Oregon Fairy Tale

This is based on an old story. I read it a long time ago in a reference book at Portland’s Central Library. The Kalapooias are an Oregon Indian tribe. 

Four months upon the trail their soles had killed;
Miss Maryanna’s shoes were all worn out.
As autumn fell her family raced to build
An Oregon home. And no one thought about
How Maryanna barefoot looked quite wild,
Except for Maryanna, I should say.
At fourteen years she knew she was no child – 
And wished that she had shoes most every day.

Some Kalapooias sometimes came to call –
She’d crouch beside the stove to hide her feet –
But Robert Westwood was the worst of all,
She never knew when they might chance to meet.
He was a settler, living near their land,
Who walked the trails that she liked best to walk,
And gladly gave her pa a helping hand,
But rarely showed that he knew how to talk.

He didn’t say much, but he at least could see
How any time that he and she would meet
Miss Maryanna fast from him would flee,
And at the same time try to hide her feet.

One rainy day upon the path they met
But he had made a plan to stop her flight,
He’d thought about it so he wouldn’t forget
The words to say to set the matter right.
“Hey, Maryanna! let me see your foot.”
The  tears welled up  – Who was this awful man?
Could any be as cruel as he? she thought
She stamped in anger and away she ran.

Beneath the Alder tree where she had stood,
Between the leaves he saw her footprint laid.  
He bent down low to measure in the mud
The mark that angry Maryanna made. 
The day the snow first fell upon the firs,
He laid two doe-skin shoes down at her door.
They fit! And so she knew that they were hers,
And she would be the barefoot girl no more. 

~Watchful

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