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The Enchanted Burro
of NEW MEXICO and
AUTHOR OF The LandofPo-
co Tiempo,Strange Corners
of Our Country, A Tramp
Across the Continent, etc
CHICAGO: WAY AND
COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY WAY & WILLIAMS
THE ILLUSTRATIONS ARE FROM DRAWINGS BY CHARLES
ABEL CORWIN AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR
The name that stood for such a friend is tall
enough for two-
My oldest on the old frontier, my newest on the
Nor is it on my heart to pray my baby's feet be
So rugged paths (companioned so) as once his
THE ENCHANTED BURRO (New Mexico) 1
THE MUMMY-MINER (Peru) 25
A BOY OF THE ANDES (Peru) 43
A DAUGHTER OF THE MISTI (Peru) 65
THE WITCH DEER (New Mexico) 85
FELIPE'S SUGARING-OFF (Peru) 99
ANDRES, THE ARRIERO (Bolivia) 111
OUR YELLOW SLAVE 141
THE PEAK OF GOLD (New Mexico) .161
PABLO'S DEER HUNT (New Mexico) 179
CANDELARIA'S CURSE (New Mexico) .203
THE HABIT OF THE FRAGILE (Peru) 219
THE GREAT MAGICIAN 241
THE BALSA BOY OF LAKE TITI-CACA 257
IT is given unto many to know enough, by
a few days in a Pullman or a hotel (or
even a reference library at home), to make
a book about a country. But not unto me.
It has taken more than a dozen arduous,
costly years to beat into me what little I
hope I know about our frontier and Spanish-
America. To learn new languages and
study innumerable old documents was but
one side of the task; everywhere, and
among many strange people, it was also
necessary to become "one of the family,"
to share their speech and their ideas, their
pleasures and their hardships-in a word,
to live their life. One must do that to
know; and some are too vain to write with-
out knowing, in this narrow world where
the blunderer is sure to be exposed. Our
notions are far more influenced, in the ag-
gregate, by the local color of fiction than by
the cold lines of monographs; so perhaps
even stories have a right to be honest work.
Most of those in this little book are epi-
sodes I was some part of; and all are truth-
ful. I hope that they are not, on this ac-
count, any duller than if they had been
Los ANGELES, CAL.
List of Illustrations
FRONTISPIECE-" Lelo dropped his arms on
his hoe," etc. .
"Clapped notch to bowstring, etc. 17
"For it was not a stone at all. 38
"The mules stopped suddenly," etc.- 46
Boy of the Andes.
"Transita was left clinging to the broken
edge, etc. 77
Daughter of the Misti.
"'Run for yourself!' cried Luis." 91
The Witch Deer.
"As if the fate of nations hung upon his eyes." 103
"There was a tremendous swoosh of wings
past him." 131
Andre's the Arriero.
"On the rough stone bench along the walls
sat five men." 135
Andres the Arriero.
"Paying no heed to the forlorn watcher on
the shore." 180
Pablo's Deer Hunt.
"Blood, water of life, come back to the brook
of the heart." 194
Pablo's Deer Hunt.
"When Pablo toiled up the hill of ruins." 198
Pablo's Deer Hunt.
"Pedro stepped out upon the log, etc. 212
"Vicente, in a flash of rage, flung himself
at his legs," etc. 235
The Habit of the Fraile.
"A limp bundle, whose head drooped on my
Balsa Boy of Lake Titi-Caca.
The Enchanted Burro
The Enchanted Burro.
TELO dropped the point of his heavy irri-
gating hoe and stood with chin dented
upon the rude handle, looking intently to the
east. Around his bare ankles the rill from
the acdquia* eddied a moment and then
sucked through the gap in the little ridge of
earth which bounded the irrigating bed.
The early sun was yellow as gold upon the
crags of the mesat-that league-long front
of ragged cliffs whose sandstones, black-
capped by the lava of the immemorial Year
of Fire, here wall the valley of the Rio
Grande on the west. Where a spur of the
frowning Kimai runs out is a little bay in
the cliffs; and here the outermost fields of
Isleta were turning green with spring. The
young wheat swayed and whispered to the
water, whose scouts stole about amid the
stalks, and came back and called their fel-
lows forward, and spread hither and yon,
Ah-say-kee-ah. Irrigating ditch.
t May-sah. Table land.
2 The Enchanted Burro.
till every green blade was drinking and the
tide began to creep up the low boundaries
at either side. Up at the sluice gate a small
but eager stream was tumbling from the
big, placid ditch, and on it came till it struck
the tiny dam which closed the furrow just
beyond Lelo, and, turning, stole past him
again to join the rest amid the wheat. The
irrigating bed, twenty feet square, filled
and filled, and suddenly the gathered pud-
dle broke down a barrier and came romp-
ing into the next bed without so much as
saying "By your leave." And here it was
not so friendly; for, forgetting that it had
come only to bring a drink, it went stam-
peding about, knocking down the tender
blades and half covering them with mud.
At sound of this, Lelo seemed suddenly to
waken, and lifting with his hoe the few clods
which dammed the furrow, he dropped
them into the first gap, and jumping into
the second bed repaired its barrier also
with a few strokes. Then he let in a gen-
tler stream from the furrow.
Poco, and I should have lost a bed," he
said to himself, goodnaturedly. Blas always
took things easy, and I presume that is the
reason no one ever called him anything but
Lelo* Slow-poke '"- for Indian boys are
The Enchanted Burro.
as given to nicknames as are any others, and
the mote had stuck to him ever since its in-
vention. He was rather slow--this big,
powerful boy, with a round, heavy chin and
a face less clear-cut than was common in
the pueblo. Old 'Lipe had taken to wife a
Navajo captive, and all could see that the
boy carried upon his father's strong frame
the flatter, more stolid features of his
mother's nomad people.
But now the face seemed not quite so
heavy; for again he was looking toward the
pueblo and bending his head as one who
listens for afar whisper. There it came
again--a faint, faint air which not one of
us could have heard, but to this Indian boy
it told of shouts and mingled wails.
"What will be?" cried Lelo, stamping
his hoe upon the barrier, and with unwonted
fire in his eyes. "For surely I hear the
voice of women lamenting, and there are
men's shouts as in anger. Something heavy
it will be-and perhaps I am needed."
Splashing up to the ditch, he shut the gate
and threw down his hoe, and a moment
later was running toward Isleta with the
long, heavy, tireless stride that was the
jest of the other boys in the rabbit hunt,
but left Lelo not so very far behind them
4 The Enchanted Burro.
In the pueblo was, indeed, excitement
enough. Little knots of the swart people
stood here and there, talking earnestly but
low; in the broad, flat plaza were many hur-
rying to and fro; and in the street beyond
was a great crowd about a house whence
arose the long, wild wails of mourners.
"What is, tio Diego?" asked Lelo, stop-
ping where a number of men stood in
gloomy silence. "What has befallen? For
even in the milfa* I heard the cries, and
came running to see."
"It is ill," answered the old man he had
addressed as uncle. "It seems that Those
Above are angry with us! For this morn-
ing the captain of war finds himself dead in
bed--and scalped/ And no tracks of man
were about his door."
"Ay, all is ill!" groaned a short, heavy-
set man, in a frayed blanket. "For yester-
day, comingfrom the llanot with my burro,f
I met a stranger-a bdrbaro. And, blow-
ing upon Paloma, he bewitched the poor
beast so that it sprang off the trail and was
killed at the bottom of the cliff. It lacked
only that Last month it was the raid of
the Cumanche; and, though we followed
*Meel-pah. Field. tL'yah-no. Plain.
tThe quaint little Spanish-American donkey. Pro-
The Enchanted Burro.
and slew many of the robbers and got back
many animals, yet mine were not found,
and this was the very last that remained
"Pero, Don 'Colas!" cried Lelo, "your
burro I saw this very morning as I went to
the field before the sun. Paloma it was,. -:'
with the white face and the white hind foi:;t R = .
-for do I not know him we,1-,? Ie was '
passing through the ba-u'es under the cliffs
at the point, and turned to look at me as I
crossed the fields below."
"Vaya!" cried Nicolas, angrily. "Did
I not see him, with these my eyes, jump the
cliff of two hundred feet yesterday, and
with these my hands feel him at the foot
that he was dead? Go, with your stories of
a stupid, for -"
But here the alguazil, who was one of the
group, interrupted: "Lelo has no fool's
eyes, and this thing I shall look into. Since
this morning, many things look suspicious.
Come, show me where fell thy burro-for
to me all these doings are cousins one to
Nicolas, with angry confidence, accom-
panied the broad-shouldered Indian sheriff,
and their companions followed silently.
Across the adobe-walled gardens they
trudged, and into the sandy "draw," whose
The Enchanted Burro.
trail led along the cliff and up among the
jumble of fallen crags at one side.
"Yonder he jumped off," said 'Colas,
"and fell- But even then he rubbed
his eyes and turned pale. For where he
had left the limp, bleeding carcass of poor
Paloma only twenty-four hours before,
there was now nothing to be seen. Only,
upon a rock, were a few red blotches.
"What is this!" demanded the alguazil,
sternly. "Hast thou hidden him away?
Claro that something fell here-for there is
blood and a tuft of hair upon yon stone.
But where is the burro?"
"How should I hide him, since he was
dead as the rocks? It is witchcraft, I tell
you- for see There are no tracks of him
going away, even where the earth is soft.
And for the coyotes and wildcats-they
would have left his bones. The Gentile I
met--e is the witch. First he gave the
evil eye to my poor beast, that it killed it-
self; and now he has flown away in its shape
to do other ills."
"It can be so," mused the sheriff, gravely;
"but in the meantime there is no remedy -
I have to answer to the Fathers of Medicine
for you who bring such stories of dead
burros, but cannot show them. For, I tell
you, this has something to say for the deed
The Enchanted Burro.
that was done in the pueblo this morning.
Half an hour later, poor Nicolas was
squatted disconsolately upon the bare floor
of the adobe jail-that simple prison from
which no one of the simple prisoners ever
thinks to dig out. It is not so much the
clay wall that holds them, as the authority
of law, which no Pueblo ever yet questioned.
"'Colis's burro" was soon in every
mouth. The strange story of its death
and its reappearance to Lelo were not to be
mocked at. So it used to be, that the ani-
mals were as people; and every one knew
that there were witches still who took the
forms of brutes and flew by night to work
mischief. Perhaps it was some wizard of
the Cumanche who thus, by the aid of the
evil ones, was avenging the long-haired
horse-thieves who had fallen at Tajique.*
And now Pascual, returning from a ranch
across the river, made known that, sitting
upon his roof all night to think of the year,
he had been aware of a burro that passed
down the street even to the house of the
war captain; after which he had noticed it
no more. Clearly, then!
Some even thought that Lelo should be
imprisoned, since he had seen the burro in
The Enchanted Burro.
the morning. And when, searching anew,
they found in a splinter of the captain's
door a long, coarse, gray hair, every man
looked about him suspiciously. But there
was no other clew -save that Francisco,
the cleverest of hunters, called the officials
to a little corner of the street, where the
people had not crowded, and pointed to
some dim marks in the sand.
Que importa? said the gray haired
governor, shrugging his shoulders, as he
leaned on his staff of office and looked close-
ly. In Isleta there are two thousand bur-
ros, and their paths are everywhere."
"But see! persisted the trailer. "Are
they like this? For this brute was lame in
all the legs, so that his feet fell over to the
inside a little, instead of coming flatly down.
It will be the Enchanted Burro "
"Ahul" cried Lelo, who stood by. "And
this morning when I passed the burro of
Don 'Colas in the bushes, I saw that it was
laming along as if its legs were stiff."
By now no one doubted that there was
witchcraft afoot, and the officials whose place
it is were taking active measures to pre-
serve the pueblo. The cacique sat in his
closed house fasting and praying, with
ashes upon his head. The Cum-pa-huit-la-
wen were running here and there with their
The Enchanted Burro.
sacred bows and arrows, prying into every
corner, if haply they might find a witch. In
the house of mourning the Shamans were
blinding the eyes of the ghosts, that none
might follow the trail of the dead captain
and do him harm before he should reach
the safe other world. And in the medicine
house the Father of All Medicine was blow-
ing the slow smoke across the sacred bowl,
to read in that magic mirror the secrets of
the whole world.
But in spite of everything, a curse seemed
to have fallen upon the peaceful town. Lu-
cero, the third assistant war captain, did
not return with his flock, and when search-
ers went to the llano, they found him lying
by a chapparo bush dead, and his sheep
gone. But worst of all, he was scalped, and
all the wisdom of that cunning head had
been carried away to enrich the mysterious
foe for the soul and talents of an Indian
go with his hair, according to Indian belief.
And in a day or two came running Antonio
Peralta to the pueblo, gray as the dead and
without his blanket. Herding his father's
horses back of the Accursed Hill, he sat
upon a block of lava to watch them. As
they grazed, a lame burro came around the
hill grazing toward them. And when it was
among them, they suddenly raised their
10 The Enchanted Burro.
heads in fear and snorted and turned to
run; but the burro, rising like a mountain
lion, sprang upon one of them and fastened
on its neck, and all the herd stampeded to
the west, the accursed burro still perched
upon its victim and tearing it. Ay a gray
burro, jovero,* and with a white foot behind.
Antonio had his musket, but he dared not
fire after this witch beast. And here were
twelve more good horses gone of what the
Cumanche robbers had left.
By now the whole pueblo was wrought to
the highest tension. That frightful doubt
which seizes a people oppressed by super-
natural fears brooded everywhere. No man
but was sure that the man he hated was
mixed up in the witchcraft; no man who
was disliked by any one but felt the finger
of suspicion pointing at him. People grew
dumb and moody, and looked at each other
from the corner of the eye as they passed
without even a kindly Hina-kfi-h'wiu,
neighbor." As for work, that was almost
forgotten, though the fields cried out for
care. No one dared take a flockto the llano,
and few went even to their gardens. There
were medicine makings every night to ex-
orcise the evil spirits, and the Shamans
worked wonders, and the medicine guards
The Enchanted Burro.
prowled high and low for witches. The
cacique sat always in his house, seeing no
one, nor eating, but torturing his flesh for
the safety of his people.
And still there was no salvation. Not a
night went by but some new outrage befell.
Now it was a swooping away of herds,
now some man of the wisest and bravest
was slain and scalped in his bed. And al-
ways there were no more tracks than those
of a burro, stiff-kneed, whose hoofs did not
strike squarely upon the ground. Many,
also, caught glimpses of the Enchanted
Burro as they peered at midnight from
their dark windows. Sometimes he plodded
mournfully along the uncertain streets, as
burros do; but some vowed that he came
down suddenly from the sky, as alighting
from a long flight. Without a doubt, old
Melo had seen the brute walk up the ladder
of Ambr6sio's house the very night Am-
br6sio was found dead in the little lookout
room upon his own roof. And a burro
which could climb a ladder could certain-
On the fourth day Lelo could stand it no
longer. "I am going to the field," he said,
"before the wheat dies. For it is as well
to be eaten by the witches now as that we
12 The Enchanted Burro.
should starve to death next winter, when
there will be nothing to eat."
"What folly is this?" cried the neigh-
bors. "Does Lelo think he is stronger than
the ghosts? Let him stay behind those
who are more men."
But Lelo had another trait, quite as
marked as his slowness and good nature.
When his deliberate mind was made up
there was no turning him; and, though he
was as terrified as anyone by the awful
happenings of the week, he had decided to
attend to his field. So he only answered
the taunts with a stolid, respectful: "No, I
do not put myself against the ghosts. But
perhaps they will let me alone, knowing
that my mother has now no one else to feed
The flat-faced mother brought. him two
tortillas* for lunch; and putting her hands
upon his shoulders, looked at him a moment
from wet eyes, saying not a word. And
slinging over his shoulder the bow-case and
quiver, Lelo trudged away.
He plodded along the crooked meadow
road, white-patched here and there with
crystals of alkali; jumped the main irrigat-
ing ditch with a great bound, and took
"across lots" over the adobe fences and
Tor-teel-yaz. Unleavened cakes of corn meal.
The Enchanted Burro.
through the vineyards and the orchards of
apple, peach and apricot.
In the farther edge of the last orchard
stood a tiny adobe house, where old Reyes
had lived in the summer-time to guard her
ripening fruits. Since her death it had been
abandoned, with the garden, and next sum-
mer the Indian congress could allot it to
any one who asked, since it would have
been left untilled for five years. The
house was half hidden from sight-over-
shadowed on one side by ancient pear trees
and on the other by the black cliffs of an
advance guard of the lava flow.
As he passed the ruined hut Lelo sud-
denly stooped and began looking anxiously
at a footprint in the soft earth. "That was
from no moccasin of the Tee-wahn," he
muttered to himself, "for the sole is flatter
than ours. And it comes out of the house,
where no one ever goes, now that Grand-
mother Reyes is dead. But this! For in
three steps it is no more the foot of a man,
but of a beast-going even to the bushes
where I saw the Enchanted Burro that
morning"-and all of a tremble, Lelo
leaned up against the wall of the house. It
was all he could do to keep from turning
and bolting for home-and you need not
laugh at him. The bow-case at his side
14 The Enchanted Burro.
was from the tawny mountain lion Lelo had
slain with his own hands in the cafions of
the Tetilla; and when Refigio, the youngest
medicine-man, fell wounded in the fore-
front of the fight at Tajique, it was Lelo
who had lumbered forward and brought
him away in his arms, saving his life and
hair from the Cumanche knife. But it takes
a braver man to stand against his own
superstitions than to face wild beast or
wilder savage; and now, though Lelo did
not flee, his knees smote together and the
blood seemed to have left his head dry and
over-light. He sat down, so weak was he;
and, with back against the wall, he tried to
gather his scattered thoughts.
At that very moment, if Lelo had turned
his head a very little more to the left and
looked at one particular rift in the thorny
greasewoods that choked the foot of the
cliff, he might have seen two dark, hungry
eyes fixed upon him; but Lelo was not look-
ing that way so much as to the corner of
the cliff. There he would have to pass to
the field; and it was just around that cor-
ner that he had seen the Enchanted Burro.
"And there also I have seen the mouth of a
cave, where they say the ogres used to
live and where no one dares to enter "-and
he shivered again, like one half frozen.
The Enchanted Burro.
Then he did look back to the left, but saw
nothing, for the eyes were no longer there.
Only, a few rods farther to the left, and
where Lelo could not see for the wall at his
back, the tall, white ears of a burro were
moving quietly along in the bushes, which
hid the rest of its body. Now and thenthe
animal stopped and cocked up its ears, as if
to listen; and its eyes rose over the bush,
shining with a deep, strange light. Just
beyond was the low adobe wall which sep-
arated Reyes's garden from the next-run-
ning from the foot of the cliff down past the
To go on to the field needed even more
courage than to keep from fleeing for home;
and stubborn as he was, Lelo was trying to
muster up legs and heart to proceed. He
even rose to his feet and drew back his
elbows fiercely, straining the muscles of his
chest, where there seemed to be such a
weight. Just around the corner of the
house, at that same moment, a burro's
head, with white ears and a blazed face,
rose noiselessly above the adobe fence, and
seeing nothing, a pair of black hoofs came
up, and in a swift bound the animal was
over the wall--so lightly that even the
sharp Indian ears not fifteen feet away
heard nothing of it.
16 The Enchanted Burro.
But if Lelo did not notice, a sharper
watcher did. "Kay-ed-w'yooI" cried a
complaining voice, and a brown bird with
broad wings and a big, round head went
fluttering from its perch on the roof. Lelo
started violently, and then smiled at him-
self. "It is only tecoldte," he muttered,
"the little owl that lives with the tdsas,*
and they say he is very wise. To see
where he went."
The boy stole around the corner of the
house, but the owl was nowhere to be seen,
and he started back.
As he turned the angle again, he caught
sight of a burro's head just peeping from
around the other corner; and Lelo felt the
blood sinking from his face. The beast
gave a little start and then dropped its
head to a bunch of alfalfa that was green at
the corner. But this did not relieve Lelo's
terror. It was Paloma-dead Paloma-
now the Witch Burro. There was no mis-
taking that jovero face. And plain it was,
too, that this was no longer burro-true, but
one of the accursed spirits in burro shape.
Those eyes! They seemed, in that swift
flash in which they had met Lelo's, to be
sunk far, far into the skull; and he was
sure that deep in them he saw a dull gleam
The Enchanted Burro.
of red. And the ears and head they were
touched with death, too! Their skin seemed
hard and ridgy as a rawhide, instead of fit-
ting as the skin does in life. So, also, was
the neck; but no more was to be seen for
the angle of the wall.
There are men who die at seventy with-
out having lived so long or suffered so much
as Lelo lived and suffered in those few sec-
onds. His breath refused to come, and his
muscles seemed paralyzed. This, then,
was the Enchanted Burro -the witch that
had slain the captain of war, and his lieu-
tenants, and many more. And now he was
come for Lelo-for though he nosed the
alfalfa, one grim eye was always on the
boy. So, no doubt, he had watched his
other victims-but from behind, for not
one of them had ever moved. And with
that thought a sudden rush of blood came
pricking like needles in Lelo's head.
"No one of them saw him, else they had
surely fought! And shall I give myself to
him like a sheep? Not if he were ten
witches!" And with the one swift motion
of all his life, the lad dropped on one knee,
even as hand and hand clapped notch to
bowstring, and, in a mighty tug, drew the
arrow to the head.
18 The Enchanted Burro.
Lightning-like as was his move, the burro
understood, and hastily reared back-but
a hair too late. The agate-tipped shaft
struck midway of its neck with a loud tap
as upon a drum, and bored through and
through till the feathers touched the skin.
The animal sprang high in air, with so
wild and hideous a scream as never came
from burro's throat before, and fell back
amid the alfalfa, floundering and pawing at
But Lelo had waited for no more. Al-
ready he was over the wall and running like
a scared mustang, the bow gripped in his
left hand, his right clutching the bow-case,
whose tawny tail leaped and fluttered be-
hind him. One-Eyed Quico could have
made it to the pueblo no faster than the
town slow-poke, who burst into the plaza
and the porch of the governor's house,
"The Enchanted Burro II have- killed
-him I "
Fifteen minutes later the new war cap-
tain, the medicine men, the governor, and
half the rest of the men of the pueblo were
entering Reyes's garden, and Lelo'was al-
lowed to walk with the rincifales. All were
very grave, and some a little pale-for it
was no laughing matter to meddle with the
The Enchanted Burro. 19
fiend, even after he was dead. There lay
the burro, motionless. No pool of blood was
around; but the white feathers of the ar-
row had turned red. Cautiously they ap-
proached, till suddenly Francisco, the sharp-
est eyed of trailers, dashed forward and
caught up the two hind legs from amid the
"Said I not that he tipped the hoofs?
With reason I "
For from each ankle five dark, naked toes
projected through a slit in the hide.
"Ay, well bewitched!" exclaimed the
war captain. "Pull me the other side !"
And at their tug the belly of the burro
parted lengthwise, showing only a stiff,
dried skin, and inside the cavity a swart
body stripped to the breech-clout. Along-
side lay arrows and a strong bow of buffalo
horn, with alight copper hatchet and a keen
Sdcalo/" ordered the war captain; but
it was easier said than done. They bent
the stubborn rawhide well apart; but not
until one had run his knife up the neck of
the skin and cut both ends of Lelo's arrow
could they haul out the masquerader. The
shaft had passed through his throat from
side to side, pinning it to the rawhide, and
there he had died.
20 The Enchanted Burro.
When the slippery form was at last
dragged forth, and they saw its face, there
was a startled murmur through the crowd;
for even without the long scalp lock and the
vermilion face-paint, there were many there
who would have known the Cumanche med-
icine man, whose brother was the chief that
fell at Tajique. He, too, had been taken
prisoner, and had taunted his captors and
promised to pay them, and in the night had
escaped, leaving one sentinel dead and an-
The Enchanted Burro was all very plain
now. The plains conjurer, knowing well
by habit how to play on superstitious fears,
had used poor Paloma as the instrument of
his revenge-hiding the carcass and dry-
ing the skin quickly on a frame with hot
ashes, so that it stood perfectly in shape by
itself. The bones of the fore legs he had
left in, to be managed with his hands; and
in the dark or amid grass, no one would
have noticed the peculiarity of the hind
legs. He had only to pry open the slit in
the belly and crawl in, and the stiff hide
closed after him. Thus he had wreaked the
vengeance for which, uncompanioned, he
had followed the Pueblos back to their vil-
lage. In the cave behind the greasewoods
were the scalps of his victims, drying on
The Enchanted Burro. 21
little willow hoops; but instead of going to
deck a Cumanche lodge in the great plains,
they were tenderly buried in the old church-
yard, restored to their proper owners.
After all these years there still are in the
pueblo many tales of the Enchanted Burro,
nothing lost by the re-telling. As for the
skin itself, it lies moth-eaten in the dark
storeroom of the man who has been first
assistant war captain for twenty years,
beginning his novitiate the very day he
finished a witch and a Cumanche with a
The Mummy Miner
The Mummy Miner.
T HERE was certainly nothing suggest-
ive of antiquity about Faquito's ap-
pearance. His droll, brown face, his thick-
set boyish figure and the alarming tatters
of his scant apparel were all undignified as
his name which had got to the most dis-
respectful distance possible from the state-
ly Francisco of the baptismal font. There
could be no worthier name for a boy of
Peru than that worn by the great conquista-
dor Pizarro. But it is hard to live up to the
dignity of the christening, and Francisco
degenerates into Francisquito, which is
fond; and then to Franco, which is familiar;
and finally to Faquito, which is positively
rude. Probably it never occurred to the
lad to be comforted with thinking that the
greatest conqueror of the Americas was
called Faquito, too, when he was herding
his pigs in Truxillo; and that if one Faquo
could grow up to be Don Francisco, so
26 The Mummy Miner.
might another. These consolations of phil-
osophy never do come to us until we are too
old to need them so much.
But perhaps you are thinking: "Well,
why should a twelve-year-old cholo boy look
antiquated? Are lads of that age in Peru
expected to be ancient, any more than in
New York or Boston?"
N-no, not exactly that -though in the
quick tropics a boy is older at twelve than
is one of the same years in the temperate
zone; bigger and more mature. But.it was
Faquito's occupation rather than his age
which made me think of him as rather para-
doxical. You will admit that to find this
irresponsible, twinkling face set in one of
the most century-worn frames on earth
might well seem incongruous, not to say
startling. The sight of this half Spanish,
half Indian* boy of to-day, playing with
lives and thoughts that were forgotten five
hundred years ago aye, and some of them,
perhaps, that long before the Old World
dreamed there was a New-was enough
to make any explorer rub his eyes.
Doubtless we shall understand each other
better by a little translation. Huaco is a
word not found in the Spanish dictionaries,
for it belongs only to Peru. It is from the
For that is what cholo means.
The Mummy Miner. 27
Qufchua, or speech of the Incas, of whom
you have heard so many remarkable (and
not very accurate) stories; and as adopted
into the Spanish of Peru means specifically
a relic of the ancient Indian civilizations "
which occupied this strange land before the
coming of Europeans. Huaquero is the
Spanish derivative to mean a digger of
these antiquities- in other words, a mum-
my miner. This is a regular profession in
Peru, just as much as gold mining. A
competent huaquero commands as good
wages as a skilled laborer in the marvelous
silver mountain of Cerro de Pasco; and, if
he works "on his own hook," may earn
much more. Peru is dotted everywhere
with the ruins of large towns of the Incas
and other tribes--some of them that we
have so long been taught to regard as
"kings" and the like, while in fact they
were tribes very much like the Pueblo
Indians of New Mexico; remarkably ad-
vanced in some things, but still entirely
Indians socially, politically and mentally.
Some of these ruins have been deserted for
uncounted centuries, and no man can say
who built them nor when they were aban-
doned. In fact, Peru is the American
Egypt in antiquity; and a more than Egypt
in richness. It was in its time the richest
28 The Mummy Miner.
country in the world. Even before Euro-
peans came to tap its peaks of silver and
valleys of gold, the ancient Peruvians had
discovered a way to treat the precious
metals, and used them to adorn themselves
and their temples. Like the Indians they
were, they had the invariable Indian idea of
the next world; and always buried with their
dead the best clothing and other property, to
give the wanderer a handsome start beyond
the grave -precisely as our aborigines do
still. And as the dryness of the Peruvian
desert preserves mummies indefinitely
through the ages, you will begin to see how
mummy mining has become one of the im-
portant industries of Peru. There are
mummies everywhere; and each mummy
has still what was its wealth in life. The
gold and silver trinkets, the exquisite cloths
and potteries of these strange folk of old,
and all the other relics of their handiwork,
fetch high prices from museums and col-
So that was Faquo's business-and a very
hard and unpleasant business it is. Taita*
Pedro should have provided for his family;
but taita Pedro much preferred to lie
around the great sugar plantation in the
next valley beyond the arm of desert, and
The Mummy Miner. 29
keep his swarthy hide full of the cheap rum
which is the last and worst gift of the sugar
cane. He never came home to the little
cabin at Lurin-a hut of quincka, or wat-
tled bamboos plastered with adobe-except
to get money. Poor, fat Maria would have
had a very rough time caring for her fat
brood, if it had not been for Faquito. She
worked in the cane fields of the nearer ha-
cienda, and washed for the priest; but the
few reales she could earn would not have
been enough to put a cotton shirt on half
the backs she was responsible for, after
feeding all the mouths. Mariquita was a
perfect little woman for ten years old; but
she could only attend to the babies which
was indeed contract enough for a much
older nurse. So it had been a great relief
when Faquo got big enough to be a pro-
ducer-with the equal good fortune that
the sandy headland only two miles away
was crowned by the mighty ruins of Pacha-
Every day, except Sundays and festas,
Faquito was early trudging the dusty road
to the ruins, his spade over his shoulder,
his fat face screwed up sometimes to whistle
a doleful yaravi (the only air he knew), or
as often equally twisted with munching
sugar cane. It was very convenient to
30 The Mummy Miner.
have one's candy growing by the roadside
- particularly as there were no stores. All
a boy had to do was to clamber over the
adobe wall, cut a stalk of the caia dulce
from amid its dense bristle of sword leaves,
and clamber back to chew upon this pithy
molasses candy at leisure. There was
generally a culm in Faquito's hand as he
trudged across; and when he got tired of
chewing the obstinate fiber, he would rest
his jaws with whistling.
When he had crossed the flat, and waded
the shallow brook of Lurin, there was a
great scramble up the precipitous bluff
which is the jumping-off place of the desert;
and even Faquo was always puffing hard by
the time he came to the top. An ancient
wall was there; and under the long, morn-
ing shadow of this he used to sit down a
moment-partly for a bit of a rest, and
partly because he liked to gaze upon that
strange vista in the hot, level light. Behind
was the lovely valley, dense green with
tropic cane-fields and bananas and palms;
but in front was the great, gray desert, un-
spotted by one living blade. On the rolling
sand hills close before him was a wild, mys-
terious huddle of mighty walls, tall and
broken and gray in the sunlight, with black
shadows lurking in their angles walls and
The Mummy Miner. 31
walls in a bewildering labyrinth. At his
left was the huge castle on its tall head-
land, boxed about with tier after tier of
walls thirty feet high; and in front of him
the central hill, crowned with an enormous
building. In a hollow at the foot of the
castle, fifty acres were thick-dotted with
dark, irregular holes, around which thou-
sands of white specks gleamed in the sun.
Momently, too, little puffs of dust flew up
here and there. Castro and Juan and Pan-
cho, the grown-up huaqueros from Lima,
were already at work down there amid the
bleaching skulls, each at the bottom of his
dusty shaft, hoping at any moment to find a
rich tomb -perhaps even the "Big Fish"
of Peruvian folk lore. That is what Faquito
was dreaming about, too. How many times
he had heard of the hundreds of man-loads
of gold that the Yuncas buried in Pacha-
cimac when Hernando Pizarro came prick-
ing down from the mountains, every horse
of his cavalcade shod with silver I
If he could only find the Pez Grandel Or
even the tail of it! He got up from under
the wall with a sigh and started down the
dusty trail toward where the men were at
work. His "mine "was there too- where
he had dug a week without finding any but
the poorest graves.
32 The Mummy Miner.
Just then an owl-the little brown owl of
the desert-flew up almost at his very feet
and alighted upon a wall a few rods away.
How Mariquita would like it for a pet!
Faquo crept up behind the wall; but just
as he was about to clap his hat over the bird
it fluttered off a few rods farther.
It was so stupid with the sun that Faquo
felt sure he would get it this time, and
again he crept up. But stupid as the owl
was, it was just too smart for Faquo. A
dozen times it was almost in his hands; but
a dozen times, too, it fluttered away again-
until it had led him up the central hill,
th rough the great ruined building there, and
down the other side.
At the foot of an adobe wall sixty feet high
it settled upon the edge of some deep-
sunken rooms. Faquo scrambled down a
gap and stole out along the parapet; and
suddenly reaching up from this shelter
caught the astonished bird by the wing.
But he had forgotten the beak and claws,
which the very ficld-mice know. As they
hooked savagely into his brown fist he drew
back sharply-and just toofar. Theledge
was very narrow; and overbalanced by his
recoil, he fell sra-wling-twcntr f ct inti the
great cell below.
The Mummy Miner. 33
Luckily there was at the bottom nothing
harder than the universal in-blown sand;
and though sadly shaken up by the fall
Faquo wai not seriously hurt. For a few
moments he lay there half stunned; then
slowly gathered himself up and looked
about in a dazed way.
The owl was still in his hand-less by his
grasp than by the obstinate clenching of
its own curved claws, which now began to
hurt again. He unhooked them painfully,
one by one, tore a tatter from his shirt and
tied it about those mischievous feet. A
rather stubborn boy, Faquo.- It was very
hard to turn his attention from anything
upon which he had once started, until it was
At last, when his prize was safely
anchored to a clod of adobe, he was free to
think of more important matters. Pues!
He had walked into a bad trap. There
were no doors nor windows down here-
clearly the ancients had descended into
these cellar-like rooms by ladders, which
had long ago disappeared. And how was he
to get up that twenty feet? In this adobe
he could cut steps to the top; or even, in
time, burrow through the base of that
eight-foot wall-but his spade stood away
34 The Mummy Miner.
up there on the ledge, leaning against the
parapet where he had left it.
"Castro! Cas-tro-o!" he screamed at the
top of his lungs-but it seemed that his
voice did not rise at all out of the sunken
chamber. How buried and pent it was!
He shouted until he was hoarse; but knew-
as well that the huaqueros did not hear him,
as if he could have seen them still digging
stolidly away, far down the other side of
The place grew terrible to him. In such
a maze of ruins they might not find him
until too late. Maria would come to look,
surely, if he were not home by dark; but
how could she expect to find him so far from
where he always worked?
He knew well, this boy of the edge of the
desert, that one does not last long on such
a gridiron of the tropics. Without food one
may do for several days; but without water,
under that sun-! Already his mouth
And that maldito owl-that was to blame
for it all! He started up angrily with a
clod of adobe to throw at it. But his arm
dropped suddenly. "No! Nana says al-
ways that the birds, too, are children of
Taita Dios, and that He loves best those
who are good to them. So perhaps I am
The Mummy Miner. 35
punished for catching it. Pobrecitol For
now we both are caught."
The owl did not seem to mind so much.
It sat bunched upon its tethered feet, blink-
ing back at Faquo. It looked so very grave,
so very wise! Quiza it knew very much
about the ruins; for here it had lived, and
its people, very long now. Perhaps it even
knew where was the Big Fish I
Even as Faquo looked at it with these
thoughts, the owl turned its head down on
one side, and looked at him soberly along
its shoulder. Some might have laughed at
this proceeding, but not so Faquito. He
was too good an Indian to despise the wis-
dom of them that talk not; and suddenly
he asked with great earnestness: "In truth
that thou dost know, friend owl No? "
At this direct question the owl turned its
head down upon the other shoulder, and
looked wiser than ever. Surely, he knew I
"But where?" cried the boy. "Tell me,
owl friend I"
But the bird said not a word. Only it
gazed at Faquo very seriously; and then,
turning its head as upon a pivot, began to
spruce up the feathers upon its back, as
much as to say: Oh, that you must find
out for yourself, as I did."
Such a wise bird, but so unspoken I
Really, how convenient it must be to be able
36 The Mummy Miner.
to turn one's head square around that way,
and look straight back It must be that he
can even see that spot on the wall just be-
hind him and above his head that round
place where the adobe is yellower than the
rest. Probably the plaster was broken
there, and they patched it.
Faquo got up idly, and set the owl care-
fully to one side, and passed his hand over
the spot. It was somewhat larger than his
head just a round patch of adobe plaster,
centuries old, yet evidently newer than the
rest of the wall.
He picked aimlessly at its edge. A peb-
ble came out under his fingers, and showed,
behind, a small crevice-as if a deep hole
had been filled up, instead of a little break
in the wall plaster. Instantly the boy's
eyes waked up, and a queer, professional
look settled upon his face.
It will be a wall niche," he said gravely.
"And sometimes they filled them up to
change the wall; but why did the owl sit by
this one, if that was all? "
He pried and pulled until his fingers
were sore, and pounded with his fist upon
the yellow patch; but the adobe was very
stubborn. How, aggravating to have the
spade perched away up there, when he
wanted to open this niche I For by now he
The Mummy Miner. 37
had quite forgotten about getting out of his
prison. The strange fascination that all
miners know was upon him.
Plague take the spade He picked up
again the strong lump of adobe which had
fallen with him from the upper wall, and
flung it at the offending spade. It struck
the sandy shelf, and a little stream of sand
fell down with the missile. That gave him
a thought; and he picked up his clod and
threw it again and again and again.
Each time it fell back a little smaller, but
each time a little more sand sifted down.
Then the sand, thus started, began fritter-
ing down of its own accord, and the under-
mined shovel began to creep, stopped, slid
a little, and at last pitched down and fell at
He jabbed at the adobe with the corner
of his spade, and the hard lumps showered
down upon his bare toes. In a few moments
a smooth-rimmed opening was revealed,
and he thrust in his arm.
It was not like any of the niches he knew
-the ones that have never been closed, but
remain as they were 500 years ago, when
the people of Pachacamac kept on these
odd shelves their ornaments and trinkets.
This one was like a nest of the God-give-
you" bird-with a small opening, but large
38 The Mummy Miner.
inside. In the big hollow was something
soft; and Faquo drew out his hand full of
beautiful yellow floss.
The wool of the vicuia, only," he mum-
bled, disappointedly, but with the expert's
air. "But why should they ceil that up?
Perhaps there is also cloth."
In went the brown fist again; and rum-
maging down through the silken fleece, his
fingers met something firmer. In a moment
he had it out-a long bundle of that match-
less weaving of old Peru; of cloth as soft
and strong as silk, woven with strange
figures of men and gods and beasts; such
fabrics as never unthinking loom has
woven, nor any machine less wondrous
than the fingers of a man.
"Ayl It will be worth twenty soles/"
cried Faquo softly. "But it is so heavy!
Perhaps they have wound it on a stone."
Very tenderly he unrolled it, that none
of those bright threads -stronger than all
the centuries, but brittle to a careless touch
-might be broken. But when the last
fold came off, this very stupid Indian boy
fell down on his knees in the sand, and cried
and cried. For it was not a stone at all.
If you will go to the Exfosicion in Lima,
among the bewildering collections of Peru-
L -- Y
The Mummy Miner. 39
vian antiquities, you can see two priceless
idols, each big as a large doll. They are
like human figures, excellently sculptured;
and the strangest thing about them is that
they are made of alternate zones of gold
and silver from feet to head, so that they
remind one of that great image we read of
That is the nearest Faquito ever came to
finding the Pez Grande-and quite near
enough for one poor boy. And that is what
took my breath away when I had wakened
and hauled up with my reata the little,
ragged cholo I accidentally spied in the
trap where he had cried himself to sleep
over something hugged in his arms.
When he had laid the precious images
and the spade on the broad top of the wall,
and told me all about it,'he insisted on being
lowered again on the rope to get the owl,
which he loosed and let go, saying, in the
tone of an old man:
Taita Dios-God our Father-sends us
friends we know not. For the owl brought
me here and showed me the place, so that
now we are very rich. And even so, I
could have died there without the help of
you. So I think your grace may be even as
wise as the owl, which knows where is the
A Boy of the Andes
A Boy of the Andes.
PROBABLY they would not have seen
Ramon Ynga at all, but for the llamas.
There was enough else to look at. The
overpowering walls of the mountains on
both sides seemed to turn the eyes, even
as they turned the foaming Rimac, into a
channel from which there was no escape.
Up at the end of the cleft was such a sight
as no man can long hold his eyes from -
the black peak of Chin-chan, bent down with
its load of eternal winter. There is some-
thing awful about the snow that never
melts the great blank fields, the wrinkled
glaciers, the savage ice cornices, the black
rocks that peer out hopelessly here and
there. It is so different from the friendly
white we know and welcome for its sleigh
rides and coastings, its snow men and snow-
It was far up the summit of the Peruvian
cordillera, at the very foot of the last wild
peaks that stand 18,000 feet in the sky.
44 A Boy of the Andes.
Where the panting mules trudged, 3,000
feet below the peaks, was low, green herb-
age; and 500 feet lower yet the little tor-
rent, white as its mother snows, roared and
chuckled alternately to the uneven wind.
But up yonder all was so white and still;
their eyes kept lifting up to it, forgetful of
the dangerous trail -the mules could take
care of that. They, poor brutes, seemed
ill at ease. They breathed in short, loud
gasps; and every forty feet or so they
stopped and rested for a few moments, un-
mindful of the spur. Then, when they
were ready, they started up again of their
own accord, sighing heavily. They would
not last much longer, at this rate.
"I think I'll get off and walk awhile,"
said the younger of the two, a bronzed,
sinewy man of twenty-five. It spoils even
this scenery for me, to see the suffering
of the mules. One wouldn't think they 'd
play out so, on such a good trail."
"It is not the grade," remarked the Pro-
fessor, quietly, "as perhaps you will learn.
lam sorry for the mules, too; but it is bet-
ter to risk them than something more im-
"Why, you speak as though there were
home danger about it!" said the younger
man, who was now striding sturdily along,
A Boy of the Andes. 45
leaving his animal to follow. Many a time
he had climbed Pike's Peak and its brother
giants of Colorado, and once had stood on
the cone of Popocatepetl. A peak was
nothing to him; and as for this excellent
path-poohl It was mere child's play.
The Professor watched him without a
word, but with an expression half quizzical,
half grave. After a hundred yards he
"You don't seem quite so springy, Bar-
ton. I never saw you heavy-footed before."
"Well, the truth is, Professor," gasped
Barton, rather shamefacedly, "I feel most
remarkably queer. My knees ache as they
never did before -though I wouldn't mind
that so much. But I cannot seem to breathe
well. Here my heart and lungs are pound-
ing away, as if I'd been sprinting for the
220-yard record It's enough to make a
man ashamed of himself."
No cause at all for shame, my dear boy;
you are simply learning what everyone has
to learn who tempts great altitudes. Now
get on your mule."
"No, I 'll wear this thing off!" cried the
athlete, impatiently. "I 'm no puny boy, to
give up just because I feel a little wrong.
I 'll just keep at it, and beat it yet I"
46 A Boy of the Andes.
"Barton," said the older man, in a tone
his companion had never heard him use
before, "you get on that mule, and let us
have no more nonsense. I like your pluck;
and it is because you have more real sand '
(as they say in our West) than any young
man I know, that I picked you out for this
journey. But courage is a dangerous thing
unless you mix it with brains. You must
learn that there are some things pluck can-
not overcome-and this is one of them.
Mount, then I"
Barton obeyed with rather an ill grace,
and promptly got angrier with himself at
realizing what a relief it was to be perched
again in the ridiculously comfortable Peru-
vian saddle. He could not get over a feel-
ing of shame that the muscles which had
borne the cruelest tests of the frontier
should now have "played the baby," as he
put it; and he rode on somewhat sulkily.
It was here that Ramon Ynga stumbled
into their lives; and, as I have said, all by
the doing of the llamas. As the travelers
rounded a sharp turn in the trail the mules
stopped suddenly almost face to face with
the two strangest animals that Barton had
ever seen. Shabby, grotesque figures they
were, with splay feet, long, awkward legs,
and bodies looking like long tussocks of dry
--l '7` 1
A Boy of the Andes. 47
grass. But their necks were the worst -
tall and ungainly as stovepipes covered with
hair. Their backs were hardly so high as
those of the under-sized mules; but on these
unspeakable necks their heads were quite
on a level with Barton's. And such heads I
They were disproportionately small and
ludicrously narrow, with pointed ears, ma-
lignant little faces, and lips wickedly drawn
"Why, I never saw anything, except a
rattlesnake, look so vindictive cried Bar-
ton. What on earth are they ?"
That is the national bird of Peru," re-
plied the Professor roguishly. "We are
apt to see many up here. In fact, if we had
had any daylight in Casapalca you would
have noticed many hundreds of them; for
they bring all the ore to the stamp mills,
and do most of the freighting besides.
Lower than 10,000 feet you will hardly ever
find them; the llama* is a mountain animal,
and soon dies if taken to the coast."
"So that is the llamal But I thought
that was called the 'Peruvian sheep;' and
these look no more like sheep than my mule
"It got that foolish name from the closet
naturalists. No one who ever saw a llama
48 A Boy of the Andes.
could fail to recognize it for a camel-
smaller and longer-haired than the Eastern
beast, and without a hump; but a true
"It's a funny-looking brute," laughed
Barton. "It seems to put in its time think-
ing what a grudge it has against everybody.
Hil Get out of the way, you standing
The Professor and the young frontiers-
man had thus far enjoyed the pause of the
mules; but now the need of pushing on re-
curred to their minds, and Barton's excla-
mation was meant as a signal for advance.
But the llamas stood stolidly, blocking the
trail. He drummed his spurs against his
mule; whereat the animal took two steps
forward and stopped, bracing back, un-
mindful of the rowels. The llamas did not
take a step. Only they seemed to drop
their bodies a little, upon those long legs.
"Why, they're not such fools as they
look!" cried Barton, whose sharp eye under-
stood the trifling motion. "Seel They
are going to give us the edge I"
The trail was two feet wide- an endless
thread of a shelf hewn along the mountain
wall. On the right, the great, dark slope
ran up to the very clouds; on the left, one
A Boy of the Andes. 49
could snap a pebble into the white torrent,
500 feet below.
"I have heard that they always take the
wall," the Professor rejoined, "and that
when two llama trains meet on one of these
trails it is almost impossible to make a
passing. Sometimes they even shove each
other off the cliff."
"I guess we 'd better not force the right
of way a tumble into the Rimac there is
more than I care for I" And Barton jumped
from his mule and advanced upon the block-
aders, waving his arms threateningly.
"Look out!" cried the Professor; but
before the words were fairly off his tongue,
the foremost llama opened its ugly mouth
and spat at Barton in fury. At this un-
pleasant salutation he retreated hastily.
"That is their weapon of defense." said
the Professor. "And their saliva is won-
derfully acrid. It's as well you didn't get
it in the face. But I wish they would get
out of the way we have no time to spare."
Just then there was another surprise. A
figure hardly less remarkable than the
camels slid down from the overhanging
hillside, and stood in the path, looking at
the startled travelers. It was a dwarfish
creature, not four feet tall, with a large,
round head, a broad, strong body, and very
50 A Boy of the Andes.
short legs, peculiarly bundled up in un-
familiar clothes. A boy what in the world
was he doing on that impossible slope?
What a goat he must be!
"Hulloa!" cried Barton, as soon as he
could find a voice.
God give you good day, sirs," answered
the lad gravely, in thick Spanish. "Wait
me so-little, and I will get you by."
With this he called" U-pa I to the llamas,
lifting his finger as if to point them up the
trail. Ordinarily they would have obeyed;
but the aggressive manner of Barton had
roused their obstinacy, and they did not
budge. The boy put his shoulder to the
ribs of one, and heaved hard, but the brute
stood its ground.
"Well, it is to wait!" said he; and ran
about the path, gathering up very small
pebbles until his shabby hat was full. Then
he sat down on a boulder that jutted from
the bank, settling himself as if for a long
rest, and threw a mild and measured peb-
ble at each llama. They turned their heads
a little and wrinkled their disagreeable
noses. He waited a moment and then
pitched two more pebbles-which had the
same effect. So he sat, slowly and mechani-
cally tossing his harmless missiles upon the
dense hair of his charges. Evidently he
A Boy of the Andes. 5!
was in no hurry; and the two travelers, im-
patient as they were, had too much wisdom
of experience to try to push him. They
sat quietly in their saddles, watching the
droll scene. It was very ridiculous to need
deliverance from two stupid beasts, and to
get it from such an owlish little tatterde-
malion. His ragged clothing was of very
thick, coarse cloth; and upon his feet were
the clumsy yanquis, or rawhide sandals of
mountain Peru, and he wore thick stockings
rising to his knees. Over his trousers was
a curious garment, half apron and half leg-
gings; and oversleeves of the same material,
hung with a cord about his neck, came up
over the elbows of his coat. These two
garments were knit in very strange pat-
terns, amid which were square, brown
llamas wandering up and down a gray back-
ground. Around his waist was a woven
belt, now very old, but of beautiful colors
and workmanship. And his face-what a
brown, round riddle!
"How do you call yourself, friend?"
asked the Professor in Spanish. "And have
you ten years or a hundred?"
"Ramon Ynga, senor. And the other I
do not know. I have been here a long time
-ever since they built the mill at Casa-
52 A Boy of the Andes.
"You must be about fifteen, then. And
where do you live?"
"There, above," answered Ramon, toss-
ing another pebble.
"A curious habit of the mountaineers,"
said the Professor. "These Indians, in-
stead of living in the valleys, climb to the
very tops of these peaks, and build there
their squalid stone hovels. They seem to
think nothing of the eternal clambering up
An hour crawled by, and the stones in
Ramon's hat were running low. Suddenly
the brown llama turned with a snort of dis-
gust, and strode off up the trail. The white
one hesitated a moment, snorted, and fol-
lowed. "That way they get tired, sirs,"
said the boy, emptying his hat and pulling
it down upon his thatch of black hair.
"I 'd take a good club to them!" growled
Barton, who had great confidence in the
Saxon way of forcing things.
No, the boy is quite right. It is another
case wherein you must not try to be smarter
than nature. The llama is the stubbornest
brute alive-a mule is vacillating compared
to him. If you puta pound too much onhis
load, he will lie down, and you might beat
him to death or build a fire beside him, but
he would not get up. Nobody but a Peru-
A Boy of the Andes. 53
vian Indian can do anything, with a Peru-
vian camel, and Ramon has just shown us
the proper tactics. Hurt the animal, and
he only grows more sullen; but the pebbles
merely tease him until he can bear it no
longer. And really he repays patience; for
he is the only animal that can work effect-
ively at these altitudes, where horses and
mules are practically useless. But ade-
lante! (forward I)"
"Is your Excellency going to Cerro de
Pasco? asked the little Peruvian, running
alongside the mule and looking up at the
Professor with unusual animation in his
non-committal face. He had never spoken
with "' Yankees before, and indeed for
any stranger to notice him kindly was a
new experience. He liked these pale men;
and a dim little wish to please them warmed
in his heart. That big young man--why,
he was taller than any Serrano in the
cordillera!-was good. Ramon had seen
money a few times; but that round, shiny
sol,* which the stranger had tossed him
when the llamas moved, was the first he
had ever held in his hand; and it was almost
a worry to be so rich! But the other man,
with a little gray above his ears, who only
looked at him so, and spoke as if he knew
The Peruvian silver dollar. Pronounced soul
54 A Boy of the Andes.
him--he, surely, was very great; and it
was to him that the ragged boy had said
"Exceldncia." His face was kindly; and
there were little smiles at the edges of his
mouth, though he did not laugh.
"No, hijito (little son)," he answered,
"we are not bound to the mines. We are
going to climb the Chin-chan, to look at the
ice cornices and to measure them."
Even Ramon looked astonished at this.
If a Serrano had said it, every one would
know he was crazy. Or if it were the young
man -well, what could you expect of one
who would give away a whole sol? But this
one-whatever he did, it must be right.
He certainly was not crazy. Still-
But the Soroche, your Excellency," ven-
tured the boy. For all strangers have it;
and many die, even in crossing the slope.
Only we who were born here can go so
"We have to go, my boy; for I must look
at the snow fields and the cliffs of ice, and
measure them," said the Professor, kindly.
"I know well of the mountain sickness, and
we will be very careful. Besides, we are
both very strong."
"It is not always of the strong," per-
sisted Ramon. Sometimes the sick cross
in safety, and those who are very large and
A Boy of the Andes. 55
red--even larger than your Excellency's
friend-fall suddenly and never rise again;
for the Soroche is stronger than any."
"You are quite right, my wise friend.
It is terrible. But all do not fall victims,
and we must brave it."
"At the least, Excellency, let me go also!
For I know these hills very well, and per-
haps I could help. As for the llamas, my
brother Sancho comes even yonder, and he
will herd them."
You won't really take the little rat up
there, will you, Professor?" broke in Bar-
ton. It would be the death of him."
"M-m! I only hope we may be as safe
as I know he will bel Estd biex, my boy
Vamos I' '*
At nine the next morning the three were
entering the edge of the snow fields. They
had camped for the night in a deserted
hovel at the head of the valley; and there
the mules could be seen grazing, pulling as
far down hill as their ropes would allow.
The hut was not a mile behind; but the
travelers had been ever since daylight com-
ing thus far. The Professor looked old;
and Barton's big chest was heaving vio-
lently. As for Ramon, he clambered along
'All right. Come."
56 A Boy of the Andes.
steadily and soberly, stopping only when he
saw the others had stopped.
By noon they were at the foot of the last
ridge, in a great rounding bay flanked by
two spurs of the upper peak. The curving
rim far overhead was a savage cliff of eter-
nal ice-a cliff of 1,500 feet sheer. At the
top a great white brow projected many
yards, overhanging the bluish precipice.
"It is -a-noble- cornice," gasped the
Professor, as they sank upon the snow to
rest for the hundredth time since morning.
"But I fear we made a mistake. We
- should not have tried this without
-waiting a- few weeks in Casa palca
- to get acclimated."
"It 's awful!" groaned Barton. "My
head feels as if it would burst.
But I '11 be hanged if I give up I" And
the resolute young man fairly snatched
himself to erectness, and started toward
the spur. But with the third step his tall
form swung- half around, and swayed an
instant, and fell as a dead pine falls in the
wind, and lay heavily upon the snow. His
face was black; and a bright red stream
trickled from each nostril as the Professor
sank on his knees beside him, crying husk-
ily, "My-poor boy I have-killed-
A Boy of the Andes. 57
The Professor's face had a strange look,
too. His eyes were very red and swollen-
but that was from the merciless glare of
the snow-and in his cheeks a gray shadow
seemed to be struggling with the unnatural
purple. And he was so unlike the Profes-
sor of yesterday. He seemed so dull; even
"Come, Excellency!" Ramon was shout-
ing in his ear. "It is the Soroche, the
mountain sickness, and none can fight it.
We must be gone from here, else very soon
you are both dead. Come!" The small
brown fist was tugging at the old man's
shoulder, and in the quaint, boyish voice
was a strange thrill. The Professor under-
stood. Dazed as he was, the way in which
Ramon said that one word "Come" roused
and cheered him like the far bugle call
which tells of reinforcements to the be-
sieged. He was not alone. Here was help
-the helpof a dwarfed Indian boy of fifteen!
But that is often the very sort we need-
not muscle so much as the elbow-touch of a
"But-Barton?" said the Professor. He
could no longer think clearly; and instinct-
ively he turned to Ramon as superior.
58 A Boy of the Andes.
The Serrano lad looked at the prostrate
figure and then at the Professor.
But even in those bloodshot eyes Ramon
read something that decided him. It was
very hard, and it was more dangerous so;
but the Friend-man loved the other. The
other must be tried for too
Ramon unwound his long woven belt and
passed it under Barton's back. The ends
he drew up under the armpits and crossed
them at the back of the neck, giving one end
to the Professor and keeping one himself.
Then, when they pulled apart, the cross-
ing of the belt supported Barton's head.
"Now cried Ramon; and pulling strongly
the two dragged the heavy form along the
snow to the edge of the steep slope. The
Professor's face was purple, and drops of
blood beaded his finger tips.
"Let me, senor!" said the boy; and
taking both ends of the belt over his shoul-
der, he went plunging down the declivity,
Barton's limp head bumping against his
legs, and Barton's body and heels dragging
in the soft snow just enough to act as a
brake. As for the Professor, he stumbled
after as best he could, with vague eyes and
bursting veins and treacherous legs. Some-
times he fell forward and plowed a rod in
the snow, and once he was beginning to
A Boy of the Andes. 59
roll, but Ramon leaped and stopped him
just in time.
And so at last they came to the end of the
snow. The boy laid his burden upon the
matted grass, with head up-hill, and piled a
little drift of snow about the head. Put
it so, also, to your head," said he, "and I will
bring the mules."
With that he was racing off down the hill
in knowing zigzags, though it looked too
steep for a goat.
In half an hour a very tired boy was get-
ting two helpless men upon two almost
helpless mules. Perhaps if the latter had
been able to object, he could not have suc-
ceeded. But by the help of the slope, and
hauling with his belt over the saddle from
the down-hill side, he presently had both
up. Barton's feet he tied together under
the mule, and Barton's hands around its
neck. The Professor could sit up, in a
stupid way, and Ramon tied only his feet.
"Hold well I he cried loudly and sternly,
but with the same little quiver in his voice;
and taking both bridle reins in one hand, he
plunged down the hill, his weight thrown
forward upon the hard bits, so that the re-
luctant mules had no choice but to follow.
The only one who remembers much of
that grim journey is Ramon, and as he is
6o A Boy of the Andes.
not much given to talking, no one knows
just what he does think of it. The Profes-
sor's clear recollection begins with finding
himself on board the train at Casapalca a
train of that most wonderful railroad in the
world, the railroad above the clouds, that
clambers up and burrows through the cor-
dillera of Peru. Before that are only hazy
memories of a vast mountain wall leaning
over to crush him; a winding path in the
air; a queer, boy's voice, coming from no-
where, with little Spanish words of cheer.
And now a round, brown face from the op-
posite seat was watching him seriously -
even tenderly, the Professor fancied -
while the burly conductor was saying:
"I never seen it come any closer How
ever the boy got you in, beats my time.
And I saw he hated to leave you, so I says
to him, says I, 'Just get in, sonny,' 'n' go
down to Lima with us, 'n' I '11 fetch you
back if I lose my job I He 's the right sort,
he is! An' you '11 be all right, as soon as
you get down there-- that 's the only medi-
cine for the S'rochy."
All right they were next day in the capi-
tal. Even Barton was able to sit up; and he
nodded weakly as the Professor said to
A Boy of the Andes. 61
"My boy, I would like you to go with us.
We have to travel much in Peru; and if you
will accompany us you will earn good wages.
And you shall be as my son. For neither of
us would be alive now if we had not had a
little hero with us. Will you come? "
Joy flashed over Ramon's face. But then
it faded, and tears started in his eyes as he
"You are good, Excellency! I would go
anywhere with you. But in the Chin-chin
is my mother, with the babies; and since
father died, I must be the man, for Sancho
is too young. Adios "
And he ran out, so that they should not
see him crying.
A Daughter of the Misti
A Daughter of the Misti.
NOT the elder daughter, whom all the
world knows where she sits, white
upon her little green patch against the
hopeless desert, looking up with now and
then a shiver at the white-headed giant, her
father. No, the one I mean now is some-
thing like three hundred and fifty years
younger than the Misti's first born and
favorite, and not white at all, nor over-
dignified, nor even given to much thought
as to when taita shall shrug again those
mighty shoulders and rattle the walls about
her ears. In fact, to look at the two-the
fat, brown, clumsy cholo girl and the shin-
ing city I dare say you would never take
Transita and Arequipa t for sisters at all.
But as both are daughters of the Misti, I see
no other way out of it.
What! You don't know either of them?
Hm 1. Of course it could hardly be expected
that you should be acquainted with Tran-
The Aymarb and Quichua Indian word for father.
66 A Daughter of the Misti.
sita, for she lives on a back street on the
other side of the river and comes very sel-
dom to the plaza. And probably you could
not talk with her, anyhow, since her speech
is only Spanish and Quichua. But not to
know Arequipa-why. that is to count out
the prettiest city in Peru, and one of the
oldest in America. And.if you do not know
the daughter you have missed the father,
too, which is an even greater pity -for
he is one of the handsomest giants on earth,
though a baby in his own family. Well,
well-the sooner I give you an introduc-
tion the better, then.
The Misti is an inactive but living vol-
cano, a hundred miles from the sea, in
southern Peru. As I have said, it ranks
small at home, being only 19,300 feet tall,
while some of its brother Andes tower to
26,000 feet. But few of them are so hand-
some.. It stands alone and erect, with head
up and shoulders squared, while some of
them look as if the nurse had dropped them
in their babyhood and they had never got
their spines straight again. It is a huge
and very perfect cone, symmetrical as the.
sacred peak of Japan, but vastly higher.
So steep is it that the thick blanket of vol-
canic cinders would surely slip down from
its shoulders, except for the long brooches
A Daughter of the Misti. 67
of dead lava that pin it up. As for its head,
that is old with eternal snow.
For time unknown-since long before
history the Misti has been the best known
mountain in Peru; and I do not much won-
der. It has a nobility of its own, such as its
mightier brethren do not all possess. Just
to its right vast Charchani climbs 20,000
feet into the sky, and a most majestic peak
it is. Just to its left towers the grand wall
of Pichu-pichu, itself taller than the greatest
mountain in the United States. But it is
always the lone, solemn Misti, to which
every one looks, of which every one speaks
-with a strange mixture of love and awe.
Meeting an Arequipeio abroad, you might
verylikely fancy there were no other mount-
ains in sight of his home; but you will not
be left long in ignorance that there is a
Misti. Even before Europeans knew of
America, the remarkable Indians of Peru
half worshiped the Misti; and so Arequipa
gets its name, an Aymara word which
means "with the peak behind it." Far up
its deadly sides they toiled to make their
sacrifices to Those Above; and even in the
elder crater I have counted the ruins of
aboriginal shrines. It is so isolated, so in-
dividual, so majestic in its awful stature;
and above all, while its neighbor brothers
68 A Daughter of the Misti.
are just mountains, it has a soul-the won-
drous fire-soul of the volcano.
A stern father is the Misti. His daugh-
ter is surely not undutiful, but many a time
he has punished her sorely. Many a time
he has sent her sprawling in the dust, and
turned her smiling whiteness to a genera-
tion of mourning. So, even as late as 1868
over half the buildings of Arequipa went
down in a mortal chaos of stone, killing as
many people as fall in an ordinary battle.
One might fancy that such a parent would
get himself disliked; but his severity does
not seem to be laid up against him. Are-
quipa loves the Misti-and as for Trinsita,
she loved him even more than she did Are-
quipa. Their house faced south, but the first
thing in the morning Transita used to climb
to the stone-arched roof to look at the peak
black against the rising sun; and the last
thing at evening to watch the rosy west-
glow upon that venerable head. And always
she wondered the more, for now as she
grew taller, and the untaught soil had room
to swell, she saw more and more in that
great dark one with his elephant-wrinkled
hide and the lava scars on his white head,
and now and then, of a hushed dawn, the
ghost of a cloud floating plume-like from
his brow. Perhaps it was because he is so
A Daughter of the Misti. 69
incomprehensible a giant that she compre-
hended him-in that child way which is
more at home in some mysteries than we
older stupids are. At all events, she turned
to him for companionship and confidences,
and had a way of talking with him ever so
softly, that no one else should hear.
"Now, taita," she was whispering this
morning, "hast thou heard what is to be?
For they say that the Tuerto, the cross-
eyed, who oppressed us before, is to make
new revolution, that he may be president
again and rob himself still richer. And it
has always been in Arequipa that they
begin. Dost thou think it? And would
they kill Eugenio? For he is very loyal,
and is one of importance, being a corporal.
Do not let them hurt my brother-wilt
thou, taita? "
To all these questions and the adjuration
the giant answered never a word. His face
was grave with the morning shadows. To
look at him no one but Transita would
have dreamed he knew anything about it.
Nor do I really know that he did, though
he had the best of opportunities. From
that lookout in the sky, so overtopping the
town, he could see right into the high-walled
court of Don Telesfor's mansion. It was a
flat old courtyard, paved with tipsy blocks of
70 A Daughter of the Misti.
stone and framed four-square with long
shadowy verandas of the white sillar.* In
the center was a long-forgotten fountain,
and at the middle of each side a quaint
staircase of the same white tufa ran up to
the cracked and precarious sillar roof. No
one was to be seen about the court. Only,
along the eastern portalt was a long ridge
of fresh earth.
Don Telesfor was making repairs. A
great many people in Arequipa had long
been free to say that he ought to mend his
ways, and the old place might certainly
count as away that should be mended. His
career as prefect, years before, had been
by no means free from charges of extor-
tion and thievery, and it was notorious that
he would be glad to see again in the presi-
dential chair the unscrupulous usurper who
had grown from pauper soldier to many-
times millionaire in one term. For this
reason Don Telesfor was as little beloved
as his old patron; and poor cholos, with
better love than understanding of free-
dom, took malicious pleasure in laying the
scourge to their two backs jointly. "Look
at the Cacerist!" they would growl audibly
*Seel-yar. A very light volcanic stone quarried on the
side of the volcano. All Arequipa is built of it.
tPor-taL The Spanish veranda.
A Daughter of the Misti. 71
when Don Telesfor thundered down the
reeling cobblestones on his silver trapped
horse. As for his house, I fancy not one of
them ever passed it after nightfall, with a
bit of chalk in his pocket (and chalk is the
last thing to be without in Peru during a
campaign), but he stopped and scrawled in
elastic Spanish upon the outer wall: "Death
to the tyrant and his leeches Down with
But though he was unpopular in person
and politics, no one thought of taking Don
Telesfor very seriously. Like his patron,
he had turned tail when the Chilean wolves
came down on the fold; and unlike him, his
caution was greater than his greed. Every
one knew him for timorous. The unhappy
republic was torn and pale with fear of a
new usurpation; but in all the whisperings
and the glances over the shoulder, Don
Telesfor was quite forgotten. Since the
downfall of the pretender he had been
quietly cultivating his pretty chacra at
Yura, and now even thought to patch 'up
the old mansion in Arequipa, long tousled
and neglected since the terrible temblor of
'68. This was praiseworthy and reassur-
ing, too. In those troublous times to think
rather of beautifying and restoring the
home was clearly a pledge of peace.
72 A Daughter of the Misti.
Sober burros, each laden with two big
white blocks of sillar, had been trudging
down from the lofty quarries, and the tot-
tering arches of the courtyard had been re-
built. Now, Don Telesfor was hauling rich
soil all the way from his plantation to make
flower beds in the fatio.* Some felt that
the soil of Arequipa ought to be good enough
for any flower; but if he chose to haul dirt
twelve miles instead of one, that was his
lookout. So the crazy wagons creaked
across the ancient stone bridge every after-
noon and bumped into the courtyard, and
were relieved of their mules. Don Telesfor
was always on hand in person to attend to
the unloading--he and his nephew, Don
Beltran, and two old peons--while the
drivers took their animals to the acdquia.
One would have thought that loam sacred,
by the care he took of it.
Just now the big gates were shut. The
wagons would not be in from Yura for some
time yet. Along the east side of the patio
was the long mound of soil, paling in the
hot sun; aside from that, one might have
thought the place abandoned.
But if one could have peered through the
heavy doors of the middle room of the north
portal one would have seen Don Telesfor
A Daughter of the Misti. 73
and Don Beltran and half a dozen strangers
talking low and earnestly. The windows
and even the skylight were shuttered, and
the one candle sent strange shadows
sprawling over a formidable row of long,
shallow, iron-bound boxes stained with
To-morrow night, then," said one of the
strangers, laying his hand on Don Teles-
for's shoulder. "Even so it will begin in
Lima on the eve of the new 'congress, and
all is set that the revolution burst in the
same hour in Truxillo, Cuzco, here and all
Peru. And carrying it off well here in the
south, who knows but Don Telesfor shall
earn a place in the new cabinet?"
Ojala sighed Don Telesfor, his mouth
twitching greedily. "At all events, this
end is safe. I promise you no one so much
as suspects us, and with the two hundred
men that will sleep here to-night hidden,
we can easily put down any resistance.
The gudrdias are the only danger; for,
being cholos* they all worship Pierola, and
it avails not the trying to buy them. The
only argument with such stupids is to rap
them the back of the head -and for that,
thirty secure men are appointed to hide
upon the beat and silence each his police-
74 A Daughter of the Misti.
man. By midnight that should all be set-
tled without noise, and then we will fall
upon the barracks. A hundred soldiers,
asleep, have nothing to say with us; and in
the morning Arequipa will waken to find
herself in our ranks."
"Nothing lacks, then?"
"Nothing. All is understood. Forty
rifles are still to come, but they will be here
in an hour, or maybe two, for the carts
"And then the flower beds will be done,
no?" chuckled the other with a wink.
"Aye, and ready to bloom," answered
Don Telesfor, smiling grimly at the jest.
"And, methinks, with enough thorns-
For a deep, far roar crept through the
closed shutters; a Babel of howling curs
and crowing cocks and the jangle of church
bells. Before one could fairly turn to look
at his neighbor it was as if that whole room
of stone had suddenly been dropped twenty
feet, as one might drop a bird cage to the
floor. The heavy boxes and the standing
men and the massive furniture were tossed
as feathers in a gust of air. The wide
stone vault overhead yawned and let in a
foot of sky, and shivered as if to fall, and
then as swiftly clapped its ragged teeth
A Daughter of the Misti. 75
shut again, while a great dust filled the
room to choking. Then all was still as the
grave, and for a few seconds nothing moved.
At last the men scrambled to their feet,
pale and hushed, and stood looking blankly
at one another.
"Eal But I like not your Arequipa tem-
perament," faltered the tallest of the stran-
gers. "It is too impulsive. Not if you
gave me three Arequipas would I dwell
"Pues, it is nothing," answered Don
Telesfor, coolly. "Only in the being ac-
customed. These temblores are fearsome,
but we think little of them. To the street,
when the shock comes, lest the walls thump
us on the heads; and then back into the
house, as if there had been nothing. As
for this one, it is a good omen. El Misti
gives us the hand that he is with us for an
TrAnsita, sitting upon the stone coping of
her own roof, had a clearer view of the
earthquake, and her opinion certainly did
not coincide with that of Don Telesfor. It
was a perfect day, as most days in Are-
quipa are, but something in the air made
her nervous and ill at ease, and all the
morning she had been perched up there
76 A Daughter of the Misti.
confiding her fears to the great peak. Be.
low, the street was still echoing the rumble
of clumsy carts high heaped with earth.
She had paid little attention to them or their
clamor. Her thoughts were for Eugenio,
and her anxiety about him seemed to grow.
So groundlessly, too. The national unrest
was everywhere, but vague and undefined.
No one knew any specific cause for alarm,
and she least of all. Now, if her ears had
been sharp enough to hark across to that
barred room a mile away, where Don Teles-
for was at that very moment saying: "The
only argument with such stupids is to rap
them the back of the head." And "such
stupids meant precisely Eugenio and his
fellow-soldiers, the military police of the
Six wagons had already turned the cor-
ner toward the bridge and were out of sight.
As the straggling seventh and.last trundled
past the house the teamster, seeing that
squat figure up there, tossed at it a pebble
from his load. TrAnsita only shrugged her
shoulder at the tap. She was too busy with
her thoughts to so much as turn around.
"Much care of Eugenio," she murmured.
"And if truly there be of these Cacerists
here, confound them, taital "
A Daughter of the Misti. 77
As she raised her eyes to the great peak
a swift chill ran through her. She was sure
the Misti nodded, as if he had heard her
words. Surely the giant moved! Far spurts
of dust rose from his shoulders, and dark
masses came leaping down, and the great
profile seemed to lose its sharpness. She
winked hard to be sure of her eyes, and now
the Misti moved no more. But from the
corrals roundabout rose a bedlam; and
Chopo ran out, barking frantically, and the
ancient cottonwoods up by the mill sudden-
ly bowed their heads as to a hurricane.
The acdquia bank split and the stream came
panicking out. The tall wall back of Eu-
sebio's house was rent from top to bottom,
and two-foot blocks of sillar flew all about.
The very roof on which she sat-a massive
arch of stone, as are nearly all the roofs of
Arequipa went up and down as if a heavy
wave had passed under it. The coping
spilled into the street; and Transita was
left clinging on the broken edge, her face
hanging over. There were wild screams,
and every one stood, as by magic, in the
middle of the street, looking up at the tot-
tering walls. And in the self-same breath
it was all done, and no sign was left save the
shattered blocks of stone, the truant acdquia
78 A Daughter of the Misti.
and a tall cloud of yellow dust that went
bellying off toward Charchani.
Yes, one thing more. Transita lay be-
wildered a moment, and then began to look
about, still without moving. Every one was
going back into the houses, laughing ner-
vously, a few children crying. In another
moment the street was deserted. It was as
if that thousand people had been a return-
ball, to pop one instant into sight, and in
another back with the recoil of the elastic.
But down by the empty hovels over the way
was a cart, broken across in halves. Two
dazed mules were trying clumsily to right
themselves with the forward end of the
wreck, while the rear half was tossed up on
the narrow sidewalk against the ruined
walls. The load of earth had been uncere-
moniously dumped into the gutter, and the
cholo driver, half overwhelmed by it, lay
motionless along the curb.
At that, Transita was upon her feet at
once, nor paused until she was tugging at
the teamster's arms. The dirt was heaped
upon his legs, and he had fainted with the
pain, and such a dead weight she could not
budge. She dropped the limp shoulders and
began to claw the loose earth away. In a
moment the left foot was free; but as she
dragged it out, the dirt slipped down and
A Daughter of the Misti. 79
revealed the corner of an iron-bound box
resting upon the other leg. A sudden im-
pulse led her to sweep back the soil until
the end of-the case was uncovered. The
funny black marks there meant nothing to
Trinsita-indeed, if any one had spelled
out for her the M-a-double-n-l-i-c-h-e-r," I
seriously doubt if that grewsome German
name would have made her any the wiser.
But if she did not know letters from ten-
penny nails, and was equally ignorant of
the inventions and the existence of Ger-
many, TrAnsita was no fool. For a moment
her brown face looked more than usually
dull. Then a slow grayness crept into it,
and there was a hitch in her breath.
She looked up at the Misti appealingly,
and then down at the box, staring as if fas-
cinated. Presently the rather heavy jaw
set stubbornly. She lifted the corner of
the box an inch, by a violent effort, pried
her shin against the sharp edge to hold it,
and laboriously dragged out the imprisoned
foot. Then she scraped the earth over
until the box was well hidden again, and
leaving the liberated but unconscious team-
ster where he lay, went racing down the
street like one gone daft.
"This is a pretty story to bring to the
cartel, daughterling," said Captain Yrri-
80 A Daughter of the Misti.
barri, fifteen minutes later. Corporal Eu-
genio had no sooner heard his sister's
breathless message than he brought her
before the commanding officer, and there
she had rehearsed it all, unshaken by ques-
tionings and banter. "It has to be true,"
she declared, over and over, "else mi taita
Misti never would have showed me."
"A girl's nonsense," the grave officer
repeated. "And still what do any boxes,
thus hidden in loads of earth, and in these
times? I mind me, now, that Don Telesfor
has been hauling earth all the way from
Yura 'these many weeks, when there is
better at Carmen Alto. It is fit to be looked
into, and by the saints, if thy guess is true,
little one, thou shalt be corporal, or thy
brother sergeant! Oyes, Eugeniol With
a squad of thirty men surround Don Teles-
for's house and hold it tight that it leak not,
while Pedro goes with five to verify the
cart and the box. If that is nothing, they
will report to you and you will return to
quarters with the tongue behind the teeth;
but if they shall find arms in the cart, keep
the house and warn me."
For my own part, I do not overly love the
soldier-police of Arequipa, and have some-
times been angry enough to want to choke
them for murdering my sleep with their
A Daughter of the Misti. 81
abominable midnight whistles. But after
all, I am glad that they were not all knocked
on the head the night after the earthquake;
for in spite of their ignorance and their skin
and their ear-piercing way of announcing
"All's well," they are a kindly, honest,
well meaning set, who could be much better
utilized than by clubbing. And particularly
Eugenio, who is a very good boy and likes
to talk with me, calling me "your grace."
He has told me many interesting things,
and often sent a cholo to "tote my heavy
camera around. Sergeant Eugenio now,
please for Transita declined to be a cor-
poral when the search revealed not only the
one case of Mannlicher rifles in the dirt
under the wrecked cart, but thirty cases
more in Don Telesfor's house, along with
papers which left no doubt of his treason.
Some fellow-conspirator must have warned
him in time of the wayside accident, for
though Eugenio and his men kept the house
fully surrounded until a report came from
the cart, when they broke in there was not
a soul to be found.
None of the other plotters were known,
and Don Telesfor eluded pursuit. It may
or may not be true, as I have been told, that
he took asylum in Bolivia and was after-
ward drowned in trying to ford the Choque-
82 A Daughter of the Misti.
yapu during a freshet; but, at all events,
he never came back to revive his nipped
As for Transita, you might just as well
try to tell her that the Misti is not there at
all as that "He did not specially and in-
tentionally interpose to save the peace of
his daughters and the head of Eugenio. I
half believe her brother is secretly of the
same opinion, for the superstition of the
peak is very strong in Arequipa; though he
shrugs his shoulders in a deprecatory way
when put the direct question, and says eva-
Pues, who knows? So the women de-
clare. For me it is enough that he did it,
and in time, the same as if he knew."
The Witch Deer