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PAGE 2

Old Polka Dot’s Daughter
by [?]

Mount Utsa-yantha is 3,365 feet above sea level, and has a brow which reminds me of mine. It is broad, massive and bleak. The foot of the mountain is more massive, however. From the top of the mountain one gets, with a good glass, a view of six or seven states, I was told. Possibly there were that many in sight, though at that season of the year states look so much alike that it takes an expert to pick them out readily. When states are moulting, it is all I can do to tell Vermont from Massachusetts. On this mountain one gets a nice view and highly exhilarating birch beer.

Albany can be distinctly seen with a glass–a field glass, I mean, not a glass of birch beer. Some claim that the nub of a political boom may be seen protruding from the Capitol with the nude vision. Others say they can see the Green mountains, and as far south as the eye can reach. We took two hours and a half for the ascent of the mountain, and came down in about twenty minutes. We descended ungracefully–the way the Irishman claimed that the toad walked, viz.: “git up and sit down.”

Mount Utsa-yantha–I use the accepted orthography as found in the Blackhawk dictionary–has a legend also. Many centuries ago this beautiful valley was infested by the red brother and his bronze progeny. Where now the red and blue blazer goes shimmering through the swaying maples, and the girl with her other dress on and her straw colored canvas cinch knocketh the croquet ball galley west, once there dwelt an old chief whom we will call Polka Dot, the pride of his people. He looked somewhat like William Maxwell Evarts, but was a heavier set man. Places where old Polka Dot sat down and accumulated rest for himself are still shown to city people whose faith was not overworked while young.

Old Polka Dot was a firm man, with double teeth all around, and his prowess got into the personal columns of the papers every little while. He had a daughter named Utsa-yantha, which means “a messenger sent hastily for treasure,” so I am told, or possibly old Polka Dot meant to imply “one sent off for cash.”

Anyhow Utsa-yantha grew to be quite comely, as Indian women go. I never yet saw one that couldn’t stop an ordinary planet by looking at it steadily for two minutes. She dressed simply, wearing the same clothes while tooling cross-country before breakfast that she wore at the scalp dance the evening before. In summer time she shellacked herself and visited the poor. Taking a little box of water colors in a shawl strap, so that she could change her clothes whenever she felt like it, she would go away and be gone for a fortnight at a time, visiting the ultra fashionable people of her tribe.

Finally a white man penetrated this region. He did it by asking a brakeman on the West Shore road how to get here and then doing differently. In that way he had no trouble at all. He saw Utsa-yantha and loved her almost instantly. She was skinning a muskrat at the time, and he could not but admire her deftness and skill. From that moment he was not able to drive her image from his heart. He sought her again and again to tell her of his passion, but she would jump the fence and flee like a frightened fawn with a split stick on its tail, if such a comparison may be permitted. At last he won her, and married her quietly in his working clothes. The nearest justice of the peace was then in England, and so rather than wait he was married informally to Utsa-yantha, and she went home very much impressed indeed. That fall a little russet baby came to bless their union. The blessing was all he had with him when he arrived.

Then the old chief Polka Dot arose in his wrath, to which he added a pair of moose hide moccasins, and he upbraided his daughter for her conduct. He upbraided her with a piazza pole from his wigwam. He was very much agitated. So was the pole.

Then he cursed her for being the mother of a 1/2 breed child, and stalking 1/4 he slew the white man by cutting open his trunk and disarranging his most valuable possessions. He then wiped the stab knife on his tossing mane, and grabbing his grandson by his swaddling clothes he hurled the surprised little stranger into Lake Utsa-yantha. By pouring another pailful of water into the lake the child was successfully drowned.

Then the widowed and childless Utsa-yantha came forth as night settled down upon the beautiful valley and the day died peacefully on the mountain tops. Her eyes were red with weeping and her breath was punctuated with sobs. Putting on a pair of high rubber boots she waded out into the middle of the lake, where there is quite a deep place, and drowned herself.

When the old man found the body of his daughter he was considerably mortified. He took her to the top of the mountain and buried her there, and ever afterward, it is said, whenever any one spoke of the death of his daughter and her family, he would color up and change the subject.

This should teach us never to kill a son-in-law without getting his wife’s consent.