Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/518

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506
THE HORSE AND THE ZAPILOTES.

—which are among the institutions of the country,—watching from afar saw death's signal in his glazing eye, and wheeling down from their airy heights, came trooping from all directions to the coming feast.

 
0-Sister Republic - Dying horse and Zapilotes p.506.jpg

THE HORSE AND THE ZAPILOTES

 

As each detachment arrived they settled on the ground in successive circles around the horse, gave one searching look to make sure that they had made no mistake as to the ultimate result, then drew in their heads, humped their shoulders, and went to sleep, satisfied that in Heaven's own time, grim death would do his perfect work, when they would pick the bones of the animal before them as clean as a squirrel picks the kernel out of a nut. They could have finished him there and then with a little effort; but that politeness which characterizes every inhabitant of tropical America, forbade such unseemly haste, and why work for what would come without labor if they but waited?

So murmuring "Manana" "poco tiempo" and "Salle luego" as is the custom of the country, they dropped off, one by one, to sleep and pleasant dreams. The moribund knew as well as we did what they came for, and read his fate in their skinny, expressionless faces,