The Delight Makers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 455 pages of information about The Delight Makers.

CHAPTER XVIII.

The change from night to daylight in New Mexico is by no means sudden.  Darkness yields slowly to the illumination streaming from the east; and when the moon is shining, one remains in doubt for quite a while whether the growing brightness is due to the mistress of night or to the lord of day.

Nowhere is this more perceptible than on high plateaus covered by sparse timber.  Suddenly awaking, one is in doubt at first whether it is sunrise or the full moon that illuminates the landscape.  The shadows are weakened, but objects are not much more distinct; a glow pervades the air rather than a positive light.

When the Indian is on the war-path he sleeps but little, and never long.  He prefers the day to the night for rest, as he can conceal his movements better in the darkness.  Tyope had halted his little army just before daybreak because he felt afraid of going any farther, and because he had arrived close to the place where he desired to remain during the day without exposing his forces to the chance of discovery.  None of his men slept; none of them dozed, even.  They had all been warned of the possible presence of foes, and although there seemed not the slightest evidence of those foes being aware of their coming, yet the mere apprehension caused uneasiness.  There was therefore increased watchfulness on their part.

Every one among the Queres was looking forward with anxiety to the hour when there would be sufficient light to investigate the situation more closely.  The sky had cleared; the air became cooler, and the morning star shone brightly, in spite of the luminous crescent of a waning moon.  The Hishtanyi Chayan was sitting at the same place where he had retired a few hours before, but he no longer prayed; he stared motionless.  Tyope lay on his back behind a juniper-bush.  He was watching the sky and the approach of dawn.  A number of warriors had lain down in the vicinity, awaiting the signal to move.

One of these had placed himself in such a position that he could glance at the forest, which loomed up before him like a mass of dense shadows with rays of moonlight between.  He peered into that maze of darkness and light for hours.  But nothing appeared in it worthy of note.  So the Queres warrior turned around on his back in order to change position.  He saw the moon rise to the zenith and the corona borealis disappear below the western horizon.  He noticed also how the stars grew dimmer and dimmer, how the shadows commenced to wane.  Finally he fixed his gaze on the east.

Owing to the shrubbery it was not possible to see distinctly, yet anything lying on the ground could be discerned.  From the place where he lay, the Queres Indian looked through a lane bordered on both sides by bushes of cedar and juniper.  At the end of that lane he discovered a dark spot.  That spot disappeared while he was still gazing at it.  He strained his eyes to find the spot again, but it had really vanished.

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The Delight Makers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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