Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/118

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of size, taste and shape, but the external husk or covering is not edible. They also macerate it in water after being dried, when the saccharine qualities causes the liquid to ferment, and after such fermentation it becomes highly intoxicating. It is upon this liquor that the Maricopas and Pimos get drunk once a year, the revelry continuing for a week or two at a time; but it is also a universal custom with them to take regular turns, so that only one-third of the party is supposed to indulge at one time, the remainder being required to take care of their stimulated comrades, and protect them from injuring each other or being injured by other tribes. The Yumas are well acquainted with the custom, and the party referred to had gone up the Gila to profit by the circumstance. In that raid they succeeded in killing a few Maricopas and taking prisoners the man and woman who were then our guests and informants. Of course any species of labor and hardship that could be imposed they were compelled to undergo, until the arrival of a band of twenty-one Americans with a great many sheep which they were driving to California. The military, consisting of a Sergeant and ten men, had been driven off by the Yumas just before the advent of these visitors, who were wholly ignorant of the fact, and quite unprepared to expect the hostility which terminated with their massacre. They were received by the Yumas with every profession of friendship, the Indians bringing in large quantities of slim, straight and dried cotton-wood branches to build fires with, and rendering them other kindly services, so that all apprehension was completely lulled. While the evening meal was in preparation, the Yumas interspersed themselves thickly among the Americans, who had some four fires going, built by the Yumas, who had placed the long, smooth cotton-wood