The Legend of Mt. Shafamma

What little is known of the legend of Mt. Shafamma was discovered in the Sonoma Mission in the writings of a priest, who transcribed some of the legend from Indian tribal elders before the legends were lost forever.

According to the writings, there was a tribe of Miwok Indians living in and around what is now Suisun Bay and the adjoining coastal mountains in the early days of Spanish and English exploration of the area. The tribe was ruled by a group of elders, and a medicine man named Wabovh (or, "he who talks to moving stars"). Wabovh was smitten by the lovely Princess Shafamma, the only daughter of the primary chief.

 

Princess Shafamma was an adventuresome maiden, and loved canoeing on the bay, where one day she encountered a four mast British trading ship commanded by an Admiral Kozusho. The Admiral and Princess Shafamma had a brief affair, which enraged the medicine man, Wabovh. To regain his love, Wabovh had Princess Shafamma removed to a village in the mountains where she could no longer meet with Admiral Kozusko.

 

Unfortunately the Princess wanted nothing to do with Wabovh, and soon took up with a local immigrant trapper named Hilton who lived in the mountains. Hilton (the Indians called him Kavanu, meaning "he who lives on top of hill") was somewhat of a hermit, but Princess Shafamma found him tall, handsome, and irresistible.

 

When Wabovh found out about the relationship between Shafamma and Hilton, he decided she was incorrigible. Wanting no one to share the delights of the Princess if he could not have her love, Wabovh called on the Miwok god of the mountaintops, Nicaw, to create a stone house on a flat area on a mountaintop to which she was banished for the rest of her days.

 

The locals maintain that the ghost of Princess Shafamma still wanders the mountaintops in the area around Mt. Shafamma. It is said that the noise plaguing the radio towers that have been erected around Mt. Shafamma is really the moaning of the Princess as she searches in vain for her lover, Kavanu.

 

© 2012 Chris Huber, All Rights Reserved.