Manataka American Indian Council
MAJOR HOWARD EGAN'S DIARY
is a interesting story that came out of an old Mormon pioneer diary (1846 to
1878) Major Howard Egan’s Diary.
of his descendants (a good friend of mine) let me have this copy so I typed it
in my computer.
another time, I talked to the late, great, Grandfather Rolling Thunder, a
Medicine Person, about the cave written about here.
He verified the authenticity of the cave and could add more to the
Natives I have talked to could also contribute data and verify the area.
Robert Shrewsbury, 10/29/04
INDIAN STORY OF A GREAT CAVE
first got this from a young buck and just enough to cause me to want to hear all
there was to it, and I told the young man so. He said there were some old men
that knew all about it, and he would tell me who they were as soon as he could.
later I was at the Indian camp that was near the station taking
lessons in their dialect. When the young man came in and I said there was
an old man over there in another wigwam, that I could tell me about the big
cave. I was soon over there and
after a friendly smoke. This is what he said as near as I can I remember:
was camped at the very south end of the Schell Creek range of mountains a large
band of Indians, and a little ways from the camp was a large knoll. In the side
of it was a cave that no one had ever been to the end of, and in fact none would
try to explore it, on account of It being said that the bad spirit lived there,
and killed all who entered very far inside.
chief of this band of Indians had two squaws, one was quite old and cross, the
other was very young and gentle and good looking, but the two squaws were most
always quarreling, and the chief had frequently given the old one a good
thrashing, thinking she was to be blamed for being so cross but the time came
when he thought he would try whipping the young one, but first asked her why she
could not get along with out quarreling with the old lady. She said the other
woman was always scolding her for not working harder and thereby making it
lighter work for her and if he didn't make her stop her growling, she would run
away as she was tired of living this way.
kind of talk made the Chief very mad so he gave the young squaw a very hard
whipping, using his horse whip and holding her by the hair of her head while he
laid the whip on till the blood had started out most all over her, then throwing
her to one side said now let us have peace or there will be something worse
night the sore little Squaw took some dried meat and a few pine nuts and went to
the cave determined to go as far in as the bad spirit would allow her to go,
and, if she did not see him, to go as far as she had strength to crawl as she
never wanted to go back or have the Indians find her body if they tried to do
some distance the floor of the cave was covered with sand that laid in small
wave like ridges and on the whole nearly level, but further on took a steep
grade down for a long way. then a nearly level stretch, then again down grade,
on she did not know how long, for when she got tired she would lie down
and sleep, and when she woke up would continue feeling her way down.
had no idea how far she was from the mouth of the cave when she stepped into a
pool of water that came nearly up to her knees and was cold as ice. She felt
around and found there was quite a stream that was running out of the spring on
the opposite side and she could hear a small waterfall a little farther down.
She soon made her way to this fall and over it and down the creek.
went on for a long time, her food had all been eaten and she expected to soon
have to give up and die, but what was this under her feet so soft? It was grass.
She tried to eat some of it but it did not taste good, so went on and when tired
out laid down beside the creek to sleep, and lying on her back opened her eyes
and saw that there was stars above her and in watching these discovered there
were clouds up there too and this kept her awake for a long time, but she did
sleep again and then was awakened by some thing running by her.
found it was daylight and the sun was coming up over the hills and she could now
hear birds singing, and she saw numerous wild animals the like of which she had
never seen before. Everywhere she looked the ground was covered all over with
grass, bushes, and trees. Any where else in her life,
she had not seen such a beautiful country not even in small
patches, having lived in the desert country.
caused her to look around to see if she could find any berries or roots that she
could eat. Going on down the creek she found there was plenty of berries and
many kinds that she had never seen before, some very large, and others very
small. She ate of them such as tasted good until satisfied. Then went on still
following the winding brook.
had not traveled over a half a sun when she saw a large herd of very white
animals feeding on a large open space where there was nothing but fine grass.
She had never seen any animals like these. They were not as tall as an antelope,
nor as little as a coyote. They were covered all over with long curly hair, and
as she drew near to them they raised their heads and looked at her, then went on
with their feeding, and seemed to know that she was not dangerous. While
watching these animals. she saw something else that gave her quite a scare. It
was a man and, as he had seen her and was coming towards her there was no use in
running away, so she stood still but watching to see if he was friendly or not.
He came up pretty close and stopped then spoke to her in a language she had
never heard and could not understand.
some time he seemed to know that she was of some other people, and was lost, and
was probably hungry, so puting one hand on his stomach and the other pointing to
his mouth then pointing down the brook motioned for her to follow him, which she
did as he seemed very friendly.
going some distance they came to where a broad trail led to the door of a big
house that had four or five other houses inside of it, and in the sides of all
of them were big holes that had something over them that kept the wind and rain
out, but you could see outside through them. In every house the ground was
covered with wood and the whole houses seemed to be made of wood with different
kinds and colors of paint. There were places to sit on, places to eat on, and
places to sleep on, all very beautiful to look at.
man went to one of the walls and opened a door that did
open clear through the wall and brought out some meat that was cooked and some
very white bread and some yellow grease, and a pan of berries, a cup of sugar
and put these on the place to eat on, then got some water in a cup you could see
through. Then motioned for her to sit there, and he sat opposite, all the time
talking in a kind voice.
would point to some thing and say one word, and keep saying it till she would
repeat it, when he would laugh and seemed much pleased. She knew that he was
trying to teach her to talk his language and she was anxious to learn, and it
was not long before she was able to ask questions and understand the answers.
She slept in one of the inside houses and the man in another. The man done all
the cooking for a long
or until she had learned to talk well, and also how the cooking was done. Then
she took hold of that part, which left the man more time to attend to his flocks
and herds of which he had a good many. Soma days he would take her out with him
to get the fresh air and view the country, and at such times she could see
scattered around at quite a distance numerous houses like the one where she
lived and could also see many herds of different kinds of animals. When she
asked the man if friendly people lived there he said yes. It is a very big
country and all over it just like it is as far as you can see.
day the man dressed himself in finer clothes and told the girl he was going
away, but would come back by sun- down. He was back by the time, called the girl
to come and see what he had brought for her. It proved to be a dress that would
reach from neck to ankles, and cover the arms too. It was covered most allover
with different colored beads which were put on so as to show trees, birds, etc.
and was very beautiful to look at. There were some leggings and shoes all
finished off with beads like the dress. She was much pleased with the pre sent
as her own clothes were badly worn. The man told her to put them on and wear
them every day, and after a while would get her another and better outfit.
day he called her to set down, and as she could talk good enough to make him
understand, to tell him her story of where she came from and how and all about
her people, as he was satisfied she was not of his country. So she commenced her
story from the time she could first remember, up to the time her husband had
whipped her, which seemed to make the man very mad.
frequently asked her questions as she was telling her story. Then when she was
telling of her running away and entering the cave to die he was all excited as
there was an old story in his country that the cave had another opening far in
the mountains that led to a bad country.
she ended her story, after telling all that happened to her up to the time she
met him. He knew the rest. One day he took her out to the side of the great
trees, where he sat down
and said three years ago I had a wife, she died and is laying
there pointing to a small mound near him and two years more must pass,
before I can marry again, as that is our custom here. Then maybe I will talk to
you about it.
day some time later he found the girl sitting out in
the shade she was crying and sobbing like her heart would break. After a
good deal of coaxing she told him she was thinking about her husband and her
boy, and wanted to see them again at least her boy that was one year old when
she left them. The man seemed very much depressed but said, your husband is no
good I wouldn't cry for him, but I do not blame you for wanting to see your boy,
and if there was any way to help you get him I would, but there is no way, so
try and forget them. And soon she was crying most of the time, till at last she
told the man if he would let her go she would try and go back the way she had
come, and get her boy.
man tried to make her understand that it would be impossible for her to find her
way back. But she was determined to make the attempt. So seeing that he could
not persuade her to his views, he told her that if she was bound to take the
chance of getting back through that awful hole, he would help her all he could
but would not go one step inside of the cave to save his own life or her
either. So as she wanted to start at once they both began getting together such
articles as they thought would help her to make the journey through the cave.
man got a small bundle of grease torches anyone of which would burn a whole day,
and advised the girl to use as few as possible while she had the creek to
follow, and after leaving the spring at the head of the creek might be able to
trace her steps back if she had light enough. Well, one day when they could
think of nothing that would help her, the man went with her to where the creek
came out of the mountains tried again to have her give up such an awful
undertaking, but as she would go, made her promise that if she could not find
her way out at the other end, or did get through and found her boy she would
come back to 'him and he would wait two years for her.
they parted, the man to his peaceful home, the girl to the dismal cave, where,
after a very long time, and her provisions were about all used up, and the
torches all burned out, she came to the light of day, and about noon. She
climbed a small hill where she could view the country around her at least some
distance away discovered a smoke that showed her where there was a camp of
went to it and found it to be her husband's band who was all very much surprised
to see her again and alive, and dressed so fine and looking as pretty as ever,
only tired out, and whiter than when she left them. The old woman had died while
she was gone. Her husband said he would never whip her again and she must come
and live with him and the boy, which she did.”
is another Indian story about that same cave, of how a small band of Indian
lived near it, and was attacked by a large band of strange and hostile Indians,
that was determined to kill all of the men and children and keep the squaws for
servants. They had a running fight and all that were not killed took refuge in
this cave. Their enemy placed a guard near the entrance to prevent any from
escaping and they were determined to kill or capture the whole band. But after
keeping their guards there for a whole moon, and not seeing or hearing of anyone
that had went in they came to the conclusion that all had starved to death.
So they went in to investigate, and could plainly see the
tracks of the fleeing party all pointing further in, not one had turned back.
This was enough, all had gone to their heaven or their hell.
white man story about this same cave. We had a number of men hired for haying
season, and among them were some that had lived in the settlements south of Utah
Lake. I had been telling a bunch of them some of what the Indians had told me
about this cave, when one of the men said there must be something in it, for I
heard a man down south say he was acquainted with some of the party that done
some exploring there.
party were returning from California and making a cut off across the desert,
when they camped near and discovered the cave. Some of the party went in quite a
long ways, but had to retreat as their light gave out. Then they made a number
of torches and with what lighting material they had, attempted to again reach
the far end of the cave. There were many leads off to the sides but only one led
down, kept one general direction. By following this, and just as they were about
to back out going any further, they came to a spring of nice clear and pure
water. The stream from which ran on' down into the cave. There seemed to be
plenty of room to follow it but they could not at that time.
All said they would go to the settlements and provide themselves with the means of finding the end of that cave if it took them six months to do it. I know that a good many men have been willing at any time to go and explore it. But there was always lacking a leader that would go ahead and organize a party for that purpose.
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