The Californian’s Tale by Mark Twain

The Californian's Tale by Mark Twain

In his youth, the protagonist of this story decided to get rich quickly and went looking for gold in California. He really became rich, but it was not the most important accomplishment. He also discovered beautiful lands that looked like a real paradise. There were green fresh forests, hills and clean rivers. Cool air and wonderful climate. This place was found by other gold seekers earlier; he was not the first. These people built a small cozy town. There were real schools and banks. Also there were many shops and comfortable family houses for residents. It was a very nice place. At first everything was fine, but then the gold reserves became less and less. The natural goldmine dried up. By the time the main character of the story reached this city, the inhabitants had left it.

The Californian’s Tale by Mark Twain

When I was young I went looking for gold in California. I never found enough to make me rich, but I did discover a beautiful part of the country. It was called the Stanislaus.

The Stanislaus was like heaven on earth. It had bright green hills and deep forests where soft winds touched the trees.

The Californian's Tale by Mark Twain

Other men, also looking for gold, had reached the Stanislaus Hills of California many years before I did. They had built a town in the valley with sidewalks and stores, banks and schools. They had also built pretty little houses for their families. At first, they found a lot of gold in the Stanislaw Hills, but their good luck did not last. After a few years the gold disappeared.

By the time I reached the Stanislaus all the people were gone, too. Grass now grew in the streets and the little houses were covered by wild rose bushes. Only the sound of insects filled the air as I walked through the empty town that summer day so long ago.

Then, I realized I was not alone after all. A man was smiling at me as he stood in front of one of the little houses. This house was not covered by wild rose bushes. A nice little garden in front of the house was full of blue and yellow flowers. White curtains hung from the windows and floated in the soft summer wind. Still smiling the man opened the door of his house and motioned to me.

I went inside and could not believe my eyes. I had been living for weeks in rough mining camps with other gold miners. We slept on the hard ground, ate canned beans from cold metal plates and spent our days in the difficult search for gold.

Here, in this little house my spirit seemed to come to. life again. I saw a bright rug on the shining wooden floor. Pictures hung all around the room, and on little tables there were sea-shells, books and China vases full of flowers. A woman had made this house into a home.

The pleasure I felt in my heart must have shown on my face. The man read my thoughts.

“Yes,” he smiled. “It is all her work. Everything in this room has felt the touch of her hand.”…

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