In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09

By Mary Ellicott Arnold; Mabel Reed | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
I-to Poo-a-rum

We made the Elliotts' on the first lap of our trip to Happy Camp with no more than lowering storm clouds.

We no longer question the delay of breakfast at the Elliotts'. Some weeks ago, Eliza and Mrs. Elliott spent the night with us at I-ees-i-rum. They sat on our porch in the gathering darkness, and Mrs. Elliott sang to us in hardly more than a whisper, but her singing is about the most beautiful we have heard on the Rivers.

"This song is when you wake up and see the morning star," Eliza told us.

Well, if that was the song that Mrs. Elliott was singing, no wonder the rest of us had to wait hungrily for our coffee.

"And that one is about the evening star," went on Eliza. "And that one Mother is singing now is about a place just above Happy Camp, you know, that big flat. The song is about the time just after sunset when you see the shadow of the mountain fall across the trail.

"That last one that mother sung is about one of the Sacramento Indians. She came here with her husband, and then he went away and left her, and she says in the song, 'I wonder where he puts his shoes on now.'" (Dressing for breakfast in this country is not too elaborate. For a man, it consists mostly in putting on his shoes.)

But the song we thought most beautiful was the one about O-we, our own mountain. "In the old days," said Eliza, "the Indians say the small peak was a woman, and

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