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THE SPANIARDS had just entered the Yaqui sierra. It was just when they battled the Indians in the heights of the Batachim sierra that Malinero'okai, with her little girl, descended into the depths of a canyon at the foot of the hill where they were fighting.

Malinero'okai was frightened because never in her life had she heard the sound of fire-arms which now echoed in the heart of the hills. Quickly she took up her baby girl whom she carried in a cradle of skins made from the wolves her husband had hunted. The valiant Ta'a Himsi, her husband, also was in battle. Malinero'okai was afraid and alone with her little girl, the beautiful Aaki Sewa. She wrapped the little one in wildcat skin and put her on her shoulders. She took a long stick and she walked down the rocky, waterless arroyo. As she traveled thus she contemplated the cliffs and occasional fronds of kauchunam. These enchanting trees reminded her that she and her husband had passed by here two weeks before.

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She traveled thus, out of the Batachim sierra in the morning of that day. It was the hot month of August, and she traveled without stopping even a moment to take a drop of the fresh cool shade of the leafy trees. In the afternoon, Malinero'okai arrived where there was a bit of water, at a place where the arroyo made a sharp turn.

Taking the child from her shoulders, she placed her in the shade of a tree. She, herself, took some water and then cut some grass and branches for a bed. She lay down beside her little girl and, together, they passed the rest of the afternoon. Later she again set out and walked until night had come. In the midst of darkness she found refuge under some branches and spent the night there. She was accompanied by the songs of birds of night, the howl of coyotes and the cry of the tiger as she quietly fed her child. Those animals did not cause her to fear for she was used to hearing them all her life.

The following morning very early she hunted some fruits and roots and ate them with good appetite. The little girl, Aaki Sewa, who was scarcely three months old, rested as her mother ate. The mother said to her, "Would you like to eat some fruit?" And she offered it to her, but at the same time she added, "No, you may not eat them because you are very little and it might do you some harm and your father would be angry."

That morning, with the freshness, Malinero'okai took to the road at a good pace. She was young and strong, agile at climbing and descending the heights and depths of the trail. At midday she found herself at the waterhole which is both enchanting and enchanted. It lies at the foot of

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some cliffs called the pillars. The Spanish call it pilares. But the Yaquis call this water-hole pilaesi'im. It is a great eye of water, profoundly deep and it never goes dry. The Yaquis say that it is really an enchanted pueblo which was converted into water. Here, Malinero'okai came, and she encountered some families she knew. They were all very glad to see her. They offered her atole of pechitas and of mesquites. As she rested, she talked with an intimate friend of hers, "You who are an old woman and know something, tell me, Wiru Masa, is it certain that this waterhole is an enchanted pueblo?"

"Yes, it is the pueblo of the oldest Indians. I don't know if they were Yaquis or Surem. But your disbelief will be dispersed."

Effectively, at seven in the evening they heard noises. They heard the calls of little boys and the sound of a violin. The two women went down to the shore of the pool but they saw nothing there except a gourd and some watermelons. They heard the sound of the teneboim worn by pascolas as they danced. And many laughs. Then all at once all stopped.

"Now you know," said Wiru Masa.

"Yes," said Malinero'okai.

The two women retired to their camping place. They were chatting like friends when they heard the word. It was quite late at night. The word was spoken softly, "Dios'em chani'abu."

"Dios'em chi'okwe," answered the women. The recently arrived ones were two Yaqui men who had been fighting in the Batachim sierra. Having been greeted, they were allowed to come up to the women's camp

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Malinero'okai asked about her husband, Ta'a Himsi. And the others asked about their husbands.

"Ta'a Himsi was killed," said one of the men whose name was Wikoa Wikia. "Ta'a Himsi died out there in the afternoon. That is all we know."

"The Spaniards we chased to Otam Kaki. They turned back on us and killed some Yaquis. But on that hill and on the other hill also we killed many of them."

"This I knew, my Dios told me," said Malinero'okai. "My man, so young and valiant." With profound sadness the young girl spoke.

On the following morning Wikoa Wikia said to the women, "It would be better if all of you left here for Wicho'em or returned to Tabero Ba'am. Or, we could take you to Nabo Hakia or to Sibam. It is very pretty country there, more beautiful than here. There is much grass and wild food. Here are many dangers. Those who live in these water-holes are evil. Only wizards and devil-makers live here and if they should awake in bad humor they would harm you. They may turn into animals, or they may strike at you from the depths of the water. Also there is another very sure danger here," added Wikoa Wikia. "When it rains this arroyo fills with water. If you stay here you risk all these dangers. So tell me to which place you would like to go."

"Take us to Sibam."

Thus they set out, leaving Pilaesi'im. In order to reach Sibam they traveled three days. It is quite distant, Sibam, away to the north.

In three days they arrived at another waterhole, new homes, new surroundings, happy and

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enjoyable, for now they had time to make homes and they had many new neighbors.

All was beautiful except for Malinero'okai. For her all was sad. Every day she became sadder. She didn't want to eat. She cried for Ta'a Himsi. The valiant Ta'a Himsi. Finally she died.

Her little girl, Aaki Sewa, was taken over by her friends who brought her up until she was a grown and beautiful girl.

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Castro says, "This bit of history was told me by an old lady named Mayo Juriana who is a direct descendant of Malinero'okai."

Next: The First Deer Hunter