THE INDIAN ADVOCATE. 300
She Forgave Her Enemy &
THE power of the Church is grandly shown in the following
incident, which took place some years ago during a term
of court in Albuquerque, N. M.
A young Pueblo Indian had killed a member of his tribe
and was on trial for the crime. The mother of the murdered
boy was called to testify. As she stood up on the witness
stand it would be difficult to imagine a more weird and un
earthly appearance. She must have measured nearly six feet
in height, but extreme age had bent the broad shoulders, and
the long, bare, lank arms and coarse hands told of many a
year of weary toil. Her face was haggard and cadaverous,
and the scanty gray hair straggled over her brow and almost
hid the vivid gleam fitfully parted from her deep dark, eyes.
The house was full of spectators, and a motely group of In
dians, dressed in tawdry finery, lounged around the door.
Don Jesse Sena, the interpreter, rendered her evidence into
English for the court and jury. On being sworn, and she
understood the obligation well, she refused to testify, al
though repeatedly urged to do so.
When asked her reason for refusing, she said that the
padre had instructed her to forgive her enemies; that she for
gave the prisoner and could not swear against him. On be
ing assured that it was not a violation of her obligation as a
Christian, and being ordered to testify by the judge, she re
luctantly proceeded to do so. When she had concluded, she
arose, and raising her long, bony hands she exclaimed in a
voice that was tremulous with emotion: "Juan, you have kill
ed my boy, but God says I must forgive you, and I do. I
obey His will." As she stepped downfrom the stand a dead,
silence reigned throughout the court, and I could not help
thinking that the good padre, who sat among his Indian child
ren, must have felt that his teachings had born good fruit
in the heart of that poor, bereaved Indian mother.
Within a day or two of the above touching event a white
mother stood in the same place, testifying against the alleged
slayer of her son. On the conclusion of her evidence she
arose and horrified the people by launching a torrent of blas
phemous curses at the unfortunate prisoner, who bent his
head and bore the storm in silence.
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