The Lake of the Sky eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 436 pages of information about The Lake of the Sky.
she offered one of her baskets to Mr. Cohn.  He saw it was an excellent basket, that the shape was perfect, the color-harmony superior to any he had seen before, the stitch small, fine, and even, the weave generally perfect, the design original and worked out with artistic ability.  He saw all this, yet, because it was Indian work, and the woman was a rude, coarse mountain of flesh, a feminine Falstaff, of a lower order of beings and without Falstaff’s geniality and wit, he passed the basket by as merely worth a dollar or two extra, and placed it side by side with the work of other Washoe and Paiuti squaws.  A Salt Lake dealer came into the store soon thereafter and saw this basket.  “How much?” he asked.  The price was given—­rather high thought Mr. Cohn—.  “Twenty-five dollars!” “I’ll take it!” came the speedy response.

A month or two later Cohn received a photograph from the purchaser, accompanied by a letter.  “You know the basket, herewith photographed, which I purchased from you.  Have you any more by the same weaver, or of as good a weave?  If so, how many, and at what price?  Wire reply at my expense.”

Then Mr. Cohn awoke, and he’s been awake ever since.  He wired his list of Dat-so-la-le’s baskets, but he has had no reply, and that was twenty-five years ago.  He then made arrangements with Dat-so-la-le and her husband.  He provides them house, food, clothing and a certain amount of cash yearly, and he takes all the work Luisa makes.  Every basket as soon as begun is noted as carefully as every breeding of a thoroughbred horse or dog.  Also the date the basket is finished.  It is then numbered and photographed and either offered for sale at a certain price, which is never changed, or is put in the safety-deposit vault of the bank, to await the time when such aboriginal masterpieces will be eagerly sought after by the growingly intelligent and appreciative of our citizens, for their museums or collections, as specimens of work of a people—­the first American families—­who will then, possibly, have passed away.  The photographs, here reproduced, are of some of Dat-so-la-le’s finest work.

[Illustration:  Susie, the Washoe indian basket maker, and narrator of indian legends]

[Illustration:  Jackson, the Washoe indian, telling traditions of his people about Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake]

[Illustration:  Lake Tahoe near Tahoe Tavern, looking south]



As all students of the Indian are well aware these aboriginal and out-of-door dwellers in the forests, canyons, mountains, valleys, and on lake and seashores are great observers of Nature, and her many and varied phenomena.  He who deems the Indian dull, stolid and unimpressionable, simply because in the presence of the White Race he is reserved and taciturn, little knows the observing and reflecting power hidden behind

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The Lake of the Sky from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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