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The Souvenir of Western Women/A Legend of Crater Lake

A Legend of Crater Lake

Wi-ma-wi-ta was the pride of his family and tribe, the -Shastas. He could kill the grizzly bear, and his prowess in the fight was renowned even among those fierce braves who controlled the entrance to the Lake of the Big Medicine, where the black obsidian arrowheads are found. But the chase no. longer had pleasure for him, and he wandered far up the slopes of the Shasta, where the elk and deer abound. From this great height Wi-ma-wi-ta gazed upon the lodges far below, and then suddenly descending, disappeared in the forest, advancing to the east, where springs the great, gushing sawul,[1] the source of the Win-i-mim.[2] There in a little hut dwelt old Win-ni-shu-ya.[3] "Tell me, mother," he. cried, "what can I do to regain the love of Tcul-u-cul?[4] She laughs at me, and the dog Tsileu[5] wanders with her over the snowclad mountain."

"'Tis well; Tcul-u-cul still loves you, but since your brave deeds among the Klamaths, your thoughts are far away, and you long for further peril, to chant your great exploits in the councils of the brave. Tcul-u-cul has noticed your neglect. Why, O Wi-ma-wi-ta, do you not seek for greater glory? Know you not of the great lake, far away and deep down in the mountain top. The way is long and difficult, and but few reach its rocky slopes. If you have the strength and courage to climb down and bathe in its crystal waters, you will acquire great and marvelous wisdom. Tcul-u-cul will look upon you with favor, and none will equal you among your people. The Lalos (children of the Great Spirit) guard the lake, and far in the past one of our own tribe reached it, but not propitiating the spirits, they killed him, and his body was sunk in the depths of the blue waters."

As she spoke the old woman's strength increased. Wi-ma-Avi-ta. listening, caught her energy.

"'Tis well, my mother; to-morrow, while all sleep, will I start upon this journey to the river where the Klamaths dwell. Then will I find the way to the wondrous lake and bathe in the deep water."

While speaking, he noted not the parting of the brush, where Tcul-u-cul was concealed, and who in her fright almost betrayed her presence. Nor was Tsileu visible behind the granite rocks near by, eagerly watching and hearing all that happened.

At dawn the following day, when even the dogs were still, Wi-ma-wi-ta stole quietly away. Close behind him, clad in the raiment of a young brave, followed Tcul-u-cul, and after a short interval, gliding stealthily in the tracks of the others, came Tsileu. Thus they marched for several long and weary days, over the prairies of Shasta and the dreary lava fields of Modoc, until Wi-ma-wi-ta reached the great river of the Klamaths. Then Tcul-u-cul came forth and accosted him.

"Whither goest thou, Wi-ma-wi-ta, and why are you alone in this desolate place?"

"I seek the great lake in the top of the mountain, to bathe in its limpid waters."

"There would I also go and share your perils."

"'Tis well, and I will reward your faith in me."

Tsileu, inwardly raging, cast a look of hate upon them, and sped northward through the land of the Klamaths.

The next day Wi-ma-wit-a and Tcul-u-cul journeyed up the river. On the west high mountains rose up precipitously, while here and there a snowclad peak towered in the sky.

"'Tis there," said Wi-ma-wi-ta. "where we must seek for the deep mountain lake."

At last, after many weary days, they reached the lake and made camp close to the precipice. All night Wi-ma-wi-ta chanted his song, and when the sun was just lighting u}) the circular wall across the lake, he clambered down the steep and rocky walls, and plunged into the deep, clear water. His spirit seemed to soar from him; but it required all his strength to climb back to the rim of the crater. Next day he bathed again, and on returning said, "Once more only. Tcul-u-cul, will I have to bathe in the crystal water, then wisdom and strength will be mine, our tribe will be the grandest in the land, and you will be the greatest squaw of all. Thus will your faith and help to me be rewarded."

On the third morning he started, but, just as he reached the last descent, he beheld Tsileu.

"Dog of Wi-ma-wi-ta, we will here find who is the greater man."

Like two great whirlwinds they came together, then struggled on the edge of the cliff, advancing, retreating, swaying far out over the dizzy height, watched by Tcul-u-cul from above, powerless to aid. Suddenly Wi-ma-wi-ta slipped on the mossy rock, and Tsileu, exerting all his strength, raised and hurled him far out into the lake. Then the Llaos arose in their wrath, tore Tsileu's body in pieces and cast them on the lake. As they disappeared the waters parted and lava burst out with a mighty noise. The island of Llao Nous[6] arose as the gasp of a dying crater, and here it is said dwells the spirit of Wi-ma-wi-ta, the brave, and Tcul-u-cul, the lark.

MARK BRICKELL KERR in Pacific Monthly.

————
  1. Large spring.
  2. McCloud River.
  3. Forethought.
  4. The lark.
  5. Red Flicker.
  6. Wizard Island.


The State of Idaho may well be proud of her showing at the St. Louis Exposition, having carried off the grand prize in the agriculture exhibit, and second prize for her state building. The latter was designed by J. Flood Walker, the Boise architect, and is being copied all over the United States.


The Densmore Typewriter has been represented in Portland for the last ten years, the last four years by Mr. J. B. Huxley, now located at No. 82 Fourth street. Three years ago the Densmore Company put the new model on the market, which contains, among other valuable improvements, a back spacer, a simple little attachment, yet one that saves the operator more time and labor than any other one feature ever put on a writing machine. The Densmore is noted for its lightness of touch and great speed, which is accounted for in part by the fact that it is a full ball-bearing machine, and is the only typewriter containing ball-bearing typebars. The "Densmore Doesmore" is the company's slogan, and this truism is attested by the many friends and users of the Densmore in this vicinity.

Souvenir of Western Women 0022 Umatilla woman.png

INDIAN WOMAN OF THE UMATILLA TRIBE (Eastern Oregon).
COURTESY OF PACIFIC MONTHLY