Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/273

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each wagon, were on their way from Sonora to California. They had some money, and expected to convert their mules and wagons into cash upon their arrival. They had already traversed the more dangerous portions of the Apache country, and had commenced to felicitate themselves, when they were set upon by nearly two hundred savages in Cooke's Cañon. The Mexicans defended themselves with undaunted courage, which forced the Apaches to take refuge in their accustomed cunning. Suddenly ceasing their assault, they informed the Mexicans that they had no desire to destroy their lives, adding, that the Mexicans could perceive from the superior numbers of their enemies, and their vantage ground, that it would be no very difficult task to effect such an object, had it been contemplated. They then said, that if the Mexicans would surrender their arms, and give them half the number of mules attached to the wagons, they might prosecute their journey in peace with the remainder. This proposition was accepted by the inexperienced Mexicans, and so soon as their savage enemies had obtained control of their arms, each man was seized, bound to the wheel of a wagon, head downward, about eighteen inches from the ground, a fire made under them, and their brains roasted from their heads. The women and children were carried off captive, and the train with its contents became a prey to the Apaches. As I was the first to pass through Cooke's Cañon after this affair, the full horror of the torture was rendered terribly distinct. The bursted heads, the agonized contortions of the facial muscles among the dead, and the terrible destiny certain to attend the living of that ill-fated party, were horribly depicted on my mind.

It is all very well to argue that the Indian knows no better that he merely possesses the teachings of his