Page:The History of the American Indians.djvu/185

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

Their manner of curing the Jick. 173

as it were move the deity to co-operate with their fimple means and finifh the cure *.

When the Indian phyficians vifit their fuppofed irreligious patients, they approach them in a bending pofture, with their rattling calabalh, preferring that fort to the North-American gourds : and in that bent pofture of body, they run two or three times round the fick perfon, contrary to the courfe of the fun, invoking God as already expreft. Then they invoke the raven, and mimic his croaking voice : Now this bird was an ill omen to the ancient heathens, as we may fee by the prophet Ifaiah ; fo that common wifdom, or felf-love, would not have directed them to fuch a choice, if their traditions had reprefented it as a bad fymbol. But they chofe it as an emblem of recovery, probably from its indefatigablenefs in flying to and fro when fent out of the ark, till he

Formerly, an old Nachee warrior who was blind of one eye, and very dim-fighted in the other, having heard of the furprifing (kill of the European oculifts, fancied I could cure him. He frequently importuned me to perform that friendly office, which I as often declined. But he imagining all my excufes were the effea of modefty and caution, was the more importunate, and would take no denial. I was at laft obliged to commence Indian^ oculiir. I had juft drank a glafs of rum when he came to undergo the operation at thenime appointed ; he obferving my glafs, faid, it was beft to defer it till the next day. I told him, I drank fo on purpofe, for as the white people's phyfic and beloved fongs were quite different from what the red people applied and fung,. it was ufual with our beft phyficians to drink a little, to heighten their. fpirits> and enable them to fing with a ftrong voice, and likewife to- give their patients a little, to make their hearts weigh even within them ; he, confented, and lay down as if he was dead, according to their ufual cuftom. After a good many wild ceremonies, I fung up Sbeela no. Gu/ra, " will you drink wine:" Then I drank to my patient, which on my raifmg him up, he accepted: I gave him feveral drinks of grogg, both to divert myfelf, and purify the obtruding fuppofed finner. At laft, I applied my ma- teria medica, blowing a quill full of fine burnt allum and roman vitriol into his eye. Juft as I was ready to- repeat it, he bounded up out of his feemingly dead ftate, jumped about, and faid, my fongs and phyfic were not good. When I could be heard, I told him the Englift beloved fongs and phyfic were much ftronger than thofe of the red people, and that when, they did not immediately produce fuch an effeft as he found, it was a fu/e fign they were good for nothing, but as they were taking place, he would foon be .well. He acquiefced becaufe of the foporific dofe I gave him. But ever after, he reckoned he had a very narrow, chance of having his eye burnt out by Leak IJbtoboollo, for drinking Ooka Hcome, " the- bitter waters," and prefuming to get cured by an impure accurfed nothing, who lied, drank, ate hog's flefh, and fung Tarooa Qotyroo'ito,. " the devil's tune," or the fong of the evil ones,


�� �