Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/288

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that they were at that time running about with nothing on save a breech-cloth. When they succeed in stealing sheep, a warm suit is immediately improvised by stripping the skin from the animal and investing their own bodies within its fleecy folds. A few thin strings of hide serve to connect the skins and form a robe. When the rascals have time to make their arrangements, the sheep are formed in a parallelogram, the width of which never exceeds thirty feet, with a length sufficient to accommodate the flock. The strongest sheep are then selected and their horns lashed together in couples, and these couples are ranged along either side of the main flock, forming a sort of animal fence which prevents the inclosed animals from wandering, especially while running by night. Along each side of the mass are stationed a string of Apaches on foot, who preserve regular distances, and animate the sheep to maintain a regular rate of speed. Immediately in front, a small body of select warriors and keen runners lead the way, while the main body of Indians follow in the rear to push forward and urge on the plunder. In this manner the Apaches will run a flock of twenty thousand sheep from fifty to seventy miles in one day, gradually lessening the distance, until they deem themselves tolerably safe from pursuit. They have been known to accomplish the distance of fourteen or fifteen hundred miles in the manner above described. These data, are sufficient to determine the Apache's capacity for endurance.

The term for our scout having nearly expired, I determined to seek the warmer region of the Pecos without delay, especially as the horses had become very weak and thin. Fort Sumner was one hundred and eighty miles distant, and for two-thirds of the road the snow averaged from one foot to one inch in depth. We