Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

Carl Sofus Lumholtz
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 450 pages of information about Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2).

Eight people with hair-lip, seven hunchbacks, six men and four women with six toes to their feet, and one or two cases of squint-eyes came under my notice.  One boy had a club-foot with toes turned inside, and I saw one man who had only stumps of arms with two or three finger-marks on each.  I have observed one case of insanity among these Indians.

Pediculi (lice) from the heads and clothing of the Tarahumare are blackish in colour, but the claw is not different from that of the white men’s parasites.

When at ease, the Tarahumare stands on both legs, without stiffness.  In micturition he stands, while the Tepehuane sits down.  The body is well balanced.  The gait is energetic.  He swings his arm and plants his foot firmly, with the toes generally in, gliding along smoothly with quick steps and without swaying to and fro, the body bent slightly forward.  The palm of the hand is turned to the rear.  Tarahumares climb trees by embracing the tree as we do; but the ascent is made in jumps, the legs accordingly not embracing the tree as, much as is the case with us.  In swimming they throw their arms ahead from one side to another.  They point with the open hand or by protruding the lips and raising the head at the same time in the desired direction.  Like the Mexicans they beckon with their hands by making downward movements with their fingers.

To the casual observer the native appears dull and heavy, so much so that at first it would seem hopeless to get any intelligent information out of him; but on better acquaintance it will be found that their faces, like those of Mexican Indians in general, have more variety of feature and expression than those of the whites.  At the same time it is true that the individual does not show his emotion very perceptibly in his face.  One has to look into his eyes for an expression of what passes in his mind, as his face is not mobile; nor does he betray his feelings by involuntary actions.  If he blushes, as he sometimes does, the colour extends down the neck and is visible in spite of his dusky skin.  Laughter is never immoderate enough to bring tears to the eyes.  The head is nodded vertically in affirmation and shaken laterally in negation only by the civilised Tarahumares.

There is a slight though undefinable odour about the Tarahumare.  He is not aware of it; yet he will tell you that the Mexican smells like a pig, and the American like coffee, both offensive odours to Tarahumares.  They all love to feel warm, and may often be seen lying in the sun on their backs or stomachs.  Heat never seems to trouble them.  Young babies sleep on their mothers’ backs without any covering on their heads to protect them from the fierce rays of the summer sun.  On the other hand, the Tarahumare endures cold unflinchingly.  On an icy winter morning, when there are six inches of snow on the ground, many a man may be seen with nothing on but his blanket fastened around his waist, pursuing rabbits.

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Project Gutenberg
Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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