Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/241

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235
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

icine man at a time when a terrific epidemic was raging, would have an immense influence among those savage and extremely superstitious people.

My determination what to do was immediately taken, and without intimating to Gian-nah-tah what my intention was, I bade him convoke the whole camp on the following night, as near midnight as possible. The moon was very brilliant, and the air clear and perfectly still. I placed a couple of six-shooters and my knife in my belt, and cutting a hole for my head in the center of a sheet, invested myself with that article as if it were a toga. When the Apaches were all assembled, and wondering why they were got together, I suddenly made my appearance among them, and taking position in the center, addressed them to the following effect. I told them that I had been favored with a vision, full of importance to them, and as they had appointed me their "Tata," or Governor, it had been imparted to me for their benefit. I said that two nights previous their prophet had seen a black cloud, which grew larger and blacker as it approached the Apache camp, over which it settled until it was concealed from sight; but that a lying spirit had been put into his mouth, and the true meaning of the vision had been withheld from his knowledge. In my capacity as their Tata, it had been revealed to me, with directions to impart it to the tribe.

They knew, I added, that the Angel of Death had been very busy among the Mexican towns and villages, cutting off the men, women and children, and sparing neither age nor condition. But who among you, said I, have died? Where is the wife that mourns for her husband, or the mother for the child, or the warrior for those that are dear to him? Not one of your number is missing, and all of you are now well or nearly well from the attacks of this infirmity which has killed so many.