By J. Eric Thompson, George E. Stuart

A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs (Civilization of the yankee Indian)

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The close hand-to-hand fighting, with a thousand horses gailyhooting all over the place, had covered the battlefield with an enormous cloud of dust, and in it the green frog skins o f the sol­ diers were whirling around like snowflakes in a blizzard. Now, what did the Indians do with all that money? T h ey gave it to their children to play with, to fold those strange bits of colored paper into all kinds of shapes, making them into toy buffalo and horses. Somebody was enjoying that money after all.

Our name for clown is hey oka. For us Indians a clown is somebody strange, who always does the opposite of what’s expected of him. A clown’s work is sacred; it’s a medicine man’s job. I’ll have more to say about this when we get to the hey oka part of m y story, when we’ll be talking about dreams of the thunder-beings, visions, med­ icine and boiled dog. It was my job as a clown to divert the bulls from the riders who had been thrown, so that they wouldn’t be gored. W e had to do this in a funny w ay to amuse the crowd, waving blankets and having barrels around us like in a cartoon showing a fellow when the income-tax man is through with him.

The ducks all lined up with their eyes shut, flapping their wings, the fat ones up front. Ilctome took a big club from under­ neath his coat. “ Sing along as loud as you can,” he ordered, “ and keep your eyes shut. ” He told them to sing so that their voices would drown out the “ thump, thump” o f his club when he hit them over the head. He knocked them down one b y one and was already half done when one of those low-down, skinny ducks in the back row opened its eyes and saw what Iktome was up to.

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A Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs by J. Eric Thompson, George E. Stuart


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