On the terrace roof of the home of Tyope’s wife a young girl stood quite alone, gazing at that moon where the mother of all mankind, the Sanatyaya, is supposed to reside. It was Mitsha Koitza, who had just returned from the estufa of her clan with the mother-soul of her own home, and who still lingered here holding in her hands the cluster of snowy, delicate feathers. She thinks, while her nimble fingers play with it, of the young man who has been her partner the whole day, who has danced beside her so quiet, modest, and yet so handsome, and who once appeared to her on this same roof brave and resolute in her defence. While she thus stands, gazes, and dreams, a flake of down becomes detached and quivers upward into the calm, still air. Involuntarily the maiden fastens her glance on the plumelet, which flits upward and upward in the direction of the moon’s silvery orb. Such a flitting and floating plume is the symbol of prayer. Mitsha’s whole heart goes anxiously with the feather. It rises and rises, and at last disappears as if absorbed by moonlight. The features of the maiden, which till now have carried an anxious, pleading look, brighten with a soft and happy smile. The mother above has listened to her entreaty, for the symbol of her thoughts, the feather, has gone to rest on the bosom of her who watches over every house, who feels with every loving and praying heart.
[Footnote 7: It was natural for her to think of removing the feathers, as they would in all probability be looked for just where she had put them; that is, under the floor. Such was the case at Nambe in March, 1855, when owl’s feathers were found buried at several places in the Pueblo. The result of the discovery at Nambe was the slaughter of three men and one woman for alleged witchcraft by the infuriated mob of Indians.]
[Footnote 8: Schleiermacher.]
Among Indians any great feast, like the dance of the ayash tyucotz described in the preceding chapter, is not followed by the blue Monday with which modern civilization is often afflicted. Intoxicating drinks were unknown to the sedentary inhabitants of New Mexico previous to the advent of Europeans. If it happened, however, that one or other of the feasters overloaded his stomach with the good things set before him, after the ceremony was over a decoction made from juniper-twigs afforded prompt and energetic relief. Among the younger men it was not rare for some to remain in company with the fair sex until the small hours of morning, in which case the rising sun found them somewhat out of sleep. But the majority were glad to retire to their habitual quarters for a good rest after the day’s exertions, and these woke up the following morning bright and active, as if nothing had happened to divert them from the duties and occupations of every-day life. To this majority belonged Okoya.