Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/275

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269
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

and not from any ignorance as to whether it is a good or bad deed. He knows all about that as well as if he had attended Sunday School all his life; but it is done with an object a purpose which his untutored mind cannot perceive the effect of when weighed in the balance of the instructed in letters. When an Apache mutilates the dead body of his enemy, he knows that he is doing a wrong and cowardly act; but he persists in doing it, because he judges us from his stand-point, and imagines that sight of the mutilated corpse will produce terror in the beholders. He has not arrived at that amount of information which would instruct him that disgust and anger, with a determination for redress at the earliest opportunity, are engendered instead of dread. Like the rest of mankind, he is apt to measure other people's corn by his own bushel.

In respect to traditions they are very tenacious; but an incident occurred, when I enjoyed a favorable opportunity, to demonstrate the utter uselessness of relying upon such testimony. "After having acquired their language, the idea suggested itself that it would be good policy to make them an address in the Apache tongue. To this end I composed a short oration, and, to be certain of the terms used and the pronunciation, I summoned Gian-nah-tah, Nah-tanh and Klo-sen, to whom I read my speech, requesting them to make the necessary corrections, which they did with undisguised pleasure. Having everything exactly right, a meeting of the leading Apache warriors was convoked at my cabin to hear my address in their own language. It can be readily understood that such an extraordinary announcement insured a full gathering of the invited warriors; and, after some preliminary ceremonies, I read the lecture, which was listened to with earnest attention. I took