Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/249

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243
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

and handsome girl of eighteen or nineteen, who had invariably refused all offers of matrimony. She was light colored, with strictly Grecian features and exquisitely small feet and hands. Her eyes were large, black and lustrous, while her figure was magnificently developed, and her carriage redolent with the grace and freedom of the wild girl of the sierras. She was known as Sons-ee-ah-ray, which means the "Morning Star." Another, likewise indifferent to marriage, was called Ish-kay-nay, the "Boy," from her tom-boy character and disposition. There was one who received particular honor from the other sex, but her Apache name has escaped my memory. She was renowned as one of the most dexterous horse thieves and horse breakers in the tribe, and seldom permitted an expedition to go on a raid without her presence. The translation of her Apache title was, the "Dexterous Horse Thief." They do not call themselves "Apaches," but Shis-Inday, or "Men of the Woods," probably because their winter quarters are always located amidst the forests which grow upon the sierras, far above the plains, and while they afford fire and shelter from the wintry blasts, enable them to observe all that passes in the vales below.

The foregoing names are somewhat suggestive of Apache character; so much so, indeed, that it is not unusual for them to refuse giving their Apache names when interrogated; but will endeavor to give some Mexican appellative in its place. Before marriage the girls are much the handsomest and most perfectly formed of any Indian tribe I have ever seen; but after bearing children, and performing for three or four years the onerous duties imposed upon them by their husbands, they soon wither and shrivel up, becoming thin, muscular and wrinkled.