Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/297

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
291
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

the prairie was smooth and unbroken, and it seemed as if the earth had opened and swallowed up the man. Being unable to discover him, I called and bade him come forth, when, to my extreme surprise, he arose laughing and rejoiced, within two feet of the position I then occupied. With incredible activity and skill he had completely buried himself under the thick grama grass, within six feet of the bush, and had covered himself with such dexterity that one might have trodden upon him without discovering his person. I took no pains to conceal my astonishment and admiration, which delighted him exceedingly, and he informed me that their children were practiced regularly in this game of "hide and seek," until they became perfect adepts. We have far-reaching rifles and destructive weapons, but they must ever be ineffective against unseen enemies; and it is part of a soldier's duty, while engaged in Indian countries, to study all their various devices.

Another excellent illustration of their skill in concealment was given me by Nah-kah-yen. We were hunting together, when a large herd of antelopes made its appearance. Nah-kah-yen immediately tore off a small strip from an old red handkerchief and tied it to the point of a yucca stalk, at the same time handing me his rifle and saying: Ah-han-day anah-zon-tee—"go off a long way"—he instantly buried himself under the sand and grass with the ease and address of a mole. I at once moved away several hundred yards, and sought to creep up to the antelopes, who were evidently attracted by the piece of red rag fluttering on the yucca stalk. Not wishing to interrupt the sport of my savage comrade, and anxious to witness the upshot of his device, I remained a "looker on and a spectator" of the affair. In a little while a marked commotion was noticeable n