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).
bamboo, which they carry by straps on their backs.  It is a sight to see men, women, and children start out gaily at daybreak, armed with slender sticks, climbing rugged heights with grace and agility, to get the pithaya, which tastes better when plucked at dawn, fresh and cool, than when gathered during the heat of the day.  The fruit, which lasts about a month, comes when it is most needed, at the height of the dry season (June), when the people have a regular feasting-time of it.  Mexicans also appreciate the pithaya, and servants frequently abscond at that time, in order to get the fruit.  The beautiful white flowers of the plant are never found growing on the north side of the stem.

With the Indians, the pithaya enters, of course, into religion, and the beautiful macaw (guacamaya), which revels in the fruit, is associated with it in their beliefs.  The bird arrives from its migration to southern latitudes when the pithaya is in bloom, and the Indians think that it comes to see whether there will be much fruit; then it flies off again to the coast, to return in June, when the fruit is ripe.  The following gives the trend of one of the guacamaya songs:  “The pithaya is ripe, let us go and get it.  Cut off the reeds! [4] The guacamaya comes from the Tierra Caliente to eat the first fruits.  From far away, from the hot country, I come when the men are cutting the reeds, and I eat the first fruits.  Why do you wish to take the first fruits from me?  They are my fruits.  I eat the fruit, and I throw away the skin.  I get filled with the fruit, and I go home singing.  Remain behind, little tree, waving as I alight from you!  I am going to fly in the wind, and some day I will return and eat your pithayas, little tree!”

Chapter X

Nice-looking Natives—­Albinos—­Ancient Remains in Ohuivo—­Local Traditions, the Cocoyomes, etc.—­Guachochic—­Don Miguel and “The Postmaster”—­A Variety of Curious Cures—­Gauchochic Becomes My Head-quarters—­The Difficulty of Getting an Honest Interpreter—­False Truffles—­The Country Suffering from a Prolonged Drought—­A Start in a Northwesterly Direction—­Arrival at the Pueblo of Norogachic.

Followed the river a day’s journey up and noticed some small tobacco plantations on the banks.  I met some good-looking people, who had come from Tierras Verdes, the locality adjoining on, the south.  Their movements were full of action and energy.  Their skins showed a tinge of delicate yellow, and as the men wore their hair in a braid, they had a curious, oriental appearance.  The women looked well in black woollen skirts and white tunics.  The people from that part of the country are known for their pretty, white, home-made blankets, and it was evident that in those inaccessible parts the Indians had still something for the white man to take away.

The natives of this valley had a curious habit, when they were made to dive for fish, of afterward throwing themselves in a row on the sun-heated sand to warm their stomachs for a minute or two.

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