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Frederick Starr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 409 pages of information about In Indian Mexico (1908).

TO COIXTLAHUACA

(1900)

For a day we rested at Cuicatlan to make arrangements for a trip to the land of the Chochos.  We complained bitterly to the jefe politico regarding the miserable animals which had been supplied us for our last journey, and demanded something better.

Frank had had enough of practical anthropology, and left us, so there were but four to be provided.  At eight o’clock the following morning, four decent horses and two pack animals were waiting at our door.  A mounted arriero was in charge, to accompany us.  Although he had been inefficient on the preceding journey, the same jail-bird was sent with us, as mozo, whom we had had before.  At 8:30 our party of six persons started; passing the river, which we forded, an excellent road took us, for a league, over the sandy plain, which was fairly grown with trees, supplying a little shade.  The great pitahayas were in bloom, and their white flowers looked well against the ugly, stiff green branches.  The roadside was bordered with acacias which, in full bloom, presented masses of golden balls and perfumed the air with their delicate odor.  Passing a considerable sugar hacienda, the trail struck into the mountains, and for three hours we made a steady ascent.  The road itself was excellent but the sun beat down with fearful force, and the heat was reflected from the bare road and the rock cliffs along which we travelled.  At one place the vegetation consisted of a curious mixture of gigantic cactuses, rising as single stalks as high as telegraph poles but larger in diameter, and palms.  Arriving at the crest, we saw a long plain stretching before us, presenting a mingled growth of palms and pines.  At the very border of the ridge stood a hut of poles, where we stopped to drink tepache and to eat broiled chicken which we had brought with us.  We found the old woman, an indian—­neither Cuicatec, Chinantec, Mixtec, nor Zapotec, as we might expect—­but a full Aztec from Cordoba.  She was bright and shrewd, and, as we chatted with her, we noticed a little chicken a few days old awkwardly running about with curiously deformed feet.  Upon my noticing it, the old lady remarked that the moon made it so.  I inquired what she meant.  She said, “Yes, we know it is the moon which shapes the bodies of all young animals.”  We followed the road a long distance over the hot plain, passing San Pedro Jocotepec to our left, and shortly after, struck up the mountain side and had another long and steady climb, until, at last, we reached the crest of all the district.  Here and there, we encountered bits of limestone, which always, in this southern country, makes the worst roads for travel.  The rain erodes it into the oddest of forms, leaving projecting ridges almost as sharp as knife-edges, with irregular hollows pitting the surface, so that it forms a most insecure and unpleasant foot-hold for the animals.  Not only so, but the surface, rough as it is, is frequently

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