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Myths and Legends of our Own Land, by Charles M. Skinner, [1896], at


In Dead Man's Canon—a deep gorge that is lateral to the once populated valley of the Rio de Chelly, Arizona—stands a stark spire of weathered sandstone, its top rising eight hundred feet above its base in a sheer uplift. Centuries ago an inhabitant of one of the cave villages was surprised by hostiles while hunting in this region, and was chased by them into this canon. As he ran he looked vainly from side to side in the hope of securing a hiding-place, but succor came from a source that was least expected, for on approaching this enormous obelisk, with strength well-nigh exhausted, he saw a silken cord hanging from a notch at its top. Hastily knotting the end about his waist, that it might not fall within reach of his pursuers, he climbed up, setting his feet into roughnesses of the stone, and advancing, hand over hand, until he had reached the summit, where he stayed, drinking dew and feeding on eagles' eggs, until his enemies went away, for they could not reach him with their arrows, defended as he was by points of rock. The foemen having gone, he safely descended by the cord and reached his home. This help had come from a friendly spider who saw his plight from her perch at the top of the spire, and, weaving a web of extra thickness, she made one end fast to a jag of rock while the other fell within his grasp—for she, like all other of the brute tribe, liked the gentle cave-dwellers better than the remorseless hunters. Hence the name of the Spider Tower.



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