Long ago a huge landslide of rocks roared into the Columbia River near Cascade Locks and eventually formed a natural stone bridge that spanned the river. The bridge came to be called Bridge of the Gods.
A wrinkled old woman brought fire to man as a gift. The Lady of Fire lived in the center of the arch, tending the only fire. Loowit, as she was called, was so faithful in her task, and so kind to the Indians who came for fire, that she was noticed by the great chief Tyee Sahale. He decided to give her the gift of eternal life. But Loowit wept, because she did not want to live forever as an old woman.
Sahale could not take back the gift, but he told Loowit he could grant her one wish. Her wish, was to be young and beautiful, and it was granted. Fame of her wondrous beauty spread far and wide.
One day Sahale's two sons came. Wyeast came from the land of the Multnomahs in the south to see Loowit. Just as he arrived at Tamanawas Bridge, his brother Klickitat came thundering down from the north. Both brothers fell in love with Loowit, but she could not choose between them. Klickitat and Wyeast had a tremendous fight. They burned villages. Whole forests disappeared in flames.
Sahale watched all of this fury and became very angry. He frowned. He smote the Bridge, and it fell in the river where it still boils in angry protest. He smote the three lovers, too; but, even as he punished them, he loved them. So, where each lover fell, he raised up a mighty mountain. Because Loowit was beautiful her mountain was a symmetrical cone, dazzling white. Mount Saint Helens. Wyeast's mountain still lifts his head in pride. Mount Hood. Klickitat , for all his rough ways, had a tender heart. As Mount Adams, he bends his head in sorrow, weeping to see the beautiful maiden Loowit wrapped in snow.
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