Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/229

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223
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

New Mexico he kept his word faithfully. His imperturbable coolness and profound sagacity, especially on a bear or lion hunt, proved very serviceable.

After killing an animal I would give the skin to the Apaches to have it dressed for me, and they turned me out some elegant deer, lion and beaver skins, softly dressed, with the fur perfectly preserved. Having discovered the tracks of a very large lion along the river-bottom, I summoned Nah-kah-yen and Nah-tanh to accompany me on the hunt for his majesty. Both were eager, and we started about ten o'clock a. m. I showed them the trail, which they examined carefully for a few moments, and then concluded that the animal had a haunt in a jungle about five miles below. Without pretending to follow up the tracks we struck off into the clear prairie, and went down stream until opposite the jungle, when we separated, each one taking a side of what we supposed to be the animal's lair, and at a signal we approached together. At that place the Pecos is about eight feet deep for a couple of hundred yards, when it shoals again to one, two and three feet, the river being much wider. The jungle was neared with caution, and it being about midday, there was good reason to suppose that the lion was taking his rest after a night's rambles. One large cotton-wood tree flung its branches out wider than the rest, while its top overlooked its surrounding comrades. It grew on the very bank of the river, and overhung the jungle. Nah-tanh dismounted from his horse, which was left free, and being perfectly broken, remained quiet where he was left; he then climbed the tree referred to and crawled out on a large limb, until he was directly over the water and could get a fair view of the supposed lair.

The Californian lion and the panther are both cow-