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The Basket Woman

Mary Hunter Austin

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .s here and ropes of white clematis tangled over thickets of brier rose. Low down the ravine broadens out to inclose a meadow the width of a lark's flight, blossomy and wet and good. Here the stream ran once in a maze of soddy banks and watered all the ground, and afterward ran out at the cañon's mouth across the mesa in a wash of bone-white boulders as far as it could. That was not very far, for it was a slender stream. It had its source really on the high crests and hollows of Oppapago, in the snow banks that melted and seeped downward through the rocks; but the stream did not know any more of that than you know of what happened to you before you were born, and could give no account of itself except that it crept out from under a great heap of rubble far up in the cañon of the Piñon Pines. And because it had no pools in it deep enough for trout, and no trees on its borders but gray nut pines; because, try as it might, it could never get across. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Again another book in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Mary Austin moved to the Eastern Sierra, lived, and wrote about the area. This book is a collection of short stories and each one is a jewel. Better than her book Land of Little Rain.

Though this set of short stories doesn't have the flow of her other work, I really enjoyed the environmentalist overtones embodied in abiotic systems, as exemplified in "The Cheerful Glacier." She also promotes a vision of how it could have been had whites in the west used a little less gunpowder...more

Of course I liked it.

One of the stories was kind of an unexpected bridge to my time in Death Valley, eight years ago. I worked then leading programs through a house called Scotty's Castle, and the theme of my program was story telling. In the first room we entered on the programs was a metal han...more

Mary Austin wrote The Basket Woman: A Book Of Indian Tales as a kind of sequel to her masterpiece, The Land of Little Rain. Both books deal with the things she learned, mostly from the local Paiute Indians at the nearby campoodie in the Eastern Sierras.

She lived in Independence, California, not f...more

I love Mary Austin's writing style, and would like to read more books by her. She describes nature beautifully. I actually read some of the stories aloud (to the cats!) for the sound of the language. The book is about a boy named Alan and his friendship with a Paiute woman named Basket Woman, who...more

By "Indian" refers to people who are Native American not people from the subcontinent of India.