The Bandit Wars

“You should learn to know evil, not from your own soul, but from the long observation of the nature of evil in others.” – Plato

Basilio Ramos and a group of his followers from Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua Mexico, participating in the Bandit Wars, came upon him one night and stole everything of his they could find down to his boots and last pair of pants. They planned to kill him, but he was able to escape. He was determined to get revenge.
He knew the Texas Rangers were engaged in battles with these Mexican Seditionist raiders as Big Foot Wallace and Captain John Coffee Hays had requested his assistance in tracking them down. They started a race war, to rid the American border states of their Anglo-American population, and to annex the border states to Mexico. Now he planned to help the Rangers in their fight to rid Texas of these vermin.
His skin was hardened and browned like leather from days exposed to the brutal Chihuahua desert sun.. He skinned the carcass of a dead mustang he found along the No-Doyohn Canyon in Mexico. He wore a loincloth he made from the dead horse and cut a flat piece of the rawhide to cover the soles of his feet, protecting them from sharp stones and cactus. He cut a narrow band and wrapped it around his head, keeping his long blond hair from falling into his face. He spent nights fastening the flint arrowheads he made and split turkey feathers onto dogwood shafts with sinew he stripped from the backstrap of the dead mustang.
He reached in his rawhide bag and pulled out what remained of the corn and dried meat he had been carrying the past few days. He drank some water from a bottle made from the large intestine of the horse. The only weapon he had was a knife that he had secured in his loincloth along with a looking glass he found on the trail.
He had been walking for days. He knew the land and was able to live off what it provided for him. He thought of the warmth of his adopted father Gray Wolf’s, lodge, its entrance facing east, capturing the warmth of the morning sun, embracing the very bosom of Mother Earth. He knew that the round shelter synchronized with the roundness of all that is natural from the circling of the season to the roundness of the sun. He was taught that a person who will listen to the soil of the earth will know the earth, which in turn, will nourish him in life and cradle him in death. He stopped to rest in mid-afternoon when the day was at its hottest; before the sun moved one fist across the sky he rose and started once again on his journey.
Nothing bothered him. When he was in dangerous situations he had nerves of steel which were manifested in the many battles he had participated in while scouting for General Crook and the U.S. Army.
White clouds streaked against the blue sky. From this elevation, he could see the whole valley sweeping below and to the ridgeline beyond.
He noted a volume of dust moving at a slow rate in the distance; it wasn’t much and he figured it must be a wagon drawn by two mules. Definitely not ox-drawn. Oxen do not lift their feet as high as horses and mules and they create more dust.
He removed his glass and put it to his eye. He could see two men sitting on the box of the wagon. By the time the shot reached his ears, the driver had crumpled and fallen forward. His companion reached out to catch him when an arrow struck him in the shoulder and he was knocked to the ground and slipped softly beneath the left rear wheel of the wagon. The mules came to a stop.
Soon the wagon was surrounded by twenty warriors, Chiricahua Apaches, faces painted, led by none other than the old Bedonkohe Apache leader, Goyahkla, which means “The One Who Yawns,” better known as Geronimo.
The Apaches circled the motionless wagon, whooping and firing arrows into the sides of the wagon and the slumped over body of the driver.
Two warriors dismounted and started to unhitch the mules when one of the mules bolted. One warrior rode after it. They shot the remaining mule and began to skin it.
The rest of the warriors surrounded the injured man who was beneath the wheel of the wagon. They dragged him out and two warriors held the wounded man to the ground and another cut the soles of his feet off and made him walk around the wagon for sport before one of the warriors grabbed the front of his scalp and cut it off and shot him. The warrior held the scalp up in the air and started whooping and dancing around celebrating his coup while the remaining members of the war party began to rummage through the goods in the back of the wagon before setting it on fire.
He cut off a piece of the dry meat and slowly chewed it while he watched the carnage unfold below him.
When it was over he stood up and said aloud, “I guess I’ll see if I can catch that mule.”
Then he stopped and crouched close to the ground. The warrior that pursued the mule returned, leading it by a piece of the broken harness.
He scurried down the side of the arroyo, concealed by the Pinyan and the Sage and up the other side before hiding behind a stump. He was about ten yards from the Apache. He grabbed one of the arrows he made and put it in his bow and jumped from the stump yelling, “Golizhi” skunk.
The Apache turned and saw him but sat on his horse in shock, not expecting this long haired white man to know a word of his language.
The man pulled back the sinew stringed bow and let the arrow fly. The voice of the dogwood arrow spoke as it went straight and true, striking the Apache in his heart.
His horse reared up, throwing him to the ground where he died.
His horse ran off, but the mule barely moved.
The man slowly approached the nervous mule, holding out his hand and softly stroking the animal’s side. Then he grabbed the end of the broken harness and led the mule away from the burning wagon and what remained of his companion’s carcass.
The man fashioned a war bridle and reins from the tail and mane of the dead mule and looped it around the lower jaw of the mule.
He removed the pants from the body of the man who was scalped and tortured as he was closest to him in size. The Apaches had taken his boots.
The man found a blanket that escaped the flames of the fire and put it on the back of the mule and then sprang from his feet onto the back of the animal and rode off in the direction of El Paso, Texas where Big Foot Wallace and Captain John Coffee Hays and a company of Texas Rangers awaited his arrival.

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