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The Lost Trail


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The canon of Oak Creek is choked by a mass of rock, shaped like a
keystone, and wedged into the jaws of the defile. An elderly Ute tells
this story of it. Acantow, one of the chiefs of his tribe, usually placed
his lodge beside the spring that bubbled from a thicket of wild roses in
the place where Rosita, Colorado, stands to-day. He left his
wife--Manetabee (Rosebud)--in the lodge while he went across the
mountains to attend a council, and was gone four sleeps. On his return he
found neither wife nor lodge, but footprints and hoofprints in the ground
showed to his keen eye that it was the Arapahoes who had been there.

Getting on their trail he rode over it furiously, and at night had
reached Oak Canon, along which he travelled until he saw the gleam of a
small fire ahead. A squall was coming up, and the noise of it might have
enabled him to gallop fairly into the group that he saw huddled about the
glow; but it is not in the nature of an Indian to do that, and, tying his
horse, he crawled forward.

There were fifteen of the Arapahoes, and they were gambling to decide the
ownership of Manetabee, who sat bound beneath a willow near them. So
engrossed were the savages in the contest that the snake-like approach of
Acantow was unnoticed until he had cut the thongs that bound Manetabee's
wrists and ankles--she did not cry out, for she had expected rescue--and
both had imperceptibly slid away from them. Then, with a yell, one of the
gamblers pointed to the receding forms, and straightway the fifteen made
an onset.

Swinging his wife lightly to his shoulders Acantow set off at a run and
he had almost reached his horse when his foot caught in a root and he
fell headlong. The pursuers were almost upon him when the storm burst in
fury. A flood of fire rushed from the clouds and struck the earth with an
appalling roar. Trees were snapped, rocks were splintered, and a
whirlwind passed. Acantow was nearly insensible for a time--then he felt
the touch of the Rosebud's hand on his cheek, and together they arose and
looked about them. A huge block of riven granite lay in the canon,
dripping blood. Their enemies were not to be seen.

The trail is gone, said Acantow. Manitou has broken it, that the
Arapahoes may never cross it more. He would not allow them to take you.
Let us thank the Manitou. So they went back to where the spring burst
amid the rose-bushes.

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