Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/58

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48
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

hunt in four days. Three evenings later, seated upon the top of the pueblo, as was our wont to do, while watching the gorgeous sunsets, we noticed that, in addition to the accustomed scene of home-returning flocks and herds, there were many herds of Indian ponies brought in and put into the corrals. This foretold a good turnout for the morrow. Just at nightfall the herald again proclaimed the hunt. At noon the next day the scene in the pueblo was an active one. Everywhere ponies and horses were being saddled for the chase. Some few who had no ponies started ahead on foot. Half an hour later we all gathered on the farther side of the river, on the road to Ojo Caliente, and a picturesque crowd it was indeed — between three hundred and four hundred horsemen dressed in calico of all colors and patterns, with all kinds of head-gear, from the sombrero decorated with eagle-feathers to the scarlet head-band. A few had bows and arrows, others had hoes and digging-irons; but all had two or more boomerangs, called kle-a-ne simply curved sticks about eighteen inches long.[1] These they use to kill the rabbits, being thrown from the horse while in motion. A few Navajoes, who also took part, added to the scene. The hunting ground was about ten miles to the southwest, on the road to Ojo Caliente. It is generally customary to have a ti-hwa-we on the way down. So far as I could see, no betting was done, but the excitement at times was intense. There were four racers on a side, and the course was covered in very good time.

PSM V39 D058 Moqui boomerang.jpg

Fig. 4. — Moqui Boomerang.

As the word was given to start, the company spread out over about an acre of ground, with the racers in the center. Each horseman cheered his side, and when the race was over I procured the ti-kwa. When we reached the ground, already the Cacique of the Sun had lighted a fire, and I was told he had put under it medicine to make the rabbits slow. This belief in the power to thus control wild animals is held by other peoples.

"This superstition is turned to account by hunters in many parts of the world for the purpose of running down game. Thus

  1. Fig. 4 represents a Moqui boomerang. Those used by the Zuñis on the rabbit-hunt were much the same, only not quite so well made, a stick with a less marked curve serving in most cases. They were thrown as clubs, with elbow forward.