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).
folded over, and used as a fork, or rather, spoon, and were eaten with the meat.  After the meat had all been fished out, you drank the soup from your bowl or plate.  If you could not manage with the tortilla, you were excused for using your fingers.  When a bowl or plate was set before an Indian guest, the latter took it up and immediately handed it to his wife, standing behind him, who emptied it into the jars she had brought for that purpose.  There was meat with its broth; meat ground on the metate, boiled, and mixed with chile; and atole to drink with it, all fresh and excellent.  As I was hungry, I pitched in, although at first I was the only one who ate, which was rather embarrassing.  But by and by the others, too, began to eat, perhaps out of politeness.  They were pleased, however, that I enjoyed their food, and I did enjoy it, after the poorly assorted diet we had been obliged to maintain.  Although the variety of dishes of primitive man is exceedingly limited, such of them as they have are well prepared.  The dinner was the best I ever had among Indians.  The party was pleasant and animated, and the banquet-hall extended to the pines and mountains around and the azure sky above.

During the night there was dancing on the tarima, a broad plank resting on stumps.  Dancing on the plank is said to be customary throughout the Tierra Caliente of the northwest.  One man and one woman dance simultaneously, facing though not touching each other.  The dancing consists in a rhythmical jumping up and down on the same spot, and is known to all the so-called Christian Indians wherever the violin is played, although nowhere but among the Coras have I seen it executed on the plank.  It is called la danza, and is distinct from the aboriginal sacred dances, although it may have been a native dance somewhere in Mexico. La danza is merely a ventilation of merriment, indulged in when the Indians are in high spirits after church feasts, and may sometimes be executed even in church.

Gradually the people submitted to being photographed, even the women.  One evening when I changed plates under two wagon-covers in an old empty house, a curious crowd gathered outside and knocked at the door, wanting to know what was going on and to see the secret rites I was performing.

After a few days of deliberation the Indians consented to show me their dancing-place, or, as they expressed it, their tunamoti (the musical bow).

Chapter XXVIII

    A Glimpse of the Pacific from the High Sierra—­A Visionary
    Idyl—­The Coras Do Not Know Fear—­An Un-Indian Indian—­Pueblo of
    Jesus Maria—­A Nice Old Cora Shaman—­A Padre Denounces Me as a
    Protestant Missionary—­Trouble Ensuing from His Mistake—­Scorpions.

Project Gutenberg
Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook