Every time I walk up the stairs in Davey Lab, I get an exceptionally good view of a prominent geographic feature in Centre County, Pennsylvania, called Mount Nittany. One day, walking up those flight of stairs, from the 4th floor to the 5th, with a warm cup of coffee in my hand, I noticed that there was something different about the old hill. She had changed colors; the copious green blanket that she usually wears, she had swapped for a gleaming yellow and red coat! Postponing my duties, leaving them to cool off with my undrunk coffee; I stepped off into the outdoors.
According to local legend the mountain was formed in a very dramatic way; I summarized the lore surrounding its formation below, but you can read the whole legend here.
The legend says that Nit-A-Nee (the wind-breaker) an Indian Princess, fell in love with a handsome Indian Brave of the tribe called Lion's Paw. This fearless Brave was killed in a fierce battle with the wicked Wind from the North.
When Princess Nit-A-Nee heard of Lion's Paw's death, she carried his body to the center of the Valley where she laid the fierless warrior in his grave, and built a mound of honor to commemorate his strength. On the last night of the full moon, after she had finally raised the last of the soil and stone over his high mound, a terrible storm came unleashing itself with thunder and lightening and the wailing of a horrendous wind from the depths of the Earth. Every Indian in the Valley shuddered and all eyes were directed to Lion's Paw's high mound upon which the beautiful maiden Princess Nit-A-Nee was mounted with arms outstretched to touch the sources of the lightning bolts in the sky.
Through the night they watched with awe as the Indian Brave’s burial mound grew and rose into a Mountain penetrating the center of the big valley between the two legs of the Tussey and Bald Eagle ridges. When the dawn finally came a huge mountain was found standing erect in the center of the Valley.
A legend had been born. The mound and the maiden had given place to a Mountain, and standing on its summit was a Lion surrounded by eleven orphaned male cubs, each of whom had the courage of the fearless Indian Brave and the heart of the mysterious Indian Princess. From that day forward every place in the valley was safe, and the Wind wrested nothing from the fields on which these Lions strode as fearless heroes from the Mountain - the Mountain which still stands as a breaker against the wicked Wind of the North.
Guðmundur Kári Stefánsson| 500px | vimeo | facebook |
email: gws5257 [at] psu.edu
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