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- The Legends of San Francisco - 3/9 -


Helpless now, and sorely wounded. No more would her strong young shoulders Bear the wounded braves to safety, Nor would she withdraw the arrows, Bind the wounds nor stanch the bleeding.

On the shoulder of the Chieftain She was carried, for no other Had such strength and gentle manner. On his shoulder thus he bore her, Fleeing northward on the ridges, Bore her gladly, for he loved her. All the women were exhausted, All the children, tired and weeping; Half the warriors, dead or wounded - Slow and painful was the progress.

On they fled, but often turning, Looking backward o'er their shoulders, Fearful lest the foe o'ertake them Ere they reached a place of safety.

Came a deadly fear upon them! 'We are lost,' they cried in terror, For a league behind them, followed Such a host of men or devils That they could not hope to conquer. 'We are lost,' they moaned, 'Their number Is the number of the needles On the redwoods in the forest; And they follow as the foxes Follow rabbits in the open.'

'We shall die, oh, my beloved,' Said the Chieftain to the maiden. 'And die gladly,' said the maiden, 'If our people may not perish. As I sat beneath the buckeye At my mortar, grinding acorns, Fairy butterflies came to me, Fluttered round my head and told me That an enemy was coming; And I warned you, oh, my lover.' 'Aye, you did, my best beloved.' 'And they promised, oh, my lover, That our God would save our people Should I offer up my spirit As a sacrifice before Him.'

And the young Chief spoke, and answered, 'Life without you would be empty; Let my spirit travel with you Through the spaces of the heavens, To the upper world of spirits.'

'It shall be as you have spoken,' Said the maiden to her lover, 'And I know that God will answer With a mighty sign from heaven. Stoop, and bow your head, my lover, That my face may turn to heaven. Mighty Father, save my people, Take my spirit and my lover's To the spirit land of lovers; Lift your hand and strike the mountain! Cut a chasm wide, between us And the wicked ones who follow; Save my people, oh, my Father, Strike the mountain! Strike the mountain!'

Came a rumble in the distance, Nearer, louder, terrifying! God had heard her prayer, and lifted Up his hand to strike the mountain. When the mighty blow descended With the crash of many thunders, All the mountains rocked and trembled, Rose and fell, and swayed and shuddered; And across the Coast Range Mountains Yawned a chasm, hot and smoking; Into it careened the hillsides; Mountains swooned and fell into it. Through it, as a giant sluiceway, Rushed the roaring, boiling waters Of the lake, in tumbling tumult, Flooding all the bayside lowlands, Racing through the Golden Gateway In a cataract stupendous. Saint Helena burst its crater With a blast that leveled forests, And the falling sand and cinders Buried deep the fallen giants, To be petrified to agate. Through the steam and sulphurous vapors, Flashed the lightning on the mountains, And the din of quake and thunder Beat the air until it quivered.

When God, his righteous wrath abating, Ceased to shake and rend and deluge, And the last reverberation Died away into the distance, And the trade winds from the ocean Blew away the smoke and vapors, Those remaining of the Tamals Gazed with wonder at a mountain That was standing, new, before them, For upon it lay the maiden With her face upturned to heaven, As it was when she was praying To her God to save her people. On her youthful breast and body Lay a forest, like a mantle, New and green, and decked with flowers. And her willing feet were resting Near the bay and new-made river; While the Chief, her faithful lover, Bending 'neath his sacred burden, Stretched his arms out to the valleys Where his people would find shelter.

Here for countless generations We have lived in peace and safety, Roaming through the wooded valleys, Hunting on the grassy meadows, Fishing in the bays and rivers.

Now you know the sacred story Of the Maid of Tamalpais - Why no Tamal ever ventured To the holy crest above us. Would we tread upon the features Of the martyred Maid who saved us? Would we desecrate the rock-tomb Of our Chief, her well beloved?

There she lies in all her beauty, Sacred Maid of Tamalpais! If her eyes should turn from heaven, She would see across the waters Piles of tumbled crags and boulders In the Grove of Thousand Oak Trees, Where the buckeye trees still blossom Over mortar holes, half hidden. Children play with merry laughter Hide and seek among the boulders. Even now perhaps, the Fairies Dressed as butterflies may whisper Secrets in the ears of children, If they listen to the voices.

If her eyes should trace the steamers As they thread the curving channel Opened by the ancient earthquake, She would see them pass an island On whose red and barren summit She was wounded in the battle. White men call it Red Rock Island, Knowing not the crimson color Is from blood, shed in the battle Fought upon the lofty summit Of a mountain that was swallowed When the mighty chasm opened, Leaving but its peak projecting Through the surface of the waters.

There she lies in queenly beauty, Martyred Maid of Tamalpais, With her face upturned to heaven, As when praying, 'Take me, Father; Save my people; Save the Tamals.' On her head the snows of winter Lay a crown of shining crystals. Fog banks twine their arms about her To embrace her and caress her. Passing rainclouds bathe her features With their tear drops, shed in sorrow, And the rainbow arches over With the glories of a halo.

She is first to have the greeting Of the rising sun, and latest To receive his goodnight kisses. On her sides the purple shadows Linger longest in the twilight. For her robe the fairest wildflowers Bloom throughout the changing seasons - Violets, and pink wild roses, Blue forget-me-nots, and lilies Vie to give their sweetest perfumes To the Maid of Tamalpais.

Lovers climb the sacred mountain, Roam the hillsides, tread the wildwoods, Finding there new inspiration, Hope and happiness, not knowing That the Maid of Tamalpais Gives her spirit to all lovers Who approach her mystic presence.


The Legends of San Francisco - 3/9

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