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HIRAM CORSON, BORN, NOVEMBER 6, 1828; DIED, JUNE 15, 1911 At the time of his death Professor Emeritus of English Literature at Cornell University.
N prehistoric times, so the wise men of of Yucatan achieved a civilization wonderfully complete in its way. It was a complex social structure, with religious and secular heads of autocratic power, and a gradually decreasing status, until the limit. was reached in the slave captive of some wild and still primitive people.
If this be indeed the case, then Dimas Tus and his mate Ana must have descended from such primitive stock. Their parents may have been ordinary workingpeople, good as their world goes; but if so, Dimas and Ana were examples of atavism, reversions to the original type.
They were not vicious, only wild, shrewd in avoiding labor, and with wants so simple that the necessities of the ordinary native Indian were mostly luxuries to them.
They were small, but well proportioned, bright-eyed, and cleanly, with quick movements. Most wild animals, when they can be, are cleanly.
They lived somewhere in one of the many, little red earth valleys between the foot-hills. Only the hunters who tracked the jaguar to his lair, the wild boars to their rootings in the forest, or the golden turkey to its safest nesting-place, ever saw the tiny ná, like the nest of some wild bird, hidden in the tall tangle of the valley.
A tiny garden was beside it, an aërial one made of felled, age-hollowed trunks of great cocoyal palms, split open at the middle, and raised several feet from the ground by the stout, smooth forks of a chucum tree.
Safe from the attacks of the forest-foragers grew the tiny bunches of aromatic herbs that Ana used to season their daily food.
Deeper in the forest, about many low mounds, shapeless remains of a prehistoric hamlet, was their tiny corn-field, well planted and well kept. Dimas worked away at his corn-field with the same tireless, instinctive industry that the ant exhibits when it cuts its leafy food and stores it against the dry and leafless spell. Ana, at home, went the same instinctive, tireless pace. She rose with the earliest bird-chirp, then by the light of freshened embers she ground the corn and made the gruel and bread. All this was done in perfect silence, while Dimas, wrapped in his faded, red-barred blanket, crouched on the floor, equally mute.
Only after they had taken their hot gruel and the steaming uahes (cornbread) did they open their mouths to speak, and then only in simple phrases.
"The tunkuluchues [great horned owls] hooted very early this morning," said Ana. "I heard them," replied Dimas.