Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/311

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

camp assembled to witness the contest. Among the competitors was the Apache girl, Ish-kay-nay, a clean-limbed, handsome girl of seventeen, who had always refused marriage, and she was the favorite among the whites. Each runner was tightly girded with a broad belt, and looked like a race horse. Ten entered for the half mile stake, which was a gaudy piece of calico for a dress or shirt, as the case might be. At the word, they went off like rockets, Nah-kah-yen leading handsomely, and Ish-kay-nay bringing up the rear, but running as clean and easy as a greyhound. Within four hundred yards of the goal, she closed the gap, went by like a steam engine, and got in an easy winner, six yards ahead of all competitors. For the quarter mile race she again entered, but was ruled out by the other Indians, and their objections were allowed, it being decided that the victor in either race should not enter for another.

The second contest was won by Nah-kah-yen, but not without a desperate struggle with Manuelito, a very prominent Navajo chief. The third and fourth prizes were gained by Navajoes. Manuelito was the finest looking Indian man I ever saw. He was over six feet in height, and of the most symmetrical figure, combining ease, grace, and power and activity in a wonderful degree. He was a great dandy, and was always elaborately dressed in the finest Indian costume. His leggings were highly ornamented, and his buckskin jacket fitted without a wrinkle. A splendid bunch of many colored plumes, surmounted by two eagle's feathers, adorned his head, while his shapely feet were incased in elegantly worked moccasins. Navajo blankets have a wide and merited reputation for beauty and excellence, some of them being worth a hundred dollars a piece in the New Mexican market, and over his shoulders was one of su-