The Wrath Of Manitou

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

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


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.