He also sketched several waterfalls fed by melting snow. Mariposa’s favorite falls at the entrance to the valley made a single leap of hundreds of feet, and when the white spray was caught by the breezes and the sun, the lace-like mist, sparkling like diamonds, swayed gracefully in the winds like a royal bridal veil. “The highest of a series of cascades,” Mariposa said, “was called ‘The Yosemite Falls.’”
Here eagles soar above the Cap of Liberty and other granite peaks. Robins, larks, and humming birds swarm in the warm valley, and abundance of grass grows in the meadows for the Indian ponies.
As Alfonso’s strength increased, he walked more frequently with Mariposa along the banks of the river, by the thickets of young spruce, cedar, and manzanita with its oddly contorted red stems. At times, each vied with the other in bringing back echoes from the lofty granite walls of the valley.
One sunset, as Alfonso and Mariposa sat by the river bank, Alfonso holding the light redwood cane, the gift of the maiden, he took the shapely hand of Mariposa in his own and said, “Mariposa, I owe my life to you, and if I am ever rich I will come back and reward you.”
“I shall miss you,” said the maiden shyly, “I want no money; I am happy because you are well again.”
“Mariposa, I have long searched for gold,” said Alfonso, “but finally I lost courage, became sick, and you know the rest. You have a ring of beaten gold on your finger, did it come from near here?”
“My father gave it to me,” was all that Mariposa would say about the ring as they separated for the night.
It was past midnight when Alfonso felt someone pulling at his shoulder. There in the moonlight stood Mariposa beckoning him to come. Quickly dressing, Alfonso left his tent without speaking as the maiden put her fingers to her lips, and quietly following Mariposa they walked by the silver stream into a wild gorge. Graceful pines afforded cover for Mariposa and Alfonso, as swift of foot, they scaled high cliffs, till the Indian girl held aloft her hand, and above in a cleft of white quartz the yellow gold shone brightly in the moon’s rays.
When the time came for Alfonso to leave the Yosemite Valley, one of nature’s masterpieces, tears filled the eyes of lovely Mariposa. He earnestly thanked Red Cloud and his daughter, and, saying good-bye, mounted his pony, a gift from Mariposa, when the girl ran to him and whispered, “Here, Alfonso, is the ring; bring it back to me when you are rich, but you will forget Mariposa.”
“No! no!” replied Alfonso, “I will bring back the ring, and you shall give it to the one who makes you his bride.” Then the Indian girl turned her face toward the Bridal Veil Falls, and Alfonso rode sadly out of the valley.
After several years, still wearing the magic band of beaten gold, having developed the Mariposa Gold Mines into property worth millions, Alfonso left the far west to seek beautiful Christine.