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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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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