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Strange Powder of the Jou Jou Priests, Aztec Mummy
by [?]

“What do you mean by that, sir?” I asked.

“You will understand when I tell you I was a dealer in curiosities, and during my time I furnished museums with a great many interesting and valuable specimens; when trade was slow, I occasionally helped nature a little, but that is all over now.”

“Have you given up the business?” I asked.

“Had to; but perhaps you do not know that I am dead,” answered my companion. “Fell from a cliff last year and broke my neck.”

“Did you, indeed?” I answered, trying to appear interested.

“That’s what I did. But let me tell you about that mummy. There was a scientific chap who came to our place and wanted to buy Aztec relics. Me and my partner made a trade with him and sold him a lot of stuff; but he was very anxious to be taken where he could dig some up for himself, ‘to be sure of the authenticity and antiquity of the relics.’ Well, me and my pard figured up that it might be to our advantage to take him to a good Cliff Dwelling, and we arranged that he should pay us so much for everything he dug up. If he found a mummy we got one hundred dollars; if stone hatchets and axes, two dollars each; arrow-heads, ten cents each; for stone matats and grinders, one dollar each, taking them as they came; and whole pottery, five dollars.”

“Where did you find the mummy? Did you know of the cave?” I asked.

“Well, we knew where there were lots of caves, and where there were Indian graveyards. With the aid of a little stain and judicious arrangement of a body we prepared a fine Aztec mummy. Of course we used the body of an Indian, one who had been dead for a long time and was dried up and crumbly. My partner was a clever chap, and he fixed up the axe and the silver necklace, and we took the outfit and started for the Verde Canyon. We picked out a good-sized cave, and dug a hole in the floor, in which we carefully placed the mummy and covered him up with dry dust; then we wet the clay over him, leaving the floor hard and smooth as before. We also buried about fifty axes and two or three hundred arrow-heads, and half a dozen nice specimens of Indian pottery, which we burned up good and black.

“After we had ‘salted’ the cave to our satisfaction, we partly sealed up the entrance and returned to Flagstaff.”

“Was that acting quite fair?”

“Fair? Why, how do you think that poor man would have felt if he had come all the way out to Arizona, and gone to all the expense of his car-fare and outfit, and then found nothing? It was philanthropy, my dear sir, the height of philanthropy.”

“Was he pleased with the mummy?”

“Pleased? Why, bless your dear, innocent soul, he screamed with joy like a child, when we accidentally discovered a piece of a toe while digging in the bottom of the cave! He dropped on his knees and removed every particle of dirt with his hands, and almost cried over it. He carried on so that my partner nearly gave us away. He was a chump about some things: if anything pleased him, he would laugh, and his laugh sounded like the bray of a jackass.

“Well, sir, when this scientific chap got down on his knees, and commenced to paw the earth away from the fake mummy, my partner began to gurgle. I knew what was coming and punched him in the ribs, but it did no good. The scientific chap looked up and asked what was the matter.

“‘Matter?’ shouted my pard, and then he roared and yelled and howled.

“A look of doubt and annoyance came into our victim’s eyes; but pard saved himself just in time.

“‘Look!’ he yelled between his paroxysms of laughter, ‘look at that buzzard over there! I’m damned if he ain’t the funniest buzzard I ever saw in my life,’ and then he roared and yelled and jumped about. ‘Look at him,’ he laughed; ‘see him fly! did you ever see anything so funny?’