Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/117

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111
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

I was about to draw a bead upon the fellow, but seeing that he was alone and unarmed, I refrained, and beckoned him to come forward, which he did with decided good will. He spoke Spanish well enough for all practical purposes, and informed us that he was a Maricopa and had been captured by the Yumas, together with a woman of his tribe, some months before, but had managed to effect his escape a few days before meeting our party, and as he and his companion were starving, they came to ask our assistance, having struck our trail at the entrance to the camp ground. He then uttered a peculiar cry, and was immediately joined by the woman, who had concealed herself to await the issue of his visit. The poor woman presented a thin, worn and suffering appearance, which did not require the use of language to explain. Our first care was to supply these poor creatures with food and a spare blanket each; for, as we had left the higher and colder regions, and were entering upon the warmest known on the globe, and as our means for transportation were becoming beautifully less, we could afford to be generous in this respect, especially as the probabilities were greatly in favor of abandoning or cacheing the major part of our effects, among which were a number of costly instruments, which could neither be eaten nor drank. No further questions were pressed upon our guests until their hunger had been appeased, when, sitting at the camp fire, the man gave us the following narration, corroborated in all points by his companion.

Some five months previous, a large war party of the Yunias had come up the Gila with the intention of cutting off small detachments of Maricopas and Pimos, who annually visit the Gila Bend desert to collect the fruit of the petajaya, a gigantic species of cactus. This fruit is dried in the sun and closely resembles our figs in point