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Title: Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 04 : Tales of Puritan Land
Author: Skinner, Charles M. (Charles Montgomery), 1852-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 04 : Tales of Puritan Land" ***

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                           MYTHS AND LEGENDS
                              OUR OWN LAND

                           Charles M. Skinner

                                Vol. 4.

                          TALES OF PURITAN LAND


The Snoring of Swunksus
The Lewiston Hermit
The Dead Ship of Harpswell
The Schoolmaster had not reached Orrington
Jack Welch's Death Light
Mogg Megone
The Lady Ursula
Father Moody's Black Veil
The Home of Thunder
The Partridge Witch
The Marriage of Mount Katahdin
The Moose of Mount Kineo
The Owl Tree
A Chestnut Log
The Watcher on White Island
Passaconaway's Ride to Heaven
The Ball Game by the Saco
The White Mountains
The Vision on Mount Adams
The Great Carbuncle
Skinner's Cave
Yet they call it Lover's Leap
Salem and other Witchcraft
The Gloucester Leaguers
Satan and his Burial-Place
Peter Rugg, the Missing Man
The Loss of Weetamoo
The Fatal Forget-me-not
The Old Mill at Somerville
Edward Randolph's Portrait
Lady Eleanore's Mantle
Howe's Masquerade
Old Esther Dudley
The Loss of Jacob Hurd
The Hobomak
Berkshire Tories
The Revenge of Josiah Breeze
The May-Pole of Merrymount
The Devil and Tom Walker
The Gray Champion
The Forest Smithy
Wahconah Falls
Knocking at the Tomb
The White Deer of Onota
Wizard's Glen
Balanced Rock
The Salem Alchemist
Eliza Wharton
Sale of the Southwicks
The Courtship of Myles Standish
Mother Crewe
Aunt Rachel's Curse
Nix's Mate
The Wild Man of Cape Cod
Newbury's Old Elm
Samuel Sewall's Prophecy
The Shrieking Woman
Agnes Surriage
Skipper Ireson's Ride
Heartbreak Hill
Harry Main: The Treasure and the Cats
The Wessaguscus Hanging
The Unknown Champion
Goody Cole
General Moulton and the Devil
The Skeleton in Armor
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
Love and Treason
The Headless Skeleton of Swamptown
The Crow and Cat of Hopkins Hill
The Old Stone Mill
Origin of a Name
Micah Rood Apples
A Dinner and its Consequences
The New Haven Storm Ship
The Windham Frogs
The Lamb of Sacrifice
Moodus Noises
Haddam Enchantments
Block Island and the Palatine
The Buccaneer
Robert Lockwood's Fate
Love and Rum



The seizure by England of the country that soon afterward was
rechristened Nova Scotia was one of the cruellest events in history. The
land was occupied by a good and happy people who had much faith and few
laws, plenty to eat and drink, no tax collectors nor magistrates, in
brief, a people who were entitled to call themselves Acadians, for they
made their land an Arcady. Upon them swooped the British ships, took them
unarmed and unoffending, crowded them aboard their transports,--often
separating husband and wife, parents and children,--scattered them far
and wide, beyond hope of return, and set up the cross of St. George on
the ruins of prosperity and peace. On the shore of the Basin of Minas can
still be traced the foundations of many homes that were perforce deserted
at that time, and among them are the ruins of Grand Pre.

Here lived Evangeline Bellefontaine and Gabriel Lajeunesse, who were
betrothed with the usual rejoicings just before the coming of the
English. They had expected, when their people were arrested, to be sent
away together; but most of the men were kept under guard, and Gabriel was
at sea, bound neither he nor she knew whither, when Evangeline found
herself in her father's house alone, for grief and excitement had been
more than her aged parent could bear, and he was buried at the shore just
before the women of the place were crowded on board of a transport. As
the ship set off her sorrowing passengers looked behind them to see their
homes going up in flame and smoke, and Acadia knew them no more. The
English had planned well to keep these people from coming together for
conspiracy or revenge: they scattered them over all America, from
Newfoundland to the southern savannas.

Evangeline was not taken far away, only to New England; but without
Gabriel all lands were drear, and she set off in the search for him,
working here and there, sometimes looking timidly at the headstones on
new graves, then travelling on. Once she heard that he was a _coureur des
bois_ on the prairies, again that he was a voyageur in the Louisiana
lowlands; but those of his people who kept near her inclined to jest at
her faith and urged her to marry Leblanc, the notary's son, who truly
loved her. To these she only replied, "I cannot."

Down the Ohio and Mississippi she went--on a raft--with a little band of
those who were seeking the French settlements, where the language,
religion, and simplicity of life recalled Acadia. They found it on the
banks of the Teche, and they reached the house of the herdsman Gabriel on
the day that he had departed for the north to seek Evangeline. She and
the good priest who had been her stay in a year of sorrow turned back in
pursuit, and for weary months, over prairie and through forest, skirting
mountain and morass, going freely among savages, they followed vain
clues, and at last arrived in Philadelphia. Broken in spirit then, but
not less sweet of nature for the suffering that she had known, she who
had been named for the angels became a minister of mercy, and in the
black robe of a nun went about with comforts to the sick and poor. A
pestilence was sweeping through the city, and those who had no friends
nor attendants were taken to the almshouse, whither, as her way was,
Evangeline went on a soft Sabbath morning to calm the fevered and
brighten the hearts of the dying.

Some of the patients of the day before had gone and new were in their
places. Suddenly she turned white and sank on her knees at a bedside,
with a cry of "Gabriel, my beloved!" breathed into the ears of a
prematurely aged man who lay gasping in death before her. He came out of
his stupor, slowly, and tried to speak her name. She drew his head to her
bosom, kissed him, and for one moment they were happy. Then the light
went out of his eyes and the warmth from his heart. She pressed his
eyelids down and bowed her head, for her way was plainer now, and she
thanked God that it was so.


The original proprietor of Deer Isle, off the coast of Maine--at least,
the one who was in possession one hundred and thirty years ago--had the
liquid name of Swunksus. His name was not the only liquid thing in the
neighborhood, however, for, wherever Swunksus was, fire-water was not
far. Shortly before the Revolution a renegade from Boston, one Conary,
moved up to the island and helped himself to as much of it as he chose,
but the longer he lived there the more he wanted. Swunksus was willing
enough to divide his domain with the white intruder, but Conary was not
satisfied with half. He did not need it all; he just wanted it. Moreover,
he grew quarrelsome and was continually nagging poor Swunksus, until at
last he forced the Indian to accept a challenge, not to immediate combat,
but to fight to the death should they meet thereafter.

The red man retired to his half of the island and hid among the bushes
near his home to await the white man, but in this little fastness he
discovered a jug of whiskey that either fate or Conary had placed there.
Before an hour was over he was "as full and mellow as a harvest moon,"
and it was then that his enemy appeared. There was no trouble in finding
Swunksus, for he was snoring like a fog horn, and walking boldly up to
him, Conary blew his head off with a load of slugs. Then he took
possession of the place and lived happily ever after. Swunksus takes his
deposition easily, for, although he has more than once paraded along the
beaches, his ghost spends most of the time in slumber, and terrific
snores have been heard proceeding from the woods in daylight.


On an island above the falls of the Androscoggin, at Lewiston, Maine,
lived a white recluse at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The
natives, having had good reason to mistrust all palefaces, could think no
good of the man who lived thus among but not with them. Often they
gathered at the bank and looked across at his solitary candle twinkling
among the leaves, and wondered what manner of evil he could be planning
against them. Wherever there are many conspirators one will be a gabbler
or a traitor; so, when the natives had resolved on his murder, he,
somehow, learned of their intent and set himself to thwart it. So great
was their fear of this lonely man, and of the malignant powers he might
conjure to his aid, that nearly fifty Indians joined the expedition, to
give each other courage.

Their plan was to go a little distance up the river and come down with
the current, thus avoiding the dip of paddles that he might hear in a
direct crossing. When it was quite dark they set off, and keeping headway
on their canoes aimed them toward the light that glimmered above the
water. But the cunning hermit had no fire in his cabin that night. It was
burning on a point below his shelter, and from his hiding-place among the
rocks he saw their fleet, as dim and silent as shadows, go by him on the
way to the misguiding beacon.

Presently a cry arose. The savages had passed the point of safe sailing;
their boats had become unmanageable. Forgetting their errand, their only
hope now was to save themselves, but in vain they tried to reach the
shore: the current was whirling them to their doom. Cries and death-songs
mingled with the deepening roar of the waters, the light barks reached
the cataract and leaped into the air. Then the night was still again,
save for the booming of the flood. Not one of the Indians who had set out
on this errand of death survived the hermit's stratagem.


At times the fisher-folk of Maine are startled to see the form of a ship,
with gaunt timbers showing through the planks, like lean limbs through
rents in a pauper's garb, float shoreward in the sunset. She is a ship of
ancient build, with tall masts and sails of majestic spread, all torn;
but what is her name, her port, her flag, what harbor she is trying to
make, no man can tell, for on her deck no sailor has ever been seen to
run up colors or heard to answer a hail. Be it in calm or storm, in-come
or ebb of tide, the ship holds her way until she almost touches shore.

There is no creak of spars or whine of cordage, no spray at the bow, no
ripple at the stern--no voice, and no figure to utter one. As she nears
the rocks she pauses, then, as if impelled by a contrary current, floats
rudder foremost off to sea, and vanishes in twilight. Harpswell is her
favorite cruising-ground, and her appearance there sets many heads to
shaking, for while it is not inevitable that ill luck follows her visits,
it has been seen that burial-boats have sometimes had occasion to cross
the harbor soon after them, and that they were obliged by wind or tide or
current to follow her course on leaving the wharf.


The quiet town of Orrington, in Maine, was founded by Jesse Atwood, of
Wellfleet, Cape Cod, in 1778, and has become known, since then, as a
place where skilful farmers and brave sailors could always be found. It
also kept Maine supplied for years with oldest inhabitants. It is said
that the name was an accident of illiteracy, and that it is the only
place in the world that owes its title to bad spelling. The settlers who
followed Atwood there were numerous enough to form a township after ten
years, and the name they decided on for their commonwealth was
Orangetown, so called for a village in Maryland where some of the people
had associations, but the clerk of the town meeting was not a college
graduate and his spelling of Orange was Orring, and of town, ton. His
draft of the resolutions went before the legislature, and the people
directly afterward found themselves living in Orrington.


Pond Cove, Maine, is haunted by a light that on a certain evening, every
summer, rises a mile out at sea, drifts to a spot on shore, then whirls
with a buzz and a glare to an old house, where it vanishes. Its first
appearance was simultaneous with the departure of Jack Welch, a
fisherman. He was seen one evening at work on his boat, but in the
morning he was gone, nor has he since shown himself in the flesh.

On the tenth anniversary of this event three fishermen were hurrying up
the bay, hoping to reach home before dark, for they dreaded that uncanny
light, but a fog came in and it was late before they reached the wharf.
As they were tying their boat a channel seemed to open through the mist,
and along that path from the deep came a ball of pallid flame with the
rush of a meteor. There was one of the men who cowered at the bottom of
the boat with ashen face and shaking limbs, and did not watch the light,
even though it shot above his head, played through the rigging, and after
a wide sweep went shoreward and settled on his house. Next day one of his
comrades called for him, but Tom Wright was gone, gone, his wife said,
before the day broke. Like Jack Welch's disappearance, this departure was
unexplained, and in time he was given up for dead.

Twenty years had passed, when Wright's presumptive widow was startled by
the receipt of a letter in a weak, trembling hand, signed with her
husband's name. It was written on his death-bed, in a distant place, and
held a confession. Before their marriage, Jack Welch had been a suitor
for her hand, and had been the favored of the two. To remove his rival
and prosper in his place, Wright stole upon the other at his work, killed
him, took his body to sea, and threw it overboard. Since that time the
dead man had pursued him, and he was glad that the end of his days was
come. But, though Tom Wright is no more, his victim's light comes yearly
from the sea, above the spot where his body sank, floats to the scene of
the murder on the shore, then flits to the house where the assassin lived
and for years simulated the content that comes of wedded life.

Hapless daughter of a renegade is Ruth Bonython. Her father is as unfair
to his friends as to his enemies, but to neither of them so merciless as
to Ruth. Although he knows that she loves Master Scammon--in spite of his
desertion and would rather die than wed another, he has promised her to
Mogg Megone, the chief who rules the Indians at the Saco mouth. He,
blundering savage, fancies that he sees to the bottom of her grief, and
one day, while urging his suit, he opens his blanket and shows the scalp
of Scammon, to prove that he has avenged her. She looks in horror, but
when he flings the bloody trophy at her feet she baptizes it with a
forgiving tear. What villainy may this lead to? Ah, none for him, for
Bonython now steps in and plies him with flattery and drink, gaining from
the chief, at last, his signature--the bow totem--to a transfer of the
land for which he is willing to sell his daughter. Ruth, maddened at her
father's meanness and the Indian's brutality, rushes on the imbruted
savage, grasps from his belt the knife that has slain her lover, cleaves
his heart in twain, and flies into the wood, leaving Bonython stupid with

Father Rasles, in his chapel at Norridgewock, is affecting his Indian
converts against the Puritans, who settled to the southward of him fifty
years before. To him comes a woman with torn garments and frightened
face. Her dead mother stood before her last night, she says, and looked
at her reprovingly, for she had killed Mogg Megone. The priest starts
back in wrath, for Mogg was a hopeful agent of the faith, and bids her
go, for she can ask no pardon. Brooding within his chapel, then, he is
startled by the sound of shot and hum of arrows. Harmon and Moulton are
advancing with their men and crying, "Down with the beast of Rome! Death
to the Babylonish dog!" Ruth, knowing not what this new misfortune may
mean, runs from the church and disappears.

Some days later, old Baron Castine, going to Norridgewock to bury and
revenge the dead, finds a woman seated on the earth and gazing over a
field strewn with ashes and with human bones. He touches her. She is
cold. There has been no life for days. It is Ruth.


In 1690 a stately house stood in Kittery, Maine, a strongly guarded place
with moat and drawbridge (which was raised at night) and a moated grange
adjacent where were cattle, sheep, and horses. Here, in lonely dignity,
lived Lady Ursula, daughter of the lord of Grondale Abbey, across the
water, whose distant grandeurs were in some sort reflected in this manor
of the wilderness. Silver, mahogany, paintings, tapestries, waxed floors,
and carven chests of linen represented wealth; prayers were said by a
chaplain every morning and evening in the chapel, and, though the main
hall would accommodate five hundred people, the lady usually sat at meat
there with her thirty servants, her part of the table being raised two
feet above theirs.

It was her happiness to believe that Captain Fowler, now absent in
conflict with the French, would return and wed her according to his
promise, but one day came a tattered messenger with bitter news of the
captain's death. She made no talk of her grief, and, while her face was
pale and step no longer light, she continued in the work that custom
exacted from women of that time: help for the sick, alms for the poor,
teaching for the ignorant, religion for the savage. Great was her joy,
then, when a ship came from England bringing a letter from Captain Fowler
himself, refuting the rumor of defeat and telling of his coming. Now the
hall took on new life, reflecting the pleasure of its mistress; color
came back to her cheek and sparkle to her eye, and she could only control
her impatience by more active work and more aggressive charities. The day
was near at hand for the arrival of her lover, when Ursula and her
servants were set upon by Indians, while away from the protection of the
manor, and slain. They were buried where they fell, and Captain Fowler
found none to whom his love or sorrow could be told.


In 1770 the Reverend Joseph Moody died at York, Maine, where he had long
held the pastorate of a church, and where in his later years his face was
never seen by friend or relative. At home, when any one was by, on the
street, and in the pulpit his visage was concealed by a double fold of
crape that was knotted above his forehead and fell to his chin, the lower
edge of it being shaken by his breath. When first he presented himself to
his congregation with features masked in black, great was the wonder and
long the talk about it. Was he demented? His sermons were too logical for
that. Had he been crossed in love? He could smile, though the smile was
sad. Had he been scarred by accident or illness? If so, no physician knew
of it.

After a time it was given out that his eyes were weakened by reading and
writing at night, and the wonder ceased, though the veiled parson was
less in demand for weddings, christenings, and social gatherings, and
more besought for funerals than he had been. If asked to take off his
crape he only replied, "We all wear veils of one kind or another, and the
heaviest and darkest are those that hang about our hearts. This is but a
material veil. Let it stay until the hour strikes when all faces shall be
seen and all souls reveal their secrets."

Little by little the clergyman felt himself enforced to withdraw from the
public gaze. There were rough people who were impertinent and timid
people who turned out of their road to avoid him, so that he found his
out-door walks and meditations almost confined to the night, unless he
chose the grave-yard for its seclusion or strolled on the beach and
listened to the wallowing and grunting of the Black Boars--the rocks off
shore that had laughed on the night when the York witch went up the
chimney in a gale. But his life was long and kind and useful, and when at
last the veiled head lay on the pillow it was never to rise from
consciously, a fellow-clergyman came to soothe his dying moments and
commend his soul to mercy.

To him, one evening, Father Moody said, "Brother, my hour is come and the
veil of eternal darkness is falling over my eyes. Men have asked me why I
wear this piece of crape about my face, as if it were not for them a
reminder and a symbol, and I have borne the reason so long within me that
only now have I resolved to tell it. Do you recall the finding of young
Clark beside the river, years ago? He had been shot through the head. The
man who killed him did so by accident, for he was a bosom friend; yet he
could never bring himself to confess the fact, for he dreaded the blame
of his townsmen, the anguish of the dead man's parents, the hate of his
betrothed. It was believed that the killing was a murder, and that some
roving Indian had done it. After years of conscience-darkened life, in
which the face of his dead friend often arose accusingly before him, the
unhappy wretch vowed that he would never again look his fellows openly in
the face: he would pay a penalty and conceal his shame. Then it was that
I put a veil between myself and the world."

Joseph Moody passed away and, as he wished, the veil still hid his face
in the coffin, but the clergyman who had raised it for a moment to
compose his features, found there a serenity and a beauty that were


Some Indians believe that the Thunder Bird is the agent of storm; that
the flashes of his eyes cause lightning and the flapping of his
cloud-vast wings make thunder. Not so the Passamaquoddies, for they hold
that Katahdin's spirit children are Thunders, and in this way an Indian
found them: He had been seeking game along the Penobscot and for weeks
had not met one of his fellow creatures. On a winter day he came on the
print of a pair of snow-shoes; next morning the tracks appeared in
another part of the forest, and so for many days he found them.

After a time it occurred to him to see where these tracks went to, and he
followed them until they merged with others in a travelled road, ending
at a precipice on the side of Katahdin (Great Mountain).

While lost in wonder that so many tracks should lead nowhere, he was
roused by a footfall, and a maiden stepped from the precipice to the
ledge beside him. Though he said nothing, being in awe of her stateliness
and beauty, she replied in kind words to every unspoken thought and bade
him go with her. He approached the rock with fear, but at a touch from
the woman it became as mist, and they entered it together.

Presently they were in a great cave in the heart of Katahdin, where sat
the spirit of the mountain, who welcomed them and asked the girl if her
brothers had come. "I hear them coming," she replied. A blinding flash, a
roar of thunder, and there stepped into the cave two men of giant size
and gravely beautiful faces, hardened at the cheeks and brows to stone.
"These," said the girl to the hunter, "are my brothers, the Thunder and
the Lightning. My father sends them forth whenever there is wrong to
redress, that those who love us may not be smitten. When you hear
Thunder, know that they are shooting at our enemies."

At the end of that day the hunter returned to his home, and behold, he
had been gone seven years. Another legend says that the stone-faced sons
of the mountain adopted him, and that for seven years he was a roaming
Thunder, but at the end of that time while a storm was raging he was
allowed to fall, unharmed, into his own village.


Two brothers, having hunted at the head of the Penobscot until their
snow-shoes and moccasins gave out, looked at each other ruefully and
cried, "Would that there was a woman to help us!" The younger brother
went to the lodge that evening earlier than the elder, in order to
prepare the supper, and great was his surprise on entering the wigwam to
find the floor swept, a fire built, a pot boiling, and their clothing
mended. Returning to the wood he watched the place from a covert until he
saw a graceful girl enter the lodge and take up the tasks of

When he entered she was confused, but he treated her with respect, and
allowed her to have her own way so far as possible, so that they became
warm friends, sporting together like children when the work of the day
was over. But one evening she said, "Your brother is coming. I fear him.
Farewell." And she slipped into the wood. When the young man told his
elder brother what had happened there--the elder having been detained for
a few days in the pursuit of a deer--he declared that he would wish the
woman to come back, and presently, without any summons, she returned,
bringing a toboggan-load of garments and arms. The luck of the hunters
improved, and they remained happily together until spring, when it was
time to return with their furs.

They set off down the Penobscot in their canoe and rowed merrily along,
but as they neared the home village the girl became uneasy, and presently
"threw out her soul"--became clairvoyant--and said, "Let me land here. I
find that your father would not like me, so do not speak to him about
me." But the elder brother told of her when they reached home, whereon
the father exclaimed, "I had feared this. That woman is a sister of the
goblins. She wishes to destroy men."

At this the elder brother was afraid, lest she should cast a spell on
him, and rowing up the river for a distance he came upon her as she was
bathing and shot at her. The arrow seemed to strike, for there was a
flutter of feathers and the woman flew away as a partridge. But the
younger did not forget the good she had done and sought her in the wood,
where for many days they played together as of old.

"I do not blame your father: it is an affair of old, this hate he bears
me," she said. "He will choose a wife for you soon, but do not marry her,
else all will come to an end for you." The man could not wed the witch,
and he might not disobey his father, in spite of this adjuration; so when
the old man said to him, "I have a wife for you, my son," he answered,
"It is well."

They brought the bride to the village, and for four days the
wedding-dance was held, with a feast that lasted four days more. Then
said the young man, "Now comes the end," and lying down on a bear-skin he
sighed a few times and his spirit ascended to the Ghosts' road--the milky
way. The father shook his head, for he knew that this was the witch's
work, and, liking the place no longer, he went away and the tribe was


An Indian girl gathering berries on the side of Mount Katahdin looked up
at its peak, rosy in the afternoon light, and sighed, "I wish that I had
a husband. If Katahdin were a man he might marry me." Her companions
laughed at this quaint conceit, and, filled with confusion at being
overheard, she climbed higher up the slope and was lost to sight. For
three years her tribe lost sight of her; then she came back with a child
in her arms a beautiful boy with brows of stone. The boy had wonderful
power: he had only to point at a moose or a duck or a bear, and it fell
dead, so that the tribe never wanted food. For he was the son of the
Indian girl and the spirit of the mountain, who had commanded her not to
reveal the boy's paternity. Through years she held silence on this point,
holding in contempt, like other Indians, the prying inquiries of gossips
and the teasing of young people, and knowing that Katahdin had designed
the child for the founder of a mighty race, with the sinews of the very
mountains in its frame, that should fill and rule the earth. Yet, one
day, in anger at some slight, the mother spoke: "Fools! Wasps who sting
the fingers that pick you from the water! Why do you torment me about
what you might all see? Look at the boy's face--his brows: in them do you
not see Katahdin? Now you have brought the curse upon yourselves, for you
shall hunt your own venison from this time forth." Leading the child by
the hand she turned toward the mountain and went out from their sight.
And since then the Indians who could not hold their tongues, and who
might otherwise have been great, have dwindled to a little people.


Eastern traditions concerning Hiawatha differ in many respects from those
of the West. In the East he is known as Glooskap, god of the
Passamaquoddies, and his marks are left in many places in the maritime
provinces and Maine. It was he who gave names to things, created men,
filled them with life, and moved their wonder with storms. He lived on
the rocky height of Blomidon, at the entrance to Minas Basin, Nova
Scotia, and the agates to be found along its foot are jewels that he made
for his grandmother's necklace, when he restored her youth. He threw up a
ridge between Fort Cumberland and Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, that he might
cross, dry shod, the lake made by the beavers when they dammed the strait
at Blomidon, but he afterward killed the beavers, and breaking down their
dam he let the lake flow into the sea, and went southward on a hunting
tour. At Mount Desert he killed a moose, whose bones he flung to the
ground at Bar Harbor, where they are still to be seen, turned to stone,
while across the bay he threw the entrails, and they, too, are visible as
rocks, dented with his arrow-points. Mount Kineo was anciently a cow
moose of colossal size that he slew and turned into a height of land, and
the Indians trace the outline of the creature in the uplift to this day.
Little Kineo was a calf moose that he slew at the same time, and Kettle
Mountain is his camp-caldron that he flung to the ground in the ardor of
the chase.


One day in October, 1827, Rev. Charles Sharply rode into Alfred, Maine,
and held service in the meeting-house. After the sermon he announced that
he was going to Waterborough to preach, and that on his circuit he had
collected two hundred and seventy dollars to help build a church in that
village. Would not his hearers add to that sum? They would and did, and
that evening the parson rode away with over three hundred dollars in his
saddlebags. He never appeared in Waterborough. Some of the country people
gave tongue to their fear that the possession of the money had made him
forget his sacred calling and that he had fled the State.

On the morning after his disappearance, however, Deacon Dickerman
appeared in Alfred riding on a horse that was declared to be the
minister's, until the tavern hostler affirmed that the minister's horse
had a white star on forehead and breast, whereas this horse was all
black. The deacon said that he found the horse grazing in his yard at
daybreak, and that he would give it to whoever could prove it to be his
property. Nobody appeared to demand it, and people soon forgot that it
was not his. He extended his business at about that time and prospered;
he became a rich man for a little place; though, as his wealth increased,
he became morose and averse to company.

One day a rumor went around that a belated traveller had seen a misty
thing under "the owl tree" at a turn of a road where owls were hooting,
and that it took on a strange likeness to the missing clergyman.
Dickerman paled when he heard this story, but he shook his head and
muttered of the folly of listening to boy nonsense. Ten years had gone
by-during that time the boys had avoided the owl tree after dark--when a
clergyman of the neighborhood was hastily summoned to see Mr. Dickerman,
who was said to be suffering from overwork. He found the deacon in his
house alone, pacing the floor, his dress disordered, his cheek hectic.

"I have not long to live," said he, "nor would I live longer if I could.
I am haunted day and night, and there is no peace, no rest for me on
earth. They say that Sharply's spirit has appeared at the owl tree. Well,
his body lies there. They accused me of taking his horse. It is true. A
little black dye on his head and breast was all that was needed to
deceive them. Pray for me, for I fear my soul is lost. I killed Sharply."
The clergyman recoiled. "I killed him," the wretched man went on, "for
the money that he had. The devil prospered me with it. In my will I leave
two thousand dollars to his widow and five thousand dollars to the church
he was collecting for. Will there be mercy for me there? I dare not think
it. Go and pray for me." The clergyman hastened away, but was hardly
outside the door when the report of a pistol brought him back. Dickerman
lay dead on the floor. Sharply's body was exhumed from the shade of the
owl tree, and the spot was never haunted after.


There is no doubt that farmer Lovel had read ancient history or he would
not have been so ready in the emergency that befell him one time in the
last century. He had settled among the New Hampshire hills near the site
that is now occupied by the village of Washington and had a real good
time there with bears and Indians. It was when he was splitting rails on
Lovel Mountain--they named it for him afterward--that he found himself
surrounded by six Indians, who told him that he was their prisoner. He
agreed that they had the advantage over him and said that he would go
quietly along if they would allow him to finish the big chestnut log that
he was at work on. As he was a powerful fellow and was armed with an axe
worth any two of their tomahawks, and as he would be pretty sure to have
the life of at least one of them if they tried to drive him faster than
he wanted to go, they consented. He said that he would be ready all the
sooner if they would help him to pull the big log apart, and they agreed
to help him. Driving a wedge into the long split he asked them to take
hold, and when they had done this he knocked out the wedge with a single
blow and the twelve hands were caught tight in the closing wood. Struggle
as the savages might, they could not get free, and after calmly enjoying
the situation for a few minutes he walked slowly from one to the other
and split open the heads of all six. Then he went to work again splitting
up more chestnuts.


The isles of Shoals, a little archipelago of wind and wave-swept rocks
that may be seen on clear days from the New Hampshire coast, have been
the scene of some mishaps and some crimes. On Boone Island, where the
Nottingham galley went down one hundred and fifty years ago, the
survivors turned cannibals to escape starvation, while Haley's Island is
peopled by shipwrecked Spanish ghosts that hail vessels and beg for
passage back to their country. The pirate Teach, or Blackbeard, used to
put in at these islands to hide his treasure, and one of his lieutenants
spent some time on White Island with a beautiful girl whom he had
abducted from her home in Scotland and who, in spite of his rough life,
had learned to love him. It was while walking with her on this rock,
forgetful of his trade and the crimes he had been stained with, that one
of his men ran up to report a sail that was standing toward the islands.
The pirate ship was quickly prepared for action, but before embarking,
mindful of possible flight or captivity, the lieutenant made his mistress
swear that she would guard the buried treasure if it should be till

The ship he was hurrying to meet came smoothly on until the pirate craft
was well in range, when ports flew open along the stranger's sides, guns
were run out, and a heavy broadside splintered through the planks of the
robber galley. It was a man-of-war, not a merchantman, that had run
Blackbeard down. The war-ship closed and grappled with the corsair, but
while the sailors were standing at the chains ready to leap aboard and
complete the subjugation of the outlaws a mass of flame burst from the
pirate ship, both vessels were hurled in fragments through the air, and a
roar went for miles along the sea. Blackbeard's lieutenant had fired the
magazine rather than submit to capture, and had blown the two ships into
a common ruin. A few of both crews floated to the islands on planks, sore
from burns and bruises, but none survived the cold and hunger of the
winter. The pirate's mistress was among the first to die; still, true to
her promise, she keeps her watch, and at night is dimly seen on a rocky
point gazing toward the east, her tall figure enveloped in a cloak, her
golden hair unbound upon her shoulders, her pale face still as marble.


This beautiful alp in the White Mountains commemorates in its name a
prophet of the Pequawket tribe who, prior to undertaking a journey, had
confided his son to a friendly settler, Cornelius Campbell, of Tamworth.
The boy found some poison in the house that had been prepared for foxes,
and, thinking it to be some delicacy, he drank of it and died. When
Chocorua returned he could not be persuaded that his son had fallen
victim to his own ignorance, but ascribed his death to the white man's
treachery, and one day, when Campbell entered his cabin from the fields,
he found there the corpses of his wife and children scalped and mangled.

He was not a man to lament at such a time: hate was stronger than sorrow.
A fresh trail led from his door. Seizing his rifle he set forth in
pursuit of the murderer. A mark in the dust, a bent grass blade, a torn
leaf-these were guides enough, and following on through bush and swamp
and wood they led him to this mountain, and up the slope he scrambled
breathlessly. At the summit, statue-like, Chocorua stood. He saw the
avenger coming, and knew himself unarmed, but he made no attempt to
escape his doom. Drawing himself erect and stretching forth his hands he
invoked anathema on his enemies in these words: "A curse upon you, white
men! May the Great Spirit curse you when he speaks in the clouds, and his
words are fire! Chocorua had a son and you killed him while the sky
looked bright. Lightning blast your crops! Winds and fire destroy your
dwellings! The Evil One breathe death upon your cattle! Your graves lie
in the war-path of the Indian! Panthers howl and wolves fatten over your
bones! Chocorua goes to the Great Spirit. His curse stays with the white

The report of Campbell's rifle echoed from the ledges and Chocorua leaped
into the air, plunging to the rocks below. His mangled remains were
afterward found and buried near the Tamworth path. The curse had its
effect, for pestilence and storm devastated the surrounding country and
the smaller settlements were abandoned. Campbell became a morose hermit,
and was found dead in his bed two years afterward.


The personality of Passaconaway, the powerful chief and prophet, is
involved in doubt, but there can be no misprision of his wisdom. By some
historians he has been made one with St. Aspenquid, the earliest of
native missionaries among the Indians, who, after his conversion by
French Jesuits, travelled from Maine to the Pacific, preaching to
sixty-six tribes, healing the sick and working miracles, returning to die
at the age of ninety-four. He was buried on the top of Agamenticus,
Maine, where his manes were pacified with offerings of three thousand
slain animals, and where his tombstone stood for a century after, bearing
the legend, "Present, useful; absent, wanted; living, desired; dying,

By others Passaconaway is regarded as a different person. The Child of
the Bear--to English his name--was the chief of the Merrimacs and a
convert of the apostle Eliot. Natives and colonists alike admired him for
his eloquence, his bravery, and his virtue. Before his conversion he was
a reputed wizard who sought by magic arts to repel the invasion of his
woods and mountains by the white men, invoking the spirits of nature
against them from the topmost peak of the Agiochooks, and his native
followers declared that in pursuance of this intent he made water burn,
rocks move, trees dance, and transformed himself into a mass of flame.

Such was his power over the forces of the earth that he could burn a tree
in winter and from its ashes bring green leaves; he made dead wood
blossom and a farmer's flail to bud, while a snake's skin he could cause
to run. At the age of one hundred and twenty he retired from his tribe
and lived in a lonely wigwam among the Pennacooks. One winter night the
howling of wolves was heard, and a pack came dashing through the village
harnessed by threes to a sledge of hickory saplings that bore a tall
throne spread with furs. The wolves paused at Passaconaway's door. The
old chief came forth, climbed upon the sledge, and was borne away with a
triumphal apostrophe that sounded above the yelping and snarling of his
train. Across Winnepesaukee's frozen surface they sped like the wind, and
the belated hunter shrank aside as he saw the giant towering against the
northern lights and heard his death-song echo from the cliffs. Through
pathless woods, across ravines, the wolves sped on, with never slackened
speed, into the mazes of the Agiochooks to that highest peak we now call
Washington. Up its steep wilderness of snow the ride went furiously; the
summit was neared, the sledge burst into flame, still there was no pause;
the height was gained, the wolves went howling into darkness, but the
car, wrapped in sheaves of fire, shot like a meteor toward the sky and
was lost amid the stars of the winter night. So passed the Indian king to


Water-Goblins from the streams about Katahdin had left their birthplace
and journeyed away to the Agiochooks, making their presence known to the
Indians of that region by thefts and loss of life. When the manitou,
Glooskap, learned that these goblins were eating human flesh and
committing other outrages, he took on their own form, turning half his
body into stone, and went in search of them. The wigwam had been pitched
near the Home of the Water Fairies,--a name absurdly changed by the
people of North Conway to Diana's Bath,--and on entering he was invited
to take meat. The tail of a whale was cooked and offered to him, but
after he had taken it upon his knees one of the goblins exclaimed, "That
is too good for a beggar like you," and snatched it away. Glooskap had
merely to wish the return of the dainty when it flew back into his
platter. Then he took the whale's jaw, and snapped it like a reed; he
filled his pipe and burned the tobacco to ashes in one inhalation; when
his hosts closed the wigwam and smoked vigorously, intending to foul the
air and stupefy him, he enjoyed it, while they grew sick; so they
whispered to each other, "This is a mighty magician, and we must try his
powers in another way."

A game of ball was proposed, and, adjourning to a sandy level at the bend
of the Saco, they began to play, but Glooskap found that the ball was a
hideous skull that rolled and snapped at him and would have torn his
flesh had it not been immortal and immovable from his bones. He crushed
it at a blow, and breaking off the bough of a tree he turned it by a word
into a skull ten times larger than the other that flew after the wicked
people as a wildcat leaps upon a rabbit. Then the god stamped on the
sands and all the springs were opened in the mountains, so that the Saco
came rising through the valley with a roar that made the nations tremble.
The goblins were caught in the flood and swept into the sea, where
Glooskap changed them into fish.


From times of old these noble hills have been the scenes of supernatural
visitations and mysterious occurrences. The tallest peak of the
Agiochooks--as they were, in Indian naming--was the seat of God himself,
and the encroachment there of the white man was little liked. Near
Fabyan's was once a mound, since levelled by pick and spade, that was
known as the Giant's Grave. Ethan Allen Crawford, a skilful hunter,
daring explorer, and man of herculean frame, lived, died, and is buried
here, and near the ancient hillock he built one of the first public
houses in the mountains. It was burned. Another, and yet another hostelry
was builded on the site, but they likewise were destroyed by fire. Then
the enterprise was abandoned, for it was remembered that an Indian once
mounted this grave, waved a torch from its top, and cried in a loud
voice, "No pale-face shall take root on this spot. This has the Great
Spirit whispered in my ear."

Governor Wentworth, while on a lonely tour through his province, found
this cabin of Crawford's and passed a night there, tendering many
compliments to the austere graces of the lady of the house and drinking
himself into the favor of the husband, who proclaimed him the prince of
good fellows. On leaving, the guest exacted of Crawford a visit to
Wolfeborough, where he was to inquire for "Old Wentworth." This visit was
undertaken soon after, and the sturdy frontiersman was dismayed at
finding himself in the house of the royal governor; but his reception was
hearty enough to put him at his ease, and when he returned to the
mountains he carried in his pocket a deed of a thousand acres of forest
about his little farm. The family that he founded became wealthy and
increased, by many an acre, the measure of that royal grant.

Not far below this spot, in the wildest part of the Notch, shut in by
walls of rock thousands of feet high, is the old Willey House, and this,
too, was the scene of a tragedy, for in 1826 a storm loosened the soil on
Mount Willey and an enormous landslide occurred. The people in the house
rushed forth on hearing the approach of the slide and met death almost at
their door. Had they remained within they would have been unharmed, for
the avalanche was divided by a wedge of rock behind the house, and the
little inn was saved. Seven people are known to have been killed, and it
was rumored that there was another victim in a young man whose name was
unknown and who was walking through the mountains to enjoy their beauty.
The messenger who bore the tidings of the destruction of the family was
barred from reaching North Conway by the flood in the Saco, so he stood
at the brink of the foaming river and rang a peal on a trumpet. This
blast echoing around the hills in the middle of the night roused several
men from their beds to know its meaning. The dog belonging to the inn is
said to have given first notice to people below the Notch that something
was wrong, but his moaning and barking were misunderstood, and after
running back and forth, as if to summon help, he disappeared. At the hour
of the accident James Willey, of Conway, had a dream in which he saw his
dead brother standing by him. He related the story of the catastrophe to
the sleeping man and said that when "the world's last knell" sounded they
were going for safety to the foot of the steep mountain, for the Saco had
risen twenty-four feet in seven hours and threatened to ingulf them in

Another spot of interest in the Notch is Nancy's Brook. It was at the
point where this stream comes foaming from Mount Nancy into the great
ravine that the girl whose name is given to it was found frozen to death
in a shroud of snow in the fall of 1788. She had set out alone from
Jefferson in search of a young farmer who was to have married her, and
walked thirty miles through trackless snow between sunset and dawn. Then
her strength gave out and she sank beside the road never to rise again.
Her recreant lover went mad with remorse when he learned the manner of
her death and did not long survive her, and men who have traversed the
savage passes of the Notch on chill nights in October have fancied that
they heard, above the clash of the stream and whispering of the woods,
long, shuddering groans mingled with despairing cries and gibbering

The birth of Peabody River came about from a cataclysm of less violent
nature than some of the avalanches that have so scarred the mountains. In
White's "History of New England," Mr. Peabody, for whom the stream is
named, is reported as having taken shelter in an Indian cabin on the
heights where the river has its source. During the night a loud roaring
waked the occupants of the hut and they sprang forth, barely in time to
save their lives; for, hardly had they gained the open ground before a
cavern burst open in the hill and a flood of water gushed out, sweeping
away the shelter and cutting a broad swath through the forest.

Although the Pilot Mountains are supposed to have taken their name from
the fact that they served as landmarks to hunters who were seeking the
Connecticut River from the Lancaster district, an old story is still told
of one Willard, who was lost amid the defiles of this range, and nearly
perished with hunger. While lying exhausted on the mountainside his dog
would leave him every now and then and return after a couple of hours.
Though Willard was half dead, he determined to use his last strength in
following the animal, and as a result was led by a short cut to his own
camp, where provisions were plenty, and where the intelligent creature
had been going for food. The dog was christened Pilot, in honor of this
service, and the whole range is thought by many to be named in his honor.

Waternomee Falls, on Hurricane Creek, at Warren, are bordered with rich
moss where fairies used to dance and sing in the moonlight. These sprites
were the reputed children of Indians that had been stolen from their
wigwams and given to eat of fairy bread, that dwarfed and changed them in
a moment. Barring their kidnapping practices the elves were an innocent
and joyous people, and they sought more distant hiding-places in the
wilderness when the stern churchmen and cruel rangers penetrated their
sylvan precincts.

An old barrack story has it that Lieutenant Chamberlain, who fought under
Lovewell, was pursued along the base of Melvin Peak by Indians and was
almost in their grasp when he reached Ossipee Falls. It seemed as if
there were no alternative between death by the tomahawk and death by a
fall to the rocks below, for the chasm here is eighteen feet wide; but
without stopping to reckon chances he put his strength into a running
jump, and to the amazement of those in pursuit and perhaps to his own
surprise he cleared the gap and escaped into the woods. The foremost of
the Indians attempted the leap, but plunged to his death in the ravine.

The Eagle Range was said to be the abode, two hundred years ago, of a man
of strange and venerable appearance, whom the Indians regarded with
superstitious awe and never tried to molest. He slept in a cave on the
south slope and ranged the forest in search of game, muttering and
gesturing to himself. He is thought to be identified with Thomas Crager,
whose wife had been hanged in Salem as a witch, and whose only child had
been stolen by Indians. After a long, vain search for the little one he
gave way to a bitter moroseness, and avoided the habitations of civilized
man and savages alike. It is a satisfaction to know that before he died
he found his daughter, though she was the squaw of an Indian hunter and
was living with his tribe on the shore of the St. Lawrence.


There are many traditions connected with Mount Adams that have faded out
of memory. Old people remember that in their childhood there was talk of
the discovery of a magic stone; of an Indian's skeleton that appeared in
a speaking storm; of a fortune-teller that set off on a midnight quest,
far up among the crags and eyries. In October, 1765, a detachment of nine
of Rogers's Rangers began the return from a Canadian foray, bearing with
them plate, candlesticks, and a silver statue that they had rifled from
the Church of St. Francis. An Indian who had undertaken to guide the
party through the Notch proved faithless, and led them among labyrinthine
gorges to the head of Israel's River, where he disappeared, after
poisoning one of the troopers with a rattlesnake's fang. Losing all
reckoning, the Rangers tramped hither and thither among the snowy hills
and sank down, one by one, to die in the wilderness, a sole survivor
reaching a settlement after many days, with his knapsack filled with
human flesh.

In 1816 the candlesticks were recovered near Lake Memphremagog, but the
statue has never been laid hold upon. The spirits of the famished men
were wont, for many winters, to cry in the woods, and once a hunter,
camped on the side of Mount Adams, was awakened at midnight by the notes
of an organ. The mists were rolling off, and he found that he had gone to
sleep near a mighty church of stone that shone in soft light. The doors
were flung back, showing a tribe of Indians kneeling within. Candles
sparkled on the altar, shooting their rays through clouds of incense, and
the rocks shook with thunder-gusts of music. Suddenly church, lights,
worshippers vanished, and from the mists came forth a line of uncouth
forms, marching in silence. As they started to descend the mountain a
silver image, floating in the air, spread a pair of gleaming pinions and
took flight, disappearing in the chaos of battlemented rocks above.


High on the eastern face of Mount Monroe shone the Great Carbuncle, its
flash scintillating for miles by day, its dusky crimson glowing among the
ledges at night. The red men said that it hung in the air, and that the
soul of an Indian--killed, that he might guard the spot--made approach
perilous to men of all complexions and purposes. As late as Ethan
Crawford's time one search band took a "good man" to lay the watcher,
when they strove to scale the height, but they returned "sorely bruised,
treasureless, and not even saw that wonderful sight." The value of the
stone tempted many, but those who sought it had to toil through a dense
forest, and on arriving at the mountain found its glories eclipsed by
intervening abutments, nor could they get near it. Rocks covered with
crystals, at first thought to be diamonds, were readily despoiled of
their treasure, but the Great Carbuncle burned on, two thousand feet
above them, at the head of the awful chasm of Oakes Gulf, and baffled
seekers likened it to the glare of an evil eye.

There was one who had grown old in searching for this gem, often
scrambling over the range in wind and snow and cloud, and at last he
reached a precipitous spot he had never attained before. Great was his
joy, for the Carbuncle was within his reach, blazing into his eyes in the
noon sunlight as if it held, crystallized in its depths, the brightness
of all the wine that had ever gladdened the tired hearts of men. There
were rivals in the search, and on reaching the plateau they looked up and
saw him kneeling on a narrow ledge with arms extended as in rapture. They
called to him. He answered not. He was dead--dead of joy and triumph.
While they looked a portion of the crag above him fell away and rolled
from rock to rock, marking its course with flashes of bloody fire, until
it reached the Lake of the Clouds, and the waters of that tarn drowned
its glory. Yet those waters are not always black, and sometimes the
hooked crest of Mount Monroe is outlined against the night sky in a ruddy


The abhorrence to paying taxes and duties--or any other levy from which
an immediate and personal good is not promised--is too deeply rooted in
human nature to be affected by statutes, and whenever it is possible to
buy commodities that have escaped the observation of the revenue officers
many are tempted to do so for the mere pleasure of defying the law. In
the early part of this century the northern farmers and their wives were,
in a way, providing themselves with laces, silver-ware, brandy, and other
protected and dreadful articles, on which it was evident that somebody
had forgotten to pay duty. The customs authorities on the American side
of the border were long puzzled by the irruption of these forbidden
things, but suspicion ultimately fell on a fellow of gigantic size, named

It was believed that this outlaw carried on the crime of free trade after
sunset, hiding his merchandise by day on the islands of Lake
Memphremagog. This delightful sheet of water lies half in Canada and half
in Vermont--agreeably to the purpose of such as he. Province Island is
still believed to contain buried treasure, but the rock that contains
Skinner's Cave was the smuggler's usual haunt, and when pursued he rowed
to this spot and effected a disappearance, because he entered the cave on
the northwest side, where it was masked by shrubbery. One night the
officers landed on this island after he had gone into hiding, and after
diligent search discovered his boat drawn up in a covert. They pushed it
into the lake, where the winds sent it adrift, and, his communication
with the shore thus cut off, the outlaw perished miserably of hunger. His
skeleton was found in the cavern some years later.


In the lower part of the township of Cavendish, Vermont, the Black River
seeks a lower level through a gorge in the foot-hills of the Green
Mountains. The scenery here is romantic and impressive, for the river
makes its way along the ravine in a series of falls and rapids that are
overhung by trees and ledges, while the geologist finds something worth
looking at in the caves and pot-holes that indicate an older level of the
river. At a turn in the ravine rises the sheer precipice of Lover's Leap.
It is a vertical descent of about eighty feet, the water swirling at its
foot in a black and angry maelstrom. It is a spot whence lovers might
easily step into eternity, were they so disposed, and the name fits
delightfully into the wild and somber scene; but ask any good villager
thereabout to relate the legend of the place and he will tell you this:

About forty years ago a couple of young farmers went to the Leap--which
then had no name--to pry out some blocks of the schistose rock for a
foundation wall. They found a good exposure of the rock beneath the turf
and began to quarry it. In the earnestness of the work one of the men
forgot that he was standing on the verge of a precipice, and through a
slip of his crowbar he lost his balance and went reeling into the gulf.
His horrified companion crept to the edge, expecting to see his mangled
corpse tossing in the whirlpool, but, to his amazement, the unfortunate
was crawling up the face of a huge table of stone that had fallen from
the opposite wall and lay canted against it.

"Hello!" shouted the man overhead. "Are you hurt much?"

The victim of the accident slowly got upon his feet, felt cautiously of
his legs and ribs, and began to search through his pockets, his face
betraying an anxiety that grew deeper and deeper as the search went on.
In due time the answer came back, deliberate, sad, and nasal, but
distinct above the roar of the torrent: "Waal, I ain't hurt much, but
I'll be durned if I haven't lost my jack-knife!"

And he was pulled out of the gorge without it.


The extraordinary delusion recorded as Salem witchcraft was but a
reflection of a kindred insanity in the Old World that was not extirpated
until its victims had been counted by thousands. That human beings should
be accused of leaguing themselves with Satan to plague their fellows and
overthrow the powers of righteousness is remarkable, but that they should
admit their guilt is incomprehensible, albeit the history of every
popular delusion shows that weak minds are so affected as to lose control
of themselves and that a whimsey can be as epidemic as small-pox.

Such was the case in 1692 when the witchcraft madness, which might have
been stayed by a seasonable spanking, broke out in Danvers,
Massachusetts, the first victim being a wild Irishwoman, named Glover,
and speedily involved the neighboring community of Salem. The mischiefs
done by witches were usually trifling, and it never occurred to their
prosecutors that there was an inconsistency between their pretended
powers and their feeble deeds, or that it was strange that those who
might live in regal luxury should be so wretchedly poor. Aches and pains,
blight of crops, disease of cattle, were charged to them; children
complained of being pricked with thorns and pins (the pins are still
preserved in Salem), and if hysterical girls spoke the name of any feeble
old woman, while in flighty talk, they virtually sentenced her to die.
The word of a child of eleven years sufficed to hang, burn, or drown a

Giles Corey, a blameless man of eighty, was condemned to the mediaeval
_peine forte et dure_, his body being crushed beneath a load of rocks and
timbers. He refused to plead in court, and when the beams were laid upon
him he only cried, "More weight!" The shade of the unhappy victim haunted
the scene of his execution for years, and always came to warn the people
of calamities. A child of five and a dog were also hanged after formal
condemnation. Gallows Hill, near Salem, witnessed many sad tragedies, and
the old elm that stood on Boston Common until 1876 was said to have
served as a gallows for witches and Quakers. The accuser of one day was
the prisoner of the next, and not even the clergy were safe.

A few escapes were made, like that of a blue-eyed maid of Wenham, whose
lover aided her to break the wooden jail and carried her safely beyond
the Merrimac, finding a home for her among the Quakers; and that of Miss
Wheeler, of Salem, who had fallen under suspicion, and whose brothers
hurried her into a boat, rowed around Cape Ann, and safely bestowed her
in "the witch house" at Pigeon Cove. Many, however, fled to other towns
rather than run the risk of accusation, which commonly meant death.

When the wife of Philip English was arrested he, too, asked to share her
fate, and both were, through friendly intercession, removed to Boston,
where they were allowed to have their liberty by day on condition that
they would go to jail every night. Just before they were to be taken back
to Salem for trial they went to church and heard the Rev. Joshua Moody
preach from the text, "If they persecute you in one city, flee unto
another." The good clergyman not only preached goodness, but practised
it, and that night the door of their prison was opened. Furnished with an
introduction from Governor Phipps to Governor Fletcher, of New York, they
made their way to that settlement, and remained there in safe and
courteous keeping until the people of Salem had regained their senses,
when they returned. Mrs. English died, soon after, from the effects of
cruelty and anxiety, and although Mr. Moody was generally commended for
his substitution of sense and justice for law, there were bigots who
persecuted him so constantly that he removed to Plymouth.

According to the belief of the time a witch or wizard compacted with
Satan for the gift of supernatural power, and in return was to give up
his soul to the evil one after his life was over. The deed was signed in
blood of the witch and horrible ceremonies confirmed the compact. Satan
then gave his ally a familiar in the form of a dog, ape, cat, or other
animal, usually small and black, and sometimes an undisguised imp. To
suckle these "familiars" with the blood of a witch was forbidden in
English law, which ranked it as a felony; but they were thus nourished in
secret, and by their aid the witch might raise storms, blight crops,
abort births, lame cattle, topple over houses, and cause pains,
convulsions, and illness. If she desired to hurt a person she made a clay
or waxen image in his likeness, and the harms and indignities wreaked on
the puppet would be suffered by the one bewitched, a knife or needle
thrust in the waxen body being felt acutely by the living one, no matter
how far distant he might be. By placing this image in running water, hot
sunshine, or near a fire, the living flesh would waste as this melted or
dissolved, and the person thus wrought upon would die. This belief is
still current among negroes affected by the voodoo superstitions of the
South. The witch, too, had the power of riding winds, usually with a
broomstick for a conveyance, after she had smeared the broom or herself
with magic ointment, and the flocking of the unhallowed to their sabbaths
in snaky bogs or on lonely mountain tops has been described minutely by
those who claim to have seen the sight. Sometimes they cackled and
gibbered through the night before the houses of the clergy, and it was
only at Christmas that their power failed them. The meetings were devoted
to wild and obscene orgies, and the intercourse of fiends and witches
begot a progeny of toads and snakes.

Naturally the Indians were accused, for they recognized the existence of
both good and evil spirits, their medicine-men cured by incantations in
the belief that devils were thus driven out of their patients, and in the
early history of the country the red man was credited by white settlers
with powers hardly inferior to those of the oriental and European
magicians of the middle ages. Cotton Mather detected a relation between
Satan and the Indians, and he declares that certain of the Algonquins
were trained from boyhood as powahs, powwows, or wizards, acquiring
powers of second sight and communion with gods and spirits through
abstinence from food and sleep and the observance of rites. Their severe
discipline made them victims of nervous excitement and the
responsibilities of conjuration had on their minds an effect similar to
that produced by gases from the rift in Delphos on the Apollonian
oracles, their manifestations of insanity or frenzy passing for deific or
infernal possession. When John Gibb, a Scotchman, who had gone mad
through religious excitement, was shipped to this country by his tired
fellow-countrymen, the Indians hailed him as a more powerful wizard than
any of their number, and he died in 1720, admired and feared by them
because of the familiarity with spirits out of Hobbomocko (hell) that his
ravings and antics were supposed to indicate. Two Indian servants of the
Reverend Mr. Purvis, of Salem, having tried by a spell to discover a
witch, were executed as witches themselves. The savages, who took Salem
witchcraft at its worth, were astonished at its deadly effect, and the
English may have lost some influence over the natives in consequence of
this madness. "The Great Spirit sends no witches to the French," they
said. Barrow Hill, near Amesbury, was said to be the meeting-place for
Indian powwows and witches, and at late hours of the night the light of
fires gleamed from its top, while shadowy forms glanced athwart it. Old
men say that the lights are still there in winter, though modern doubters
declare that they were the aurora borealis.

But the belief in witches did not die even when the Salem people came to
their senses. In the Merrimac valley the devil found converts for many
years after: Goody Mose, of Rocks village, who tumbled down-stairs when a
big beetle was killed at an evening party, some miles away, after it had
been bumping into the faces of the company; Goody Whitcher, of Ameshury,
whose loom kept banging day and night after she was dead; Goody Sloper,
of West Newbury, who went home lame directly that a man had struck his
axe into the beam of a house that she had bewitched, but who recovered
her strength and established an improved reputation when, in 1794, she
swam out to a capsized boat and rescued two of the people who were in
peril; Goodman Nichols, of Rocks village, who "spelled" a neighbor's son,
compelling him to run up one end of the house, along the ridge, and down
the other end, "troubling the family extremely by his strange
proceedings;" Susie Martin, also of Rocks, who was hanged in spite of her
devotions in jail, though the rope danced so that it could not be tied,
but a crow overhead called for a withe and the law was executed with
that; and Goody Morse, of Market and High Streets, Newburyport, whose
baskets and pots danced through her house continually and who was seen
"flying about the sun as if she had been cut in twain, or as if the devil
did hide the lower part of her." The hill below Easton, Pennsylvania,
called Hexenkopf (Witch's head), was described by German settlers as a
place of nightly gathering for weird women, who whirled about its top in
"linked dances" and sang in deep tones mingled with awful laughter. After
one of these women, in Williams township, had been punished for
enchanting a twenty-dollar horse, their sabbaths were held more quietly.
Mom Rinkle, whose "rock" is pointed out beside the Wissahickon, in
Philadelphia, "drank dew from acorn-cups and had the evil eye." Juan
Perea, of San Mateo, New Mexico, would fly with his chums to meetings in
the mountains in the shape of a fire-ball. During these sallies he left
his own eyes at home and wore those of some brute animal. It was because
his dog ate his eyes when he had carelessly put them on a table that he
had always afterward to wear those of a cat. Within the present century
an old woman who lived in a hut on the Palisades of the Hudson was held
to be responsible for local storms and accidents. As late as 1889 two
Zuni Indians were hanged on the wall of an old Spanish church near their
pueblo in Arizona on a charge of having blown away the rainclouds in a
time of drouth. It was held that there was something uncanny in the event
that gave the name of Gallows Hill to an eminence near Falls Village,
Connecticut, for a strange black man was found hanging, dead, to a tree
near its top one morning.

Moll Pitcher, a successful sorcerer and fortune-teller of old Lynn, has
figured in obsolete poems, plays, and romances. She lived in a cottage at
the foot of High Rock, where she was consulted, not merely by people of
respectability, but by those who had knavish schemes to prosecute and who
wanted to learn in advance the outcome of their designs. Many a ship was
deserted at the hour of sailing because she boded evil of the voyage. She
was of medium height, big-headed, tangle-haired, long-nosed, and had a
searching black eye. The sticks that she carried were cut from a hazel
that hung athwart a brook where an unwedded mother had drowned her child.
A girl who went to her for news of her lover lost her reason when the
witch, moved by a malignant impulse, described his death in a fiercely
dramatic manner. One day the missing ship came bowling into port, and the
shock of joy that the girl experienced when the sailor clasped her in his
arms restored her erring senses. When Moll Pitcher died she was attended
by the little daughter of the woman she had so afflicted.

John, or Edward, Dimond, grandfather of Moll Pitcher, was a benevolent
wizard. When vessels were trying to enter the port of Marblehead in a
heavy gale or at night, their crews were startled to hear a trumpet voice
pealing from the skies, plainly audible above the howling and hissing of
any tempest, telling them how to lay their course so as to reach smooth
water. This was the voice of Dimond, speaking from his station, miles
away in the village cemetery. He always repaired to this place in
troublous weather and shouted orders to the ships that were made visible
to him by mystic power as he strode to and fro among the graves. When
thieves came to him for advice he charmed them and made them take back
their plunder or caused them to tramp helplessly about the streets
bearing heavy burdens.

"Old Mammy Redd, of Marblehead, Sweet milk could turn to mould in churn."

Being a witch, and a notorious one, she could likewise curdle the milk as
it came from the cow, and afterward transform it into blue wool. She had
the evil eye, and, if she willed, her glance or touch could blight like
palsy. It only needed that she should wish a bloody cleaver to be found
in a cradle to cause the little occupant to die, while the whole town
ascribed to her the annoyances of daily housework and business. Her
unpleasant celebrity led to her death at the hands of her fellow-citizens
who had been "worrited" by no end of queer happenings: ships had appeared
just before they were wrecked and had vanished while people looked at
them; men were seen walking on the water after they had been comfortably
buried; the wind was heard to name the sailors doomed never to return;
footsteps and voices were heard in the streets before the great were to
die; one man was chased by a corpse in its coffin; another was pursued by
the devil in a carriage drawn by four white horses; a young woman who had
just received a present of some fine fish from her lover was amazed to
see him melt into the air, and was heart-broken when she learned next
morning that he had died at sea. So far away as Amesbury the devil's
power was shown by the appearance of a man who walked the roads carrying
his head under his arm, and by the freak of a windmill that the miller
always used to shut up at sundown but that started by itself at midnight.
Evidently it was high time to be rid of Mammy Redd.

Margaret Wesson, "old Meg," lived in Gloucester until she came to her
death by a shot fired at the siege of Louisburg, five hundred miles away,
in 1745. Two soldiers of Gloucester, while before the walls of the French
town, were annoyed by a crow, that flew over and around them, cawing
harshly and disregarding stones and shot, until it occurred to them that
the bird could be no other than old Meg in another form, and, as silver
bullets are an esteemed antidote for the evils of witchcraft, they cut
two silver buttons from their uniforms and fired them at the crow. At the
first shot its leg was broken; at the second, it fell dead. On returning
to Gloucester they learned that old Meg had fallen and broken her leg at
the moment when the crow was fired on, and that she died quickly after.
An examination of her body was made, and the identical buttons were
extracted from her flesh that had been shot into the crow at Louisburg.

As a citizen of New Haven was riding home--this was at the time of the
goings on at Salem--he saw shapes of women near his horse's head,
whispering earnestly together and keeping time with the trot of his
animal without effort of their own. "In the name of God, tell me who you
are," cried the traveller, and at the name of God they vanished. Next day
the man's orchard was shaken by viewless hands and the fruit thrown down.
Hogs ran about the neighborhood on their hind legs; children cried that
somebody was sticking pins into them; one man would roll across the floor
as if pushed, and he had to be watched lest he should go into the fire;
when housewives made their bread they found it as full of hair as food in
a city boarding-house; when they made soft soap it ran from the kettle
and over the floor like lava; stones fell down chimneys and smashed
crockery. One of the farmers cut off an ear from a pig that was walking
on its hind legs, and an eccentric old body of the neighborhood appeared
presently with one of her ears in a muffle, thus satisfying that
community that she had caused the troubles. When a woman was making
potash it began to leap about, and a rifle was fired into the pot,
causing a sudden calm. In the morning the witch was found dead on her
floor. Yet killing only made her worse, for she moved to a deserted house
near her own, and there kept a mad revel every night; fiddles were heard,
lights flashed, stones were thrown, and yells gave people at a distance a
series of cold shivers; but the populace tried the effect of tearing down
the house, and quiet was brought to the town.

In the early days of this century a skinny old woman known as Aunt
Woodward lived by herself in a log cabin at Minot Corner, Maine, enjoying
the awe of the people in that secluded burg. They moved around but little
at night, on her account, and one poor girl was in mortal fear lest by
mysterious arts she should be changed, between two days, into a white
horse. One citizen kept her away from his house by nailing a horseshoe to
his door, while another took the force out of her spells by keeping a
branch of "round wood" at his threshold. At night she haunted a big,
square house where the ghost of a murdered infant was often heard to cry,
and by day she laid charms on her neighbors' provisions and utensils, and
turned their cream to buttermilk. "Uncle" Blaisdell hurried into the
settlement to tell the farmers that Aunt Woodward had climbed into his
sled in the middle of the road, and that his four yoke of oxen could not
stir it an inch, but that after she had leaped down one yoke of cattle
drew the load of wood without an effort. Yet she died in her bed.


Strange things had been reported in Gloucester. On the eve of King
Philip's War the march of men was heard in its streets and an Indian bow
and scalp were seen on the face of the moon, while the boom of cannon and
roll of drums were heard at Malden and the windows of Plymouth rattled to
the passage of unseen horsemen. But the strangest thing was the arrival
on Cape Ann of a force of French and Indians that never could be caught,
killed, or crippled, though two regiments were hurried into Gloucester
and battled with them for a fortnight. Thus, the rumor went around that
these were not an enemy of flesh and blood, but devils who hoped to work
a moral perversion of the colony. From 1692, when they appeared, until
Salem witchcraft was at an end, Cape Ann was under military and spiritual
guard against "the spectre leaguers."

Another version of the episode, based on sworn evidence, has it that
Ebenezer Babson, returning late on a summer night, saw two men run from
his door and vanish in a field. His family denied that visitors had
called, so he gave chase, for he believed the men to have a mischievous
intention. As he left the threshold they sprang from behind a log, one
saying to the other, "The master of the house is now come, else we might
have taken the house," and again they disappeared in a swamp. Babson woke
the guard, and on entering the quarters of the garrison the sound of many
feet was heard without, but when the doors were flung open only the two
men were visible and they were retreating. Next evening the yeoman was
chased by these elusive gentry, who were believed to be scouts of the
enemy, for they wore white breeches and waistcoats and carried bright

For several nights they appeared, and on the 4th of July half a dozen of
them were seen so plainly that the soldiers made a sally, Babson bringing
three of "ye unaccountable troublers" to the ground with a single shot,
and getting a response in kind, for a bullet hissed by his ear and buried
itself in a tree. When the company approached the place where lay the
victims of that remarkable shot, behold, they arose and scampered away as
blithely as if naught had happened to them. One of the trio was cornered
and shot anew, but when they would pick him up he melted into air. There
was fierce jabbering in an unknown tongue, through all the swamp, and by
the time the garrison had returned the fellows were skulking in the
shrubbery again. Richard Dolliver afterward came on eleven of them
engaged in incantations and scattered them with a gunshot, but they would
not down. They lurked about the cape until terror fell on all the people,
remaining for "the best part of a month together," so it was deemed that
"Satan had set ambushments against the good people of Gloucester, with
demons in the shape of armed Indians and Frenchmen."

Stones were thrown, barns were beaten with clubs, the marching of unseen
hosts was heard after dark, the mockers grew so bold that they ventured
close to the redoubtable Babson, gazed scornfully down the barrel of his
gun, and laid a charm on the weapon, so that, no matter how often he
snapped it at them, it flashed in the pan. Neighboring garrisons were
summoned, but all battling with goblins was fruitless. One night a dark
and hostile throng emerged from the wood and moved toward the blockhouse,
where twenty musketeers were keeping guard. "If you be ghosts or devils I
will foil you," cried the captain, and tearing a silver button from his
doublet he rammed it into his gun and fired on the advancing host. Even
as the smoke of his musket was blown on the wind, so did the beleaguering
army vanish, the silver bullet proving that they were not of human kind.
The night was wearing on when a cry went out that the devils were coming
again. Arms were laid aside this time, and the watchers sank to their
knees in prayer. Directly that the name of God was uttered the marching
ceased and heaven rang with the howls of the angry fiends. Never again
were leaguers seen in Gloucester.


Satan appears to have troubled the early settlers in America almost as
grievously as he did the German students. He came in many shapes to many
people, and sometimes he met his match. Did he not try to stop old Peter
Stuyvesant from rowing through Hell Gate one moonlight night, and did not
that tough old soldier put something at his shoulder that Satan thought
must be his wooden leg? But it wasn't a leg: it was a gun, loaded with a
silver bullet that had been charged home with prayer. Peter fired and the
missile whistled off to Ward's Island, where three boys found it
afterward and swapped it for double handfuls of doughnuts and bulls'
eyes. Incidentally it passed between the devil's ribs and the fiend
exploded with a yell and a smell, the latter of sulphur, to Peter's
blended satisfaction and alarm. And did not the same spirit of evil
plague the old women of Massachusetts Bay and craze the French and
Spaniards in the South? At Hog Rock, west of Milford, Connecticut, he
broke up a pleasant diversion:

     "Once four young men upon ye rock
     Sate down at chuffle board to play
     When ye Deuill appearde in shape of a hogg
     And frightend ym so they scampered away
     And left Old Nick to finish ye play."

One of the first buildings to be put up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, was a
church built on a ledge above the river, and in that church Satan tried
to conceal himself for purposes of mischief. For this act he was hurled
from the steeple-top by some unseen instrument of righteousness with such
force that his hoofmark was stamped into a solid stone near by. This did
not deter him from mounting to the ridge-pole and assuming a defiant air,
with folded arms, when Whitefield began to preach, but when that
clergyman's tremendous voice was loosed below him he bounced into the air
in terror and disappeared.

The Shakers report that in the waning of the eighteenth century they
chased the evil one through the coverts of Mount Sinai, Massachusetts,
and just before dawn of a summer morning they caught and killed and
buried him. Shakers are spiritualists, and they believe their numbers to
have been augmented by distinguished dead, among whom they already number
Washington, Lafayette, Napoleon, Tamerlane, and Pocahontas. The two first
named of these posthumous communists are still seen by members of the
faith who pass Satan's grave at night, for they sit astride of white
horses and watch the burial spot, lest the enemy of man arise and begin
anew his career of trouble. Some members of the brotherhood say that this
legend typifies a burial of evil tendencies in the hearts of those who
hunted the fiend, but it has passed down among others as a circumstance.
The Shakers have many mystic records, transmitted verbally to the present
disciples of "Mother Ann," but seldom told to scoffers "in the world," as
those are called who live without their pure and peaceful communes. Among
these records is that of the appearance of John the Baptist in the
meeting-house at Mount Lebanon, New York, one Sunday, clothed in light
and leading the sacred dance of the worshippers, by which they signify
the shaking out of all carnal things from the heart.


The idea of long wandering as a penalty, symbolized in "The Wandering
Jew," "The Flying Dutchman," and the character of Kundry, in "Parsifal,"
has application in the legend of Peter Rugg. This strange man, who lived
in Middle Street, Boston, with his wife and daughter, was esteemed, as a
person of probity and good manners except in his swearing fits, for he
was subject to outbursts of passion, when he would kick his way through
doors instead of opening them, bite tenpenny nails in two, and curse his
wig off In the autumn of 1770 he visited Concord, with his little girl,
and on the way home was overtaken by a violent storm. He took shelter
with a friend at Menotomy, who urged him to stay all night, for the rain
was falling heavier every moment; but Rugg would not be stayed, and
seeing that there was no hope of a dry journey back to town he roared a
fearful oath and cried, "Let the storm increase. I will see home to-night
in spite of it, or may I never see home!" With that he tossed the child
into the open chaise, leaped in after her, lashed his horse, and was off.

Several nights afterward, while Rugg's neighbors were out with lanterns
trying to discover the cause of a heavy jarring that had begun to disturb
them in bad weather, the excitable gentleman, who had not been seen since
his Concord visit, came whirling along the pavement in his carriage, his
daughter beside him, his black horse plunging on in spite of his efforts
to stop him. The lanterns that for a moment twinkled in Peter's face
showed him as a wet and weary man, with eyes turned up longingly at the
windows where his wife awaited him; then he was gone, and the ground
trembled as with an earthquake, while the rain fell more heavily.

Mrs. Rugg died within a twelvemonth, and Peter never reached home, but
from all parts of New England came stories of a man and child driving
rapidly along the highways, never stopping except to inquire the way to
Boston. Half of the time the man would be headed in a direction opposite
to the one he seemed to want to follow, and when set right would cry that
he was being deceived, and was sometimes heard to mutter, "No home
to-night." In Hartford, Providence, Newburyport, and among the New
Hampshire hills the anxious face of the man became known, and he was
referred to as "the stormbreeder," for so surely as he passed there would
be rain, wind, lightning, thunder, and darkness within the hour.

Some years ago a man in a Connecticut town stopped this hurrying
traveller, who said, in reply to a question, "I have lost the road to
Boston. My name is Peter Rugg." Then Rugg's disappearance half a century
before was cited by those who had long memories, and people began to look
askant at Peter and gave him generous road room when they met him. The
toll-taker on Charlestown bridge declared that he had been annoyed and
alarmed by a prodigious tramping of hoofs and rattling of wheels that
seemed to pass toward Boston before his very face, yet he could see
nothing. He took courage one night to plant himself in the middle of the
bridge with a three-legged stool, and when the sound approached he dimly
saw a large black horse driven by a weary looking man with a child beside
him. The stool was flung at the horse's head, but passed through the
animal as through smoke and skipped across the floor of the bridge. Thus
much the toll-collector said, but when asked if Rugg had appeared again
he made no reply.


Winnepurkit, sagamore of the coast settlements between Nahant and Cape
Ann, had married Weetamoo, daughter of Passaconaway, king of the
Pennacooks, and had taken her to his home. Their honeymoon was happy, but
old ties are strong, and after a little time the bride felt a longing to
see her people again. When she made known this wish the husband not only
consented to her visit, but gave her a guard of his most trusty hunters
who saw her safe in her father's lodge (near the site of Concord, New
Hampshire), and returned directly. Presently came a messenger from
Passaconaway, informing his son-in-law that Weetamoo had finished her
visit and wished again to be with her husband, to whom he looked for an
escort to guide her through the wilderness. Winnepurkit felt that his
dignity as a chief was slighted by this last request, and he replied that
as he had supplied her with a guard for the outward journey it was her
father's place to send her back, "for it stood not with Winnepurkit's
reputation either to make himself or his men so servile as to fetch her

Passaconaway returned a sharp answer that irritated Winnepurkit still
more, and he was told by the young sagamore that he might send his
daughter or keep her, for she would never be sent for. In this unhappy
strife for precedent, which has been repeated on later occasions by
princes and society persons, the young wife seemed to be fated as an
unwilling sacrifice; but summoning spirit to leave her father's wigwam
she launched a canoe on the Merrimack, hoping to make her way along that
watery highway to her husband's domain. It was winter, and the stream was
full of floating ice; at the best of times it was not easy to keep a
frail vessel of bark in the current away from the rapids, and a wandering
hunter reported that a canoe had come down the river guided by a woman,
that it had swung against the Amoskeag rocks, where Manchester stands
now, and a few moments later was in a quieter reach of water, broken and
empty. No more was seen of Weetamoo.


Three miles out from the Nahant shore, Massachusetts, rises Egg Rock, a
dome of granite topped by a light-house. In the last century the
forget-me-nots that grew in a little marsh at its summit were much
esteemed, for it was reported that if a girl should receive one of these
little flowers from her lover the two would be faithful to each other
through all their married life. It was before a temporary separation that
a certain young couple strolled together on the Nahant cliffs. The man
was to sail for Italy next day, to urge parental consent to their union.
As he looked dreamily into the sea the legend of the forget-me-not came
into his mind, and in a playful tone he offered to gather a bunch as a
memento. Unthinkingly the girl consented. He ran down the cliff to his
boat, pushed out, and headed toward the rock, but a fisherman shouted
that a gale was rising and the tide was coming in; indeed, the horizon
was whitening and the rote was growing plain.

Alice had heard the cry of warning and would have called him back, but
she was forsaken by the power of speech, and watched, with pale face and
straining eyes, the boat beating smartly across the surges. It was seen
to reach Egg Rock, and after a lapse came dancing toward the shore again;
but the tide, was now swirling in rapidly, the waves were running high,
and the wind freshened as the sun sank. At times the boat was out of
sight in the hollowed water, and as it neared Nahant it became
unmanageable. Apparently it had filled with water and the tiller-rope had
broken. Nothing could be done by the spectators who had gathered on the
rocks, except to shout directions that were futile, even if they could be
heard. At last the boat was lifted by a breaker and hurled against a mass
of granite at the very feet of the man's mistress. When the body was
recovered next day, a bunch of forget-me-not was clasped in the rigid


The "old powder-house," as the round stone tower is called that stands on
a gravel ridge in Somerville, Massachusetts, is so named because at the
outbreak of the Revolutionary War it was used temporarily as a magazine;
but long before that it was a wind-mill. Here in the old days two lovers
held their tryst: a sturdy and honest young farmer of the neighborhood
and the daughter of a man whose wealth puffed him with purse-pride. It
was the plebeian state of the farmer that made him look at him with an
unfavorable countenance, and when it was whispered to him that the young
people were meeting each other almost every evening at the mill, he
resolved to surprise them there and humiliate, if he did not punish them.
From the shadow of the door they saw his approach, and, yielding to the
girl's imploring, the lover secreted himself while she climbed to the
loft. The flutter of her dress caught the old man's eye and he hastened,
panting, into the mill. For some moments he groped about, for his eyes
had not grown used to the darkness of the place, and hearing his muttered
oaths, the girl crept backward from the stair.

She was beginning to hope that she had not been seen, when her foot
caught in a loose board and she stumbled, but in her fall she threw out
her hand to save herself and found a rope within her grasp. Directly that
her weight had been applied to it there was a whir and a clank. The cord
had set the great fans in motion. At the same moment a fall was heard,
then a cry, passing from anger into anguish. She rushed down the stair,
the lover appeared from his hiding-place at the same moment, and together
they dragged the old man to his feet. At the moment when the wind had
started the sails he had been standing on one of the mill-stones and the
sudden jerk had thrown him down. His arm caught between the grinding
surfaces and had been crushed to pulp. He was carried home and tenderly
nursed, but he did not live long; yet before he died he was made to see
the folly of his course, and he consented to the marriage that it had
cost him so dear to try to prevent. Before she could summon heart to fix
the wedding-day the girl passed many months of grief and repentance, and
for the rest of her life she avoided the old mill. There was good reason
for doing so, people said, for on windy nights the spirit of the old man
used to haunt the place, using such profanity that it became visible in
the form of blue lights, dancing and exploding about the building.


Nothing is left of Province House, the old home of the royal governors,
in Boston, but the gilded Indian that served as its weathercock and aimed
his arrow at the winds from the cupola. The house itself was swept away
long ago in the so-called march of improvement. In one of its rooms hung
a picture so dark that when Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson went to live
there hardly anybody could say what it represented. There were hints that
it was a portrait of the devil, painted at a witch-meeting near Salem,
and that on the eve of disasters in the province a dreadful face had
glared from the canvas. Shirley had seen it on the night of the fall of
Ticonderoga, and servants had gone shuddering from the room, certain that
they had caught the glance of a malignant eye.

It was known to the governors, however, that the portrait, if not that of
the arch fiend, was that of one who in the popular mind was none the less
a devil: Edward Randolph, the traitor, who had repealed the first
provincial charter and deprived the colonists of their liberties. Under
the curse of the people he grew pale and pinched and ugly, his face at
last becoming so hateful that men were unwilling to look at it. Then it
was that he sat for his portrait. Threescore or odd years afterward,
Hutchinson sat in the hall wondering vaguely if coming events would
consign him to the obloquy that had fallen on his predecessor, for at his
bidding a fleet had come into the harbor with three regiments of red
coats on board, despatched from Halifax to overawe the city. The coming
of the selectmen to protest against quartering these troops on the people
and the substitution of martial for civic law, interrupted his reverie,
and a warm debate arose. At last the governor seized his pen impatiently,
and cried, "The king is my master and England is my home. Upheld by them,
I defy the rabble."

He was about to sign the order for bringing in the troops when a curtain
that had hung before the picture was drawn aside. Hutchinson stared at
the canvas in amazement, then muttered, "It is Randolph's spirit! It
wears the look of hell." The picture was seen to be that of a man in
antique garb, with a despairing, hunted, yet evil expression in the face,
and seemed to stare at Hutchinson.

"It is a warning," said one of the company.

Hutchinson recovered himself with an effort and turned away. "It is a
trick," he cried; and bending over the paper he fixed his name, as if in
desperate haste. Then he trembled, turned white, and wiped a sweat from
his brow. The selectmen departed in silence but in anger, and those who
saw Hutchinson on the streets next day affirmed that the portrait had
stepped out of its canvas and stood at his side through the night.
Afterward, as he lay on his death-bed, he cried that the blood of the
Boston massacre was filling his throat, and as his soul passed from him
his face, in its agony and rage, was the face of Edward Randolph.


Lady Eleanore Rochcliffe, being orphaned, was admitted to the family of
her distant relative, Governor Shute, of Massachusetts Bay, and came to
America to take her home with him. She arrived at the gates of Province
House, in Boston, in the governor's splendid coach, with outriders and
guards, and as the governor went to receive her, a pale young man, with
tangled hair, sprang from the crowd and fell in the dust at her feet,
offering himself as a footstool for her to tread upon. Her proud face
lighted with a smile of scorn, and she put out her hand to stay the
governor, who was in the act of striking the fellow with his cane.

"Do not strike him," she said. "When men seek to be trampled, it is a
favor they deserve."

For a moment she bore her weight on the prostrate form, "emblem of
aristocracy trampling on human sympathies and the kindred of nature," and
as she stood there the bell on South Church began to toll for a funeral
that was passing at the moment. The crowd started; some looked annoyed;
Lady Eleanore remained calm and walked in stately fashion up the passage
on the arm of His Excellency. "Who was that insolent fellow?" was asked
of Dr. Clarke, the governor's physician.

"Gervase Helwyse," replied the doctor; "a youth of no fortune, but of
good mind until he met this lady in London, when he fell in love with
her, and her pride and scorn have crazed him."

A few nights after a ball was given in honor of the governor's ward, and
Province House was filled with the elect of the city. Commanding in
figure, beautiful in face, richly dressed and jewelled, the Lady Eleanore
was the admired of the whole assembly, and the women were especially
curious to see her mantle, for a rumor went out that it had been made by
a dying girl, and had the magic power of giving new beauty to the wearer
every time it was put on. While the guests were taking refreshment, a
young man stole into the room with a silver goblet, and this he offered
on his knee to Lady Eleanore. As she looked down she recognized the face
of Helwyse.

"Drink of this sacramental wine," he said, eagerly, "and pass it among
the guests."

"Perhaps it is poisoned," whispered a man, and in another moment the
liquor was overturned, and Helwyse was roughly dragged away.

"Pray, gentlemen, do not hurt my poor admirer," said the lady, in a tone
of languor and condescension that was unusual to her. Breaking from his
captives, Helwyse ran back and begged her to cast her mantle into the
fire. She replied by throwing a fold of it above her head and smiling as
she said, "Farewell. Remember me as you see me now."

Helwyse shook his head sadly and submitted to be led away. The weariness
in Eleanore's manner increased; a flush was burning on her cheek; her
laugh had grown infrequent. Dr. Clarke whispered something in the
governor's ear that made that gentleman start and look alarmed. It was
announced that an unforeseen circumstance made it necessary to close the
festival at once, and the company went home. A few days after the city
was thrown into a panic by an outbreak of small-pox, a disease that in
those times could not be prevented nor often cured, and that gathered its
victims by thousands. Graves were dug in rows, and every night the earth
was piled hastily on fresh corpses. Before all infected houses hung a red
flag of warning, and Province House was the first to show it, for the
plague had come to town in Lady Eleanore's mantle. The people cursed her
pride and pointed to the flags as her triumphal banners. The pestilence
was at its height when Gervase Helwyse appeared in Province House. There
were none to stay him now, and he climbed the stairs, peering from room
to room, until he entered a darkened chamber, where something stirred
feebly under a silken coverlet and a faint voice begged for water.
Helwyse tore apart the curtains and exclaimed, "Fie! What does such a
thing as you in Lady Eleanore's apartment?"

The figure on the bed tried to hide its hideous face. "Do not look on
me," it cried. "I am cursed for my pride that I wrapped about me as a
mantle. You are avenged. I am Eleanore Rochcliffe."

The lunatic stared for a moment, then the house echoed with his laughter.
The deadly mantle lay on a chair. He snatched it up, and waving also the
red flag of the pestilence ran into the street. In a short time an effigy
wrapped in the mantle was borne to Province House and set on fire by a
mob. From that hour the pest abated and soon disappeared, though graves
and scars made a bitter memory of it for many a year. Unhappiest of all
was the disfigured creature who wandered amid the shadows of Province
House, never showing her face, unloved, avoided, lonely.


During the siege of Boston Sir William Howe undertook to show his
contempt for the raw fellows who were disrespectfully tossing
cannon-balls at him from the batteries in Cambridge and South Boston, by
giving a masquerade. It was a brilliant affair, the belles and blades of
the loyalist set being present, some in the garb of their ancestors, for
the past is ever more picturesque than the present, and a few roisterers
caricaturing the American generals in ragged clothes, false noses, and
absurd wigs. At the height of the merriment a sound of a dirge echoing
through the streets caused the dance to stop. The funeral music paused
before the doors of Province House, where the dance was going on, and
they were flung open. Muffled drums marked time for a company that began
to file down the great stair from the floor above the ball-room: dark men
in steeple-hats and pointed beards, with Bibles, swords, and scrolls, who
looked sternly at the guests and descended to the street.

Colonel Joliffe, a Whig, whose age and infirmity had prevented him from
joining Washington, and whose courtesy and intelligence had made him
respected by his foes, acted as chorus: "These I take to be the Puritan
governors of Massachusetts: Endicott, Winthrop, Vane, Dudley, Haynes,
Bellingham, Leverett, Bradstreet." Then came a rude soldier, mailed,
begirt with arms: the tyrant Andros; a brown-faced man with a sailor's
gait: Sir William Phipps; a courtier wigged and jewelled: Earl Bellomont;
the crafty, well-mannered Dudley; the twinkling, red-nosed Shute; the
ponderous Burnet; the gouty Belcher; Shirley, Pownall, Bernard,
Hutchinson; then a soldier, whose cocked hat he held before his face.
"'Tis the shape of Gage!" cried an officer, turning pale. The lights were
dull and an uncomfortable silence had fallen on the company. Last, came a
tall man muffled in a military cloak, and as he paused on the landing the
guests looked from him to their host in amazement, for it was the figure
of Howe himself. The governor's patience was at an end, for this was a
part of the masquerade that had not been looked for. He fiercely cried to
Joliffe, "There is a plot in this. Your head has stood too long on a
traitor's shoulders."

"Make haste to cut it off, then," was the reply, "for the power of Sir
William Howe and of the king, his master, is at an end. These shadows are
mourners at his funeral. Look! The last of the governors."

Howe rushed with drawn sword on the figure of himself, when it turned and
looked at him. The blade clanged to the floor and Howe fell back with a
gasp of horror, for the face was his own. Hand nor voice was raised to
stay the double-goer as it mournfully passed on. At the threshold it
stamped its foot and shook its fists in air; then the door closed.
Mingled with the strains of the funeral march, as it died along the empty
streets, came the tolling of the bell on South Church steeple, striking
the hour of midnight. The festivities were at an end and, oppressed by a
nameless fear, the spectators of this strange pageant made ready for
departure; but before they left the booming of cannon at the southward
announced that Washington had advanced. The glories of Province House
were over. When the last of the royal governors left it he paused on the
threshold, beat his foot on the stone, and flung up his hands in an
attitude of grief and rage.


Boston had surrendered. Washington was advancing from the heights where
he had trained his guns on the British works, and Sir William Howe
lingered at the door of Province House,--last of the royal governors who
would stand there,--and cursed and waved his hands and beat his heel on
the step, as if he were crushing rebellion by that act. The sound brought
an old woman to his side. "Esther Dudley!" he exclaimed. "Why are you not

"I shall never leave. As housekeeper for the governors and pensioner of
the king, this has been my home; the only home I know. Go back, but send
more troops. I will keep the house till you return."

"Grant that I may return," he cried. "Since you will stay, take this bag
of guineas and keep this key until a governor shall demand it."

Then, with fierce and moody brow, the governor went forth, and the faded
eyes of Esther Dudley saw him nevermore. When the soldiers of the
republic cast about for quarters in Boston town, they spared the official
mansion to this old woman. Her bridling toryism and assumption of old
state amused them and did no harm; indeed, her loyalty was half admired;
beside, nobody took the pride in the place that she did, or would keep it
in better order. That she sometimes had a half-dozen of unrepentant
codgers in to dinner, and that they were suspected of drinking healths to
George III. in crusted port, was a fact to blink. Rumor had it that not
all her guests were flesh and blood, but that she had an antique mirror
across which ancient occupants of the house would pass in shadowy
procession at her command, and that she was wont to have the Shirleys,
Olivers, Hutchinsons, and Dudleys out of their graves to hold receptions
there; so a touch of dread may have mingled in the feeling that kept the
populace aloof.

Living thus by herself, refusing to hear of rebel victories, construing
the bonfires, drumming, hurrahs, and bell-ringing to signify fresh
triumphs for England, she drifted farther and farther out of her time and
existed in the shadows of the past. She lighted the windows for the
king's birthday, and often from the cupola watched for a British fleet,
heeding not the people below, who, as they saw her withered face,
repeated the prophecy, with a laugh "When the golden Indian on Province
House shall shoot his arrow and the cock on South Church spire shall
crow, look for a royal governor again." So, when it was bandied about the
streets that the governor was coming, she took it in no wise strange, but
dressed herself in silk and hoops, with store of ancient jewels, and made
ready to receive him. In truth, there was a function, for already a man
of stately mien, and richly dressed, was advancing through the court,
with a staff of men in wigs and laced coats behind him, and a company of
troops at a little distance. Esther Dudley flung the door wide and
dropping on her knees held forth the key with the cry, "Thank heaven for
this hour! God save the king!"

The governor put off his hat and helped the woman to her feet. "A strange
prayer," said he; "yet we will echo it to this effect: For the good of
the realm that still owns him to be its ruler, God save King George."

Esther Dudley stared wildly. That face she remembered now,--the
proscribed rebel, John Hancock; governor, not by royal grant, but by the
people's will.

"Have I welcomed a traitor? Then let me die."

"Alas! Mistress Dudley, the world has changed for you in these later
years. America has no king." He offered her his arm, and she clung to it
for a moment, then, sinking down, the great key, that she so long had
treasured, clanked to the floor.

"I have been faithful unto death," she gasped. "God save the king!"

The people uncovered, for she was dead.

"At her tomb," said Hancock, "we will bid farewell forever to the past. A
new day has come for us. In its broad light we will press onward."


Jacob Hurd, stern witch-harrier of Ipswich, can abide nothing out of the
ordinary course of things, whether it be flight on a broomstick or the
wrong adding of figures; so his son gives him trouble, for he is an
imaginative boy, who walks alone, talking to the birds, making rhymes,
picking flowers, and dreaming. That he will never be a farmer, mechanic,
or tradesman is as good as certain, and one day when the child runs in
with a story of a golden horse, with tail and mane of silver, on which he
has ridden over land and sea, climbing mountains and swimming rivers, he
turns pale with fright lest the boy be bewitched; then, as the awfulness
of the invention becomes manifest, he cries, "Thou knowest thou art
lying," and strikes the little fellow.

The boy staggers into his mother's arms, and that night falls into a
fever, in which he raves of his horse and the places he will see, while
Jacob sits by his side, too sore in heart for words, and he never leaves
the cot for food or sleep till the fever is burned out. Just before he
closes his eyes the child looks about him and says that he hears the
horse pawing in the road, and, either for dust or cloud or sun gleam, it
seems for an instant as if the horse were there. The boy gives a cry of
joy, then sinks upon his pillow, lifeless.

Some time after this Jacob sets off one morning, while the stars are out,
to see three witches hanged, but at evening his horse comes flying up the
road, splashed with blood and foam, and the neighbors know from that of
Jacob's death, for he is lying by the wayside with an Indian arrow in his
heart and an axemark on his head. The wife runs to the door, and, though
she shakes with fear at its approach, she sees that in the sunset glow
the horse's sides have a shine like gold, and its mane and tail are
silver white. Now the animal is before the house, but the woman does not
faint or cry at the blood splash on the saddle, for--is it the dust-cloud
that takes that shape?--she sees on its back a boy with a shining face,
who throws a kiss at her,--her Paul. He, little poet, lives in spirit,
and has found happiness.


Such was the Indian name of the site of Westboro, Massachusetts, and the
neighboring pond was Hochomocko. The camp of the red men near the shore
was full of bustle one day, for their belle, Iano, was to marry the young
chief, Sassacus. The feast was spread and all were ready to partake of
it, when it was found that the bride was missing. One girl had seen her
steal into the wood with a roguish smile on her lip, and knew that she
intended to play hide-and-seek with Sassacus before she should be
proclaimed a wife, but the day wore on and she did not come. Among those
who were late in reaching camp was Wequoash, who brought a panther in
that he had slain on Boston Hill, and he bragged about his skill, as
usual. There had been a time when he was a rival of the chief for the
hand of Iano, and he showed surprise and concern at her continued
absence. The search went on for two days, and, at the end of that time,
the girl's body was taken from the lake.

At the funeral none groaned so piteously as Wequoash. Yet Sassacus felt
his loss so keenly that he fell into a sickness next day, and none was
found so constant in his ministrations as Wequoash; but all to no avail,
for within a week Sassacus, too, was dead. As the strongest and bravest
remaining in the tribe, Wequoash became heir to his honors by election.

A year later he sat moodily by the lakeside, when a flame burst up from
the water, and a canoe floated toward him that a mysterious agency
impelled him to enter. The boat sped toward the flame, that, at his
approach, assumed Iano's form. He heard the water gurgle as he passed
over the spot where the shape had glimmered, but there was no other sound
or check. Next year this thing occurred again, and then the spirit spoke:
"Only once more."

Yet a third time his fate took him to the spot, and as the hour came on
he called his people to him: "This," said he, "is my death-day. I have
done evil, and the time comes none too soon. Sassacus was your chief. I
envied him his happiness, and gave him poison when I nursed him. Worse
than that, I saw Iano in her canoe on her wedding-day. She had refused my
hand. I entered my canoe and chased her over the water, in pretended
sport, but in the middle of the lake I upset her birch and she was
drowned. See! she comes!"

For, as he spoke, the light danced up again, and the boat came,
self-impelled, to the strand. Wequoash entered it, and with head bent
down was hurried away. Those on the shore saw the flame condense to a
woman's shape, and a voice issued from it: "It is my hour!" A blinding
bolt of lightning fell, and at the appalling roar of thunder all hid
their faces. When they looked up, boat and flame had vanished. Whenever,
afterward, an Indian rowed across the place where the murderer had sunk,
he dropped a stone, and the monument that grew in that way can be seen on
the pond floor to this day.


The tories of Berkshire, Massachusetts, were men who had been endeared to
the king by holding office under warrant from that sacred personage. They
have been gently dealt with by historians, but that is "overstrained
magnanimity which concentrates its charities and praises for defeated
champions of the wrong, and reserves its censures for triumphant
defenders of the right." While the following incidents have been so well
avouched that they deserve to stand as history, their picturesqueness
justifies renewed acquaintance.

Among the loyalists was Gideon Smith, of Stockbridge, who had helped
British prisoners to escape, and had otherwise made himself so obnoxious
that he was forced for a time to withdraw and pass a season of penitence
and meditation in a cavern near Lenox, that is called the Tories' Glen.
Here he lay for weeks, none but his wife knowing where he was, but at his
request she walked out every day with her children, leading them past his
cave, where he fed on their faces with hungry eyes. They prattled on,
never dreaming that their father was but a few feet from them. Smith
survived the war and lived to be on good terms with his old foes.

In Lenox lived a Tory, one of those respectable buffers to whom wealth
and family had given immunity in the early years of the war, but who
sorely tried the temper of his neighbors by damning everything American
from Washington downward. At last they could endure his abuse no longer;
his example had affected other Anglomaniacs, and a committee waited on
him to tell him that he could either swear allegiance to the colonies or
be hanged. He said he would be hanged if he would swear, or words to that
effect, and hanged he was, on a ready-made gallows in the street. He was
let down shortly, "brought around" with rum, and the oath was offered
again. He refused it. This had not been looked for. It had been taken for
granted that he would abjure his fealty to the king at the first
tightening of the cord. A conference was held, and it was declared that
retreat would be undignified and unsafe, so the Tory was swung up again,
this time with a yank that seemed to "mean business." He hung for some
time, and when lowered gave no sign of life. There was some show of alarm
at this, for nobody wanted to kill the old fellow, and every effort was
made to restore consciousness. At last the lungs heaved, the purple faded
from his cheek, his eyes opened, and he gasped, "I'll swear." With a
shout of joy the company hurried him to the tavern, seated him before the
fire, and put a glass of punch in his hand. He drank the punch to
Washington's health, and after a time was heard to remark to himself,
"It's a hard way to make Whigs, but it'll do it."

Nathan Jackson, of Tyringham, was another Yankee who had seen fit to take
arms against his countrymen, and when captured he was charged with
treason and remanded for trial. The jail, in Great Barrington, was so
little used in those days of sturdy virtue that it had become a mere
shed, fit to hold nobody, and Jackson, after being locked into it, might
have walked out whenever he felt disposed; but escape, he thought, would
have been a confession of the wrongness of Tory principles, or of a fear
to stand trial. He found life so monotonous, however, that he asked the
sheriff to let him go out to work during the day, promising to sleep in
his cell, and such was his reputation for honesty that his request was
granted without a demur, the prisoner returning every night to be locked
up. When the time approached for the court to meet in Springfield heavy
harvesting had begun, and, as there was no other case from Berkshire
County to present, the sheriff grumbled at the bother of taking his
prisoner across fifty miles of rough country, but Jackson said that he
would make it all right by going alone. The sheriff was glad to be
released from this duty, so off went the Tory to give himself up and be
tried for his life. On the way he was overtaken by Mr. Edwards, of the
Executive Council, then about to meet in Boston, and without telling his
own name or office, he learned the extraordinary errand of this lonely
pedestrian. Jackson was tried, admitted the charges against him, and was
sentenced to death. While he awaited execution of the law upon him, the
council in Boston received petitions for clemency, and Mr. Edwards asked
if there was none in favor of Nathan Jackson. There was none. Mr. Edwards
related the circumstance of his meeting with the condemned man, and a
murmur of surprise and admiration went around the room. A despatch was
sent to Springfield. When it reached there the prison door was flung open
and Jackson walked forth free.


Two thousand Cape Cod fishermen had gone to join the colonial army, and
in their absence the British ships had run in shore to land crews on
mischievous errands. No man, woman, or child on the Cape but hated the
troops and sailors of King George, and would do anything to work them
harm. When the Somerset was wrecked off Truro, in 1778, the crew were
helped ashore, 'tis true, but they were straightway marched to prison,
and it was thought that no other frigate would venture near the shifting
dunes where she had laid her skeleton, as many a good ship had done
before and has done since. It was November, and ugly weather was shutting
in, when a three-decker, that had been tacking off shore and that flew
the red flag, was seen to yaw wildly while reefing sail and drift toward
land with a broken tiller. No warning signal was raised on the bluffs;
not a hand was stirred to rescue. Those who saw the accident watched with
sullen satisfaction the on-coming of the vessel, nor did they cease to
look for disaster when the ship anchored and stowed sail.

Ezekiel and Josiah Breeze, father and son, stood at the door of their
cottage and watched her peril until three lights twinkling faintly
through the gray of driving snow were all that showed where the enemy
lay, straining at her cables and tossing on a wrathful sea. They stood
long in silence, but at last the boy exclaimed, "I'm going to the ship."

"If you stir from here, you're no son of mine," said Ezekiel.

"But she's in danger, dad."

"As she oughter be. By mornin' she'll be strewed along the shore and not
a spar to mark where she's a-swingin' now."

"And the men?"

"It's a jedgment, boy."

The lad remembered how the sailors of the Ajax had come ashore to burn
the homes of peaceful fishermen and farmers; how women had been insulted;
how his friends and mates had been cut down at Long Island with British
lead and steel; how, when he ran to warn away a red-faced fellow that was
robbing his garden, the man had struck him on the shoulder with a
cutlass. He had sworn then to be revenged. But to let a host go down to
death and never lift a helping hand--was that a fair revenge? "I've got
to go, dad," he burst forth. "Tomorrow morning there'll be five hundred
faces turned up on the beach, covered with ice and staring at the sky,
and five hundred mothers in England will wonder when they're goin' to see
those faces again. If ever they looked at me the sight of 'em would never
go out of my eyes. I'd be harnted by 'em, awake and asleep. And to-morrow
is Thanksgiving. I've got to go, dad, and I will." So speaking, he rushed
away and was swallowed in the gloom.

The man stared after him; then, with a revulsion of feeling, he cried,
"You're right, 'Siah. I'll go with you." But had he called in tones of
thunder he would not have been heard in the roar of the wind and crash of
the surf. As he reached the shore he saw faintly on the phosphorescent
foam a something that climbed a hill of water; it was lost over its crest
and reappeared on the wave beyond; it showed for a moment on the third
wave, then it vanished in the night. "Josiah!" It was a long, querulous
cry. No answer. In half an hour a thing rode by the watcher on the sands
and fell with a crash beside him--a boat bottom up: his son's.

Next day broke clear, with new snow on the ground. In his house at
Provincetown, Captain Breeze was astir betimes, for his son Ezekiel, his
grandson Josiah, and all other relatives who were not at the front with
Washington were coming for the family reunion. Plump turkeys were ready
for the roasting, great loaves of bread and cake stood beside the oven,
redoubtable pies of pumpkin and apple filled the air with maddening
odors. The people gathered and chattered around his cheery fire of the
damage that the storm had done, when Ezekiel stumbled in, his brown face
haggard, his lips working, and a tremor in his hands. He said, "Josiah!"
in a thick voice, then leaned his arms against the chimney and pressed
his face upon them. Among fishermen whose lives are in daily peril the
understanding of misfortune is quick, and the old man put his hand on the
shoulder of his son and bent his head. The day of joy was become a day of
gloom. As the news went out, the house began to fill with sympathizing
friends, and there was talking in low voices through the rooms, when a
cry of surprise was heard outside. A ship, cased in tons of ice, was
forging up the harbor, her decks swarming with blue jackets, some of whom
were beating off the frozen masses from lower spars and rigging. She
followed the channel so steadily, it was plain to be seen that a wise
hand was at her helm; her anchor ran out and she swung on the tide. "The
Ajax, as I'm a sinner!" exclaimed a sailor on shore. A boat put off from
her, and people angrily collected at the wharf, with talk of getting out
their guns, when a boyish figure arose in the stern, and was greeted with
a shout of surprise and welcome.

The boat touched the beach, Josiah Breeze leaped out of it, and in
another minute his father had him in a bear's embrace, making no attempt
to stop the tears that welled out of his eyes. An officer had followed
Josiah on shore, and going to the group he said, "That boy is one to be
proud of. He put out in a sea that few men could face, to save an enemy's
ship and pilot it into the harbor. I could do no less than bring him
back." There was praise and laughter and clasping of hands, and when the
Thanksgiving dinner was placed, smoking, on the board, the commander of
H. M. S. Ajax was among the jolliest of the guests at Captain Breeze's


The people of Merrymount--unsanctified in the eyes of their Puritan
neighbors, for were they not Episcopals, who had pancakes at Shrovetide
and wassail at Christmas?--were dancing about their May-pole one summer
evening, for they tried to make it May throughout the year. Some were
masked like animals, and all were tricked with flowers and ribbons.
Within their circle, sharing in song and jest, were the lord and lady of
the revels, and an English clergyman waiting to join the pair in wedlock.
Life, they sang, should be all jollity: away with care and duty; leave
wisdom to the weak and old, and sanctity for fools. Watching the sport
from a neighboring wood stood a band of frowning Puritans, and as the sun
set they stalked forth and broke through the circle. All was dismay. The
bells, the laughter, the song were silent, and some who had tasted
Puritan wrath before shrewdly smelled the stocks. A Puritan of iron
face--it was Endicott, who had cut the cross from the flag of
England--warning aside the "priest of Baal," proceeded to hack the pole
down with his sword. A few swinging blows, and down it sank, with its
ribbons and flowers.

"So shall fall the pride of vain people; so shall come to grief the
preachers of false religion," quoth he. "Truss those fellows to the trees
and give them half a dozen of blows apiece as token that we brook no
ungodly conduct and hostility to our liberties. And you, king and queen
of the May, have you no better things to think about than fiddling and
dancing? How if I punish you both?"

"Had I the power I'd punish you for saying it," answered the swain; "but,
as I have not, I am compelled to ask that the girl go unharmed."

"Will you have it so, or will you share your lover's punishment?" asked

"I will take all upon myself," said the woman.

The face of the governor softened. "Let the young fellow's hair be cut,
in pumpkin-shell fashion," he commanded; "then bring them to me but

He was obeyed, and as the couple came before him, hand in hand, he took a
chain of roses from the fallen pole and cast it about their necks. And so
they were married. Love had softened rigor and all were better for the
assertion of a common humanity. But the May-pole of Merrymount was never
set up again. There were no more games and plays and dances, nor singing
of worldly music. The town went to ruin, the merrymakers were scattered,
and the gray sobriety of religion and toil fell on Pilgrim land again.


When Charles River was lined with groves and marshes there lived in a
cabin, near Brighton, Massachusetts, an ill-fed rascal named Tom Walker.
There was but one in the commonwealth who was more penurious, and that
was his wife. They squabbled over the spending of a penny and each
grudged food to the other. One day as Tom walked through the pine wood
near his place, by habit watching the ground--for even there a farthing
might be discovered--he prodded his stick into a skull, cloven deep by an
Indian tomahawk. He kicked it, to shake the dirt off, when a gruff voice
spake: "What are you doing in my grounds?" A swarthy fellow, with the
face of a charcoal burner, sat on a stump, and Tom wondered that he had
not seen him as he approached.

He replied, "Your grounds! They belong to Deacon Peabody."

"Deacon Peabody be damned!" cried the black fellow; "as I think he will
be, anyhow, if he does not look after his own sins a little sharper and a
little less curiously after his neighbors'. Look, if you want to see how
he is faring," and, pointing to a tree, he called Tom to notice that the
deacon's name was written on the bark and that it was rotten at the core.
To his surprise, Tom found that nearly every tree had the name of some
prominent man cut upon it.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"I go by different names in different places," replied the dark one. "In
some countries I am the black miner; in some the wild huntsman; here I am
the black woodman. I am the patron of slave dealers and master of Salem

"I think you are the devil," blurted Tom.

"At your service," replied his majesty.

Now, Tom, having lived long with Mrs. Walker, had no fear of the devil,
and he stopped to have a talk with him. The devil remarked, in a careless
tone, that Captain Kidd had buried his treasure in that wood, under his
majesty's charge, and that whoever wished could find and keep it by
making the usual concession. This Tom declined. He told his wife about
it, however, and she was angry with him for not having closed the bargain
at once, declaring that if he had not courage enough to add this treasure
to their possessions she would not hesitate to do it. Tom showed no
disposition to check her. If she got the money he would try to get a
share of it, and if the devil took away his helpmate--well, there were
things that he had made his mind to endure, when he had to. True enough,
the woman started for the wood before sundown, with her spoons in her
apron. When Tom discovered that the spoons were gone he, too, set off,
for he wanted those back, anyway; but he did not overtake his wife. An
apron was found in a tree containing a dried liver and a withered heart,
and near that place the earth had been trampled and strewn with handfuls
of coarse hair that reminded Tom of the man that he had met in the woods.
"Egad!" he muttered, "Old Nick must have had a tough time with her." Half
in gratitude and half in curiosity, Tom waited to speak to the dark man,
and was next day rewarded by seeing that personage come through the wood
with an axe, whistling carelessly. Tom at once approached him on the
subject of the buried treasure--not the vanished wife, for her he no
longer regarded as a treasure.

After some haggling the devil proposed that Tom should start a loan
office in Boston and use Kidd's money in exacting usury. This suited Tom,
who promised to screw four per cent. a month out of the unfortunates who
might ask his aid, and he was seen to start for town with a bag which his
neighbors thought to hold his crop of starveling turnips, but which was
really a king's ransom in gold and jewels--the earnings of Captain Kidd
in long years of honest piracy. It was in Governor Belcher's time, and
cash was scarce. Merchants and professional men as well as the thriftless
went to Tom for money, and, as he always had it, his business grew until
he seemed to have a mortgage on half the men in Boston who were rich
enough to be in debt. He even went so far as to move into a new house, to
ride in his own carriage, and to eat enough to keep body and soul
together, for he did not want to give up his soul to the one who would
claim it just yet.

The most singular proof of his thrift--showing that he wanted to save
soul and money both--was shown in his joining the church and becoming a
prayerful Christian. He kept a Bible in his pocket and another on his
desk, resolved to be prepared if a certain gentleman should call. He
buried his old horse feet uppermost, for he was taught that on
resurrection day the world would be turned upside down, and he was
resolved, if his enemy appeared, to give him a run for it. While employed
one afternoon in the congenial task of foreclosing a mortgage his
creditor begged for another day to raise the money. Tom was irritable on
account of the hot weather and talked to him as a good man of the church
ought not to do.

"You have made so much money out of me," wailed the victim of Tom's

"Now, the devil take me if I have made a farthing!" exclaimed Tom.

At that instant there were three knocks at the door, and, stepping out to
see who was there, the money lender found himself in presence of his
fate. His little Bible was in a coat on a nail, and the bigger one was on
his desk. He was without defence. The evil one caught him up like a
child, had him on the back of his snorting steed in no time, and giving
the beast a cut he flew like the wind in the teeth of a rising storm
toward the marshes of Brighton. As he reached there a lightning flash
descended into the wood and set it on fire. At the same moment Tom's
house was discovered to be in flames. When his effects were examined
nothing was found in his strong boxes but cinders and shavings.


It befell Sir Edmund Andros to make himself the most hated of the
governors sent to represent the king in New England. A spirit of
independence, born of a free soil, was already moving in the people's
hearts, and the harsh edicts of this officer, as well as the oppressive
measures of his master, brought him into continual conflict with the
people. He it was who went to Hartford to demand the surrender of the
liberties of that colony. The lights were blown out and the patent of
those liberties was hurried away from under his nose and hidden from his
reach in a hollow of the Charter Oak.

In Boston, too, he could call no American his friend, and it was there
that he met one of the first checks to his arrogance. It was an April
evening in 1689, and there was an unusual stir in the streets. People
were talking in low tones, and one caught such phrases as, "If the Prince
of Orange is successful, this Andros will lose his head." "Our pastors
are to be burned alive in King Street." "The pope has ordered Andros to
celebrate the eve of St. Bartholomew in Boston: we are to be killed."
"Our old Governor Bradstreet is in town, and Andros fears him." While
talk was running in this excited strain the sound of a drum was heard
coming through Cornhill. Now was seen a file of soldiers with guns on
shoulder, matches twinkling in the falling twilight, and behind them, on
horseback, Andros and his councillors, including the priest of King's
Chapel, all wearing crucifixes at their throats, all flushed with wine,
all looking down with indifference at the people in their dark cloaks and
broadbrimmed hats, who looked back at them with suspicion and hate. The
soldiers trod the streets like men unused to giving way, and the crowd
fell back, pressed against the buildings. Groans and hisses were heard,
and a voice sent up this cry, "Lord of Hosts, provide a champion for thy

Ere the echo of that call had ceased there came from the other end of the
street, stepping as in time to the drum, an aged man, in cloak and
steeple hat, with heavy sword at his thigh. His port was that of a king,
and his dignity was heightened by a snowy beard that fell to his waist.
Taking the middle of the way he marched on until he was but a few paces
from the advancing column. None knew him and he seemed to recognize none
among the crowd. As he drew himself to his height, it seemed in the dusk
as if he were of no mortal mould. His eye blazed, he thrust his staff
before him, and in a voice of invincible command cried, "Halt!"

Half because it was habit to obey the word, half because they were cowed
by the majestic presence, the guard stood still and the drum was
silenced. Andros spurred forward, but even he made a pause when he saw
the staff levelled at his breast. "Forward!" he blustered. "Trample the
dotard into the street. How dare you stop the king's governor?"

"I have stayed the march of a king himself," was the answer. "The king
you serve no longer sits on the throne of England. To-morrow you will be
a prisoner. Back, lest you reach the scaffold!"

A moment of hesitation on Andros's part encouraged the people to press
closer, and many of them took no pains to hide the swords and pistols
that were girt upon them. The groans and hisses sounded louder. "Down
with Andros! Death to tyrants! A curse on King James!" came from among
the throng, and some of them stooped as if to tear up the pavings.
Doubtful, yet overawed, the governor wheeled about and gloomily marched
back through the streets where he had ridden so arrogantly. In truth, his
next night was spent in prison, for James had fled from England, and
William held the throne. All eyes being on the retreating company, the
champion of the people was not seen to depart, but when they turned to
praise and thank him he had vanished, and there were those who said that
he had melted into twilight.

The incident had passed into legend, and fourscore years had followed it,
when the soldiers of another king of England marched down State Street,
and fired on the people of Boston who were gathered below the old State
House. Again it was said that the form of a tall, white-bearded man in
antique garb was seen in that street, warning back the troops and
encouraging the people to resist them. On the little field of Lexington
in early dawn, and at the breastwork on Bunker Hill, where farmers worked
by lantern-light, this dark form was seen--the spirit of New England. And
it is told that whenever any foreign foe or domestic oppressor shall dare
the temper of the people, in the van of the resisting army shall be found
this champion.


Early in this century a man named Ainsley appeared at Holyoke,
Massachusetts, and set up a forge in a wood at the edge of the village,
with a two-room cottage to live in. A Yankee peddler once put up at his
place for shelter from a storm, and as the rain increased with every hour
he begged to remain in the house over night, promising to pay for his
accommodation in the morning. The blacksmith, who seemed a mild,
considerate man, said that he was willing, but that, as the rooms were
small, it would be well to refer the matter to his wife. As the peddler
entered the house the wife--a weary-looking woman with white hair--seated
herself at once in a thickly-cushioned arm-chair, and, as if loath to
leave it, told the peddler that if he would put up with simple fare and a
narrow berth he was welcome. After a candle had been lighted the three
sat together for some time, talking of crops and trade, when there came a
rush of hoofs without and a hard-looking man, who had dismounted at the
door, entered without knocking. The blacksmith turned pale and the wife's
face expressed sore anxiety.

"What brings you here?" asked the smith.

"I must pass the night here," answered the man.

"But, stranger, I can't accommodate you. We have but one spare room, and
that has been taken by the man who is sitting there."

"Then give me a bit to eat."

"Get the stranger something," said the woman to her husband, without

"Are you lame, that you don't get it yourself?"

The woman paused; then said, "Husband, you are tired. Sit here and I will
wait on the stranger."

The blacksmith took the seat, when the stranger again blustered, "It
would be courtesy to offer me that chair, tired as I am. Perhaps you
don't know that I am an officer of the law?"

When supper was ready they took their places, the woman drawing up the
arm-chair for her own use, but, as the custom was, they all knelt to say
grace, and while their faces were buried in their hands the candle was
blown out. The stranger jumped up and began walking around the room. When
a light could be found he had gone and the cushion had disappeared from
the chair. "Oh! After all these years!" wailed the woman, and falling on
her knees she sobbed like a child, while her husband in vain tried to
comfort her. The peddler, who had already gone to bed, but who had seen a
part of this puzzling drama through the open door, knew not what to do,
but, feeling some concern for the safety of his own possessions, he drew
his pack into bed with him, and, being tired, fell asleep with the sobs
of the woman sounding in his ears.

When he awoke it was broad day and the earth was fresh and bright from
its bath. After dressing he passed into the other room, finding the table
still set, the chair before it without its cushion, the fire out, and
nobody in or about the house. The smithy was deserted, and to his call
there was no response but the chattering of jays in the trees; so,
shouldering his pack, he resumed his journey. He opened his pack at a
farm-house to repair a clock, when he discovered that his watches were
gone, and immediately lodged complaint with the sheriff, but nothing was
ever seen again of Ainsley, his wife, or the rough stranger. Who was the
thief? What was in the cushion? And what brought the stranger to the


The pleasant valley of Dalton, in the Berkshire Hills, had been under the
rule of Miacomo for forty years when a Mohawk dignitary of fifty scalps
and fifty winters came a-wooing his daughter Wahconah. On a June day in
1637, as the girl sat beside the cascade that bears her name, twining
flowers in her hair and watching leaves float down the stream, she became
conscious of a pair of eyes bent on her from a neighboring coppice, and
arose in some alarm. Finding himself discovered, the owner of the eyes, a
handsome young fellow, stepped forward with a quieting air of
friendliness, and exclaimed, "Hail, Bright Star!"

"Hail, brother," answered Wahconah.

"I am Nessacus," said the man, "one of King Philip's soldiers. Nessacus
is tired with his flight from the Long Knives (the English), and his
people faint. Will Bright Star's people shut their lodges against him and
his friends?"

The maiden answered, "My father is absent, in council with the Mohawks,
but his wigwams are always open. Follow."

Nessacus gave a signal, and forth from the wood came a sad-eyed,
battle-worn troop that mustered about him. Under the girl's lead they
went down to the valley and were hospitably housed. Five days later
Miacomo returned, with him the elderly Mohawk lover, and a priest,
Tashmu, of repute a cringing schemer, with whom hunters and soldiers
could have nothing in common, and whom they would gladly have put out of
the way had they not been deterred by superstitious fears. The strangers
were welcomed, though Tashmu looked at them gloomily, and there were
games in their honor, Nessacus usually proving the winner, to Wahconah's
joy, for she and the young warrior had fallen in love at first sight, and
it was not long before he asked her father for her hand. Miacomo favored
the suit, but the priest advised him, for politic reasons, to give the
girl to the old Mohawk, and thereby cement a tribal friendship that in
those days of English aggression might be needful. The Mohawk had three
wives already, but he was determined to add Wahconah to his collection,
and he did his best, with threats and flattery, to enforce his suit.
Nessacus offered to decide the matter in a duel with his rival, and the
challenge was accepted, but the wily Tashmu discovered in voices of wind
and thunder, flight of birds and shape of clouds, such omens that the
scared Indians unanimously forbade a resort to arms. "Let the Great
Spirit speak," cried Tashmu, and all yielded their consent.

Invoking a ban on any who should follow, Tashmu proclaimed that he would
pass that night in Wizard's Glen, where, by invocations, he would learn
the divine will. At sunset he stalked forth, but he had not gone far ere
the Mohawk joined him, and the twain proceeded to Wahconah Falls. There
was no time for magical hocus-pocus that night, for both of them toiled
sorely in deepening a portion of the stream bed, so that the current ran
more swiftly and freely on that side, and in the morning Tashmu announced
in what way the Great Spirit would show his choice. Assembling the tribe
on the river-bank, below a rock that midway split the current, a canoe,
with symbols painted on it, was set afloat near the falls. If it passed
the dividing rock on the side where Nessacus waited, he should have
Wahconah. If it swerved to the opposite shore, where the Mohawk and his
counsellor stood, the Great Spirit had chosen the old chief for her
husband. Of course, the Mohawk stood on the deeper side. On came the
little boat, keeping the centre of the stream. It struck the rock, and
all looked eagerly, though Tashmu and the Mohawk could hardly suppress an
exultant smile. A little wave struck the canoe: it pivoted against the
rock and drifted to the feet of Nessacus. A look of blank amazement came
over the faces of the defeated wooer and his friend, while a shout of
gladness went up, that the Great Spirit had decided so well. The young
couple were wed with rejoicings; the Mohawk trudged homeward, and, to the
general satisfaction, Tashmu disappeared with him. Later, when Tashmu was
identified as the one who had guided Major Talcott's soldiers to the
valley, the priest was caught and slain by Miacomo's men.


Knock, knock, knock! The bell has just gone twelve, and there is the
clang again upon the iron door of the tomb. The few people of Lanesboro
who are paying the penance of misdeeds or late suppers, by lying awake at
that dread hour, gather their blankets around their shoulders and mutter
a word of prayer for deliverance against unwholesome visitors of the
night. Why is the old Berkshire town so troubled? Who is it that lies
buried in that tomb, with its ornament of Masonic symbols? Why was the
heavy iron knocker placed on the door? The question is asked, but no one
will answer it, nor will any say who the woman is that so often visits
the cemetery at the stroke of midnight and sounds the call into the
chamber of the dead. Starlight, moonlight, or storm--it makes no
difference to the woman. There she goes, in her black cloak, seen dim in
the night, except where there are snow and moon together, and there she
waits, her hand on the knocker, for the bell to strike to set up her
clangor. Some say that she is crazy, and it is her freak to do this
thing. Is she calling on the corpses to rise and have a dance among the
graves? or has she been asked to call the occupant of that house at a
given hour? Perhaps, weary of life, she is asking for admittance to the
rest and silence of the tomb. She has long been beneath the sod, this
troubler of dreams. Who knows her secret?


Beside quiet Onota, in the Berkshire Hills, dwelt a band of Indians, and
while they lived here a white deer often came to drink. So rare was the
appearance of an animal like this that its visits were held as good
omens, and no hunter of the tribe ever tried to slay it. A prophet of the
race had said, "So long as the white doe drinks at Onota, famine shall
not blight the Indian's harvest, nor pestilence come nigh his lodge, nor
foeman lay waste his country." And this prophecy held true. That summer
when the deer came with a fawn as white and graceful as herself, it was a
year of great abundance. On the outbreak of the French and Indian War a
young officer named Montalbert was despatched to the Berkshire country to
persuade the Housatonic Indians to declare hostility to the English, and
it was as a guest in the village of Onota that he heard of the white
deer. Sundry adventurers had made valuable friendships by returning to
the French capital with riches and curiosities from the New World. Even
Indians had been abducted as gifts for royalty, and this young ambassador
resolved that when he returned to his own country the skin of the white
deer should be one of the trophies that would win him a smile from Louis.

He offered a price for it--a price that would have bought all their
possessions and miles of the country roundabout, but their deer was
sacred, and their refusal to sacrifice it was couched in such indignant
terms that he wisely said no more about it in the general hearing. There
was in the village a drunken fellow, named Wondo, who had come to that
pass when he would almost have sold his soul for liquor, and him the
officer led away and plied with rum until he promised to bring the white
doe to him. The pretty beast was so familiar with men that she suffered
Wondo to catch her and lead her to Montalbert. Making sure that none was
near, the officer plunged his sword into her side and the innocent
creature fell. The snowy skin, now splashed with red, was quickly
stripped off, concealed among the effects in Montalbert's outfit, and he
set out for Canada; but he had not been many days on his road before
Wondo, in an access of misery and repentance, confessed to his share of
the crime that had been done and was slain on the moment.

With the death of the deer came an end to good fortune. Wars, blights,
emigration followed, and in a few years not a wigwam was left standing
beside Onota.

There is a pendant to this legend, incident to the survival of the deer's
white fawn. An English hunter, visiting the lake with dog and gun, was
surprised to see on its southern bank a white doe. The animal bent to
drink and at the same moment the hunter put his gun to his shoulder.
Suddenly a howl was heard, so loud, so long, that the woods echoed it,
and the deer, taking alarm, fled like the wind. The howl came from the
dog, and, as that animal usually showed sagacity in the presence of game,
the hunter was seized with a fear that its form was occupied, for the
time, by a hag who lived alone in the "north woods," and who was reputed
to have appeared in many shapes--for this was not so long after witch
times that their influence was forgotten.

Drawing his ramrod, the man gave his dog such a beating that the poor
creature had something worth howling for, because it might be the witch
that he was thrashing. Then running to the shanty of the suspected woman
he flung open her door and demanded to see her back, for, if she had
really changed her shape, every blow that he had given to the dog would
have been scored on her skin. When he had made his meaning clear, the
crone laid hold on the implement that served her for horse at night, and
with the wooden end of it rained blows on him so rapidly that, if the dog
had had half the meanness in his nature that some people have, the
spectacle would have warmed his heart, for it was a prompt and severe
revenge for his sufferings. And to the last the hunter could not decide
whether the beating that he received was prompted by indignation or


Four miles from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, among the Berkshire Hills, is
a wild valley, noted for its echoes, that for a century and more has been
called Wizard's Glen. Here the Indian priests performed their
incantations, and on the red-stained Devil's Altar, it was said, they
offered human sacrifice to Hobomocko and his demons of the wood. In
Berkshire's early days a hunter, John Chamberlain, of Dalton, who had
killed a deer and was carrying it home on his shoulders, was overtaken on
the hills by a storm and took shelter from it in a cavernous recess in
Wizard's Glen. In spite of his fatigue he was unable to sleep, and while
lying on the earth with open eyes he was amazed to see the wood bend
apart before him, disclosing a long aisle that was mysteriously lighted
and that contained hundreds of capering forms. As his eyes grew
accustomed to the faint light he made out tails and cloven feet on the
dancing figures; and one tall form with wings, around whose head a wreath
of lightning glittered, and who received the deference of the rest, he
surmised to be the devil himself. It was such a night and such a place as
Satan and his imps commonly chose for high festivals.

As he lay watching them through the sheeted rain a tall and painted
Indian leaped on Devil's Altar, fresh scalps dangling round his body in
festoons, and his eyes blazing with fierce command. In a brief
incantation he summoned the shadow hordes around him. They came, with
torches that burned blue, and went around and around the rock singing a
harsh chant, until, at a sign, an Indian girl was dragged in and flung on
the block of sacrifice. The figures rushed toward her with extended arms
and weapons, and the terrified girl gave one cry that rang in the
hunter's ears all his life after. The wizard raised his axe: the devils
and vampires gathered to drink the blood and clutch the escaping soul,
when in a lightning flash the girl's despairing glance fell on the face
of Chamberlain. That look touched his manhood, and drawing forth his
Bible he held it toward the rabble while he cried aloud the name of God.
There was a crash of thunder. The light faded, the demons vanished, the
storm swept past, and peace settled on the hills.


Balanced Rock, or Rolling Rock, near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is a mass
of limestone that was deposited where it stands by the great continental
glacier during the ice age, and it weighs four hundred and eighty tons
(estimated) in spite of its centuries of weathering. Here one of the
Atotarhos, kings of the Six Nations, had his camp. He was a fierce man,
who ate and drank from bowls made of the skulls of enemies, and who, when
he received messages and petitions, wreathed himself from head to foot
with poison snakes. The son of this ferocious being inherited none of his
war-like tendencies; indeed, the lad was almost feminine in appearance,
and on succeeding to power he applied himself to the cultivation of
peaceful arts. Later historians have uttered a suspicion that he was a
natural son of Count Frontenac, but that does not suit with this legend.

The young Atotarho stood near Balanced Rock watching a number of big boys
play duff. In this game one stone is placed upon another and the players,
standing as far from it as they fancy they can throw, attempt to knock it
out of place with other stones. The silence of Atotarho and his slender,
girlish look called forth rude remarks from the boys, who did not know
him, and who dared him to test his skill. The young chief came forward,
and as he did so the jeers and laughter changed to cries of astonishment
and fear, for at each step he grew in size until he towered above them, a
giant. Then they knew him, and fell down in dread, but he took no
revenge. Catching up great bowlders he tossed them around as easily as if
they had been beechnuts, and at last, lifting the balanced rock, he
placed it lightly where it stands to-day, gave them a caution against ill
manners and hasty judgments, and resumed his slender form. For many years
after, the old men of the tribe repeated this story and its lesson from
the top of Atotarho's duff.


This is the Mohegan name of the pretty lake in the Berkshires now called
Pontoosuc. Shonkeek was a boy, Moonkeek a girl, and they were cousins who
grew up as children commonly do, whether in house or wigwam: they roamed
the woods and hills together, filled their baskets with flowers and
berries, and fell in love. But the marriage of cousins was forbidden in
the Mohegan polity, and when they reached an age in which they found
companionship most delightful their rambles were interdicted and they
were even told to avoid each other. This had the usual effect, and they
met on islands in the lake at frequent intervals, to the torment of one
Nockawando, who wished to wed the girl himself, and who reported her
conduct to her parents.

The lovers agreed, after this, to fly to an Eastern tribe into which they
would ask to be adopted, but they were pledged, if aught interfered with
their escape, to meet beneath the lake. Nockawando interfered. On the
next night, as the unsuspecting Shonkeek was paddling over to the island
where the maid awaited him, the jealous rival, rowing softly in his wake,
sent an arrow into his back, and Shonkeek, without a cry, pitched
headlong into the water. Yet, to the eyes of Nockawando, he appeared to
keep his seat and urge his canoe forward. The girl saw the boat approach:
it sped, now, like an eagle's flight. One look, as it passed the rock;
one glance at the murderer, crouching in his birchen vessel, and with her
lover's name on her lips she leaped into her own canoe and pushed out
from shore. Nockawando heard her raise the death-song and rowed forward
as rapidly as he could, but near the middle of the lake his arm fell

The song had ended and the night had become strangely, horribly still.
Not a chirp of cricket, not a lap of wave, not a rustle of leaf.
Motionless the girl awaited, for his boat was still moving by the impetus
of his last stroke of the paddle. The evening star was shining low on the
horizon, and as her figure loomed in the darkness the star shone through
at the point where her eye had looked forth. It was no human creature
that sat there. Then came the dead man's boat. The two shadows rowed
noiselessly together, and as they disappeared in the mist that was now
settling on the landscape, an unearthly laugh rang over the lake; then
all was still. When Nockawando reached the camp that night he was a
raving maniac. The Indians never found the bodies of the pair, but they
believed that while water remains in Pontoosuc its surface will be vexed
by these journeys of the dead.


In 1720 there lived in a turreted house at North and Essex Streets, in
Salem, a silent, dark-visaged man,--a reputed chemist. He gathered
simples in the fields, and parcels and bottles came and went between him
and learned doctors in Boston; but report went around that it was not
drugs alone that he worked with, nor medicines for passing ailments that
he distilled. The watchman, drowsily pacing the streets in the small
hours, saw his shadow move athwart the furnace glare in his tower, and
other shadows seemed at the moment to flit about it--shadows that could
be thrown by no tangible form, yet that had a grotesque likeness to the
human kind. A clink of hammers and a hiss of steam were sometimes heard,
and his neighbors devoutly hoped that if he secured the secret of the
philosopher's stone or the universal solvent, it would be honestly come

But it was neither gold nor the perilous strong water that he wanted. It
was life: the elixir that would dispel the chill and decrepitude of age,
that would bring back the youthful sparkle to the eye and set the pulses
bounding. He explored the surrounding wilderness day after day; the
juices of its trees and plants he compounded, night after night, long
without avail. Not until after a thousand failures did he conceive that
he had secured the ingredients but they were many, they were perishable,
they must be distilled within five days, for fermentation and decay would
set in if he delayed longer. Gathering the herbs and piling his floor
with fuel, he began his work, alone; the furnace glowed, the retorts
bubbled, and through their long throats trickled drops--golden, ruddy,
brown, and crystal--that would be combined into that precious draught.

And none too soon, for under the strain of anxiety he seemed to be aging
fast. He took no sleep, except while sitting upright in his chair, for,
should he yield entirely to nature's appeal, his fire would die and his
work be spoiled. With heavy eyes and aching head he watched his furnace
and listened to the constant drip, drip of the precious liquor. It was
the fourth day. He had knelt to stir his fire to more active burning. Its
brightness made him blink, its warmth was grateful, and he reclined
before it, with elbow on the floor and head resting on his hand. How
cheerily the logs hummed and crackled, yet how drowsily--how slow the
hours were--how dull the watch! Lower, lower sank the head, and heavier
grew the eyes. At last he lay full length on the floor, and the long
sleep of exhaustion had begun.

He was awakened by the sound of a bell. "The church bell!" he cried,
starting up. "And people going through the streets to meeting. How is
this? The sun is in the east! My God! I have been asleep! The furnace is
cold. The elixir!" He hastily blended the essences that he had made,
though one or two ingredients were still lacking, and drank them off.
"Faugh!" he exclaimed. "Still unfinished-perhaps spoiled. I must begin
again." Taking his hat and coat he uttered a weary sigh and was about to
open the door when his cheek blenched with pain, sight seemed to leave
him, the cry for help that rose to his lips was stifled in a groan of
anguish, a groping gesture brought a shelf of retorts and bottles to the
floor, and he fell writhing among their fragments. The elixir of life,
unfinished, was an elixir of death.


Under the name of Eliza Wharton for a brief time lived a woman whose name
was said to be Elizabeth Whitman. Little is known of her, and it is
thought that she had gone among strangers to conceal disgrace. She died
without telling her story. In 1788 she arrived at the Bell Tavern,
Danvers, in company with a man, who, after seeing her properly bestowed,
drove away and never returned. A graceful, beautiful, well-bred woman,
with face overcast by a tender melancholy, she kept indoors with her
books, her sewing, and a guitar, avoiding the gossip of the idle. She
said that her husband was absent on a journey, and a letter addressed to
"Mrs. Eliza Wharton" was to be seen on her table when she received
callers. Once a stranger paused at her door and read the name thereon. As
he passed on the woman groaned, "I am undone!" One good woman, seeing her
need of care and defiant of village prattling, took her to her home, and
there, after giving birth to a dead child, she passed away. Among her
effects were letters full of pathetic appeal, and some verses, closing

     "O thou for whose dear sake I bear
     A doom so dreadful, so severe,
     May happy fates thy footsteps guide
     And o'er thy peaceful home preside.
     Nor let Eliza's early tomb
     Infect thee with its baleful gloom."

A stone was raised above her grave, by whom it is not known, and this
inscription was engraved thereon: "This humble stone, in memory of
Elizabeth Whitman, is inscribed by her weeping friends, to whom she
endeared herself by uncommon tenderness and affection. Endowed with
superior genius and acquirements, she was still more endeared by humility
and benevolence. Let candor throw a veil over her frailties, for great
was her charity for others. She sustained the last painful scene far from
every friend, and exhibited an example of calm resignation. Her departure
was on the 25th of July, 1788, in the thirty-seventh year of her age, and
the tears of strangers watered her grave."


Bitter were the persecutions endured by Quakers at the hands of the
Puritans. They were flogged if they were restless in church, and flogged
if they did not go to it. Their ears were slit and they were set in the
stocks if they preached, and if any tender-hearted person gave them bed,
bite, or sup, he, too, was liable to punishment. They were charged with
the awful offence of preaching false doctrine, and no matter how pure
their lives might be, the stern Salemite would concede no good of them
while their faith was different from his. They even suspected Cobbler
Keezar of mischief when he declared that his magic lapstone which Agrippa
had torn from the tower at Nettesheim--gave him a vision of the time when
men would be as glad as nature, when the "snuffler of psalms" would sing
for joy, when priests and Quakers would talk together kindly, when
pillory and gallows should be gone. Poor Keezar! In ecstasy at that
prospect he flung up his arms, and his lapstone rolled into the
Merrimack. The tired mill-girls of Lowell still frequent the spot to seek
some dim vision of future comfort.

In contrast to the tales of habitual tyranny toward the Quakers is the
tradition of the Southwicks. Lawrence and Cassandra, of that name, were
banished from Salem, in spite of their blameless lives, for they had
embraced Quakerism. They died within three days of each other on Shelter
Island, but their son and daughter, Daniel and Provided, returned to
their birthplace, and were incessantly fined for not going to church. At
last, having lost their property through seizures made to satisfy their
fines, the General Court of Boston issued an order for their sale, as
slaves, to any Englishman of Virginia or Barbadoes. Edward Butter was
assigned to sell and take them to their master. The day arrived and Salem
market-place was crowded with a throng of the curious. Provided Southwick
mounted the block and Butter began to call for bids. While expatiating on
the aptness of the girl for field or house-service, the master of the
Barbadoes ship on which Butter had engaged passage for himself and his
two charges looked into her innocent face, and roared, in noble dudgeon,
"If my ship were filled with silver, by God, I'd sink her in harbor
rather than take away this child!" The multitude experienced a quick
change of feeling and applauded the sentiment. As the judges and officers
trudged away with gloomy faces, Provided Southwick descended from the
auction-block, and brother and sister went forth into the town free and


Myles Standish, compact, hard-headed little captain of the Puritan guard
at Plymouth, never knew the meaning of fear until he went a-courting
Priscilla Mullins--or was she a Molines, as some say? He had fought white
men and red men and never reeked of danger in the doing it, but his
courage sank to his boots whenever this demure maiden glanced at him, as
he thought, with approval. Odd, too, for he had been married once, and
Rose was not so long dead that he had forgotten the ways and likings of
women; but he made no progress in his suit, and finally chose John Alden
to urge it for him. John--who divides with Mary Chilton the honor of
being first to land on Plymouth Rock--was a well-favored lad of
twenty-two. Until he could build a house for himself he shared Standish's
cottage and looked up to that worthy as a guardian, but it was a hard
task that was set for him now. He went to goodman Mullins with a slow
step and sober countenance and asked leave to plead his protector's
cause. The father gave it, called his daughter in, and left them
together; then, with noble faith to his mission, the young man begged the
maiden's hand for the captain, dwelling on his valor, strength, wisdom,
his military greatness, his certainty of promotion, his noble lineage,
and all good attributes he could endow him with.

Priscilla kept at her spinning while this harangue went on, but the drone
of the wheel did not prevent her noting a sigh and a catch of the breath
that interrupted the discourse now and then. She flushed as she replied,
"Why does not Captain Standish come to me himself? If I am worth the
winning I ought to be worth the wooing."

But John Alden seemed not to notice the girl's confusion until, in a
pause in his eloquence, Priscilla bent her head a little, as if to mend a
break in the flax, and said, "Prithee, John, why don't you speak for

Then a great light broke on the understanding of John Alden, and a great
warmth welled up in his heart, and--they were married. Myles
Standish--well, some say that he walked in the wedding procession, while
one narrator holds that the sturdy Roundhead tramped away to the woods,
where he sat for a day, hating himself, and that he never forgave his
protege nor the maiden who took advantage of leap year. However that may
be, the wedding was a happy one, and the Aldens of all America claim John
and Priscilla for their ancestors.


Mother Crewe was of evil repute in Plymouth in the last century. It was
said that she had taken pay for luring a girl into her old farm-house,
where a man lay dead of small-pox, with intent to harm her beauty; she
was accused of blighting land and driving ships ashore with spells; in
brief, she was called a witch, and people, even those who affected to
ignore the craft of wizardry, were content to keep away from her. When
the Revolution ended, Southward Howland demanded Dame Crewe's house and
acre, claiming under law of entail, though primogeniture had been little
enforced in America, where there was room and to spare for all. But
Howland was stubborn and the woman's house had good situation, so one day
he rode to her door and summoned her with a tap of his whip.

"What do you here on my land?" said he.

"I live on land that is my own. I cleared it, built my house here, and no
other has claim to it."

"Then I lay claim. The place is mine. I shall tear your cabin down on

"On Friday they'll dig your grave on Burying Hill. I see the shadow
closing round you. You draw it in with every breath. Quick! Home and make
your peace!" The hag's withered face was touched with spots of red and
her eyes glared in their sunken sockets.

"Bandy no witch words with me, woman. On Friday I will return." And he
swung himself into his saddle. As he did so a black cat leaped on Mother
Crewe's shoulder and stood there, squalling. The woman listened to its
cries as if they were words. Her look of hate deepened. Raising her hand,
she cried, "Your day is near its end. Repent!"

"Bah! You have heard what I have said. If on Friday you are not
elsewhere, I'll tear the timbers down and bury you in the ruins."

"Enough!" cried the woman, her form straightening, her voice grown
shrill. "My curse is on you here and hereafter. Die! Then go down to

As she said this the cat leaped from her shoulder to the flank of the
horse, spitting and clawing, and the frightened steed set off at a
furious pace. As he disappeared in the scrub oaks his master was seen
vainly trying to stop him. The evening closed in with fog and chill, and
before the light waned a man faring homeward came upon the corpse of
Southward Howland stretched along the ground.


On a headland near Plymouth lived "Aunt Rachel," a reputed seer, who made
a scant livelihood by forecasting the future for such seagoing people as
had crossed her palm. The crew of a certain brig came to see her on the
day before sailing, and she reproached one of the lads for keeping bad
company. "Avast, there, granny," interrupted another, who took the
chiding to himself. "None of your slack, or I'll put a stopper on your
gab." The old woman sprang erect. Levelling her skinny finger at the man,
she screamed, "Moon cursers! You have set false beacons and wrecked ships
for plunder. It was your fathers and mothers who decoyed a brig to these
sands and left me childless and a widow. He who rides the pale horse be
your guide, and you be of the number who follow him!"

That night old Rachel's house was burned, and she barely escaped with her
life, but when it was time for the brig to sail she took her place among
the townfolk who were to see it off. The owner of the brig tried to
console her for the loss of the house. "I need it no longer," she
answered, "for the narrow house will soon be mine, and you wretches
cannot burn that. But you! Who will console you for the loss of your

"My brig is stanch. She has already passed the worst shoal in the bay."

"But she carries a curse. She cannot swim long."

As each successive rock and bar was passed the old woman leaned forward,
her hand shaking, her gray locks flying, her eyes starting, her lips
mumbling maledictions, "like an evil spirit, chiding forth the storms as
ministers of vengeance." The last shoal was passed, the merchant sighed
with relief at seeing the vessel now safely on her course, when the woman
uttered a harsh cry, and raised her hand as if to command silence until
something happened that she evidently expected. For this the onlookers
had not long to wait: the brig halted and trembled--her sails shook in
the wind, her crew were seen trying to free the cutter--then she careened
and sank until only her mast-heads stood out of the water. Most of the
company ran for boats and lines, and few saw Rachel pitch forward on the
earth-dead, with a fierce smile of exultation on her face. The rescuers
came back with all the crew, save one--the man who had challenged the old
woman and revengefully burned her cabin. Rachel's body was buried where
her house had stood, and the rock--before unknown--where the brig had
broken long bore the name of Rachel's Curse.


The black, pyramidal beacon, called Nix's Mate, is well known to
yachtsmen, sailors, and excursionists in Boston harbor. It rises above a
shoal,--all that is left of a fair, green island which long ago
disappeared in the sea. In 1636 it had an extent of twelve acres, and on
its highest point was a gallows where pirates were hanged in chains. One
night cries were heard on board of a ship that lay at anchor a little way
off shore, and when the watch put off, to see what might be amiss, the
captain, named Nix, was found murdered in his bed. There was no direct
evidence in the case, and no motive could be assigned for the deed,
unless it was the expectancy of promotion on the part of the mate, in
case of his commander's death.

It was found, however, that this possibility gave significance to certain
acts and sayings of that officer during the voyage, and on circumstantial
evidence so slight as this he was convicted and sentenced to death. As he
was led to execution he swore that he was not guilty, as he had done
before, and from the scaffold he cried aloud, "God, show that I am
innocent. Let this island sink and prove to these people that I have
never stained my hands with human blood." Soon after the execution of his
sentence it was noticed that the surf was going higher on the shore, that
certain rocks were no longer uncovered at low tide, and in time the
island wasted away. The colonists looked with awe on this manifestation
and confessed that God had shown their wrong.


For years after Bellamy's pirate ship was wrecked at Wellfleet, by false
pilotage on the part of one of his captives, a strange-looking man used
to travel up and down the cape, who was believed to be one of the few
survivors of that night of storm, and of the hanging that others
underwent after getting ashore. The pirates had money when the ship
struck; it was found in the pockets of a hundred drowned who were cast on
the beach, as well as among the sands of the cape, for coin was gathered
there long after. They supposed the stranger had his share, or more, and
that he secreted a quantity of specie near his cabin. After his death
gold was found under his clothing in a girdle. He was often received at
the houses of the fishermen, both because the people were hospitable and
because they feared harm if they refused to feed or shelter him; but if
his company grew wearisome he was exorcised by reading aloud a portion of
the Bible. When he heard the holy words he invariably departed.

And it was said that fiends came to him at night, for in his room,
whether he appeared to sleep or wake, there were groans and blasphemy,
uncanny words and sounds that stirred the hair of listeners on their
scalps. The unhappy creature cried to be delivered from his tormenters
and begged to be spared from seeing a rehearsal of the murders he had
committed. For some time he was missed from his haunts, and it was
thought that he had secured a ship and set to sea again; but a traveller
on the sands, while passing his cabin in the small hours, had heard a
more than usual commotion, and could distinguish the voice of the wild
man raised in frantic appeal to somebody, or something; still, knowing
that it was his habit to cry out so, and having misgivings about
approaching the house, the traveller only hurried past. A few neighbors
went to the lonely cabin and looked through the windows, which, as well
as the doors, were locked on the inside. The wild man lay still and white
on the floor, with the furniture upset and pieces of gold clutched in his
fingers and scattered about him. There were marks of claws about his


Among the venerable relics of Newbury few are better known and more
prized than the old elm. It is a stout tree, with a girth of twenty-four
and a half feet, and is said to have been standing since 1713. In that
year it was planted by Richard Jacques, then a youthful rustic, who had a
sweetheart, as all rustics have, and adored her as rustics and other men
should do. On one of his visits he stayed uncommonly late. It was nearly
ten o'clock when he set off for home. The town had been abed an hour or
more; the night was murky and oppressively still, and corpse-candles were
dancing in the graveyard. Witch times had not been so far agone that he
felt comfortable, and, lest some sprite, bogie, troll, or goblin should
waylay him, he tore an elm branch from a tree that grew before his
sweetheart's house, and flourished it as he walked. He reached home
without experiencing any of the troubles that a superstitious fancy had
conjured. As he was about to cast the branch away a comforting vision of
his loved one came into his mind, and he determined to plant the branch
at his own door, that in the hours of their separation he might be
reminded of her who dwelt beneath the parent tree. He did so. It rooted
and grew, and when the youth and maid had long been married, their
children and grandchildren sported beneath its branches.


The peace of Newbury is deemed to be permanently secured by the prophecy
of Samuel Sewall, the young man who married the buxom daughter of
Mint-Master John Hull, and received, as wedding portion, her weight in
fresh-coined pine-tree shillings. He afterward became notorious as one of
the witchcraft judges. The prophecy has not been countervailed, nor is it
likely to be, whether the conditions are kept or not. It runs in this

"As long as Plum island shall faithfully keep the commanded Post,
Notwithstanding the hectoring words and hard blows of the proud and
boisterous ocean; As long as any Salmon or Sturgeon shall swim in the
streams of Merrimack, or any Perch or Pickeril in Crane Pond; As long as
the Sea Fowl shall know the time of their coming, and not neglect
seasonably to visit the places of their acquaintance; As long as any
Cattel shall be fed with Grass growing in the meadows which doe humbly
bow themselves before Turkie Hill; As long as any Sheep shall walk upon
Old town Hills, and shall from thence look pleasantly down upon the River
Parker and the fruitful Marishes lying beneath; As long as any free and
harmless Doves shall find a White Oak or other Tree within the township
to perch or feed, or build a careless Nest upon, and shall voluntarily
present themselves to perform the office of Gleaners after Barley
Harvest; As long as Nature shall not grow old and dote, but shall
constantly remember to give the rows of Indian Corn their education by
Pairs; So long shall Christians be born there and being first made meet,
shall from thence be translated to be made partakers of the Saints of


During the latter part of the seventeenth century a Spanish ship, richly
laden, was beset off Marblehead by English pirates, who killed every
person on board, at the time of the capture, except a beautiful English
lady, a passenger on the ship, who was brought ashore at night and
brutally murdered at a ledge of rocks near Oakum Bay. As the fishermen
who lived near were absent in their boats, the women and children, who
were startled from their sleep by her piercing shrieks, dared not attempt
a rescue. Taking her a little way from shore in their boat, the pirates
flung her into the sea, and as she came to the surface and clutched the
gunwale they hewed at her hands with cutlasses. She was heard to cry,
"Lord, save me! Mercy! O, Lord Jesus, save me!" Next day the people found
her mangled body on the rocks, and, with bitter imprecations at the worse
than beasts that had done this wrong, they prepared it for burial. It was
interred where it was found, but, although it was committed to the earth
with Christian forms, for one hundred and fifty years the victim's cries
and appeals were repeated, on each anniversary of the crime, with such
distinctness as to affright all who heard them--and most of the citizens
of Marblehead claimed to be of that number.


When, in 1742, Sir Henry Frankland, collector of the port of Boston, went
to Marblehead to inquire into the smuggling that was pretty boldly
carried on, he put up at the Fountain Inn. As he entered that hostelry a
barefooted girl, of sixteen, who was scrubbing the floor, looked at him.
The young man was handsome, well dressed, gallant in bearing, while Agnes
Surriage, maid of all work, was of good figure, beautiful face, and
modest demeanor. Sir Henry tossed out a coin, bidding her to buy shoes
with it, and passed to his room. But the image of Agnes rose constantly
before him. He sought her company, found her of ready intelligence for
one unschooled, and shortly after this visit he obtained the consent of
her parents--humble folk--to take this wild flower to the city and
cultivate it.

He gave her such an education as the time and place afforded, dressed her
well, and behaved with kindness toward her, while she repaid this care
with the frank bestowal of her heart. The result was not foreseen--not
intended--but they became as man and wife without having wedded. Colonial
society was scandalized, yet the baronet loved the girl sincerely and
could not be persuaded to part from her. Having occasion to visit England
he took Agnes with him and introduced her as Lady Frankland, but the
nature of their alliance had been made known to his relatives and they
refused to receive her. The thought of a permanent union with the girl
had not yet presented itself to the young man. An aristocrat could not
marry a commoner. A nobleman might destroy the honor of a girl for
amusement, but it was beneath his dignity to make reparation for the act.

Sir Henry was called to Portugal in 1755, and Agnes went with him. They
arrived inopportunely in one respect, though the sequel showed a blessing
in the accident; for while they were sojourning in Lisbon the earthquake
occurred that laid the city in ruins and killed sixty thousand people.
Sir Henry was in his carriage at the time and was buried beneath a
falling wall, but Agnes, who had hurried from her lodging at the first
alarm, sped through the rocking streets in search of her lover. She found
him at last, and, instead of crying or fainting, she set to work to drag
away the stones and timbers that were piled upon him. Had she been a
delicate creature, her lover's equal in birth, such as Frankland was used
to dance with at the state balls, she could not have done this, but her
days of service at the inn had given her a strength that received fresh
accessions from hope and love. In an hour she had liberated him, and,
carrying him to a place of safety, she cherished the spark of life until
health returned. The nobleman had received sufficient proof of Agnes's
love and courage. He realized, at last, the superiority of worth to
birth. He gave his name, as he had already given his heart, to her, and
their married life was happy.


Flood, Fluid, or Floyd Ireson (in some chronicles his name is Benjamin)
was making for Marblehead in a furious gale, in the autumn of 1808, in
the schooner Betsy. Off Cape Cod he fell in with the schooner Active, of
Beverly, in distress, for she had been disabled in the heavy sea and was
on her beam ends, at the mercy of the tempest. The master of the Active
hailed Ireson and asked to be taken off, for his vessel could not last
much longer, but the Betsy, after a parley, laid her course again
homeward, leaving the exhausted and despairing crew of the sinking vessel
to shift as best they might. The Betsy had not been many hours in port
before it was known that men were in peril in the bay, and two crews of
volunteers set off instantly to the rescue. But it was too late. The
Active was at the bottom of the sea. The captain and three of his men
were saved, however, and their grave accusation against the Betsy's
skipper was common talk in Marblehead ere many days.

On a moonlight night Flood Ireson was roused by knocking at his door. On
opening it he was seized by a band of his townsmen, silently hustled to a
deserted spot, stripped, bound, and coated with tar and feathers. At
break of day he was pitched into an old dory and dragged along the roads
until the bottom of the boat dropped out, when he was mounted in a cart
and the procession continued until Salem was reached. The selectmen of
that town turned back the company, and for a part of the way home the
cart was drawn by a jeering crowd of fishwives. Ireson was released only
when nature had been taxed to the limit of endurance. As his bonds were
cut he said, quietly, "I thank you for my ride, gentlemen, but you will
live to regret it."

Some of the cooler heads among his fellows have believed the skipper
innocent and throw the blame for the abandonment of the sinking vessel on
Ireson's mutinous crew. There are others, the universal deniers, who
believe that the whole thing is fiction. Those people refuse to believe
in their own grandfathers. Ireson became moody and reckless after this
adventure. He did not seem to think it worth the attempt to clear
himself. At times he seemed trying, by his aggressive acts and bitter
speeches, to tempt some hot-tempered townsman to kill him. He died after
a severe freezing, having been blown to sea--as some think by his own
will--in a smack.


The name of Heartbreak Hill pertains, in the earliest records of Ipswich,
to an eminence in the middle of that town on which there was a large
Indian settlement, called Agawam, before the white men settled there and
drove the inhabitants out. Ere the English colony had been firmly planted
a sailor straying ashore came among the simple natives of Agawam, and
finding their ways full of novelty he lived with them for a time. When he
found means to return to England he took with him the love of a maiden of
the tribe, but the girl herself he left behind, comforting her on his
departure with an assurance that before many moons he would return.
Months went by and extended into years, and every day the girl climbed
Heartbreak Hill to look seaward for some token of her lover. At last a
ship was seen trying to make harbor, with a furious gale running her
close to shore, where breakers were lashing the rocks and sand. The girl
kept her station until the vessel, becoming unmanageable, was hurled
against the shore and smashed into a thousand pieces. As its timbers went
tossing away on the frothing billows a white, despairing face was lifted
to hers for an instant; then it sank and was seen nevermore--her lover's
face. The "dusky Ariadne" wasted fast from that day, and she lies buried
beside the ledge that was her watch-tower.


Ipswich had a very Old Harry in the person of Harry Main, a dark-souled
being, who, after a career of piracy, smuggling, blasphemy, and
dissipation, became a wrecker, and lured vessels to destruction with
false lights. For his crimes he was sent, after death, to do penance on
Ipswich bar, where he had sent many a ship ashore, his doom being to
twine ropes of sand, though some believe it was to shovel back the sea.
Whenever his rope broke he would roar with rage and anguish, so that he
was heard for miles, whereon the children would run to their trembling
mothers and men would look troubled and shake their heads. After a good
bit of cable had been coiled, Harry had a short respite that he enjoyed
on Plum Island, to the terror of the populace. When the tide and a gale
are rising together people say, as they catch the sound of moaning from
the bar, "Old Harry's grumbling again."

Now, Harry Main--to say nothing of Captain Kidd--was believed to have
buried his ill-gotten wealth in Ipswich, and one man dreamed for three
successive nights that it had been interred in a mill. Believing that a
revelation had been made to him he set off with spade, lantern, and
Bible, on the first murky night--for he wanted no partner in the
discovery--and found a spot which he recognized as the one that had been
pictured to his sleeping senses. He set to work with alacrity and a
shovel, and soon he unearthed a flat stone and an iron bar. He was about
to pry up the stone when an army of black cats encircled the pit and
glared into it with eyes of fire.

The poor man, in an access both of alarm and courage, whirled the bar
about his head and shouted "Scat!" The uncanny guards of the treasure
disappeared instanter, and at the same moment the digger found himself up
to his middle in icy water that had poured into the hole as he spoke.

The moral is that you should never talk when you are hunting for
treasure. Wet, scared, and disheartened, the man crawled out and made
homeward, carrying with him, as proof of his adventure, a case of
influenza and the iron bar. The latter trophy he fashioned into a latch,
in which shape it still does service on one of the doors of Ipswich.


Among the Puritans who settled in Wessaguscus, now Weymouth,
Massachusetts, was a brash young fellow, of remarkable size and strength,
who, roaming the woods one day, came on a store of corn concealed in the
ground, in the fashion of the Indians. As anybody might have done, he
filled his hat from the granary and went his way. When the red man who
had dug the pit came back to it he saw that his cache had been levied on,
and as the footprints showed the marauder to be an Englishman he went to
the colonists and demanded justice. The matter could have been settled by
giving a pennyworth of trinkets to the Indian, but, as the moral law had
been broken, the Puritans deemed it right that the pilferer should

They held a court and a proposition was made and seriously considered
that, as the culprit was young, hardy, and useful to the colony, his
clothes should be stripped off and put on the body of a bedridden weaver,
who would be hanged in his stead in sight of the offended savages. Still,
it was feared that if they learned the truth about that execution the
Indians would learn a harmful lesson in deceit, and it was, therefore,
resolved to punish the true offender. He, thinking they were in jest,
submitted to be bound, though before doing so he could have "cleaned out"
the court-room, and ere he was really aware of the purpose of his judges
he was kicking at vacancy.

Butler, in "Hudibras," quotes the story, but makes the offence more

    "This precious brother, having slain,
    In time of peace, an Indian,
    Not out of malice, but mere zeal,
    Because he was an infidel,
    The mighty Tottipotimoy
    Sent to our elders an envoy
    Complaining sorely of the breach Of league."

But the Puritans, having considered that the offender was a teacher and a

    "Resolved to spare him; yet, to do
    The Indian Hoghan Moghan, too,
    Impartial justice, in his stead did
    Hang an old weaver that was bed-rid."

The whole circumstance is cloudy, and the reader may accept either
version that touches his fancy.


There was that in the very air of the New World that made the Pilgrims
revolt against priests and kings. The Revolution was long a-breeding
before shots were fired at Lexington. Stout old Endicott, having
conceived a dislike to the British flag because to his mind the cross was
a relic of popery, paraded his soldiers and with his sword ripped out the
offending emblem in their presence. There was a faint cry of "Treason!"
but he answered, "I will avouch the deed before God and man. Beat a
flourish, drummer. Shout for the ensign of New England. Pope nor tyrant
hath part in it now." And a loud huzza of independence went forth.

With this sentiment confirmed among the people, it is not surprising that
the judges who had condemned a papist king--Charles I.--to the block
should find welcome in this land. For months at a time they lived in
cellars and garrets in various parts of New England, their hiding-places
kept secret from the royal sheriffs who were seeking them. For a time
they had shelter in a cave in West Rock, New Haven, and once in that town
they were crouching beneath the bridge that a pursuing party crossed in
search of them. In Ipswich the house is pointed out where they were
concealed in the cellar, and the superstitious believed that, as a
penalty for their regicidal decision, they are doomed to stay there,
crying vainly for deliverance.

Philip, the Narragansett chief, had declared war on the people of New
England, and was waging it with a persistence and fury that spread terror
through the country. It was a struggle against manifest destiny, such as
must needs be repeated whenever civilization comes to dispute a place in
new lands with savagery, and which has been continued, more and more
feebly, to our own day. The war was bloody, and for a long time the issue
hung in the balance. At last the Indian king was driven westward. The
Nipmucks joined him in the Connecticut Valley, and he laid siege to the
lonely settlements of Brookfield, Northfield, Deerfield, and Springfield,
killing, scalping, and burning without mercy. On the 1st of September,
1675, he attacked Hadley while its people were at church, the war-yelp
interrupting a prayer of the pastor. All the men of the congregation
sallied out with pikes and guns and engaged the foe, but so closely were
they pressed that a retreat was called, when suddenly there appeared
among them a tall man, of venerable and commanding aspect, clad in
leather, and armed with sword and gun.

His hair and beard were long and white, but his eye was dark and
resolute, and his voice was strong. "Why sink your hearts?" he cried.
"Fear ye that God will give you up to yonder heathen dogs? Follow me, and
ye shall see that this day there is a champion in Israel."

Posting half the force at his command to sustain the fight, he led the
others quickly by a detour to the rear of the Indians, on whom he fell
with such energy that the savages, believing themselves overtaken by
reinforcements newly come, fled in confusion. When the victors returned
to the village the unknown champion signed to the company to fall to
their knees while he offered thanks and prayer. Then he was silent for a
little, and when they looked up he was gone.

They believed him to be an angel sent for their deliverance, nor, till he
had gone to his account, did they know that their captain in that crisis
was Colonel William Goffe, one of the regicide judges, who, with his
associate Whalley, was hiding from the vengeance of the son of the king
they had rebelled against. After leaving their cave in New Haven, being
in peril from beasts and human hunters, they went up the Connecticut
Valley to Hadley, where the clergyman of the place, Rev. John Russell,
gave them shelter for fifteen years. Few were aware of their existence,
and when Goffe, pale with seclusion from the light, appeared among the
people near whom he had long been living, it is no wonder that they
regarded him with awe.

Whalley died in the minister's house and was buried in a crypt outside of
the cellar-wall, while Goffe kept much abroad, stopping in many places
and under various disguises until his death, which occurred soon after
that of his associate. He was buried in New Haven.


Goodwife Eunice Cole, of Hampton, Massachusetts, was so "vehemently
suspected to be a witch" that in 1680 she was thrown into jail with a
chain on her leg. She had a mumbling habit, which was bad, and a wild
look, which was worse. The death of two calves had been charged to her
sorceries, and she was believed to have raised the cyclone that sent a
party of merrymakers to the sea-bottom off the Isles of Shoals, for
insulting her that morning. Some said that she took the shapes of eagles,
dogs, and cats, and that she had the aspect of an ape when she went
through the mummeries that caused Goody Marston's child to die, yet while
she was in Ipswich jail a likeness of her was stumping about the
graveyard on the day when they buried the child. For such offences as
that of making bread ferment and give forth evil odors, that housekeepers
could only dispel by prayer, she was several times whipped and ducked by
the constable.

At last she lay under sentence of death, for Anna Dalton declared that
her child had been changed in its cradle and that she hated and feared
the thing that had been left there. Her husband, Ezra, had pleaded with
her in vain. "'Tis no child of mine," she cried. "'Tis an imp. Don't you
see how old and shrewd it is? How wrinkled and ugly? It does not take my
milk: it is sucking my blood and wearing me to skin and bone." Once, as
she sat brooding by the fire, she turned to her husband and said, "Rake
the coals out and put the child in them. Goody Cole will fly fast enough
when she hears it screaming, and will come down chimney in the shape of
an owl or a bat, and take the thing away. Then we shall have our little
one back."

Goodman Dalton sighed as he looked into the worn, scowling face of his
wife; then, laying his hands on her head, he prayed to God that she might
be led out of the shadow and made to love her child again. As he prayed a
gleam of sunset shone in at the window and made a halo around the face of
the smiling babe. Mistress Dalton looked at the little thing in doubt;
then a glow of recognition came into her eyes, and with a sob of joy she
caught the child to her breast, while Dalton embraced them both, deeply
happy, for his wife had recovered her reason. In the midst of tears and
kisses the woman started with a faint cry: she remembered that a poor old
creature was about to expiate on the gallows a crime that had never been
committed. She urged her husband to ride with all speed to justice Sewall
and demand that Goody Cole be freed. This the goodman did, arriving at
Newbury at ten o'clock at night, when the town had long been abed and
asleep. By dint of alarms at the justice's door he brought forth that
worthy in gown and night-cap, and, after the case had been explained to
him, he wrote an order for Mistress Cole's release.

With this paper in his hand Dalton rode at once to Ipswich, and when the
cock crew in the dawning the victim of that horrible charge walked forth,
without her manacles. Yet dark suspicion hung about the beldam to the
last, and she died, as she had lived, alone in the little cabin that
stood near the site of the academy. Even after her demise the villagers
could with difficulty summon courage to enter her cot and give her
burial. Her body was tumbled into a pit, hastily dug near her door, and a
stake was driven through the heart to exorcise the powers of evil that
possessed her in life.


Jonathan Moulton, of Hampton, was a general of consequence in the
colonial wars, but a man not always trusted in other than military
matters. It was even hinted that his first wife died before her time, for
he quickly found consolation in his bereavement by marrying her
companion. In the middle of the night the bride was awakened with a
start, for she felt a cold hand plucking at the wedding-ring that had
belonged to the buried Mrs. Moulton, and a voice whispered in her ear,
"Give the dead her own." With a scream of terror she leaped out of bed,
awaking her husband and causing candles to be brought. The ring was gone.

It was long after this occurrence that the general sat musing at his
fireside on the hardness of life in new countries and the difficulty of
getting wealth, for old Jonathan was fond of money, and the lack of it
distressed him worse than a conscience. "If only I could have gold
enough," he muttered, "I'd sell my soul for it." Whiz! came something
down the chimney. The general was dazzled by a burst of sparks, from
which stepped forth a lank personage in black velvet with clean ruffles
and brave jewels. "Talk quick, general," said the unknown, "for in
fifteen minutes I must be fifteen miles away, in Portsmouth." And picking
up a live coal in his fingers he looked at his watch by its light. "Come.
You know me. Is it a bargain?"

The general was a little slow to recover his wits, but the word "bargain"
put him on his mettle, and he began to think of advantageous terms. "What
proof may there be that you can do your part in the compact?" he
inquired. The unknown ran his fingers through his hair and a shower of
guineas jingled on the floor. They were pretty warm, but Moulton, in his
eagerness, fell on hands and knees and gathered them to his breast.

"Give me some liquor," then demanded Satan, for of course he was no
other, and filling a tankard with rum he lighted it with the candle,
remarked, affably, "To our better acquaintance," and tossed off the
blazing dram at a gulp. "I will make you," said he, "the richest man in
the province. Sign this paper and on the first day of every month I will
fill your boots with gold; but if you try any tricks with me you will
repent it. For I know you, Jonathan. Sign."

Moulton hesitated. "Humph!" sneered his majesty. "You have put me to all
this trouble for nothing." And he began to gather up the guineas that
Moulton had placed on the table. This was more than the victim of his
wiles could stand. He swallowed a mouthful of rum, seized a pen that was
held out to him, and trembled violently as a paper was placed before him;
but when he found that his name was to appear with some of the most
distinguished in the province his nerves grew steadier and he placed his
autograph among those of the eminent company, with a few crooked
embellishments and all the t's crossed. "Good!" exclaimed the devil, and
wrapping his cloak about him he stepped into the fire and was up the
chimney in a twinkling.

Shrewd Jonathan went out the next day and bought the biggest pair of
jack-boots he could find in Hampton. He hung them on the crane on the
last night of that and all the succeeding months so long as he lived, and
on the next morning they brimmed with coins. Moulton rolled in wealth.
The neighbors regarded his sudden prosperity with amazement, then with
envy, but afterward with suspicion. All the same, Jonathan was not
getting rich fast enough to suit himself.

When the devil came to make a certain of his periodical payments he
poured guineas down the chimney for half an hour without seeming to fill
the boots. Bushel after bushel of gold he emptied into those spacious
money-bags without causing an overflow, and he finally descended to the
fireplace to see why. Moulton had cut the soles from the boots and the
floor was knee-deep in money. With a grin at the general's smartness the
devil disappeared, but in a few minutes a smell of sulphur pervaded the
premises and the house burst into flames. Moulton escaped in his shirt,
and tore his hair as he saw the fire crawl, serpent-like, over the beams,
and fantastic smoke-forms dance in the windows. Then a thought crossed
his mind and he grew calm: his gold, that was hidden in wainscot,
cupboard, floor, and chest, would only melt and could be quarried out by
the hundred weight, so that he could be well-to-do again. Before the
ruins were cool he was delving amid the rubbish, but not an ounce of gold
could he discover. Every bit of his wealth had disappeared. It was not
long after that the general died, and to quiet some rumors of disturbance
in the graveyard his coffin was dug up. It was empty.


The skeleton of a man wearing a breastplate of brass, a belt made of
tubes of the same metal, and lying near some copper arrow-heads, was
exhumed at Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1834. The body had been
artificially embalmed or else preserved by salts in the soil. His arms
and armor suggest Phoenician origin, but the skeleton is thought to be
that of a Dane or Norwegian who spent the last winter of his life at
Newport. He may have helped to carve the rock at West Newbury, or the
better-known Dighton rock at Taunton River that is covered with
inscriptions which the tides and frosts are fast effacing, and which have
been construed into a record of Norse exploration and discovery, though
some will have it that the inevitable Captain Kidd cut the figures there
to tell of buried treasure. The Indians have a legend of the arrival of
white men in a "bird," undoubtedly a ship, from which issued thunder and
lightning. A battle ensued when the visitors landed, and the white men
wrote the story of it on the rock. Certain scholars of the eighteenth
century declared that the rock bore an account of the arrival of
Phoenician sailors, blown across the Atlantic and unable or unwilling to
return. A representation of the pillars of Hercules was thought to be
included among the sculptures, showing that the castaways were familiar
with the Mediterranean. Only this is known about Dighton Rock, however:
that it stood where it does, and as it does, when the English settled in
this neighborhood. The Indians said there were other rocks near it which
bore similar markings until effaced by tides and drifting ice.

Longfellow makes the wraith of the long-buried exile of the armor appear
and tell his story: He was a viking who loved the daughter of King
Hildebrand, and as royal consent to their union was withheld he made off
with the girl, hotly followed by the king and seventy horsemen. The
viking reached his vessel first, and hoisting sail continued his flight
over the sea, but the chase was soon upon him, and, having no alternative
but to fight or be taken, he swung around before the wind and rammed the
side of Hildebrand's galley, crushing in its timbers. The vessel tipped
and sank, and every soul on board went with her, while the viking's boat
kept on her course, and after a voyage of three weeks put in at
Narragansett Bay. The round tower at Newport this impetuous lover built
as a bower for his lady, and there he guarded her from the dangers that
beset those who are first in savage countries. When the princess died she
was buried in the tower, and the lonely viking, arraying himself in his
armor, fell on his spear, like Brutus, and expired.


There is no such place as Martha's Vineyard, except in geography and
common speech. It is Martin Wyngaard's Island, and so was named by
Skipper Block, an Albany Dutchman. But they would English his name, even
in his own town, for it lingers there in Vineyard Point. Bartholomew
Gosnold was one of the first white visitors here, for he landed in 1602,
and lived on the island for a time, collecting a cargo of sassafras and
returning thence to England because he feared the savages.

This scarred and windy spot was the home of the Indian giant, Maushope,
who could wade across the sound to the mainland without wetting his
knees, though he once started to build a causeway from Gay Head to
Cuttyhunk and had laid the rocks where you may now see them, when a crab
bit his toe and he gave up the work in disgust. He lived on whales,
mostly, and broiled his dinners on fires made at Devil's Den from trees
that he tore up by the roots like weeds. In his tempers he raised mists
to perplex sea-wanderers, and for sport he would show lights on Gay Head,
though these may have been only the fires he made to cook his supper
with, and of which some beds of lignite are to be found as remains. He
clove No-Man's Land from Gay Head, turned his children into fish, and
when his wife objected he flung her to Seconnet Point, where she preyed
on all who passed before she hardened into a ledge.

It is reported that he found the island by following a bird that had been
stealing children from Cape Cod, as they rolled in the warm sand or
paddled on the edge of the sea. He waded after this winged robber until
he reached Martha's Vineyard, where he found the bones of all the
children that had been stolen. Tired with his hunt he sat down to fill
his pipe; but as there was no tobacco he plucked some tons of poke that
grew thickly and that Indians sometimes used as a substitute for the
fragrant weed. His pipe being filled and lighted, its fumes rolled over
the ocean like a mist--in fact, the Indians would say, when a fog was
rising, "Here comes old Maushope's smoke"--and when he finished he
emptied his pipe into the sea. Falling on a shallow, the ashes made the
island of Nantucket. The first Indians to reach the latter place were the
parents of a babe that had been stolen by an eagle. They followed the
bird in their canoe, but arrived too late, for the little bones had been
picked clean. The Norsemen rediscovered the island and called it
Naukiton. Is Nantucket a corruption of that word, or was that word the
result of a struggle to master the Indian name?


The tribes that inhabited Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard before the
whites settled the country were constantly at war, and the people of the
western island once resolved to surprise those of Nantucket and slay as
many as possible before they could arm or organize for battle. The attack
was to be made before daybreak, at an hour when their intended victims
would be asleep in their wigwams, but on rowing softly to the hostile
shore, while the stars were still lingering in the west, the warriors
were surprised at finding the enemy alert and waiting their arrival with
bows and spears in hand. To proceed would have been suicidal, and they
returned to their villages, puzzled and disheartened. Not for some years
did they learn how the camp had been apprised, but at the end of that
time, the two tribes being at peace, one of their young men married a
girl of Nantucket, with whom he had long been in love, and confessed that
on the night preceding the attack he had stolen to the beach, crossed to
Nantucket on a neck of sand that then joined the islands, and was
uncovered only at low tide, sought his mistress, warned her of the
attack, that she, at least, might not be killed; then, at a mad run, with
waves of the rising tide lapping his feet, he returned to his people, who
had not missed him. He set off with a grave and innocent face in the
morning, and was as much surprised as any one when he found the enemy in


The boggy portion of North Kingston, Rhode Island, known as Swamptown, is
of queer repute in its neighborhood, for Hell Hollow, Pork Hill, Indian
Corner, and Kettle Hole have their stories of Indian crimes and
witch-meetings. Here the headless figure of a negro boy was seen by a
belated traveller on a path that leads over the hills. It was a dark
night and the figure was revealed in a blaze of blue light. It swayed to
and fro for a time, then rose from the ground with a lurch and shot into
space, leaving a trail of illumination behind it. Here, too, is
Goose-Nest Spring, where the witches dance at night. It dries up every
winter and flows through the summer, gushing forth on the same day of
every year, except once, when a goose took possession of the empty bed
and hatched her brood there. That time the water did not flow until she
got away with her progeny.

But the most grewsome story of the place is that of the Indian whose
skull was found by a roadmender. This unsuspecting person took it home,
and, as the women would not allow him to carry it into the house, he hung
it on a pole outside. Just as the people were starting for bed, there
came a rattling at the door, and, looking out of the windows, they saw a
skeleton stalking around in quick and angry strides, like those of a
person looking for something. But how could that be when the skeleton had
neither eyes nor a place to carry them? It thrashed its bony arms
impatiently and its ribs rattled like a xylophone. The spectators were
transfixed with fear, all except the culprit, who said, through the
window, in a matter-of-fact way, "I left your head on the pole at the
back door." The skeleton started in that direction, seized the skull,
clapped it into the place where a head should have grown on its own
shoulders, and, after shaking its fists in a threatening way at the
house, disappeared in the darkness. It is said that he acts as a kind of
guard in the neighborhood, to see that none of the other Indians buried
there shall be disturbed, as he was. His principal lounging place is
Indian Corner, where there is a rock from which blood flows when the moon
shines--a memento, doubtless, of some tragedy that occurred there in
times before the white men knew the place. There is iron in the soil, and
visitors say that the red color is due to that, and that the spring would
flow just as freely on dark nights as on bright ones, if any were there
to see it, but the natives, who have given some thought to these matters,
know better.


In a wood near Hopkins Hill, Rhode Island, is a bowlder, four feet in
diameter, scored with a peculiar furrow. Witch Rock, as it is called,
gained its name two centuries ago, when an old woman abode in a deserted
cabin close by and made the forest dreaded. Figures were seen flitting
through its shadows; articles left out o' nights in neighboring
settlements were missing in the morning, though tramps were unknown;
cattle were afflicted with diseases; stones were flung in at windows by
unseen hands; crops were blighted by hail and frost; and in stormy
weather the old woman was seen to rise out of the woods and stir and push
the clouds before her with a broom. For a hundred yards around Witch Rock
the ground is still accursed, and any attempt to break it up is
unavailing. Nearly a century ago a scoffer named Reynolds declared that
he would run his plough through the enchanted boundary, and the neighbors
watched the attempt from a distance.

He started well, but on arriving at the magic circle the plough shied and
the wooden landside--or chip, as it was called--came off. It was replaced
and the team started again. In a moment the oxen stood unyoked, while the
chip jumped off and whirled away out of sight. On this, most of the
people edged away in the direction of home, and directly there came from
the north a crow that perched on a dead tree and cawed. John Hopkins,
owner of the land, cried to the bird, "Squawk, you damned old Pat
Jenkins!" and the crow took flight, dropping the chip at Reynolds's feet,
at the same moment turning into a beldam with a cocked hat, who descended
upon the rock. Before the men could reach her she changed into a black
cat and disappeared in the ground. Hunting and digging came to naught,
though the pursuers were so earnest and excited that one of them made the
furrow in the rock with a welt from his shovel. After that few people
cared to go near the place, and it became overgrown with weeds and trees
and bushes.


If the round tower at Newport was not Benedict Arnold's wind-mill, and
any one or two of several other things, it is probably a relic of the
occupancy of this country by Thorwald and his Norsemen. After coasting
Wonderstrands (Cape Cod), in the year 1007, they built a town that is
known to historians--if not in their histories--as Norumbega, the lost
city of New England. It is now fancied that the city stood on the Charles
River, near Waltham, Massachusetts, where a monument may be erected, but
it is also believed that they reached the neighborhood of Newport, Rhode
Island. After this tower--popularly called the old stone mill-was built,
a seer among the Narragansetts had a vision in which he foresaw that when
the last remnant of the structure had fallen, and not one stone had been
left on another, the Indian race would vanish from this continent. The
work of its extermination seems, indeed, to have begun with the
possession of the coast by white men, and the fate of the aborigines is
easily read.


The origin of many curious geographical names has become an object of
mere surmise, and this is the more the pity because they suggest such
picturesque possibilities. We would like to know, for instance, how Burnt
Coat and Smutty Nose came by such titles. The conglomerate that strews
the fields south of Boston is locally known as Roxbury pudding-stone,
and, according to Dr. Holmes, the masses are fragments of a pudding, as
big as the State-house dome, that the family of a giant flung about, in a
fit of temper, and that petrified where it fell. But that would have been
called pudding-stone, anyway, from its appearance. The circumstance that
named the reef of Norman's Woe has passed out of record, though it is
known that goodman Norman and his son settled there in the seventeenth
century. It is Longfellow who has endowed the rock with this legend, for
he depicts a wreck there in the fury of a winter storm in 1680--the wreck
of the Hesperus, Richard Norman, master, from which went ashore next
morning the body of an unknown and beautiful girl, clad in ice and lashed
to a broken mast.

But one of the oddest preservations of an apposite in name is found in
the legend of Point Judith, Rhode Island, an innocent _double entendre_.
About two centuries ago a vessel was driving toward the coast in a gale,
with rain and mist. The skipper's eyes were old and dim, so he got his
daughter Judith to stand beside him at the helm, as he steered the vessel
over the foaming surges. Presently she cried, "Land, father! I see land!"
"Where away?" he asked. But he could not see what she described, and the
roar of the wind drowned her voice, so he shouted, "Point, Judith!
Point!" The girl pointed toward the quarter where she saw the breakers,
and the old mariner changed his course and saved his ship from wreck. On
reaching port he told the story of his daughter's readiness, and other
captains, when they passed the cape in later days, gave to it the name of
Point Judith.


In Western Florida they will show roses to you that drop red dew, like
blood, and have been doing so these many years, for they sprang out of
the graves of women and children who had been cruelly killed by Indians.
But there is something queerer still about the Micah Rood--or
"Mike"--apples of Franklin, Connecticut, which are sweet, red of skin,
snowy of pulp, and have a red spot, like a blood-drop, near the core;
hence they are sometimes known as bloody-hearts. Micah Rood was a farmer
in Franklin in 1693. Though avaricious he was somewhat lazy, and was more
prone to dream of wealth than to work for it. But people whispered that
he did some hard and sharp work on the night after the peddler came to
town--the slender man with a pack filled with jewelry and
knickknacks--because on the morning after that visit the peddler was
found, beneath an apple-tree on Rood farm, with his pack rifled and his
skull split open.

Suspicion pointed at Rood, and, while nothing was proved against him, he
became gloomy, solitary, and morose, keeping his own counsels more
faithfully than ever--though he never was disposed to take counsel of
other people. If he had expected to profit by the crime he was obviously
disappointed, for he became poorer than ever, and his farm yielded less
and less. To be sure, he did little work on it. When the apples ripened
on the tree that had spread its branches above the peddler's body, the
neighbors wagged their heads and whispered the more, for in the centre of
each apple was a drop of the peddler's blood: a silent witness and
judgment, they said, and the result of a curse that the dying man had
invoked against his murderer. Micah Rood died soon after, without saying
anything that his fellow-villagers might be waiting to hear, but his tree
is still alive and its strange fruit has been grafted on hundreds of


The Nipmucks were populous at Thompson, Connecticut, where they skilfully
tilled the fields, and where their earthworks, on Fort Hill, provided
them with a refuge in case of invasion. Their chief, Quinatisset, had his
lodge on the site of the Congregational church in Thompson. They believed
that Chargoggagmanchogagog Pond was paradise--the home of the Great
Spirit and departed souls--and that it would always yield fish to them,
as the hills did game. They were fond of fish, and would barter deer-meat
and corn for it, occasionally, with the Narragansetts.

Now, these last-named Indians were a waterloving people, and to this day
their "fishing fire"--a column of pale flame--rises out of Quinebaug Lake
once in seven years, as those say who have watched beside its waters
through the night. Knowing their fondness for blue-fish and clams, the
Narragansetts asked the Nipmucks to dine with them on one occasion, and
this courtesy was eagerly accepted, the up-country people distinguishing
themselves by valiant trencher deeds; but, alas, that it should be so!
they disgraced themselves when, soon after, they invited the
Narragansetts to a feast of venison at Killingly, and quarrelled with
their guests over the dressing of the food. This rumpus grew into a
battle in which all but two of the invites were slain. Their hosts buried
them decently, but grass would never grow above their graves.

This treachery the Great Spirit avenged soon after, when the Nipmucks had
assembled for a powwow, with accessory enjoyments, in the grassy vale
where Mashapaug Lake now reflects the charming landscape, and where,
until lately, the remains of a forest could be seen below the surface. In
the height of the revel the god struck away the foundations of the hills,
and as the earth sank, bearing the offending men and women, waters rushed
in and filled the chasm, so that every person was drowned, save one good
old woman beneath whose feet the ground held firm. Loon Island, where she
stood, remains in sight to-day.


In 1647 the New Haven colonists, who even at that early day exhibited the
enterprise that has been a distinguishing feature of the Yankee, sent a
ship to Ireland to try to develop a commerce, their trading posts on the
Delaware having been broken up by the Swedes. When their agent, Captain
Lamberton, sailed--in January--the harbor was so beset with ice that a
track had to be cut through the floes to open water, five miles distant.
She had, moreover, to be dragged out stern foremost--an ill omen, the
sailors thought--and as she swung before the wind a passing drift of fog
concealed her, for a moment, from the gaze of those on shore, who, from
this, foretold things of evil. Though large and new, the ship was so
"walty"--inclined to roll--that the captain set off with misgiving, and
as she moved away the crew heard this solemn and disheartening invocation
from a clergyman on the wharf:--"Lord, if it be thy pleasure to bury
these, our friends, in the bottom of the sea, take them; they are thine:
save them."

Winter passed; so did spring; still the ship came not; but one afternoon
in June, just as a rain had passed, some children cried, "There's a brave
ship!" for, flying up the harbor, with all sail set and flaunting colors,
was a vessel "the very mould of our ship," the clergyman said.

Strange to tell, she was going flat against the wind; no sailors were on
her deck; she did not toss with the fling of the waves; there was no
ripple at her bow. As she came close to land a single figure appeared on
the quarter, pointing seaward with a cutlass; then suddenly her main-top
fell, her masts toppled from their holdings, the dismantled hulk careened
and went down. A cloud dropped from heaven and brooded for a time above
the place where it had vanished, and when it lifted the surface of the
sea was empty and still. The good folk of New Haven believed that the
fate of the absent ship had been revealed, at last, for she never came
back and Captain Lamberton was never heard from.


On a cloudy night in July, 1758, the people of Windham, Connecticut, were
awakened by screams and shrill voices. Some sprang up and looked to the
priming of their muskets, for they were sure that the Indians were
coming; others vowed that the voices were those of witches or devils,
flying overhead; a few ran into the streets with knives and fire-arms,
while others fastened their windows and prayerfully shrank under the
bedclothes. A notorious reprobate was heard blubbering for a Bible, and a
lawyer offered half of all the money that he had made dishonestly to any
charity if his neighbors would guarantee to preserve his life until

All night the greatest alarm prevailed. At early dawn an armed party
climbed the hill to the eastward, and seeing no sign of Indians, or other
invaders, returned to give comfort to their friends. A contest for office
was waging at that period between two lawyers, Colonel Dyer and Mr.
Elderkin, and sundry of the people vowed that they had heard a
challenging yell of "Colonel Dyer! Colonel Dyer!" answered by a guttural
defiance of "Elderkin, too! Elderkin, too!" Next day the reason of it all
came out: A pond having been emptied by drought, the frogs that had lived
there emigrated by common consent to a ditch nearer the town, and on
arriving there had apparently fought for its possession, for many lay
dead on the bank. The night was still and the voices of the contestants
sounded clearly into the village, the piping of the smaller being
construed into "Colonel Dyer," and the grumble of the bull-frogs into
"Elderkin, too." The "frog scare" was a subject of pleasantry directed
against Windham for years afterward.


The Revolution was beginning, homes were empty, farms were deserted,
industries were checked, and the levies of a foreign army had consumed
the stores of the people. A messenger rode into the Connecticut Valley
with tidings of the distress that was in the coast towns, and begged the
farmer folk to spare some of their cattle and the millers some of their
flour for the relief of Boston. On reaching Windham he was received with
good will by Parson White, who summoned his flock by peal of bell, and
from the steps of his church urged the needs of his brethren with such
eloquence that by nightfall the messenger had in his charge a flock of
sheep, a herd of cattle, and a load of grain, with which he was to set
off in the morning. The parson's daughter, a shy maid of nine or ten,
went to her father, with her pet lamb, and said to him, "I must give
this, too, for there are little children who are crying for bread and

"No, no," answered the pastor, patting her head and smiling upon her.
"They do not ask help from babes. Run to bed and you shall play with your
lamb to-morrow."

But in the red of the morning, as he drove his herd through the village
street, the messenger turned at the hail of a childish voice, and looking
over a stone wall he saw the little one with her snow-white lamb beside

"Wait," she cried, "for my lamb must go to the hungry children of Boston.
It is so small, please to carry it for some of the way, and let it have
fresh grass and water. It is all I have."

So saying, she kissed the innocent face of her pet, gave it into the arms
of the young man, and ran away, her cheeks shining with tears. Folding
the little creature to his breast, the messenger looked admiringly after
the girl: he felt a glow of pride and hope for the country whose very
children responded to the call of patriotism. "Now, God help me, I will
carry this lamb to the city as a sacrifice." So saying, he set his face
to the east and vigorously strode forward.


The village of Moodus, Connecticut, was troubled with noises. There is no
question as to that. In fact, Machimoodus, the Indian name of the spot,
means Place of Noises. As early as 1700, and for thirty years after,
there were crackings and rumblings that were variously compared to
fusillades, to thunder, to roaring in the air, to the breaking of rocks,
to reports of cannon. A man who was on Mount Tom while the noises were
violent describes the sound as that of rocks falling into immense caverns
beneath his feet and striking against cliffs as they fell. Houses shook
and people feared.

Rev. Mr. Hosmer, in a letter written to a friend in Boston in 1729, says
that before white settlers appeared there was a large Indian population,
that powwows were frequent, and that the natives "drove a prodigious
trade at worshipping the devil." He adds:--"An old Indian was asked what
was the reason of the noises in this place, to which he replied that the
Indian's god was angry because Englishman's god was come here. Now,
whether there be anything diabolical in these things I know not, but this
I know, that God Almighty is to be seen and trembled at in what has been
often heard among us. Whether it be fire or air distressed in the
subterranean caverns of the earth cannot be known for there is no
eruption, no explosion perceptible but by sounds and tremors which are
sometimes very fearful and dreadful."

It was finally understood that Haddam witches, who practised black magic,
met the Moodus witches, who used white magic, in a cave beneath Mount
Tom, and fought them in the light of a great carbuncle that was fastened
to the roof. The noises recurred in 1888, when houses rattled in
witch-haunted Salem, eight miles away, and the bell on the village church
"sung like a tuning-fork." The noises have occurred simultaneously with
earthquakes in other parts of the country, and afterward rocks have been
found moved from their bases and cracks have been discovered in the
earth. One sapient editor said that the pearls in the mussels in Salmon
and Connecticut Rivers caused the disturbance.

If the witch-fights were continued too long the king of Machimoddi, who
sat on a throne of solid sapphire in the cave whence the noises came,
raised his wand: then the light of the carbuncle went out, peals of
thunder rolled through the rocky chambers, and the witches rushed into
the air. Dr. Steele, a learned and aged man from England, built a
crazy-looking house in a lonely spot on Mount Tom, and was soon as much a
mystery as the noises, for it was known that he had come to this country
to stop them by magic and to seize the great carbuncle in the cave--if he
could find it. Every window, crack, and keyhole was closed, and nobody
was admitted while he stayed there, but the clang of hammers was heard in
his house all night, sparks shot from his chimney, and strange odors were
diffused. When all was ready for his adventure he set forth, his path
marked by a faint light that moved before him and stopped at the closed
entrance to the cavern.

Loud were the Moodus noises that night. The mountain shook and groans and
hisses were heard in the air as he pried up the stone that lay across the
pit-mouth. When he had lifted it off a light poured from it and streamed
into the heaven like a crimson comet or a spear of the northern aurora.
It was the flash of the great carbuncle, and the stars seen through it
were as if dyed in blood. In the morning Steele was gone. He had taken
ship for England. The gem carried with it an evil fate, for the galley
sank in mid-ocean; but, though buried beneath a thousand fathoms of
water, the red ray of the carbuncle sometimes shoots up from the sea, and
the glow of it strikes fear into the hearts of passing sailors. Long
after, when the booming was heard, the Indians said that the hill was
giving birth to another beautiful stone.

Such cases are not singular. A phenomenon similar to the Moodus noises,
and locally known as "the shooting of Nashoba Hill," occurs at times in
the eminence of that name near East Littleton, Massachusetts. The
strange, deep rumbling was attributed by the Indians to whirlwinds trying
to escape from caves.

Bald Mountain, North Carolina, was known as Shaking Mountain, for strange
sounds and tremors were heard there, and every moonshiner who had his
cabin on that hill joined the church and was diligent in worship until he
learned that the trembling was due to the slow cracking and separation of
a great ledge.

At the end of a hot day on Seneca Lake, New York, are sometimes heard the
"lake guns," like exploding gas. Two hundred years ago Agayentah, a wise
and honored member of the Seneca tribe, was killed here by a
lightning-stroke. The same bolt that slew him wrenched a tree from the
bank and hurled it into the water, where it was often seen afterward,
going about the lake as if driven by unseen currents, and among the
whites it got the name of the Wandering Jew. It is often missing for
weeks together, and its reappearances are heralded by the low booming
of--what? The Indians said that the sound was but the echo of Agayentah's
voice, warning them of dangers and summoning them to battle, while the
Wandering Jew became his messenger.


When witchcraft went rampant through New England the Connecticut town of
Haddam owned its share of ugly old women, whom it tried to reform by
lectures and ducking, instead of killing. It was averred that Goody
So-and-So had a black cat for a familiar, that Dame Thus-and-Thus rode on
a broomstick on stormy nights and screeched and gibbered down the
farm-house chimneys, and there were dances of old crones at Devils' Hop
Yard, Witch Woods, Witch Meadows, Giant's Chair, Devil's Footprint, and
Dragon's Rock. Farmers were especially fearful of a bent old hag in a red
hood, who seldom appeared before dusk, but who was apt to be found
crouched on their door-steps if they reached home late, her mole-covered
cheeks wrinkled with a grin, two yellow fangs projecting between her
lips, and a light shining from her eyes that numbed all on whom she
looked. On stormy nights she would drum and rattle at windows, and by
firelight and candle-light her face was seen peering through the panes.

At Chapman Falls, where the attrition of a stream had worn pot-holes in
the rocks, there were meetings of Haddam witches, to the number of a
dozen. They brewed poisons in those holes, cast spells, and talked in
harsh tongues with the arch fiend, who sat on the brink of the ravine
with his tail laid against his shoulder, like a sceptre, and a red glow
emanating from his body.

In Devils' Hop Yard was a massive oak that never bears leaves or acorns,
for it has been enchanted since the time that one of the witches, in the
form of a crow, perched on the topmost branch, looked to the four points
of the compass, and flew away. That night the leaves fell off, the twigs
shrivelled, sap ceased to run, and moss began to beard its skeleton

The appearance of witches in the guise of birds was no unusual thing,
indeed, and a farmer named Blakesley shot one of them in that form. He
was hunting in a meadow when a rush of wings was heard and he saw pass
overhead a bird with long neck, blue feathers, and feet like scrawny
hands. It uttered a cry so weird, so shrill, so like mocking laughter
that it made him shudder. This bird alighted on a dead tree and he shot
at it. With another laughing yell it circled around his head. Three times
he fired with the same result. Then he resolved to see if it were
uncanny, for nothing evil can withstand silver--except Congress. Having
no bullets of that metal he cut two silver buttons from his shirt and
rammed them home with a piece of cloth and a prayer. This time the bird
screamed in terror, and tried, but vainly, to rise from the limb. He
fired. The creature dropped, with a button in its body, and fell on its
right side. At that moment an old woman living in a cabin five miles
distant arose from her spinning-wheel, gasped, and fell on her right


Block Island, or Manisees, is an uplift of clayey moorland between
Montauk and Gay Head. It was for sailors an evil place and "bad medicine"
for Indians, for men who had been wrecked there had been likewise robbed
and ill treated--though the honest islanders of to-day deny it--while the
Indians had been driven from their birthright after hundreds of their
number had fallen in its defence. In the winter of 1750-51 the ship
Palatine set forth over the seas with thrifty Dutch merchants and
emigrants, bound for Philadelphia, with all their goods. A gale delayed
them and kept them beating to and fro on the icy seas, unable to reach
land. The captain died--it was thought that he was murdered--and the
sailors, a brutal set even for those days, threw off all discipline,
seized the stores and arms, and starved the passengers into giving up
their money.

When those died of hunger whose money had given out--for twenty guilders
were demanded for a cup of water and fifty rix dollars for a
biscuit--their bodies were flung into the sea, and when the crew had
secured all that excited their avarice they took to their boats, leaving
ship and passengers to their fate. It is consoling to know that the
sailors never reached a harbor. The unguided ship, in sight of land, yet
tossed at the mercy of every wind and tenanted by walking skeletons,
struck off Block Island one calm Sunday morning and the wreckers who
lived along the shore set out for her. Their first work was to rescue the
passengers; then they returned to strip everything from the hulk that the
crew had left; but after getting her in tow a gale sprang up, and seeing
that she was doomed to be blown off shore, where she might become a
dangerous obstruction or a derelict, they set her on fire. From the rocks
they watched her drift into misty darkness, but as the flames mounted to
the trucks a scream rang across the whitening sea: a maniac woman had
been left on board. The scream was often repeated, each time more
faintly, and the ship passed into the fog and vanished.

A twelvemonth later, on the same evening of the year, the islanders were
startled at the sight of a ship in the offing with flames lapping up her
sides and rigging, and smoke clouds rolling off before the wind. It
burned to the water's edge in sight of hundreds. In the winter following
it came again, and was seen, in fact, for years thereafter at regular
intervals, by those who would gladly have forgotten the sight of it (one
of the community, an Indian, fell into madness whenever he saw the
light), while those who listened caught the sound of a woman's voice
raised in agony above the roar of fire and water.

Substantially the same story is told of a point on the North Carolina
coast, save that in the latter case the passengers, who were from the
Bavarian Palatinate, were put to the knife before their goods were taken.
The captain and his crew filled their boats with treasure and pulled away
for land, first firing the ship and committing its ghastly freight to the
flames. The ship followed them almost to the beach, ere it fell to
pieces, as if it were an animate form, bent on vengeance. The pirates
landed, but none profited by the crime, all of them dying poor and


Among the natives of Block Island was a man named Lee. Born in the last
century among fishermen and wreckers, he has naturally taken to the sea
for a livelihood, and, never having known the influences of education and
refinement, he is rude and imperious in manner. His ship lies in a
Spanish port fitting for sea, but not with freight, for, tired of
peaceful trading, Lee is equipping his vessel as a privateer. A Spanish
lady who has just been bereaved of her husband comes to him to ask a
passage to America, for she has no suspicion of his intent. Her jewels
and well-filled purse arouse Lee's cupidity, and with pretended sympathy
he accedes to her request, even going so far as to allow Senora's
favorite horse to be brought aboard.

Hardly is the ship in deep water before the lady's servants are stabbed
in their sleep and Lee smashes in the door of her cabin. Realizing his
purpose, and preferring to sacrifice life to honor, she eludes him,
climbs the rail, and leaps into the sea, while the ship ploughs on. As a
poor revenge for being thus balked of his prey the pirate has the
beautiful white horse flung overboard, the animal shrilling a neigh that
seems to reach to the horizon, and is like nothing ever heard before. But
these things he affects to forget in dice and drinking. In a dispute over
a division of plunder Lee stabs one of his men and tosses him overboard.
Soon the rovers come to Block Island, where, under cover of night, they
carry ashore their stealings to hide them in pits and caves, reserving
enough gold to buy a welcome from the wreckers, and here they live for a
year, gaming and carousing. Their ship has been reported as a pirate and
to baffle search it is set adrift.

One night a ruddy star is seen on the sea-verge and the ruffians leave
their revelling to look at it, for it is growing into sight fast. It
speeds toward them and they can now see that it is a ship--their
shipwrapped in flames. It stops off shore, and out of the ocean at its
prow emerges something white that they say at first is a wave-crest
rolling upon the sands; but it does not dissolve as breakers do: it
rushes on; it scales the bluff it is a milk-white horse, that gallops to
the men, who inly wonder if this is an alcoholic vision, and glares at
Lee. A spell seems to be laid on him, and, unable to resist it, the
buccaneer mounts the animal. It rushes away, snorting and plunging, to
the highest bluff, whence Lee beholds, in the light of the burning ship,
the bodies of all who have been done to death by him, staring into his
eyes through the reddening waves.

At dawn the horse sinks under him and he stands there alone. From that
hour even his companions desert him. They fear to share his curse. He
wanders about the island, a broken, miserable man, unwilling to live,
afraid to die, refused shelter and friendship, and unable to reach the
mainland, for no boat will give him passage. After a year of this
existence the ship returns, the spectre horse rises from the deep and
claims Lee again for a rider. He mounts; the animal speeds away to the
cliff, but does not pause at the brink this time: with a sickening jump
and fall he goes into the sea. Spurning the wave-tops in his flight he
makes a circuit of the burning ship, and in the hellish light, that fills
the air and penetrates to the ocean bottom, the pirate sees again his
victims looking up with smiles and arms spread to embrace him.

There is a cry of terror as the steed stops short; then a gurgle, and
horse and rider have disappeared. The fire ship vanishes and the night is


In the winter of 1779, General Putnam was stationed at Reading,
Connecticut, with a band of ill-fed, unpaid troops. He was quartered at
the Marvin house, and Mary, daughter of farmer Marvin, won her way to the
heart of this rough soldier through the excellence of her dumplings and
the invigorating quality of her flip. He even took her into his
confidence, and, being in want of a spy in an emergency, he playfully
asked her if she knew any brave fellow who could be trusted to take a
false message into the British lines that would avert an impending
attack. Yes, she knew such an one, and would guarantee that he would take
the message if the fortunes of the colonial army would be helped thereby.
Putnam assured her that it would aid the patriot cause, and, farther,
that he would reward her; whereat, with a smile and a twinkling eye, the
girl received the missive and left the room.

When daylight had left the sky, Mary slipped out of the house, crossed a
pasture, entered a ravine, and in a field beyond reached a cattle
shelter. On the instant a tall form stepped from the shadows and she sank
into its embrace. There was a kiss, a moment of whispered talk, and the
girl hurriedly asked her lover if he would carry a letter to the British
headquarters, near Ridgefield. Of course he would. But he must not read
it, and he must on no account say from whom he had it. The young man
consented without a question--that she required it was sufficient; so,
thrusting the tiny paper into his hand and bidding him God-speed, she
gave him another kiss and they parted--he to go on his errand, she to
pass the night with the clergyman's daughter at the parsonage. At about
ten o'clock Putnam was disturbed by the tramping of feet and a tall,
goodlooking fellow was thrust into his room by a couple of soldiers. The
captive had been found inside the lines, they said, in consultation with
some unknown person who had escaped the eye of the sentry in the
darkness. When captured he had put a piece of paper into his mouth and
swallowed it. He gave the name of Robert Lockwood, and when Putnam
demanded to know what he had been doing near the camp without a permit he
said that he was bound by a promise not to tell.

"Are you a patriot?" asked the general.

"I am a royalist. I do not sympathize with rebellion. I have been a man
of peace in this war."

Putnam strode about the room, giving vent to his passion in language
neither choice nor gentle, for he had been much troubled by spies and
informers since he had been there. Then, stopping, he said:

"Some one was with you to-night-some of my men. Tell me that traitor's
name and I'll spare your life and hang him before the whole army."

The prisoner turned pale and dropped his head. He would not violate his

"You are a British spy, and I'll hang you at sunrise!" roared Putnam.

In vain the young man pleaded for time to appeal to Washington. He was
not a spy, he insisted, and it would be found, perhaps too late, that a
terrible mistake had been committed. His words were unheeded: he was led
away and bound, and as the sun was rising on the next morning the
sentence of courtmartial was executed upon him.

At noon Mary returned from the parsonage, her eyes dancing and her mouth
dimpling with smiles. Going to Putnam, she said, with a dash of
sauciness, "I have succeeded, general. I found a lad last night to take
your message. I had to meet him alone, for he is a Tory; so he cannot
enter this camp. The poor fellow had no idea that he was doing a service
for the rebels, for he did not know what was in the letter, and I bound
him not to tell who gave it to him. You see, I punished him for abiding
by the king."

The general laughed and gazed at her admiringly.

"You're a brave girl," he said, "and I suppose you've come for your
reward. Well, what is it to be?"

"I want a pass for Robert Lockwood. He is the royalist I spoke of, but he
will not betray you, for he is not a soldier; and--his visits make me
very happy."

"The spy you hanged this morning," whispered an aide in Putnam's ear.
"Give her the pass and say nothing of what has happened."

The general started, changed color, and paused; then he signed the order
with a dash, placed it in the girl's hand, gravely kissed her, watched
her as she ran lightly from the house, and going to his bedroom closed
the door and remained alone for an hour. From that time he never spoke of
the affair, but when his troops were ordered away, soon after, he almost
blenched as he gave good-by to Mary Marvin, and met her sad, reproachful
look, though to his last day he never learned whether or no she had
discovered Robert Lockwood's fate.


Back in the seventeenth century a number of Yankee traders arrived in
Naugatuck to barter blankets, beads, buttons, Bibles, and brandy for
skins, and there they met chief Toby and his daughter. Toby was not a
pleasing person, but his daughter was well favored, and one of the
traders told the chief that if he would allow the girl to go to Boston
with him he would give to him--Toby--a quart of rum. Toby was willing
enough. He would give a good deal for rum. But the daughter declined to
be sold off in such a fashion unless--she coyly admitted--she could have
half of the rum herself. Loth as he was to do so, Toby was brought to
agree to this proposition, for he knew that rum was rare and good and
girls were common and perverse, so the gentle forest lily took her mug of
liquor and tossed it off. Now, it is not clear whether she wished to
nerve herself for the deed that followed or whether the deed was a result
of the tonic, but she made off from the paternal wigwam and was presently
seen on the ledge of Squaw Rock, locally known also as High Rock, from
which in another moment she had fallen. Toby had pursued her, and on
finding her dead he vented a howl of grief and anger and flung the now
empty rum-jug after her. A huge bowlder arose from the earth where it
struck, and there it remains--a monument to the girl and a warning to

Another version of the story is that the girl sprang from the rock to
escape the pursuit of a lover who was hateful to her, and who had her
almost in his grasp when she made the fatal leap. In the crevice half-way
up the cliff her spirit has often been seen looking regretfully into the
rich valley that was her home, and on the 20th of March and 20th of
September, in every year, it is imposed on her to take the form of a
seven-headed snake, the large centre head adorned with a splendid
carbuncle. Many have tried to capture the snake and secure this precious
stone, for an old prophecy promises wealth to whoever shall wrest it from
the serpent. But thus far the people of Connecticut have found more
wealth in clocks and tobacco than in snakes and carbuncles.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 04 : Tales of Puritan Land" ***

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