Apache Devil

Chapter One

Geronimo Goes Out

Edgar Rice Burroughs

THE SILVER LIGHT of Klego-na-ay, the full moon, shone down from out the star-lit heavens of an Arizona night upon the camp of the Be-don-ko-he Apaches; shone upon sleek copper shoulders; shone upon high cheek bones; softened the cruel lines of swart, savage faces—faces as inscrutable as is the face of Klego-na-ay herself.

Shone the silver moonlight upon Nan-ta-do-tash, the izze-nantan of his people, as he led them in the dance, as he prayed for rain to save their parched crops. As he danced, Nan-ta-do-tash twirled his tzi-ditinidi about his head, twirled it rapidly from front to rear, producing the sound of a gust of rain-laden wind; and the warriors and the women, dancing with Nan-ta-do-tash, listened to the tzi-ditinidi, saw the medicine man cast hoddentin to the four winds, and knew that these things would compel the wind and the rain to come to the aid of their crops.

A little to one side, watching the dancers, sat Shoz-Dijiji, the Black Bear, with Gian-nah-tah, friend of boyhood days, companion of the war-trail and the raid. Little more than a youth was Shoz-Dijiji, yet already a war chief of the Be-don-ko-he, proven in many battles with the soldiers of the pindah-lickoyee; terror of many a scattered hacienda of Sonora and Chihuahua—the dread Apache Devil. The old men beat upon the es-a-da-ded, the primitive drum of buckskin stretched across a hoop; and to their cadence Nan-ta-do-tash led the dancers, his naked body painted a greenish brown with a yellow snake upon each arm; upon his breast, in yellow, a bear; and upon his back the zig-zag lines of lightning.

His sacred izze-kloth, passing across his right shoulder, fell over his left hip. Of a potency almost equal to this four strand medicine cord of twisted antelope skin was the buckskin medicine hat of Nan-ta-do-tash by means of which he was able to peer into the future, to foresee the approach of an enemy, cure the sick, or tell who had stolen ponies from other people.

The downy feathers and black-tipped plumes of the eagle added to the eflicacy and decoration of this potent head-dress, the value of which was further enhanced by pieces of abalone shell, by duklij, and a snake’s rattle which surmounted the apex, while in brownish yellow and dirty blue there were depicted upon the body of the hat clouds, a rainbow, hail, the morning star, the God of Wind, with his lungs, the black Kan, and the great suns.

“You do not dance with the warriors and the women, Shoz-Dijiji,” said Gian-nah-tah. “Why is it?”

“Why should I?” demanded the Black Bear. “Usen has forsaken the Shis-Inday. No longer does He hear the prayers of His people. He has gone over to the side of the pindah-lickoyee, who have more warriors and better weapons.

“Many times went Shoz-Dijiji to the high places and made big medicine and prayed to Usen; but He let Juh steal my little Ish-kay-nay, and He let the bullet of the pindah-lickoyee slay her. Why should I dance to the Kans if they are blind and deaf?”

“But did not Usen help you to find Juh and slay him?” urged Gian-nah-tah.

“Usen!” The tone of the Black Bear was contemptuous. “No one helped Shoz-Dijiji find Juh. No one helped Shoz-Dijiji slay him. Alone he found Juh—alone, with his own hands, he killed him. It was Shoz-Dijiji, not Usen, who avenged Ish-kay-nay!”

“But Usen healed the wound of your sorrow,” persisted Gian-nah-tah. “He placed in your heart a new love to take the place of the old that was become but a sad memory.”

“If Usen did that it was but to add to the sorrows of Shoz-Dijiji,” said the Black Bear. “I have not told you, Gian-nah-tah.”

“You have not spoken of the white girl since you took her from our camp to her home after you had saved her from Tats-ah-das-ay-go and the other Chi-e-a-hen,!” replied Gian-nah-tah; “but while she was with us I saw the look in your eyes, Shoz-Dijiji, and it told me what your lips did not tell me.”

“Then my eyes must have known what my heart did not know,” said Shoz-Dijiji. “It would have been better had my heart not learned, but it did.

“Long time have we been friends, Gian-nah-tah. Our tsochs, swinging from the branches of the trees, swayed to the same breezes, or, bound to the backs of our mothers, we followed the same trails across deserts and mountains; together we learned to use the bow and the arrow and the lance; and together we went upon the war-trail the first time. To me you are as a brother. You will not laugh at me, Gian-nah-tah; and so I shall tell you what happened that time that I took the white-eyed girl, Wichita, back to the hogan of her father that you may know why I am unhappy and why I know that Usen no longer cares what becomes of me.”

“Gian-nah-tah does not laugh at the sorrow of his best friend,” said the other.

“It was not in my heart to love the white-eyed girl,” continued the Black Bear. “To Shoz-Dijiji she was as a sister. She was kind to me. When the soldiers of the pindah-lickoyee were all about, she brought me food and water and gave me a horse to carry me back to my people.I knew that she did that because I had once saved her from a white-eyed man who would have harmed her. No thought of love was in my mind. How could it have been? How could I think that Shoz-Dijiji, an Apache, a war chief of the Be-don-ko-he, could love a girl of the pindah-lickoyee!

“But Usen deserted me. He let me look upon the face of the white-eyed girl for many days, and every day He made her more beautiful in my eyes. I tried not to think of love. I put it from my mind. I turned my thoughts to other things, but I could not keep my eyes from the face of the pindah-lickoyee girl.

“At last we came close to the hogan of her father; and there I stopped and told her to go on, but she wanted me to come with her that her father might thank me. I would not go. I dared not go. I, The Apache Devil, was afraid of this white-eyed daughter of the pindah-lickoyee!

“She came close to me and urged me. She laid her two hands upon my breast. The touch of those soft, white hands, Gian-nah-tah, was more powerful than the will of Shoz-Dijiji; beneath it crumbled all the pride and hate that are of the heritage of the Apaches. A flame burst forth within me—the signal fire of love.

“I seized her and pressed her close; I put my mouth upon her mouth. And then she struck at me and tried to push me away, and I saw fear in her eyes; and something more terrible than fear—loathing—as though I were unclean.

“Then I let her go; and I came away, but I left my heart and happiness behind. Shoz-Dijiji has left to him only his pride and his hate—his hate of the pindah-lickoyee.”

“If you hate the white-eyed girl now, it is well,” said Gian-nah.tah. “The pindah-lickoyee are low born and fools. They are not fit for an Apache!”

“I do not hate the white-eyed girl, Wichita,” said Shoz-Dijiji, sadly. “If I did I should not be unhappy. I love her.”

Gian-nah-tah shook his head. “There are many pretty girls of the Shis-Inday,” he said presently, “who look with bright eyes upon Shoz-Dijiji.”

“I do not love them,” replied the Black Bear. “Let us talk no more of these things. Gian-nah-tah is my friend. I have spoken. Let us go and listen to the talk of Geronimo and the other old warriors.”

“That is better talk for men,” agreed Gian-nah-tah.

Together they strolled over and joined the group of warriors that surrounded the old war chief of the Apaches. White Horse, Geronimo’s brother, was speaking.

“There is much talk,” he said, “among the Indians at San Carlos that the chiefs of the white-eyed soldiers are going to put Geronimo and many other of our leaders in prison.”

“They put me in prison once before and kept me there for four months,” said Geronimo. “They never told me why they kept me there or why they let me out.”

“They put you in prison to kill you as they did Mangas Colorado,” said Na-tanh; “but their hearts turned to water, so that they were afraid.”

“They will never get Geronimo in prison again,” said the old war chief. “I am getting old; and I should like to have peace, but rather would I take the war-trail tor the rest of my life than be again chained in the prison of the pindah-lickoyee.

“We do not want to fight any more. We came in as Nan-tan-des-la-par-en (“Captain-with-the-brown-clothes”—Major-General George Crook, U.S.A.)asked us to. We planted crops, but the rain will not come. Usen is angry with us; and The Great White Chief cannot feed us because his Agent steals the beef that is meant for us, and lets us starve. He will not let us hunt for food if we live at San Carlos.”

“Who is this white-eyed thief that he may say where an Apache warrior may make his kunh-gan-hay or where he shall hunt?” demanded Shoz-Dijiji. “The Black Bear makes his camp where he will, hunts where he will!”

“Those are the big words of a young man, my son,” said Geronimo. “It is fine to make big talk; but when we would do these things the soldiers come and kill us; every white-eyed man who meets our hunters upon the trails shoots at them. To them we are as coyotes. Not content with stealing the land that Usen gave to our fore-fathers, not content with slaughtering the game that Usen put here to feed us, they lie to us, they cheat us, they hunt us down like wild beasts.”

“And yet you, Geronimo, War Chief of the Apaches, hesitate to take the war-trail against them!” Shoz-Dijiji reproached him. “It is not because you are afraid. No man may say that Geronimo is afraid. Then why is it?”

“The son of Geronimo speaks true words,” replied the old chief. “Go-yat-thlay (Geronimo), the son of Tah-clish-un, is not afraid to take the war-trail against the pindah-lickoyee even though he knows that it is hopeless to fight against their soldiers, who are as many as the needles upon the cedars, because Go-yat-thlay is not afraid to die; but he does not like to see the warriors and the women and the children slain needlessly, and so he waits and hopes—hopes that the pindah-lickoyee will some day keep the words of the treaties they have made with the Shis-Inday—the treaties that they have always been the first to break.

“If that day should come, the Shis-Inday could live in peace with the pindah-lickoyee; our women and children would have food to eat; we should have land to till and land to hunt upon; we might live as brothers with the white-eyed men, nor ever again go upon the war-trail.”

“I do not wish to live with the white-eyed men in peace or otherwise,” cried the Black Bear. “I am an Apache! I was born to the war-trail. From my mother’s breasts I drew the strong milk that makes warriors. You, my father, taught me to string a bow, to hurl a lance; from your lips my childish ears heard the proud deeds of my ancestors, the great warriors from whose loins I sprung; you taught me to hate the pindah-lickoyee, you saw me take my first scalp, you have seen me kill many of the warriors of the enemy, and always you approved and were proud. How then may I believe that the words you have just spoken are true words from your heart?”

“Youth speaks from the heart, Shoz-Dijiji, as you speak and as I spoke to you when you were a child; but old age speaks from the head. My heart would go upon the war-trail, my son; my heart would kill the white-eyed men wherever it found them, but my head tells me to suffer and be sad a little longer in the hope of peace and justice for my people.”

For a time after Geronimo had spoken there was silence, broken only by the beating of the es-a-da-ded and the mumbling of the medicine man, as he led the dancers. Presently a figure stepped into the outer rim of the circle of firelight from the darkness beyond and halted. He gave the sign and spoke the words of peace, and at the command of Geronimo approached the group of squatting braves.

It was Klo-sen, the Ned-ni. He came and stood before the Be-don-ko-he warriors and looked into the face of Geronimo.

“I bring word from the white-eyed chiefs at San Carlos,” he said.

“What message do they send?” asked Geronimo.

“They wish Geronimo and the other chiefs to come to Fort Thomas and hold a council with them,” replied Klo-sen.

“Of what matters would they speak?” demanded the old war chief.

“There are many things of which they wish to speak to the chiefs of the Apaches,” replied Klo-sen. “They have heard that we are dissatisfied, and they have promised to listen to our troubles. They say that they want to live in peace with us, and that if we come, they will have a great feast for us, and that together we shall plan how the white-eyes and the Shis-Inday may live together like brothers.”

Shoz-Dijiji grunted skeptically.

“They want to make reservation Indians of us forever,” said a warrior.

“Tell them we shall hold a council here and send word to them,” said Geronimo.

“If you do not come,” said Klo-sen, “neither will the Ned-ni—this word De-klu-gie sends to Geronimo and the Be-don-ko-he.”

With the coming of the messenger the dance had stopped and the warriors had gathered to listen to his words, forming naturally and in accordance with their rank in a circle about a small fire, so that they were all present when Geronimo suggested that they hold a council to determine what action they should take; and as Chief of the Be-don-ko-he he was the first to speak. “We, the Shis-Inday, are vanishing from the earth,” he said sadly, “yet I cannot think we are useless, or Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men, and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.

“For each tribe of men Usen created He also made a home. In the land created for any particular tribe He placed whatever would be best for that particular tribe.

“When Usen created the Apaches, He also created their homes in the mountains and the valleys of New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora, and Chihuahua. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked them, He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to find these herbs and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a pleasant climate, and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand.

“Usen created, also, the white-eyed men; and for them He created a country where they could live; but they are not satisfied. They want the country that Usen created for them and also the country that He created for the Apaches. They wish to live in the way that Usen intended that they should live, but they are not satisfied that the Apaches should live as Usen wished them to. They want the Apaches to live as the white-eyes live.

“The Apaches cannot live as the white-eyed men live. They would not be happy. They would sicken and die. They must have freedom to roam where they will in their own country; they must be able to obtain the food to which they are accustomed; they must have freedom to search for the herbs that will cure them of sickness.

“These things they cannot do if they live upon the reservations set aside by the white-eyed men for them. They cannot live their own lives if their chiefs must take orders from an Indian Agent who knows little about Indians and cares less.

“As I grow older my mind turns more to peace than to the war-trail. I do not wish to fight the pindah-lickoyee, but neither do I wish to be told by the pindah-lickoyee how and where I shall l live in my own country.” The old man paused and looked around the circle of savage faces.

“I want peace. Perhaps there are wiser men sitting about this council fire who can tell me how the Shis-Inday may have both peace and freedom. Perhaps if we go to this council with the white-eyes they may tell us how we may have peace with freedom.

“Geronimo would like to go; but always there is in his mind the recollection of that day, long ago, when the chiefs of the white-eyed soldiers invited the Be-don-ko-he to a council and a feast at Apache Pass. Mangas Colorado was Chief then, and he went with many of his warriors.

“Just before noon the soldiers invited the Be-don-ko-he into a tent where, they were told, they would be given food to eat. When they were all in the tent the soldiers attacked them. Mangas Colorado and several other warriors, by cutting through the tent, escaped; but most of them were killed or captured.

“I have spoken.”

A warrior at Geronimo’s right hand arose. “I, too, want peace,” he said, “but I hear the spirit voices of Sanza, Kla-de-ta-he, Ni-yo-ka-he, Gopi, and the other warriors who were killed that day by the soldiers at Apache Pass. They tell me not to trust the white-eyed men. The spirit of Kla-de-ta-he, my father, reminds me that the white-eyed men are all liars and thieves. This they have proved to us many times. They make treaties and break them; they steal the beef and the other provisions that are intended for us. That, all men know. I do not think that we should go to this council. I have spoken.”

Thus, one after the other, all who wished to speak spoke, some for and some against attending the council; and when the final vote was taken the majority had spoken against it.

That same night Klo-sen left to carry the word back to the white men and to De-klu-gie, chief of the Ned-ni, and also to De-klu-gie an invitation to him and his people to join the Be-don-ko-he on a hunting trip into Mexico.

“You know,” said Geronimo to his warriors, “that this will mean war! The white-eyed ones will not permit us to leave the reservation and hunt in peace.”

“It is more manly to die on the warpath than to be killed in prison,” replied Shoz-Dijiji.

Two days later the Ned-ni Apaches joined the Be-don-ko-he, and that all felt that their contemplated move meant war was evidenced by their hurried preparations for departure and for the war-trail. Disordered hair was shampooed with tallow and slicked down; war bands were adjusted; smaller, lighter ear-rings replaced the heavy pendants of peace times; necklaces were discarded down to a single strand; many a bronze forefinger was stained with color as each brave laid on the war paint in accordance with his individual taste, ability, and imagination.

The squaws, with awl and deer sinew, sewed the final patches to worn war moccasins, gathered together their few belongings, prepared for the grueling marches, the days of hunger, of thirst, of battle.

From many an eminence, eagle eyed, scouts watched the approaches to the camp. In advance of these, other scouts ranged far in the direction from which troops might be expected to advance. These scouts knew the hour at which the Be-don-ko-hes and Ned-nis would start their southward march toward Sonora; and, as the main body of the Apaches broke camp and moved out along the selected route, the scouts fell slowly back; but always they watched toward the north, and the eyes of the marching tribes were turned often in the same direction. So it was that, shortly after they had left camp, the Indians saw little puffs of smoke arising in quick succession from the summit of a mountain range far to the north. Those rapidly multiplied and repeated puffs of smoke told them that a large, well armed, enemy party was approaching; but it was still a long way off, and Geronimo had little fear that it could overtake him. On they moved, well armed, well mounted, secure in the belief that all the white-eyed soldiers lay to the north of them. Shoz-Dijiji, astride his pinto stallion, Nejeunee, rode in advance leading the way toward Apache Pass. Suddenly from a hill top close to the pass they were approaching a column of smoke rose into the air—it broke into a puff—was followed by another and another in quick succession. Another body of the enemy was approaching Apache Pass from the opposite side! Shoz-Dijiji reined about and raced Nejeunee back to Geronimo who, with the balance of the Apaches, had already seen the smoke signal.

“Take ten warriors and ride through the pass,” instructed Geronimo. “If the pindah-lickoyee are too close to permit us to get through send one back with the word, and we will turn south through the mountains on this side of the pass. With the other warriors you will hold them as long as you can—until dark if possible—and then follow us. With stones we will tell you which way we have gone.

“If they are not already too close, advance until you find a good place to hold them. That will give us time to get through the pass and past them on the trail toward Sonora. Go!”

Shoz-Dijiji asked Gian-nah-tah and nine other braves if they wished to accompany him; and turned and raced off toward Apache Pass without waiting for a reply, for he knew that they would all follow him. He had little fear of meeting the soldiers unexpectedly in the pass, for he knew that the scout who had sent up the smoke signal would never cease to watch the enemy and that he would fall back before them, keeping always between the soldiers and the Apaches.

Shoz-Dijiji and his ten reached the far end of the pass. There were no soldiers in sight yet; but a half mile to the west they saw their scout signalling them to hasten forward, and when they reached him he took Shoz-Dijiji to the hill top and pointed toward the south.

Half a mile away Shoz-Dijiji saw three troopers in dusty blue riding slowly in the direction of the pass. They were the point. Behind them, but hidden by an intervening hill, was the main body, its position well marked by the dust cloud hovering above it. That the soldiers had seen the smoke signal was apparent by the extreme caution with which the point advanced. Now a small advance party came into view with flankers well out, but Shoz-Dijiji did not wait to see more—the warriors of the pindah-lickoyee were coming, and they were prepared. The young War Chief of the Be-don-ko-he had fought against the soldiers of the white-eyed men before and he knew what they would do when attacked. He thought that he could hold them long enough for the main body of the Apaches to get through the pass and so he sent one messenger racing back to urge Geronimo to hasten; he sent a warrior to the hilltop to fire upon the point, and he sent two warriors with all the ponies upon the new trail toward the south that the tribes would now have to follow. Thus he burned his bridges behind him, but he was confident of the result of his plan. Counting himself, there were now nine warriors opposing the enemy; and Shoz-Dijiji lost no time in disposing his little force to carry out the strategy of his defense of Apache Pass. The point, having uncovered the enemy, did what Shoz-Dijiji had known that it would do—turned and raced back toward the advance party, which now deployed. The main body halted and was dismounted to fight on foot, the terrain not justifying mounted action.

This delay, which Shoz-Dijiji had counted on, was utilized by him and six of his warriors in racing through the hills, just out of sight of the enemy, toward a point where they could overlook the main body. Two warriors he left upon the hilltop that commanded the approach to the pass.

When the seven painted warriors reached their stations they were spread along the low hills looking down upon the enemy and at intervals of about fifty yards. Shoz-Dijiji was farthest from the pass. It was his rifle that spoke first from above and behind the troopers holding the horses of those who were now slowly advancing in skirmish line on foot. A struck horse screamed and lunged, breaking away from the trooper that held it. Along the line of hills now the seven rifles were cracking rapidly down upon the unprotected rear and flank of the enemy. Riderless horses, breaking away from those who held them, ran, snorting, among the dismounted troopers, adding to the confusion. The commanding officer, steadying his men by word and example, ordered them to seek shelter and lie down, forming them in a ragged line facing the hills. A lieutenant directed the removal of the remaining horses to a place of safety.

The Apaches did not fire again after the first few disconcerting rounds. Shoz-Dijiji had no wish to precipitate a charge that might reveal his weakness, his sole aim being to delay the advance of the enemy toward the pass until Geronimo should have come through with the two tribes.

The officer commanding the cavalry had no means of knowing that he was not faced by the entire strength of the renegades; and in the lull that followed the first attack he started withdrawing his men to a safer position, and as this withdrawal took them away from the pass Shoz-Dijiji made no effort to embarrass it but waited until the troopers had found shelter. He watched them dig little trenches for their bodies and pile rocks in front of their heads; and when he was sure that they felt more secure, he passed the word along his line to fire an occasional shot and that after each shot the warrior should change his position before he fired again that an impression might be given the enemy that it faced a long line of warriors.

The soldiers had formed their line some hundred yards from where their horses were hidden in a dry wash; and at every effort that was made to cross this space and reach the horses the Apaches concentrated their fire upon this zone, effectually discouraging any considerable enthusiasm in the project, since as long as they remained passive there were no casualties.

The commanding officer was mystified by the tactics of the Apaches. He hoped they were preparing to charge, and in that hope he hesitated to order his own men up the steep hillside in the face of the fire of an unknown number of savages. Then, too, he could afford to wait, as he was suffering no losses and was momentarily expecting the arrival of the infantry that was following with the baggage train.

And so the afternoon wore on. A messenger came to Shoz-Dijiji with word that the two tribes had passed safely through the pass. Shoz-Dijiji fired a shot at the line of dusty blue and sent two of his warriors to join the main body of the Apaches. During the following half hour each of the remaining braves fired once, and then two more left to overtake the renegades. The next half hour was a busy one for the three remaining warriors as each fired two or three rounds, changing his position after each shot and thus giving the impression of undiminished strength. Then two more warriors retired.

Now only Shoz-Dijiji remained. In the north rose a great dust cloud that drew constantly nearer. The infantry was coming.

Shoz-Dijiji fired and scuttled to a new position nearer Apache Pass. The troopers peppered away at the spot from which the smoke of his shot had arisen, as they had all the long hot afternoon. Shoz-Dijiji fired again and moved on.

The infantry was met by a messenger from the cavalry. All afternoon they had heard the firing and had hastened forward. Hot, dusty, tired, they were in bad humor.

Spitting dust from swollen tongues, they cursed all Indians in general and Apaches in particular as they deployed and started up the hillside to flank the embattled reds. This time, by God, they would get old Geronimo and all his dirty, sneaking Siwashes!

Simultaneously the dismounted troopers charged straight into the face of the enemy. Fat chance the doughboys had of beating them to it!

It was a race now to see which would reach the renegades first—cavalry or infantry. The cavalry, having the advantage of propinquity, arrived first, and they got something, too—when the infantry arrived they got the laugh. There was not an Indian insight!

From a hilltop a mile to the south of them a lone warrior watched them, estimating the numbers of the infantry, the size of the wagon train. Satisfied, he turned and trotted along the trail made by his fellows as they moved southward.

Down into Sonora the long trail was leading, down to a camp in the Sierra de Sahuaripa mountains.

Geronimo had gone out again!

Apache Devil - Contents    |     Chapter Two - Spoils of War

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