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The Arrow-Maker - A Drama in Three Acts
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THE ARROW-MAKER

A Drama in Three Acts

BY MARY AUSTIN

Revised Edition

AMS PRESS NEW YORK

Reprinted from the edition of 1915, Boston First AMS EDITION published 1969 Manufactured in the United States of America

Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number: 70-90082

AMS PRESS, INC. New York, N. Y. 10003

DEDICATED IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO H. C. H. AS ONE WHO AMONG MANY PROTESTANTS "MADE GOOD"



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

The greatest difficulty to be met in the writing of an Indian play is the extensive misinformation about Indians. Any real aboriginal of my acquaintance resembles his prototype in the public mind about as much as he does the high-nosed, wooden sign of a tobacco store, the fact being that, among the fifty-eight linguistic groups of American aboriginals, customs, traits, and beliefs differ as greatly as among Slavs and Sicilians. Their very speech appears not to be derived from any common stock. All that they really have of likeness is an average condition of primitiveness: they have traveled just so far toward an understanding of the world they live in, and no farther. It is this general limitation of knowledge which makes, in spite of the multiplication of tribal customs, a common attitude of mind which alone affords a basis of interpretation.

But before attempting to realize the working of Indian psychology, you must first rid yourself of the notion that there is any real difference between the tribes of men except the explanations. What determines man's behavior in the presence of fever, thunder, and the separations of death, is the nature of his guess at the causes of these things. The issues of life do not vary so much with the conditions of civilization as is popularly supposed.

Chiefest among the misconceptions of primitive life, which make difficult any dramatic presentation of it, is the notion that all human contacts are accompanied by the degree of emotional stress that obtains only in the most complex social organizations. We are always hearing, from the people farthest removed from them, of "great primitive passions," when in fact what distinguishes the passions of the tribesmen from our own is their greater liability to the pacific influences of nature, and their greater freedom from the stimulus of imagination. What among us makes for the immensity of emotion, is the great weight of accumulated emotional tradition stored up in literature and art, almost entirely wanting in the camps of the aboriginals. There the two greatest themes of modern drama, love and ambition, are modified, the one by the more or less communal nature of tribal labor, the other by the plain fact that in the simple, open-air life of the Indian the physical stress of sex is actually much less than in conditions called civilized.

When the critics are heard talking of "drama of great primitive passions," what they mean is great barbaric passions, passions far enough along in the process of socialization to be subject to the interactions of wealth, caste, and established religion, and still free from the obligation of politeness. But the life of the American Indian provides no such conditions, and, moreover, in the factor which makes conspicuously for the degree of complication called Plot, is notably wanting,—I mean in the factor of Privacy. Where all the functions of living are carried on in the presence of the community, or at the best behind the thin-walled, leafy huts, human relations become simplified to a degree difficult for our complexer habit to comprehend. The only really great passions—great, I mean, in the sense of being dramatically possible—are communal, and find their expression in the dance which is the normal vehicle of emotional stress.

In The Arrow-Maker the author, without dwelling too much on tribal peculiarities, has attempted the explication of this primitive attitude toward a human type common to all conditions of society. The particular mould in which the story is cast takes shape from the manner of aboriginal life in the Southwest, anywhere between the Klamath River and the Painted Desert; but it has been written in vain if the situation has not also worked itself out in terms of your own environment.

The Chisera is simply the Genius, one of those singular and powerful characters whom we are still, with all our learning, unable to account for without falling back on the primitive conception of gift as arising from direct communication with the gods. That she becomes a Medicine Woman is due to the circumstance of being born into a time which fails to discriminate very clearly as to just which of the inexplicable things lie within the control of her particular gift. That she accepts the interpretation of her preeminence which common opinion provides for her, does not alter the fact that she is no more or less than just the gifted woman, too much occupied with the use of her gift to look well after herself, and more or less at the mercy of the tribe. What chiefly influences their attitude toward her is worthy of note, being no less than the universal, unreasoned conviction that great gift belongs, not to the possessor of it, but to society at large. The whole question then becomes one of how the tribe shall work the Chisera to their best advantage.

How they did this, with what damage and success is to be read, but if to be read profitably, with its application in mind to the present social awakening to the waste, the enormous and stupid waste, of the gifts of women. To one fresh from the consideration of the roots of life as they lie close to the surface of primitive society, this obsession of the recent centuries, that the community can only be served by a gift for architecture, for administration, for healing, when it occurs in the person of a male, is only a trifle less ridiculous than that other social stupidity, namely, that a gift of mothering must not be exercised except in the event of a particular man being able, under certain restrictions, to afford the opportunity. There is perhaps no social movement going on at present so deep-rooted and dramatic as this struggle of Femininity to recapture its right to serve, and still to serve with whatever powers and possessions it finds itself endowed. But a dramatic presentation of it is hardly possible outside of primitive conditions where no tradition intervenes to prevent society from accepting the logic of events.

Whatever more there may be in The Arrow-Maker, besides its Indian color, should lie in the discovery by the Chisera, to which the author subscribes, that it is also in conjunction with her normal relation for loving and bearing that the possessor of gifts finds the greatest increment of power. To such of these as have not discovered it for themselves, The Arrow-Maker is hopefully recommended.



NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION

The Arrow-Maker was first published as produced at The New Theatre, New York, in the spring of 1911. In that edition certain concessions were made to what was thought to be the demand for a drama of Indian life which should present the Indian more nearly as he is popularly conceived.

After four years the success of the published play as an authentic note on aboriginal life as well as a drama suitable for production in schools and colleges, seems to warrant its publication in the original form. As it now stands, the book not only conforms to the author's original conception of the drama, but to the conditions of the life it presents.

With the addition of notes and glossary it is hoped the present edition will meet every demand that can be made on an honest attempt to render in dramatic form a neglected phase of American life.

M. A.



PERSONS OF THE DRAMA

In the order of their appearance

CHOCO }

PAMAQUASH } Fighting men

TAVWOTS }

YAVI A youth

SEEGOOCHE The Chief's wife

TIAWA A very old woman

WACOBA Wife to Pamaquash

THE CHISERA Medicine Woman of the Paiutes

BRIGHT WATER The Chief's daughter

WHITE FLOWER }

TUIYO } Friends of Bright Water

PIOKE }

SIMWA The Arrow-Maker

PADAHOON Rival to Simwa for leadership

RAIN WIND Chief of the Paiutes

HAIWAI A young matron



THE ARROW-MAKER

ACT FIRST



THE ARROW-MAKER



ACT FIRST

SCENE.—The hut of the CHISERA, in the foot-hills of the Sierras. It stands at the mouth of a steep, dark canyon, opening toward the valley of Sagharawite. At the back rise high and barren cliffs where eagles nest; at the foot of the cliffs runs a stream, hidden by willow and buckthorn and toyon. The wickiup is built in the usual Paiute fashion, of long willows set about a circular pit, bent over to form a dome, thatched with reeds and grass. About the hut lie baskets and blankets, a stone metate, other household articles, all of the best quality; in front is a clear space overflowing with knee-deep many-colored bloom of the California spring. A little bank that runs from the wickiup to the toyon bushes is covered with white forget-me-nots. The hearth-fire between two stones is quite out, but the deerskin that screens the opening of the hut is caught up at one side, a sign that the owner is not far from home, or expects to return soon.

At first glance the scene appears devoid of life, but suddenly the call of a jay bird is heard faintly and far up the trail that leads to the right among the rocks. It is repeated nearer at hand, perfectly imitated but with a nuance that advises of human origin, and two or three half-naked Indians are seen to be making their way toward the bottom of the canyon, their movements so cunningly harmonized with the lines of the landscape as to render them nearly invisible. CHOCO and PAMAQUASH with two others come together at the end of the bank farthest from the CHISERA'S hut.

CHOCO

Who called?

PAMAQUASH

It came from farther up.

CHOCO

Yavi, I think.

PAMAQUASH

He must have seen something.

CHOCO

By the Bear, if the Castacs have crossed our boundaries, there are some of them shall not recross it!

PAMAQUASH

Hush—the Chisera—she will hear you!

CHOCO

She is not in the hut. She went out toward the hills early this morning, and has not yet returned. Besides, if the Castacs have crossed, we cannot keep it from the women much longer.

PAMAQUASH

(Who has moved up to a better post of observation.) There is some one on the trail.

(The jay's call is heard and answered softly by PAMAQUASH.)

CHOCO

Yavi. But Tavwots is not with him. (YAVI comes dropping from the cliffs.) What have you seen?

YAVI

Smoke rising—by Deer Leap. Two long puffs and a short one.

(The news is received with sharp, excited murmurs.)

PAMAQUASH

More than a score—and with all our youths we cannot count so many.

CHOCO

And this business of war leader still unsettled—The Council must sit at once. Go, one of you, and tell Chief Rain Wind that Tavwots has signaled from Deer Leap that more than a score of Castacs are out against us.

PAMAQUASH

And tell the women to prepare a gift hastily for the Chisera. Who knows how soon we shall have need of her medicine.

(One of the Indians departs on this errand.)

CHOCO

Never so much need of it as when we have neglected our own part of the affair! Even before the Castacs began to fill up our springs and drive our deer, we knew that the Chief is too old for war; and now that the enemy has crossed our borders we are still leaderless.

PAMAQUASH

So we should not be if we had followed the tribal use and given the leadership to years and experience. It is you young men who have unsettled judgment, with the to-do you have made about the Arrow-Maker.

CHOCO

I have nothing against years and experience, but when one has the gods as plainly on his side as Simwa—

YAVI

Never have I seen a man so increase in power and fortune—

PAMAQUASH

Huh—huh! I too have watched the growth of this Simwa. Also I have seen a gourd swelling with the rains, and I have not laid it to the gods in either case. But the Council must sit upon it. We must bring it to the Council.

YAVI

(Hotly.) Why should you credit the gods with Simwa's good fortune since he himself does not so claim it? For my part, I think with the Arrow-Maker, that it is better for a man to thrive by his own wits, rather than by the making of medicine or the wisdom of the elders.

PAMAQUASH

(From above.) Tst—st, Tavwots!

(TAVWOTS comes down the canyon panting with speed. He drops exhausted on the bank, and YAVI gives him water between his palms from the creek.)

CHOCO

Have they crossed?

TAVWOTS

Between Deer Leap and Standing Rock—more than a score, though I think some of them were boys—but they had no women.

CHOCO

They mean fighting, then!

YAVI

Well, they can have it.

TAVWOTS

But they should not be let fatten on our deer before they come to it. Winnemucca, whom I left at Deer Leap, will bring us word where they camp to-night. In the mean time there is much to do. (Rising.)

CHOCO

Much. No doubt Simwa will have something to suggest.

TAVWOTS

The Arrow-Maker is not yet war leader, my friend. I go to the Chief and the Council. (He goes.)

CHOCO

And yet, I think the Chief favors Simwa, else why should he prefer to put the election to lot rather than keep to the custom of the fathers?

YAVI

(Going.) There might be reasons to that, not touching the merits of the Arrow-Maker.

PAMAQUASH

Tavwots has met the women!

(Sounds of the grief of the women in the direction of the camp.)

CHOCO

They are coming to the Chisera. We should not have let them find us here; they will neglect their business with her to beset us with questions.

(To them enter three women of the campody of Sagharawite, carrying perfect-patterned, bowl-shaped baskets, with gifts of food for the CHISERA. SEEGOOCHE, the Chiefs wife, is old and full of dignity. TIAWA is old and sharp, but WACOBA is a comfortable, comely matron, who wears a blanket modestly yet to conceal charms not past their prime. SEEGOOCHE and TIAWA wear basket caps, but WACOBA has a bandeau of bright beads about her hair. They show signs of agitation, instantly subdued at sight of the men.)

SEEGOOCHE

Is this true what Tavwots has told us, that the Castacs are upon us?

CHOCO

No nearer than Pahrump. Not so near by the time we have done with them. What gifts have you?

TIAWA

The best the camp affords. Think you we would stint when the smoke of the Castacs goes up within our borders?

WACOBA

Where is she?

CHOCO

Abroad in the hills gathering roots and herbs for to-night's medicine. Wait for her.—We must go look to our fighting gear.

(He goes out in the direction of the campody.)

PAMAQUASH

(To WACOBA.) My bow case, is it finished?

WACOBA

And the bow inside it. See that you come not back to me nor to your young son until the bowstring is frayed asunder.

PAMAQUASH

If you do your work with the Chisera as well as we with Castac, you shall not need to question our bowstrings. (Going.)

SEEGOOCHE

Leave us to deal—though if she cannot help us in this matter, I do not know where we shall turn.

TIAWA

Never have I asked help of her, and been disappointed.

WACOBA

(Gathering flowers.) Aye, but that was mere women's matters, weevil in the pine nuts, a love-charm or a colicky child. This is war!

SEEGOOCHE

(Still peering about.) As if that were not a woman's affair also!

TIAWA

You may well say that! It was in our last quarrel with Castac I lost the only man-child I ever had, dead before he was born. When the women showed me his face, it was all puckered with the bitterness of that defeat. You may well say a woman's matter!

SEEGOOCHE

That was the year my husband was first made Chief, and we covered defeat with victory, as we shall again. It was Tinnemaha, the father of the Chisera, went before the gods for us, I remember.

TIAWA

Well for us that he taught her his strong medicine. Not a fighting man from Tecuya to Tehachappi but trusts in her.

(Goes to the creek and dips up water to drink in her basket cap.)

WACOBA

(Tentatively.) It is believed by some that she makes medicine for Simwa, the Arrow-Maker, and that is why his arrows are so well feathered and fly so swiftly to the mark.

SEEGOOCHE

Simwa! Why, he scoffs at charms and speaks lightly even of the gods.

TIAWA

(Giving the others to drink from her cap.) Aye; Simwa puts not faith in anybody but Simwa.

SEEGOOCHE

And with good reason, for he is the most skillful of the tribesmen. He has made all the arrows for the fighting men. Do you think they will make him war leader?

WACOBA

(Ornamenting the basket she has brought with a wreath of flowers, which she plucks.) Padahoon will never agree to it.

TIAWA

But if Simwa is the better man?

WACOBA

The Sparrow Hawk is older, and has the greater experience.

SEEGOOCHE

Prutt! If age and experience were all, my husband would not ask that a new leader be chosen. Young men are keenest-eyed and quickest afoot.

(She moves up the trail looking for signs of the CHISERA.)

TIAWA

(Going over to WACOBA, aside from SEEGOOCHE.) So the Chief favors Simwa? I would not have thought it.

WACOBA

(Significantly.) Seegooche's daughter is not married, and the Arrow-Maker has many blankets.

TIAWA

Ugh, huh! So the scent lies up that trail? Well, why not?

WACOBA

Why not? The Chief's daughter and the war leader? A good match.

TIAWA

(Going across to the hut.) Aye, a good match!... Do you know, I have never been in the Chisera's house. It is said she has a great store of baskets and many beads. Let us look.

SEEGOOCHE

No, no; do not go near it.

WACOBA

(Alarmed.) Kima! Tiawa, she may be watching you.

TIAWA

(By the hut, but not daring to enter it.) What harm to visit a neighbor's house when the door is open. Besides, she makes no bad medicine.

SEEGOOCHE

We know that she does not, but not that she could not if she would.

TIAWA

(Returning reluctantly.) Why should we hold the Chisera so apart from the campody? Why should she not have a husband and children as other women? How can she go before the gods for us until she knows what we are thinking in our hearts?

WACOBA

(Jumping up.) I have seen something stirring in the alder bushes. I think the Chisera comes!

SEEGOOCHE

Do not be seen too near the hut. Come away, Tiawa.

TIAWA

Have you the presents ready? (The women take up their baskets hastily.) Hide your basket, Seegooche. It is not well to let all your gifts appear on the first showing, for if she is not persuaded at first, we shall have something of more worth.

(The CHISERA comes out of the trail by the almond bushes, young and tall and comely, but of dignified, almost forbidding, carriage. She is dressed chiefly in skins; her hair is very long, braided with beads. She carries a small burden basket on her back, supported by a band about her forehead. She removes this, and drops it at the hut, coming forward.)

THE CHISERA

Friends, what have we to do with one another? Seegooche, has your meal fermented? Or has your baby the colic again, Wacoba?

SEEGOOCHE

We have a gift for you, Chisera.

(The women draw near timidly, each, as she speaks, placing her basket at the CHISERA'S feet, and retire.)

THE CHISERA

(Looking at the gifts, without touching them.) The venison is fat and tender; Seegooche, there is no one grinds meal so smoothly as you. The honey is indeed acceptable.

(After a pause, during which the medicine woman looks keenly at them.)

TIAWA

We do not come for ourselves, Chisera, but from the tribeswomen.

SEEGOOCHE

From every one who has a husband or son able to join battle.

THE CHISERA

(Eagerly.) Is there battle?

SEEGOOCHE

Even as we came, there was word that the Castacs are camped at Pahrump, and before night our men must meet them.

THE CHISERA

And you ask me—?

SEEGOOCHE

(Approaching appealingly and sinking to the ground in the stress of anxiety.) A charm, Chisera!

TIAWA

(Approaching with WACOBA.) A most potent medicine, O friend of the gods!

WACOBA

That our men may have strength and discretion. That their hearts may not turn to water and their knees quake under them—

TIAWA

(Urgently.) May the bows of Castac be broken, and their arrows turned aside—

SEEGOOCHE

For the lords of our bodies and the sons of our bodies, a blessing, Chisera!

WACOBA

That our hearths may be kept alight and our children know their fathers—

TIAWA

When the noise of battle is joined and the buzzards come, may they feed on our foes, Chisera—

SEEGOOCHE

O friend of the gods, befriend us!

(The women cast dust on their hair and rock to and fro while the CHISERA speaks, lifting up their arms in an agony of entreating.)

THE CHISERA

Am I not also a tribeswoman? Would not I do so much for my people? But your gifts and your prayers will be acceptable to the gods, for of myself I can do nothing. (She stoops to the gifts, but hesitates.) Who is this that comes?

(The young girls steal up noiselessly through the bushes, led by the Chief's daughter. BRIGHT WATER is lovely and young; her hair, flowing loosely over her shoulders and breast, is mingled with strings of beads and bright berries. Her dress of fringed buckskin is heavily beaded, her arms are weighted with armlets of silver and carved beads of turquoise; about her neck hangs a disk of glittering shell. She walks proudly, a little in advance of the others, who bunch up timidly like quail on the trail, behind her. The women, catching sight of the girls, spring up, frightened, and stand half protectingly between them and the CHISERA.)

TIAWA

It is the Chief's daughter.

SEEGOOCHE

What do you here? You have neither sons nor husbands that you should ask spells and charms.

BRIGHT WATER

How, then, shall we have husbands or sons, if the battle goes against us?

THE CHISERA

Well answered, Chief's daughter.

BRIGHT WATER

(Surprised.) You know me?

THE CHISERA

I have heard that the loveliest maiden of Sagharawite is called Bright Water, daughter of Rain Wind, Chief of the Paiutes.

SEEGOOCHE

(Going over to BRIGHT WATER.) You should have stayed in the wickiup, my daughter; you are too young to go seeking magic medicine.

BRIGHT WATER

The more need because we are young, mother. If the loss of battle come to you, at least you have had the love of a man and the lips of children at the breast. But we, if the battle goes against us, what have we?

THE CHISERA

Ay, truly, Seegooche, there are no joys so hard to do without as those we have not had.

BRIGHT WATER

Therefore, we ask a charm, Chisera, for our sweethearts; and, in the mean time, may this remind you—

(She drops a bracelet in the CHISERA'S basket.)

WHITE FLOWER

(Going forward.) The scarlet beads from me, Chisera. I am to be married in the time of tasseling corn.

TUIYO

The shells from me, Chisera. Good medicine!

PIOKE

Strong Bow is my lover, Chisera. Bring him safe home again.

(The girls retire after dropping their gifts in the CHISERA'S basket.)

THE CHISERA

(A little stiffly.) You have no need of gifts. Am I not young, even as you? Should you pray for your lover any more or less for the sake of a few beads?

SEEGOOCHE

(Anxiously.) Be not angry, Chisera. They would repay you for the dancing and the singing.

(The CHISERA gathers up the gifts that the older women have brought and goes into the hut. The girls take up their gifts, puzzled.)

SEEGOOCHE

I am afraid you have vexed her with your foolish quest.

BRIGHT WATER

Has the Chisera a lover also, that she speak so?

SEEGOOCHE

It is not possible and we not know of it, for since her father's death if any sought her hand in marriage, he must come to my husband in the matter of dowry.

WACOBA

No fear that any will come while she is still the Chisera.

BRIGHT WATER

She is the wisest of us all.

TIAWA

Wisdom is good as a guest, but it wears out its welcome when it sits by the hearth-stone.

BRIGHT WATER

She has great power with the gods.

WACOBA

So much so that if she had a husband, he dare not beat her lest she run and tattle to them.

SEEGOOCHE

She is our Chisera, and there is not another like her between Tehachappi and Tecuya. If she were wearied with stooping and sweating, if she were anxious with bearing and rearing, how could she go before the gods for us?

TIAWA

Aye, that is the talk in the wickiups, that we must hold her apart from us to give her room for her great offices, but I have always said—but I am old and nobody minds me—I have always said that if she had loved as we love and had borne as we have borne, she would be the more fitted to entreat the gods that we may not lose.

SEEGOOCHE

(As the CHISERA comes out of the hut.) If you are angry, Chisera, turn it against our enemies of Castac.

THE CHISERA

You know that I cannot curse.

TIAWA

Is it true, Chisera, that you make no bad medicine?

THE CHISERA

Many kinds of sickness I can cure, and give easy childbirth. I can bring rain, and give fortune in the hunt, but of the making of evil spells I know nothing.

SEEGOOCHE

But your father, the medicine man—he was the dread and wonder of the tribes.

THE CHISERA

Aye, my father could kill by a spell, and make a wasting sickness with a frown, but he thought such powers not proper to women: therefore he taught me none.

WACOBA

But you will bring a blessing on the battle? Oh, Chisera, they do not tell us women, but we hear it whispered about the camp that the men of Castac are five and twenty, and even with the youths who go to their first battle we cannot make a score of ours. It is the Friend of the Soul of Man must make good our numbers.

THE CHISERA

Even now I go to prepare strong medicine.

WACOBA

Come away, then, and leave the Chisera to her work. (Going.)

SEEGOOCHE

May the gods befriend you. If we have your blessing, we care little for another's curse. (Going.)

THE CHISERA

Stay. After all, we are but women together, and if a woman may give counsel, women may hear it.

TIAWA

Would we might hear yours to-day!

THE CHISERA

When the smoke of the medicine fire arises, so as to be seen from the spring, do you come up along the creek as far as the black rock.

WOMEN

Yes, yes!

THE CHISERA

When you hear the medicine rattles, stand off by the toyon.

WOMEN

By the toyon—yes!

THE CHISERA

But when the rattles are stopped, and the singing falls off, come up very softly, not to disturb the Council, and hear what the gods have said. If the men speak against it, I will stand for you.

SEEGOOCHE

Our thanks to you, Chisera, for this kindness.

TIAWA

And though you are a Chisera, and have strange intercourse with the gods, I know you a woman, by this token.

THE CHISERA

Doubt it not, but go.

SEEGOOCHE

Come away, girls.

(They go out, the girls with them. But BRIGHT WATER lingers, and comes back to the CHISERA.)

BRIGHT WATER

Chisera—

THE CHISERA

Chief's daughter?

BRIGHT WATER

Call me by my name.

THE CHISERA

Bright Water, what would you have of me?

BRIGHT WATER

Can you—will you make a charm for one going out to battle whose name is not spoken?

THE CHISERA

How shall the gods find him out, if he is not to be named?

BRIGHT WATER

(Earnestly.) Oh, he is handsome and strong in the shoulders; the muscles of his back are laced like thongs. He is the bravest—

THE CHISERA

(Laughing.) Chief's daughter, whenever I have made love charms, they have been for men handsome and strong in the back.

BRIGHT WATER

(Abashed.) I know not how to describe him.

THE CHISERA

(Still smiling.) And his name is not to be spoken? (BRIGHT WATER continues to look down at her moccasin.) If I had something of his: something he had shaped with his hands or worn upon his person, that I could make medicine upon—

BRIGHT WATER

Like this?

(Takes amulet from her neck and holds it out.)

THE CHISERA

(Taking it.) Did he give you this?

BRIGHT WATER

He made it.

THE CHISERA

(Examining it.) It is skillfully fashioned.

BRIGHT WATER

Will it answer?

THE CHISERA

To make a spell upon? Yes, if you can spare it.

BRIGHT WATER

Shall I have it again?

THE CHISERA

When the time is past for which the spell is made.

BRIGHT WATER

Make it, then; a powerful medicine against ill fortune in battle. And this for your pains, Chisera. (Holds out bracelet.)

THE CHISERA

(Proudly.) I want no gifts. Keep your bracelet.

BRIGHT WATER

(With equal pride.) The Chief's daughter asks no favors.

THE CHISERA

But if a Chisera choose to confer them? (With sudden feeling.) What question is there between us of Chief's daughter and Chisera? We are two women, and young.

BRIGHT WATER

(Uncertainly.) The Chisera is the friend of the gods.

THE CHISERA

And therefore not the friend of any tribeswoman? (Passionately.) Oh, I am weary of the friendship of the gods! If I have walked in the midnight and heard what the great ones have said, is that any reason I should not know what a man says to a maid in the dusk—or do a kindness to my own kind—or love, and be beloved?

BRIGHT WATER

(Moved.) Therefore take it (offering bracelet again) as one woman from another—and you shall make a charm for me for love.

THE CHISERA

(Taking the gift.) I shall make it as though I loved him myself.

BRIGHT WATER

(Startled.) Oh, I did not say I loved him.

THE CHISERA

(Smiling.) No?

BRIGHT WATER

(Studying the pattern of her moccasin.) Is it true, Chisera, that you have been called to the Council that decides upon the war leader who is to be chosen in my father's place?

THE CHISERA

I am to inquire of the gods concerning it.

BRIGHT WATER

(Diffidently.) Chisera, I have heard—my father thinks—Simwa, the Arrow-Maker, is well spoken of.

(The first note of the love call is heard far up the cliffs. The CHISERA starts and controls herself.)

THE CHISERA

(Coldly, in dismissal.) Simwa needs the good word of no man. It shall be as the gods determine.

(Goes over to hut. The love call sounds nearer.)

BRIGHT WATER

(After a moment's hesitation.) Farewell, Chisera. (She goes.)

THE CHISERA

(Looking up the trail.) Ah, Simwa, Simwa, what bond there is between us, when, if I but pronounce thy name in my heart, thy voice answers.

(The love call is repeated far up the cliffs above her hut, and she answers it, singing:)

Over-long are thy feet on the trails, O Much Desired!! Dost thou not hear afar what my blood whispers, Betraying my heart as the whir Of the night-moth's wings betray the lilies?

(As she sings, SIMWA, in full war dress, comes dropping down, hand over hand, from the rocks, until he stands beside her.)

SIMWA

Did you not hear me when first I called?

THE CHISERA

I heard you, Most Desired. When do I not? Even when I sleep, my heart wakes to hear you. The women have been with me.

SIMWA

You know, then?

THE CHISERA

That this very night a war party of ours must go out to meet the Castacs.

SIMWA

And before that there will be a Council to choose a war leader? Has the Chief told you?

THE CHISERA

Not since this latest word, but yesterday he bid me prepare a strong medicine, for he thought the election would be made by lot. But I did not tell him, O Much Desired, that I had already made medicine a night and a day to let the choice fall on you. A day and a night by Deer Leap on Toorape, where never foot but mine had been, I made medicine, and the answer is sure.

SIMWA

That I shall get the leadership?

THE CHISERA

When have the gods denied me anything that I asked for your sake, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite?

SIMWA

The Padahoon hunts on a cold trail, and there is nothing for me to do?

(He sits on the bank and the CHISERA sits below him.)

THE CHISERA

Beloved, there is much to do, for before the shadow which lies between my feet has grown tall again, I must make medicine for the sake of this war; and I have spent so much on you, the power goes from me. Now, you must put your hand upon my heart, and nurse it warm, so that the people lack nothing of their Chisera.

SIMWA

Is that good, Chisera? (Puts his arm about her.)

THE CHISERA

Very good, Friend of my heart. (She leans upon his arm.)

SIMWA

(Quickened by the caress.) Chisera, what did you do before I came?

THE CHISERA

Oh, then I lived in the dream of you. When I ran in the trails, my heart expected you at every turn, and in the dark of the hut the sense of you brooded on my sleep. But I thought it was all for the gods.

SIMWA

(Fatuously.) Until I came.

THE CHISERA

Did I tell you, Simwa, that day when first you found me dancing in the sun—you had been gathering eagle's feathers for your arrows, do you remember?—I thought that day that you were of the gods yourself, for I was sick with longing, and the spring was in my blood.

SIMWA

And when I came again, what did you think?

THE CHISERA

That you were the man most deserving their favor, and that all the medicine I had learned until then was merely that I might persuade them for your sake.

SIMWA

(Sitting up.) Chisera, when you go up to the Friend of the Soul of Man, you cannot be always asking for the tribespeople. Do you not sometimes ask for yourself?

THE CHISERA

What should I ask for when I have your love?

SIMWA

For friends, perhaps, who are to be rewarded, or those who have done you injuries? (Watching her.)

THE CHISERA

(Laughing.) Once, Simwa, before I was sure of you, I made a singing medicine to draw you from the camp. And you came, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite, you came. (Laying her hands on his bosom.) Did you not feel me draw you?

SIMWA

Often and often, as it were a tie-rope in my bosom between us. (Letting go her hands and stretching himself preparatory to rising.) But I did not think it was your medicine.

THE CHISERA

What then?

SIMWA

(Rising and walking about.) Your beauty and the wonder of your dancing.

THE CHISERA

Tell me, Simwa, in the beginning I know you did not believe; but now you understand the power I have from the Friend of the Soul of Man?

SIMWA

Surely; now that I am about to be made war leader by means of it.

THE CHISERA

(Rising and going back to the feathering of the prayer-stick.) But I have heard the women gossiping at the spring—

SIMWA

What did they say?

THE CHISERA

That Simwa does not believe in charms and scoffs at the gods.

SIMWA

That was true (recovering)—once. But now that I am become the most notable arrow-maker in Sagharawite—

THE CHISERA

Now—now you do not scoff at the Chisera?

SIMWA

(Embarrassed.) But it is not always well for a man to say what he thinks. If I were to tell in the campody whence my good fortune is, would not Padahoon do me some mischief for it?

THE CHISERA

But, Simwa, am I never to come to you as other women to the wickiups of their husbands?

SIMWA

What need, Chisera, when I come so often to yours?

THE CHISERA

The need of women to serve openly where they love.

SIMWA

But what service could you do me when you had lost the respect of the tribesmen? You know the tribal custom. It is not for the friend of the gods to dig roots and dress venison.

(Throws himself on the bank beside her.)

THE CHISERA

I have not found the gods any the less friendly since I have loved, Arrow-Maker; and I know not why it should seem strange to others that I should know love as—as we have known it. Only to-day the girls of the village came to me to buy a charm to keep their lovers safe in war. There was not one but dared to ask, even though she would not speak her lover's name for bashfulness. See, one of them gave me this to make medicine upon.

SIMWA

(Taking it.) Bright Water gave you this?

THE CHISERA

(Surprised.) How did you know?

SIMWA

I thought you said—that is, I have seen her wear it. Did she tell you from whom she had it?

THE CHISERA

Not by his name, but by the way he looked to her.

SIMWA

How was that?

THE CHISERA

As every lover looks to every maid—tall and strong and straight of back. Even as you look to me, Beloved.

SIMWA

(Relieved, giving back the amulet.) May your medicine preserve him. And, as for me, Chisera, I wish I could persuade the tribesmen to look as favorably on me as you do.

THE CHISERA

But you have no enemies.

SIMWA

The Sparrow Hawk, without doubt. Could you give me a curse for him?

THE CHISERA

(Rising.) Ah, you should not have asked me that. Never since my father died have I thought to regret that he did not teach me the making of evil medicine. Would I had all the curses in the world! (Turning piteously to him.) But you do not love me any the less because I have not one little, little curse to give you?

SIMWA

No, it is nothing. No curse can reach me past your blessing. But I would not have thought the old man would leave you wholly unprotected. Why, even I could wrong you, and, without a curse (trying to speak lightly) you could not punish me for it.

THE CHISERA

If no one does me no more wrong than you, Simwa, I need no cursing. But, in truth, my father did give me—Ah, now I have thought of another gift for you, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite! Before he died, the medicine man, my father—did I not tell you? (she rummages eagerly in her medicine bag)—gave me this magic arrow against my evil hour. (Drawing it out.) See how heavy it is, and how the blood drain is cut in a medicine writing round and round the shaft.

SIMWA

What magic has it?

THE CHISERA

That however far and feebly it is shot, it flies straight to the mark, over hills and high mountains, in the dark or light, and death rides upon its shaft. (Laughing.) Why, you could kill even me with this arrow. See, I have tied it in your quiver, so that you may not mistake it and shoot it away on any slight occasion. It is my latest gift to you, Beloved.

SIMWA

Thanks for the gift, Chisera. Now give me the quiver. I must join the others before the Council. The fighting men were painting their faces when I came.

(A war-whoop is heard at a distance.)

THE CHISERA

I hear shouting.

SIMWA

I must go quickly. I would not have Padahoon find me here.

THE CHISERA

Yes, he would brood upon it like a sage hen, until he had hatched mischief. Oh, Simwa, though I have prayed the gods until they and I are weary, to keep you safe in this war, yet my heart shakes to see you go. There is a beating in my breast as of the wings of vultures after battle.

SIMWA

You have wearied yourself too much making medicine. If you have no more faith in the gods, have a little in me. If I can go out of Sagharawite as war leader, I shall come back with the spoil of Castac. (Shouts are heard nearer than before.) Now I go quickly! (He turns carelessly from her lingering caress and crosses to the toyon, starting back at the sight of PADAHOON, moving noiselessly through the chaparral, blanketed and watchful.) What! Has the Sparrow Hawk eaten when-o-nabe that he must visit the Chisera on the eve of Council?

PADAHOON

I come from the Chief—but I had not expected to find Simwa, the scoffer, before me.

SIMWA

(Uneasily.) I have been gathering eagles' feathers for my arrows under Toorape.

PADAHOON

Quite so—and are not the first hunter to find the shortest way past the house of the Medicine Woman. But it is well known that Simwa seeks no charms for himself. The Chief has been asking for you.

(He passes on to the CHISERA, standing stiffly with strained attention by her hut. SIMWA hesitates, recovers himself, and passes out with the appearance of indifference.)

Chisera, Rain Wind, Chief of Sagharawite, greets you, and bids me say that at the moth-hour he will be here with the fighting men to invite the favor of the gods in this war with Castac.

THE CHISERA

And before that—?

PADAHOON

There will be a Council—

THE CHISERA

To choose a war leader.

PADAHOON

So the Chief has said.

THE CHISERA

And it is the purpose of the Council to put this election to the gods?

PADAHOON

It may come to that—(A pause.) Chief Rain Wind is a dotard. What should a woman know of these matters?

THE CHISERA

All that the gods are thinking in their hearts.

PADAHOON

The gods, aye! But what word have the gods of the affairs of Sagharawite except as you carry it? Now between us—Chisera—

THE CHISERA

What is there between us, Padahoon, that our talk should be otherwise than appears at the Council?

PADAHOON

There should be a matter of two doeskins, tanned white and fine (he produces them from under his blanket) if the gods are friendly. Look, Chisera!

(He spreads them out before the CHISERA, who is seated by the hut, feathering a prayer-stick.)

PADAHOON

(Dropping the doeskins negligently.) Oh, the man can make an arrow.

THE CHISERA

But not lead a war party?

PADAHOON

A war leader, Chisera, should be neither old and timid, nor young and overbold, but of middle years and discretion; not so hot in his heart that his head cannot reason with it, nor so reasonable that it cools his heart.

(As he stands again, his hands are folded inside his arms; he is not so sure of his errand.)

THE CHISERA

Like ... Padahoon.

PADAHOON

(Wheedling.) What will the gods think of a blanket of the Navajoes (he spreads it out before her)—thick and fine—and four strings of shells—and a cake of mesquite meal—?

THE CHISERA

Are the gods a-cold, Padahoon, that you bring them a blanket? Is there hunger in their camp, think you?

PADAHOON

Let the things stay in yours, Chisera; they will remind you to speak well of me when you go before the Friend of the Soul of Man.

THE CHISERA

Put up your pack, Padahoon!

PADAHOON

It is a little matter, Chisera; a handful of sticks thrown on the ground. What should the gods care for a handful of sticks? And the blanket is very thick. Shall I leave it a little while, that you may admire it?

THE CHISERA

Put up your pack, Padahoon, and learn not to think so lightly of the gods, lest they visit it upon you!

PADAHOON

(Reluctantly putting up the bribe; after a pause, revolving new measures.) Chisera, this is a man's business which comes before you in the Council. Will you hear man-talk from me?

THE CHISERA

Is it possible the Sparrow Hawk does so much credit to my understanding?

PADAHOON

Chisera, we have had peace now at Sagharawite so many summers that scarcely a man of us besides myself has seen battle; also we are a little outnumbered. Have you thought, Chisera, what will come to Sagharawite if we go out under an untried leader?

THE CHISERA

What will come will be as the gods determine. What reason have you to think they will favor you more than Simwa?

PADAHOON

It is my experience, Chisera, that the gods are inclined to the better man. And, look you, Chisera, this is perhaps my last chance to serve my people. Comes another war, if there are enough of us left after this to make another war possible, I shall be too old for leadership. And I have that in me which I would prove before I die. This is man-talk, Chisera. Do you understand it?

THE CHISERA

I understand that you want greatly this election, but I can do nothing except as the gods declare. Put up your pack, Padahoon, I have work to do. (Rising.)

PADAHOON

(Putting up his pack.) How much did Simwa give you?

THE CHISERA

(Startled.) Simwa! (Recovering herself.) The Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite leaves all higher matters where they belong.

PADAHOON

Simwa put trust in the gods! Simwa believe that by singing and dancing and waving of arms, with a rag of buckskin and a hair of your head and three leaves of a seldom-flowering plant, you can turn the fortunes of war? This will be news for the fighting men, Chisera.

THE CHISERA

(Quivering, but controlling herself.) Padahoon, now by this I am minded to prove what the gods can do against tale-bearers and snakes in the grass! (Balancing her medicine stick for a moment, she seems on the point of invoking the gods against him, but thinks better of it.) Nay, but the gods have greater affairs. (Sound of the drums in the direction of the camp.) Now I go to prepare strong medicine so that you shall know, Padahoon, how the gods choose between you and the Arrow-Maker.

(She goes into the hut and lets fall the curtain.)

(Enter PAMAQUASH, YAVI, and other youths to prepare for the Council.)

PAMAQUASH

Is the Chisera advised of the Council?

PADAHOON

Even now she prepares herself in the wickiup. Where is the Chief?

PAMAQUASH

He stays only until the fighting men are gathered together.

PADAHOON

I will join them. See that the Chisera is not disturbed before her time. (He goes out.)

PAMAQUASH

Over there in front of the wickiup, one of you light the medicine fire, but do not light it until the Chisera comes.

(YAVI and another prepare the fire.)

YAVI

How is it that the Chisera will discover the will of the gods?

PAMAQUASH

Spread a blanket there, where the Chief and the Chisera will sit—(To YAVI.) By the casting of the seven sacred sticks. As the gods will they make the sticks to fall in a sign that she can read.

YAVI

Is it so that the Medicine Worker sometimes fails?

PAMAQUASH

Medicine men have died at it before now—and better so, for otherwise they should have died by the law.

YAVI

Is that the law?

PAMAQUASH

Surely, surely. For of what use is an advocate with the gods if he cannot get to them. It would be so with the Chisera.

(As the preparations have gone forward, the sound of the drums and rattles, with an occasional subdued whoop, has drawn nearer, and the Fighting Men, led by the CHIEF, in full fighting gear, arrive in single file marching to the drums. The procession halts in the open space before the CHISERA'S hut.)

CHIEF

Let the Council sit.

(Eleven of the elders seat themselves in a circle about the fire, turning toward the CHIEF. The others stand or sit attentively in the background. The CHIEF at the fire hands the ceremonial pipe to YAVI who lights it. RAIN WIND blows a puff of smoke to all the gods, returning to his place in the Council; the pipe passes from hand to hand; when it has passed all about, each tribesman blowing smoke and saluting, the CHIEF rises and stands before the CHISERA'S hut.)

Chisera, Chisera, come to Council!

THE CHISERA

(Advancing to his side.) Rain Wind, Chief of Sagharawite, what will you have of me?

(PAMAQUASH lights the medicine fire.)

CHIEF

To carry a matter too hard for us before the Friend of the Soul of Man.

THE CHISERA

Nothing that men contrive in their hearts is too hard for the gods. Speak, then!

(Goes and sits beside the CHIEF.)

CHIEF

(Rising.) Tribesmen, for as many years as a fir tree needs to bear cones, I have been Chief in Sagharawite. Now I am old, and, like a badger, see only my own trail (grunts of dissent), and my legs carry me no farther than my eyes see. Therefore, since there is war with Castac concerning the pinyon trees which are ours (grunts and exclamations), it is right you have a younger man to lead you. But, since it has never happened that there must be a war leader chosen while there is a chief alive and sitting in Council, I think it well to inquire how the gods stand toward us. Tribesmen, what do you say? (Sits with great dignity.)

CHOCO

(Rising and saluting the CHIEF with lifted hand. Speaking with great deliberation and winning sober approval.) Chief Rain Wind has said. The occasion is strange and the candidates of such diverse but equal merit that it is impossible for a just man to choose between them. Let the Chisera carry it to the gods.

CHIEF

This is truth which Choco says—whom the gods will favor they favor. They are not greatly bound to the choice of men.

THE COUNCIL

Good counsel! good counsel! (Assent from the bystanders.)

TAVWOTS

(Continuing, with earnestness.) Tribesmen, I am not myself of two minds in this business. I speak freely for Padahoon according to our custom which is, without discredit to the Arrow-Maker, for the leadership of the elder. But at least let us remember that the gods have high affairs; they are not always listening to the gossip of the camp-fire and hut. What word have they of Sagharawite except as the Chisera carries it? If we put the choice to them, let her know what we are thinking in our hearts. Let Simwa and Sparrow Hawk declare it so that we and the gods shall know how they stand toward the conduct of this war. I have said. (Seats himself amid general approval.)

OLD MEN

Good counsel! Good counsel!

TRIBESMEN

Simwa! Padahoon! The Arrow-Maker! Padahoon!

CHIEF

Padahoon, you have the more years; say what you will do. And do you, Chisera, bear it well in your heart as you go up before the Friend of the Soul of Man.

THE CHISERA

The trail of the gods is hard and none may walk therein save those that walk sincerely. Speak, then!

PADAHOON

(Rising.) Chief and tribesmen, you know me. What I think in my heart, I say; and what I say I do. The pinyon trees are ours, since the time of our father's fathers (general assent), and this is a vain fight for the men of Castac. Inasmuch as they have crossed our borders, they do evilly, but they are also Paiutes, as we are, and sons of the Bear. Aforetime when the Tecuyas came against us, they were as our brothers. Now, were I war leader, I should leave them at Pahrump and, going up behind the ridge of Toorape, strike at their villages. When we have their women and children and their stores, we can make terms with our brothers of Castac. So shall we save our honor and our allies.

INDIANS

Good counsel! Ugh! Huh! Padahoon! Good counsel!

CHIEF

Speak, Simwa!

SIMWA

(Rising.) Shall I call a thief my brother, and is a poacher my fellow that I should respect him? Sons of the Bear are the men of Castac? Aye, bastard sons, and the coyote is their mother. (Grunts and cries of approval.) The Castacs have filled up our springs and driven our deer. They have stalked our hunters in the hills. (Grunts.) Aye, but we have given the stalkers arrows of ours to keep. (Grunts of satisfaction.) Shall we go after our arrows, men of Sagharawite, or shall we wait until our "brothers" of Castac come and stroke us? I am not so old as Padahoon, nor so wise, but, by the Bear that fathered us, were I war leader for the space of one moon, there would be no more men of Castac to trouble our harvest.

YOUNG MEN

Simwa! Simwa! The Arrow-Maker!

OLD MEN

Padahoon! Padahoon!

CHIEF

Tribesmen, the wisdom of Padahoon is sound, and such as every man has in his own head; but the speech of Simwa is a water of mirage about our understanding. Shall we try what the gods will do? (Nods and grunts of approval.)

OLD MEN

The gods—the Chisera—the Chisera!

CHIEF

The best of the spoil of Castac is yours, Chisera, if the choice be fortunate.

THE CHISERA

(Rising to begin.) I want no spoil; this is also my quarrel. How will you have the venture tried?

INDIANS

The sticks! The sacred sticks!

(The CHISERA produces the sticks from her medicine bag, and hands them to one of the Old Men. To each of the others who will dance with her (two or three) she gives a fetish from her bag. They have already put on appropriate headdresses and are prepared for dancing. She motions the rattles to begin. Behind her are the Old Men, with the drums and rattles; on each side, the Fighting Men seated on the ground. The dance begins, the CHISERA singing. The Old Men keep up a crooning accompaniment; from time to time the Fighting Men join the singing and exhibit a growing excitement as the dance progresses. At intervals, one and another of them, leaps to his feet and joins the dance. At the last, the CHISERA, whirling rapidly, falls to the ground. Instantly the rattles are stopped, and the people wait in suspense the word of the gods. The women are seen to steal up through the toyon bushes. The CHISERA lifts herself slowly on one elbow, as if waking from a drugged sleep. She stretches out her hand for the sacred sticks. She drops them with a quick turn of the wrist, gathers them up and drops them again, seeking for an augury. She throws up the arm with the medicine stick and begins to chant.)

THE CHISERA

The bows of Castac shall be broken. The bowstring shall break asunder. The bows of thy foes shall be broken and the vultures come to the battle.

(Excitement and confusion.)

INDIANS

The omen, the omen! the war leader!

THE CHISERA (Chanting)

The Maker of Arrows shall lead you. He that makes arrows of eagles' feathers, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite, he shall lead you, Simwa shall break the bows of Castac.

TRIBESMEN

Simwa!

(The Indians break into a great shout for SIMWA. RAIN WIND puts a collar of bears' claws about SIMWA'S neck, lifts his war-bonnet and places it on his head. SIMWA raises his war-club with a great shout, dancing about the half-prostrate form of the CHISERA, the Fighting Men one by one falling into the dance with wild exultant movements, chanting.)

The bows of Castac shall be broken! The bowstring shall break asunder! He shall break the bows of Castac!

(As they pass out on the war trail shouting, the women are seen to come to the help of the CHISERA.)

CURTAIN



ACT SECOND



ACT SECOND

SCENE.—The campody of Sagharawite, three months later, near the new wickiup of the Arrow-Maker. At the right, the house of RAIN WIND, and behind all a spring under a clump of dwarf oaks. A little trail runs between stones to connect the Arrow-Maker with the rest of the campody, and beyond it the valley rises gently to the Sierra foothills, brooding under the spring haze. A little to the fore of SIMWA'S house lies a great heap of blankets, baskets, and camp utensils, displayed to the best advantage, the wedding dower of the Chief's daughter. By her father's house BRIGHT WATER is being dressed for bridal by her young companions. They braid her hair, paint her face, tie her moccasins, and arrange her beads over the robe of white doeskin; they laugh as they work and are happily important as is the custom of bridesmaids. The older women are winnowing grain and grinding at the metate.

At the left and front, SIMWA, TAVWOTS, and others are gambling with dice made of halves of black-walnut hulls, filled with pitch; the number indicated by bits of shell embedded in the pitch. They are shaken in a small basket and turned out on a basket plaque.

The older men look on, smoking. TAVWOTS is broad-faced and merry, and does not neglect to ogle the girls at intervals, which causes them to giggle and hide their heads in their blankets. The men have on their holiday dress, especially the younger companions of SIMWA.

TAVWOTS

(Throwing.) Five!

SIMWA

(Throwing.) And five again!

INDIANS

Hi! Hi!

TAVWOTS

Four!

SIMWA

Seven! (Exclamations.)

SEEGOOCHE

(Bringing a blanket.) Here, let us spread the blanket where the newly married pair shall sit when first my daughter comes to her husband's house.

(The women assist her, spreading it in front of SIMWA'S house.)

TIAWA

And this time next year, may you be a grandmother.

SEEGOOCHE

I pray so. To-morrow I shall go to the Chisera and get a charm to make it sure.

WACOBA

Does not the Chisera come to the wedding?

SEEGOOCHE

I wished it so, but Simwa has no faith in magic medicine. He thinks we show her too much respect because of her mumblings and wavings of arms.

WACOBA

It would have been neighborly to invite her.

TIAWA

I should be afraid lest some mischief came of this neglect.

SEEGOOCHE

So am I; but Simwa would not have her asked.

(She passes to her own hut and brings out grain and pine nuts, with which the other women fill their ceremonial baskets.)

TIAWA

No doubt Simwa feels that the gods have done so much for him that he can afford to dispense with an advocate.

HAIWAI

(Who has approached unnoticed.) Small wonder he thinks so when you remember how he brought our men back scatheless with the spoil of Castac. Seegooche, I bring the best of my share to grace your daughter's wedding. (Offers basket.)

SEEGOOCHE

(Taking it and handing it about.) My thanks to you. (Noticing the papoose which she carries strapped in a basket at her back.) And who is this that comes to my house uninvited?

HAIWAI

Nay, but he came to mine but five days since; and already he grips like a man! (Showing him about proudly.)

TIAWA

Hey, little warrior!

TUIYO

Ah, let me have him, Haiwai! I will hold him carefully.

(Still seated, she reaches up her arms for the child and coos over it.)

BRIGHT WATER

Let me!

(Takes the basket from TUIYO and rocks the basket, crooning.)

Hey, little dove, hush, little dove, 'Tis the wind rocking Thy nest in the pine tree. Hey, little dove.

WHITE FLOWER

Chief's daughter, do you think you will be able to do so well by your husband?

(BRIGHT WATER gives back the child to its mother in great confusion.)

SEEGOOCHE

Do not plague her. (The women return to their work.) It is the way with maids, the nearer they are to mothering the less they wish to hear of it.

TIAWA

Still I would see the Chisera if I were you. It is a pity she is not invited.

TUIYO

(Painting BRIGHT WATER.) Tell me, Seegooche, do I put the white on her cheeks too, or only on the forehead.

SEEGOOCHE

(Alarmed.) No, no white at all, not on her wedding day. It is an evil omen.

TUIYO

(Wiping it off hastily.) Then I will take it off again. All the misfortune be on my head.

BRIGHT WATER

Never fear, mother, I am so defended by happiness no evil could get near me.

WHITE FLOWER

Besides, the bride of Simwa need fear no omens. The luck of her husband will protect her.

TUIYO

(With a final touch.) There, come to the spring and see how lovely you are. (The girls all rise.)

TAVWOTS

That's bad medicine you make for us unmarried men.

BRIGHT WATER

(Standing forth in her bridal array.) Is it so bad, Simwa?

(SIMWA answers with his eyes.)

TAVWOTS

Already he is speechless, and I have staked him my collar of elks' teeth as a charm against it.

BRIGHT WATER

Tavwots, you have eaten meadowlarks' tongues. If you had a wife, you would keep her in a gambling basket. (At the spring.) Now I need only flowers for my hair. Let us go get them. (The girls go out.)

TAVWOTS

(Throwing down his collar of elks' teeth.) By the Bear, Simwa, I do not know how it is you persuade the gods to be always on your side. First you are made war leader, then you marry the Chief's daughter, and now you have my collar of elks' teeth to top all.

SIMWA

(Gathering up the stakes.) Will you take a chance to have it back again?

TAVWOTS

I would, if I had anything to stake you; but my luck has left me little but my shirt.

SIMWA

I will play you for that.

TAVWOTS

Not until after the wedding. (Rises.)

SIMWA

As you like. Your shirt against the collar. Do you play, friends?

FIRST INDIAN

Not I.

YAVI

Nor I. The luck is all to Simwa. (All rise.)

TAVWOTS

Yes. One would think he had been courting the Chisera.

SIMWA

(Who has risen, turning sharply.) How?

TAVWOTS

I said I could not guess how you manage to be always winning, unless you have made love to the Chisera, and she has persuaded the gods for you. (Slapping him on the back.) Why, this is the first time you were ever accused of love-making and looked sourly over it!

SIMWA

(Smirking.) No fault of mine if the women like a good figure.

TAVWOTS

No advantage either from this time henceforward. Here comes Chief Rain Wind to marry you to his daughter.

CHIEF

(Issuing from his wickiup in full holiday dress, blanketed.) Where is she?

SEEGOOCHE

She gathers flowers with her young companions. She comes presently.

CHIEF

Bid the married women prepare to bless the bridal. Are the guests all here?

SEEGOOCHE

Choco and the others who went out to hunt early this morning have not yet returned.

CHIEF

I would speak with them when they come. And Padahoon?

TAVWOTS

I do not know, unless he visits the Chisera.

SIMWA

(Startled.) Padahoon?

TAVWOTS

So often does he go to her house, if he did not have a wife already, I should think he had an eye to her. The best cut of my next kill against my shirt, Simwa, that he goes to find ways to make good against you the loss of the leadership.

SIMWA

(Complacently.) Padahoon cannot forgive me the victory at Castac.

TAVWOTS

Well, if the Tecuya Creek tribes keep up their quarreling, we are all likely to wish you had not killed off so many of their fighting men.

SIMWA

I shall deal with the Tecuyas as I did with Castac.

TAVWOTS

The gods were with you. Next time Padahoon may win the Chisera to be on his side.

SIMWA

(Suspiciously.) What do you mean? Am I not war leader of Sagharawite?

TAVWOTS

So long as we and the gods approve you. But if I were the gods, and the Chisera came dancing before me—

CHIEF

Tavwots, your wit misleads you. The Chisera is not a subject for jest or the favor of men; she is an advocate with the gods for us.

TAVWOTS

Well, the gods have a handsome advocate. I should give her anything she asked. (Looking off.) See, bridegroom, the girls are dancing, and you not with them! (SIMWA and several of the younger men go out.)

CHIEF

(Detaining TAVWOTS.) Tavwots, what do you know of this Tecuya Creek matter?

TAVWOTS

More than I like to spoil a feast-day with.

CHIEF

Nevertheless, tell it.

TAVWOTS

They have forbidden all the campodies east of us from fishing in the river. Also they watch all the trails toward Toorape and take toll of passers.

CHIEF

On what grounds?

TAVWOTS

None, I think, except that they are able. A bowman of Tehachappi inquired of me how many fell at Castac, and I, thinking to glorify the tribe,—I told him.

CHIEF

What said he to that?

TAVWOTS

What I should have expected. He grinned upon me like a sick coyote and said, "They are poor allies, the dead."

INDIANS

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

CHIEF

Here are the hunters. They will know if there is mischief stirring.

(Enter from the left, CHOCO, PAMAQUASH, and others, carrying game.)

TAVWOTS

And with the Arrow-Maker's own luck!

CHOCO

So far as the quarry goes.

CHIEF

But not for the hunters—?

CHOCO

(To him.) Send the younger men away. I have a word for you.

CHIEF

You, Fleet-Foot, Yavi, all of you—carry the game to the women and help them dress it for the feast. (The young men take up the game and go out, leaving CHOCO, TAVWOTS, and the Old Men with the CHIEF.) Let us hear your word, Choco.

CHOCO

(Taking a long arrow from under his blanket.) What make you of that?

CHIEF

(Examining it.) Tecuya Creek, surely.

OLD MEN

(Handing it about.) Tecuya—Tecuya.

CHIEF

Where did you find it?

CHOCO

Where I like least to see it—in the body of a friend.

MEN

Ah—a—a—ah!

CHIEF

What friend?

CHOCO

Winnedumah. He went out to the hunt yesterday and was to have joined us this morning at Deer Leap. I found him by the crossing of the trails, with that through him.

CHIEF

Bad business. What say you it means?

CHOCO

That the Tecuyas think we dare not avenge it.

CHIEF

Dare not! Simwa must hear of this, but not on his wedding day. To-morrow we will take counsel. I would I might have a word with Padahoon.

TAVWOTS

He is there on the barranca; I will call him. Oh—ee, Padahoon!

PADAHOON

(Appearing on the barranca.) What now? (Ironically.) Can not the Arrow-Maker so much as take a wife without calling all the tribes to witness? (Coming down the barranca, noting their gravity.) What has happened? Is the Council called?

CHIEF

For to-morrow. In the mean time there is this. (Handing up the arrow.)

PADAHOON

(Standing halfway down the bank as he examines it.) An arrow of Tecuya. Blood? Blood of Sagharawite?

TAVWOTS

Of Winnedumah.

PADAHOON

(Blazing forth.) By the Bear that fathered us! It is likely to prove an open wound in the honor of Sagharawite. Not ten sleeps have passed since the last of our fighting men returned from the killing of our blood brothers, and already we have a witness to our folly! The Tecuyas are three to one of us.

PAMAQUASH

But the luck of Simwa is more than three times that of Tecuya.

PADAHOON

The fortunes of Simwa! What are they but the accidents of time and weather. A landslip on the trail, a rainstorm that wetted their bowstrings and left ours dry. The damp has slacked your wits, Rain Wind, that you are not able to distinguish between the Arrow-Maker and his luck.

CHIEF

The witness of the gods in his favor.

PADAHOON

The gods are not always so attentive. Where was the luck of the Arrow-Maker that it has not saved us from this? (Shaking the arrow as he descends.) Show me something which we owe to Simwa if you would have me trust in him.

CHIEF

I will show you the pit of your own heart, Padahoon, and the adder that bites at the root of it. You are jealous of the fame and the office of Simwa, but you shall not sink your venom in the minds of the Fighting Men.

PADAHOON

I would I could sting them to understand that if Tecuya comes against us, they will not trust so much to luck as to war craft.

CHIEF

Understand yourself that whatever comes of this business of Tecuya, Simwa is still war leader. You are too old a man, Padahoon, to be told that whoever lessens the credit of the war leader saps at the strength of Sagharawite.

PADAHOON

Aye, I am an old man and in my dotage when I seek to set years of good faith and experience against the fortunate moments of a fool.

CHIEF

The Chief has spoken. No more of this until the Council. In the mean time, not a word to the women. It is an ill omen for a feast.

(He goes out, followed by all but TAVWOTS, CHOCO, PAMAQUASH, and PADAHOON.)

TAVWOTS

(Laying his hand on the shoulder of PADAHOON.) By the Bear, Padahoon, I have been on your side in this matter heretofore, but now I think the Chief is right. It is an ill business setting men against the war leader in time of danger.

PADAHOON

You too, Tavwots—you have looked at the lure of the Arrow-Maker's luck and do not see the snare which his want of wit spreads for your feet?

TAVWOTS

(Uncertainly.) But if the fortune of Simwa is not his own, whence is it?

PADAHOON

Tell me, Tavwots, when another man seeks favor from the gods, by whom does it come?

TAVWOTS

By the Chisera. But what—

PADAHOON

On the morning of the election, when I went from the Chief to advise the Chisera, I met Simwa by her hut.

PAMAQUASH

I also met him when I came back from Leaping Water to bring word to the women—he said he had been gathering eagles' feathers for his arrows.

PADAHOON

So he said to me. Feathers for arrows when every man had his quiver full at his back!

TAVWOTS

But Simwa puts no faith in magic medicine. Why, he has not even asked the Chisera to his wedding!

PADAHOON

No, not even though the Chief's daughter urged it. (A pause full of significance.)

TAVWOTS

No, no! Padahoon! Unless the Chisera owned to it herself, I would not believe it. The Chief is right. The wound of your jealousy festers and corrupts your tongue. (Turning his back on PADAHOON he claps PAMAQUASH on the shoulder.) Come and dance!

CHOCO

(Gathering his blanket around him.) Even if the Chisera owned it, I would not believe it.

(The men move in the direction of the merrymaking and are met by the younger people, laughing and shouting for SIMWA. PADAHOON watches them bitterly for a while, and, revolving many things, draws his blanket up and departs in the direction of the CHISERA'S hut.)

PAMAQUASH

Come, Arrow-Maker, a speech for your bridal. (Laughter and approval.)

SIMWA

(Drunk with popularity.) The war leader loves deeds rather than talking.

TAVWOTS

We have seen what your fighting is like. Give us a speech.

SIMWA

Friends and tribesmen, the fortune of Simwa is Simwa. Does the Bear take weapons against the woodchuck, and shall the sons of the Bear make charms against their enemies? The spoil of Castac is in our camp (cheers) and our young men hunt within their borders. (Applause.) If any of the tribes inquire where are the fullest harvests, the fattest deer, the prettiest maidens (he flings his blanket about BRIGHT WATER), bid him look for the land of Simwa the Arrow-Maker. (Shouts and laughter.)

YOUNG MEN

Come, now, a dance, a dance! Tavwots, dance for us!

(The cries increasing, TAVWOTS is pushed forward to dance, others cry for PAMAQUASH and YAVI, who join TAVWOTS, laughing, to dance the blanket dance, all the others singing and keeping time with swaying bodies. The girls hover about the dancers, and as at certain points in the dance the Young Men attempt to cast their blankets about the heads of the girls, they duck and squeal. Finally, amid much laughter, each dancer captures a girl, rubbing his cheek against hers, the Indian equivalent of a kiss. With great merriment the crowd moves off in the direction of the mesa, disclosing PADAHOON and the CHISERA, who have come up unobserved.)

PADAHOON

Come this way, Chisera. The girls are out on the mesa, dancing with the bride, and the women are grinding at the metate for the marriage feast.

THE CHISERA

But where is Simwa?

PADAHOON

With the bride, no doubt. Here is his wickiup, and here the marriage dower beside it.

THE CHISERA

All this?

PADAHOON

Never so many gifts went to a wedding in Sagharawite. Every woman whose man came back safe from the war gave a basket or a blanket, and Simwa gave all of his share of the spoil of Castac.

THE CHISERA

And that, I doubt not, is bitter for you to see, Padahoon.

PADAHOON

Why, as to that, Chisera, it is good to see spoil of our foes in the camp; but the fighting men of Castac were our blood brothers. See, here is the blanket where the newly married pair shall sit to receive the blessings of the fruitful women.

THE CHISERA

(Bitterly.) But not the blessing of the Chisera. Never before, in my time, has there been a bride of Sagharawite but sent to ask my blessing.

PADAHOON

Aye, but Simwa does not believe in charms and spells. (The CHISERA seems about to break out angrily, but restrains herself. PADAHOON watches her narrowly as he speaks.) Look, Chisera! Is not the bride fair? Fit to set a man beside himself with desiring?

THE CHISERA

She is but a child. Her breasts are scarcely grown. No fit mate for a war leader.

PADAHOON

(Watching her.) But a man so well furnished with wisdom need not look for it in a wife. Is it not so, Chisera?

THE CHISERA

Padahoon, why do you tell me this?

PADAHOON

(With the appearance of candor.) As often as I came to your house to get medicine, you asked me for news of the campody, and seemed best pleased with news of Simwa, the war leader; and with reason, since he has become the most notable man of the Paiutes. Yet, when I told you he was to be married to-day to the Chief's daughter, you were slow to believe. Now tell me if I have lied, Chisera.

THE CHISERA

You have not lied, Padahoon, but Simwa, he has lied. How long have you known this?

PADAHOON

Since the time of Taboose.

THE CHISERA

And why not told me?

PADAHOON

How could I think the Chisera wished to know? It was a thing you might have heard from the women grinding meal or weaving baskets. But the Chisera does not often come to the village, except there is illness.

THE CHISERA

I have no time to gossip with the women. I have to go before the gods for them and their children.

PADAHOON

And now that you are told, what will you do?

THE CHISERA

Is there so much to do?

PADAHOON

Only to give him your blessing.

THE CHISERA

(Bitterly.) Did I not give him that at Castac?

(Begins to search about among Simwa's effects.)

PADAHOON

What seek you, Chisera?

THE CHISERA

The arrow! the quiver! Surely Simwa does not dance at his wedding wearing his quiver?

PADAHOON

No; but when he is not wearing it, no man knows where he hides it.

THE CHISERA

(Searching.) The quiver! I must find the quiver!

PADAHOON

'Tis said he has a magic arrow in it of such power he would have it fall into no man's hands.

THE CHISERA

(Muttering.) Aye, the arrow; the black arrow.

PADAHOON

Chisera, why does this marriage disturb you?

THE CHISERA

Padahoon, why should you think it disturbs me?

PADAHOON

You have come.

THE CHISERA

Why should not one maid come to the marriage of another? There is scarce two summers' difference between me and the Chief's daughter.

PADAHOON

Yes, but you come in your blanket. Such has not been your custom when you have come among us on errands of healing; then you dressed sumptuously, as befitted one bearing the word of the gods. Now you come like an angry woman who would hide what is in her heart.

THE CHISERA

(With dignity.) Cover your own heart, Padahoon, lest I ask what mischief breeds in it to bid you observe me so much. I have not forgot that you would have paid me a blanket to be made war leader in the room of Simwa.

PADAHOON

(With ugly insinuation.) Ugh! huh! Perhaps I had been as fortunate as the Arrow-Maker, if, instead of giving it, I had offered to share it with you.

THE CHISERA

Kima! Padahoon, you do tempt me to try if I can curse.

PADAHOON

(Conciliatory.) I have no wish to anger the friend of the gods, but I am a plain man wishing good to my campody, and it seems not good to me that Simwa has grown suddenly so great.

THE CHISERA

(Recovering herself.) What has that to do with the Chisera?

PADAHOON

I have known this Simwa since he was first tied in a basket, and, though he has grown to be war leader, I think he is most like a pod of rattleweed that is swollen to twice its size at the end of the season, yet has no more in it than at the beginning. And I do not know how, without the help of magic medicine, he has come to be what he is with so little in him.

THE CHISERA

The Chief's daughter has trusted him.

PADAHOON

She loves him. (During this scene bursts of Indian music and singing have been heard at intervals. It grows louder. PADAHOON and CHISERA look off.) They come this way, Chisera. You are right. When a man has married so fair a wife, there is not much left to be done for him.

THE CHISERA

(With bitter irony, as she moves over against SIMWA'S hut and puts up her blanket.) I am not so sure.

TIAWA

It is Chisera.

SEEGOOCHE

(With alarm.) Where is my daughter?

(BRIGHT WATER enters with the young girls, laughing and talking. Her hair is braided with golden poppies and falls over her shoulders. She sees the CHISERA standing, tall and still, by SIMWA'S hut, her whole figure shrouded in a blanket, which is drawn up to cover all of her face but the eyes.)

BRIGHT WATER

Who is it comes to my wedding uninvited? How her eyes burn upon me!

SEEGOOCHE

Hush! She will hear you. It is the Chisera.

BRIGHT WATER

The Chisera? Never have I seen her like this. But she has come to bring me a blessing.

SEEGOOCHE

Do not speak to her, my daughter; she is not in the humor for it.

BRIGHT WATER

Shall I not be courteous to the first guest who has come to my husband's house? Chisera, I am pleased that you have come to bless my marriage.

THE CHISERA

(Out of her blanket.) Where is Simwa?

BRIGHT WATER

He comes soon. (Going to her.) Last night I thought of you, and how you alone, of all Sagharawite, had kept away from my happiness—

SEEGOOCHE

Let be, daughter. (Pulling her sleeve.) It is ill stirring a coiled snake. (To the CHISERA, with intent to draw her off.) Come this way, Chisera, and I will show you the wedding presents.

THE CHISERA

(Lowering her blanket a little.) Show me the Arrow-Maker.

(The elder men have entered, among them RAIN WIND.)

CHIEF

What is this?

TIAWA

It is the Chisera asking for Simwa.

MEN

Ah! ah! ah—ah!

(Exchanging glances of inquiry and amazement.)

CHIEF

Who is that behind her?

WACOBA

Padahoon!

MEN

Ugh! huh!

CHIEF

So? Why does she cover her face?

TIAWA

She makes medicine in her blanket.

(The Indians draw close in two groups, the women together and the men on the other side. They watch the CHISERA uneasily. BRIGHT WATER stands a little apart, the bridesmaids moving timidly toward the elder women.)

THE CHISERA

(Putting down her blanket.) The Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite is slow to the bridal.

BRIGHT WATER

He comes. He comes.

(The young men enter, with SIMWA in their midst, painted and befeathered as befits a handsome man on his wedding day. Observing the CHISERA, he checks and falters in his walk.)

SIMWA

Chisera!

THE CHISERA

Is it you, Simwa, who wed with the Chief's daughter?

SIMWA

You are come, Chisera—(Wholly at a loss.) You are come—

THE CHISERA

I am come to your marriage, Simwa, though I am not invited.

BRIGHT WATER

But now that she is here, Simwa, you will ask her to bless us?

SIMWA

(Recovering himself with an effort.) Surely, surely. But the married women have not blessed us yet. (Taking the bride's hand and leading her to the blanket. They seat themselves.) Come, Tiawa, have you no pine nuts in your basket? (With an effort to carry it off jovially.) What! will you have my wife dig roots before her wedding year is out?

(The married women take up their baskets and begin the ceremony of sprinkling the bride with nuts and seeds in token of fruitfulness.)

THE CHISERA

(Warningly.) Simwa! Simwa!

(The women leave off, huddling together, looking fearfully at the CHISERA.)

SEEGOOCHE

(Getting between her and BRIGHT WATER.) What harm to you, Chisera, if the Arrow-Maker weds where he loves?

THE CHISERA

(Looking steadily at SIMWA.) Aye—where he loves—(Pleadingly.) Simwa! Simwa!

(She drops her blanket and turns away.)

SEEGOOCHE

(Lifting her basket to her shoulder again.) Let us go on with the marriage.

PADAHOON

(To the company.) If the Chisera knows any reason why this marriage should not go on, should she not say it openly? A word half spoken breeds suspicion faster than flies at killing time.

CHIEF

What talk is this of reasons? Have I not the disposing of my daughter in marriage? Reason enough, if I wish it so.

PADAHOON

That which is most reasonable to men, the gods see otherwise.

(A murmur begins in the camp, but SIMWA takes it up instantly.)

SIMWA

He is thinking of the war with Castac. Truly, you were not eye to eye with the gods on that occasion, Padahoon.

PADAHOON

Were I so sure it was of the gods, I had not stood out so against it.

CHIEF

Was not Simwa approved of the gods through the mouth of the Chisera?

THE CHISERA

So you think.

CHIEF

Is there another Arrow-Maker so skilled between Tehachappi and Tecuya? Are any shafts better fashioned to fly straight to the mark? Is there any hunter knows more surely where the herds feed, or strikes quicker the slot of a deer?

THE CHISERA

As you think.

CHIEF

Let be this talk of reasons. This is mere woman's mischief, to nod and wink and to make signs with the eyebrows. A woman would have you think reason enough for marrying if she liked or misliked it. Chisera, this is no matter for the gods, but a plain mating of man and maid.

THE CHISERA

(Flashing.) Since when have you talked with the gods, that you think to lesson me in their business?

CHIEF

Since you have been a father, to know reasons for the bestowal of daughters.

(Grunts of appreciation.)

THE CHISERA

(Letting her blanket slip to her breast.) Know, then, that if these are your reasons, Rain Wind, there is no more meat in them than in the husk of acorns. If good fortune hangs on all Simwa's movements, it is by reason of the medicine I make that binds him in the favor of the Friend.

SIMWA

(Leaning on his elbows, with the manner of being quite at ease.) You are very free with your blessing, Chisera, if it is so; for it is well known in the camp that Simwa, the Arrow-Maker, does not believe in charms, nor seek them.

INDIANS

(Grunting in assent.) Ugh! huh!

THE CHISERA

(Letting fall her blanket in a burst of indignation.) "Nor seek them!"—Ah! Simwa! Simwa!

(A short pause of embarrassment and consternation ensues. Then PADAHOON, in a manner meant to seem impartial—)

PADAHOON

The medicine of the Chisera is very powerful, but one must allow a little credit to the gods. Simwa was chosen war leader by the trial of the seven sticks. As the gods willed, they made the sticks to fall. Is it not so, Chisera?

THE CHISERA

(Sullenly, from her blanket.) I do not know. I did not look. (Letting fall her blanket and speaking proudly.) I had persuaded the Friend to give victory to the war leader. What should I care for the sticks? A day and a night I made medicine, and the sign was sure. I said "Simwa" and the gods confirmed it.

(The Indians remain silent, but draw a little away from SIMWA.)

BRIGHT WATER

(Rising and turning toward her.) Chisera, why should you make medicine for Simwa?

THE CHISERA

Chief's daughter, do not ask.

BRIGHT WATER

Chief's daughter I am, and wife of the war leader. Why should you concern yourself with his affairs?

THE CHISERA

(After a pause, with great dignity.) Because he loved me.

INDIANS

Ah! Ah—ah! Ah!

SIMWA

(Laughing.) The Friend of the gods has eaten rattleweed. Does a man love a wild woman who goes muttering and waving her arms, when she should be weaving and grinding meal? Would he take a wander-thought to his bed, and have witless children? Sooner I had a snake in my hut to run and tattle to the gods of me.

TAVWOTS

(To PADAHOON.) Now, if it is true that he owes his fortune to the gods, they have deserted him, else he would not speak so to a jealous woman.

SIMWA

(Looking long at the CHISERA, haggard and unpainted, her blanket trailing, and then to the Chief's daughter, and back again, all the eyes of the campody following.) Is there any comeliness in a witch, that a man should desire her?

SEEGOOCHE

(Alarmed.) Simwa, Simwa! If you have no care for yourself, at least remember my daughter!

SIMWA

(Rising.) Have no care, mother. If I do not believe she can bless, neither do you believe that she can curse.

BRIGHT WATER

Mother, let be. If this be true that she speaks, I am already cursed.

SIMWA

(Going to his wife.) What have we to do with blessings or cursings? The Chisera is unsound in her mind. I have seen her dancing in the hills sometimes where I went to gather eagle's feathers for my arrows, and her madness has made a curious tale of it.

BRIGHT WATER

I would I might believe it.

SIMWA

(With returning complacency.) Do you find it so hard to have a husband whom other women admire?

PADAHOON

Chief and tribesmen, if it be true that Simwa values charms so little, let him declare what it is he keeps sewed in his quiver so precious that he must hide it even on his wedding day.

(Murmurs. The CHISERA, in alarm, endeavors to check PADAHOON. SIMWA turns upon him with a snarl.)

SIMWA

Kima! (Wildly.) You cannot prove that I had it of the Chisera!

PADAHOON

(Suddenly darting out two fingers from his mouth, moving them rapidly in the manner of a snake's tongue, with a hissing sound.) Snake of two tongues! Now I know you for the man you are, braggart and liar!

SIMWA

Coyote whelp!

(SIMWA grasps a war weapon, a stone tied in a crotched stick, from the heap of wedding gifts, and smites PADAHOON to the earth, standing threateningly over him. The others stiffen into tense attitudes, drawing their blankets tighter, their eyes burning bright. PADAHOON draws the knife that hangs in a sheath at his neck.)

CHIEF

(Putting SIMWA back with a hand at his breast.) Peace! Though you are made my son by this day's work, you shall not usurp judgment. (To PADAHOON, as SIMWA moves slowly back, his weapon lowered.) What charge do you make?

PADAHOON

(Rising on his elbow to spit blood.) Thou art a liar, if ever there was one in Sagharawite, and have nothing which is not owed to the Chisera.

CHIEF

Speak straight, Padahoon, or, by the Bear, I shall let him kill you where you lie.

PADAHOON

Three nights after the return from Tecuya, I saw you at the Chisera's house—and again in the rains—and at the time of Taboose.

CHIEF

Is it so, Chisera?

THE CHISERA

It is so.

PADAHOON

Did you go there for love or profit?

(SIMWA lets slip his weapon from his hand to the ground.)

CHIEF

Simwa, if you were the son of my body, I should not know which to believe.

SIMWA

Believe him if you like. (Sullenly.) If a skunk walk in my trail and leave a stink there, shall I go out of my way to deny that it is mine? No doubt the woman is both mad and shameless.

(Murmurs of indignation.)

SEEGOOCHE

(Afraid, but furious.) Then if you are shameless, begone! Stay not to vex the marriage of a maiden. Go! Have to do with your gods, and leave my daughter.

BRIGHT WATER

Mother! Mother!

THE CHISERA

Shameless, am I, Seegooche? Then there is one of your blood shall know a greater shame. Great hunter does she think her man? Aye, but she shall come to dig roots for him when he fails of the hunt and be glad of the offal the other women give her for pity. For this I say to you, tribesmen of Sagharawite, that, though I cannot curse, yet I can take back my blessing.

BRIGHT WATER

All this is of no account, Chisera. No doubt you can contrive against the fame of Simwa and bespeak the gods to neglect him; I wait to hear what proof you have that he loved you.

SEEGOOCHE

Do not vex her, daughter, lest she turn the gods against you also.

BRIGHT WATER

No matter, mother. What Simwa bears, I can bear. What proof, Chisera?

THE CHISERA

What proof?

(She turns toward SIMWA, faltering. He smiles contemptuously.)

BRIGHT WATER

That Simwa loved you.

THE CHISERA

(Slowly, her eyes on SIMWA.) He came to my hut—in the night—Chief's daughter (boldly), even as he comes this night to yours.

BRIGHT WATER

(Impatiently.) But did he love you?

THE CHISERA

He made me so believe. (Looking about and noting the lack of conviction.) How else had he held me, since last the poppies bloomed, a lure to snare the favor of the gods? Does he say he was not blessed? Aye, twice blessed. (She takes from her bosom the amulet.) Was it not this you gave me to make medicine upon, to keep your lover safe in war? Twice blessed he was; but, as I made my blessing, so do I break it.

(Drops the amulet and grinds it underfoot.)

INDIANS

(Moving uneasily.) Ah! Ah!

THE CHISERA

And this is the proof that I speak truly. From this day, whoever brings me arrows shall have medicine upon them without price, and who would have news of the passing of the deer shall have it for the asking. Only Simwa shall have nothing but his own wit and the work of his hands, and by what befalls, you shall know the truth.

BRIGHT WATER

By this I know the truth! You never loved him, or you would not now betray him.

THE CHISERA

(Moving toward the trail.) And you, Bright Water, that think to lie in your husband's arms this night, know that I have lain there before you. And you shall not dare to laugh as a bride laughs, lest it be to him my voice in the dusk; and if he turns and sighs in his sleep, you shall wonder if he dreams of the Chisera. Long and anxiously you shall look in the trail when he is late from the hunt, and the men shall mock him that he could not keep the blessing he had got. (BRIGHT WATER turns despairingly and sinks on the ground, holding her mother by the knees and sobbing bitterly. All the Indians draw away from SIMWA, leaving him standing, discomfited, in the middle of the camp. All look with awe and dread at the CHISERA. She produces a small medicine stick from under her blanket and twirls it with menace. Going.) As for you, Arrow-Maker of Sagharawite, though I cannot curse, yet am I the friend of the gods, and they have regard to me. Look well to yourself, Simwa. Look well.

CURTAIN



ACT THIRD



ACT THIRD

TIME.—One year later.

SCENE.—The top of Toorape, where the tribe has been driven by their enemies of Tecuya. The women and children hide in holes in the rocks. Off to the right on a jutting boulder, against the sky, stands YAVI, as sentinel; two or three wounded lie about. Crouching over the fire are SEEGOOCHE, WACOBA, and TIAWA, showing in their dress and appearance the marks of a year of distress, as do all the others as they appear upon the scene.

YAVI

(To them.) St—st!

WACOBA

(Rising.) Some one on the trail!

SEEGOOCHE

What is it?

WACOBA

(To her.) Hush!

YAVI

The Sparrow Hawk!

SEEGOOCHE

News from the Fighting Men!

TIAWA

The gods grant it be good news!

(PADAHOON, weary and with disordered dress, comes clambering up the face of the cliff.)

YAVI

(Calling down in a whisper.) What news?

TIAWA

Are the gods still against us?

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