By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Yosemite Legends
Author: Smith, Bertha H.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Yosemite Legends" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.






       Copyright, 1904
  by Paul Elder and Company
        San Francisco

  [Illustration: The Valley in the Mist.]


The Legends

  Yo-sem-i-te, Large Grizzly Bear             1

  Po-ho-no, Spirit of the Evil Wind          11

  Hum-moo, the Lost Arrow                    19

  Py-we-ack, the White Water                 31

  Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah and Tis-sa-ack           45

  Kom-po-pai-ses, Leaping Frog Rocks         55

The Illustrations

  The Valley                     _Frontispiece_

  Mirror Lake                                 1

  A Grizzly                   Facing page     6

  Oaks                                       11

  Po-ho-no in Bridal Veil     Facing page    14

  The Lost Arrow                             19

  Tee-hee-neh                 Facing page    26

  Cloud's Rest                               31

  Spirits of Vernal Falls     Facing page    38

  El Capitan                                 45

  The Spirit of Tis-sa-ack    Facing page    52

  The Three Brothers                         55

  The Patriarch's Prayer      Facing page    60

  [Illustration: YO-SEM-I-TE
    "Ke-koo-too-yem, the Sleeping Water."]

Yo-sem-i-te, Large Grizzly Bear

When the world was made, the Great Spirit tore out the heart of
Kay-o-pha, the Sky Mountains, and left the gash unhealed. He sent the
Coyote to people the valley with a strong and hardy race of men, who
called their home Ah-wah-nee, and themselves, the Ah-wah-nee-chees.

The Ah-wah-nee-chees lived the simple, savage life, which knows no law
but to hunt and kill and eat. By day the trackless forests rang with
the clamor of the chase. By the flaring light of their fires the
hunters gorged themselves upon the fresh-killed meat, feasting far
into the night. They made war upon the tribes that lived beyond the
walls of Ah-wah-nee and never knew defeat, for none dared follow them
to their rock-ribbed fastness. They were feared by all save the
outcasts of other tribes, whose lawless deeds won for them a place
among the Ah-wah-nee-chees. Thus the children of Ah-wah-nee increased
in number and strength.

As time went by, the Ah-wah-nee-chees, in their pride of power,
forgot the Great Spirit who had given them their stronghold and made
them feared of all their race. And the Great Spirit, turning upon them
in his wrath, loosed his evil forces in their midst, scourging them
with a black sickness that swept all before it as a hot wind blights
the grain at harvest time.

The air of the valley was a poison breath, in which the death shade
hovered darkly. Before the Evil Spirit medicine men were powerless.
Their mystic spells and incantations were a weird mockery, performed
among the dying and the dead; and when at last the Evil One passed
onward in his cursed flight, the once proud and powerful band of
Ah-wah-nee-chees was like a straggling pack of gaunt gray wolves.
Their eyes gleamed dully in their shrunken faces, and the skin hung in
loose folds on their wasted bodies.

Those who were able fled from the valley, which was now a haunted
place, eerie with flitting shadows of funeral fires and ghostly
echoes of the funeral wail. They scattered among the tribes beyond the
mountains, and Ah-wah-nee was deserted.

A vast stillness settled upon the valley, broken only by the songs of
birds and the roar of Cho-look when Spring sent the mountain torrents
crashing over his head. The mountain lion and the grizzly roamed at
will among the rocks and tangled chinquapin, fearless of arrows; the
doe led her young by an open path to the river, where trout flashed
their colors boldly in the sun. In the autumn the choke-cherries and
manzanita berries dried upon their stems, and ripened acorns rotted to
dust upon the ground after the squirrels had gathered their winter
store. The homeless Ah-wah-nee-chees circled wide in passing the

Over beyond To-co-yah, the North Dome, among the Mo-nos and Pai-u-tes,
a few of the ill-fated Ah-wah-nee-chees had found refuge. Among them
was the chief of the tribe, who after a time took a Mo-no maiden for
his bride. By this Mo-no woman he had a son, and they gave him the
name of Ten-ie-ya. Before another round of seasons, the spirit of the
Ah-wah-nee-chee chieftain had wandered on to the Land of the Sun, the
home of happy souls.

Ten-ie-ya grew up among his mother's people, but the fire of a warrior
chief was in his blood and he liked not to live where the word of
another was law. The fire in his blood was kept aflame by the words of
an old man, the patriarch of his father's tribe, who urged him to
return to Ah-wah-nee, the home of his ancestors, and gather about him
the people whose chief he was by right of birth.

So Ten-ie-ya went back across the mountains by a trail abandoned long
ago, and from the camps of other tribes came those in whose veins was
any trace of Ah-wah-nee-chee blood; and, as before, the number was
increased by lawless braves of weaker bands who liked a greater
freedom for their lawlessness. Again, under the favor of the Great
Spirit, the Ah-wah-nee-chees flourished and by their fierce strength
and daring became to other tribes as the mountain lion to the wolf and
the coyote and the mountain sheep.

  [Illustration: "A monster grizzly that had just crept forth from
    his winter cave."]

And it chanced that one day while Ten-ie-ya and his warriors were
camped near Le-ham-i-te, the Cañon of the Arrow-wood, a young brave
went out in the early morning to the lake of Ke-koo-too-yem, the
Sleeping Water, to spear fish. His lithe, strong limbs took no heed of
the rocky talus in his path, and he leaped from boulder to boulder,
following the wall that rose sheer above him and cut the blue sky

As he reached the base of Scho-ko-ni, the cliff that arches like the
shade of an Indian cradle basket, he came suddenly upon a monster
grizzly that had just crept forth from his winter cave. The grizzly
knows no man for his friend; least of all, the man who surprises him
at the first meal after his long sleep. The rivals of Ah-wah-nee were
face to face.

The Ah-wah-nee-chee had no weapon save his fish spear, useless as a
reed; yet he had the fearlessness of youth and the courage of a race
to whom valorous deeds are more than strings of wampum, piles of pelt
or many cattle. He faced the grizzly boldly as the clumsy hulk rose to
its full height, at bay and keen for attack. With instinctive love of
conflict roused, the young chief seized a broken limb that lay at his
feet, and gave the grizzly blow for blow.

The claws of the maddened brute raked his flesh. The blood ran warm
over his glistening skin and matted the bristled yellow fur of the

The Ah-wah-nee-chee fought bravely. While there was blood in his body,
he could fight; when the blood was gone, he could die; but with the
traditions of his ancestors firing his brain, he could not flee.

Furious with pain, blinded by the blows from the young chief's club
and by the blood from the young chief's torn flesh, the grizzly
struggled savagely. He, too, was driven by the law of his breed, the
universal law of the forest, the law of Indian and grizzly
alike,--which is to kill.

Such a battle could not last. With a low growl the crippled grizzly
brought himself together and struck with the full force of his
powerful arm. The blow fell short.

Urging his waning strength to one last effort, the Ah-wah-nee-chee
raised his club high above his head and brought it down with a heavy,
well-aimed stroke that crushed the grizzly's skull and sent him
rolling among the boulders, dead.

That night as the Ah-wah-nee-chees feasted themselves on bear meat,
the story of the young chief's bravery was told, and told again; and
from that hour he was known as Yo-sem-i-te, the Large Grizzly Bear.

In time the name Yo-sem-i-te was given to all the tribe of
Ah-wah-nee-chees, who for fearlessness and lawlessness were rivaled
only by the grizzly with whom they shared their mountain fastness. And
when long afterward the white man came and took Ah-wah-nee for his
own, he gave it the name by which Ten-ie-ya's band was known; and
Cho-look, the high fall that makes the earth tremble with its mighty
roar, he also called by the name of the Large Grizzly Bear,

  [Illustration: PO-HO-NO
    "And the oaks unfurl their soft green banners in welcome of the
      coming summer."]

Po-ho-no, Spirit of the Evil Wind

The white man calls it Bridal Veil. To the Indian it is Po-ho-no,
Spirit of the Evil Wind.

The white man, in passing, pauses to watch the filmy cloud that hangs
there like a thousand yards of tulle flung from the crest of the rocky
precipice, wafted outward by the breeze that blows ever and always
across the Bridal Veil Meadows. By the light of mid-afternoon the veil
seems caught half-way with a clasp of bridal gems, seven-hued,
evanescent; now glowing with color, now fading to clear white sun rays
before the eye.

The Indian, if chance brings him near this waterfall, hurries on with
face averted, a vague dread in his heart; for in the meshes of the
Bridal Veil hides an eerie spirit, a mischievous, evil one--Po-ho-no.
In the ripple of the water as it falls among the rocks, the Indian
hears Po-ho-no's voice. In the tossing spray he sees the limp forms
and waving arms of hapless victims lured by the voice to their

The Indian's mistrust of Po-ho-no dates back to a day of long ago, a
bright blue day of early spring such as the children of Ah-wah-nee
love, when the valley has thrown off its white winter blanket, and
dogwood blooms, and the oaks unfurl their soft green banners in
welcome of the coming summer. It was the time when deer begin to
trail, leaving the lowlands of the river for the higher ranges; and
while the men hunted in the forest, the women went forth to gather
roots and berries for the feast.

The Sun had come back from the south; and as he stood high in the
heavens looking into the valley over the shoulder of Lo-yah, the
Sentinel, three women were tempted to stray from the others and wander
along a trail that led high above the valley to the spot whence the
misty spray of the waterfall flutters downward.

  [Illustration: "For in the meshes of the Bridal Veil hides * *

They talked with what zest women may whose simple lives give them no
secrets to hold or betray. They laughed as they filled their baskets,
stooping to scrape the earth from a tender root, to strip the
seed from a stalk, or gather grasses used in basketry; and their
voices were as the purling of lazy waters gliding over stones. They
were happy, for as yet they knew naught of the joy-sapping fever of

Of a sudden the laughter ceased, and in its stead arose the mocking
wail of Po-ho-no, Spirit of the Evil Wind. The youngest of the women,
venturing near the edge of the cliff to pick an overhanging wisp of
grass, had stepped upon a rock where moss grew like a thick-woven
blanket. She did not know that the soft, wet moss was a snare of the
Evil One, and even as the others cried out in warning, Po-ho-no seized
her and hurled her down among the rocks.

A pair of helpless arms waving in despair; long, loose hair sweeping
across a face, half veiling one last look of terror--and she was gone.
If she uttered a cry, the sound was lost in the gleeful chatter of
Po-ho-no and his impish host.

The two women left above dared not go near the treacherous ledge,
lest they too come within reach of the vengeful Spirit. Afraid even to
give a backward glance, they hurried down the steep path to spread the
alarm. Scarce was their story told before a band of daring braves
rushed to the rescue of the maiden; but though they searched till
night among the rocks where the water swirls and leaps to catch the
rainbow thrown there by the western sun, they found no trace of her.
The maiden's spirit had joined the forces of Po-ho-no, and could know
no rest, nor be released from his hateful thrall, until by her aid
another victim was drawn to his doom. Here she must stay, hidden by
the mist from watchful eyes, beckoning always, tempting always, luring
another soul to pay the forfeit of her own release. Then, and then
only, would the spirit of the maiden be free to pass on to the home of
the Great Spirit in the West.

Since that day of long ago many of the children of Ah-wah-nee have
fallen prey to Po-ho-no, the restless Spirit of the Evil Wind, who
wanders ever through the cañon and puffs his breath upon the waterfall
to make for himself a hiding-place of mist. Now every Ah-wah-nee-chee
knows this haunt of the Evil One. By day they hurry past, and not one
would sleep at night within sight or sound of the fall lest the fatal
breath of Po-ho-no sweep over him and bear him away to a spirit land
of torture and unrest.

  [Illustration: HUM-MOO
    "In its stead they left a pointed rock lodged in the cliff."]

Hum-moo, the Lost Arrow

Tee-hee-neh was the fairest of the daughters of Ah-wah-nee, and the
happiest, for she was the chosen bride of the brave Kos-soo-kah.

When she went forth from her father's lodge to bathe in the shadowy
depths of Ke-koo-too-yem, the Sleeping Water, her step was light as
the touch of a wind-swept leaf upon the rocks. When she stooped to
lave her cheeks in the cool spray, her dark hair fell about her
shoulders like a silken web, and the water mirror showed her a pair of
laughing eyes of the color of ripened acorns, and in them the soft
light of an Indian summer day. The sound of her voice was as the
patter of rain on green leaves, and her heart was fearless and full of

No other woman of the tribe could weave such baskets as grew by the
magic skill of her fingers, and she alone knew the secret of
interweaving the bright feathers of the red-headed woodpecker and the
topknots of mountain quail. Her acorn bread was always sweetest, the
berries she gathered ripest, the deerskin she tanned softer than any
other; and all because of the love in her heart, for she knew that
Kos-soo-kah would eat of her bread and fruit, would drink from the
baskets she wove, would wear upon his feet the moccasins she made.

Kos-soo-kah was a hunter, fearless and bold, sure with bow and spear,
always fortunate in the chase. In his veins ran the blood that surges
hot when there are daring deeds to do, and of all the young chiefs of
Ah-wah-nee he had the greatest power among his people. Like the wooing
of the evening star by the crescent moon was the mating of Tee-hee-neh
with Kos-soo-kah; and when the young chief gathered together robes of
squirrel and deerskin and of the skins of water-fowl, arrows and
spear-heads, strings of coral and bear teeth, and gave them as a
marriage token to Tee-hee-neh's father, the old chief looked upon him
with favor.

This was their marriage. But before Tee-hee-neh should go with
Kos-soo-kah to his lodge there must be a great feast, and all day long
Ah-wah-nee was astir with signs of preparation.

From many shady places came a sound like the tap-tap-tapping of
woodpeckers, where the older women sat upon smooth, flat rocks
pounding dried acorns into meal to make the acorn bread; and the
younger women went with their baskets to the meadows and woods for
grass seeds, herbs and wild honey.

Early in the morning Kos-soo-kah left his lodge and gathered about him
the strongest of the young braves to go forth into the forest and net
the grouse, and seek the bear and deer in their haunts, for this was
the man's share of the marriage feast. While his hunters strung their
bows and fastened arrow-heads to the feathered shafts, Kos-soo-kah
stole away for a last word with Tee-hee-neh, his bride; and when they
parted it was with the promise that at the end of the day's hunt
Kos-soo-kah should drop an arrow from the cliff between Cho-look, the
High Fall, and Le-ham-i-te, the Cañon of the Arrow-wood. By the number
of feathers it bore, Tee-hee-neh could tell what the kill had been.

The morning mists were still tangled in the pines when Kos-soo-kah and
his hunters began to climb the trail that cut into the heart of the
forest. From a covert spot Tee-hee-neh watched her lover disappear
through the cleft in the northern wall, where the arrow-wood grows
thick; then she joined the other women and worked with a light heart
until long shadows stretched across the meadow and warned her of the
hour when she was to be near the foot of Cho-look to receive the
message from Kos-soo-kah.

Far over the mountains Kos-soo-kah laughed loud with a hunter's pride
as he bound to his swiftest arrow all the feathers of a grouse's wing.
Sped by a hunter's pride and a lover's pride he leaped along the rocky
trail, far in advance of the youthful braves of his band who bore
among them the best of the kill. Eagerly he watched the western sky,
fearful lest the sun's last kiss should tinge the brow of Tis-sa-ack
before he reached the cliff whence his bow should let fly the message
to the waiting one below.

The frightened quail fluttered in his path unseen. A belated vulture,
skimming the fading sky, seemed not to be in motion. So swiftly
Kos-soo-kah ran, the wind stood still to let him pass.

He reached the valley wall at last, his strength well spent but still
enough to pull his bow to a full half-circle. Poised for an instant,
the feathered shaft caught on its tip a sun ray, then flew downward;
but though mighty and sure the force that sent it, no message came to
the faithful Tee-hee-neh.

Hour after hour she waited, the joy in her heart changing to a
nameless fear as the blue sky faded gray, and the gray went purple in
the thickening dusk, and yet no sign, no sound of the returning

"Kos-soo-kah! Kos-soo-kah!" trembled her voice in the stillness. Only
a weird echo answered, "Kos-soo-kah."

Perhaps they had wandered far, and Kos-soo-kah could not reach the
cliff till the night shadows had crept out of the valley, and over the
tops of the mountains. Perhaps even now he was returning down the
Cañon of the Arrow-wood. This she whispered to a heart that gave no
answering hope.

She would go forward to meet him, and hear from his lips the message
which the arrow failed to bring. As she hurried along the narrow
trail, clinging to the slanting ledges, pushing aside the overhanging
branches, she called and called, "Kos-soo-kah!"

Now and again she stopped to listen for the sound of voices, or of
footsteps, but only the cry of a night bird or the crackling of dry
twigs stirred the still air.

  [Illustration: "Crouching there * * she called again,

Trembling with uncertainty and fear, she reached the top of the sharp
ascent. There by the light of the stars she saw fresh footprints in
the loose, moist earth. Her heart told her they were his; her
quick eye told her they went toward the cliff, but did not return.
Crouching there beside them, she called again, "Kos-soo-kah!" Not even
an echo answered the despairing cry.

Slowly she crept forward, following the fresh trail to the edge of the
wall. She leaned far over, and there on a mound of fallen rock lay her
lover, motionless, nor answering her call. Tight in his grasp was the
spent bow, the sign of a promise kept.

As she looked, there came again to Tee-hee-neh's mind the dull roar of
rending rock, the low moan of falling earth, that ran through the
valley at the sunset hour. Now she knew that as Kos-soo-kah drew his
bow to speed the messenger of love, the ground beneath his feet had
given way, carrying him with the fatal avalanche.

The girl's heart no longer beat fast with fear. It seemed not to beat
at all. But there was no time for grief,--perhaps Kos-soo-kah had not
ceased to breathe. On the topmost point of rock she lighted a signal
fire, and forced its flames high into the dark, flashing a call for
help. It would be long, she knew, before any one could come; but this
was the only chance to save Kos-soo-kah.

Hours passed. With feverish energy she piled dry branches high upon
the signal fire, nor let its wild beckonings rest a moment. At last
old men came from the valley, and the young braves from the mountains
bearing with them the carcasses of deer and bear.

With their hunting-knives they cut lengths of tamarack, and lashed
them together with thongs of hide from the deer killed for the
marriage feast. By means of this pole they would have lowered over the
edge of the cliff a strong young brave but that Tee-hee-neh pushed him
aside and took his place. Hers must be the voice to whisper in
Kos-soo-kah's ear the first word of hope; hers the hand to push aside
the rocks that pinioned his body; hers the face his slowly opening
eyes should see.

They lowered her to his side; and, loosing the cords that bound her,
she knelt beside him, whispering in his ear, "Kos-soo-kah!" No sound
came from the cold, set lips. The wide-open eyes stared unseeing at
the sky. Tee-hee-neh knew that he was dead.

She did not cry aloud after the manner of Indian women in their grief,
but gently bound the helpless form with the deerskin cords and raised
it as high as her arms could reach when the pole was drawn upward;
then waited in silence until she was lifted by the willing hands

When she found herself again at Kos-soo-kah's side, she stood for an
instant with eyes fixed upon the loved form, there in the cold,
starless dawn of her marriage day; then with his name upon her lips
she fell forward upon his breast. They drew her away, but the spirit
of Tee-hee-neh had followed the spirit of Kos-soo-kah.

The two were placed together upon the funeral pyre, and with them was
burned all that had been theirs. In Kos-soo-kah's hand was the bow,
but the arrow could not be found. The lovers had spirited it away. In
its stead they left a pointed rock lodged in the cliff between
Cho-look, the High Fall, and Le-ham-i-te, the Cañon of the Arrow-wood,
in token of Kos-soo-kah's fulfilled pledge. This rock is known to the
children of Ah-wah-nee as Hum-moo, the Lost Arrow.

  [Illustration: PY-WE-ACK
    "The moon floated high above Cloud's Rest."]

Py-we-ack, the White Water

Since the peaks of Sky Mountains were little hills, the
Ah-wah-nee-chees have lived in the deep, grassy valley the white man
knows as Yo-sem-i-te. Eastward of To-co-yah, the Acorn Basket Rock,
live the Mo-nos; and for a thousand years the sachems of the
Ah-wah-nee-chees and the sachems of the Mo-nos smoked the pipe of
peace together.

In the autumn when the Great Spirit swept through Ah-wah-nee with a
breath of frost, painting the leaves all scarlet and gold and brown,
scattering tufts of snow-white cloud across the blue sky, and weaving
a web of bluish haze among the green pine tops, the Ah-wah-nee-chee
braves prepared for the last great hunt of the year. The feast of the
manzanita berries was past, and the feast of acorns, and after the
autumn hunt came the feast of venison.

As the time of the feast drew near, runners were sent across the
mountains, carrying a bundle of willow sticks, or a sinew cord or
leaf of dried grass tied with knots, that the Mo-nos might know how
many suns must cross the sky before they should go to Ah-wah-nee to
share the feast of venison with their neighbors.

And the Mo-nos gathered together baskets of piñon nuts, and obsidian
arrow-heads, and strings of shells, to carry with them to give in
return for acorns and chinquapin nuts and basket willow, which do not
grow on the farther side of Sky Mountains and which the Great Spirit
has given in plenty to the children of Ah-wah-nee.

At the feast the great chiefs sat side by side and the smoke of their
pipes curled into a single spiral in the air. And when all were gorged
with food, they danced about the fire chanting the mighty deeds of
their ancestors, or sat upon the ground playing the ancient hand game,
he-no-wah, staking their arrows and their bearskin robes, their wampum
and their women upon the hand that held the hidden willow stick.

Not only in their pastimes were they friends. When the Great Spirit
wafted a soul to the happy land in the West, the runners went again
across the Sky Mountains and the tribes gathered together to join in
the funeral dance and mingle their voices in the funeral wail. In
grief, as in joy, they were friends,--for a thousand years.

But the law of the mountain and the forest is not a law of peace, and
it was the will of the Great Spirit that they should not dwell always
in harmony.

The Ah-wah-nee-chees numbered more men than women; and from time to
time bands of young braves, in the flush of primal strength, swept
through the country with the ungoverned madness of a bullock herd,
carrying away women from the villages they raided.

When the Mo-no men came to Ah-wah-nee to the feasts of the manzanita
berry and of acorns and of venison, they brought their women with
them. These mountain women were pleasing to the eye, erect as the
silver fir that grows upon the mountain side, clean-limbed and free
of motion as the panther; and more than all others were they coveted
by the Ah-wah-nee-chees, who chafed under a friendship that thwarted

And the story is told that at a certain feast of venison Wa-hu-lah, a
Mo-no maiden, stirred the fancy of a young warrior of Ten-ie-ya's
band. Spring, the love season of Nature's children, had passed the
young warrior many times since he came to manhood, and he had not
heeded her soft whisper. But never before had he seen Wa-hu-lah, the
Mo-no maiden.

Now, through all the time of feasting, he watched eagerly for the love
sign in Wa-hu-lah's eyes; but he saw there only the depth and the
darkness and the mystery of a pool hidden in the heart of a forest of
pines, which no ray of sunlight pierces.

Love was dead in the heart of Wa-hu-lah. On her face could still be
seen dim traces of mourning, lines of pitch and ashes not yet worn
away, though there had been two seasons of grass and flowers since her
voice rose in the funeral wail beside the pyre of her dead lover. She
had not died as the dove does when her mate is gone; but she could not
forget, and as she sat among the feasters sorrow throbbed in her heart
like the ceaseless whirr of a grouse's wing. The Ah-wah-nee-chee
warrior sought in vain for an answering sign, and when the days of
feasting were over Wa-hu-lah went away with her father.

Day and night the Ah-wah-nee-chee thought of his love; the face of
Wa-hu-lah was ever before his eyes; and he knew that he must follow
her and bring her to his lodge. But already the snow-clouds resting on
the peaks of Sky Mountains were scattering their burden, soft and
white as the down of Tis-sa-ack's wings. Valley and forest lay
lifeless under a thick blanket, and the trails were choked with snow.

The Ah-wah-nee-chee's love smouldered through the winter months, with
naught but the memory of Wa-hu-lah's sad, unanswering eyes to feed
upon. Far away, in the wig-wam of her father, Wa-hu-lah nursed her

At last spring came, with soft, straying winds that breathe of new
life. Birds sang in the trees as they built their nests; squirrels
chattered softly among the rocks; Too-loo-lo-we-ack, the Rushing
Water, babbled of the joys of summer; and Yo-wi-we dashed from the
heights to carry the message of love brought by the sun from the
southland to all the valley.

While yet the trails were heavy with melting snows, the
Ah-wah-nee-chee warrior stole away from his lodge one night and set
his face toward the rising sun, yonder to the eastward of To-co-yah;
and ere the day god had wrapped himself in his flaming cloud blanket
in the far-off West, the Ah-wah-nee-chee was smoking the peace pipe
with the chief of the Mo-nos, Wa-hu-lah's father.

  [Illustration: "The white spirits of the water threw themselves
    around the maiden and hid her in a shroud of spray."]

Before the sun again strode the bald peaks of the Sky Mountains, he
was gone; and when the women came forth to make ready the morning
meal, the old chief saw that Wa-hu-lah was not among them; and he knew
that the spirit of the peace pipe had been violated.

Wa-hu-lah made no struggle when she found herself borne along in the
arms of her captor. Her heart beat like the heart of a hunted thing
that feels the hunter near and cover far away, but her face showed no
sign. It was useless to resist; but had the Ah-wah-nee-chee looked
into the still, sad depths of her eyes, he would have seen there a
glittering spark, the fire of a woman's lasting hate.

Along the heavy trail he toiled, and not until he reached the kinder
paths that Spring had cleared did he let Wa-hu-lah's feet rest upon
the ground. Then she walked before him, silent, submissive, but with
the spark still glowing in her downcast eyes.

Silent, submissive, she followed as he led the way to the place he
had prepared for her,--a woodland bower, pine carpeted, roofed with
boughs of oak and alder, the couch of branches spread with deerskin.

Silent, submissive, she ate of the food he brought her, fresh bear
meat and acorn bread, and grass roots fattened by the melting snows.

Silent still, but with submission changed to defiant purpose, she
watched him go away and take his place among the braves of his tribe
who ate as the women prepared their food. Hunger possessed him and he
gave no thought to caution. At another time his quick ear might have
caught the sound of twigs snapping under the pressure of a moccasined
foot; now it heard only the hiss of meat thrown upon live coals.

The moon floated high above Cloud's Rest and the valley was full of
light, yet none saw the dark figure that crept stealthily, warily,
into the shadow of the crouching chaparral, keeping with the wind that
blew from, not toward, the camp-fire. Once only Wa-hu-lah paused, and
turned to see that she was not discovered; and from her eyes shot one
swift look that would have killed, could looks deal death. Then she
sped forward on the trail that led from Ah-wah-nee, with its
blossoming dogwood and azalea, its buckthorn and willow, to the snows
of the higher mountains, the home of her people.

Swiftly she ran, frightened by the night shapes that danced before her
in the path, nor daring to slacken her pace or give a backward glance.
But scarce had she passed through the spray thrown across the trail by
Py-we-ack, the White Water, when she heard wild shouts rising from the
half-darkness below, shouts that told her the Ah-wah-nee-chees knew
that she was gone, had started in pursuit. Behind her on the trail her
footprints lay naked on the yielding earth, and she knew that here in
Ah-wah-nee the men of Ten-ie-ya's band knew every path that she might
choose, every tree and rock where she might find a hiding-place.
Already the race was won.

Nearer they came, her Ah-wah-nee-chee captor and a score of braves
who joined with boisterous shouts this chase that had no need of
cunning since for a weak prey there was no escape.

Among the trees they caught uncertain glimpses of the fleeing figure,
but at last Wa-hu-lah bounded into a clear, broad stretch of moonlight
where the trees fall back to let the river widen to a calmer course
after its reckless plunge from the cliff above.

The pool that shines emerald bright by day lay still and black with
the pale gold moon upon its breast. Straight for its bank Wa-hu-lah
ran, and as her foot touched the rocky ledge, her pursuers sprang with
a cry of triumph into the open. Not a moment did the maiden dare to
lose. Stooping, she unloosed the canoe that floated in the shadow of
the ledge, a canoe used by the Ah-wah-nee-chees in crossing the
Emerald Pool.

Stepping into the shallow bark, Wa-hu-lah pushed it from the shore,
and with quick strokes drove it toward the middle of the stream,
where she knew the water ran swift and deep and strong.

Like some strange night bird the canoe skimmed the surface of the
pool, the girl erect, defiant, her long black hair tossing, winglike,
on the wind. Drawn by the current it glided on, dark and silent,
toward Py-we-ack, where the water with a second leap dashes itself to
death upon the rocks.

Along the shelving bank the baffled Ah-wah-nee-chee ran, but swifter
ran the dark and silent figure in the stream; and even as the young
chief plunged into the icy water in one last effort to reclaim his
stolen bride, the boat slipped over the edge of the cliff and went to
pieces on the rocks, where the white spirits of the water threw
themselves around the maiden and hid her in a shroud of spray.

Thus Wa-hu-lah proved herself faithful to her Mo-no lover, and the
Ah-wah-nee-chee was cheated of his bride.

    "Along the edge of the river and over the meadows * * one can
      now find tiny white violets."]

Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah and Tis-sa-ack

Since the world was young Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah, the Rock Chief, had
guarded Ah-wah-nee, the home of the children of the sun. For his
watch-tower he chose a storm-tried rock on the northern wall of the
valley, and from this far height defied all the powers of evil.

In the spring he besought the Great Spirit to send rain that the wild
corn might hang heavy with tasseling grain, the berries cluster thick
on the branches of the manzanita, and the fish abound in the waters of
the river. In the summer he fattened the bear and deer, and in the
autumn he wandered through the mountains driving them from their
haunts that the hunter might not return empty-handed from the chase.
The smoke of his pipe spread like a soft haze through the air,
sheltering the women from the sun when they went forth to gather
acorns and wood for winter.

His form was like a spear, straight and strong; and he reared his head
high above the clouds. In his arm was the strength of an untamed
grizzly; and his voice was like the sound of Cho-look, the great fall
that thunders down from the north, starting deep echoes from crag and
gorge. When the sunlight danced upon the water, the Ah-wah-nee-chees
were happy, for they knew that Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah smiled; when the sky
was overcast, they trembled, fearful of his frown; when his sighs
swept mournfully through the pines, they, too, were sad. The children
of Ah-wah-nee loved the mighty Rock Chief who dwelt above them in his
lonely lodge.

One morning, as his midnight watch drew to a close and the first pale
glint of day shone on his forehead, he heard a soft voice whisper,

His eyes burned with the passion fire as a fair vision rose before
him, yonder on the granite dome of the southern wall. It was the form
of a maiden, not of the dark tribe he loved and guarded, but fairer
than any he had seen or known in dreams. Her face had the rosy flush
of dawn, her eyes took their color from the morning sky, and her hair
was like strands of golden sunlight. Her voice was low as a dove call
when she whispered Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah's name.

For a moment she lingered, smiling; but even as the Rock Chief leaped
from his tower in answer to her call, she glided across the rounded
dome and faded from his sight, leaving her throne shrouded in a snowy
cloud. Piqued by the mystery of her flight, Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah followed
the sound of her rustling garments, wandering all day over the
mountains; but the pine trees wove a blue mist about her, hiding her
from his eyes. Not until he returned to his citadel at night did he
see her face again. Then for an instant she appeared upon her throne,
her pale brow tinged with the rose glow of the sun; and he knew that
she was Tis-sa-ack, the Goddess of the Valley, who shared with him the
loving care of the Ah-wah-nee-chees.

Every morning now at dawn Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah left his tower and sped
across the valley to meet the lovely goddess of his heart's desire.
Through the day he hovered near her, gazing upon the fair form, always
half hidden by billowing cloud, trying to read an answering love in
her wide blue eyes. But never again did he hear the voice that came to
him across the valley in the stillness of that one gray dawn.

Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah's passion grew day by day, as summer ripens the
fruits of springtime budding; but Tis-sa-ack had no joy in his love.
Her heart was heavy with a great sorrow, for she saw that the Rock
Chief was blind to the needs of his people, that he had forsaken those
who looked to him for life.

The sun burned his way through the sky, and no rains fell to cool the
aching earth. Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah paid no heed to the withering leaves
of the wild corn, the shrunken streams from which the fisherman turned
with empty nets, the shriveling acorns that fell worthless to the
ground. He neither knew nor cared that the hunter, after weary days
in the mountains, came to his lodge at night with arrows unused, to
meet the anxious glance of starving women and hear the wailing cry of
hungry children.

The Ah-wah-nee-chees called upon the Rock Chief in vain. He did not
hear their cries; he thought only of his love. The harvest moon looked
down into the valley and saw the dark form of Famine skulking there.
Then it was that Tis-sa-ack's love was swept away by an overwhelming
pity; and as she lay upon her couch she cried out to the Great Spirit
to send the rain-clouds that bear life to all things of the earth.

And even as she prayed, there came an answer to her prayer. With a
voice of thunder the Great Spirit gave commands to the spirits of the
air. With a barbed shaft of lightning he rent the granite dome where
Tis-sa-ack prayed; and from the cleft rock came a rush of water that
filled the dry basin of Wai-ack, the Mirror Lake, and sent a
wandering stream through the thirsty fields.

Now the withered corn-stalks raised their drooping heads, flowers
nodded among the waving grasses and offered their lips to the wild
bees, and the acorns swelled with sap that crept upward from reviving
roots. The women went joyously into the fields to gather the harvest,
and the men no longer returned with empty pouches from the forest or
fished by the riverside in vain.

The chief of the Ah-wah-nee-chees ordered a great feast, and all faces
were turned in gratitude to the dome where Tis-sa-ack dwelt. But
Tis-sa-ack was gone. She had sacrificed her love, her life, for the
children of Ah-wah-nee. Through her they had suffered; through her
their sufferings had ceased; and that all might hold her memory dear
she left them the lake, the river and a fragment of her throne. Upon
the bosom of Ke-koo-too-yem, the Sleeping Water, her spirit rests,
wandering sometimes of a summer evening to the Half Dome, there to
linger for a moment as the sun slips over the western wall of the

  [Illustration: "Her spirit, * * wandering * * to the Half Dome,
    there to linger for a moment."]

As she flew away a soft down from her wings fell upon the earth; and
where it fell, along the edge of the river and over the meadows
stretching toward Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah's watch-tower, one can now find
tiny white violets, whose fragrance is the secret of a loving spirit,
a breath of happiness to all who gather them.

When Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah found that Tis-sa-ack was gone, a great sadness
came upon him. Day and night his sighs swept through the pine trees.
He puffed gloomily at his pipe until his tower was hidden in a cloud
of smoke. At last, thinking to follow and find his lost love, he went
away; and lest he be forgotten, he carved with his hunting-knife the
outlines of his face upon the wall of his fortress, which the white
man has named El Capitan.

As he turned sadly from his lodge, Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah perceived that
the air was filled with a rare and subtle perfume, blowing from a
stretch of meadow fringed with tamarack. Thinking it the breath of
Tis-sa-ack, he followed on and on, forgetful of the arts of
E-ee-ke-no, who dwells among the water-lilies in the lake which the
Three Brothers hold in the hollow of their hands.

E-ee-ke-no had long loved the Rock Chief, but Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah
scorned her unsought love, which turned through jealousy to bitter
hate. Now as she saw him go away in search of Tis-sa-ack, she threw
around him the mystic fragrance of the water-lily, which, gentle as a
caress, is deadly to all who win the hatred of E-ee-ke-no.

On and on across the meadow fringed with tamarack, among the wild
flowers and the waving grasses, Tu-tock-ah-nu-lah wandered, following
blindly the transformed spirit of E-ee-ke-no until he disappeared
forever in the depths of the lake.

  [Illustration: KOM-PO-PAI-SES
    "Forever and forever the Three Brothers sit looking over each
      other's shoulders from the north wall of Ah-wah-nee."]

Kom-po-pai-ses, Leaping Frog Rocks

Forever and forever the Three Brothers sit looking over each other's
shoulders from the north wall of Ah-wah-nee.

The Indians likened these peaks to frogs sitting back upon their
haunches ready to leap, and called them Kom-po-pai-ses, the Leaping
Frog Rocks. This the white man did not know when he named them the
Three Brothers.

The story of the Three Brothers is history, not tradition. It has to
do with the coming of the white man to Ah-wah-nee, and the downfall of
Ten-ie-ya, the last chief of the Ah-wah-nee-chees.

Across the plains that billow away toward the sea, Ten-ie-ya watched
the approach of the white stranger, having always in mind the words of
the old man who was his counselor when he left the land of his Mo-no
mother and returned to Ah-wah-nee to rule over his father's people.

The patriarch had heard the call of the Great Spirit, bidding him to
the happy land of the West, and had told Ten-ie-ya many things. This,
last of all:

"Obey my word, O Ten-ie-ya, and your people shall be many as the
blades of grass, and none shall dare to bring war into Ah-wah-nee. But
look you ever, my son, against the white horsemen of the great plains
beyond; for once they have crossed the western mountains, your tribe
will scatter as the dust before a desert wind, and never come together
again. Guard well your stronghold, O Ten-ie-ya, lest you be the last
of the great chiefs of Ah-wah-nee."

The faded eyes had the light that comes when the call of the Great
Spirit sounds very near, and the feeble hand of the patriarch trembled
as he raised his pipe above his head, and said:

"Great Spirit, I pray be good to my son, the chief of the
Ah-wah-nee-chees. Toward the pines, north, cold wind treat him kindly;
toward the rising sun, east, great sun shine upon his lodge in the
early morning; toward the place where the sun goes in winter, south,
bless my son; toward the land of the setting sun, west, waft on the
breezes a peaceful sleep. And, lowering my pipe, I say, kind mother
earth, when you receive my son into your warm bosom, hold him gently.
Let the howl of the coyote, the roaring of the bear and the
mountain-lion, and the sound of winds swaying the tops of the pine
trees, be to him a sweet lullaby."

Because of these last words of the dying seer, Ten-ie-ya guarded his
mountain retreat as a she-bear guards the refuge of her young. With
vague foreboding he saw the white horsemen coming nearer. They took
the land that the Great Spirit had made for the people of his race.
They burrowed into it like moles, and washed the sands of its rivers,
searching for something yellow and shining that the Indian neither
knew was there nor cared to know. They grazed their horses and their
cattle upon the broad stretches that had been the Indian's
hunting-ground since time began. They even went so far, these
pale-faced strangers, as to steal Indian women for their wives. And
always they made their camps nearer and nearer to Ah-wah-nee.

While the vigor of youth remained, Ten-ie-ya did not fear these men of
an alien race. He only hated them. With his band of lawless Grizzlies
he stole forth in the night and drove away their horses to kill for
food; and as they feasted, drunk with the taste of warm blood, their
spirits were made bold, and the deep gorge rang with shouts of

But Ten-ie-ya grew old, and the white horsemen of the plains, now
strong in number, were at the very walls of Ah-wah-nee. The words of
the dying patriarch were ever in his ears, and he knew that the evil
day was come.

  [Illustration: "Toward the pines, north, cold wind treat him

At last the white men climbed the western mountains, offering gifts in
the name of the Great Father, their chief; and when they went away
they led Ten-ie-ya captive to their camp. The young braves fled
from Ah-wah-nee, across To-co-yah, the North Dome, to the home of
the Mo-nos. It was well that Ten-ie-ya should go to the plains, they
said; but they were young and could find plenty in the mountains; they
would not go to be herded like horses in the white man's camp.

Though he appeared to yield, the spirit of Ten-ie-ya was not broken.
Like a wild beast in captivity, he chafed under restraint. With the
cunning of his race, he watched his chance; and when it came, he
returned to his stronghold in the Sky Mountains, bearing in his heart
a fiercer hate for the white man, a hate made keener by defeat, a hate
that burned for revenge.

But an evil spell seemed cast upon the children of Ah-wah-nee. They
were scattered, and they did not rally round their chief. Again the
white horsemen climbed the western mountains, this time without gifts.
But day and night signal fires had burned upon the mountain tops; and
when the messengers of the Great Father entered Ah-wah-nee they found
the valley deserted, save for five dark figures that darted like
shadows from tree to rock at the base of a jagged spur of the northern

Feeling themselves secure because of the swollen river that lay
between, the five scouts came into the open when discovered, and
mocked the strangers; then disappeared up the side of a cliff so
straight and pathless that no white man could follow. By fair promises
carried to them by an Indian guide they were induced to come into
camp, and three of them were found to be sons of Ten-ie-ya.

It does not speak for the faith of white men that one of the brothers
was killed while held as hostage until the aged chief should come in
and deliver himself to the messengers of the Great Father; and that
only an uncertain aim saved another who tried to escape through the
Cañon of the Arrow-wood, where his father was hiding. When he saw it
was useless to resist further these fearless, faithless horsemen of
the plains, who had stolen his lands and his women, who would not let
him live in peace in his mountains, Ten-ie-ya came down from
Le-ham-i-te, the Cañon of the Arrow-wood, by a trail that led into the
valley through the branches of a giant oak.

The first sight that met the gaze of the twice-conquered chieftain was
the dead body of his youngest son. He spoke no word, but lines of
sorrow appeared in the hard, old face; and secretly, in the heart of
the night, he had the young chief's body carried away--none knew
where. Once more he tried for his liberty; once more was captured.
Then in a passion of grief and rage, he turned his bare breast to his
captors, and cried:

"Kill me, white chief, as you have killed my son, as you would kill
all my people if they would but come to you. You have brought sorrow
to my heart. For me the sun shines no more. Kill me, white chief, and
when I am dead I will call my people, that they shall come and avenge
the death of their chief and his son. My spirit will follow your
footsteps forever. I will not leave the spirit world, you will not see
me, but I will follow you where you go and you will know it is the
spirit of the old chief, and you will fear me and grow cold. This is
the message of the Great Spirit."

But Ten-ie-ya's hour was not yet come. He was to die, for an act of
treachery, at the hands of the Mo-nos, his mother's people. Even so,
the prophecy of the seer was fulfilled, for the white horsemen of the
plains had crossed the western mountains, the tribe was scattered,
never to come together again, and Ten-ie-ya was the last great chief
of the Ah-wah-nee-chees.

Because his three sons were captured at its base, the triple peak in
the northern wall was given the name Three Brothers.



Transcriber's Note

This book uses a double asterisk, * *, as an ellipsis.

Captions for full-page illustrations originally appeared on their own
page, with the illustration on a separate page. The captions have been
moved to follow the illustration to which they relate.

The frontispiece has been moved to follow the title page. Other
illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in
the middle of a paragraph.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Yosemite Legends" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.