This manuscript was written by an Indian guide and partner of John Taog- an early trapper in the Lava Hot Springs region (and said to be bitter enemies with Jim Bridger over a one-eyed redhead and an incomplete deck of cards) and was the first to discover the secret of the goatbird.
“…I, Ben Laugh-Like Horse, am putting down what I know’d ‘bout John Taog & goatbirds.
In springs, John & me had nice pelts we wuz tak’n to Logan to sell. We wuz put’n the blankets on our mules when John got hit in head with rock. He drew his knife & telled me stop chuck’n rock his way. I said I not do it- so’s he picked up rock to show me err of my claim. It were then we saw rock was solid gold nugget. Now John drew his gun & ask me how I had enough of them nuggets to throw at folk. I said I see only THAT one & he best give back to me…the rightful owner. It were then we heared very scary sound & see ugliest bird, ever was, sit’n on big branch. It look like Oriole but horns poking out forehead…like devil hisself…AND that bird dropping gold pellets to ground below. John & me follow that bird all day long till up where trees thick & could track bird no more. BUT- on ground see more gold. Right then old John made plan. Many weeks we spend trap’n them birds- pick’n up gold & bury’s it in bottom of secret cave. One day came scary, loud rumble sound. Musta come from down below & maybe even Utah way. Animals runned to get away from mountain that quivered & shaked…hard. I ruined only pair of long-johns that was mine. Very scary!
Old John never come back. I hike up to our cave & it weren’t there no more but John’s mule still staked by tree. Right then I knew…John be buried alive in cave with birds & all the gold! To this day- be’n many years- I never see a goatbird since. Now, I know’d nobody believe my tale, SO…I leave drawing of that there bird & a bit of gold to prove it be. Who can say, maybe- somehow- you spot a goatbird while hikin’ near Lava Hot Springs. If you do, it be your lucky day!!!
Source: Provided by South Bannock Museum, Lava Hot Springs, ID August 2021, image from http://appetiteforidaho.blogspot.com/2013/10/lava-hot-springs-legends.html