Charles G Chase.

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Ini. 'lTiAA/</v\Ji oAt,


AjJJImwa^'V/mi. aXiy'v^ <A ^onL

That Old Man

. 3



Published by the Author, Charles G. Chase,
lo Central Street, Boston.

Copyrighted 1893 bv Charles G. Chase.

Illustrated and Printed by
LivERMORE & Knight Co., Providence, R. I.

T SUPPOSE nearly everyone who
lives in this part of the
■^vorld has either seen or heard

''Old Man of the

in Franconia, New Hampshire. From
the picture here given, those who have
not seen him may form a very good
idea of his appearance. What a stern
looking old fellow he is, and how lone-
some he must be, away up there on the
mountain all alone !


'mmmmmsai*' " ■'■ ipi

" WBi —li iWimu^i— ' ' I I



His condition in winter must h^'^'MiLV
fearfully desolate, for then the weather',';'' ft/'
is icy cold, and few care to make hiniv *
a visit. His friends at that season, prefef"^)^//
to be away under sunnier skies than
those w^hich then cover his mountain

I am told he very keenly feels this
neglect, and sometimes shows by a cer-
tain sarcastic look that he considers most
of the friendships of this life largely de-
pendent upon agreeable surroundings.
Let a poor fellow once be left out m the
cold, and how quickh^ man}^ of his pre-
tended friends will desert him. This
'>lhe old rrLan - -onG€- muttered to himself
J^n a coldi winter night, when, the stai's

^i^e 'n" >■■ '/'.



■±=: —

were hid, and there was nothinor about
him but intense and awful soHtude.

There are three very remarkable

things about him, which thoughtful peo-

le must ha\e observed. No one has

been able to ascertam his age.

earned men have searched records for

^^'■' it, but all their efforts to find out have

►een in wain. Then aoam, he never

'''•allows visitors to see but one side of his

face. T))'!saw him thirty years ago, and

the same side was turned to me then,

that is seen by visitors who go there

now. Curious people have wondered

why he is so particular about this, and

some have gone so far as to suppose

that he has warts, or ugly spots on the

other side, which he wishes to hide.
This may be true, and if it is, no one
can blame him, for it is just the way
other men would do, especially if they
were liable, as he is, to be kodaked at
any moment, by idle yisitors. They
certainly would hide their defects and
try to appear faultless in the picture.
Another peculiarity about him is, that
he neyer allows any one to see him ex-
cept at a distance. A great many people
haye climbed the mountain where he liyes,
lor a nearer yiew than can be obtained
from the yalley below; but when they
haye come within a certain distance of
him, he has always disappeared and left
them only to guess where he had gone.

I hciA'c heard a orcat many stones
about this old man, and, without vouch-
ine for then" truth, I will relate one or
two which I am sure will interest the

It IS said that years ago, an old In-
dian succeeded in getting into his pres-
ence. This was such a remarkable event,
and so closely connected with one of the
})eculiarities of which I have spoken, I am
sure all will agree that the particulars of
it ought to be recorded. It occurred in
this way : Years before, the Indian
had made a visit to a tribe m the far
south ; (some have said it w^as to that one
with which the brave and beautiful In-
dian girl was connected, who saved the


life of Captain John Smith,) and while
there, had become acquainted with the
stranoe and remarkable weed which we
now call tobacco. He had learned how
""^"^Gsmoke it, and not only that, but, with
true Indian curiosity, had carefully no-
ticed the effect produced upon those
who used it. He saw that it had power
to relax the muscles of a \^ery stern |
face, and sometimes to produce warmth
and o'eniality where only coldness and
reserye were usually seen. Indeed, he
had obseryed cases where people, when
under its influence, sometimes told se-
crets which otherwise they might haye
had the good sense to keep to themselyes.
When he came home, he brought quite a

quantity of this tobacco with him, and
one day while smoking his pipe and look-
ing upon the mountain, he conceived the
idea of winning the good graces of the
old man, by means of a pipe and to-
bacco. He said to himself, '' If I can
only once bring him under the influence
of that magic weed, I shall not only be
admitted to his presence, but allowed to
talk with him on familiar terms, as friend
with friend." How many conquests over
other strong men have been made in this
way, since then, I leave the reader to
imagine. So he made a great pipe out
of the root of a tree, and, taking that and
some of his precious tobacco with him,
he started up the mountain.


I ^i


FortunatcK % the wind, that day, was
blowing \n the dn'ection of the old
man, and, when not \ ery far ofi, the In-
dian blew from his own pipe, a full puff
of smoke, directly into his face. The old
fellow, instead of disappearing as the In-
dian feared he would do, kept his seat
and appeared almost spellbound. Seeing
this, the Indian felt sure the time had
come for accomplishing his purpose, and
summoning all his courage, he walked
directly into the old man's presence, and
offered him the pipe and tobacco which
he had brought. Of course, those who
never saw any signs of relenting in that
stern and weather-beaten face will sup-
pose the gift was indignantly refused.


On the contrary, it was received with
great eagerness, and after many expres-
sions of gratitude and delight, and a few
instructions imparted by the Indian, the
old man sent out upon the clear atmos-
phere his first wreath of smoke.

Then began a long conversation be-
tween the two, in which the " Old Man
of the Mountain" told the Indian many
wonderful stories. I have made a ercat
many inquiries, but could never find out
exactly what the stories were. We can
readily suppose what the character of
them might have been. Perhaps they
were about terrific storms which he had
seen — storms that uprooted trees and
hurled great rocks from the tops of

liim.w. i m »i M i -.ii ii ..... i.iummiiM i ii i iiii i 'Wii ''"

nMn iiii wmiimmniy i iiMpi i g W

it i

the mountains to the valleys below ; of
times when the mountains were a ereat
deal higher than they now are, and when
their peaks were always covered with
snow, and avalanches came thundering
down their sides ; of wild animals, many

of which are now extinct, that used to


used 1
iailS" 'wli

; before Liet Kricss
^^n'oM'ji^'vv4hardy Norsemen crossed the
stormy Atlantic; of wonders which, from
his sublime height, he had seen in the
heavens above. Perhaps he said that
m his youth he heard the er^nd an-
them of the morning stars, spoken of
in Sacred Writ. How I wish the old
Indian had recorded the stories he told

r ;V

him, so that I might ^^.(jw^pubhsh them
in a book.

The rep(^.v4s, that the interview
lasted until nightfall, when the old man
bade the Indian depart, and then, wrap-
pino- himself 4^ '^ cloud, S(M)n fell into
a sound slefe^^"^' ^v> ' r' ( ' '

That nio^ht he had a strah'o^e dream
which filled him with anxiety and alarm.
Like most dreams, it was much confused,
but apparently was of serious import.
It was about oathermos of excited men,
rolls of lettered parchment, devastated
forests, frightful explosions, raging fires
lighting up the whole heavens, polluted
streams of water, rumbling noises, snort-
ing monsters darting through the valleys,

hasty flights of birds, howhngs of wild
beasts; all so terrible, it is difficult to
repeat the story without a shudder ! Now
the old man always attached great im-
portance to dreams. He often had them,
and would spend many of his waking
hours in trying to make out their mean-
ing. This special dream was so unusual
and startlino- that for a while it absorbed
all his thoughts. Indeed, it affected him
so that for many nights he could not
sleep. The only meaning which he
could make out of it, was — that by-and-
by, pale faced men would come into that
region and make sad havoc of his old
home ; that in the name of what would
be called a State, portions of his sublime


inheritance would be seized and without
sense, sentifnent or shame, and only for
a paltr\' sum,^sojd to selfish men who, to
o"ratifv a orreed for oain would cut down
the orrand old trees which for ao^es had
adorned his mountain home; they would
kill the wild animals that were his com-
panions and pets; would frighten away
the birds of beautiful plumage and song
which always awakened him in the morn-
ing and cheered his early evening hours;
they would defile the brooks and lakes
where lived and disported the speckled
trout; and in many ways shamefully deface
the beauties and m'andeur of his home.
Now can the reader wonder that he was
frightened when he awoke, and that he


then made a vow which he has always '^^*"

faithfully kept — that no human being
should ever again appear in his imme-
diate presence. -^

I have heard another very - smgular^
story, which I think will be of interest to
children. ^-^

An eagle once built her nest in the
the old man's nose. How she ever dared
do it, I cannot miagme, for the danger
was very great. If she had been found
out, the old fellow, with one blast,
would have sent her scootino" down the
side of the mountain. But I presume
she did the work in early morning,
while he was asleep. " Now," said the
eagle to herself, after the nest was done.


'''/what a fine chance to hatch and brine
, up a family of eag-lets ! I am in a place
sheltered from the storms, and where
no one will think to hunt for my nest."
So she laid her eggs and all went on
very well, until the first cadet was
hatched, when she was so delighted to
have become the mother of a little baby
eagle, she began to flap her wings with
all her might. This, of course, was a
very imprudent thing to do, and she
ought to have known better, for it tickled
the old man's nose, so that he bei^^an
to sneeze. Now, ycni know what a
great commotion it makes when your
mamma sneezes. Perhaps it bursts a
few buttons from her dress, and fright-

ens the kitt\\ which happens at the time
to be sleeping- before the fire; so vou
can understand what a sneeze from tlie
old man must ha\'e been. It was so
violent, all who heard it must have feared
the ''crack of doom" had finally come.
Rocks and trees were sent flyinir throuoh
the air, bears and other wild animals,
roaming in the forest, were frightened
and scampered away, the eagle screamed,
and some Indians who were fishine in a
lake near bv thought it thundered.

>V'Now, my young friends, the next
time you go to the White Mountains I
wish you would find the oldest inhabitant
of that region and ask him if these stories
are probably true.

- Je '10

That Old Man
AND HIS Dream.


Online LibraryCharles G ChaseThat old man and his dream → online text (page 1 of 1)