Chapter IV


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FATHER KINO went through the Pima villages and baptized many converts, and then they turned their steps northward to the Moqui towns, traversing the frosty solitudes of mountains where perhaps a traveller's foot had never been before; not the verdure-clad mountains of our Alleghanies, but bold and rugged and brown, peak rising above peak to the height of six thousand feet, while great boulders sat poised upon the edges of some abysmal depths waiting for time and storm to precipitate them below. Vast sierras or chains of mountains destitute of shrub or tree elevated their barren summits on every hand, and threw their outlines against a sky, the bluest and clearest in the world, with an atmosphere that seemed to bring them so near that the


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hand had but to stretch out to touch them. The green and crimson draperies of the holly hung from many of these heavy ledges, making a lovely contrast with the gray moss clinging so tenaciously to the perpendicular cliffs that had for so many centuries defied time, and against which the winds of centuries had beat themselves in vain.

Then for days they would wander in the valleys intervening, through which some pretty stream, made full by the melting snows from the mountains, rippled between the soft green banks, its waters pure and sweet as though just from the skies; the soft, warm winds fanned the pretty wildlings that grew along these streams and warmed them into blossom. Some of these pretty valleys seemed to have been cleft out from between the mountains, these towering ranges of porphyritic stone, in whose bosom they lay ingulfed, verdant and fertile, ‘‘the conquest of the garden over the desert.’’

Here in the little Indian villages Father


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Kino would spend some days teaching and seeking to ameliorate the condition of the people. He found the Moqui towns built in isolated mountain regions, hundreds of feet above the valleys, and approached by narrow defiles easily defended by a few men. In the delta formed by the two Colorados were the seven Moqui towns: they were remarkable for their sobriety, honesty, and morality, and were so prominent at one time that the name Moqui was vaguely applied to the whole region north of the Gila River. They are said to have been visited by the earliest Spanish explorers, and have a claim to as great antiquity as any other tribe. They were pueblas, or townspeople, as the Spaniards termed those tribes who lived in permanently built dwellings.

Fifteen years before Father Kino's visit they had thrown off the Spanish yoke by revolt, but had recently been reconquered. They had accepted Christianity at the beginning of the 17th century as a matter of expediency


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only, and in 1680 threw off both Spanish and Christian control. To be governed seemed to them to mean enslavement. Their proud chieftains said that they would gladly make a treaty of peace with Spain, but would not consent to become its subjects, or to give up their faith.

Catiche belonged to this period, and when she came to Father Kino, knew nothing of Christianity. Lieutenant Ives, in his admirable work, describes their cliff homes, their prettily terraced gardens on the mountain sides, and their system of irrigation, and testifies to their neatness and order.

‘‘How much,’’ said Father Kino, ‘‘these cliff houses recall the ancient kingdom of Granada, where the walled towns and villages were built like eagle's nests among the mountain peaks, when the Christians and Moslems were struggling for conquest.’’

‘‘The Moqui here standing for the Christian,’’ said Captain Anza, ‘‘and the Apache for the Moslem.’’


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‘‘No,’’ laughed Father Kino, ‘‘not the Apache alone. To the Moqui, I think, the Spaniard in his effort at conquest and conversion is equally a Moslem, or infidel, to be fought and overcome if possible. This part of New Spain is very suggestive of Granada to me in many ways. While the Christian provinces were successful in conquering the peninsula of Spain, they found it very different in these mountain regions, where every peak, there as here, had its Atalaya or watch tower ready to make its fire by night or send up its columns of smoke by day, as a signal of invasion, at which the whole country sprang to arms. To penetrate the defiles of these mountains would be no light undertaking, The Spaniards have been able to overcome these people, but have not been able to hold them. And the Moquis, like the Moors, have retaliated in desolating inroads upon the Christians.’’

‘‘But the Christians fought for the holy faith,’’ said Secretary Mange.


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‘‘I think,’’ replied Father Kino smiling, ‘‘that the motives were about the same. There is no sophism so consolatory to the human mind, as that which seizes the half of a truth that eases its own conscience. Another point of resemblance is in these rugged and broken tracts of country being intersected through their valleys, with these wonderful canals and watercourses, similar to those built by the Moors to irrigate their lands.’’

‘‘I am afraid we will have to do as Ferdinand said he would be compelled to, 'pick the seed one by one from this pomegranate.'’’

‘‘That would take a long time, and the seed would not compensate for the labor, I fear,’’ replied Father Kino.

‘‘I believe you are right,’’ replied the Secretary. ‘‘Do not these mules upon which we are mounted still further suggest the romantic days of Andalusia? How fortunate that we have not a Ben Engeli, the Arabian historiographer of Don Quixote, to portray us


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as he did the immortal Don Quixote and his follower Sancho Panza. I do not think that the picture would be much more flattering.’’

‘‘We would not like the portraits, probably, and would say with Sancho that the artist was an Arabian, and belonged to a nation not a little addicted to lying,’’ laughed Father Kino. ‘‘My Rosinante has a great objection to crossing a stream, and came near lying down in the last one with me.’’

‘‘Ah,’’ laughed the Captain, ‘‘he has probably imbibed some of the superstitions of the country. You remember the Indians consider water a sacred element, and all the little mounds we find on the banks of these small streams are spots where they halt to worship. Your old mule, I have no doubt, wished to make his obeisance.’’

‘‘And to compel me to do likewise,’’ said Father Kino. ‘‘What a pity they have not a written language; they are so grave a people, that they do nothing lightly, their customs, laws, faith, all have so much significance


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to them that it would be a most interesting study.’’

‘‘Tales and traditions must take the place of books with them.’’

‘‘Traditions and mythology have helped historians and archæologists wonderfully in their elucidations of ancient history,’’ replied Father Kino. ‘‘They must have been founded upon some truth, however vague, and although there is so much of the marvellous and impossible interwoven with the mere fragments of truth, still the fragments are there, and separated and sifted out, often perfect an historical fabric. Many of their traditions bear a strong analogy to the Scriptures. They recognized a Supreme Creator and Lord of all, and addressed him as the 'God by whom we live, without whom man is as nothing.' Mythology, after all, is a sort of poetic or imaginative development of the religious principle, a searching for some higher principle to explain the mysteries of their own existence, and that of the phenomena of nature


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which surrounds them, which in their ignorance they can only find in the imagination.’’

‘‘They seem to give their evil spirits more respect and consideration than they do the good ones,’’ laughed Secretary Mange.

‘‘That is quite natural,’’ replied Father Kino, ‘‘they give them the attributes which their daily lives and observation teach them spring from an evil nature, vindictiveness and cruelty, and as they cannot hope to influence them in any other manner they must be conciliated and propitiated.’’

‘‘Whereas the good ones are so benevolent and merciful that they are not to be feared,’’ laughed the Secretary. ‘‘Well, they show a good knowledge of human nature there, certainly. I have often done the same thing myself—feared a man's vindictiveness and tried to conciliate it.’’

‘‘Fear is a powerful check to us all, and very properly so. To the ignorant it is a superstitious dread, to the Christian it should sit as


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the guardian of the soul, warning it of the first approach of evil,’’ said Father Kino.

‘‘One of the guides told me the other day why the Indians were so fond of red,’’ said Secretary Mange; ‘‘he said that formerly it was considered a sacred colour; that they were made by the 'Great Spirit' from the steatite or red clay; the first people placed upon the earth, they claim, were red men.’’

‘‘The Hebrews had the same tradition,’’ replied Father Kino. ‘‘Josephus says that Adam in Hebrew signifies red. Much of their belief corresponds with that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, a great spirit, of which the sun was the symbol, polytheism, immortality of the soul, through transmigration, and the propitiation of evil spirits.’’

‘‘Their belief in one Supreme Being would indicate that this was something more than a tradition, and that they must have received it as a very important part of their faith from some very ancient source.’’

‘‘Yes,’’ replied Father Kino, ‘‘religion is,


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and has been in all ages so essential an element of our natures that we cannot imagine the possibility of a time when it did not exist. It comes from within, from the necessity for it; it is the only hope we have of salvation from sin, of that immortality of which the consciousness of individuality is the sign. We need a Saviour to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.’’

‘‘Your Catiche is a Moqui, is she not?’’ asked the Secretary. ‘‘Though she is tall and they are small.’’

‘‘She is half Spanish, and while she inherits some of your physical traits, morally she is all Moqui, courageous and faithful, but terribly opposed to Christianity. Hers is the must difficult conversion I have ever attempted. She is a very remarkable woman, and with advantages of education and association, would have been a rarely gifted one. Her mind is full of poetic thought and illustration, her command of language exceptional, and her heart the tenderest and


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most faithful I have ever known. With all this there is a dignity of character, and a reserved power in her endurance, which would enable her to carry out anything he undertook. To me she is invaluable.’’

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