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In Indian Mexico (1908) eBook

Frederick Starr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 409 pages of information about In Indian Mexico (1908).
was immediately spotted with their white, upturned bellies.  A canoe-load of four men put out to gather the fish, as soon as the shot was fired.  Just as they reached the spot, and were leaning over the boat to catch them, the canoe overturned, and all the men were floundering in the water, up to their necks, and the canoe was rapidly drifting down the stream.  The fish they get here are quite large, and seem to be a kind of cat-fish.  Strolling back to our landing-place, we were interested in the lively scenes there being enacted.  Under little arbors of leafy boughs, women were washing clothing; crowds of children, of both sexes, were playing on the sand or splashing in the water; half-a-dozen great canoes were dragged up on the bank, and amid these a group of little brown fellows, from ten to fourteen years of age, were swimming; here and there, a man or woman squatted in the shallow water, dipped water over their bare bodies with jicaras.  Now and then the great ferry-boat, loaded with passengers and with animals swimming alongside, made its crossing.  Presently our seven animals were swum across, and, after a moment’s drying, were repacked and saddled, and we were ready for our forward movement.

[Illustration:  ZOQUE COMPADRES GREETING; TUXTLA GUTIERREZ]

[Illustration:  OUR FERRY-BOAT; CHIAPA]

Chiapa was formerly the great town of the Chiapanecs, an Indian tribe to whom tradition assigns past splendor, but who, to-day, are represented in three villages, Chiapa, Suchiapa, and Acala.  They are much mixed with Spanish blood, and have largely forgotten their ancient language.  It is, however, from them, that the modern state, Chiapas, received its name.  Chiapa, itself, is a city of some size, situated on a terrace a little way from the river, with a ridge of hills rising behind it.  The plaza is large, and in it stands a market-building.  Near by is a picturesque old gothic fountain, built of brick.  Market was almost over, but we were interested in seeing the quantities of pineapples and cacao beans there offered.  To lose no time waiting for dinner, we bought bread and one or two large pineapples, which we ate under the shade of the trees in the plaza.  The pineapples were delicious, being tender and exceedingly sweet; our arriero refused to eat any of them, asserting that they were barely fit to eat, lacking sweetness, and being prickly to the taste.  The pineapples of Simojovel were to his liking; they are sugar-sweet, leaving no prickly sensation, and anyone can eat three whole ones at a sitting.  After luncheon, we looked about for examples of lacquer-work.  In one house, we found some small objects and wooden trays of indifferent workmanship.  An old crone, badly affected with pinto, the mother of the young woman artist, showed us the wares.  With her was the older sister of the lady-worker, who, after we had bought two of the trays, asked whence we came.  Upon our telling her that Manuel was

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