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Ryan, Marah Ellis / The Flute of the Gods
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Transcriber's note

In this text, some place and personal names were printed
with a macron over a vowel or vowels. These are shown
in this text as follows. For example [=a] means a
macron appeared over the letter "a" in the text, as in
K[=a]-ye-fah. S[=aa]-hanh-que-ah indicates a single
macron appeared over two consecutive "a" characters in
the name.





THE FLUTE OF THE GODS

by

MARAH ELLIS RYAN

Author of "Told in the Hills," "Indian Love Letters," "The Soul of
Rafael," etc., etc.

Illustrated by Edward S. Curtis







[Illustration: "BY THE ARROW I HAVE SAID IT!" _Page 120_]



New York
Frederick A. Stokes Company
Publishers

Copyright, 1909
By Frederick A. Stokes Company
All rights reserved
September, 1909




THE FLUTE OF THE GODS




PREFACE


In romances of the aborigines of the so-called New World there is
usually presented savage man or woman modified as may be by the
influence of European mythologies in various authorized forms. But,
certain people of this New World possessed at least a semi-civilization
centuries before the coming of white conquerors.

When man ceases to be nomadic, builds houses of stone and mortar,
terrace upon terrace,--walled and fortressed against the enemy,--when
he has fields of growing grain, textile fabrics, decorated pottery, a
government that is a republic, a priesthood trained in complex ritual,
a well stocked pantheon, a certain understanding of astronomy and
psychic phenomena, he may withal be called barbarian, even as was
Abraham on Moriah barbaric when the altar of his god called for
sacrifice of his only son. But a people of such culture could not with
truth be called savage.

The tale told here has to do with these same historic barbarians. That
there is more of depth to the background of American Indian life than
is usually suggested by historians has been made clear of two tribes
by Dr. Le Plongeon in his _Sacred Mysteries of the Mayas and Quiches
11500 Years Ago_. Similar mysteries and secret orders exist to-day in
the tribes of the Mexicos and Arizona. In certain instances the names
and meanings of offices identical with those of Yucatan survive, to
prove an ancient intercourse between the Mayan tribes and those who
now dwell in the valley of the Rio Grande. The Abbe Clavigero left
account of a thousand years of the history of one tribe as transcribed
by him from their own hieroglyphic records. Lord Kingsborough may have
been far astray with his theory that the people of America were the
Lost Tribes of Israel, but the researches embodied in his remarkable
_Antiquities of Mexico_, demonstrated the fact that they were not a
people of yesterday.

As to historic notes used in this tale of the more northern Sun
worshipers: Cabeza de Vaca, the first European to cross the land from
the Mississippi to Mexico (1528-1536), left record in Spanish archives
of Don Teo the Greek. Casteñada, historian for the Coronado expedition
(1540-1542), left reluctant testimony of the worse than weird night in
one Indian town of the Rio Grande, when impress was left on the native
mind that the strong god of the white conquerors demanded much of
human sacrifice. In that journal is record also of the devoted Fray
Luis, of whose end only the Indians know. In _Soldiers of the Cross_
by Archbishop Salpointe, there is an account of a god-offering made in
1680 (after almost a century of European influences), warranting the
chapter describing a similar sacrifice on the same shrine when the
pagan mind was yet supreme and the call of the primitive gods a vital
thing.

It is yet so vital that neither imported government nor imported
creeds have quite stamped it out. Only the death of the elders and the
breaking up of the clans can eradicate it. When that is done, the
Latin and the Anglo-Saxon will have swept from the heart of the land,
primitive, conservative cults ancient as the Druids.

With thanks to the Indian friends who have helped me, I desire
especially to express my obligation to Edward S. Curtis, whose
wonderful volumes of _The North American Indian_ have been an
inspiration, and whose Indian pictures for this book of mine possess a
solid value in art and ethnology far beyond the mere illustration of
text.

M. E. R.




CONTENTS

I. THE WOMAN FROM THE SOUTH 1
II. THE DAY OF THE SIGN 11
III. OF THE JOURNEY OF TAHN-TÉ 18
IV. WHITE SEEKERS OF TREASURE 29
V. TAHN-TÉ AMONG STRANGERS 42
VI. TAHN-TÉ--THE RULER 56
VII. THE SILKEN SCARF 63
VIII. THE STORY BY THE DESERT WELL 74
IX. YAHN, THE APACHE 103
X. SHRINES OF THE SACRED PLACES 111
XI. THE MAID OF DREAMS 124
XII. COMING OF THE CASTILIANS 137
XIII. A PAGAN PRIEST IN COUNCIL 167
XIV. THE COURIER AND THE MAID 201
XV. THE GIVING OF THE SUN SYMBOL 221
XVI. THE TRUE VISION 244
XVII. THINGS REVEALED ON THE HEIGHTS 252
XVIII. THE BATTLE ON THE MESA 262
XIX. THE APACHE DEATH TRAP 271
XX. THE CHOICE OF YAHN TSYN-DEH 289
XXI. THE CALL OF THE ANCIENT STAR 298
XXII. "AT THE TRAIL'S END!" 306
XXIII. THE PROPHECY OF TAHN-TÉ 319
XXIV. THE BLUEBIRD'S CALL 329




ILLUSTRATIONS

"BY THE ARROW I HAVE SAID IT!" _Frontispiece_
FACING PAGE
THE ONE TOWN OF WÁLPI 3
THE PRAYER TOKEN 15
BLOOD-RED STARS IN THE GREEN OF HIS CROWN 19
TO DON RUY, A MESSAGE IN THE MOONLIGHT 65
THE PLACE OF THE PALMS 95
THE PRAYER OF YAHN TSYN-DEH 109
YAHN AT THE GRINDING STONE 113
KA-YEMO 119
THE SIGNAL FIRE TO THE MOUNTAIN GOD 125
AND REACHED HIS HANDS TO HIS BROTHERS--THE STARS 129
THE MAID OF DREAMS 131
STRAIGHT TO HIM DRIFTED THE BLUEBIRD'S WING 135
A LONELY FIGURE DESPITE HER TROPHIES 139
TAHN-TÉ STEPPED FORWARD 179
THE PAGE 199
INTO THE KIVA OF COUNCIL THEY DESCENDED 207
ONE GIRL WAITED AT THE PORTAL 245
IN CASTILIAN WAR DRESS HE STOOD 257
SHE LED HIM UP THE ANCIENT STAIRWAY 283
ONLY A WITCH LED TO DEATH 311
"BACK! THING OF THE EVIL ONE!" 325
TAHN-TÉ; THE OUTCAST 327
ONLY A TRAIL ACROSS THE DESERT SANDS 333




THE FLUTE OF THE GODS
CHAPTER I

THE WOMAN FROM THE SOUTH


Aliksai! In Tusayan the people were living! It was the year after the
year when the great star with the belt of fire reached across the sky.
(1528.)

The desert land of the Hopi people stretched yellow and brown and dead
from mesa to mesa. The sage was the color of the dust, and the brazen
sky was as a shield made hard and dry by the will of the angry gods.
The Spirit People of the elements could not find their way past that
shield, and could not bear blessings to Earth children.

The rain did not walk on the earth in those days, and the corn stood
still, and old men of the mesa towns knew that the starving time was
close. In the kivas fasted the Hopi priests, the youth planted prayer
plumes by the shrines of the dying wells, and the woman danced dances
at sunrise, and all sang the prayers to the gods:--and each day the
store of corn was lower, and the seed in the ground could not grow.

In the one town of Wálpi there were those who regretted the seed
wasted in the planting,--it were better to have given it to the
children, and even yet they might find some of it if the sand was
searched carefully.

"Peace!" said old Ho-tiwa, the Ancient of the village, and the chief
of Things of the Spirit. "It is not yet so bad as when I was a boy. In
that starving time, the robes of rabbit skins were eaten when the corn
was gone. Yet you see we did live and have grown old! The good seed is
in the ground, and when the rain comes--"

"When it comes!" sighed one skeptic--"We wait one year now,--how many
more until we die?"

"If it is that you die--the rain or the no rain makes no change--you
die!" reminded the old man. "The reader of the stars and of the moon
says a change is to come. Tell the herald to call it from the
housetops. This night the moon is at the big circle--it may bring with
it the smile of the glad god again. Tell the people!"

And as the herald proclaimed at the sunset the hopeful words of the
priests who prayed in the kivas, old Ho-tiwa walked away from the
spirit of discontent, and down the trail to the ruins of Sik-yat-ki.
All the wells but that one of the ancient city were useless, green,
stagnant water now. And each day it was watched lest it also go back
into the sands, and at the shrine beside it many prayers were
planted.

So that was the place where he went for prayer when his heart was
heavy with the woe of his people. And that was how he found that which
was waiting there to be found.

It was a girl, and she looked dead as she lay by the stones of the old
well. As he bent over to see if she lived, the round moon came like a
second sun into the soft glow of the twilight, and as it touched the
face of the girl, the old man felt the wind of the south pass over
them. Always to the day he died did he tell of how that south wind
came as if from swift wings!

[Illustration: THE ONE TOWN OF WÁLPI _Page 1_]

He called to some men who were going home from rabbit hunting in the
dusk, and they came and looked at the girl and at each other, and drew
away.

"We have our own women who may die soon," they said: "Why take in a
stranger? Whence comes she?"

No one had seen her come, but her trail was from the south. She wore
the dress of a pueblo girl, but she was not of their people. Her hair
was not cut, yet on her forehead she carried the mark of a soon-to-be
maternity--the sacred sign of the piñon gum seen by Ho-tiwa when he
went as a boy for the seed corn to the distant Te-hua people by the
river of the east.

"I come here with prayer thoughts to the water," said the old man
noting their reluctance,--"and I find a work put by my feet. The
reader of the skies tells that a change is to come with the moon. It
is as the moon comes that I find her. The gods may not be glad with us
if our hearts are not good at this time."

"But the corn--"

"The corn I would eat can go to this girl for four days. I am old, but
for so long I will fast,--and maybe then the gods will send the
change."

So the girl was carried to his house, and the women shrank away, and
were afraid--for the clouds followed the wind swiftly from the south,
and the face of the moon was covered, and at the turn of the night was
heard the voice of a man child--new born of the strange girl found by
the well in the moonlight. Ho-tiwa in the outer room of the dwelling
heard the voice--and more than the child voice, for on the breath of
the wind across the desert the good rain came walking in beauty to the
fields, and the glad laughter of the people went up from the mesa, and
there was much patter of bare feet on the wet stone floor of the
heights--and glad calls of joy that the desert was to live again!

And within the room of the new birth the women stared in affright at
the child and at each other, for it was most wonderfully fair--not
like any child ever seen. This child had hair like the night, eyes
like the blue of the sky, and face like the dawn.

One man among them was very old, and in his youth had known the Te-hua
words. When the girl spoke he listened, and told the thing she said,
and the women shrank from her when it was told.

"She must be a medicine-woman, for she knows these things," she said,
"and these things are sacred to her people. She says that the blade of
a sacrifice must mark her child, for the boy will not be a child as
other children." And at the mention of the knife the people stared at
each other.

"There is such a knife," said Ho-tiwa. "It belongs to the Ancient
Days, and only the gods, and two men know it. It shall be as she says.
The god of the sky has brought the woman and has brought the child,
and on the face of the child is set the light of the moon that the
Hopi people will never again doubt that the gods can do these
things."

And there was a council at which all the old men talked through the
night and the day. And while they talked, the rain poured in a flood
from the gray sky, until men said this might be magic, for the woman
might have brought witchcraft.

But the old chief said no evil craft could have brought the good
rain:--The wind and the rain had come from the south as the girl had
come from the south, and the light on the face of the child was a
symbol that it was sacred.

Then one man, who had been an Apache prisoner, and found his way back,
told of a strange thing;--that forty days to the south where the birds
of the green feathers were, a new people had come out of the Eastern
sea, and were white. The great kings made sacrifices for them, and
planted prayer plumes before them--for they were called the new gods
of the water and the sunrise.

And the girl had come from the south!

Yet another reminded the council that the words of the girl were
Te-hua words, and the Te-hua people lived East of Ci-bo-la and
Ah-ko--the farthest east of the stone house building people.

"Since these are her only words, the child shall be named in the way
of that people," said Ho-tiwa. "The sacred fire was lit at the birth,
and on the fourth morning my woman will give the name in the Te-hua
way, and throw the fire to burn all evil from his path, and the sacred
corn will guard his sleep. Some of you younger men never have heard of
the great Te-hau god. Tell it to them, Atoki, then they will know why
a Te-hua never sends away a poor stranger who comes to them."

The man who knew Te-hua words, and had seen the wonderful Te-hua
valley in his youth, sent smoke from his ceremonial pipe to the four
ways of the gods, and then to the upper and nether worlds, and spoke:

"_Aliksai!_ I will tell of the Te-hua god as it was told to me by the
old man of Kah-po in the time of starving when I went with the men for
the sacred corn of the seed planting:

"The thing I tell is the true thing!

"It was time for a god to walk on the earth, and one was born of the
piñon tree and a virgin who rested under the shadow of its arms. The
girl was very poor, and her people were very poor; when the piñon nut
fell in her bosom, and the winds told her a son was sent to her to
rest beneath her heart, she was very sad, for there was no food.

"But wonderful things happened. The Spirits of the Mountain brought to
her home new and strange food, and seeds to plant for harvest:--new
seeds of the melon, and big seed of the corn:--before that time the
seeds of the corn were little seeds. When the child was born, strange
things happened, and the eagles fly high above till the sky was alive
with wings. The boy was very poor, and so much a boy of dreams that he
was the one to be laughed at for the visions. But great wise thoughts
grew out of his mountain dreams, and he was so great a wizard that the
old men chose him for Po-Ahtun-ho, which means Ruler of Things from
the Beginning. And the dreamer who had been born of the maid and the
piñon tree was the Ruler. He governed even the boiling water from the
heart of the hills, and taught the people that the sickness was washed
away by it. His wisdom was beyond earth wisdom, and his visions were
true. The land of that people became a great land, and they had many
blue stones and shells. Then it was that they became proud. One day
the god came as a stranger to their village:--a poor stranger, and
they were not kind to him! The proud hearts had grown to be hard
hearts, and only fine strangers would they talk with. He went away
from that people then. He said hard words to them and went away. He
went to the South to live in a great home in the sea. When he comes
back they do not know, but some day he comes back,--or some night! He
said he would come back to the land when the stars mark the time when
they repent, and one night in seven the fire is lit on the hills by
the villages, that the earth-born god, Po-se-yemo, may see it if he
should come, and may see that his people are faithful and are waiting
for him to come.

"Because of the day when the god came, and they turned him away for
that his robe was poor, and his feet were bare;--because of that day,
no poor person is turned hungry from the door of that people. And the
old men say this is because the god may come any day from the South,
and may come again as a poor man.

"And this was told to us by the Te-hua men when we went for seed corn
in that starving time, and were not sent away empty. _Aliksai!_"

The men drew long breaths of awe and approval when the story was
ended. The old man who had found the girl knew that the girl had found
friends.

But the mysterious coincidence of her coming as the rain came--and
from the south--and the fair child!

Again the man who had been a prisoner with the Apaches was asked to
tell of the coming of the white gods in the south where the Mexic
people lived. He knew but little. No Apache had seen them, but Indian
traders of feathers had said it was so.

The men smoked in silence and then one said:--"Even if it be so, could
the girl come alone so far through the country of the hostile
people?"

"There is High Magic to help sometimes," reminded the old chief. "When
magic has been used only for sacred things it can do all things! We
can ask if she has known a white god such as the trader told of to our
enemies."

And the two oldest men went to the house of Ho-tiwa's wife, and stood
by the couch of the girl, and they sprinkled sacred meal, and sat in
prayer before they spoke.

And the girl said, "My name is Mo-wa-thé (Flash Of Light) and the name
of my son is Tahn-té (Sunlight). We may stay while these seeds grow
into grain, and into trees, and bear harvest. But not always may we be
with you, for a God of the Sky may claim his son."

And she took three seeds from the fold of the girdle she had worn.
They were strange seeds of another land.

The old men looked at each other, and remembered that to the mother of
the Te-hua god, strange seeds had been given, and they trembled, and
the man of the Te-hau words spoke:

"You come from the south where strange things may happen. On the trail
of that south, heard you or saw you--the white god?"

And she drew the child close, and looked in its face, and said,
"Yes--a white god!--the God of the Great Star."

And the old men sprinkled the sacred meal to the six points, and told
the council, and no one was allowed to question Mo-wa-thé ever again.

The seeds were planted near the well of Sik-yat-ki, and grew there.
One was the tree of the peach, another of the yellow pear, and the
grain was a grain of the wheat. The pear tree and the wheat could not
grow well in the sands of the desert, only enough to bring seed again,
but the peach grew in the shadow of the mesa, and the people had great
joy in it, and only the men of the council knew they came from the
gods.

And so it was in the beginning.




CHAPTER II

THE DAY OF THE SIGN


Mo-wa-thé,--the mother of Tahn-té, drew with her brush of yucca fibre
the hair-like lines of black on the ceremonial bowl she was
decorating. Tahn-té, slender, and nude, watched closely the deft
manipulations of the crude tools;--the medicine bowls for the sacred
rites were things of special interest to him--for never in the
domestic arrangement of the homes of the terraces did he see them
used. He thought the serrated edges better to look at than the smooth
lines of the home dishes.

"Why can I not know what is that put into them?" he demanded.

"Only the Ancient Ruler and the medicine-men know the sacred thing for
'Those Above.'"

He wriggled like a beautiful bronze snake to the door and lay there,
his chin propped on his hands, staring out across the plain--six
hundred feet below their door--only a narrow ledge--scarcely the
length of the boy's body:--divided the wall of their home from the
edge of the rock mesa.

Mo-wa-thé glanced at him from time to time.

"What thoughts do you think that you lie still like a kiva snake with
your eyes open?" she said at last.

"Yes, I think," he acknowledged with the gravity of a ceremonial
statement, "These days I am thinking thoughts--and on a day I will
tell them."

"When a boy has but few summers his thoughts are not yet his own,"
reminded Mo-wa-thé.

"They are here--and here!" his slender brown hand touched his head,
and heart,--"How does any other take them out--with a knife? Are they
not me?"

"Boy! The old men shall take you to the kiva where all the youth of
the clan must be taught how to grow straight and think straight."

"Will they teach me there whose son I am?" he demanded.

Her head bent lower over the sacred bowl, but she made no lines. He
saw it, and crept closer.

"Am I an arrow to you?" he asked--"sometimes your face goes strange
like that, and I feel like an arrow,--I would rather be a bird with
only prayer feathers for you!"

She smiled wistfully and shook her head.

"You are a prayer;--one prayer all alone," she said at last. "I cannot
tell you that prayer, I only live for it."

"Is it a white god prayer?" he asked softly.

She put down the bowl and stared at him as at a witch or a sorcerer;--one
who made her afraid.

"I found at the shrine by the trail the head you made of the white
god," he whispered. "No one knows who made it but me. I saw you. I am
telling not any one. I am thinking all days of that god."

"That?"----

"Is it the great god Po-se-yemo, who went south?" he whispered. "Do
you make the prayer likeness that he may come back?"

"Yes, that he may come back!"

"My mother;--you make him white!"

She nodded her head.

"I am whiter than the other boys;--than all the boys!"

She picked up the bowl again and tried to draw lines on it with her
unsteady fingers.

"And you talk more than all the boys," she observed.

"Did the moon give me to you?" he persisted. "Old Mowa says I am white
because the moon brought me."

"It is ill luck to talk with that woman--she has the witch charm."

"When I am Ruler, the witches must live in the old dead cities if you
do not like them."

Mo-wa-thé smiled at that.

"Yes, when you are Ruler. How will you make that happen?"

"All these days I have been thinking the thoughts how. If the moon
brought me to you, that means that my father was not like others;--not
like mesa men."

"No--not like mesa men!" she breathed softly.

Mo-wa-thé was very pretty and very slender. Tahn-té was always sure no
other mother was so pretty,--and as she spoke now her dark eyes were
beautified by some memory,--and the boy saw that he was momentarily
forgotten in some dream of her own.

"No one but me shall gather the wood for the night fire to light
Po-se-yemo back from the south lands," he said as he rose to his feet
and stood straight and decided before his mother. "The moon will help
me, and your white god will help me, and when he sees the blaze and
comes back, you will tell him it was his son who kept the fire!"

He took from his girdle the downy feather of an eagle, stepped
outside to the edge of the mesa and with a breath sent it beyond him
into space. A current of air caught it and whirled it upwards in token
that the prayer was accepted by Those Above.

And inside the doorway, Mo-wa-thé, watching, let fall the medicine
bowl at this added evidence that an enchanted day had come to the life
of her son. Not anything he wanted to see could be hidden from him
this day! Powerless, she knelt with bent head over the fragments of
the sacred vessel--powerless against the gods who veil things--and who
unveil things!

It was the next morning that Mo-wa-thé stood at the door of Ho-tiwa
the Ancient one;--the spiritual head of the village.

"Come within," he said, and she passed his daughters who were grinding
corn between the stones, and singing the grinding song of the sunrise
hour. They smiled at her as she passed, but with the smile was a
deference they did not show the ordinary neighbor of the mesas in Hopi
land.

The old man motioned her to a seat, and in silence they were in the
prayer which belongs to Those Above when human things need counsel.

Through the prayer thoughts echoed the last thrilling notes of the
grinding songs at the triumph of the sun over the clouds of the dusk
and the night.

Mo-wa-thé smiled at the meaning of it. It was well that the prayer had
the music of gladness.

"Yes, I come early," she said. "I come to see you. The time is here."

"The time?"

"The time when I go. Always we have known it would be some day. The
day is near. I take my son and go to his people."

"My daughter:--his people he does not know."

"My father:--no one but the winds have told him--yet he knows much! He
has said to me the things by which I feel that he knows unseen things.
I told him long ago that the stars as they touch the far mesa in the
night are like the fires our people build to light our god back from
the south. Yesterday he tells me he wants to be the builder of that
fire and serve that god. My father in this strange land:--my son
belongs to the clan whose duty it is to guard that fire! I never told
him. Those Above have told him. I have waited for a sign. The gods
have sent it to me through my son--we are to go across the desert and
find our people."

"It is a thing for council," decided her host. "The way is far to the
big river,--it is not good that you go alone. Men of Ah-ko will come
when they hear us stamp the foot for the time of the gathering of the
snakes. When they come, we will make a talk. If it is good that you
go, you will find brothers who will show the trail."

"That is well;" and Mo-wa-thé arose, and stood before him. "You have
been my brother, and you have been my father, and my son shall stay
and see once more the rain ceremony of the Blue Flute people, and of
the Snake people, and when he goes to his own land, he can tell them
of the great rain magic of the Hopi Priests."

"He can do more than that," said the Ancient. "In council it has been
spoken. Your son can be one of us, and the men of the Snake Order will
be as brothers to him if ever he comes back to the mesa where the Sun
Father and the Moon Mother first looked on his face. In the days of
the Lost Others, all the people had Snake Power, as they had power of
silent speech with all the birds, and the four-foot brothers of the
forests. Only a few have not lost it, and the Trues send all their
Spirit People to work with that few. Your son may take back to your
people the faith they knew in the ancient days."

[Illustration: THE PRAYER TOKEN _Page 13_]

So it was that the boy watched the drama of the Flute people from the
mesa edge for the last time. The circle of praying priests at the
sacred well; virgins in white garments facing the path of the cloud
symbols that the rain might come;--weird notes of the flute as the
chanters knelt facing the medicine bowl and the sacred corn; then the
coming of the racers from the far fields with the great green stalks
of corn on their shoulders, and the gold of the sunflowers in the
twist of reeds circling their brows. He did not know what the new land
of his mother's tribe would bring him, but he thought not any prayer
could be more beautiful than this glad prayer to the gods. Of that
prayer he talked to Mo-wa-thé.

Then eight suns from that day, he went from his mother's home to the
kiva of the Snake Priests, and he heard other prayers, and different
prayers, and when the sun was at the right height, for four days they
left the kiva in silence, and went to the desert for the creeping
brothers of the sands. To the four ways they went, with prayers, and
with digging-sticks. He had wondered in the other days why the men
never spoke as they left the kiva, and as they came back with their
serpent messengers for the gods. After the first snake was caught, and
held aloft for the blessing of the sun, he did not wonder.

He had shrunk, and thought it great magic when the brief public
ceremony of the Snake Order was given before the awe-struck
people:--It had been a matter of amaze when he saw the men he knew as
gentle, kind men, holding the coiling snake of the rattles to their
hearts and dance with the flat heads pressed against their painted
cheeks.

But the eight days and nights in the kiva with these nude, fasting,
praying men, had taught him much, and he learned that the most
wonderful thing in the taming of the serpents was not the thing to
which the people of the dance circle in the open were witness. He was
only a boy, yet he comprehended enough to be awed by the strong magic
of it.

And of that prayer of the serpents he talked not at all to Mo-wa-thé.

And the Ancient knew it, and said. "It is well! May he be a great
man--and strong!"

From a sheath of painted serpent skin the Ruler drew a flute brown and
smooth with age.

"Lé-lang-ûh, the God of the Flute sent me the vision of this when I
was a youth in prayer," he said gently. "I found it as you see it long
after I had become a man. On an ancient shrine uncovered by the Four
Winds in a wilderness I found it. I have no son and I am old. I give
it to you. Strange white gods are coming to the earth in these days,
and in the south they have grown strong to master the people. I will
be with the Lost Others when you are a man, but my words here you will
not forget;--the magic of the sacred flute has been for ages the music
of the growing things in the Desert. The God of the Flute is a god old
as the planting of fields, and a strong god of the desert places. It
may be that he is strong to lead you here once more to your brothers
on some day or some night--and we will be glad that you come again.
For this I give the flute of the vision to you. I have spoken.
Lo-lo-mi!"




CHAPTER III

OF THE JOURNEY OF TAHN-TÉ


The journey of Tahn-té to his mother's land of the East was the wonder
journey of the world! There were medicine-men of Ah-ko for their
guides, and the people were many who went along, so no one was afraid
of the Navahu of the hill land.

And a new name was given to his mother. Ho-tiwa gave her the name, and
put on her head the water of the pagan baptism to wash away that which
had been. The new name was S[=aa]-hanh-que-ah and it meant the "Woman
who has come out from the mists of a Shadow or Twilight Land." And
they all called her by that name, and the men of Ah-ko regarded her
with awe and with respect, and listened in silence when she spoke.

For the first time the boy saw beyond the sands of the desert, and in
the high lands touched the running water of living springs, and
scattered meal on it with his prayers, and bathed in the stream where
green stems of rushes grew, and braided for himself a wreath of the
tasselled pine.

"_Ai-ai!_" said his mother softly,--"to the people of my land the pine
is known as the first tree to come from the Mother Earth at the edge
of the ice robe on her bosom. So say the ancients, and for that reason
is it sacred to the gods--and to the sacrifices of gods. Have you, my
son, woven a crown of sacrifice?"

But Tahn-té laughed, and thrust in it the scarlet star blossom growing
in the timber lands of the Navahu.

"If I am made sacrifice I will have a blood strong, living reason," he
said, with the gay insolence of a young god walking on the earth.

But the older men did not smile at the bright picture he made with the
blood-red stars in the green of his crown. They knew that even untried
youth may speak prophet words, and they made prayers that the wise
woman of the twilight land might not see the day when her son became
that which he had spoken.

He carried with him a strange burden:--an urn or jar of ancient days
dug from one of the buried cities of the Hopi deserts. On it was the
circle of the plumed serpent, and the cross of red and of white. It
was borne on his back by a netted band of the yucca fibre around his
brow, and in it were young peach trees, and pear trees--the growing
things of the mystic seeds given to the medicine-men of the Hopi the
day of the boy's birth.

Seeds also were being carried, but it was the wish of the mother that
her son carry the growing things into the great valley of the river
P[=o]-s[=o]n-gé.

Even into the great rift of the earth called Tzé-ye did he carry it,
where the cliff homes of the Ancient Others lined the sides of the
cañon and the medicine-men of Ah-ko spoke in hushed tones because of
the echoing walls, and of the strong gods who had dwelt there in the
days before men lived and died.

"The dead of the Ancient ones are hidden in many hollow places of the
stone," explained one of the men who spoke the language of Te-hua
people. "And it is good medicine for the man who can walk between
these walls where the Divine Ones of old made themselves strong. You
do not fear?"

[Illustration: BLOOD-RED STARS IN THE GREEN OF HIS CROWN _Page 18_]

"I do not fear," said S[=aa]-hanh-que-ah, the woman of the twilight,
"and my son does not fear. Before he was born to the light of the Sun
Father, I made the trail from the level land of the west where the
snow is, to the deep heart of the world where the plants have blossoms
in winter time, and the birds sing for summer. Beside it this deep
step down from the world above is like the thickness of your finger
against the height of a tall man."

The men stared at her in wonder, and Tahn-té listened, but could not
speak when the older men were silent.

"There is such a place," said the oldest of the men. "It is to the
sunset. The water comes strong there, and it is a place of the gods,
as this place is. And you have seen it with your eyes?"

"I have seen it, and the water that is so strong looks from the top
like this reed of this ancient dwelling place," said S[=aa]-hanh-que-ah,
and she pointed to the waving slender lattice grass of the cañon.

"I have heard of it, but our people do not cross it in these days,"
said the old man. "Our friends the Te-huas cross it--and cross a
desert beyond when they go to the Love Dance of the Chinig-Chinik who
live by the sunset sea. In my youth I thought to go, but old age is
here and I have not yet seen it." Then after an interval of thoughtful
silence he said:--"You have crossed that river in the heart of the
world--I did not know that women went to the Love Dance."

"I can not tell you. I also do not know," said S[=aa]-hanh-que-ah
quietly, and the boy saw that the eyes of all the men were directed
strangely to his mother. "I do not belong to the Order from which the
people are sent to the Dance of Love or the Dance of Death. My eyes
have not seen the waters of the sunset sea."

"Then you did not go beyond the river in the heart of the rocks?"
asked the old man. "You did not cross over?"

"I did cross over. I have seen the sands of that far desert of which
you speak. I have seen the trees of which one leaf will cover a man
from the sun, and more leaves will make a cover for a dwelling. I have
seen the water run there at the roots of those trees as this water
runs in the shadow of this rock, and--ai!--ai-ah! I have seen it sink
in the sands when it was needed most--and have heard it gurgle its
ghost laugh beneath the hot trail where the desert lost one
wandered."

Her head bent forward and her hands covered her eyes. The boy wanted
to ask where this place was of which he was hearing so much for the
first time. What was there in the wonderful journey of the wise woman
to make the tears come and her voice tremble? But the old Shaman of
Ah-ko reached out his hand and touched her bent head.

"It is true, my daughter of the Te-hua, that the Snake priest of the
Hópitû told in council that high medicine was yours. Yet all he could
not tell me. You have lived much, oh woman! Yet your heart is not
hard, and your thoughts run clear as the snow water of the high hills.
It is well that you have come with us, and that you have talked with
us. When the hidden water mocks with laughter so far beneath the
desert sand that no man lives to reach it:--then it is that men die
beside the place their bleeding hands dig deep. You have heard that
laughter, and have lived, and have brought back your child out of the
sands of death. It has given you the medicine for your son that is
strong medicine. You have lived to walk with us and that is well."

"Yes, thanks this day, it is well," said the other men.

At Ah-ko, "the city of the white rock," the silent, shy Medicine-Woman
of the Twilight and her son were feasted like visiting rulers of a
land.

To his wonder they sang songs of thanks that the gods had let her come
to them once again, and they asked that she make prayers with them.

The woman with whom the rain and the sweet fruit had come to the far
desert was a woman to be feasted and propitiated--all the more that
she disclaimed aught of the divine for herself; but when they spoke of
her son she was silent. His life was his own in which to prove what he
might be.

Here he saw no girls with the head bands for their burden of water
bottles as in Tusayan. He saw instead the beautifully poised vases on
the heads of the women while they paced evenly over the rock of the
mesa or the treacherous sand hills, and the great walled reservoir of
shining green water was a constant source of delight to him. Eight
times the height of a man was the depth of it, and at the very bottom
in an unseen crevice was the living spring pulsing out its heart for
the long line of women who brought their decorated jars to be filled.

The evening of their arrival he found his mother there in the shadow
of the high rock walls.

"Are you sad, my mother, that you walk alone and sit in the shadow?"
he asked, but she shook her head.

"I come because this place of the deep water is precious to me," she
said. "Make your prayer here, my son, make your prayer for the people
who thirst in the desert of this earth life. There are many deserts to
cross, and the enchanted hills and the enchanted wells of content are
but few on the trail."

He made the prayer, and scattered the sacred pollen of the corn to the
four ways, and again took up his query.

"The enchanted mesa Kat-zi-mo I have seen and already the men have
told me its story," he said.



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