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


The county called Kern, in California, lies mostly in a circular valley, and long, long before the evil one had created the pale face it was the home of a nation advanced in arts, who worshipped the Great Spirit in a building with a lofty dome. But the bravery and wisdom of one of their own people made them forget the Manitou and idolize the man who seemed the most like him. They brought him to the temple and prayed and sang to him, and held their sacred dances there, so angering God that he rent the earth and swallowed them. Nothing was seen of this people for years after, but their stone tools were left on neighboring hill-sides. Manitou even poured water into the valley, and great creatures sported in the inland sea.

But, ere long, he repented his anger, and, in a fit of impatience at what he had done, he threw up quantities of earth that smoked with heat, and thus created the Sierra Nevada, while he broke away the hills at the foot of the lake, and the waters drained into the sea at the Golden Gate. This again made dry land of the valley, and, opening the earth once more, he released the captive tribe. The imprisoned people had not forgotten their arts nor their boldness; they made the place blossom again; they conquered other tribes, and Manitou declared them his chosen ones, from whom alone he would accept sacrifice. But their chief became so ambitious that he wanted to supplant the Manitou in the worship of the people, and finally, in a lunacy of self-conceit, he challenged the god to single combat.

Under pretence of accepting the challenge, the Great Spirit set the offenders to wander through the desert until they reached a valley in the Sierras, opposite Tehachapi, where he caused them to be exterminated by a horde of savages from the Mojave desert. Then, in a fit of disgust at refractory humanity, he evoked a whirlwind and stripped away every living thing from the country of the savages, declaring that it should be empty of human beings from that time forward. And it was so.



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