House Made of Dawn

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday

Book: House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday Read Free Book Online
Authors: N. Scott Momaday
and the quick, uneven blowing at his ear, and felt the blue shivering lips upon him, felt even the scales of the lips and the hot slippery point of the tongue, writhing. He was sick with terror and revulsion, and he tried to fling himself away, but the white man held him close. The white immensity of flesh lay over and smothered him. He withdrew the knife and thrust again, lower, deep into the groin. The whole strength of his arm and back lay into the slant of the blade across the bowels, and the flesh split open and the steaming gore fell out upon his hand. Thewhite hands still lay upon him as if in benediction, and the awful gaze of the head, still fixed upon something beyond and behind him. Then the head inclined a little, as if to whisper something of the darkness and the rain, and the pale flesh of the face twitched, and the great blue mouth still gaped open and made no sound. The white hands laid hold of Abel and drew him close, and the terrible strength of the hands was brought to bear only in proportion as Abel resisted them. In his terror he knew only to wield the knife. He turned it upon the massive white arms and at last the white man’s hands fell away from him, and he reeled backward and away, whimpering now, exhausted. Abel threw down the knife and the rain fell upon it and made it clean. When he looked up, the white man still was standing there, still intent upon some vision in the near distance, waiting. He seemed just then to wither and grow old. In the instant before he fell, his great white body grew erect and seemed to cast off its age and weight; it grew supple and sank slowly to the ground, as if the bones were dissolving within it. And Abel was no longer terrified, but strangely cautious and intent, full of wonder and regard. He could not think; there was nothing left inside him but a cold, instinctive will to wonder and regard. He approached and knelt down in the rain to watch death come upon the white man’s face. He removed the little black glasses from the white man’s face and laid them aside, carefully. At last the eyes of the white man’s face curdled and were impervious to the rain. One of the arms lay out from the body; it was there, in the pale angle of the white man’s death, that Abel knelt. The sleeve had been cut away, and the whole length of the arm and the open palm of the hand were exposed. The white, hairless arm shone like the underside of a fish, and the dark nails of the hand seemed a string of great black beads. He knelt over the white man for a long time in the rain, looking down.

August 2
    There was the sound of the censer and the drum. The procession of men and women wound out of the church and through the streets. The statue rode high upon the train and shone in the sun. The little horse danced on the way, and the bull went running and turning around. And the sun was high and the valley shone and the fields were bright and clean after the rain.
    In a while the dancers filed out of the kiva. In two long lines they danced, and the gourds and evergreen boughs in their hands dipped and swayed to the sound of the singing and the drums. Their feet fell upon the earth in perfect time, and their eyes were solemn and looked straight ahead. And the single deep voice of the singers lay upon the dance, lay even upon the valley and the earth, whole and inscrutable, everlasting.
    â€œAbelito.” The old man Francisco rode out in the wagon to the fields. The lines lay low upon the flanks of the mares, but the mares knew the way and they went on their own to the river and the fields. The river was high, and they drew the wagon into it and drank. Without thinking, knowing only by instinct where he was, the old man looked for the reed. It was there still, but the rise of the river had reached it and made it spring; it leaned outover the water, and the little noose hung from it like a spider’s thread.
    And later, when he had got down from the wagon and hobbled the

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