Song Bird Legend
Legend of the Birds

     Former resident-columnist, Mrs. Elizabeth Merriwether Gilmer used the famous nom de plume of "Dorothy Dix."  In writing her syndicated column, Letters to the Lovelorn, while in the shade of her gardens at 730 W. Beach Boulevard, she would often retell the Indian legend of the birds.
     "Back in 1519," according to the legend as told by Miss Dix, "a handsome young Spaniard of royal birth, in the spirit of adventure, brought a group of explorers to the Gulf Coast to chart the lands that belonged to the Crown.  Drifting with the tide one breathless summer day, he heard the enchanting music of a strange songbird in the primeval forest, and following the exquisite notes, found a beautiful Indian maiden lying beneath the bough of an ancient oak tree.  Here in the wilderness, he learned to love not only the maiden, but all of her feathered friends whose haunting songs had lured him to this enchanted land.
     "But the charts were finished and his companions, impatient at his long delay, set sail one moonlit night, and as he lay sleeping, the seawinds rocked him onward to Spain.  The Indian maiden overwhelmed with grief for her lover, threw herself into the waters of the Sound.  But her spirit lives, so the legend tells us, in the songbirds at Pass Christian, and tragedy is supposed to befall the person who kills a bird in this area."

    Mrs. Merriwether was one of a significant number of famous and gifted persons who had taken residence in the Pass.  This inspirational retreat, healthful resort, and sociable community has beckoned many to stay ---  even if for just a short window in their lifetime.  There is more information on Dorothy Dix at Arts of the Pass.

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