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Title: Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 08 : on the Pacific Slope
Author: Skinner, Charles M. (Charles Montgomery), 1852-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           MYTHS AND LEGENDS
                                   OF
                              OUR OWN LAND

                                   By
                           Charles M. Skinner

                                Vol. 8.


                          ON THE PACIFIC SLOPE



CONTENTS:

The Voyager of the Whulge
Tamanous of Tacoma
The Devil and the Dalles
Cascades of the Columbia
The Death of Umatilla
Hunger Valley
The Wrath of Manitou
The Spook of Misery Hill
The Queen of Death Valley
Bridal Veil Fall
The Governor's Right Eye
The Prisoner in American Shaft



ON THE PACIFIC COAST



THE VOYAGER OF WHULGE

Like the ancient Greeks, the Siwash of the Northwest invest the unseen
world with spiritual intelligence. Every tree has a soul; the forests
were peopled with good and evil genii, the latter receiving oblation at
the devil-dances, for it was not worth while to appease those already
good; and the mountains are the home of tamanouses, or guardian spirits,
that sometimes fight together--as, when the spirits of Mount Tacoma
engaged with those of Mount Hood, fire and melted stone burst from their
peaks, their bellowing was heard afar, and some of the rocks flung by
Tacoma fell short, blocking the Columbia about the Dalles.

Across these fantastic reports of older time there come echoes of a later
instruction, adapted and blended into native legend so that the point of
division cannot be indicated. Such is that of the mysterious voyager of
the Whulge--the Siwash name for the sound that takes the name of Puget
from one of Vancouver's officers. Across this body of water the stranger
came in a copper canoe that borrowed the glories of the morning. When he
had landed and sent for all the red men, far and near, he addressed to
them a doctrine that provoked expressions of contempt--a doctrine of
love.

To fight and steal no more, to give of their goods to men in need, to
forgive their enemies,--they could not understand such things. He
promised--this radiant stranger--to those who lived right, eternal life
on seas and hills more fair than these of earth, but they did not heed
him. At last, wearying of his talk, they dragged him to a tree and nailed
him fast to it, with pegs through his hands and feet, and jeered and
danced about him, as they did about their victims in the devil-dance,
until his head fell on his breast and his life went out.

A great storm, with thunderings and earthquakes! They took the body down
and would have buried it, but, to! it arose to its feet, as the sun burst
forth, and resumed its preaching. Then they took the voyager's word for
truth and never harmed him more, while they grew less warlike as each
year went by until, of all Indians, they were most peaceable.



TAMANOUS OF TACOMA

Mount Tacoma has always been a place of superstitious regard among the
Siwash (Sauvage) of the Northwest. In their myths it was the place of
refuge for the last man when the Whulge was so swollen after long rain
that its waters covered the earth. All other men were drowned. The waves
pursued the one man as he climbed, rising higher and higher until they
came to his knees, his waist, his breast. Hope was almost gone, and he
felt that the next wave would launch him into the black ocean that raged
about him, when one of the tamanouses of the peak, taking pity on him,
turned his feet to stone. The storm ceased, and the waters fell away. The
man still stood there, his feet a part of the peak, and he mourned that
he could not descend to where the air was balmy and the flowers were
opening. The Spirit of all Things came and bade him sleep, and, after his
eyes were closed, tore out one of his ribs and changed it to a woman.
When lifted out of the rock the man awoke, and, turning with delight to
the woman, he led her to the sea-shore, and there in a forest bower they
made their home. There the human race was recreated.

On the shore of the Whulge in after years lived an Indian miser--rare
personage--who dried salmon and jerked the meat that he did not use, and
sold it to his fellow-men for hiaqua--the wampum of the Pacific tribes.
The more of this treasure he got, the more he wanted--even as if it were
dollars. One day, while hunting on the slopes of Mount Tacoma, he looked
along its snow-fields, climbing to the sky, and, instead of doing homage
to the tamanous, or divinity of the mountain, he only sighed, "If I could
only get more hiaqua!"

Sounded a voice in his ear: "Dare you go to my treasure caves?"

"I dare!" cried the miser.

The rocks and snows and woods roared back the words so quick in echoes
that the noise was like that of a mountain laughing. The wind came up
again to whisper the secret in the man's ear, and with an elk-horn for
pick and spade he began the ascent of the peak. Next morning he had
reached the crater's rim, and, hurrying down the declivity, he passed a
rock shaped like a salmon, next, one in the form of a kamas-root, and
presently a third in likeness of an elk's head. "'Tis a tamanous has
spoken!" he exclaimed, as he looked at them.

At the foot of the elk's head he began to dig. Under the snow he came to
crusts of rock that gave a hollow sound, and presently he lifted a scale
of stone that covered a cavity brimful of shells more beautiful, more
precious, more abundant than his wildest hopes had pictured. He plunged
his arms among them to the shoulder--he laughed and fondled them, winding
the strings of them about his arms and waist and neck and filling his
hands. Then, heavily burdened, he started homeward.

In his eagerness to take away his treasure he made no offerings of hiaqua
strings to the stone tamanouses in the crater, and hardly had he begun
the descent of the mountain's western face before he began to be buffeted
with winds. The angry god wrapped himself in a whirling tower of cloud
and fell upon him, drawing darkness after. Hands seemed to clutch at him
out of the storm: they tore at his treasure, and, in despair, he cast
away a cord of it in sacrifice. The storm paused for a moment, and when
it returned upon him with scream and flash and roar he parted with
another. So, going down in the lulls, he reached timber just as the last
handful of his wealth was wrenched from his grasp and flung upon the
winds. Sick in heart and body, he fell upon a moss-heap, senseless. He
awoke and arose stiffly, after a time, and resumed his journey.

In his sleep a change had come to the man. His hair was matted and
reached to his knees; his joints creaked; his food supply was gone; but
he picked kamas bulbs and broke his fast, and the world seemed fresh and
good to him. He looked back at Tacoma and admired the splendor of its
snows and the beauty of its form, and had never a care for the riches in
its crater. The wood was strange to him as he descended, but at sunset he
reached his wigwam, where an aged woman was cooking salmon. Wife and
husband recognized each other, though he had been asleep and she
a-sorrowing for years. In his joy to be at home the miser dug up all his
treasure that he had secreted and gave of his wealth and wisdom to whoso
needed them. Life, love, and nature were enough, he found, and he never
braved the tamanous again.



THE DEVIL AND THE DALLES

In days when volcanoes were playing in the Northwest and the sternly
beautiful valley of the Columbia was a hell of ash and lava, the fiend
men of the land met at intervals on the heated rocks to guzzle and riot
together. It was at one of these meetings in the third summer after
Tacoma had stopped spouting that the devil urged a lesson from the
growing peace and joy of nature, and prayed the fiend men to desist from
killing and eating each other and live in love.

With a howl of rage at such a proposal they set upon him, tossing their
tails in such a threatening manner that he deemed it best to be off, and
as his hoofs clattered over the country his brain was busy in devising an
escape. Nearing the mountain bulwarks of an inland sea, whose breakers'
rhythmic roar he heard above the yells of his pursuers, a hope came into
his head, and new vigor into his tail, though you might have thought the
latter accession was not needed, for his tail was of prodigious length
and strength. He whirled this limb aloft and beat it on the earth. A
chasm opened at the stroke, and the devil skipped across to the safe side
of it.

Safe? No; for the fiend men in advance took the leap and came beside him.
The tormented one could thrash any two of them at once, but he was not
equal to a thousand. He brandished his weapon once more and it fell with
a crash. Earth shook, dust arose in clouds, and a deeper cleft than
before yawned through the valley. Again the fiend men tried to reach him,
and, though the gap was bigger and many fell into it, hundreds made the
jump and overtook him. He must make one more attempt. The tail revolved
for a third time, and with the energy of despair he flailed the ground
with it.

A third ravine was split through the rock, and this time the earth's
crust cracked away to the eastward, giving outlet to the sea, which came
pouring through the canon, breaking rocks from mountains and grinding
them to powder in its terrific progress. Gasping with fatigue, the
unhappy one toiled up a hill and surveyed his work with satisfaction, for
the flood engulfed the fiend men and they left no member of their race
behind them.

When they had all been happily smashed or drowned, the devil skipped
lightly over the channels he had cut and sought his family, though with a
subdued expression of countenance, for his tail--his strength and
pride--was bruised and broken beyond repair, and all the little imps that
he fathered to the world afterward had little dangling tails like
monkeys' instead of megatheriums', and in time these appendages
disappeared. But what was the use of them? The fiend men they had fought
against were dead and the rising race they could circumvent by subtler
means. The inland sea drained off. Its bed is now the prairie, and the
three strokes of the devil's tail are indelibly recorded in the bed of
the Columbia at the Dalles. And the devil never tried to be good again.



CASCADES OF THE COLUMBIA

When the Siwash, as the Northwestern Indians called themselves, were few,
Mount Hood was kept by the Spirit of Storms, who when he shook his robe
caused rain or snow to fall over the land, while the Fire Spirit flashed
his lightnings from Mount Adams. Across the vale between them stretched a
mighty bridge of stone, joining peak to peak, and on this the Siwash laid
his offering of salmon and dressed skins. Here, too, the tribal festivals
were kept. The priestess of the arch-Mentonee, who fed the fire on the
tribal altar "unimpassioned by a mortal throb"--had won the love of the
wild tamanouses of the mountains, but she was careless alike of coaxing
and threats, and her heart was as marble to them.

Jealous of each other, these two spirits fell to fighting, and, appalled
by the whirl of fire and cloud, of splintering trees and crumbling rocks,
the Indians fled in terror toward the lowlands, but she, unhurt and
undaunted, kept in her place, and still offered praise to the one god.
Yet she was not alone, for watchful in the shadow of a rock stood a
warrior who had loved her so long, without the hope of lovers, that he,
too, had outgrown fear. Though she had given him but passing words and
never a smile, his own heart was the warmer and the heavier with its
freight, and it was his way to be ever watching her in some place where
she might not be troubled by the sight of him.

The war waxed fiercer, and at last the spirits met at the centre of the
arch, and in roar and quake and deluge the great bridge swayed and
cracked. The young man sprang forward. He seized Mentonee in his arms.
There was time for one embrace that cheated death of sorrow. Then, with a
thunder like a bursting world, the miles of masonry crashed down and
buried the two forever. The Columbia leaps the ruins of the bridge in the
rapids that they call the Cascades, and the waters still brawl on, while
the sulky tamanouses watch the whitened floods from their mountain-tops,
knowing that never again will they see so fair a creature as Mentonee.



THE DEATH OF UMATILLA

Umatilla, chief of the Indians at the Cascades of the Columbia, was one
of the few red men of his time who favored peace with the white settlers
and lent no countenance to the fierce revels of the "potlatch." In these
"feasts of gifts" the savages, believing themselves to be "possessed by
the spirit," lashed themselves into a frenzy that on several occasions
was only quieted by the shedding of blood. Black Eagle's Feather--or
Benjamin, as he was called by the settlers--was the only one of the
children of the old chief who survived a summer of plague, and on this
boy Umatilla had put all his hopes and affections.

The lad had formed a great trust in his white teacher, a college-bred man
from the East, who had built a little school-house beside the Columbia
and was teaching the Indian idea how to shoot something beside white
people. This boy and his teacher had hunted together; they had journeyed
in the same canoe; had tramped over the same trail to the great falls of
the Missouri; and at the Giant Spring had seen the Piegans cast in their
gifts, in the belief that the manitou of the place would deliver them in
the hereafter to the sun-god, whom they worshipped. One day Benjamin fell
ill, and the schoolmaster saw that he, too, was to die of the plague. Old
Umatilla received the news with Indian stoicism, but he went into the
forest to be alone for a time.

When he returned day was breaking and a flock of wild-geese trumpeted
overhead. The boy heard them, and said, "Boston tilicum" (white man),
"does the Great Father tell the geese where to go?"

"Yes."

"Then he will tell me, too?"

"Yes."

"We shall never go back to the Missouri together. My father--"

"We will watch over him."

"That is well." And, in a few hours, he had intrusted the guidance of his
soul through the world of shadows to the white man's unseen father.

Umatilla sat beside the body through the night, and in the morning he
called his people together. He told them that he was prepared to follow
his boy out of the world, but that first he wanted to have their promise
that they would no longer war on the whites, but look to them for
friendship and guidance. There was some murmuring at this, for the ruder
fellows were already plotting a descent on the settlers, but Umatilla had
given them great store of goods at the last potlatch, and they
reluctantly consented. The venerable chief ordered them to make a grave
for Benjamin like the white man's, and, when it had been dug, four
warriors laid the body of his son within it. Then, standing at the brink,
the chief said, "My heart is growing cold, for it is in the grave there
with my son. When I take three steps to the side of him, I, too, shall
die. Be good to the white men, as you have said, and bury us both
together. Great Spirit, I come." And, sinking to the ground, the old
man's life ebbed in a breath. They buried him and his son in a single
grave, and next day they went to the teacher and asked him to lead and
instruct them. And with that year ended all trouble between red and white
men along the Columbia.



HUNGER VALLEY

East of San Francisco is a narrow valley opening to the bay of San Pablo.
In spite of its pleasant situation and fruitful possibilities, it had no
inhabitants until 1820, when Miguel Zamacona and his wife Emilia strayed
into it, while on a journey, and, being delighted with its scenery,
determined to make it their home. In playful mockery of its abundance
they gave to it the name El Hambre [Hunger] valley.

After some weeks of such hardship as comes to a Mexican from work, Miguel
had built an adobe cabin and got a garden started, while he caught a fish
or shot a deer now and then, and they got on pretty well. At last it
became necessary that he should go to Yerba Buena, as San Francisco was
then called, for goods. His burros were fat and strong, and there should
be no danger. Emilia cried at being left behind, but the garden had to be
tended, and he was to be back in exactly three weeks. She waited for
twenty-two days; then, her anxiety becoming unendurable, she packed an
outfit on a burro and started on the trail. From time to time she called
his name, and "Miguel!" echoed sweetly from hills and groves, but there
was no other answer, save when an owl would hoot. Rolled in a blanket she
slept on lupin boughs, but was off at peep of day again,
calling--calling--high and clear among the solitudes.

During the second day her burro gave a rasping bray, and a hee-haw
answered from the bush. It was Miguel's burro. He had come at last!
Leaping to her feet, in her impatience, she ran to meet him, and found
him lying on the earth, staring silently at the sky. All that day she sat
beside him, caressing his hand, talking, crying, bathing his face with
water from the marsh--the poison marsh--and it was not until sunset that
she could bring herself to admit that he was dead--had been dead for at
least two days.

She put the blanket over him, weighted it with stones, and heaped reeds
upon it; then she started for home. A wandering trader heard her story,
but years elapsed before any other settler entered Hunger valley. They
found her skeleton then in the weedy garden. The adobe stands tenantless
in the new village of Martinez, and the people have so often heard that
the ghosts of the Zamaconas haunt the place that they have begun to
disbelieve it.



THE WRATH OF MANITOU

The county called Kern, in California, lies mostly in a circular valley,
and long, long before the evil one had created the pale face it was the
home of a nation advanced in arts, who worshipped the Great Spirit in a
building with a lofty dome. But the bravery and wisdom of one of their
own people made them forget the Manitou and idolize the man who seemed
the most like him. They brought him to the temple and prayed and sang to
him, and held their sacred dances there, so angering God that he rent the
earth and swallowed them. Nothing was seen of this people for years
after, but their stone tools were left on neighboring hill-sides. Manitou
even poured water into the valley, and great creatures sported in the
inland sea.

But, ere long, he repented his anger, and, in a fit of impatience at what
he had done, he threw up quantities of earth that smoked with heat, and
thus created the Sierra Nevada, while he broke away the hills at the foot
of the lake, and the waters drained into the sea at the Golden Gate. This
again made dry land of the valley, and, opening the earth once more, he
released the captive tribe. The imprisoned people had not forgotten their
arts nor their boldness; they made the place blossom again; they
conquered other tribes, and Manitou declared them his chosen ones, from
whom alone he would accept sacrifice. But their chief became so ambitious
that he wanted to supplant the Manitou in the worship of the people, and
finally, in a lunacy of self-conceit, he challenged the god to single
combat.

Under pretence of accepting the challenge, the Great Spirit set the
offenders to wander through the desert until they reached a valley in the
Sierras, opposite Tehachapi, where he caused them to be exterminated by a
horde of savages from the Mojave desert. Then, in a fit of disgust at
refractory humanity, he evoked a whirlwind and stripped away every living
thing from the country of the savages, declaring that it should be empty
of human beings from that time forward. And it was so.



THE SPOOK OF MISERY HILL

Tom Bowers, who mined on Misery Hill, near Pike City, California, never
had a partner, and he never took kindly to the rough crowd about the
place. One day he was missing. They traced his steps through the snow
from his cabin to the brink of a great slope where he had been
prospecting, but there they vanished, for a landslide had blotted them
out. His body was exhumed far below and decently buried, yet it was said
that it was so often seen walking about the mouth of his old shaft that
other men avoided the spot.

Thriftless Jim Brandon, in a spasm of industry, began work on the
abandoned mine, and for a while he made it pay, for he got money and
squared accounts with his creditors; but after a time it appeared that
somebody else was working on the claim, for every morning he found that
the sluice had been tampered with and the water turned on. He searched
for the trespasser in vain, and told "the boys" that if they called that
joking it had grown tiresome.

One night he loaded his rifle, and, from a convenient nook, he watched
for the intruder. The tamaracks crooned in the wind, the Yuba mumbled in
the canon, the Sierras lay in a line of white against the stars. As he
crept along to a point of better vantage he came to a tree with something
tacked on it--something that shone in the dark like a match. In its own
light he read, "Notice! I, Thomas Bowers, claim this ground for placer
mining." Raising his hand to tear off the paper, he was amazed to feel a
thrill pass through it, and his arm fell palsied at his side. But the
notice was gone.

Now came the sound of water flowing, and, as he angrily caught his gun
and turned toward the sluice, the letters shone again in phosphorescence
on the tree. There was the sound of a pick in the gravel now, and,
crawling stealthily towards the sluice, he saw, at work there, Tom
Bowers--dead, lank, his head and face covered with white hair, his eyes
glowing from black sockets. Half unconsciously Jim brought his rifle to
his shoulder and fired. A yell followed the report, then the dead man
came running at him like the wind, with pick and shovel in either hand.

Away went Brandon, and the spectre followed, up hill, in and out of
woods, over ditches, through scrub, on toward Pike City. The miners were
celebrating a new find with liberal potations and a dance in the saloon
when, high above the crash of boots, the shouted jokes, the laughter, and
the clink of glasses, came a sound of falling, a scream-then silence.
They hurried into the road. There lay Brandon's rifle, and a pick and
shovel with "T. B." cut in the handles. Jim returned no more, and the
sluice is running every night on Misery Hill.



THE QUEEN OF DEATH VALLEY

In the southern part of California, near the Arizona line, is the famous
Death Valley--a tract of arid, alkaline plain hemmed in by steep
mountains and lying below the level of the sea. For years it was believed
that no human being could cross that desert and live, for horses sink to
their knees in drifts of soda dust; there is no water, though the
traveller requires much drink; and the heat is terrific. Animals that die
in the neighborhood mummify, but do not decay, and it is surmised that
the remains of many a thoughtless or ignorant prospector lie bleached in
the plain. On the east side of Dead Mountain are points of whitened rock
that at a distance look like sheeted figures, and these, the Indians say,
are the ghosts of their brethren.

In the heart of this desert is said to be the ruin of a pueblo, or
village, though the shape and size of it suggest that it was made for a
few persons rather than for a tribe or family. Long ago, the tale runs,
this place of horrors was a fair and fertile kingdom, ruled by a
beautiful but capricious queen. She ordered her subjects to build her a
mansion that should surpass those of her neighbors, the Aztecs, and they
worked for years to make one worthy of her, dragging the stones and
timbers for miles. Fearing lest age, accident, or illness should forbid
her to see the ending of her dream, she ordered so many of her subjects
to assist that her tribe was reduced to practical slavery.

In her haste and heartlessness she commanded her own daughter to join the
bearers of burdens, and when the toilers flagged in step in the noonday
heat she strode among them and lashed their naked backs. As royalty was
sacred, they did not complain, but when she struck her daughter the girl
turned, threw down her load of stone, and solemnly cursed her mother and
her kingdom; then, overcome by heat and weariness, she sank to the earth
and died. Vain the regrets and lamentations of the queen. The sun came
out with blinding heat and light, vegetation withered, animals
disappeared, streams and wells dried up, and at last the wretched woman
gave up her life on a bed of fever, with no hand to soothe her dying
moments, for her people, too, were dead. The palace, half-completed,
stands in the midst of this desolation, and sometimes it seems to lift
into view of those at a distance in the shifting mirage that plays along
the horizon.



BRIDAL VEIL FALL

The vast ravine of Yo Semite (Grizzly Bear), formed by tearing apart the
solid Sierras, is graced by many water-falls raining down the mile-high
cliffs. The one called Bridal Veil has this tale attached to it.
Centuries ago, in the shelter of this valley, lived Tutokanula and his
tribe--a good hunter, he, a thoughtful saver of crops and game for
winter, a wise chief, trusted and loved by his people. While hunting, one
day, the tutelary spirit of the valley--the lovely Tisayac--revealed
herself to him, and from that moment he knew no peace, nor did he care
for the well-being of his people; for she was not as they were: her skin
was white, her hair was golden, and her eyes like heaven; her speech was
as a thrush-song and led him to her, but when he opened his arms she rose
lighter than any bird and vanished in the sky.

Lacking his direction Yo Semite became a desert, and when Tisayac
returned she wept to see the corn lands grown with bushes and bears
rooting where the huts had been. On a mighty dome of rock she knelt and
begged the Great Spirit to restore its virtue to the land. He did so,
for, stooping from the sky, he spread new life of green on all the valley
floor, and smiting the mountains he broke a channel for the pent-up
meltings of the snows, and the water ran and leaped far down, pooling in
a lake below and flowing off to gladden other land. The birds returned,
the flowers sprang up, corn swayed in the breeze, and the people, coming
back, gave the name of Tisayac to South Dome, where she had knelt.

Then came the chief home again, and, hearing that the spirit had
appeared, was smitten with love more strong than ever. Climbing to the
crest of a rock that spires three thousand feet above the valley, he
carved his likeness there with his hunting-knife, so that his memory
might live among his tribe. As he sat, tired with his work, at the foot
of the Bridal Veil, he saw, with a rainbow arching around her, the form
of Tisayac shining from the water. She smiled on him and beckoned. His
quest was at an end. With a cry of joy he sprang into the fall and
disappeared with Tisayac. Two rainbows quivered on the falling water, and
the sun went down.



THE GOVERNOR'S RIGHT EYE

Old Governor Hermenegildo Salvatierra, of Presidio, California, sported
only one eye--the left--because the other had been shot out by an Indian
arrow. With his sound one he was gazing into the fire, on a windy
afternoon in the rainy season, when a chunky man in a sou'wester
was-ushered into his presence, and after announcing that he was no other
than Captain Peleg Scudder, of the schooner General Court, from Salem, he
was made welcome in a manner quite out of proportion in its warmth to the
importance that such a disclosure would have for the every-day citizen.

He was hailed with wassail and even with wine. The joy of the commandant
was so great that at the third bowl he sang a love ballad, in a voice
somewhat cracked, and got on the table to teach the Yankee how to dance
the cachuca. The law forbade any extended stay of Americans in Spanish
waters, and the General Court took herself off that very night--for this,
mind you, was in 1797, when the Spaniard ruled the farther coast.

Next day Salvatierra appeared before his astonished people with a right
eye. The priests attached to the fort gave a special service of praise,
and told the miracle to the red men of their neighborhood as an
illustration of the effect of goodness, prayer, and faith. People came
from far and near that they might go to church and see this marvel for
themselves. But, alas, for the governor's repute for piety! It soon began
to be whispered around that the new eye was an evil one; that it read the
deepest thoughts of men with its inflexible, cold stare; that under its
influence some of the fathers had been betrayed into confessing things
that the commandant had never supposed a clergyman to be guilty of. The
people feared that eye, and ascribed such rogueries to the old man as had
been entirely foreign to his nature hitherto.

This common fear and suspicion reacted, inevitably, and Salvatierra
began, unconsciously, to exhibit some of the traits that his subjects
said he possessed. He changed slowly from the indulgent parent to the
stern and exacting law-giver. He did not know, however, what the people
had been saying about him, and never suspected that his eye was likely to
get him into trouble.

It was a warm night and he had gone to bed with his windows open--windows
that opened from his garden, and were level, at the bottom, with the
floor. A shadowy form stole along the gravel path and entered one of
these windows. It was that of a mission Indian. He had gathered from the
talk of the faithful that it would be a service to the deity as well as
to men to destroy the power of that evil eye. He came beside the bed and
looked attentively at the governor, sleeping there in the light of a
candle. Then he howled with fright--howled so loudly that the old man
sprang to his feet--for while the left eye had been fast asleep the evil
one was broad awake and looking at him with a ghostly glare.

In another second the commandant was at the window whirling his trusty
Toledo about his head, lopping ears and noses from the red renegades who
had followed in the track of the first. In the scrimmage he received
another jab in the right eye with a fist. When day dawned it was
discovered, with joy, that the evil eye was darkened--and forever. The
people trusted him once more. Finding that he was no longer an object of
dread, his voice became kinder, his manner more gentle. A heavy and
unusual rain, that had been falling, passed off that very day, so that
the destruction from flood, which had been prophesied at the missions,
was stayed, and the clergy sang "Te Deum" in the church. The old
commandant never, to his dying day, had the heart to confess that the
evil eye was only a glass one.



THE PRISONER IN AMERICAN SHAFT

An Indian seldom forgets an injury or omits to revenge it, be it a real
or a fancied one. A young native of the New Almaden district, in
California, fell in love with a girl of the same race, and supposed that
he was prospering in his suit, for he was ardent and the girl was,
seemingly, not averse to him; but suddenly she became cold, avoided him,
and answered his greetings, if they met, in single words. He affected to
care not greatly for this change, but he took no rest until he had
discovered the cause of it. Her parents had conceived a dislike to him
that later events proved to be well founded, and had ordered or persuaded
her to deny his suit.

His retaliation was prompt and Indian-like. He killed the father and
mother at the first opportunity, seized the girl when she was at a
distance from the village, and carried her to the deserted quicksilver
mine near Spanish Camp. In a tunnel that branched from American Shaft he
had fashioned a rude cell of stone and wood, and into that he forced and
fastened her. He had stocked it with water and provisions, and for some
weeks he held the wretched girl a captive in total darkness, visiting her
whenever he felt moved to do so until, his passion sated, he resolved to
leave the country.

As an act of partial atonement for the wrong he had done, he hung a
leather coat at the mouth of the tunnel, on which, in picture writing, he
indicated the whereabouts of the girl. Search parties had been out from
the time of her disappearance, and one of them chanced on this clue and
rescued her as she was on the point of death. The savage who had exacted
so brutal and excessive a revenge fled afar, and his whereabouts were
never known.





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