Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Legendary Fairy of San Francisco Bay

LONG years ago, ere Spaniards lived on California soil,
An Indian of the Digger tribe was resting from his toil;
He lived beside an inland sea, or lake, so wondrous large
No one could look from shore to shore—a day's sail for a barge.

This Indian was a happy dog, of threescore years and eight,
Of children he had half a score, also an aged mate;
His youngest was Li–Lamboni, a petit laughing cit—
Who kept the Wigwam happy by her fund of ready wit.

A blooming maid of twenty, perhaps of two years more,
Her lovers might be counted at wholesale by the score;
But there was one—a comely lad—a Chieftain's only son,
This one alone of all the crowd her youthful love had won.

So tall, so straight, so beautiful, an eye like diamonds bright,
Not one could beat him in the chase, by night or broad daylight;
And when upon the war–path with the braves he started out,
The death–song of his enemies would plainly mark his route.

But, ah, alas! the wampum to make him all her own.
She did not have the needful, for she had poorly grown;
And often on the placid Lake, within her log canoe.
She pondered long and deeply on just what she should do.

One day, when very sad indeed, a long way out from shore,
She sighed—she felt just then more sad than e'er she felt before;
Just then a Fish of monstrous size jumped from the water out.
And, balanc'd nicely on his tail, asked what she was about.

At such a sight she fainted, yet still she did not fall,
But straightway told her sorrows, she told him of them all,
The Fish he wagged his little fin, and shook his pointed nose,
And said, "My darling Maiden, into my mouth you goes!"

Now, who would think a maiden of two and twenty years,
Would step into a fish's mouth without the slightest fears!
But so great was her desire her object to attain,
That she treated anything like fear with feelings of disdain.

Down came the Fish's lower jaw upon her light canoe,
He asked her if that ladder would answer for her shoe;
Then tripping up it lightly, she spied a splendid seat,
With wampum it was cover'd—her lover's it would beat.

Back came that self same lower jaw, without the slightest jar,
No one could treat her better, not e'en her dear Papa;
The Fish he told her plainly to his Mistress she must go,
She was a lovely Fairy, and she lived right down below.

He said that she was very kind, and beautiful, and great.
And dwelt within her watery home in rich and royal state.
That she wanted Li–Lamboni her dominions all to know.
So she sent her dear Fish Monster, to bring her down below.

Scarcely was she seated in the regal wampum chair.
Thinking of the Fairy Queen, when she was almost there;
And soon her fine Fish Monster drew down his under jaw
A Sea–Lion from ocean deep held out his ugly paw.

She tripped down quite gracefully and took the Lion's paw,
But I really cannot tell you all the riches that she saw:
On her right, there was a Grotto with gates of solid gold,
Guarded by a Devil Fish—to meet him would be bold.

On her left, a Fairy Palace, its walls of silver bright,
Its windows set with diamonds, which shone both day and night;
Its doors were made of jasper, its steps of onyx fine—
A worker up of cameo would think he'd found a mine.

The Lion touched her lightly, and she took his shaggy arm.
She felt while she was with him he'd shield her from all harm;
They tripped nimbly up the steps—he touched a little slide,
And almost in an instant the door was open'd wide.

A Water–Lily met them and passed her through the hall,—
So rich I'd fain describe it, but can't do so at all;—
Then to the audience chamber, with all things bright and airy,
There, right upon a golden throne, sat San Francisco Fairy.

A lovely figure, tall and straight, in elegant attire,
Looking for all the world like gold refined by fire;
She greeted Li–Lamboni in an off–hand, easy style.
Was tickled that she came, and would have her stay awhile.

With a motion of her hand for Li–Lamboni to draw near,
She spoke unto the Lily to bring for her a chair.
When seated near the throne, what should the Fairy do
But wave again her hand, and up through the floor they flew!

Here was a room of wampum, the ceiling, walls, the floor
And furniture were lined with it, as also was the door.
Says the Fairy to Li–Lamboni, "This wampum's all your own;
You see it's only lining, and you can easy take it down.

You can pack it in a compass small, and show it to your Pa,
Who never saw the like before, nor neither did your Ma;
And also when your chosen Fish shall take you to the air,
When stepping down the ladder you can take the wampum chair.

You wonder why I do this? I'll make it all quite plain:
Once, while running as a rabbit, you saved me from all harm;
The coyotes and the wolves had nearly run me dead.
When you threw them off the scent and took me to your bed.

And since that time I've look'd for you that action to repay,
But no good chance e'er offered till I heard you cry to–day.
We shortly move away from here—this Lake is to be drained—
For out quite near the Farallones another home we've gained.

The water will be drained away—a City here will rise,
Here will be marts of commerce, and wealth which men do prize;
Here'll be temples of the living God, and of Heathen idols, too,
Showing how Christians worship, and what Barbarians do.

This City great for me they'll name, the world will know it well,
And when it will stop growing, no one, I'm sure, can tell;
No London can to it compare, or Canton, I am sure,
For while the World does stand this City will endure.

And when at home you're settled and your Chieftain calls on you,
Just lay these out quite nicely and give him a good view;
If that don't melt his stony heart and bring him to his knees,
Cast him quickly from your heart, and marry whom you please."

Then at a word the wampum came quickly from the wall,
And from the door and ceiling, and soon she had it all;
No Indian maiden e'er so rich as Li–Lamboni that day,
And she thought that with the Fairy she could no longer stay.

Then the Fairy waved her little wand and they passed down below,
When the Maiden, having kissed her, said that she must go;
And through the hall the Lily was again her pleasant guide,
And without the slightest effort the door swung open wide.

And right beyond the portal stood her Lion, as before,
Waiting very patiently her exit through the door;
Then he bent his ugly paw with the manners of a beau,
She put her hand within it, and down the steps did go.

She found her old Fish Monster with everything all right,
Down came his handy under jaw,—she mounted to the height;
And scarcely was she seated in that splendid wampum chair.
When they were on the water and she breathed the nice fresh air.

Again came down that lower jaw upon her light canoe,
With the chair upon her arm she bade the Fish adieu;
And seizing quick the paddle, she drove the boat along,
And she really felt so happy she burst into a song.

Right to her father's Wigwam she quickly brought her prize.
Who fitted up for her own use one of much larger size;
The wampum used for lining—the chair in center stood,
Her Chieftain soon did see it, and said 'twas very good.

'Twas amazing how his love increas'd while gazing on her wealth.
For soon he quite forgot himself, and seized a kiss by stealth;
And no one now more anxious the marriage to fulfil.
Indeed so much excitement he really was quite ill.

Her heart was warm—she pitied him, and soon became his wife,
And they travel'd on together through this world of strife;
The wealth she brought along with her unto her lord and master,
Was greater in comparison than that of J. J. Astor.

Their married life ran smoothly, and to them a babe was born.
But Li–Lamboni oft wonder'd if her Fairy friend was gone.
One day while at her Wigwam door, the baby in her arms,
The earth began to tremble and it filled her with alarms.

Anon it trembled more and more, and then a sudden shock,
As she looked out towards the Ocean she saw the Elfin Rock,
'Twas lifted from its base, and was swinging towards the sea,
And this immense lake of water from its bondage now was free.

Then she saw her old Fish Monster swimming gracefully along,
Although the water flowed with a tide both full and strong;
He raised himself upon his tail, as he had done before,
And dropping down his under jaw as one would drop a door.

There sat the graceful Fairy, brought fully into view,
And she waved her tiny finger to bid her friend adieu:
"We're going to Farrallone Isles there to build a home,
And if you need our help again you have out there to come."

Then up again that lower jaw went snugly into place,
And having cut a caper with the Sea–Lion ran a race,
Who had the Lily on his back to take a pleasant ride,
They moved along quite rapidly, both swimming with the tide.

Li–Lamboni felt sad to bid her friend good–bye.
She sank right down upon the floor and ended with a cry;
But with them passed the waters, leaving only our fine Bay,
On which rises San Francisco as we see it here to–day.

 Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.
Please take a moment to "Like" Shadows In A Timeless Myth on Amazon.
(Shadows is also available at Barnes & Noble for the Nook)

Complimentary Shadows In A Timeless Myth Short Story
Complimentary Shadows In A Timeless Myth Musical Jigsaw Puzzle
Shadows In A Timeless Myth Book Trailer Video

Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

No comments:

Post a Comment