due time he heard my story, composed a song for me, gave me a small
medicine bundle and announced my new name. I was now a man of power.
Many young men offered to go to war with me, so I soon began to lead
out parties. Many _coups_ I counted as the years passed, but all came
by the power of the Smoking-star. Only once did this power seem to fail
me on the war-path. I was alone and surrounded by the Cree. At last
I called upon the Sun, offering to give him my little finger. Then I
overcame my enemies. So at the next sun dance I chopped off this finger
(the left) and offered it to the sun to fulfil my vow. But this belongs
to the second period in my life, of which I shall speak later.

Shortly after I saw the Smoking-star, I took a woman. My uncle and my
grandparents had often hinted of marriage. I was particularly fond
of a girl in the Small-robe band, but could not court her openly
because that was my band by right of my father, though I lived with
the band of my mother, the Fat-roasters. It is not good for a man to
marry in his own band where most of his relatives live, but he can
freely marry a woman of his mother’s band, if not too closely related
to her. I could have joined my mother’s band, as my uncle urged, and
then married the girl, but that seemed to me like evading my duty to
uphold the honor of my father and to take revenge for his untimely
death. People would talk about it. So I courted a girl in my mother’s
band. As she was not closely related to me, there was no hindrance. Our
courtship was secret, as is often the custom; when I led out my first
war party she slyly passed me a pair of moccasins. I think no one knew
of our attachment. You see my mother’s people all looked upon me as
one of their band, though they should not have done so, and so looked
elsewhere for my future woman. Long afterward I learned that they
had picked a woman for me from the Blood band, the widow of a young
warrior, a good woman some ten years older than I, but it turned out

The girl I courted was named Elk-woman. She and I were nearing twenty
and it was time for her to marry, past time in fact. So her relatives
arranged to give her to a man of the They-don’t-laugh-band. The
relatives of both parties had feasted and talked over the affair and
were about ready to exchange the first presents, when Elk-woman’s
relatives first suggested the marriage to her. She asked for time to
think it over. That evening when I met her as usual in a secret place,
she told me the story and cried. Such a marriage was repugnant to her.
I knew the man and had already come to dislike him. So that night we
ran away. I took my horse, gun, and bow. We rode double. We went far up
into the foothills of the mountains and made a secret camp.

Some two weeks later my uncle trailed us and we had a talk. He said I
had done a very foolish thing; that all of my woman’s relatives were
angry and that the prospective husband vowed vengeance. However, as he
had himself made the man a present of a horse and smoked a pipe with
him, his anger was waning. He thought that since I had always adhered
to my father’s band I should go there to live. Anyway my father’s
people would then protect me. In due time presents could be made to my
parents-in-law. You see when a man takes a woman, he is required to
give many presents to her parents; this is called paying for her. So,
I had stolen my woman because nothing had been paid. This would always
stand against me in the minds of the people.

The next day we went back to my father’s band. A poor old woman, an
aunt of my father, one of my grandmothers, as we say, took us in as
we had no tepee. No one seemed to take notice of us. When I hunted I
took some of the meat and left it by the door of my father-in-law,
as was the custom. Finally, my uncle’s relatives got together and
collected six horses, a few robes, a warrior’s suit, and a great lot of
dried meat. In solemn procession they paraded over to the camp of my
parents-in-law. Then followed a feast and a reconciliation.

Not long after this I happened to meet my mother-in-law in a path. No
one must see the face of his mother-in-law; if he does he must make
her a present to cover her shame. This accident cost me my gun. It was
a grievous loss as we were still poor. My woman had not so much as a
travois-dog to bring wood.

At this point the narrator paused and began to fill his pipe. Presently
he said, “The Smoking-star is still overhead. We have reached the
fork of the first trail; the boy becomes a hunter, goes to war, has a
vision, he joins the Pigeons, then marries and takes his place among
the men of his band. So far he travels but one trail. Thenceforth it is
different with us, some become warriors, some medicine men, some are
chiefs. It is well that we rest here a little while, before I go on.”

When the pipe was burned out the story began thus:—

Some time before I was married I bought into the Mosquito society when
they sold out to the Pigeons. It was this way with us: There were nine
societies for men, of different rank as follows; Mosquitoes, Braves,
All-brave-dogs, Front-tails, Raven-bearers, Dogs, Kit-foxes, Catchers,
and Bulls. Lower than all was a boy’s society, the Pigeons. To enter
these societies you first bought into the Pigeons; that is, you gave
presents to an older member who in return transferred his membership
to you. Every four years each of the nine men’s societies sold to
the next lower; so one might finally, if he lived to be an old man,
become a member of the Bulls. These societies were spoken of as the
All-comrades. Each had its own songs, dances, regalia, and ritual. When
the whole tribe came together for the summer hunt and the sun dance,
these societies were called upon to guard and police the camp. Their
parades and dances through the camp were very impressive. As all the
members of a society were near the same age, these organizations are
often called age-societies by the white people.

In time I passed through all of the societies and became a Bull. When
in the Raven-bearers we gave a dance at a trading post where Fort
Benton now stands and two strange white men watched us. One of them
drew a picture of us and afterwards the older man asked questions of me
through an interpreter and wrote something in a book. I heard that he
came from across the great water as did the first white people, but I
never saw him again.[3]

When with my comrades in the Bulls we sold out to the Catchers, I
became one of the old men to sit in council and advise the people.
There are two leaders for each society. I was never a leader, because
the leaders of one always sold to the leaders of the lower, and it
so happened during my life that the same two men lived to reach the
Bulls. So there was no chance for anyone else to lead. But we are now
far ahead of my story, I must begin with my life as one of the young
married men.

After I came back with my woman to live in my band, old Medicine-bear
often sat in our tepee. (My woman soon tanned skins from my hunting and
made a large fine tepee of our own.) He wished me to become a shaman
like himself. You see I had experienced a real vision, few men who
fasted received such power as came to me. I had the power to become a
shaman, but I held to my vow to be a warrior. I was poor. So I led war
parties against the Cree, Assiniboin, Snake, and Crow. Many horses and
guns I took. Coups I counted and took three scalps from the Crow. But I
meditated often upon the powers in the air, water, and earth. They are
the great mysteries. Everything is done by them. About this time two
things happened to me that turned my thoughts from war.

Our chief led a party against the Cree and invited me to go. The chief
was jealous of me. As I told you, he was a bad man, but I could not
refuse. Medicine-bear, the shaman, went with us to give us power. When
we reached the Cree country I was ordered out as a scout. It was dark.
As I went along I saw a tepee all by itself. I went up to it quietly
and looked in. There was no one in the tepee except a man, his wife,
and a little child. The little child could just walk and was amusing
itself by dipping soup from the kettle with a small horn spoon. The man
and his wife were busy talking and paid no attention to the child. Now
the child looked up and saw me peeping through the hole, toddled over
to the kettle, dipped up some soup in the spoon and held it to my lips.
I drank and the child returned to the kettle for more. In this way the
child fed me for many minutes. Then I went away. As I went along to
my own party, I thought to myself, “I do not like to do this, but I
must tell my party about this tepee. When they know of it, they will
come and kill these people. This little child fed me even when I was
spying upon them, and I do not like to have it killed. Well, perhaps
I can save the child; but then it would be too bad for it to lose
its parents. No, I do not see how I can save them, yet I cannot bear
to have them killed.” I sat down and thought it over. After a while,
I went back to the tepee, went in, and sat down. While my host was
preparing the pipe, the child began to feed me again with the spoon.
After we had smoked, I talked to the man in the sign-language, told him
all about it, how I had come as a scout to spy upon them, how I was
about to bring up my war party, but that they had been saved by the
little child. Then I directed the man to go at once, leaving everything
behind him in the tepee.

The man was very thankful and offered to give me a medicine bundle and
a suit of clothes; but I refused, because I knew that my party would
suspect me. Then the man suggested that he might place the bundle near
the door, behind the bedding, so that when the war party came up and
dashed upon the tepee, I would be the first to capture the bundle.
(All the important property of the tepee is always kept at the back,
opposite the door, and, when a war party rushes in, the swiftest runs
to this place.)

Then I reported to my chief, telling him that I had discovered a camp
of the enemy but that I had not been up to it or seen anyone. He
started out at once, all of us following. When we had surrounded the
tepee, we gave a whoop and rushed upon it. I kept behind and while
the others were busy counting coup upon the things in the back of the
tepee, I seized the bundle by the door. The chief was angry, but said
nothing. When we were again in camp old Medicine-bear began to unwrap
his war medicine pipe to make a thank offering for our success. Then
the chief faced me and denounced me as a traitor, accused me of warning
the enemy and secreting the medicine bundle. My anger rose, I drew my
knife, but at that moment old Medicine-bear sprang between us, holding
the holy pipe in both hands. This is the custom, no one can fight over
a holy pipe. The shaman made us each take the pipe and vow to put away
our anger and hold our silence. So it was.

Never have I forgotten that little child. Some great power was guarding
it. Its medicine was strong. Many times have I prayed to that power and
sometimes it helped me, but I do not yet know what power it is. Yet
somehow I took little interest in war, the child’s medicine did that to

The next year I felt sad and gloomy. So I decided to go to war anyway.
I led out a party of my own against the Crow. The fourth night I went
out to scout. It was cloudy and rather dark. As I was stealing along a
marshy place, a star rose out of the earth and stood before me. It was
the Smoking-star. Something in me said, “Follow.” Then the star led
off slowly; gradually it took me to the back trail and then swiftly
faded away, as it moved toward my woman’s tepee at home. I sat down and
prayed. In my mind the Smoking-star was telling me to go back.

When dawn came I returned to my party. I told my story. All agreed
that we should go home for the signs were against us. When I got into
our camp I saw many people standing about my woman’s tepee and heard
a doctor’s drum. My son, my first born, was very ill. Three doctors
had been called, one after the other. I gave them all my horses. As
is their way, when they feared the sick one would die, they departed.
At last, I went out to the top of a hill to cry to the Smoking-star.
Surely, I thought, he would help me, but clouds overcast the sky and
there was no answer to my appeal. That morning the boy died.

In the afternoon the body was wrapped in a robe and placed in a tree
near our camp. As he died in the tepee, we could not use it again so we
placed it at the foot of the tree. I cropped my hair and mourned many
days. Now I was poor. All my horses went to the doctors. My woman’s
tepee was gone and once again we lived with our poor old grandmother in
her little ragged tepee; but in a few days my woman’s relatives gave
her another tepee and after a time we again accumulated horses.

About this time Medicine-bear became a beaver bundle owner. My
misfortunes turned my mind more and more to the mysteries of the powers
around us and I began to learn the songs and the teachings of the
beaver men. The ritual for the beaver bundle is long and difficult.
There are more than three hundred songs to be learned before one
can lead the ceremony of the beaver. In the bundle are the skins of
beavers, otters, and many kinds of birds and water animals. With each
of these there are songs, for each brought some power to the man who
first saw it in a vision. My people did not plant corn, as did the
Mud-houses (Mandan and Hidatsa), but the beaver men planted tobacco.
At the planting and the gathering of the tobacco, the beaver bundle
is opened and the ritual sung. The garden and the plants are sacred,
for tobacco must be offered to all the powers of the earth, and of the
water. A beaver man must keep count of the days, the moons, and the
winters. For this he keeps a set of sticks like those sometimes found
in a beaver’s house. At all times he must be ready to tell the moon and
the day; he must say when it is time to go on the spring hunt, to hold
the sun dance, etc. Then he must watch the sun, moon, stars, winds, and
clouds so that he may know what the weather will be. If he is holy and
good, he will have visions and dreams of power and so become a shaman.

So after my son died I often sat with the beaver men. In time I learned
many of the beaver songs and became chief assistant to Medicine-bear in
the ceremonies. When I was an old man, Medicine-bear died; it was the
year before I sold out of the Bull society (the year we saw the first
steamboat). Then I became the leading beaver man, as I am still.

When I first began to study the beaver medicine, I spent hours on
the hilltops and near the waters, meditating and watching the birds,
animals, and the heavens. Yet such solemn thoughts did not occupy all
my time as a young married man.

There was much sport in the winter camps. Many men played the wheel and
arrow game and again the hand game. These were the favorite gambling
games. The first was for two players, but the latter permitted team
playing. Some men gambled away all their belongings and even their
women. I never went so far. Once I remember two young men played the
wheel game until one lost all his possessions except his moccasins and
his breechcloth, finally losing these, to the great merriment of the
whole camp.

My band had a great reputation for jokes. In this I was a leader. Once
in the spring we fooled a man named Bow-string. This man had a favorite
race horse which he guarded very carefully, picketing him outside
his tepee. One day I dressed myself to look like a Crow, and while
Bow-string was inside playing the hand game, untied his horse and led
him off up the hills across the creek. Then a confederate gave the
alarm. All ran out to see a Crow going off with the horse in broad day.
Of course, everyone knew the trick, but Bow-string. Care had been taken
to send all the other horses of the camp out to pasture with a herder.
So Bow-string took a gun and set out with a pursuing party, afoot.
Everybody in camp appeared to be greatly frightened, women screamed,
and all the dogs began to bark. As the supposed Crow, I sprang upon the
horse, waved a defiance and dashed over the hill.

Once out of sight I rode quickly around the hills and got back to camp
after the pursuers had passed over the ridge. After a fruitless search
for the trail, the party came back, Bow-string looking very sad. But
there stood his horse tied as before! Then there was great uproar and

A favorite trick of mine was often played upon visiting strangers,
especially upon dignified old men. I would invite the guest to my tepee
to feast with a few of my friends. Then I would pretend to quarrel
with my woman and we would fall to fighting. The others would try to
separate us and so all begin to struggle, taking care to fall upon and
thoroughly muss up the puzzled visitor.

Our people were fond of liquor, which could be had when we went to
the trading posts in summer. At such times there was much fighting.
We all wanted liquor because we believed that some mysterious power
could be had in that way. Some men had visions while drunk, that made
them shamans or doctors according to the powers that were given them.
Sometimes I drank liquor too. Once when my woman was drunk also, we
quarreled and I threatened to tomahawk her smallest child, but she
snatched a burning stick from the fire and thrust the glowing end
against my neck; you see the scar. After that I did not drink much. I
was glad when the Great Father stopped the trading of liquor, it did us
much harm.

Once a year in summer all the bands of our tribe camped together. A
great circle of tepees was formed and the societies had charge of the
camp. At this time the sun dance was held. It was very sacred and
lasted many days. No man was wise enough to know how all parts of it
were conducted, so many medicine men were needed for the different
rituals. Some men would vow to torture themselves at this time. I
once gave a finger to the sun, but that is not the real sacrifice.
Those who made the vow have holes cut in the skin of their breasts and
shoulders, through which sticks are thrust and cords attached. The ends
of these cords are fastened to the center pole in the sun dance lodge,
where these devotees dance and cry for power until they tear themselves
free or fall in a swoon: I never made this sacrifice. I was afraid, for
it is very holy. Yet many times have I given bits of my skin to Natos
(the sun) as the scars upon my body show. These were not given in the
sun dance, but when I was fasting alone in the hills.

A good and virtuous woman may often save the lives of her relatives by
making a vow to take the tongues at the sun dance. My woman did this
in the year known as “Gambler-died-winter” (about 1845, according to
most tribal counts). Her brother was about to die. So she went outside,
looked up at the sun, and said, “I will take the tongue at the sun
dance.” Her brother got well. If she had not been a pure and good
woman, he would have died. In due time old Medicine-bear, the beaver
bundle man, was given a horse and called in to prepare her for the
ordeal. During the spring a hundred buffalo tongues were sliced and
dried. Only true women are permitted to slice them. If a woman cuts
her finger or cuts a hole in her slice, she is turned out because she
has not been true to her husband. At the proper time in the sun dance,
as the sun is setting, the women who have vowed to take the tongues go
forward and in turn, take up a piece of tongue and holding it up to the
sun, declare their purity. It is the duty of any man, who knows the
claim to be false to come forward with a challenge. My woman was not
challenged. Everyone knew her to be pure and good.

Once she was the holy woman to give the sun dance. It was in the
deep snow winter (about 1851) that she became ill. Many people were
starving, for the buffalo had drifted far before the snowstorms. Then
my woman addressed the sun, saying that she would give the sun dance,
next year. Soon the people found buffalo and she got well.

A woman cannot give the sun dance alone, her man must also be good and
brave. Both must fast four days and sit in the holy tepee. The holy
natoas bundle must be opened and the woman wear its sacred headdress,
with the prairie turnip and carry the digging-stick used by the
Woman-who-married-a-star. That winter we were camped on the Missouri.
The following summer we went to Yellow River to give the sun dance.

Now, it is our way, that the woman who vows to give the sun dance
must buy a natoas bundle. The power and right to the ritual thus come
to her. For this, many horses, robes, and dried meat must be given.
When we came to bring our bundle all the people of our band and our
relatives in other bands were called upon to help us by gifts. After
the sun dance we kept the natoas bundle in our tepee and cared for it
as the ritual required. My woman was now a medicine woman. She did not
sell her bundle. In the Blood-fought-among-themselves winter she died
(about 1858). I put the bundle in her robe, set up her tepee on a high
hill and left her there. That is our custom.

She was a good and true woman. After that I went to live with my son,
as you now see. I never took another woman because the Smoking-star
appeared to me in a dream and forbade it.

In the course of time everyone came to look upon me as a shaman. No
one will now walk before me as I sit in a tepee. In my presence all
are dignified and orderly and avoid frivolous talk. Four times in my
life the Smoking-Star has stood before me. All visions are sacred, as
are some dreams, but when a vision appears the fourth time, it is very
holy. Even a shaman may not speak of it freely. Many times have I gone
to lonely places and cried out to the powers of the air, the earth,
and the waters to help me understand their ways. Sometimes they have
answered me, but all the truly great mysteries are beyond understanding.

In the year of the Camp-at-bad-waters-winter the Bull society sold
out as I have said. That was the end of that society; there were but
three of us left when we sold to the Catchers and those to whom we sold
soon died. The ways of the white man were coming among us and many
things were passing away. I was now an old man, fit only for sitting in
council. I could no longer run buffalo, no longer go to war. So we have
come to the last fork in the trail. I have smoked many pipes. I have
sat in many councils, I have made many speeches to restrain our young
men from rash and unjust actions. We are near the end. The Smoking-star
will soon pass down in the west. Soon it will lead me to the sand hills
where my spirit will wander about among the ghosts of buffalo, horses,
and men. Your way is not our way, but you have loved us. Perhaps your
spirit also may return to wander with us among the sand hills of our
fathers. I pray that it may be so. Now, it is finished.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Thoughtfully I left that fireside to find my blankets. As I passed
out through the night, I saw the “Smoking-star” sinking in the west.
It shone to me with a new light. The next winter my old friend passed
into the beyond. His body was laid on a tree scaffold near the favorite
haunts of his band on Two Medicine River.

                                                        CLARK WISSLER

                 Little-wolf Joins the Medicine Lodge


                      IN THE LODGE OF THE MASTER

Matcikineu, Terrible-eagle, sat dozing in the dusk in his round,
rush-mat wigwam. The fire smouldered, but random drafts, slipping in
through the swinging mat that covered the door, encouraged little
dancing flames to spring up, and these illumined the far interior of
the lodge, so that it was possible to observe its furnishings down to
the mustiest cranny.

Around the inner circumference of the wigwam, ran a broad rustic bench,
supported by forked sticks and thickly strewn balsam boughs on which
lay bearskin robes. The inner wall of the home was hung with woven reed
mats, bearing designs in color, of angular figures and conventional
floral motifs. Over Terrible-eagle’s head, on smoke encrusted poles,
swung several mat-covered, oval bundles, festooned with age-blackened
gourd rattles, war clubs, and utensils and weapons of unusual portent.
These were his sacred war and hunting bundles, packets of charms whose
use and accompanying formulæ he had obtained personally from the Gods,
while fasting, or purchased at a great price from others more fortunate
than he. For Terrible-eagle was a renowned war leader, a hunter,
and the greatest of all Mätc Mitäwûk, Masters of the Grand Medicine
Society, a secret fraternal and medical organization, to which, in one
form or another, nearly every Indian of influence in all the Great
Lakes and Central Western region belonged.

The door covering was quietly thrust aside and Anäm, a wolf-like dog,
trotted in to curl up by the fire, while after him, first dropping a
load of faggots from her shoulders, stumbled Wábano-mitämu, Dawn-woman,
wife of Terrible-eagle, who crouched down grumbling to enter the lodge,
and turned on her time-gnarled knees to drag the kindlings in after her.

Roused by the noise, Terrible-eagle stretched and yawned, then reached
over his head and took down a calabash-shell rattle, which he began
to shake gently, while Dawn-woman shoved aside the birch-bark boxes
that cluttered the floor, stirred up the fire in the round, shallow
pit where it was glowing, and set among the hot embers a large, round,
deep, pointed-bottomed kettle of brown earthenware, the base of which
she screwed into the ashes by a quick, circular twist of the rim. Into
this kettle she poured some water from a birch-bark pail; and, when it
began to simmer, added a quantity of wild rice, smoked meat, and dried
berries, which she stirred with an elaborate wooden-spoon paddle.

The random swish of Terrible-eagle’s rattle now began to articulate
itself in the form of a tune, the motif of which might have been
borrowed from the night babblings and murmurings of a woodland brook.
It rose like the prattle of water racing down stony riffles; it fell to
the purring monotone of a little fall burbling into a deep pool.

Then, suddenly, Terrible-eagle raised his voice in song—a song without
meaning to the uninitiated—yet a song potent with the powers of
Manitous, and ancient as the pine forests.

    “Ni mánituk, häwatûkuk, kê’nêäminûm.”

    “You, my gods, I am singing to you!”

“Look you, old fellow,” cried Dawn-woman, squatting beside her cooking,
“why do you sing that sacred song? There is no need to rehearse the
chants of the Manitous when ice binds the rivers, and snow blankets the
land! When new life dawns with the grass blades in the spring, then we
will need to refresh our memories; not now, while the gods sleep like

“Silence, old partner! You do not know everything! Even now there comes
one seeking the knowledge of the path our brethren and fellows have
trod before us. Listen!”

The lodge was hushed with the heavy silence of the Wisconsin forest in
midwinter. Then came the crunch and squeak of approaching snowshoes
slipping over the crusted drifts.

“N’hau, Dawn-woman! Prepare the guest place, spread robes behind the
fire, dish out a bowl of soup! Some one of our people desires to enter!”

The noise ceased before the doorway, and Terrible-eagle, now hunched
before the fire, paused before dropping a hot coal on the tobacco in
his red stone pipe, to bid the guest to enter. “Yoh!” came the hearty
response, and a tall, dark warrior, bareheaded save for a fillet of
otter fur around his brows, ducked under the doorway and silently
passed round the fire, on the left, to the guest place, where he
seated himself, cross-legged, on a pile of robes. He was clad in a
plain shirt of blue-dyed deerskin, deeply fringed on the seams, in
flapping, leather leggings, high soft-soled moccasins, and a leather
apron handsomely embroidered with colored porcupine quills wrought
in delicate, flowered figures. He bore no weapon, and on his swarthy
cheeks two round spots of red paint were seen in the firelight.

After the newcomer had eaten a bowl of steaming stew with the aid of a
huge, wooden ladle, he lay back among the robes, puffing comfortably
on a long-stemmed pipe with bowl of red stone, filled and lighted for
him by the old man. As the cheerful odor of tobacco and kinnikinick
permeated the lodge, the stranger began to speak. He informed the old
people that his name was Muhwäsê, Little-wolf, of the Wave clan of the
Menomini, that he had come all the way from Mätc Suamäko, the Great
Sand Bar village on the Green Bay of Lake Michigan; that the young
men had opened their war bundles, and danced preparatory to going to
war against the Sauk, but that the Sauk had heard the news and fled
southward. He ended with all the gossip and tittle-tattle of his band.

It was not until Dawn-woman slept, and the stars were visible in the
winter sky through the smoke hole of the lodge, that Little-wolf went
out abruptly, and returned bearing a huge bundle which he dumped on the
floor at the feet of Terrible-eagle, and silently took his place on the
lounge once more.

With trembling hands the old man undid the leathern thongs and
unwrapped the bearskin with which the bundle was enclosed, and spread
before him an array of articles that brought an avaricious sparkle to
his red-rimmed eyes.

“Nimá, nékan! Well done, my colleague!” he exclaimed. “These are
valuable gifts, and in the proper number. Four hatchets, four spears,
and four knives of the sacred yellow rock (native copper), four belts
of white wampum, and four garments of tanned deerskin, embroidered with
quillwork, with much tobacco. Surely this gift has a meaning?”

“Grandfather! You to whom nothing is hard,” replied the visitor. “It
is true that I am nobody. I am poor—the enemy scarcely know my name.
Yet I am desirous of eating the food of the Medicine Lodge, as all the
brethren have done who have passed this way before me!”

“N’hau, my grandson! I shall call together the three other Pushwäwûk,
or masters, for their consent. What you have asked for, may seem as
nothing to you—yet it is Life. These songs may appear to partake of
the ways of children—yet they are powerful. I understand you well; you
desire to imitate the ways of our own ancient Grand Master, Mä’näbus,
who was slain and brought to life that we might gain life unending!
Good! You have done well. In the morning I shall send invitation-sticks
and tobacco to summon the leaders here, that your instruction may begin
at once!”


                            THE INSTRUCTION

It was an hour after sunset. In the rear of the lodge sat
Terrible-eagle and three other old men, with Little-wolf at their left.
Before them lay the pile of valuable gifts, and, on the white-tanned
skin of an unborn fawn, stood the sacred towaka or deep drum, hollowed
by infinite labor from a short section of a basswood log, holding two
fingers’ depth of water to make its voice resonant, and covered with a
dampened membrane of tanned, buck hide. Across its head was balanced a
crooked drumstick, its striking end carved to represent a loon’s beak.
Before the drum, was placed a wooden bowl in the shape of a minature,
log canoe heaped with tobacco, and four gourd rattles with wooden
handles which shone from age and usage. A youth tended the fire and
kept the air redolent with incense of burning sweet grass and cedar.
Dawn-woman and Anäm, the dog, guarded the door.

Extending his hands over the sacred articles before them,
Terrible-eagle began a prayer of invocation, calling on the mythical
hero and founder of the Medicine Lodge, Mä’näbus, on the Great Spirit,
the Sun, and the Thunder-birds; on the good-god Powers or Manitous of
air and earth, and also upon the Evil Powers who dwell in and under the
earth and water and hidden in the dismal places of the world, to appear
in spirit and accept the tobacco offered them and to dedicate the fees
presented to the instructors.

When the prayer was ended, all those gathered in the wigwam ejaculated
“Hau,” and three of the elders smoked and listened while Terrible-eagle
began the instruction by relating the history of the origin of the
Medicine Lodge. Taking the drumstick in his hand, Terrible-eagle gave
four distinct strokes on the drum, and recited in a rhythmic and solemn
tone, hushing his voice to a whisper when it became necessary to
mention a great Power by name.

He told how Mätc Häwätûk, the Great Spirit, sat alone in the heavenly
void above the ever extending sea, and willed that an island (the
world) should appear there; how he further willed that there
should spring up upon this island, an old woman who was known as
“Our Grandmother, The Earth.” He recited how the Earth Grandmother
conceived, supernaturally, and gave birth to a daughter. How the Four
winds, desiring to be born as men, entered the daughter’s body and lay
as twins in her womb, and how, when the hour of their birth came, so
great was their power, they burst their mother, making women forever
after liable to death in travail.

“Then,” related Terrible-eagle, “our Earth Grandmother gathered up the
shattered pieces of her daughter, and placed them under an inverted,
wooden bowl, and prayed, and on the fourth day, through the pity of the
Great Spirit, the fragments were changed into a little rabbit, who was
named Mätc Wábus, or the Great Hare, since corrupted into ‘Mä’näbus,’
who was to prepare the world for human habitation.

“The rabbit grew, in human form, to man’s estate, when he was given,
as a companion and younger brother, a little wolf, but the Powers
Below, being jealous, slew the wolf brother. Then, Mä’näbus in his
wrath attacked the Powers below, and, as he was the child of the Great
Spirit, they could not resist him. In fear the Evil Powers restored his
younger brother to life, but, since he had been dead four days, the
flesh dropped from his bones and he stank, and Mä’näbus, in sorrow,
refused to receive him, and sent him to rule the dead in the After
World, at the end of the Milky Way in the Western Heavens. Hence, human
beings may not come back to life on the fourth day.

“At their wits’ end to appease Mä’näbus, the Evil Ones called on the
Powers Above who are of good portent. They erected a Medicine Lodge
on the high hilltops, oblong, rectangular, facing east and west. The
Power of the Winds roofed it with blue sky and white clouds. The pole
framework was bound with living, hissing serpents instead of basswood
strings, the food for feasting was seasoned with a pinch of the blue
sky itself. Then the Powers entered. The gods of Evil took the north
side where darkness and cold abide; the Good Powers Above sat on
the south. Then they all stripped off the animal natures with which
they were disguised, and hung them on the wall of the Lodge, and all
appeared in their true forms, as aged persons.

“In council, guided by the admonitions of the Great Spirit, they
decided to give to Mä’näbus the ritual of the Lodge, with its
secret—long life and immortality for mankind—as a bribe to cease his
molestation. But Mä’näbus refused to receive their message, until Otter
volunteered to fetch him. Then Mä’näbus came, and was duly instructed
and raised, by being slain and brought to life again, thus showing the
great potency of the Powers who owned the Lodge.

“This very ceremony, just as it was given Mä’näbus, and later
transferred to us, his uncles and aunts, with its rites, formulas,
and medicines, is the same,” concluded Terrible-eagle, “as we perform
to-day, as all the brethren and fellows have done who have passed
this way before us, since the Menomini came out of the ground, in the
past.” As he ended the old man struck the drum four times, crying, “My
colleagues, my colleagues, my colleagues, my colleagues!”

When Terrible-eagle had concluded his part, there was a recess for
refreshment and relaxation, which lasted until each had smoked, then
another old pushwäo or master took up the work. He it was who related
to the candidate the identity of the Powers Above and Below who had
given the Medicine Lodge to mankind, through Mä’näbus. There were, he
said, four groups of Evil Powers, who sat on the north side of the
Lodge. First were the Otter, Mink, Marten, and Weasel; second the Bear,
Panther, Wolf, and Horned Owl; third the Banded Rattlesnake, the little
Prairie Rattlesnake, the Pine Snake, and the Hog-nosed Snake. The
fourth group was composed of lesser birds and beasts. The Upper World
which had not offended Mä’näbus, was not so well represented, and was
composed of various predatory birds, such as the Red-shouldered Hawk
and the Sparrow-hawks. These sat on the south side, and, in ancient
days, human Lodge members had been seated according to the nature of
their medicine bags.

The skins of any of these animals might be used as containers or sacks
for the secret nostrums of the craft, but the Dog and Fox, which were
formerly associated with the Wolf, had, by their cunning and their
custom of eating filth and carrion, become too closely associated with
witchcraft, and were now tabu.

The old master then told the candidates that each of these animals had
donated some special power to aid mankind. Thus the Weasel gave cunning
and ferocity in war and the chase, the Snapping-turtle, probably one of
the vague fourth group of Evil Powers, had given his heart, which beats
long after it is torn from his bosom, to grant long life. Each animal
had four songs sung in his honor during the session of the Lodge, said
the elder, and the third instructor would teach these to the candidate.

The old master informed his pupil that in his opinion the Medicine
Lodge and its rites were found far to the east, in the country by
the Great Sea Where the Dawn Rises, for he had once met a party of
warriors, from the far off Nottoway or Iroquois, who spoke of a society
and its ritual, given them by the animals, which had for its object
long life and immortality for men.

Dawn-woman now fetched steaming rice and fat venison, marrow-bones and
dried berries, and the little party feasted. The hour was very late,
yet none thought of sleep. After the feast, the third elder did his

He selected a calabash rattle, and, sometimes rattling, sometimes
drumming an accompaniment, taught the songs of the Lodge to Little-wolf.
There were songs of opening and songs of closing, as well as
the animal songs, each repeated four times, the sacred number, and
each in groups of four. Each was made obscure and unintelligible to
eavesdroppers by the addition of nonsense syllables. Some, indeed,
were so ancient, and so clouded by vocables, that nothing but their
general meaning was remembered even by the brethren. These passed
for songs in a secret, magic language. Some chants were in other
languages, particularly Ojibway, and all ended with the mystic phrase
“we-ho-ho-ho-ho,” which meant “so mote it be.” The songs had titles,
but these names too, were magic, and often gave no inkling of the
meaning or wording of the song, and most of them avoided naming the
animals or gods to which they referred, except by circumlocution, or
by merely mentioning some prominent characteristic or attribute of the

There were songs for the “shooting of the medicine”—an act which was so
secret and mysterious that the candidate was as yet kept in the dark
as to its meaning—and others for dancing, for thanksgiving and for

When the third elder had ended his synopsis of the songs, which the
candidate had later to purchase and learn at leisure, the fourth and
last past master took him in hand. His part, he said, was short, yet
important. He showed the candidate certain articles which would be
ceremonially given to the candidate at the proper time and place. Among
these articles was the tanned skin of an otter, the nostrils of which
were stuffed with tufts of red-dyed hawk-down, the under surfaces
of the four feet and tail being adorned with fringed rectangles of
blue-dyed doe leather, embroidered with conventional flower designs in
colored porcupine hair and quills. This was to be the medicine bag of
the new member. Through an opening, a slit in the chest of the otter,
one could thrust a hand, and find in the little pouch made by the skin
of the left forefoot of the animal, a small sea shell, called the
konäpämîk, or medicine arrow, by which the essence of all the sacred
objects contained in the bag was ceremonially “shot” or transferred to
the bodies of the Lodge brethren during the performance of the ritual.

Three other medicines the otter-skin contained. There were sacred, blue
face-paint, the color of the sky; a mysterious brown powder holding a
seed, wrapped in a packet with a fresh water clamshell; and another
mixture of pounded roots called “Reviver,” or Apisétchikun.

The clamshell was a sacred, ancient cup, in which the accompanying
powder and seed were placed with a little water, and given to all
candidates to drink. The mystic seed was supposed to be the badge
of the Medicine Lodge, and was to remain in the candidate’s breast,
forever, even until he had followed the Pathway of the Dead along the
Milky Way. The “Reviver” was a powerful drug for use at all times when
life ebbed low, through sickness or magic.

“These then,” said the last instructor, “are the ways and sacred things
of Mä’näbus, given us Indians to have and use, as long as the world
shall stand!”

So saying, he in turn retired, and the party rolled in their blankets
to sleep before the sun could look in through the smoke hole of the


                            THE INITIATION

It was the season when buds burst, and the young owls, hatched while
the snow was yet on the ground, were already taking their prey. The
discordant croaking of the frogs came as a roar from the marshlands.
The arbutus was blooming.

Perched on the top of a warm, sunny knoll, was an oblong, dome-roofed
structure of poles, covered with bark and rush mats. It was oriented
east and west, and its length, a full hundred feet, contrasted oddly
with its breadth of twenty.

It was the evening of the fourth day of the Mitäwiwin, or Medicine
ceremony. The preceding three days and nights had been spent by the
four masters, led by Terrible-eagle, in preparing Little-wolf within a
room, formed by curtaining off one end of the lodge proper; in giving
him his ceremonial sweat bath of purification; and in hanging the
initiation fees, four sets of valuable goods—clothing, robes, weapons,
copper utensils—on the ridgepole at the eastern end of the lodge; and
in dedicating them.

As the sun set, the four old men and the candidate entered the lodge,
followed by the men and women of the tribe who were already members of
the society. Going in at the eastern door, the procession filed along
the north side, and passing once regularly around, the people seated
themselves on the right of the door, with the candidate on the west
side of them, next to Terrible-eagle.

The night having largely passed in quiescence and instruction, towards
dawn an officer of the lodge approached Little-wolf, and stood before
him, facing the east. Thrusting his hand into his medicine bag he drew
forth his sacred clamshell cup and the powder containing the seed,
which he compounded into a drink, while he sang a song called “What
Otter Keeps.”

    “I am preparing the thing that was hung [the little seed],
              And that which was hung shall fall!”

When he had finished, and Little-wolf had swallowed the draft, this
officer retired, and another came forward and took his place, singing.
As he ended, he stooped over, coughed and retched violently until he
cast forth a sea shell, which he held in the palm of his hand, and,
chanting, displayed to the east, west, south, and north, after which
he caused Little-wolf to swallow it, that it might remain in his body
forever: the symbol of immortality, and the badge of a lodge member.
When this had been accomplished the assistant gave place to a third,
who sang his four songs and painted the candidate’s face with the
sacred, blue paint. Then a fourth and last assistant came before the
candidate and the masters, bearing an otter-skin, medicine bag, which
he laid at Little-wolf’s feet, while he sang four songs concerning
Otter, the most famous of which was entitled Yom Mitäwakeu, or “This
Medicine Land,” but which held no reference to otters whatever!

Now the old men conducted the candidate, four times regularly around
the lodge, while they related to him somewhat of the story of the
ancient Master Mä’näbus, whom he now represented. On the last circuit
Terrible-eagle led him to a seat near the western end of the lodge,
and there placed him, facing the east; remaining with the candidate
standing behind, and holding his shoulders.

The men and women seated around the walls of the lodge sat tense. The
silence was unbroken save for woodland sounds, for the great, dramatic
moment had arrived.

The four assistant masters, who had just performed before Little-wolf,
now assembled in the east, facing him, and the first, taking his
medicine bag in his two hands, and holding it breast high before his
body, sang, to the rapid beat of the drum, a song entitled “Shooting
the New Member.” At its end he gave the usual sacred cry “oh we ho
ho ho ho!” blew on the head of the otter-skin, and rushed forward as
though to attack the candidate.

In front of the neophyte impersonator of the ancient hero the attacker
paused, and jerked the head of his otter upward, crying savagely, “Ya
ha ha ha ha!” The magical essence of the bag supposedly striking the
candidate, he staggered slightly, but was steadied by a companion,
only to meet the feigned attacks of the second and third assistants,
at each of which he reeled once more. But the charge of the fourth
fellow was so violent that the candidate fell flat on the ground.
Stooping, the last man laid the medicine bag across the back of the
apparently unconscious brother, to be his, thereafter. At a sign from
Terrible-eagle, the four assistants approached the prostrate candidate,
and raising him to his feet, shoo__ him gently to remove their shots
and restore him to life.

And now all was rejoicing. Steaming earthen kettles were carried
in, filled with delicious stews and soups of bear and turtle flesh,
partridges, and young ducks. Laughing, jesting, and good-natured banter
filled the lodge until the last wooden bowl was scraped clean, when
the utensils and scraps were carried out, and the drummer struck up a
lively dancing tune. After the men and women had had each four sets
of songs, a general dance took place, wherein the members circled the
lodge, the new brother among them, shooting each other promiscuously
with jollity, vying with each other to rise and point their bags or
fall prone on the earth. All the time a loud and lively chant was sung:

  “I pass through them! I pass through them! I pass through even the
        “Ye Gods take part, invisible though ye be beneath us!”

When all was over, and Keso, the Sun, was almost noon high, the four
assistants took down the invitation fees from the ridgepole, and
distributed them to the four old Masters and the others who had taken
prominent part in the ceremonial, and all the Indians filed out of the
western door, singing:

    “You, my brethren, I pass my hand over you. I thank you.”

                   *       *       *       *       *

Muhwäsê, Little-wolf, watched the last of his companions strike their
camps; saw the coverings stripped from the lodge structure, saw the
last party vanish in the brush.

He was a Mitäo! A member of a great fraternal organization, who might
travel westward to the foothills of the Rockies, north to the Barren
Lands, south to the countries of the Iowa and Oto, east to the land
of the Iroquois, and find brethren who had traveled the same road, or
at least one fundamentally similar. He had shown his fortitude and
fidelity, those two great, cardinal virtues of the Medicine Lodge, and
he had come through the sacred mysteries alive and in possession of the
secret rites that had been handed down since the days when the Menomini
first came out of the ground.

                                                      ALANSON SKINNER

         Thunder-cloud, a Winnebago Shaman, Relates and Prays

I came from above and I am holy. This is my second life on earth. Long
ago I lived on earth, long ago when this earth was full of wars. I used
to be a warrior then and I was a brave man.

Long ago in battle I was killed. As I went along I thought I had
stumbled and fallen on the ground. Then I got up again and went on my
way. To my home I went. When I got home my wife and my children were
there, but they would not look at me, they would not notice me. So I
spoke to my wife, but she did not show in any way that she was aware of
my presence. She did not show any signs that she was aware of anyone
speaking to her. There I stood. I could not converse with them and
they never looked at me. “What can be the matter?” I thought. At last
it occurred to me that I was probably dead, so I immediately started
out for the battlefield and there, surely enough, I saw my body lying.
Then, for the first time, I knew that I was dead.

After that I tried for a long time to return to my original home; for
four years I tried, but I failed, so I stayed on earth.

At one time I was a fish and I lived with them. Their life is much more
wretched than ours, for they are often in lack of food. Yet they are
happy beings for they have dances very often.

At another time I lived as a little bird. Now that is a wonderful
existence when the weather is good, but when it is cold, life is a
hardship. Often birds are in lack of food and suffer from cold. It was
my custom to go to the camp of certain people who lived near and to
stay there in the daytime. These people were hunting at the time and
from their meat-racks I used to steal a little food.

A little boy was staying with them and we were always terribly afraid
of him, for he had an object that was fear-inspiring. With this he
would shoot and make so great a noise that we would fly away. At night
we used to go home, to a hollow tree. Whenever I got there first, the
others, coming after me in great numbers, would almost squeeze me to
death and yet, on those occasions when I waited till all the others had
entered, I almost froze to death.

On another occasion I became a buffalo and lived as a buffalo lives.
Lack of food and cold weather did not bother us much, but we had to be
on the alert all the time against hunters.

Then from that place I went home, to my spirit-home up above, the
place I had originally come from. Now in the sky, up above, there is a
doctors’ home; that is the place I have come from.

After a while I wanted to leave my home and go to the earth again. The
person in charge of that home is my grandfather. He at first objected
to my going, but I asked him again and again. The fourth time I asked
him, he consented. He said to me: “Well, grandson, if you really wish
to go to the earth, you may go. Before you go, you had better fast, for
if any of the spirits have compassion upon you, then you will be able
to live in peace on earth.”

I fasted for four years, and the spirits above, even as far as the
fourth heaven, all approved of my going. They blessed me. Ten days I
fasted and after that I fasted twenty days; and again I fasted thirty
days. All the spirits blessed me, even those under the earth.

Then when I was ready to go to the earth, all the spirits gathered
around me and they had a council. In the center of the world, there,
they had a council. There they were to advise me. All the spirits were
present. They told me that I would not fail in anything I attempted.
There they tested my powers. The first thing they did was to place a
spirit grizzly bear at the end of the dancing lodge. This bear, it was
said, could not be hurt in any manner.

The lodge was full of spirits. Then they started to sing the songs
that I was to use when on earth. After that, I walked around the
fireplace, and taking a live coal, I held it in the palm of my hand and
danced around the fireplace again. Then I shouted “wahi!” and struck
the hand containing the live coal with the other hand. The bear, the
invulnerable bear, shot forward and fell to the ground, flat on his
stomach. A black substance oozed from his mouth.

Then the spirits said to me, “You have killed him. Powerful as he
was, you have killed him. Clearly never will anything evil succeed in
crossing your path.” That I would fail in nothing they told me. Then
they took the one that I had killed and taking a red knife they cut
him into pieces and piled him in the center of the lodge. There they
covered him with a dark covering and said. “Now! Again you must try
your strength.” So I asked for the objects that I was to use on earth,
a flute and a gourd. Those were the objects that I used.

Then I made myself holy. Those that had blessed me were present. Then I
walked around the one who had been cut into pieces and I breathed upon
him. Then for the second time I walked around the object and I breathed
upon him, and the rest within the lodge, breathed with me. Four times I
breathed upon him, and then he arose and walked away, a human being.

“Hoho, it is good,” they said, “he has restored him to life. Surely,
most surely, he is holy.” Thus they spoke to me. “Well, grandson, you
will ever be thus. Whatever exists you will be able to destroy and then
to restore to life again. Most surely have you been blessed.” Thus they
spoke to me.

Then they placed a black stone in the doctors’ lodge above, there where
I was blessed and again they put me to a test of strength. Four times
I breathed upon that stone and finally I made a hole right through the
stone by the force of my breathing. So now, whoever has a pain, if he
permits me to blow upon him, then I can blow his pain away for him. It
makes no difference what kind of pain it is, for my breath has been
made holy. They, the spirits, made my breath holy and strong.

Then the spirits presiding over the earth and those living under the
earth, they also gave me a trial. A rotten log was placed before me. I
breathed upon it, I spat water upon it, and the log rose up, a living
man. He walked away. This power of spitting upon people, of squirting
water upon people, I received from an eel; from an eel that was the
chief of all the eels, an eel that lives in the center of the ocean, in
the very deepest part of the ocean. He is perfectly white. He it is,
who blessed me. Therefore it is that I can use water and that the water
I possess is inexhaustible. This is what he told me.

Then I came to the people of the earth. Before I came, they all had a
council meeting about me. When I came, I entered a lodge and there I
was born again. I thought that I had entered a lodge, but it was really
my mother’s womb that I had entered. Not even then, at my birth, did
I lose consciousness. As I grew up I fasted again, and then again all
those who had blessed me before sent their blessings to me once more.
It is for that reason that I am the dictator over all these spirits.
Whatever I say will be so.

Now the tobacco you offered me is really not for myself, but for the
spirits, because I have really been sent here by the spirits to get
tobacco for them. Here, there is a sick person and you have offered me
tobacco. That is what I am on earth for: to accept this offering. I
tell you that this patient will live.

You will live, patient, so help yourself as much as you can and make
yourself strong. Now as I offer tobacco to the spirits, you must
listen, and if you feel that I am telling the truth, then you will gain
strength thereby.

Here is tobacco for you, O Fire! I offer tobacco to you. You promised
me that if I offered tobacco to you, you would grant me my request.
That you promised, if I placed tobacco upon your head. Did you not say
that to me after I had fasted for four days and you had blessed me?
Now here there comes a plea from a human being, from one who wishes to
live. Here, the tobacco is yours and I ask that within four days, he be
restored to his usual health. I ask that he regain his former health
and be even as the rest of us. I offer tobacco to you, grandfather.
Here it is.

May you, O Buffalo, also add your strength, add your power. Six days
I fasted and then you sent your spirit upon me. I entered your lodge,
your lodge that is in the center of this earth. You Buffalo, you who
are pure white in color, you blessed me. So likewise did the buffaloes
with the four different colors. Those blessings that you bestowed upon
me, those I now want. The gift of being able to breathe upon man, you
gave me. You told me I would not fail. Now that is what I desire.
Therefore it is that I ask that you add your strength as you promised,
for they, the people, have given me plenty of tobacco.

Now you, O Grizzly Bear, here is tobacco. At a place called
Pointed-hill there is a spirit in charge of a dancing lodge. Now all
those in that lodge blessed me and said that I would be able to kill
anything that confronted me; that I would also be able to restore to
life whatever I wished. Here I have opportunity of giving life to a
man. I want him to live. They have given me tobacco. Here it is. When
I was a ghost you took me to your home, and after I had fasted for ten
days you blessed me. Those things with which you blessed me, those
are the things that I now want. The people are offering you tobacco,
grandfathers,—here it is.

Now you, chief eel in the center of the ocean, you too blessed me after
I had fasted for eight days. With your power of breath did you bless
me, with your inexhaustible wealth of water. You gave me the gift of
using it whenever I treated a patient. That is what you told me. All
the water in the ocean you told me I could use. You blessed me with all
the objects that exist in the ocean. Now here is a man desiring life,
and I too wish him to live. It is for that reason that I speak to you
in this way. As I now squirt water upon him, may it be as though it
were your power. O grandfather, I offer you tobacco. Here it is. Here
is tobacco for you.

Now you who are above, Turtle, you who are in charge of a doctors’
lodge, you blessed me after I had fasted seven days and you carried me,
in spirit, to your home. There in your home I found all the birds who
have sharp claws and you all blessed me and you told me that however
bad the pain was, you would be able to extract it. Therefore it was
that you named me the extractor of pain. Now here comes a man with an
intense pain inside of him. I am the one to remove it for him, for I am
the one you blessed and whom you taught that in nothing would he fail.
I am going to heal this man. Here is the tobacco.

You of the snake home, you the perfectly white one, Rattlesnake! Did
you not bless me after I had fasted for four days? You said that on an
occasion like this, you would help me. You blessed me with your rattles
that I was to use as gourds. You blessed me and told me that I would
accomplish all that I attempted, by the use of the rattle. I offer you
tobacco therefore, that I may make this sick person live when I shake
my gourd. That life would be opened before him, that is what you told
me, grandfather.

Ho, you Night Spirits! You too blessed me after I had fasted nine days.
You took me to your village, situated in the east. There you told me
that your plants were sacred and you blessed me with them. Now that is
what I want. You made my flute sacred. That I am speaking the truth,
you well know. Now to me the people have come bringing a sick person,
for whom they desire life. I too want him to live. That is why I am
speaking to you. You promised always to accept my tobacco and here it
is, grandfathers.

Ho, here is tobacco for you, Disease-giver! After I had fasted for
two days, you caused me to know that you were the one that bestowed
diseases, that if I desired to heal one who is sick, that it would not
be difficult. To you, therefore, Disease-giver, I offer tobacco. I
offer you tobacco that this person, who is sick, may become well again.
That is what you promised me in your blessing.

Ho, you Thunder-birds! I offer you tobacco. When you blessed me, you
said you would help me if I needed you. Now here I have someone who
desires life. I, too, want him to live, and that is why I remind you of
your promise. I ask your help, grandfather, as you promised it to me.
Here is the tobacco.

Ho, I offer you tobacco, Sun. Here it is. You blessed me after I had
fasted for five days and you said that you would come to my relief
whenever I had a difficult object to accomplish. Now here is a man who
desires life. He comes with offerings of tobacco to you. Since you have
blessed me, the people have brought their offerings of tobacco to me.

Ho, grandmother, Moon! You too blessed me, Moon. You said that you
would also add your power. Here is a man who desires life and I call
on you to add your power, as you promised me, so that he may live.
Grandmother, here is tobacco.

Ho, grandmother, Earth! To you I also offer tobacco. You blessed me and
promised always to help me. You promised that I could use all the herbs
belonging to you, all the best ones, and that then I would not fail in
that which I attempted. Now that is what I ask on this occasion, and
that you keep the promise you made to me and help me. I ask you to do
for this sick man what these people are asking me to do for him. Make
my medicine powerful, grandmother.

Ho, you the chief of all the spirits! You too have blessed me and you
too said that you would help me. Therefore I offer you tobacco so that
this person may live. If his spirit is about to wander, I ask that you
keep away from him, that you do not seize him. This is what I ask of
you and why I offer you tobacco.

Ho-o-o, to all of you spirits I offer tobacco, to all of you who have
blessed me.

                                                           PAUL RADIN

              How Meskwaki Children Should Be Brought Up

    Harry Lincoln, of the Meskwaki, has dictated the following free
  rendition of a Meskwaki text written out in the current syllabary.

When a boy becomes old enough to be intelligent, his parents begin to
teach him how to take care of himself and act righteously. They usually
tell him not to do a good many things. Children are taught not to be
naughty. They are told that if they are naughty, people will have
nothing to do with them. They are told that if they are naughty, people
will talk about them. And children are told not to steal anything from
their neighbors. Moreover, children are taught not to talk to people.
If they see any one going by their place, they should hold their
tongues, nor should they laugh.

And they also tell children not to visit other people too often. “Every
time they see you going anywhere they would say that you are looking
for something good to eat, if you go visiting too often,” is what
children are told. So children do not often visit too much.

They likewise tell children not to gamble. They tell them that they
might be lucky and win, but that it would not benefit them. And they
tell them that it is just as bad to lose. They caution them in this
way: “If you win, people will see your winnings and will try to get
you to gamble. And if you do, you will surely lose all that you have
won. And yet it is not right to be over-quiet. If you are quiet and
well off, that is not quite right either. If you have a lot of horses,
people will be jealous of you. Some one might want some of your
property, and you would not give it to him. That is how it will be.

“The best way is to be kindly to every one, to speak kind words, to
treat your friends nicely, to keep your heart clean, and not to talk
meanly. If you do this, you will have a number of friends. And when you
are a young boy, do not fight with other boys. If any one speaks badly
to you, do not answer him. Let it go. This is one of the best things
you can do. And if you see some one doing something, you must hold your
peace; do not be the one to start the news. Do not tell what you saw
him or her do. If you spread the report they will hate you. They will
become your enemies.”

And there is another thing which boys are told. Boys are told not to
tattle to any one. They are told not to be too intimate with girls. It
is not a right thing for a boy to do. They are warned: “If you do that,
people will be jealous of you.”

And there is another thing they are warned. “When there are many
people, when something is going on, don’t go over there, and try to
show off. That will not benefit you. You may go to the crowd and see
what is going on, but behave yourself. And if any one asks you a
question, you are to tell the person that you know nothing about it.
That is the best way to keep out of trouble.”

And there is another thing which young men are told, which is: “If some
one asks you to do a favor, you must always do it for him. Some time in
the near future they will come around again and ask another favor of
you. If you refuse, you straightway will begin to have trouble. But you
should always do a favor for any one, so as to please them.”

And another thing, young men are told, not to fear ashes: “By fasting
and painting your face with ashes, you may get a blessing from the
Manitou. If you do the right thing, you will surely be blessed. If
you are afraid, the Manitou will know it. People claim that fasting
and blackening one’s face with ashes is one of the best things that
they can do. In the early days it was said that if one fasted long
to obtain a blessing from the Manitou, he often went on the war-path
successfully; or he killed people by fasting so long. Such was the
blessing the person obtained. And you can go and kill game easily. You
may become a leader in anything. If there is a war you may become a
leader. And you will always bring your men back safe and sound. They
will not be killed by the enemy. You will surely be blessed by the
Manitou if you take an interest in fasting, and are not afraid of doing
so. After you have fasted long enough, if you desire anything, you will
obtain it. So fasting is the right thing to do. And if you do this, you
must get up early—before our grandfather, the Sun, rises. If anything
happens to people where you are, after a few years, nothing will happen
to you: you will not be destroyed. This is the only way you can live
again. All the people will be benefited by you. This is the best life
there is.” And this is why children are taught to fast.

Boys are told that if they see an animal they must not destroy it. For
if they destroy animals, they themselves will not live very long. Boys
are also taught to be good hunters.

Boys are taught nearly everything so that they can get along nicely
with their wives after they are married. They are told that if they are
hustlers many girls will wish to marry them.

Of course this is after they have grown to be young men. Up to that
time they are merely made to fast. And by fasting, is how they reach
old age. Also children are made to fast when any one dies. And they
also tell children not to make a noise when some one dies; and not
to play where the body is. And they tell boys not to refuse if they
are asked to do something. “If you do what people who have lost their
relatives ask you, they will be well satisfied with you. And some day
you will exchange positions. If you ask them a favor at that time, they
will willingly do it,” is what boys are told.

And this is what boys are told when they are growing up: “If you are
asked to be a ceremonial attendant at clan festivals, you must do it.
By doing them the favor of waiting on them, you will benefit your own
life. And any time you are asked to do anything you must always do it,
so as to please the people.”

And after they grow up, they are told not to bother too much with
girls, especially if they have sisters of their own. They are told,
“Sometime you may be desired as a son-in-law. But if you bother with
many girls, while going with one, they will think you are a nobody.”
And they tell boys not to be intimate with girls unless they plan to
marry them. They are told, “You must not say anything evil to women: if
you do, you will be talking evilly to your own sisters.

“And if you are going with a girl, if you are engaged to her, you must
marry her, and treat her rightly. You must go home with her and stay
with your father-in-law and your mother-in-law. You must treat them as
nicely as you can. And you should hunt for your mother-in-law and your
father-in-law. If you treat your wife meanly, every one will talk about
you. And that will make it bad for you. At all gatherings people will
talk about you, saying how badly you treat your wife. The people will
say many things about you, though you may not know it. They will say
you are jealous. And in that way people will always refuse you favors.
You will be treating your wife badly, if you pay no attention to the
old people.

“You must obey your parents. It is the right thing to obey one’s
parents. And boys who do not obey their parents are the worst boys

“If you know any one has something of his own, you must not ask him for
it, nor must you steal it. It is not right to steal. If you steal or
ask for the thing you want, all the people will be afraid of you. You
are nothing but a beggar. Every one will say that to you. They will
call you a beggar.”

Now when boys are beginning to be grown up, they are told: “You must
not turn against your friends; you must be kind-hearted. And you must
not bother with any woman or girl who is married to another man. You
should not try to ‘cut him out.’ It is dangerous to do that.” This is
one of the most important things they try to get boys to understand. By
doing what is forbidden they might get into trouble; and they might end
their lives. Many boys end their lives before they are middle-aged by
not listening to their parents.

And girls are taught a little differently from boys. Of course they
tell girls, in the beginning, the same thing, that is, how to take care
of themselves. They teach girls that if they obey the rules they will
have an easier life as they grow older. After they are old enough they
teach them how to do things. And they also make them fast. They are
asked to fast so that adversity shall not strike them when they grow
up. They make girls fast for four days. They make them fast all winter,
especially when they are beginning to be young ladies. The reason why
they make them fast is that they are supposed to dream of something
that will take them through their life. That is why they do not take
regular meals like others, to prepare for a long life.

And they teach them to do something for themselves, especially when
they grow up. They teach them work, suitable for women. They teach them
to learn to make mattings and how to make sacks. They also teach them
how to make moccasins and beadwork. Girls are told that they can get
along nicely if they learn these things before they are married. They
are told, “You will be benefited by doing this for your husband. Your
relatives will be benefited by you.”

And girls are told: “If you are a moral girl, your father-in-law and
mother-in-law will treat you as nicely as they can. And they will love
you. If you are quiet and well-behaved, you will be much better off
than those girls who do not mind. Men do not care for girls who do not
mind and who are immoral. If you do not mind and are immoral, no man
will have you for his wife.” That is why girls are taught to be good.

After they learn to make things, they are taught to cook meals. Girls
are told that by doing so, they are leading themselves the right way.
“By so doing you are leading yourself an easy way. Sometime you may
grow up and make your own home.” That is why girls are told to be
willing workers.

And girls are told not to go off and live with other people. Of course
people would like a girl to live with them a few days. But a few days
later they might turn her out, especially if she were lazy. People do
not wish to support a lazy person. This is why girls are taught to cook.

And after they are married, girls are especially told not to say
anything about other persons, and not to feel unfriendly towards them.
And they are told not to have any quarrels with other people, for
that is not a right thing to do. They are told to be kind towards the
people and not to have quarrels with any one. “This is the best way, to
be friendly with every one. By so doing, the people will feel kindly
towards you. They will always say a good word for you. People do not
think anything of a mean person. If you are mean, some day some one
will turn against you. Some persons are dangerous. They have secret
ways to kill people.” This is why girls are told not to be mean, or say
mean things to other persons. And some girls hate their parents for
telling them this. But it is a rule that children should be taught. The
reason parents tell girls this, is because they love them so well. They
are teaching them so they can attain an old age. Girls who were not
taught, do anything they please. They do not care what they do. They
spoil themselves.

Girls are supposed to be taught till they are married. After a girl
is married, she has full control of herself, and may do whatever she
thinks best. But it is best to follow the rules forever, to be kind to
one’s husband and the people. It is pretty hard to lead a righteous

When girls begin to have children they are told to be kind to their
children and love them, and not to do anything bad to them. And they
are taught that if they live quietly to an old age, they themselves
will be the only relations they have.

And before children are well grown, they dare not go any place by
themselves. Of course boys are different: they can go any place they
please. And girls dare not do so, unless they have a good reason for
it. They are taught to always be at home and do the work. They are
told: “If you grow to be a young lady, if you walk around and do not do
any work, people will not think anything of you. They will always talk
about you. They will say that all you are good for, is to walk from
place to place. They will say you are looking for a place to get your
meals. They will say that you are looking for a place where you can get
the finest food. They will say many things about you. They will even
say that you are worse than a man. Every time you are on the road they
will say, ‘There goes a woman who goes about looking for good meals
for herself.’” That is the reason why they desire a girl to be able to
do things so that she can support herself after she is grown. That is
why they tell girls to obey their parents. Their parents have had good
experience and know what they are talking about.

And when girls arrive at puberty, they are told not to marry a divorced
man. They are told to marry a young man. In the early days, people
used to say to each other when girls married divorced men: “It is not
natural for a girl to marry a divorced man, nor for a young man to
marry a divorced woman.” They told girls that if they married young
men, that they would be benefited by getting horses, and so on. And a
girl is told to look around and get the right kind of a boy. In the
early days, they liked boys who killed game, trapped, sold furs, and so
got money; but nowadays they tell girls to look around for boys that
have horses, homes, everything they want. They say, “That’s the right
kind of a young man to marry—one that can support you.”

Girls are also told: “When you are staying with your father-in-law and
with your mother-in-law, you are supposed to help them in their work.
When your mother-in-law begins doing anything, you must ask her if you
may do it.” A girl is taught this so that she can get along nicely
after she is married. Girls are told: “If you don’t do these things,
people will talk about you, and say how lazy you are. And people will
not like you.” This is the reason why a girl is taught all manner of

And all girls are taught the same things. And in this way, they lead
themselves the right way.

                                                     TRUMAN MICHELSON

                         In Montagnais Country

On the shores of a great lake were clustered the buildings of the old
Hudson’s Bay Company’s Post, where the People of the Interior came
every spring with their cargoes of pelts to trade for the articles
which the white man made for them. Through the long, cold winters,
the factor and his crew passed the time as comfortably as they could,
with little to break the monotony of the days, while powerful blasts
of cold, often bringing several feet of drifted snow in their wake,
beat upon the buildings. In the summer, however, the time went quickly.
From the vast, forested hills northward came the returning bands of
trappers, bringing the results of their winter’s hunt. From the regions
nearer, the People of the Lake, by shorter stages, came in, too, with
their peltry. So, with the two bands of nomads camped along the beach
and on the grassy terrace between the lake and the forest of the
upland, the scene was enlivened each spring by the presence of several
hundred hunters, with their families, gaudily dressed and garrulous.

By day, in the heat of the sun, which makes these northern places
blossom in acres of green and showy flowers, the newcomers wandered
from tent to tent, exchanging gossip, talking, singing, gaming and
planning for the coming of winter; and all the time gradually enlarging
the store of their annual necessities by an irregular trade with the
factor behind his long counter in the Post shop. By night among the
tents, grouped in twos and threes, the twinkling lights illuminated
scenes of quiet domestic life, where some were asleep on piles of tent
litter and furs, while others were engaged in plying the busy needle
or in the low conversation which made the early evenings such pleasant
times for visiting between those who had not seen each other for many

The People of the Interior always came to the Post two or three weeks
later than those whose hunting grounds were around the lake. Some of
the families from the interior came six hundred miles, driving dogs
which dragged their laden sleds, the canoes forming part of the loads,
until, coming south to where the snow was giving way to the advance of
the spring, they left the sleds and loaded the canoes, finishing their
journey by drifting in them with the swollen current down to the great
lake. The trading completed, the People of the Interior returned as
they had come, by canoe and sled, leaving the Post two or three weeks
sooner than the People of the Lake. This had been the procedure for
innumerable generations.

The People of the Lake never envied their friends from the interior.
Their nearness to the Post they considered a great advantage. They
could even make a short journey to the Post in midwinter to enjoy the
festivities of Christmas with the factor and his employees, while their
friends in the interior were perhaps freezing or starving if the game
had failed them.

The People of the Lake had begun to feel themselves wiser and more
important than their simple forest neighbors. Often one of them would
come back from the metropolis with new and smart-cut clothes, plenty of
gin, and some household finery with which to decorate the shelves and
tables of the board houses which they had erected on the lake shore,
but above all, with glowing accounts of the great and busy city where
everything could be had that a Montagnais might covet in his most
prodigal dreams. To the People of the Interior, these tales sounded
marvelous, yet, much as they loved to hear them told, there was a
lingering suspicion in their minds that all was not as fine and grand
as it was painted, judging by the strong breath, the fagged condition
and the depleted pocket-books of those who had experienced these
transitory contacts with the outside world.

A product of the conditions which made the People of the Lake so
satisfied with themselves was young Antoine, a stalwart youth, whose
knowledge of French and the astute principles of business in general,
made him invaluable to the independent fur traders who regularly came
to the lake to drive bargains with the returning hunters. Antoine’s
clothes showed his advance in the social scale. Peg-top trousers,
narrow-waisted jacket, suède-topped, patent leather shoes, blue
celluloid collar, ready-made cravat, and a green woolen golf cap marked
him at once as a denizen of the back streets of Montreal as much as his
brown skin, oblique eyes, and sleek hair proclaimed his origin from the
People of the North. In broken French, even in broken English, Antoine
could swear in competition with the French-Canadian employees of the
honorable Hudson’s Bay Company’s Post, and those of Revillon Brothers
of Montreal who sought to compete with the great company. Antoine
had actually cultivated an urbane swagger, he consumed innumerable
packages of paper cigarettes and perfumed his system attentively with
draughts of gin and brandy. At times, even, Antoine forgot that he was
a Montagnais. It was only when reminded by his own people that it was
unbecoming for him to prey upon them to the advantage of the traders,
that his vanity was lowered to a point which made him agreeable to the
other young men. To the girls he was more attractive, and among the
People of the Lake there were few girls he had not sampled. At times
his vain heart yearned to extend his conquests to the simple maids who
came patiently with their parents on the toilsome journey from the
hills and forests of the north.

The head man of the People of the Interior, old Shekapeo, whose name
meant “Going Backwards,” was a stern and practical hunter whose annual
catch could generally be depended upon to contain the finest and rarest
furs. While he was alive to the defects of character which made Antoine
in figure and reputation so conspicuous about the Post, he often
wondered if a matrimonial attachment between Antoine and his daughter
would not be of considerable advantage. With his own opportunities
of production and Antoine’s far-reaching business experience and
associations, he had more than once pictured the advantage, while
puffing his pipe before the fire. And yet he could not make up his mind
to discourage the growing intimacy between his daughter and a young man
of his own band, whom he had always admired for his quiet energy and
productive trapping. The girl herself, if left to her own judgment,
would have had little to say. Born by the side of a remote lake on
a beautiful still morning, when the heat of noontime was lifting a
mirage to the north across the glassy waters, her mother had called
her Ilitwashteu, Mirage, from the first phenomenon seen after the
birth of her child. Mirage, like her father, felt the contrast between
Good-ground and Antoine. But the mystery of Antoine was making him an
object of growing interest in her mind. She had dared to raise her eyes
from her moccasins and look directly at him once, when he had come to
the tent to talk with her father on business. Then, when her father’s
back was turned, Antoine spoke to her, but she did not go so far as to
answer him.

It was winter. Shekapeo had returned to his hunting grounds in the
region of the Lake of Steep Shores. Near him, this year, was camped
the family of young Good-ground who was at this season trapping
in that section of his hereditary hunting grounds for marten. The
territories of the two families adjoined each other, though for
several years each had been operating on the more distant tracts,
with the idea of allowing the intervening zone to become replenished
with the fur-bearing animals. Old Shekapeo and young Good-ground knew
perfectly well where their respective bounds lay. During the winter
they occasionally visited one another and sometimes planned to exchange
privileges in each other’s grounds. When, for instance, one year bear
had been abundant in Shekapeo’s district, owing to a forest fire in the
month of flowers which had left in its wake an exceptional abundance of
berries, the same winter on young Good-ground’s territory, caribou had
wandered in unusual numbers. Then they had allowed each other to cross
the landmarks. Good-ground took toll on many of Shekapeo’s bears, and
Shekapeo took what he needed of Good-ground’s caribou.

It happened late in the winter in the month of great cold that several
members of Good-ground’s family were taken sick with coughs and aching
limbs. Sickness added to Good-ground’s duties, and often he was
prevented from following his line of traps properly, by the necessity
of remaining at camp himself. One trip when he started to visit his
ten traps, which were strung at a distance of about two miles apart
along the banks of the River of Poplars, he found himself at the ninth
trap by the end of the second day. So bad had been the conditions of
travel, and his own feelings so oppressed, that, late this afternoon,
he made himself a little fire where he had scraped away the snow with
one of his snowshoes, and boiled himself a pot of tea. Near the fire
lay his good dogs Ntohum and Kawabshet, “My Hunter” and “Whitey,” names
descended through many generations of canines. They were worn out and
tired, from pulling the toboggan through the soft, deep snowdrifts.
The nine traps had yielded a few furs, yet most of them were empty.
The promise of bad weather added to the trouble. To the northeast a
heavy bank of lead-colored sky appeared above the pointed tops of the
vast spruce forest. Fitful blasts of wind came occasionally from the
same quarter, growing more frequent during the afternoon and causing
Good-ground many times to turn his head about and look behind, then
urge the dogs with a few sharp words to greater exertions.

Now, smoking his pipe of stone, which several times he refilled with
dry tobacco obtained from the Post so far away, his eyes rested first
upon his fagged dogs, then upon the slowly spreading pall of gray,
northward above the hills. The question of the tenth trap was resting
heavily upon Good-ground’s mind. Might there be anything held fast in
its iron jaws, or would the machine be empty before his disheartened
gaze, should he gather his forces together and press on against the
rising wind for another three hours? The price to pay in risk to
himself and his animals for whatever might be caught there, would be,
indeed, the highest. With depleted provisions through another afternoon
of struggle against the blizzard which was surely coming, a question
arose in his experienced mind as to the actual possibility of its
accomplishment. Should he turn about now and go down with the wind to
the little shelter camp where he could spend the night, back on Round
Lake, he would then be within a short day’s voyage of his home camp.
There his sick family, brothers, sisters and mother, were comfortably
and snugly housed in their warm tent, roofed tightly with birch-bark
and lined with caribou skins, making it warm as the inside of his
fur-lined mitten. But what if trap number ten should contain an animal,
perhaps a sable or even a black fox, whose pelt would bring the profit
he so badly needed?

Having filled his pipe several times, and cleaned it with the blade
of bone which he carried tied to his tobacco bag, it seemed as if
Good-ground could not decide. Finally, with a motion of determination,
he plunged his hand into the bag, which contained the carcass of a
hare reserved for his supper. With a few cuts of his knife he got out
the shoulder blade of the animal, and he removed the clinging flesh by
tearing it off with his teeth till the bone was clean and brown; then
upon the end of a split stick he held the hare’s shoulder bone before
the heat of his fire, and raised his voice in a low melody which came
from between slightly opened lips. “Ka na ka na aa ka na he.” While he
sang, the bone, affected by the heat, grew black toward the center;
finally a segment with a little crack split from the center and ran
toward the edge, breaking through the bone and causing it to burn away
on one of its outer sides. The divination was complete. The spirit of
the hare had told him that his voyage would be unsuccessful.

Now, with a few deft and decided motions, Good-ground cleaned out his
pipe, replaced several articles which he had removed from his bag,
adjusted his snowshoes by kicking his feet into the stiffened loops,
and squared about toward the south, pulling the sled around on its
runners till it, too, pointed backwards along the trail over which
he had, thirty minutes ago, tramped down the snow to make a path for
his dogs. The animals needed no human urging to tighten their traces
and drag the sled forward in a trail, which even now was being blown
over with drifting snow coming slant-wise through the forest on a
furious wind. Kiwedin, the north wind, was now going to rule the world
of the people of the north. Whatever thought Good-ground had a while
ago as to what the tenth trap might have yielded him had he gone to
it, faded from his mind with the satisfaction that he was obeying his
dream animal, and that probably he would reach his home camp in time
to escape the suffering which he knew he would have met had he gone
on to learn what trap number ten contained. His forebodings were not
without ground. It was with difficulty that he reached his little camp
station that night, helped along by the wind at his back. His out-trail
was now completely covered, but it had been possible for him to run
ahead of his dogs and break the snow for them with his snowshoes. That
night at his station he tried again his “mutnshawan” and the bone broke
in the same way as before. This time the crack in the surface of the
shoulder blade zig-zagged off in the direction of the home camp, a sure
indication that this was to be the direction of travel next day.

By the time the late northern dawn had lighted up the trail
sufficiently for him to follow it, Good-ground had fed his dogs and
himself on the remaining carcasses of the few beasts that he had taken,
in coming up to his line of traps. By dark, forcing his way through
growing drifts with the wind still at his back, he silently wound into
the cleared space, near the center of which stood the three bark tents
with their wisps of smoke driven horizontally from the poles, that for
almost nine months of the year he called home. Several little fox-bred
mongrel dogs limped out on the beaten footpaths from one of the tents,
and with wheezy coughs announced the return of the son and brother to
the females within the enclosure. They were building up the fire and
preparing a stew of hare and smoked caribou meat. Good-ground lifted
the skin hanging before the door, bent under its low arch, and stepped
toward the fire, laying his game bag on the boughs near the knees
of his oldest sister. The glances at his face and his return glance
showed that all was well, they felt, while all were still alive. And
smiles lighted their faces as the girl brought the contents of one of
the packs from the sled and opened it before their eyes, though it
contained only medium pelts and carcasses only large enough to go into
the stew-pot for to-morrow’s dinner.

The blizzard raged, the weak and sick ones got worse before they got
better, and several weeks passed before Good-ground could muster the
strength, and afford the time to harness his dogs again and move along
the trap line. Smoked caribou flakes, hare carcasses, and a small
portion of flour had carried them through the short period of famine.

Finally with the return of good weather and the subsidence of the wind,
Good-ground was able to make his round of traps, baiting and resetting
those which had been torn down by the force of the wind, the snow and
the beating branches of the undergrowth. Arriving at the location of
trap number ten, he scraped away the snow to find there the chewed
and devoured remains of a splendid black fox! The loss, Good-ground
realized as he stood there regarding the remaining patch of silky
ink-black fur no larger than the span of his hands, would amount to
$2500 at least. Had he visited trap number ten that terrible day, weeks
ago, he might have secured the pelt.

On his return home Good-ground was to have another surprise. He found
his neighbor old Shekapeo visiting his family, having ventured a day’s
struggle through the soft and deep snowdrifts, from a sympathetic
desire to see whether all had gone well with the family whose lives
depended upon the support of one young man.

Shekapeo heard the story of Good-ground’s lost prize with impassive
expression. But on his way home the next day, tramping ahead of his
dogs he had time to think over the bad luck attaching to Good-ground.
Shekapeo’s thoughts then turned to the coming trading season at the
Post, and in particular to the financial ascendancy of Antoine.

During that spring season at the Post, among the tales which
circulated was that about Good-ground and trap number ten. The story
of the adventure did not turn out to his credit, especially after
Antoine took occasion to say to Shekapeo, in the presence of the
family, including Mirage, that Good-ground was a fool to have turned
back at a time when a catch worth several thousand dollars was waiting
his enterprise.

To account for Good-ground’s lack of success, Antoine even remarked
that Good-ground’s dream spirit would not have lied to him that day
when he turned back, unless he had been a liar himself.

With the advent of the moon when the birds begin to fly, which the
white people at the Post called August, the People of the Interior
having finished their trading, repaired their canoes, and satisfied
their craving for society, bade adieu to their friends of the lake
and started on their return to the northern wilderness. In the coming
voyage of ascent, Good-ground’s three canoe loads of provisions and
supplies, in large part advanced to him in credit by the factor, which
were to last him through the winter on his hunting grounds, would have
to be carried over thirty-two portages. If the weather continued good
he expected to make the return trip in forty days. The largest lake
that he had to cross would be nine miles wide, but if the wind blew
hard he would have to make double that distance by working around the
shore line. His load consisted of about two thousand pounds in all,
fifteen bags of flour, two hundred pounds of pork, ten of tobacco, one
hundred of flour, one hundred of grease, twenty-five of tea, forty
of salt, twenty boxes of baking powder, twenty-five bars of soap,
two boxes of candles, twelve boxes of shells, four boxes of rifle
cartridges, three hundred traps, from beaver size down, and ten bear
traps,—all this in three canoes. With the help of mother, sisters, and
younger brothers, these canoes had to be paddled in smooth water, while
on the portages and in water that was too shallow for paddling, they
had to be relayed in loads on the back.

Finally, their toilsome journey ended, Good-ground and the others
reached their distant hunt-grounds and reopened their home camps,
where, all summer during their absence, the porcupines and other
rodents had made havoc among the greasy furnishings; where even an
occasional passing bear had left his marks. More than once the caribou
and moose had poked their noses well within the clearing and among the
deserted tents, as though they knew that the men, who in the winter
time were so eager for their lives, were now far away killing fish to
live on, and eating the white men’s food put up in tin cans.

So another winter was passed by the People of the Interior, busy in
killing the wild animals of the forest and busy, too, in reviving the
spirits of the slain animals, as they believed, by constant resource to
drumming, singing, praying, and other shamanistic performances.

This winter at the Post, for Antoine, at least, was also a season
of great activity. Antoine’s astute employer, an independent French
trader, had conceived a scheme to secure the trade of the People of the
Interior when they should come out from the forests in the spring. The
scheme was nothing less than to have a score of cases of the strongest
fire water sent to the lake, at great expense, hidden from the eyes of
the revenue officers en route. The whole was to cost about all that the
independent French company could afford to put into the venture, and
incidentally, as his employer finally made clear to him, to absorb the
whole of Antoine’s available estate in the shape of over a thousand
dollars ready cash. Antoine and his employer gloated together over the
scoop that would be made when the People of the Interior were told that
the old company factor had died and the Post was closed, and learned
that the new company had gone to the trouble of providing for them
their beloved liquor so that there should be at least something for
which to trade their furs. It was planned that Antoine should ascend
the river Where-Moose-Abound, down which the People of the Interior
generally came, a several days’ journey, and there intercept them and
put through the hoax.

With considerable care, seven sturdy canoe men were engaged, with
Antoine as their foreman, to transfer the disguised cases from the lake
to a convenient point up the river where the People of the Interior,
with their precious cargoes of fur, would be sure to pass by in their
descent. On the great day, the flotilla with its spirituous cargo
made an early morning start. The men, with occasional levies upon the
contents of their load to refresh themselves, finally reached the
destined point and unloaded the boxes, setting up their camp to wait
for the arrival of the descending hunters. Antoine’s expectations ran
high. He pictured to himself the consternation with which the People of
the Interior would receive the surprising news that he had to impart,
and then the eagerness with which they would fall upon his stores of
liquor. With their potations well begun, he expected that they would
not stop until they had traded the best of their peltries for the last
flask of his fire water. His visions were hourly more stimulated by
draughts upon his stock.

That evening, when the voyagers had settled down about their leaping
fire, nothing would have aroused the suspicion of the observer as to
what was about to take place. The seven canoe men, who were from among
the People of the Lake, had decided upon an action which, to their
minds, seemed advantageous to themselves, as well as in accordance with
the excise laws of the Dominion, but which was prompted above all by
fidelity to their friends among the People of the Interior. These men
of the People of the Lake had known from former years’ experience what
it would mean for their friends of the forest to be turned back to
their distant hunting grounds with nothing but the remains of a drunken
orgy to meet their requirements for the coming winter. Therefore had
they decided, with great moral satisfaction, in the interests of self,
of government, and of mankind exactly what their correct course should

Before the evening had worn away, Antoine felt himself enjoying the
best of spirits. He did not notice, when one of the men asked him to
pass the matches, that two of the others behind him were fumbling
among some tangled thongs and ropes. He did not notice, until too
late, a quick movement by which he was thrown on his back and quickly
bound hand and foot, his hands behind his back. Attempts to reach
his sheath-knife, frantic yells, squirmings, and attempts to bite
the binding thongs were lost in a roar of laughter which greeted him
when he was tumbled to one side of the camp like a strangled bear, to
curse in French, and threaten them with every dreadful thing that the
northern Indian has learned to fear. They only laughed at him as his
store clothes became grimy and his urbane veneer disappeared. They
laughed all the more, these merry Men of the Lake, when the boxes had
been broken open with their keen axes and the corks pulled from a score
of flat bottles, whose limpid contents disappeared down their throats
between gurgles of liquid and gurgles of laughter and jokes.

Now for two days this merry camp of Bacchus made the forests echo
with songs and cries, some from the throats of the Men of the Lake,
growing louder each hour, others growing feebler each hour from the
throat of Antoine. Had the People of the Interior been within hearing
distance, they might have thought that a band of marauding enemies had
engaged one another in warfare on their peaceful river. And no doubt
they would have gone into concealment until some of their scouts could
have learned the cause of it. But it so happened that they were delayed
many miles up the river at one of the portages; several invalids had
required attention. When all were able to resume their journey they
descended by easy stages to favor the condition of their patients.

It was not until the second day after the demolition of the boxes
and their contents in Antoine’s bivouac, that the flotilla carrying
the People of the Interior swung around a point of the river, and
came down upon the camp, where by this time all the merrymakers were
strewn about in a profound sleep. Cautiously and reverently stepping
ashore, the foremost men in the canoes of the People of the Interior
believed that they had come upon a camp of the dead, although, as
they afterward remarked, the odor pervading the air was not exactly
of a funereal taint. It took but a few moments for them to connect
the circumstances. It took but a few more for them to connect with a
dozen of the flat bottles whose contents had either been reserved for
this special occasion by the thoughtful Men of the Lake, or had been
overlooked in the surge of feeling which had followed their first
attack upon the load. It now became the turn of the People of the
Interior to show solicitude for those men of the People of the Lake,
who had so sacrificed their loyalty to their employer for the sake of
their kinsmen. Even Antoine was stripped of his thongs and stood upon
his feet. But two days of fasting and exposure in the damp moss in his
wet store clothes, with nothing to eat or drink, had about exhausted
his constitution. His companions were the first to resuscitate, and
it was from their lips that the story of the event was learned by the
bewildered People of the Interior.

A day or so later, refreshed with sleep, fresh fish, and cold water,
the whole company pushed off from the shore. The People of the Interior
continued their journey to the Post, but among some of them a change
had taken place which was to affect in particular the relationship of
two individuals. These two were Good-ground and Mirage.

                                                       FRANK G. SPECK

                     Hanging-flower, the Iroquois


She was born in a bark house. Her mother, Rising-sun, was surprised as
she looked at the little face, for she felt that once before, long ago,
she had seen that face, and presently the assurance came to her that
the child was the image of her great-grandmother, Rising-sun’s mother’s
mother, whom she had often seen when she herself was a little girl.
Hanging-flower had been a great medicine woman in her day, and the fame
of her art had spread far and wide; on one occasion, it was claimed,
she had even cured a woman of insanity. Rising-sun could not hesitate
long: she wished to name the baby Hanging-flower.

Soon after this, when Rising-sun had regained her health and vigor,
she called on Clear-as-a-brook, the Keeper of names of the Bear
clan, to which Rising-sun belonged. From her the mother learned that
Hanging-flower, a remote relative of Rising-sun, of whom she remembered
having heard, had recently died and that her name had been “put away
in a box.” The mother knew now that nothing stood in the way of the
realization of her desire: Hanging-flower was to be the name of her
little girl.

When the fall came, Rising-sun began to get ready for the great Green
Corn Festival, and on the second day of the festivities she carried
little Hanging-flower to the Long House where her name was ceremonially
bestowed upon her, in the presence of all the people.


The first summers of Hanging-flower’s life passed uneventfully.
Rising-sun was a kind mother; for hours she talked to little
Hanging-flower in soft, soothing tones, and at night she sang her to
sleep with her doleful, monotonous lullabies. When harvesting time
came and Rising-sun was busy in the cornfields with the other women,
Hanging-flower was wrapped and tied securely to her carrying-board,
which was then hung on a branch of an elm tree; there, gently swayed by
the wind, Hanging-flower slept, while her mother was hard at work.


The summers passed, and Hanging-flower was a baby no longer. Her mother
taught her the art of cooking; she also began to help when the corn was
pounded in large, wooden mortars. Soon she learned how to embroider.
And as her fingers grew nimble and her eyes fond of the colored beads
and wampum shells, she began to feel that the world of buds and
flowers and leaves was her own, hers and her mother’s and of the other
women;—the men knew nothing of such things.

Once, when Rising-sun’s brother was staying for a visit, Hanging-flower
overtook him at work on a small False Face; for a long time she watched
him unobserved, and when he was gone, she practiced carving on bits of
wood and bark until she felt that she was as good at it as any man. But
of this she never spoke nor did she show her work to any one, as she
had been taught that carving was not woman’s work.


The summers passed and Hanging-flower became a maiden. Her eyes were
large, black and deep, and her hair which she wore in two large
braids, fell heavily from her shoulders. As she passed along the
road, some boys looked intently at her while others turned their eyes
away and hurried their steps. But, one and all, she passed them by.
Hanging-flower had become a great dancer, and many a flattering comment
was heard among the older men and women as they watched her dance with
the others at the Strawberry and Raspberry Festivals.


At the next berrying season Hanging-flower joined a group of young men
and girls and together they went off to the woods. Old Ringing-voice,
the great story-teller, was with them.

Every night, when the day’s work was done and the boys and girls
returned to camp with their baskets heaped full of red, juicy
berries, they would all sit around the fire, while Quick-of-hand and
She-works-in-the-house, who were reputed for their skill in cooking,
prepared a delicious soup of corn meal, after which, berries in great
quantities were eaten. Then Ringing-voice would light his pipe and
leaning his back against a tree stump, the legs drawn up so that the
knees almost touched his chin, he would begin to talk, in slow and
measured phrases. It is here that Hanging-flower first learned of
the language of the animals and of the great warrior who had been so
kind to the beasts and birds of the woods and the fields, and who was
brought to life by their efforts after he had succumbed to the arrows
of the Sioux. She learned of the great medicine, ga’-nṑ-da, which
the animals made of parts of their own bodies and gave to the warrior
to be used as a cure for all sickness. She was thrilled as she listened
to the story of Pale-face, the pure youth, who started out alone and,
wandering through the woods, met the pygmies and learned from them the
Pygmy or Dark Dance, which, her mother had told her, she would herself
one day perform. And for many evenings in succession, the boys and
girls were spellbound as Ringing-voice recounted the great story of the
foundation of the League, of Deganawīda and Hayenhwáhtha, the great
chiefs, who organized the League and prescribed the Law and established
the Great Peace.

One night, as they were sitting around the fire, and Ringing-voice
was absorbed in his tale, Hanging-flower suddenly became aware
that some one was looking at her. She turned her head and saw
Straight-as-an-arrow, the tall, slim youth, who was staring at her with
large wondering eyes. She looked away, and not once during the long
evening did she turn her head again.

Evening after evening, while listening to the stories, Hanging-flower
felt his gaze fixed upon her. She never turned, she was afraid even to
move, but she knew that his eyes were fixed upon her.

One night, when the moon was not shining and all was quiet in the camp,
he came upon her like the wind. Seized with terror, Hanging-flower
wanted to scream. Her lips parted, but no sound came; her heart was
beating fast and she lay there in the wet grass, hot and trembling.

When next spring came a baby was born to Hanging-flower. It made no
sound when it came, for it was dead. On the evening of that day, two
forms, wrapped in blankets, slipped out of the bark house; one was
carrying a small bundle in her arms. Quietly as shadows they glided
along the road, until they reached the cemetery of the Bear clan. And
there the two women buried the little, nameless thing that had come
unasked for and unwelcome. No one had seen them, no one knew; and after
a while, Hanging-flower herself forgot what had happened.


Some time later Rising-sun paid a visit to her sister’s village. It so
happened that the Bean Feast was being held at that time. Rising-sun
went to the Long House with her sister and her people. There she saw
Fleet-of-foot, the great runner, and so charmed was she with his form,
graceful as that of a deer, that she could not take her eyes off him.
After the feast, Rising-sun spoke to Fleet-of-foot’s mother. She asked
Corn-planter to visit her at the home village.


In a little while, Corn-planter came to visit Rising-sun. With her
hostess she went to the fields where the corn was ripe and the women
were busy harvesting it. She saw the long rows of bent backs, and the
green and yellow cobs which would show for an instant over the left
shoulders of the women, presently to disappear into the large baskets
on their backs.

“That young girl in the third row,” exclaimed Corn-planter, “seems to
do work for two. Look how her hands fly through the corn!”

“It is Hanging-flower,” answered Rising-sun, “my daughter. And a good
wife she would make for Fleet-of-foot, the runner.”

“Let her cook a basket of corn bread,” said Corn-planter,
“Fleet-of-foot will be ready.”


That night Rising-sun told Hanging-flower that the time had come for
her to be married, and that Fleet-of-foot, the great runner, was ready
to accept her basket of corn bread. Saying not a word, Hanging-flower
got busy with the corn meal and before morning the basket of bread was
ready. Hanging-flower started on her way early, and by noon she had
reached Corn-planter’s village. The boys were running races when she
arrived. With wide open eyes she stood, as Fleet-of-foot rushed by
her, as if carried by the wind. Hanging-flower shut her eyes ... and
it seemed to her that she heard the rustling of the pines; she felt
herself lying in the wet grass, hot and trembling; and through the mist
she saw two shapes wrapped in blankets, bending over a nameless thing
which they buried in the ground....

When the races were over Hanging-flower saw Fleet-of-foot resting
on a stump of wood in front of his mother’s house. Then she stepped
forward and placed the basket of corn bread before him on the ground.
Fleet-of-foot rose and said nothing. He only looked at Hanging-flower
with a sharp, piercing look and, taking the basket, entered the
house. In a while Corn-planter appeared in the doorway. She invited
Hanging-flower to step inside, and Hanging-flower had her meal with
Corn-planter and her people. The sun was still high when she started on
her way back and before nightfall she reached her village.

When Hanging-flower fell asleep that night she saw some deer running
among the trees. One of the deer was larger and fleeter than the
others. Hanging-flower was trying to catch it. Again and again she felt
herself flying through the air, in pursuit, but just as she was about
to seize it, it eluded her.

In the morning of the following day Fleet-of-foot arrived before the
house where Hanging-flower lived with her people. As she saw him enter,
she rose to her feet. In his hand he held a necklace of blue and white
wampum beads. Presently he took them in both hands and placed them
about her neck. Then Hanging-flower knew that she had a husband.

The Long House in which Hanging-flower had lived with her mother
and several other families had been crowded for some time, and
Fleet-of-foot decided that they had to start a new home for themselves.
Many men and women, most of them relatives of Hanging-flower, helped
the young couple to build a small bark house, and before many moons had
passed the house was ready and Hanging-flower and Fleet-of-foot began
to live there.

As the summers passed, other couples came to live in the house, and
extensions were built to it, to accommodate the ever-growing numbers.
This continued for some time, until the house became a Long House, like
the others.


When the next berrying season came, a son was born to Hanging-flower;
and having consulted Spring-blossoms, her mother’s mother,
Hanging-flower gave him the name Glad-tidings. As Hanging-flower was
lying on her bed and her blood was hot in her, she heard the sound of
rattles outside and she saw her brother take his turtle rattle and join
the False Faces, who were passing through the village. Hanging-flower
knew that Glad-tidings was one day to become a chief, and that night
she carved a little False Face and hid it in her bag, for she had heard
the rattles and she knew that some day her son was to be a leader of
the False Faces. Hanging-flower was very beautiful, as she lay there on
her bed. Her large black eyes were even larger and deeper than usual;
she had looked into the future.


Many summers passed and Glad-tidings had become a strong and handsome
youth. He was very young, but the older men thought him wise and
cool-headed. The women were wild over him, but he had no eyes for them.
He would rather sit with the older men, always inquiring about ancient
things and eager to learn the laws and traditions of his people.

One day, while Hanging-flower was pounding corn back of her house, a
piercing sound was heard on the road, gwā-á! gwā-á! gwā-á!
Hanging-flower shuddered, for she knew that a chief was dead. Soon the
news came that Power-of-thunder, her brother, had been killed by a
stray arrow during an encounter with the Sioux.

Spring-blossoms and Rising-sun were dead and Hanging-flower was the
matron of her family now. When she heard the mournful news, she began
to think of Glad-tidings. He was young, but wise and strong, and there
was no other man in the family who might be made chief in his stead.

In a few days a Council of the family was called by Hanging-flower.
There were some men at the Council, but mostly women, and although
some other Bear people were there, most of those present belonged to
Hanging-flower’s family. When they were all assembled, Hanging-flower
began to speak and as she spoke, all were silent. She spoke of
Glad-tidings’ youth, but recalled the many indications of wisdom and
character which he had given, and before closing, she nominated her son
to be chief in place of Power-of-thunder, her brother.

For many days after this, Hanging-flower was busy calling on the other
chiefs of her tribe. First she called on those who belonged to the
brother clans and then on those who were of the cousin clans, and when
her nominee was ratified by all these chiefs, she brought his name
before the Great Council of the chiefs of the League, who also approved
of her choice.

And so it came that before the corn was gathered in that fall,
Glad-tidings was made chief in place of his mother’s brother.


Some summers passed and strange rumors began to reach Hanging-flower.
First came Full-moon, and in many words told the mother that
Glad-tidings was suspected of having made a dishonorable agreement
with the Sioux. He had promised, she averred, to exercise his
influence with the warriors of his people so that they would not
attack the Sioux while the latter were fighting the Algonquin. Then
Crossing-of-the-roads came, Fleet-of-foot’s brother, and he spoke in
grave tones about the dishonor that Glad-tidings’ act had brought upon
his people. Day after day, men and women came and spoke earnestly and
vehemently to Hanging-flower, and the tenor of the news they brought
was always the same.


Hanging-flower was pale and haggard now, and from day to day she was
losing weight. But one day she felt that she was mother no longer, but
the matron of her family. She called on Glad-tidings, the chief, and
standing before him, admonished him in ceremonial terms to desist from
his shameful ways, which were bringing dishonor upon his people. But
should he persist, such were her parting words, she would call on him
again, and then once more, accompanied by the Chief Warrior, and then
she would depose him and he would be chief no longer.

The days passed and the rumors persisted. Hanging-flower called on
Glad-tidings for the second time; and when she had spoken, he said
nothing. In a little while, she called on him for the third time,
accompanied by the Chief Warrior. As both of them stood facing
Glad-tidings, the Chief Warrior said: “I will now admonish you for the
last time, and if you continue to resist acceding to and obeying our
request, then your duties as chief of our family and clan will cease,
and I shall take the deer’s horns from off your head, and with a broad
strong-edged ax I shall cut the tree down.” Having spoken thus, the
Chief Warrior “took the deer’s horns off Glad-tidings’ head,” and
handed them to Hanging-flower, for from now on Glad-tidings was chief
no longer.

Hanging-flower then went to the Council house and informed the other
chiefs, in person, that Glad-tidings had been deposed. As she spoke,
her heart broke, for she knew that “the coals had gone out on the fire”
of her family, and the chieftainship was lost.

A few days after this, Full-moon called on Hanging-flower and informed
her in many words that Feathered-arrow, Full-moon’s son, was to be
chief in Glad-tidings’ place and that the chiefs of the League had
transferred the chieftainship to her family.

In the evening of that day Hanging-flower, wrapped in a blanket, went
outside of the village. For a long time she stood there, on the hill
above the cornfields. Her thoughts turned to the past and for a long
time she was lost in memories.... But of the future she did not care to

                                            ALEXANDER A. GOLDENWEISER

                  The Thunder Power of Rumbling-wings

The strange events of which I write, took place in the summer of 1840,
when I, then a man in the full vigor of my early forties, chanced to
be in charge of a museum expedition sent to explore an ancient Lenape
burial site situated on a hilltop in the northwestern part of the State
of New Jersey.

On the tenth day of June we encountered an unusually deep grave of
circular form, some six feet in diameter, in which, at a distance from
the surface of perhaps seven feet, we encountered a number of slabs of
stone piled up in the form of a cairn.

Removing these with care, we found beneath them a skeleton, which, when
carefully uncovered and brushed off, proved to be of a full-grown man,
lying on his right side, with his knees drawn up at right angles to
his body and his hands near his face. Beside his crumbling breastbone
lay a tiny mask of stone, bearing two little perforations which showed
the wear of a suspending cord, and near it a knife blade of purple
argillite and a small pipe of baked clay, bearing a very neat pattern,
drawn into its surface with a sharp point while the material was still
soft. At each side of the skull were the chalky remains of some shell
beads, rather larger and coarser than wampum, but similar in form;
while near the feet a little pile of neatly-made flint arrow points
told of the one-time presence of a sheaf or quiver of arrows.

What archæologist has not sat upon the brink of a newly uncovered,
ancient grave and wished that the fleshless jaws before him could speak
and tell their story? Or wished that he himself could be transported
backward in time for a brief space to learn something of the life of a
bygone day? So I sat and so I wished; and then we photographed our find
as it lay, and removed the specimens for safe keeping.

As the hour was late, we did not touch the bones, however, intending to
remove them upon the morrow, and so we left them for the night, still
surrounded by some of the stone slabs.

After dark I bethought myself that I had forgotten to bring in my
notebook, and recalled that I had left it on the pile of dirt beside
the grave, and so, guiding my steps by the flickering flashes of
lightning from an approaching thunder-shower, I made my way thither.
I remember that I had found the book and had just turned back toward
the camp, holding out my hand to feel the first splashes of rain, when
a blinding flash and a violent concussion sent me reeling, reeling,
down,—into darkness....

When I came to myself I could see nothing, but I knew it was raining
steadily; I could hear the drops patter on the leaves; I could feel
them on my body.

On my body? I must be naked! I felt my chest, it was bare and wet, my
arms likewise. What had become of my clothes? I felt at my waist; it
was belted, and in front hung something like a little apron, wet and
slimy. My legs? I felt, and found them encased in long stockings of
some sort, reaching nearly to the hips, and I could feel that some sort
of supporters ran from them to the belt. My feet seemed covered with
the same soft stockings which, like the apron, felt wet and slimy to
the touch.

As I bent over to feel of my feet, something brushed against my cheek,
something hard and cold, yet light and almost clinging. I put up my
hand and felt; it seemed to be a string or rather loop of little beads.

Then I followed up with my fingers and found that the loop, with a
number of other loops were, somehow or other, firmly attached to my ear
in several different places from the lobe upward. I felt around and
discovered there were so many of them that the top of the ear was bent
over by their weight, and the lobe was somewhat stretched. I felt of
each separate loop; each was firmly attached; and the other ear was in
similar shape. I shook my head and could feel the swinging weight of

Puzzled, I started to run my fingers through my hair—a favorite habit
of mine, and found that I had none! That is none to speak of—it was
very short indeed, almost as if shaven, except for a bristly crest like
a mule’s mane, which ran from front to back over the top of my head,
and ended in a little pigtail or queue in the back.

Something moving against my breast as I moved, I felt it and found a
little hard, cold, oval object slung from a string about my neck; near
it on another string hung a wet and slimy bag, and what felt like a
small knife in a sheath.

I was puzzled indeed—I could not make out what had happened to me. As I
sat thinking, I must have dropped off into a doze in spite of the rain,
for when I opened my eyes again it was daylight.

I looked about me; it was still raining and a brisk wind stirred the
tree tops; but I seemed to be in a strange, wild country for, although
to my left I could look off over a valley, my eye met no houses, roads,
or clearings, just a waste of tossing tree tops, in fact no sign of man
except a distant blur of smoke, rising apparently from among the trees.
I looked behind me; there stood a great tree, its wood showing white,
its bark practically stripped off, while broken branches littered the
ground. It had been struck by lightning.

I looked at my hands; they were lean, and tawny in color instead of fat
and freckled as I knew them; I looked at my legs; they were encased in
soiled and worn buckskin leggings; upon my feet were moccasins puckered
to a single seam down the front, near which were traces of colored
patterns now nearly worn away—and still I did not understand.

I pulled the queue around and looked at it; the hair was black and
neatly braided, whereas my own, in those days, was red; I pulled around
the beads attached to my ears; they were white and apparently made of
shell, but were too close to my eyes to see plainly.

Then I investigated the things hung about my neck, and noted, with a
start, that the oval, hard object was the little stone mask we had
found in the grave. I pulled the knife from its sheath; it was of
stone—argillite—not purple from age, but black, fresh-looking, sharp.
And when I looked in the bag, I found what I had come to expect, the
little, decorated pipe of clay, and with it some damp, shriveled leaves
which must have been some sort of tobacco.

I could not avoid the conclusion; I was somehow transported back into
prehistoric times, and had assumed the body and belongings of the
Indian whose skeleton we had unearthed.

If this were true, I must have some weapons, I thought, and soon I
found them—a five-foot, straight bow, lying beneath the broken branches
that had fallen from the lightning-blasted tree, and a buckskin quiver.
I pulled out the arrows; their points were of flint. I noticed that
the sinew filaments that fastened them to the shafts were loosening
from the dampness, and I found myself instinctively twirling each one
between my fingers until the sinew was tight again. The carcass of a
deer lay also among the fallen branches, evidently a victim of the bow.

I noticed that I was feeling hungry so I slung my quiver, picked up my
bow, and then, after a moment’s hesitation, shouldered the deer and
started down the hill toward the smoke.

After a while I found a trail leading in the right direction; this
I followed until I reached the brink of a bluff from which I could
plainly see the roofs of a number of bark houses above which rose the
naked limbs of dead trees, making a strong contrast to the living,
green forest all about them.

As I looked, I heard voices of people ascending the hill. I slipped
into the bushes with my burden, out of sight but where I could peer
out. The voices belonged to a number of men, apparently setting forth
upon the hunt, armed with bows like mine. I noticed most of them wore
leggings and moccasins of more or less the same shape as my own; that
their hair with a few exceptions was cut like mine, and that they
wore in their ears either strings of beads like mine, or tufts of
downy feathers. And I noticed with surprise that I could understand,
perfectly, their language.

From all this I judged that they must belong to the same tribe as
myself and that it must be safe to proceed, so, after they had passed,
I stepped from my hiding-place and went on down the hill and into the

The first thing to strike my eye was a big, rectangular, barn-like
wigwam which stood near the middle of a large open square or plaza, the
roof made of sheets of bark held in place with poles, and pinned at the
ridge with two smoke holes. The sides were of logs; the door, which
occupied the middle of the end facing me, was closed with some sort of

About the plaza stood fifteen or twenty smaller houses of similar form,
but from a half to a quarter the size; these had but one smoke hole in
the roof; and the sides, like the roofs, were of bark.

Some of these roofs were extended forward to form a sort of porch in
front of the wigwam; in other cases a separate little shed stood in
front, provided with a bark roof of its own, but open on all sides.
From these sheds and porches rose a haze of blue smoke wafting a savory

Beside me, at the edge of the plaza, stood one of the dead trees, the
bark of which had been girdled round; and I could see blackened stumps
where others had stood; while many such dead trees rose stark and naked
from the garden patches about the village. I found out later that, in
clearing land for village or garden, the custom was to chop the bark
around the trees so that they died, to let them stand until thoroughly
dry, then to fell them with the aid of fire and, splitting them up with
wedges, use them for wood as needed.

Seeing some women standing beneath a shed from which came a hollow,
thumping sound I made my way thither. Suddenly one of the group darted
out from under the shed and came running toward me with a glad cry.
“Oh Flying-wolf! So you have come back safe to me after all!” she
exclaimed, grasping me affectionately by the arm and leading me toward
one of the wigwams. “So the Mengwe did not get you after all! I am so

Thinking that this must be the wife of the man whose body I had taken,
and that I must say something, I remarked, “Yes, I have really come.”

“Ah!” she said with concern, looking up into my face, “how hungry you
must be! I cooked your favorite stew against your return last night,
but you did not appear, and the boy and I never touched it; I can warm
it for you in just a little while. Hang the deer on the tree in the
old place and go to your bed and rest until I have it ready; you must
be tired. Or wait,” she added, “I will spread a fresh mat I finished

She passed into the wigwam and I followed, to find myself in a
dwelling, the most noticeable feature of which was a pair of wide
platforms or benches, one along the wall on each side, raised some two
or three feet above the floor and covered with mats. Back of these
benches or bunks, the wall was lined with colored mats; and the space
beneath them was filled with assorted bags, baskets and bundles, while
from the roof hung other bags and bundles, and a string or two of corn,
the ears braided together by the husk. Behind the poles supporting the
roof, was thrust a half-finished bow; near it hung a bundle of sprouts
intended, probably, for arrows.

The woman spread a fresh mat on one of the platforms. “Lie here,” she
said, “I will build the fire inside here instead of out in the shed;
our house feels damp after the rain.”

I watched her as she went out, and saw her taking down some large
object from a shelf in the shed, and by the time I had stretched myself
on the mat she returned with a large, egg-shaped, earthen pot, and
set its pointed end between three stones placed for the purpose in the
fireplace in the center of the wigwam, and began to stir the ashes with
a long stick. Finally she uncovered some live coals, left from the
night before, and gathering them in a heap with her stick, she placed
some fibrous stuff, which looked like shredded cedar bark, upon them
and began to blow into it. Soon she had a lively blaze, which she fed
with small sticks until it was well started.

Pulling the fire about the base of the pot, she soon had it bubbling,
and, before long, set before me a wooden bowl of steaming, savory stew
of meat, corn and beans. Beside the first bowl she placed another,
containing flat dumplings, which proved to be made of crushed, hulled
corn flavored with berries, rather heavy but delicious.

On the edge of the stew bowl hung a short, wide, wooden spoon. As I
ate, she sat on the edge of the bench just opposite me and chatted
happily of this and that, rarely pausing for an answer—for which I was

Between mouthfuls, I looked her over. She was a comely young woman
of twenty-five or thirty, ever showing her even, white teeth in a
smile, her kindly face as yet but little weather-beaten. Her black
hair was neatly parted in the middle and brought back and fastened at
the nape of her neck with a sort of long, cylindrical knot which was
wrapped in beads; several short loops of beads hung from the rims of
her ears where there were evidently, as in my own case, a number of
small perforations, while each lobe showed a hole perhaps a quarter
of an inch in diameter. About her neck were many strings of beads of
different sorts; some looked to be of dried berries or seeds; others of
bone, while some were certainly of shell, and one string looked like

The upper part of her plump body was naked but for these beads; from
her waist hung a skirt of buckskin reaching below the knees, neatly
fringed and bearing a wide, embroidered border with an intricate design
in colors; it was evidently a flat, robe-like piece wrapped about her
waist, belted taut, and the top edge folded down over the belt. Her
legs were covered by leggings, her little feet in moccasins, both
leggings and moccasins being of deerskin and embroidered with what I
afterwards found to be dyed deer hair and porcupine quills. Both wrists
were wound with strings of beads.

As I ate, she talked on: “Your mother was over yesterday from the
Pulling-corn village. She says she is making you a fine robe of four
soft, dressed deerskins, and is decorating the back with a large
picture of your Guardian Spirit, the mask being done in the little
shells she bought from those southern tribesmen who came up the river
in that big canoe—you remember. She gave them in exchange her whole
stock of healing herbs, and had to work like a beaver to dig another
lot of the little roots before winter set in.

“She says she is going to sew each little shell on separately—you know
each has a little hole rubbed into it—so that even if one breaks loose
the others will not come off. Talking of trading, when are you going
to get me that pair of Cherokee shell ear-pins you promised me? That
old Shawnee woman in Possum-ground village has some and there is not
another pair in Lenape land. See, I have stretched the holes in my ears
on purpose for them.

“And speaking of making things, when are you going to finish that big,
wooden bowl for me? You brought the maple burl home long ago, yet you
only have it partly burned out, and there it lies beneath the sleeping
birch, and right by it is a whole basket full of little slabs and
pieces of sandstone for grinding it smooth.

“I know you have no flint scrapers, but don’t you remember you buried
a lot of half-finished arrow points and little blocks of flint to keep
them fresh, just outside one corner of the shed? They ought to be moist
enough to work easily and you could make all the scrapers you want in a
little while.

“The reason I need it now is because our son took the big old feast
bowl out to play canoe with, the other day when I was not looking. It
was all right until three or four other little boys tried to stand in
it, too, all at the same time, then it split and is ruined. It made me
feel sad because that was the bowl that grandfather made for mother
when she and father built their first wigwam. I shall have to borrow
another bowl for to-night.”

During all this I had said as little as possible, for I did not want to
show my ignorance of all these things. I could not bear to spoil her
happiness and let her discover that I was not really her husband. Now,
however, I ventured to inquire, “What is going to happen to-night?”

“I forgot to tell you,” she replied, “last night when you were away,
our war chief came to see you with a number of the elders from here,
and other villages. They are going to get up a big war party to punish
the Mengwe who, you know, are getting too bold. You remember how one
of their scalping parties killed my poor brother last year when they
caught him alone out hunting; and how they killed your friend Breaker
but a few moons ago. Last night when you did not come home I feared
they had got you.

“The war chief says you know more about those trails to the north than
any other Lenape—that is of our Unami tribe—and they want you to lead
the party. Everybody said they had full confidence in your judgment and
your bravery.

“I hate to have you go because it is so dangerous, and our son and I
need our hunter yet a while, yet,” she smiled sadly, “I am proud of
my warrior too; the tribe needs you, and the ghost of my poor brother
cries for vengeance.

“I told them to come again to-night and so they will be here I suppose.
They spoke of bringing our tribal head chief, too. I was looking for
women to help me cook for them, among that party pounding corn in that
arbor, when you came into the village.”

As she finished, I realized that the crisis had come; I could keep my
secret no longer. I had not enough knowledge of tribal affairs to talk
with the delegation, let alone lead a war party. I must tell her the
truth, or at least that part of it I felt she could understand.

So I said to her. “Listen, my mate. You have been so glad to see me
come home that I have hated to spoil your joy. But something happened
to me last night—I know not what—and when I awoke this morning I found
I had forgotten everything I ever knew. I did not even recognize my own
clothing and body; I did not know myself to be Flying-wolf until you
named me. I found my way to this village by accident, and know you to
be my wife only by your actions; and at this minute I do not remember
your name. Of our life I remember only the language; as for leading a
war party, making a wooden bowl, or even hunting meat for you, all are
equally impossible. I could no more do these things than a blind puppy,
not because I do not want to do them, but because I have forgotten how.”

She slid off the bench and coming straight across the wigwam grasped me
by the shoulders with her two hands and looked full into my eyes. “Is
this true, Flying-wolf?” she asked.

“Yes,” I choked.

She stepped to the door and looked out for a while in silence; when she
turned to me again her cheeks were wet. “Perhaps,” she said, “if you
should see your son whom you always loved so, your memory would come

She went out. Shortly she returned with a bright-looking little lad
about eight years old, his long, black hair hanging loose, his lithe
body naked except for a little string about his neck where hung some
little bones which my experienced eye recognized as those of a turtle.

“Father,” he cried, “why did you send mother after me? I was having
such a good time down at the creek with the boys—we were playing
Thunder-Beings hunting for horned water-serpents.”

I laid my hand on his head and said, “All right, son, then run right
back there and play.” I met his mother’s questioning eyes, and shook my

After sitting in a miserable silence a while, she asked: “Where did you
awake this morning?”

“On that hill over yonder,” I replied, pointing, “under a tree. I would
know the place again because the wood of that tree shows naked and
white, half the bark has been torn off by lightning. It must have been
struck lately because the broken limbs lying about it are still green.”

“Now I know what the matter is,” she cried, springing to her feet. “You
have been struck by one of the Thunder’s arrows. And I know who can
help you.” She darted out.

She returned with a fine-looking elderly man whose long, iron-gray hair
hung loose upon his shoulders, except for one little braid at the back,
to which were tied several fine, large, eagle feathers, white with
black tips. From the outer corner of each eye a blue line, apparently
tattooed, ran zigzag down across his cheeks to his chin; on his naked
breast was tattooed a rude but striking figure of a bird with wings
spread, surrounded by many other zigzag lines. Here hung suspended from
a string that passed around his neck, a tiny model of a war club, its
ball-like head painted red.

“This is Rumbling-wings,” said my wife. “If any one can help you, he
can.” And so I told him my story as I had told it to her.

He pondered for a while, then turned to my wife. “Run down to the
spring, Whispering-leaves,” he said, “and get us some fresh water.”
When she had disappeared with the bark bucket, he said, “I think I
understand what the matter is. Flying-wolf, whose body you occupy, must
have been killed or stunned by the Thunder arrow, and your spirit,
which must have been floating near, took possession of his body. Where
you come from I know not, but you must have been thinking of us and
our time, when your spirit was driven from its body by another Thunder
arrow. Whispering-leaves must not know this—that her real husband may
be dead.

“What can you do? You can either make up your mind to live out your
life among us and learn to be what she expects of her husband, or you
can go to that same hilltop with me some day, and I will call back
the Thunders to set you free again. Then maybe, if your own body has
not been destroyed, you may return to it, and, perhaps, Flying-wolf’s
spirit, if it has not already gone to the Land of Ghosts, will come
back to this body. It is all a chance. To-night when the elders and
chiefs come, lie in your bed here as if sick in body and say nothing; I
will explain to them. As to what you want to do, think about it as long
as you wish and when you decide, let me know. In the meantime learn all
you can and take care of your mate and the boy.”

Just then Whispering-leaves (I was glad to learn her name!) came in
with the water, and the old man dipped a gourdful for me, then drank
himself. “Thanks, daughter,” he said to her, “your husband has been
struck by lightning and his memory is very sick. Be good to him, and
little by little it will come back. But do not expect too much of
him at first. If you run short of food let my wife know. And you,
Flying-wolf,” said he, “whenever you want to learn something come to my
house. I am alone every night.” He went out.

I looked at Whispering-leaves and she at me; hope shone in her face,
she smiled. The more I looked at her, the better I liked her.

The first night I visited Rumbling-wings, his wife, after spreading a
mat for me, withdrew, murmuring something about visiting a neighbor for
the evening. I had learned by this time the Lenape amenities, and so
I did not start boldly off with my questions, but chatted quietly of
this and that for a while, finally winding up with, “Why did my wife go
to you when she heard I had been struck by a Thunder arrow? Why do you
think you can call the Thunders to set my spirit free?”

“You are asking a hard question, my friend,” said Rumbling-wings after
a moment’s cogitation, “and one which a Lenape does not like to
discuss with another. But I realize that you have been cut off from the
years of early training that most of our boys go through, and the only
way I can make you understand is to tell you outright, and I feel that
my Guardian Spirit will forgive me.

“In the first place, you know what the Thunder-Beings are—powerful
spirits, helpers of the Great Spirit—in form at the same time man-like
and bird-like. They bring the rain to water our crops and refresh the
earth. You have often heard the rumbling of their wings in the storm,
and have seen their arrows of flame shoot toward the earth as they hunt
the great horned serpents and other man-destroying monsters which form
their daily food. And it was one of those very arrows which, as you
know, started you in life as a Lenape.

“Well, I suppose I must tell you, one of these Thunder-Beings is my
Guardian Spirit and that is why people say that I am in league with the
Thunder, and have Thunder power, and why they call on me in cases like

“The Thunders must have picked me out for their favor even before I
was born, as you will realize when you hear how I come by my name of

“It appears that my mother confided to her brother, my uncle, that
she was expecting me, and according to our custom she asked him to
take particular notice of any dream he might have, in hopes of finding
out the child’s name. Not long after, he was overtaken at night,
far from his village; it was black and stormy and he took refuge
beneath an overhanging rock. He found a spot fairly dry, but rough
and uncomfortable, and he fell into a troubled sleep. Sometime in
the night he was awakened by something, he knew not what, and found
himself sitting up, listening. He heard a distant rumbling of thunder
among the mountains which seemed at last to take the form of words:
‘Rumbling-wings is coming, Rumbling-wings is coming.’ ... All this he
told my mother, and I was born shortly after.

“When the time came for our great autumn ceremony in the Big House—that
large wigwam in the square you passed, coming here to-night, is one
of them—my uncle took me in his arms and, standing before the centre
post with its great, carved face of ‘Mising’ looking down upon me,
he announced to the people that my name was Rumbling-wings. Even
as he spoke there was a crash of thunder, late as it was in the
moon-of-falling-leaves, and a wind sighed through the trees about the
Big House, and they heard drops of rain patter upon the bark roof or
fall hissing through the smoke holes into the two great fires below.

“Perhaps Whispering-leaves has told you how our people believe that
after the birth of a child, its navel string has much to do with its
disposition; so, if a girl, they take that string and bury it under
the house or in the garden to make her fond of home duties; or, if a
boy, they hide it out in the woods so he will like the hunt. Well, my
father, so he told me, took mine to the wood, and hid it in a hollow
tree. He had hardly done this when a thunder-shower came up and drove
him to shelter; coming back on his way home he found the tree, where he
had hidden my navel string, burning. It had been struck by a Thunder

“As a boy I knew nothing of the Thunder power except that when the
great, black clouds fringed with yellow, began to pile up in the west,
and others, young and old, looked upon them with dread, I alone of
the village felt no fear. In fact I used to go out naked into every
storm; the crash of thunder was as music to me, the bright flashes were
beautiful, the pelting rain refreshed me. And, in truth, I do this yet,
always stretching out my arms to my Guardian to thank him for having
helped me thus far along the trail.

“But I did not know who my Guardian Spirit actually was until I had
seen some twelve or fourteen snows. About this time my parents began to
act strangely and to speak crossly to me. I did not understand why I
deserved such a change in their feelings, and many a time I felt alone
in the world. They even gave me the poorest part of the meat they had
to eat, and scraps and leavings of corn bread, and stew that had begun
to smell sour.

“One morning I was awakened before dawn by some one punching me in the
ribs with a stick—well I remember how it hurt—and I heard my father
say, ‘We must drive this wretched boy away from here, I can not stand
him any longer. Get up from there, dog-like!’ and he punched me again.
My mother who had always until lately taken my part in any dispute,
took no notice, but bent over the fireplace, and soon a little fire
began to flicker and finally filled our wigwam with light. She went
to the water jar just inside the door, and I saw her dip into it our
oldest, blackest, greasiest gourd cup. Then she turned to me and
her face, usually so kind, seemed hard as flint. ‘Drink, boy,’ she
ordered, handing me that cup, and I wonderingly obeyed.

“Then my father spoke, handing me a burnt and shriveled shred of meat
no larger than his little finger—a piece full of dirt and grit where it
had fallen to the floor. ‘Eat this, miserable brat,’ he cried, ‘and get
away out of my sight.’

“A sudden anger overcame me and I flung the morsel full in his face
and darted for the door. ‘Wait,’ I heard him say, ‘aren’t you going to
blacken your face? And besides I was going to tell you the rest of it,
that you must not come back until you bring with you something great,
but you started out too quick!’ Did I see a fleeting smile on his stern
face? Surely his eyes were twinkling!

“Then it dawned upon me what the matter was; I was expected to fast
for power, and all this seeming abuse was nothing but a sham to make
Those-above-us take pity on me as an outcast, suffering child, and
grant me a vision from which I would gain a Guardian Spirit that would
be my protector through life. Often had I heard older boys speaking
of such things, but I had never realized that I, Rumbling-wings, was
expected to go through the ordeal.

“Then said my father, ‘It seems to me I have heard that some boys who
were driven away from home, had to go up on Wolf mountain to the east
end where there is a little cave that was nice to lie in while they
prayed, because they could look out over the tops of the trees to the
river and the hills beyond. Besides,’ he added, ‘I expect to go hunting
up that way early to-morrow morning and I shall look into that cave to
see if any one is hidden away there.’

“Then indeed I understood, and so under his direction, with my mother
looking on, I rubbed my face with charcoal and, throwing about my
shoulders the oldest and raggedest robe I could find—the one the dog
had been using for a bed beneath the sleeping bench—I set out.

“All day I lay hungry in that little cave while mosquitoes and
deer-flies from the woods, and fleas from the dog’s robe bit me
unmercifully. Yet I looked out over the valley as calmly as I could,
praying to Those-above-us to take pity on me; yet nothing happened,
except that when the day was nearly spent, a cloud came up behind me
over Wolf mountain and overspread the sky, then went away grumbling
without letting fall a drop of rain. That night, still hungry, I slept
a troubled sleep and next morning, before sun up, in came my father
with a little scrap of meat and a small gourd of water. As I drew out
the cob stopper and drank, he asked me, ‘Have you found anything yet?’
When I replied ‘No,’ he took the bottle and departed.

“The same things happened on the two following days, and I got weaker
and weaker from hunger, yet saw nothing but the black cloud every

“But on the afternoon of the fourth day when the cloud came again it
brought rain, and heavy thunder, and this, strange as it may seem,
lulled me to sleep. And in my sleep I dreamed that I stood naked and
alone on the bare sand hills by the Great-water-where-daylight-appears,
with nothing but a wooden war club, with its round head painted red, in
my hand. And as I stood arrows came flying through the air from every
direction and whispering past my head, struck quivering into the ground
about me. But not one touched me, and my heart was unafraid.

“At this point I was awakened by an unusually loud crash of thunder
and I opened my eyes to see the shower moving off across the valley,
carrying with it a bow of beautiful colors and followed by the rays of
a lowering sun.

“Somehow I felt satisfied then that I should go home; it was useless to
linger longer in the cave. And so I started, staggering from weakness
among the wet bushes on the mountain side.

“Weak as I was I nearly lost my footing, crossing the swollen creek,
but at last I reached our village. The people looked curiously at me as
I entered and made my way toward our wigwam.

“My father was sitting in front, scraping the charcoal from the inside
of a wooden bowl he had been burning out; some one called to him, or
perhaps he heard my step, and he looked up.

“‘Have you brought it with you, son?’ he asked. On my reply that I had
a dream he seemed very well satisfied and called to my mother who was
looking out of our door. ‘Wife, sweep and fix a place for our son to
sit—he is bringing it with him!’ Mother bustled about then and swept,
and smiling, spread a fresh mat for me; I was surprised at her air of
deference. Down I sat, and after the sun had gone beneath the edge of
the world, she brought me a great bowl of stew, steaming and delicious,
and a new, clean gourd of fresh water.

“That evening they really treated me as a guest. Father even filled a
pipe for me, and then, when my mother’s deep breathing from her place
on the sleeping bench told us that she slumbered, he asked me outright,
‘What animal spirit or other Manitou has offered himself to be your
helper?’ ‘I do not know,’ I answered, and then I told him my dream,
fearing in my heart that he would think it meant nothing.

“‘Son’, he said when I had finished, ‘you have done better than I dared
to hope, you have indeed gained a powerful friend among Those-above-us,
no less a personage than one of the Thunders!’ And when I asked him how
he knew, he replied, ‘The wooden war club with a round head painted red
is the emblem of the Thunder-Beings, and represents the fearful blows
they strike. The fact that, while you held this club in your hand, the
arrows did not wound you, means that your Guardian Spirit, the Thunder,
will protect you. Don’t you understand?’

“All that night in my dreams I was struggling and fighting, with whom I
know not, but through it all I heard myself singing,

    In my trouble
    In my trouble
    I call upon my Helper
    And his answer
    Out of a dark sky
    It comes rumbling,
    It comes rumbling!

“And this ever since has been my war song, and the song I sing at our
great autumn ceremony in the Big House, where all who have been so
blessed sing of their visions.”...

“So that,” I said, as Rumbling-wings finished, “is why you wear that
little, red, war club hanging about your neck! Now tell me why I carry
a little stone face in the same way. I have tried to take it off
several times, but Whispering-leaves will not let me.”

“That,” replied the old man, “represents Misinghalikun, the living
Mask-Being, and a powerful Manitou he is, for the Great Spirit has
given him control of all the wild animals of the forest. He is the
Guardian Spirit of Flying-wolf, whose body you occupy, but I cannot
tell you the story of his vision. No one could tell you that story but
Flying-wolf himself. And where is he? You occupy his body, but I doubt
if Misinghalikun will help you as he did him. I believe Flying-wolf
won his great fame as a hunter through the power of this Guardian
Spirit, and without that, you may have a hard time to live up to his
reputation.” And, I must say, so I found it.

Another evening I asked Rumbling-wings if his Guardian Spirit ever
helped him in later years.

“Many times, and I will tell you some instances. When I had seen about
twenty snows, I went with some of our kinsfolk to visit the Minsi, our
allies living above us on Lenape River and in the mountains to the
north and east of us here. You may have heard that, although their
language is quite a little different from our Unami tongue, they too
call themselves Lenape and their customs are almost the same as ours.
From there we went with some of these people eastward across the
mountains to see the Great River of the Mahicans of which we had often
heard. Arriving at the river, we wished to cross to visit a Mahican
village just opposite, but, although we made a signal smoke, no one
dared put out from the village with a canoe to get us because there
was a high north wind and the wide river was very rough. So I burned
tobacco and prayed to my helper, the Thunder, and soon thunder-clouds
arose in the west, and a west wind sprung up which killed the north
wind and left the river smooth; and then the Mahican canoes came for
us. We spent many pleasant days in their village, feasting and dancing,
and visiting from one wigwam to another. Their language is very much
like the Minsi, and enough like ours so that we could understand almost

“Another time a war party of us Lenape set forth against the
Susquehannocks, a tribe like the Mengwe. They lived on Muddy River in
a big village circled about with a great stockade of sharpened logs,
twice as high as a man, set on end almost touching one another. Time
and time again we attacked them, but could not break through this
stockade, nor could we pile fire against it to destroy it, so well did
their bowmen defend it.

“At last we withdrew a little way to counsel and our war chiefs said to
me, ‘We must depend on you, Rumbling-wings, to help us overthrow this
people who have harassed us so long. Call on your Guardian Spirit; help
us to take this village!’

“And so, as there were no thunder-clouds in sight, I drew from my
medicine bag a few scales of the Great Horned Serpent and laid them
on a rock beside a little creek. You know how the Thunders hate these
great snakes, and always begin to gather, the instant one of them shows
any part of himself above the water. Well even these scales seem to
attract them; I always use these scales to call the Thunders when I
need them.

“Immediately the sky began to darken in the west—so I built a little
fire, threw an offering of tobacco upon it, and prayed to my Guardian.

“Blacker and blacker grew the sky, nearly as dark as night. We could
hardly see the yellow scud flying overhead beneath the mass of cloud.
The air near the earth seemed hot, choking. All at once a few great
drops of rain splattered down, and then we heard the roar of a mighty
rain approaching across the forest. Soon it was pouring down about us
like a water-fall.

“How long this downpour lasted I know not, but it stopped as suddenly
as it began, and a few large hailstones fell, so large that we could
hear them rattle on the bark roofs of the village. Then came a deeper
roar out of the southwest, louder and louder, nearer and nearer.
Suddenly a great thing rushed past us in a cloud of flying leaves and
broken branches, and struck the village with a crash, full in the
middle, and in a moment was gone. As it passed on we saw it; it looked
like a great, twisting strand of long hair hanging from the clouds and
dragging along the earth, sweeping before it the trees and the wigwams.

“The instant it passed, we saw that the log stockade was down and most
of the houses of the village, but just then came another blinding flood
of rain which held us back, and when we finally reached our goal we
found a number of the Susquehannocks lying dead amid the ruins of their
houses; and of those who were left alive and able to run, all were in
flight somewhere in that rain-swept forest.

“As to the wounded, we dispatched those too badly hurt to take with
us, and seized the rest as captives, and then, with all the weapons,
pipes, beautiful clothing and ornaments we could carry, we made our way
homeward. Thus the Thunder, my Guardian Spirit, helped me, and helped
me to raise my name to what it is to-day.

“What finally became of the captives, do you ask? A few we killed
by torture, in revenge for what their people had done to us; some
died; some we let go free after a year or two; others finally
intermarried with our people and cast their lot with us. You
know Traveling-everywhere’s wife? She was one of those captives,
given as a servant to his parents. She was but a young girl, and
Traveling-everywhere, himself but little older, took pleasure in
teaching her to speak our Lenape language. They got to liking each
other so well that they finally built a wigwam of their own. Now you
could hardly tell her from one of us.”

I found it much easier to assimilate these beliefs and stories than to
learn the every-day, practical side of Lenape life, at which I proved a
tragic failure. Although I studied the methods of experienced hunters
I never could master the knack of effective shooting with the bow and
arrow. And I tried my best. Seldom could I bring down a deer. The
neighbors grew tired of providing meat for me and my family.

Whispering-leaves did her part to perfection; everything she made or
produced was of the very best, which made me feel my shortcomings all
the more. And she would not let me touch the garden—the only thing I
knew anything about. “Garden work is not manly,” she would say. “I will
not endure hearing the neighbors talk about my mate doing woman’s work.
How would you feel if you saw me going out of the village with a long
bow on my shoulder? Or burning out a log for a canoe? Would you not
feel shame to see your mate do an unwomanly thing? In our life, the
man and woman must do each his or her part and neither is harder than
the other. Surely to hunt all day and every day, good weather and bad,
is fully as hard as wielding the hoe! How would you like to hear the
neighbors say, ‘Whispering-leaves ought to give Flying-wolf the skirt,
and she put on his long leggings and breechclout?’”

I was even a failure at finishing her wooden bowl, although I had
watched a number of men making such things and thought I had learned
their method. I heaped hot coals on that maple burl, blew them until
they burned deep, and scraped out the charcoal with shells and bits of
flint again and again, until I thought I had it hollowed deep enough.
Then I ground it patiently with bits of gritty sandstone. When I had
finished, I thought I had accomplished a very good piece of work for a
beginner. But Whispering-leaves, although she smiled and said sweet
words when I laid it finished before her, and pretended to think it
perfect, tucked it away after a few days, and when we had visitors and
a big bowl was needed, she borrowed another bowl from the neighbors.

What hurt me worst was seeing her treasured finery disappear bit by
bit, doubtless traded for meat and for skins to make our moccasins and
every-day garments. First it was the seed beads, then those of bone,
then one string of shell beads after another until only the copper
beads were left. Finally they too were missing when I came home one
night. One day I had occasion to search beneath the sleeping benches
for something and had to pull out the square basket in which she kept
her treasures, her prettiest embroidered, festival attire. The basket
felt so light that I looked into it—and found it empty.

Often the boy came in crying and said that his little companions would
not let him play with them because, they said, his father was “no good.”

And one night Rumbling-wings told me that he had seen the spirit of
Flying-wolf in a dream the night before, and that he said he was living
in a strange land and wanted to come back to his home.

But the crisis came when I returned one night, tired out from
my fifteenth successive fruitless day’s hunting, and found my
Whispering-leaves crying bitterly. Although I begged her to tell me
what the trouble was she refused, but at last she broke down. “My dear
mate,” she sobbed, “there is nothing to eat in this house, and there is
no hope for anything, unless I sell that robe your mother made for you.
All my pretty things are gone long ago, and all yours except that.”

I caught her to me and held her tight in my arms for a moment, then
dashed out into the night straight to Rumbling-wings’ wigwam. “I am
ready,” I said....

When I came to myself I was lying beneath the lightning-riven tree.

It did not take me long to find my place again in the modern world; but
always to this day, when the clouds pile up and the thunder begins to
mutter in the west, I think sadly of my lost Whispering-leaves and of
my friend Rumbling-wings and his Thunder power.

                                                     M. R. HARRINGTON

                           Tokulki of Tulsa

Tokulki was born in the Muskogee town of Tulsa, in the central part
of what is now Alabama. Like all other Indian babies of that region
he first saw the light in a brush shelter some distance back from his
mother’s home; for were he to be born in the latter it was thought
misfortune might fall upon all its occupants. His name belonged to
the Wind clan of Tulsa, and means two persons running. When the first
bearer of the name was born, his father was absent on a war expedition
during which he frightened two of his enemies who were on scout duty,
so thoroughly that they ran off in haste, leaving their weapons in his
hands. It was in commemoration of this event that the new-born babe
received his name.

Tokulki’s mother was waited upon during her period of seclusion by her
own mother and another old woman of the clan, reputed most skillful in
midwifery. Although it was late in the autumn this old woman took the
infant immediately to the bank of the river and plunged him into it,
after which he was strapped securely into a cradle, made of canes, by
means of bark cords about the shoulders and thighs. Here Tokulki spent
the next few months of his life, sometimes carried on his mother’s
back, sometimes propped up against the wall of the house while his
mother was engaged in her household duties. But whenever he was so
placed, the cradle was allowed to rest upon a panther skin, for his
father and his uncles had all been famous warriors and it was expected
that he would follow in their footsteps. Therefore he must have that
about him which would communicate a warlike essence and make him fierce
and bold.

Tokulki passed through the period when his principal experience of life
was that there was something in it that gave him food and warmth, which
was “mother,” and when there was something light in which dark objects
moved, or something dark in which light objects moved. There was one
particular light object that he gazed upon continually, and which
resolved itself into the house door, and another, red and hot, which
he saw when he awoke at night and which resolved itself into the house

The home into which he gradually came to consciousness was the winter
house of his family. The framework was of hickory poles, set in a
circle of perhaps twenty-five feet in diameter, with their slender ends
gathered together at the top and supported by a central element of
four wooden columns. Interwoven with this were thin, flexible pieces
of wood plastered thickly with mud mixed with dry grass, and the whole
covered inside and out with mats. The floor was excavated a couple of
feet below the general level of the ground, and a shallow trench dug
about it a little farther back, so that water would be carried off
without entering. The doorway which had so early attracted Tokulki’s
attention was to the east where the first rays of the sun could steal
into it, but it was seldom that it found any one but very young babies
to awaken, for the duties of the day were assumed early and ended soon,
except in times of merry-making or the great ceremonials. There was no
vent for the escape of smoke which sometimes accumulated to an extent
which would render the inside unendurable to a white man; but this was
partly provided against by the judicious selection of wood,—old sticks
of oak and hickory which would fall apart with little smoke, and leave
a glowing bed of coals to radiate heat during much of the night. Around
the walls of the house was a continuous seat made of matting, raised a
foot and a half to two feet from the floor and covered with bearskins
upon which most of the household slept.

The household consisted of Tokulki’s father and mother, a brother
and sister, his mother’s mother, a married sister of his mother, her
husband and two children, a younger brother of his mother, and an
old man of the Wind clan, not closely connected with the family but
making this his temporary home. More important in Tokulki’s life than
most of these, was an old man, living a short distance away, but a
frequent visitor in the cabin, a man whom we should call “maternal
uncle” in English; yet he was “uncle” not only to Tokulki and Tokulki’s
brother and sister and the children of his mother’s sister, but to a
large number of other boys and girls—boys and girls whom we should
not consider related in the least. Tokulki, however, as he grew
older, learned to call them “elder brothers,” “younger brothers,” and
“sisters,” and he learned that most of these were called “Wind people,”
like himself, but that some were called “Skunk people,” and some “Fish

While still on his mother’s back, Tokulki was taken down to the river
every morning, and his mother dashed water over him and over herself
even when the weather was bitterly cold. One of his earliest memories
was of this cold douche after his warm night’s rest. All of the
inhabitants of the village except a few of the sick and decrepit, took
this morning bath, the men and boys plunging in, the women and children
contenting themselves in cold weather with a little splashing.

And it was the “uncle” of each band who saw to it that none evaded
this regulation. He was always present, encouraging the smaller boys,
scolding the timorous, and sometimes correcting the unruly by means
of a stout stick. As he did so he poured good advice into their ears,
and Tokulki soon learned that his “uncle” was the man to whom he must
appeal in time of trouble, whose approbation he must win, and whose
displeasure he must be careful to shun. Often, on winter evenings the
uncle would gather his “nephews” and “nieces” together and instruct
them, and he would tell them in particular of the deeds of their
ancestors, sometimes assisting his memory by means of little strings of
beads, or by referring to notches cut in sticks.

But when the old people were talking with one another, Tokulki’s mother
would by no means allow him to go near them, and sometimes, when his
curiosity had gotten the better of him, she would box his ears soundly.
In after life Tokulki learned that this was not because such behavior
was considered disrespectful of the old people or annoying to them,
but because old people have uncanny powers and may bewitch a child who
hangs about them too closely. There was not much temptation to do this
except in winter, for during the rest of the year the elders would be
working or talking apart by themselves, or the old men would be in the

This “square” loomed larger in Tokulki’s life the older he grew. It
was only a short distance from his home. He was not allowed to play
there, but he could walk all around the edge, marked by a ridge of
earth which had been piled up by successive scrapings of its surface
in preparation for the ceremonials. Near its western end were four
long, narrow buildings plastered with mud and outlining a hollow square
with entrances at the corners. They were open in front, and each was
divided into three equal sections by transverse walls, which did not,
however, reach to the roof. The middle section of the western cabin
was slightly different, in that the back part was separated by another
wall parallel to the walls of the building, and, closely shut up in
the room thus formed, Tokulki knew that the ceremonial pots, rattles,
drums, the dried medicines, and all of the most sacred possessions
of the tribes were kept. In front the town chief or miko and his
principal councilors had their seats. On the northwestern edge of the
grounds loomed the tshokofa, the indoors council house, constructed
precisely like a winter house except that it was very much larger.
To the eastward extended a wide, open space kept bare of grass by
intermittent hoeing and the pressure of many feet. In the middle of it
rose a ball post, and at the farther corners stood two shorter posts
where captives taken in war were burned. Almost every morning Tokulki
could watch the leading men of his town assemble in this square, and
between the buildings catch glimpses of the medicine-bearers carrying
asi (an infusion of ilex vomitoria) in conch shells to regale the
councilors. All that they had in their stomachs they forthwith ejected,
that they and their minds might both be clear for the matters about to
be discussed.

Frequently Tokulki accompanied his mother when she went in quest of
firewood, or he would sit on the edge of the garden patch while his
mother, his grandmother, and the other women of the household were at
work, and sometimes he was given the temporarily congenial task of
driving off crows. This garden was planted principally with pumpkins
and beans, but most of the corn was in the great town garden farther
off from the village, and thither all of the people marched in the
spring, headed by their miko, with hoes made of hickory limbs over
their shoulders, to prepare the ground for planting. Each household had
its own patch separated from the rest by a narrow strip of grass, but
the work was in common: first so-and-so’s strip, next some-one-else’s
until all was completed. After that it was largely the duty of the
women and children to keep weeds down and drive away birds, and
there were little watch-houses on the edges of the fields for the
accommodation of the guardians. The days when all worked were as much
holidays as days of labor. The participants began early but worked
only until shortly after noon. Then they partook of their principal
meal in common, and after that there was usually a ball game followed
by a dance around a big fire in the square, the light of which was
reinforced by cane torches.

The ball game was usually played about a single post, though not the
one in the square-ground, and it was indulged in by both men and women,
who played against each other, the women throwing the ball with their
hands, the men with their ball sticks. Single tallies were made by
striking the pole above a certain mark, but five points were counted if
the carved bird which surmounted it was touched. Sometimes, however,
the men played their own game, a game similar to lacrosse except that
two small ball sticks took the place of the one large one. Each side
strove to bring the ball home to its own goal, marked by two straight
poles set up a couple of feet apart, and twenty points constituted a
game, ten sticks being stuck into the ground by the scorer of each side
and then drawn out again. In dividing up, the Wind, Bear, Bird, Beaver,
and some other clans, called collectively “Whites,” played against the
Raccoon, Fox, Potato, Alligator, Deer, and certain others who were
known as “People-of-a-different-speech.” But these games were only
practice games, or make believe games. The regular games were always
between certain towns, and they were very serious matters conducted
with the deliberation and ritualism of a war expedition. Each game was
preceded by careful negotiations: the players fasted and were scratched
with gar teeth, they enlisted the aid of the supernatural by employing
a medicine man, they marched to the appointed place as if to meet an
enemy, wagered quantities of property on the result, and conducted it
so energetically that serious injuries were sometimes inflicted.

In winter Tokulki’s mother and the other women busied themselves making
baskets and mats, twisting bison hair into garters for the leggings,
and weaving cloaks—worn only by women—out of the inner bark of the
mulberry. In the summer they made pottery and dressed skins, and the
preparation of food kept them busy, of course, at all seasons. They
must prepare their own flour by pounding the corn in a wooden mortar,
at which they sometimes worked two and two. Sometimes they would relax
their labors long enough to play a sort of dice game in which sections
of cane took the place of our bits of bone. The men spent most of
their winters seemingly to less advantage, much of it in smoking and
recounting to one another tales of their hunting or war excursions,
humorous sketches frequently revolving about the Rabbit, and sometimes
myths of a more serious and sacred character. However, they devoted
many hours in the aggregate to the repair of their hunting and fishing
outfits, and to the manufacture of axes, arrow points, and other
articles of utility, material for which had been laid aside during the
preceding fall.

When Tokulki was able to run about freely by himself, his uncle made
him a blowgun out of a long, hollow cane which he provided also with
cane arrows with their butt ends wrapped in thistledown. He sent him
out to try his skill upon the birds and smaller game animals, and more
than once Tokulki came home proudly with birds, squirrels, and even
an occasional rabbit. A little later they made him a bow and arrows,
with which he attacked rabbits, and wild turkeys, and upon one happy
occasion, he succeeded in creeping near enough to a young deer to
dispatch it. He came home in triumph to his mother, telling her where
the animal was to be found, and listened to the praises of his entire
household, particularly those of his uncle, with flushing cheeks.

Upon this Tokulki’s father and uncle began to instruct him in the arts
of woodcraft. They took the head of a deer and placed splints inside
of it so as to restore it as nearly as might be to its original shape,
and showed him how to use it in stalking the living animal. They taught
him how to make traps for the smaller animals, and where game was to
be found. They also taught him that a piece of flesh must be cut out
of every deer that was killed, and thrown away so that the deer might
not be offended and leave the country. They taught him that he must not
cast bones of game animals far off, when they fed them to their dogs,
lest the animals afterward become shy. He was told that a sprig of old
man’s tobacco must be put under every fire made by the hunting party
so that malevolent spirits would not follow them. Still later he was
to learn about certain medicines and formulæ to insure success in the

As soon as spring came, hunting of a somewhat desultory character
began, but the families did not move far from town until after the
annual ceremonies were over and the corn had been harvested, unless
driven to it by famine, or drawn to certain points on the rivers by
runs of fish. During this time Tokulki accompanied a hunting party to
the bear preserve, a section of forest not far from Tulsa where bears
were numerous and which was the common property of all the citizens.
When the party approached a tree in which a bear had been located,
Tokulki stood at one side to watch the method of procedure. He saw
that one man climbed into a tree not far from that containing the
animal they sought, and was given blazing slivers of pitch pine which
he threw successively into the tree den. When its occupant was driven
out, he was quickly dispatched by the hunters disposed below. The meat
was distributed throughout the town for immediate consumption, but the
fat was tried out and poured into bags made of whole deerskins which
were then packed away for the winter season. Meanwhile, the women were
hunting through the forests for roots, particularly groundnuts and the
roots of a smilax which they called kunti. They also collected the
seeds of a pond lily; a little later a profusion of berries enables
them to vary their diet.

In April the miko called his leading men together and shortly
afterwards was held the first ceremony of the season accompanied by
fasting and the drinking of the red willow and button-snake root. At
the time of the corresponding full moons in May and June, similar
ceremonies took place, but these were merely in preparation for the
great Fast (poskita), the culmination of the Southeastern religious
season. And so it was that about the middle of July a messenger
appeared at Tokulki’s home, and delivered to the house chief a little
bundle of sticks tied with deer sinew. Before handing it over, he drew
one stick from the bundle and threw it away. Every morning thereafter
the house chief did the same until but one stick remained and on
that day the ceremony began. Similar bundles were carried to every
household of Tulsa Indians far or near, all of whom synchronized their
movements in such a way as to converge on the square-ground at the time
appointed. Failure to come in then was both impiety and treason, and
it was severely punished by the warrior class known as tastanagalgi,
who would handle the absentee severely, and destroy or confiscate his

The poskita was the type of all the ceremonials of the tribes of
the Southeast. The active participants were those men who had been
on war expeditions and had received new names in consequence, names
usually ending hadjo, fiksiko, imala, tastanagi, or yahola, and
containing often the names of the clan animals, the towns of the
Creek confederacy, or even foreign tribes. Generally speaking, the
miko and the members of his clan sat in the west cabin, the “second
men,” or henehalgi, who were devoted to peace, in the south cabin,
the higher classes of warriors on the north, and the common warriors
on the east. Each cabin or “bed” contained from two to four “honored
men,” retired warriors who constituted the inner council in charge of
the ceremony. This poskita was distinctly a peace ceremony when old
enmities were forgotten, all but the most heinous crimes pardoned, and
new resolutions made for the ensuing year.

At least one day was devoted to feasting, but after that a rigid
fast was observed by all the active participants. Then those who had
performed brave actions received new names and new war honors, while
novitiates were shut up in the tshokofa and a strict fast was imposed
upon them preparatory to their admission into the class of warriors
and induction into adult life. During this ceremony, too, all of the
fires, which were supposed to have become corrupt from contamination
with worldly things during the year, were extinguished, and a new fire
was lighted by the “Medicine Maker,” the high priest of the town, in
the most impressive manner by means of the common fire drill. This new
fire was first used to replace the fires in the square-ground and the
tshokofa, and afterwards it was taken to one side of the square where
the women stood ready to receive it and carry it to their several
homes. The rituals extended over eight days, and on the last, just at
sunset, the men marched in single file to the river, led by one of the
Fish clan bearing a feather wand, and all plunged into its waters. They
returned in the same order, the miko made a short farewell address, and
the ceremony was over.

From this time until the harvest had been gathered in, Tokulki’s
people, and most of the others, did not stray far from town. In October
was a sacred ceremony called the “Polecat dance,” and afterward the
people began to scatter rapidly for their fall hunting. Some proceeded
to their camps overland, the women serving as beasts of burden; but the
greater number, including Tokulki’s family, had their hunting lodges
near the rivers and reached them by means of canoes made of single
trees, fire-felled and fire-excavated. Some parties went as many as
seventy-five or a hundred miles from home, especially when they desired
to hunt the woodland bison. This season was devoted especially to the
preparation of quantities of dried venison against the coming of winter.

When game was plentiful, a series of merry-makings were indulged in.
This usually began with the presentation of a ball, made of buckskin,
to one of the men by his sister-in-law, who at the same time intimated
that she desired venison, bear meat, or occasionally squirrels. Upon
receiving this challenge, the man communicated the intelligence to
all of the other men in camp and they set out on a grand deer, bear,
or squirrel hunt as the case might be. Meantime the women busied
themselves pounding corn, or perhaps kunti roots, into flour and
preparing various sorts of dishes. When the men returned they also
took the meat in hand and a great feast followed, with a ball game of
the single pole type, and a dance to close the day. They would light
a great fire and two men would station themselves near it, one with a
drum made by stretching a deerskin over an earthen pot or cypress knee,
the other with a gourd rattle, while the dancers went around the fire,
usually sinistrally, in single file or two-and-two, under the charge of
one or two leaders. The dances were usually named after animals, real
or imaginary, and the steps and other motions were supposed to be in
imitation of them. The men did most of the singing.

After a few days there would be another presentation of a ball and the
same feasting, ball playing, and dancing would follow, and this was
frequently kept up until the weather was very cold.

Sometimes sickness came upon a member of Tokulki’s camp, and then
Tokulki’s mother’s younger brother, who was doctor of the band, and at
the same time Medicine Maker of the town, would be called in. Before
prescribing, such a doctor often consulted the kila, or “knower,” who
seems to have combined the functions of prophet and diagnostician, but
Tokulki’s uncle never did this because he united the two functions in
himself. Having determined the nature of the disease, he would go in
quest of various herbs, or sometimes send members of the household
after them. These he put into a great pot, poured water over them, and
placed the pot over the fire. After the contents were sufficiently
heated, he gave it potency by breathing into it through a hollow cane,
while repeating a magical formula. This was done four times, the doctor
meantime facing east. Sometimes, however, he prescribed sweat bathing
in a lodge made of blankets thrown over poles, and containing heated
rocks on which water was poured, and sometimes he declared the trouble
was caused by witchcraft which he proceeded to cure by sucking the
witching object out of the affected part by means of a bison horn.

If, in spite of all his efforts, death supervened, all of the people in
that house and in the neighboring settlements began shouting and making
loud noises so that the soul of the deceased would not stay about the
dwelling but start upon its journey to the country of spirits. They
removed the body to the house in town, wrapped in dressed deerskins
and, after wailing over it, buried it in an oblong trench about four
feet deep, excavated beneath the floor, lined with cypress bark, and
covered with sticks upon which a thick layer of mud was plastered. The
face of the deceased was painted red, he was seated facing the east,
his most important implements, such as his bow and arrows, his war
club, his paints, his pipe and tobacco pouch, were buried with him,
and for four days the women of his family bewailed his death with loud
howlings. The faces of all the mourners were painted black. The hair of
a widow was unbound for four years, she discarded all ornaments, and
was compelled to absent herself from all merry-makings. At the fourth
poskita she was formally released by her husband’s sister and either
provided with a new husband from the same clan,—or clan connection,—or
set free to marry whomever she chose. For a widower the period of
mourning was only four months.

The medical practices of his uncle possessed a fascination for Tokulki
who was present whenever he was tolerated. He had seen similar
performances in the square-ground at the time of the annual ceremonies,
and his mind, which had a mystical bent, eagerly fed upon them.

At intervals during all this time Tokulki had seen bands of warriors,
including sometimes his father and uncles, march out against their
enemies, and in particular there was an enemy to the westward, not
large in numbers but led by a chief of rare size, strength, and
sagacity, whose activities were constantly more threatening, and who
was aided and abetted by a much more numerous people beyond him called
Long Hairs. At last, raids from this quarter became so numerous and
so many injuries were suffered that a great council was held in Tulsa
and it was determined to draw their settlements closer together and
erect a strong stockade about them. Tokulki, although still too young
for the heavier work, was called upon to render such assistance as he
could in the completion of the structure. While the older men marked
out the course of the wall and planted in the ground good-sized tree
trunks a few feet apart, Tokulki and the other young men brought
together numbers of long, flexible branches or young trees which they
wove from one post to another, covering the whole with a plastering of
mud. About a hundred feet apart little watchtowers were raised above
the top of the wall, projecting forward slightly in order to defend the
intervening spaces against attempts of an enemy to scale or burn them.
On the river side there was but one row of palisades, but elsewhere
it was doubled. Toward the river, too, was the only opening, made by
allowing the walls slightly to overlap. To approach this an enemy must
creep along a narrow path between wall and water, exposed to certain
death should he be discovered.

About two years after this fort was completed, Tokulki went upon
his first war expedition. The “uncle” of his group was to be one of
the party, and took this occasion to initiate his nephew into the
cardinal tribal institution, man-killing, the one great avenue for the
attainment of personal glory and social standing. The leader of the
party was to be none other than the tastanagi lako, the head warrior
of the town, and therefore when he sent out to drum up volunteers
there was a great outpouring of the ambitious youth of the nation.
For four days they remained shut up in the tshokofa, fasting, taking
war medicine, dancing, and singing war songs to lash themselves up to
the proper degree of martial fury. Each was provided with a war club,
a bow, and a quiver of arrows, a shield of cane or bison-hide, and a
sack containing fire sticks, paints, and a slender ration of parched
corn meal. The ceremonies completed, they set out quietly in single
file very early in the morning. With them they carried a sacred box
made of splints which was usually borne on the back of the chief’s
assistant, and at every camp was placed upon a log, or hung upon a tree
or post. Among other things it contained some of the painted bones of
an enormous panther which the ancestors of this people had slain on
their way from the far western country, and a part of one of the horns
of an aquatic horned serpent. On occasion it was believed that this box
gave forth oracular utterances, informing the party in what direction
to proceed, or warning them of an attack.

On this occasion the spirit guardian appears to have been favorable,
for they surprised four outlying camps of their enemies, took a dozen
scalps, and carried off fifteen women and children as captives besides
two grown men whom they subjected to the death penalty by fire. During
this action Tokulki had the good fortune to save the life of the war
chief’s servant by engaging an enemy, about to strike him from behind.
Therefore, after the triumphant return, he received the much coveted
feather headdress, his first war name, and a seat in the eastern cabin
of the square.

He had stepped upon the first rung of the social ladder and could
attend all but the most secret and important meetings to decide the
actions of the nation. It was not long before he received another name
and left the cabin of the tasikaias for that of the imalas at the
east end of the north cabin. Later deeds entitled him to the rank of
tastanagi, the highest war grade, but being by birth a member of the
white Wind clan he was assigned instead to a seat of honor in the peace
cabin on the other side.

In spite of his prowess, however, Tokulki took less pleasure in warfare
than most of his companions. He had, as we have noted, a mystical
type of mind. The great ceremonies had a powerful influence over him,
and the practices of his uncle, the Medicine Maker, proved a constant
fascination. Blessed with a retentive memory, he rapidly picked up a
fund of tribal lore which presently attracted the attention of the
old men,—the custodians of the sacred legends and the keepers of the
rituals. They talked earnestly about him with the Medicine Maker, as of
one to whom his people might look for spiritual leadership in future
days, and at his uncle’s suggestion he and three other of the most
promising youths of the Wind connection agreed to undertake the young
men’s poskita, “the first degree in medicine” if we may so term it.

Calling these youths into his house the Medicine Maker talked to them
earnestly and then made an appointment to meet them at a remote spot
in the forest, on the bank of a small stream away from the frequented
trails. At the time and place agreed upon, he presented himself
before them and directed them to make a sweat lodge by the bank of the
rivulet. Then he began his instructions, going over as much of his
more elementary knowledge as he thought they could grasp at one time,
and, when he returned to his house, telling them to memorize all he
had said carefully, until the fourth day, after when he would visit
them once more. He repeated his visits and instructions at similar
intervals for the better part of a month when he was satisfied with
their progress and told them to go back to their homes. “Now,” he said,
“you understand how to heal wounds made by arrows and are entitled to
wear buzzard feathers in your hair.”

This degree was taken by Tokulki shortly after his first war
expedition, but for some time other events interposed to prevent the
continuation of his initiation. In the first place his family had
decided that it was time for him to take a wife and assume a position
in the tribe as the responsible head of a household of his own. He fell
in with this arrangement as part of the natural order of things, and
consequently his mother, accompanied by two or three of her clanswomen,
visited the “uncle” of the Raccoon clan to which the chosen girl
belonged. The recipient of the visit was not unaware of the offer about
to be made and had called to his house some of the other leading men
of his clan, the mother of the girl, and, as a matter of courtesy, her
father. A few days thereafter the Raccoon people returned the visit
and formally announced that the suit was accepted. The wedding might
have been consummated then and there, by conducting the groom to his
betrothed’s house and holding a feast and dance, but Tokulki and his
parents were ambitious to have him reach a high position in the tribe
as soon as possible, and accordingly they delayed the ceremony until
he could erect a house, garner a crop of corn, and lay by a supply of

Word was sent to all of the male members of the Wind clan residing in
that town to go into the forest and bring together a supply of poles,
bark, bark rope, and other articles sufficient for the proposed house.
The planting season was beginning, and when the town field was laid
out, an extra plot was sowed for the new household. When this was ready
to harvest, a corncrib raised on posts was put up near the site of the
projected dwelling, and filled from Tokulki’s new plot. The harvest
being over, and the days cool enough for comfortable work out-of-doors,
the men of the Wind clan came together again and appointed a day upon
which the new house was to be raised. This work was carried out much
like an old New England husking bee. It was placed under the direction
of the one considered most skilled in such matters who assigned the
various processes to all the rest. They worked with such a good will
that it was practically complete by the middle of the afternoon.
Afterward a common meal was served followed by a game of ball and the
usual dance after dark. Sofkee, prepared like our “hulled corn,” stood
ready in pots at the service of any of those present.

A little later Tokulki went hunting and brought back dried venison to
add to his winter’s stores. It was only then that he and his bride were
brought to their new home, where a final feast was partaken of by all
together, speeches exchanged by the leading men of the Wind and Raccoon
clans, and the new couple left in possession.

During this period Tokulki was too busily occupied to think of his
earlier ambitions, but after his first child was born and the routine
of his new life had become well established, they began to recur to
him. He communicated his thoughts to the three young men with whom he
had been associated before, and he found that they too were prepared
to continue in their course. They approached the Medicine Maker again,
and again submitted to the fasts, the sweat baths, and the repeated
instructions, more rigorous now than before. This time they learned
among other things the treatment proper for snake bite, and how, as
they believed, to detect objects clearly on the darkest nights.

Tokulki was still unsatisfied. Every fresh revelation awakened new
ambitions. His companions, however, were content with what they had
acquired and with the prestige they had attained, and were wearied with
the long and exhausting fasts. Therefore when Tokulki presented himself
as a candidate for the third degree he went entirely alone. In fact, so
rigorous was the ordeal to which he was at this time subjected, that
he debated within himself whether he should not stop there. As it was,
he had penetrated farther into the mysteries than all except ten or a
dozen men in the fifty allied Muskogee towns.

He allowed two years to slip away before making up his mind to
undertake the fourth and crowning ordeal. Finally, however, he set
himself to the task, and he came triumphantly through, though the
periods of fasting were doubled, and the memorizing more severe than
any which he had before experienced. He returned to his house a mere
shadow of a man, with hollow cheeks, sunken eyes, and almost fleshless
bones, but with a position and influence in the Nation shared by none
except the Medicine Makers of a few of the leading towns.

With the Medicine Maker of Tulsa, his instructor and uncle, Tokulki now
came to be on the most friendly terms. It was natural that a man of
such advanced mentality as Tokulki and such steadfastness of purpose
should excite interest in his superior. It became evident that when
the Medicine Maker died or gave up his spiritual headship his position
would fall to Tokulki. Many were the talks which the two men had
together, talks in which the older man unfolded whatever knowledge his
long life of physical activity and spiritual contemplation had given
him. Some was not new to Tokulki, some had been suggested to him by the
other learned men, but much was novel and strange.

The world envisaged by the Tulsa sage was about like this: The middle
earth which mankind knows, is flat and square and lies afloat upon
“the wide white waters.” There is a world above it and a world below
it, and these are inhabited by beings like ourselves. Below are
those left behind when the races now on earth found their way to its
surface; above, those who had lived on earth but, having undergone
the experience called death, had traveled westward, crossed a narrow
point in the ocean stream, upon a foot log, and either remained with
the malevolent spirits in that quarter or ascended to the fortunate
region directly overhead, presided over by Hisakita-imisi, “the breath
holder.” The white streak in the sky which we call “the milky way”
was said to be the very road which they traversed. Unavenged souls of
those who had been killed in wars, however, were unwilling to begin
their journey until scalps from the offending tribe were brought in,
and meanwhile they remained about the eaves of the houses, moaning.
Some said that bad spirits were reincarnated into beasts, but about
this men differed. However, they were agreed that human beings might
acquire such malevolent power as to become witches and assume the forms
of animals while still living on earth. Their evil dispositions were
attributed to lizards who had taken up their abode inside of the witch,
but might be expelled by the proper medical rites.

The stars were thought to be attached to the under surface of the
solid vault above, along which the sun and moon traveled each day. An
eclipse of the sun was usually attributed to a great toad who might be
frightened off by hostile demonstrations on the part of human beings.
To an eclipse of the moon people paid little attention. The moon was
inhabited by a man and a dog. The rainbow was a big, celestial snake
which had power over rain.

The world and all that it contained were the products of mind and bore
everywhere the marks of mind. Matter was not something which had given
birth to mind, but something which had formerly been mind, something
from which mind had withdrawn, was quiescent, and out of which it might
again be roused. This mind was visibly manifested in the so-called
“living things,” as plants, and, still more, animals. Nevertheless,
latent within inorganic substance no less than in plants and animals,
was mind in its highest form, i. e., human mind. This might come to the
surface at any time but it did so particularly to the fasting warrior,
the “knower,” and the doctor. Indeed, the importance of these two last
lay in their ability to penetrate to the human life within the mineral,
plant, and animal life of nature, and bring back from that experience
knowledge of value in ordering the lives of their fellow beings.
Not that mind was attributed to one individuality, but that it was
recognized as everywhere of the same nature.

Its manifestations were not in all cases equally powerful. Its
manifestation in the panther, bear, and bison was more powerful than
its manifestation in the raccoon, the rabbit, and the squirrel. Some
“inorganic” powers,—as, for instance, the wind, the rivers, and the
sea,—were, however, even more powerful. Peculiarly powerful were the
thunder and the lightning, which were produced by two sets of animals.
The dangerous kind, the kind that “struck,” was made by huge birds
from whose eyes flashed fire, and this they flashed down at the other
fire-producing creatures, enormous, horned serpents, who in turn shot
the blue, harmless lightning upward. Bones of these earth serpents
were sometimes found after a rainstorm. Besides there were long
serpents who lived in the waters and who, rearing their huge lengths
straight upward at intervals, would allow themselves to fall over with
a gigantic splash. There were the sharp-breasted snakes, suggested
to native imagination by the tracks of lightning, snakes supposed
to run straight along the surface of the ground, cutting through
roots and bushes as they went. There were bodiless snakes which rose
whirling into the air on still mornings. There were creatures like
bison which went by fours, each resting for a minute in the tracks of
its predecessor. There were very little people who sometimes deprived
travelers of their senses, and very big people who ate them.

Besides the embodied power in nature there was power not altogether
differentiated from it, which was unembodied, or indistinctly conceived
as embodied. This power could be invoked by the use of charms and the
repetition of certain formulæ. “By a word” wonderful things could be
accomplished; “by a word” the entire world could be compressed into
such a small space that the medicine man who was master of the word
could encircle it in four steps. It was power of this kind which was
imparted to medicines, yet the source of this power was after all
the anthropomorphic powers, which, at the very beginning of things,
declared what the diseases were to be and also appointed the remedies
to be employed in curing them. But when the doctor had prepared these
remedies and placed them in a pot in front of him, they were not
efficacious until he had repeated the prescribed formulæ, or prayers,
four times, while breathing into the medicine through a hollow cane.
In this way the spirit that made the medicine powerful passed into it
through the breath of life in the doctor.

From this conception it came about that the supreme being of the
Creeks, a kind of sky god, was known as Hisakita-imisi, “the breath
holder.” While he did not necessarily interfere actively in the
relations between the lesser powers and mankind, his primacy was
recognized, and they were spoken of as his servants; he was their miko.

What took place for the individual in time of sickness happened for the
entire tribe annually at the time of the poskita. It had been given
to men by Hisakita-imisi for their health and for the annual renewal
of the life of the tribe, as well as the individual lives of those
composing it. The square-ground fire was but a detached fragment of
the sun, the sky fire, and both of these meant life, for both were
necessary to the lives of men. The renewal of the fire was the renewal
of life, an act by means of which, the connection between human lives
and the life of the universe was restored, and the corruption, which
had accumulated about the fire obtained the previous year, gotten rid
of. Similarly the participants were cleansed internally by means of
the poskita medicines, one of which was to make good the defects of
the system and heal its diseases, the other to insure the enjoyment
of positive benefits. Hence it was that a little of each was carried
home by every household and hung up by the door, some of it being used
occasionally in medicines until the next annual ceremony.

As to the origin of things, the Muskogee had obscure traditions. They
believed that the solid land had come from the expansion of a bit of
earth brought from the edges of the world or from the bottom of the
ocean. They also told of a flood, but their story of human origins
did not concern any tribes except their own and a few believed to be
related closely to theirs. They thought that after their ascent from
the world beneath at the point in the far west called “the navel of the
world,” they had traveled toward the southeast for a long time, led
by their Medicine Maker, who, in turn, was guided by a staff, stuck
upright in the ground every night and found inclining in the direction
to be taken every morning. In the meantime, four “light beings” from
the corners of the world had brought the knowledge of the poskita to
them and had lighted their first poskita fire. During this period,
ties of friendship sprang up between the several Muskogee tribes, and
some that were not Muskogee. Two of the leading tribes, the Kasihta
and Coweta, formed an agreement by which they were to play ball with
each other at intervals, but were never to fight and as other towns
or tribes became allied with these, they also became allied in the
ball games until there came to be two classes of towns with about
twenty-five on a side. Those headed by Kasihta were dedicated to peace
and those headed by Coweta to war....

One day—it was toward the end of summer—Tokulki and the Medicine Maker
strayed some distance eastward of the town and sat down upon the side
of a hill, where the older man reviewed the more important particulars
of his teaching more impressively than ever before. After a time he
paused, and then he said: “I have told you all that I know; this is
what the Medicine Maker who was before me, and all of the knowers and
the doctors have told me. It must be so. I believe it. Yet perhaps
it is not all the truth. I think we are not to understand some of the
things that they tell just as they sound; they have another meaning.
Sometimes we can see what this other meaning is; sometimes we can not.
Perhaps, too, like the poskita fire, it has become fouled by much
contact with common things, by much repeating. Perhaps Hisakita-imisi
did not tell our grandfathers all that he had in mind to tell. But
much of it is good, and it is for the good of our people. So use what
seems to you good! And the rest you need not use. And if Hisakita-imisi
seems to tell you something that is better, if you think it is better
for your people, use it! It is what he must have intended from the
beginning. I tell you this because I feel that your times will not be
like my times. The plant dies. In the spring the plant comes up again.
It is the same plant, and yet it is not the same plant. It is like, but
it is unlike.

“Have you not heard of the people who come across the wide, white
water in canoes with wings? Even now I hear that a great number of
them are marching through our country and that they are coming in this
direction. Maybe the old things are to pass away.” He stopped, and just
then out of the east came a low noise, a noise strange to that country
until then, but one which a white man of the time would have recognized
as the discharge of a harquebus. It was a harquebus in the army of De

                                                      JOHN R. SWANTON

                     Slender-maiden of the Apache

Slender-maiden was to have her dance in twelve days. The acorns were
now ripening along Ash Creek; the stags, their horns fully grown,
were taking on fat; thunder-showers were now falling, and the year
was at its best. During the preceding spring, Slender-maiden’s mother
had noted her daughter’s approach to womanhood. The winter before,
Slender-maiden’s father had gone to the mountains beyond Black
River and hunted for half a month. The best of the deerskins had
been carefully tanned and put away. On Cibicu Creek, a day to the
west, lived a man noted for the fine buckskin suits he could make.
Slender-maiden’s father took four of these dressed deerskins and two
of his best horses to this skilled man. The horses were given him for
his work on the skins. Slender-maiden’s father was told to come for the
garments about the time corn showed its tassels.

Slender-maiden’s mother and Slender-maiden herself were Wormwood clan.
Many women of this clan lived in the neighborhood and they gladly
agreed to help gather food for the feast. Slender-maiden’s father
was of the Adobe clan. His brothers promised to join him before the
dance, in a hunt which should provide venison for the feast. There was,
fortunately, a large number of horses belonging to the family with
which those who sang the songs and directed the ceremony might be paid.

Slender-maiden’s father rode up the creek to the marsh where he cut
a supply of reeds. Of these he made tubes, which he filled with
tobacco and tied at right angles, making crosses. These were sent by
Slender-maiden’s cousin, a young man but recently with a beard to
pluck, to the medicine man living on Eastfork who knew the songs of
Naiyenezgani, used for the dance of adolescent girls. When the young
man arrived at the home of the singer he placed the cross on his toe.
As the old man reached for the token he asked the young man from whence
he came.

“I am Wormwood clan and I come from the valley of dancehouse.
Slender-maiden’s father, my uncle, asks that on the twelfth day you
sing for his daughter under the cotton-woods on Ash Creek. He sends you
this deerskin, these beads of turquoise, of jet, of white stone, and of
red coral. Besides he gives you a horse, and a saddle from Old Mexico.”

“Sit, my grandchild,” said the singer to the young man. The old man
then filled his pipe and passed his buckskin bag of tobacco to the
young man. “Call my brothers,” he said to his wife before they began
smoking. When they had gathered and the pipes were burning, the singer
told the young man’s errand and that their aid was required in the
ceremony. Food was now brought and the young man was served.

A similar invitation was sent to a medicine man on Turkey Creek who
knew the dance of the Gans.

A few days later the women of Slender-maiden’s clan and those living
in her camp loaded their burros and horses with the food for the feast
and the necessary utensils. The sun was well up when they were ready to
start, and by sundown the party camped when they reached a stream where
oaks grew in profusion, about two-thirds of the way to Ash Creek. By
noon the next day, camp was made under the cotton-woods in the valley
of the creek.

The day before the dance was to be held a sweat lodge was built near
the stream. In this dome-shaped lodge, parties of six and eight men
went repeatedly for baths. The songs of Naiyenezgani were sung and the
men were purified by the steam and heat. At midday, food was served to
all those who had gathered in the vicinity.

Just before the sun rose the next morning, four blankets were spread,
one above the other, and a cane, bent at the top, was stood up just
east of this bed. Near the cane was placed a basket of shelled corn.

The singer from Eastfork with his chorus of young men formed a line
just back of the western end of the bed. Slender-maiden now appeared
and took her place in front of the singers, facing the rising sun. As
the songs were sung in proper order Slender-maiden danced, swaying her
body from side to side. When the proper song was reached, she knelt and
moved from side to side on alternate knees with her face always toward
the rising sun. Soon she lay prone on the bed and was molded to a form
of beauty by her matronly attendant. Finally she was prayed for by all
the assembled spectators who passed in line behind her and put pollen
on the crown of her head. When the sun was about half-way to the middle
of the sky she ran the appointed race and the morning ceremony was

Every one was soon served with meat and soup.

That evening at about sunset a man without clothes, except a
breechcloth, his body painted white with black stripes, appeared at
the dance-ground and by signs inquired if a dance were in progress.
On being told that was the case he ran away to a secluded spot. Soon
peculiar noises were heard and the sound of rattles. Four men came
in single file followed by a painted clown. The four wore moccasins
and kilts below the waist but were painted black above with symbolic
designs in white. Their faces were covered and on the tops of their
heads were fan-shaped forms of wood covered with painted designs. After
making a circuit of the dance-ground, these masked men danced for some
time and then withdrew.

After nightfall a great fire was kindled and the masked men returned.
Slender-maiden, bearing her cane, danced near the fire. With her were
other maidens who occasionally invited young men to dance with them.
While the masked men were dancing, the singer from Turkey Creek led the
songs of the Gans, immortals who join with men in the celebration of
attaining adolescence. The time of the songs was marked by the singers
beating on a stretched skin.

    When the earth was made,
    When the sky was made,
    Where the head of the black earth lies,
    Where the head of the black sky lies,
    Where the heads of them meet,
    Black Thunder, Black Gan, facing each other with life stepped out.
    Black Gan with his dance spoke four times.

About midnight the singer from Eastfork and his assistants took their
places within a house consisting of four poles only. A fire was kindled
here, back of which, facing the east, stood Slender-maiden accompanied
by a girl of her own age, and two youths. At intervals until dawn the
songs of Naiyenezgani were sung while the young people danced.

    From her house of white cloud
    Living white shell, her chief,
    It echoes with me.
    Long and fortunate life, her chief,
    It echoes with me.

After breakfast more songs were sung and then the masked men appeared
and assisted, first in painting Slender-maiden with white earth
and later in marking with symbols the cheeks and hands of all the
spectators. The ceremony was now complete and the assembly soon
dispersed, some people to the gathering of acorns and some to their
camps in order to tend their crops.

Among those who had been at the ceremony at Ash Creek was a young man
named Red-boy. His home was on San Pedro Creek, one hundred miles south
and west, not far from the country of the Pima. He had come to visit
relatives in the White Mountain country for his mother was of the Adobe
clan and her brothers and sisters were living on the White River.

Red-boy was much interested in Slender-maiden and resolved to seek her
for a wife. His request was listened to, and his presents of horses
were accepted. Slender-maiden herself was pleased, for the stranger was
tall, and generous with his presents to her. The couple soon moved to
a camp on Black River, where Slender-maiden was left behind while her
husband joined a small party which was going to Mexico on a raid. Ten
days later the party returned without loss and with a large number of
horses. Red-boy had taken ten which he gave Slender-maiden’s parents.

The next spring Red-boy and Slender-maiden went to the village on San
Pedro and planted the land that had belonged to Red-boy’s mother. Here
they lived for five years, raising good crops and having plenty of deer
from the surrounding mountains.

One day in August Slender-maiden and her sister-in-law were making
baskets under the cotton-woods by the creek. Slender-maiden’s five-year
old daughter was sleeping under a willow nearer the stream where the
breeze was cooler. Suddenly a roar was heard and a wall of water, mud,
and torn-up trees rushed out of the canyon. The women jumped up, but
before they could reach the sleeping child the water had rolled over
in a brown flood. The women themselves were able to escape by climbing
into the cotton-woods.

Saddened by this loss and disconcerted by the washing over of the
farm by the waters of a thunder-shower, Slender-maiden and her husband
moved to the White Mountain country and settled on Cedar Creek near her
people. Here they lived for ten years. There were now five children,
the youngest of which was a girl.

One day a messenger came from White River asking that Slender-maiden’s
husband come to treat a sick man. Red-boy knew the songs and ritual of
a healing ceremony. He went with his wife, and camped by the man who
had been suddenly taken ill. He was burning with fever and covered with
an eruption. The songs were of no avail for before dawn the man was
dead. The body was almost immediately placed in a cleft of the rocks in
a nearby canyon and covered with sticks and stones.

That afternoon Slender-maiden and her husband moved down White River
and a few days later to Black River in which she and her husband
bathed. That night her head ached and she begged her husband to leave,
lest he too contract the disease. When twelve days later the fever left
her, she saw her husband sitting by, tired and worn with watching over

“Why did you not leave me?” she asked.

“Because I have loved you for many years,” he replied.

In a few days he too was ill and then Slender-maiden, still weak,
watched him until he was taken to the canyon for burial. When the
plague had passed, Slender-maiden’s children and near relatives were
all dead except the youngest girl who had been left with an aunt on
Cedar Creek.

Slender-maiden cut her hair, of course, and wore only a skirt and
a poncho of cloth. Even when the year was up she did not allow her
hair to grow. Her husband’s clansmen, noting her disinclination to
marry again, respected her wishes and did not assign her a husband.
She continued the cultivation of her small farm and the care of her

The requests of her adolescence ceremony for long life were answered.
So old is she that she must walk with a cane. Her hair is white, not
with the symbolic white earth but with age. Her daughter, in middle
age, unmarried, highly respected, but much sought for herself and her
considerable herds, attends to her physical needs. For the remainder,
Slender-maiden lives with her memories of a happy youth.

                                                        P. E. GODDARD

                   When John the Jeweler was Sick[4]

   _Told at St. Michaels, Arizona, by one of the Franciscan Fathers_

You may remember having met here a Navaho friend of ours, one of the
silver-smiths, whom we familiarly called “John the Jeweler.” Early this
year he went over to the Kohonino Cañon and stayed there four days.
The day after leaving the Cañon he was taken with ague, and every day
for twenty days he had a chill followed by fever and delirium. The
strangeness of the disease had an extraordinarily depressing effect on
him and during these twenty days he was in a state of utter collapse.

John the Jeweler is a medicine man, a minor priest, of considerable
repute, and numbers of his friends came to see him, but none of them
knew anything about his disease. The priests and the patient were
inclined to attribute it to “a bad smell emanating from the Kohonino,”
but as there was also a band of wandering Paiutes there during the time
of the patient’s visit, they were not sure but that the bad smell may
have originated with the Paiutes.

It was concluded in this emergency to call in the best mediciners of
the region. The first to officiate was Ojkai yośna. His rites and
song-prayers were directed to the Yè who dwells at the mouth of the pit
through which all people came up to this world, and through which the
spirits of the dead return to the lower world.

This pit is in the summit of that mountain in the north called Tjoliĭ.
Between the patient and the mouth of the pit the priest made a fire
with certain woods, and beside this fire he sang prayers to the Yè who
sits on “this side” the mouth of the pit. He beseeched the Yè not to
call the patient to descend the ladder leading to the regions of the
dead. He rubbed the ashes and pulverized charcoal of his medicine-fire
all over the body of the patient, first having rubbed him with a
mixture obtained by melting the fat of the bison, mountain sheep, elk
and deer, with a small portion of the fat of the domestic sheep. This
grease was to make stick to the skin the charcoal and ashes of the
medicine-fire. After the anointment the songs were sung again beside
the patient.

The rites of Ojkai yośna lasted two days and nights and his fee was
one horse, say fifty dollars.

The next shaman was Kuma byge. In the sick man’s hut, a little hollow
mound of clay was made, and within the hollow three stones were set; on
these were laid splinters of piñon and cedar which were set afire. When
they had burned to embers, the shaman shook his rattle and sang to the
Yès of his father. He then laid upon the embers five herbs. The patient
was laid naked upon the sand, close to the fireplace, and a blanket
was spread over the fireplace, and the patient thus inhaled the fumes
of the herbs, while the shaman sat alongside, shaking his rattle and
continuing his song.

The treatment was performed at sunrise and sunset, and should last four
days, with songs, dances and other ceremonies at night. But in this
instance, at the close of the second day, an embarrassing circumstance
occurred: the patient’s wife’s menstrual flow began. This at once put a
stop to all further treatment. Kuma byge’s fee was one horse, say fifty

After the wife got well, Etsĭdi bĭkĭs was summoned. To the
leader of the four winds sang the shaman, the white wind of the East,
the blue wind of the South, the yellow wind of the West, and the black
wind of the North. Before the people emerged from the lower world the
winds were taken up the pit at Tjoliĭ by the “Leader” and their
directions assigned them. He caused them to blow upon the muddy surface
of the earth while this upper surface was yet new and damp, until the
world became dry enough for habitation. The winds expelled the evil
influence of the bad Yès, and the new world became beautiful. So it was
to this Leader that Etsĭdi bĭkĭs sang, asking him to bring
the winds together, and expel the evil influence that threatened the

The ceremonies lasted four days and nights and consisted of
song-prayers, exhibiting fetiches, shaking the rattle, blowing the
whistle, and swinging the tsin boosni (which is like swinging the
Thunder prayer stick of the Hopi). The fee of Etsĭdi bĭkĭs was
a large horse, say sixty dollars.

The next shaman was called Hostin bĭkân. He administered herb roots,
both raw and in infusions. The raw root of the Jamestown weed was
given the patient at sunrise, noon and sunset. Each dose was something
less than half an ounce of the recently dry root. This was chewed
and swallowed. Closely following each of these doses, he was given
a piece of the stalk of the Golden Alexander, about six inches long
and as thick as the thumb. This he chewed, swallowing the saliva, but
not the fiber. Between the songs, during the day and night, infusions
were given the patient to drink, in quantities never to exceed half
a pint at once. There were separate infusions of herbs known as: aze
klohĭ, laughing medicine, aze bĭni, bad or dreaded talk medicine,
thajuhuĭtso, great chief of water medicines, that is of medicinal
herbs growing in marshes, all, I surmise, species of nightshade. Hostin
bĭkân’s ceremonies lasted a day and a night. His fee was a horse,
say fifty dollars.

The last and most potent of the shamans was Kuma. He is chief of
the clan to which the patient belongs. He lives about thirty miles
southwest from our Cañon.

Kuma’s prayers were directed to Hosdjoqun (the Killer) and Hos-(dje)
Yelti (the Talker), guardian deities of Tjoliĭ. But all these
prayers were more immediately addressed to the Yès who dwell in the
Half-white-house, asking their mediation, that the “Killer” might
withhold his hand, that the “Talker” might withhold the word of
death. I presume you know that there is a mythic region in the north.
It extends from nadir to zenith and has no horizon. It is a land of
vertical strata of various colors, each stratum reaching from The Below
to The Above. At each stratification is the house of a Yè, half in one
stratum, half in the next.[5]

A sweat house is decorated on the outside with a rainbow in colored
sands; a singing-house is built for the occasion; sand pictures
(altars) are made on the floor of the singing-house; and there are
dances of the masked participants.

Kuma’s ceremonies lasted five days and nights. Every morning at
sunrise, the patient was placed in the sweat house for about twenty
minutes, say ten minutes in each. Nothing of special significance was
done during the day, but from sunset to dawn the maskers danced before
the singing-house, while within the singing-house, the priests sang
their prayers, made their sand pictures, and placed the proper fetiches
before and upon them. For a fee, Kuma received a fine horse and colt,
worth one hundred dollars.

Aside from all these fees, sheep were killed to provide mutton,
and other provisions were purchased to feed the shamans and their
assistants, the dancers, and the numerous spectators who flock around
when any of these religious ceremonies are in progress. In these
expenses the patient was assisted by all his relatives.

In these ceremonies, three weeks went by, with every day an ague. At
the end of that time, the patient said that he was “looking down the
descending ladder.”

His friends then cinched him upon a saddle, and brought him here,
muffled in a blanket, just like a bag of bones. We had him dumped in
the wool room. This was four days ago. We had no calomel, so we gave
him a generous dose of blue mass, about thirty grains. On the following
morning we administered a liberal draught of castor oil, and then we
gave him about thirty grains of quinine, in four doses, daily. Two
days ago his ague left him. This morning he and his friends left for
home. Just as he was leaving, John the Jeweler told me he was feeling
so well, he thought that by to-morrow night he could resume the
performance of his marital duties.

                                                        A. M. STEPHEN

                    Waiyautitsa of Zuñi, New Mexico

“Isn’t it hard to believe that life should be so intricate and complex
among those meek, adobe houses on that low hill?”

We were on the last mile or so of the forty-mile drive through the
red sandstone above and below, and the green cedar and spruce and
sagebrush from Gallup to Zuñi; behind us to the southeast was the
great mesa to which three centuries ago the people had escaped for a
while from Spanish arrogance, the mesa where one day we were to seek
for the shrines of the War Leaders and the Song Youth and the Earth
Woman as we ostensibly hunted rabbits; and before us, barely in sight,
so quietly does an Indian pueblo fit into the landscape, were the
rectangular blocks of the many-storied Zuñi houses whose flat roofs
make broken lines, mesa-like, against the sky. At the highest point, a
three-storied house, the town crier was probably at that very moment
calling out to the townspeople the orders of the governor and council
for the following day; but we were still too far away to hear, quiet
as was the air, and our unarrested eyes turned westward to the flaming
spectacle of a sunset the like of which is not to be seen outside the
sweeping valley plain of Zuñi.

Now and again, as you walk between those “meek, adobe houses,” dodging
a snouting pig, or assuming indifference to the dogs that dash out from
every corner to snarl or yelp; now and again as you see the villagers
going about their daily affairs, men driving in from the fields, or
taking the horses in or out of the corrals, women fetching water from
the well or bound on a visit to a neighbor, little boys chasing one
another and babies playing about in the dirt, now and again that first
impression of material simplicity returns and with it the feeling that
the round of life must be simple, too. But the feeling never lasts
long, never holds its own with the crowding impressions of ceremonial
rain dance or pilgrimage or domiciliary visitation, of baffling
sacerdotal organization and still more baffling sacerdotal feuds, of
elaborate pantheon, of innumerable myths and tales, of associations
in story or cult with every hill and rock and spring, of kinship
ramifications and matrimonial histories, of irksome relationships with
Mexicans and “Americans,” and of village gossip which is made up so
comprehensively of the secular and the sacred as to pass far beyond the
range of even a New England church social.

It is not surprising that accounts of Zuñi are often bewildering.
In our own complex culture biography may be a clarifying form of
description. Might it not avail at Zuñi? I venture this biography of

Waiyautitsa is a girl’s name; sex generally appears in Zuñi personal
names. Sex appears somewhat in speech too. Waiyautitsa in learning to
talk will make use of expressions, particularly exclamations, peculiar
to women. In a recent list of the first words used by a Zuñi child,
a boy, there was noted a comparatively large number of kinship terms
in his vocabulary. The kinship terms of little Waiyautitsa would be
somewhat different from a boy’s. He calls a younger sister ikina;
a younger brother, suwe; she calls either hani, meaning merely the
younger. And, as the Zuñi system of kinship terms is what is called
classificatory, cousins having the same terms as brother and sister,
Waiyautitsa has even fewer words than her brother to express cousinship.

When Waiyautitsa is three or four years old she may be recognized as a
girl not merely from her speech, but from her dress, from her cotton
slip; at this age little boys wear trousers. But not for another three
or four years, perhaps longer, will Waiyautitsa wear over her cotton
slip the characteristic Pueblo woman’s dress,—the black blanket dress
fastened on the left shoulder and under the right arm and hence called
in Zuñi, watone, meaning “across,” the broad belt woven of white,
green and red cotton, the store-bought kerchief or square of silk
(pitone) which, fastened in front, hangs across shoulders and back,
and the small foot, thick leg moccasins which cover ankle and calf in
an envelope of fold upon fold of buckskin. Before Waiyautitsa is eight
or even six she may, however, when she goes out, cover her head and
body with a black blanket or with the gay colored “shawl” similarly
worn. And I have seen very little girls indeed wearing moccasins or the
footless black stockings Zuñi women also wear, or “dressing up” in a
pitone, that purely ornamental article of dress without which no Zuñi
woman would venture outdoors. Without her pitone she would feel naked,
she says, and any man would be at liberty to speak disrespectfully to
her. When Waiyautitsa is about five, her hair, before this worn, like
the boys, in a short cut, is let grow into a little tail on the nape of
her neck. In course of time her pigtail will be turned up and tied with
a “hair belt” of white, green and red cloth. From ear to ear her front
hair will be banged to the end of her nose, the bang drawn sidewise
above the forehead except at such times in ceremonials when it is let
fall forward to conceal the upper part of the face.

This hair arrangement serves in ceremonials as a kind of mask, as
you may see in the frontispiece picture of the headdress worn in the
Thlahawe, a woman’s corn dance. A mask proper, that quasi fetich which
has so important a place in Pueblo ceremonialism, Waiyautitsa will in
all probability never wear. Unlike her brother, Waiyautitsa will not
be initiated in childhood into the Kachina society, and consequently
she will not join one of the six sacred clubhouses or estufas which
supply personators for the Kachinas or masked dancers. Not that female
personages do not figure in these ceremonials, but as was the rule on
the Elizabethan stage, women are impersonated by men.

To this exclusion of girls from the Kachina society and from
participating in the masked dances there are a few exceptions. To-day
three women belong to the Kachina society. They were taken into it not
in childhood, but in later life and, it is said, for one of the same
reasons women as well as men are taken into the other societies of
Zuñi. Cured by ceremonial whipping of the bad effects of nightmare or
of some other ailment, they were “given” to the estufa credited through
one of its members with the cure. Of the three women members only one
is said to dance, and she is accounted mannish, katsotse, girl-man, a

Waiyautitsa will likely not be initiated into the kotikyane, but
she is quite likely to be initiated into another society,—into the
Great-fire-brand or Little fire-brand, or Bedbug or Ant or Wood
society, into any one of the thirteen Zuñi societies except three,
the bow priesthood or society of warriors, of warriors who have taken
a scalp, or the Hunter society or the Cactus society, a society that
cures arrow or gun-shot wounds. As women do not hunt or go to war,
from membership in these groups they are excluded or, better say,
precluded. As we shall see later, affiliation by sex is, in ceremonial
affairs, along the lines of customary occupation.

If Waiyautitsa falls sick and is cured by a medicine man of the
medicine order of a society she must be “given” either to the family
of the medicine man or to his society. Initiated she may not be,
however, for a long time afterwards, perhaps for years. Initiations
take place in the winter when school is in session, the school either
of the Indian Bureau or of the Dutch Reformed Church, and for that
reason, it is said, initiations may be postponed until past school age.
Despite the schools, I may say, I have met but two Zuñi women who speak
English with any fluency. One woman is a member of the Snake-medicine
society, into which she was initiated after convalescence from measles,
a decimating disease at Zuñi, to be accounted for only through
witchcraft. The other woman was accounted the solitary convert of the
Dutch Reformed Church Mission in Zuñi until six or seven years ago she
joined the Wood society because as a child she had been cured by them
of smallpox.

After initiation, the women, like the men of a society, offer prayer
sticks each moon, observing continence for four days thereafter, and
they join in the four-day retreat in the ceremonial house of the
society preliminary to an initiation. Unlike the men, however, the
women do not spend the entire night, only the evening, in the society
house, and, while there, they are listeners rather than narrators
of the inexhaustible folk tales that are wont to be told at society
gatherings. Men are the custodians of the lore, secular as well as
esoteric, of the tribe, just as men and not women are the musicians.
The men are devoted singers, singing as they dance or singing as a
choir for dancers, and singing as they go to or from work in the
fields, or as they drive their horses to water in the river or to the
corrals on the edges of the town. Even grinding songs are sung on
ceremonial occasions by men.

In the public appearances of the society, the women members figure
but little. Societies supply choirs and drummers and ceremonial
road openers or leaders to the masked dancers and, during the great
koko awia (Kachina coming) or shalako ceremonial, to various groups
of sacred personages. I have seen several dances in Zuñi and one
celebration of koko awia, and I have seen but one woman officiate in
public. As a daughter of the house which was entertaining the koyemshi
or sacred clowns she was in attendance upon that group in the koko awia
or Advent, so to speak, of 1915.

If Waiyautitsa belongs to a society, she will offer or plant the
befeathered prayer sticks, which are so conspicuous a feature of
Pueblo religion, but, being a woman, Waiyautitsa will not cut or dress
the sticks. She will only grind the pigments and, perhaps, paint the
sticks. Nor as a woman would she offer the sticks on certain other
ceremonial occasions when the men offer them. Once a year, however,
at the winter solstice ceremonial on which so much of Zuñi ritualism
pivots, Waiyautitsa will be expected, even in infancy, to plant,
planting for the “old ones,” i. e., the ancestors and for the Moon,
but not, like the men, for the Sun or, unless a member of the Kachina
society, for the ancestral beings, the Kachina.

At the conclusion of the winter solstice ceremonial, when certain
sacred figures called kwelele go from house to house, the women carry
embers around the walls of the house and throw them out on the kwelele.
It is the rite of shuwaha, cleansing, exorcism. There are a number of
other little rites peculiar to the women in Zuñi ceremonialism. Through
them, and through a number of rites they share with the men, through
provisions for supplying food in the estufa to the sacred personators
or for entertaining them at home or making them presents, women have an
integral part in Zuñi ceremonialism. In what we may call the ceremonial
management, however, they appear to have little or no part.

Even when women are initiated into the Kachina society, or are
associated with the ashiwanni or rain priests, their functions seem to
be primarily of an economic or housekeeping order. The women members
of the rain priesthoods have to offer food every day to the fetiches
of these sacerdotal groups—to stones carved and uncarved, and to
cotton-wrapped lengths of cane filled with “the seeds the people live
by.” For the seed fetiches to be in any way disturbed in the houses to
which they are attached, involves great danger to the people, and on
a woman in the house, the woman member of the priesthood, falls the
responsibility of guardianship or shelter. But even these positions of
trust are no longer held by women—there are only six women ashiwanni
among the fifteen priesthoods. The woman’s position among the paramount
priesthood, the rain priesthood of the North, has been vacant now
for many years—no suitable woman being willing, they say, to run the
risks or be under the tabus of office. Aside from this position of
woman ashiwanni, women count for little or nothing in the theocracy of
Zuñi. They were and are associated with the men priests to do the work
pertinent to women. In the case of the Zuñi pantheon or its masked
impersonations, the association is needed to satisfy or carry out, so
to speak, Zuñi standards or concepts of conjugality. The couple rather
than the individual is the Zuñi unit. Sometimes, in ceremony or in
myth, the couple may consist of two males.

There is one masked couple I have noted in particular at Zuñi, the
atoshle. Two or three times during the winter our little Waiyautitsa,
together with other girls and very little boys, may expect to be
frightened by the atoshle, the disciplinary masks who serve as bugaboos
to children as well as a kind of sergeant-at-arms, the male atoshle at
least, for adults. If the children meet the old man and his old woman
in the street, they run away helter-skelter. If the dreadful couple
visits a child indoors, sent for perhaps by a parent, the child is
indeed badly frightened. I suppose that Waiyautitsa is six or seven
years old when one day, as an incident of some dance, the atoshle “come
out” and come to her house. The old woman atoshle carries a deep basket
on her back in which to carry off naughty children and in her hand a
crook to catch them by the ankle. With the crook she pulls Waiyautitsa
over to the grinding stones in the corner of the room, telling her that
now she is getting old enough to help her mother about the house, to
look after the baby and, before so very long, to grind. She must mind
her mother and be a good girl. I once saw a little girl so terrified
by such admonition that she began to whimper, hiding her head in her
mother’s lap until the atoshle was sprinkled with the sacred meal and
left the house to perform elsewhere his role of parent’s assistant.

Whether from fear, from supernatural fear or fear of being talked
about as any Zuñi woman who rests or idles is talked about, or whether
from example, more from the latter no doubt than from the former,
Waiyautitsa is certainly a “good girl,” a gentle little creature,
and very docile. Sometimes she plays lively games with her “sisters”
next door like the game of bear at the spring. A spiral is traced on
the ground and at the center is placed a bowl of water to represent
a spring. The girls follow the spiral to get water for their little
turkeys which, they sing, are dying of thirst. Then the “bear” rushes
out from the spring and gives chase. But for the most part the little
girls play quietly at house. In this way and in imitating at home her
industrious mother or aunt, or her even more industrious grandmother or
great-aunt, Waiyautitsa learns to do all the household tasks of women.
She learns to grind the corn on the stone metate—that back-hardening
labor of the Pueblo woman—and to prepare and cook the meal in a number
of ways in an outside oven or on the American stove or on the flat slab
on which hewe or wafer bread is spread. For the ever cheery family meal
she sets out the coffee-pot, the hewe or tortilla, and the bowls of
chile and of mutton stew on the earthen floor she is forever sweeping
up with her little homemade brush or with an American broom. (A Zuñi
house is kept very clean and amazingly neat and orderly.)

And Waiyautitsa becomes very thrifty—not only naturally but
supernaturally. She will not sell corn out of the house without
keeping back a few grains in order that the corn may return—in Zuñi
thought the whole follows a part. And she will keep a lump of salt in
the corn storeroom and another in the bread bowl—when salt is dug out,
the hole soon refills, and this virtue of replacing itself the salt is
expected to impart to the corn. There are other respects, too, in which
Waiyautitsa will learn how to facilitate the economy. She will sprinkle
the melon seeds for planting, with sweetened water—melons should be
sweet. Seed wheat she will sprinkle with a white clay to make the crop
white, and with a plant called k’owa so that wheat dough will pull
well. Seed corn will be sprinkled with water that the crop may be well
rained on.

From some kinswoman who is a specially good potter, Waiyautitsa may
have learned to coil and paint and fire the bowls as well as the cook
pots and water jars the household needs. She fetches in wood from the
woodpile and now and again she may be seen chopping the pine or cedar
logs the men of the household have brought in on donkey or in wagon.
She fetches water from one of the modern wells of the town, carrying
it in a jar on her head and walking in the slow and springless gait
always characteristic of Pueblo women. Perhaps that gait, so ponderous
and so different from the gait of the men, is the result of incessant
industry, a kind of unconscious self-protective device against
“speeding up.”

Waiyautitsa will learn to work outdoors as well as in. She will help
her mother in keeping one of the small vegetable gardens near the
town—the men cultivate the outlying fields of corn and wheat (and
the men and boys herd the sheep which make the Zuñi prosperous),
and Waiyautitsa will help her household thresh their wheat crop, in
the morning preparing dinner for the workers, for relatives from
other households as well as from her own, in the afternoon joining
the threshers as the men drive horses or mules around the circular
threshing floor and the women and girls pitchfork the wheat and brush
away the chaff and winnow the grain in baskets. Waiyautitsa will also
learn to make adobe blocks and to plaster with her bare hand or with
a rabbit-skin glove the adobe walls of her mother’s house, inside and
out. Pueblo men are the carpenters of a house, but the women are always
the plasterers, and Waiyautitsa will have to be a very old woman indeed
to think she is too old to plaster. On my last visit to Zuñi I saw a
woman seventy, or not much under, spending part of an afternoon on her
knees plastering the chinks of a door newly cut between two rooms.

The house she plasters belongs, or will in time belong, to Waiyautitsa.
Zuñi women own their houses and their gardens or, perhaps it is better
to say, gardens and houses belong to the family through the women. At
marriage a girl does not leave home; her husband joins her household.
He stays in it, too—only as long as he is welcome. If he is lazy, if he
fails to bring in wood, if he fails to contribute the produce of his
fields, or if some one else for some other reason is preferred, his
wife expects him to leave her household. He does not wait to be told
twice. “The Zuñi separate whenever they quarrel or get tired of each
other,” a critical Acoma moralist once said to me. The monogamy of Zuñi
is, to be sure, rather brittle. In separation the children stay with
the mother.

Children belong to their mother’s clan. They have affiliations,
however, as we shall see, with the clan of their father. If the mother
of Waiyautitsa is a Badger, let us say, and her father a Turkey,
Waiyautitsa will be a Badger and “the child of the Turkey.” She can not
marry a Turkey clansman nor, of course, a Badger. Did she show any
partiality for a clansman, an almost incredible thing, she would be
told she was just like a dog or a burro.

These exogamous restrictions aside, and the like restrictions that may
arise in special ways between the household of Waiyautitsa and other
households, Waiyautitsa would be given freedom of choice in marrying.
Even if her household did not like her man, and her parents had told
her not “to talk to” him, Zuñi for courting, she and he could go to
live with some kinswoman. No one, related or unrelated, would refuse
to take them in. Nobody may be turned from the door. Nor would a girl
whose child was the offspring of a chance encounter be turned out by
her people or slighted. The illegitimate child is not discriminated
against at Zuñi.

Casual relationships occur at Zuñi, but they are not commercialized,
there is no prostitution. Nor is there any lifelong celibacy. As for
courtship, very little of it can there be—at least before intimacy
either in the more transient or more permanent forms of mating,—the
separation outside of the household of boys and girls of various ages
is so thorough. “But what if a little girl wanted to play with boys?”
I once asked. “They would laugh at her and say she was too crazy
about boys.” “Crazy” at Zuñi, as quite generally among Indians, means
passionate. (Girls at Zuñi are warned away from ceremonial trespass by
the threat of becoming “crazy.”)

The young men and girls do, to be sure, have non-ceremonial dances
together, and in preparing for them there are opportunities for
personal acquaintance. I saw one of these dances not long ago. It was
a Comanche dance. There were a choir of about a dozen youths including
the drummer, four girl dancers heavily be-ringed and be-necklaced, the
pattern of whose dance, two by two or in line, was very regular, and a
youth who executed in front of them or around them an animated and very
beautiful pas seul. After dancing outside in the plaza, they all went
into the “saint’s house” to dance for her “because they like her”—a
survival no doubt of the custom of dancing in the Catholic church
observed by the Indians in Mexico and not long since quite generally in
New Mexico.

But it is on the twilight trip to the well, the conventional Zuñi hour
of courtship, that Waiyautitsa will be approached by suitors. Muffled
in his black blanket the youth may step out from the corner where he
has been lurking and put his hand on the girl’s arm. If she will have
none of him, she may avert her head and hasten on to overtake the woman
in front, but if she fancies the fellow, she will pause, if but for
a moment or two, to talk. It is a brief encounter and, with somebody
in front and perhaps another girl coming up behind, it is far from
private; still after Waiyautitsa has had a few such meetings, “two or
four,” she is likely to invite the young man to join her household. At
first, for a few days, he will stay in the common room, in the room
where all sleep (sleeping and dressing, let me say, with the utmost
modesty), he will stay only at night, leaving before dawn, “staying
still” his shyness is called. Then he will begin to eat his meals with
the household. There is, you see, no wedding ceremonial and a man slips
as easily as he can into the life of his wife’s household.

Waiyautitsa will pay a formal visit on her bridegroom’s people, taking
his mother a basket of corn meal. To Waiyautitsa herself her young
man will have given a present of cloth for a dress, or a buckskin for
the moccasins he will make for her. Hides are a product of the chase,
of cattle raising (cowhide is used to sole moccasins), or of trade,
men’s occupations, and so moccasins of both women and men are made by
men. Women make their own dresses, although, formerly, before weaving
went out of fashion at Zuñi, it is likely that men were the weavers,
just as they are to-day among the Hopi from whom the men of Zuñi get
cloth for their ceremonial kilts and blankets, and for the dresses of
the women. Even to-day at Zuñi men may make up their own garments from
store-bought goods and it is not unusual to see a man sitting to a
sewing machine.

A man may use cloth or thread for other than economic reasons. In
case a girl jilts him he will catch her out some night and take a bit
from her belt to fasten to a tree on a windy mesa top. As the wind
wears away the thread, the woman will sicken and perhaps in two or
three years die. A woman who is deserted may take soil from the man’s
footprints and put it where she sleeps. At night he will think of her
and come back—“even if the other woman is better looking.” Apprehensive
of desertion a woman may put a lock of hair from the man in her house
wall or, the better to attach him to her, she may wear it over her
heart. Women and men alike may buy love charms from the ne’wekwe, a
curing society, potent in magic, black or white. There is a song, too,
which men and women may sing “in their heart” to charm the opposite
sex. And there is a song which a girl may sing to the corn as she
rubs the yellow meal on her face before going out. “Help me,” is the
substance of it, “I am going to the plaza. Make me look pretty.” Rarely
do our girls pray, I suppose, when they powder their noses.

Courtship past for the time being, courtship by magic or otherwise,
Waiyautitsa is now, let us say, an expectant mother. Her household
duties continue to be about the same, but certain precautions, if she
inclines to be very circumspect, she does take. She will not test the
heat of her oven by sprinkling it in the usual way with bran, for if
she does, her child, she has heard, may be born with a skin eruption.
Nor will she look at a corpse or help dress a dead animal lest her
child be born dead or disfigured. She has heard that, even as a little
girl if she ate the whitish leaf of the corn husk, her child would be
an albino. If her husband eats this during the pregnancy, the result
would be the same. On her husband fall a number of other pregnancy
tabus, perhaps as many as fall on her, if not more. If he hunts and
maims an animal, the child will be similarly maimed—deformed or
perhaps blind. If he joins in a masked dance, the child may have some
mask-suggested misshape or some eruption like the paint on the mask.
If he sings a great deal, the child will be a cry-baby. The habit of
thinking in terms of sympathetic magic or of reasoning by analogy which
is even more conspicuous at Zuñi than, let us say, at New York, is
particularly evident in pregnancy or birth practises or tabus.

Perhaps Waiyautitsa has wished to determine the sex of the child. In
that case she may have made a pilgrimage with a rain priest to Corn
Mesa to plant a prayer stick which has to be cut and painted in one way
for a boy, in another way for a girl. (Throughout the Southwest blue
or turquoise is associated with maleness, and yellow with femaleness.)
Wanting a girl—and girls are wanted in Zuñi quite as much as boys,
if not more—Waiyautitsa need not make the trip to the mesa, instead
her husband may bring her to wear in her belt scrapings from a stone
in a phallic shrine near the mesa. When labor sets in and the pains
are slight, indicating, women think, a girl, Waiyautitsa may be told
by her mother, “Don’t sleep, or you will have a boy.” A nap during
labor effects a change of sex. When the child is about to be born,
Waiyautitsa is careful, too, if she wants a girl, to see that the
custom of sending the men out of the house at this time is strictly

After the birth, Waiyautitsa will lie in for several days, four, eight,
ten or twelve, according to the custom of her family. Whatever the
custom, if she does not observe it, she runs the risk of “drying up”
and dying. She lies on a bed of sand heated by hot stones, and upon
her abdomen is placed a hot stone. Thus is she “cooked,” people say,
and creatures whose mothers are not thus treated are called uncooked,
raw—they are the animals, the gods, Whites. To be “cooked” seems to be
tantamount in Zuñi to being human.

It is the duty of Waiyautitsa’s mother-in-law, the child’s paternal
grandmother, to look after mother and child during the confinement, and
at its close to carry the child outdoors at dawn and present him or her
to the Sun. Had Waiyautitsa lost children, she might have invited a
propitious friend, some woman who had had many children and lost none,
to attend the birth and be the first to pick up the child and blow into
his mouth. In these circumstances the woman’s husband would become the
initiator of the child, if a boy, when the child was to be taken into
the Kachina society. Generally the child’s father chooses some man
from the house of his own kuku or paternal aunt to be the initiator or
godfather, so to speak, of the child. Ceremonial rites usually fall to
the paternal relatives.

But the infant will receive attentions of a ritual or magical nature,
likewise from his mother and her household. He is placed on a cradle
board in which, near the position of his heart, a bit of turquoise is
inlaid to preclude the cradle bringing any harm to its tenant. Left
alone, a baby runs great risk—some family ghost may come and hold him,
causing him to die within four days. And so a quasi-fetichistic ear of
corn, a double ear thought of as mother and child, is left alongside
the baby as a protector. That the baby may teethe promptly, his gums
may be rubbed by one who has been bitten by a snake—“snakes want to
bite.” To make the child’s hair grow long and thick, his grandfather or
uncle may puff the smoke of native tobacco on his head. That the child
may not be afraid in the dark, water-soaked embers are rubbed over his
heart the first time he is taken out at night—judging from what I have
seen of Zuñi children and adults a quite ineffectual method. That the
child may keep well and walk early, hairs from a deer are burned, and
the child held over the smoke—deer are never sick, and rapid is their
gait. Their hearing, too, is acute, so discharge from a deer’s ear
will be put into the baby’s ear. That the child may talk well and with
tongues, the tongue of a snared mocking bird may be cut out and held to
the baby to lick. The bird will then be released in order that, as it
regains its tongue and “talks,” the child will talk. A youth who speaks
in addition to his native tongue Keresan, English and Spanish, has been
pointed out to me as one who had licked mocking bird tongue.

Waiyautitsa will give birth to three or four children, probably not
more, and then, as she approaches middle age, we may suppose that
she falls sick, and after being doctored unsuccessfully first by her
old father who happens to be a well known medicine man of the Great
Fire-brand society, and then by a medicine man from the ne’wekwe
society whose practice is just the opposite, Waiyautitsa dies. Within
a few hours elderly kinswomen of her father’s will come in and wash
her hair and body, and at dawn sprinkle her face, first with water and
then with meal. The deceased will be well dressed, and in a blanket
donated by her father’s people she will be carried to the cemetery
lying in front of the old church, a ruin from the days of the Catholic
establishment in Zuñi. There to the north of the central wooden cross,
i. e., on the north side of the cemetery, Waiyautitsa will be buried.
Women are buried on the north side and men on the south.

Waiyautitsa will be carried out and buried by her father and other men
in the household. No women will go to the burial, nor will the widower.
The widower, as soon as the corpse is taken outdoors, will be fetched
by his women relatives to live at their house. There they straightway
wash his hair—a performance inseparable in Zuñi, as at other pueblos,
from every time of crisis or ceremony. The hair of all the other
members of Waiyautitsa’s household will be washed at the end of four
days by women relatives of her father. During this time, since the
spirit of Waiyautitsa is thought to linger about the home, the house
door will be left open for her at night. The bowl used in washing her
hair, and the implements used in digging her grave will also be left
outdoors. Her smaller and peculiarly personal possessions have been
buried with her, and bulky things like bedding have been burned or
taken to a special place down the river to be buried. The river flows
to the lake sixty miles or so west of Zuñi, where Waiyautitsa’s spirit
is also supposed to take its journey. There under the lake it abides,
except when with other spirits it returns in the clouds to pour down
upon Zuñi fields the beneficent rain. People will say to a child, when
they see a heavy cloud, “There goes your grandmother”; or they will
quite seriously say to one another, “Our grandfathers are coming.”

Waiyautitsa’s children may go on living at home with their grandmother,
Waiyautitsa’s mother, or it may be that one of them is adopted by
a maternal aunt or great-aunt or cousin. Zuñi children, cherished
possessions as they are, are always being adopted—even in the lifetime
of their mother. Adopted, a child—or an adult—will fit thoroughly
into the ways of his adoptive household. It is the household as well
as the clan which differentiates the Zuñi family group from our
individualistic type of family. The household changes quite readily,
but, whatever its composition, it is an exceedingly integrated and
responsible group.

However the children are distributed, it will be the older woman or
women in the household who will control them. This household system
is one that gives position and considerable authority to the elder
women—until the women are too old, people say, to be of any use.
(In spite of this irony, I have heard of but one old woman who was
neglected by her household.) An older woman who is the female head of
the household is greatly respected by her daughters and sons-in-law and
grandchildren, as well as by the sons or brothers who continually visit
the household and often, as temporary celibates, return to live in it.

The older woman is highly esteemed, but she is by no means the head of
the household—unless she is widowed. Wherever the household contributes
to the ceremonial public life, her husband is paramount. In the
non-ceremonial, economic life, too, he has equal, if not greater,
authority. And in the general economy he more or less expects his
wife to serve him and wait on him. This conjugal subordination is not
apparent to any extent among the younger people; the younger husband
and wife are too much drawn into the corporate household life. But as
time passes and they in turn become the heads of the household, the
man appears to be more given to staying at home, and more and more he
takes control.

From this brief survey of the life of a woman at Zuñi, in so far as
it can be distinguished from the general life, we get the impression
that the differentiation of the sexes follows lines of least resistance
which start from a fairly fundamental division of labor. From being
hunters and trappers men become herders of the domestic animals,
drivers or riders. Trade journeys and trips for wood or for the
collecting of other natural resources are associated with men, and
work on the things acquired is men’s work—men, for example, are wood
cutters, and bead makers, whether the objects are for secular or
sacerdotal use. Analogously all work upon skins or feathers is work for
men whether it leads to the manufacture of clothing or to communication
with the supernaturals. Again, as farmers, men are associated with
that system of supernatural instrumentalism for fertility and weather
control which constitutes in large part Zuñi religion. In other words,
the bulk of the ceremonial life, a system for the most part of rain
rituals, is in the hands of the men. So is government. The secular
officers are merely representatives of the priests. Zuñi government is
a theocracy in which women have little part. The house and housekeeping
are associated with women. Clay is the flesh of a female supernatural,
and clay processes, brickmaking or laying or plastering, and pottery
making are women’s work. There are indications in sacerdotal circles
that painting is, or was thought of as, a feminine activity. Corn,
like clay, is the flesh of female supernaturals, and the corn is
associated with women. Even men corn growers are in duty bound to bring
their product to their wife or mother. Women or women impersonations
figure in corn rituals. It is tempting to speculate that formerly,
centuries since, women themselves were the corn growers. To-day, at
any rate, the preparation of corn, as of other food, is women’s work.
Wherever food and its distribution figure in ceremonials, and there
is a constant offering of food to the supernaturals, women figure.
Fetiches are attached to houses and in so far as providing for these
fetiches is household work, it is women’s work and leads to the holding
of sacerdotal office by women. The household rather than ties of blood
is the basis of family life. The children of the household are more
closely attached to the women than to the men. One expression of this
attachment is seen in reckoning clan membership through the mother.

Household work at Zuñi as elsewhere is continuous. The women are always
on the move. The work of the men, on the other hand, is intermittent.
Hunting, herding and farming are more or less seasonal activities and
are more or less readily fitted into ceremonial pursuits, or rather,
in their less urgent periods, take on ceremonial aspects. In the
ceremonial life the arts find expression, and the men and not the women
are, by and large, the artists of the tribe.

Attached to the ceremonial life are the games of chance and the races
that are played or run at certain seasons. Here again the intermittent
habit of work of the men, together with their comparative mobility,
qualifies them as gamesters and runners to the exclusion more or less
of the women. Formerly, to be sure, the women played a pole and hoop
game, and, given ceremonial exigency as among the Hopi, the women no
doubt would run races.

Household work is confining. Hunting, herding, trading lead to a
comparatively mobile habit, a habit of mind or spirit which in the
Southwest, at least, is adapted to ceremonial pursuit; for Pueblo
Indian ceremonialism thrives on foreign accretions, whether of myth or
song or dance or design of mask or costume, or, within certain limits
of assimilation, of psychological patterns of purpose or gratification.

To the point of view that the differentiation of the sexes at Zuñi
proceeds on the whole from the division of labor, the native custom of
allowing a boy or man to become, as far as ways of living go, a girl
or woman, gives color. Towards adolescence, and sometimes in later
life, it is permissible for a boy culturally to change sex. He puts
on women’s dress, speaks like a woman, and behaves like a woman. This
alteration is due to the fact that one takes readily to women’s work,
one prefers it to men’s work. Of one or another of the three men-women
now at Zuñi or of the men-women in other pueblos I have always been
told that the person in question made the change because he wanted
to work like a woman or because his household was short of women and
needed a woman worker.

And yet among the Hopi, where the economy is practically identical with
the Zuñi, there are no men-women; in this tribe the institution, it is
said, was never established. This, like other customs, is not merely
a matter of economic adjustment; economic or psychologic propriety
or consistency or predisposition may count, but of great importance
also are the survival of traits from an earlier culture, and the
acquiring of traits from the culture of neighboring peoples. Were we
to understand the interplay of all these factors in the life, shall we
say, of Waiyautitsa, we might be a long way towards understanding the
principles of society, even other than that of Zuñi.

                                                  ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS

                             Zuñi Pictures

If there was any one thing in the wide world I wanted to do more
than another, it was to visit the New Mexican pueblo where my friend
Tenatsali[7] spent so many years of his strange career. He had
discovered it and made it his own and before his death he turned over
to me his title to its romance and mystery. This was all he possessed
in it, for even the stone house he built with money earned by literary
work had dropped from his lavish hands. It happened one winter while
crossing the continent I heard there was to be a dance at the pueblo.
The news decided me. I stopped off on the railroad, hired a team from
the sheriff and had him drive me down to the town. It was winter; snow
covered the heights and we were both chilled through when we reached
Tenatsali’s big stone house, then a trading store. The farmer-agent, a
jovial man, who had been the trader in Tenatsali’s day, lived in the
other end of the building. He welcomed me as an old friend and told me
stories of Tenatsali until late into the night, as we sat before his

It was in his house Tenatsali had remained concealed in the long
interval from the time he rode out so debonairly on the war-path to
take a scalp, and the arrival of a scalp from Washington. He was
obliged to perform a scalp-taking feat before he could be admitted to
membership among the Priests of the Bow. As he would not secure a scalp
in the orthodox way, he had to get one as best he could. It was a very
old scalp, one from the National Museum collected by Lewis H. Morgan
many years before.

I slept soundly after the long ride, but, rising betimes, sought a
guide that I might go to the village, which is like an ant hill, across
the little river, and then climb to the summit of that mesa to the East
which overlooks the great valley. The two possible interpreters, youths
who had been reared by the trader, were both sequestered in the village
as they were to take part in the dance. And so it was decided I could
do no better than engage a schoolboy who, while he spoke little or no
English, could at least show me the trail up the mesa. In spite of the
snow the boy was barefoot, and his single garment was scanty protection
from the cold. We crossed the wide stretch of plain, rounded the mesa
and took the steep trail on the farther side. It was half obliterated
by the snowdrifts, but the boy ran lightly ahead, up and up, stretching
me a hand at the steep places until we reached the broad, table top.
There in an open shrine stood the image of the war god, Ahaiyuta, his
plumes bedraggled and blown about by the wind. We passed the ruins
covered with spiny cactus and I waited while the boy, nimble as a goat,
descended the trail beside the pinnacled rock to visit the old images
of the war gods ranged in a row in their immemorial cave. There too he
saw, I suppose, the painted jars that held the old masks of Sayatasha.
When he came back we visited the other war-god shrine and descended the
mesa to return across the plain to the store, tired and hungry after
our seven-miles’ round.

Here we found people from far and near who had come to see the
dance. There was Jesus, the Mexican, and French Dan, Falstaffian and
dissolute. There was the Missionary whom later I was to know better
and the Field Matron, a wraith of a woman who went silently among
the Indians and gave them some drug she had discovered through an
advertisement in the “boiler plate” of her home paper. There were the
Indians who fraternize with the whites, like the Albino and the old
Mormon, or to give him his full name, Ten Cent Mormon, because he had
been baptized by the Mormons in the early days and received ten cents
to bind the bargain.

The conversation at the dinner table where we had a hearty, steaming
meal was all about the dance, and even the sheriff was moved to express
himself. It was the first time this particular dance had been performed
for years. The Arrow-Swallowing society had given public exhibitions,
but on this occasion there was to be tree-swallowing as well. It was
plain enough that the agent and the sheriff really believed that the
Indians had supernatural powers.

The agent accompanied me to the village that afternoon and guided me
to a place in the large, central court where I could see the dance to
advantage. A red blanket was spread for us to sit upon, and we took
our places with the expectant crowd. Every living soul in the pueblo,
dressed in their best and gayest clothes, lined the roofs of the
terraced houses.

Few plays are staged more effectively than these performances. The
adobe walls of the houses furnish a perfect background. The court seems
entirely inclosed and the processions of dancers enter and return
by passageways set at right angles on either side. In the centre
of the plaza was a long, white, wooden box painted in colors with
cloud-terrace and rain symbols which the musicians used as a resonator
for their notched-stick rattles. While we talked, the agent pointed
out familiar faces like Niña, the pretty granddaughter of old Nayuchi
the war chief, and Lusalu, the fat governor. The small children played
on the edges of the crowd and mud-bedaubed clowns lolled around the
painted box. Two old men dressed in gala attire, with white smocks
and gay bandas and sashes, took up the notched instruments and began
scraping them in a rhythmic motion with plectra made of sheep bone.
There are few more mysterious and disturbing sounds than this same
scraping. The time is perfect, the rhythm inexorable. Something was
about to happen.

Two long processions advanced slowly into the plaza. In single file,
keeping perfect time, their turtle-shell, leg rattles in absolute
unison, dressed all alike in kilts and armlets, with faces and bodies
painted white, the dancers approached each other from opposite sides,
and wonderful to behold, each dancer with head thrown back supported
a tall spruce tree erect in his mouth. Below were the bodies of the
white-painted figures, robust and vigorous, and above a moving forest.
The processions continued to advance, and curved round the plaza until
they displayed their entire length, halted with a loud fanfare of gourd
rattles,—and then became still and silent. There were women among
them—and one wearing a white, cylinder-shaped mask. Some children,
neophytes, followed, and on one side a tiny boy with a miniature spruce
brought up the rear. The dancers rested, withdrew the trees from their
mouths and held them, butts upward with the top boughs resting on the
ground. Then it was that the full significance of the performance was
revealed. The butts, rudely chopped to a tapering point eight or more
inches in length, had been entirely swallowed.

Again the strident notes of the rattles sounded. The dancers took up
their trees, elevated and adjusted them in their mouths and danced
as before. There was the same volume of coördinated sounds, of gourd
rattles, of resonant shells and the swish, swish of the garments. Again
the white mask danced on.... It grew dark and I left the plaza, in a
daze. What did it all mean—the painted box, the swallowed trees, the
white mask?

                                                        STEWART CULIN

                            Havasupai Days


Lanso is a hedonist of seven. Day dawns late down in Cataract Canyon,
but even spring nights in Arizona are chill, and one’s own soft-woven
bedding, cedar-bark mat and rabbit-skin blanket, suffuse a warmth
one would not willingly forego. But,—“Lanso,” whispers grandfather
Sinyella, “up and run toward the daylight. Run, that you grow straight
and lusty. And heed me; take your torch and touch it to your elbows and
your wrists that you may never be rheumatic as I, your relative. Oh
yes, and as you turn back, fling the torch behind you, turn once again
and snatch it up, that your memory may be strong too, that you may
remember quickly a forgotten deer charm when you go to hunt.”

Lanso leaves his creekside home, worms his way among the slender
cotton-woods, and emerging on the race course, drops into a dogged trot
through the deep sand. The race course—but that is a place for a mad,
scrambling dash; perched with brothers, and sisters too, on the bare
back of father’s horse. What need to run afoot: foot races come at
dance time, and that will have to wait until the harvest is in. Dance
time—Lanso hums the songs. “Yes, I know them all; next time I, too,
will dance....”

It is lighter when Lanso turns back: all the Havasupai are astir.
Acrid smoke begins to drift over the willow thickets; ethereal strata
that rest in the still air against the towering rock walls; walls that
stretch to the winter home high on the plateau above. There in the
clearing is his home; the willow-thatched dome for rainy days, the
branch-covered, dirt-roofed, box-like shade for refuge from the midday
sun, and Hat’s sand-drifted hut merging in the swell of the creek bank.

Lanso scents breakfast in the bubbling clay pot, the inexhaustible
pot that stands day-long with open-mouthed hospitality extended to
all comers. But even a cold-whetted appetite will not tempt him to a
sidelong foray on the mess; no, there was bravery needed for the sharp
reproach and unbearable ridicule meted out to unmannerly pilferers.
Better to wait until Round-one, Hat’s wife, should call the family,
Lanso, her nephew, not last among them, to the stew of ground corn and
big-horn meat, little loaves of corn meal tied in the husks and baked
in the embers, sweet mescal juice, and salt from the cave far down the
canyon. Then he would creep up to the elders grouped on the ground
around the pots and baskets, and from the side of Fox, his favorite
uncle, beg for tasty bits fished out with sharpened twigs, and to take
his turn at the brimming, horn ladles.

“Now,” said old Sinyella, “the brush is burned and our fields are
cleared: to-day we will plant.” So, off the whole family trooped;
men and children on horses, the women, their babies strapped to
the cradle board in their arms, trudging along beside them. Lanso,
clutching hard at his grandfather’s back, rocked to the easy canter of
their horse. Here was business afoot he understood: next to the victims
that fell before his arrows—very small creatures, indeed—this would be
his chief contribution to the family larder. Yesterday he had watched
them playing shinney, gambling for the future crops, and he had guessed
they would begin to-day.

Down through the broad fields they rode, noting here the dam that
spread a somewhat broken wing to scoop the creek to the level of
the fields, there an irrigation ditch that needed mending, until
they reached the family fields. These were Sinyella’s and had been
Sinyella’s father’s and grandfather’s, and one day would go to Lanso.

Turning out the horses to graze at the foot of the rocky slope, they
climbed to the storage houses set high above the reach of devastating
floods, plastered like swallows’ nests in a crevice at the base of the
cliff. The seed corn secured, Sinyella knelt in the field and scratched
a hole with his pointed digging-stick. Then he prayed, “Grow good,
corn; when your stalk grows, grow tall; grow like the ancient corn up
there,” and dropping some kernels in the hole, he chewed another and
blew it toward the “corn,” two white rocks high on the canyon wall.
Then two short steps forward and he knelt to dig again. Lanso watched,
and then followed; first a few kernels, a deft sweep to fill the hole,
and then the next hill. Row after row they planted together under the
white morning sun that rose to flood the canyon with its light and

Back in the deep shade of the huge cotton-wood he saw his grandfather
playing with his little brother—a toddling fellow not yet worthy of
a name. Now he was searching for his mislaid arrows for he heard a
twittering from a nearby bush. “Yes,” Sinyella teased the baby, “that
bird is calling to you, ‘You are not a boy; you have no arrow to kill
me; you are a girl.’” Grandfather knew everything: he made fine bows
and arrows, and he told long stories in the winter evenings. “Next
winter,” Lanso thought, “I will track rabbits in the snow when it lies
in the cedar glades where our other home is; now I must hunt down

The bushes spawned boys, Lanso among them. There were birds to be shot,
dogs to be worried, deadfalls to be looked to, horses to be watered,
sprawled over, and raced. They all ran down the canyon to Coyote’s,
where there was that curious Navaho visitor to watch. Mornings are
short when there are cliffs to scale, tanning to watch, flat cactus
to roll for arrow-marks, food to beg from some friend—and relatives
lived everywhere; Wooden-leg to listen to as he told of his trip to the
Walapai people to fetch a bride, mock ambushes in the willows, and the
creek, with its cooling embrace as it closes overhead....


Panamida drove his horses down the creek bank in a cloud of dust.
Standing belly deep, they sluiced the cool water through their
outstretched throats. Panamida let it swirl around his dangling ankles;
here was relief from the afternoon heat. Bending low he could look
up-stream beneath the vaulting willows where the women were filling
their water-baskets. “Fox,” one called to him. “Fox,” indeed! Who was
this who did not know that they had begun to call him Panamida since
his marriage. Couldn’t she see that these three were Left-hand’s
horses: Left-hand, to whom he had given a big blanket, a black Hopi
shirt, and much dried meat, all for Gathawinga when he had first gone
to live at her father’s and work for him. “When I have a son, I will
build my own house on my family fields; Sinyella will give me a place,”
he thought. He knew he was to have a son: only yesterday Hat’s girl had
made a string-figure that resembled a boy.

Shrill laughter came from the dance-ground beyond the screening
thicket: the women were playing hiding games and tossing dice over
there. He laughed abruptly; Swollen-wrist’s voice came bellowing the

    “My tally sticks;
    I want them to come back;
    I am nearly dead.”

“That fellow never does win the stakes,” thought Panamida. “Well, those
women should cook now for the dance to-night: later I will join them
for the racing.”

Panamida turned the horses out and sauntered down the creek side to
Two-wives’ sweat lodge, where a dozen breechclouted men were lounging
about in the sand. One could usually find them here, gossiping through
the midday heat. While they waited a turn to enter, old Corn-thief
droned recollections of his youth: “... We found a flock of mountain
sheep, with several rams among them. I shot a very big one, the others
all ran off. The wounded ram jumped down the cliff, and ran along a
very narrow ledge. I and Hat’s father slid down from rock to rock, and
followed him along that ledge until he stopped abruptly at its end.
Suddenly he turned and dashed back at us, his head held down sideways.
I flattened myself against the wall, Hat’s father beside me; there was
hardly room. The ram struck Hat’s father, throwing him off the ledge:
it is very high there. The ram stood quite still; those above me shot
at him; when he was hit, he too tumbled headlong. Next day we tramped
down the trail and found the body in the canyon. We carried it away,
and dug a hole to bury it; we didn’t have time to burn it....” Panamida
tried to recall Hat’s father’s name: no one said it now that he was

Some one carried freshly heated stones into the little dome-shaped
lodge. Panamida followed the next three to enter; there should be four
at each of their four “sweats.” He crouched down close to them on the
carpet of leaves. It was blinding dark inside the tightly blanketed
lodge. It was hot; whatever he touched burned. Sweat began to pour into
his eyes and down his back. His hair felt dry and burning at the roots;
each breath was a gulp of liquid fire that seared his nostril-edges and
his throat. It was intensely still. Suddenly his neighbor commenced a
song; he joined; that was better. Now there was a sharp hiss as the
leader threw a handful of water on the rocks: he gasped, the steam
was choking and the heat suddenly unbearable. He bowed his head close
to the ground between his feet to suck in the cooler air there; then
he raised himself slowly. Sweat still streamed from him; every muscle
was relaxed; every ache was gone; he felt pure and renewed. Struggling
out beneath the door flap, he stood up in the sunlight, poised on the
creek bank, and plunged into the stream. He gasped; his breath was
sharply driven out; but his skin tingled, his muscles quivered, he felt

Many races had been run when Panamida reached the dance-ground. He
would not ride, though he had sung over his colt to make him fleet.
Fragment-of-rock, his youngest brother, should ride, and he would bet.
He would be chief when his father died: he must be dignified now. He
sat beside Gathawinga and her mother, She-chews-men, who were weaving
baskets. “The Navaho have come,” he whispered to Gathawinga, “I have
given one a basket of shelled corn for his big blanket for you: I
have his horse too, for two big buckskins and a little corn.” He went
toward the visitors: “Well, you have only one knot in your string now;
to-night we dance. Ten sleeps ago when you went to tell your chief to
share our harvest bounty there were eleven. It is nearly sundown; the
dance-boss has spread the meat and bread on a bed of willow leaves;
guests must eat everything.”

He drew back with his relatives that the Navaho and Hopi might eat
first. Though they had not brought their women, these strangers could
be trusted here, especially the Hopi, who lived so well and knew all
manner of strange things, yet it was laughable to see them trotting by
afoot when a man should ride.

But the enemy, those Yavapai; Panamida knew them too. He recalled the
previous autumn when the owls were warning, “Some one comes from the
south: hoo hu.” And they had come climbing down into the canyon in the
early dawn. He recalled the alarm; the women and children scrambling
up to hide on the cliffs; the day-long pursuit up the canyon, the
skirmish, and the enemy fleeing again. Then the Yavapai, tiring, had
taken refuge on a little hill. “Good,” Chief Manakadja had said. “We
are hungry now: some of you ride back and fetch us food.” After they
had eaten they felt braver. Two took thick buckskins, which they hung
from their bows before them. Panamida, crouching with arrow set, had
followed in this shelter with the others. Boldly they marched up
the hill, Yavapai arrows raining harmlessly on the flapping skins.
Suddenly the carriers dipped their shields and the hidden archers let
fly. They had nearly reached the summit, when Wasakwivama, who held
a skin, was hit. “My arm is getting weak; I can’t hold it up much
longer; we had better go back.” A second time they tried: the Yavapai
arrows were exhausted, they were rolling rocks. Panamida chuckled at
the recollection of his foolhardy spring, the sudden jerk that sent an
unwary enemy sprawling down the slope to be pounced on and dispatched.
Well, another feat like that and they might call him a chief even
before his father died. The Yavapai had fled in the night, but they
would return. “Yes,” he ruefully reflected, “they like to come; they
always kill so many....”

Moonlight spread across the clearing as they danced: the eastern cliffs
stood sharply black against the sky. The song ended, and the group
around the pole melted away. Sinyella rose in his place among the
watching families. “My own land, hear me. Let all of us remain alive
always. I want to live well always. Ground, hear me.” He prayed to the
rocks, the ground, the creek: he told the young men to work hard, to
dance well, not to be quarrelsome, as chiefs always spoke in the lull
between the dances. Paiya, the best singer, again took up his place,
facing the pole; Panamida, with the drum, stepped beside him; quickly
others formed the circle with them. Shoulder to shoulder they stood;
fingers intertwined. Paiya began to sing to the drum beats:

    “A fresh wind in that country,
     Girls dance circling.”

He had dreamed that he had gone to that far land where he had seen them
dancing. The others caught up the refrain: they stood singing for some
minutes. Then when they sang in unison Paiya signaled and all began
circling to the left with a short, sidewise shuffling step. Slowly the
circle swung, fifty men in their gala dress, girls with their jingling
ornaments; over and over they sang the song, to bring it to an end when
the leader reached his starting point. They stood hardly a minute: none
dropped out. “Nidjanwi,” several prompted; so Paiya began the favorite:

    “Nidjanwi, I do it;
     I am the man who names himself;
     Maidens stand alongside.”

Soon all were chanting, and the circle moved again. Excitement was
high; the old people called out encouraging compliments; girls
shouldered their way beside partners of their choice; reluctant Navaho
were laughingly forced into the throng. Panamida felt some one pushing
against his thigh; there was little Lanso, his older brother’s boy:
“Yes, come in,” as he made space. Another song, and they stopped
to rest. Navaho paid a trifle to their partners for release. Now a
grotesque figure dashed from the obscurity of the night; white mask,
cross-barred body, yucca leaf switches in hand, he sprang about,
whipping the laggards to the dance; adults were laughing, children
scampering in fright, dogs barking. The dance commenced again. Panamida
was hoarse, it was far from dawn, and this was only the first of three
nights’ dance.


Sinyella is half a skeptic. He sat back in the lodge and watched Sack,
the medicine man, in the firelight beside his sister’s sick grandson.
Let the other relatives shout to make the shaman strong: he would wait,
if the boy died, he would kill the incompetent. The shaman knelt over
the boy, swaying as he sang, his head to one side, his left knuckles
clenched over his closed eyes, his clashing rattle in the other hand.
Once he stopped rigid with open mouth, so that his familiar spirit
might leave his chest to search for sickening ghosts outside the
house. Then he rose and went out into the dark. Sinyella heard his
spirit halloing and whistling as it returned to him out there. The
shaman reëntered and resumed his singing. He put his lips to the boy’s
forehead that the spirit might go in search of the sickness. He sucked
the spirit back with a gulp, spat into his palm, and triumphantly
exhibited its contents, some little white thread-like worms. “That was
hard for me, but I have taken out all the sickness; there is no more
there now.” Well, the boy’s father would give Sack a big blanket, but
Sinyella decided that he, at any rate, would wait.

Musing as he waded through the crusted snow to his own lodge set snugly
in the cedar thickets, he thought: Sack is young, he may not be much
good, perhaps his spirit is weak. But I don’t know much about these
things: there’s that star up there, Pagioga, the man-snatcher, and
sometimes there are ghosts. I pray too: “Sun, my relative,” I say, “do
something for me. You make me work so I can do anything: make good
things for us: keep me always as I am now.” ... Of late his ears had
been frequently ringing; ghosts were whispering to him. Suddenly he
shouted, “Huuuu; no, though you talk that way, I am not going to die.”

It was well that they had collected a good store of pine nuts and wild
seeds in the autumn after they left the canyon; the snow was thigh
deep this winter. It was bitter cold; men and birds would freeze; the
firewood on the ground was covered. But deep snow soon exhausted hunted
deer and antelope, and there would be no lack of drinking water here
on the plateau. The laden trees brought back to him that long past
day when his father found the Navaho woman lost in the snow and took
her to wife. He remembered other Navaho; those he had fought, those
whose horses he had carried off, those who had despoiled him on a
trading trip to the Hopi. There had been many a trip eastward to the
Hopi villages, where the Navaho, quondam enemies, came to trade too.
Presents exchanged, friendships renewed in night-long talks, buckskins
and horn ladles traded for blankets, he would turn his packed horses
back for the fortnight’s journey across the arid wastes toward his
canyon home. There he would wait the coming of the Walapai, his blood
brothers, from the west. Or, if they did not come, he would carry
the Hopi woven stuffs to trade in their country. Once he had even
penetrated beyond their range to the Mohave in the low land of the
Colorado River, where, astounded at his effrontery, they had permitted
him to stay and peaceably trade.

In all countries they knew him well: that was why people called him
chief. He made himself a chief. True, his grandfather had been chief,
like his fathers before him. But his own father was never chief; no
one would call him that; he was a good-for-nothing. Now when I die, he
thought, my two oldest sons will share it, as they will my fields. I
have taught them both to talk like chiefs.

As, stooping, he lifted the door flap of his dome-shaped house he
sensed to the full the flood of warmth and light. This was his own,
these his people, and it was always good to be at home. The group
reclining about the central fire broke off their cheerful chatter
to greet him: back under the dark eaves he could hear the children,
nominally asleep, giggling over some fine mischief. “The Walapai have
come to ask our young men to join them next spring in a raid on the
Paiute across the Grand Canyon; Panamida wants to go,” they told him.

“Panamida will fight them soon enough, let him but stay at home.”

“Panamida, younger brother, some nice Walapai girl will say to you,
‘Here’s a roasted lizard,’” said Grediva, mocking the gruff Walapai
speech, amid the laughter of her relatives at the thought of eating

Sinyella smiled drowsily at the firelit faces: yes, all his own people.
At his side he heard Lanso, “Grandfather, tell us just one story.
Don’t refuse this time; the snakes will not bother now, it is winter.”
Sinyella sat back where the children were listening, lying in the
darkness. “Wolf and Coyote lived far to the west close to the ocean.
Wolf said to Coyote, ‘This country holds no game, no deer, no antelope.
All we eat is rats; that’s all we kill; that’s the only meat we have. I
think I want you to go right down in the water, way down to the bottom
of the ocean.’ Many elk lived under the water. Coyote tried: he went
close to the water and put his head down, but he felt afraid. ‘I’m
afraid to go down: I want you to go.’ Wolf said, ‘All right, I will go
down and hunt. I will hunt a big elk and drive it right out. I will
come out again after four sleeps.’”...

                                                         LESLIE SPIER

                        Earth-tongue, a Mohave

Earth-tongue’s earliest recollection was of the dim, cool house,
where he picked bits of charcoal out of the soft sand and crumbled
it against his hand. Once a cricket appeared on the wattled wall,
suddenly went back in when he thrust at it, and only a stream of dry
soil sifted forth. And then there was the terrifying time when voices
burst loudly into his sleep, people crowded in but stood helplessly
awkward, while his father’s brother shot insults of stolid hate into
the ceaseless flood of his wife’s vituperation. As the woman turned to
beat a girl lurking in the corner and the man interposed and flung her
off, Earth-tongue burst into bawling and clung to his mother. He saw
the angry woman stamp on pot after pot, tear open her coils of shredded
bark and strew them into the fire, and then, suddenly silent, load her
belongings into a carrying-frame and stagger out. The frame caught in
the door: as she tore it through, the contents crashed, and a laugh
rose in the house; but Earth-tongue sobbed long.

He was larger when he paddled with other children at the edge of the
slough; but still very small as he first remembered himself seeing the
great, stretching river that drew by with mysterious, swirling noises
in its red eddies. He and his little brother were put into a huge pot
which his father and another man pushed before them across stream:
their hair as it coiled high on their heads was just visible over the
edge as they swam. And then followed an interminable trudge somewhere
through the dust, relieved only by rides on his father’s back, and on
his grandmother.

He was older when he shot his first bow; when at dusk he caught
a woodpecker in its hole and would not let go though it hacked
desperately at his clasped hands, until a half-grown cousin took it
from him to imprison under a turned jar for the night. His father
wove a cage the next day, and the captive was installed, but remained
wild, and one morning was dead. And then came the time when the boys
of Mesquite-water challenged those of his settlement on a hot, summer
day after the inundation had half dried, and they slung lumps of mud at
each other from the ends of long willow poles.

There were other events that must have fallen soon after this period,
but which he did not remember: when he rolled his hair into long, slim
cylinders, began to measure how nearly it reached his hip, and made his
first advances to girls.

Even before this he had dreamed of Mastamho, gigantic on the peak
Avikwa’me in the great, dark, round house full of peoples; of the
two Ravens singing of dust whirls and war and of the far away clumps
of cane waiting to be cut into flutes; and of the river, drawn from
its source to wash away the ashes and bones of Matavilya where the
pinnacles stand in the gorge at House-post-water. He knew later that he
had dreamed these things as a little boy, even while he was still in
his mother; he did not yet think about them, except when the old man
his grandfather, and his father and uncles, sang of them.

One day a runner came up the valley and shouted pantingly that
strangers had appeared from the east at dawn and killed a woman and two
children at Sand-back, besides wounding a man and his younger brother.
The men leaped for their weapons; the women called in their children,
loaded themselves with property, and soon began to track northward in a
straggling, excited stream. Earth-tongue pulled down his bow and raked
among the roof thatch for such arrows as he could assemble. Then he
joined his kinsmen and male neighbors who stood in a group in front of
one of the shades, exclaiming and pointing at a smoke that rose down
the valley. Bundles of crude, blunt arrows projected behind their hips,
shoved under cord belts; and many had clubs dangling from their wrists.
Earth-tongue did not own a club: he had never seen battle; and he hung
about the outside of the cluster of seasoned men.

Soon, refugees from the nearer settlements began to arrive; and
then a body of fighting men from up the valley, bedaubed for war.
Earth-tongue’s kinsmen merged with them; and as they proceeded south,
growing in numbers, they met ever more women and children, and
finally those from the point of attack, until, not far away in the
cotton-woods, they came upon the men of Sand-back. The enemy were
Halchidhoma from far down-stream, they were now informed, not Walapai
as at first conjectured. They had avoided the river, traversing the
desert to hide in the Walapai mountains and descend at night upon the
nearer tip of the Mohave land. They had long since gone off—sixty
they were said to number, as they were seen to file over the rocks
far above the stream at Pinnacles. They had looted and burnt only the
group of houses at Sand-back, killed the woman, and lightly wounded
with an arrow one of the men who fought back from a distance: the other
reported casualties turned up safe. But the enemy had carried off the
woman’s head, and would dance about its skin. Earth-tongue gazed at
the collapsed houses, their charred posts smoking on the mass of sand;
and that night he watched the beheaded woman’s cremation. There was
much talk of retaliation, but an immediate attack would have found the
Halchidhoma prepared or perhaps removed.

So some months elapsed without a move being made; and meanwhile
Earth-tongue became married. In the turmoil of the Halchidhoma
invasion, as party after party trooped by, he had been attracted by
the sight of a girl, barely but definitely passed out of childhood,
and only a little younger than himself, who halted, leaning under her
laden carrying-frame, behind her mother, as their group paused for
an excited colloquy. He saw that the girl noted his eyes on her and
glanced away, and he knew, from the people she was with, that her name
was Kata. Not long after, he began to find errands or companions that
took him to her settlement. Soon a mutual familiarity of each other’s
presence was established, the purport of which was manifest even
though direct speech between the two young people was infrequent and
brief. Both were shy; until one afternoon a blind old man, the girl’s
father’s uncle, who knew of Earth-tongue’s repeated presence from the
references of the family, addressed him and her directly. “Why do you
not marry?” he said. “Persons do not live long. Soon you will be old
like myself, unable to please yourselves. It is good that you sleep and
play together. You, young man, should stay here the night.” Neither
Earth-tongue nor the girl answered. But he remained through the evening
meal and after; and when the house was dark, went silently to where she
lay. The next day, he stayed on; the day after, returned briefly to his
home; and from then on, spent increasing time at his new abode, where,
without a word having been spoken, he slipped into a more and more
recognized status. He did not work, unless special occasion called,
such as assisting with a seine-net; and Kata only occasionally helped
her relatives farm. Instead, they spent much time together, lolling
under the shade, toying or teasing each other, or listening to their
elders. Sometimes he sang softly as he lay by her, or she bent over him
searching his head or untangling his clustered locks, or tried to draw
the occasional hairs from his face with her teeth; and ever she laughed
more freely. So the days followed one another.

When at last the Mohave were ready, it was announced that they would
once for all destroy the Halchidhoma. The entire nation was to move
and appropriate the enemy land. Soon they started, most of the men
in advance, weaponed and unburdened save for gourds of maize meal at
their hips; water they did not have to carry since they followed the
river. Behind tramped the women, children, and old men, under loads.
Foods, blankets of bark and rabbit fur, fish nets, metates, household
property, and the most necessary pottery vessels were taken. The
remainder of their belongings and stored provisions were buried or
hidden away: every house in the valley stood empty.

For five days they walked. Then the men suddenly surrounded a group of
settlements. These were the houses of the Kohuana, a far down-stream
tribe, wasted by wars with their neighbors, until the pressed remnant
had sought refuge half a day’s journey above the Halchidhoma to whom
they were united, less by positive friendship than by common foes
and parallel fortunes. For the Halchidhoma, too, remembered having
once lived populously among the welter of tribes in the broad bottom
lands below the mouth of the Gila. With the Kohuana the Mohave had no
direct quarrel; and though they arrived armed and overpowering, they
proclaimed themselves kinsmen, and announced that they had come as
guests. By night the Kohuana houses overflowed with the mob of Mohave
families. Kohuana messengers were dispatched to summon the Halchidhoma
to battle at White-spread-rock-place, if they were not afraid. Such
challenge the outnumbered people could not find it in their manhood to
evade. So the next day saw them in line at the appointed field, barely
a hundred strong, against perhaps four hundred that the Mohave mustered
after setting a guard over their families.

Earth-tongue went into battle with much inward excitement, but little
fear, and listened obediently to the admonitions of his seasoned
kinsmen. Even before arrows could reach, the shooting began. Before
long, arrows flew feebly by, and then it became necessary to twist
sharply sidewise to avoid them. At this distance the two lines shot at
each other, taunting and leaping, while, in the rear, half-grown boys
and a few old men helped to gather up and replenish bundles of arrows.
What the Halchidhoma lacked in frequency of shots, they partly made up
in greater openness of target; and before long, struck men began to
withdraw temporarily on each side. The Mohave could have made short
work by charging in a body with their clubs; but they had asked for
an open stand-up fight, and besides found pleasure in the game, which
fell increasingly to their advantage. For hours they sweated in the
sun, gradually and irregularly forcing the Halchidhoma line back, and
shouting whenever one of the foe was carried off.

At last the leaders called that it was time to cease, and defied the
foe to resume in the same spot on the fourth day. Then they trooped
victoriously home, without a fatality, though a few, weakened from
bleeding or with parts of shafts broken off in them, were carried
on the backs of companions. Earth-tongue had been struck twice. One
arrow had grazed the skin of his flank when he became over-confident
and failed to bend his body with sudden enough vigor. Then, one of
three shafts that came toward him almost at once had imbedded itself a
finger-joint’s depth in the front of his thigh, and hung there until
he hastily plucked it out. Neither wound bled profusely, especially
after a bit of charcoal was reached him to rub in for stanching; and he
returned stiff, tired, and proud. The Halchidhoma losses were severer.
None of them appeared to have fallen dead on the field; but at least
half had been struck, and a number so vitally or often that they would

For four days the Mohave treated their wounds, talked of the next
battle, and ate their hosts’ provisions. Then they set out. But the
Halchidhoma had sent their families down-stream and taken up a new
stand farther back. Here they joined once more, and the fight went on
as before but with ever more preponderance to the Mohave, until these,
wearied by the noon sun, contemptuously drew off to the river to drink.
The Halchidhoma seized the occasion to run to their children and women,
set these across the river, and strike east over the desert. When
the victors reappeared, the fugitives were far. The Mohave thereupon
decided to occupy their fields and houses until the dispossessed might
come to drive them out; which the latter, by this time safely received
among the Maricopa far across the desert on the Gila, had no intention
of doing. However, the Mohave lived nearly a year in the land of the
Halchidhoma, adjusting themselves as they could; and returned only as
the next flood and planting time approached, taking the Kohuana along
to settle among themselves, where these enforced visitors remained for
some years.

Before the stay in the Halchidhoma country was over, Earth-tongue
and Kata had drifted apart. The derangement of accustomed residence,
enforced with others, Earth-tongue’s pride as an incipient warrior,
the fact that no child was born, all contributed to separate them
increasingly. Each formed new interests while vaguely jealous of the
other’s; and in the end Earth-tongue brought not Kata but another girl
to his parents’ house.

Soon after his first child was born,—a daughter, called Owich like the
sisters of himself, his father, and his father’s father,—Earth-tongue
grew restless for adventure, and, the time being one of peace, joined
himself to those that would travel. Ten or twenty in number, they would
go out: too few to excite apprehension of treacherous intent, too many
to be made away with safely. Each carried maize, water, his weapons,
and whatever he might wish to trade. On shorter journeys they prided
themselves on being able to travel at a trot four days without food,
and with only such drink as the desert might afford, chewing perhaps a
bit of willow as a relief for the dryness of their mouths. But these
hardships they underwent mostly in emulation, or toward the last of
a return with Mohave land before them. Again and again Earth-tongue
went down the river, through Yuma, Kamia, Halyikwamai, and Cocopa
settlements, to the flat shores of the salt sea; east into the Walapai
mountains and down into the chasm of the Havasupai, where he saw
strange-speaking and strangely dressed Hopi and Navaho, heard of their
stone towns, and brought home their belts and, once, a blanket of white

To the northwest he visited the Chemehuevi and other Paiutes about
their scattered springs, and ate their foods of seeds and wild fruits,
some familiar, some strange; and mescal and sometimes deer. Theirs
was a strange language too, but he had heard a little from the few
Chemehuevi who lived at the northern extreme of Mohave valley and
beyond it on Cotton-wood island; and many of his companions could speak
more. They went from Paiute band to band, to where the river no longer
flows from the north but from the east, beyond the Muddy, and found
each group like the last in customs, but of new foods. They listened to
the stories of the Paiute, who dreamed of the mountain Nüvant as the
Mohave do of Avikwa’me, and to whom they sang their songs, which the
Paiute wished to hear.

To the west were many tribes, all different tongued, but mostly easy to
understand a little when one knew Chemehuevi. There were the Vanyume on
their river that dried into nothing and left them always half-starved;
the Hanyuvecha in the range of great pines beyond; northward, about
Three-Mountains, the Kuvahye, adjoined by other mountaineers, little
tribes, unwarlike, friendly to the visitors, some of whom they hailed
as old friends. They offered no smoke, but gave tobacco crushed in
a mortar with shells; which Earth-tongue and his companions ate in
courtesy, and were nearly all made to sweat and vomit violently
thereby. From a crest near here they looked over a vast plain beyond,
in which shimmered what one of his companions said were large lakes.
He had been there and seen the people, who lived in long houses of
rushes,—a hundred fires in line within one house,—and ate rush roots,
and slept on rushes, and at night worms came up and troubled the
sleepers. And in the tumbled range on which they stood, but beyond
them, were the Like-Mohave, a very little like them in speech, but
naked, unkempt, and poor. Them Earth-tongue saw, but not in their own

And going out again, he traversed the land of the tribes to the
southwest, unfriendly, half-sullen, and dangerous to small parties.
The Hakwicha dug wells and ate mesquite; beyond them were people in
the mountains, about hot springs, who sang to turtle shells instead of
gourds; and still farther, stretching down to the ocean that one could
see from their peaks, lived the Foreign-Kamia, speaking almost like the
real Kamia, but knowing nothing of farmed foods, eating rattle-snakes,
and a hostile lot to venture among. They had some grudges to pay off to
the Mohave for plundered settlements, but were not a people to travel
far from their homes even for revenge.

The Yavapai, too, Earth-tongue came to know, though theirs was not an
attractive country to visit. They dreamed and sang like the Mohave,
but of other animals; and some of their stories were the same. Their
neighbors and friends were the Roaming-Yavapai, a small-statured,
sharp-eyed people, wearing their hair flowing, fierce lance fighters,
taciturn, violent, untrustworthy; but inclined favorably to the Mohave
in spite of the utter unintelligibility of their speech because
they knew them through the Yavapai as traditionally hostile, like
themselves, against the Maricopa and that people of innumerable houses,
the Pima. These last Earth-tongue never came to know save on the field
of battle.

One early summer, as the river was flooding, its rise suddenly stopped.
The inundation being wont to grow in interrupted stages the people
waited quietly for its resumption. But the water fell back and back.
Then some began to declare that it might not rise again, and advised
planting at once before the moist ground should dry: but others
pointed out that high water was yet due, and had often come late, and
that present planting in that case would cause the seed to wash out
and be lost. So nearly all waited with concern and much discussing;
until finally the river was wholly back within its banks and dropping
decisively. Then they knew that nothing more was to be hoped for that
season, and men and women hastened to save what they might of the crop.
But many of the fields had remained untouched by water, and most of
the others were already half dry. In some, the maize and beans never
sprouted; in some they came up indeed, but soon wilted; and though the
women carried water in jars, only small patches could be effectively
served in this hand fashion.

Soon, every one knew that famine impended, and that so few houses would
grow even enough harvest for another seeding, that the year after would
also be hard to survive. They gathered every wisp of wild seed plants
in the uncultivated bottoms; but these wild seeds, too, had come up
thin, and the crop of mesquite pods was pitiful. The women labored
faithfully, and the children watched over the scattered maize; yet
though the grain ripened, the scattered stalks were too few to keep
any house through the winter. Some families did not pick even an ear.
A moon after harvest time, the crop was consumed; by winter, the last
of the other stores. The men fished daily, but the sloughs and ponds
had never filled and were soon seined out, and the river’s yield was
uncertain and far insufficient. Every one was gaunt; the children lay
listlessly about; sickness grew.

Earth-tongue’s wife, and his older brother’s, had planted with
his mother in his father’s ancestral field, which lay low and was
long-proved rich. So they fared better than many. Nevertheless, before
spring the emaciated bodies of two children and an old woman had been
burnt and Earth-tongue had three times sung himself hoarse as they lay

The young men went out with their bows, and now and then returned with
a bird or gopher or badger, but oftener empty-handed. People who had
new belongings went to the Walapai to trade for mescal and deer meat.
Whole families trudged to visit the Chemehuevi, until they brought back
word that these hosts too were eaten out. At last not a day passed
without columns of smoke from pyres visible somewhere in the valley.
It was a terrible year and long remembered before the end of another
summer brought partial abatement.

So numerous had been the deaths from bowel flux and cough, that shaman
after shaman fell a victim to the anger of the kin of those he had
attempted to save. Yellow-thigh, a powerful man and not very old, had
lost two patients during the famine, and three more at intervals since.
Mutterings were frequent; but no one had found opportunity, or dared,
to work vengeance on him. One morning, Earth-tongue and a friend,
sauntering up valley on some errand, turned to a house before which
Yellow-thigh lay, for those there were kinsmen of his. No men were
about; and as the two visitors stood in the door, his friend on sudden
impulse whispered to Earth-tongue, “Let us kill him.” So they sat down
for a little and passed the news of the day, then arose, Earth-tongue
reaching for his bow and four cross-pointed arrows, with the remark
that they were going to shoot doves. The shaman grunted assent and the
pair passed out.

For a time they traversed the brush, planning the deed. At the
mesa edge they broke two stones to sharp edges, and then returned.
Yellow-thigh lay under the shade-roof with closed eyes, breathing
regularly. The friend went by him to look into the house, and finding
it empty, nodded. Earth-tongue, who had approached, bent suddenly down
and struck with all his might at the sleeper’s head. The shaman pushed
himself to a sitting position as the blood began to pour from the
mangled side of his face. The friend started back, then plunged forward
to finish the man, and swung; but his excited arm brought the weapon
down only on the victim’s knee. Then he staggered off, scarcely able
in fright and emotion to drag his own legs. Earth-tongue, seeing the
shaman still sitting, strode forward again and with both hands drove
the point of the stone through the top of his skull. Two women who had
been going through each other’s hair in the shadow of the brush fence
outside, half turned at the noise and shrieked, while Earth-tongue
dashed after his companion, seized his hand, and dragged him forward.
They ran through the willows and at last lay down to pant in hiding;
and here, after they had quieted, Earth-tongue laughed at his friend’s
faltering stroke and steps. Then they went on, still keeping to cover,
until around the second bend they swam the river.

On the other side, old men were gaming with poles and hoop, and others
watched. The two sat down and looked on. Three times, four times, until
it was early afternoon, the players bet and threw their poles and one
or the other finally took up the stakes. Then Earth-tongue said, “I
have killed a shaman, the large man at Sloping-gravel.”

“Yes, kill him,” answered one of the old men, thinking he was boasting
of an empty intent; and a spectator added, “Indeed, it would be well.
Too many persons are dying.”

“I have killed him,” Earth-tongue said again, and they began to believe
him. So they went to the houses. Soon word came that the shaman
was dead; and then his kinsmen arrived, angry and threatening, and
accusations flew back and forth, while Earth-tongue stood unmoved and
silent but wary. The kinsmen finally challenged to a stick fight the
next day, and withdrew to burn the dead man.

The people of the settlement commended Earth-tongue and promised to
engage for him; and in the morning they and all his kin and the kin
of those whom the shaman had brought to their death, gathered in the
center of a large playing field. Each man carried a willow as thick as
his forearm and reaching to his neck; and in his left hand, a shorter
parrying stick. The challengers appeared, somewhat fewer in number and
with tear-marked faces, but enraging their opponents by crying the
names of their dead parents and grandparents. Then the two bodies,
spreading into irregular lines, rushed at each other. Each man swung
at an antagonist’s head, now with his staff held in one hand, now in
both. Blows beat down on heads through the guard, rained on shoulders,
bruised knuckles, and the willows clashed amid the shouts. Now and
then a staff broke and a contestant ran back to seize a new one. The
fighters sweated, panted, rubbed blood out of their eyes and staggered
forward and back as the lines swayed in the clamor. Once or twice a
maddened fighter, running in under his opponent’s strokes, seized his
hair to belabor him with his parry-club; whereupon shouts of “Bad,
bad! no! no! release!” arose and a multitude of rescuers’ blows drove
him back. The shaman’s side were getting the worst of it, but rallied
again and again without being driven wholly to their end of the field.
Strokes became fewer and feebler. Weary arms could no longer rise.
Fighter after fighter leaned on his stick, or sat on the ground in the
rear. Each side taunted the other to come on again; and at last they
drew apart, every man panting, bruised, and weary, but satisfied at
the damage he had inflicted. No heads had been broken and no one died,
though some were sick for a few days from maggots that had bred in the
scalp under their clotted hair; and then talk died down and the enmity
gradually subsided. Earth-tongue won the praise of all the Mohave who
were not directly involved.

Once, runners came from the Yuma to invite to an attack on the Cocopa
at the mouth of the river. A hundred and twenty Mohave went down.
The kohota or play-chief of the northern Mohave asked for captives,
although he already had several; and Earth-tongue was one of the men
whom he requested to carry food and water for the prisoner’s return
journey, and to guard against their escape.

The Yuma contingent was even larger than the Mohave one; and the attack
was made at daybreak. It was not much of a fight. The first house
entered gave the alarm and the settlement scattered amid yells. Only
two Cocopa were killed by the Yuma and two young women, sisters, called
Night-hawk, captured by the Mohave. The latter stayed with the Yuma
four days to watch the scalp dance; but no one of them having touched
the corpses, they were not in need of purification, and returned home.

The whole tribe came out to escort them to the kohota’s house. There
the captives were made to sit down, while the kohota stood up and
sang Pleiades. Then men and women, facing each other, danced. When
the sun was at its height, they stopped, ate what the kohota’s women
brought out, then lay in the shade or gambled. In the afternoon the
kohota called out a Chutaha singer. Soon the sounding jar began to
boom, the people left off their play, and danced: three rows of young
men with feathers tied in their hair, one row of old men, and two women
standing separate. Then at last, as the sun was coming low, the chief
came with rattles in his hand and at the end of a song shouted: “Let
him sing who wishes to! Let any woman sing! I appoint no one!” Women
grasped the rattles and carried them, one to a Tumanpa singer, others
to those who knew Vinimulya and Vinimulya-hapacha; and one was brought
to Earth-tongue to sing Raven. Soon all four of the dance series were
in progress at different places, while those women who liked Nyohaiva,
having persuaded an old man to sing that, began to revolve about him
standing shoulder to shoulder. As fast as one song ended, the singers
took up another, for the sun had nearly set, and the sweating women
clamored for more, while the crowd of people stood about.

With darkness they stopped to bathe and eat and rest, then danced
again, singing as before and new kinds too, while off on the side, by
the light of a fire, groups of men played hiding game to the Tudhulva
songs through the night. In the morning the kohota had the assemblage
bathe, fed them once more, and sent them home to return two days later.

This time they danced again all evening, all afternoon, and all night.
As the sun rose, the kohota, still singing, took the two captives one
by each hand, and walked toward the river. Behind him came the Tumanpa
and Vinimulya singers, each with his crowd, and then the mass of people
in procession. The kohota, still holding the two girls, ran over the
bank, and every one followed. This made Mohaves of the captives, and
people were no longer afraid of them. The kohota led them back to his
house, where they were to live, and said, “Perhaps these girls will
marry and bear children, who, belonging to both tribes, will make peace
when they grow up, and there will be no more war.” So it came in part.
After two years, one of the sisters married, and soon had a child. The
other continued without husband. In time, formal peace was made between
the Yuma and Cocopa; whereupon the kohota announced, “Since the tribes
are friends now, let us not keep Night-hawk longer.” So a party led her
to the Yuma, where her kinsmen met and escorted her home. Her sister
remained with her Mohave husband.

Earth-tongue was beginning to grow old. His oldest son and one daughter
both had children, and his hair showed first streaks of gray. He
thought more of his youth, and commenced to remember what he had
dreamed then. He knew he had seen Matavilya sick and gradually dying
and burned, and his ashes washed away by the river that Mastamho
made to flow out of the ground. He remembered too Mastamho’s house
on Avikwa’me, with the multitudes inside it in rows like little
children, and Mastamho instructing them; and how he repeated after him,
correctly, until Mastamho said to him, “That is right! You know it! You
have it! I gave it to you!” Then he had dreamed how Sky-rattle-snake
was at last inveigled from his house far in the south ocean, and his
head cut off on Avikwa’me. Earth-tongue saw his joints and blood and
sweat and juices turn into eggs. From these eggs hatched Rattlesnake,
Spider, Scorpion, and Yellow-ant, who went off to Three-Mountains and
remote places, deep in the earth or high in the sky, and from there
built four roads to all tribes. When they wish a man for a friend,
they bite him and take his shadow home with them. “But another road
leads from their house to my heart,” Earth-tongue would say, “and I
know what they do. And I intercept the shadow before Rattlesnake has
led it wholly to Three-Mountains, and sing it back; I break the roads
of spittle that Spider has begun to wind four times around the man’s
heart; and so he lives again.”

Then Earth-tongue commenced to be sent for when people were
bitten—first his relatives, then others. He would stand up at once
and sing to bring a cooling wind; and, reaching the sick person, sing
over him from the north, west, south, and east, but not a fifth time,
lest he die. Then, sending every one away but a wife or mother, and
forbidding all drink, he would sit by the patient all night, singing
his four songs from time to time. In the morning the sick person used
to get up well.

Fighting interrupted these pursuits. It was a summons again from the
Yuma, this time against the Maricopa; and two hundred of the Mohave
responded. The seventh night they were on Maricopa soil and met eighty
Yuma by appointment; and in the morning advanced to attack. But the
Maricopa had got wind of their presence, and when the fight opened were
reënforced by a vast number of the Pima. The Mohave and Yuma exhorted
one another, and though man after man fell, gave ground slowly,
fighting back outnumbered.

At last the enemy ran all in a body against them. Part of the Mohave
broke before the shock and fled to the north, ultimately escaping. But
sixty of them formed with the Yuma on a little knoll near the Gila,
where they stood in a dense mass. As the Pima and Maricopa dashed
against them, they dragged man after man struggling into their midst,
where he was dispatched with fierce club blows on his head or thrusts
into his face. Twice, Earth-tongue leaped out to grasp an opponent
and fling him over his back, thus protecting his own skull, while his
companions beat the struggling foe to death. The fighting grew wilder.
The Pima no longer drew back to shoot but swirled incessantly around
and into the dwindling cluster at bay. At last the shouts ceased; the
dust began to settle; and all but two of the Yuma, and every man of the
sixty Mohave, lay with crushed head or mangled body on foreign earth.

                                                        A. L. KROEBER

                   The Chief Singer of the Tepecano

There was unusual activity around the house of Don Pancho, a little
thatch-roof hut of oval shape, possibly fifteen feet by eight. Two
large posts supported a framework of poles on which was laid a gabled
thatching of grass. Only toward the center of the house could one stand
upright, and a strong push would have sent tumbling outside, the stones
heaped in a wall without the use of mortar or mud, which filled the
space between the eaves and the bare ground.

The unwonted stir in the house of Don Pancho did not betoken any
epoch-making occurrence even in the uneventful history of the little
village of Azqueltán which sheltered the remnants of the Tepecano
tribe. It was merely that Don Pancho was awaiting the birth of his
child. And so the women of the immediate neighborhood gathered inside
the hut while the men conversed in low tones without. Francisco alone
passed freely in and out. At last, after a longer pause within, he
slipped quietly out of the door.

“Gracias a Dios! It is a son,” he said quietly and produced from
somewhere a bottle of sotol[8] bought on his last journey to the
nearest “civilized” village against this very event. The men crowded
around him and drank heartily to the health of the newcomer. With true
politeness they congratulated the father and then slipped away into
the darkness toward their own little hovels. Only the squalling of the
infant broke upon the stillness of the mountain air.

Again an air of unusual activity pervaded the village. Word had come
that the cura from the neighboring town would arrive that day to say
mass. The church and the adjoining curato had been opened and aired,
the dirt swept from the floor and the dust from the crude figures of
the crucifixion. For the little church was the pride of Azqueltán. A
generation ago it had been built of adobe brick and stone quarried by
civilized artisans, and its white front faced the torrid rays of the
sun as valiantly as it did the sulphurous flames of hell. The little
courtyard, too, shone with a freshly-swept air, not a blade of grass
nor a speck of green marring its smooth surface.

At last sharp eyes detected a cavalcade slowly descending the tortuous
path. Hastily Francisco climbed the shaking ladder to the roof of the
church and seized the clapper. Well did he realize the importance of
his office as mayor-domo of the church! And never while _he_ lived
would the Sr. Cura arrive without proper greeting! One of the several
bells was still uncracked, and to it Francisco devoted particular
attention. The bells held a place hardly second to the church itself
in Don Pancho’s affections, for had they not been imported at enormous
expense from that far away capital, the City of Mexico? A final clang
and Francisco hastened down the quaking ladder to be the first to kneel
before the jocund padre and kiss his hand. Roused by the pealing of
the bells the inhabitants of the little valley began to wander in.
Reverently they entered the church, kneeling on the brick floor, the
men and women on opposite sides, while mass was said.

The service finished, the Aguilars, Francisco and Julia, his wife,
stood up, bearing the child. Beside them stood Juan Márquez and his
wife, as godfather and godmother. A few drops of water resented, a few
ritual words, and Mother Church had gathered another soul to her bosom.
José María was the name the cura entered in his record.

But had these intervening weeks been entirely uneventful in the life
of little José or Pepe, as he was familiarly called? By no means!
Francisco was too conscientious a man to take any chances with his
son’s welfare. For centuries before the padres had told them of God
and Christ, the forefathers had worshiped Father Sun, Mother Moon and
Elder Brother Morning Star. In fact it was quite obvious that God _was_
the Sun, the Virgin María the Moon and Jesus the Morning Star. For
did not the beautiful picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe hanging in
the church show her standing on the moon? The two religions could not
be antagonistic, but merely supplementary, thought Francisco, as far
as he thought on the subject at all. Nevertheless, there was no use
arguing with the cura about it, for he would not understand. And so,
immediately after the birth of little Pepe, Francisco made four prayer
sticks with little squares of colored yarn attached, and went and
deposited them at secret altars on the hills to east, north, west and
south, breathing a prayer at each place for the health and fortune of
his child.

Little José grew up to boyhood, his status in the world a rather
anomalous one—a little lower than the half-blood Mexican peon on the
rolling country to the south, a little above the pagan Huichol in
the mountains, yet despised by both. Yet that worried him little.
For was he not surrounded by loving parents and friends and a not
ungenerous nature? To north and south stretched the canyon or
barranca of the Bolaños, a great rent in the earth’s crust, carved
out through countless ages by the little silvery rivulet hiding in
its bottom. Hardly more than a brook in the dry season, it swelled
to an impassable, turbulent torrent during the rains. On either side
rose the steep sides of the barranca, those to the east leading to the
rolling, flat country populated by the “neighbors,” the Mexicans, while
to the west the mountains rose higher and higher to form the great
Sierra Madre range in which lived the pagan Huichol and Cora Indians.
Occasionally small groups of Huichol passed by or through the village
on their way to or from their mountain homes, and José peeked at them
from behind the shelter of his mother’s skirts, and wondered at their
strange dress with many little woven bags around the waist, their queer
hats, their bows and arrows.

“When I was your age,” said old Nestor, his grandfather, “we all
dressed as they do now. Then our wives wove us blankets and we made
clothes of deer hide. But Ave María! Now we must dress in white cotton
blouses and trousers and look like Mexicans!”

José never tired of hearing Nestor tell of the glories of the days
gone by, when the Tepecanos were a powerful people and held a great
stretch of territory. But wars and pestilence had done their worst and
the tribe had gradually withdrawn to the great barranca where José was
born. And even there the Mexicans were gradually encroaching. Some
married into the tribe, while the more unscrupulous boldly appropriated
the ancestral lands and recorded the first titles.

José’s earliest impressions, of course, were those of home, to him a
wonderful place, and his parents most remarkable people, omniscient
beyond a doubt! Surely there was nothing in the world they did not know
or could not do! His mother in particular was the busiest person. As
the first rays of the sun dimmed the morning star, she arose and put
wood on the fire which had been smoldering all night under the pot of
beans and under the comal or griddle, and by the time the rest of the
family were well awake the little, round, flat tortillas were toasting.
These little toasted cakes of thin, unleavened corn dough were the
staple food, not only of the Tepecano, but of millions of Mexicans of
the peon class. Torn in half and used as a scoop to carry a mess of
brown beans and chili sauce to the mouth—ah! Who could ask for anything
more savory? Surely not little José. But what a drudgery it meant to
his mother! Not that she considered it drudgery—she knew of nothing
else, and it was the lot of every woman.

And so Señora Aguilar bent all day—or most of it—over the stone metate
grinding the softened, boiled corn into dough. The corn itself, the
typical Indian corn with yellow ears, black ears, red ears and ears of
all these colors, lay husked in a corner of the house. Every day a few
ears would be taken, shelled and put to simmer in a pot with a pinch
of lime to soften it. Then it had to be ground on the metate with a
stone grinder, patted into shape and toasted on the griddle. At almost
any hour of the day could be heard in the hut the sound of the muller
grating against the metate, or the sharp “pat, pat” on the cake. When
night came at last, a mass of dough was always ready to be prepared for

So José watched his busy mother and wondered why she took no time to
play with him. Several times a day she took the great water jar on her
shoulder and walked slowly with him down the long, winding trail to the
little brook which supplied the household—yes, several households—with
water. Occasionally, too, they bathed in the clear waters—in the
summer. But even then the water was cool and soap expensive, so baths
were infrequent. And then the water was full of wonderful animals known
as chanes. No one could see them, of course, except in rainy weather,
when they appeared as great arcs or bows in the sky, striped with
colors, head in one spring and tail in another, as they visited. But
ordinarily they were invisible, though their forms were well known.
They had the bodies of serpents with horns like cattle. They were to
be treated reverently, as they had the power of sickening all who
disregarded them.

“Never drink directly from the spring, Pepe,” his mother warned him,
“or the chan will enter and sting you. Dash the water into your mouth
as your father does.”

Although corn cakes and beans supplied the major part of their dietary,
there were other foods, in season and on a smaller scale, other crops,
tobacco, chili-peppers and squash. Squashes did not keep like corn or
beans, unless they were cut into long strips and dried. More often
the squashes were eaten fresh, at harvest time. A hole was dug in the
ground and lined with stones and in this a fire was lighted until the
stones were hot. Then the fire was removed and replaced with squashes,
and the whole covered and allowed to remain all night. In the morning
the squashes were perfectly baked and delicious. But the best part
of the squash was the seeds which were toasted, cracked open and the
kernels eaten. These were indeed excellent! Occasionally the juicy
centre of a large cactus was cooked in the same way.

But with the advent of spring, that was the joyous time! It was the
coming of the rains after the long dry season. The spring rains are the
most vital factor in the life and economy of the natives of northern
Mexico, and on them all interests settle. Then the parched land springs
into verdure and the streams burst forth anew. Then the nopal, the
“prickly pear” cactus, puts forth new green leaves which can be cleaned
of their spines and boiled to an edible tenderness, and the blue and
purple tunas appear on their leaves. Then the mesquite and vamuchile
trees prepare to produce their fruit. But best of all, it is the time
of the pitahaya, that luscious fruit of the organ cactus.

“The pitahayas are ripe! The pitahayas are ripe!” shouted and sang
José with the other children, while their elders prepared to desert
their villages and repair to the heights where the cacti grew most
abundantly, there to gorge themselves until the season passed. All year
long the great reed poles leaned against the thatched roofs of the
houses, awaiting the joyous spring when they would be used to pick the
pitahayas from their high branches.

Seldom it was that little Pepe tasted flesh of any kind. To be sure
they kept a few chickens, but the Aguilars were too poor to eat many
of them; they were sold to the itinerant trader to take to the larger
civilized towns. Too, the dried corn which the chickens ate meant just
that much less for the family. Nevertheless José knew and relished
the taste of chicken and eggs. A few goats, sheep, pigs and turkeys
were kept in the neighborhood, and occasionally the word was passed
around that one was to be killed. The wealthier families purchased
a few pounds, cut it into strips and hung it up to dry. For a few
days, meat was added to the dietary of the Aguilar family. A very few
cattle and horses were kept by the very opulent, but these were seldom
killed. They represented rather the wealth of the owner and were sold
to Mexican ranchmen. But when for one reason or another—generally by
accident—one was killed, the word was noised abroad for many miles and,
like buzzards, the population gathered to purchase or beg the meat.

“Ah, but it was different in the old days!” exclaimed old Nestor. “Then
the country was full of game. Ave María! So many deer! And rabbits and
raccoons, ducks and pigeons! But now the Gods are angry at us because
we have neglected them and will send us no more deer.”

“Is it really the Gods who send the deer, little grandfather?” asked

“Surely,” replied the old man. “Are they not the pets of our Elder
Brother, the Morning Star? When one wishes to hunt deer he must first
fast seven days and then go to one of the sacred altars with a prayer
stick and beads for payment and recite the old prayer begging Elder
Brother to lend him some of his deer. Then he will be sure to shoot
them. But he must not eat any of the first deer he kills, but must give
it to the other people, and he must be sure to make candles of the fat
and burn them. Of course we always used bow and arrows to shoot them,
as they would be offended and leave the country if they were killed by
other means.”

“How interesting!” murmured little Pepe. “And do the Gods keep other
animals too, little grandfather?”

“Por Dios, no! The deer are their only pets. But the scorpions are
the cattle of the Devil and one must also say a prayer and make a
jícara[9] full of pinole[10] with beads in order to drive them away
from one’s home. And then there are the great serpents which live in
the mountains. One must also recite a prayer to get one of them.”

“Ave María!” ejaculated José. “Did you eat snakes too?”

“Only small ones,” laughed Nestor, “and iguanas. The large serpents
we kept in the houses as protectors. They were brought home and
instructed to hold any one who came to the house to rob, and to give
the alarm by striking the ground with their tails. But they had to be
fed bread every Thursday.” Here old Nestor smiled. “At least that’s
what my grandfather told _me_. I never saw them myself!”

It was many years before little José journeyed from home. There he
played with the stones and the household objects, his dog and cat and
his pet quail, learning the manifold secrets of the world about him.
There were other boys nearby with whom he played; they had their bows
and arrows—weapons discarded by their elders long ago—and their toys
and dear possessions like boys the world over. There were few household
objects for them to break in play, only a few pots and gourds, and,
like all Indians, the Tepecanos seldom or never punished their
children, preferring that they should grow up loving and with their
spirits unbroken. An occasional trip to the nearest Mexican village to
purchase cloth or sugar, or to the house of a relation a few miles away
was the extent of José’s travels. For sweets he had the honey which
might be taken from the hollow logs raised on forked posts outside of
the house.

Gradually José learned to help his parents and, by the time he was
fourteen, he was able to do most of the tasks expected of young men.
He accompanied his father Francisco on trips to the hills in search
of natural products. The leaves of the agave were one of the most
sought-after materials. These they carried home, stripped off the soft
green exterior and put the strong interior fibers to dry. This was
called ixti, and from it all kinds of cord and rope were made. Many
hours José sat, twisting the wheel with which his father made rope. At
other times he helped to make adobe bricks, mixing the mud to a proper
consistency, pressing it into moulds and leaving it in the sun to dry.
His father likewise taught him to weave strong sacks of ixti cord on a
simple loom.

Some of his spare time, too, he devoted to that eternal Mexican pastime
of hunting buried treasure. Of course he never found any, but the
joy of the search was in itself and had he not heard countless tales
of fabulous wealth found in caves where it had been hidden during a
revolution? One could never tell!

By this time José was old enough to wear the typical costume of the
men of the tribe. For a few years he had run naked, but not for long,
and during the greater part of his boyhood had worn clothes of a
nondescript character. But about the time of puberty, his mother made
him a suit of white cotton cloth consisting of blouse and trousers.
These were so much more comfortable than the tight trousers affected
by the civilized Mexicans. Nevertheless, the laws of the nearby towns
prohibited any one’s appearing in the streets in the flowing calzones,
so in each Indian village was at least one pair of pantalones which
were borrowed whenever any one wished to visit town. The trousers were
upheld by a girdle of faja or wool, woven by his mother on a narrow
loom with geometric designs in black and white. A little bag, woven
of the same material, known as a costal, accompanied him wherever he
went, for in this he carried all his little personal possessions and
necessities, such as matches, tobacco and, at times, lunch, as well
as the dozens of little knick-knacks dear to the heart of the boy.
In the same way his forefathers carried their sticks to make fire,
and his grandfathers their flint and steel. But in these enlightened
days sulphur or wax matches were within the reach of even impecunious
Mexican Indians, and José very early learned to smoke cigarettes made
of locally grown tobacco rolled in corn husks. As likely as not he
carried the “makin’s” on the broad brim of his sombrero, an immense
peaked hat of the braided leaf of the agave. Sandals of rawhide
completed his costume. The hat was extremely heavy, but it was the
custom, so José wore it with pride. But his greatest pride was his
machete, that great steel knife carried by every man, which served
every imaginable purpose. No boy was ever half so proud of his first
watch as was little José of his first machete.

José helped his father in the labor of the field. In the winter they
made a clearing by cutting and burning down the trees and brush. This
was not a great task, for the rocky and infertile hillsides produced
few trees or bushes and the cacti and grass were easily destroyed.
Then, after the first heavy rain of the summer, they went to their
field, carrying the seed corn, beads and a jícara full of water in
which corn meal had been mixed. They had already undergone a fast
of five days and an ablutionary bath. It was indeed a very sacred
and solemn occasion, for the success of the yield, if not the entire
harvest, depended upon them. For was not Corn the daughter of Father
Sun? So they reverently placed the beads in the center and four
corners of the field, and sprinkled the pinole water to the cardinal
points of the compass while Francisco, reverently facing the east,
recited the ancient prayer, promising Father Sun that they would guard
well his daughter and cherish her. Then they made little holes in the
ground with sticks, dropped in the kernels and covered them over. But
little attention was required until harvest time. Then the corn was
gathered with great joy, but the twin stalks, the corn plants with
forked stem and two ears known as the milpa cuata, were left standing
until the end. Then father and son solemnly walked around the field
as many times as there were stalks within it, and recited another
prayer, begging permission of Father Sun to carry home his daughter
and promising again to guard her well. These stalks, with the ears
attached, were then gathered in a sheaf and fastened to the ridgepole
of the house, or to a tree. And that evening Nestor told again the
old story of how Father Sun sent his daughter Corn to earth to be of
service to man and how she was wronged by her husband, Toloache,[11]
who used her bounty to support his mistresses, Crow and Badger, so that
at last she returned to her father.

“Therefore it is,” said old Nestor, “that we must pray hard for only
a little corn in place of the plenty which would have been ours. But
Toloache was punished by being fastened head downwards to the rock and
being required to grant us whatever we may ask of him.”

At this story José smiled for he was of the sophisticated younger
generation, and he looked upon it as a pretty fable, but old Nestor
evidently believed it implicitly.

Practically all the efforts of the people were individual or family
affairs. It was only on religious or ceremonial occasions that any
communal interests were attempted. But one day at the height of the dry
season his father said to José:

“Pepecito, to-morrow we are all going to fish in the river and you are
old enough to go along.”

The following day found them trudging toward the little river, their
costales filled with gordas—tortillas made thicker than usual so that
they retained their softness during the day. As they neared the river
they were joined by other parties bound in the same direction. All
paths led to a deep hole in the river above a series of rapids where,
it was suspected, the fish had all congregated. Here all hands set to
work making a tapexte, a weir or mesh of reeds laid together closely
in a plane and tied with cord. One of the long edges was weighted with
stones so that it sank to the bottom, and thus the entire mat could be
dragged up or down the stream, carrying the fish with it. An entire
day was consumed in making the tapexte and at nightfall all returned
to their homes, worn out with exertion. The next day—ah! That was a
wonderful day! Sounds of shouting and splashing filled the air. Dark
skins glistened and sparkled in the sun as the fishermen plunged into
the deep holes and endeavored to seize in little hand-nets the fish
which had been cornered by the great tapexte. And that night fish
boiled merrily in the pots of many happy households.

José was of good physical type, of medium height and slim build. His
hands and feet were small and well shaped, his features large but not
coarse. His eye was dark and sparkling, his hair thick, straight,
long and very black, his mustache, beard and body hair sparse. His
forefathers used to pluck out their beards, considering that it made
them look like the animal world, but he, like the younger generation,
cut and shaved his as fashion dictated. His color was a dark brown.
He was active, keen and bright when necessary, but inclined to
slothfulness. After all, why _should_ he do to-day anything he could
put off till to-morrow? An unpleasant task, if procrastinated, might
settle itself; if a pleasant prospect, why not prolong the enjoyable
anticipation? When life contains so little variety, why do everything
to-day and have nothing to do to-morrow?

José liked to smoke, of course, but any luxury was too expensive for
him to overdo it. And naturally he drank whenever he could get the
various distillates of agave which sold in the neighboring villages
as mescal, tequila and sotol. He drank to excess, for strong liquor
gave him a surcease from monotony—it made him a different person in a
different environment and he was glad to seek the change. Of course
drunken brawls were frequent and machete wounds occasional, but they
were forgiven shortly afterwards and forgotten.

Like all of his people, José was naturally cheerful and from a certain
point of view, honest. He would probably have considered it highly
commendable to steal anything from a Mexican or a Gringo stranger if
he could escape undetected, but he couldn’t steal from friends. He
was given to boasting—when the boast could not be checked up. Always
cheerful, singing and happy, few things worried him. Although very
emotional, like all Indians he considered it weak to betray emotion
before others. His one outstanding quality was his politeness, and this
was of the heart, not a mere outward display; he was always ready to be
of assistance to the helpless, sympathetic to the unfortunate. He could
hardly be called literate though he could, after intense and laborious
cerebration, manage to spell out a message or write a note. What with
this illiteracy, his tendency to procrastination, ignorance of all
trades and indisposition to continued labor, he would have been a
miserable failure in an industrial civilization, although in his native
environment he was a valuable member of society.

One year during the dry season, after the harvest of corn was in,
José accompanied several other young men of the tribe to a nearby
mining town where labor was in demand, and here he experienced his
first contact with “high” civilization. Here with pick and shovel he
could earn half a peso a day—twenty-five cents. Even at that rate
José could save enough to return to the little village in comparative
affluence after a few months, for money of any kind was seldom seen
there, practically all business being done by barter and one was indeed
deeply in debt who owed his neighbor a peso! José’s native boss was
easy-going and the men were not overworked, but the American foreman
was a puzzle to José. Always on the go, he never sat down to rest. And
such queer Spanish as he spoke—principally profanity! Then there were
such wonderful and incomprehensible machines, there, which did the work
of many men, run by steam and electricity: telephones, telegraphs,
automobiles and countless other appliances.

But the most joyous days of José’s youth were those of the fiestas.
Then the natives for miles around, both Indians and “neighbors,”
gathered in the little pueblo. Ave Marìa! What an assemblage! All the
pretty girls with their best petticoats of bright red flannel, their
rebozos[12] covering their sleek, black hair, their bright black eyes
sparkling with excitement and their white teeth shining. All the men
with their white trousers and blouses freshly washed, their hats
freshened up and their machetes polished. All roads led to the little
village, most coming on foot, the more opulent on donkeys, mules or
horses, for none owned wagons, nor could any wagon traverse the rocky
trails. Open hospitality reigned everywhere. Relations who had not
seen each other for months, compadres by the scores, old friends, new
acquaintances, fell on each other’s necks and slapped each other on the
back while the bottle of fiery sotol or tequila circulated freely.

Frequently the fiesta began with some communal work on the church, for
the church was the center of all activity. Possibly a wall had to be
erected and each one helped as he or she was able, the boys and women
carrying single small stones, the men carrying frames on which many
large stones were piled. An hour or so of combined labor and the wall
was built. In the afternoon, sports were the order of the day. Of these
the most popular was that of colando al toro, in which the wealthy
young men endeavored, each on his pet horse, to ride past a bull, seize
him by the tail and overthrow him. How José longed to be able to own a
horse and gain the plaudits of the girls by his prowess!

“I might even,” thought he, “go to the great City of Mexico and learn
to be a famous torero and be the idol of the entire Republic.”

At night there were cuetes exploded in honor of the day, which
delighted José hugely, and dances to the music of the violin. All day
and much of the night the celebration kept up. Little booths and tables
were erected wherever vendors sold dainties, and the air was filled
with the cries of the merchants.

“Sweet oranges! Four for a half-real!”[13]

“Melon seeds! Perfectly toasted!”

“Peanuts! Peanuts!”

“Sugar cane! The very sweetest!”

“Candies! Who wants them?”

Lucky was the boy who had a real to spend at the fiesta, for a goodly
portion of anything would be sold at the standard price of a centavo.

Meanwhile, over in one corner, the men gathered around a Mexican from a
nearby town who was running a gambling game with the cards, while his
partner dispensed bottles of the agave brandy. Soon the inevitable
vicious altercation would arise. To be sure it was limited to a violent
flood of profanity and only reputation and dignity were injured, but
the women shrank away while drunken cries filled the air. A few cool
heads interfered before any irreparable damage was done, but it was not
always thus, as a rude cross or two in the neighborhood of the pueblo,
marking a place where a soul had come to a violent end, mutely attest.

It was the Christmas season that was particularly celebrated at
Azqueltán, for then the old pageant of “Los Pastores” was performed.
For weeks before, the performers, all prominent men of the village,
were engaged in making their costumes of long, white dresses and their
staffs decorated with colored tinsel and tissue paper. The words
and music had been handed down from the days of the first Spanish
missionaries, and depicted the adventures of a group of shepherds
journeying to the nativity. José’s father, Francisco, played the part
of the hermit with a crude mask of wood and an immense rosary of wooden
beads. It was José’s ambition to take the part of Satan, who attempted
to prevent the pilgrimage.

“José,” said Francisco one day, “it is high time you were married.
You are eighteen now and most of the boys of your age are married
already. I cannot afford to support you any longer and you must set up
for yourself. I’ve been hearing a great deal about your affairs with
several girls—yes, and with some of our married women too! And it will
have to cease.”

Here Don Pancho chuckled to himself, for he had a great deal of pride
in his handsome son and enjoyed the gossip of his amours. José had
learned to be a fair performer on the fiddle and the guitar, and would
sit by night with a few other free lances of his own age under the
eaves of some straw hut watching the stars come out in the beautiful
crisp, evening air and singing melancholy love songs. Most of the girls
succumbed to his advances at once, but there was one who rejected them
with affected scorn and she, of course, was the one he most desired.
Consequently he began to hedge at his father’s suggestion.

“But, little father,” said he, “I don’t want to get married
yet,—possibly I never will!”

“What nonsense!” exploded Francisco. “It’s all right for Gringos to
be bachelors; they can hire women to do their work; they can eat in
tiendas. But you! Who’ll make your tortillas? Who’ll make your clothes?
Don’t be a fool!”

José knew it was up to him to get a wife, but he wished a little more
time to press his suit with Josefa, the much-to-be-desired daughter of
Cándido Gonzales. “Give me another month, little father,” he asked, and
Francisco agreed.

So José sought out his grandfather, old Nestor. Bashfully he hesitated
and “stalled” until at last the sly old man suspected the truth.

“Come, come!” he ejaculated. “Speak out! What is it, a girl?” José
presented his case. The old man swelled up with pride.

“Ah! Of a truth you have come to the right man! You knew your old
grandfather was the one to aid you! There is now only one other man
in the tribe who knows how to gain the love of a girl! A week from
to-night at midnight will be the time. We must both fast for five days
before, in order to appease the Gods and María Santísima. Get me a
piece of the girl’s clothing and I’ll find the other things.”

José didn’t relish the idea of a fast, for he was of the younger
generation and took little stock in the superstitions, as he considered
them, of the elders. Nevertheless he was now in trouble and, with the
natural faith of the helpless man, willing to try anything. So he
endured the fast without a whimper and surreptitiously visited the
girl’s house while she was fetching water from the spring and stole a
small article of clothing.

When at last the night came, the old man was in a queer mood of
neurotic enthusiasm and excitement, combined with sober dignity in
contemplation of his important office.

“Have you the clothing?” he asked eagerly. José handed it to him.

“And now a piece of your own clothing!” A short search brought to light
a discarded bit which would serve the purpose.

Carefully the old man made a doll of the clothes of each, one to
represent the boy, the other the girl. Then he produced flowers of
five narcotic plants which he had spent the day in seeking—güizache,
palo mulato, garambullo, rosa maría and toloache—and with these he
decorated the boy doll. When the stars indicated the hour of midnight,
a candle was lighted and the figures were placed in a large bowl of
water, floating. José watched with bated breath. Not that he put much
faith in the outcome, but the spell of the magic, the stillness of the
night and the temper of the old man, who by this time had practically
reached a state of self-hypnosis, had a profound effect. Reverently,
and in a low, tense voice the old man recited the ancient prayer
begging of the Intoxicated Woman and the Flower Man, that the desired
one should be brought to her lover. After this he produced his musical
bow and, placing a bowl upside down on the ground, held the bow on it
with his foot. Striking the string with two small sticks so that it
gave a sonorous twang, he began to sing the old song appropriate for
the occasion. Five times he sang it, and then jumped up and walked
around the bowl with the floating figures, five times. The charm was
then complete. Eagerly he looked into the bowl and found that the two
figures had floated together. With a delighted air he turned to José,
restraining his high-pitched emotion.

“It is well,” he said simply. “The Gods and María Santísima have
answered your prayer.” José felt relieved, for, although at heart
he doubted the efficacy of the charm, the old man’s emotion had a
considerable effect upon him. So it was with greater self-confidence
that in the morning he renewed both his meals and his assaults on the
heart of the delectable Josefa, until he felt that he might confidently
put the matter to the test.

“Father,” said he the following day, “will you speak to Cándido
Gonzales about Josefa for me?” His father chuckled.

“So that’s the way the wind blows! I guess we can settle the matter. It
would be silly of Don Cándido to refuse such a promising son-in-law!”

There were many things to be arranged and the matter of the marriage
of one’s children was too important an affair to be lightly settled,
so old Francisco and Cándido had many long conferences. They debated
the matter from every possible point of view and then all over again
from the beginning. But even matters of greater pith and moment must
eventually be squeezed dry, and at last the time arrived when neither
the fertile Don Pancho nor the equally fertile Don Cándido could
conceive of another topic of discussion, so they considered the matter
formally arranged. The young people would await the next visit of the
cura and then be married.

But right there old Nestor interposed a furious objection. Here he
was, the Cantador Mayor, the Chief Singer or high priest of the old
religion, the keeper of the old customs, doing his best to preserve the
tribe from dissolution and destruction because of the anger of the old
Gods. The young generation were deserting the Gods and the practices of
their forefathers. They no longer attended the old ceremonies, prayed
and sacrificed to the Gods, fasted or made prayer sticks. Even the old
language had nearly perished and the Gods were so angry that they were
permitting the tribe to grow smaller and smaller, yearly. It was only
the fervor of a few devoted conservatives like himself which still
induced the Gods to send their rains in the spring. And would he allow
his only grandson to be married without the practice of the old rites?
Por Dios, no! And besides, he was one of the very few men who still
remembered the old prayer and it was the custom to pay a peso per night
to the one who recited the prayer. He had not the slightest objection
to Pepe’s being married by the cura—the more Gods the better—but he
insisted on his privileges and the observance of the old customs.

So, to please the old man and to keep peace, it was agreed to follow
the old customs, and the next Wednesday night the three men, Nestor,
Francisco and José, journeyed to the girl’s house. Along the narrow,
steep and rocky trail they stumbled, finally arriving at the house
where they were cordially admitted by old Cándido. Seating themselves
by the door, Nestor immediately launched into the prayer which was a
long one and recited with great gravity. He spoke in beautiful allegory
of the creation of the girl in the heavens, and of her long wanderings
before her birth. At last the long prayer came to an end and the party
trooped home again.

For five nights on successive Wednesdays and Saturdays, this was
repeated and on the last night Cándido, who had been ably coached by
Nestor, arose at the end of the old man’s speech and spoke in reply,
gravely, the traditional response which had served Tepecano brides
and grooms for centuries. He admitted that his daughter was lazy and
worthless, but appreciated the honor of having her hand asked, and
closed with an appeal to the Gods for forgiveness from sins and for
health. Then he brought out a white cloth and on it were piled all the
girl’s possessions and her wedding gifts. Then all four, the bride and
groom and their fathers, seized each a corner, raised the cloth, and
the ceremony was complete. José remained with his wife’s people for
several months while he built himself a new house and put his household
in order before taking his bride to her new home. When the good cura
came to say mass the next time, the couple appeared before him and were
united according to the rites of Holy Church.

One day a melancholy figure appeared before the little hut of Nestor
and the old man hobbled out to greet his visitor.

“Enter, enter, little grandson!” he greeted. “Why so sad? What has

“It is my wife, little grandfather,” replied José. “She is quite ill.
We have done everything we can for her. All the neighbors have come,
and each one has brought her some delicacy and forced her to eat it,
but to no avail. Can you not help her?”

The old man puffed up with a mixture of self-conceit, anger and

“Ah, what could you expect from these old women? They expect to cure
sickness by foods and drugs when it is necessary to appease or overcome
something! Verily you have come to the right man! Let us see what we
can do.” He disappeared within his house, made a judicious selection of
objects, put them within his sack, and over the trail they went toward
the house.

Sure enough, there lay poor Josefa on a mat on the floor of the house.
The civilized physician would have diagnosed her malady as malaria and
suggested doses of quinine and crude oil—the latter to be administered
to the mosquitoes in the pools of stagnant water. A few sympathetic
neighbors were gathered around, begging her to try one or another of
the dainties they had so carefully prepared.

“Truly, I have done my best, grandfather,” lamented José. “I have
sucked at the seat of pain as you have told me, but extracted nothing,
and I have blown tobacco smoke on her and prayed, but without avail.”

“Yes, my son, but one must have practice in such matters and the
confidence of the Gods. Possibly it is the work of one of your enemies.
It is well that you called me, for none else in the tribe has my power
and influence.”

Sending the neighbors home, he questioned José with regard to his sins
of omission and commission, trying to determine the cause of his wife’s
infirmity. Had he or she any enemies who might wish to send sickness
upon them? José knew of none, except possibly one of her other old
suitors. Had he been careful to placate the chanes when he built his
new home? José was compelled to admit that he had ignored this matter

“Ah, my son!” lamented the old man, “you young people laugh at us; you
think we are silly, and yet when your own obstinacy leads you into
trouble you come to us for aid! Well, that is ever the way of youth.
Now let’s see what we can do.”

He laid Josefa on her back, standing at her feet. Lighting a cigarette
made of corn husk and tobacco he assumed a serious attitude which
rapidly became almost hypnotic. Taking long draughts of smoke, he faced
the four cardinal points in turn, blowing a puff of smoke in each
direction, and then in a low tense voice recited a prayer, begging that
the illness might pass from her and she be restored to health. Then he
blew five puffs of smoke on her hands, feet and forehead and, falling
on his knees, began to stroke her body rapidly from the extremities
to the seat of pain, at which place he then began to suck vigorously.
Finally arising, he spat into his hand a mouthful of blood. His state
of tense emotion rapidly disappeared as he said gravely:

“This is a serious matter, Pepito. It is not the chan; if it were,
I should have sucked out only spittle. The blood proves it to be

“It is a matter of the greatest delicacy,” continued Nestor, “and you
are lucky to have one so powerful as I at your service. Even for me it
will require a whole week of fasting and praying to diagnose the matter
correctly. And even for my favorite grandson I couldn’t afford to do it
for less than the standard price of five pesos!”

After a half-hour’s argument the matter was amicably arranged and for
a week the old man bathed, fasted and prayed, and by the end of that
time had worked himself into an exalted state which combined with the
weakness induced by the fast, made him see visions. On the evening of
the seventh day he again appeared before the young man, the gravity of
the business evidently weighing upon him very heavily.

“I have seen it all,” he said simply. “It was a young man. I couldn’t
see him plainly enough to recognize him. But he made a figure from a
piece of her clothing and stuck a pin into it while another old man
prayed that she might sicken and die!”

A wave of hatred passed over José and he cursed the culprit violently.
There was no longer the slightest doubt in his mind that old Nestor
spoke with authority. He had heard all these old tales about ways of
harming an enemy by magical means, but he had never really put any
faith in them. And now he was the victim! He ran over in his mind the
names of those who might be suspected. There was Pablo Hernandez with
whom he had had an argument at the last fiesta, and Pedro Martinez who
claimed he had cheated him over a sale of corn last month. Ah, but
wait. There was Margarito de la Rosa who had been his pet rival for the
hand of Josefa. The more he thought of it, the more certain he was that
it must have been he. All right! He would fix him!

Nestor set about his cure with gravity and self-possession, knowing
like any doctor that the best half of any cure lay in the confidence of
the patient. First he produced his bundle of arrows made of a straight
shaft of wood with a large feather from an eagle or a red-tailed hawk,
hanging from the blunt end. These were the arrows that attacked evil
and sickness. Three of these he stuck in the ground at the patient’s
head and a fourth at her feet. Then he performed a number of motions
with the arrows, which involved changing their positions, pointing them
to the four cardinal points and waving them above the patient’s head to
purify her. Finally he fell on his knees and once again began to suck
at the sorest spot in her body. After several attempts on various parts
he finally arose with great emotion, his face a livid red from the
intensity of his efforts, spat into his hand and showed José—a pin! The
latter gasped with astonishment.

Now without doubt the old man had concealed the pin in his mouth before
beginning to suck, nevertheless he had worked himself into such an
intense emotional state that the fraud was probably quite unconscious.
As for José—had he not seen with his own eyes? The very pin which had
been stuck into the figure representing his wife had been removed from
her body! So that was the game, was it? Very well, it was a game more
than one could play at. From that time on he nursed his revenge.

After he had brooded over his wrongs for a long time he again consulted
Nestor and told him of his suspicions. The old man nodded gravely.

“Most probably it was he,” he assented. “Now that I think of it, the
person I saw in the vision was much like him. Of course! I see him
very plainly now. And the old man who helped him was that shameless
old Heleno Montez who thinks he has more power than I. I’m certain of
that. Very well, we’ll show them!” And so the two conspirators secretly
planned the untimely demise of Margarito and Heleno.

Thus it happened that a few days later they met late one night in a
secluded spot on the outskirts of the village.

“There are several methods of bewitching,” began Nestor, after crossing
himself. “You might as well learn them. One way is to make a figure of
cotton and bury it in the cemetery, light a candle and place it at the
head of a grave at midnight on Monday, after having fasted all day.
Repeat this for five successive Mondays and on the last day get a black
stone from the river and hit the earth above the figure five times.
Then run home before the candle goes out. The corpse will cause your
enemy to sicken and die within five months. But one must fast for the
entire twenty-nine days.”

José shuddered and looked furtively around into the darkness with the
fear of one who dreads ghosts. Neither the method nor the long fast
appealed to him. But Nestor, with the air of a devotee, warmed up to
his subject.

“But a better way is to make a figure of cotton with hands and feet,
head and mouth, wrap it up with the shroud of a dead man and then
pierce the head and the heart with five thorns. Pretty soon the victim
will fall sick of the stomach and his heart will rot and—may God have
mercy on his soul!” Nestor chuckled. “A very pretty way it is, too!
That was probably the method they tried on Josefa. Lucky you had me to
counteract it!”

Again José’s anger rose at the thought of the villainy and he hardened
his heart against the malefactors.

“Another good way,” continued Nestor, “is to make a clay figure and
bury it in an ant hill at high noon. You must fast a day and say the
creed seven times while counting your rosary and light a candle. And
when the candle goes out, the ants will come up and in five days the
enemy will die of boils and hives and fever!”

“That’s a terrible death, little grandfather,” said José. “We can’t do
anything like that!”

“Well, there’s still another way, the best of all. Few men know this,
but I will tell you the secret.” His voice sank to a whisper.

“First you must get a bone from the right hand of a dead man. Take this
and hide it in the thatch of the roof of your enemy’s house when no
one is looking. Then in the night he will see a black phantom and the
following night a terrifying vision lamenting behind the house. Unless
he finds and removes the charm, he will continue being terrified until
at last all the people of that house will die from fear of horrible
nightmares of poisonous animals—rattle-snakes, centipedes, tarantulas,
lizards, spiders and scorpions!”

But José had heard enough, and was on his way home as if all these
noxious creatures were after him. Others might dabble in witchcraft if
they pleased, but it was not for him! His difference with Margarito he
would settle with fist or machete!

This experience brought José more closely into contact with old Nestor.
Besides he was getting on toward middle life and beginning to recover
from the agnosticism of youth and to take an interest in the old
religion and customs of the forefathers. These, he was well aware, were
kept alive by a few devoted old conservatives like Nestor who believed
that it was only their fidelity which kept the tribe from complete
annihilation by the Gods, angry because of the neglect of the younger
people. The younger people regarded the conservatives as harmless old
fools and their religious practices as amusing superstitions. In this
they were encouraged by the padre who was anxious to see all the old
beliefs rooted out. Nevertheless he knew enough of human nature to
realize that little could be accomplished by coercion and force, and
enough of church history to remember that the Church had always found
it better to reinterpret the old pagan beliefs and incorporate them
into the faith rather than to battle against them. Consequently the
conservative group considered themselves perfectly good Catholics and
saw no antagonism between the new and the old religions. Nestor found
José in a receptive mood when he approached him on the topic.

“José,” said he, “it has always been a matter of great regret to
me that my only grandson has not been one of the few who have kept
faith with the ancient Gods of the pueblo. But that is the nature of
youth. I too, up to your age, took little part in the ceremonies,
although at that time all of the elder generation were loyal. But now
you have arrived at the age of discretion; your advice is sought and
your example has considerable influence. I know you no longer laugh
at our beliefs; you have frequently questioned me about them. But you
have never affiliated yourself with us. Delay no longer, dear little
grandson. Father Sun is stretching out his hand toward you to gather
you unto him. This is the fifth of January. To-night we celebrate the
feast of the Pinole. Come and join us!”

There was an air of ecstasy about the old man and of hysterical
emotion, due, as José realized, to the long fast in preparation for the
feast, as well as to the narcotic peyote. José saw that a refusal would
anger the old man and, besides, he felt a curiosity as well as a real
religious interest in the proceedings.

“I will go,” he said shortly.

As the sun sank behind the western mountains José and Nestor followed
the winding trail toward the place where the ceremony was to be held.
Just at dusk they arrived at the patio situated on the top of a small
hill. Of course in his boyhood days José had frequently visited the
patios where the ceremonies of the conservatives for untold generations
had been held. He knew their general form well—a flat circular ground
with a place for a fire in the center, a ring of stones which served
as seats for the communicants, a circular path without this for
the dancers, and a rude altar built of stones to the east. But now
everything assumed a new significance.

On arriving, Nestor and José gravely made the requisite five ceremonial
circuits of the ground, after which they bowed before the altar, while
old Nestor recited a prayer in a low voice. José knew enough of the
old Tepecano language to get the sense of the prayer which begged
permission of the Gods to prepare and decorate their temple. After
this, they set to work and cleared the ground of all growth until it
presented an even surface, swept it smooth and started a fire in the

Nestor then busied himself at the altar for a long time, and José
observed that he had opened his box and taken out many objects of
ceremonial importance which he placed in their proper positions on the
altar. For a long time he busied himself there, carefully unwrapping
every object and giving great care to its placing. José, sweeping the
court and nursing the fire, watched him out of the corner of his eye.
At last the old man turned and called to him.

“Joselito,” said the old man, surveying his work with the pride of a
good craftsman, “it is well that you should understand the meaning of
all our religious objects. Doubtless you have heard malicious gossip
and lies concerning them from the unbelievers of the village. They have
told you that we worship idols here, and are in league with the Devil
in opposition to our Holy Catholic Faith. Lies! All lies! We worship
God here just as we do in the church with songs and prayers. Our dear
cura is the leader of that branch of the church, and I of this. He
needs his chalices and his sacraments just as I need the ceremonial
objects you see here. Just as the blessed images in the church protect
the town from evil, so do these bring us health, relief from sickness,
and rain for our crops. Look here! This white cloth is the tapexte—it
represents the heavens filled with great white rain clouds. These
little square objects of colored yarn on a frame, you know well.
They are chimales, shields, and represent the face of God, the Sun.
Consequently they shield us from every influence and we even fear to
make them until after the rainy season for fear they might keep away
the rains! These arrows you know too. They are our active defense from
sickness and evil and are hung with the feathers of the royal eagle and
the red-tailed hawk.”

“Why only those?” interrupted José.

“Because they are the most powerful, swift and strong; therefore the
arrow will fly fast, hard and straight. It is with these arrows that
people are cleansed from sickness and evil. Then these sticks with
tufts of cotton wound on them are bastoncitos. The cotton, of course,
represents the great rain clouds, and these also serve to cleanse and
purify and to bring the rains for the crops. All of these things you
have seen and know fairly well. But these little objects of great
importance you probably do not know.”

Nestor pointed to the front of the altar where lay six or eight
jícaras. Some of these were decorated with designs made of small glass
beads of different colors set in beeswax on the outer and inner
surfaces, but all of them contained various small objects resting on
beds of cotton. Many of them were natural stones of strange and unusual
shapes and colors, others were little bone carvings and similar objects
made by the ancient populations of this region, and occasionally found
by the present people. A few others were, although neither of the
observers realized it, manufactured objects from other lands.

“These,” said old Nestor solemnly, “are the cidukam which are sometimes
called our ‘idols.’ Of course they are not. But they are very powerful
and rare and are carefully guarded. One finds them here and there,
where they are left by the Gods that those with faith and observation
may find them. They protect him from evil and sickness and bring to
him health, wealth and happiness. I, as Chief Singer, have the largest
number of most powerful ones which protect not only me, but the entire
pueblo. And yet they care so little for it that the people laugh at my
valuables and refuse to attend our ceremonies. But let them beware!
The Gods will not bear with this neglect forever! Already things are
not as they were in my youth. Then the rains were longer and heavier,
the corn grew more bountifully and the deer were more plentiful. While
I last, I will keep the faith, but who will follow me? Not one of the
younger generation knows the prayers, the songs or the details of the
ceremonies! Well, at any rate, I shall have done my best to save them
from the consequences of their neglect.”

“Here,” he exclaimed, pointing to a spherical object resting on a bed
of cotton in a beautifully decorated jícara, “here is the most powerful
object in the collection. There is not another one in the tribe—yes,
there cannot be another like this in the whole world.”

He raised the globe reverently and lovingly from its bed. Now an
American schoolboy would have recognized it as a large glass marble
with the white corkscrew veins in the center. But to Nestor and José it
was a wonderful object, and they feasted their eyes on the beautiful
and regular shape and color.

“This is surely the spirit of the rain,” said the old man softly.
“See! It is transparent like the water and in the centre the whirling
rain descends. Ah! If that should be lost or taken from the country,
the rain would surely follow it and we would all die of drought and
starvation!” He put it back into its place reverently.

“Here is a representation of the moon, white and round; this one is
evidently the spirit of the deer. See how closely it resembles one
with its horns! Here is doubtless an ear of corn, and this one here is
certainly intended for a chimal. And these—but here come more people!”

Into the light of the fire brightly blazing in the center of the patio
came three elderly men. José knew them well, of course, as prominent in
the conservative party. They walked five times around the circle and
stopped before the altar and breathed their prayers before stepping out
to greet the two. From this time on, the communicants arrived slowly,
until by eight o’clock about a dozen had congregated, almost entirely
elderly men. A few women also had come, but these made a fire for
themselves outside the circle and took no part in the ritual.

Presently Nestor brought out a bow of the type used by the hunters of
old, and tightened the string until it gave forth a resonant twang when
plucked. Then, scooping out a hole in the ground in front of his seat,
he inverted a gourd bowl over this and held the bow, string uppermost,
on the bowl with his foot so that it served as a resonance chamber. Two
small sticks were selected and the ceremony was about to begin. First,
however, he called José to him and formally recited to him another
of the old speeches, handed down by tradition through centuries,
delivering to him the care of the fire for the night. Then he seated
himself on his central seat, and on either side sat another old man.
In each hand they held one of the ceremonial arrows which they had
taken from the altar. These were waved slowly, and pointed in turn to
east, north, west and south while the old man recited the traditional
prayer opening the fiesta. This done, he settled himself on his seat
and, taking the two sticks in his hand, struck the bow with a sonorous
twang. Then he began to sing in a low voice to the accompaniment of the
monotonous twang of the bow. José followed the example of the other
men by getting up and dancing around the circle with a solemn, slow
tripping step, stopping to face outwards for a moment at each of the
cardinal points, and particularly to the altar at the east.

And so the long night passed. Around Polaris swung the bright stars,
shining as they can only in the crisp air of high altitudes. All night
long with but brief intermissions the old man sang. Only four songs
there were in all, but these were very long and full of monotonous
repetition. They told of the origin of the Gods and of the world, and
of the coming of the rain to refresh the world with its life-giving
water. José tended the fire conscientiously and danced with the other
men for at least a portion of every song.

At last above the rim of the eastern hills appeared the glowing Morning
Star like a heavenly torch, and all greeted it reverently. Soon the
great sun himself began to spread the light and warmth of his glow
abroad, and finally showed his face radiant above the eastern hills.
Seldom had he seemed more majestic to José and seldom had his warmth
been more welcome, after the chilliness of the night.

About this time Nestor finished his last song to the Sun and the
ceremony was almost over. Once again the other two old men took their
places beside him on the stone seats and once again were the arrows
pointed to the cardinal points while the Chief Singer recited the
prayer to close the ceremony. Then, one by one, all the men approached
the altar where they were given little tamales[14] to eat, while Nestor
purified them of all sickness and evil by waving over them an arrow,
the feather of which had been dipped in peyote water. A few drops of
the water were placed in the hand of each, and then water in which corn
meal had been mixed was sprinkled over every one present, over the
altar and the seats. The sacred objects on the altar were collected and
replaced in their box, all the attendants, led by Nestor, made their
five ceremonial circuits of the patio and the ceremony was completed.
José went home and slept the rest of the day.

Although José still affected to ridicule the beliefs and practices of
the conservatives, yet the ceremony he had witnessed had really quite
an effect upon him. And he began to show a live concern for the old
religion, studying it almost as would a scientific investigator. Many
were the conferences and long talks that he and Nestor held together,
the old man an intensely enthusiastic informant, the young man an
interested listener and keen inquisitor. Of course, like all the
Tepecanos, he already understood the basis of the old religion, how
the trinity of Father Sun, Mother Moon and Elder Brother Morning Star
watched over and protected their people; how Father Sun had sent his
daughter, the Corn, into the world that they might have sustenance,
and how the Gods sent the welcome and necessary rains in the spring
and summer, that the corn might flourish, requiring only that the
people worship them with song and dance, with arrows and chimales. But
all of the minor esoteric details opened a new field of interest to
him. He learned the many set prayers which were enjoined for various
occasions, the ritual songs sung at the four principal ceremonies, that
of the Rain in April, the Ripe-corn in September, the Corn-meal in
January and the Twin-corn in March. He heard of the tabus of fasting
and continence enjoined upon the Chief Singer and, above all, of the
influence and power of the magic peyote which played such a large
part in all observances. He learned to make the various kinds of
arrows and chimales and to know their special powers. He learned the
locations of the altars, and particularly the four principal ones to
the cardinal points, in each of which was a habitant spirit, and how to
each pertained a special color—green to the east, gray to the north,
black to the west and white to the south. He came to realize that the
religion was practically based on the securing of rain, for which the
Gods were petitioned with prayer and song, and placated by sacrifices
and fasting, for rain was the one essential to human life.

José became particularly interested in the little cactus root known
as peyote, that dried, shriveled-up little thing which produced
such a wonderful effect when eaten. Such a feeling of ecstasy and
exhilaration, of joy and insensibility to fatigue, did they produce
that they were certainly powerful instruments of the Gods, if not near
gods themselves.

“It is a kind of corn,” volunteered Nestor of the peyote, “just as the
deer are corn.” By that he meant that it was a food sent by the Gods,
for he knew well that it was the root of a cactus growing in a country
far to the east.

“When I was young,” he continued, “we journeyed far to the east to
gather the peyote root just as the Huicholes do to-day. But now that I
am old and there is no one to take my place, I must buy it from them.”

Then and there José swore that he would accompany the next Huichol
party to the eastern country in search of the strange plant, for he was
still young enough to feel youth’s passion for visiting strange lands.
He had frequently seen parties of peyote-seekers passing through the
village and had struck up an acquaintance with some of them, envying
them their gaudy costumes and long trip. Now he would go with them and
himself bring back the peyote!

“May the Gods be with you, Joselito!” fervently prayed old Nestor.
“Would that I were young enough to accompany you! But I shall fast and
pray for you. When you return with the peyote you will have fulfilled
one of the requirements for the office of Chief Singer, and I will go
to my forefathers in peace, knowing that you will take my place. It is
now October and some of the Huichol men will be about starting out. You
have frequently heard me mention my old friend Benito Torres who left
Azqueltán as a youth to live with the Huicholes, and who has risen to
be one of the most respected men of the tribe. Go to him and he will
befriend you. Go with God!”

It was a bright, warm day in October when José set out for the Huichol
country. Josefa had filled his sack with gordas and his bule[15] with
water. Tobacco, matches, his machete and blanket were the rest of his
equipment. He waved farewell to his wife and started up the hills to
the west. Higher and higher he climbed, now scrambling up a slope of
rock talus, now following a trickling stream up a ravine, now skirting
a fertile hill with the hay still slightly greenish from the recent
rains. The little river in the bottom of the great barranca grew
smaller and smaller, until at last it was lost to sight entirely,
behind the hills of the upper edge. The heat grew perceptibly less as
he climbed and the pine trees appeared singly and then in groups. The
first night he spent by the side of a blazing pine fire on the edge of
the mountain forests, while he listened to the howl of the wolves or
the snarl of a jaguar or mountain lion.

Early in the morning he was off again, still going westward through
the pine groves until at last he began to see the fields and houses of
the Huichol. The houses were much like those of his tribe except that
none was of adobe. They were also arranged in villages, but in every
village was one larger house which served as the temple, in place of
the open-air altars to which he was accustomed. The people looked very
much the same, but their dress was different. They wore scarfs, belts
and little pouches woven in designs of bright colors, wide hats with
feathers, and their legs were bare to the knees. They looked askance at
the traveler in the conventional cotton trousers of the Mexican peon.
One or two accosted him in the Huichol language. It was a queer tongue
to him, with many sounds he had never heard before and was confident
no civilized man could ever reproduce. He replied in Spanish, but was
not understood until one of the middle-aged men who had worked in the
nearby mining town, and there acquired a small Spanish vocabulary,
happened along. From him José learned that Benito Torres lived on a
little ranch a few miles beyond the village. Arriving there about
sunset he kicked aside the snarling dogs which, as everywhere in
Mexico, prowled about the house, and called aloud. A middle-aged man
came out of the house.

“Cafhövan, armano!” Jose greeted him. The man, after a moment of silent
surprise, smiled and countered:

“Cafhövan api! It is a long time since I have heard that greeting in
Tepecano,” he continued in Spanish, “and the language has about failed
me. Enter! Enter! Here is your home! Julia! Bring food and drink for
my brother Waköri!” Waköri is the name given the Tepecanos by the

“I am called José Aguilar,” said the traveler, “the son of Francisco
and grandson of Nestor.”

“Ah, yes! Francisco and I were boys together, and many pranks we played
on Nestor. He himself was a young man then. How long ago that was!
But when I was younger than you, I saw the way things were going. The
Mexicans were encroaching on our lands, the cura came and built the
church and we were made to give up our communal land and each man take
a piece for himself. As if the Gods ever intended their land to be
owned like a machete or a hat! As well divide up the air and the water
in the river and make the new-born babe pay to breathe and drink! Ave
Maria! And then they began to bring in strong drinks; they wanted us to
put our legs in those long trousers you wear now, to give up our old
language and speak Spanish and to foreswear the old religion. I saw the
way it was going and said, ‘Not for me! Not for Benito Torres!’ And I
took my blanket as you have done and came up here with the Huicholes
where I have spent a long, happy life following the mandates of the
Gods. You are wise to have done likewise. I welcome you!” And he threw
his arms around the younger man in a welcoming embrace.

José was pleased and yet troubled.

“Yes, little uncle,” he replied at last, “it is quite true. There is
little of the old left now in Azqueltán. Only old Nestor and a few of
the other old men keep to the old faith. But I am of the new order.
These are the clothes I have always worn; Spanish is my language,
Catholicism my religion. I cannot change to the old order any more than
you to the new. And yet the new is inevitable; I see it even here.”

Benito nodded a sad acquiescence. “Yes, it is a losing fight. Even
here the old is passing. I have not postponed it for these people, but
only for myself by coming here. In a century or so there will be no
Huicholes, no Tepecanos, no Coras, only Mexican peones of Indian blood.
But why then have you come here?”

José explained his mission, at which the sad face lighted up again.

“It is well,” he said. “I too went with parties several times after I
first came here. But it is a task for young men. You know it involves
harsh restrictions of fasting and great endurance?” José insisted he
was prepared for them.

“Very well, then. In a very few days a party begins the preliminary
fast. I will speak to their leader and you shall join them.”

And so it happened that through the good offices of Benito, José was
accepted among the peyoteros and prepared to take his part in the
work. He adopted the dress and paraphernalia of the party, taking bow
and arrows and several small tobacco gourds. The evening before the
departure he bathed and prayed, as he might not bathe again until the
return from the long journey. There were nine other men in the party,
including a leader who was the only one allowed to make fire while on
the long trip. Several burrows were taken along, to carry tortillas on
the journey and bring back the peyote on the return. Nevertheless they
were expected to fast much of the time, and several men of the party
ate little but peyote during the entire forty-three days they were away
on the journey.

Bidding an affectionate good-by to their wives and families, the
little party started out. Instead of passing by Azqueltán, they struck
eastward down the slopes of the wooded mountains and out onto the
rolling plateau, dry, hot and sandy. Day followed day in monotonous
repetition, night followed night. Generally in single file they
walked, dirty and hungry, but with their minds fixed on the goal before
them—the attainment of the little cacti which would protect their
villages and bring them rain. Across the well known trail they went,
camping each night in a certain place, so that the faithful watchers
at home knew each night exactly where they were. This trail had been
followed for centuries and went along the most inaccessible route, away
from roads and villages, so that the pilgrims were seen by very few
of the Mexicans of even the more inhabited parts of the country they

But at one spot when the journey was about half ended, not far from
the great City of Zacatecas, they came to a road which could not be
avoided. It was made up of short logs of wood laid parallel, and on
these were fastened long, snaky iron rails. José, though more civilized
than the others, had never seen anything of the kind before, but one of
the other men who had made the journey before, explained by signs that
an immense monster, dragging behind him houses full of people, ran at
tremendous speed along the road, as a horse drew a cart along a dirt
road. From the description José recognized it as a railroad, as he had
heard about railroads when an open-eyed boy, from an itinerant peddler.

Eastward, ever eastward they pressed, until two full weeks had passed,
when the leader of the party informed them that their destination
was but five days’ journey away and that from that time all
restrictions must be rigidly observed. They were to walk in single file
continuously, and eat nothing but peyote for the rest of the journey.
In a few days José began to see the first little peyote plants, but the
leader affected not to notice them, although as the party pressed on
the plants grew more abundant. At length, on the nineteenth day, when
they had covered about three hundred miles, the leader called a halt.
Trembling with emotion, superinduced by hunger and fatigue, he cried:

“There is the peyote, appearing as a deer!”

At that, all drew their arrows and shot at a peyote plant, taking care
not to hit it. Then from the loads on the burrows various ceremonial
objects were produced—arrows, chimales, bastones and other objects not
used by the Tepecanos—which were deposited as sacrifices to the Gods
and to the peyote. For the next three days all collected the little
cactus roots until the burros were loaded down and the men wore strings
around their necks. On the fifth day after arrival they started their
long journey homeward.

By this time the supply of tortillas had become entirely exhausted and
José, in particular, being more accustomed to regularity of food, and
less accustomed to the diet of peyote, suffered greatly. The others
appeared not to be greatly affected, for they consumed many peyote
roots and walked with the sprightly, springy step that certain kinds of
intoxication produce, though their thin limbs and drawn faces betrayed
the strain upon them. Now and again inhabitants of the country gave
them food, but these were rare occasions and for the greater part they
covered the first fourteen days of the return trip in a daze, sustained
only by the stimulus of peyote and their nerve.

But at last the fourteen days were over and they approached the spot
where, the leader informed them, a party from the village would meet
them, five days’ journey from home, with loads of tortillas. And so
indeed it happened! How good the corn cakes, bone dry after five days
in the scorching sun! With renewed strength they continued their way to
the edge of their pine forests, where they hunted deer for several days
to obtain the meat demanded for the return feast.

A few days later, a body of thin and famished men, their figures only
just beginning to recover from the privations of the long journey,
but their heads high with elation and consciousness of probity and
of duty well performed, their burros laden with sacks of peyote and
deer meat and their necks bedecked with strings of peyote, marched
down the street of the principal village. The tabu upon washing would
not be removed until the great feast, and they presented a bedraggled
and filthy appearance, yet they were heroes to the stay-at-homes in
the village as they entered the temple and deposited their cherished
strings of roots. Then they again began to hunt deer in order to have
plenty for the great Peyote Fiesta in January.

But José was anxious to get home. He felt that he had done his share
and should be excused from the month or more delay in preparation
for the fiesta in which he had but little interest. Benito took his
part also and urged that he be allowed to depart. Many of the shamans
took exception, fearing that such a rupture of all the regulations
of peyote-gathering might anger the Gods and work harm. But finally
Benito’s argument that harm, if any, would fall upon the culprit and
his people in Azqueltán and not on the Huicholes, carried the day, and
José was wished god-speed, loaded with gordas made by Benito’s wife,
Julia, and sent on his way.

How beautiful the great barranca seemed as he first emerged from the
edge of the pine forests and saw the gaping chasm below! What joy to
make out the little cluster of adobe and thatch shacks with the little
white church in the center! As he neared his house, his loving wife ran
out and embraced him. How good it was to be home again, and how much
better were her tortillas than those of any of the Huichol women!

But only a few minutes did he tarry at home in spite of his long
absence, for Josefa said at once: “Old Nestor is sick unto death and
has been asking for you hourly. He has kept track of the time you have
been away, and says you should be home about this time and that he will
not go until he sees you again.”

Hastily José ran along the winding trail which led to the house of
the old man, and as he neared it he heard the doleful wail of an old
shaman singing one of his curing songs. On his blanket on the floor
lay the old man, surrounded by his ceremonial arrows and other sacred
paraphernalia. As José entered, he smiled and motioned to the shaman to
stop singing.

“It is useless,” he said simply. “I know my time has come. Sooner or
later it comes to all of us. But I knew you were coming to-day, my boy.
I dreamt it last night, and I would not go until I saw you. I see you
have brought the peyote for me. Well, it will never benefit me. Stay!
Give me a drink of it now. It will make my head clearer. But the rest
of it you must keep for yourself. You are the only one of the tribe
who has fulfilled the requirement for Chief Singer by going to the
peyote country. And besides, you know all the songs and prayers and all
the intricate details of our ceremonies. And I will leave you all my
cherished valuables, my arrows, my chimales and my cidukam. They will
help you in every need, and while you cherish them the Gods will allow
no harm to befall the pueblo. Francisco! Baldomero! Must he not be
Chief Singer after me?”

“It is true,” spoke Francisco. “José, my son, you are young in years,
but old in experience and knowledge. Will you not do as grandfather

Reluctantly José agreed.

A few days later a straggling procession wound its way to the little
cemetery behind the church while strong hands bore a plain black box
containing the body of old Nestor. The burial customs of old had been
entirely forgotten, and even if they had not, Francisco would have
taken no chances with fate by having the old man buried outside of
consecrated ground. But nevertheless José managed to slip a few of the
old man’s most cherished sacred things into the box with him. Later
José went to the principal altars in the hills to deposit other things,
besides journeying to the seat of the cura to pay to have masses said
for the rest of his soul.

For a year or so José fulfilled his office as Chief Singer dutifully,
but then the restrictions and fasts began to pall upon him, and he
shirked the duties and finally abandoned them altogether. Some of
the conservatives remonstrated with him, but he replied that he
could not see but that they had just as much rain and corn, without
performing the ceremonies, and no more sickness and famine than when
the ceremonies were performed, in which he was certainly borne out by
the facts. And not long afterwards, when a “Gringo” scientist came to
the village to study the language and customs, he was glad to sell all
of Nestor’s sacrosanct valuables at a high price and call it a good

                                                       J. ALDEN MASON

                    The Understudy of Tezcatlipoca

This story[16] is a mirage of thin words and bodiless phrases. It
paints on a film of mist things that are long ago and far away, and
lifts up a pale reflection of cities and grandeurs lying below the
horizon of our times, never to be resurrected in fact. It presents in a
vaguely understandable fashion, strange beliefs and philosophies that a
wonderful society of human beings created out of their common thought
and supposed necessities.

Have you ever tried really to understand the Past, not so much the
material Past of quaint costumes and accoutrements, as the immaterial
Past of ideals, ambitions, and enthusiasms? Have you ever wilfully
imprisoned your present spiritual being in the emotional matrix of
an age that is dead? In the hall where the glum old faces of your
ancestors stare out from dull frames upon your unimagined new life,
have you ever paused to gaze back into those dim presentments, and to
think how impossible to-day would be the quest of the Pilgrims, or of
the Crusaders? And when, not so long ago, a Gothic fantasy in gently
treated stone crumbled before the war-saddened eyes of the world, did
this fearful thought impress itself upon you: No man in all Christendom
can ever re-carve those shattered prophets or re-groin those airy
arches in the dread sincerity of the first builders?

Now, it is not the stone that changes, nor the chisel, nor the loves
and hates of individual men and women: it is the over-soul of society
that passes. For, out of our herded life of tribe or nation, comes an
over-soul that directs our hands and implants in our minds the seeds of
duty, the impulses of sincerity, and the recognition of all the needs
which we think are absolute, but which, in a larger view, are merely
relative. The cloud forms of communal emotion that constitute these
over-souls, flame and fade like the western sky and never twice assume
the same shapes and colors.

In Mexico, before the steel-clad soldiers of Cortes landed at Vera
Cruz, there was a civilization that ran back into a twilight of the
gods. Centuries of accumulating art and ceremony had enriched the
first crude thoughts of savages coming out of desert camps to abide in
houses of mud and stone, amid maize stalks and squash vines. Cities
and indeed, empires, had risen, flourished and fallen. There had come
into being those slaves to the ideal of ritual whom we call priests,
and those slaves to the ideal of political grandeur whom we call kings.
And back of all these were gods to whom sacrifices were duly given for
benefits received. And the people, commanded by their over-soul, raised
gleaming temples on stately pyramids for their gods, and built palaces
with bright gardens for their priest and kings. And, moreover, they
gave honors and rewards for success in trade and war and they set the
marks of class upon certain men and their children. This is a story of
their sincerity....

That wise old man, bent from much climbing of temple stairs, but
with the steady, believing gaze which comes from watching the stars,
foretold the distant event with deceptive clarity. He was reader of
the fates and keeper of the calendar in Quauhnahuac, and after grave
study of his painted books he resolved the tangled interests of greater
and lesser gods in the new-born child. So he said to the father and
the friends who crowded round: “Let him be called Macuilquaultli,
Five-eagle, after the day on which he was born, and let him be well
taught in all that a chief should know. He shall acquire grace, skill,
and a knowledge of all arts, for he shall come to rule in a high place.
Thus it is written: he shall govern the City.”

The father of Five-eagle was a Captain among the armed men of
Quauhnahuac, a bearer of standards, and a councilor in matters of
state. He proudly bore the insignia of high success in war against the
strange-tongued people of Tolucca. Yet, Quauhnahuac was not a city
of warriors. The populous capital of the Tlahuica (as you may know
from that Cuernavaca of sunlight and indolence which survives) lay
deep below the mist houses of Ajusco, in a valley where waters dance
and flowers flame. To be sure this people had come out from the Seven
Caves with the Azteca and other tribes, but they had passed down from
the cold highlands and had prospered under the benign protection of
Xochivuetzalli, goddess of flowers, and patroness of all the arts that
give beauty to the world and take vigor from it.

Five-eagle, at the age of eight, left the shaded portico of his
father’s courtyard, where the fountain bubbled in a gleaming pool and
where imprisoned birds sang, to study and sleep in one of the Great
Houses with other youths. He was a slender boy with a pleasing and
thoughtful face. Under the instruction of the old warriors he acquired
only a careless skill in the hurling of lances, and took little pride
when he won his set in the battering contests with wooden swords
and shields of cane. Rather he preferred to beat out the thundering
war songs of his people on the two-lipped drums. In this he became
proficient beyond all others, and in his hands the rubber-tipped
drumsticks set up wild, nerve-racking rhythms that soon had young men
and old whirling in a mad dance and chanting a song of the old nomadic
days. Or, hidden among the trees he would play lonesome melodies on
flutes of clay.

He knew the narrow hunting trails that led across the hills to the
haunts of deer and wild turkey. He knew the great lava flow that
stretched, in twisted and forbidding ridges, along the sides of the
high mountain which separated Quauhnahuac from the Valley of the Five
Lakes. He had climbed the pinnacles of black desolation on this lava
desert and descended into its caverns of whirring bats.

Often in the shade of a market shrine Five-eagle would encounter
the aged priest of the calendar who had laid the gorgeous prophecy
upon him. This wise old man knew there was no end of knowledge, for
he squatted with his books unfolded on the ground before him, and
diligently made other books. But always he laid aside his brushes and
his sheets of lime-sized paper when the youth drew near. First he would
explain what calculation was being written down, and then expanding to
the breadth of his subject, he would tell his young disciple how time
ran in wheels of days and years and ages, and how the cycles of the
Morning Star fell now for good and now for evil fortune, and how the
gods ruled the hours in turn. He taught the boy to calculate in high
numbers, to make hieroglyphs and read history, and to draw with a sure
skill the faces and distinguishing marks of all the gods.

And sometimes, at the dead of night, he took the youth with him to the
top of the high pyramid and before the very door of the temple itself.
Below them lay the sleeping city amid soft rustlings of the wind and
sweet smells of hidden flowers. The ravines were in deep shadow except
where a thread of water gleamed faintly. The palm-thatched huts of the
common people were huddled in the folds of the valley, with here and
there a chieftain’s house built round a little court. The barracks and
public buildings were placed on the four sides of larger squares, and
in the dark of night their plaster walls showed ghostly white. In the
market places still glowed the coals of dying fires, about which were
massed the muffled figures of men who had brought their packs to market
from afar. It was a solemn hour when mysteries crowd in upon the soul,
and a still more solemn station. With heads together, speaking now and
then in hushed and reverential voices, they studied the multitudinous
stars as these swung grandly around the pole in a march of majesty
across the eternal depths of heaven. And they kept their vigil until
the great white Star of Morning hung like a splendid jewel above the
calm snows of Ixtaccihuatl, the White Woman. Then the blue of the East
turned to pearl and rose; new smoke streamed upwards through roofs of
heavy thatch; the city stirred and the markets filled with sellers and
buyers; the yellow Sun had given another day.

Once Five-eagle and the old priests journeyed together to the ruined
site of Xochicalco, where one fair temple was still used in religious
services. But the walls of a hundred more lay in shapeless heaps of
fallen stone. In front and on either side, the terraced hill dropped
off to great depths, but behind it rose another hill to a commanding
height with a stronghold on its crest. The priest related fragments of
history of this all-but-forgotten capital, shards of myths with names
of kings and empty dates to signify resounding triumphs. Then he spoke
sadly: “The glories of the great pass like the smoke of Popocatepetl,
leaving the skies serene.”

“But Tenochtitlan,” broke in the youth, “tell me about that famous
city, for surely you have been there and seen its wonders. Once from
the top of Ajusco I looked down, far down, across the lava, and I
saw the five lakes like five mists in the valley, and there was
Tenochtitlan shining like a jewel. And I saw the roads that lead out
from the land like a spider’s web.”

“Tenochtitlan: yes, I have seen it, and its gardens and temples are
rich and beautiful. Its priests and warrior chiefs have much jade
and green feathers of the quetzal. Yet Tenochtitlan is youngest of
all the cities of Anahuac. Many ages older are Chaleo, Colhuacan,
Atzcapotzalco,—and Tezcoco, too, where ruled the loved singer. They
say that Tenochtitlan was nought but a rock amid the reeds of the
great lake when the Azteca came in bondage and distress. But these
sought favor of Tacuba to fish and build floating gardens. Then came
Acamapichtli and his sons, so that the fishermen went forth to fight,
and their god Huitzilopochtli gave them victory. And now the ancient
cities have fallen, save only Tezcoco, in all the valley. Those Azteca
of Tenochtitlan go now to Colima and Tuxpan for tribute and captives,
and even past Cholula to the lands of the Zapoteca. Their traders first
go forth with shining goods to spy out the way; then their warriors
fall like the lightning flash. Only the wild Tarasca have turned them
back, and those of Tlaxcala, fighting behind stone walls.”

So the priest of the calendar told the long history of Mexico, and he
described the great feasts that fell, one each twenty days, till the
year was done. He discussed the signs and powers of the various gods
who thirsted for the blood of human sacrifices and hungered for hearts
that were freely given.

“But they say,” said Five-eagle, “that in ancient times we gave only
flowers to our Xochiquetzalli. Now we must offer children to her or she
will be displeased.”

“They,” replied the priest softly, “are the most precious flowers! And
to her who gives should be returned gifts as precious. Yet, I think
pride of place enters sometimes into sacrifices, and that there is
human boasting where the altars are piled too high. If only the Cause
of All, to whom even the gods are quarreling children, would speak the
last truth, so that man might understand! But if Tlaloc calls for a
sprinkling of blood before he will give us showers of rain, then it
is indeed just that he should have his blood. Without rain the world
would die. Yet Huitzilopochtli, under whose standard fight those of
Tenochtitlan, is a god of war alone. He can promise only plunder. He
is a little god suddenly grown to commanding stature, so that all the
cities pay tribute to his children. But Tezcatlipoca is the great one
of all the land; he is the Magician to whom nothing is hidden—may he
remember us only in gentle mood!”

There stands to this day in Cuernavaca a graven bowlder bearing a
shield, a sheaf of arrows and a record in hieroglyphs of the fatal hour
when the painted warriors of Tenochtitlan swept down upon Quauhnahuac.
Then the City of Flowers withered before a rain of flint and a wind
of flame. And among the men and women carried away as slaves or more
honorable sacrifice was Five-eagle. This young man had disclosed, in
the stress of that sudden attack, the qualities of true leadership.
Out of the confusion he had emerged at the head of his people, leading
them vainly against the foe. Yet he was captured at last and taken to
Tenochtitlan without degradation, wearing still his ear-plugs of jade,
sandals, and the embroidered mantle of his rank.

And then the prophecy of his birth was justified. For, because of
his beauty, his daring and his arts of music and song, Five-eagle
was raised to wealth, honor and the power of kings. He was made that
other Tezcatlipoca to live among men and enjoy life and be granted
every wish while the year turned slowly round to the feast of Toxcatl.
His laughter meant good fortune to all the land, and his momentary
sorrow spelled calamity. But at the end, replete with every honor,
accomplished in every grace, surfeited with every joy, he must go
freely under the black knife of glass. And the offer of his youth must
be made so that the youth of Tezcatlipoca should be eternal, so that
his powers should not wither with the creeping infirmities of time, so
that his mysteries should still give forth life and happiness to the
sad tribes of men.

What wonderful beings are the gods that men have imagined out of hopes
and fears in the twilight of faith! They are creatures of beauty and
terror, shaped from stars and storm winds and green waters and from
the subtle and powerful beasts. Or they rise still higher to the very
form and mind of their creator, man. They loom forever majestic,
immortalized by the sincerities of human sacrifice, by prayers and
incense and devoted lives, by ceremony and all its pictured train of
magnificence and centered power, by temples and songs and statues that
artists, in the grip of common thought, yield up and create. They are
the over-souls of nations made visible from afar. But to their makers
they are the blinding light of a great presence.

And what more gallant god ever bestrode the heavens than Tezcatlipoca
of the Mexicans? He was a Lord of Magic, inscrutable, pitiless,
magnificent. He combined the wisdom of white hair and wrinkled cheeks
with the reckless joy of never-passing youth. He was swift and cunning
and unconquerable, making and breaking fates, snaring his brother gods
in wizard traps. He was not alone the Smoking Mirror in which the world
lay reflected, he was the Sun that looked down into the hearts of men,
he was the prowling Jaguar, he was the night wind stealing across land
and sea. Yet in his proper guise he was Youth with all its wiles and
enchantments: Youth that was graceful, debonair, beguiling as music,
subtle as the perfume of flowers,—but cruel, swift and terrible as the
lightning bolt.

The greatest feast of the Mexican year was the feast of Toxcatl, made
in honor of Tezcatlipoca. It fell in the springtime when thirsty
fields called for rain. Scarcely had one young warrior, chosen from
the clean-limbed and accomplished prisoners of a sacred war, been
sacrificed on the last day of his fictitious glory than another
stepped into the empty rôle. And, as had been said, it was the fate
of Five-eagle, after his arrival at the Aztecan capital, to be chosen
as a fit candidate for this dramatic death. With a true knowledge of
the symbolism and significance of the ceremony in the emotional fabric
that then was Mexico, he assumed the part proudly, and made ready his
mind to play out the drama to the end, with minute regard for all the
details and effects.

A retinue of pages, the sons of chiefs and great merchants of
Tenochtitlan, accompanied him in his daily wanderings about the city.
These were six in number. They were dressed in fine liveries and
it was their duty to see that their master, whom they addressed as
Tezcatlipoca, did not fall into sad thoughts. A sacred college of girls
embroidered new garments for Five-eagle and each day braided fresh
garlands of fragrant blossoms to hang about his neck. Later, from this
house of virgins, it was fated that four maidens should be chosen to
act as his brides, during the last month of his earthly life, the month
of Toxcatl, crowded with gayeties and tears.

So Five-eagle, as the Youth of Toxcatl, walked through the public
squares of Tenochtitlan and over the many bridges that spanned its
canals, and on the great wall that held back the storm winds of the
lake. Clothed in the bright habiliments of divinity, with a laughing
retinue, he played upon his flutes and chanted songs and danced. And
no one in all the city remembered to have seen an understudy of the
great God of Magic in other years so skilled in all the graces or so
well taught to tread the brief stage of vanity and pride. Five-eagle, a
captive from the enslaved city of Quauhnahuac, where Xochiquetzalli had
been worshiped in happier times, ruled great and small in Tenochtitlan.

He chanted many songs that the people loved, but none that was so great
a favorite as a splendid lament of fallen soldiers, a requiem of the
young men who died in the sacred service of arms. All Mexico knew this
song composed by a famous ruler of the Toltec cities whose name was a
smile and a benediction after the passing of many years.

    Words like the saddest, drooping flowers I seek
    I, the Singer, weaving my tears in song,
    For Youths, alas!—broken as spears are broken!
    And the women weep in darkened corners
    But the men lift up their heads in pride.

A valiant song it was, full of high courage and the will that conquers
death. Upon such songs as this, planted deep in human hearts, rest the
brave deeds of nations.

So Five-eagle passed through Tenochtitlan with his pages by his side,
in the white mantle of Tezcatlipoca, with a garland of fragrant
blossoms about his neck. His chanted verses charmed the market and the
court to silence and tears, but when the song was done there was sudden
laughter, and he was pelted with flowers by a gay throng. And he was
invited to enter the houses and to eat of the choicest fruits, and to
rest under canopies of those rare trees with crowns of cardinal, that
now we call poinsettia.

Among the girls who did service in the temple of Tezcatlipoca,
according to the law of consecration that none might escape, there
was one who had come to look upon Five-eagle as more than a man,
perhaps,—but less than a god. Once, as she had thrown across his
shoulder a wreath of her own weaving, he had looked at her with
unclouded eyes and a faint, steady smile. And she had turned away,
thrilled and chilled with awakened interest in life and sudden visions
of death. In the days that followed she wove other wreaths and awaited
his coming at a certain place. And though she greeted the Youth of
Toxcatl with a smile, she turned away in tears.

A kindly priest saw and understood. He knew that women were used to
weep and moan for all the fine burst of glory that death might bring
to the stilled flesh. Women, in the thoughts of Aztecan poets and
philosophers, were flowers blooming near the ground. They were crushed
beneath the feet of Huitzilopochtli leading his men to war. They could
not be trusted for supreme sacrifices, and must be caught by surprise
and trapped in the midst of revelry.

By the water gate against Tlaltelolco, when night was falling and mists
were stretching filmy hands across the lake, the priest spoke to the
girl of Tenochtitlan, “My child, are you envious of the gift that must
be given cheerfully to a god who knows all thoughts? Do you dare love
the consecrated sacrifice of Toxcatl?”

“Then why do those of the upper skies put seeds of love in our hearts
to grow and bloom when it is spring?”

“That sometimes we may climb, my child, to heights where only the mind
rules. The Youth of Toxcatl is a captive of Quauhnahuac. He fought
bravely; he will die bravely that the city and all Mexico may prosper.
Should he falter, he will live as a vile slave unworthy of a bright
death; he will live as a vile slave condemned to life—beneath the whip.
Daughters of Tenochtitlan may not mate with slaves.”

She stood rigidly by the wall as the priest spoke, a mutinous and
tragic figure, with yellow flowers in her hair. On the towers of the
water gate the torches were being lighted so that belated fishing boats
might find their way into the city. The stars were beginning to twinkle

“But twenty days remain for that gallant boy,” said the priest softly,
“for to-morrow is the feast of Huey Tozoztli, the great Humility, and
then begins the month of Toxcatl, of such gladness and sorrow. Twenty
days mean much when there is new love to be gathered and enjoyed. There
are four who shall be his brides, impersonating in name and dress
those four gracious beings of the ninth heaven to whom the love of
Tezcatlicopa is given. If you might be the first of these, would your
mind be content and filled with happy thoughts? Would you teach your
will to strengthen his and not let your soft tears plunge him in worse
than death, you to despair and the land to disaster?”

A new light shone in the eyes of the girl. “See how I shall laugh to
the last,” she said, “and be happy in the noon of love and in him who
is noble.” So among the gifts that came vicariously to Five-eagle, as
the impersonator of Tezcatlipoca, there was a humble gift of love for
him alone. But this is a tale of the stupendous lights and shadows that
pass, not of those little ones of love and hate, forever found in human

When the sun rose after the feast of Huey Tozoztli, Five-eagle was
installed in a royal house with many rooms and a wide court. Then the
dancing that began with the sun ended with the paling stars. They
dressed the hair of Five-eagle as if he were a leader in the army and
they put new jewels upon him. When he went out into the streets of the
city, the people knelt as he passed and bowed their heads and prayed.
But in the temple many things were prepared behind the veil.

On the tenth day before the feasts of Toxcatl a priest in the common
livery of the God of Magic stepped out into the marketplace and, while
the multitude of buyers and sellers stood in silent awe, he played a
summons on his clay flute. The shrill notes were directed first to the
east and then to the north and west and south, so that the universe
might be aware. When the signal notes had died away, every one bent
forward and, having taken a bit of earth upon a finger tip placed it in
the mouth as a sign of humility and abnegation. Then they wept strongly
and threw themselves upon the ground, invoking the darkness of nights,
the invisible winds, and other unknowable manifestations through
which the great god spoke, imploring that men upon the earth be not
forgotten, nor overwhelmed with labors, nor left in misery and despair.
And because the God of Magic could look into secret deeds and thoughts,
the thieves and murderers and those whose deeds had been secret and
sinful were struck with great fear and sadness, and their faces altered
with fright so that men knew their guilt. With tears they pleaded for
clemency to an intangible, invisible presence, while incense carried
their prayers upward. And the strong men of war bowed themselves in
great agonies and begged for strength against all enemies, that they
might return from their forays with many captives. So the shrill notes
of the flute opened the floodgates of fear throughout the great city
and there were tremblings and tears. In the still air, threads of smoke
rose upward; now they were white from fragrant copal, now black from
evil-smelling rubber.

On the fifth day before the feast of Toxcatl, the high priest of Mexico
that in those days was Tizoc, locked himself in an inner room of his
palace while his courtiers bowed low and acknowledged Five-eagle as
lord. A day of submission was granted to each quarter of the city, and
with pomp and pageants the temporary powers of an empire were conferred
upon the impersonator of Tezcatlipoca. And the grandeurs crowded into
these days kept sorrow from the eyes of a love which could see too

Before dawn of the last day, the priests went into the temple and
removed the old garments from the stone image of Tezcatlicopa and
refurbished it with new clothes, and adorned it, moreover, with feather
ornaments and bangles and spread over it a bright canopy. Then they
drew back the curtains of the temple so that the world might see the
hard and splendid image. As this was done, a high priest came out with
flowers in his hand, and played again a summons addressed to the east
and the north and the west and the south.

When the multitude had gathered in the principal court of the city,
before the temple enclosure with its serpent walls, a procession formed
behind Five-eagle and the stone image of the god and two priests
who carried ladles of incense. Five-eagle was seated on a gorgeous
litter carried high on the shoulders of men. Behind him rode the
high priests of the cults of magic with their bodies painted black
and their hair tied at the nape with white ribbons. Then a throng of
youths and maidens, comprising those specially dedicated to a year’s
service in the temple of Tezcatlipoca, rushed forth with a rope of
surprising whiteness in their hands, encircling with it the line of
gorgeous litters. This rope was made up of threaded popcorn and was
symbolical, so they say, of the thirstiness of the fields. The boys
were dressed in mantles of open network, and the girls in new smocks
with gay embroideries at neck and hem, but all of them wore necklaces
of popcorn and turbans as well. Then the priests, leaning forward,
took long strings of the white corn to wrap around their heads and
to loop over the sides of the litters. Then the procession moved
slowly forward over a road of green leaves strewn with flowers. On the
ground, too, were strewn needle-like tips of the maguey with which many
penitents perforated tongue and ears till they were bathed in blood
that glistened horribly in the sunlight. And there were others in the
long procession who lashed themselves with knotted cords. But such are
the ways of frenzy whenever the souls of men are stirred in common.

It would prove over-tiresome should all the happenings of the marvelous
day be related in full detail. There was a solemn sitting in state on
the summit of the pyramid of Tezcatlipoca and before the door of the
temple, where stood likewise the grim idol of stone, while complicated
dances were being enacted in the court below. And Five-eagle, with
a precise and certain artistry, wasted no moments of the triumph
forecast at his birth and compromised in no feature his dignities and

The water pageant came at the end of the long, brilliant day when the
sun was dropping towards the mountain crests. There was a long line
of the largest canoes, laden with flowers and colored streamers and
surmounted with awnings and sunshades. In the first of these Five-eagle
sat erect on a royal seat with his brides beside him. The waters of the
lake were calm, with pale reflections of gossamer clouds, and the boats
struck a wide wake that found the distant reeds and willows.

Still there was laughter and gayety, but that one who in fantasy was
a goddess of mountain crests had floating mists in her eyes while her
lips formed a tremulous smile. On her black hair rested softly the hand
of a lover, mortal at heart, but divine in a subtle play of mind over

“O little Lady of the House of Mists, see how your white fogs cling to
Ajusco, dropping dew on the cosmos flowers that Xochiquetzalli loves.”

“They are mists of a joyful sorrow, my Lord, they are mists of sorrow
that obscure the world to-day that it may be fairer to-morrow.”

“Then tell me that no shadows shall lie across your heart to-morrow
when the fishing boats enter the canal at sunset. Tell me there shall
be no shadows but only content in what has been, O my precious Lady of

“Youth of Toxcatl, there shall be no weeping.”

At a rocky point called Tlapitzahuayan the procession of canoes came
to land. Here the courtiers and the four brides of the Youth of
Toxcatl took merry leave of him, and he set out with his six boys for
Tlacuchcalco, a nearby ancient temple, neglected and unused except on
this one occasion of the year. A winding trail led to a rocky field
of cactus and acacia to a temple mound overrun with desert growths. A
broken stair climbed upward to a crumbling sacrificial chamber whose
doorway was nearly closed by yellow orchids and thorny vines. Behind
this humble screen, the thirsty knife of the great Magician awaited
its draft of blood. The boys of the retinue followed in the footsteps
of Five-eagle, and from the shore rang out a last sally of uplifting

At the foot of the temple stairs they took from his shoulders the white
mantle of the god who must be kept youthful at the cost of youth, and
they unwrapped from his waist the gayly brocaded breechcloth, and
they took from his feet the sandals, and from his ears the disks of
apple-green jade, the last symbols of his year of earthly power. Only
around his neck remained the necklace of flutes. He was a naked mortal,
come, in the last humility of all men, to make the sincere gift of
his life itself to a jealous and implacable god. With a gallant smile
Five-eagle dismissed his pages and mounted the broken stairs; pausing
on each step to break a flute between his two hands. Only a moment
later and a human body, naked, horribly gaping at the breast, came
crashing down the temple stairs, staining the brambles and the stones
with blood.

                   *       *       *       *       *

We can know the Past only as a masquerade of the Present. We can
imagine only those smells and colors which have come into our nostrils
and have passed before our eyes. To-day there are no gods, you say, and
it is true that terrible Siva and the sweet face of Christ fade back
into the haze that covers unbelief.

Yet, to-day, how many a young Icarus plunges gladly to his death from
dizzy heights. Does Necessity make us invade the airy kingdom of
the birds or the green depths of the sea? Or are we driven to these
conquests by the lusts and sincerities of a new commanding over-soul,
built out of song and fellowship and ordered lives of work and play?
For the harnessed Powers enslave their busy masters, and the new-found
gods of Speed and Thrill count victims as freely offered as that Youth
of Toxcatl, who bravely climbed to the bloody altar of his sacrifice in
Tenochtitlan that is no more. The soul of the Machine comes forth to
rule the prostrate nations that another age may see a strange mirage
thrown upward on the pale mists of romance.

                                                      HERBERT SPINDEN

           How Holon Chan Became The True Man of His People

A youth of seventeen sat on the summit of the loftiest pyramid in the
city, and gazed moodily out over the surrounding temples and palaces,
and the thatched huts of the more lowly folk beyond, to the grasslands,
which swept as far as the eye could reach in every direction.

He was naked save only for a sash-like cotton breechclout, so arranged
that one end fell between his legs in front, the other in the same
position behind, the ends being elaborately broidered with green
feathers. A pendant of beautifully carved jade hung about his neck.
Ear-plugs of the same material and sandals of deer hide with feather
tassels completed his costume. In height he was under five feet and
a half, slender, supple, small as to hands and feet, and a pleasing,
warm golden brown in color. His eyes were black and narrow and in their
placement somewhat slanting. His nose was aquiline and long, and merged
into his flattened forehead in one straight line. During his babyhood
his head had been bound between two boards to secure this very effect,
an effect of beauty and distinction among his people. His hair was
black, glossy and long. It was braided and then wrapped around his head
except for a small queue which hung behind.

The time was the month of August 531 A. D.; the place, Tikal,
the greatest metropolis of the Old Maya Empire; and the youth himself,
no less a person than the ruler-to-be of the splendid city stretching
at his feet, as well as of many smaller dependencies beyond the waste
of grassy savannas which bounded his vision.

His discontent was of long standing and arose from a condition which
he could not alter. His father, Ahmeket Chan, the preceding “True Man”
of Tikal, had died two years before, leaving this boy, Holon Chan, as
his sole surviving child and heir. The government of the state during
the period of his minority had been carried on under the regency of his
paternal uncle, Ahcuitok Chan, High Priest of Itzamna, aided by the
powerful priesthood of this god, head of the Maya Pantheon; but now the
people were clamoring for the investiture of Holon Chan in the supreme
office, so that certain of the highest ceremonies, which only the True
Man might perform, could be celebrated once again, and indeed Ahcuitok
Chan was only awaiting the conclusion of the current five-year period
to invest his nephew as True Man of Tikal. Itzamna, Lord of Heaven, had
indicated through the mouthpiece of his priests that this event should
be solemnized on the closing day of this period, and preparations for
it had now been going forward for some time.

Now the boy had little heart for his coming dignity. His had always
been a roving nature; he was a child of the open air, a lover of the
forest fastnesses and solitudes, better suited to the humble lot of
wood gatherer or corn planter than to that of ruler of a people.

The great discoveries of the preceding century, of large and
wonderfully fertile lands far to the north of his own domains, had
fired his imagination, and he burned to lead his people to this new
land of promise, where the gods were said always to smile, and the
cornfields to yield bountifully. Nor had these hopes always been
without foundation. Once he had an older brother, named Chac Chan, who
was to have succeeded their father as True Man, but while on a communal
deer hunt, this brother had been bitten by a poisonous serpent, the
deadly wolpuch, from whose bitter sting none ever recovered, and had
died, leaving Holon Chan next in line of succession. And now the time
was come when the exacting demands of his position, the elaborate
ritual, which would fill his every hour, and the cares of the council
chamber, would deprive him of every vestige of personal liberty.

The Maya people at this time, in Maya reckoning the close of Katin 18,
were at once at the zenith of their power, and at the threshold of
their decline. For generations now, the heavily forested lands which
originally had surrounded their cities, towns and villages, had been
gradually transformed under their primitive methods of cultivation
into grassy savannas. This method of cultivation consisted in felling
patches of the forests at the end of the rainy season in January or
February, in burning the dried trees and bushes at the end of the dry
season in March or April, and in planting after the first rains in May.
The following year a new patch of forest was sought and the process
repeated, nor was the first patch planted again for several years until
a new growth of bush had come up, since experience showed that the use
of the same cornfield two successive years would yield only a half crop
the second year. This method of cultivation however, had two serious
defects: not only was the greater part of the land thus always held
idle, but also there eventually came a time when woody growth no longer
came back to replace the original forests. Instead only perennial
grasses would grow, and gradually the whole countryside was transformed
into savannas. These savannas the Maya could not cultivate since they
had no means of turning the sod, and they were thus obliged to go ever
farther and farther from their homes in order to find suitable land for
planting their corn. But the limit to which even this expedient was
practicable had been reached at last. The cornfields now lay two, and
even three days’ journey from the cities, and people were beginning
to lose faith in deities who permitted living conditions to remain so
intolerable, and who either could not, or would not make possible the
cultivation of the savannas.

Holon Chan was not the only one whose eyes turned ever more anxiously
toward the north, to Yucatan, where life was said to be so easy, and
Yum Kax, Lord of the Harvests, always so propitious; and many a humble
corn planter had stolen away with his family through the great northern
forests to this new land, in spite of the stringent laws against such a
procedure. Both priesthood and nobility were strongly opposed to this
disintegrating movement, and oracle as well as law was being invoked to
prevent the abandonment of the country. But, despite threats of divine
wrath and the swifter punishment of men, for the death penalty had been
exacted more than once for this very offense, a steady stream of people
was pouring out of the Old Empire region, northward into Yucatan; it
was whispered for example, that the priests of Itzamna at the Holy
City of Palenque could scarcely muster enough temple servants to till
the fields of the god himself. This news could not be repeated openly,
but more and more people were coming to believe that the old land was
accursed and that the only salvation of their race lay in a general
exodus to the north. Indeed every one saw that if some way was not
speedily found to cultivate the grasslands, the people would be starved
into moving elsewhere.

Meanwhile the priests were holding forth every inducement for greater
piety and religious zeal. It was said that the people were lax in
their offerings, and the gods were offended. The sacrifices must be
redoubled. And latterly, with the approaching accession of Holon Chan
as True Man, the auguries and oracles had foretold that this event
would usher in a new era of abundance and prosperity, the like of which
had never been before. The boy, the priests widely circulated, was born
on a lucky day, of which Yum Kax, Lord of the Harvests, was the patron,
and the death of his older brother, far from being a calamity, had
been a direct intervention of the gods in order that the chosen of Yum
Kax should sit in the council chamber and rule over them. Thus was the
Lord of the Harvests to be appeased, and thus would prosperity return
once more to the people. High hopes therefore were entertained for his
rule, and while in other happier days, Holon Chan might possibly have
been permitted to renounce in favor of his uncle, the times were too
troublous, and the future too uncertain thus deliberately to offend the
Harvest God.

Of all these things the boy had been thinking as he sat on the temple
summit, watching the shadows lengthen over the glistening white walls
of the city. Finally with a sigh he jumped to his feet. The sun was
setting behind the distant savannas, a great, glowing, red disk, as
Holon Chan turned to enter the sanctuary of Itzamna to sacrifice to the
god. A single aged white-robed priest squatted in the outer corridor
guarding the sanctuary, but since the boy always had the right of
entry because of his rank, the old man scarcely looked up from his
meditations as Holon Chan drew aside the elaborately embroidered cotton
curtain and passed within.

The sanctuary was dark save only for such fitful light as came from a
brazier of burning incense and two small windows not more than eight
inches square, one at either end of the long narrow room. As the
curtain fell behind him, the boy stooped to a shallow platter by the
door, selected from it a small, round ball of incense, the gum of the
copal tree, painted a brilliant peacock blue for ceremonial use, and
advanced to the brazier. In the half light, a wooden image some eight
feet high could be distinguished standing on a stone platform against
the back wall. It was in the form of an old man, with prominent Roman
nose, toothless lower jaw, and piercing green eyes, made of two discs
of highly polished jade which caught and shot back the flickering
light. The head was surmounted by an elaborate headdress carved in the
likeness of the Plumed Serpent, and the whole figure was brilliantly
painted in red, blue, yellow, green, white and black. A necklace,
breast-pendant, ear-plugs, anklets and wristlets of heavy, rich jade
completed the costume of the image. Holon Chan placed his offerings
on the brazier and prostrated himself before the image. However
disinclined he might be to follow the path Itzamna had chosen for him
by removing his older brother from the line of succession, it never
entered the boy’s head to evade the responsibility thus thrust upon
him. He came of an old and distinguished family which had ruled the
state of Tikal for more than four centuries. From that distant ancestor
of his, who had first led the people to their present home, down to his
father, all had been brave men used to facing crises and shouldering
responsibility, and this latest son of the Chan race had no other
thought than to do likewise in the present emergency. And so he prayed
long and earnestly for wisdom to meet the many problems of the future,
and above all for some means of alleviating the terrible agricultural
problems which were threatening the very existence of his people.

The prayer over, Holon Chan left the sanctuary and, nodding to its aged
guardian in the outer corridor, he prepared to descend the pyramid.
The swift twilight of the tropics had already dissolved into night.
Above, the stars blazed forth in the cloudless sky; below, the darkness
was picked out here and there with little glowing points of red, the
cooking fires of his people, who were busily preparing for the great
ceremony of his investiture, now but three days distant.

Carefully picking his way down the steep stairway, Holon Chan crossed
the broad, paved plaza at its base, and ascending a low terrace,
entered a long building of cut stone, which had been the home of his
family for generations. It was a single story in height, more than two
hundred feet long and three ranges of rooms in depth. These all had the
typical Maya arched ceiling, were narrow and long, and lighted only by
the exterior doorways and small, square windows about six feet above
the floor. The largest room in the palace, a chamber sixty feet long,
ten feet wide, and eighteen feet high, was entered directly through the
central doorway. At one end was a raised stone platform with a wooden
seat. This was without a back and the arms were carved to represent
jaguar heads. Above there was a canopy of green featherwork. This was
the council chamber of the state.

Through this chamber Holon Chan passed to the living quarters at the
rear, and, clapping his hands, he summoned a slave to serve the evening
meal to him as he sat cross-legged on the floor. Presently the slave
returned bearing dishes of tortillas and black beans, a bush fowl,
and a bowl containing an aromatic drink made of cacao. Holon Chan
inquired for his uncle, and he was told that he was at the monastery
of Itzamna. After eating, and rinsing out his mouth with water, a
not-to-be-forgotten custom of gentlefolk, Holon Chan withdrew to his
own room, and lying down on a bench covered with soft skins soon fell

Early the following morning, Holon Chan arose, and after a bath in a
wooden tub, hollowed from a mahogany log, he dressed, but partook of
no food, since custom decreed that he must fast throughout the period
of his investiture. Thus he waited for his uncle to fetch him to the
assembled priesthood of Itzamna. This first day of the induction
ceremonies was to be given over exclusively to mental tests, quizzings
by his uncle and the other priests of Itzamna, in the monastery of the
god just behind his temple. It was proper for Holon Chan to appear
before the priests without any emblem of rank, and presently when his
uncle came to lead him thither, he was dressed as any other boy of his
age, a simple breechclout encircling his loins, and leather sandals on
his feet.

Of the many subjects Holon Chan was questioned about during that long
day, we may only touch upon a few. First his uncle asked him to recite
the complete ritual of the New Year’s feast, one of the most important
ceremonies of the Maya year. Other old wiseheads questioned him as to
the stars, when would the next eclipses of the sun and moon take place,
when would Venus next appear as evening star? Clean sheets of fiber
paper were set before him, pigments and brushes were brought in, and
he was told to write the current date, giving the phases of the moon
therefor, and the presiding deity. All these tests he went through
creditably, and the old men nodded approval. Next a fowl was brought
and the boy was told to kill it and read the omens from its entrails.
Again he acquitted himself with credit, and the old priests were
satisfied with his knowledge of this important part of the Maya ritual.

In conclusion his uncle again took the lead, and put searching
questions to him as to the condition of the people—how many heads of
families were there in the tribe, and how many man-loads of corn were
required to support the average family for a year? With which cities
he should strive to ally himself, and which to avoid? How migration
to Yucatan could best be discouraged? When the boy replied it could
neither be discouraged nor prevented unless the Harvest Lord permitted
corn to be grown on the savannas, a few of the older men shook their
heads, but the great majority of the priests signified their approval
of this sage answer. After these tests he was led from the monastery
back to the palace, and later his uncle informed him that the priests
had adjudged him to be worthy and well qualified to be made the True
Man of the state.

The second day was even more strenuous than the first. The day was
devoted to numerous rites of purification, in which by sweatings and
blood-lettings he was supposed to be purged of all sin and wickedness,
and thus fitted for the high office he was about to assume.

Following this the priests led him to the Temple of Purification. Here,
in an inner chamber, he removed his clothes and crawled, naked, into a
low stone closet. A bowl of water stood at the back of this low cell,
and presently the priests passed in through the small doorway five or
six large, rounded, heated stones wrapped in leaves. The doorway was
now closed by a slab of stone, and Holon Chan dropped these heated
bowlders, one at a time, into the bowl of water. Each succeeding
bowlder raised the temperature of the water, and soon clouds of vapor
filled the cell. From time to time more hot stones were passed in and
the boy thus kept the water boiling. Beads of sweat broke out over his
body; he almost suffocated, but still he served the steaming bowl with
heated stones, and still the temperature rose. Every pore streamed and
he gasped for breath. When it seemed as though he could stand it no
longer, the slab was suddenly removed, the vapor rushed out and he was
left panting and faint from the heat and his hunger, and the first step
toward ceremonial purification was over.

Next they gave him a violent emetic, which left him completely
prostrated from weakness. With the characteristic stoicism of his race,
however, he uttered no complaint, but presently gained sufficient
strength to pass on to the next trial, a cruel and painful letting of
blood. His uncle bade him put out his tongue and through the end of it,
he thrust a sharp stone awl. Waiting priests caught the blood on little
balls of cotton and these were borne off to the sanctuary of Itzamna
as an earnest of his faith and purification. At sunset a small fiber
cord with thorns caught in it every few inches was passed through the
still open wound, cruelly lacerating the flesh, and fresh blood drawn
to offer to the god in renewed proof of his constancy of purpose. That
night Holon Chan was so exhausted that he slept without stirring, until
awakened before dawn to prepare himself for the long day of meditation
and prayer in the sanctuary of Itzamna which preceded the actual
investiture at sunset.

Preparations for this ceremony had been going forward now for a long
time. It has been told how Itzamna had indicated that the investiture
of the new True Man must coincide with the unveiling of the great stone
shaft which had been erected to commemorate the end of the current
five-year period of the Maya Chronological Era. As much as a year
before, this shaft had been quarried, transported to the Great Plaza
of Tikal, set up there and a high fence of thatch built around it to
conceal it from the people until the moment of its unveiling.

Ahcuitok Chan in consultation with the most learned astrologer priests
of the state had carefully calculated what would be the nearest solar
and lunar eclipses to the day of dedication (then still nearly a year
ahead). Other astronomical phenomena important during the current
five-year period, had been compiled, together with a record of the
principal events of the period. These matters had been written down in
the Maya hieroglyphic writing, on pieces of fiber paper coated with
a sizing of fine white lime, which served as working drawings for
the artisans who were to carve the shaft; and finally the likeness
of Holon Chan himself, gorgeously appareled as he would be at the
ceremony of investiture, had been laboriously carved on the front. This
monument, which was to mark the ending of the current five-year period, 11 Ahau 18 Mac of the Maya Era, was at last ready, and
would be unveiled at the proper moment, namely the instant of sunset on
the closing day of the period. This had to be so, since to the Maya,
time was conceived and measured in terms of elapsed units (like our
own astronomical time), and not until the final day of the period
came to its end, that is at sunset on the last day, could the monument
commemorating that period be formally dedicated thereto.

But now all was in readiness for the great festival, upon which, as
has been noted, so many and such high hopes had been builded. For
the past several days, people had been pouring into Tikal. From the
farthest outlying villages men, women and children were moving toward
the religious and governmental center of the state. The surrounding
savannas were filled with temporary shelters of thatch, and booths
had sprung up everywhere for the barter of tortillas, beans, squash,
sapotes, cacao, bush meats, gourds, pottery, mats, featherwork, hides,
cotton stuffs, and even beads and pendants of jade, the most highly
prized of all materials by the Maya.

The Great Plaza of Tikal had been filling with people since midnight,
eager to catch the first glimpse of their future ruler as he was being
conducted at daybreak to the sanctuary of Itzamna for prayer and
meditation. His learning tried and tested by the wise men of the state
on the first day; his body purged of sin and wickedness by rites of
purification, and his fortitude and earnestness of purpose established
by his giving of blood to Itzamna on the second day, there remained
only that he should cleanse his soul of any lurking grossness, by
prayer and meditation, and he would then be ready for the most solemn
moment of his life, his formal consecration as the True Man of his

After rising, Holon Chan bathed, and donned again the simple girdle
worn by common folk, in token that he had not yet received the
supreme rank, and passed into the council chamber. Here all the great
dignitaries of the state, the high priests of the different Maya
deities, the chieftains of the dependent towns and villages, the
collectors of taxes, deputies, and other officials had assembled in
gala costume—magnificent cloaks of featherwork, gorgeous panaches of
plumes, mantles of deer hide, heavy necklaces, pendants, ear-plugs,
wristlets and anklets of jade—each in his bravest display. Naked male
slaves stood about the council chamber with lighted torches of fat pine
in their hands, for the hour of dawn had not yet come, and these cast a
fitful light over the company. Outside on the terrace, in front of the
palace, the musicians were assembled with long, wooden drums, rattles
and flageolets.

High on the topmost point of the roof of the sanctuary of Itzamna stood
a priest scanning the eastern horizon for the first sign of the orb of
day. As dawn approached, the multitude stirred faintly and with common
consent all eyes turned to the portals of the palace. Slaves with
short staves were seen to open a passage through the crowd and stand
on either side to keep the way cleared. Suddenly a piercing cry falls
from above. “Lo, the Lord of Day cometh.” The musicians strike up, and
move in ordered rank down the terrace stairway and across the plaza.
First come temple boys with brooms, sweeping the way, followed by
others swinging braziers of incense from which clouds of heavy, black,
aromatic smoke wreath upward. Next appear the temple chanters clad in
white, singing an ode of welcome to the Lord of Day; next, a troop of
the palace guard in quilted cotton armor, armed with stone-pointed
javelins and shields of skin. Following these are the lords of the
dependent towns and villages, and the higher civil officers of
the state; these last, with their gorgeous cloaks of featherwork,
furnishing the brightest spot of color in the procession. Next are the
lower orders of the priesthood of Itzamna, a long file of white-robed
figures moving slowly forward.

Now Ahcuitok Chan leaves the palace surrounded by the higher priestly
dignitaries. He is magnificently dressed, a cloak of rich featherwork
hanging from his shoulders and falling over the jaguar skin draped
around his body. His jade necklace is a work of art, beautifully
carved human heads hanging in front and back, and over each shoulder.
Delicate, tendril-like feathers of the quetzal, the royal emblem,
hang from a brilliantly painted wooden helmet carved to represent a
serpent head, the patronymic of his family, Chan. Indeed he wears all
the insignia of the True Man save only the Double-headed Ceremonial
Bar which ancient practice decrees may only be borne by the True Man
himself. Follows last the simply clad boy of seventeen in whose honor
all have assembled.

The procession moves slowly across the plaza and ascends the steep
stairway to the sanctuary of Itzamna above. The musicians, sweepers,
incensers and chanters take positions on either side of the temple
doorway on the summit of the pyramid, now bathed in the first rays of
the rising sun. The soldiers form a double cordon on each side of the
stairway from bottom to top, between which the rest of the procession
passes, dividing at the top and arranging itself on either side of the
doorway. Even Ahcuitok waits at the entrance for his nephew, and when
the boy has at last reached the summit, he takes his hand and leads him
within, followed only by the highest officers and priests.

The crowd now dispersed since nothing visible to the eye of the common
folk would be going forward until the close of the afternoon, although
within the sanctuary itself the ceremony would be continued all day.
When the higher officers of the state had all assembled in the outer
corridor of the temple, Ahcuitok Chan, still leading his nephew by the
hand, approached the curtain guarding the sanctuary, and drew it aside,
at the same time motioning the boy to enter. After Holon Chan had
passed within, Ahcuitok Chan let the curtain fall behind him and seated
himself on his haunches outside the doorway, all the others arranging
themselves about the chamber in the same position.

Now followed a long and wearisome vigil both for those without the
curtain and for the hungry tired boy within. Etiquette proscribed
conversation lest it should interrupt the devotions of the suppliant in
the sanctuary, and time hung heavy, as the hours dragged by.

All day long Holon Chan prayed to his father Itzamna in the
semi-obscurity of the holy place, leaving his orisons only long enough
to replenish the brazier with little balls of incense or quench his
thirst from a bowl of water by the door. He had now fasted so long that
he was light-headed, and it seemed to him that at times the wooden
image of the god smiled down upon him, even answered his prayers for
guidance and gave him counsel; at least so he told his uncle when the
latter came to fetch him for the investiture an hour before sunset.
But this one was a wise old man, well acquainted with the frailty of
the flesh and the hallucinations born of an empty stomach, and he only
nodded wisely, and did not press for further particulars.

In the outer corridor all was astir for the final act of the great
drama. As Holon Chan stepped out of the sanctuary all prostrated
themselves in obeisance. A priest now stepped forward, and painted
his legs, arms and torso with a bright red pigment, encircling his
eyes with a heavy band of the same color, and adding a large red daub
to each cheek. His plain breechclout was now removed, and a heavily
embroidered one wound around his loins instead. Next anklets and
wristlets of jade were fastened around his ankles and wrists, and a
heavy collar of the same material hung about his neck. This was richly
embellished with four large medallions of jade, one in front, one
behind, and one over each shoulder, beautifully carved to represent the
human face; a fringe of smaller jade heads hung from the collar. Square
jade ear-plugs were fitted into the lobes of his ears, and a jade ring
slipped on his finger. These were, in truth, the state jewels; precious
material gathered by succeeding generations of True Men to adorn their
own persons.

A magnificent jaguar skin, tawny orange-red dappled with rosettes of
black, was hung from his shoulders, the long tail dragging on the
ground. Finally the serpent crown was placed upon his head. This was
an ornate affair of cedar carved to represent the head of a snake with
widely distended mouth. It was painted a brilliant green, the mouth
being red; the eyes were formed by two pieces of highly polished,
jet-black obsidian, the teeth being inset pieces of white shell.
From the head of the snake rose a shower of quetzal plumes, the tail
feathers of an hundred of these rare tropical birds, obtained with
infinite hardships from the cold mountain ranges far to the South.
These delicate tendrils of plumage floated down behind the boy, and as
the evening breeze caught them, swirled around him, enveloping his body
in a mist of translucent green.

The hour of sunset was at last drawing near. The priest on the roof of
the temple above shouted down a warning that the Lord of the Day was
nearing the horizon. The Great Plaza and its surrounding terraces had,
in the meantime, filled with people; every pyramid-stairway and summit
thronged with spectators. A body of priests had taken positions by the
thatched fence around the monument, ready to fell it at the instant of
sunset. All the officers of state and the priests, including Ahcuitok
Chan, indeed all save only Holon Chan himself passed out of the temple,
and arranged themselves on either side of the doorway. Before Ahcuitok
Chan, stood two priests supporting a brilliantly painted wooden staff;
one end carved to represent the Sun God, the other end, the Rain
God, the whole shaft being hung with green feathers. This was the
Double-headed Ceremonial Bar, the emblem of supreme authority of the
state, only to be carried by the True Man. Throughout his regency even
Ahcuitok Chan had never used this insignia of the highest office.

The sun was now all but touching the horizon; the watcher above uttered
a piercing cry, and the multitude below stiffened to attention. Sixty
silent seconds passed and then the watching priest chanted: “Lo, the
Lord of Day passeth.” Suddenly from the temple doorway into the full
radiance of the setting sun, now gilding the brilliant company gathered
on the pyramid’s summit, stepped the new ruler, resplendent in the
flashing green of jade against his crimson body, his cloak of glossy
jaguar skin gleaming in the sun, his form swathed in a shimmering mist
of green, the swirling tendrils of quetzal hanging from his headdress.

A mighty roar of acclaim loosed itself from the spectators below. The
drums on the summit pealed a roll of welcome. At the same instant the
fence of thatch around the monument was beaten to the ground; the
sun, striking at last fair upon its front, made glow every detail of
carving. From the True Man above, to his exact counterpart sculptured
on the front of the newly unveiled monument below, every eye turned and
turned again. The mighty cheer continued. The chosen of Itzamna and Yum
Kax, he who would bring back fertility to their sterile fields, was at
last proclaimed ruler. Ahcuitok Chan took the Ceremonial Bar from the
waiting priests and, advancing to his nephew, placed it horizontally
in his outstretched arms: “Hail, Ah Holon Chan, son of Ahmeket Chan!
I invest thee with the rank of True Man of Tikal, and may the Great
Itzamna grant thee long life, and to thy people prosperity everlasting!”

Ah Holon Chan, no longer a boy, and now entitled to a man’s designation
(the male prefix Ah) advanced to the edge of the pyramid and, raising
the Ceremonial Bar, signaled for silence. A profound hush fell upon the

“Oh People of my blood, my single purpose, my single thought from this
moment henceforth till the Father of Heaven, Great Itzamna, calls me
hence, shall be your welfare. May the Lord of Life guide me through
the perils which beset our race, and endow me with wisdom to rule you
justly and well, and above all to find that way which once again will
bring prosperity and abundance to our failing fields. Oh People of my
blood, accept this my solemn vow of consecration to your service.”

The sun had set, a rosy afterglow enveloped the boy in a haze of
mysterious light. It seemed, to the breathless thousands in the plaza
below, as though the Lord of Life were actually infusing the new ruler
with that wisdom for which he had so earnestly prayed. Profound silence
reigned. Swiftly the twilight fell. A few stars began to twinkle
through the sky. At last in the gathering gloom the boy was seen to
turn and pass within the temple. And then the multitude began to melt
away until the court was empty....

                                                   SYLVANUS G. MORLEY

                 The Toltec Architect of Chichen Itza

The battle is over, the once glorious Chichen Itza has fallen and all
because of the love of a woman. Hunac-eel, the king of Mayapan, the
conqueror, is being borne into the ruined city. There are no shouts
of welcome, no crowds gathered on the tops of such buildings as have
escaped destruction. Many of the former citizens have been killed,
others are held prisoners, later to be enslaved, and still others have
fled far to the southwards to find a resting place in Peten Itza.

Chac-xib-chac, the king of Chichen Itza, had fallen on the field of
battle, fighting for his bride. She was also of noble lineage and it
was she whom Hunac-eel had dared to desire, although she was the bride
of his friend and ally in the famous League of Mayapan which now was to
be disrupted after an existence of two hundred years.

The wedding of Chac-xib-chac and Tibil had been marked by the pomp and
luxury customary in royal marriages of the Mayas. There had been games
and dancing, feasting and song. The kings of Mayapan, Uxmal, Izamal
and the other kingdoms of Yucatan, had been present. Chichen was in
gala dress. The festivities were at their height when, without warning,
Hunac-eel and his followers from Mayapan rushed up the broad but
steep stairway of the royal residence and burst into the very chamber
of Chac-xib-chac and his bride. His retainers, worn out by too much
feasting, had made but a feeble resistance. Hunac-eel fled with the
reluctant bride to his home at Mayapan.

There followed a long and devastating war. Chac-xib-chac had been able
to induce all the surrounding kingdoms except that of the Xius to join
his forces. The Xius alone remained neutral. Hunac-eel, on seeing the
hosts against him, had called to his aid a body of Mexican warriors who
happened to be in Tabasco. The war raged for many years. Izamal was
conquered, and one after another of the famous cities fell into the
power of Hunac-eel and his foreign allies. Finally he attacked Chichen
itself, killed Chac-xib-chac, and, aided by the novel machines of war
of the Mexicans, sacked the city.

And now, the conqueror was making his triumphal entry. His son, also
the son of Tibil, accompanied him, a youth just arriving at manhood.
There was also in the train of Hunac-eel a young Mexican named
Pantemitl. Pantemitl had been trained as a warrior, but his activities
had taken a more peaceful turn. He had had a minor part in the erection
of the great Temple of the Sun, at Teotihuacan in his homeland.
Hunac-eel had recognized the young man’s abilities as an artist and
architect; he was just such a man as Hunac-eel needed in order to carry
out his plan of building a greater and more glorious Chichen.

Hunac-eel soon returned to Mayapan, leaving behind him Taxcal, his son,
and installing a Governor to rule the city.

Taxcal and Pantemitl, the young architect, soon became the greatest
of friends. Pantemitl was engaged in building a wonderful temple,
erected on a high pyramid, with stairways on the four sides. He had
brought with him the ideas of his country which were new to Yucatan.
He had carvings of the feathered serpent made for the entrance to the
temple and for one of the great stone stairways. The people of Chichen
marveled at the art of the foreign country which was blossoming in
their city.

Among the inhabitants, of whom many were serving as slaves to the
usurpers, was a worker in jade. The beauty of his carvings had brought
him renown. His craftsmanship was unequalled in all the country. It was
he who was called upon to furnish all the head and breast ornaments
and beads, for the regalia of those who impersonated the gods of the
Mayas in the festivals which came every twenty days. With his daughter
the old jade worker lived in a thatched hut on the outskirts of the
city. The girl was beautiful. Her frame was small, and she had bright
brown eyes with features sharp and finely chiselled. There was a subtle
refinement about her which is common even to-day to all Maya women,
especially when they are young. Nicte, the Flower, was a dutiful
daughter and when she was not grinding maize she liked to spend her
time sharpening the stone tools, and collecting the reeds needed by her
father in his jade work. Like the other women, she took little part in
the great religious spectacles performed so frequently in the temples.
And now more than ever her father kept her at home, for he feared lest
by chance she be selected as an offering to the new gods, introduced
by the Toltecs who had come to the city in the armies of Hunac-eel.
However her beauty attracted the attention of Pantemitl when he came
to visit her father, who was making the jade and obsidian eyes for the
many figures of the feathered serpent set up by the young artist.

Pantemitl was about to complete a wonderful Ball Court at Chichen, for
the game of tlachtli which formed a part of the religious life of the
Mexicans. The people of Chichen looked with favor at the introduction
of this game into their city, as they were fond of spectacles. The
court consisted of two massive and parallel walls of masonry. Near the
top and at the center of each wall there projected a stone ring which
was carved with the feathered serpent design. But the court itself was
a very small part of the whole undertaking. There were two beautiful
temples at either end, and the most wonderful of all buildings on the
top and at the end of one of the walls. The outside was decorated with
friezes of tigers alternating with shields. The portico of the building
was borne by two serpent columns with a stone altar between, consisting
of fifteen carved and painted human figures, supporting in their
upturned hands a flat stone as a table. The stone jambs of the doorway
were carved with warriors and the carved wooden lintel had the Sun God
upon it. Inside the temple itself Pantemitl painted the scenes of the
battles of Hunac-eel and his enemies. He introduced into this fresco
also many scenes of domestic life; he had even dared to paint in women
and the very house of Nicte. This was sacrilegious according to the
ideas of Taxcal who believed that women should not be represented in a
temple of the gods, as they had no part to play in the religion of his

Now Taxcal, too, had seen Nicte and had begun to covet her. His
friendship for Pantemitl had given place to rivalry and bitter enmity.
The quarrel had reached the ears of the Governor of Chichen who
was forced to take cognizance of it as it was interfering with the
completion of the architectural work. The Governor’s position was
difficult. He feared the wrath of the king and yet he hesitated to
take the side of Taxcal as the people had made Pantemitl, the Toltec,
a hero on account of the part he was playing in rebuilding their city.
Besides, the Governor had learned that Hunac-eel was being surrounded
in his city by the Cocomes, descendants of the Itzas themselves. As
these people were conquering everything before them, perhaps Hunac-eel
was no longer to be feared.

The decision of the Governor was to let the gods solve the outcome
of the quarrel. He ordered the two rivals to play the first game of
tlachtli in the inauguration of the new court. The gods of the Ball
Court would determine the victory; their solution would be a just one.
It was decided, therefore, that the winner of the game could claim the
jade worker’s daughter as his prize. The other should be given to the
gods, his heart cut out and offered to their images. This practice,
so common in Mexico, was comparatively unknown in Yucatan. Here was a
chance, thought the Governor, of providing a worthy sacrifice to the
new gods.

Each youth eagerly accepted the wager of gaming for their gods and
Nicte. As for Nicte, she was virtually a slave, her choice in the
matter played no part. And yet she was inclined strongly toward the
prince, a man of her own race, as against Pantemitl, the foreigner.

The day dawned for the inauguration of the Ball Court. News had gone
out of the unusual circumstances connected with the first game.
People were coming from all the surrounding towns, even from Itzamal,
many leagues distant. The usual stakes were mantles, gold, and jade
ornaments, but sometimes men played themselves into slavery. To-day the
loser is to give his very life. The crowd line the top of the massive
walls, the Governor and his suite sit in the portico of the Temple of
the Tigers, other dignitaries fill the two small temples at either
end. Sacrifices are made to the gods of the Ball Court in these three
temples. There are songs and dances in the court itself, by gayly
dressed youths. Priests in the superb regalia of their offices are
entering the enclosure in solemn procession. Prayers are offered and
the ball is thrown about the court four times in the direction of the
four points of the compass.

The two young men, each with five friends as fellow players, enter
the court. A hush falls on the multitude, followed by a murmur of
admiration when they see the stalwart youths, their bodies glistening
with paint, and their breechclouts covered with gold and jade
ornaments. Pantemitl is the favorite in the betting, as he it is who
has caused Chichen to rise again as a city second to none in the whole
peninsula. Taxcal and his players have the rubber ball, bouncing it
steadily down the court towards the ring of their adversaries.

The ball hovers a moment at the hole but falls back again. It lands
squarely on the hip of Pantemitl, who leaps high into the air to
receive it. He and his fellow players have had long practice with
the game in Mexico and this fact now begins to show itself. Pantemitl
bounces the ball to a companion, and from one to the other it quickly
passes until he finally receives it again, directly in front of the
ring of his opponents. With great dexterity he throws it squarely
through the hole and the game is ended.

According to the rules, the mantles of the spectators belonged to
the victor but on this occasion none rushed from the court. All were
preoccupied with the tragic ending of the game. For Taxcal had fallen
exhausted at the feet of Pantemitl who raised him and carried him to
the Tiger Temple. Here the Governor received them. Taxcal’s father was
no longer to be feared, as word had come that he had been driven out
of his city by the Cocomes. By sacrificing the son of Hunac-eel the
Governor realizes that he will curry favor with the new conquerors of

The Governor decides, therefore, to have the sacrifice at once. Priests
are dispatched to prepare for the ceremony in the portico of the
famous Pyramid Temple, hardly a stone’s throw from the Ball Court. The
sacrificial stone is ready to receive its offering, and Taxcal is a
youth without a blemish, as demanded by the gods. Resistless, he allows
himself to be arrayed in the magnificent robes of sacrifice. He is
regaled with incense from vases of burning copal, and is almost buried
in flowers. Pages follow him in the procession of priests as they wind
their way up the hundred steps of the pyramid. According to Mexican
custom, believed to be the impersonation of a god, he is treated with
all possible honor and respect.

At the top of the staircase, relinquishing his flowers and his mantles,
he is received by six priests with locks matted with the blood of
previous victims, their ears hanging in long strips where they have
been cut as acts of penance. Led to the sacrificial stone, he is thrown
on his back upon it. Five priests hold his arms and legs while the
sixth, clad in a scarlet mantle, dexterously opens his breast with the
famous sacrificial knife, its wooden handle carved with the intertwined
bodies of two serpents. Inserting his hand into the wound, he tears
out the palpitating heart. Holding it first toward the setting sun,
he casts it at the feet of the image of the god to whom the temple is

When Pantemitl next made his way to the jade maker’s hut he heard from
a distance singing and wailing, and was surprised to see crowds of
people gathered. Presently he learned with horror that his beloved
Nicte had offered herself for sacrifice. She had announced that she too
would die, a sacrifice to the gods, in the sacred well of the Itzas.

Priests were already preparing the ceremonies. The sixty days of
fasting had begun. Gifts and incense were brought and Nicte, lying
on her couch, was being dressed in white robes and garlanded with
flowers. In despair and contrition, Pantemitl spent the time in his
Tiger Temple, painting over the door of the frescoed chamber the scene
of the sacrifice of his rival. In the chamber behind the temple he
carved scenes of warriors and civilians paying homage to the God of the
Feathered Serpent. These he hoped would find favor with the gods and
free him from his unhappy feelings.

The Cenote of Sacrifice, a huge natural well, was situated only a
short distance from the temple which had been the scene of the death
of Taxcal. Into the cenote the most precious possessions of the
people were thrown as offerings to the gods. Virgins were considered
especially welcome to the gods and the dark waters, three score feet
from the surface, held many victims.

At the break of the sixtieth day, the procession starts from the house
of the jade cutter. Numberless bowls of copal incense, incrusted with
amulets, are burned, carved wooden staffs, with heads made of stone
mosaics or covered with gold masks, are being carried by the priests,
all to be thrown into the dark waters. The maiden herself is dressed in
finely woven textiles, heavily ornamented with golden bells and jade
beads. She wears on her breast a gold plaque on which the sacrifice of
her lover is depicted. Nicte is to die for the love of Taxcal, but to
all the others it is an act of supreme devotion to the gods.

The procession winds its way to the Great Pyramid and from there a
broad avenue, lined with images, leads to the Cenote of Sacrifice. As
the band of worshipers are encircling the holy well, the priests with
the maiden take their places in the small temple directly at the brink.
More incense is burned and the precious offerings are thrown into the
water, with prayers and songs in praise of the gods of the cenote. In
the silence which follows, the main actors reach the roof of the temple
whence, in a few moments, the maiden is cast into the depths beneath.
As the ripples widen out to the edges of the great pool, prayers are
chanted supplicating the gods to receive graciously the offering....

Worn out with work and with sorrow, Pantemitl could stand the strain no
longer, and he sickened and died. Just before his death he completed a
small replica of the Pyramid Temple planned to receive the ashes of the
poor queen, the mother of Taxcal, Tibil, who had requested that she be
buried in the city of her fathers.

The death of Pantemitl cast the city into mourning. His great
achievements had made of him a hero. His masterpiece, the Pyramid Tomb,
was completed, and the people demanded that this beautiful temple
with its crypt be made the tomb of its architect. Offerings from all
covered the pyre on which his body was burned. His last wish was that
the ashes of Taxcal should be mingled with his.... The final rite is
about to begin. A beautiful alabaster jar, one of the most precious
possessions of the city, a gift from a visiting monarch from a distant
country, is carried in the procession of priests to the top of the
Pyramid Tomb. It holds the ashes of Pantemitl and of Taxcal. Reverently
the vase, surrounded by offerings of jade, is lowered from the floor of
the temple through the stone-lined shaft until it rests in the natural
chamber below the mound.

                                                     ALFRED M. TOZZER

                     Wixi of the Shellmound People

                             ON THE BEACH

“Here’s another! Here’s another! Here’s another!”

It is the excited voice of a naked, gesticulating youngster, little
more than three years old, who is pointing to a tiny hole in the smooth
surface of the tide beach at his feet.

“Yes, yes, child, I am coming,” is the reply, in soft, affectionate
tones, by a woman a few steps away.

“But I am hungry, I am hungry,” comes the insistent, half-petulant

“Well, you can’t have any clams now, you know. Mark the one you have
and run along to find some more. Soon we shall go home.”

At this the child stoops unsteadily and with a rough, pointed splinter
of bone draws a circle around the hole, then patters away along the wet

Presently his mother comes forward, with a rough basket in one hand
and a short, stout, pointed stick in the other. She is barefooted and
bareheaded. Her only garment is a sort of skirt made of loose bark
strands, reaching from the waist to the knees. Her heavy, glistening,
black hair is fastened in two locks hanging down in front, partially
covering her breasts. Her complexion, a shade darker than that of the
child, is the color of a smoked, reddish brick or of a certain shade of
Oriental bronze. Scarcely more than twenty years old, she has a fine,
comely figure.

Having reached the spot indicated by the child, the young woman sets
the basket down. Then, grasping the stick with both hands, she drives
it into the firm beach mud and with a single, deft, prying motion
brings to the surface a good-sized clam. She picks it up, throws it
into the partly filled basket, and proceeds a few steps to where the
child is calling her anew.

Similar scenes are being enacted on every hand. Women and children,
numbering close to one hundred in all, are scattered along the beach
for nearly half a mile; a hundred yards or so beyond there is another,
somewhat smaller group. In both groups the women and older children are
busy with the digging-stick, while the younger children run about over
the beach locating the clams. Presently there is a curious splash near
the edge of the receding waters. The splash is repeated once or twice
and with it a chorus of voices rings out.

“Wixi! Wixi!” (Stingaree! Stingaree!)

A dozen or so half-grown children come running from different
directions, all shouting vehemently, “He’s mine! He’s mine! I saw him
first! I saw him first!”

There is nothing actually to be seen, except perhaps a small area
immediately off shore where the water is unusually muddy. Into the
water the children rush, keeping clear of the roiled spot, and when
ranged partly around it on the sea side, they begin to poke into it
with their sticks. Very soon there is another violent splash and a
large, monstrous looking creature is seen to lift itself almost bodily
out of the shallow water.

“Wixi! Wixi! We’ve got you!” shouts the chorus. “We’ve got you!”

The steadily receding water soon reveals the cause of the excitement—an
extra large eagle ray, a kind of flat-fish, in outline something like
an immense butterfly, plus a long whip-like tail, near the root of
which appears a sharply-pronged, bony excrescence which can inflict
a severe wound. Wixi is an ugly fellow, and as he lies there in two
or three inches of water, flopping spasmodically, lashing his tail
viciously from side to side, the children plant their sticks firmly in
the ground, making a sort of fence around him, while they stand back
out of reach. But, the moment the monster subsides, all pound and punch
with their sticks, screaming and carrying on like a pack of fighting
dogs. Finally, the oldest of the children, a girl of ten or eleven,
manages to insert her digging-stick in the creature’s eye. A few
violent lashings, and the ray lies still.

The girl remains leaning on the stick, holding the great fish firmly
transfixed. The other children fall over each other in a scramble to
get near it. All seek to pierce the dead body with their sticks and to
pull it away. But their implements are too weak and dull. Some grasp
with their fingers at the slimy thing, but to no avail. The girl stands

In their rage some of the children suddenly turn upon her. In an effort
to defend herself, she lets go her stick, and at the same moment the
big ray is pulled away, but not by any of the original claimants.
During the tumult a boy of thirteen or fourteen had approached
unnoticed from the larger group of clam gatherers, and had wound the
tail of the ray two or three times around his hand. Now when the girl’s
hold on the stick is released, he jerks the ray away and starts to run
as fast as his legs can carry him toward his own people, the body of
the big fish dragging behind him over the slippery mud.

There is a tremendous uproar. Some of the children attempt to follow,
but they are soon outdistanced. The girl who killed the ray, finally
realizing what has happened, bursts out: “You took my wixi! You took my
wixi! You—wixi! You—!” Her voice chokes with sobs. But her epithet is
taken up by a chorus of voices in both groups of clam diggers, those of
Kawina and those of Akalan: “You wixi! You wixi!”

But the boy pays no heed. When he reaches the shore proper, he winds
the ray’s tail a few more times around his hand, swings the immense
body over his shoulders, and disappears among the marsh weeds in the
direction of his home.

Wixi! Wixi! Thus the boy is nicknamed for life.

                             AT BREAKFAST

It is still early morning on San Francisco Bay. The tide is going out,
and the sun, just topping the eastern hills, is reflected in the placid
waters as in a great oval mirror. On the horizon beyond the expanse of
the waters of the bay, the sunlight glitters on the snowy summit of Mt.
Hamilton; to the left, looms the hazy outline of Mt. Diablo; and to the
right, glorious in the clear sunlight, stands green-clad Mt. Tamalpais,
guarding the entrance to the broad channel heading north into San Pablo
Bay. The surface of the channel is slightly choppy, because here passes
out to sea the collected volume of the great rivers that drain the
interior mountains and valleys. The shore of the bay is low and marshy,
lying in sweeping curves. Along these curves faint blue smokes rise at
intervals against the shadowy background of the hills. These smokes
mark settlements, of which there are along the entire bay shore about
two hundred, strung like pearls on a necklace.

In one of the curving arms of the bay, smoke ascends from a grayish
spot in the marshland, some three hundred yards back of the shore line.
It is the village of Kawina. Four miles farther east, directly on the
water front, lies the village of Akalan. Beyond that the shore line
turns, and other settlements hug the shore at every point where a fresh
water streamlet empties into the bay.

The clam diggers are straggling along the beach toward home. A number
of young men from Akalan have gone to the head of the cove a few rods
away. They are engaged in dragging a dozen or more curiously shaped
bundles of dried tule-rushes down the muddy slope to the tide channel,
which drains the extensive marshes ranging along the entire east base
of the potrero. When the clam gatherers left home the channel was dry,
but the tide already is fast returning and the breakfast bringers have
to be assisted across.

It is a lively, not to say noisy, occasion. The older children glide
down the slippery mud into the water, and flounder across amidst
laughter and shouting. Only the women with their baskets, and the
smaller children cross by ferry; for these tule bundles are boats or,
rather, floats. Some of them carry only from four to six persons,
others as many as fifteen. The ferrying proceeds rather slowly, to the
lively chatter of the women. The children have run on ahead, up the
grassy incline to the village.

The grass suddenly ceases at the foot of a blackish eminence on which
the village stands. The eminence is about twenty feet high and of
an irregular contour, the slope in places being gradual, in others
steep, while the top is roughly flattened. On approaching nearer, the
whole mound-like structure appears to be composed of the shells of
clams, mussels, and oysters. There is an occasional brightly colored
abalone shell. Here and there are scattered pairs of deer antlers, and
the wing bones of ducks, geese, and other birds with feathers still
attached. Crushed or broken bones of various animals lie everywhere.
And there are fish bones. Flies are swarming about; the odor is far
from enticing. Closer inspection would reveal the presence of ashes and
charcoal, as well as a goodly number of bowlders and pebbles of crackly
surface. The impression is that of a huge ash pile or refuse heap. And
yet on top of it all stands the village!

The village is an irregularly grouped cluster of about thirty
hive-shaped huts, with openings facing either south or east. The huts
themselves are constructed on a framework of slender poles set in
circles from twelve to sixteen feet in diameter, the top ends being
bent together and intertwined some eight or nine feet above the ground.
Over this is placed a layer of twigs and grass, and this again is
covered with earth and sod. Only the top is left open for the exit of
smoke. This morning, however, the fires are out in front of the doors,
each family having its own.

A number of fair-sized bowlders form a ring around the edge of the
dying embers. Ranged about each of these circles, within reaching
distance, are seated the members of the family. Even the older men,
who do not condescend often to eat with the women and children, are
present. They are mostly grizzled, ill-kempt, sluggish looking fellows,
who have barely had time to rub the sleep out of their eyes. Through
the rainy winter months they have been comparatively inactive, the
women have been doing the work; but now it is April and the warmth of
spring is bringing them out of their hibernation. Soon they will be off
for the entire summer, and fall to leading an active life among the
hills where food is not so easily obtained as it is on the bay shore,
though it can be had in greater variety if all hands, including the
men, make the effort.

The clams brought in from the beach are being distributed, and the
older folk place them, just as they are, on the hot rocks around the
fire. The smaller children watch intently and yet uneasily, having
repeatedly been scolded for poking their fingers against the sizzling
shellfish lying nearest on the rocks. Suddenly some of the clams
open up, ready to eat. They have been cooked in the most admirable
fashion in their own juice. In the group around the fire, next to one
of the rear huts, are seated a very old man, a middle-aged woman,
two children, and a half-grown boy. It is the boy Wixi, who has just
proposed to his mother to boil some of the fish.

“Boiled fish! Boiled fish! Who ever heard of boiled fish?” blurts out
the old man in a cracked voice. He is blind, or nearly so, judging from
his dull, deeply sunken eyes. His hair, as well as his straggly beard,
is white, and his face and neck are seamed and wrinkly, suggestive of
tanned alligator skin. His body is thin and frail, his hands shaking.

“Well, fish _could_ be boiled,” Wixi retorts. “You boil acorn meal and
you boil buckeye meal and you boil lots of things. Why couldn’t you
boil fish?”

“Why couldn’t you boil fish? Why couldn’t you boil fish?” the old
man screams, his whole frame trembling. “You couldn’t boil fish
because—because nobody ever did such a thing! Chakalli didn’t tell us
to boil fish.”

This sort of dispute has been an almost daily occurrence for many
moons, since the time of the boy’s initiation ceremony, when he began
to assume the responsibilities of manhood. His father, as Wixi would
say, is away. A shaman, he had failed to cure the poisoned wound of
a certain chief, and he had been quietly waylaid on the trail. Since
then, his family had had to suffer partial disgrace.

That was some years ago, and the boy, thrown thus early upon his own
resources, had learned through stress of circumstances to practice a
number of new devices. He discovered that by suspending a grass mat in
a vertical position by means of an upright stick to serve as a support,
he was able alone to sail his tule float speedily before the wind.
Other young men would have copied his device, only they had elders in
direct authority and were prevented. But Wixi, being already something
of an outcast in the village, was suffered to do much as he pleased,
his feeble old grandfather being in no position to check him.

On this occasion, Wixi, instead of arguing with the old man, dips his
hands quickly into a basket standing in a slight hollow, well away
from the fire, and brings out four or five small rocks dripping with
water. He throws them to one side, and by means of a couple of sticks,
pulls several rocks out of the fire and drops them, one by one, into
the basket, half full of water. There is a momentary splutter and rise
of steam, and then the water in the basket begins to boil. Wixi places
several chunks of the stingaree in the boiling water, and in a short
time is eating boiled fish.

                             DRAKE PASSES

The fires have flashed more than once from mountain to mountain and
have been answered not only by Akalan, but by every one of the two
hundred settlements on the bay shore. The principal event, one for
which no predetermined signal existed, was the passage along the
California coast of the _Golden Hind_, early in the summer of 1579. The
great captain, Sir Francis Drake, did not see the Golden Gate because
of the heavy fog, but the watchers on Mt. Tamalpais saw his ship and
did their duty as best they knew. Before evening of that day, every
dweller on the bay shore (those on the coast could see for themselves)
understood that Wasaka, the Eagle who brought the original fire to the
Mutsun people while they yet lived in the far North, had passed by.

Three or four weeks later, when the vessel returned from the North,
and was drawn ashore for repairs within the shelter of Point Reyes,
the signals were revised as a result of messages brought to Tamalpais
by runners from the Tamalaños, otherwise known as the “peaked-house”
people, who lived directly at Drake’s landing place. This time the
Mutsunes were informed that it was not Wasaka, but the great Chakalli
himself. Chakalli, the “Man Above,” or the “Great One Above,” was much
in their thoughts, but to have him visit was an event foreboding ill.
Nearly every one wished to flee from his presence. As it turned out,
the visitor conducted himself peaceably and in due course went away,
leaving few of the Mutsunes any the wiser.

Drake’s Bay, as it happened, lay in the country of the Miwok people,
who spoke a different tongue from the Mutsunes and who, besides, were
ordinarily jealous of their territorial rights. But a few of the
Mutsunes had gone around by sea, Wixi among them. Wixi was the only
one from Akalan who had gone, and the adventure proved a turning point
in his life. He came back somewhat of a hero, at least in the eyes of
those of his own age, the older men holding aloof. Wixi had learned
many wonderful things during his few days’ sojourn with the bearded
white men, among them that other people used sails to drive their
boats. If any doubted the story that he told, he had but to exhibit the
proofs: a small mirror, a couple of strings of colored glass beads, a
square of red cloth, and, above all, a truly marvelous thing, a knife
of metal. These things were given Wixi by the great captain himself,
in the general exchange of presents that followed one of the Indian
dancing ceremonies that we read of in Drake’s own log book.

                         IN THE COUNCIL LODGE

In early manhood Wixi had become fairly conscious of his own strength
and skill, as well as of his power to direct and improve the life of
his people. He had decided, however, to wait his time. The old men
would slowly give way or would “disappear.” Why quarrel? Besides, it
was not his nature to hurry. His patience was shown in still another
way, namely, by the fact that he was not yet married. According to
custom his parents should have chosen and purchased a wife for him;
but, having no parents, or at least only a mother who accepted his
assistance and submitted to his authority, the matter was left largely
to himself. He had indeed performed the acts that entitled him to a
wife. That is, he had carried presents of food, and skins for clothing
to the door of the girl he had chosen, and she had silently accepted
them. Still he did not bring her home, because she was not acceptable
in his own village, because she belonged to the neighboring village of
Kawina. She was none other than the girl to whom he owed his name, the
girl from whom he had wrested the stingaree.

Now the people of Kawina were not friends of the people of Akalan.
Nevertheless, Wixi had met Mahúdah again and again, both on the beach
and in the hill country, and, somehow, they had settled their quarrel
and were friends.

Wixi had waited and yet, contrary to his expectations, the sentiment
of his village people continued to harden against him. True, more and
more power and authority fell to him, but the stern opposition of
the old men was doing its work. Admired though he was by the younger
generation, none dared to stand by him openly. He was constantly
meeting the old men in council and they listened respectfully enough
to his words, but stood solidly against him whenever he suggested
departure from the ways of old.

                   *       *       *       *       *

One night in the council lodge at Akalan, the small blaze in the centre
reveals Wixi and about a dozen of the old men looking unusually stern
and solemn. The pipe is passing around the circle and the War Chief—the
youngest man present, barring Wixi—is stating the purpose of the

“For many winters,” he is saying, his eyes averted to the roof, “for
many winters we have all been troubled about the future of our tribe.
We have not known what to do. The white man has come to the land. We
thought first he was Wasaka, and later that he was Chakalli. But he
is instead a powerful enemy. He has done us no harm. That is good. He
is killing our enemies, the Longhairs beyond the Mutsun waters to the
South. That is good, too. He has taken away some of our neighbors, the
Miwok. And that also is good. But some day, when the clouds float high
in the sky, he will discover the way into the Mutsun waters and then
why should he not kill and enslave us also?”

There is a nodding of grave heads all around and some exchange of
furtive glances, in part directed toward Wixi, who is seated alone
opposite the main group of elders.

“In these circumstances,” the speaker continues, this time looking
sharply in the direction of a very old man central in the group, “in
these circumstances some of us have thought it well to have Kakari, our
Peace Chief, tell us the ancient story of our people, so that together
we may judge from past experience what is best for the future.”

Every one present, including Wixi, nods his head, and the word is taken
up slowly and deliberately by the feeble old man, Kakari, the Peace

“The story of the Mutsunes,” the old man begins, “is long. It would
take many nights to tell it all. I shall tell only two or three things
that happened and which will show us what the ‘Great Ones Above’ expect
us to do.”

“Yes, yes, what they expect us to do,” echo the hearers.

“Long ago,” the old man continues, “when the Mutsun people first came
to this water, they were poor. They came on foot from the far North.
They had no boats and they had no bow and arrow. Wasaka had brought
them fire and they had the digging-stick. That was all. Our people
first went to live at Old-Old Akalan. At that time the place was not
an island, it was a part of our own long Mutsun hill that shelters us
here on the west. And while they lived there Chakalli came. He came
from the ‘Great Ones Above’ and he brought with him the boat and the
bow and arrow and the pipe and many other things. These he gave to the
Mutsunes and he showed them also how they were to be used. But later,
Coyote came along and told them how to make different ones and to use
them differently. That made Chakalli angry and he struck at Old-Old
Akalan with his digging-stick, the lightning, and, missing the village,
knocked a big piece out of the hill beside it. This shook the ground
and when the piece, struck off the hill, fell into the Mutsun water,
over where it runs out to the big sea, the Mutsun water came up high
and ran through the hole made in our hill, and Old-Old Akalan became an
island. The piece knocked out of the hill also became an island, Mutsun
Island, where our young men rest and wait for the tide when they go out
to the big sea after abalones. Then Chakalli went away, but he did not
go back to the ‘Great Ones Above,’ for every now and then the earth
shakes and we know that somebody else has disobeyed instructions.”

Here old Kakari paused. It was becoming plain to Wixi why the meeting
had been called. But there was more for him to hear.

“After Chakalli went away,” went on Kakari, “the Mutsun people had to
move. The beach around the small island was not large enough to give
them the clams they needed. Moreover, the driftwood for the fire would
not lodge near the village as before. It all went through the new
channel made by Chakalli, and across to where now live our neighbors
the Earth People at Kawina. Some of it came up here. Therefore the
Peace Chief of that day—Walen was his name—advised the people to move
across to Kawina, but he himself remained with the ‘Old People’ at
Old-Old Akalan (i. e., he died), and with him were left all the things
that Chakalli had brought. To-morrow we shall sail over to Old-Old
Akalan to see them.

“The Mutsunes had made other boats, as well as bows, arrows, and
everything, all copied after those brought by Chakalli. And they had no
difficulty in sailing across the water to Kawina.

“All went well for a long time at Kawina. Then trouble came once more.
Coyote had brought a basket from the North, which he gave to the young
women of the Miwok people over across the water at Tamalpais. He told
them to boil food in it. They did so and liked it. Later on, the Miwok
people told some of the young men from Kawina, who were over there
looking for wood for new bows. Chakalli must have heard about it all,
for he struck the earth a fierce blow over near where the bearded men
came with the great white-winged ship. Chakalli’s blow made a long,
deep rent in the earth, and the big sea came in and filled it. You can
see it there to-day. At that time the water also came up, and drowned
many of the Mutsun people at Kawina, although they lived on a high
mound they had made, like the one we now live on. Only the top of the
mound was left above the water.

“Soon after that the Mutsun people left Kawina, or Old Akalan, as they
called the place. Many of them went east and south, making new homes
all around the Mutsun water. Our people alone came over here, where
they have been ever since. Those are the stories of Old-Old Akalan and
of Old Akalan.”

Old Kakari’s strength is being spent, and he leans back against the
wall. But presently he goes on: “After we came over here, all went well
again for a long time. Every one did as he was told by the elders,
and Chakalli was pleased. One day the earth shook again and the water
went away from around Kawina or Old Akalan. Our people thought it was
Chakalli making ready for their going back to live once more near the
‘Old People.’ But before they could move over, Coyote came down from
the North with some of the Earth People, who settled at Kawina. Coyote
brought with him also the cooking basket and the fishing net.”

At this point the anger and resentment of the listeners are expressed
by low growls and explosive breaths through set teeth. Wixi alone,
leaning forward with his elbows on his knees and his chin resting in
his hands, remains silent.

Old Kakari makes a last effort: “The Earth People, the Poma, belong in
the North. They do not belong here. Some of them speak our tongue, but
they are not our people. At first we made war upon them, but Coyote was
too clever for Chakalli. Yet though we are now at peace, we never marry
their women, nor they ours. We are neighbors, not friends. To-morrow we
shall go to see the proof of what I have told you. Katka (Be full of
crickets).” And with this formula of conclusion the Peace Chief ceased.

After a few moments of silence he leaned once more back against the
wall as if in deep sleep. No one spoke, but, one after another, the
listeners arose and left the council house. Outside, the night was
black and no sound was to be heard except the sigh of the breezes over
the marsh grass.


At daybreak a large tule float stands out from the high, pointed cliff
forming the southern extremity of Potrero San Pablo, and heads straight
for Brooks Island. In a moment the swiftly paddled float is gone from
sight. It carries all the men who were in the council lodge except one.
Wixi is not there. The float left Akalan while the night was yet black,
and the paddlers were obliged to feel their way along the shore as far
as the pointed cliff, and to wait there until the island became faintly
visible. Fortunately, this happened before they themselves could be
observed from the home village, for their mission to Old-Old Akalan is

The skiff slips behind a large outlying rock and the next moment grates
on a low, narrow, curving sand bar connecting the rock with the island
proper. As the men step ashore, they see emerging out of the dim north
a small float bearing one paddler. The solitary boatman lands on the
opposite side of the sand bar, a few yards nearer to the island. It is
Wixi. He draws his float across the ridge to the south slope of the
bar, to lie with the other float. It is a precaution, lest sharp eyes
at Akalan or Kawina discover that visitors are on the island.

With the War Chief in the lead, the men proceed a few rods to the
northwest corner of the island, which slopes conveniently to the
beach. Bearing onward to the north shore, they walk eastward across
a noticeable rise of ground toward a number of buckeye trees. Tall
grasses and weeds cover the place. It is the mound left by the people
of Old-Old Akalan. Here rest the bones of the oldest ancestors of the

Having passed over the summit, the War Chief sights a line in the
direction of the two oldest buckeye trees, and stations Wixi on the
line. The older men he directs to sit down. He himself walks briskly to
the nearest of the two trees, and returns again with steady, measured
steps straight toward Wixi. As he walks, he counts the steps on his
fingers. At a point half-way down the east slope of the mound, he
suddenly comes to a halt and with a significant nod of his head motions
every one toward him. From one of the men he takes a digging-stick,
draws a rough circle around his standing place and says, “This is the
place. Dig!”

The men drop to their knees, partly to keep hidden in the tall grasses,
and none dares to stand up again for it is now almost sunrise. Some
take to loosening up the earth with digging-sticks, and others scoop up
the loosened portions with large abalone shells. In this way they make
a hole several feet in diameter. Presently, at a depth of about two
feet, they uncover the bones of a full-grown person with arms and legs
doubled up tightly against the body. All exclaim under their breath.
From the presence, next the skeleton, of a mortar and pestle, as well
as certain bone awls and needles, the old men know that these are
the remains of a woman. The spirit of the implements which the woman
used in daily life, had gone, they would say, with the spirit of the
departed to her new dwelling place in the far West.

Deeper down, perhaps five or six feet, the workers come to another
skeleton. On the breast of the body, they uncover a large, beautifully
shaped obsidian blade. Close to the shoulder are found a number of
arrow points, just as they were left when the wooden shafts decayed
away. Near one hand lie, side by side, two highly polished, steatite
tobacco pipes. On either side of the skull is a disk-shaped ear pendant
of iridescent abalone shell, and all about the neck and shoulders are
many beads of clamshell. The workers are agreed that these are the
remains of a great man and the War Chief emphatically declares them
to be those of the ancient Peace Chief Walen, himself. All the old
men demur to this, however, contending that Walen, according to the
traditions, was buried, not in the black refuse material left by the
inhabitants of Old-Old Akalan, but lower down in virgin soil.

All through the day the digging continues, and skeleton after skeleton
is taken up—men, women, and children. Each was originally buried
beneath the floor of the hut in which he or she died, and in the course
of time, as shells and ashes accumulated above their bones, a new hut
was built, again to be destroyed with the succeeding death.

As the men dig deeper and deeper, the paraphernalia of the dead become
fewer and fewer, and even where anything at all is present, the object
is crude and unfinished. There are no more pipes, no beautiful obsidian
blades, and no fine, ivory-like awls or needles. What can it mean?
Did the ancestors of early days not possess these things? Some such
thoughts are surely passing through the mind of some of the workers,
certainly of the War Chief, for he suddenly declares his belief that
they are not digging in the right place. But the old men only smile and
work on.

At last, shortly before dark, there are signs of bottom to the mound
material. Real earth is beginning to appear, and before long human
bones are turned up. Very soon the complete skeleton is laid bare. No
implements have been found, but every one’s attention is centred on a
bright red spot near the extended right hand of the skeleton. It is a
quantity of paint powder, such as has been noticed to accompany several
of the men skeletons. The War Chief, now visibly excited, grasps a
sharp-edged abalone shell and eagerly cuts into the red substance.
The next moment the shell drops from his hand. He, with the rest, is
staring blankly at seven large, beautifully clear quartz crystals—the
whole of Walen’s treasure!...

It is morning. The remains of the dead have been replaced and all
obvious traces of disturbance removed. Let the “Old People” of Old-Old
Akalan rest until the sea removes them! Wixi has labored hard and is
weary in body, but in spirit he is a new man. Has he not had proof from
the graves? Knows he not for a certainty that the life of the Mutsunes
has not stood still in the past, and is he not determined that it shall
unfold and develop in the future?...

The old men are sleeping after their arduous work, continued far into
the night. Wixi alone has watched restlessly for the dawn, and when
the cliff across the Mutsun channel is distinctly visible, he puts off
with his featherweight skiff. He is scudding along with swift, sure
strokes and is already near enough to the opposite shore to see a woman
waving to him from the top of the bluff. It is Mahúdah, who has watched
for his return since the evening before. The sun’s first rays are just
beginning to play around her as she stands there on high, and Wixi
is raising his paddle in the air to wave recognition. At that moment
Mahúdah utters a loud, piercing scream and turns to run from the edge
of the precipice. Portions of rock and earth fall to the beach, and a
rising cloud of dust obscures the figure of the fleeing woman. A moment
later Wixi is raised on the crest of a tremendous wave, which carries
him with the speed of a swooping eagle directly against the face of the

The old men of Akalan, awakened by the first tremors of the earth,
witness the whole scene. Most of them simply shake their heads. But the
War Chief, affecting solemnity, announces: “Chakalli has struck! The
old order remains.”

                                                         N. C. NELSON

                   All Is Trouble Along the Klamath

                             A YUROK IDYLL

(Mrs. Oregon Jim, from the house Erkigér-i or “Hair-ties” in the town
of Pékwan, speaking): You want to know why old Louisa and I never
notice each other? Well, I’ll tell you why. I wouldn’t speak to that
old woman to save her life. There is a quarrel between her and me, and
between her people and my people.

The thing started, so far as I know, with the bastard son of a woman
from that big old house in Wáhsek that stands crossways—the one they
call Wáhsek-héthlqau. They call it that, of course, because it is
_behind_ the others. It kind of sets back from the river. This woman
lived with several different men; first with a young fellow from the
house next door, and then, when she left _him_, with a strolling fellow
from Smith River. When she left him for a Húpa, they all began to call
her _kímolin_, “dirty.” Not one of these men had paid a cent for her,
although she came of good people. She lived around in different places.
Two of her children died, but a third one grew up at the Presbyterian

He had even less sense than the Presbyterians have. He came down to
Kepél one time, when the people there were making the Fish Dam. It
was the last day of the work on the dam. The dam was being finished,
that day. That’s the time nobody can get mad. Nobody can take offense
at anything. This boy heard people calling each other bad names. They
were having a dance. The time of that dance is different from all other
times. People say the worst things! It sounds funny to hear the people
say, for example, to old Kímorets, “Well, old One-Eye! you are the best
dancer.” They think of the worst things to say! A fellow even said
to Mrs. Poker Bob, “How is your grandmother?”; when Mrs. Poker Bob’s
grandmother was already dead. It makes your blood run cold to hear such
things, even though you know it’s in fun.

This young fellow I am telling you about, whom they called Fred
Williams, and whose Indian name was Sär, came down from the Mission
school to see the Fish-Dam Dance at Kepél. He was dressed up. He went
around showing off. He wore a straw hat with a ribbon around it. He
stood around watching the dance. Between the songs, he heard what
people were saying to each other. He heard them saying all sorts of
improper things. He thought that was smart talk. He thought he would
try it when he got a chance. The next day, he went down by the river
and saw Tuley-Creek Jim getting ready his nets. “Get your other hand
cut off,” he said. “Then you can fish with your feet!” Two or three
people who were standing by, heard him. Tuley-Creek Jim is pretty mean.
They call him “Coyote.” He looked funny. He stood there. He didn’t know
what to say.

Young Andrew, who was there, whose mother was from the house called
“Down-river House” in Qóvtep, was afraid for his life. He was just
pushing off his boat. He let go of the rope. The boat drifted off.
He was afraid to pull it back. He went up to the house. “Something
happened,” he told the people there. “I wish I was somewhere else.
There is going to be trouble along this Klamath River.”

The talk soon went around that Coyote-Jim was claiming some money. It
was told us that he was going to make the boy’s mother’s father pay
fifteen dollars. “That’s my price,” he said. “I won’t do anything to
the boy, for he isn’t worth it. Nobody paid for his mother. Also, I
won’t charge him much. But his mother’s people are well-to-do, and they
will have to pay this amount that I name. Otherwise, I will be mad.” As
a matter of fact, he was afraid to do anything, for he, himself, was
afraid of the soldiers at Húpa. He just made big talk. Besides, what he
wanted was a headband ornamented with whole woodpecker heads, that the
boy’s grandfather owned. He thought he could make the old man give it
up, on account of what his grandson had said.

The boy went around, hollering to everybody. “I don’t have to pay,” he
said. “I heard everybody saying things like that! How did I know that
they only did it during that one day? Besides, look at me! Look at my
shirt. Look at my pants.” He showed them his straw hat. “Look at my
hat! I am just like a white man. I can say anything I please. I don’t
have to care what I say.”

Every day somebody came along the river, telling us the news. There
was a big quarrel going on. I was camped at that time, with my
daughter, above Metá, picking acorns. All the acorns were bad that
year—little, and twisted, and wormy. Even the worms were little and
kind of shriveled that year. That place above Metá was the only place
where the acorns were good. Lots of people were camped there. Some paid
for gathering acorns there. My aunt had married into a house at Metá,
the house they call Wóogi, “In-the-middle-House,” so I didn’t have to
pay anything. People used to come up from the river to where we acorn
pickers were camped, to talk about the news. They told us the boy’s
mother’s people were trying to make some people at Smith River pay.
“He’s the son of one of their men,” the old grandfather said. “They’ve
got to pay for the words he spoke. I don’t have to pay.” The thing
dragged on. Three weeks later they told us the old man wouldn’t pay yet.

Somebody died at the old man’s house that fall. The people were getting
ready to have a funeral. The graveyard for that house called Héthlqau,
in Wáhsek, is just outside the house door. They went into that kämethl,
in that corpse-place, what you whites call a cemetery. They dug a hole
and had it ready. They were singing “crying-songs” in that house where
the person had died.

Tuley-Creek Jim’s brother-in-law was traveling down the river in a
canoe. When he got to Wáhsek he heard “crying-songs.” “Somebody has
died up there,” they told him. “We better stop! No use trying to go
by. We better go ashore till the burial is over.” Tuley-Creek Jim’s
brother-in-law did not want to stop. “They owe some money to my wife’s
brother,” he said. “One of their people said something to Jim. They
don’t pay up. Why should I go ashore?” So they all paddled down to
the landing place. They started to go past, going down river. A young
fellow at the landing place grabbed their canoe. “You got to land
here,” he said. “My aunt’s people are having a funeral. It ain’t right
for anybody to go by in a canoe.” The people in the canoe began to get
mad. They pushed on the bottom with their paddles. The canoe swung
around. Coyote-Jim’s brother-in-law stood up. He was pretty mad. They
had got his shirt wet. He waved his paddle around. He hollered. He got

One of the men on the bank was Billy Brooks, from the mouth of the
river. “Hey! You fellow-living-with-a-woman-you-haven’t-paid-for!” he
said to Billy Brooks, “make these fellows let go of my canoe.”

Billy was surprised. He hadn’t been holding the canoe. And anyway, he
did not expect to be addressed that way. “Läs-son” is what he had heard
addressed to him. That means “half-married, or improperly married, to a
woman in the house by the trail.” Brooks had had no money to pay for a
wife, so he went to live with his woman instead of taking her home to
him. That is what we call being half-married. Everybody called Billy
that way, behind his back. “Half-married-into-the-house-by-the-trail”
was his name.

When Billy got over being surprised at this form of address, he got
mad. He pointed at the fellow in the canoe. He swore the worst way a
person can swear. What he said was awful. He pointed at him. He was mad
clear through. He didn’t care what he said. “Your deceased relatives,”
is what he said to Coyote-Jim’s brother-in-law, in the canoe. He said
it right out loud. He pointed at the canoe. That’s the time he said
“Your deceased relatives.” “All your deceased relatives,” he said to
those in the canoe.

Coyote-Jim’s brother-in-law sat down in the canoe. Nobody tried to stop
the canoe after that. The canoe went down river. Billy Brooks went up
to the house. He waited. After a while the people there buried that
person who was dead, and the funeral was over. “I’ve got to pay money,”
Billy Brooks said to them then. “I got mad and swore something terrible
at Coyote-Jim’s brother-in-law. That was on account of you people. If
you had paid what you owed to Coyote-Jim, Coyote-Jim’s brother-in-law
wouldn’t have gone past your house while you were crying, and you
wouldn’t have held his canoe, and he wouldn’t have addressed me as he
did, and I wouldn’t have said what I did. Moreover, Wóhkel Dave was in
the canoe, and when I said that which I said, it applied to him, too.
I feel terrible mean about what I said. I’ve got to have trouble with
both those men. There were others in the canoe, too, but they are poor
people, and don’t amount to anything. But Dave is a rich man. Now all
this trouble is on your account, and you’ve got to pay me two dollars
and a half.”

The old man at Wáhsek was in trouble. “First my mouse says to
Coyote-Jim what should not in any case have been said,” the old man
complained. (We call illegitimate children “mice,” because they eat,
and stay around, and nobody has paid for them.) “Now on account of what
my mouse said, all this other trouble has happened.”

Everybody was talking about the quarrel now. That is the time they left
off talking about the old man’s troubles, and began talking about what
Billy Brooks said to the Coyote’s brother-in-law in the canoe, and to
Wóhkel Dave. It finally came out that the fellow who was steering the
canoe, and who called Billy Brooks “Läs-son,” was out of the quarrel.
His deceased relatives had been referred to, but, on the other hand,
his father had only paid twenty-five dollars for his mother, so nobody
cared much about him. He talked around but nobody paid any attention,
so he decided that he had better keep still about it, and maybe people
would forget that he had been insulted.

Wóhkel Dave, however, was a man of importance. His people were married
into all the best houses up and down the river. Everybody was wondering
what he and Brooks would do. Billy Brooks was kind of a mean man
himself. He had a bad reputation. One time he even made a white man pay
up for something he did. The white man took a woman from Brooks’ people
to live with him. Brooks looked him up, and made him pay for her.
Everybody was afraid of Brooks. Some people said, “Brooks won’t pay.
He’s too mean. He’s not afraid. He’d rather fight it out.” Other people
said, “That’s all right, as far as ordinary people are concerned.
Wóhkel Dave, though, is not ordinary. His father paid a big price for
his mother. She had one of the most stylish weddings along the river.
Dave won’t let anybody get the best of him.” People used to argue that
way. Some said one thing, and some said another. They used to almost
quarrel about it.

Suddenly news came down the river that Billy Brooks was going to pay
up for what he said. Some one came along and told us that Billy was
going to pay. “He offered twenty-five dollars,” this fellow said. The
next day we heard that Dave wouldn’t take it. He wanted forty dollars.
They argued back and forth. It was February before they got it settled.
Billy had to pay twenty dollars in money, a shot-gun made out of an
army musket, bored out, and a string of shell money, not a very good
one. The shells were pretty small, but the string was long—reaching
from the chest bone to the end of the fingers.

The next thing that happened is what involved me and old Louisa. It
came about because Billy didn’t have twenty dollars in cash. He had to
get hold of the twenty dollars. About that time, certain Indians stole
some horses. They were not people from our tribe. They were Chilula
from Bald Hills, or people from over in that direction somewhere. Those
people were awful poor. They couldn’t pay for a woman. They couldn’t
pay for anything. They had to marry each other. In the springtime they
got pretty wild. They were likely to do things. This time they took
some horses from a white man. This white man complained to the agent
at Húpa. So some soldiers from Húpa went out to chase these Indians.
Billy Brooks was a great hunter. He has been all over everywhere,
hunting and trapping. The soldiers needed a guide. They offered Billy
twenty-five dollars to serve as a “scout” for the Government, to chase
these Indians. So Billy, because he had to have twenty dollars, went as
a scout, that time.

The soldiers went to Redwood Creek. Billy Brooks went along. There was
a sergeant and six men, they say. Two of the men went to that Indian
town six miles above the mouth of Redwood Creek, the name of which is
Otlép. That town belongs to the Chilula. These two soldiers went there,
looking for the men who stole the horses. There was trouble after a
while at that place. The soldiers got into a quarrel with the Indians.

The trouble was about a woman. One of the soldiers wanted her, but
the woman would not go with him. She did not feel like it. I don’t
know exactly what happened, but the soldier insisted, and the woman
insisted, and finally her relatives told the soldier that if the woman
didn’t want to, she didn’t have to. There was a fight that time. There
was a tussel about the soldier’s revolver. Somebody got hit over the
head with it. The front sight was sharp. That soldier had filed down
the sight on his revolver, to make it fine. That sight dug into a man’s
face, and cut it open, from his jaw bone up to his eye.

There was big trouble there that time, they say. Everybody got to
hollering. That woman had a bad temper. She hit a soldier with a
rock. She broke his head open. The man whose face was cut open went
for his gun. He couldn’t see very well. He didn’t get the percussion
cap on properly. He tried to shoot the soldier, but the gun wouldn’t
go off. The cap had dropped off the nipple. The soldier saw the Indian
aiming the gun at him, so he fired at the Indian. There was blood in
the soldier’s eyes, for the woman had cut his head open with a rock.
So he missed the Indian who was aiming at him, but he hit old Louisa’s
nephew, Jim Williams. The bullet went through his thigh. Two years
passed before Jim Williams could walk straight after that.

Now that is the trouble between old Louisa and me. Her nephew was
hurt, and she blames Billy Brooks, because Billy Brooks was with the
soldiers, helping them, the time this happened. Billy would never “pay
up” for this. One time it was reported that he was going to pay, but he
never did.

Now Billy is a relative of mine by marriage. His sister married my
father’s brother’s oldest boy. That old woman, whose nephew was shot,
doesn’t like me, because I am a relative of Billy who guided the

One time she played me a dirty trick. My nephew was fishing with a
gill-net on the river here. The game warden made a complaint and had
him arrested, for he had one end of his net fast to the bank. That old
woman, that old Louisa, went to Eureka and told the judge there, that
one end of the net was fast to the bank. They say she got money for
doing that. Somebody said she got two dollars a day. My nephew was put
in jail for sixty days. I am not saying anything to that old woman,
but I am keeping a watch on her. If anybody talks to her, then I have
nothing to do with them.

One time a white man from down below came along this river, asking
about baskets. He wanted to know the name of everything. He was
kind of crazy, that fellow. They used to call him “Häpó’o,” or
“Basket-designs.” He was always asking, “What does that mean?” or “What
is the name of that?” He wanted to know all about baskets. He talked to
old Louisa for a day and a half about her baskets. Then he came through
the fence to my house. I wouldn’t say a word to him, and he went away.
My friends won’t talk to Louisa, or her friends. It will be that way

It all goes back to that boy Sär. If he had not talked about
Tuley-Creek Jim having only one hand, Jim’s brother-in-law would not
have paddled past a house where there was a person lying dead, and his
canoe would not have been seized, and there would have been no quarrel
about the canoe, and Billy Brooks would not have sworn at anybody, so
he would not have had to pay money, and he would not have hired out
as a scout to the Government, and the fellow in Redwood Creek would
not have been shot, and old Louisa would not have testified about my
nephew. To make people pay is all right. That is what always happens
when there is a quarrel. But to put my nephew in jail is not right.

I’ll never speak to that old lady again, and neither will any of my

                                                       T. T. WATERMAN

                     Sayach’apis, a Nootka Trader

Tom is a blind old man, whose staff may be heard any day stumping or
splashing along the village street of his tribal reservation, or up
or down the hillside that slopes to the smoke-drying huts massed by
the Somass river. He is an honored member of the Ts’isha’ath, a Nootka
tribe that is now permanently located a few miles up from the head of
Alberni Canal, the deepest inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The Ts’isha’ath fishes and harpoons along the river, the length of the
“Canal,” and down among the hundreds of islands that dot Barkley Sound,
the first of the large bays north of Cape Beale that are carved out on
the stormy coast line of the island.

Tom’s early life was passed at the now abandoned village of Hikwis,
whose row of houses looked out upon the main water of the Sound, but
for decades he has led an uneventful existence in his river reservation
and its vicinity, old summer fishing grounds that were conquered in the
first instance by his people from an alien tribe. Within convenient
reach are the slowly booming white men’s towns of Alberni and Port
Alberni, where one may lay in a supply of biscuits and oranges for
a tribal feast, or make periodic complaint to the Indian Agent.
Tom is now old and poverty-stricken, but the memory of his former
wealth is with his people. The many feasts he has given and the many
ceremonial dances and displays he has had performed have all had their
desired effect—they have shed luster on his sons and daughters and
grandchildren, they have “put his family high” among the Ts’isha’ath
tribe, and they have even carried his name to other, distant Nootka
tribes, and to tribes on the east coast of the island that are of alien
speech. Nowadays he spends much of his time by the fireside, tapping
his staff in accompaniment to old ritual tunes that he is never tired
of humming.

Tom’s present name is Sayach’apis, Stands-up-high-over-all. It is an
old man’s name of eight generations’ standing, that hails from the
Hisawist’ath, a now extinct Nootka tribe with which Tom is connected
through his father’s mother’s mother, who was herself a Hisawist’ath
on her mother’s side. The tribe is extinct, but its personal names,
like its songs and legends and distinctive ritualistic ceremonies,
linger on among the neighboring tribes through the fine spun network of
inheritance. The name “Stands-up-high-over-all,” like practically all
Nootka, and indeed all West Coast names, has its legendary background,
its own historical warrant. The first Nootka chief to bear the name,
obtained it in a dream. He was undergoing ritualistic training in the
woods in the pursuit of “power” for the attainment of wealth, and had
not slept for a long time. At last he fell into a heavy slumber, and
this is what he dreamed: The Sky Chief appeared to him and said, “Why
are you sleeping, Stands-up-high-over-all? You are not really desirous
of getting wealthy, are you? I was about to make you wealthy and to
give you the name Stands-up-high-over-all.” The ironical touch is a
characteristic nuance in these origin legends. And so the name, a
supernatural gift, was handed down the generations, now by direct male
inheritance, now as a dower to a son-in-law, resident at some village
remote from its place of origin. This is the normal manner, actually or
in theory, of the transmission of all privileges, and though the owner
of a privilege may be a villager a hundred miles or more distant from
its historical or legendary home, he has not completely established his
right to its use unless he has shown himself, directly or by reference
to a speaker acquainted with tribal lore, possessed of the origin
legend, the local provenance, and the genealogical tree or “historical”
nexus that binds him to the individual, that is believed to have been
the first to enjoy the privilege.

Tom did not always have the name of Sayach’apis, nor need he keep it
to the end of his days. He assumed it over thirty years ago on the
occasion of his great potlatch, a puberty feast in honor of his now
deceased oldest daughter. At that time he had the young man’s name of
Nawe’ik, now borne by his oldest son, Douglas. It is a name belonging
to the Nash’as’ath sept or tribal subdivision of the Ts’isha’ath, and
was first dreamt by Tom’s maternal grandfather. It is thus a name of
comparatively recent origin, nor does it possess that aura of noble
association that attaches to Tom’s present name. Its exact meaning is
unknown, but it is said to have been a command—“Come here!”—of a spirit
whale, dreamt of by its first possessor. Tom assumed it at a potlatch
he gave to his own tribe when he was not yet married. It was just about
the time that the discovery of placer gold in the Frazer river was
bringing a considerable influx of whites to British Columbia.

Before this, Tom was known as Kunnuh, a Nitinat young man’s name, “Wake
up!”, which is again based on the dream of a spirit whale. The Nitinat
Indians are a group of Nootka tribes that occupy the southwest coast of
the island, and Tom’s claim to the name and to other Nitinat privileges
comes to him through his paternal grandfather, himself a Nitinat
Indian. The name originated with his grandfather’s father’s father’s
father, who received it in a dream as he was training for “power” in
whaling. It was assumed by Tom when he was about ten years of age, at a
naming feast given the Ts’isha’ath Indians by his Nitinat grandfather.
It displaced the boy’s name Ha’wihlkumuktli, “Having-chiefs-behind,”
this time of true Ts’isha’ath origin and descending to Tom through his
paternal grandmother’s father’s father, who again received the name
in a dream from a spirit whale. This ancestor was having much success
in whaling and, becoming exceedingly wealthy, was “leaving other
chiefs behind him.” Tom was given the name at an ordinary feast by his
paternal grandfather.

The earliest name that Tom remembers having is Tl’i’nitsawa,
“Getting-whale-skin.” When the great chief Hohenikwop had his whale
booty towed to shore, the little boys used to come to the beach for
slices of whale skin, so he made up the name of “Getting-whale-skin”
for his son. The right to use it was inherited by his oldest son,
but was also passed on to the chief’s younger sister, who brought it
as a dowry to the father of Tom’s paternal grandfather. Tom himself
received the name on the occasion of a mourning potlatch given by his
paternal grandfather in honor of his son, Tom’s father, who had died
not long before. Before this, Tom had a child’s nickname, in other
words, a name bestowed not out of the inherited stock of names claimed
by his parents, but created on the spot for any chance reason whatever.
Such nicknames have no ceremonial value, are not privileges, and are
therefore not handed down as an inheritance or transferred as a dowry.
Tom has forgotten what his nickname was.

At the very outset, in the mere consideration of what Tom has called
himself at various times, we are introduced to the two great social
forces that give atmosphere to Nootka life. The first of these is
privilege, the right to something of value, practical or ceremonial.
Such a privilege is called “topati” by the Indians, and one cannot
penetrate very far into their life or beliefs without stumbling upon
one topati after another. The second is the network of descent and
kinship relation that determines the status of the North West Coast
Indian, not merely as a tribesman once for all, but in reference to
his claim to share in any activity of moment. The threads of the
genealogical past are wound tightly about the North West Coastman; he
is himself a traditional composite of social features that belong to
diverse localities, and involve him in diverse kinship relations.

As far back, then, as he can remember, Tom has been steeped in an
atmosphere of privilege, of rank, of conflicting claims to this or that
coveted right. As far back as he can remember, he has heard remarks
like this: “Old man Tootooch has no right to have such and such a
particular Thunder-bird dance performed at his potlatches. His claim to
it is not clear. In my grandfather’s days men were killed for less than
that, and the head chief of the Ahous’ath tribe, who has the primary
claim to the dance, would have called him sharply to order.” But he
has also heard Tootooch vigorously support his claim with arguments,
genealogical and other, that no one quite knows the right or wrong
of. And as far back as he can remember, Tom has been accustomed to
think of himself not merely as a Ts’isha’ath, though he is primarily
that by residence and immediate descent, but as a participant in the
traditions, in the social atmosphere, of several other Nootka tribes.
He has always known where to look for his remoter kinsmen, dwelling in
villages that are dotted here and there on a long coast line.

The first few years of Tom’s life were spent in a “cradle” of basketry,
in which he was tightly swathed by sundry wrappings and braids of
the soft, beaten inner bark of the cedar. Even now he has a vague
recollection of looking out over the sea from the erect vantage of a
cradling basket, looped behind his mother’s shoulders. He also thinks
he remembers crying bitterly one time when left all by himself in the
basket, stood up on end against the butt of a willow tree, while his
mother and four or five other women had strayed off to dig for edible
clover roots with their hard, pointed digging-sticks.

During the cradling period, Tom was having his head, or rather his
forehead, gradually flattened by means of cedar-bark pads, and the
upper and lower parts of his legs were bandaged so as to allow the
calves to bulge. The Indians believe that they do not like big
foreheads and slim legs, nor do they approve of wide eyebrows, which
are narrowed, if necessary, by plucking out some of the hairs. Later on
in life Tom was less particular about his natural appearance, having
been well “fixed” by his mother in infancy. Like the other men of his
tribe, he has never bothered to pluck out the scanty growth of hair
on his face. Some of the Indians of Tom’s acquaintance have tattooed
themselves, generally on the breast, with designs referring to their
hunting experiences, or to crest privileges—a quarter-moon or a sea
lion or a pair of Thunder-birds,—but Tom has never bothered to do
this. Aside from the head-flattening of infancy, Tom has never had any
portion of his body mutilated, unless the perforation of his ears and
the septum of his nose, for the attachment of ear and nose pendants of
the bright rainbow-like abalone, strung by sinew threads, be considered
a mutilation. These pendants, which he and other Indians have long
discarded, were worn purely for ornament; they had no importance as
ceremonial insignia.

In spite of the fact that neither razor nor tweezers have ever smoothed
out the hairy surface of his face, Tom has not altogether neglected
the care of his body. To prevent chapping, he has often rubbed himself
with tallow and red paint, and in his younger days he was in the habit
of keeping himself in good condition by a cold plunge, at daybreak, in
river or sea. The vigorous rubbing down with hemlock branches which
followed, until the skin all tingled red, helped to give tone to his
body. He could not afford to miss the plunge and rub-down for more than
two or three days at a time, if only because to have done so would
have brought upon him the contempt and derision of his comrades. No
aspiring young hunter of the seal and the sea lion could allow himself
to be called a woman. In the course of his long life Tom has painted
his face in a great variety of ways, whether for festive occasions, or
in the private quest of supernatural power in some secluded spot in
the woods. Some of these face paints—and there are hundreds of them in
use among the Nootka—are geometrical patterns, others are emblematic
of supernatural beings and animals. Many of them, like the songs and
dances with which they are associated, are looked upon as valuable

It is long since Tom has worn or seen worn native costume—what little
there was of it—but he distinctly remembers the blankets and cedar-bark
garments that his people wore when he was a boy and, indeed, well
on into his days of manhood. The heavy rains of the Coast, and the
constant necessity of splashing in and out of the canoes along the
beach, made tight-fitting garments and cumbrous foot- and leg-wear
undesirable. The Nootka Indians wore no clinging shirts or leggings
or moccasins. They are a barefoot and a bare-legged people. Those
of the men who could afford more than a breechclout wore a blanket
robe loosely thrown about the body, either a hide—of bear or the far
more valuable sea otter—or a woven blanket, whether of the inner bark
strands of the “yellow cedar” or the long, fleecy hair of the native
dogs. The women wore cedar-bark “petticoats,” which are nothing but
loosely fitting girdles, fringed with long tassels of cedar bark. In
rainy weather, they also wore woven hats of cedar-bark strands or split
root fibers, round topped and cone-like. When the weather was thick and
heavy with rain—and this happens often enough in the winter—both men
and women wore raincapes of cedar-bark or rush matting. The children
ran about completely naked.

The food that Tom was accustomed to in his early days did not differ
materially from his present fare. It was then, and is now, chiefly
fish—boiled, steam-baked, spit-roasted, or smoked. In all his early
haunts, in the houses and along the beach, everywhere he was immersed
in grateful, fishy odors. From the earliest time that he can remember
anything at all, he has been daily confronted by some aspect of the
life of a fishing people, whether it be the catching of salmon trout
by the boys with their two-barbed fish spears; or the spearing or
trolling or netting of salmon by the older men; or the getting in the
sea of herrings with herring rakes, of halibut with the peculiar,
gracefully bent halibut hooks that every Indian even now has kicking
around in his box of odds and ends, of cod with twirling decoys and
spears that have two prongs of unequal length—“older” and “younger”; or
the hanging up of salmon in rows to dry in the smoke houses, so that
this all-important fish may still contribute his share of the food
supply, long after the last salmon of the late fall has ceased to run;
or the splitting up of the salmon by the women as a first preliminary
to cooking; or any one of the hundreds of other scenes that make of a
fisher folk a fish-handling and a fish-eating people.

Second in importance to fish are the various varieties of edible
shellfish and other soft bodied inhabitants of the sea—mussels and
clams and sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and octopuses. The flesh of the
octopus or “devil-fish,” though not an important article of food, was
considered quite a dainty, and feasts were often given in which it
figured as a special feature, like crab apples or like the apples or
oranges of present-day feasts. Far more important than these mushy
foods, though probably subsidiary, on the whole, to salmon and other
fish, was the flesh of sea mammals—the humpbacked whale, the California
whale, the sea otter, the sea lion, and, most important of all, the
hair seal.

Tom has harpooned his fill of seals in the course of his life and, like
most other Nootka men of the last generation, has done a considerable
amount of commercial sealing for white firms in Behring Sea. He has
caught a few sea otters, which are now all but extinct, but no sea
lions or whales, though he claims to have the hereditary privilege to
hunt these animals, and to possess the indispensable magical knowledge
without which their quest is believed by the Nootka to be doomed to

Boiled whale and seal meat were highly prized and there was no more
joyous event to break the monotony of tribal life than the towing
to shore of a harpooned whale, or the drifting to shore of a whale
carcass. In either case the flensing knives were quickly got ready,
the carcass cut up, and feasts held in the village. Tom remembers how
excitedly—he was then but a boy of ten or so—he once reported the
appearance of a drifting whale carcass a quarter-mile from shore, how
the whole village rushed into its canoes, and how they laboriously
floated it on to the sandy beach, with their stout lanyards of cedar
rope wound with nettle-fiber. The whale was cut up carefully, under the
direction of a “measurer” into its traditionally determined portions,
which were then distributed, according to hereditary right, to those
entitled to receive them. Tom himself got the meat about the navel as
a reward for his find. There was an unusual amount of whale oil tried
out that time, and the fires at the feasts leaped higher than ever as
the oil was thrown upon them, lighting up in lurid flashes the house
posts carved into the likenesses of legendary ancestors.

Tom ate very little meat of land animals in his early days. Indeed,
like most of the Coast people, he had a prejudice against deer meat
and it was not until, as a middle-aged man, he had come into contact
with some of the deer-hunting tribes of the interior of the island,
that he learned to prize it, though even to this day venison has not
for him the toothsome appeal of a chunk of whale meat. Fish and meat
were the staples, yet not the only foods. The women dug up a variety of
edible roots such as clover and fern root, which made a welcome change,
while blackberries, salmon berries, soapberries, and other varieties,
frequently dried and pressed for winter consumption, added a sweetening
to the somewhat monotonous fare. One relish Tom has never learned to
enjoy—salt. All the older Nootka Indians detest salt in their food.

As Tom grew up, he became initiated into the chief handicrafts of his
tribe. He got to be rather skillful at working in wood, both the soft
red cedar and the hard yew and spiræa, familiarizing himself with the
various wood-working processes—felling trees with wedges and stone
hammers, splitting out planks, smoothing with adzes, drilling, handling
the curved knife, steaming, and bending by the “kerfing” or notching
process. Even in his youngest years, iron-bladed and iron-pointed tools
had almost completely replaced the aboriginal implements of stone and
shell, but the forms themselves, of the manufactured objects, underwent
little or no modification down to the present day. In the course of
his long life Tom has made hundreds of wooden articles of use—boxes
with telescoping lids, paddles, bailers, fish clubbers, adze handles,
ladles, bows, arrow shafts, fire drills, latrines, root diggers, fish
spears, and shafts for sealing and whaling harpoons. He has also
assisted in making dugout canoes, and has often prepared and put in
position the heavy posts and beams of the large quadrangular houses
that were still being built in his youth. On the other hand, Tom has
never developed much aptitude in the artistic decoration of objects.
Such things as paintings on house boards and paddles, or realistic
carvings in masks, rattles, ornamental fish clubbers and house posts,
are rather beyond his power and have had to be made for him, when
required, by others more clever than himself. The one thing that Tom
grew to be most proficient in was the preparation of house planks of
desired lengths and widths. When he was a young man, he would travel
about in canoes from village to village with the stock of planks he
had on hand, and trade them for blankets, strings of dentalium shells,
dried fish, whale oil, and other exchangeable commodities. It was
through trading, rather than through personal success in fishing or
hunting, that Tom amassed in time a considerable share of wealth, and
it was through his wealth and the opportunity it gave him to make
lavish distributions at potlatches or feasts, rather than through
nobility of blood, that he came to occupy his present honorable
position among his tribesmen.

While Tom and the other men, when they were not busy “potlatching”
or visiting some relative, or taking a run down to Victoria, were
engaged in fishing and sea mammal hunting and wood-working, the women
prepared the food, dug for edible roots, gathered clams, and spent
what time they could spare from these and similar tasks in the weaving
and plaiting of blankets, matting, and baskets. What receptacles were
not of wood were of basketry, while mats of various sorts did duty for
tables, hangings, and carpeting. The materials of these baskets and
mats, the omnipresent cedar bark and the rush, frayed easily, so that
the women were kept constantly busy replenishing the household stock.
Even now one can hardly enter a Nootka house without seeing one or
more of the women twilling mats and baskets with strips of softened
cedar bark or twining the cedar-bark strands into cordage and bags, or
threading a rush mat with the long needles of polished spiræa. In the
old days, there was always in the house a great clatter of breaking up
the raw, yellow cedar bark with the corrugated bark beaters of bone
of whale, and of loosening up the hard strips of red cedar bark into
fibrous masses with the half-moon shredders. The women could work up
the bark into almost any degree of fineness; indeed, the cedar-bark
“wool” that was used to pad the cradles is almost as soft and fluffy in
feel as down or cotton batting. When Tom was a boy, the women made only
plain, unornamented baskets, whether twined or twilled, and ornamented
the mats with sober, but effective lines of alder-dyed red and
mud-dyed black. Since then, however, they have taken to making also
trinket baskets and plaques of the peculiar wrapped weave, beautifully
ornamented with realistic and geometrical designs in the black and
white weft of grass. This art came to Tom’s people from the Nitinats
or Southern Nootka, who in turn owe it to the Makah of Cape Flattery.
Trade with the whites is the chief incentive in the making of these
finer specimens of basketry.

Nowadays the Nootka live in small frame houses, a family, in our
narrower sense of the word, to a house. It was not so when Tom was
young. The village of Hikwis, in which he was raised, consisted of a
row of long plank houses, each constructed on a heavy quadrangular
frame of posts, which were the trimmed trunks of cedars, and of
crossbeams of circular section resting on the posts. The roofing and
walls were of cedar planks, running lengthwise of the house. The floor
was the bare earth, stamped smooth, and a slightly raised platform ran
along the rear and the long sides of the house. On the inner floor one
or more fires were built, the smoke escaping through openings in the
roof, provided by merely shoving a roofing plank or two to a side.
Tom early learned not to stand erect in the house any more than he
could help. The smoke circulating in the upper reaches of the house,
particularly in rainy weather when the smoke-hole rafters were closed,
was trying to the eyes, and people found it convenient to sit or crouch
on the floor as much as possible. Some of the houses, like the one
in which Tom was brought up, had paintings or carvings referring to
the crests or legendary escutcheons of the chief of the tribe, tribal
subdivision, or house group. In Tom’s house the main escutcheons were
two Thunder-birds, face to face, painted on the outside of the wall
planks; a series of round holes cut in the roof, and one in front that
served as a door, all representing moons; and paintings of wolves
on the boards that ran below the platforms. The chief of the house
group, together with his immediate family, occupied the rear of the
house; other families of lesser rank, kin to the chief by junior lines
of descent, occupied various positions along the sides. Slaves were
also housed in the long communal dwelling. They were not, like the
middle class, undistinguished relations of the chief’s families, but
strangers, captured in war or bartered off like any chattels. The mat
beds of the individual families were made on the platforms and were
screened off from one another as required.

In such a house Tom early learned his exact relationship to all his
kinsmen. He soon learned also the degree of his relationship to the
neighboring house groups. He applied the terms “brother” and “sister”
not only to his immediate brothers and sisters but to his cousins,
near and remote, of the same generation. He distinguished, among
all these remoter brothers and sisters, “older” and “younger,” not
according to their actual ages in relation to his own, but according
to whether they belonged to lines of descent that were senior or
junior to his own. Primogeniture, he gradually learned, both of self
and progenitor, meant superiority in rank and privilege. Hence the
terms “older” and “younger,” almost from the beginning, took on a
powerful secondary tinge of “superior” and “inferior.” The absurdity
of calling some little girl cousin, perhaps ten years his junior, his
“older sister” was for him immensely less evident because of his ever
present consciousness of her higher rank. As Tom grew older, he became
cognizant of an astonishing number of uncles and aunts, grandfathers
and grandmothers, of endless brothers-in-law—far and near. He was very
much at home in the world. Wherever he turned, he could say, “Younger
brother, come here!” or “Grandfather, let me have this.” The personal
names of most of his acquaintances were hardly more than tags for
calling out at a distance, or at ceremonial gatherings.

Along with his feeling of personal relationship to individuals there
grew up in Tom a consciousness of the existence of tribal subdivisions
in the village. The Ts’isha’ath tribe, with which he was identified by
residence, kinship, and upbringing, proved really to be a cluster of
various smaller tribal units, of which the Ts’isha’ath, that gave their
name to the whole, were the leading group. The other subdivisions were
originally independent tribes that had lost their isolated distinctness
through conquest, weakening in numbers, or friendly removal and union.
Each of the tribal subdivisions or “septs” had its own stock of
legends, its distinctive privileges, its own houses in the village, its
old village sites and distinctive fishing and hunting waters that were
still remembered in detail by its members. While the septs now lived
together as a single tribe, the basis of the sept division was really
a traditional local one. The sept grouping was perhaps most markedly
brought to light at ceremonial gatherings. Tom learned in time that
of all the honored seats recognized at a feast, a certain number of
contiguous seats in the rear of the house belonged to representatives
of the Ts’isha’ath sept, a certain number of others at the right corner
in the rear to those of another sept, and so on. Thus, the proper
ranking of the septs was ever kept before the eye by the definite
assignment of seats of higher and lower rank.

But it must not be supposed that Tom’s childhood and youth were spent
entirely in work and in the acquirement of social and ceremonial
knowledge. On the contrary, what interested him at least as much as
sociology was play. He spun his tops—rather clumsy looking, two-pegged
tops they were—threw his gaming spears in the spear and grass game
and in the hoop-rolling game, hit feathered billets with a flat bat,
threw beaver teeth dice (though this was chiefly a woman’s game),
and, when he grew older, took part in the favorite game of “lehal,”
the almost universal Western American guessing game, played with two
or four gambling bones to the accompaniment of stirring songs. More
properly belonging to the domain of sport was the somewhat dangerous
game of canoe-upsetting, in which the contestants upset their canoes
and quickly righted them at a hand-clap signal. This was an especially
favored game of Tom’s. All through his life, up to the time that he
lost his sight, he was as instinctively familiar with the run of water,
the dip and lurch of a canoe, and the turn of a paddle, as with the
movements of walking on the land. Indeed, for days on end, at certain
seasons, his life flowed on insistently to the very rhythm of rising
and falling wave.

In at least one class of activities and beliefs Tom constantly
received definite instruction from his father and maternal uncle.
This was the world of unseen things, the mysterious domain of magic,
of supernaturally compelling act and of preventive tabu. There were
hundreds of things he must be careful to do or to avoid if he would
have success in hunting and fishing, if he would be certain that unseen
but ever present powers favor him in his pursuits or, at the least,
desist from visiting harm upon him. He must be particularly careful not
to anger the supernatural powers, among whom are to be counted the
fish and mammals of the sea, by contamination with unclean things—and
most obnoxious of all unclean things is the presence or influence of
a menstruating or pregnant woman. For instance, a sealer or hunter of
sea lions must not drag his canoe down to the water’s edge, but have
it carried over, as otherwise it might run over offal or some spot
through which a menstruating woman had passed, and thus carry with it
a scent that would frighten away the game. And one must be careful
about his speech when hunting on the sea. A curious example of this
is the fiction by which fur seal hunting is spoken of as gathering
driftwood, the fur seal himself being referred to as “the one that sits
yonder under a tree.” It would not do to let him know too precisely
what is going on while he is being hunted! The various tabus that Tom
has learnt and practised in the course of his life are almost without
number, and his practical success and longevity he ascribes in no small
measure to his religious observance of them all.

The tabus are largely preventive measures. But Tom learned that there
are more positive ways of working one’s will in the world of magic. One
of these is the use of certain amulets on the person, hidden in the
house or woods, or in connection with hunting and fishing implements.
As a general good-luck amulet, Tom was fond of wearing in his hat the
spine of the “rat-fish.” When his father was about to die, he called
Tom to him and whispered in his ear an important secret. This was that
the chief life-guarding amulet of the family had been a fire drill
that was secreted at the bottom of an old box filled with all sorts of
odds and ends. Its efficacy depended largely on the fact that hardly
anybody knew of it. In general, secrecy helps tremendously in the
power of all magic objects and formulæ. An Indian likes to withhold as
much as possible, even from his nearest kin, until economic urgency or
the approach of death compels him to transmit the magical knowledge
to some one that is near and dear to him. Some of his most powerful
amulets Tom would secrete in the canoe or hide under the cherry bark
wrappings around the hafts of his hunting spears. These amulets were of
all sorts, but chiefly fragments of supernatural animals—blind snakes,
crabs, spiders, or the like—obtained in the woods.

Some men are fortunate in getting power for hunting, fishing, wealth,
love, doctoring, witchcraft, or whatever it may be, from supernatural
beings or visitations. Amulets are often obtained in connection
with these experiences, which regularly take place in mysterious or
out-of-the-way places—the open sea, a remote island, the summit of
a mountain, the heart of the woods,—and of all mysteries, it is the
mystery of the dark woods that most fascinates and inspires with dread
the coast villager, so much at home on the sandy beach and on open
sea spaces. The supernatural givers of power are a variegated and
grotesque lot—mysterious hands pointing up out of the earth; the scaly,
knife-tongued, lightning serpent; fairy-like beings; treacherous tree
nymphs; hobgoblins; ogres; and strange hybrid animals that seem to
have stepped out of nightmares. All these denizens of the supernatural
world have power to bestow that may not with impunity be refused. This
power, once obtained, must be carefully husbanded by the observance of
requisite tabus.

Tom has not had as many supernatural experiences as some men, but he
has nevertheless been favored by two or three striking visitations.
A gnome-like being of the beneficent, wealth-giving class known as
Chimimis, once appeared to him as he was sitting out at dusk in company
with two other men. Though these companions had their eyes directed
at the Chimimis, they could not perceive him. Tom alone, speechless
with astonishment, saw him place two spears on the roof of the house,
walk off to the neighboring house, and disappear, so it seemed, in a
log. When Tom came to himself, he scraped off those parts of the spear
shafts that the hand of the Chimimis had gripped. He preserved the
scrapings as an amulet and, in time, became one of the wealthiest men
of his tribe.

At another time Tom obtained power from a supernatural being known as
“Full-eyed,” a diminutive, brownie-like creature. He was lying very
ill in the house, gazing steadfastly at the fire, when the popping up
of a little cinder caused him to raise his eyes. He saw what seemed to
be a child circling the fire in a counter-clockwise direction, which
is the exact opposite of the Nootka direction in dancing. He knew
immediately that it was Full-eyed. The brownie carried a small storage
basket on his breast, and picked up from the floor anything he could
lay his hands on. Though Tom had been unable to sit up straight, this
supernatural experience infused him with such sudden strength that
he was now easily able to sit up. He believed also that, from this
time on, wealth rolled into his house more rapidly than ever. The
third of Tom’s supernatural experiences was less striking than the
other two, but apparently equally potent in its practical results. Tom
was reclining on the sleeping platform of the house, in the dead of
winter, when he observed a strange thing in one of the storage baskets
on the box that marked the head of his bed. He noticed that a big
black bumblebee gave birth to an infant bee. This seemed remarkable
and evidently significant in view of the fact that the young bees
ordinarily come into being in the summer, only. Because Tom was sole
witness to so strange an occurrence, he was more than ever favored in
the accumulation of wealth.

Such extraordinary occurrences as these are clearly in the nature
of accidents; they cannot be relied upon for the necessary aid in
the successful prosecution of life’s work. The standard, and on the
whole, the most useful means of securing this necessary aid is by the
performance of secret rituals. Nothing came to one who did not undergo
considerable hardship in training. This Tom learned early in life. If
he wished to be a successful fisherman, or a hunter of sea mammals, or
a land hunter, he had to retire at certain seasons to secret places
in the woods, known only to the respective families that frequented
them. Here, for days on end, he would bathe, rub himself down with
hemlock branches until the skin tingled with pain, pray to the Sky
Chief for long life and success, and, most important of all, carry
out secret, magical performances based on the principle of imitation.
If he wished to obtain power in sealing, he would build effigies of
twigs representing the seal, the harpooning outfit, and the hunting
canoe. The aspirants for success would dramatize the future hunt in its
magical setting. He himself performed imitative actions and offered
continuous prayers for success. These periods of preparation tested
physical endurance to the utmost; fasting, continuous wakefulness,
sexual continence, and the observance of all sorts of tabus formed part
of the training. There was little that one could not learn to do, if
only he were hardy enough to undergo the necessary magical preparation.
Such young men as were fired with extraordinary ambitions, say unusual
success in whaling or the acquirement of potent shamanistic power,
would train the will and chasten the cries of the flesh for incredibly
long periods, their spiritual eye fixed singly on the austerities of
magical procedure.

Tom never devoted himself to unusual rigors in the acquirement of
magical power. He contented himself with the normal routine enjoined
upon those planning to seal, to spear salmon, to troll, to catch
halibut with hooks, to spear cod with the aid of decoys, to accumulate
wealth, to prepare for ritualistic performances, and to obtain enough
shamanistic power to withstand the attempts of evil-minded people to
bewitch him. He never ventured upon the more difficult and exhausting
procedures required to make a successful whaler or hunter of sea
lions. Of the more unusual types of secret ritual, Tom attempted but
one. When past middle age, he was fired with the ambition to learn
how to interpret the speech of ravens. The ravens are believed to be
the supernatural messengers of the wolves, the most austere and eerie
of all beings, in the belief of the Nootka. Could Tom have learned to
unravel the mysteries concealed in the croakings of these supernatural
birds, there is little doubt that he would have been able to advance in
ritual power far beyond his fellow tribesmen. Unfortunately he found
the quest of this difficult knowledge too exhausting, too baffling. Tom
acknowledges his failure with a sigh.

The secret rituals could only be performed at auspicious periods, when
the moon was waxing and when the days were becoming progressively
long. It was for this reason that Tom was always very careful to keep
track of the passage of time, of the recurrence of the moons. If some
neighbor, less wise and observant, committed the error of taking one
moon for another and of performing magical rituals out of season,
Tom would say nothing. He would smile and keep counsel with himself,
knowing well that his neighbor’s efforts when the hunting season came
around, were doomed to failure. While Tom was one of those that never
went out of his way to bewitch his neighbors or to spoil their luck,
he was naturally not altogether displeased when they put themselves
at a disadvantage. It was none of his business to correct them, to
strengthen the hands of possible rivals.

Medicine men gained their power in a manner perfectly analogous to
all other quests for magical assistance. The difference was simply
that they sought aid of such beings as were known to grant power to
cure diseases and to counteract witchcraft. The material guardians
and amulets obtained by medicine men, generally certain birds and
rarer fish, were locked away in their breasts. When required for
the detection of sickness, for the cure of the diseased, or for the
overcoming of an evil opponent, they could be called upon to fly
invisibly to the desired goal and to return at will. Tom himself
obtained a modicum of power from the mallard ducks, but not enough to
warrant his considering himself a regular practitioner. He had, also,
a certain inherited, shamanistic power, or rather privilege, that came
to him from a Nitinat ancestor. This is why at public shamanistic
performances which form part of the Ts’ayek cult, Tom’s oldest son has
the right to initiate shamanistic novices at a certain point in the
ceremonial procedure, though he himself is not a practising medicine

Many Nootka are accused of gaining power to bewitch their enemies
or rivals, whether by the handling of their food, nail parings, and
body effluvia, or by the pronouncing of direful spells in connection
with the name and effigy of the hated person. Tom never indulged in
such mean spirited pursuits, but he is very sure that many of his
acquaintances have done so. It is the constant fear of witchcraft that
even to this day causes the Indians to keep many dogs around the house,
and to lock their doors securely at night. The barking of the dogs is
useful in calling attention to malevolent “pains” or minute disease
objects that wander about, particularly at night, while the locking of
doors is essential in denying these objects an entrance.

The great supernatural beings of Nootka belief, such as the Sky Chief,
the Thunder-bird, and the Wolves, loomed very large in Tom’s life,
whether in prayer or in ritual. Certain Nootka are more deeply
religious than others. They are more fervent in their prayers and they
work themselves up to a greater ecstasy in the performance of rituals
that are sacred to divine powers. In contrast to men of this type, Tom
has always been rather sober, not a skeptic by any means, but not an
emotional enthusiast. His knowledge of religious ceremonials is vast,
but the spirit that animates this knowledge is rather one of order, of
legal particularity, not of spiritual ecstasy. The practical economical
world, the pursuit of gain, has always been more congenial to Tom’s
temperament. This does not mean that Tom is a rationalist in matters
relating to the unseen world. Only the educated or half-educated
half-breeds are rationalists, and more than one of them has angered Tom
by his ill-advised attempts to disturb him with skeptical arguments.
However, there has been no change in Tom. He knows, as firmly as he
knows his own name, that when the rumble of thunder is heard from the
mountain, it is because the Thunder-bird is leaving his house on the
peak, flapping his wings heavily, as he makes off for the sea to prey
upon the whales. He knows also that when those that are not blind
like himself tell him that there has been a flash of lightning, it is
because the Thunder-bird has dropped the belt wound about his middle.
This belt is the lightning serpent, zig-zagging down to the earth or
coiling in a flash around a cedar tree.

Aside from the elementary problem of making his living, a Nootka’s
main concern is to earn the esteem of his fellow tribesmen by a lavish
display of wealth. It is not enough for him to accumulate it and to
live in private ease. He must, from time to time, invite the other
families of his tribe, and the neighboring tribes, to public ceremonies
known as potlatches, in which one or more of the important privileges
to which he is entitled are shown and glorified by the distribution
of property to the guests. The exhibiting of privileges may take
several forms. The most important of them refer to ancestral crests,
which may be shown in a dramatic performance, as a picture on a board,
or latterly, on canvas, or symbolized in a dance. Ceremonial games
are another frequent type of exhibitions of privileges at certain
potlatches. Nearly all privileges have their proper songs, which are
themselves jealously guarded privileges, and which are sung on these

There are two considerations that make the public performance of the
more important privileges a matter of the greatest moment. In the
first place, a man must clearly indicate his right to its performance
by recounting the origin myth that it dramatizes, and by tracing his
personal connection with the originator of the privilege. In the second
place, he must be careful to distribute at least as much property as
has already been distributed in his family, in connection with the
public presentation of the privilege. If it is at all possible, he
will try to exceed the record, so as to add to the public prestige
not only of himself and his immediate family, but of the privilege
itself. Should he fail in either of these essential respects, he is
shamed. Hence, an important potlatch is not to be lightly undertaken.
It requires much careful thought and preparation, and it necessitates
the gathering of enough wealth to pay for all the services rendered
by singers and other assistants, to present substantial gifts to the
guests, and to feed the crowd of men, women and children that are
present at the ceremony.

A potlatch is not often given as a mere display of wealth. Nearly
always it is combined with some definite social or religious function,
such as the giving of a name, the coming to marriageable age of
a daughter, marriage, a mourning ceremony, the Wolf ritual, or a
doctoring ceremony. Potlatching in its fundamental sense, in other
words the giving away of property to the guests, is an essential of
practically all ceremonies, big or little, religious or profane. Every
potlatch involves at least three parties, the giver, the guest or
guests, and the person in whose honor the potlatch is given. The last
of these is generally some young member of the family whose prestige
is thus furthered early in life, but it may be a stranger who has done
the giver a service. There are different kinds of gifts. Certain of
them are ceremonial grants to which the highest in rank of the tribe
are entitled, but which they are expected to return with one hundred
per cent interest at a subsequent potlatch. Another class of gifts,
which feature the most important and picturesque part of the potlatch,
is made to the highest in rank among the guests. There is no rigid
rule as to the return of these gifts, but in practice they are nearly
always liquidated at a return potlatch, with gifts of an equal, and in
many cases greater, value. Finally, towards the end of the potlatch,
there is a general distribution of smaller amounts to the crowd. Less
careful account is taken of the return of such gifts than of the first
two types. In part, the giving of a potlatch amounts to an investment
of value, though it is doubtful whether, among the Nootka, the greater
part of the expenditure incurred at a potlatch ever returned to its

A potlatch serves not only a definite social and economic purpose for
its giver, but affords, as well, an opportunity for minor distributions
of property, such as public payments for services, on the part of other
individuals present. Indeed any announcements of importance, such as
the handing over of a privilege or a change in name, would be most
appropriately made at a potlatch. The assembled tribesmen and guests
were, to all intents and purposes, witnesses to such announcements.

Tom began to give potlatches on his own account when still quite a
young man. The first one of any importance that he was responsible for,
was a potlatch in honor of his niece’s husband. This was a man of low
birth, whom Tom had vowed to have nothing to do with. When his niece,
however, gave birth to a child, Tom relented and, in order to wash
away the stain on his family’s honor, he called together thirty of his
relatives, and distributed four guns and a blanket to each. He also
sang two of his privileged songs, which he then and there transferred
to the child as its due privilege. This potlatch not only marked a
reconcilement with his low-born nephew, but gave the little youngster a
fair start in life in the race for status. The next of Tom’s potlatches
was a Wolf ritual, in which he himself performed two of the ceremonial
dances, those of the Thunder-bird and the Wolf circling about on all

Some time after this, Tom resolved to marry a Ts’isha’ath girl named
Witsah. In spite of the fact that she was a member of his own tribe,
Tom wooed the girl not as a Ts’isha’ath, but as a member of a Nitinat
tribe, among whom he had kinsmen on his father’s side. As his own
father was dead, he had ten of his Nitinat uncles woo the girl on
his behalf. The wooing is always an important part of the marriage
preliminaries, and consists chiefly in the placing of objects,
symbolizing one or more of the privileges of the suitor, outside
the house of the girl’s family. The suitor himself is not present.
Sometimes the objects are refused, when the suit may be continued until
an acceptance is gained, though this does not necessarily follow. The
suitor privileges deposited by Tom’s representatives consisted of ten
fires and a carving, representing the lightning serpent. These were
accepted and returned to Tom’s uncle as an indication of willingness on
the part of the bride’s parents to proceed with the marriage ceremony.
Not long after the return of the privileges, the marriage ceremony was
celebrated among the Ts’isha’ath people. The money distributed at that
time by Tom and his Nitinat relatives constituted a bridal purchase,
but when Tom’s first child was born, the property then distributed was
returned to Tom and the Nitinats with interest.

The greater part of the marriage ceremony consists of the performance
of ceremonial games, each of which is accompanied by special songs,
and followed by distributions of property. These games symbolize the
difficulty of obtaining the hand of the bride, referring as they do
to legendary tests that suitors were compelled to undergo in the past,
before they could be admitted by the bride’s father. One of the tests,
for instance, might be the lifting of an especially heavy stone, or
standing for some time without flinching between two fires. According
to legendary theory such tests should be endured by the bridegroom
himself, but in actual ceremonial practice any one of the bridegroom’s
party may be the winner in the contest, and receive the prize from the
bride’s father or whoever of her people is the proud possessor of that
particular marriage-game privilege.

Some time after his marriage Tom gave two potlatches in a single month.
The first of these was a puberty potlatch in behalf of a younger sister
of his. The second was a birth feast or, as the Nootka term it a “navel
feast” for his first child, a boy. About a year later Tom invited the
Ucluelet people, one of the Nootka tribes, to a feast at which many
dance privileges were performed and much property distributed. By this
time Tom was getting to be pretty well known among the tribes of the
west coast of Vancouver Island, for his rapidly growing wealth and
for his potlatches. It was, therefore, no surprise to him, though it
proved very gratifying, to have the chief of the Ahousat, one of the
most powerful of the northern Nootka tribes, especially invite him to
a potlatch at which he was given four of the chief’s ceremonial songs.
In return, Tom gave a potlatch to the Ahousat and the Comox, a tribe
of alien speech from the east coast of the Island. He distributed four
hundred blankets to the former, three hundred to the latter.

A year or two after this potlatch, occurred the decisive event in
Tom’s social career. This was the birth of his first daughter. The
most magnificent Nootka potlatches are generally given in connection
with a daughter’s puberty ceremony. Ever since his marriage, Tom had
been hoping to be able, in the fullness of time, to make a record in
potlatching among his people, and to show his most valued privileges at
the puberty potlatch of a daughter. Now that he was actually blessed by
the arrival of a little girl, Tom’s plans took immediate shape. He set
about the accumulation of property with more zest than ever, driving
many a sharp bargain with the Indians and whites, and he revolved
frequently in his mind what tribes he was to invite, and what dramatic
displays, dances and songs he was to use at the great ceremony. His
first concern was to build a large house of native construction that
the guests were to enter when invited to the Ts’isha’ath people.
Appropriate timbers for posts and beams are not easy to find,
especially since the white man’s sawmill has made its appearance in the
country. Hence, Tom was indefatigable in making inquiries of various
persons and keeping his eye out for sufficiently large and conveniently
located cedars. As he found such trees, he had them felled, hauled up
to the Ts’isha’ath village along the Somass river, and put in place as
opportunity presented itself. The actual construction of the house was
thus spread over a period of some ten or fifteen years.

At one time an unfortunate casualty occurred. One of the heavy
crossbeams fell to the ground, fortunately without injuring any one,
but the event was considered an ill omen. Nevertheless, Tom did
the best he could to ward off the evil influence by having a dance
performed in honor of the spirit of the beam. Special songs that he
possessed for this purpose were sung at the time.

Tom hoped that he could have the house completed before his daughter
arrived at maturity. He was doomed to disappointment. His house still
lacked one of the crossbeams and all the lighter wood-work, when his
wife announced to him one morning that their daughter had come of age,
was menstruating, in other words, for the first time. There was nothing
for it but to have the puberty ceremony performed at once, reserving
the main puberty potlatch for a few months later. Tom painted his face
red and invited the neighboring Hopach’as’ath tribe to the puberty
ceremony, the “torches standing on the ground,” as it is termed.

This ceremony marks the beginning of the period of seclusion of the
girl. She is painted and ornamented for the occasion, generally with
legendary insignia belonging to the family, is made to stand in front
of two long boards painted with representations of Thunder-birds and
whales, and has water thrown four times at her feet. Four or ten poles,
the so-called “torches,” are lighted and later distributed with gifts
to those entitled to receive them. Songs of various types are sung,
particularly satirical songs twitting the opposite sex. Ceremonial
games, some of them anticipating later marriage games, are also
performed and prizes are distributed. After a general distribution of
goods, the guests depart, leaving the girl to fast for four days and
to enter upon a secluded period of various tabus behind the painted
boards in the rear of the house.

After the puberty ceremony, Tom proceeded to Victoria to lay in his
store of supplies for the impending potlatch. He bought an enormous
number of boxes of biscuits, and to this day nothing pleases him
more than to tell of how he compelled the white merchant to give him
a special rate on the unusual order. As soon as the provisions were
safely deposited at his village, Tom invited twelve tribes to his
potlatch. To the nearer tribes he sent messengers; the more remote
tribes of the east coast he invited in person. When the appointed day
arrived, the Ts’isha’ath found that they had on their hands by far the
largest number of guests that had ever visited the tribe at a single
time. It was the proudest moment of Tom’s life. Everything went well.
There was enough food for all, the distributions of property were
generous, and all the privileges were interestingly presented. There
were a considerable number of these privileges performed, one or two
of them being fairly elaborate dramatic representations that were new
even to the most northern Nootka tribes, great potlatchers though they
are. Tom’s hereditary claim to the performances, the dances and the
songs, was carefully explained by the ceremonial speaker. The ancestral
legends were in every case recounted at length. Tom’s title to the
special crests of the whale and the Thunder-bird was duly set forth.
The explanation of the carved house posts took the speaker back to the
creation of the first Ts’isha’ath man from the thigh of a woman. Due
account, as usual in these origin legends, was taken of the flood. The
potlatch securely established Tom’s position among the Indians of the
Island. To this day it is often referred to by the Ts’isha’ath and
their neighbors. Tom’s family was “put high” as never before. More
than once, Tom’s grandson has found himself, when visiting comparative
strangers, say among the East Coast tribes, received with open arms
and honored with gifts of great value, all on the strength of his
grandfather’s potlatch.

Tom’s potlatching career did not end here. Some time later he
invited the Kyuquot, a Nootka tribe adjoining the Kwakiutl. At this
potlatch he gave a dramatic representation of a number of privileges,
including two Thunder-birds, a spouting whale, the supernatural
quartz-beings known as He’na, and a supernatural bird known as Mihtach,
a sort of mallard duck that haunts the top of the mountain called
“Two-bladders-on-its-summit.” The Heshkwiat tribe of Nootka was the
next to be invited to a potlatch. A year or two after this, the second
greatest ceremonial event in Tom’s career took place, in the form
of his second Wolf ritual or Tlokwana. The ritual was given for the
special benefit of his oldest son Douglas and his newly married wife.
These were the chief initiates in the ritual. Curiously enough, Tom’s
little grandson, as yet unborn, was also initiated. This is an extreme
instance of the tendency of the Nootka Indians to heap honors upon
their offspring at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Wolf ritual is the most awesome, the most fascinating and
fear-inspiring ceremony that the Nootka possess. Whatever religious
exaltation or frenzy they are capable of, finds expression in this
elaborate ritual. The performance, which generally lasts eight days,
preferably in the winter, is dominated throughout by the spirit of
the wolves who are believed to be hovering near at the outskirts of
the village. The more important parts of the ceremonial are open to
only such members of the tribe as have been initiated. Many tabus must
be observed by those participating, and an attitude of high-minded
seriousness must be maintained throughout. In the old days, frivolity
during the more strictly religious parts of the ritual, aside of course
from the ceremonial buffoonery, was very severely punished by the
marshaling attendants. Spearing to death on the spot was the penalty
for infraction of the most sacred tabus.

The ritual begins with the songs and other ceremonial activities of an
ordinary potlatch. Rumors are set going of the appearance of wolves in
the neighborhood of the village. These rumors, accentuated by tales
of narrow escapes and bloody casualties, act powerfully upon the
imagination of the children, who are soon reduced to a state of panic.
All of a sudden the lights are extinguished, and the four “wolves”
break through the side of the house. In the confusion that ensues
they make off with the youngsters that are to be initiated. From this
moment, begins the ritual proper. A certain number of the tribe have
the hereditary privilege to “play wolf,” that is, to act as wolves
during certain parts of the ritual beyond the confines of the village,
to make off with the novices, and keep these as supposed prisoners in
the woods. For a number of days, there are supposed to be unsuccessful
attempts to take back the captured novices, but the wolves remain
obdurate until certain songs are sung, when the novices are brought
out in view of the people and the series of attacks finally succeeds
in routing the wolves. The novices are supposed to be frenzied by the
spirits of various supernatural beings that possess them. They must be
brought back by force. Those privileged to do so lasso them, and, to
the accompaniment of sacred songs, the struggling novices are conducted
to the potlatch house, whistling furiously all the while. The hubbub of
mingled whistling, drumming and simultaneous singing of many distinct
ritual songs, continues for the greater part of the night. The din is
indescribable. During the following day is performed the most sacred
episode in the ritual. The whistling spirits that possess the novices
must be exorcised by means of sacred dances and songs. A purification
ceremony of bathing in the river or sea follows. The remainder of the
ritual consists of the performance of a number of special dances, each
of which is appropriate to the particular supernatural being that is
supposed to have possessed one of the initiates. There are many of
these dances, varying greatly in their prestige as privileges, and in
their character of religious frenzy. Probably the most austere of the
dances is that of the supernatural wolf, who crawls about in reckless
pursuit of destruction and has to be restrained with great difficulty
by a number of attendants. Other dances represent various types of
woodsy creatures or ogres. Many of them are pantomimic representations
of animals, while human activities of various kinds are represented in
still others.

With this Wolf ritual Tom’s ceremonial activities gradually lessened.
He continued to take an active interest in whatever potlatches were
given by his family, and he often helped with his advice and active
coöperation in the singing of songs and the delivering of ceremonial
addresses, particularly of the formal speeches of thanks. Now that he
had done his share in establishing the glory of his family, Tom sat
back and allowed his eldest son to take the initiative, at least in
theory, in all ceremonies affecting their standing in the tribe.

It is long since Tom has been able to do useful work. He is entirely
dependent on his oldest son’s family, with whom he lives, but they do
not feel his presence to be a burden. For one thing, he is uniformly
good-natured, very talkative about his own past and in judging his
neighbors, and always ready to help with his advice in matters of
importance, whether it be the preparations for a potlatch or some
contested sealing claim. But back of the garrulous, shabby Tom of the
present, looms up the Tom of the great potlatches of former days. It is
to this Tom that his children and grandchildren almost entirely owe the
high standing that they maintain among their people.

When Tom dies he will be put in a coffin and buried in the ground. This
was not the old Nootka custom. The more important families had caves in
which their deceased members were put away; others were laid in burial
boxes or rush mats which were then put up in trees back of the village.
Near the place of the burial there would be put up a grave post,
constructed of roof rafters of the house, on which would be painted one
of the crests of the deceased.

Though the old burial customs are no longer followed, some of the
beliefs and practices attending death have not yet died out. Thus, the
immediate personal effects of the deceased, as well as considerable
additional property, are always destroyed. In the old days the whole
house might be burned down, and tales are told of how the mourning
survivors would move off to another spot to build them a new house.
In all likelihood there will be performed immediately after Tom’s
death a ceremony intended to comfort the family of the deceased and to
induce Tom’s spirit to leave the house and its vicinity. Tom’s soul
will have left his body in the shape of a tiny shadow-like double of
himself, through the crown of his head, to assume eventually the form
of a full-fledged ghost. It is safe to assume that the tabu of the
dead person’s name will be carefully observed. Not only will Tom’s
name not be mentioned by his tribesmen for a stated period, but all
words that involve the main element of his name will be carefully
avoided. This element denotes the idea of “distant.” People will have
to get along as best they can without it, whether by beating about the
bush, by stretching the meaning of some other element so as to enable
it to take its place, or, if need be, by borrowing the corresponding
element, provided it be of different sound, from some other dialect.
Wailing sounds will be heard in the village for some time after Tom’s
death, and it is very likely that at a mourning potlatch a number of
privileges belonging to the family, say four songs, will be thrown
away. Such privileges are tabued during the mourning period. At the
end of the mourning period, which may be anything from a year to ten,
another potlatch is given by one of the family and the tabus are
lifted. When that time arrives Tom’s name will have passed into native
history. The name Sayach’apis, “Stands-up-high-over-all,” will then be
freely referred to with pride or with envy.

                                                         EDWARD SAPIR

                      Windigo, a Chipewyan Story


Behind the Hudson’s Bay Company’s post at Fort Hearne, they were
wrestling for wives. Forgotten were the words of Catholic priests
on the sanctity of marriage, forgotten the precepts of Episcopal
missionaries. In the twinkling of an eye those high-flown, newfangled
notions had been swept aside by the deep rooted usage of ancient days.
The Indians had been peaceably playing at “Button, button, who has the
button?” with half the spectators staking shirts and blankets on the
issue of the game. The real fun started when drunken Ramsay MacCrae
reeled into the crowd and hugged Blanche Lecouvreur. Her husband sent
him staggering to the ground, but the toper rose and, thrusting his
fingers into Lecouvreur’s face, challenged him to an old-time combat
for his spouse.

There was no more guessing game after that, there was genuine sport.
Ramsay was laid low, but he had set the example and another young
swashbuckler fell foul of Casimir; and so it went on. There was
nothing riotous about the affair, it was as nicely regulated as a
prize fight. There was never more than one contest at a time for no
one would miss part of the spectacle by engaging in a side show of
his own. The wrestlers pulled each other about by the hair and ears,
after the approved Athabaskan fashion before attempting other holds.
What amusement when Angus had thrown the gauntlet to little Gordon and
was on the point of carrying off buxom Peggy by default! But there was
still more laughter when the crafty wag of the camp, supposed to be
cowering in a hiding-place, popped out of his tent, his skull cropped,
ears and body glistening with grease, and, seizing his handicapped
adversary by his long locks, dragged him to the ground. Cries of
encouragement and admiration filled the air. One wagered his gun on a
friend’s victory, another staked his net or tent. The women fought for,
looked on stolidly while the battle was waging, but when Ramsay had
fallen, Blanche heaved a sigh of relief, and Peggy could not suppress
a sneer at her would-be captor. Others were hauled away whimpering,
but with Marie every one knew that she was wailing only to satisfy the
proprieties, for she was well rid of her brute of a husband who had
nearly beaten her to death after his last journey.

But the climax came when big Douglas thrust his paw in Pierre
Villeneuve’s face. To be sure, Louise was as comely as any young matron
in or near the settlement, yet until now the bullies had refrained
from challenging her husband. Every one respected her for her virtue
and her kindness; and every one, too, was fond of Pierre. He was such
a harmless, easy-going, good-natured chap, so handy with packstrap
and toboggan, a prime companion after a two days’ trip without food,
keeping up his blithe old ditty about “_ma belle patrie_” or warbling
some native melody, when every one else was ready to sink down from
exhaustion. But what was all that to crazy Douglas when he was in drink
and lusting for a woman? He had the advantage of four inches in height,
and of at least two stone in weight,—good enough reason for trying for
a prize. Still, Pierre was no mean antagonist with his sinewy, agile
frame and his widely famed strength of grip. Nor was it long before
Douglas discovered that he had caught a tartar. Twice he was on the
point of scoring, only to have Pierre wriggle unhurt from his grasp.
At last a cry of anguish from Louise as the inevitable was about to
happen. Douglas had lifted her husband and was about to hurl him to the
ground. But then things happened quickly, no one knew how, and Douglas
lay stretched out on the ground panting. He limped off with a sprained
ankle, amidst the mocking and jubilations of Pierre’s friends, while
even his backers had sportsmanship enough to congratulate the conqueror.

Then through the laughing, shouting, gesticulating crowd a Titanic
figure elbowed his way. In the midst of the din and excitement the
strange half-breed’s approach had passed unnoticed. He had arrived only
yesterday, with a letter of credit from the Company of Gentlemen and
Adventurers’ Trading into Hudson’s Bay. His name was George MacDonald;
beyond that nothing was known about him. What a frame was his! Beside
it, huge Douglas looked puny. Pierre seemed a mere babe. MacDonald was
not a man of many words. He strode towards Louise, lightly touched
her arm and said, “I want you.” She shrank back shrieking, and Pierre
rushed at the giant in a blind fury, only to be firmly grasped and
gently deposited on the ground. Once more he leaped at his conqueror
but was caught in a vise-like grip and laid low again, raging and
impotent. In his madness he unsheathed his knife, but now Casimir and
Gordon pinioned his arms and the crowd shouted, “Peace, peace! The
stranger has won fairly!”

MacDonald stood there calm and supercilious. “I have won,” he said to
Louise, “come.” Without looking back he walked towards his tent, and
the woman followed sobbing. That was the last wrestling bout that day.


MacDonald stayed at Fort Hearne and built himself a cabin at the other
end of the post. He went off for a few days and returned with a retinue
of Slaveys. Then he began trading against the Company itself. He had a
way of dealing with the Indians that no other man had. He paid less,
rather than more, for their furs, and disdained to coddle them with
gifts and favors. Yet, when the peltry hunters caught a silver fox or
some other valuable fur, the prize went to the gruff giant’s shack
rather than to the Company’s warehouse. There was no competing with
him. One factor was sent to relieve another, but without avail. At last
the Commissioner himself braved the journey to the Fort, bought out
MacDonald, and set him up as head of the post.

Now, things began to hum at Fort Hearne. Never had such a factor been
seen as MacDonald. He spoke Dogrib and Chipewyan and Cree and French
as well as his father’s Orkney Island brogue: there was no hunter for
hundreds of miles with whom he could not converse in his own tongue.
He was on his feet from morning until night and kept every one else on
the go. As a freetrader he had beaten the Company at its own game. With
the Company’s prestige behind him he allowed no freetrader to raise
his head. By fair means none could compete, and who dared try force or
trickery against MacDonald? In the long winter evenings, when boresome
hours of sloth were whiled away with story telling, strange tales began
to circulate about the big factor. Since little or nothing was known of
his early life, imagination ran riot. Angus knew that the factor could
transform himself into a wolf, and hunt deer thus disguised. Casimir
pictured him in his youth, pulling cargo-laden scows, single-handed,
that were wont to be towed by a half-dozen strapping Indians. Jean
had it from an aunt that MacDonald had once swum a river in pursuit
of a bear, had stabbed it with a knife and carried the carcass twenty
miles to camp. Some said he was bulletproof, and others with a tincture
of Christian lore spoke of his pact with the devil. He grew into the
central figure of a new mythology.

The hero himself moved across his stage with the saturnine grandeur
of a Norse god. He never boasted, never faltered, never failed. He
ran unscathed through rapids never attempted since two parties of
canoemen had been capsized and drowned. He walked toward the cocked gun
of a drink-crazed competitor, and calmly knocked it out of his hand.
MacDonald did not know what it was to be afraid.

Between the trader and Pierre a curious relationship developed. The
factor of course used men as pawns, and knew a good lieutenant when he
saw one. But for Pierre he showed more consideration than was due to
even the best of assistants. Perhaps it was because Louise prompted
kindness to her former husband; perhaps there was some spontaneous
sentimentalism for a man he had wronged. However that might be, Pierre
became a sort of attendant-in-ordinary on MacDonald, his companion on
trips of inspection and the rarer jaunts of pleasure.

For Pierre, his sullen, imperious master became the one and only
subject of interest. He studied his habits and gestures and speech. He
had set out eager to detect weakness, but his prying skepticism had
changed to grudging admiration, and later to despondent amazement. He
had begun by hating his wife’s abductor, and he came to hate with an
ever intenser hatred the man who was without peer. It was not merely
the giant’s strength or dauntless courage, it was the way he had with
men. How he ordered about Casimir or Angus or Ramsay! A word was enough
to quell rebellion. Again and again, in the beginning, Pierre had
resolved to bid him defiance, yet when the moment came his resolution
had failed. Yes, people liked Pierre and after a fashion they respected
him, but that was a different thing. It was not in him to issue
commands to others. If he ever mustered courage to do so, they would
think he was putting on airs and laugh in his face, so that he would
slink off in shame and humiliation. Why were men born so different?
Why was he not born superior to the rest, like MacDonald? Why born at
all only to be lorded over by another? Thus he brooded and brooded for
hours at night, losing all hope and joy in life.

Then one day, unexpectedly, his despair was lifted. He had been on a
fruitless hunting trip with the factor, and the two were approaching
the post at the close of a rainy day. They were walking through a
dense wood. Both were drenched to the skin, and Pierre was nearly
exhausted. Suddenly, odd fancies crossed his mind. Weird tales of
childhood, retold round many a winter camp fire, surged in memory and
would not down. At dark, the forest was peopled with mysterious beings.
The Windigo were about then—cadaverous shapes with glaring eyes, and
feeders on human flesh. They lurked in the shadows of trees, and rose
upon wayfarers from the depths of the swamps. What chance of escape
when they had once sighted a victim? Rattling their skeletons, they
flitted after him faster than a hawk can fly, tore him apart like a
rabbit or swallowed him whole. The very wood Pierre was now traversing
had been once entered by a trapper who was never seen again. Pierre
began to feel oppressed by a sense of uncanniness. He peered cautiously
into the gathering darkness, then glanced eagerly behind him. He was
glad MacDonald was near. The great man could protect him if any one
could. Pierre felt reassured, yet it was best to take no chances, so he
hurried on.

Of a sudden there was a snapping of boughs, and he heard his name
called as if in mockery as a long form swished through the wood, and
a grim face was gaping at him not ten feet away. He turned in horror
and fled towards MacDonald, crying, “Windigo! Windigo!” as he pointed
at a spot ahead. But MacDonald did not smite the ogre with one of his
huge fists, or seek to grapple with it as he was said to have once
wrestled with a bear. His face turned an ashen hue, his mighty body
was quivering like an aspen. That was the half-breed of it. Then with
a bound he ran through the wood as fast as his legs would carry him,
down to the river bank and along the rocky water front, till at length
he caught sight of the big warehouse. There he paused panting, with the
cold perspiration on his forehead. Pierre had followed as swiftly as he
could, and at last overtook his master. Both were trembling from head
to foot and MacDonald kept muttering, “Windigo! Windigo!” Thus they
walked toward the Fort. And Pierre felt happier than he had ever been
since that wrestling bout when he had lost Louise: for all his way,
MacDonald was afraid of the Windigo!


Casimir was dangerously ill. His appetite was gone and his limbs seemed
paralyzed. There came rumors that a famous Cree doctor was visiting the
Chipewyan of a nearby settlement, and Pierre was dispatched to lure him
to Fort Hearne with promise of fabulous fees. The Cree consented. He
was a garrulous old man and on their joint trip Pierre tried to sound
him about his powers, but on that subject he was mum. “You will see,”
he answered, and Pierre was obliged to wait.

When they arrived at the Fort, the medicine man erected a little booth
and had himself thrust in, with his hands and feet firmly tied. He
sang his incantations and the lodge began to shake. It seemed filled
with strange beings, for unearthly sounds were heard, followed by a
death-like silence. Opening the lodge they saw the conjuror unbound,
and as if awakening from a trance. He proclaimed that the spirits had
visited him and declared that Casimir would recover. Next, the patient
himself was stretched out in the booth and the doctor entered it,
stripped stark naked. He knelt and sang and blew at Casimir’s heart,
sucked at his breasts, and talked as if with his guardian spirits.
Then he swallowed a stick three feet long, and retched it up again,
announcing that all was well. In sooth, Casimir was carried from the
tent clamoring for food, and in a week he was able to walk about. Then
his kin showered gifts on the great magician, and all the other Indians
sought to curry favor with him by every manner of attention.

Pierre was less ostentatious than others in his entertainment of
the old sage, but sometimes when the rest were fast asleep he would
steal to the conjuror’s tent with liquor and tobacco, to ply him with
questions about the magic art. And after a while his host’s reticence
waned. He even confessed to having bewitched a rival by drawing his
image on the ground with an arrow pointed at his heart. Yet when Pierre
hinted that he, too, had a strong enemy on whom he would fain cast
a spell, the old fox hedged and said that sorcery was a dangerous
business. Some men had power of their own, and could hurl the evil
charm back with redoubled force against the sorcerer. Besides, he
himself was old and wanted to live his few years in peace.

When Pierre found it hopeless to make the Cree bewitch his master, he
changed his tactics. What was the truth about the Windigo? He had heard
his mother tell about them, but did they really exist? That proved a
less delicate subject for the medicine man. He himself had never seen
a Windigo, but he knew all about them from another conjuror. Yes, the
Windigo were dangerous spirits and fearfully strong. How strong? Surely
no stronger than the factor? Why, they would rend him asunder like a
dry twig. They swooped down upon men to tear out their vitals, and
played ball with their skulls. There was a way to gain their favor,
but it was very hard. If one fasted for three or four days in a wood
they haunted, and freely offered them of one’s flesh, they were pleased
and might adopt him as their child. True, they were likely to swallow
the sufferer whole, but when they spewed him out he was like one of
themselves ever after, fierce and cannibalistic. The other Indians
had better keep a wide berth of such as these, or placate them by
gifts lest they break loose and destroy every one in sight. And now
Pierre himself recalled a gaunt man who had terrorized the camp of his
childhood, and whose bare glance had thrown timid folk into convulsions.

Pierre slipped home and sat musing for a long time. Should he tempt the
spirits of the woods? Would they answer his prayer? What if they ate
him before he could make his offering? Yet, why should he live? He had
lost Louise; and her captor was master of Fort Hearne. Life mattered
not, unless the Windigo chose to bless him.

The next day he entered the wood he had traversed with MacDonald that
memorable evening. He ate not a morsel of food all day, and continued
his fast next day, praying to the Windigo. At last he mustered up
courage, gashed his chest with a big knife, and offered his body to
the spirits. Then he fell down in a dead swoon. When he woke up, there
was joy in his heart for all his pain. A Windigo had really come and
blessed him! It had seized him as a boy seizes a moth, but when it saw
the blood streaming from his breast it took pity on him, swallowed and
disgorged him. Next spring he was to wreak vengeance as a Windigo. He
must merely bide his time.

As he walked homeward, he exulted in his new powers. Why not try them
for a joke? He, too, would show people his strength now. The first man
he encountered he would terrify into fits. Yonder was Angus, mending
a net in front of his tent. He would do as well as the next. Pierre
quickly stepped up to him, and assuming a ferocious grimace, he cried,
“I am Windigo! I have come to eat you!”

But Angus burst into a guffaw, “You a Windigo! You, who never hurt a
fly! You are crazy. You’ve been drinking. Go home and sleep it off!”
Pierre slunk home like a whipped cur, and threw himself on his bed
crestfallen and humiliated. The Windigo had blessed him, yet he could
not be Windigo. It was not in him. Even the Windigo could help only men
like MacDonald. Thus he lay in impotent grief till exhaustion brought
sleep. Then the Windigo loomed in sight and whispered, “In the spring,
fool! I said, in the spring!”


Spring came, and word reached Fort Hearne that the factor was to meet
a fleet of scows at Fort Batise. That was a post he had never visited,
so he summoned Pierre to make ready for the trip as his guide. They
laid in an ample stock of provisions, for it was a long journey and
there might be a protracted wait for the boats at their destination:
Hudson’s Bay Company transports do not run on schedule time. One
fine morning the two men set out in a canoe, struggling up-stream
against the powerful current. Now and then they landed to shoot some
partridges, and one day MacDonald killed a moose. Otherwise there was
little to relieve the monotony of the journey. From morning till night,
not a soul crossed their path. With MacDonald lapsing into his wonted
silence, hours would pass without a sound but the splashing of the
paddles and the quaint, plaintive notes of Pierre’s Red River melodies.
Once in a while an abandoned site, with tent poles standing, suggested
former human occupation. Every night the two men camped near the water
edge, played a game or two of cribbage, and then stretched out to rest
till four or five o’clock the next morning. And in the night Pierre
would hear strange sounds, and as they grew nearer they turned into
words: “In the spring! In the spring!”

When they reached Fort Batise, the post was all but deserted. The
Company’s trader had gone on a hunting trip and the dozen Indians in
his charge were scattered though the woods. A single half-witted breed
was holding down the Fort, and pointed out the uninhabited island,
already known to Pierre, where the scows from time immemorial had been
unloading the cargoes destined for Northern posts. The factor and
Pierre paddled across and threw their bedding into a long, tumble-down
shack reserved for the Company’s servants. It was still somewhat too
early for retiring, so MacDonald suggested a walk, and they set out for
a stroll through the dense wood.

Pierre had been unusually silent that evening, as though by contagion
with the factor’s taciturnity. Now, of a sudden, his tongue was
loosened. Did MacDonald know why the post had never been transferred
to the island for all its fine landing place? The Indians would not
live there, they never came there alone, for the spot was haunted, they
said. It was called Simon’s island. There was a long story about it, a
foolish tale, but one the Indians told about their camp fires as though
it were true. Of course Simon had really lived; Pierre remembered him
well from the days of his boyhood—a ne’er-do-well, not a bad sort, but
one always in bad luck. First, none of the girls would have him, then
he got married and his wife died in childbirth. He would get a job
towing a boat, stumble over a windfall on his first trip, and break his
leg. It was always that way with poor Simon. When he gave up tracking,
he became a pelt hunter. For years he roamed over the country and eked
out a miserable livelihood. At last he had a stroke of luck and caught
a silver fox. Now he thought he should live in plenty. But while on
his way to the nearest trader’s, he fell in with another trapper. They
slept side by side, and in the morning the stranger and the silver fox
were both gone. High and low, Simon looked for them, but in vain. Then
he turned crazy in his grief and became a Windigo. Whomever he chanced
upon, men or women, he killed and ate. The Indians made up parties to
hunt him like a wild beast. He laughed at them; he was Windigo. They
could never catch him. Then some time after, those who had hunted him
were found murdered in their tents, and people ceased pursuing him.
Now they tried to buy him off. As soon as he had been sighted near
a camp, heaps of meat were piled up outside the settlement, and the
handsomest clothing was laid beside the food. Then he would leave the
camp alone—till some fine day the fancy seized him once more, and he
stole into a camp to gratify his craving. That was long ago, and Simon
had died on this very island, where he lay buried. Yet the natives
believed that his ghost still walked as a Windigo from time to time,
though the Company said it was all nonsense and put up its shack there,
in defiance of Indian tales. Of course the Company knew best.

MacDonald had been listening with growing attention, and throughout the
tale Pierre’s gaze had been riveted on his features. Had not a faint
tremor passed down his spine when he first heard the word “Windigo”?
Had he not caught his breath when he learned of the ghost’s reported
wanderings? And why this sudden turning on his heels at the close of
the story? Pierre was whistling a tune on the return walk, and the
factor roared at him to keep still. He was plainly nervous; the tale
had done its work.

Arrived at the cabin, MacDonald picked up his bedding and muttered,
“Perhaps we had better go across to the post, we won’t be able to
sleep here for mosquitoes.” He did not expect Pierre to have faith in
his pretext; neither did he expect to be openly flouted by his meek
companion. But Pierre, looking him up and down, asked drily, “Afraid of
Simon’s ghost?” “Afraid of nothing!” thundered MacDonald, hurling his
blankets on the floor and glowering at his mate. He began to pace the
room with giant strides. There was no doubt of it, he was troubled. He
would not play cribbage. He was too tired, he said. MacDonald, who had
never been tired before! So, soon both men sprawled out on the floor
covered with their four-point blankets. But neither fell asleep.

After a while MacDonald rose softly, and tiptoed toward the door.
Perhaps he could make his way to the bank unnoticed, and put the
river between Simon’s ghost and himself. But Pierre was wide awake
and staring at him in the gloaming of a Northern night. “I was just
stretching a bit,” the big man offered in explanation, and Pierre did
not even deign to tell him he lied. He sat up against the door now, and
was eyeing the factor steadily, scornfully. The big man was nonplussed.
What was Pierre’s game? How could he be so calm in a haunted spot? A
mad hatred against him suddenly rose in MacDonald’s breast. He would
brain this puny dolt with a blow of his fist, and say he had been
drowned in the rapids. Then he would escape to the post and no soul
would know of his weakness. Still Pierre sat looking at him with his
gun across his knees. MacDonald cared little for the gun. There was at
least a chance for him to take Pierre by surprise, and wrest the weapon
from his grasp, and when had MacDonald been afraid to take chances? But
there was something in Pierre’s gaze that cowed and subdued him. So he
merely sat up facing Pierre and the door, with neither uttering a word.

As the minutes passed, strange noises became audible. The floor
was creaking and the door began to rattle, and over on the other
bank the dogs were barking as dogs never barked before. There was a
something—was it a bat?—that kept flitting against the roof, and on
the door came an unaccountable rhythmic tapping. The factor fidgeted
and peered in this direction and that, while Pierre sat now six feet
away, immobile and pitiless. Then there was a different sound. A slow,
heavy tread was coming up from the water edge. It was approaching the
shack from the rear, passed round and got to the door. MacDonald sprang
to his feet, but the steps went on, and he sank on the floor relieved
though faint. But what was that? The steps were coming closer again:
the wanderer was circling the shack a second time. Yet it seemed he
had no intention of coming in, for, without halting at the door, the
mysterious being started on its third round. But if it cared not to
enter, neither was its purpose to leave the inmates in peace, for a
fourth circuit began.

Now Pierre burst forth: “It is Simon! He is walking round four times,
then he will stop and pay you a visit.” MacDonald leaped up—a beast
at bay, afraid to stay, afraid to go out now, straining to hear the
weird footfalls first passing away then returning, ever more and more
distinct. And now there was a dead halt at the door. Would it fly open
and usher in the hideous shape of Simon’s ghost? The door remained
closed. But now Pierre rose with a grim laugh, dropping his gun. He
walked toward his master and thrust his thumb at his face. “Simon has
come to see us wrestle. I will wrestle you for Louise. Simon has made
me Windigo. I will throw you and kill you and eat you, and he wants to
look on.” Fearlessly and madly he sprang at the giant’s throat. The
factor had not watched him, he had not heard his speech, he was still
looking and looking at the door. Where now were those puissant arms
that had held Pierre like an infant at Fort Hearne? Limp and powerless,
they were hanging from a twitching heap that fell resistless at the
first impact. Pierre beat him and kicked him and choked him. Without
knife or gun, with his bare hands he murdered the great factor. And
then—he was Windigo!

He rose jubilant. The Windigo had spoken truly: his enemy lay
conquered. What next? Return to the post and tell of his deed? Would
they believe him? They would say he was drunk or crazed, _he_ who could
not kill a fly. They would say some enemy of MacDonald’s, a party of
freetraders perchance, had shot him from ambush. And _he_ would be once
more good, meek Pierre Villeneuve. It had all been in vain. To kill
MacDonald was nothing, nothing even to regain Louise. He wanted to be
master like the dead giant, and that he could never be.

He staggered to the door and flung it open. What was that? A pallid
face recoiling in terror, a horror-stricken cry of “Windigo!” and a man
fleeing to the river and paddling across. He had forgotten the breed
he had bribed, on plea of a practical joke, to cross from the post and
prowl round the shack. The man had peeped in and seen everything. Now
Pierre was saved, now he had won. His witness would spread the news
and warn the people against the new Windigo. Pierre was greater now
than MacDonald had ever been. His fame would travel from Hudson’s Bay
to the Rocky Mountains and from the Red River to Fort Macpherson. How
they would pamper him—Crees and half-breeds, Chipewyans and Slaveys—as
he roamed over their country that now was his. He would steal their
furs and eat their game and kidnap their wives, snapping his fingers in
their faces. He was master now, for now he was Windigo.

                                                      ROBERT H. LOWIE

                    Cries-for-salmon, a Ten’a Woman

You ask me to tell you the story of somebody’s life at Anvik, my home
in Alaska. I will tell the story of the woman who gave me the moccasins
I showed you—there is more to tell about a girl than a boy. But I shall
have to tell about a boy, too, for you can’t tell about the girls
without telling about the boys.

When Cries-for-salmon was to be born, they called in Havetse-kĕdtsa,
Their-little-grandmother, an old woman of experience, to help. For
three days after the birth Their-little-grandmother stayed by the side
of the bed of skins, nor might the mother leave her bed without the
permission of Their-little-grandmother. I don’t know much about these
days because boys and men do not stay in the house at this time; they
go to the kadjim (the men’s house). All I know is that the after-birth
is wrapped in a cloth, and placed in the fork of a tree—the after-birth
is a part of the body and you would not want to destroy it, just as
when you cut yourself, you wipe off the blood with shavings and place
the shavings in the fork of a tree. Even what is left of an old garment
you would not destroy, you would not throw it into the fire as the
white people do, but put it into a bag which in course of time you will
place in a spruce tree. Whatever is put away in the woods is thought of
as being still a part of the village, so that when a ceremonial circuit
has to be made of the village, a half mile or so of woods is covered so
that these things in the trees may be included.

The baby’s cord is tied around the wrist or the neck of the baby with
sinew, and left on for two or three years. An ax head is placed on
the body of a boy baby for a certain number of days—I don’t know how
many, nor what they put on top of a girl. Should a white person come
into the house at this time, the object is removed. If the child dies
under three or four years of age the object, the ax or other thing, is
put with the corpse. I don’t know why, and when I have asked the old
men they would answer, “Who of us knows?” as they often answer when
they _do_ know but have not enough confidence in you to tell. Besides,
young fellows are not expected to ask questions; you must learn by
overhearing, and coming that way to understand.

For twenty days after Cries-for-salmon was born, her father had to stay
at home, indoors, “under his smoke hole,” as people used to say when
they lived in igloos or underground houses. Nowadays, all or almost all
live in frame houses. During these twenty days a man is not to touch
any object made by white people, more particularly things of steel or
iron, knife or ax or ice pick. Copper, got in trade from the coast,
which has been melted down and hand beaten, a man may use; and he would
eat out of dishes of wood or bone. Work tools of any kind he would not
handle, unless in a household emergency he had to go to the forest for
wood or game, when he would first go to the dyiin, the shaman, to get a
song to sing in the circumstances. For this song, as for other songs,
the shaman would be paid loftak—skins, meat, or oil.

Even if a man goes out during the twenty days, he should be careful not
to pass over the water of a stream or lake—it would be othlang, and the
fish would cause a skin eruption in the child. Our skin is usually very
smooth and clear, and whenever any one has an eruption or rash we know
it is from othlang.

Had Cries-for-salmon been born in the spring, then the following fall
her father would not go eeling—that too would be othlang and it would
cause a dearth of eels. Nor would a man go eeling for a year after a
death in his family. If you knew how much we depended on eels for food,
you would understand why we have to be so careful. The first sign of
the eel coming is the finding of an eel in the stomach of a lush, the
fish which is our main food in winter. Some one may find an eel in a
lush, miles away from the village, and then at once he sends word, and
the men go out to the places on the river where the channel is narrow
and there are good feeding grounds for the eel. Here they come so thick
that they cause the water to rise, and you have but to throw them out
on the bank with a stick. As people eel together in this way, every one
would know if a man went eeling after a death or birth in his family.

As with work after a birth in his family, so with amusements—a man
should not take part. He should sit quiet, with his head down, for at
this time he is supposed to be in connection with his spirits. His
spirits are not any stronger than the strongest songs he has, and at
this time a man must be watchful lest his songs lose their virtue or
power, or lest from violations of the rules the baby die.

When Cries-for-salmon was restless as a little child, and cried, no
doubt her mother called out to her, “Lia! the Evil One! Keep quiet!” to
scare her. (To abuse any one, people will say, Li dená! Blood of the
Evil One.) And when Cries-for-salmon was able to walk, she was watched
all the time by her father or mother, for she had to be taught from the
very beginning not to step on anything pertaining to the welfare of
the family that might be lying on the floor. Should a stick be lying
there, for example, that was being worked for an arrow or fish trap,
the little girl would have to walk around it, not over it. The spirit
of the boy is stronger than the spirit of the girl, so a boy may step
where he pleases.

And the girl, as she grows a little older, has to be taught to be
extremely careful about whatever she finds on the floor, of bits of
food, of bone or feather or hair or skin. It is a rule that all such
waste bits be put separately into baskets by the women, and carried to
the haunts, in forest or on river, of the creatures to which the bits
belonged. Cries-for-salmon would go along with her mother to see how
she dumped into the river from her canoe the feathers of duck or goose
or swan, that they might change back into birds such as they had come
from—as the feathers drifted down the current, although invisible to
her, Cries-for-salmon was told, they became birds again to return to
feed in their old haunts of mud and goose grass. Similarly she saw her
mother empty out fish bones to become fish, and she saw her take to the
forest the bones of game animals. Were such bones left on the floor and
stepped on, it would be othlang.

Sometimes, as men sit on the floor with their heels drawn back to the
buttocks, or as they sit cross-legged, left leg over right, with a bowl
of food propped on their legs, a bone may snap out on the floor instead
of back from their fingers into the bowl. It is a spirit of the family,
a hungry spirit, who is after the food. The spirit of the food goes
to feed the family spirit, and although the particle is picked up and
taken to the forest, it has lost its power, it will not become animal

When we men kill willow or ruffed grouse (ptarmigan), we take out some
of the tail feathers and throw them on the ground, giving them back to
the forest to become birds again. I remember that the first time I
shot a grouse I took out some feathers above the tail. The fellow with
me laughed. “That is not right,” said he. “It is the tail feathers you
must take.” In selling grouse to the Mission, people will first skin
them, just as they will first pluck the geese or ducks they sell, and
remove the entrails. Similarly, they skin and clean the rabbits they
sell. (Before a ceremonial the men engage in a rabbit drive. They pick
out an island or a point of land, and spread out, each man in sight of
another. Each yells and beats on the trees to scare out the rabbits,
and then they form the arc of a circle and close down to the water.
They keep the rabbits for the feast, but a few they may sell.) Bear
meat and lynx meat they would not sell at all to white people.

We do not eat rabbit meat in summer and no doubt Cries-for-salmon was
told, as are other children, that it was wormy. She was told, too,
never to eat in the dark, lest she swallow the eye of the Evil One,
which in going back to the Evil One, would choke her. Nor in eating
meat should she cut off a piece in her teeth. In pouring out tea or
liquids, Cries-for-salmon was taught to be very careful to pour only to
well below the brim, almost an inch below, not to risk spilling. If the
cup ran over it would be othlang to the person served—he would fail to
run down his game, to catch fish, or to do well in leadership—and to
overcome the othlang he would have to go to the shaman for a song.

In all these particulars a girl has to learn how to behave, how to
carry herself. A young man is rated by his ability in making snowshoes
and in running down game, fox, deer and, before the portaging of the
whites drove them out, caribou. A girl is rated by her ability in
handicrafts and in providing food, but she is also esteemed for her
household behavior. If she is gifted with strength, with virtue, as she
grows old she is likely to have given into her keeping an old wooden
bowl which has been passed down from generation to generation of women,
within the same rank, to be used in ceremonies to honor hunters of
distinction. Moreover, the presents of a careful woman are welcome.
People hate to see a young man as he grows up wear things made by any
or everybody. Were he to wear mittens or boots or parki (shirt) made
by a careless woman, his own ability might be reduced and his spirits

Cries-for-salmon was taught, like other little girls and boys, never
to sing or whistle when eating, and never to imitate at any time in
the winter the birds of summer—that would prolong the winter, perhaps
making it run into two winters (a frequent expression of the narrator
meaning that the already short summer is further shortened), and so
causing famine. Nor was Cries-for-salmon ever to make snowballs or snow
images. There is but one time a snow man may be made—when people want a
freezing spell in the spring. Travelers are afraid of being caught away
from home by the spring floods. One early spring I remember that there
were many traders at Anvik when it turned warm. The men had to get home
to make their fish camps and set their fish nets. Some of them had a
portage of twenty miles to make through tundra and woods. The soft snow
in the woods and the slush would tire out their dogs. So they went to
the shaman and got permission to make a snow man to face the north, and
draw from it the cold winds. As image maker they chose an unmarried man
who had been born in a month of changing weather.

Snow fights the children may not play, but they play at war in another
way. Almost anything will start a sham fight. Perhaps a child will call
the family of another child dirty or say, “My father has more skins
than yours.” Then they gather fireweed, strip the stalks and use them
for spears and darts. These weapons take the skin off your forehead,
but the more you bleed the better you like it, and you never cry, no
matter how hard hit. Two or three boys will pretend to be killed, the
girls will set up a wail, they have a big feast, and they make friends

The boys play, too, at duck-hunting and deer-stalking. They will make a
duck of grass and fasten it to a long, slender stick. Then they put it
into a muddy place and throw short wooden spears at it. The game should
be played only in the spring, for if it is played later it will cause
famine. It is a very exciting game, and often, out of season, we boys
would carry cans of water into the woods to make a duck pond out of
sight of the old people.

To play deer-stalking, boys take a bunch of grass and make it into the
figure of a deer. For the belly they insert strips of salmon. They
set the figure up on sticks and then go off into a cover of stumps
and grass. One boy says to the other, “I see a deer.” “Where?” “Over
there.” They creep up on it. They shoot, and the boy who sends his
arrow nearest to the heart is deemed the killer. They skin the deer,
talking all the while—“How fat it is, how limber.”—“It was hard to
get.” They take out the dried fish, the killer cuts it up and, as would
an adult, he sees to it that the food is divided up among the hunters.
When a man returns from a long and successful hunt he goes to the
kadjim, while his wife prepares the food and invites all the people to
come and partake of it. She goes from house to house, saying, “Come and
drink tea and eat meat.” (By “meat” she would always mean bear meat, as
that being the most powerful meat, is called just meat. Other flesh she
would call deer meat, porcupine meat, etc.) Similarly when a woman gets
a full trap of fish all the people are invited to eat.

Little girls and boys together play at fishing and housekeeping. The
boys will gather willows and make them into a great bundle, a foot and
a half thick and fifteen feet long. They choose a shallow place in the
river where there are little fish, and they lay the willow trap in an
oval. After the catch the girls take the fish to cook, and boys and
girls pair off together to make fish camps like their elders. Once when
I was about ten, I paired off with Cries-for-salmon. She got roots to
sew into a basket, and grasses to make a doll. She sang to the doll
and pretended to nurse it. I went into the woods and gathered bark and
wood. I shot a squirrel and a little bird with my bow and arrows, and
Cries-for-Salmon skinned the squirrel and picked the bird and cooked.
We even made a kadjim to have a feast in. In winter, we children built
snow houses and snared rabbits and stole pieces of dried meat or salmon
from home. It is not stealing unless we are caught. But our games in
winter were cut down.

I wish I could tell you about the time when the children, girls and
boys, are turned over to the shaman, that they may belong to the
village, to be a part of the village. I know there is a ceremony at
that time, but I don’t know much about it. At that time I was at the
Mission house. The children are little—about four or five years old.
Henceforward, should anything happen to the family, the village would
look after the child, and the village is responsible for the child’s
learning as much as possible about village custom. The old men talk to
the boys, and the old women to the girls. They tell them old stories
to teach them what they may not have learned at home. Of course there
are other stories that people tell; but these are never told except at
night in the kadjim and in the early part of the winter before it is
time to prepare for the big ceremonies, to make the masks and rehearse
the songs. Many of these stories are about the bird nobody will ever
kill, Raven, who can change himself into anything and who made the
Yukon river by drawing a furrow with his feet, and the hills and
mountains, by carrying earth. And many stories are about the beginnings
of a town, of how it was started by a couple who survived a massacre
and of what happened up to the present day.... It is improper to tell a
story when nobody is listening, so every other sentence or two somebody
must say “hen, hen” to show that there is a listener.

There is a ceremony for getting a name, too, which I know little about.
Persons may be named according to what they do or according to their
character. One girl I know is called Swollen-face; another, Pointing-at
(she had a mean habit of pointing her finger [index finger of left
hand] at people in scorn); another, Does-not-like-any-one (i. e. men;
she would refuse suitors); another, One-the-Evil-One-does-not-like.
This last girl got her name because she was never sick or subject
to epidemics; she had good eyes; she was big at heart; she was a
successful basket maker and net maker and rabbit snarer; she had a
cheerful face and looked helpful, just the opposite of the kind of
woman who hurts people by looking at them in scorn, and of whom people
are afraid. I know a man called He-creeps-towards because his gait is
stealthy, as if he were stalking something. Because of the way the name
is given, and because it has so much meaning the name is little used.
You go around it. A man will call out “Look here!” and his child will
recognize his father’s voice and know it is he who is being called.
When the Mission children call a village child by his name, it makes
him very angry.

We go on now to when Cries-for-salmon is a big girl. When she first
menstruated, she was placed in the corner of her father’s house to be
out of sight of young men, and to stay so for a year, as we count by
moons. The space assigned to Cries-for-salmon was just long enough
to lie down in. In this corner Cries-for-salmon had to keep all the
things she used, more particularly her own cup and bucket of water.
When no one was about, she went to fill the bucket, but, as with her
other things, she had to be scrupulous about not leaving the bucket
where young men could by any chance come in contact with it. Girls
are supposed not to go outdoors at all; but if a girl has to go, she
must walk with head bent so that if she passed by a young man her eyes
would not get a direct line on his eyes, or his eyes on hers. That
would be othlang. The man would lose his hunting and fishing powers
and what I may call his community power. (For example, he would not
know how to speak in meeting, where there are rules for speaking in
order to cut out loose talkers.) Once I went to Cries-for-salmon’s
house while she was in the corner. We do not knock on the door like
white people, and I would have gone in, making the customary quavering
sound of hihihihihihi and saying something perhaps about the weather,
expecting to be told to sit down and to be served with food—a guest
is never allowed to leave without food—but Cries-for-salmon’s father
saw me approaching and met me at the door, saying, “Let us go to the
kadjim.” I knew what that meant; he had a daughter in the corner; he
was protecting me.

In the corner, a girl wears continually a beaded forehead band to which
bear claws are attached. Her behavior during this time determines
whether or not she is to be a worthy woman for life, and how skilled
she will be in the domestic arts. For at this time she makes everything
she is going to use after she marries—what I have heard the students
here (at Hampton Institute) call a hope chest. She learns to sew, to
make beadwork and porcupine-quill work, to make baskets, and fish
nets. The first few months she is not allowed to cook, but towards the
close of the period the cooking, the bulk of the housework, indeed, is
put upon her. And it is then that suitors take notice of her work and
accomplishments. They notice whether the seams of the boots and mittens
she has made look strong and durable; whether her bead embroidery
is fine, whether she is industrious and competent, how she carries
herself. A man knows how important to his welfare the character of
his wife is. A man has to run his chase, but, after he marries, that
is all; his wife does all the hard work. She gets wood and water, she
snares grouse and rabbits, she sets fish traps, and she prepares all
the clothing and all the food, not only for the family but for the
ceremonies at which the man is called upon to contribute.

But there is more to tell about the girl in her first stage, as well as
about the feeling about women until they have a change of life, until
they are old. If a girl goes into the corner in the summer, when we
are all at the fish camp, her family, in returning to winter quarters,
will probably have to cross the river or go along it. This happened,
I recall, in the case of Cries-for-salmon. Her father had to go to
the shaman. He went to Salmon-clubber, who lived with his two wives
and several families who had followed him because of his services, to
settle down twenty miles or so away from Anvik. Cries-for-salmon’s
father gave Salmon-clubber what he asked for—several bundles of fish,
some seal oil, and a deerskin. And then Salmon-clubber went into a
trance and, as the feeling he had in it was good, he gave permission
to the family to move. Cries-for-salmon had to stay in the bow of the
canoe, crouched down that her head might not be above the gunwale, and
her face had to be covered over. Had she not observed these rules, it
is likely that some time later a rash would have come out on her face.

Salmon-clubber would have had to withhold permission had any men been
out hunting ducks or geese, as they do hunt after the fishing season
closes. The birds and animals are sensitive, as you would say, to girls
“in the corner.” To have animals respect them, men must respect their
songs. After I returned home in 1917, I went on a bird hunt—this was
in the spring. I got only one goose and one crane, and the other five
men got much less, too, than usual. On our return one of the old men
said to me, “My son, are you thoroughly familiar with all our rules? I
have been talking with the shaman and he has seen you bathing where the
girls bathe. There are three girls in their first stage.” “How did you
know?” “We have ways of knowing.” And he used one of the phrases the
old men use which we do not understand. The old men talk to us, only
on the outside of things. They tell us enough for us to understand if
we think as they think. He went on, “It was because of that, you got
so little on your hunt, and the snow fell and heavy northwest winds
blew.... We could put you aside; but we think too much of you; and I
speak to you as a friend.” Had I been stubborn or not seen through
what he meant at this time or another, I would have become known for
it from one village to the other, and it would be hard for me to get a

This old man knew, of course, that boys of the Mission were apt to be
careless of the old rules. He may have seen the boys, for example, go
into the basement of the girls’ dormitory, a violation of a strict
rule, for, until a woman is old, she is, as we say, in an unfavorable
state, and she should never be above the head of a man. In the spring,
families move out to the fishing grounds where they open the season by
making canoes or boats they will use. In cutting the wood they use a
whipsaw. Now it is a rule that if a man and a woman are sawing together
the man must always stand at the higher end of the saw, the woman
below. Similarly, in putting away the fish in the cache, the post-built
storeroom, the man must do the overhead work; a woman would never work
on a rack above a man. In the kadjim, women sit on the floor, and men
overhead on the benches which they also use to sleep on. Not only the
Mission house, but other houses built on the American two-storied plan
are making it difficult to follow this rule of overhead.[17]

Again, while a woman is still young she should not be present at a
birth. Nor may she eat a certain species of duck or their eggs, and
“meat” i. e. bear, she may not eat.[18]

During the menstrual periods, for about a week, were a young man to
come into the house or a man to stay home, it would cause the woman
pain at childbirth, so at these times a woman’s husband leaves their
bed and goes to stay in the kadjim, sleeping there with the boys and
young men. A boy leaves his mother, to live at the kadjim as soon as he
has courage enough, perhaps at fourteen or fifteen. If plucky, he may
go earlier; but if a weakling, he may not go until he is eighteen.

During her periods, a girl or woman will protect men against herself
if she can. For example, if a boy starts to wrestle with a girl—to
fuss her, as you say, only it is not done your way, a boy wrestles
and throws a girl down, and tumbles about, it is much gayer and more
lively—the girl, if she is in her period, will claw his face to make
him leave her alone. The old people see him scratched up and they know
why, and they laugh at him.... Once when Cries-for-salmon’s mother
was in the kadjim at a ceremonial, she was called upon to dance on
the skin she was giving to the shaman for a deceased relative. We saw
her hesitate. “Go ahead. What’s the matter with you?” some one said.
She was in her period. “That’s all right,” they said to her. “Stand
on one corner of the skin. We’ll fix it up.” She took her place with
Cries-for-salmon next to her, and they went through their own dance,
their eyes on the ground, and making the motions with their arms that
belonged to the dance.... In this way, you see, Cries-for-salmon
learned the dance that belonged to her mother.

Like all dancers, the girl and her mother faced the doors of the
kadjim—there are two doors, the outer of bearskin, meaning strength,
the inner, about four feet away, of wolferene, meaning speed and skill.
The space of about four feet, between the doors, allows for the first
door to close on the person entering on all fours, and shut out Li,
the Evil One, before the second door is opened. When masks are set out
under their covers they, too, face the doors. The smoke hole of the
kadjim has a cover of bear gut. Below it, in the center of the floor,
is the fire. The kadjim is always warm. After the fire flares up, it is
killed with split logs.

There is a ceremonial in the kadjim for a girl after she comes out
from the corner. I know that she wears a new parki given to her by her
parents or by her suitor; but I have never seen the ceremonial and I
can’t tell about it.

As I said before, a girl may have a suitor while she is in the corner
or before—that is a young man, who has noticed her and knows he wants
her, has set to work for her family. He cuts wood for them and fetches
water and gives them the bulk of his game. If he does enough to create
an interest in him on the part of the old people, they will accept
him. The girl herself has no say. Even if she likes him, if the old
man does not like him, thinking he has not done enough, the young man
can not get the girl. On the other hand, the girl may not like the
young man whom the old man likes. As soon as she came out of the corner
Cries-for-salmon was married to a man her father liked because he had
done so much. This man, Thleg’athts’ox, Fish-skin-hat, after giving
loftak, had also to get the consent of the shaman, or perhaps it was
the chief of the village. Cries-for-salmon did not like Fish-skin-hat;
and yet although his father is a miser, Fish-skin-hat himself is a good
man of ability and power—songs had been bought for him and his name was
one no ordinary fellow would have. (For such a name a man must have
powers and must live up to them.)

Cries-for-salmon’s parents knew that since Cries-for-salmon would be a
woman of ability, a good snarer and fisher, a woman who would be highly
esteemed for the amount of fish she could cut up in a day, and for the
skill and rapidity of her sewing, she should get a husband equally
competent, one who would run his chase well, who would save his furs
and trade. The old people knew, too, that unless Cries-for-salmon got
a good husband, it would be a slave’s life for her. She would have to
work for her husband’s relatives as well as for him. For the first two
or three years, a girl will live on with her man in her parents’ home;
but then he builds his own house and takes her to this house. It may
be near her parents’ house, but it belongs to her husband. She will
leave it, if she quarrels with him, and is scolded or beaten up by him,
and she will return to her parents’ house, or to her grandmother’s or
nearest relative’s, to stay there until he comes for her.

Fish-skin-hat belonged to Anvik, but Cries-for-salmon had seen little
of him before he began to come in at night to visit her. Older boys
and girls do not go about together in the day time; you never see
them paddling together in a canoe. A girl would not speak to you on
the road. If she wants to talk, it must be in the dark or under the
cover of a roof—under cover because, as people say, “There is some one
watching you.”

After the ice breaks up and people live in tents, when a man wants to
take a girl, he will slip in at night under the tent wall to the side
where he knows she sleeps, and he will slip out again when the birds
begin to make noise. People of position see to it that nobody visits
their daughter this way, except the man she is to live with openly
after a while, i. e. marry. Parents would say to a girl, “You watch
yourself.” If the wrong young man came in, the girl would know because
he would not make the signs agreed upon, holding her perhaps in a
certain way, and parents would expect the girl to cry out and wake
up the family. But—some people are careless, and there are young men
who do browse about. Sometimes the family will so embarrass the young
man that he has to marry the girl; they will say that the girl has
conceived by him—“from him she has man inside.” A man who persisted
in not marrying in these circumstances, would be shunned by the other

At the ceremonies, young men see the girls in a formal way. The chief
will appoint a girl to be a man’s partner, sohaldid. When I returned
home in 1917, the chief appointed three girls to be my partners, and
two of the three girls, Cries-for-salmon and one other, accepted.
During the intervals of the ceremonial, your partner invites you to
her house, and sets out, for you to eat and drink, tea and whatever
the season has produced, bear, caribou, etc. What you can not eat you
are expected to carry away, and you judge the girl according to the
generosity of her service. Always there is great lavishness in setting
out food. At bear feasts, for example, the woman serving would set out
ten times more than I could eat. (Never forgetting at the conclusion
to give me a bowl of water to wash with and a cloth, that I might not
take out carelessly any waste particle.) The dance leaders call out for
the presents. When you give them, you go through a short dance. Once
when it was my turn, two women, thinking I did not know the dance, got
up, without being asked, and danced in my place. One woman was gifted
with bear songs, the other, with hunting songs. I had given some tea in
bulk. A cupful was given to every one present except to me, the giver,
and then of what was left over they gave first to the shaman, and then
to the elders and so down. On another occasion I received a skein of
twine, an ax, a saw, a steel trap, two large white fish, and some ice
cream of seal oil, berries, boneless fish and snow. Somebody made a
joke. “We have given him things as if he were married. He ought to go
and take some of these old women around here who are looking for old
men.” I did not like the ice cream, so I gave it to Cries-for-salmon
who saw to it, as a partner is always supposed to do, that my presents
were taken out and put away. Women give feasts to men, where the women
dance and give out presents, inviting the men between dances to eat.
The day following, the men give the feast to the women, seeing to it
likewise that the women get all they can eat. I may say here that it is
the interest a man expresses in the feasts, in the ceremonials, that
helps to make him a chief. Who helps most at these times and at other
times (whenever one man can help another, help is expected of him)
qualifies as a chief.

The sohaldid or partner relationship lasts. Whenever you return to the
village where your partner lives, she will provide for you. Married
women as well as unmarried are assigned as partners, and this sometimes
makes trouble with the husband. But I remember one case where all the
trouble was made by the missionary. Two men had each the other’s wife
as partner, and after a while they agreed each to take his partner as
his wife, that is they exchanged wives. Five years later the missionary
heard about it and, although by that time one of the women was dead, he
decided to make the other woman go back to her first husband.

With the marshal and me he went at night to Myuli’s house. They
knocked. “Who’s that?” called Myuli.... “Why don’t you come in the
light as we do when we want to speak to any one?”... The woman went to
the door. A woman always goes to the door, as the newcomer might be an
enemy, and she goes to protect her husband. The missionary wanted the
marshal to arrest Myuli on the spot. “Do you think I am a white man to
run away?” asked Myuli.... Myuli got sixty days, the other man thirty
days, and the woman six months. “I can’t see through this,” Myuli said
to me, “the other man was satisfied, I was satisfied, and she was
satisfied, and now they come and break up things for us.”... Myuli
sent in food to her after he got out, and after she got out they lived
together again.

At the ceremonies the old men saw that I was well provided for, and
because I had been away four years I was given a seat with the chief
men of the village; and people tried to attach me to Anvik in other
ways. Women are the berry gatherers, and so women would ask me to come
and eat berries at their houses. At other times men would invite me.
Once one of the chiefs met me as he came in from a hunt. He invited me
to his house to eat. Instead of saying, however, “Do you want to come
now?” or “Let’s go,” he said, “Wait a while.” From that I understood
that he did not want me to follow him directly to the house because
he had a daughter in the corner, and I knew too that he wanted me to
become a suitor. He was afraid if I went along with him I might ask a
question about her in the open sky—that would be othlang.

More than once an old man would say to me, “We want to see you settled
down with a good-hearted girl who will take good care of you and
keep to the customs. We don’t want to see you with a Mission girl.
They don’t amount to much, they have lost their pride.” (You see the
Mission girls don’t have to make their clothing or look ahead. Because
of famines we always look ahead. People become greatly alarmed when
they are down to a few skins, etc.; they are prudent, they watch
themselves—except in ceremonies when they give away everything.)

And the old man might go on to say, “A man is no more than his wife.
You must use your head enough to get a village girl. If you will go
with the right kind of a girl here, we won’t say anything. We don’t
care if you slip in at night and slip out again.” Some one else then
might laugh out and make a joke. “If you went in you might upset a
bowl and have to get out!” Being a Mission boy they thought I might be

People do not want young men to marry out of their village, and so,
just as soon as a boy kills his first game, as soon as he can run his
chase down and trap—perhaps he is only sixteen or so—they want him to
take a girl. Nor do people welcome foreign suitors. They suspect them.
A man never gives up connections with his own people—at ceremonies,
for example, men who have wandered off may return home, and then they
sit in the old place with their own people, even if the wife’s people
are there too. Outsiders are invited to ceremonies. Two messengers are
sent out to carry the invitation to other villages. From the masks the
messengers wear, people know whether the performance is to be a mask
ceremonial, a spirit ceremonial, or an ordinary “feast.” In the old
days of raids of one village upon another, when all but the chiefs
and the girls were killed, a foreigner might betray his wife’s people
to his own people, telling them of weakness from an epidemic or from
lack of warriors for various reasons, or telling about an abundance of
stored food. And so even now people are suspicious of foreigners. If
you do not marry within your village, they joke about you—they joke so
much that it makes it disagreeable.

When I had volunteered to go into the American army, people said to
me, “If you died among us, we would see to it that you were sent off
right; but if you die on a battlefield you might be blown to pieces;
men would track over you.”

“I am not afraid,” I answered.

“You are not afraid; but we want to look out for you.... Give a minx
skin to the shaman; he thinks highly of you, he would not expect much
to safeguard you.” Three men and two women came to me to urge this.
Finally the shaman himself came. He said, “I will not ask you to pay
anything. Let me but tattoo on your back the image of cross-guns.”

“No,” I said, “it would not do when I came to be examined by the white
army doctor.”

“I will give you a skin-tight shirt with the cross-guns on it. You can
take off the shirt before the examination.”

“No, in the army you may wear only what the government gives you to

“Well,” ended the shaman, “we will perform secretly to protect you.”
The idea about the cross-guns was that as a spirit will not go against
a spirit of its own kind, with the image on my back other guns and
bullets would not attack me.

Again last year when I had the influenza here, and they wired home
about it, my friend Cries-for-salmon gave fifteen dollars in gold to
the shaman to have him visit me through his fox, the one who carries
his messages. Weasels and wolferenes, wolferenes are the most powerful
of all, may be messengers for the shamans, but the commonest messenger
is the fox. The fox is swift and sly.

A boy should marry among his own people, but it is not customary for
him to marry near kin, a first cousin. To have relations with a sister
is othlang. Of such a boy, people would say, “There are so many girls,
yet he did not have the courage to go with them, he went with his
sister.” If he did go with his sister, he would be thinking at the same
time of another girl. And for this reason, a sister, realizing she was
a substitute, would feel outraged. A really weak-minded boy would even
go with his mother. It is possible, for it is all in the dark, and no
one speaks; merely some one will come, some one will go.

Cries-for-salmon has a brother who is dead or, as we say, “has gone.”
In telling of his death you will hear about the death rites and the
way the people mourn. I will tell you, too, of a woman relative of
Cries-for-salmon, who died.

But first I would tell you of another relative of Cries-for-salmon who
has been such an invalid since the birth of her first child that she
can not sit up, and who will never have another child. She had been a
woman who menstruated with the waning moon—the character of such women,
it is thought, is poor. So, as women do, she went to the shaman to
have him regulate her periods to fall with the growing moon—the best
hearted, best natured women menstruate at that time. Again there was a
time when this woman was much frightened because the menstrual flow did
not stop. This time she asked an old woman shaman—sick women are apt
to go to women shamans and to the wives or widows of shamans, and sick
men, to men shamans—if she should consult a white doctor. “Yes,” said
the old woman, “we don’t know what is going to happen nowadays.” Since
the whites have come people have lost self-confidence. Formerly they
were far more certain that the cause of sickness, of an epidemic, let
us say, was not keeping the rules.

Well, when Cries-for-salmon’s relative was sick after her first child
was born, she went again to the man shaman. On this occasion the shaman
expressed a desire for her, but she refused. Ordinarily women will not
refuse the shaman. Nor would their husbands expect them to. The old
women tell you never to go against the will of the shaman. “That is one
of the things you will have to watch,” an old woman once said to me.
Nevertheless Cries-for-salmon’s relative refused, and she has been sick
ever since, and ever since the other women have sneered at her.

Her husband, too, has been down and out. They were poor to start with,
he lived in one of the few underground houses left at Anvik, and now
he has only three poor dogs, bale-back dogs we call them, nor can he
borrow a dog team. Not long since, he was charged with stealing green
fish (fish fresh from the trap) from another man’s cache. “Why did you
steal?” the old men asked him. “Don’t you know if you are hungry we
will feed you?” And so they would. Food would be given to any one who
was hungry, although sometimes in return he might be asked to help at
the fish traps or in making snowshoes. With us it is only when a man is
put into a mean position, when he has lost pride in himself, that he
will steal. In this case, the man denied the theft, so the old men kept
at him. “Why do you deny?” they asked. “We know what you have done.
Don’t you know that there is somebody watching you?” You see, since it
is customary for the young men to be most of the time in the kadjim,
except when they are away hunting or in other settlements—on their
return they go directly to the kadjim to tell the news and to give the
jokes they have heard about the persons they know—the old men know
pretty well what the young men are about, where they are. Besides there
is the shaman. A man believes that the shaman knows what he is doing
all the time. It is just because of this knowledge that the shaman is
head of the village.

It is not only for cures, and to buy songs for hunting and trapping,
that people go to the shaman: the shaman has to blow upon the masks
which we put on to represent other beings (when we put them on we
are not ourselves), and the shaman has to give power to the dancers
by blowing on them at the ceremonies or, as we say, the annual
performances, of which each has its own name. Until the shaman blows on
it, a spirit mask is just like any other mask. Besides downy feathers,
from the leg and breast of duck and goose, are fastened to a spirit
mask and from the forehead there is the quill of a goose feather with a
downy tuft tied to the tip. The masks of the fun makers are not blown
on. The fun makers come out at intervals to give the dancers time to
rest. The fun makers are usually young men, but sometimes a witty old
man will act. I remember one old man—he was a shaman—and one of his
jokes. He acted like a woman and he said, “Half of me belongs up river
and half down river. How are you going to ‘fuss’ me?”

Men may wear female masks. There are certain parts women may not take,
so men act for them. But there are female masks that women wear. Women
never wear male masks. Women sing in the kadjim, too, to big drums,
four feet in diameter, made of a sea animal’s stomach on a spruce
frame—five drums that can be heard a mile or more away. There may be as
many as a hundred and fifty persons singing at one time in the kadjim.
But in the powerful dances—the hagerdelthlel—ordinary women do not
sing, only the wives of chiefs and shamans.

After a mask is made, it belongs in the kadjim for a year, and some
man will appropriate it to wear for the year—or longer if he likes, and
if he performs well what the mask represents. The shaman does not make
the masks—he is too busy. He is charged with the welfare of the whole
village, and he may be called upon in any emergency—at an eclipse,
for example. Once long ago, it is said, there was a great famine, the
winter ran into two winters, and Moon said to the shaman, “Whenever I
go out of the sky, the people may not look, they should go inside and
cover the smoke hole until I have performed my duty.” Since then, at an
eclipse, the shaman will send out fast runners to cry out, “Moon has
gone under the sky! Stay indoors!” The shaman himself will go on top of
the kadjim and chant and go through the motions the moon taught. When
the moon reappears, the shaman will reënter the kadjim where every one
has been sitting silent,—if a dance had been on at the time, it had
stopped. The following morning all form a long line, the shaman in the
lead. They encircle the village, forming an arc starting from the river
and ending at the river, and, as I said before, taking in a half mile
of woods above the village and half a mile below. They drum and sing
and go through certain motions, each having a bundle of fish on his

There are many other times, too, when the shaman takes charge or tells
people what to do. I remember a great to-do over a frog that appeared
in a house in the middle of the floor. The house had been built in the
fall, after the ground was frozen, and one warm day in the dead of
winter the frog thawed out of its hole and came out on the floor. This
was an othlang, and it had to be righted at once. The shaman had to be
paid to find out about it. Such an incident would never be forgotten.

Muskrats come out from their holes in the bank of pond or lake, when
the ice breaks loose in the spring. If a muskrat came out before, say
in February or March, this, too, would be othlang and would have to be

Sometimes a whale will stray up the Yukon River, and when this happens,
unless the whale is killed, there will be a great famine. Once, a
whale went up river as far as Tenana, about nine hundred miles. There
was great alarm, and one of the shamans, a shaman of medium powers
(there are shamans of high, medium, and low powers; nowadays, however,
there are no very great shamans who, as in the ancient days, can do
everything; nowadays some shamans do one kind of thing, others, other
things), this Tenana shaman went out single-handed and speared the
stray whale. It was forty to fifty degrees below zero, he was nude
from the waist up, and from the great exposure and the great strain,
within a few days he died. The people were so grateful to the shaman
for saving the village that they made a carving in split spruce of the
shaman spearing the spouting whale, to place near his grave-box.

When the caribou and deer began to decrease at Anvik, the people became
greatly alarmed, they were afraid it was because of something they had
done, and they consulted the shaman. When he came out of his trance,
he told them to paint seven deer on the board over the ridge pole of
the grave-building of a certain shaman who had been a great hunter of
caribou. Each deer was to represent a year’s kill. Once, long ago, to
preclude othlang, the shaman ordered a man to be thrown off the side of
a certain mountain.

At every death the shaman has to give the death stroke, that is, when
it is time to send the spirit of the deceased away—on the fourth day
for an ordinary person, some days later for a person of distinction—the
shaman has to strike the corpse on the chest. He sends him on his
journey under the river to the village of the spirits—kethagyiye—a way
where there are, at intervals, pillars of fire at which the dead may
warm himself, and may cook. At the time of giving the death stroke,
the shaman also drives away all the evil spirits that are around the

I mentioned a cousin of Cries-for-salmon who died in childbirth. Her
child was born alive, but as it was a girl and as the family were
ordinary people—the deceased woman was a sister of the invalid woman
I told about—the baby was put in the grave-box of the mother, in her
bosom. Strong families with many songs, with spirit powers and hunting
powers, might save babies in these circumstances, particularly a boy
baby; some woman in the family would adopt him. But the girl baby of an
ordinary family would certainly not be let live. I remember the case of
a girl baby the Mission people wanted to save. They took her, and she
had the best of care from them, but in four months she died.

Should a child die while it is still creeping, it is wrapped in
something the animals will not devour, like bark, and placed in the
woods under a spruce sapling. As long as the tree lives, the spirit of
the child lives, too, under its protection. The spirit dies with the
tree.... I may say here that in getting wood or bush from the forest we
do not take all there is in any place. We depend on the wood and bark.
If we destroyed it, we would become vagabonds.

The death of Cries-for-salmon’s brother was by drowning. He had been
drinking with the white trader, they were out in a boat together, the
boat upset, and the Indian was drowned. When Cries-for-salmon’s mother
heard the news, she rushed out of the house, wailing with heart-rending
cries, pulling her hair, and stripping herself to her waist. “My son,
why have you left me?” she cried, looking to the North where the dead
live. We could hear her cries a mile away, and we knew from her wailing
songs the family of the deceased. Distinguished families have their
own songs, and they make a greater outcry at death. Cries-for-salmon’s
mother is a woman with power. She has many strong songs. Her father
had been a great hunter, with wolferene and bear songs. She is always
consulted in the village, she knows her power, and there is no one to
check her or to talk about her. So she stripped to the breeches—an
ordinary woman would be afraid to strip lest people would talk—and she
threw herself into the ice-cold water. She wanted to go on with her
son, he was the only son left her. But they pulled her out. And they
pulled out her husband who had also thrown himself in.

After two or three hours, they found the body and took it home,
transporting it in the oldest or most worn-out canoe at hand. As the
spirit of the drowned man was supposed to be still in the water, nobody
was allowed to go into the water. It would cause othlang. People were
told not to use that channel for a year, and women were not to set out
their fish nets in a place where there was a good place for pickerel.
The evil spirit of the place might pull them overboard. I recall
another place in the river where there are sand bluffs where, unless
people pay homage, they do not feel safe.

As usual, the mourners made new garments, new mittens, new moccasins,
and a new cap for the dead man. The second night they danced and
sang old songs, and the third night they danced to new songs.
Cries-for-salmon’s brother was a good bear hunter, so they danced bear
dances which showed how a bear behaves and which would promote the
increase of bears. Had he been a good seal hunter or hunter of other
animals, similarly they would have danced seal dances or other animal
dances. Besides, had he died during a good game year, they might have
carved the game animal on his grave-box. I recall a hunter with a good
heart, who died in a good deer year, having a string of deer carved on
his grave-box—to continue the abundance of the deer.

During the mourning time of work, of dancing and feasting, the corpse
is placed so that the dead man can see what is going on and absorb it
all. He is in a sitting position or, even if he is laid out, as happens
nowadays, the body is propped up. The dead man has to report in the
village of the dead how his favorite food was placed near him and how
he was honored, up to the last. On the sixth day, after waiting for
relatives from another village to arrive, after the death stroke,—in
this case the white man was not allowed in to pray, for everything
was done in the old way,—the dead man was put in the grave-box in a
sitting position, his eyes open, frozen open, and his hands placed in a
position to show his interest. He is thought to return to his grave-box
from time to time, more particularly in summer, and he wants to see
what is going on. For this reason, too, the sinew corded grave-box
is set on a hillside overlooking the river, the face of the corpse
turned towards the river, that the dead may see who are passing and
what is going on in the village; likewise that the dead may be near
his food supply, i. e. the fish in the river. In the late autumn,
after the leaves have fallen, the older women take bits of their most
valued food, salmon and, since the coming of the whites, biscuit, to
place by the side of the grave-box for the dead to eat, and to bless
the givers. At the same time the men, if not the old women, will put
the grave place (tudatonte, where the body lies stiff, as we say) in
order, removing vegetation and restoring implements to their place.
Thus engaged, every one will be continually breathing out to the North.
Towards spring these attentions to the dead are repeated, on a smaller

At death, food is put near the head of the corpse in the grave-box and,
in the case of Cries-for-salmon’s brother, the bows and arrows of the
deceased were tied to a cross piece supported by upright sticks by the
grave-box; but, as he was not a shaman or chief, no roof was built over
the grave-box nor was the box ornamented. The dead man’s things were
given away to relatives; his rifle in particular was given to a member
of the family distinguished for his ability and for his songs. After
the distribution was complete, they set fire to the man’s house, to
drive away the evil spirit.

Cries-for-salmon’s brother, like most men to-day in Anvik, had only
one wife—formerly a man might have as many wives as he could support,
generally he had two wives, sometimes three. And she had not yet
reached middle age, the time when women tattoo lines on their chin—they
tattoo according to the songs they have or their husband has, a
shaman’s wife will have more lines than a chief’s wife—nevertheless,
she decided not to marry again and she bobbed her hair. In this way
she showed, even to men from other villages who did not know about
her, that she grieved and that she was unwilling to associate with one
without her husband’s power. She wanted to prolong his powers, and to
keep the atmosphere she was left in by him, from going over to another
man. Having his atmosphere and songs, she was strong and she felt
spurred to care for herself, to accomplish almost anything.

Sometimes a dying person will send for one to whom he wishes to
pass on his powers. Then the dying one looks to the North, breathes
on the other and spits on him (spittle is a part of you). Once,
Cries-for-salmon said to me, “I think a great deal of you. I would
do almost anything for you, and I would like to give you some of
my power, but if I did, I would die within the year. I must live
for my children—providing the Good One sees fit for me to live.”
Cries-for-salmon spoke this way to me because a while before she had
said something to me which I did not understand, and it hurt her. An
old man present said, “You can’t expect much of him” (as a Mission
boy). So Cries-for-salmon said to me, “With all the white man’s
knowledge, you have no intelligence whatsoever. Had I completed my
duties to my children, I could tell you more.”

Many widows do not bob their hair, but even so, unless a woman were of
no account, she would not remarry within the year, she would wait two
or three years. A woman is esteemed not only for waiting, she is valued
according to the way she cared for her husband before he died, when he
was helpless. A man’s feelings are badly hurt if he is neglected in
these circumstances.

If a man and his wife died at the same time, let us say, from eating
poisonous berries, “devil berries” people call them, the two would be
buried in the same grave-box. I had to move such a box once—the Mission
wanted to make some use of the place. A string of beads fell out, not
the kind we use to-day, these were very old, I think, got from Siberia
in trade. They asked me for the beads in the village, but I kept
them—until they disappeared. The people wanted them very much.

The deceased is referred to as “the one who has gone from us.” The term
for dead is used only of animals. Once I referred to some one as dead.
They said, “What! He is not a dog. You are referring to a human being.”
Nor is the name of the dead ever mentioned; but people think of them,
and whenever they think of them they turn to the North and breathe out.
(A prolonged, gentle expiration, as Reed showed me.) So on return from
a hunt, passing the cemetery, a man will take a berry, eat half, and
throw half in the direction of the cemetery, to some chief dying in a
good season, and then look to the North and breathe out.

I recall a visit up river I paid to Shagrūk where lives my mother’s
sister. “My grandmother,” I said to her. “Whose blood is this
addressing me?” she asked. When she knew me, she began to wail, looking
to the North—she was recalling my mother: “My sister, my sister, and
here is my blood come again to me!” People think that if ever they said
anything disrespectful about the dead, they would be laughing, as we
say, at their own corpse. (In thinking of the dead, people appreciate
the experience awaiting them.)

About Christmas time there are ceremonials for the dead for three or
four days. Persons who have lost their relatives in the past year are
called upon by the shaman to contribute the bulk of the feast. “Who
will contribute so many bundles of salmon?” asks the shaman, “so many
sacks of seal oil, so many sealskins or caribou skins, so many cords
of sinew (for sewing), the œsophagus of a white whale (used in
trimming)?” People eat to their heart’s content. Sometimes they eat
for the dead, sometimes they set aside the food—the best that can be
got from the woods and waters. The missionaries are told that these
are merely social feasts. Not that many of the old ceremonies have not
indeed been cut out at Anvik. If a ceremonial can not be performed
fully, in the proper way, people do not want it performed at all.
Yet it is much against the wish of the people to go without their
ceremonials. The “feasts,” as I have often told the missionary, are the
only amusements of the people, and they would like to keep on with them
just as they do at the conservative village of Shagrūk.

                                   T. B. REED AND ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS

                           An Eskimo Winter

The skin boat, propelled by the oars of the women, approached the
shores. On the bundles of caribou skins which were piled up in the
stern, steering cautiously through the floes of drift ice that dotted
the surface of the sea, sat Pakkak, the boat-owner. The boat was
heavily laden and a strong tide was running so that the women had
to exert themselves, two on each oar, to make headway. Pakkak’s son
accompanied the boat in his kayak. He had been out seal hunting in
order to keep the traveling party supplied with provisions. The seals
lay on the narrow deck of his boat which zig-zagged swiftly through the
water, propelled by the strokes of the single paddle which he held in
the middle, and which struck the water, now at the right and now at the

The young man was the first to reach the shore. He brought his boat
sideways close to the beach and climbed out of the small central hatch
in which he had been sitting. He took off his harpoon and lance, his
bird spear and float from under the holding thongs. Then he unlashed
the seals, and hauled them ashore. After everything had been taken off,
he lifted the light boat out of the water, turned it over, put his head
into the opening and carried it up the shore.

Meanwhile, the whole party in the large boat had reached the land. It
was nearly high water. The travelers jumped ashore. The children and
old people scrambled out of the boat, and the tent covers, poles and
household goods were taken ashore. The caribou skins, which were the
spoils of the summer’s hunt inland, were deposited on a dry spot. While
the women climbed the barren hills to gather brush for building a fire,
the men hauled up the boat, and put up the tent. The framework was
quickly set up, the skin cover was thrown over it, and the lower part
of the skin was ballasted with stones. When the women came back, the
shrubs were put down in the rear of the tent. They were covered with
heavy caribou skins, and thus the bed of the family was prepared. The
seals were put down at the right and left of the doorway, inside.

After a short time, the boats of Pakkak’s brothers came in. They had
started together in the morning, but had made unequal progress through
the lanes of water that opened between the shifting ice floes. After
unloading the boats, the brothers also put up their tents.

Some of the women had piled up the fuel nearby. Pakkak fanned into
flames the smoldering slow match which he was carrying along. As
soon as he had obtained fire, the shrubs were lighted. Meanwhile,
the hunter had opened one of the seals and removed the skin with the
attached blubber. He cut off pieces of the blubber and threw them into
the flames. The rectangular kettle, hollowed out of a block of soft
soapstone, was filled with water and placed over the fire. The seal
meat was put into it, and soon the water began to boil. When the meat
was done, the men and women had finished their work, and Pakkak stood
next to the kettle and shouted, “Boiled meat, boiled meat!”

The men sat down in a circle near the fire. The women formed another
circle. Pakkak took one piece of the meat out of the kettle, and handed
it to one of the men; he gave another piece to one of the women. The
first person bit into the meat and cut off a mouthful close to his
lips. Then he passed the meat to his neighbor, who in the same way cut
off a mouthful and passed the meat on. Thus, the whole company was
provided for.

The travelers were tired from their exertions, and retired to their
beds in the rear of the tent where the whole family lay down, their
heads toward the door. They covered themselves with the large blanket
of caribou skins which extended over the whole width of the bed from
one side of the tent to the other.

Pakkak and his brothers, and Usuk, the half-witted old bachelor who
lived with them, were the first to arrive at the place of the winter
village, but within a few days other families came, who had been
hunting in various districts. Men and women would sit together until
late at night, telling of their summer experiences and of their success
in hunting. Pakkak and his brothers had been hunting on the shores of
the inland lake to which they used to resort, where they had fallen in
with large herds of caribou. Some of the men drove the animals into the
water, while others pursued them in their frail boats. The animals were
easily overtaken and killed with the lance.

Pakkak was the oldest one of five brothers who were all skillful
hunters, and provided well for their families. They were renowned for
their daring and enterprise. Therefore, their friendship was valued
and their enmity feared. Pakkak was held in particular awe, for he was
not only strong in body and skilled in the use of the knife, lance and
bow, but he was endowed with supernatural powers. As a child he had
sat on the knees of the old medicine man, Shark, who had been known
to visit the moon and the great deity that controls the supply of sea
animals. Through contact with him, the supernatural power had passed
into Pakkak’s body, and now his services were needed whenever sickness
and famine visited the village. Thus it happened, that Pakkak and his
brothers were both sought as protectors and shunned as possessed of
unusual power.

Pakkak did not misuse his power, but one of his brothers, Ikeraping,
was rash in anger and overbearing in manner, and he was feared and
hated. If it had not been for the combined strength of the brothers,
the people of the winter village would have agreed to do away with
Ikeraping in order to rid themselves of his aggressions.

Among the later arrivals was No-tongue, whose party had been
unsuccessful in the summer hunt. He had hunted in the narrow valleys
between the ice covered highlands, and by mischance he had come at a
time when the caribou had left for another feeding ground. He had only
a few skins for his whole family, hardly sufficient to provide himself,
his old mother Petrel, his wife, Attina, and his children, with the
necessary winter clothing. However, he was not greatly perturbed. He
relied upon good luck and the help of his friends who might be expected
to assist him, in case they should have skins to spare.

Gradually, one party after another arrived, and on the island which
a short time ago had been solitary and quiet, little groups of huts
sprang up and there was great activity. The women were busy with their
household duties, getting fuel and mending clothes, while the men went
out hunting in their kayaks and brought home game for their evening
meal. The skins of the seals were scraped by the women, and stretched
on the ground to be dried and later on worked into tent covers.

The wind had shifted seaward, and the floating ice had been driven away
from the shore. It was getting cold, and the ponds began to be covered
with a thin sheet of ice. Before the sea began to freeze over, it was
necessary to bring the dogs back from the islands on which they had
been placed over summer, and where they lived on what they could find
on the beach or what they could hunt on the hills. Only a few of them
had been taken along on the summer hunt, and with them were brought
back a few litters of pups that were carefully nursed by the women.

When the new ice began to form on the sea, the hunters could not go
out any more in their boats, because the sharp edges of the ice would
have cut the skin covers. For a few days, all were confined to the
land. The hunters brought in ptarmigans and hares, but everybody looked
anxiously forward to the time when the ice would be strong enough for
the hunters to go out. A few days without new supplies are likely to
empty the larder all too quickly. Besides, it was getting cold, and
work on winter clothing could not be started until the sea was covered
with ice. The Sea-Goddess would take bitter revenge if such a sin were

This year the weather was favorable, and the anxious days between
summer and winter were not needlessly prolonged. After three cold days,
the men could go out on the sea ice and wait at the edge of the open
water for the seals to come up to breathe. Since the wind had brought
back the drifting ice, the stretch of open water was not very wide, and
the seals came near enough to be harpooned without difficulty, and to
be drawn up to the ice. It was even possible to venture out in the open
water in the kayak, for the ice was not forming very rapidly. Thus an
ample supply of meat was obtained.

Meanwhile, the women were busy scraping and cleaning the caribou
skins, and making the winter clothing for the family—the warm shirts
and drawers of young caribou skins, and the heavy jackets and trousers
of heavy skins; the stockings of light skins of young caribou, and
the boots made from the skin of caribou legs, with soles of ground
sealskins. Poor No-tongue had just enough for his family, and a few
skins to spare. Unfortunately the catch of the whole community had been
rather light, notwithstanding Pakkak’s good luck.

From now on, the men went out regularly every morning and came back in
the evening, generally with an ample catch. One day they had gone out
again and were scattered along the edge of the ice, watching for seals.
During the day the sky clouded up, and a strong, seaward wind began to
blow. It increased in strength, and an ominous cracking of the ice gave
warning of danger. Hurriedly the men loaded their sledges, and sped
landward. Under their feet the ice began to crack and to yield to the
pressure of the wind, but they succeeded in reaching land before the
floe gave way and drifted out to sea.

Only No-tongue’s sledge was missing. He had been hunting on a
projecting point of ice, and before he was even aware of his danger,
the whole point had broken off and was rapidly drifting out to sea.
There was nothing for him to do but yield to his fate, and see whether
the gale would exhaust itself soon, and whether by chance the floe that
carried him might be blown back to land. Fortunately he had just killed
a seal. He flensed it and made a little shelter of the fresh hide.
His lance had to serve as a tent pole. He protected his tent cover
against the wind by piling snow all over it. He made a receptacle for
the blubber out of a piece of skin, and thus improvised a little lamp.
Fortunately, too, he carried his fire drill and a little of the moss
which is used for wicks; so that he was able to start a little fire in
his shelter. The gale was still blowing, and the angry waves threatened
to break up the floe on which he was drifting. When day dawned the
land was far away. Soon, however, the wind subsided, and a swift tide
carried the ice floe back, nearer and nearer the land.

It had grown very cold. An icy slush was forming on the surface of the
sea and the waves were rapidly calming down. The breaking up of the
floe which seemed imminent through the night was no longer to be feared
and immediate danger of drowning had passed. Still it was doubtful
how the drift would end. With the changing tide, the current changed
again, and the floe drifted away from the shore. The play of tides
continued for days. Now the shore seemed near, so that the hopes of
No-tongue were raised to a high pitch, and now the shore receded. In
these days of anxiety No-tongue never lost courage, but, mocking his
own misfortune, he composed this song:

    Aya, I am joyful; this is good!
    Aya, there is nothing but ice around me, that is good!
    Aya, I am joyful; this is good!
    My country is nothing but slush, that is good!
    Aya, I am joyful; this is good!
    Aya, when indeed, will this end? this is good!
    I am tired of watching and waking, this is good!

His endurance and patience were finally rewarded. After a week of
privations, he reached the shore not very far from the winter village.
A few days of hard travel over the ice covered sea, and rocky hills
brought him home to his family and friends. They had almost given him
up for lost.

                   *       *       *       *       *

As it grew colder the light tent no longer offered adequate protection.
The women sewed a new cover of sealskins and gathered loads of brush.
They placed them on the outside of the summer tent, and spread the new
covers over the whole structure. The door flap was also transformed
into a solid wall, and only a low opening was left, through which the
people had to pass, stooping down low. This darkened the inside of the
tent, which before had been fairly light because the front part of the
tent cover was made of the transparent inner membrane of sealskin.
Therefore the lamps were put into place. The long, rectangular entrance
of the tent with its roof-shaped cover still served for keeping
provisions, but just in front of the beds, the soapstone lamps—long
crescent-shaped vessels—were placed. The wife of the tent owner took
her seat on the bed in front of the lamp, where she sat in kneeling
position letting her body rest between her heels. The lamp was filled
with blubber that had been chewed to release the oil, and the straight
front edge of the lamp was provided with a wick of moss which, when
carefully treated with the bone pointer, gave an even, yellow flame
that lighted and heated the hut pleasantly.

Soon the snow began to fall, and the autumnal gales packed it solid in
every hollow in the ground, and piled it up against the sides of the
huts. The heather-like shrubs were deeply buried under the snow, and
all domestic work had to be done inside. The soapstone cooking vessels
were placed over the lamps, and all the meals were prepared in the
house. The entrance to the hut was protected against the cold by a
low passage, built of snow. As it grew colder, the snow accumulated,
and most of the people exchanged their tents for snow houses. The men
cut out of an even snow bank blocks about thirty inches by eighteen
inches high, and six inches wide. These they placed on edge, in the
form of a circle. At one point, the upper edge of the row was cut down
to the ground, and then sliced down to the right, so that it slanted
up gradually. At the place where it had been cut down, a new block of
snow was put on, leaning against the end of the first row and slightly
inclined inward. One man was cutting the snow blocks outside, while
his helper was placing the blocks from the inside,—each block being
inclined slightly more inward so that a spiral wall was gradually
formed. Finally the key block was inserted, and the builder cut a
little door through which he came out. In the rear half of the circular
room, a platform was built for the bed which was elevated a couple of
feet above the ground, and at the same level, at the right and left of
the entrance, a bank was erected. The bed platform was covered with
shrubs and skins. The tent cover was used to line the inside of the
snow house, being held to the wall by means of pegs and ropes, thus
protecting the snow against the heat of the living room. The lamps were
put in place on each side of the front of the bed platform, and the
pots were hung over them. In front, just above the door, a window was
cut which was covered with a translucent sheet, made of seal intestines
sewed together, and a series of low vaulted structures was erected in
front of the door, forming a passageway which protected the inside
against the wind.

When everything was done the family moved into the snow house. Two
families occupied one house and each housewife had her seat in front of
her lamp. The stores of meat were placed on the platforms at the right
and left. Now the regular winter life began. It was bitter cold. The
dogs huddled together in the entrance passages of the snow houses.

Early in the morning, the men went out to the sledges. The shoeing of
the runners, which were made of split and polished bone of whale, was
covered with a thin sheet of ice. The hunter took some water in his
mouth, and allowed it to run slowly over the shoeing. Then he polished
it with his mittened hand. After the icing had been made smooth, he
turned the sledge right side up. The harpoon was lashed on, the knife
was suspended from the antlers that form the back of the sledge, which
are used in steering it through rough ice. The hunters then put the
dogs in harness. The light team started down to the beach. During
the continued cold weather, the rise and fall of the high tides was
forming a broken mass of heavy ice on the beach which, as the winter
progressed, was constantly increasing in thickness. A beaten path led
down through the broken masses to smooth floe. The sledge sped down,
and the hunters went off to the sealing ground. At first the unwilling
dogs had to be coaxed to go forward, and even spurred on by cries and
by the use of the short handled whip, which the driver handled with
skill and accuracy, calling upon the lazy dogs, and hitting them at the
same time with the points of the whip. Gradually, the dogs warmed up,
and ran along swiftly over the smooth floe. When they reached a part of
the ice that was broken up by gales, and in which the uplifted floes
were frozen together, the driver had to lift his sledge over the sharp
edges and broken masses, and progress was slow and difficult.

Finally the hunting ground was reached. The dogs took the scent of the
breathing hole of a seal, and they rushed forward with such speed that
the driver could hardly restrain them. At some distance from the hole
he succeeded in stopping his team. He tied the dogs to a hummock so
that they should not run away and then he inspected the seal hole to
see whether it was still being visited by the seal. It was completely
covered by snow, and discernible only to the experienced eye. He piled
up a few blocks of snow on which he sat down. He laid his harpoon down
cautiously, and waited. For hours he remained seated there, waiting for
the snorting of the seal. The slightest noise would frighten away the
wary animal, and, notwithstanding the intense cold, the hunter could
not stir. At last he heard the seal. Cautiously he lifted his harpoon,
and sent it down vertically into the snow. It hit the seal which tried
in vain to escape. The hunter broke the snow covering of the hole, and
hauled the animal upon the ice where, with a swift blow on the head, he
killed it. Before he loaded it on his sledge he cut it open, and took
out the liver which served him as lunch.

Meanwhile the short day had come to an end! The dogs were harnessed
to the sledge, and the hunters returned home. When they arrived, they
unloaded the sledge, unharnessed the dogs, and took off the heavy
outer clothing. The hunter patted his coat carefully to remove the
ice formed by the freezing of his breath. Then he put his coat in the
storeroom and entered the house. As soon as he came in he took off his
sealskin slippers, bird-skin slippers and stockings, which protected
his feet against the cold, and his wife placed them on the rack over
the lamp to dry. Then she looked them over and mended them carefully so
that they should be ready on the following day.

When all the hunters had come back, those who had brought home no game
flocked to the house of one of the successful hunters, who butchered
his seal and gave to each man a share to eat in the house, or to take
home to his family. They talked over the events of the day until late
at night.

                   *       *       *       *       *

This life had been going on quietly for all, without exciting events,
when No-tongue’s youngest child became ill. The boy refused food and
drink, and household remedies did not avail. In her anxiety for the
life of her darling, Attina appealed to Pakkak and asked him to find
out what ailed the child, and if possible to cure him. Pakkak went
to No-tongue’s hut. As soon as he came in, the lamps were lowered.
He sat down on the bed facing the rear wall of the hut and began his
incantation. His body shook violently when he called his protecting
spirits to help him. He uttered unintelligible sounds and cries.

Finally his incantation stopped. He addressed himself to Attina and
said, “Have you sinned? Have you eaten forbidden food? Have you done
forbidden work? What tabus have you transgressed?” She had asked
herself what she might have done to bring about her child’s sickness,
and she remembered that she had scraped the frost from the window of
her house, and that she had eaten seal meat and caribou meat on the
same day.

She replied, at once, “I confess! I have scraped frost from the window
of my house. I have eaten caribou meat and seal meat on the same day. I
have sinned.”

Pakkak replied, “It is well, my daughter that you have confessed. Now
the evil consequences of your sins are forgiven. The black halo that
I saw surrounding your body, and that has affected your child, has
disappeared and the boy will soon recover.”

The lamps were lighted again. The confession of Attina’s transgressions
had appeased the supernatural powers and therefore the parents hoped
for the recovery of their son.

For a while the little boy seemed to improve, but suddenly he suffered
a severe relapse, and before the help of Pakkak could be summoned, he
died. At once No-tongue prepared to bury the boy. He stuffed his own
nostrils with caribou hair to prevent contamination by the exhalation
from the corpse. The limbs were tied up with thongs and No-tongue
carried his dead child out of the hut and up the hills. There he cut
the thongs, and thus released the soul of the child. No-tongue covered
the body with a vault of stones, being careful that no stone should
weigh on it. He deposited the child’s toys and returned home. For three
days the whole family stayed in the house. No-tongue did not go out
a-hunting. Attina did not clean her lamps. She did not move the caribou
skin of the bed. She did not mend any clothing. To transgress these
rules would have resulted in new misfortunes.

After four days all the members of the family threw away their clothing
which had been contaminated by the breath of the dead child, and it was
only with the greatest difficulty that they secured enough skins from
their neighbors to make a new set for the whole family. Through the
charity of friends they were finally provided for.

The death of the child, and the cares of the family weighed heavily on
the mind of Petrel, No-tongue’s mother. He himself was light-hearted
and consoled himself with the thought that they might have other
children in the future; but she was an old woman, and felt that she
could not carry the burden of her years much longer. She loved her son
and her grandchildren, and the thought haunted her mind that she might
die in the hut, and that they might be compelled to throw away another
set of winter clothing and be exposed to the hardships of the winter
without adequate protection. If only she could die away from home,
and thus spare her dear ones the consequences of another sickness and
death. The thought preyed on her mind and finally she resolved to end
her own life.

The long Arctic night had set in, and only at noon came the sun near
enough to the horizon to spread the faint light of dawn over the ice
and mountains. One night when it was bitterly cold and the snow was
drifting, lashed by a strong wind, old Petrel left the house and walked
across the ice to a small island. There in a nook of barren rocks she
piled up a wall of stones, and sat down behind it, in order to allow
herself to freeze to death. Her thoughts dwelled with her children,
and she was satisfied that she was not going to die of sickness in her
bed, for then her future life would have been one of agony and torture
in the lower world where there is only want and famine, where cold and
struggle prevail all the year round. By choosing her own death she
looked forward to a happy life in the upper world. There she was going
to play ball, and her friends would see her joyful motions in the rays
of the Aurora Borealis. She would enjoy comfort and plenty and the
cares of this world, as well as the tortures of the lower world would
be spared her. Her limbs became numb with the cold and she went to
sleep, her mind filled with pleasant visions.

During the night Attina roused herself to trim her lamp. She chanced
to look about, and noticed that Petrel was not there. She called her
husband who at once guessed what had happened. He gave the alarm
and soon all the sledges were out. No tracks were to be seen in the
drifting snow, and the whole party scattered in different directions
to search for the old woman. To right and left along the coast, north
and south they went on their sledges. Usuk, the bachelor, who did
menial work for Pakkak, had joined the party. He, the despised and
ridiculed one, found the old woman in time to save her from death.
Notwithstanding her resistance, he carried her to his sledge, and
hurried home. She was taken into the house, covered with a warm blanket
and scolded for the unnecessary worry that she had given to her family
and to her neighbors. She was ill-satisfied with her rescue, but
submitted to the friendly influence of her light-hearted son.

It seemed that with this event the ill luck of No-tongue had spent
itself, and the rest of the winter passed quietly. The weather was
propitious and no long continued gales kept the hunters at home. The
snow was hard and crisp so that the hunting ground could be reached
without difficulty. Early in February, the first rays of the sun
struck the high mountains and although the cold was still intense, the
daylight made hunting and work easier.

Now and then visitors came in from distant villages to see their
relatives. Everybody flocked to the hut where they were visiting, to
hear the news. There was much to tell about success in hunting, about
marriage and birth, sickness and death. For months, the village had
been cut off from all intercourse with the outside world, because the
strong currents that washed the foot of the promontories prevented the
formation of ice, and only after the cold had continued long enough,
was the sea covered by a continuous floe, which allowed the villagers
to travel unhampered from place to place.

One day a number of travelers were discovered, whose sledge, dogs and
gait did not seem familiar. The news spread rapidly through the village
and the women and children assembled on a point of vantage, straining
their eyes in an attempt to discover who the visitors were. Soon,
Pakkak recognized an old friend who lived many days’ journey away, and
whom he had not seen for many years. He shouted, “There is Eiderduck.”
When the women knew that the visitors were friends of Pakkak, they
burst forth in song and laughter. They waved their arms and jumped
about. The frightened children hid, crying, behind their mothers. Most
of the men went down to the ground ice to meet the strangers, and
to help them to unload their sledges. Pakkak led Eiderduck and his
companions to a snow house, and treated them hospitably with frozen
seal meat.

While they were eating, the people crowded into the house. They sat on
the bed platform, and squatted on the floor until there was no more
room. Those who could not get into the house crouched in the entrance
to get a glimpse of the visitors, and to hear what they had to say. All
the older people had some friends in the villages through which the
travelers had passed, and therefore their reports were listened to with
keenest interest, interest which communicated itself to the younger
generation, who thus learned about the family relationships and the
history of all the people who lived many miles up and down the coast

One of the saddest stories that Eiderduck had to tell was that of some
people who had been caribou hunting in the fjord Muddy-Water. In the
fall, when they were preparing to move camp, the frost set in very
suddenly, covering the sea with ice. Heavy snows fell in calm weather.
The sledges and the dogs sank deeply into the soft snow so that the
people were practically unable to move. Soon they were starving.
Many died. In one house lived an old woman with her three sons and
a daughter. Her oldest son, Powlak, decided to go to the neighboring
village to seek aid of the people. He left his only surviving dog with
his mother, that she might use it for food after he was gone. Then he
started on his dangerous tramp through the soft snow.

A short time after Powlak had left, his mother missed the dog. She
went in search of it, and found that its footprints led to one of the
neighboring huts and did not come out again. For some time no sound
had been heard in that hut. She thought that the people were dead and
she had avoided going in. Now, however, when she needed the dog, she
overcame her fear. She called in through the entrance and found that
the people were alive, although hardly able to stir. She asked, “Is my
dog here?” The house owner denied that it was there, saying that she
had not seen it. The old woman, however, searched, and finally when she
lifted the heather on the bed she found its skinned body. She became
very angry and took the meat. The people were so weak and famished that
they could not resist. She took the dog home and she and her children
lived on it. Her neighbors soon died of exhaustion. The pangs of hunger
had so hardened Powlak’s mother, at other times a kind-hearted woman,
that she only thought of her own salvation, and felt no pity for the
sufferings of others.

When Powlak reached the neighboring village, he found that the people
had caught two whales in the fall of the preceding year. He told them
that the people in Muddy-Water were starving,—that a few had tried to
reach other places, but that they must have perished in the attempt,
since nothing had been heard from them. Powlak’s friends were very
kind to him. They gave him food to eat and for a few days they did
not let him return to his starving mother. They said to him, “Stay
here. Why do you want to perish? Your mother, your brothers and your
sister are certainly dead by this time.” Powlak, however, said, “I am
sure they are alive.” When he insisted on returning as soon as he had
recuperated, his friends gave him an old dog and a whale-bone toboggan
which they loaded with whale meat, skin and blubber. He started on his
way back.

When he reached his home after untold difficulties, he went to the
window of his mother’s hut and asked, standing outside, “Are you all
dead?” His mother replied, “There is life in us yet.” Then he went
in, gave them the whale meat and whale skin, and learned of what had
happened during his absence. The food which he had obtained gave him
the strength to go out, and he had the good fortune to find a seal hole
and as the season progressed, conditions became better and he was able
to supply his family with food and clothing. A great number of the
villagers, however, had starved to death....

It was late in the night when the crowd began to dwindle leaving
Eiderduck and the other visitors to sleep.

                   *       *       *       *       *

As the season progressed and the sun rose, the seals whelped. The
skin of the young seal is white and wooly and highly prized for warm
clothing. Therefore, the whole village set out to hunt for them. The
dogs take the scent of the seal hole, and the poor pup is dragged out
with a hook and the hunter kills it by stepping on it.

One day when Pakkak was out hunting young seals, he found himself
suddenly confronted by a great polar bear, which was also out in
pursuit of seals. He always made it a point to raise good hunting dogs,
and the large wolf-like gray creatures were eager to attack the bear
which tried to escape. Pakkak never hesitated when there was a chance
to get a bear. He cut the traces of two of his strongest dogs, which
ran in pursuit. When the bear saw that the dogs were about to overtake
him, it climbed an iceberg and took its position on a narrow ledge
where its back was protected by the sheer ice wall. It sat up on its
haunches. The dogs scrambled up the slippery ice, and when Pakkak saw
that they held the bear at bay, he cut the traces of the others, jumped
off the sledge, and approached lance in hand. His knife was hanging in
its scabbard at his side.

The bear defended itself with its paws and teeth, and already one of
the dogs lay bleeding on the ice. The bear, however, could not move on
account of the swift attacks of the dogs. Pakkak approached fearlessly.
With a swift throw he tried to pierce the bear’s heart His position was
dangerous. The bear held the ledge, and by a single movement of its
forelegs might throw the hunter down the steep side of the iceberg.
With a swing of its powerful forelegs, it broke the lance. If Pakkak
had not jumped back, he might have been caught in the embrace of the
bear. There was nothing to do now, but attack the bear with the long
hunting knife. He approached again, and watched until the bear, turning
to the worrying dogs, exposed its side. Then with a powerful stroke,
Pakkak stabbed it in the side. However, he was not quick enough, and,
with its claws, the bear tore a deep gash in his shoulder. Then it
rolled over, and fell down to the ice floe.

Without paying any attention to his wound, Pakkak skinned the bear and
butchered it and rolled it on the sledge. He spliced the traces of the
dogs and turned back home where his success was greeted with joy.

Then Pakkak tied the bladder and gall of the bear, together with his
drill, to the tip of his spear which he put upright in the ground in
front of his house. By this rite, the bear’s soul which remains for
three days with the body, must be appeased.

The people asked Pakkak about his wound and his battle with the bear.
He scoffed at the danger in which he had been pretending that to kill
a fierce bear was to him no more of a task than to harpoon a harmless
seal. His wife tended his wound, which was so deep that it took weeks
to heal.

                   *       *       *       *       *

One day, No-tongue had been out sealing with Pakkak’s brother,
Ikeraping. As luck would have it he was very successful, while
Ikeraping, the strong and skillful hunter, had not killed a single
seal. This annoyed Ikeraping, who was ashamed to go home without game.
Therefore, he demanded of No-tongue that he should give up his seals to
him. No-tongue refused, but Ikeraping became so furious and aggressive
that No-tongue, who was by nature timid, gave way and let him have
what he wanted. The injustice, however, rankled in No-tongue’s mind.
It was not the first time that Ikeraping had lorded it over No-tongue,
and No-tongue was afraid that sometime, in a quarrel with Ikeraping,
he might be killed. No-tongue talked the matter over with the other
people, but they were all too much afraid of Ikeraping and Pakkak and
their brothers, to venture to do away with the aggressive Ikeraping.

Now No-tongue was prompted to leave the village in which he had spent
many years. For a long time he had been talking of the distant home
from which he had come with his mother, when he was a very young man.
At that time he wanted to see the world, and he had drifted from
village to village along the whole coast line until finally he had
settled down with his wife. The memory of his old home had never left
him, and he longed to go back and see his relatives and the scenes of
his childhood. The quarrel with Ikeraping strengthened his decision to
leave this year, despite the ties which held him to the village where
his children were born and were growing up.

Although the feeding of many dogs was a burden, on account of the
large amount of meat they demanded, No-tongue had strengthened his dog
team by raising a number of pups. He had now an excellent team of ten
dogs. His sledge was in good repair. And so, before the melting of the
snow made traveling difficult, No-tongue was determined to depart. His
wife would accompany him into the distant country which, to her, was a
foreign land. It would take several years to accomplish the journey.

The departure of No-tongue was the beginning of the breaking up of
the winter village. The families were already planning for the summer
hunt. Soon, the brooks would be running. The walrus would come near the
shore. Whales would come blowing in the open water. Salmon would ascend
the rivers. Young geese would be plentiful, and the caribou would come
back. The time of happiness was approaching of which No-tongue once

    Ayaya, beautiful is the great world when summer is coming at last!
    Ayaya, beautiful is the great world when the caribou begin to come!
    Ayaya, when the little brooks roar in our country.
    Ayaya, I feel sorry for the gulls, for they cannot speak,
    Ayaya, I feel sorry for the ravens, for they cannot speak.
    Ayaya, if I cannot catch birds I quickly get plenty of fish.

                                                           FRANZ BOAS




                    NOTES ON THE VARIOUS TRIBES[19]


The Crow Indians number about 1750. They now occupy a reservation in
southeastern Montana between Billings, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming.
This is near the center of their historic habitat, for their two main
bands, the River Crow and Mountain Crow, roamed respectively from the
Yellowstone-Missouri confluence southwards, and from east-central
Montana southward into Wyoming.

In point of language, the Crow belong to the Siouan family, forming
together with the Hidatsa of North Dakota a distinct subdivision.
There is no doubt that some centuries ago they must have formed one
tribe with the Hidatsa, since the languages are very closely related.
In culture many differences have developed between the two tribes; e.
g., the Hidatsa were always semi-sedentary tillers of corn as well as
hunters in historic times, while the Crow remained pure nomads before
white influence. On the other hand, some important traits persisted in
both groups after their separation. The principal enemies of the Crow
were the Dakota; to a somewhat lesser extent the Blackfoot and Cheyenne.

The most important publications on the Crow are:

  CURTIS, EDWARD S. The North American Indian, vol. IV, New York, 1909.

  LOWIE, ROBERT H. Social Life of the Crow Indians (_Anthropological
              Papers of the American Museum of Natural History_, vol.
              IX, part 2.). New York, 1912.

        Societies of the Crow, Hidatsa and Mandan Indians (_ibid._, XI,
              part 3.). New York, 1913.

        The Sun Dance of the Crow Indians (_ibid._, XVI, part 1.). New
              York, 1915.

        Notes on the Social Organization and Customs of the Mandan,
              Hidatsa and Crow Indians (_ibid._, XXI, part 1.). New
              York, 1917.

        Myths and Traditions of the Crow Indians (_ibid._, XXV, part
              1.). New York, 1918.

        The Tobacco Society of the Crow Indians (_ibid._, XXI, part 2.).
              New York, 1919.


At the time of discovery, these Indians resided east of the Rocky
Mountains in what is now Montana, and Alberta, Canada, and were grouped
into three tribes: Blackfoot, Blood, and Piegan. The Piegan were the
largest and dominant tribe, but all were in the habit of speaking of
themselves as Blackfoot. How this name originated is not known, though
there is a story that it was given them by other Indians because their
moccasins were always stained with the black loam of the rich prairies
of Alberta.

Closely affiliated with the Blackfoot were the Sarsi, a small
Athabascan-speaking tribe, and the Prairie Gros Ventre, closely
related to the Arapaho. Thus the Blackfoot group—confederacy of early
writers—was composed of at least five distinct tribal units. Their
nearest cultural contemporaries are the Plains-Cree, Assiniboin, Crow,
and Shoshoni.

The Blackfoot speak a language belonging to the great Algonkian family
of eastern North America. The presumption is, therefore, that they
migrated from the woodlands of the east to the western plains, but this
was very long ago.

The surviving remnants of the tribe now number less than 5,000, fully
half of whom live in the State of Montana, and less than half of these
are of pure descent.

For further information on the Blackfoot and other Plains tribes, the
reader is referred to:

  North American Indians of the Plains (Handbook series, No. 1
  American Museum of Natural History, 1912), by Clark Wissler,
  and the following monographs by Dr. Wissler, published in the
  _Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History_:

  Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians. vol. II, part 1.

  The Material Culture of the Blackfoot Indians. vol. V, part 1.

  The Social Life and Ceremonial Bundles of the Blackfoot Indians.
  vol. VII.

  Societies and Dance Associations of the Blackfoot Indians. vol. XI,
  part 4.

  Sun Dance of the Blackfoot Indians. vol. XVI, part 3.

  Some Protective Designs of the Dakota. vol. I, part 2.

  Societies and Ceremonial Associations in the Oglala Division of the
  Teton-Dakota. vol. XI, part 1.

  Riding Gear of the North American Indians. vol. XVII, part 1.

  Costumes of the Plains Indians. vol. XVII, part 2.

  Structural Basis to the Decoration of Costumes among the Plains
  Indians. vol. XVII, part 3.

  Decorative Art of the Sioux Indians (Bulletin, American Museum,
  vol. XVIII, part 3.).


The Menomini are a small tribe (1745 in number) of the Algonkian stock,
who formerly lived on the west shore of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and who
now dwell on their reservation, about forty miles inland from their
former headquarters, on the upper waters of the Wolf River, one of
their old hunting grounds.

In culture the Menomini belong to the Central Algonkian group of
Woodland Indians, and have long been closely associated with the Siouan
Winnebago and the Algonkian Sauk, Fox, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa.

Dr. Skinner’s publications on the Menomini are as follows:

  In the _Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural
  History_, vol. XIII which is composed of:

  Social Life and Ceremonial Bundles of the Menomini Indians.

  Societies and Ceremonies of the Menomini.

  Folk Lore and Mythology of the Menomini Indians,[20] and in
  _Indian Notes and Monographs_, Museum of the American Indian, Heye

  Medicine Ceremony of the Menomini Indians, vol. IV, 1920.

  Material Culture of the Menomini Indians, (unnumbered), 1921.


The Winnebago number to-day about 3000 people of whom 1100 to 1500 live
in Nebraska directly north of the Omaha reservation, and the rest in
Wisconsin, mainly in Jackson county but scattered all over the region
directly to the north, east and west of that county, also. When first
discovered, toward the middle of the seventeenth century, they occupied
the region between Green Bay and the Wisconsin River to the west, and
their villages extended to the southern portions of Lake Winnebago to
the south. Toward the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of
the eighteenth century, we find them as far west as the Mississippi and
as far south as Madison, Beloit, and even northern Illinois. While,
unquestionably, they had been in part forced into this region by the
warlike activities of the Fox Indians, there seems sufficient evidence
to show that they had always roamed over the greater part of this

After their discovery by the French, much of their time was spent
in fighting with the Foxes by whom they seem generally to have been
defeated. They were, from the beginning, exceedingly faithful to the
French. To what degree they were influenced by the French missionaries
and traders, it is difficult to say, but in all probability this
influence was greater than has generally been supposed. After the
cession of the old Northwest to the United States, they remained rather
quiet but were definitely implicated in the Black Hawk War.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, they were forcibly
transferred to Nebraska but many of them made their way back to
Wisconsin, and these, together with scattered Winnebago, who had
managed to escape the enforced transference to Nebraska, form the
majority of those now living in Wisconsin. Since their partial removal
to Nebraska, a number of minor differences in dialect and customs have
developed between the two divisions. The division in Wisconsin is
undoubtedly the more conservative.

The immediate neighbors of the Winnebago were the Menomini to the
north, and the Fox to the south; with these tribes they were always
in intimate contact. With the Menomini they seem always to have been
on peaceful terms, but with the Fox they were frequently at war. They
seem to have known the Potawatomi quite well, and the Ojibwa fairly
well. The eastern Dakota they also knew to a certain extent. In the
main, however, they knew their Algonkian neighbors (Menomini, Fox,
Potawatomi) best and they were profoundly influenced by these tribes
in their material culture. The mythology and certain religious notions
of their Central Algonkian neighbors they also adopted, but these
seem to have been kept apart and distinct from their old Winnebago
mythology and religion. In their social organization, they were
totally uninfluenced and, on the contrary, influenced their neighbors

They present the interesting spectacle of a people entirely surrounded
by alien tribes, absolutely cut off from all communication with groups
speaking related languages and having similar civilizations, who
nevertheless have preserved many archaic Siouan cultural traits. What
they have, however, they have in part completely assimilated, in part
kept distinct.


  RADIN, PAUL. The Ritual and Significance of the Winnebago Medicine
              Dance. (_Journal of American Folklore_, vol. XIV, pp.
              149-208. 1911.)

        Winnebago Tales. (_Journal of American Folklore_, vol. XXII, pp.
              288-313, 1909.)

        Social organization of the Winnebago Indians. In Geological
              Survey of Canada. (Museum Bulletin, 10. Anthrop. ser. 5.

        The Peyote Cult of the Winnebago. (_Journal of Religious
              Psychology_, vol. VII [1914], pp. 1-22.)

        Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian. (University of California
              Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, XVI
              [1920], No. 7.)

        The Winnebago Indians. (Report of Bureau of American Ethnology.)
              (In press.)


The Meskwaki Indians at present live in the vicinity of Tama, Iowa, and
are 350 in round numbers. Officially, all are listed as full-bloods,
but the fact is that there is a good deal of old white (French and
English) mixture—practically none within the last sixty years. And many
have Sauk, Potawatomi, and Winnebago blood. On the rolls the Meskwaki
are carried as Sauk and Fox of the Mississippi; but this is due to the
fact that the Federal government long ago legally consolidated the two
tribes, though they are, even to-day, distinct in language, ethnology,
and mythology. Fox is but one of the many synonyms for the Meskwaki

Their native name, me sgw A ki A ki, in the current syllabary, means

The Meskwaki linguistically are closely related to the Sauk and
Kickapoo, more remotely to Shawnee, and to the Penobscot, Malecite,
etc., of Maine and adjacent parts of Canada. They are also
comparatively close to the Cree and Menomini. Culturally the Sauk,
Fox, and Kickapoo are very near each other, and show woodland traits
predominantly, with touches of those of the plains. They are also close
to the adjacent Siouan tribes. The physical type of the Meskwaki has
not been worked out; from Michelson’s unpublished data it would appear
that beside a mesocephalic tribe, a brachycephalic one also occurs.
This last is probably due to intermarriage with Winnebagos. Moderate
occipital deformation occurs owing to the use of hard cradle boards;
and so the problem is not simple, for moderate deformation is not
always easy to detect.

A practically complete bibliography on the Meskwaki is given by
Michelson, _Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences_, vol. IX,
pp. 485, 593-596. Since that time (1919) but little has appeared. A
number of volumes on the Meskwaki by Michelson will eventually be
published by the Bureau of American Ethnology.[21] The most important
publications on the Meskwaki are:

  MAJOR MARSTON. Letter to the Rev. Jediah Morse, 1820.

  FORSYTH, THOMAS. Account of the Manners and Customs of the Sauk and
              Fox Nations of Indians’ Traditions, 1827. (This, and the
              preceding are readily accessible in E. Blair’s Indian
              Tribes of the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes Region,
              vol. II, pp. 137-245).

  JONES, WILLIAM. Fox Texts, 1907.

        The Algonkin Manitou (_Journal of American Folklore_, vol.
              XVIII, pp. 183-190 [1905]).

        Mortuary observances and the adoption rites of the Algonquin
              Foxes of Iowa (Congrès International des Americanists,
              XVI: 263-277 [1907]).

        Algonquian (Fox) (revised by Truman Michelson: Handbook of
              American Indian Languages, Bulletin 40, of the Bureau of
              American Ethnology part 1; pp. 735-873 [1911]).

  MICHELSON, TRUMAN. Preliminary report on the linguistic classification
              of Alqonquian Tribes (28th Annual Report of the Bureau of
              American Ethnology, pp. 221-290b [1912]).


The Indians of the Algonkian linguistic stock known in literature as
the Montagnais, inhabit the vast region north of the St. Lawrence river
from the coast of Labrador on the Atlantic, westward through to the St.
Maurice river near Quebec, and northward to the height of land dividing
the Arctic watershed from that of the St. Lawrence. They number not far
from 3,000 souls widely scattered in small bands comprising certain
dialectic and ethnical groupings. Within certain limits they are
nomadic, subsisting entirely by hunting and fishing, never warlike
except in their resistance to the Iroquois, docile and orderly. They
were visited early in the 17th century by Jesuit missionaries who have
left us the only specific literature dealing with their mode of life.
Their culture is characterized by extreme simplicity, almost barren in
its social, political and ceremonial aspects though rich in the field
of activity concerned with hunting, fishing and traveling. Roughly
speaking, the Montagnais group lends itself to a threefold division,
the ethnological and dialectic peculiarities following somewhat the
same limits: those of the coast, the typical so-called Montagnais;
those of the interior of the northwestern part of the Labrador
peninsula, and those of the northeastern interior. The latter have come
to be known as the eastern Naskapi. The whole group is closely related
to the Cree of Hudson’s Bay, outside of which area its next closest
affinities lie with the Wabanaki group of the region south of the St.
Lawrence, from New Hampshire to Newfoundland.


The Iroquois Confederacy consisted of five, later six, tribes,
speaking the Iroquois language. In addition to these tribes there were
others belonging to the same linguistic stock, such as the Hurons,
the Cherokee, and others. The Confederacy or League of the Iroquois
was formed towards the end of the sixteenth century and embraced, at
that time, the following tribes: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and
Seneca. In the beginning of the eighteenth century they were joined by
the Tuscarora.

The original area occupied by these tribes embraced the following
district: nearly the entire valley of the St. Lawrence, the basins of
Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, the southeast shores of Lake Huron and
Georgian Bay, all of the present New York State except the lower Hudson
valley, all of central Pennsylvania, and the shores of Chesapeake Bay
in Maryland, as far as Choptank and Patuxent Rivers.

According to some computations, the number of Iroquois villages about
1657 was about twenty-four; towards 1750 their number may have grown
to about fifty. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the total
number of confederated Iroquois may have reached 16,000, which is also
the approximate number of the present Iroquois, including numerous
mixed breeds, who occupy a number of reservations in northwest New York
and southeastern Canada.

The tribes of the League are usually classed in the so-called Woodlands
culture area. They have, however, developed a civilization which is
greatly specialized when compared with other tribes of that area,
especially in social and political organization. The Iroquois exerted
a powerful influence on some of their neighbors, notably on some of
the eastern Algonkian tribes, whose socio-political organization bears
unmistakable traces of Iroquois influence. The Iroquois of the League
greatly developed a consciousness of what to-day might be designated
as a historic mission. Their leaders believed that the Great Peace,
for which the League stood, was fated to spread over all of the
Indian tribes. In their attempts to induce other tribes to accept the
principles of the League, they carried on an almost unceasing warfare
against such tribes as the Neutrals, the Algonkians and the Sioux, and
their combined forces proved irresistible to their less efficiently
organized neighbors. Ultimately, they were checked in the south by
their own relatives, the Cherokee.


  HALE, HORATIO. The Iroquois Book of Rites.

  MORGAN, LEWIS H. The League of the Iroquois (The 1904, one volume

  PARKER, A. C. The Iroquois Uses of Maize and Other Food Plants.

        Handsome Lake Doctrine.

        The Constitution of the Iroquois League.

  HEWITT, J. N. B. Orenda and a Definition of Religion. (_American
              Anthropologist_, vol. IV, 1902.).

        Iroquoian Cosmology (21st Annual Report of the Bureau of
              American Ethnology.).

        Seneca Fiction, Legends and Myths (32nd Annual Report of the
              Bureau of American Ethnology.).

  GOLDENWEISER, ALEXANDER A. Summary Reports on Iroquoian Work
              (Geological Survey, Ottawa, Canada, 1912-13, 1913-14.).

                      Lenape or Delaware Indians

The Lenape or Delaware Indians were once a numerous people forming a
confederacy of three closely related tribes: the Unami or Delawares
proper, the Unalachtigo or Unalatko, and the Minsi or Muncey, first
encountered by the whites in what is now New Jersey, Delaware, eastern
Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York, but at last accounts reduced
to some 1900 persons, scattered about in Oklahoma and in the Province
of Ontario, Canada, with a few in Wisconsin and Kansas.

Algonkian in language, their culture was typical of the northern half
of the Eastern Woodland area, being most nearly related, as might be
expected, to that of the Nanticoke and other Algonkian tribes adjoining
them to the south, and that of the Mohican of the Hudson valley and of
the Long Island tribes; and resembling in many general features the
cultures of the New England tribes, of the Central Algonkian peoples,
and of the Shawnee. The culture of the Lenape, that of the Minsi, in
particular, also shows some special resemblances in addition to the
general ones common to the whole Eastern Woodland, to that of the
Iroquois tribes, although the latter speak dialects of an entirely
different language.

Among the works dealing wholly or mainly with Lenape ethnology are the

  BRINTON, DANIEL G. The Lenape and their Legends, Philadelphia, 1885.

  HARRINGTON, M. R. Some Customs of the Delaware Indians. (_Museum
              Journal of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania_,
              vol. I. No. 3.).

        Vestiges of Material Culture among the Canadian Delawares.
              (_American Anthropologist_, N. S. vol. X, No. 3,
              July-Sept., 1908.).

        A Preliminary Sketch of Lenape Culture. (_American
              Anthropologist_, N. S. vol. XV, No. 2, April-June, 1913.).

        Religion and Ceremonies of the Lenape (in press).

        Political and Social Organization of the Lenape (in Ms.).

        Material Culture of the Lenape (in Ms.).

        Lenape Folklore (in Ms.).

  HECKEWELDER, JOHN. An Account of the History, Manners and Customs of
              the Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the
              neighboring States. (Transactions of the American
              Philosophical Society, vol. I, Philadelphia, 1819.).

  LOSKIEL, GEORGE HENRY. History of the Mission of the United Brethren
              among the Indians in North America, London, 1794.

  SKINNER, ALANSON. The Indians of Greater New York, Cedar Rapids, 1915.

        The Lenape Indians of Staten Island. (_Anthropological Papers of
              the American Museum of Natural History_, vol. III, New
              York, 1909.).

        The Indians of Manhattan Island and vicinity. (Guide leaflet No.
              41, American Museum of Natural History.)

  ZEISBERGER, DAVID. David Zeisberger’s History of the Northern American
              Indians. Edited by Archer Butler Hulbert and William
              Nathaniel Schwarze. (_Ohio Archaeological and Historical
              Quarterly_, vol. XIX, Nos. 1 and 2, Columbus, 1910.)


The Creek confederacy was based upon a number of tribes speaking the
Muskogee language, usually called Creek, but many other tribes were
taken into the organization in course of time, most of them speaking
related tongues but a few of entirely distinct stocks. From estimates
made by early writers it would seem as though the Creek population had
increased from about 7000 in 1700 to 20,000 at the time of the removal
(1832). This shrunk again after that date so that the Indian Office
report of 1919 gives 11,952 “Creeks by blood,” to which must be added
2141 “Seminole by blood,” 585 “Florida Seminole,” and 192 Alabama in
Texas. The Seminole and Alabama formerly belonged to the Confederacy.
Probably this includes a great many individuals with very little Indian
blood, because the Census of 1910 returned only about 9000 all told.

When first known to Europeans the tribes of this connection occupied
the eastern two-thirds of Alabama and all of what is now Georgia,
except the northernmost and easternmost parts. Some of the Indians,
then found upon the Georgia coast, seem afterward to have moved into
the hinterland to unite with the confederate body.

The confederacy was gradually extending itself by taking in smaller
peoples driven from their own country or suffering from more powerful
neighbors, among them the Yuchi and a part of the Shawnee. Even
the Chickasaw, though sometimes at war with them, had a sort of
semi-official membership and it is probable that more of the tribes
east and south would have been gathered into the league had it not been
for the coming of the whites. They were, however, equalled and probably
excelled in numbers by the Cherokee on their northeastern border, and
the Choctaw to the southwest, with both of which tribes they waged
bitter wars as well as with the Apalachee and Timucua southeast of
them. These differences were, however, aggravated considerably by the
rival Spanish, English, and French colonists. It should be understood
that the Creek Confederacy was a growing American national organism,
comparable to the Iroquois Confederacy, the states of Central America
and Mexico and some of those of the Old World.


  ADAIR, JAMES. History of the North American Indians.

  BARTRAM, WILLIAM. Travels. (His paper in vol. III, American
              Ethnological Society. Trans.)

  BOSSU, M. Nouveaux Voyages, etc., (Alabama Indians.), 1768.

  GATSCHET. A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians, (vol. I in
              Brinton’s Library of Aboriginal Literature; vol. II in
              Trans. Academy of Science of St. Louis.).

  HAWKINS, BENJAMIN. A Sketch of the Creek Country, (Georgia Historical
              Society Collections, vol. III, 1848.).

  SWAN. Schoolcraft, Indian Tribes, vol. V.

  SWANTON, JOHN R. Early History of the Creek Indians and Their
              Neighbors. (Bureau American Ethnology [in press]).


The various Apache tribes of Arizona number about 5000. They are about
equally divided between the two adjoining reservations, San Carlos and
White Mountain. Their habitat was the upper drainage systems of the
Salt and Gila Rivers. Culturally, they are related to the Pima and the
Yuman-speaking Yavapai and Walapai to the west. They are related also
linguistically, and in pre-Spanish times culturally, to the Navaho who
live north of them. In a general way they participate in the social and
religious life characteristic of the whole Southwestern area.

  BOURKE, JOHN G. The Medicine Men of the Apache (9th Annual Report of
              the Bureau of American Ethnology.)

  GODDARD, P. E. In the _Anthropological Papers of the American Museum
              of Natural History_, vol. XXIV:

        Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache, part 1.

        Myths and Tales from the White Mountain Apache. part 2.


The Navaho are an Athabascan tribe of nomadic or semi-nomadic habit
occupying a reservation in northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico
and southeast Utah. In 1906 they were roughly estimated at 28,500.
Sheep raising and weaving are their main industries. In many ways
their ceremonial life appears like that of their neighbors, the Pueblo
Indians, but the relationship of the two peoples in ceremonialism, as
in other respects, has not been studied.


  MATTHEWS, WASHINGTON. Navaho Legends (Memoirs American Folklore
              Society, V. 1897. [See bibliography]).

        The Night Chant, a Navaho Ceremony. (Memoirs American Museum of
              Natural History, VI, 1902.)

  FRANCISCAN FATHERS, THE. An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho
              Language. 1910.

  GODDARD, P. E. Indians of the Southwest. (Handbook Series, No. 2.
              American Museum of Natural History, 1921.)

                             Zuñi Indians

Zuñi is one of the towns of the Pueblo or Town Indians of the
southwest. It is situated about the middle of New Mexico, near the
Arizona border. The population of Zuñi and its outlying settlements is
estimated at about 1600.

The Pueblo Indians live in about thirty towns in New Mexico and
Arizona, and number about 10,000. They are usually classified according
to language into four or five stocks, the Hopi of Arizona, the Ashiwi
or people of Zuñi, the Keres of Acoma and Laguna to the west and, to
the east, of five towns on the Rio Grande, and, also in the east, the
Tanoans including the Tewa and the people of Jemez.

When the Spanish conquistadores came up from Mexico into this country,
they found the people distributed more or less as they are to-day,
although since that time many old sites have been deserted and new
sites built upon. With increasing protection for life and property,
there has been a tendency to move down from the mesa tops to the better
watered and more fertile valleys.

At the arrival of the Spaniards, and no doubt long before, the people
were not only builders, but skillful potters and farmers, practising
alike dry farming and irrigation. From their economy and complex
ceremonial life, they may be considered the northernmost fringe of the
maize culture area of Middle and South America, that great reach which
included the Inca Kingdom of Peru and the Mayas and Aztecs of Mexico.

Wheat, peach trees and watermelons were brought to the Pueblo Indians
by the Spaniards, as well as sheep, cattle, horses and donkeys. And the
Spaniards established Franciscan missions and a secular governorship,
thereby affecting religion and form of government, to what extent
is still an open question. Less obscure, but no less interesting is
the effect that modern industry is having upon the culture; as might
be expected, American trade has been disintegrating, but entirely
destructive it has not been, as yet.

The ceremonial Mr. Culin describes, belongs either to the Thlewekwe
Society or to the Big Fire-brand Society. See “The Zuñi Indians,” pp.
483-8, 502-1. After the dance, the saplings with butts tapered and
painted red are thrown down a rocky pitch in one of the buttes of the
mesa to the north. Specimens may be seen in the American Museum of
Natural History and in the Museum of the University of California.

That the skull acquired by Mr. Cushing was of questionable authenticity
is a fact at present known at Zuñi; for it is said there that it was
because of this Tenatsali came to his premature death.


  CULIN, STEWART. American Indian Games. (24th [1906] Annual Report of
              Bureau of American Ethnology.)

  CUSHING, F. H. Zuñi Fetiches. (2nd [1880-1] Annual Report of Bureau
              of American Ethnology.)

        My Adventures in Zuñi. (_The Century Magazine_, N. S. III,

        Outlines of Zuñi Creation Myths. (13th [1891-2] Annual Report of
              Bureau of American Ethnology.)

        Zuñi Folk Tales. New York & London, 1901.

        Zuñi Breadstuffs. (Republished in _Indian Notes and Monographs_,
              vol. VIII. Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation,

  DUMAREST, N. Notes on Cochiti, New Mexico. (Memoirs American
              Anthropological Association, vol. VI, No. 3. 1919)

  FEWKES, J. W. (For Hopi monographs see his Biography and

  KROEBER, A. L. Zuñi Kin and Clan. (_Anthropological Papers of the
              American Museum of Natural History_, vol. XVIII, part 2.

  PARSONS, E. C. Notes on Zuñi. (Memoirs, American Anthropological
              Association, vol. IV, Nos. 3, 4. 1917.)

        Notes on Ceremonialism at Laguna. (_Anthropological Papers of
              the American Museum of Natural History_, vol. XIX, part 4.

        _American Anthropologist_, vols. XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII,

        _Journal American Folklore_, vol. XXIX No. 113; vol. XXXI, No.
              120; vol. XXXIII, No. 127.

        _Man_, vol. XVI, No. 11; vol. XVII, No. 12; vol. XIX, No. 3; No.
              11; vol. XXI, No. 7.)

  STEPHEN, A. M. (For articles on Hopi ceremonials see _American
              Anthropologist_, vol. V; _Journal American Folklore_,
              vols. V. VI.)

  STEVENSON, M. C. The Zuñi Indians (23rd [1901-2] Annual Report of
              Bureau of American Ethnology.)

        The Sia. (11th [1889-90] Annual Report of Bureau of American

  VOTH, H. R. (Several valuable monographs on Hopi ceremonials in the
              Anthropological Series of the Field Museum.)


The Havasupai are a small Yuman-speaking tribe whose permanent village
is in Cataract Canyon, a southern tributary of the Grand Canyon of
Colorado, in northern Arizona. Their hunting territory is that portion
of the Arizona Plateau seen by tourists to the Grand Canyon. The tribe
numbers 177 (214 in 1881) and is therefore dependent on friendly
relations with the neighboring Walapai, who share their tongue, to
the west, and the Navaho and pueblo-dwelling Hopi to the east. Their
enemies were the Yavapai and Apache south of their range and the
Paiute, north across the Grand Canyon. Of the little that has been
written about these people, the following are dependable:

  COUES, ELLIOT. On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer. The Diary and
              Itinerary of Francisco Garcés. (A curious record by their
              discoverer, written in 1776), vol. II, pp. 335-347,
              403-409. New York, Francis P. Harper, 1900.

  CUSHING, F. H. The Nation of the Willows. (A vivid account of the
              country and the first description of its people.)
              _Atlantic Monthly_, vol. I, Sept., Oct., 1882, pp.
              362-374, 541-559.

  SHUFELDT, R. W. Some Observations on the Havesu-pai Indians.
              (Proceedings, U. S. National Museum, Washington, D. C.,
              1891, vol. XIV, pp. 387, et seq.)

  SPIER, LESLIE. The Havasupai of Cataract Cañon. (_American Museum
              Journal_, New York, December, 1918, pp. 636-645.)

        (A full account of tribal customs is to be published by the same
              author in the _Anthropological Papers of the American
              Museum of Natural History_.)


The Mohave are of Yuman stock. They have lived for more than three
centuries in the bottomlands of the Colorado river where the present
states of California, Nevada, and Arizona adjoin. Down-stream to the
mouth of the Colorado were half a dozen kindred but often hostile
tribes, of whom the Yuma proper are the best known survivors. The
mountains to the east, in Arizona, were held by still other Yuman
groups—Yavapai, Walapai, Havasupai—of rather different habits from
the river tribes. To the north and east, the deserts of Nevada and
California were occupied by sparse groups of Shoshonean lineage.

The Mohave may have numbered 3000 in aboriginal times. In 1910 the
government counted 1058. Part of these had been transferred to a
reservation down-stream at Parker.


  BOLTON, H. E. Spanish Exploration in the Southwest. (pp. 268-280
              contain a translation of Zárate-Salmerón’s Relacion or
              account of Oñate’s expedition of 1604-05.) New York, 1916.

  COUES, ELLIOT. On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer. The Diary and
              Itinerary of Francisco Garcés, 1775-1776. New York, 1900.

  WHIPPLE, A. W., EWBANK, T., and TURNER, W. W. Report of Explorations
              for a Railway Route near to the 35th Parallel of North
              Latitude from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean.
              part 1, Itinerary; part 3. Report upon the Indian Tribes.
              Washington, 1855.

  STRATTON, R. B. The Captivity of the Oatman Girls. New York, 1857.

  BOURKE, J. G. Notes on the Cosmogony and Theogony of the Mojave
              Indians. (_Journal of American Folklore_, vol. II, pp.
              169-189, 1889.)

  CURTIS, E. S. The North American Indian, vol. II.

  KROEBER, A. L. Preliminary Sketch of the Mohave Indians. (_American
              Anthropologist_, N. S., vol. IV, pp. 276-285, 1902.)

        Yuman Tribes of the Lower Colorado. (University of California
              Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology. vol.
              XVI, pp. 475-485, 1920.)

        Chapters L and LI, “The Mohave,” of “The Indians of California,”
              (in press as Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology,
              Washington, D. C.).


The Tepecanos were formerly a tribe of some importance, occupying
considerable territory on the southern slopes of the Sierra Madre range
in Western Mexico. Here they were found by the early Spanish conquerors
who refer to them as Chichimec tribes. Their subsequent history is yet
to be culled from prosy Mexican records. They probably fought valiantly
against the white invaders but were defeated. As the country became
settled and European blood introduced, the conservative members of the
tribe continually retreated, until to-day they occupy but one village,
Azqueltán, in the northern part of the state of Jalisco, and a few
square miles of surrounding territory. Their numbers are reduced to a
few hundred and many of these are mixed-bloods.

Physically the Tepecanos are closely akin to the other native tribes of
western Mexico. The same may be said as regards their language, though
in this respect the differences are greater. The Tepecano language is
very closely related to the Tepehuane, Papago and Pima of northwestern
Mexico and Arizona and more distantly related to Huichol, Cora, Aztec
and Ute.

Little of a connected nature has been written on the Tepecano. The
following list includes practically all the extant literature:

  OROZCO Y BERRA, MANUEL. Geografía de las lenguas y carta etnográfica
              de México; México, 1864. pp. 49, 279, 282.

  LUMHOLTZ, CARL. Unknown Mexico, vol. II, p. 123, New York, 1902.

  HŘDLIČKA, ALEŠ. The Chichimecs and their Ancient Culture. (_American
              Anthropologist_, N. S., vol. III, 1903.)

        Physiological and Medical Observations. (Bulletin 34, Bureau of
              American Ethnology, Washington, 1908.)

  LEÓN, NICOLÁS. Familias Lingüísticas de México, Mexico, 1902.

  THOMAS, CYRUS, and SWANTON, JOHN R. Indian Languages of Mexico and
              Central America. (Bulletin 44, Bureau of American
              Ethnology, Washington, 1911.)

  MASON, J. ALDEN. The Tepehuan Indians of Azqueltán. (Proceedings 18th
              International Congress of Americanists, London, 1912.)

        The Fiesta of the Pinole at Azqueltán. (_The Museum Journal_,
              III, University Museum, Philadelphia, 1912.)

        Tepecano, A Piman Language of Western Mexico. (Annals of the New
              York Academy of Science, vol. XXV, New York, 1917.)

        Tepecano Prayers. (_International Journal of American
              Linguistics_, vol. I, II, 1918.)

        Four Mexican Spanish Folk Tales from Azqueltán, Jalisco.
              (_Journal of American Folklore_, vol. XXV, 1912.)

        Folk Tales of the Tepecanos. (_Journal of American Folklore_,
              vol. XXVII, 1914.)


For general account and bibliography see Spinden, H. J. Ancient
civilizations of Mexico and Central America. (American Museum of
Natural History, Handbook series. No. 3. 1917.)



The picture of life in the Old Maya Empire of Central America during
the sixth century after Christ is reconstructed almost entirely from
the archæological evidence. Unlike many of the indigenous cultures of
our own country which have survived with all their wealth of legend,
myth, rite and ceremonial, down to the present day, the Old Maya Empire
had vanished centuries before the Discovery of America. The episode in
the life of a boy who might have lived in those colorful times must
necessarily be based upon what we may glean from the monuments, temples
and palaces of the period, helped out here and there by some few
ethnological facts about the New Maya Empire gathered a millenium later.

The term “True Man,” _halach vinic_, was that given by the Maya only to
their highest chiefs, their hereditary rulers, who would seem to have
lived in a state not unlike feudalism, even discounting the indubitable
feudalistic bias with which all the early Spanish chroniclers wrote.
The rulers together with the priesthood would appear to have been
nearly, if not quite absolute; succession to the supreme office passed
by hereditary descent, though probably individual unfitness therefor
could and did modify the operation of strict primogeniture; finally a
system of vassalage, of lesser chieftains dependent upon an overlord,
certainly obtained. Indeed, such are the extent and magnificence of
the architectural and monumental remains of the Maya civilization that
in order to have achieved them, it is necessary to postulate a highly
centralized form of government, administered by a small, powerful caste.


Chichen Itza has had a long and varied history. Founded by the Mayas
about 500 A. D. in their northern migrations from their original homes
in Honduras and Guatemala, abandoned for four hundred years and settled
again about the year 1000, Chichen was now to have two hundred years
of growth and prosperity. Many of the older buildings still standing,
date from this period. The famous League of Mayapan, Uxmal, and Chichen
Itza, was a working alliance which resulted in all the cities of
Yucatan making great strides forward in many of the arts. Several of
the more famous structures at Chichen were erected in this epoch. Our
story begins with the disruption of this League, when Mayapan brought
in Mexican forces to prey upon the other cities of the peninsula. Peace
gave way to many years of civil strife. The final destruction of
Mayapan, about the middle of the fifteenth century, marked the end of
the Maya civilization. The Spaniards found only the lingering remnants
of the former splendor.

None of the ruined cities of Yucatan is more wonderful than Chichen
Itza, stately and grand even now when many of its temples have fallen
into decay, and others are buried in the depths of the forest. The
sharp outlines of the Great Pyramid still rise above the level line
of the trees of the jungle. The fine proportions of the pyramid, and
the temple still standing on its top, mark it as perhaps the most
complete and perfect building still extant in the whole Maya area. The
substantial walls of the Ball Court remain as solid as when they were
built. One of the stone rings still projects from the wall, a witness
to the love of sport of the ancient people. The beautiful Temple of the
Tigers, standing on the end of one of the walls, has been a prey to the
devastating forces of man, of beast, and of nature. Vines and the roots
of trees have gained a foothold on the roof, and many of the carved
stones have fallen. Iguanas run in all directions when the chance
visitor approaches. The frescoes of the inner chamber are but blurred
remains of a former art.

And the Cenote of Sacrifice, that famous well, so vividly described by
the early Christian priests, is now but a deserted shrine. Trailing
vines, ferns, and palms almost cover the precipitous sides. The dark
green waters are almost concealed by the slime of decaying vegetation.
But the sight of the silent, sinister pool, surrounded by the unbroken
forest, makes it easy, even now, to picture the scenes of sacrifice
which it has witnessed.

The country is still peopled by the Mayas but their greatness is a
thing of the past. The present-day native may well pause to wonder what
the ruined buildings of his country were really for. He knows only
what his white masters have told him. “They are the temples of your
ancestors who have had a past unequaled in the early history of the New
World, a past stretching back almost to the beginning of the Christian
Era.” He only shakes his head and murmurs in his adopted language,
“_Quien sabe_.”

The Maya civilization formerly embraced the whole peninsula of Yucatan,
Chiapas and Tabasco, states of Mexico, the greater part of Guatemala,
British Honduras, northern Honduras, and northern Salvador. This
country is still occupied in general with peoples speaking various
dialects of the Maya language.

The Mayas, both linguistically and culturally, are distinct from the
Zapotecs in Oaxaca and the Nahua-Aztec peoples of Central Mexico. There
is little doubt, however, that all the cultures of Mexico and Central
America go back to a common origin. The Maya civilization is older
than that of the Toltecs in Mexico which, in turn, preceded that of
the Aztecs. The Toltec culture greatly influenced the late Maya of
northern Yucatan about 1200 A. D.

                    MAYA CHRONOLOGY (CHICHEN ITZA)

   ?-200 A. D.    Period of migrations.
   200-600        Chichen Itza founded.
       520        Chichen Itza abandoned.
   640-960        Itzas at Chakanputun.
   700-960        Chichen rebuilt. League of Mayapan.
   960-1200       Old Empire. Great cities of Guatemala and Honduras
  1200-1442       Toltec influence, especially at Chichen Itza.
  1442            Fall of Mayapan and end of Maya civilization.

    The historical accounts upon which parts of our story are based are:

  MOLINA, J. Historia del discubrimiento y conquista de Yucatan, 1896,
              pp. 47-51

  HERRERA, Historia General, 1601-1605.

  PRESCOTT, Chapter III, after Herrera, Torquemada, etc.

  LANDA (156), Brasseur de Bourbourg ed. 1864, pp. 344-346.

        Relacion de Valladolid (1579) in Col. de Doc. Ineditos,
              1898-1900, vol. XIII, p. 25

    Other historical and general references are:


  COGOLLUDO, D. L. Historia de Yucatan, 1688.

  VILLAGUTIERRE, J. Historia de la conquista de la Provincia del Itza,

  MEANS, P. A. A history of the Spanish conquest of Yucatan and of the
              Itzas, in _Papers of the Peabody Museum_, vol. VII, 1917.


  MORLEY, S. G. The correlation of Maya and Christian chronology.
              (_American Journal of Archaeology_, 2nd series, vol. XIV,
              pp. 193-204.)

        The historical value of the Books of Chilam Balam (_American
              Journal of Archaeology_, 2nd series, vol. XV, pp.


  STEPHENS, J. L. Incidents of travel in Yucatan, 1843.

        Incidents of travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan,

  MAUDSLAY, A. P. Biologia Centrali-Americana Archaeology, 1889-1902.

  HOLMES, W. H. Archaeological Studies among the Ancient Cities of
              Mexico. (_Field Columbian Museum_, _Anthropological
              Series_, vol I, 1895-1897.)

  JOYCE, T. A. Mexican Archaeology. 1914.

  SPINDEN, H. J. A study of Maya art. (Memoirs of the Peabody Museum,
              vol. VI, 1913.)

  GORDON, G. B., THOMPSON, E. H., and TOZZER, A. M. in Memoirs of the
              Peabody Museum.

                        _Hieroglyphic writing_:

  BOWDITCH, C. P. The numeration, calendar systems and astronomical
              knowledge of the Mayas, 1910.

  MORLEY, S. G. An introduction to the study of the Maya hieroglyphs,
              (Bulletin 57, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1915.)

        The inscriptions at Copan, (Carnegie Institution, 1920.)

                         _Present population_:

  TOZZER, A. M. A comparative study of the Mayas and the Lacandones,

                           _Maya language_:

  TOZZER, A. M. A Maya grammar with bibliography and appraisement of the
              works noted (_Papers of the Peabody Museum_, vol. IX,

                 _Relation with surrounding cultures_:

  SPINDEN, H. J. Ancient civilizations of Mexico and Central America.
              (Handbook Series, No. 3, American Museum of Natural
              History, 1917.)

        The origin and distribution of agriculture in America.
              (Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of
              Americanists, New York, 1917.)

  TOZZER, A. M. The domain of the Aztecs, (Holmes Anniversary Volume,

                         The Shellmound People

The Shellmound people who lived on the shores of San Francisco Bay for
perhaps three or four thousand years, down to early historic times,
are regarded as having belonged towards the end to the Costanoan
linguistic family. These Costanoans inhabited the portion of California
extending from the Golden Gate south to Soledad, and from the Pacific
Ocean east to the San Joaquin River. Although totalling more than
7000 square miles in extent, this territory was nevertheless largely
occupied by mountains and marshes unsuitable for permanent habitation.
The principle settlements were in consequence confined to the ocean
shore, the bay shore, and the portion of the San Joaquin valley lying
between the marsh and the Coast Range foothills. Seven Spanish missions
were established in the territory during the latter part of the 18th
century, and from the old records of these institutions Bancroft has
extracted the names of some two hundred villages, several of which,
however, were outside the Costanoan territorial limits. The estimated
population may be placed conservatively at about 10,000.

One of the principal dialectic divisions of the Costanoan stock was
known as the Mutsuns or Mutsunes; and for purposes of the story the
Ahwashtee tribe, to which Wixi and his villagers of Akalan belonged,
has been connected with this group. As a matter of fact, the Ahwashtees
are definitely reported to have lived on the bay shore, though probably
the Mutsunes did not.

There is next to no available historical data about the Shellmound
people, as such, and very little archæological evidence in the
shellmounds themselves that the Indians continued to inhabit them after
the arrival of the white man. The principal references are:

  BANCROFT, H. H. Native Races of the Pacific States of North America,
              vol. I, 1874.

  MASON, J. A. The Mutsun Dialect of Costanoan. (University of
              California Publications in American Archaeology and
              Ethnology, vol. XI, No. 7. 1916.)

  NELSON, N. C. Shellmounds of the San Francisco Bay Region. (University
              of California Publications in American Archaeology and
              Ethnology, vol. VII, No. 4. 1909.)

  POWERS, STEPHEN. Tribes of California. (Contributions to North
              American Ethnology, vol. III. 1877.)

  UHLE, MAX. The Emeryville Shellmound. (University of California
              Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol.
              VIII, No. 1. 1907.)


The Yurok are one of half a dozen tribes in northwestern California who
exhibit jointly a surprisingly complex way of living. Others of this
highly cultured group are the Hupa, the Karok, the Tolowa, the Chilula,
and the Wiyot. One element especially in the tribal life of the region,
is the notion of aristocracy based upon wealth. This makes them rather
grasping. Every injury, from slander to rape, demands its money price.
The Yurok, accordingly, become adept at the art of taking offense.
Quarrelsomeness is a religion, and wrangling for a price, a fine art.
Some Yurok are born “stinkers” in money matters. The remainder have
that quality thrust upon them by the pressure of tribal feeling. They
speak an Algonkian language, live along the lower part of the Klamath
River, subsist mostly on fish (though they eat a lot of acorns) and
are nice folks when you know their ways (not until then, however). The
principal works which describe the Yurok are:

  POWERS, STEPHEN. Tribes of California (U. S. Interior Department,
              Contributions to North American Ethnology, vol. III.)

  WATERMAN, T. T. Yurok Geography (University of California Publications
              in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. XVI.)

        Notes on Yurok Culture (Museum of the American Indian, Heye
              Foundation, [in press]).

  A book which has no title, except a dedication “To the American
  Indian,” by a Yurok woman, privately printed at Eureka, California, in

  GODDARD, P. E. Life and Culture of the Hupa, University of California
              Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol.
              I. (a very fine work, describing not the Yurok, but the
              neighboring Hupa, who follow the same mode of life.)


The Nootka Indians, sometimes known as Aht, are a group of tribes
occupying the west coast of Vancouver Island, from about Cape Cook
south to Sooke Inlet, also the extreme northwest point, Cape Flattery,
of Washington. The Indians of Cape Flattery, generally known as Makah,
are sometimes considered distinct from the Nootka, but their speech
is practically identical with that of the Nitinat, the southern group
of Vancouver Island Nootka. The dividing line between the Nitinat and
northern Nootka (Nootka proper) is a little south of Cape Beale. It
is determined by linguistic considerations, the Nitinat dialects and
those of the northern Nootka being mutually unintelligible groups.
The dialectic differences within the groups are comparatively slight.
Directly north of the northernmost Nootka are the Quatsino, one of
the Kwakiutl tribes; south of the southernmost island Nitinat are the
Sooke, a Coast Salish tribe of the Lkungen-Clallam group; while south
of the Makah are the Quilleute, a Chimakuan tribe.

The total number of Nootkas in 1906 was about 2500, of which over 400
belonged to the Makah. The Nootkas in no sense form a political unit.
They are merely a group of independent tribes, related by language,
inter-tribal marriage, and close cultural inter-influences.

The Nootkas, using the term in its widest sense, are fairly remote
linguistic relatives of the Kwakiutl (including Kwakiutl proper, Bella
Bella, and Kitamat), who occupy the northernmost part of the island and
adjoining parts of the mainland of British Columbia as well. Nootka and
Kwakiutl are often combined by ethnographers into the “Wakashan” stock.

The Nootka tribes are culturally quite distinct from both the Kwakiutl
and the Coast Salish tribes of the southeastern part of Vancouver
Island, but have been much influenced, particularly in ceremonial
respects, by both.

The chief works on the Nootka are:

  BOAS F. The Nootka (Report of British Association for the Advancement
              of Science, Leeds meeting, 1890, pp. 582-604; reprinted,
              pp. 30-52, in Sixth Report on the Northwestern Tribes of

        The Nootka ([Religious Ceremonials] pp. 632-644 of The Social
              Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl
              Indians, in Report of U. S. National Museum, 1895).

        Sagen der Nutka (pp. 98-128 of _Indianische Sagen von der
              Nord-Pacifischen Küste Amerikas_, Berlin, 1895).

  HUNT, GEORGE (collector). Myths of the Nootka (pp. 888-935 of Boas,
              F.: Tsimshian Mythology, 31st Annual Report of the Bureau
              of American Ethnology, 1909-10.)

  JEWITT, JOHN R. (also JEWETT) Adventures and Sufferings of John R.
              Jewitt, only Survivor of the Crew of the Ship _Boston_
              during a captivity of nearly three years among the Indians
              of Nootka Sound (Middletown, 1815; Edinburgh, 1824; often
              reprinted, see edition of Robert Brown, London, 1896);
              also published as The Captive of Nootka, or the Adventures
              of John R. Jewett (Philadelphia, 1841).

  SAPIR, E. A Flood Legend of the Nootka Indians of Vancouver Island
              (_Journal of American Folklore_, 1919, pp. 351-355).

        A Girl’s Puberty Ceremony among the Nootka Indians (Transactions
              of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, vol. VII,
              1913, pp. 67-80).

        Some Aspects of Nootka Language and Culture (_American
              Anthropologist_, N. S., vol. XIII, 1911, pp. 15-28).

        Vancouver Island, Indians of (in Hastings’ Encyclopædia of
              Religion and Ethics; deals with Nootka religion).

  SPROAT, G. M. Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (London, 1868).

  SWAN, JAMES G. The Indians of Cape Flattery (Smithsonian Contributions
              to Knowledge, vol. XVI, part 8. pp. 1-106, Washington,


A Northern Athabascan group extending over a considerable area in
Canada, from the Churchill River to Lake Athabaska and the Great Slave
Lake. They are sometimes mistaken for the Algonkian Chippewa (Ojibwa).
Their number is set at nearly 1800.


  HEARNE, SAMUEL. Journey from Prince of Wales’s Fort in Hudson’s Bay,
              to the Northern Ocean. (London, 1795).

  PETITOT, E. Traditions indiennes du Canada nord-ouest. (Alençon,

  RUSSELL, FRANK. Explorations in the Far North. (Des Moines, 1898.)

  GODDARD, P. E. Chipewyan Texts. (_Anthropological Papars American
              Museum of Natural History_, vol. X, pp. 1-65.)

  LOWIE, ROBERT H. Chipewyan Tales. (_ibid._, vol. X, pp. 171-200.)


Anvik is a village on the Anvik River, a tributary of the Yukon River,
about four hundred miles from its mouth and about one hundred and
twenty-five miles from the coast. The village is populated by the
most northern of one of the Athabascan peoples, called Ingalik or
Ingilik by the Russians, meaning Lousy, according to Jetté, an Eskimo
name, or Tinneh or Ten’a, a native name. The native name for Anvik is
Gudrinethchax; it means Middle People, a place name, as are the other
native names for the river villages.

The only published accounts of the Ten’a are those of the French
missionary Jetté, stationed at Konkrines and the American missionary
Chapman, stationed at Anvik. At the American mission Mr. Reed was
educated, and his opportunities to observe his own people have been
in certain particulars limited. In spite of his knowledge of English,
and of American culture he is, however, unusually unsophisticated and
he has been an acute and sympathetic observer of the life at Anvik,
White and Indian. He is therefore what we frequently look for among
school-taught Indians but rarely find—a qualified interpreter of native
culture. As the time available for working with him was quite limited,
he was asked to present his information as if he were telling the story
of an Anvik villager from birth to death.


  JETTÉ, J. On the Medicine-Men of the Ten’a. (_Journal of the Royal
              Anthropological Institute_, XXXVII [1907], 157-188.)

        On Ten’a Folklore (_ibid._ XXXVIII [1908], 298-367).

        On the Superstitions of the Ten’a Indians, (_Anthropos_, VI
              [1911], 95-108, 241-259, 602-615, 699-723).

        Riddles of the Ten’a Indians, (_ibid._ VIII [1913], 181-201,

  CHAPMAN, JOHN W. Notes on the Tinneh Tribe of Anvik, Alaska. (Congrès
              International des Américanistes, 15th Session, II, 7-38.
              Quebec, 1907.)

        Athabascan Traditions from the Lower Yukon. (_Journal of
              American Folklore_, XVI [1903], 180-5.)

        Ten’a Texts and Tales. (Pub. American Ethnological Society, VI,
              Leyden, 1914.)


The Eskimos occupy the whole Arctic coast from Behring Strait to
Labrador and Greenland. They have also a few isolated villages on the
extreme eastern point of Siberia. Notwithstanding a general uniformity
of cultural life, there are marked differences between the Eskimo of
the region west of the Mackenzie River and the eastern group. The
Eskimo of Greenland are considerably modified by European contact. The
group to which the tale refers are the Eskimo of Baffin Land, the large
island extending from Hudson Strait northward and forming the west
coast of Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, more particularly of the eastern
shore of the island. The total number of individuals living in this
area does not exceed 400.

Individuals belonging to these villages make extensive travels and come
into contact with the natives of the northern coast of Hudson Bay and
of the mainland northwest of Hudson Bay. Only Eskimo tribes are known
to them.

The principal descriptions of these tribes are found in the following

  BOAS, FRANZ. The Central Eskimo (6th Annual Report of the Bureau of
              Ethnology, Washington, 1888).

        The Eskimo of Baffin Land and Hudson Bay (Bulletin, vol. XX,
              American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1901, 1907).

Other important publications may be found in the bibliographies
attached to these volumes. The most important recent publication on the
Eskimo of Greenland is:

  THALBITZER, WILLIAM. The Ammassalik Eskimo; Meddelelser om Gronland,
              vol. XXXIX, Copenhagen, 1914.

                          ILLUSTRATOR’S NOTES

                    Takes-the-pipe, a Crow Warrior

The center, a pair of Crazy-Dog sashes. Also the figures connected with
the warrior’s visions—the moon, the buffalo, the bear. The stick used
by the Hammer Stick Society; that used in counting “coup”; that planted
in the ground by the aspirant for the rank of chief, as he leads in
fight. At top, the moths the boy rubbed on his chest; Takes-the-pipe’s
moccasins; at bottom his captured horses. At sides, a skin ornament
worn by Crow medicine men.

                   Smoking-star, a Blackfoot Shaman

A Blackfoot medicine man’s tepee, by the shore of a lake, in the
foothills. The border, typical beadwork pattern. At bottom, a medicine
pipe, a medicine bundle, wand used by medicine man, and beavers.

                 Little-wolf Joins the Medicine Lodge

Center, a medicine lodge, roofed with sheets of birch-bark; the walls
are upright sticks. At sides, otter-skin medicine bags. Below, a
ceremonial drum of wood covered with stretched buckskin. A medicine
pipe. The shells used in “shooting medicine,” with their bead
necklaces. At top, gourd medicine rattles. The patterns are from
typical beadwork and the dyed mats used in lodges.

         Thunder-cloud, a Winnebago Shaman, Relates and Prays

Center, the Beings invoked in the prayers, appearing in the smoke from
a medicine pipe. Ornament, typical beadwork.

              How Meskwaki Children Should Be Brought Up

Central background, typical beadwork. Center, a warrior’s neck ornament
with bear claws; woman’s necklace of bone and beads; crossed below,
a war club and the stick used in the ball game. At sides, the beaded
cylinders are those through which a woman’s hair passes; the long
straps hang as ornaments. Typical moccasins.

                         In Montagnais Country

An Indian calling moose with a birch-bark horn. Across top a ceremonial
carrying-strap. Snowshoes. At sides, knives, spearhead, fishhook.
At bottom, birch-bark baskets, wooden spoons, ceremonial pipe. The
patterns, typical beadwork.

                     Hanging-flower, the Iroquois

Four masks used by the Society of False Faces. A turtle-shell medicine
rattle. Tomahawks and war clubs. A tall basket, and the wooden pestle
used by the women for making corn meal.

                  The Thunder Power of Rumbling-wings

Rumbling-wings invoking the Thunder Bird. At bottom, the little mask
Rumbling-wings wears. War clubs.

                           Tokulki of Tulsa

At top sides, beaded pouches. Sides, cloth with beaded ornament. At
bottom, a ceremonial drum, of earthenware with buckskin stretched over
it; ball-game sticks; balls; spoons; the head ornament of white deer
hairs and feathers worn by the ball players. Center, reference to the
myth that the eclipse of the sun is caused by a giant toad. At sides of
center, gourd medicine rattles and a carved stone pipe.

                     Slender-maiden of the Apache

Upper center, the mask with its fan-like ornament, worn in the dance. A
girl’s buckskin shirt; below it the pendant ornament worn at her waist.
An Apache basket. At either side of shirt, ornaments of cloth and
cut-out leather. The other ornaments, typical beadwork. The oak-leaf
borders indicate the Apache use of acorns.

                    When John the Jeweler was Sick

The center is a part of one of the Navaho sand paintings made for
curing ceremonial. The figures are supernaturals, the central objects
represent growing corn; the bent rectangular figure, the rainbow. In
the four corners are dance masks used in the same ceremony, and at the
bottom is the rug, with the various ceremonial objects laid upon it,
which is a feature of the ceremony.

                    Waiyautitsa of Zuñi, New Mexico

The figure is a conventionalization showing how the girls let the bang
fall over the face in the dance; the painted flat board headdress worn
by them in the harvest dance, and the tablet they carry in each hand.
The jar, out of which the figure grows, is a typical Zuñi water jar.
The bowl at top is a sacred meal bowl. The side borders are from altar
paintings, showing animal spirits. Prayer sticks.

                             Zuñi Pictures

Background and borders, a paraphrase of the ceremonial blanket, of
Hopi weave. At bottom, the box with notched stick on top, used in the
sword-swallowing ceremony. Over it, the war-god image. The sticks with
turkey feathers are the “swords” that are swallowed. Zuñi masks.

                            Havasupai Days

View in Cataract Cañon. Bow and skin quivers. Cooking bowls of
earthenware. Horn ladles. A carrying-basket.

                        Earth-tongue, a Mohave

View of the Needles, on Colorado River. Above, Spiders, Scorpion,
Ant, Serpent. The two Ravens. Below, bow, arrows, war clubs, pottery

                   The Chief Singer of the Tepecano

The landscape pictures the belief in the omnipresence of the sacred
serpent in nature’s manifestations: the storm cloud, rain, springs,
rivers, wind. The hawk is a sacred bird. The ornament is typical
of a rich variety of patterns; those used here are largely rain or
water symbols. Ears of corn, and under the shield, the conventional
representation of the steel for striking fire.

                    The Understudy of Tezcatlipoca

Background, a reconstitution of the vanished temple in Mexico City; the
data for this are very meagre. At top, the great stone Aztec calendar.
At sides, the serpent motif. Below, the carving or bowlder, still
existing, which records the taking of Cuernavaca.

           How Holon Chan Became the True Man of His People

From the existing remains of temples, and from various details of
the same period, a reconstitution has here been made of the color
and form that may have characterized the doorway in which Holon Chan
stood at sunset. His figure is arrived at in somewhat the same way:
from the author’s description and from the highly complicated and
conventionalized detail of the sculptures.

                 The Toltec Architect of Chichen Itza

Center, the stone ring through which, in the ball game, the ball
was thrown. Background, a detail from the great colored frieze upon
the interior walls of one of the temples. Sides, stone columns,
representing the Plumed Serpent, at either side of the doorway of the
Ball Court Temple. Above, two conventional plumed serpents.

                     Wixi of the Shellmound People

The landscape is the Ellis Island Mound in San Francisco Bay. Below,
shell pendants, necklaces, fishhooks, beads.

                   All Is Trouble Along the Klamath

A view of the Klamath. Typical patterns.

                     Sayach’apis, a Nootka Trader

At sides, the human figures are wooden house posts. At top, two masks;
one at left represents a mythical bird; one at right, the wolf mask.
Center, a Nootka drum, painted with symbols of Thunder Bird, Plumed
Serpent and Whale. The figures in background, conventionalized whales.
At bottom, a mask representing a cuttlefish. Behind it, Sayach’apis
paddling his canoe. At sides, painted canoe-paddles and clubs used to
kill seals.

                    Cries-for-salmon, a Ten’a Woman

At top, two dance masks. At bottom wooden bowls. Center, a ceremonial
figure representing Salmon. A woman’s bag, made of fish skin,
embroidered and painted. Bone awls. Two little ornaments at central
sides are bobbins.

                           An Eskimo Winter

The arctic hare, the ptarmigan, the seal. Below, caribou, feeding.
Above them a kayak. In borders, fish and seal spears, bows and arrows,
skinning knives.

                   *       *       *       *       *

  |                                                                    |
  |                             FOOTNOTES:                             |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [1] In this connection Grinnell’s recent story of the Cheyennes,  |
  |      “Where Buffalo Ran” should not be overlooked. Ed.             |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [2] Meaning: “the star who smoked my pipe.”                       |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [3] In 1832 a post was founded near the present site of Fort      |
  |      Benton, Montana, known as Fort Mackenzie. In 1833 it was      |
  |      visited by the famous German traveler, Maximilian, Prince of  |
  |      Wied, accompanied by the artist, Charles Bodmer. Maximilian   |
  |      gives us an interesting and detailed account of his travels   |
  |      in the Missouri country and is the first to give us good      |
  |      information as to the culture of the Blackfoot. See his       |
  |      _Travels in the Interior of North America_, translated by H.  |
  |      E. Lloyd, Cleveland, 1906.                                    |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [4] Manuscript contributed by Mr. Stewart Culin.                  |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [5] I am under the impression that the ceremonies Dr. Washington  |
  |      Matthews observed several years ago at Fort Defiance were     |
  |      addressed to the Yès of the Half-red-house, but the motive in |
  |      those ceremonies and in these of the Yès of the               |
  |      Half-white-house is the same, and the rites and songs very    |
  |      similar.                                                      |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [6] It was this biography, published originally in “The           |
  |      Scientific Monthly” (Nov. 1919) and now revised, which        |
  |      suggested to us the comprehensive biographic plan of this     |
  |      book. Ed.                                                     |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [7] Frank Hamilton Cushing. Tenatsali, one of the medicine        |
  |      plants, was his Zuñi name.                                    |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [8] Agave brandy.                                                 |
  |                                                                    |
  |  [9] Gourd cup.                                                    |
  |                                                                    |
  | [10] Corn meal.                                                    |
  |                                                                    |
  | [11] Jamestown weed.                                               |
  |                                                                    |
  | [12] Shawls.                                                       |
  |                                                                    |
  | [13] Twelve cents.                                                 |
  |                                                                    |
  | [14] Cooked corn meal wrapped in corn husk.                        |
  |                                                                    |
  | [15] Gourd bottle.                                                 |
  |                                                                    |
  | [16] At the request of the author, there has been no editing.—E.   |
  |      C. P.                                                         |
  |                                                                    |
  | [17] What an interesting illustration of how custom and belief     |
  |      may be affected by a change in material culture, caused by    |
  |      foreign contact!                                              |
  |                                                                    |
  | [18] The Rev. J. Jetté notes that a peculiar fear of bears is      |
  |      universal among Ten’a women, concluding that the fear is due  |
  |      to the bear tales in which the bear is represented as         |
  |      peculiarly hostile to women. The view that the tale is the    |
  |      outcome of the fear is also tenable.                          |
  |                                                                    |
  | [19] The notes for this appendix have been contributed, except in  |
  |      a few instances, by the respective authors of the tales.      |
  |                                                                    |
  | [20] In collaboration with John V. Satterlee, a Menomini.          |
  |                                                                    |
  | [21] See The Owl Sacred pack of the Fox Indians. Bulletin 72,      |
  |      Washington, 1921.                                             |
  |                                                                    |

Transcriber’s Notes:
 - Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).
 - Blank pages have been removed.
 - Redundant title page removed.
 - Silently corrected typographical errors.
 - Spelling and hyphenation variations made consistent.
 - Full page illustrations removed from the text version, as they are
   purely decorative with no captions.
 - Misplaced text in Maya chronology corrected.

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