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by TRISTRAM COFFIN
Anyone familiar with the history of the Hudson Valley knows of the different legends about treasure lost or hidden here. Tales of the pirate Captain Kidd burying treasure somewhere on the banks of the Hudson, or of Conquistadors tunneling for gold near Ellenville or of Old Ninety-Nine's lost cave in the Shawangunks have been told up and down the valley ever since Henry Hudson first saw Indians with gold ornaments during his exploration of the river in 1609.
So why is this retelling so surprising? It gives the old story a new twist! In 1915 the author Tristram Coffin was a summer visitor to the Hudson Highlands and heard rumors of the lost mine in the river hills. It so captured his fancy that after a little research and no little embellishment he crafted this short tale about a mysterious stranger, an Indian supposed to be the last of his tribe and a mine filled with riches beyond imagining! Add to these ingredients a wild panther, violent storms, landslides AND an earthquake and you have one rip-snorter of a story about treasure lost and found and lost again! I'll leave it up to the reader to decide how much truth this story contains.
The fact that this cave still remains undiscovered can be more-or-less plausibly explained by the natural disasters and the confusion of the location with other stories over the years. But make no mistake, while some might scoff, others see the similarities in the old tales and are convinced that such a mine AND a treasure do exist -- if not in the Hudson Highlands, then somewhere in the Hudson Valley.
However much of this story you chose to believe (and I'm sure this will have many treasure-hunters out anew) you will delight in a charming story evocative of an earlier, simpler time of innocence and hardship, a time when wilderness and the frontier lay just beyond the horizon, where ferocious animals roamed the night, and the lure of THE LOST GOLD MINE OF THE HUDSON filled the imagination with dreams of riches. 5-1/2"x8" 64 pp paperback $5.95
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