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- The Legends of San Francisco - 4/9 -


I, the last of all the Tamals, Soon will turn my face to heaven Where my own, my best beloved, Waits with outstretched arms, to greet me.

Write the story for all people; It is finished; I have spoken." Thus she spoke, that ancient woman, Lone survivor of the Tamals, By the campfire in the redwoods, On the slopes of Tamalpais.

The Twin Guardians of the Golden Gate.

Would you know the mystic legend Of the peaks of San Francisco - Of the Twin Peaks standing Guardian Of the gay and careless city, Ever laughing by the gateway Of our Golden California?

Would you know what brings the westwind, With its cool and filmy vapors Trailing like a scarf of chiffon Through the narrow Golden Gateway, Screening shore and hills and harbor, While the country all around it Bathes in floods of golden sunshine?

Would you know why great Sea Lions Flounder on the rocky islands, Standing by the Golden Gateway? Why they fight in baffled fury, Barking ever at the mainland?

Listen then, and I will tell you As the legend was related By an ancient Tamal woman, As she sat beside the campfire In a grove of giant redwoods On the slopes of Tamalpais.

"It was long ago, my children, Long ago, in mystic ages When the Gods lived near the people, Who, like infants newly mothered, Needed care and help and guidance. As the children call to parents So the people called to Spirits. Then the Gods were quick to listen, Quick to teach them and protect them, Quick to punish when they trespassed On the rights of one another.

Near the place where Holy Fathers Built the Mission of Dolores Was a village of the Tamals, Vanished now for many ages. By it was a singing streamlet, Where the willows waved their banners; Round it giant redwoods clustered, Redolent with forest odors; Live oaks, bay trees, and madronas Billowed over plains and hillsides.

Through the forest ranged the hunters, Seeking game in glen and canyon, Meat for food, and fur for raiment; Vanquishing the forest creatures With flint arrows and stone axes; Seeking fish in bay and river With the spear or net of sinew. On the bay the warriors paddled In canoes of bark or rawhide, Or in mighty redwood dugouts Dared the currents of the narrows Training warriors to be ready To defend their shores and harbor.

From the North the foemen threatened, As an ever-present shadow. O'er the water came the foemen, In a mighty fleet of warboats; Every summer came the foemen, Came and fought and then retreated.

In his tepee sat the Chieftain With the Old Men, wise in counsel; All their hearts were solely troubled - Every summer brought the foemen, Those bronze men of fearless courage, Waxing stronger every season - Long they counseled with each other; Would the foemen come and conquer? Could the Tamals long withstand them? Thus they questioned in the Council While they planned their last defenses.

To the Council came the sisters, Yana fair, and Tana fearless, Twins, and daughters of the Chieftain, Came and stood before the wise men, Came and bowed their heads and waited.

Well the wise men knew the sisters, Maidens blooming into women, Loved them for their grace and beauty, For the joy they radiated, For the charm that emanated From their chaste and gentle spirits, As the perfume that is wafted From the rose buds newly opened.

Yet the Wise Men gave no welcome, Turned their eyes from Maids to Chieftain. "Why, my Daughters, have you ventured Into this, the warrior's council? Well you know it is forbidden; Neither man nor woman enters When the warriors plan for battle."

"Let us speak," the Maidens answered, "For we bring a warning message. As we wandered on the ridges Gathering the golden poppies To adorn our Mother's tepee, We were talking of the danger From the foemen of the Northland, When a Maiden stood before us, Strangely fair, with golden tresses, Eyes of deep blue like the lupins, Dressed in garlands made of poppies. Hand in hand we stood and wondered, Till the lovely apparition Smiled and caused our fears to vanish. 'I am the Spirit of the Country,' Said the Maiden of the Poppies, 'And I choose you, my Twin Daughters, For the beauty of your bodies, And the worth of soul within you, As the saviors of your people, As the guardians of my harbor. Take the message to your Chieftain, That the foe comes from the Northland; Yet they shall not harm your people If you stand upon the hilltop With the talisman I give you. Take this Magic Iris with you, Guard it well for every petal Has a charm that brings an answer To a prayer that is unselfish, To a prayer for all the people That will live around your harbor. Never, while you guard the hilltop, Shall a foe invade your country. Petals three there are; three wishes Shall be granted when you make them.' Then the Poppy Maiden vanished, And we hastened to our village. Hand in hand, we ran so swiftly That our feet but touched the flowers; While above our heads the wild ducks Flying southward clamored hoarsely, 'They are coming; They are coming!' Sea gulls, winging from the ocean, Shrieked their warning, 'They are coming!' Then we dared to brave your Council With the message of the Maiden, And the warning of the seabirds.

'It is well,' the Chieftain answered, 'Daughters with the eyes of springtime And the faces of the flowers, It is well. The Gods have marked you With their sign upon the forehead; You have stood before a Goddess, And her spirit is upon you.'

Long the Old Men sat and pondered. Well they knew the ears of children Are attuned to hear the voices Of the Gods and Guardian Spirits. Well they knew that all wild creatures Speak to man if one is worthy To receive their friendly warning; Knew that seabirds, swift and cunning, See the foemen while their war boats Still are far beyond the sea-rim. Thus they reasoned in their council, Then they stood before the people While the Chieftain gave his orders.

'Beat the war drums. Call the warriors. Man the war canoes, and station Sentinels upon the headlands Up the coast-land to Bolinas.


The Legends of San Francisco - 4/9

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