Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Page: 216Be that as it might, the Zunis marched on, meeting with faint resistance until, on a bright afternoon, they massed on a slope of the mountain, seven hundred in number. The Apaches, expecting instant defeat of the "little men," watched, from neighboring hills, the advance of the invaders as they climbed nimbly toward the stone fort on the top of the slope, brandishing clubs and stone spears, and bragging, as the fashion of a red man is—and sometimes of a white one.
At a pool outside of the walls stood the pale woman, queenly and calm, and as her white robe and brown hair fluttered in the wind both her people and the foe looked upon her with admiration. When but a hundred yards away the Zunis rushed toward her with outstretched arms, whereupon she stooped, picked up an earthen jar, emptied its contents into the pool, and ran back. In a moment sparks and balls of fire leaped from crevices in the rocks, and as they touched the Indians many fell dead. Others plunged blindly over the cliffs and were dashed to pieces.
In a few minutes the remainder of the force was in full retreat and not an arrow had been shot. The Apaches, though stricken with terror at these pyrotechnics, overcame the memory of them sufficiently in a couple of years to attempt the sack of the fort on their own account, but the queen repelled them as she had forced back the Zunis, and with even greater slaughter. From that time the dwarfs were never harmed again, but they went away, as suddenly as they had come, to a secret recess in the mountains, where the Pale Faced Lightning still rules them.
Some of the Apaches maintain that her spirit haunts a cave on Superstition Mountain, where her body vanished in a blaze of fire, and this cave of the Spirit Mother is also pointed out on the south side of Salt River. A skeleton and cotton robes, ornamented and of silky texture, were once found there. It is said that electrical phenomena are frequent on the mountain, and that iron, copper, salt, and copperas lying near together may account for them.
THE WEIRD SENTINEL AT SQUAW PEAK
There is a cave under the highest butte of the Squaw Peak range, Arizona, where a party of Tonto Indians was found by white men in 1868. The white men were on the war-path, and when the Tontos fell into their hands they shot them unhesitatingly, firing into the dark recesses of the cavern, the fitful but fast-recurring flashes of their rifles illuminating the interior and exposing to view the objects of their hatred.
The massacre over, the cries and groans were hushed, the hunters strode away, and over the mountains fell the calm that for thousands of years had not been so rudely broken. That night, when the moon shone into this pit of death, a corpse arose, walked to a rock just within the entrance, and took there its everlasting seat.