Stránka:book 1913.djvu/54

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32 The Book of Woodcraft faculty for mirth. This phase of their character is well under- stood by those whose fortune or misfortune it has been to live among theni, day in and day out, at their homes. I don't believe I ever heard a real hearty laugh away from the Indians' fireside. I have often spent an entire evening in laughter with them, until I could laugh no more. There are evenings when the recognized wit or story-teller of the village gives a free entertainment which keeps the rest of the commimity in a convulsive state until he leaves them. However, Indian humor consists as much in the gestures and inflections of the voice, as in words, and is really untranslatable." ("Indian Boyhood," p, 267.) And, again, Grinnell: "The common belief that the Indian is stoical, stolid, and sullen, is altogether erroneous. They are really a merry people, good-natured and jocular, usually ready to laugh at an amusing incident or a joke, with a simple mirth that reminds one of children. » (" Ind. To-day, " p. 9.) There is, however, an explanation of our widespread mis- conception. Many a time in Indian camp or village, I have approached some noisy group of children or hilarious ring of those more grown. My purpose was wholly sympathetic, but my presence acted as a wet-blanket. The children were hushed or went away. I saw shy faces, furtive glances, or looks of dis- trust. They hate us; they do not want us near. Our presence is an evil influence in their joy. Can we wonder? OBEDIENCE — REVERENCE FOR THEIR PARENTS AND FOR THE AGED We cannot, short of the Jews or the Chinese, perhaps, find more complete respect for their parents than among the Indians. Catlin says: " To each other I have found these people kind and honorable, and endowed with every feeling of parental, of filial, and con-