A Fairy Tale Takes Place in the County of Solano

A number of tall tales developed from stories told by pioneers in the western U.S. Some of those pioneers lived in the area that is now the County of Solano. Those early California pioneers would have probably enjoyed the modern-day tale that sounds like a fairy tale. It is a fairy tale that takes place close to the scene of a tall tale, a fairy tale set in Solano County.

Back before the creation of the Solano County courts, and back before the appearance in the County of Solano of a true to life fairy tale, a missionary named Francisco Solano became a good friend of the Native Americans in the area. He became especially close to the chief of one Native American tribe. That chief ruled over the tribal groups living around the Petaluma Creek and the Sacramento River.

Francisco Solano recognized the respect given to that chief. He realized that the chief's word was law. The chief required obedience to the tribal laws at a time well in advance of a similar call from the Solano County courts. Francisco wanted to acknowledge the chief's efforts, and so he named the chief after himself. He called the chief Solano.

That explains how the County of Solano came by its name. That fact reveals why the recounting of a California fairy tale has Solano County as its setting. It is a modern-day fairy tale, a tale that took place in 1985. Someday it might sound like a tall tale, a tall tale with a scientist as its hero.

One day in 1985 a humpbacked whale, a whale destined to be named Humphrey, swam away from the salt waters of the ocean and up into the Rio Vista in the County of Solano.
For almost three hours Humphrey, a whale accustomed to salt water, swam in the fresh water of Rio Vista. For almost three hours the people in the County of Solano watched, as Humphrey struggled to find a way back to the ocean.

Finally a scientist named Dr. Bernie Krause hit upon a plan. He may have shared that plan with some students from Solano Community College, or he may have talked with other animal lovers in the County of Solano. Somehow, a group of citizens got word of that plan. Somehow, a group of citizens came to Rio Vista to help with the rescuing of Humphrey the whale.

Dr. Krause and his crew of volunteers beamed special sounds into the waters of Rio Vista. They beamed into those waters recorded vocalizations, vocalizations made by a pod of whales. Humphrey responded to those recordings. Humphrey followed those sounds for 50 miles. Humphrey finally got back to his natural habitat, the salt water of the ocean.

The rescue of Humphrey made a wonderful children's story. It was as great a story as almost any story read to the children during the Kid's Day at the Solano County Fair. It created a bond between the farm animals at the fair and the animals of the nearby ocean.

Many farm children exhibited a baby livestock animal at the Solano County Fair. Those children loved animals. Those children had once listened excitedly to the "fairy tale" set in the County of Solano. For those children, that "fairy tale" had become a part of their lives.

For a good number of the kids at the Fair's Kid's Day, the "fairy tale" whale story, the story set in the County of Solano, held, in the eyes of those children,  a great deal of importance. They no doubt felt that that "fairy tale" held as much importance as the horse racing, the live performances, the demolition derby and the fireworks at the Solano County Fair.

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