Indian Warning Against Demons

--by Sluiskin, Indian Guide as translated by General Stevens.
Printed in Meany, Edmond S. Mount Rainier: a record of exploration. New York: Macmillan Company, 1916.

Listen to me my good friends. I must talk to you.

Your plan to climb Takhoma is all foolishness. No one can do it and live. A mighty chief dwells upon the summit in a lake of fire. He brooks no intruders.

Many years ago my grandfather, the greatest and bravest chief of all the Yakima, climbed nearly to the summit. There he caught sight of the fiery lake and the infernal demon coming to destroy him, and he fled down the mountain, glad to escape with his life. Where he failed, no other Indian ever dared make the attempt.

At first the way is easy, the task seems light. The broad snowfields, over which I have often hunted the mountain goat, offer an inviting path. But above them you will have to climb over steep rocks overhanging deep gorges where a mistep would hurl you far down -- down to certain death. You must creep over steep snow banks and cross deep crevasses where a mountain goat could hardly keep his footing. You must climb along steep cliffs where rocks are continually falling to crush you, or knock you off into the bottomless depths.

And if you should escape these perils and reach the great snowy dome, then a bitterly cold and furious tempest will sweep you off into space like a withered leaf. But if by some miracle you should survive all these perils the mighty demon of Takhoma will surely kill you and throw you into the fiery lake.

Don't you go!

You make my heart sick when you talk of climbing Takhoma. You will perish and your people will blame me.

Don't go!

Don't go!

If you will go, I will wait here two days, and then go to Olympia and tell your people that you perished on Takhoma. Give me a paper to them to let them know that I am not to blame for your death.

My talk is ended.