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- The Legends of San Francisco - 1/9 -

Legends of San Francisco

Other Books by the Same Author:

Legends of Southern California. Oriental Rambles. Rainbow Stories. The Wizzywab.

Legends of San Francisco

By George W. Caldwell, M. D.


My San Francisco on her seven hills is smiling, Beside an opalescent sunset sea; There is a magic in her bracing air beguiling, Yet filling all with tireless energy. The tingling tang of open sea the breeze is giving; The fog rolls in and drives heat languors out, And thrills her loyal subjects with the joy of living, And puts the love of idleness to rout.

When in the valleys, fervent summer heat oppresses, And gives no, respite night or day, There is a City that the cooling fog caresses, Upon the breezy San Francisco Bay. When winter rains and sun have wrought in fragrant flowers A multicolored carpet on the land, A charm is in her circling hills and redwood bowers That only those who see can understand.

She has a mystic charm in all the changing seasons - A lure that brings the stranger to her door, And in these pages I will give the Indian's reasons For charms and lures, never told before. The legends of the hills, the fog, the gulls, the waters Idealize the beautiful and true; Allow me, therefore, California's Native Daughters, To dedicate this book of verse to you.


The Maid of Tamalpais The Twin Guardians of the Golden Gate The Sea Gulls The Islands of the Bay The Lake of Merita

The Maid of Tamalpais.

This she told me in the firelight As I sat beside her campfire, In a grove of giant redwoods, On the slope of Tamalpais.

Old she was, and bent and wrinkled, Lone survivor of the Tamals, Ancient tribe of Indian people, Who have left their name and legend On the mountain they held sacred. On the ground she sat and brooded, With a blanket wrapped around her - Sat and gazed into the campfire. On her bronze and furrowed features, On her hair of snowy whiteness, Played the shadows and the firelight. Long she gazed into the embers, And I feared I had offended In the question I had asked her. Then she spoke in measured accents, Slowly, with a mournful cadence, And long intervals of silence.

"You have asked me why my people Will not climb Mount Tamalpais - Why we hold the mountain sacred. I am old, and when the Raven Calls my spirit to the Father, None will know the ancient story, Sacred legend of the Tamals. Therefore, I will tell the story, I will tell and you shall write it, Else it will be lost forever; I will tell it that the paleface May respect our sacred mountain."

"In the morning of creation All the world was covered over With the flood of troubled waters. Only Beaver and the Turtle Swam about upon the surface. Beaver said, 'I'm very weary.' Turtle said, 'Dive to the bottom.' Beaver dove and brought up gravel, Laid it on the back of Turtle; Dove again and brought a pebble, Then another and another. Pebbles grew to rocks and boulders, As a peak above the waters - Thus was Mount Diablo fashioned.

Beaver sat upon the mountain, Gazing out across the waters; Saw a single feather floating; Feather grew into an Eagle; Eagle flew and sat by Beaver. Long they talked about creation, Counseled, planned, and reconsidered, Then they moulded clay with tules; Beaver placed his hair upon it, Eagle breathed into its nostrils Thus Coyote was created. Coyote barked and sat beside them. Many creatures were created; Some with hair, and some with feathers; Some with scales, or shells, or bristles.

Other peaks and mountain ridges Then appeared above the waters. Walls of hills were then continued North and south, to hold the waters In a mammoth lake, that, filling All the Sacramento Valley, Found its outlet to the ocean Through the Russian River Canyon. Round the lake the blazing mountains Spouted lava and hot ashes; Casting on the troubled waters Lurid gleams and purple shadows.

By the lake Coyote wandered - Sat and howled, for he was lonely, Lonely for a Man to tame him Into Dog as a companion. Then Coyote mixed dry tules With wet clay and made a figure. Sun God came and shone upon it; Spirit came and blew upon it, And a Man was thus created. Sun God made the Moon to guard him, And she stood before his tepee, Watching while the Sun was sleeping; But she loved the Sun and followed Him into the starry heavens, Always with her face turned to him. Still she watched the lonely tepee, And her heart was touched with pity For the lonely man within it, So she made a lovely woman, Gave her constancy, and sent her On a moonbeam to his tepee, As his helpmate and companion. Man then multiplied, and flourished, Building villages and lording Over all the other creatures.

On the sunny eastern margin Of the Bay of San Francisco, Grew the village of the Tamals; Fisher folk they were, and gentle, Seeking not for wars of conquest; Fishing in the purple waters From their boats of bark or rawhide; Wading in the limpid shallows Seeking oysters, clams and mussels. In the course of generations Piles of shells of many banquets, With the ashes of their campfires, Formed a mound upon the bay shore. Shell Mound Park, the people call it, And they gather in the shadows Of the ancient oaks for pleasure, Roasting clams as in the old days When the Tamals lived upon it. Gone are now the limpid shallows; Gone the oysters and the mussels, And no more are grassy meadows

The Legends of San Francisco - 1/9

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