Nsho-chi and the Greenhorn

Nsho-Chi and the Greenhorn

Written in 1893 – setting: Apache pueblo, scene: Rattler is about to be executed. The greenhorn (Old Shatterhand) asks Nsho-Chi about Rattler. Modern versions, including translations, differ from May’s own version.


Excerpt from: Winnetou I, Lulu.com

“[…]What’s happening with Rattler, Klekih-Petra’s murderer?”

“He’s about to be tied to the stake.” Nsho-Chi replied.

“What? Now? This moment?”


“And I wasn’t told? Why was this kept from me?”

“Winnetou wanted it this way.”

“But why?”

“He believed that you would not be able to bear it.”

“He was probably not wrong there, and yet I will be able to bear it if my wish is considered.”

“What wish?”

“First tell me where the torture will take place!”

“Down by the river. Inshu-Chuna has determined that you mustn’t be present.”

“But I want to be present! What tortures have been chosen for him?”

“All those that are designed for prisoners. He is the worst paleface who has ever fallen into the hands of the Apache. He murdered our beloved and respected white father, Winnetou’s teacher, without provocation; that’s why he mustn’t die after just a few tortures, like other captives, but we will use all the tortures we know and apply them one after the other.”

“That cannot be, that is inhumane!”

“He deserves it!”

“Can you attend, can you watch it?”


“You, a girl!” 
She lowered her long lashes and stared at the ground for a while. Then she lifted her gaze again, looked into my eyes with a serious, almost accusing expression and replied:

“Does this surprise you?”

“Yes. A woman shouldn’t be watching something like that.”

“Is it like that where you come from?”




“You are speaking an untruth, but you are not a liar, because you say this unintentionally, unknowingly. You are mistaken.”

“Are you saying the opposite is true?”


“Then you would have to know our women and girls better than me!”

“Perhaps it is you who doesn’t know them! When your criminals are brought before the judge, other people can listen to the proceedings. Isn’t it so?”


“I have heard that there are more female than male spectators. Does a squaw belong there? Is it appropriate for her to give in to curiosity and be lured to such a place?”


“And when a murderer is executed, when he is hanged or guillotined, are there no white squaws present?”

“That was earlier.”

“Is it forbidden for women now?”


“And also for the men?”


“Therefore it is illegal for all! Were it still legal the squaws would attend as well. Oh, the women of the palefaces aren’t as delicate as you think. They can wear pain well if it is the pain that others, humans or animals, have to suffer. I have never been in your country but Klekih-Petra has informed us. Winnetou went to the large cities of the east and when he returned he told me everything he had seen and observed. Do you know what your squaws do to the animals that they cook, fry and then eat?”



More: Winnetou I, Lulu.com