Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/309

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303
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

out its whole length, and these divisions are stained in different colors. The hoop is of wood, about six inches in diameter, and divided like the poles, of which each player has one. Only two persons can engage in this game at one time. A level place is selected, from which the grass is removed a foot in width, and for twenty-five or thirty feet in length, and the earth trodden down firmly and smoothly. One of the players rolls the hoop forward, and after it reaches a certain distance, both dart their poles after it, overtaking and throwing it down. The graduation of values is from the point of the pole toward the butt, which ranks highest, and the object is to make the hoop fall on the pole as near the butt as possible, at the same time noting the value of the part which touches the hoop. The two values are then added and placed to the credit of the player. The game usually runs up to a hundred, but the extent is arbitrary among the players. While it is going on no woman is permitted to approach within a hundred yards, and each person present is compelled to leave all his arms behind. I inquired the reason for these restrictions, and was told that they were required by tradition; but the shrewd old Sons-in-jah gave me another, and, I believe, the true version. When people gamble, said he, they become half crazy, and are very apt to quarrel. This is the most exciting game we have, and those who play it will wager all they possess. The loser is apt to get angry, and fights have ensued which resulted in the loss of many warriors. To prevent this, it was long ago determined that no warrior should be present with arms upon his person or within near reach, and this game is always played at some distance from camp. Three prominent warriors are named as judges, and from their decision there is no appeal. They are not suffered to bet