Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

Carl Sofus Lumholtz
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2).

On one occasion he masqueraded as a padre, a black mackintosh serving as his priestly garb.  Thus attired he went to the unsophisticated Tarahumares in the more remote valleys and made them send out messengers to advise the people that he had come to baptise them, and that they were all to gather at a certain place to receive his blessings.  For each baptism he charged one goat, and by the time he thought it wise to retire he had quite a respectable herd to drive home.  When the Indians found out that they had been swindled, they caught him and put him into jail, intending to kill him; but unfortunately some of his Mexican confreres heard of his plight and came to his rescue.  However, a few years later, this notorious highwayman, who had several murders to answer for, was caught by the government authorities and shot.

On the road, as we travelled on, we met many Tarahumares carrying on their backs trays (huacales) with apples, which they were taking to market.  The price per tray was $2, and the apples were delicious.

At night it was very cold, the thermometer falling to 13 deg. below the freezing point.  I was sorry to learn from my men that the prospects of grass further south were small.

At the village of Bocoyna (elevation 7,100 feet) we were 400 miles from San Diego by the track we had made.  Bocoyna is a corruption of the Tarahumare Ocoina (oco = pine; ina = drips; meaning Dripping Pine, or Turpentine).  Here I had to stop for two days, because no less than six of us, including myself, were suffering from the grippe, which a piercing, dry, cold wind did not tend to alleviate.  However, as the worst cases did not last more than five days, we soon were all well again, though the Mexicans were almost overcome by the effects of the disease.

The presidente here was a powerful-looking half-caste and very original.  After I had read to him twice my letter from the governor of the state, in which the people were told, among other things, to promote the success of the expedition in every way, especially by selling us what provisions we needed and not to overcharge us, he, by way of obeying the orders of his superior, immediately ordered that not more than $6 should be charged for a fanega of corn.  He also had at once four nice, fat hens killed and sold them to us at the market price.

After we passed Bocoyna, the country for ten miles was flat, but fertile.  It was gratifying to observe that here the Indians had some ranches with considerable land still left to them.  We passed several such homesteads lying close together, and as many as four yokes of oxen were ploughing, each attended by a Tarahumare, whose entire clothing consisted of a breech-cloth.  The Indians here are very numerous and they are still struggling to resist the encroachments of the whites upon their land, though the ultimate result is in all cases the same.

Chapter VII

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