SUNSHINE and showers! A dingy blue sky is traversed by white, fleecy, clouds, long mares' tails, on whose border giant thunder-clouds loom up, sometimes drifting majestically along the horizon, or crowding upward to spread, dissolve, and disappear in the zenith.
It is the rainy season in New Mexico, with its sporadic showers, its peculiar sunlight, moments of scorching heat, and blasts of cool winds, with thunder overhead. To the right and left rain falls in streaks, but without sultriness, and with no danger from violent wind-storms or cyclones. We are in the! beginning of the month of September. It is warm, but not oppressive, and the spot from which we view the scenery around is high, open, and commands a wide extent of country.
We stand on a barren plateau. Lava-blocks are scattered about in confusion, while tall arborescent cacti rise between them like skeletons, and bunches of grass point upward here and there. North of us the mesa. expands in monotonous risings and swellings to the foot of a tall, exceedingly graceful cone, whose slopes are dotted with bushes of cedar and juniper. Beyond it are dark humps, denoting by their shape that they are extinct craters. In the distance, west of that beautiful cone, which to-day is called, and very appropriately, the Tetilla, the sinuous profile of a mountain-chain just peeps over the bleak line formed by the mesa and its various corrugations. Nestling within its bosom rests the Rito de los Frijoles.
In the south, dense thunder-clouds overhang massive peaks. Only the base of the Sierra de Sandia, of the Old Placeres, and the numerous ranges beyond, is visible, for a heavy shower falls in that direction. In the east a plain sweeps into view, dotted by black specks looming up from a reddish soil. This plain rises gently to the eastward, and abuts against a tall mountain-range whose summits also are shrouded in massive clouds.
We stand on the bleak and wide mesa that interposes itself between the town of Santa Fé and the valley of the Rio Grande. Not a living object, with the exception of wasps and beetles, can be seen; everything appears dull and dead. The thunder roars in the distance.
And yet there is life of a higher order. Two ravens stalk about in an earnest, dignified manner. The birds look exceedingly and comically serious. Their plumage glistens in the subdued light of the sun. They look out for themselves, and care nothing for the remainder of creation. So deeply are they imbued with a sentiment of their own exceptional position in the realm of nature, that they pay no attention to another phase of life that shows itself near by, though not conspicuously.
Over the surface of the mesa are seen here and there almost imperceptible elevations destitute of vegetation. In these slight swellings, apertures are visible. Out of the latter the head of a small animal occasionally protrudes, disappears again, or rises displaying a pair of shovel-like front teeth. Then a worm-like body pushes up from below, and a yellowish figure, half squirrel, half marmot, stands erect on the hillock, and utters a sharp, squealing bark. This barking is answered from a neighbouring protuberance. From each hillock one of these little animals crawls down; and meeting one another halfway, they stand up facing each other, scratch and bite
for a moment, then separate and return to their respective cave-dwellings. Other similar creatures wriggle about in the vicinity; the shrill barking sounds far and near. A colony of so-called prairie dogs dwells in the neighbourhood.
To this exhibition of animal life the ravens pay no attention whatever. It is beneath their notice; their aims are of a higher order than those of beings who live upon roots and who burrow for their abode. They live on prey that is far above the simple products of animal industry. Carrion is what they aspire to. Therefore they aspire with a lofty mien, prying and peering in every direction for something fallen. They are not far from the eastern brink of the mesa, where the volcanic flow breaks off suddenly in short, abrupt palisades. Who knows what their keen eyes may have espied along that brink?
Another actor appears upon the scene, a prairie wolf, or coyote; consequently a rival, a competitor of the ravens; for he is in the same business. But he belongs to a higher order; for while the ravens are scavengers, the coyote is a hunter as well. He would even prey upon the birds themselves. As he approaches, with tail drooping and ears erect, and stops to sniff the air and glance about slyly, the ravens hop off sidewise away from the dangerous neighbour. Still they are loath to go, for the wolf may discover something the leavings of which they may perhaps enjoy. But the coyote lies down, with his head between his forepaws, and in this attitude pushes his body forward, almost imperceptibly. Such motions are very suspicious; the scavengers flap their wings, rise into the air, and soar away to some more secure spot.
The coyote, however, seems in no wise disappointed at the departure of the ravens. He pays no attention to
their flight, but moves on toward the lava-blocks that indicate the rim of the plateau. There he has noticed something; an object that lies motionless like a corpse. It may be a corpse, and therefore something to prey upon. Nearer the coyote glides. The object is long or elongated. Its colour is lighter than that of the lava-blocks surrounding it, but its farther end is dark. Now that end moves, and the head of an Indian, a village Indian of New Mexico, looms up above the boulders. The coyote has seen enough, for the man is alive, and not carrion. Away the beast trots, with drooping tail and ears.
The Indian, who has been lying there with his face turned to the east, rises to his knees and faces about. His features are those of a man on the threshold of mature age. We know this man! We have seen him before! And yet it cannot be, for how thin, how wan, how hollow the cheeks, how sunken the eyes! The face, notwithstanding the red paint, appears sallow. Still it is an old acquaintance, although since we saw him last he has sadly changed. Now he turns his face to the south, and we catch a glimpse of his profile. It is Zashue Tihua, the Indian from the Rito de los Frijoles, husband of Say Koitza, and father to Okoya and Shyuote.
What is he doing here? It is now more than three weeks since he and his brother Hayoue took leave of the Tyuonyi in order to search for their lost people. They went forth into that limited, yet for the Indian immensely vast, world to-day called central New Mexico. In a month a travelling Indian may easily be hundreds of miles away if unimpeded in his march. But we find him here, barely a day's journey from the Rito. A strong man cannot have spent all this time in going such a little distance. He must have wandered far, strayed back and forth, up and down,
perhaps into the western mountains, where the Navajos lurk,--the bad men who frightened his wife and children away from their homes, or who perhaps captured or killed them. Or he may have gone to the south, where the black cloud is hanging, and where it thunders, and the rain-streaks hang like long black veils of mourning. He has perchance tramped down the Rio Grande valley, through sand, by groves of poplar-trees, and where the sand-storms howl and wail. Now he comes back, unrequited for all his labour and sufferings, for those whom he sought are not with him!
His gaze was not directed to the north when the wolf espied him, but to the east. He may be on the homeward stretch, but he has not given up all hope. His eyes look for those whom he has lost; he is loath to give up the search, loath to return alone to the home which the enemy has soiled with the lifeblood of his youngest child. He is changed in appearance, lean, and with hollow burning eyes he gazes at the clouds as if there he might find his missing wife and children.
As he kneels and gazes, another Indian rises from amidst the shaggy blocks of lava a short distance off, stands up, and then sits down upon a rock. He turns his head to the east. He too is gaunt and thin, his features are pale, and his eyes lie deep in their sockets. On his back hangs a shield; but it is soiled, beaten, and perforated. To his arm is fastened a war-club, and the quiver on his back is half-filled with newly made arrows. As this Indian turns his face to the north we recognize him also. It is Hayoue, Hayoue as emaciated and careworn as his brother Zashue. They are alone. Neither has found anything yet.
Zashue rises to go where his brother is sitting. As the latter perceives him he points with his arm to the east. There at the farthest end of the plain, at the foot of the
high cloud-veiled mountains, a long row of foot-hills recedes in an angle. To this angle Hayoue is pointing. An untrained eye would have seen nothing but cedar-clad hills and the lower end of slopes dark and frowning, above which seething clouds occasionally disclose higher folds of mountains whose tops are shrouded in mist. But Zashue has no untrained eye; he gazes and gazes; at last he turns around to his brother with an approving nod and says,--
"Puyatye Zaashtesh," Hayoue replies; and each looks at the other inquiringly.
Where we might have seen but the usual dim haze veiling distant objects, they have discovered a bluish tint capping the hills like a pale streak. It denotes the presence of smoke, therefore fire. Not a burning forest, for there is no high timber on that range of foot-hills, but smoke arising from a place where people are dwelling. The roaming mountain Indians, the Apaches or Navajos, settle nowhere permanently. The smoke has not been produced by their straggling camp-fires; it indicates the location of a permanent village. Those village Indians that dwell east of the Rio Grande are Tanos, and the Queres call them Puyatye. There must be a Tano village in that comer far away where the bluish film hovers. Hayoue is right, a Puyatye Zaashtesh stands where to-day lies the capital of New Mexico,--the old Spanish settlement of Santa Ft.
The brothers cast their eyes to the ground; both seem to be in doubt, Zashue is the first to speak.
"Do you suppose that our people might be at that Zaashtesh?"
Hayoue shrugged his shoulders.
"It may be, I don't know."
"Will it be safe for us to go to the Puyatye?" the other inquired doubtfully.
The younger sighs and answers,--
"They have never done wrong to us."
"Still they speak the tongue of the people of Karo."
"It is true, but they live nearer to us."
"But they are Tehuas too, like the people of the north, and--"
Hayoue interrupts him, saying,--
"Our folk have gone to them as often as they wished buffalo-hides, and the Puyatye have received them well, giving them what was right. Why should they now be hard toward us?"
"Still if the Tehuas have gone to see them, saying, 'The Queres from the Tyuonyi came to strike us like Moshome over night; look and see that they do not hurt you also,' and now we come with shield, bow, and arrow, what can the Puyatye think other than that we are Moshome Queres?"
Hayoue feels the weight of this observation; he casts his eye to the ground and remains silent. Zashue continues,--
"It is true that the Moshome Dinne cannot have killed all our people. This we found out on the Rātye," pointing to the Sierra de San Miguel; "ere I killed the old man to take ahtzeta from him, he lifted all of his fingers four times and pointed over here. Do you not think, satyumishe, that he meant to tell me thereby that, forty of our people escaped and fled to Hanyi?"
"I do; and that is the reason why I believe we shall find them in Hashyuko,"--the eastern corner, the Queres name for the place where Santa Fé stands,--replied the other, very positively. "Behold, satyumishe, we have searched everywhere we could, have followed every trail we could follow. Nearly all the tracks were those of our people, of that I am sure, and how far have we not gone after them? Ten days at least we were in the mountains on the tracks of the Moshome Dinne. We fought them and took ahtzeta. At
last we learned that many of our women and children had been taken by those shuatyam and that we never any more could obtain them, also that Okoya was probably not still alive. Then we went south and saw tracks,--small tracks of children, larger ones of women, and a few that were those of men. We went toward Cuame until we could not see the tracks because it had rained, and the rain had washed them away. To go farther was useless, for whither should we go?"
"There are other Zaashtesh farther down the Rio Grande, so the Naua told me," replied Zashue; "but these dwell far, far away,"--he waved his hand to the south,--"where it is very warm and where there are a great many Moshome."
"Those are too far off," Hayoue said, shaking his head; "our people did not go so far without resting. We must have overtaken them, for we rested not."
The elder brother nodded; he was fully conscious that they had never rested on the journey. He felt it now.
"Therefore, brother," Hayoue went on, "I believe that those whom we look for are there," pointing to the east. "In the Sierra del Valle are only those whom the Moshome have captured; the others must have turned back along the river, crossing it to go to the Puyatye; for there are no Moshome over here, and if the Puyatye speak like the Tehuas, their hearts are different and more like ours. I think we should go to the Zaashtesh yonder, at the foot of the big kote where the snow is hanging. If we do not find them there, then I think we should go farther, as far as where the buffaloes are feeding. There are villages there, too, I have been told, and there our people will be. If we once know which of them are alive and free, we shall also know those who are among the Moshome, and can see what to do for them."
"It strikes me," Zashue still objected, "that if the koitza
and the little ones were on this side of the river we must have seen their tracks."
"But it rains, brother," Hayoue replied, looking up at the sky. "The Shiuana send us rain every night and often during the day, and it washes away the footprints. Besides, we have merely followed the river thus far, and our people may have turned inland. There is so much sand on the banks that the rain destroys all foot-marks."
Zashue looked up; a thought had struck him like a flash.
"Have you seen the ravine below here?" He pointed to the south. "How would it do for us to look there? The ravine comes from the river."
"You are right," Hayoue assented, rising and moving slowly on. The strong young man was tired, almost exhausted from endless roaming, searching, spying, and from hunger and thirst combined. Zashue took a more southeasterly direction, so that both struck the brink of the ravine at some distance apart.
From the brink they looked down into a deep cleft, at the bottom of which the little Rio de Santa Fé winds its course toward the Rio Grande. This cleft is the gorge which today is called Cañon de las Bocas. South of it the plateaus continue with barren undulations and whitish hills. They rise gradually to the base of a sombre mountain cluster, the bulk of which was wrapped in clouds, as well as the huge mass of the Sandia chain to its right. Still farther to the right the Rio Grande valley opened. Sand-whirls chased along that valley to meet a shower which was sending rain-streaks into it. A cloud had meanwhile gathered over the heads of the wanderers, thunder reverberated, and the raindrops began to fall. The men paid no attention; they. gazed down at the little torrent beneath, at the groups of poplar-trees on its banks, and at the scattered patches of open ground along its course. Their desire was to descend
into the gorge to search for traces of those whom they longed for.
The descent was impracticable from where they had stopped. A rim of vertical cliffs of lava and trap formed the upper border of the cleft. Suddenly Hayoue exclaimed,--
"Umo, they are not down here, or we should see them from above. Let us go farther, where there are no rocks, and where the stream enters the gorge. If our people have come through here we must find their tracks at the outlet."
"It is well," replied Zashue.
The shower drizzled out; its main force was spent on the southern plateaus, and cool gusts of wind blew across to the north side. When the brothers had clambered down the rugged slope covered with scattered lava-blocks to the sandy nook where now stands the hamlet of the "Ciénéquilla," clouds had again lifted over Hashyuko, and on the slope of the high Sierra the bluish cloudlet swam clear and distinct.
Much water ran in the bed of the river at the mouth of the Bocas, and there was no hope of finding any tracks there.
The men staggered up and down, and at last Zashue stood still, bent over, and appeared to examine something. Then he called aloud,--
"Come over here!" With this he raised something from the ground. Hayoue went over to him, and both looked at the object carefully. It was a piece of cloth made of cotton dyed black, of the size of a hand, tom off but recently, and soiled by mud and moisture. Hayoue nodded; the find pleased him.
"That is from our women," said he.
"The women from the Puyatye," Zashue said doubtingly, "wear skirts like our koitza."
"It is so, but the women from Hashyuko do not go so far from their homes now. Nothing is ripe,--neither cactus, figs, nor yucca fruit. What should they come out here for? When do our women ever go so far from the Zaashtesh?"
"Shotaye used to go farther," objected the elder.
"Shotaye," Hayoue muttered, "Shotaye was--you know what she was! There is none like her in the world. What she may be doing in case she is alive, nobody can tell."
"I wish I knew her to be with Say Koitza now," Zashue sighed.
"Shotaye is dead," his brother asserted. "But I believe that this rag is from our people, and you were right in coming hither. Look!" pointing to the entrance of the Bocas, "they came through there and from the west. Even if we find no trace of them I still believe that they went to Hashyuko and that we shall find them there. Let us go ere it is too late!"
The last words were uttered in such a positive tone that Zashue yielded, and followed his brother, who since their discovery again moved with vigorous strides. Since the last evening neither of them had eaten anything, and their meal then had been scanty enough. The discovery had infused new strength into their exhausted bodies, and the brothers walked on, side by side, as if they were well fed and thoroughly rested. Zashue still remained in doubt; he would rather have made further researches. He knew from the talk of old men that the Tanos inhabited villages farther south, and it was possible that the fugitives, afraid of the dispositions of the Puyatye that lived closer to the Tehuas, had avoided them in order to take refuge at a greater distance from the people of the Puye. But above all, Zashue felt strong misgivings in regard to the reception which he and his brother, both armed as they were, might find at Hashyuko.
Under different circumstances he would have gone to the Tanos without any fear, and would have entered the village as a guest. Now, since the Queres of the Rito and the Tehuas had come to blows, it was possible that the latter had informed their relatives in the southeast of what occurred, and thus made them suspicious of the Queres. He and his brother carried the implements of war, but they were not in war-paint. That looked very suspicious, and they might be taken for spies; and as soon as they should be noticed some of the Tanos might lie in wait for them with evil intentions. If on the other hand Hayoue was right, then all would be right. But he could not agree with his brother on that point. A certain instinct told him that the fugitives had wandered south instead of east. Nevertheless he yielded willingly to the superior energy and determination of Hayoue. Zashue was a weak man, and glad to lean upon a stronger arm, a more determined will.
Hayoue on his part was fully convinced of the correctness of his views. He had no thought of danger. He reflected, and Zashue had overlooked this important point, that, in case the Tehuas notified the Tanos of recent occurrences, they would not fail to boast of their signal triumph, and to represent the defeat of the Queres as akin to complete destruction. Therefore in what light could he and his brother appear to the people of Hashyuko than as fugitives from a tribe well nigh exterminated? Fugitives of that class are always, even by savages, received and treated as guests. Finally, should it come to blows, Hayoue was ready for them also, to give as well as take.
The distance which separated the two men from their place of destination was about twelve English miles. The plain between the upper, or eastern mouth of the Cañon of the Bocas and the foot of the Santa Fé mountain-range rises gradually, and in even but extensive undulations. It
is closed to the north by a broad sandy ridge, which skirts the northern bank of the little Santa Fé stream. That ridge extends from the east, where Santa Fé stands, to the volcanic mesa through which the cleft of the Bocas meanders in the west; and the plain lies south of it, dipping in that direction as well as to the west also. Several ravines with sloping borders run through it from east to west; the nearest one south of the Santa Fé river is called Arroyo Hondo. These gorges or channels are dry except in the rainy season, when torrents of water gush down them for a few hours after some exceedingly violent shower in the mountains. The vegetation of the plain consists mainly of bunch-grass, juniper, and tall, arborescent cacti.
Hayoue took the direction to the northeast, keeping between the Santa Fé Creek on their left and the Arroyo Hondo on the right. As often happens during the after. noon, the sky had begun to clear; and as evening approached, the tall Santa Fé Sierra shone out majestically, free from clouds, the top of "Baldy" covered with snow. The high timber on the lower ridges appeared distinct, and the folds of the mountain-sides clothed in vivid green alternated with black yet luminous shadows. A cool wind blew from the south in gusts, and the wanderers hastened their steps lest night should overtake them ere they could reach the village, now distinguishable below the blue cloud of smoke as a reddish protuberance on a bleak hill.
Zashue stood still, and beckoned his brother to do the same and listen. From the direction they were going came faint cries; the brothers looked at each other.
"There are Puyatye over there," said Hayoue.
"Ko!" assented Zashue, then as if making a discovery he added, "They are hunting rabbits and hares."
"You are right, surely they hunt rabbits," said Hayoue, his eyes brightening at the suggestion.
"What shall we do?" Zashue asked.
"We will go to them at once," said the other. "That is very good, very good for us indeed, for if they hunt rabbits all their yaya and nashtio will be there too."
One of the broad swellings which traverse the Santa Fé plain lay between the young men and the place whence the sounds came; it concealed the hunters from their gaze, but the manner in which the cries seemed to shift proved that they were swiftly moving to and fro. Zashue felt greatly relieved, for his explanation that the Tanos might be on a general hunt for rabbits was probably true, and it was a very good sign. The rabbit-hunt is usually a prelude to solemn dances, therefore it was not likely that the Tanos suspected danger or had any knowledge of events at the Puye.
The great rabbit-hunt, still practised by all the Pueblos several times during each year, is a communal undertaking, a religious ceremony, in which not only the men take part, but the women and children also. The object is to obtain the skins which the chief penitents use for some sacramental purpose. It is also a feast and a day of rejoicing and merriment for the whole village. The hunt is under the direction of the principal war captain, and the leading dignitaries share the sport. Long prayers around a fire which is started outside of the pueblo opens the performance. The game is hunted and killed with clubs, and a lively and sometimes amusing rivalry is displayed by both sexes in securing the rabbits, which often gives rise to very ludicrous scenes. Sometimes the hunt is continued for several days in succession.
When the brothers reached the crest of the undulation, they witnessed sights that to a stranger would have been nearly incomprehensible. Men, women, and children were running back and forth in every direction, no longer chasing game, but playing, laughing, romping, with loud and
boisterous talk. Small groups were already going home loaded with game, others with empty hands, to the great amusement and merciless jeering of the successful hunters. Among the former were men dressed in the costume of women, while with the lucky ones women in male attire paraded proudly. It was an animated picture spread over a wide expanse, but it was moving back to the village in the east; and when the Indians from the Rito stood still to observe, there remained in their immediate vicinity only a few men in female garb. Beyond them stood a group of five or six persons, laughing and jesting.
Over the broad plain there rested a mild, subdued glow of pleasant twilight; the highest summits of the Sierra glistened in fiery hues.
Hayoue stepped up boldly, his brother keeping alongside watchfully. He was ready, not to flee, but to hide, and use the bow in case of necessity. They were noticed by those standing nearest. The men in women's garb were busy breaking twigs and branches, or cutting them off with stone implements. At the sight of strangers, they suspended work and stared. Hayoue laid aside his bow and quiver, and extended his right hand, calling out,--
No answer came. Zashue could not control his mirth at the sight of the men in such guise; he broke out in a ringing laugh, pointed at them, and shouted, "Puyatye!" then to himself with the exclamation, "Koshare!"
The salutations called forth no reply. The Tanos continued to stare. It was not merely astonishment which caused them to remain motionless; there was quite as much embarrassment on their part. For these men in women's wraps had had to assume the costumes as a punishment, because they had allowed women to outwit or out-hunt them in the joint pursuit of the same animal. Whenever a
man and a woman, during one of these ceremonial hunts, chase the same rabbit, and the woman succeeds in slaying it, then her male competitor must exchange his dress for that of the successful woman, who in turn proudly, amidst applause and jeerings, assumes the garb of the male. The man thereafter has to go on hunting until he kills a rabbit himself, and can by offering it to the woman reclaim his clothing. All are not lucky enough to succeed, and it happens sometimes that the hunt is over before their efforts are successful. Such unfortunates are required to gather a load of firewood as big as they can carry, and bring it to the house of the woman holding their clothes in pledge. Thereupon the dresses are exchanged, and the night passes in the usual childish amusements for the many, in religious rites for the religious functionaries.
The men first seen by the brothers betrayed by their dress and occupation that they belonged to the unlucky ones. They saw at a glance that the new-comers were village Indians; they also recognized from their behaviour that they came with friendly intentions. This increased their embarrassment, for they knew, or at least supposed, that the strangers would see at once the cause of their strange appearance. So great was their uneasiness, that one of them crouched behind a bush to hide.
Meanwhile all the Tehuas, who had been standing some distance off, came running up, with the exception of one, who was seen going toward the pueblo at full speed. The others held their wooden clubs ready, in case of trouble, Hayoue advanced toward them in his usual unconcerned way, and saluted them with
Zashue had remained behind, keeping an eye on the weapons which both of them had laid on the ground.
The Tanos whispered and whispered. They evidently
guessed at the meaning of Hayoue's words, for one of them stepped up, and replied with the usual compliment in Tehua,--
Each grasped the other's hand. Hayoue uttered "Queres," and pointing to the west, "Tyuonyi."
To this speech the other replied by pointing at himself and at his comrades with the word "Tano;" then at the village, which was still dimly visible in the twilight, "Oga P Hoge." 1 Thereupon he made the gesture-sign for sleep, and breathed on Hayoue's hand. The latter responded to the compliment and gave Zashue a signal to come nearer. When Zashue rejoined the group they all greeted the Queres in the same manner, and the one who was still holding Hayoue's hand began to pull him along, urging him to go to the village with them. The adventurers from the Rito felt that they might be welcome. Zashue even made an eccentric, clownish jump, exclaiming,--
"Koshare raua! Raua Koshare!"
Boisterous laughter broke out. One of the Tanos threw his arm around Zashue's neck, shouting at the top of his voice,--
"Hiuonde tema kosare!" He pressed him to his breast, whispering,--
"Oga P Hoge Pare!"
No mistake was possible; the Tano was a brother, a Koshare like Zashue, and delighted to meet another from the far-distant west. More and more lively the men became on both sides; clumsy attempts at explanation were made;
words, signs, gestures passed between them, while walking briskly on; and all were merry and in good spirits.
It was night. Behind the gigantic wall of mountains in the east a whitish glare arose, the light of the rising moon. The group had reached the banks of the Rio de Santa Fé, near where now stands the church of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. Before them lay a dusky wilderness, abutting against steep hills. On the highest of those, which overlooks the present town in the north, a terraced mound could be distinguished, and from its sides luminous points twinkled in ruddy light. The thumping of drums, shrill flutes, and an undefined noise rhythmic in its character, in which human voices and numerous rattles were confusedly mingled, issued from a quarter above which a glow arose like that of a fire burning within. That irregular pile was the pueblo of Oga P Hoge; it stood where Fort Marcy was subsequently erected by the United States troops.
The moon had risen and rested on the higher crests of the mountains. Its light penetrated the basin in which now the town of Santa Fé extends, on both banks of the little stream and south of it. When to-day the moon thus stands over the heights, and looks down the turrets and cupolas of the capitol, hospitals and seminaries glisten in phosphorescent light, and the towers of the cathedral loom up solemnly, casting on the ground before it jet-black shadows. Over elegant dwellings, over modest flat roofs of adobe houses, over military buildings, institutes for the education of those of all races and creeds, the moonlight rest peacefully. Brilliant music sounds in the plaza from the heights; in the northwest a spark rushes down in serpentine windings nearer and nearer,--the approaching railway train! From the south a shrill whistle is heard,--another iron horse sweeping up with people and news from the outside world. Shade-trees rustle in the evening breeze, and their
leaves dance, alternately plunged in silvery brightness and transparent night.
To-day the heights of Fort Marcy are deserted, bleak by daylight, pale and yet frowning when shines the moon. Since the seventeenth century life has sprung up at its base. At the time when Hayoue and Zashue lived, life was above, and looked down upon a wilderness beneath. To-day the hills are wild. Formerly juniper-bushes, cedar, and cactus alone peopled the banks of the river, growing along the rills and on the drift-heaps formed by the torrent.
The group of men, with Hayoue and Zashue in their midst, halted on the south bank. This did not suit Zashue; it struck him as rather unfriendly or at least as suspicious. Their companions were evidently waiting for orders, ere they crossed the river.
A man came splashing through the water and called out something, which the Queres of course did not understand. At once all conversation ceased, and the Tanos became silent and grave. The new-comer spoke first; he spoke rapidly and in a low voice, then grasped Hayoue's hand to breathe on it, and held it fast. Zashue's hands as well had been seized by two Tanos. His bow and quiver had been removed from him under some friendly pretext. They were disarmed. Then all moved on, forded the stream, and took a trail that led directly to the foot of the hill where stood the pueblo. All sounds of merriment above were hushed, nothing moved but the men and the night wind rustling through the shrubbery. At the foot of the high hill other Indians came up; these were armed, and they followed the group.
All this looked ominous. They were no longer treated as guests; they were prisoners! Zashue was not so much surprised as Hayoue, for he had always mistrusted. Hayoue inwardly raved. He reproached himself for not having listened
to his brother's warnings, for having allowed his rashness, his conceit, his over-confidence, to prevail to such an extent as to fall into a trap which he felt sure the Tanos had artfully laid and cunningly sprung upon them. Still all his indignation and rage were of no avail. Even if he were able to free himself from the grasp of his guards, and to escape the arrow-shots that would be aimed at the fugitive, he saw no chance for him in the relentless chase that would follow. All advantages would be on the side of the Tanos, who knew the country, whereas he was a total stranger. Nothing was left him but to resign himself to his fate and to await the course of events. It was hard for the proud, self-glorious young warrior; it was not only hard but if he took into consideration his overbearing manner toward Zashue, a punishment justly merited. Hayoue hung his head, crestfallen and in bitter wrath.
At last some one came down the steep hill, muttered a few words, and the ascent began. Nobody turned back to glance at the moonlit expanse that was unfolding itself more and more beneath. A dismal yelping sounded from below, the voice of a coyote from the banks of the stream. The wolf had followed the returning hunters. He licked the blood trickling from the dead game and called his comrades. Other voices answered in the neighbourhood; from various parts of the basin the barking died away in a mournful, dismal wail mingled with shrieks, sobs, and fiendish laughter. It rose from the depths, filling the air, re-echoing from the hills, and changing its modulations, a horrible chorus of moans and groans alternating with exclamations of hellish triumph. A shiver passed through both the prisoners; their entrance into Oga P Hoge took place with dismal prognostications.
The pueblo was built in the shape of a rectangle. The north and east sides of it formed a continuous structure;
narrow alleys separated them from the south and the west sides, and between the two there was also an alley of entrance and exit. Through the latter therefore, on the southwest corner, the Tanos entered an open space like a large court-yard, surrounded by the terraced buildings composing the village.
At the approach of the group, human forms had appeared on the flat roofs and peered down upon the prisoners with curious eyes. As soon as the captives entered the square, the number of spectators increased; they came out from the interior, from lower stories, down from the upper tier, men, women, and children. They descended into the square, and the whole population of the village, about four hundred souls, gathered around the strangers and their guard. All the able-bodied men were not among them. A dozen videttes were distributed on the flat roofs, and nearly fifty warriors, hastily armed and equipped, had scattered at some distance from the buildings along the hills throughout the basin, to intercept a possible flight, as well as to guard approaches in case the two prisoners should be merely advance scouts of a larger body of enemies. Of all this Hayoue and Zashue knew nothing, of course; but they noticed that the throng about them was not friendly, that an ominous silence prevailed. Hardly a whisper was heard; a few women only gesticulated wildly.
The Tanos dropped the hands of their captives, but they remained around them still. For a long while they were left to stand; nobody brought them food, nobody offered them water to allay their thirst. The whispering grew louder; it sounded like murmured threats.
At last the hands of the strangers were again seized and they were led across the square to the northeastern comer. The throng opened in front of them as they advanced, closing in behind, and all following like children after a procession. [paragraph continues]
Some ran along the walls, eager to be near and on hand when the strangers came up. Their curiosity was soon gratified, for the square was small. At the foot of one of the notched beams another halt was made. Two of the guards climbed up and exchanged a few words with an Indian sitting on the roof. Then Hayoue was signalled to follow. A Tano came behind him; after him Zashue, and then two armed men. The crowd had meanwhile closed up against the wall, pressing eye and ear against the air-holes, out of which the firelight shone. Nobody attempted to climb the roof, but all remained below, a moving, wrangling crowd of people illuminated by the placid light of the moon.
Another delay occurred on the roof. The wanderers heard loud talking beneath their feet, and concluded that the council sat in a room below, and that they would be led before that august body. There was some consolation in this fact, for it showed at least that they would not be slaughtered at once. But how should they defend themselves? Nobody understood their language, any more than they understood that of the Tanos! The situation seemed desperate. Hayoue, as well as Zashue, felt helpless; but they had to submit to the inevitable. After all, death would put an end to everything; it is beautiful at Shipapu,--there is constant dancing and singing; the girls are always young and the women never too old.
Hayoue's hand was again grasped by one of the guards, and he was motioned to descend into the apartment below. Zashue had to follow. They found themselves in a long room, whose whitewashed walls reflected the light of a small fire burning on a rude hearth. Close to the hearth sat a man whom the prisoners at once supposed to be the puyo, or governor. By his side sat another, a small figure, somewhat wrinkled. He wore nothing but a breech-clout
of buckskin, for it was summer. Several aged men were gathered in the neighbourhood of the fire. Although none of them wore either ornaments or badges, it was easy to surmise that they were the principal shamans. Along the wall sat, lounged, or squatted the clan delegates, so that all in all there were present about eighteen persons, including the prisoners. Outside, the faces and eyes of listeners appeared from time to time through the air-holes.
The man whom the two Queres rightly took to be the civil chief, motioned them, adding, "Sit down."
They obeyed, and remained sitting with downcast looks. The councilmen glanced at them furtively from time to time. None of them spoke. At last a whisper was heard, and now a voice said in the Queres dialect,--
"Whither are you going?"
Hayoue started, and stared about in the room, looking for the man who in this foreign country spoke his own language. When he finally discovered that it was the small old man sitting by the side of the governor, he gaped at him with lips parted, and an expression akin to fright. He had acquired a dim knowledge of the fact that it might be possible for one man to know more than one language, but he had never met such a prodigy as yet. After the first surprise was over, he still stared at the speaker with inquisitive glances, eager to see whether it was possible to speak two dialects with one and the same tongue. Zashue was less startled. He knew that there were people who had learned a speech different from the one to which they were born. Therefore he replied to the query,--
"We are searching for our women, our daughters, and our children."
"Why do you look for them here? We have them not," said the old man.
"Because we have hunted for them everywhere else and have not found them."
"Are you alone?" continued his interlocutor. "I and my brother are alone," Zashue asserted. Why did your koitza and makatza leave you? The Moshome drove them off."
"The Moshome?" The inquisitor criticised his words.
Hayoue had recovered from his surprise. He interjected in a loud, blunt voice,--
"While the men went out to strike the Tehuas, the Moshome Dinne came upon us. We were only a few, and the shuatyam laid waste our corn, and killed many women. Many more, however, fled; we do not know whither. These we have gone out to find; we are looking for them this day here among you, but you have taken us captives. You have treated us, not as it is customary between the Zaashtesh, but as the Moshome are wont to do when strangers come to their hogans." He looked down again, angry. Zashue endeavoured to give him a warning sign, but Hayoue saw it not.
The old man smiled. Afterward he translated to the Tanos what had been said. His communication excited considerable attention. At the close of his speech, one of the medicine-men replied in a few words. The interpreter turned again to the Queres, asking,--
"Why did the people of the Tyuonyi come upon our brethren in the north by night, like shutzuna? The men from the Puye had done them no harm."
"No harm?" Hayoue broke out. "Did they not murder the best, the bravest, the wisest man, our father the maseua? Was it not enough? If you do not call that a bad, a base deed, then you and all of you are as bad and as base as the Tehuas."
The old man's features remained placid. He replied in a quiet tone, but his manner was cool and measured.--
"I know that you believe that the Tehuas killed your maseua. I know it well; for Shotaye, who now is called Aua Pho Quio, and who lives with Cayamo in the homes at the Puye, came to warn the Tehuas that the Queres were coming over against them. But it is not true. It was not our brethren from the north, it was the Moshome Dinne." He uttered the name with marked emphasis. "They killed the maseua of your tribe."
We recognize in the interpreter the same old man who served the Tehuas in their first interviews with Shotaye. The Tehuas had despatched him to the Tanos, in order to inform the latter of their signal triumph, and to put them on their guard against the Queres. It was a lucky hour for Hayoue and Zashue, especially for the former, when the old man reached the Tanos.
The two adventurers were thunderstruck. Speechless, with heads bowed, they sat in utter amazement at what they were being told. Everything was so completely new to them, and yet it explained so much, that they were unable to collect their minds at once. The Tanos saw their confusion. What the interpreter told them of the replies of the prisoners had already created much interest, and now their embarrassed state attracted still greater attention. The interpreter, therefore, was prompted to further question them.
"When the Queres moved against the Tehuas, were you along?"
"No," Zashue replied sullenly.
"Have many of your people returned from the north?"
"Enough to hold their own against all who speak your language," Hayoue retorted.
The old man blinked; he had put an imprudent question. After a short pause, he asked again,--
"Why did you alone go out to seek for your people?
"Because," Hayoue indignantly retorted, "the others had to remain at home to protect the weak ones, in case the Moshome Tehua came for the leavings of the Moshome Dinne." He accompanied these already insulting words with looks of defiance, glancing around with eyes flashing, and lips scornfully curled. His wrath was raised to the highest pitch; he could not control himself.
Fortunately for him the Tanos did not understand his words, and the interpreter was shrewd enough to see that the young man thought himself justly angry, and withheld his insulting speech from his listeners. He comprehended the position of the strangers, and understood what their feelings must be. He had no doubt in regard to their sincerity and truthfulness. An important point which he realized was the present weakened condition of the Queres tribe. He turned to the meeting and spoke long and earnestly. His speech was followed with the closest attention, and Zashue, who felt more composed than his younger brother, noticed that the words fell on ready ears. A short discussion followed, in which every one participated in turn; at last all seemed unanimous, and the interpreter, avoiding Hayoue, who sat with eyes gleaming like a loaded electric battery ready to send off flying and burning sparks, turned to Zashue with the query,--
"Have you any trace of your people?"
Zashue related everything in a simple and truthful manner,--how they came to the determination to visit the village, with the intention in case there should be none of the fugitives here to turn southward and continue their search among the southern pueblos. Every word he said was afterward translated to the council; the tuyo delivered a short address; and the interpreter spoke to the two young men in a solemn, dignified manner, as follows:--
"It is well! My brethren say that you are welcome. [paragraph continues]
They also say that you should forgive them for having suspected you. The people on the Tyuonyi wronged those at the Puye, and that was not good! But now, since the hand of Those Above has stricken the Queres, we will no longer be Moshome, but brethren, and will forget what has come between us. Are we not all one, we who wear the hair in sidelocks,--one from the beginning; and have we not all come forth at the same place? You are welcome!"
The speaker paused, glancing at the governor. The latter rose, went over to Zashue, took his hand, breathed on it, and lifted it upward. He did the, same to Hayoue; then he returned to his seat and gave a sign to the interpreter, who went on,--
"Those whom you long for are not here. But it may be that as you say, brother,"--he directed these words to Zashue--"they went to our people farther south. In a few days I will have to go thither, and will be your guide. Meanwhile eat the food and drink the water offered you by those who speak a tongue different from yours, but whose hearts are like your heart, and who like you pray to Those Above. He who dwells up there is our father and your father; she who has her home on high is our mother and your mother. Therefore the mothers and fathers of the Tanos say to you through me that it is well that you should stay here. Be welcome!"
Involuntarily Zashue uttered a deeply felt "Hoā" of relief. Hayoue nodded, and sighed as if breathing freer again. The great medicine-man arose, scattered sacred meal, and uttered a prayer to which all the others listened in deep silence. Then he went to greet the strangers in the customary manner. One by one the others followed,--the second medicine-man, the other chief officials, finally the delegates of the clans. Every one grasped their hands and
went through the same ceremonies. The council was ended, and to every one's satisfaction.
Last came the old interpreter, and greeted them, saying,--
"I am Chang Doa, what you call Mokatsh hanutsh, 'panther clan.' Where do you belong?"
"Tzitz hanutsh," Zashue quickly responded.
The old man turned to one of the delegates.
"Father," he called to him in his language, "our sons belong to your people. Will you take them with you, or shall they go to the summer cacique?"
The other reflected a short while, then he replied,
"The summer cacique is busy; let the brethren come with me. I will lead them to the homes of Pho Doa."
News of the happy result of the council had already spread outside. When the prisoners of a few hours ago, now transformed into honoured guests, stepped down into the square, every one looked at them pleasantly. The throng dispersed, but many followed them into the houses of the Water clan, where they were treated to the primitive food of those times. Soon they retired to rest on simple couches, there to forget the hardships and dangers they had suffered during the day.
Outside, the deepest silence reigned. The pueblo on the steep hill and the desert plain below shone in the rays of the moon, peacefully, as though they too would slumber. From the thickets along the little stream arose a faint twitter; louder and louder it sounded, and rose heavenward in full, melodious strains, soaring on high through the stillness of the night; it was the mocking-birds' greeting to the hour of rest.
453:1 "Oga P Hoge" is the name given to Santa Fé by the Tehuas of Santa Clara. The Tehuas of San Juan call it "Cua P Hoge," the place or village of the shell beads, or of the shells (Olivilla ) from which they make the beads which they so highly prize. In the sixteenth century that pueblo was already deserted.