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The Navajos had been raiding the pueblos around Taos relentlessly. Their most cunning war capitan was a man the Mexicans called Lobo Loco (Crazy Wolf). Lobo Loco and his warriors had recently raided a hacienda a day's ride from the presidio outside Taos. The enraged Alcalde, Senor Avila y Galvez, ordered a punitive expedition to teach the thieving Navajos a lesson. A squad of Presidials, under Sargento Perez, accompanied by two friendly Apache braves and a gringo trapper named Heidelbaugh set out to punish the savages.
Lobo Loco (known as Hastiin Yellow Wolf to his own people) knew the Mexicans were coming. The wolf was his guardian spirit and had told him to look out for enemies. Sure enough here came a column of the clumsy blue-coated horse soldiers accompanied by two Apache scouts and a bilagaana (white man). Lobo Loco's lip curled contemptously, the Dine warriors would ambush the Nakai (Mexicans), kill them, and take their horses to swell Lobo Loco's enormous herds. The Mexicans were riding across the front of the Navajos who were concealed among rocks and behind a line of low hills. Yellow Wolf sent Ganado Mucho (many cattle), an experienced raider, to head off the vanguard guided by Heidelbaugh while a two columns of Navajo Braves moved stealthily to take the main body of Presidials in a pincer movement. Yellow Wolf himself rode off to take out the Apache scouts who were acting as a rear guard.
Cabo Gonzalez was surprised when four Navajos rode over the hill and hit his column of Presidials as they tried to negotiate the wooded slopes of a large hill. No Navajos had been seen since the expedition had started out. In the twinkling of an eye a group of them had surprised his men and three quickly fell to their lance thrusts, clubs, and arrows before the Mexicans could discharge their escopetas.
Ganado Mucho took up a position in some rocks as the white man and two Presidials emerged from a wooded hill. He fired his musket, pinning one of the Mexicans. His companions milled around in confusion.
Sargento Perez cursed as he realized his column had fallen into an ambush. The cursed Navajos had been the scourge of New Mexico since before anyone could remember. They were diabolically crafty and stealthy cowards who never gave the Mexicans a fair fight. They usually ran away when confronted or, as now, occasionally sprung a cowardly ambush. Now his men were under heavy attack and at least three were down.
Castro and his companion Alchise had joined the Nakai horse soldiers in the hopes of killing some of the hated Navajo enemy. The Navajos were almost as bad as the Idahi, the Snake Men (Comanche), and Castro wanted to kill as many of them as he could. He had warned the blue coat nantan of the Nakai soldiers to watch out for a Navajo ambush but the stupid man wouldn't listen to him because he was an Apache savage. The blue coat nantan had relegated Castro and his friend to the rear out of mistrust and let the drunkard Pindah Lick O Ye (white eye) trapper guide them. The stupid Pindah had led the Mexicans into this ambush. Castro and Alchise rode down on the nearest Navajo and Castro lanced the man out of his saddle while Alchise quickly dismounted and scalped him. The Di Yin would have to purify them both when they brought this evidence of vengeance on the Navajo monsters back to the rancheria. Hopefully they could also secure a living Navajo for the amusement of the women...
Cabo Gonzalez was relieved when he saw the Apache allies ride to the aid of his beleagured column. He had doubted whther the savages could be trusted but now he saw them kill and scalp a Navajo. His relief turned to despair anew when another four Navajo Braves hit his column from the other side. Before he could react an arrow cut him down...
Ganado Mucho had reloaded his musket but dropped it when the white man and a Mexican lancer charged him. He loosed two arrows, one at each man and cut them both down. The remaining Mexican ran away.
Yellow Wolf saw his plan unfold, he watched his Braves cut down the hated Nakai and the Apache traitors who guided them. One Mexican was scalped to show evidence of the revenge the Dine were taking on their enemies. This would make an Enemy Way ceremony necessary after the war party returned to Canyon De Chelly.
Castro saw the last Mexican fall on the hill and realized he could not escape the Navajos. He and Alchise would die here. Hopefully his people would avenge their deaths. The Navajos rode down on them. The Apaches fought them off at first but numbers told and both were cut down, Alchise by Hastiin Yellow Wolf.
The Navajos lost one Brave but took a scalp, killed a white man and at least two Nakai and all the Apaches and rounded up eight to ten horses. They got 131 Glory Points (dead white man and Apaches 15 each, 50 points for wiping out or driving off the enemy, 5 for the scalp, and 56 for killing seven enemy Soldiers minus 25 points for the Brave they lost). The Mexicans lost two Presidial troopers, both Apaches, and the gringo. They lost 50 points for losing over half their men. They got 5 points for the Navajo scalp and 5 for killing one Navajo for a total of -30 points. Six Presidials, five of them wounded, returned to the Presidio claiming to have been ambushed by over five hundred Navajos and to have fough their way out after killing at least one hundred of the enemy!
The Comanche puhakut Stumbling Bull led 7 Braves into the country of the hated thieves the Spanish called the Apaches Del Nabahu or Navajos. These enemies had ambushed a war party led by Stumbling Bull's brother in law Spirit Talker and killed five of the People's warriors including Spirit Talker. Then, last moon, a party of these thieves had stolen Stumbling Bull's entire remuda in a night-time raid which also saw the death of a young herder and a warrior named Shaggy Hump. One of the Navajos had been killed and scalped by the pursuing Comanches but Stumbling Bull wanted more revenge. His puha (medicine helper) gave him a vision. In this vision he had seen the enemy falling dead into the Comanche camp. So it was with confidence that he led these braves into the red rock canyon country west of the Staked Plains in search of Navajo scalps.
Locating a small rancheria the Comanches snuck up at night on horseback scheming to surprise the sleeping enemy. They would kill and scalp these Navajos to avenge Spirit Talker and Shaggy Hump. Just as his men neared the Navajo hogans an old woman went outside to relieve herself. Spotting Stumbling Bull and his men she shrieked an alarm.
Navajos poured out of the hogans too quickly for the People to form their sacred circle around the enemy who fought afoot as the People had gotten between them and their pony herd on the mesa. In the confused melee which followed two Navajos went down with Comanche arrows in them but three of the People's braves were struck down by Navajo arrows and musket balls. One Navajo with a fusil aimed at a Comanche and blew him off his horse. This was not the way the People fought! With the medicine of the magic circle broken and three men down Stumbling Bull's inexperienced braves ran for the hills leaving their dead and wounded to be finished off by the enemy. Shamefaced, Stumbling Bull followed his beaten braves to keep the Navajos from killing any more of them.
His career as a puhakut was over, no one would follow him on any more war trails. Disgraced among his own band Stumbling Bull left for the north to live among the Yamparika Comanches where no one knew him.