Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Medicine man versus the sickness

A disease to the Indians, Haze said, was like talking about a claim-jumper or a burglar, some crook that had got, instead of into your house or property, into your body. If you could see it, it would look like an actual person! No intelligence to speak of. So the right kind of soft soaping—prettier’n a speckled bird! beat the Dutch! ain’t you the finest!—compliments like that, that the medicine man could reel off to perfection, and the sickness would start to first peep out, and then—that would be the moment! Grab, pull, yank—No, you don’t, you jobbing dealer! And Haze said he felt foolish to say what he saw then, but he did see it! as plain as I see you, and it was a fight between old Duck Legs and something that looked like a man but had no substance, like a blue gauze of smoke. Powerful, though, it pounded, thumped and shook the medicine man till he was bleary-eyed and blood run down his face. But Duck Legs hung on and won. Then back into the forest he dragged whatever the thing was and drowned it in the river. And the dying patient reared up, cured.
     --From Variation West

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