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

“I am not sure but what the scientist thought he was crazy, but anyhow, he didn’t catch on to what he was laughing at, and pretty soon went on with his digging. We stayed there three days and dug the whole place up and took back with us a basket full of stone axes, arrow-heads, three large prehistoric vases, and the mummy. He drove the wagon himself every step of the way, for fear something would get broken, and when we got to Flagstaff he spent two days packing the relics.”

“Do you consider that sort of thing quite honorable?” I asked.

“Honorable? What is that you say, you squint-eyed dude? Now, my boy, don’t get fresh with me just because I am dead and can’t jump you.”

I hastened to pacify him.

“Well, that’s all right, but if you had said that to me last year when I was alive I would have marked squares all over your body with a piece of chalk and then played hop-scotch on you.”

“I meant no offence,” I said humbly.

“Maybe you didn’t. But just you make another break like that, and I won’t forget it; you will have to die sometime, and then,–oh, mamma!”

“Is your partner dead?” I asked.

“No, Jim is not dead by a long shot. I went down to see him last winter at his place in California, where he has opened up a new store. He has a good tourist trade–made a lot of money this year out of mermaids and sea-devils–there was a run on sea-devils this winter. He makes them out of fishes.

“The mermaids he makes out of fishes’ tails and Indian children–robs the graveyards, you know. Some of them are really fine and artistic. I tell you he is an artist in his line.

“He has a branch store still somewhere in New Mexico, and made a stack of money last winter in Navajo blankets and scalp-trimmed Indian arms and shields. It is the scalp trimming which catches the tourist. He gets most of his scalps from California, from hospitals there; but when he is short, horse hair does pretty well, especially for old Indian scalps.

“And then, Navajo blankets. Holy smoke, a gold mine isn’t in it! They make them of Germantown wool and aniline dyes, and they cost at the factory all the way from six bits to $10, and sell to the tourist for various prices; sometimes as high as $75 or $80. Oh, I tell you he is shrewd; some day he will be worth a million!

“Sometimes a chap goes into his shop and poses as an expert–those are the kind of jays that fill Jim’s soul with joy. The fellow will pull over a pile of blankets, and after looking at them wisely, will say, ‘Haven’t you got any real good blankets? These are Germantown wool and mineral dyes.’

“Then Jim will say–‘Ah, I see you know something about blankets.’

“‘Oh, yes; a little,’ answers the expert.

“‘The fine old-style blankets are mighty hard to get now,’ remarks Jim.

“‘I know they are,’ remarks the wise tourist, ‘but still they are to be had sometimes, are they not? Come, now, haven’t you got something choice hidden away?’

“Then Jim will look about, as though fearful that somebody might see him, and will steal softly into a back room and pull from beneath his bed a good cheap blanket–worth about $3–and spread it out lovingly in front of the tourist.

“‘There,’ he whispers; ‘look at that; that is not for sale. I am keeping that for myself, but I thought you would like to see it, as it is very evident you know a good deal about blankets; isn’t it a beauty?’

“Then the tourist ‘bites,’ and asks him what it is worth, and admires it, agrees with him as to the splendid old dyes and fine preservation of the native wool prepared in the manner of the old Navajo, speaks of its great rarity, and at last ends by asking Jim what he will take for it, and usually carries it away with him, having paid three or four times the value of a really good blanket.

“I’ve seen Jim pull their legs so hard they’d pretty near limp when they went out. Ah, those were happy days!”

The departed heaved a deep sigh, and gazed silently at his handiwork.

“Well,” he said, “I must be going; I have a lot of things I want to do before morning, but hope to run across you sometime again. Glad you like the mummy. I forgot to mention that most of the teeth were gone when we first got it, and Jim put in a fine new set, and improved it a whole lot.”

I glanced at the mummy, and when I looked up again, my companion had disappeared.