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- Tales of Aztlan - 17/17 -

somber shadows of virgin forests, in the rustling of wind-blown leaves (the seductive swish of elfin skirts) she heard the voices of Juno's sylvan train. Enchanted she listened to the syren's call, and ere the echo died within her ear she had devoted her talent to literature, a priestess self-ordained in Arizona's temple of the muses.

In the flight of her poetic mind she met his majesty, king of the hills, the mountain-lion at the threshold of his lair and toyed with his cubs, princes and heirs to freedom.

She heard the were-wolf scourge of herds, fierce lobos snarl in silent groves of timber and shivered at the coyote's piercing yelps from grave yards in the valleys.

At nighttime, in her lonely camp the dread tarantela disturbed her rest and in day's early gloam a warning rattle of creepy serpents sounded her reveille:

"Fair maid, awake, arise in haste! When darkness vanishes with dawn, heed our alarm-clock in the morn!"

She spoke not to the sullen bear, in cautious silence passed him by and shunned the fetid breath of monster lizards and venom stings of centipedes and scorpions; but woman-like she feared the hydrophobia-skunk more for its scent than for its deadly poison.

She heeded not the half-tamed Indian on the trail; but the insolent leer of Sonora's scum, the brutalized peon, the low caste chulo of Chihuahua, froze into the panic-stare of abject terror under the straight glance of her eye. The slightest motion of her tender hand to him augured a sudden death, for she was of Arizona's daughters, invulnerable in the armor of their self-reliant strength, a shield of lovely innocence, white as the snow is driven.

On the Mesa del Mogollon, in the darkling Coconino Forest she interviewed the cowboy, that valiant belted knight of modern western chivalry, and in the chaparral she cheered the lonesome herder.

In the treasure-vaults of earth, a thousand feet below the surface, invading the domain of Pluto's treacherous gnomes she met the hardiest man in Arizona, the miner, who always happy is and full of hope.

Poor fellows, they hobnob with death and do not mind it!

Floods of rivers, cloudbursts in narrow gorges, the lightning of the hills, blinding and smothering sandstorms on the desert detained her not, for in her chosen path not on delay she thought.

By fragrant orange groves in the valley of Saltriver, past "lowing kine on pastures green," under the luring shade of palms, among the vines she passed.

Winging her virgin-flight to snowclad pinnacles of Parnassus she pours her jubilant songs of hope, faith, love into men's souls and women's hearts.

"May constant happiness attend thee, fair lady, our precious pearl in Arizona's diadem!"

Though time shall wreath thy raven tresses with silvery laurel, and with his palsied hand forever stay, in the fulfilment of thy mortal destiny, the throbbing of thy faithful heart--"Yet shall the genius of thy lyre with angel-hands reverberate the shining chords through untold future ages in heavenly strains of resonance and glory, until the solace of their faintest echoes dies within the last true heart in Arizona."

Tales of Aztlan - 17/17

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