« PrejšnjaNaprej »
in length. He took deliberate aim, but just as the arrow left the bow the boy made a peculiar sound and leaped into the air. Immediately the arrow was shivered into a thousand splinters, and the boy was seen standing on the top of a bright rainbow over the spot where the dragon's aim had been directed. Soon the rainbow was gone and the boy was standing on the ground again. Four times this was repeated, then the boy said, 'Dragon, stand here; it is my time to shoot.' The dragon said, 'All right, your little arrows cannot pierce my first coat of horn, and I have three other coats—shoot away. The boy shot an arrow, striking the dragon just over the heart, and one coat of the great horny scales fell to the ground. The next shot another coat fell, and then another, and the dragon's heart was exposed. Then the dragon trembled, but could not
Before the fourth arrow was shot the boy said, 'Uncle, you are dumb with fear; you have not moved; come here or the dragon will fall on you.' His uncle ran toward him. Then he sped the fourth arrow with true aim, and it pierced the dragon's heart. With a tremendous roar the dragon rolled down the mountain sidedown four precipices into a canyon below.
“Immediately storm clouds swept the mountains, lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the rain poured. When the rainstorm had passed, far down in the canyon below, they could see fragments of the huge body of the dragon lying among the rocks, and the bones of this dragon may still be found there.
“This boy's name was Apache. Usen taught him how to prepare herbs for medicine, how to
hunt, and how to fight. He was first chief of the Indians and wore eagle's feathers as the sign of justice, wisdom and power. To him, and to his people, as they were created, Usen gave homes in the land of the west."
Usen is the Apache word for God. It is used here because it implies the attributes of deity that are held in their primitive religion.
Apache” means "Enemy.”) The Apaches believed that when God, or Usen, created the Apaches, he also created their homes in the west, and gave to them such game, fruits and grain as they needed for their sustenance. He gave them different herbs to restore their health when disease attacked them. He taught them where to find these herbs and how to prepare them for medicine, and gave them, above all, a climate, with all needed clothing and shelter at hand. This was in the beginning, and accounts, perhaps, for the intense love the Apache held for his home in the west, for he believed that these ranges were provided for him and his posterity by Usen himself.
Geronimo says that when a child, his mother taught him the religion of his people; taught him of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught him to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection. They never prayed against any person, but if they had aught against an individual, they, themselves, took vengeance. They were taught that Usen did not care for the petty quarrels of men.
In gathering herbs and administering medicine, says Geronimo, as much faith was held in prayer as in the actual effect of the medicine. Usually about eight persons worked together in making medicine, and there were forms of prayer and incantations to attend each stage of the process. Four attended to the incantations, and four to the preparation of the herbs. Their life had a religious side. They had no churches, no religious organizations, or Sabbath day, or holidays, yet they worshipped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing and pray. Sometimes a smaller number, perhaps two or three. The ngs had a few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes they prayed in silence; sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all. At other times one would rise and speak of their duties to one another and to Usen. Their services were short.
The Apaches recognized no duties to any man outside of their tribe. It was no sin to kill enemies or to rob them. However, if they accepted any favor from a stranger, or allowed him to share their comforts in any way, he became (by adoption) related to the tribe, and they must recognize their duty to him.
This probably accounts for the influence which Captain Jeffords exercised over Cochise's band. He had entered Cochise's camp alone; enjoyed his hospitality, and thereafter became, according to Jeffords' own statement, his brother.
When disease or pestilence abounded, they were assembled and questioned by their leaders to ascertain the cause, and what harm had been done, and how Usen could be satisfied. Sometimes sacrifice was necessary. Sometimes the offending one was punished. This was the case, undoubtedly, where the medicine man, having failed in his cure, denounced some old woman or old man as a witch, who was promptly sacrificed on the spot.
Mike Burns, in his writings about the Apaches, gives the following in reference to the medicine men, etc.:
“It was not every Indian who knew what plants and herbs were good for medicine, only the medicine men and the medicine women, who, it was believed, were influenced by a great spirit. It was also believed that some of the women were influenced by a great evil spirit, and those who have that power do not willingly attend anyone who is sick, unless forced to come and sing over the persons whom they have made sick. Usually a great medicine man claims that the interpretation revealed to him in a vision, points to a certain person as having brought the sickness to the patient, and she must come close or beside the patient and begin singing for the evil spirit to come out from the person's heart. They sing to the evil spirit to drive ,out the wormy things which are destroying the heart. Some men, too, are suspected of having an evil spirit influence them, and they will be strung up to a tree until they confess that they did the things complained of or of which they are suspected. When they confess they are asked if they are willing to go to the sick person and drive out the evil spirit, which they usually agree to do, and if the sick person has not gone too far, they generally recover. If, however, the sick person should die, then the man or woman who is influenced by the evil spirit, and who is singing over the patient, is usually killed on the spot. This killing of those who are suspected of possessing an evil spirit, has been the cause of many of the separations which occur in the Apache tribes, for the killing of one person on this account sometimes brings on the killing of others, and then families separate. Some days they would have the ghost dance, fixing themselves up like skeletons, their heads being so painted that they appeared to have no hair, and very small eyes.
“At one time there were fifteen hundred Indians sick at Camp Cottonwood, and it was believed that Dr. Williams had put something in the beef to make the Indians sick. Then a man died, and a medicine man in his visions had foreseen that a young woman in one of the camps was possessed of many evil spirits and had caused that man to die. So a brother of the dead man went to the woman and killed her. This woman had no mother, but had a father, and there was a young single man who lived with them. The father made no attempt to do anything after his daughter was killed, but the young man went over to the other camp and shot at the man who had killed the young woman. He missed his man, and killed another man, and then lit out for the hills. This left the old man alone in the camp, and the other parties came and killed him.
“In another camp a boy died; the father blamed the mother for the death of the boy, so he killed her. Shortly afterwards disease spread