Old Mission Stories of California

Charles Franklin Carter
Old Mission Stories of California

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Title: Old Mission Stories of California
Author: Charles Franklin Carter
Release Date: September, 2004 [EBook #6506] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on December 25,
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Language: English
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Old Mission Stories of California

Stories of the Old Missions of California

By Charles Franklin Carter

Author of "The Missions of Nueva California" and "Some By-ways of

San Francisco MCMXVII

Paul Elder & Company - Publishers

Copyright 1917, by Paul Elder and Company San Francisco


Foreword The Indian Sibyl's Prophecy The Flight of Padre Peyri Father
Zalvidea's Money La Beata Juana Father Uria's Saints Pomponio


Of the last six stories comprising the seven in this little collection of
Stories of the Old Missions, all but one have, as a basis, some modicum,
larger or smaller, of historical fact, the tale of Juana alone being wholly
fanciful, although with an historical background. The first story of the

series may be considered as introductory to the mission tales proper.
In these quiet, unpretending stories the writer has attempted to give a
faithful picture of life among the Indians and Spaniards in Nueva
California during the early days of the past century.
October, 1917.

The Indian Sibyl's Prophecy

In the southern part of the Mojave Desert a low hill stands somewhat
apart from the foot-hills beyond, and back of it. Although not more
than two hundred feet above the surrounding plateau, on account of its
peculiar location, a commanding view may be had from its top. In front,
toward the south, and extending all the way from east to west, the plain
stretches off for many miles, until it approaches the distant horizon,
where it is merged into lofty mountains, forming a tumultuous, serrated
sky-line. Midway between the hill and the distant mountains, lie the
beds, sharply defined, of three dry lakes. In the garish light of day they
show for what they are, the light yellow hard-baked soil of the desert,
without even the ordinary sage brush; but in early morning and, less
frequently, toward evening, these lakes take on a semblance of their
former state, sometimes (so strong is the mirage) almost deceiving
those best acquainted with the region. Years ago - how many it would
be difficult to say - these dry lakes were veritable bodies of water;
indeed, at an earlier period than that, they were, without doubt, and
including a large extent of the surrounding desert, one vast lake. But
that was centuries ago, maybe, and with time the lake dried up, leaving,
at last, only these three light spots in the view, which, in their turn, are
growing smaller with the passing years, until they, too, will vanish,
obliterated by the encroaching vegetation.
Back of the eminence from which this extended view is had, the
mountains come close, not as high as those toward the south, but still
respectable heights, snow-covered in winter. They array themselves in
fantastic shapes, with colors changing from hour to hour. One thinks of
the desert as a barren sandy waste, minus water, trees and other
vegetation, clouds, and all the color and beauty of nature of more
favored districts. Not so. Water is scarce, it is true, and springs few and
far between, and the vegetation is in proportion; for what little there is

is mostly dependent on the annual rainfall, never excessive, at the best,
yet always sufficient for the brush covering the ground, and the yuccas
towering up many feet here and there. But color, beautiful, brilliant,
magnificent color, is here any and every day of the year,
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