Like so many of us in our youth; when I was a child, my grandfather sat me on his knee and told me a story. He told me of his days, growing up in the “wild west”. My grandfather was born in 1900 and was the best story teller I have ever known. I can remember looking forward to the visions soon to be played out in my mind, as he would begin. This is one such story and I have relayed it to my children, and now to you.
The Story of Fallen Rock!
Many years ago, the west was occupied by many Native American Indians, who lived in many diverse tribes. The tribes were mostly nomadic and lived successfully off of the fruitful land.
Running Dear, a beautiful teenaged daughter of the Village Chief, was playing in the field near the village. At the edge of the forest, she could see the outline of a warrior approaching. As he drew nearer, she realized he was not part of her village; in fact, this young, handsome boy was not from their area. According to the Tribal Law, she could not approach him, so she led him to her village where he and the village leaders could speak. The young warrior’s name was Fallen Rock and he was on his “vision quest”, to find his place in the world. The village leaders said he could remain with their village as long as he desired.
Since Running Dear was a young girl, the villagers all believed she would unite with Soaring Eagle. They were a match, made from the stars and all the villagers knew the spirits would bless their union. Unfortunately, not even the Medicine Man could foresee the arrival of Fallen Rock.
Running Dear and Fallen Rock grew to know each other very well. Soaring Eagle, always concentrating on his position within the tribe, held no jealousy. You see, Soaring Eagle was the fastest of the braves. In his possessions, he held many offerings for Running Dear’s hand. He did not think about her heart.
As tradition would say, there was a contest between Soaring Eagle and Fallen Rock. The winner, would not only claim his place among the other men, but would also have Running Dear as a mate. This contest was very important for both young men.
At first, both would take the challenges in the other’s presence. The contest consisted of fire building, hunting, horse back riding, and a form of community service within the village. Each event would be graded by the Chief, Running Dear’s father, and the tribal council. Soaring Eagle was a fierce competitor, and remained very surprised at Fallen Rock’s ability to remain in the competition. Running Dear, would watch and secretly cheer for Fallen Rock under her breath.
As with the legend, the event ended in a tie. This led to the final event; a trek into the mountains for the retrieval of one eagle feather. Each warrior must set out on separate paths, and all knew Soaring Eagle was favored for the win. His knowledge of the mountains was pure.
After the first moon, the tribe waited for them to return. On the second moon, Soaring Eagle returned without his prize. He was unsuccessful in locating the eagle’s perch. After the third moon, the tribe began to wonder of the outcome to their new warrior addition to the tribe. Seven moons have passed, and the Chief declared Soaring Eagle the victor and the sorrow filled Running Dear stood by her man during their marriage.
Soaring Eagle was the perfect husband and father. But, Running Dear’s heart remained with the lost warrior, Fallen Rock. As their children grew, she would tell them of the great feats by Fallen Rock. All knew of her love.
As she grew old, her grandchildren would hear the stories and ask to be told again. Their curiosity grew and knew of their grandmother’s broken heart. Soaring Eagle had long been gone, as he joined the spirits that watch over the people and valleys.
Running Dear’s grandchildren decided to find answers, so their beloved grandmother could finally rest. The grandchildren petitioned the all governments for aid. Many other people joined their quest, and with a force as large as the wind, they posted signs asking for help.
To this day, nobody knows what happened to Fallen Rock.
It is for this reason, as you drive in the mountains surrounding California, you just might hear them calling for him. Should he hear, and not find who is calling; all the children have placed signs for Fallen Rock to follow.
You may have even seen one of these signs.
That is why-
on the road side you will see-