Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Legend of Noccalula

One of the more fascinating legends of the mountain country of Alabama is the story of Noccalula.

The daughter of a Cherokee chief, Noccalula had fallen in love with a warrior from her own tribe. He was not a man of influence, however, and her father felt that greater benefit was to be gained from her marriage to the leader of another nearby tribe. Noccalula protested, but her father overruled her request and drove her true love from the village.

The wedding with the neighboring chief was scheduled and a great feast was assembled on the planned day. Noccalula was dressed in her finest by the women of the village, but instead of walking to her groom-to-be, she instead slipped away to the high bluffs overlooking a powerful waterfall that flowed near the village.

After considering her fate, she took her own life by leaping to her death in the rocks and swirling water below.

Noccalula's father was heartbroken by the suicide of his daughter and realized that his own harshness had driven her to her death. He decreed that the waterfall should always be known by his daughter's name and it is called Noccalula Falls to this day. Claims have been made through the years that the ghost of the young Cherokee princess can still be seen moving in the mists of the falls.

The truth of the legend, of course, is difficult to verify, but that is often the case with tales of this nature. The waterfall, however, still flows. Now surrounded by a fascinating park and recreation area in Gadsden, Alabama, Noccalula Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the South.

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