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Title: Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 06 : Central States and Great Lakes
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.

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                           MYTHS AND LEGENDS
                                   OF
                              OUR OWN LAND

                                   By
                           Charles M. Skinner

                                Vol. 6.


                   THE CENTRAL STATES AND GREAT LAKES



CONTENTS:

An Averted Peril
The Obstinacy of Saint Clair
The Hundredth Skull
The Crime of Black Swamp
The House Accursed
Marquette's Man-Eater
Michel de Coucy's Troubles
Wallen's Ridge
The Sky Walker of Huron
The Coffin of Snakes
Mackinack
Lake Superior Water Gods
The Witch of Pictured Rocks
The Origin of White Fish
The Spirit of Cloudy
The Sun Fire at Sault Sainte Marie
The Snake God of Belle Isle
Were-Wolves of Detroit
The Escape of Francois Navarre
The Old Lodger
The Nain Rouge
Two Revenges
Hiawatha
The Indian Messiah
The Vision of Rescue
Devil's Lake
The Keusca Elopement
Pipestone
The Virgins' Feast
Falls of St. Anthony
Flying Shadow and Track Maker
Saved by a Lightning-Stroke
The Killing of Cloudy Sky
Providence Hole
The Scare Cure
Twelfth Night at Cahokia
The Spell of Creve Coeur Lake
How the Crime was Revealed
Banshee of the Bad Lands
Standing Rock
The Salt Witch



THE CENRAL STATES AND THE GREAT LAKES



AN AVERTED PERIL

In 1786 a little building stood at North Bend, Ohio, near the junction of
the Miami and Ohio Rivers, from which building the stars and stripes were
flying. It was one of a series of blockhouses built for the protecting of
cleared land while the settlers were coming in, yet it was a trading
station rather than a fort, for the attitude of government toward the red
men was pacific. The French of the Mississippi Valley were not
reconciled, however, to the extension of power by a Saxon people, and the
English in Canada were equally jealous of the prosperity of those
provinces they had so lately lost. Both French and English had emissaries
among the Shawnees when it had become known that the United States
intended to negotiate a treaty with them.

It was the mild weather that comes for a time in October, when
Cantantowit blesses the land from his home in the southwest with rich
colors, plaintive perfumes of decay, soft airs, and tender lights a time
for peace; but the garrison at the fort realized that the situation was
precarious. The Shawnees had camped about them, and the air was filled
with the neighing of their ponies and the barking of their dogs. To let
them into the fort was to invite massacre; to keep them out after they
had been summoned was to declare war.

Colonel George Rogers Clarke, of Virginia, who was in command, scoffed at
the fears of his men, and would not give ear to their appeals for an
adjournment of the meeting or a change of the place of it. At the
appointed hour the doors were opened and the Indians came in. The pipe of
peace was smoked in the usual form, but the red men were sullen and
insolent, and seemed to be seeking a cause of quarrel. Clarke explained
that the whites desired only peace, and he asked the wise men to speak
for their tribe. A stalwart chief arose, glanced contemptuously at the
officer and his little guard, and, striding to the table where Clarke was
seated, threw upon it two girdles of wampum--the peace-belt and the
war-belt. "We offer you these belts," he said. "You know what they mean.
Take which you like."

It was a deliberate insult and defiance. Both sides knew it, and many of
the men held their breath. Clarke carelessly picked up the war-belt on
the point of his cane and flung it among the assembled chiefs. Every man
in the room sprang to his feet and clutched his weapon. Then, with a
sternness that was almost ferocious, Clarke pointed to the door with an
imperative action, and cried, "Dogs, you may go!"

The Indians were foiled in their ill intent by his self-possession and
seeming confidence, which made them believe that he had forces in the
vicinity that they were not prepared to meet. They had already had a
bitter experience of his strength and craft, and in the fear that a trap
had been set for them they fled tumultuously. The treaty was ratified
soon after.



THE OBSTINACY OF SAINT CLAIR

When the new First Regiment of United States Infantry paused at Marietta,
Ohio, on its way to garrison Vincennes, its officers made a gay little
court there for a time. The young Major Hamtramck--contemptuously called
by the Indians "the frog on horseback," because of his round
shoulders--found especial pleasure in the society of Marianne Navarre,
who was a guest at the house of General Arthur St. Clair; but the old
general viewed this predilection with disfavor, because he had hoped that
his own daughter would make a match with the major. But Louisa longed for
the freedom of the woods. She was a horsewoman and a hunter, and she had
a sentimental fondness for Indians.

When Joseph Brandt (Thayendanegea) camped with his dreaded band near the
town, it was she who--without her father's knowledge, and in the disguise
of an Indian girl--took the message that had been entrusted to a soldier
asking the tribe to send delegates to a peace council at the fort. Louisa
and Brandt had met in Philadelphia some years before, when both were
students in that city, and he was rejoiced to meet her again, for he had
made no secret of his liking for her, and in view of the bravery she had
shown in thus riding into a hostile camp his fondness increased to
admiration. After she had delivered the message she said, "Noble warrior,
I have risked my life to obtain this interview. You must send some one
back with me." Brandt replied, "It is fitting that I alone should guard
so courageous a maiden," and he rode with her through the lines, under
the eyes of a wondering and frowning people, straight to the general's
door. Soon after, Brandt made a formal demand for the hand of this
dashing maid, but the stubborn general refused to consider it. He was
determined that she ought to love Major Hamtramck, and he told her so in
tones so loud that they reached the ears of Marianne, as she sat reading
in her room. Stung by this disclosure of the general's wishes, and
doubting whether the major had been true to her--fearful, too, that she
might be regarded as an interloper--she made a pretext to return as
quickly as possible to her home in Detroit, and left no adieus for her
lover.

It was not long after that war broke out between the settlers and the
Indians, for Brandt now had a personal as well as a race grudge to
gratify, though when he defeated St. Clair he spared his life in the hope
that the general would reward his generosity by resigning to him his
daughter. At all events, he resolved that the "frog on horseback," whom
he conceived to be his rival, should not win her. The poor major, who
cared nothing for Louisa, and who was unable to account for the flight of
Marianne, mourned her absence until it was rumored that she had been
married, when, as much in spite as in love, he took to himself a mate.
After he had been for some time a widower he met Marianne again, and
learned that she was still a maiden. He renewed his court with ardor, but
the woman's love for him had died when she learned of his marriage.
Affecting to make light of this second disappointment, he said, "Since I
cannot be united to you in life, I shall be near you in death."

"A soldier cannot choose where he shall die," she answered.

"No matter. I shall sleep in the shadow of your tomb."

As it fell out they were indeed buried near each other in Detroit. Thus,
the stupidity and obstinacy of General St. Clair, in supposing that he
could make young folks love to order, thwarted the happiness of four
people and precipitated a war.



THE HUNDREDTH SKULL

In the early part of this century Bill Quick, trapper and frontiersman,
lived in a cabin on the upper Scioto, not far from the present town of
Kenton, Ohio. One evening when he returned from the hunt he found his
home rifled of its contents and his aged father weltering in his blood on
the floor. He then and there took oath that he would be revenged a
hundredfold. His mission was undertaken at once, and for many a year
thereafter the Indians of the region had cause to dread the doom that
came to them from brake and wood and fen,--now death by knife that
flashed at them from behind a tree, and the next instant whirled through
the air and was buried to the hilt in a red man's heart; now, by bullet
as they rowed across the rivers; now, by axe that clove their skulls as
they lay asleep.

Bill Quick worked secretly, and, unlike other men of the place and time,
he did not take his trophies Indian-fashion. The scalp was not enough. He
took the head. And presently a row of grinning skulls was ranged upon his
shelves. Ninety-nine of these ghastly prizes occupied his cabin, and the
man was confident that he should accomplish his intent. But the Indians,
in terror, were falling away toward the lakes; they were keeping better
guard; and ere the hundredth man had fallen before his rifle he was
seized with fatal illness. Calling to him his son, Tom, he pointed to the
skulls, and charged him to fulfil the oath he had taken by adding to the
list a hundredth skull. Should he fail in this the murdered ancestor and
he himself would come back to haunt the laggard. Tom accepted the trust,
but everything seemed to work against him. He never was much of a hunter
nor a very true shot, and he had no liking for war; besides, the Indians
had left the country, as he fancied. So he grumbled at the uncongenial
task appointed for him and kept deferring it from week to week and from
year to year. When his conscience pricked him he allayed the smart with
drink, and his conscience seemed to grow more active as he grew older.

On returning to the cabin after a carouse he declared that he had heard
voices, that the skulls gibbered and cracked their teeth together as if
mocking his weakness, and that a phosphorescent glare shone through the
sockets of their eyes. In his cups he prattled his secret, and soon the
whole country knew that he was under oath to kill a red-skin-and the
country laughed at him. On a certain day it was reported that a band of
Indians had been seen in the neighborhood, and what with drink and the
taunts of his friends, he was impelled to take his rifle and set out once
more on the war-path. A settler heard a shot fired not long after. Next
day a neighbor passing Tom Quick's cabin tapped at the door, and,
receiving no answer, pushed it open and entered. The hundredth skull was
there, on the shelves, a bullet-hole in the forehead, and the scalp gone.
The head was Quick's.



THE CRIME OF BLACK SWAMP

Two miles south of Munger, Ohio, in the heart of what used to be called
the Black Swamp, stood the Woodbury House, a roomy mansion long gone to
decay. John Cleves, the last to live in it, was a man whose evil
practices got him into the penitentiary, but people had never associated
him with the queer sights and sounds in the lower chambers, nor with the
fact that a man named Syms, who had gone to that house in 1842, had never
been known to leave it. Ten years after Syms's disappearance it happened
that Major Ward and his friend John Stow had occasion to take shelter
there for the night--it being then deserted,--and, starting a blaze in
the parlor fireplace, they lit their pipes and talked till late. Stow
would have preferred a happier topic, but the major, who feared neither
man nor devil, constantly turned the talk on the evil reputation of the
house.

While they chatted a door opened with a creak and a human skeleton
appeared before them.

"What do you want? Speak!" cried Ward. But waiting for no answer he drew
his pistols and fired two shots at the grisly object. There was a
rattling sound, but the skeleton was neither dislocated nor disconcerted.
Advancing deliberately, with upraised arm, it said, in a husky voice, "I,
that am dead, yet live in a sense that mortals do not know. In my earthly
life I was James Syms, who was robbed and killed here in my sleep by John
Cleves." With bony finger it pointed to a rugged gap in its left temple.
"Cleves cut off my head and buried it under the hearth. My body he cast
into his well." At these words the head disappeared and the voice was
heard beneath the floor, "Take up my skull." The watchers obeyed the
call, and after digging a minute beneath the hearth a fleshless head with
a wound on the left temple came to view. Ward took it into his hands, but
in a twinkling it left them and reappeared on the shoulders of the
skeleton.

"I have long wanted to tell my fate," it resumed, "but could not until
one should be found brave enough to speak to me. I have appeared to many,
but you are the first who has commanded me to break my long silence. Give
my bones a decent burial. Write to my relative, Gilmore Syms, of
Columbus, Georgia, and tell him what I have revealed. I have found
peace." With a grateful gesture it extended its hand to Ward, who, as he
took it, shook like one with an ague, his wrist locked in its bony clasp.
As it released him it raised its hand impressively. A bluish light burned
at the doorway for an instant. The two men found themselves alone.



THE HOUSE ACCURSED

Near Gallipolis, Ohio, there stood within a few years an old house of
four rooms that had been occupied by Herman Deluse. He lived there alone,
and, though his farming was of the crudest sort, he never appeared to
lack for anything. The people had an idea that the place was under ban,
and it was more than suspected that its occupant had been a pirate. In
fact, he called his place the Isle of Pines, after a buccaneers'
rendezvous in the West Indies, and made no attempt to conceal the strange
plunder and curious weapons that he had brought home with him, but of
money he never appeared to have much at once. When it came his time to
die he ended his life alone, so far as any knew--at least, his body was
found in his bed, without trace of violence or disorder. It was buried
and the public administrator took charge of the estate, locking up the
house until possible relatives should come to claim it, and the rustic
jury found that Deluse "came to his death by visitation of God."

It was but a few nights after this that the Rev. Henry Galbraith returned
from a visit of a month to Cincinnati and reached his home after a night
of boisterous storm. The snow was so deep and the roads so blocked with
windfalls that he put up his horse in Gallipolis and started for his
house on foot.

"But where did you pass the night?" inquired his wife, after the
greetings were over. "With old Deluse in the Isle of Pines," he answered.
"I saw a light moving about the house, and rapped. No one came; so, as I
was freezing, I forced open the door, built a fire, and lay down in my
coat before it. Old Deluse came in presently and I apologized, but he
paid no attention to me. He seemed to be walking in his sleep and to be
searching for something. All night long I could hear his footsteps about
the house, in pauses of the storm."

The clergyman's wife and son looked at each other, and a friend who was
present--a lawyer, named Maren--remarked, "You did not know that Deluse
was dead and buried?" The clergyman was speechless with amazement. "You
have been dreaming," said the lawyer. "Still, if you like, we will go
there to-night and investigate."

The clergyman, his son, and the lawyer went to the house about nine
o'clock, and as they approached it a noise of fighting came from
within--blows, the clink of steel, groans, and curses. Lights appeared,
first at one window, then at another. The men rushed forward, burst in
the door, and were inside--in darkness and silence. They had brought
candles and lighted them, but the light revealed nothing. Dust lay thick
on the floor except in the room where the clergyman had passed the
previous night, and the door that he had then opened stood ajar, but the
snow outside was drifted and unbroken by footsteps. Then came the sound
of a fall that shook the building. At the same moment it was noticed by
the other two men that young Galbraith was absent. They hurried into the
room whence the noise had come. A board was wrenched from the wall there,
disclosing a hollow that had been used for a hiding-place, and on the
floor lay young Galbraith with a sack of Spanish coins in his hand. His
father stooped to pick him up, but staggered back in horror, for the
young man's life had gone. A post-mortem examination revealed no cause of
death, and a rustic jury again laid it to a "visitation of God."
MARQUETTE'S MAN-EATER

Until it was worn away by the elements a curious relief was visible on
the bluffs of the Mississippi near Alton, Illinois. It was to be seen as
late as 1860, and represented a monster once famous as the "piasa bird."
Father Marquette not only believed it but described it as a man-eater in
the account of his explorations, where he mentions other zoological
curiosities, such as unicorns with shaggy mane and land-turtles three
feet long with two heads, "very mischievous and addicted to biting." He
even showed a picture of the maneater that accorded rudely with the
picture on the rocks. It was said to prey on human flesh, and to be held
in fear by the Indians, who encountered it on and near the Mississippi.
It had the body of a panther, wings like a bat, and head and horns of a
deer. Father Marquette gave it a human face. The sculpture was
undoubtedly made by Indians, but its resemblance to the winged bulls of
Assyria and the sphinxes of Egypt has been quoted as confirmation of a
prehistoric alliance of Old and New World races or the descent of one
from the other. It has also been thought to stand for the totem of some
great chief-symbolizing, by its body, strength; by its wings, speed; by
its head, gentleness and beauty. But may not the tradition of it have
descended from the discovery of comparatively late remains, by primitive
man, of the winged saurians that crawled, swam, dived, or flew, lingering
on till the later geologic period? The legend of the man-eater may even
have been told by those who killed the last of the pterodactyls.



MICHEL DE COUCY'S TROUBLES

Michel De Coucy, of Prairie de Rocher, Illinois, sat before his door
humming thoughtfully, and trying to pull comfort out of a black pipe.. He
was in debt, and he did not like the sensation. As hunter, boatman,
fiddler he had done well enough, but having rashly ventured into trade he
had lost money, and being unable to meet a note had applied to Pedro
Garcia for a loan at usurious interest. Garcia was a black-whiskered
Spaniard who was known to have been a gambler in New Orleans, and as
Michel was in arrears in his payments he was now threatening suit.
Presently the hunter jumped up with a glad laugh, for two horsemen were
approaching his place--the superior of the Jesuit convent at Notre Dame
de Kaskaskia and the governor of the French settlements in Illinois, of
whom he had asked advice, and who had come from Fort Chartres, on the
Mississippi, to give it in person. It was good advice, too, for the
effect of it was that there was no law of that time--1750--by which a
Spaniard could sue a Frenchman on French territory. Moreover, the bond
was invalid because it was drawn up in Spanish, and Garcia could produce
no witness to verify the cross at the bottom of the document as of
Michel's making.

Great was the wrath of the Spaniard when Michel told him this, nor was it
lessened when the hunter bade him have no fear--that he might be obliged
to repudiate part of the interest, but that every livre of the principal
would be forthcoming, if only a little time were allowed. The money
lender walked away with clenched fists, muttering to himself, and Michel
lit his pipe again.

At supper-time little Genevieve, the twelve-year-old daughter of Michel,
did not appear. The table was kept waiting for an hour. Michel sat down
but could not eat, and, after scolding awhile in a half-hearted fashion,
he went to the clearing down the road, where the child had been playing.
A placard was seen upon a tree beside the way, and he called a passing
neighbor to read to him these words: "Meshell Coosy. French rascal. Pay
me my money and you have your daughter. Pedro Garcia."

Accustomed as he was to perils, and quick as he generally was in
expedient, Michel was overwhelmed by this stroke. The villagers offered
to arm themselves and rescue the child, but he would not consent to this,
for he was afraid that Garcia might kill her, if he knew that force was
to be set against him. In a day or two Michel was told to go to Fort
Chartres, as favorable news awaited him. He rode with all speed to that
post, went to the official quarters, where the governor was sitting, and
as he entered he became almost insane with rage, for Garcia stood before
him. Nothing but the presence of others saved the Spaniard's life, and it
was some time before Michel could be made to understand that Garcia was
there under promise of safe conduct, and that the representatives of King
Louis were in honor bound to see that he was not injured. The points at
issue between the two men were reviewed, and the governor gave it as his
decision that Michel must pay his debt without interest, that being
forfeit by the Spaniard's abduction of Genevieve, and that the Spaniard
was to restore the girl, both parties in the case being remanded to
prison until they had obeyed this judgment.

"But I have your promise of safe conduct!" cried the Spaniard, blazing
with wrath.

"And you shall have it when the girl returns," replied the governor. "You
shall be protected in going and coming, but there is no reference in the
paper that you hold as to how long we may wish to keep you with us."

Both men were marched away forthwith, but Michel was released in an hour,
for in that time the people had subscribed enough to pay his debt. The
Spaniard sent a messenger to a renegade who had little Genevieve in
keeping, and next day he too went free, swearing horribly, but glad to
accept the service of an armed escort until he was well out of town.
Michel embraced his child with ardor when once she was in his arms again;
then he lighted his pipe and set out with her for home, convinced that
French law was the best in the world, that Spaniards were not to be
trusted, and that it is safer to keep one's earnings under the floor than
to venture them in trade.



WALLEN'S RIDGE

A century ago this rough eminence, a dozen miles from Chattanooga,
Tennessee, was an abiding place of Cherokee Indians, among whom was
Arinook, their medicine-man, and his daughter. The girl was pure and
fair, and when a white hunter saw her one day at the door of her father's
wigwam he was so struck with her charm of person and her engaging manner
that he resolved not to return to his people until he had won her for his
wife. She had many lovers, though she favored none of them, and while the
Cherokees were at first loth to admit a stranger to their homes they
forgot their jealousy when they found that this one excelled as a hunter
and fisherman, that he could throw the knife and tomahawk better than
themselves, and that he was apt in their work and their sports.

They even submitted to the inevitable with half a grace when they found
that the stranger and the girl of whom they were so fond were in love.
With an obduracy that seems to be characteristic of fathers, the
medicine-man refused his consent to the union, and the hearts of the
twain were heavy. Though the white man pleaded with her to desert her
tribe, she refused to do so, on the score of duty to her father, and the
couple forlornly roamed about the hill, watching the sunset from its top
and passing the bright summer evenings alone, sitting hand in hand,
loving, sorrowing, and speaking not. In one of their long rambles they
found themselves beside the Tennessee River at a point where the current
swirls among rocks and sucks down things that float, discharging them at
the surface in still water, down the stream. Here for a time they stood,
when the girl, with a gush of tears, began to sing--it was her
death-song. The white man grasped her hand and joined his voice to hers.
Then they took a last embrace and flung themselves into the water, still
hand in hand.

When the river is low you may hear their death-song sounding there. The
manitous of the river and the wood were offended with the medicine-man
because of his stubbornness and cruelty, although he suffered greatly
because of the death his daughter died, and he the cause of it. For now
strange Indians appeared among the Cherokees and drove the deer and bear
away. Tall, strong, and large were these intruders, and they hung about
the village by day and night--never speaking, yet casting a fear about
them, for they would throw great rocks farther than a warrior could shoot
an arrow with the wind behind him; they had horns springing from their
heads; their eyes were the eyes of wild-cats, and shone in the dark; they
growled like animals, shaking the earth when they did so, and breathing
flame; they were at the bedside, at the council-fire, at the banquet,
seeming only to wait for a show of enmity to annihilate the tribe.

At length the people could endure their company no longer, and taking
down their lodges they left Wallen's Ridge and wandered far away until
they came to a valley where no foot had left its impress, and there they
besought the Great Spirit to forgive the wrong their medicine-man had
done, and to free them from the terrible spirits that had been living
among them. The prayer was granted, and the lodges stood for many years
in a safe and happy valley.



THE SKY WALKER OF HURON

Here is the myth of Endymion and Diana, as told on the shores of Saginaw
Bay, in Michigan, by Indians who never heard of Greeks. Cloud Catcher, a
handsome youth of the Ojibways, offended his family by refusing to fast
during the ceremony of his coming of age, and was put out of the paternal
wigwam. It was so fine a night that the sky served him as well as a roof,
and he had a boy's confidence in his ability to make a living, and
something of fame and fortune, maybe. He dropped upon a tuft of moss to
plan for his future, and drowsily noted the rising of the moon, in which
he seemed to see a face. On awaking he found that it was not day, yet the
darkness was half dispelled by light that rayed from a figure near
him--the form of a lovely woman.

"Cloud Catcher, I have come for you," she said. And as she turned away he
felt impelled to rise and follow. But, instead of walking, she began to
move into the air with the flight of an eagle, and, endowed with a new
power, he too ascended beside her. The earth was dim and vast below,
stars blazed as they drew near them, yet the radiance of the woman seemed
to dull their glory. Presently they passed through a gate of clouds and
stood on a beautiful plain, with crystal ponds and brooks watering noble
trees and leagues of flowery meadow; birds of brightest colors darted
here and there, singing like flutes; the very stones were agate, jasper,
and chalcedony. An immense lodge stood on the plain, and within were
embroideries and ornaments, couches of rich furs, pipes and arms cut from
jasper and tipped with silver. While the young man was gazing around him
with delight, the brother of his guide appeared and reproved her,
advising her to send the young man back to earth at once, but, as she
flatly refused to do so, he gave a pipe and bow and arrows to Cloud
Catcher, as a token of his consent to their marriage, and wished them
happiness, which, in fact, they had.

This brother, who was commanding, tall, and so dazzling in his gold and
silver ornaments that one could hardly look upon him, was abroad all day,
while his sister was absent for a part of the night. He permitted Cloud
Catcher to go with him on one of his daily walks, and as they crossed the
lovely Sky Land they glanced down through open valley bottoms on the
green earth below. The rapid pace they struck gave to Cloud Catcher an
appetite and he asked if there were no game. "Patience," counselled his
companion. On arriving at a spot where a large hole had been broken
through the sky they reclined on mats, and the tall man loosing one of
his silver ornaments flung it into a group of children playing before a
lodge. One of the little ones fell and was carried within, amid
lamentations. Then the villagers left their sports and labors and looked
up at the sky. The tall man cried, in a voice of thunder, "Offer a
sacrifice and the child shall be well again." A white dog was killed,
roasted, and in a twinkling it shot up to the feet of Cloud Catcher, who,
being empty, attacked it voraciously.

Many such walks and feasts came after, and the sights of earth and taste
of meat filled the mortal with a longing to see his people again. He told
his wife that he wanted to go back. She consented, after a time, saying,
"Since you are better pleased with the cares, the ills, the labor, and
the poverty of the world than with the comfort and abundance of Sky Land,
you may return; but remember you are still my husband, and beware how you
venture to take an earthly maiden for a wife."

She arose lightly, clasped Cloud Catcher by the wrist, and began to move
with him through the air. The motion lulled him and he fell asleep,
waking at the door of his father's lodge. His relatives gathered and gave
him welcome, and he learned that he had been in the sky for a year. He
took the privations of a hunter's and warrior's life less kindly than he
thought to, and after a time he enlivened its monotony by taking to wife
a bright-eyed girl of his tribe. In four days she was dead. The lesson
was unheeded and he married again. Shortly after, he stepped from his
lodge one evening and never came back. The woods were filled with a
strange radiance on that night, and it is asserted that Cloud Catcher was
taken back to the lodge of the Sun and Moon, and is now content to live
in heaven.



THE COFFIN OF SNAKES

No one knew how it was that Lizon gained the love of Julienne, at L'Anse
Creuse (near Detroit), for she was a girl of sweet and pious disposition,
the daughter of a God-fearing farmer, while Lizon was a dark, ill-favored
wretch, who had come among the people nobody knew whence, and lived on
the profits of a tap-room where the vilest liquor was sold, and where
gaming, fighting, and carousing were of nightly occurrence. Perhaps they
were right in saying that it was witchcraft. He impudently laid siege to
her heart, and when she showed signs of yielding he told her and her
friends that he had no intention of marrying her, because he did not
believe in religion.

Yet Julienne deserted her comfortable home and went to live with this
disreputable scamp in his disreputable tavern, to the scandal of the
community, and especially of the priest, who found Lizon's power for evil
greater than his own for good, for as the tavern gained in hangers-on the
church lost worshippers. One Sunday morning Julienne surprised the people
by appearing in church and publicly asking pardon for her wrong-doing. It
was the first time she had appeared there since her flight, and she was
as one who had roused from a trance or fever-sleep. Her father gladly
took her home again, and all went well until New-Year's eve, when the
young men called d'Ignolee made the rounds of the settlement to sing and
beg meat for the poor--a custom descended from the Druids. They came to
the house of Julienne's father and received his welcome and his goods,
but their song was interrupted by a cry of distress--Lizon was among the
maskers, and Julienne was gone. A crowd of villagers ran to the cabaret
and rescued the girl from the room into which the fellow had thrust her,
but it was too late--she had lost her reason. Cursing and striking and
blaspheming, Lizon was at last confronted by the priest, who told him he
had gone too far; that he had been a plague to the people and an enemy to
the church. He then pronounced against him the edict of excommunication,
and told him that even in his grave he should not rest; that the church,
abandoned by so many victims of his wiles and tyrannies, should be swept
away.

The priest left the place forthwith, and the morals of the village fell
lower and lower. Everything was against it, too. Blight and storm and
insect pest ravaged the fields and orchards, as if nature had engaged to
make an expression of the iniquity of the place. Suddenly death came upon
Lizon. A pit was dug near his tavern and he was placed in a coffin, but
as the box was lowered it was felt to grow lighter, while there poured
from it a swarm of fat and filthy snakes. The fog that overspread the
earth that morning seemed to blow by in human forms, the grave rolled
like a wave after it had been covered, and after darkness fell a blue
will-o'-the-wisp danced over it. A storm set in, heaping the billows on
shore until the church was undermined, and with a crash it fell into the
seething flood. But the curse had passed, and when a new chapel was built
the old evils had deserted L'Anse Crease.



MACKINACK

Not only was Mackinack the birthplace of Hiawatha: it was the home of God
himself--Gitchi Manitou, or Mitchi Manitou--who placed there an Indian
Adam and Eve to watch and cultivate his gardens. He also made the beaver,
that his children might eat, and they acknowledged his goodness in
oblations. Bounteous sacrifices insured entrance after death to the happy
hunting-grounds beyond the Rocky Mountains. Those who had failed in these
offerings were compelled to wander about the Great Lakes, shelterless,
and watched by unsleeping giants who were ten times the stature of
mortals.

These giants still exist, but in the form of conical rocks, one of
which-called Sugar-Loaf, or Manitou's Wigwam--is ninety feet high. A cave
in this obelisk is pointed out as Manitou's abiding-place, and it was
believed that every other spire in the group had its wraith, whence has
come the name of the island--Michillimackinack (place of great dancing
spirits). Arch Rock is the place that Manitou built to reach his home
from Sunrise Land the better. There were many such monuments of
divinities in the north. They are met with all about the lakes and in the
wooded wilderness, the most striking one being the magnificent spire of
basalt in the Black Hills region of Wyoming. It is known as Devil's
Tower, or Mateo's Tepee, and by the red men is held to be the wigwam of a
were-animal that can become man at pleasure. This singular rock towers
above the Belle Fourche River to a height of eight hundred feet.

Deep beneath Mackinack was a stately and beautiful cavern hall where
spirits had their revels. An Indian who got leave to quit his body saw it
in company with one of the spirits, and spread glowing reports of its
beauties when he had clothed himself in flesh again. When Adam and Eve
died they, too, became spirits and continued to watch the home of
Manitou.

Now, there is another version of this tradition which gives the, original
name of the island as Moschenemacenung, meaning "great turtle." The
French missionaries and traders, finding the word something too large a
mouthful, softened it to Michillimackinack, and, when the English came,
three syllables served them as well as a hundred, so Mackinack it is to
this day. Manitou, having made a turtle from a drop of his own sweat,
sent it to the bottom of Lake Huron, whence it brought a mouthful of mud,
and from this Mackinack was created. As a reward for his service the
turtle was allowed to sleep there in the sun forever.

Yet another version has it that the Great Spirit plucked a sand-grain
from the primeval ocean, set it floating on those waters, and tended it
until it grew so large that a young wolf, running constantly, died of old
age before reaching its limits. The sand became the earth. Prophecy has
warned the Winnebagoes that Manibozho (Michabo or Hiawatha) shall smite
by pestilence at the end of their thirteenth generation. Ten are gone.
All shall perish but one pure pair, who will people the recreated world.
Manibozho, or Minnebojou, is called a "culture myth," but the Indians
have faith in him. They say that he lies asleep on the north shore of
Lake Superior, beneath the "hill of four knobs," known as the Sleeping
Giant. There offerings are made to him, and it was a hope of his speedy
rising that started the Messiah craze in the West in 1890.



LAKE SUPERIOR WATER GODS

There were many water gods about Lake Superior to whom the Indians paid
homage, casting implements, ornaments, and tobacco into the water
whenever they passed a spot where one of these manitous sat enthroned. At
Thunder Cape, on the north shore, lies Manibozho, and in the pillared
recess of La Chapelle, among the Pictured Rocks, dwelt powerful rulers of
the storm to whose mercy the red men commended themselves with quaint
rites whenever they were to set forth on a voyage over the great unsalted
sea. At Le Grand Portal were hidden a horde of mischievous imps, among
whose pranks was the repetition of every word spoken by the traveller as
he rested on his oars beneath this mighty arch. The Chippewas worked the
copper mines at Keweenaw Point before the white race had learned of a
Western land, but they did so timidly, for they believed that a demon
would visit with injury or death the rash mortal who should presume to
pillage his treasure, unless he had first bestowed gifts upon him. Even
then they went ashore with fear, lighted fires around a surface of native
copper, hacked off a few pounds of the softened metal, and ran to their
canoes without looking behind them.

There was another bad manitou at the mouth of Superior Bay, where
conflicting currents make a pother of waters. This spirit sat on the
bottom of the lake, gazing upward, and if any boatman ventured to cross
his domain without dropping a pipe or beads or hatchet into it, woe
betide him, for his boat would be caught in a current and smashed against
a rocky shore. Perhaps the most vexatious god was he who ruled the
Floating Islands. These islands were beautiful with trees and flowers,
metal shone and crystals sparkled on their ledges, sweet fruits grew in
plenty, and song-birds flitted over them. In wonder and delight the
hunter would speed toward them in his canoe, but as he neared their turfy
banks the jealous manitou, who kept these fairy lands for his own
pleasure, would throw down a fog and shut them out of sight. Never could
the hunter set foot on them, no matter how long he kept up his search.



THE WITCH OF PICTURED ROCKS

On the Pictured Rocks of Lake Superior dwelt an Ojibway woman, a widow,
who was cared for by a relative. This relative was a hunter, the husband
of an agreeable wife, the father of two bright children. Being of a mean
and jealous nature, the widow begrudged every kindness that the hunter
showed to his wife--the skins he brought for her clothing, the moose's
lip or other dainty that he saved for her; and one day, in a pretence of
fine good-nature, the old woman offered to give the younger a swing in a
vine pendent from a tree that overhung the lake.

The wife accepted, and, seating herself on the vine, was swayed to and
fro, catching her breath, yet laughing as she swept out over the water.
When the momentum was greatest the old woman cut the stem. A splash was
heard--then all was silent. Returning to the lodge, the hag disguised
herself in a dress of the missing woman, and sitting in a shadow,
pretended to nurse the infant of the household. The hunter, returning,
was a little surprised that his wife should keep her face from him, and
more surprised that the old woman did not appear for her share of the
food that he had brought; but after their meal he took his little ones to
the lake, to enjoy the evening breeze, when the elder burst into tears,
declaring that the woman in the lodge was not his mother, and that he
feared his own mother was dead or lost.

The hunter hurled his spear into the earth and prayed that, if his wife
were dead, her body might be found, so he could mourn over it and give it
burial. Instantly a bolt of lightning came from a passing cloud and shot
into the lake, while the thunder-peal that followed shook the stones he
stood on. It also disturbed the water and presently something was seen
rising through it. The man stepped into a thicket and watched. In a few
moments a gull arose from the lake and flew to the spot where the
children were seated. Around its body was a leather belt, embroidered
with beads and quills, which the hunter recognized, and, advancing
softly, he caught the bird--that changed at once into the missing woman.
The family set forth toward home, and as they entered the lodge the
witch--for such she was--looked up, with a start, then uttered a cry of
despair. Bending low, she moved her arms in both imprecation and appeal.
A moment later a black, ungainly bird flew from the wigwam and passed
from sight among the trees. The witch never came back to plague them.



THE ORIGIN OF WHITE-FISH

An Indian who lived far in the north was so devoted to the chase that he
was never at home for the whole of a day, to the sorrow of his two boys,
who liked nothing so much as to sport with him and to be allowed to
practise with his weapons. Their mother told them that on no account were
they to speak to him of the young man who visited the lodge while their
father was away, and it was not until they were well grown and knew what
the duty of wives should be that they resolved to disobey her. The hunter
struck the woman dead when he learned of her perfidy. So greatly did her
spirit trouble them, however, that they could no longer abide in their
old home in peace and comfort, and they left the country and journeyed
southward until they came to the Sault Sainte Marie.

As they stood beside the falls a head came rolling toward them on the
earth--the head of the dead woman. At that moment, too, a crane was seen
riding on the surface of the water, whirling about in its strongest
eddies, and when one of the boys called to it, "O Grandfather, we are
persecuted by a spirit; take us across the falls," the crane flew to
them. "Cling to my back and do not touch my head," it said to them, and
landed them safely on the farther shore.

But now the head screamed, "Come, grandfather, and carry me over, for I
have lost my children and am sorely distressed," and the bird flew to her
likewise. "Be careful not to touch my head," it said. The head promised
obedience, but succumbed to curiosity when half-way over and touched the
bird's head to see what was the matter with him. With a lurch the crane
flung off his burden and it fell into the rapids. As it swept down,
bumping against the rocks, the brains were pounded out and strewn over
the water. "You were useless in life," cried the crane. "You shall not be
so in death. Become fish!" And the bits of brain changed to roe that
presently hatched to a delicate white fish, the flesh whereof is esteemed
by Indians of the lakes, and white men, likewise. The family pitched a
lodge near the spot and took the crane as their totem or name-mark. Many
of their descendants bear it to this day.



THE SPIRIT OF CLOUDY

Among the lumbermen of Alger, Michigan, was William Cloud, an Indian,
usually called Cloudy, who was much employed on a chute a mile and a half
out of the village. The rains were heavy one spring, and a large raft of
logs had been floated down to the chute, where they were held back by a
gate until it was time to send them through in a mass. When the creek had
reached its maximum height the foreman gave word to the log-drivers to
lower the gate and let the timber down. This order came on a chilly April
night, and, as it was pitchy dark and rain was falling in sheets, the
lumbermen agreed to draw cuts to decide which of them should venture out
and start the logs. Cloudy drew the fatal slip. He was a quiet fellow,
and without a word he opened the door, bent against the storm, and passed
into the darkness. An hour went by, and the men in the cabin laughed as
they described the probable appearance of their comrade when he should
return, soaked through and through, and they wondered if he was waiting
in some shelter beside the path for the middle of the night to pass, for
the Indians believed that an evil spirit left the stream every night and
was abroad until that hour.

As time lengthened the jest and talk subsided and a moody silence
supervened. At length one of the number resolved to sally out and see if
any mishap had fallen to the Indian. He was joined by three others, and
the party repaired to the creek. Above the chute it was seen that the
gate--which was released by the withdrawal of iron pins and sank of its
own weight-had not quite settled into place, and by the light of a
lantern held near the surface of the rushing current an obstruction could
be dimly seen. The gate was slightly raised and the object drawn up with
pike-poles. It was the mangled body of Cloudy. He was buried beside the
creek; but the camp was soon abandoned and the chute is in decay, for
between the hours of ten and twelve each night the wraith of the Indian,
accompanied by the bad spirit of the stream, ranges through the wood, his
form shining blue in the gloom, his groans sounding above the swish and
lap of the waters.



THE SUN FIRE AT SAULT SAINTE MARIE

Father Marquette reached Sault Sainte Marie, in company with Greysolon Du
Lhut, in August, 1670, and was received in a manner friendly enough, but
the Chippewas warned him to turn back from that point, for the Ojibways
beyond were notoriously hostile to Europeans, their chief--White
Otter--having taken it on himself to revenge, by war, his father's
desertion of his mother. His father was a Frenchman. Inspired by his
mission, and full of the enthusiasm of youth and of the faith that had
led him safely through a host of dangers and troubles, Marquette refused
to change his plans, and even ventured the assertion that he could tame
the haughty Otter and bring him to the cross. At dawn he and his doughty
henchman set off in a war-canoe, but, on arriving in White Otter's camp
and speaking their errand, they were seized and bound, to await death on
the morrow. The wife of the chief spoke, out of the kindness of her
heart, and asked mercy for the white men. To no avail. The brute struck
her to the ground. That night his daughter, Wanena, who had seen Du Lhut
at the trading post and had felt the stir of a generous sentiment toward
him, appeared before the prisoners when sleep was heaviest in the camp,
cut their bonds, led them by an obscure path to the river, where she
enjoined them to enter a canoe, and guided the boat to the Holy Isle.
This was where the Ojibways came to lay offerings before the image of
Manitou, whose home was there believed to be. There the friendly red men
would be sure to find and rescue them, she thought, and after a few hours
of sleep she led them into a secluded glen where stood the figure rudely
carved from a pine trunk, six feet high, and tricked with gewgaws. As
they stood there, stealthy steps were heard, and before they could
conceal themselves White Otter and eight of his men were upon them. Du
Lhut grasped a club from among the weapons that--with other
offerings--strewed the earth at the statue's feet and prepared to sell
his life dearly. The priest drew forth his crucifix and prayed. The girl
dropped to the ground, drew her blanket over her head, and began to sing
her death-song.

"So the black-coat and the woman-stealer have come to die before the
Indian's god?" sneered the chief.

"If it be God's will, we will die defying your god and you," replied
Marquette. "Yet we fear not death, and if God willed he could deliver us
as easily as he could destroy that worthless image." He spoke in an
undertone to Du Lhut, and continued, confidently, "challenge your god to
withstand mine. I shall pray my God to send his fire from the sky and
burn this thing. If he does so will you set us free and become a
Christian?"

"I will; but if you fail, you die."

"And if I win you must pardon your daughter."

White Otter grunted his assent.

The sun was high and brought spicy odors from the wood; an insect hummed
drowsily, and a bird-song echoed from the distance. Unconscious of what
was being enacted about her, Wanena kept rocking to and fro, singing her
death-song, and waiting the blow that would stretch her at her father's
feet. The savages gathered around the image and watched it with eager
interest. Raising his crucifix with a commanding gesture, the priest
strode close to the effigy, and in a loud voice cried, in Chippewa, "In
the name of God, I command fire to destroy this idol!"

A spot of light danced upon the breast of the image. It grew dazzling
bright and steady. Then a smoke began to curl from the dry grass and
feathers it was decked with. The Indians fell back in amazement, and when
a faint breeze passed, fanning the sparks into flame, they fell on their
faces, trembling with apprehension, for Marquette declared, "As my God
treats this idol, so can he treat you!"

Then, looking up to see the manitou in flames, White Otter exclaimed,
"The white man's God has won. Spare us, O mighty medicine!"

"I will do so, if you promise to become as white men in the faith and be
baptized." Tamed by fear, the red men laid aside their weapons and knelt
at a brook where Marquette, gathering water in his hands, gave the rite
of baptism to each, and laid down the moral law they were to live by.
Wanena, who had fainted from sheer fright when she saw the idol burning,
was restored, and it may be added that the priest who Christianized her
also married her to Du Lhut, who prospered and left his name to the city
of the lake. News of the triumph of the white men's God went far and
wide, and Marquette found his missions easier after that. Du Lhut alone,
of all those present, was in the father's secret. He had perpetrated a
pious fraud, justified by the results as well as by his peril. A
burning-glass had been fastened to the crucifix, and with that he had
destroyed the idol.

Trading thus on native ignorance a Frenchman named Lyons at another time
impressed the Indians at Dubuque and gained his will by setting a creek
on fire. They did not know that he had first poured turpentine over it.



THE SNAKE GOD OF BELLE ISLE

The Indian demi-god, Sleeping Bear, had a daughter so beautiful that he
kept her out of the sight of men in a covered boat that swung on Detroit
River, tied to a tree on shore; but the Winds, having seen her when her
father had visited her with food, contended so fiercely to possess her
that the little cable was snapped and the boat danced on to the keeper of
the water-gates, who lived at the outlet of Lake Huron. The keeper,
filled with admiration for the girl's beauty, claimed the boat and its
charming freight, but he had barely received her into his lodge when the
angry Winds fell upon him, buffeting him so sorely that he died, and was
buried on Peach Island (properly Isle au Peche), where his spirit
remained for generations--an oracle sought by Indians before emprise in
war. His voice had the sound of wind among the reeds, and its meanings
could not be told except by those who had prepared themselves by fasting
and meditation to receive them. Before planning his campaign against the
English, Pontiac fasted here for seven days to "clear his ear" and hear
the wisdom of the sighing voice.

But the Winds were not satisfied with the slaying of the keeper. They
tore away his meadows and swept them out as islands. They smashed the
damsel's boat and the little bark became Belle Isle. Here Manitou placed
the girl, and set a girdle of vicious snakes around the shore to guard
her and to put a stop to further contests. These islands in the straits
seem to have been favorite places of exile and theatres of
transformation. The Three Sisters are so called because of three Indian
women who so scolded and wrangled that their father was obliged to
separate them and put one on each of the islands for the sake of peace.

It was at Belle Isle that the red men had put up and worshipped a natural
stone image. Hearing of this idol, on reaching Detroit, Dollier and De
Galinee crossed over to it, tore it down, smashed it, flung the bigger
piece of it into the river, and erected a cross in its place. The sunken
portion of the idol called aloud to the faithful, who had assembled to
wonder at the audacity of the white men and witness their expected
punishment by Manitou, and told them to cast in the other portions. They
did so, and all the fragments united and became a monster serpent that
kept the place from further intrusion. Later, when La Salle ascended the
straits in his ship, the Griffin, the Indians on shore invoked the help
of this, their manitou, and strange forms arose from the water that
pushed the ship into the north, her crew vainly singing hymns with a hope
of staying the demoniac power.



WERE-WOLVES OF DETROIT

Long were the shores of Detroit vexed by the Snake God of Belle Isle and
his children, the witches, for the latter sold enchantments and were the
terror of good people. Jacques Morand, the _coureur de bois_, was in love
with Genevieve Parent, but she disliked him and wished only to serve the
church. Courting having proved of no avail, he resolved on force when she
had decided to enter a convent, and he went to one of the witches, who
served as devil's agent, to sell his soul. The witch accepted the slight
commodity and paid for it with a grant of power to change from a man's
form to that of a were-wolf, or _loup garou_, that he might the easier
bear away his victim. Incautiously, he followed her to Grosse Pointe,
where an image of the Virgin had been set up, and as Genevieve dropped at
the feet of the statue to implore aid, the wolf, as he leaped to her
side, was suddenly turned to stone.

Harder was the fate of another maiden, Archange Simonet, for she was
seized by a were-wolf at this place and hurried away while dancing at her
own wedding. The bridegroom devoted his life to the search for her, and
finally lost his reason, but he prosecuted the hunt so vengefully and
shrewdly that he always found assistance. One of the neighbors cut off
the wolf's tail with a silver bullet, the appendage being for many years
preserved by the Indians. The lover finally came upon the creature and
chased it to the shore, where its footprint is still seen in one of the
bowlders, but it leaped into the water and disappeared. In his crazy
fancy the lover declared that it had jumped down the throat of a catfish,
and that is why the French Canadians have a prejudice against catfish as
an article of diet.

The man-wolf dared as much for gain as for love. On the night that Jean
Chiquot got the Indians drunk and bore off their beaver-skins, the wood
witches, known as "the white women," fell upon him and tore a part of his
treasure from him, while a were-wolf pounced so hard on his back that he
lost more. He drove the creatures to a little distance, but was glad to
be safe inside of the fort again, though the officers laughed at him and
called him a coward. When they went back over the route with him they
were astonished to find the grass scorched where the women had fled
before him, and little springs in the turf showed where they had been
swallowed up. Sulphur-water was bubbling from the spot where the wolf
dived into the earth when the trader's rosary fell out of his jacket.
Belle Fontaine, the spot was called, long afterward.



THE ESCAPE OF FRANCOIS NAVARRE

When the Hurons came to Sandwich, opposite the Michigan shore, in 1806,
and camped near the church for the annual "festival of savages," which
was religious primarily, but incidentally gastronomic, athletic, and
alcoholic, an old woman of the tribe foretold to Angelique Couture that,
ere long, blood would be shed freely and white men and Indians would take
each other's lives. That was a reasonably safe prophecy in those days,
and, though Angelique repeated it to her friends, she did not worry over
it. But when the comet of 1812 appeared the people grew afraid--and with
cause, for the war soon began with England. The girl's brothers fought
under the red flag; her lover, Francois Navarre, under the stars and
stripes.

The cruel General Proctor one day passed through Sandwich with prisoners
on his way to the Hurons, who were to put them to death in the usual
manner. As they passed by, groaning in anticipation of their fate,
foot-sore and covered with dust, Angelique nearly swooned, for among them
she recognized her lover. He, too, had seen her, and the recognition had
been noticed by Proctor. Whether his savage heart was for the moment
softened by their anguish, or whether he wished to heighten their pain by
a momentary taste of joy, it is certain that on reaching camp he paroled
Francrois until sunset. The young man hastened to the girl's house, and
for one hour they were sadly happy. She tried to make him break his
parole and escape, but he refused, and as the sun sank he tore himself
from her arms and hastened to rejoin his companions in misery.

His captors admired him for this act of honor, and had he so willed he
could have been then and there received into their tribe. As it was, they
allowed him to remain unbound. Hardly had the sun gone down when a number
of boats drew up at the beach with another lot of prisoners, and with
yells of rejoicing the Indians ran to the river to drive them into camp.
Francois's opportunity was brief, but he seized it. In the excitement he
had been unobserved. He was not under oath now, and with all speed he
dashed into the wood. Less than a minute had elapsed before his absence
was discovered, but he was a cunning woodman, and by alternately running
and hiding, with gathering darkness in his favor, he had soon put the
savages at a distance.

A band of English went to Angelique's home, thinking that he would be
sure to rejoin her; but he was too shrewd for that, and it was in vain
that they fired guns up the chimneys and thrust bayonets into beds.
Angelique was terrified at this intrusion, but the men had been ordered
not to injure the woman, and she was glad, after all, to think that
Francois had escaped. Some days later one of the Hurons came to her door
and pointed significantly to a fresh scalp that hung at his belt. In the
belief that it was her lover's she grew ill and began to fade, but one
evening there came a faint tap at the door. She opened it to find a cap
on the door-step.

There was no writing, yet her heart rose in her bosom and the color came
back to her cheeks, for she recognized it as her lover's. Later, she
learned that Francois had kept to the forest until he reached the site of
Walkerville, where he had found a canoe and reached the American side in
safety. She afterward rejoined him in Detroit, and they were married at
the end of the war, through which he served with honor and satisfaction
to himself, being enabled to pay many old scores against the red-coats
and the Indians.



THE OLD LODGER

In 1868 there died in Detroit a woman named Marie Louise Thebault, more
usually called Kennette. She was advanced in years, and old residents
remembered when she was one of the quaintest figures and most assertive
spirits in the town, for until a few years before her death she was rude
of speech, untidy in appearance, loved nothing or respected nothing
unless it might be her violin and her money, and lived alone in a little
old house on the river-road to Springwells. Though she made shoes for a
living, she was of so miserly a nature that she accepted food from her
neighbors, and in order to save the expense of light and fuel she spent
her evenings out. Yet she read more or less, and was sufficiently
acquainted with Volney, Voltaire, and other skeptics to shock her church
acquaintances. Love of gain, not of company, induced her to lease one of
her rooms to a pious old woman, from whom she got not only a little rent,
but the incidental use of her fuel and light.

When the pious one tried to win her to the church it angered her, and
then, too, she had a way of telling ghost stories that Kennette laughed
at. One of these narratives that she would dwell on with especial
self-conviction was that of Lieutenant Muir, who had left his mistress,
when she said No to his pleadings, supposing that she spoke the truth,
whereas she was merely trying to be coquettish.

He fell in an attack on the Americans that night, and came back,
bleeding, to the girl who had made him throw his life away; he pressed
her hand, leaving the mark of skeleton fingers there, so that she always
kept it gloved afterward. Then there was the tale of the two men of
Detroit who were crushed by a falling tree: the married one, who was not
fatally hurt, begged his mate to call his wife, as soon as his soul was
free, and the woman, hearing the mournful voice at her door, as the
spirit passed on its way to space, ran out and rescued her husband from
his plight. She told, too, of the _feu follet_, or will-o'-the-wisp, that
led a girl on Grosse Isle to the swamp where her lover was engulfed in
mire and enabled her to rescue him. There was Grand'mere Duchene,
likewise, who worked at her spinning-wheel for many a night after death,
striking fear to her son's heart, by its droning, because he had not
bought the fifty masses for the repose of her soul, but when he had
fulfilled the promise she came no more. Another yarn was about the
ghost-boat of hunter Sebastian that ascends the straits once in seven
years, celebrating his return, after death, in accordance with the
promise made to Zoe, his betrothed, that--dead or alive--he would return
to her from the hunt at a certain time.

To all this Kennette turned the ear of scorning. "Bah!" she cried. "I
don't believe your stories. I don't believe in your hell and your
purgatory. If you die first, come back. If I should, and I can, I will
come. Then we may know whether there is another world."

The bargain was made to this effect, but the women did not get on well
together, and soon Kennette had an open quarrel with her lodger that
ended by her declaring that she never could forgive her, but that she
would hold her to her after-death compact. The lodger died, and while
talking of her death at the house of a neighbor a boy, who had arrived
from town, casually asked Kennette--knowing her saving ways--why she had
left the light burning in her house. Grasping a poker, she set off at
once to punish the intruder who had dared to enter in her absence, but
when she arrived there was no light. On several evenings the light was
reported by others, but as she was gadding in the neighborhood she never
saw it until, one night, resolved to see for herself, she returned early,
softly entered at the back door, and went to bed. Hardly had she done so
when she saw a light coming up-stairs. Sitting bolt upright in bed she
waited. The light came up noiselessly and presently stood in the
room--not a lantern or candle, but a white phosphorescence. It advanced
toward her, changing its form until she saw a cloudy likeness to a human
being. For the first time in her life she feared. "Come no nearer!" she
cried. "I know you. I believe you, and I forgive."

The light vanished. From that night it was remarked that Kennette began
to age fast--she began to change and become more like other women. She
went to church and her face grew softer and kinder. It was the only time
that she saw the spirit, but the effect of the visit was permanent.



THE NAIN ROUGE

Among all the impish offspring of the Stone God, wizards and witches,
that made Detroit feared by the early settlers, none were more dreaded
than the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), or Demon of the Strait, for it appeared
only when there was to be trouble. In that it delighted. It was a
shambling, red-faced creature, with a cold, glittering eye and teeth
protruding from a grinning mouth. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, having
struck at it, presently lost his seigniory and his fortunes. It was seen
scampering along the shore on the night before the attack on Bloody Run,
when the brook that afterward bore this name turned red with the blood of
soldiers. People saw it in the smoky streets when the city was burned in
1805, and on the morning of Hull's surrender it was found grinning in the
fog. It rubbed its bony knuckles expectantly when David Fisher paddled
across the strait to see his love, Soulange Gaudet, in the only boat he
could find--a wheel-barrow, namely--but was sobered when David made a
safe landing.

It chuckled when the youthful bloods set off on Christmas day to race the
frozen strait for the hand of buffer Beauvais's daughter Claire, but when
her lover's horse, a wiry Indian nag, came pacing in it fled before their
happiness. It was twice seen on the roof of the stable where that
sour-faced, evil-eyed old mumbler, Jean Beaugrand, kept his horse, Sans
Souci--a beast that, spite of its hundred years or more, could and did
leap every wall in Detroit, even the twelve-foot stockade of the fort, to
steal corn and watermelons, and that had been seen in the same barn,
sitting at a table, playing seven-up with his master, and drinking a
liquor that looked like melted brass. The dwarf whispered at the sleeping
ear of the old chief who slew Friar Constantine, chaplain of the fort, in
anger at the teachings that had parted a white lover from his daughter
and led her to drown herself--a killing that the red man afterward
confessed, because he could no longer endure the tolling of a mass bell
in his ears and the friar's voice in the wind.

The Nain Rouge it was who claimed half of the old mill, on Presque Isle,
that the sick and irritable Josette swore that she would leave to the
devil when her brother Jean pestered her to make her will in his favor,
giving him complete ownership. On the night of her death the mill was
wrecked by a thunder-bolt, and a red-faced imp was often seen among the
ruins, trying to patch the machinery so as to grind the devil's grist. It
directed the dance of black cats in the mill at Pont Rouge, after the
widow's curse had fallen on Louis Robert, her brother-in-law. This man,
succeeding her husband as director of the property, had developed such
miserly traits that she and her children were literally starved to death,
but her dying curse threw such ill luck on the place and set afloat such
evil report about it that he took himself away. The Nain Rouge may have
been the Lutin that took Jacques L'Esperance's ponies from the stable at
Grosse Pointe, and, leaving no tracks in sand or snow, rode them through
the air all night, restoring them at dawn quivering with fatigue, covered
with foam, bloody with the lash of a thorn-bush. It stopped that exercise
on the night that Jacques hurled a font of holy water at it, but to keep
it away the people of Grosse Pointe still mark their houses with the sign
of a cross.

It was lurking in the wood on the day that Captain Dalzell went against
Pontiac, only to perish in an ambush, to the secret relief of his
superior, Major Gladwyn, for the major hoped to win the betrothed of
Dalzell; but when the girl heard that her lover had been killed at Bloody
Run, and his head had been carried on a pike, she sank to the ground
never to rise again in health, and in a few days she had followed the
victims of the massacre. There was a suspicion that the Nain Rouge had
power to change his shape for one not less offensive. The brothers
Tremblay had no luck in fishing through the straits and lakes until one
of them agreed to share his catch with St. Patrick, the saint's half to
be sold at the church-door for the benefit of the poor and for buying
masses to relieve souls in purgatory. His brother doubted if this benefit
would last, and feared that they might be lured into the water and turned
into fish, for had not St. Patrick eaten pork chops on a Friday, after
dipping them into holy water and turning them into trout? But his good
brother kept on and prospered and the bad one kept on grumbling. Now, at
Grosse Isle was a strange thing called the rolling muff, that all were
afraid of, since to meet it was a warning of trouble; but, like the _feu
follet_, it could be driven off by holding a cross toward it or by asking
it on what day of the month came Christmas. The worse of the Tremblays
encountered this creature and it filled him with dismay. When he returned
his neighbors observed an odor--not of sanctity--on his garments, and
their view of the matter was that he had met a skunk. The graceless man
felt convinced, however, that he had received a devil's baptism from the
Nain Rouge, and St. Patrick had no stancher allies than both the
Tremblays, after that.



TWO REVENGES

It is no more possible to predicate the conduct of an Indian than that of
a woman. In Detroit lived Wasson, one of the warriors of the dreaded
Pontiac, who had felt some tender movings of the spirit toward a girl of
his tribe. The keeper of the old red mill that stood at the foot of
Twenty-fourth Street adopted her, with the consent of her people, and did
his best to civilize her. But Wasson kept watch. He presently discovered
that whenever the miller was away a candle shone in the window until a
figure wrapped in a military cloak emerged from the shadows, knocked, and
was admitted. On the night that Wasson identified his rival as Colonel
Campbell, an English officer, he stole into the girl's room through the
window and cut her down with his hatchet. Colonel Campbell, likewise, he
slew after Pontiac had made prisoners of the garrison. The mill was
shunned, after that, for the figure of a girl, with a candle in her hand,
frightened so many people by moving about the place that it was torn down
in 1795.

But the red man was not always hostile. Kenen, a Huron, loved a
half-breed girl, whom he could never persuade into a betrothal. One day
he accidentally wounded a white man in the wood, and lifting him on his
shoulder he hurried with him to camp. It was not long before he found
that the soft glances of the half-breed girl were doing more to cure his
victim than the incantations of the medicine-man, and in a fit of anger,
one day, he plucked forth his knife and fell upon the couple. Her look of
innocent surprise shamed him. He rushed away, with an expression of
self-contempt, and flung his weapon far into the river. Soon after, the
white man was captured by the Iroquois. They were preparing to put him to
the torture when a tall Indian leaped in among them, with the cry, "I am
Kenen. Let the pale face go, for a Huron chief will take his place." And,
as the bonds fell from the prisoner's wrists and ankles, he added, "Go
and comfort the White Fawn." The white man was allowed to enter a canoe
and row away, but as he did so his heart misgave him: the words of a
deathsong and the crackling of flames had reached his ears.



HIAWATHA

The story of Hiawatha--known about the lakes as Manabozho and in the East
as Glooskapis the most widely disseminated of the Indian legends. He came
to earth on a Messianic mission, teaching justice, fortitude, and
forbearance to the red men, showing them how to improve their handicraft,
ridding the woods and hills of monsters, and finally going up to heaven
amid cries of wonder from those on whose behalf he had worked and
counselled. He was brought up as a child among them, took to wife the
Dakota girl, Minnehaha ("Laughing Water"), hunted, fought, and lived as a
warrior; yet, when need came, he could change his form to any shape of
bird, fish, or plant that he wished. He spoke to friends in the voice of
a woman and to enemies in tones like thunder. A giant in form, few dared
to resist him in battle, yet he suffered the common pains and adversities
of his kind, and while fishing in one of the great lakes in his white
stone canoe, that moved whither he willed it, he and his boat were
swallowed by the king of fishes. He killed the creature by beating at its
heart with a stone club, and when the gulls had preyed on its flesh, as
it lay floating on the surface, until he could see daylight, he clambered
through the opening they had made and returned to his lodge.

Believing that his father had killed his mother, he fought against him
for several days, driving him to the edge of the world before peace was
made between them. The evil Pearl Feather had slain one of his relatives,
and to avenge that crime Hiawatha pressed through a guard of
fire-breathing serpents which surrounded that fell personage, shot them
with arrows as they struck at him, and having thus reached the lodge of
his enemy he engaged him in combat. All day long they battled to no
purpose, but toward evening a woodpecker flew overhead and cried, "Your
enemy has but one vulnerable point. Shoot at his scalp-lock." Hiawatha
did so and his foe fell dead. Anointing his finger with the blood of his
foe, he touched the bird, and the red mark is found on the head of every
woodpecker to this day. A duck having led him a long chase when he was
trying to capture it for food, he angrily kicked it, thus flattening its
back, bowing its legs, despoiling it of half of its tail-feathers, and
that is why, to this day, ducks are awkward.

In return for its service in leading him to where the prince of serpents
lived, he invested the kingfisher with a medal and rumpled the feathers
of its head in putting it on; hence all kingfishers have rumpled knots
and white spots on their breasts. After slaying the prince of serpents he
travelled all over America, doing good work, and on reaching Onondaga he
organized a friendly league of thirteen tribes that endured for many
years. This closed his mission. As he stood in the assemblage of chiefs a
white bird, appearing at an immense height, descended like a meteor,
struck Hiawatha's daughter with such force as to drive her remains into
the earth and shattered itself against the ground. Its silvery feathers
were scattered, and these were preserved by the beholders as ornaments
for their hair--so the custom of wearing feather head-dresses endures to
our time. Though filled with consternation, Hiawatha recognized the
summons. He addressed his companions in tones of such sweetness and terms
of such eloquence as had never been heard before, urging them to live
uprightly and to enforce good laws, and unhappy circumstance!--promising
to come back when the time was ripe. The expectancy of his return has led
to ghost-dances and similar demonstrations of enmity against the whites.
When he had ended he entered his stone canoe and began to rise in air to
strains of melting music. Higher and higher he arose, the white vessel
shining in the sunlight, until he disappeared in the spaces of the sky.

Incidents of the Hiawatha legend are not all placed, but he is thought to
have been born near the great lakes, perhaps at Mackinack. Some legends,
indeed, credit him with making his home at Mackinack, and from that
point, as a centre, making a new earth around him. The fight with his
father began on the upper Mississippi, and the bowlders found along its
banks were their missiles. The south shore of Lake Superior was the scene
of his conflict with the serpents. He hunted the great beaver around Lake
Superior and brought down his dam at the Sault Sainte Marie. A depression
in a rock on the southern edge of Michipicotea Bay is where he alighted
after a jump across the lake. In a larger depression, near Thunder Bay,
he sat when smoking his last pipe. The big rocks on the east side of
Grand Traverse Bay, near Antrim City, Michigan, are the bones of a stone
monster that he slew.

So trifling an incident as the kicking of the duck has been localized at
Lake Itasca. [It is worth passing mention that this name, which sounds as
if it were of Indian origin, is held by some to be composed of the last
syllables of _veritas_ and the first letters of _caput_, these
words-signifying "the true head"--being applied by early explorers as
showing that they were confident of having found the actual source of the
Mississippi.] Minnehaha lived near the fall in Minneapolis that bears her
name. The final apotheosis took place on the shores of Lake Onondaga, New
York, though Hiawatha lies buried under a mountain, three miles long, on
the east side of Thunder Bay, Lake Superior, which, from the water,
resembles a man lying on his back. The red man makes oblation, as he rows
past, by dropping a pinch of tobacco into the water. Some say that
Hiawatha now lives at the top of the earth, amid the ice, and directs the
sun. He has to live in a cold country because, if he were to return, he
would set the earth on fire with his footsteps.



THE INDIAN MESSIAH

The promise of the return to earth of various benign spirits has caused
much trouble among the red men, and incidentally to the white men who are
the objects of their fanatic dislike. The New Mexicans believed that when
the Emperor Montezuma was about to leave the earth he planted a tree and
bade them watch it, for when it fell he would come back in glory and lead
them to victory, wealth, and power. The watch was kept in secret on
account of the determination of the Spaniards to breakup all fealty to
tribal heroes and traditions. As late as 1781 they executed a sentence of
death on a descendant of the Peruvian Incas for declaring his royal
origin. When Montezuma's tree fell the people gathered on the house-tops
to watch the east-in vain, for the white man was there. In 1883 the
Sanpoels, a small tribe in Washington, were stirred by the teaching of an
old chief, who told them that the wicked would soon be destroyed, and
that the Great Spirit had ordered him to build an ark for his people. The
remains of this vessel, two hundred and eighty-eight feet long, are still
to be seen near one of the tributaries of the Columbia.

A frenzy swept over the West in 1890, inspiring the Indians by promise of
the coming of one of superhuman power, who was generally believed to be
Hiawatha, to threaten the destruction of the white population, since it
had been foretold that the Messiah would drive the white men from their
land. Early in the summer of that year it was reported that the Messiah
had appeared in the north, and the chiefs of many tribes went to Dakota,
as the magi did to Bethlehem, to learn if this were true. Sitting Bull,
the Sioux chief, told them, in assembly, that it was so, and declared
that he had seen the new Christ while hunting in the Shoshone Mountains.
One evening he lost his way and was impelled by a strange feeling to
follow a star that moved before him. At daybreak it paused over a
beautiful valley, and, weary with his walk, he sank on a bed of moss. As
he sat there throngs of Indian warriors appeared and began a spirit
dance, led by chiefs who had long been dead. Presently a voice spoke in
his ear, and turning he saw a strange man dressed in white. The man said
he was the same Christ who had come into the world nineteen hundred years
before to save white men, and that now he would save the red men by
driving out the whites. The Indians were to dance the ghost-dance, or
spirit dance, until the new moon, when the globe would shiver, the wind
would glow, and the white soldiers and their horses would sink into the
earth. The Messiah showed to Sitting Bull the nail-wounds in his hands
and feet and the spear-stab in his side. When night came on the form in
white had disappeared--and, returning, the old chief taught the
ghost-dance to his people.



THE VISION OF RESCUE

Surmounting Red Banks, twelve miles north of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the
eastern shore, and one hundred feet above the water, stands an earthwork
that the first settlers found there when they went into that country. It
was built by the Sauks and Outagamies, a family that ruled the land for
many years, rousing the jealousy of neighboring tribes by their wealth
and power. The time came, as it did in the concerns of nearly every band
of Indians, when war was declared against this family, and the enemy came
upon them in the darkness, their canoes patroling the shore while the
main body formed a line about the fort. So silently was this done that
but one person discovered it--a squaw, who cried, "We are all dead!"

There was nothing to see or hear, and she was rated for alarming the camp
with foolish dreams; but dawn revealed the beleaguering line, and at the
lifting of the sun a battle began that lasted for days, those within the
earthworks sometimes fighting while ankle-deep in the blood of their
fellows. The greatest lack of the besieged was that of water, and they
let down earthen jars to the lake to get it, but the cords were cut ere
they could be drawn up, the enemy shouting, derisively, "Come down and
drink!" Several times they tried to do so, but were beaten back at every
sally, and it seemed at last as if extermination was to be their fate.

When matters were at their darkest one of the young men who had been
fasting for ten days--the Indian custom when divine direction was sought
addressed his companions to this effect: "Last night there stood by me
the form of a young man, clothed in white, who said, 'I was once alive,
but I died, and now I live forever. Trust me and I will deliver you. Be
fearless. At midnight I will cast a sleep on your enemies. Go forth
boldly and you shall escape.'" The condition was too desperate to
question any means of freedom, and that night all but a handful of
disbelievers left the fort, while the enemy was in a slumber of
exhaustion, and got away in safety. When the besiegers, in the morning,
found that the fort had been almost deserted, they fell on the few that
remained to repent their folly, and put them to the knife and axe, for
their fury was excessive at the failure of the siege.



DEVIL'S LAKE

Any of the noble rivers and secluded lakes of Wisconsin were held in
esteem or fear by the northern tribes, and it was the now-forgotten
events and superstitions connected with them, not less than the frontier
tendency for strong names, that gave a lurid and diabolical nomenclature
to parts of this region. Devils, witches, magicians, and manitous were
perpetuated, and Indians whose prowess was thought to be supernatural
left dim records of themselves here and there--as near the dells of the
Wisconsin, where a chasm fifty feet wide is shown as the ravine leaped by
chief Black Hawk when flying from the whites. Devil's Lake was the home
of a manitou who does not seem to have been a particularly evil genius,
though he had unusual power. The lake fills what is locally regarded as
the crater of an extinct volcano, and the coldness and purity kept by the
water, in spite of its lacking visible inlets or outlets, was one cause
for thinking it uncanny.

This manitou piled the heavy blocks of Devil's Door-Way and set up Black
Monument and the Pedestalled Bowlder as thrones where he might sit and
view the landscape by day--for the Indians appreciated the beautiful in
nature and supposed their gods did, too--while at night he could watch
the dance of the frost spirits, the aurora borealis. Cleft Rock was
sundered by one of his darts aimed at an offending Indian, who owed his
life to the manitou's bad aim. The Sacrifice Stone is shown where, at
another time, a girl was immolated to appease his anger. Cleopatra's
Needle, as it is now called, is the body of an ancient chief, who was
turned into stone as a punishment for prying into the mysteries of the
lake, a stone on East Mountain being the remains of a squaw who had
similarly offended. On the St. Croix the Devil's Chair is pointed out
where he sat in state. He had his play spells, too, as you may guess when
you see his toboggan slide in Weber Canon, Utah, while Cinnabar Mountain,
in the Yellowstone country, he scorched red as he coasted down.

The hunter wandering through this Wisconsin wilderness paused when he
came within sight of the lake, for all game within its precincts was in
the manitou's protection; not a fish might be taken, and not even a drop
of water could be dipped to cool the lips of the traveller. So strong was
this fear of giving offence to the manitou that Indians who were dying of
wounds or illness, and were longing for a swallow of water, would refuse
to profane the lake by touching their lips to it.



THE KEUSCA ELOPEMENT

Keusca was a village of the Dakota Indians on the Wisconsin bluffs of the
Mississippi eighteen hundred miles from its mouth. The name means, to
overthrow, or set aside, for it was here that a tribal law was broken.
Sacred Wind was a coquette of that village, for whose hand came many
young fellows wooing with painted faces. For her they played the bone
flute in the twilight, and in the games they danced and leaped their
hardest and shot their farthest and truest when she was looking on.
Though they amused her she cared not a jot for these suitors, keeping her
love for the young brave named the Shield--and keeping it secret, for he
was her cousin, and cousins might not wed. If a relative urged her to
marry some young fellow for whom she had no liking, she would answer that
if forced to do so she would fling herself into the river, and spoke of
Winonah and Lovers' Leap.

She was afraid to wed the Shield, for the medicine-men had threatened all
who dared to break the marriage laws with unearthly terrors; yet when the
Shield had been absent for several weeks on the war-path she realized
that life without his companionship was too hollow to be endured--and she
admired him all the more when he returned with two scalps hanging at his
belt. He renewed his wooing. He allayed her fears by assurances that he,
too, was a medicine-man and could counteract the spells that wizards
might cast on them. Then she no longer repressed the promptings of her
heart, but yielded to his suit. They agreed to elope that night.

As they left the little clearing in the wood where their interview had
taken place, a thicket stirred and a girl stole from it, looking intently
at their retreating forms. The Swan, they had named her; but, with a
flush in her dusky cheeks, her brows dark, her eyes glittering, she more
recalled the vulture--for she, too, loved the Shield; and she had now
seen and heard that her love was hopeless. That evening she alarmed the
camp; she told the parents of Sacred Wind of the threatened violation of
custom, and the father rose in anger to seek her. It was too late, for
the flight had taken place. The Swan went to the river and rowed out in a
canoe. From the middle of the stream she saw a speck on the water to the
southward, and knew it to be Sacred Wind and her lover, henceforth
husband. She watched until the speck faded in the twilight--then leaning
over the side of the boat she capsized it, and passed from the view of
men.



PIPESTONE

Pipestone, a smooth, hard, even-textured clay, of lively color, from
which thousands of red men cut their pipe-bowls, forms a wall on the
Coteau des Prairies, in Minnesota, that is two miles long and thirty feet
high. In front of it lie five bowlders, the droppings from an iceberg to
the floor of the primeval sea, and beneath these masses of granite live
the spirits of two squaws that must be consulted before the stone can be
dug. This quarry was neutral ground, and here, as they approached it, the
men of all tribes sheathed their knives and belted up their axes, for to
this place the Great Spirit came to kill and eat the buffalo, and it is
the blood of this animal that has turned the stone to red. Here, too, the
Thunder Bird had her nest, and her brood rent the skies above it with the
clashing of their iron wings.

A snake having crawled into this nest to steal the unhatched thunders,
Manitou caught up a piece of pipestone, hastily pressed it between his
hands, giving it the shape of a man, and flung it at the reptile. The
stone man's feet stuck fast in the ground, and there he stood for a
thousand years, growing like a tree and drawing strength and knowledge
out of the earth. Another shape grew up beside him--woman. In time the
snake gnawed them free from their foundations and the red-earth pair
wandered off together. From them sprang all people.

Ages after, the Manitou called the red men to the quarry, fashioned a
pipe for them, told them it was a part of their flesh, and smoked it over
them, blowing the smoke to north, south, east, and west, in token that
wherever the influence of the pipe extended there was to be brotherhood
and peace. The place was to be sacred from war and they were to make
their pipes from this rock. As the smoke rolled about him he gradually
disappeared from view. At the last whiff the ashes fell out and the
surface of the rock for miles burst into flame, so that it melted and
glazed. Two ovens opened at its foot, and through the fire entered the
two spirits Tsomecostee and Tsomecostewondee--that are still its
guardians, answering the invocations of the medicine-men and accepting
the oblations of those who go to make pipes or carve their totems on the
rock.



THE VIRGINS' FEAST

A game of lacrosse was played by Indian girls on the ice near the present
Fort Snelling, one winter day, and the victorious trophies were awarded
to Wenonah, sister of the chief, to the discomfiture of Harpstenah, her
opponent, an ill-favored woman, neglected by her tribe, and jealous of
Wenonah's beauty and popularity. This defeat, added to some fancied
slights, was almost more than she could bear, and during the contest she
had been cut in the head by one of the rackets--an accident that she
falsely attributed to her adversary in the game. She had an opportunity
of proving her hatred, for directly that it was known how Wenonah had
refused to marry Red Cloud, a stalwart boaster, openly preferring a
younger warrior of the tribe, the ill-thinking Harpstenah sought out the
disappointed suitor, who sat moodily apart, and thus advised him,
"To-morrow is the Feast of Virgins, when all who are pure will sit at
meat together. Wenonah will be there. Has she the right to be? Have you
not seen how shamelessly she favors your rival's suit? Among the Dakotas
to accuse is to condemn, and the girl who is accused at the Virgins'
Feast is disgraced forever. She has shown for Red Cloud nothing but
contempt. If he shows no anger at it the girls will laugh at him."

With this she turned away and left Red Cloud to his meditations. Wenonah,
at the door of her brother's wigwam, looked into the north and saw the
stars grow pale through streams of electric fire. "The Woman of the North
warns us of coming evil," muttered the chief. "Some danger is near. Fire
on the lights!" And a volley of musketry sent a shock through the still
air.

"They shine for me," said Wenonah, sadly. "For I shall soon join our
father, mother, and sister in the land of spirits. Before the leaves fell
I sat beside the Father of Waters and saw a manitou rise among the waves.
It said that my sisters in the sunset world were calling to me and I must
soon go to them." The chief tried to laugh away her fancies and comforted
her as well as he might, then leading her to the wigwam he urged her to
sleep.

Next day is the Virgins' Feast and Wenonah is among those who sit in the
ring, dressed in their gayest. None who are conscious of a fault may
share in the feast; nor, if one were exposed and expelled, might any
interpose to ask for mercy; yet a groan of surprise and horror goes
through the company when Red Cloud, stalking up to the circle, seizes the
girl roughly by the shoulder and orders her away. No use to deny or
appeal. An Indian warrior would not be so treacherous or unjust as to act
in this way unless he had proofs. Without a word she enters the adjacent
wood, draws her knife, and strikes it to her heart. With summer came the
fever, and it ravaged through the band, laying low the infant and the
counsellor. Red Cloud was the first to die, and as he was borne away
Harpstenah lifted her wasted form and followed him with dimming eyes,
then cried, "He is dead. He hated Wenonah because she slighted him. I
hated her because she was happy. I told him to denounce her. But she was
innocent."



FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY

Several of the Dakotas, who had been in camp near the site of St. Paul,
left their families and friends, when the hunting season opened, and went
into the north. On their arrival at another village of their tribe, they
stayed to rest for a little, and one of the men used the time to
ill-advantage, as it fell out, for he conceived an attachment for a girl
of this northern family, and on his way southward he wedded her and took
her home with him. Proper enough to do, if he had not been married
already. The first wife knew that any warrior might take a second, if he
could support both; but the woman was stronger than the savage in her
nature, and when her husband came back, with a red-cheeked woman walking
beside him, she felt that she should never know his love again. The man
was all attention to the young wife, whether the tribe tarried or
travelled. When they shifted camp the elder walked or rowed behind with
her boy, a likely lad of ten or twelve.

It was when they were returning down the river after a successful hunt
that the whole company was obliged to make a carry around the quick water
near the head of St. Anthony's Falls. While the others were packing the
boats and goods for transportation by hand to the foot of the cataract,
the forsaken wife chose a moment when none were watching to embark with
her boy in one of the canoes. Rowing out to an island, she put on all her
ornaments, and dressed the lad in beads and feathers as if he were a
warrior. Her husband, finding her absent from the party, looked anxiously
about for some time, and was horrified to see her put out from the island
into the rapid current. She had placed the child high in the boat, and
was rowing with a steady stroke down the stream. He called and beckoned
franticly. She did not seem to hear him, nor did she turn her head when
the others joined their cries to his. For a moment those who listened
heard her death-song, then the yeasty flood hid them from sight, and the
husband on the shore fell to the earth with a wail of anguish.



FLYING SHADOW AND TRACK MAKER

The Chippewas and Sioux had come together at Fort Snelling to make merry
and cement friendships. Flying Shadow was sad when the time came for the
tribes to part, for Track Maker had won her heart, and no less strong
than her love was the love he felt for her. But a Chippewa girl might not
marry among the Sioux, and, if she did, the hand of every one would be
against her should ever the tribes wage war upon each other, and war was
nearer than either of them had expected. The Chippewas left with feelings
of good will, Flying Shadow concealing in her bosom the trinkets that
testified to the love of Track Maker and sighing as she thought of the
years that might elapse ere they met again.

Two renegade Chippewas, that had lingered behind the band, played the
villain after this pleasant parting, for they killed a Sioux. Hardly was
the news of this outrage received at the fort ere three hundred warriors
were on the trail of their whilom guests and friends, all clamoring for
revenge. Among them was Track Maker, for he could not, as a warrior,
remain behind after his brother had been shot, and, while his heart sank
within him as he thought of the gentle Flying Shadow, he marched in
advance, and early in the morning the Chippewas were surprised between
St. Anthony's Falls and Rum River, where they had camped without fear,
being alike ignorant and innocent of the murder for which so many were to
be punished.

The Sioux fell upon them and cut down all alike--men, women, and
children. In the midst of the carnage Track Maker comes face to face with
Flying Shadow, and with a cry of gladness she throws herself into his
arms. But there is no refuge there. Gladly as he would save her, he knows
too well that the thirst for blood will not be sated until every member
of that band is dead. He folds her to his bosom for an instant, looks
into her eyes with tenderness--then bowing his head he passes on and
never glances back. It is enough. She falls insensible, and a savage,
rushing upon her, tears the scalp from her head.

The Sioux win a hundred scalps and celebrate their victory with dance and
song. Track Maker has returned with more scalps than any, and the maidens
welcome him as a hero, but he keeps gravely apart from all, and has no
share in the feasting and merry-making. Ever the trusting, pleading,
wondering face of Flying Shadow comes before him. It looks out at him in
the face of the deer he is about to kill. He sees it in the river, the
leaves, the clouds. It rises before him in dreams. The elder people say
he is bewitched, but he will have none of their curatives. When war
breaks out he is the first to go, the first to open battle. Rushing among
his enemies he lays about him with his axe until he falls, pierced with a
hundred spears and arrows. It is the fate he has courted, and as he falls
his face is lighted with a smile.



SAVED BY A LIGHTNING-STROKE

There was rough justice in the West in the old days. It had to be dealt
severely and quickly, for it was administered to a kind of men that
became dangerous if they saw any advantage or any superiority in their
strength or numbers over the decent people with whom they were cast. They
were uncivilized foreigners and native renegades, for the most part, who
had drifted to the frontier in the hope of making a living without work
more easily than in the cities. As there were no lawyers or courts and
few recognized laws, the whole people constituted themselves a jury, and
if a man were known to be guilty it was foolishness for any one to waste
logic on his case. And there is almost no record of an innocent man being
hanged by lynchers in the West. For minor offences the penalty was to be
marched out of camp, with a warning to be very cautious about coming that
way again, but for graver ones it was death.

In 1840 a number of desperate fellows had settled along Cedar River, near
its confluence with the Iowa, who subsisted by means of theft from the
frugal and industrious. Some of these men applied themselves especially
to horse-stealing, and in thinly settled countries, where a man has often
to go twenty or thirty miles for supplies, or his mail, or medical
attendance, it is thought to be a calamity to be without a horse.

At last the people organized themselves into a vigilance committee and
ran down the thieves. As the latter were a conscienceless gang of
rascals, it was resolved that the only effectual way of reforming them
would be by hanging. One man of the nine, it is true, was supposed before
his arrest to be a respectable citizen, but his evil communications
closed the ears of his neighbors to his appeals, and it was resolved that
he, too, should hang.

Not far away stood an oak with nine stout branches, and to this natural
gallows the rogues were taken. As a squall was coming up the ceremonies
were short, and presently every limb was weighted with the form of a
captive. The formerly respectable citizen was the last one to be drawn
up, and hardly had his halter been secured before the storm burst and a
bolt of lightning ripped off the limb on which he hung. During the delay
caused by this accident the unhappy man pleaded so earnestly for a
rehearing that it was decided to give it to him, and when he had secured
it he conclusively proved his innocence and was set free. The tree is
still standing. To the ruffians it was a warning and they went away. Even
the providential saving of one man did not detract from the value of the
lesson to avoid bad company.



THE KILLING OF CLOUDY SKY

In the Dakota camp on the bank of Spirit Lake, or Lake Calhoun, Iowa,
lived Cloudy Sky, a medicine-man, who had been made repellent by age and
accident, but who was feared because of his magic power. At eighty years
of age he looked for a third wife, and chose the daughter of a warrior,
his presents of blankets and calicoes to the parents winning their
consent. The girl, Harpstenah (a common name for a third daughter among
the Sioux), dreaded and hated this man, for it was rumored that he had
killed his first wife and basely sold his second. When she learned what
had been decided for her she rushed from the camp in tears and sat in a
lonely spot near the lake to curse and lament unseen. As she sat there
the waters were troubled. There was no wind, yet great waves were thrown
up, and tumbled hissing on the shore. Presently came a wave higher than
the rest, and a graceful form leaped from it, half shrouded in its own
long hair.

"Do not tremble," said the visitant, for Harpstenah had hidden her face.
"I am the daughter of Unktahe, the water god. In four days your parents
will give you to Cloudy Sky, as his wife, though you love Red Deer. It is
with you to wed the man you hate or the man you love. Cloudy Sky has
offended the water spirits and we have resolved upon his death. If you
will be our agent in destroying him, you shall marry Red Deer and live
long and happily. The medicine-man wandered for years through the air
with the thunder birds, flinging his deadly fire-spears at us, and it was
for killing the son of Unktahe that he was last sent to earth, where he
has already lived twice before. Kill him while he sleeps and we will
reward you."

As Harpstenah went back to the village her prospective bridegroom ogled
her as he sat smoking before his lodge, his face blackened and blanket
torn in mourning for an enemy he had killed. She resolved to heed the
appeal of the manitou. When Red Deer heard how she had been promised to
the old conjurer, he was filled with rage. Still, he became thoughtful
and advised caution when she told him of the water spirit's counsel, for
the dwellers in the lakes were, of all immortals, most deceitful, and had
ever been enemies of the Dakotas. "I will do as I am bidden," she said,
sternly. "Go away and visit the Tetons for a time. It is now the moon of
strawberries" (June), "but in the moon when we gather wild rice"
(September) "return and I will be your wife."

Red Deer obeyed, after finding that she would not elope with him, and
with the announcement that he was going on a long hunt he took his leave
of the village. Harpstenah made ready for the bridal and greeted her
future husband with apparent pleasure and submissiveness. He gave a
medicine feast in token of the removal of his mourning, and appeared in
new clothing, greased and braided hair, and a white blanket decorated
with a black hand--the record of a slain enemy.

On the night before the wedding the girl creeps to his lodge, but
hesitates when she sees his medicine-bag hanging beside the door--the
medicine that has kept its owner from evil and is sacred from the touch
of woman. As she lingers the night-breeze seems to bring a voice from the
water: "Can a Dakota woman want courage when she is forced to marry the
man she hates?"

She delays no longer. A knife-blade glitters for an instant in the
moonlight--and Cloudy Sky is dead. Strange, is it not, that the thunder
birds flap so heavily along the west at that moment and a peal of
laughter sounds from the lake? She washes the blood from the blade,
steals to her father's lodge, and pretends to sleep. In the morning she
is loud in her grief when it is made known to her that the medicine-man
was no more, and the doer of the deed is never discovered. In time her
wan face gets its color and when the leaves begin to fall Red Deer
returns and weds her.

They seem to be happy for a time, and have two sons who promise to be
famous hunters, but consumption fastens on Red Deer and he dies far from
the village. The sons are shot by enemies, and while their bodies are on
their way to Harpstenah's lodge she, too, is stricken dead by lightning.
The spirit of Cloudy Sky had rejoined the thunder birds, and the water
manitou had promised falsely.



PROVIDENCE HOLE

The going of white men into the prairies aroused the same sort of
animosity among the Indians that they have shown in other parts of the
country when retiring before the advance of civilization, and many who
tried to plant corn on the rolling lands of Iowa, though they did no harm
to the red men, paid for the attempt with their lives. Such was the fate
of a settler who had built his cabin on the Wyoming hills, near
Davenport. While working in his fields an arrow, shot from a covert, laid
him low, and his scalp was cut away to adorn the belt of a savage. His
little daughter, left alone, began to suffer from fears and loneliness as
the sun went lower and lower, and when it had come to its time of setting
she put on her little bonnet and went in search of him. As she gained the
slope where he had last been seen, an Indian lifted his head from the
grass and looked at her.

Starting back to run, she saw another behind her. Escape seemed hopeless,
and killing or captivity would have been her lot had not a crevice opened
in the earth close to where she stood. Dropping on hands and knees she
hastily crawled in, and found herself in what seemed to be an extensive
cavern. Hardly had she time to note the character of the place when the
gap closed as strangely as it had opened and she was left in darkness.
Not daring to cry aloud, lest Indians should hear her, she sat upright
until her young eyes could keep open no longer; then, lying on a mossy
rock, she fell asleep. In the morning the sun was shining in upon her and
the way to escape was open. She ran home, hungry, but thankful, and was
found and cared for by neighbors. "Providence Hole" then passed into the
legends of the country. It has closed anew, however.



THE SCARE CURE

Early in this century a restless Yankee, who wore the uninspiring name of
Tompkinson, found his way into Carondelet--or Vuide Poche, the French
settlement on the Mississippi since absorbed by St. Louis--and cast about
for something to do. He had been in hard luck on his trip from New
England to the great river. His schemes for self-aggrandizement and the
incidental enlightenment and prosperity of mankind had not thriven, and
it was largely in pity that M. Dunois gave shelter to the ragged,
half-starved, but still jaunty and resourceful adventurer. Dunois was the
one man in the place who could pretend to some education, and the two got
on together famously.

As soon as Tompkinson was in clothes and funds--the result of certain
speculations--he took a house, and hung a shingle out announcing that
there he practised medicine. Now, the fellow knew less about doctoring
than any village granny, but a few sick people that he attended had the
rare luck to get well in spite of him, and his reputation expanded to
more than local limits in consequence. In the excess of spirits that
prosperity created he flirted rather openly with a number of virgins in
Carondelet, to the scandal of Dunois, who forbade him his house, and of
the priest, who put him under ban.

For the priest he cared nothing, but Dunois's anger was more serious--for
the only maid of all that he really loved was Marie Dunois, his daughter.
He formally proposed for her, but the old man would not listen to him.
Then his "practice" fell away. The future looked as dark for him as his
recent past had been, until a woman came to him with a bone in her throat
and begged to be relieved. His method in such cases was to turn a
wheel-of-fortune and obey it. The arrow this time pointed to the word,
"Bleeding."

He grasped a scalpel and advanced upon his victim, who, supposing that he
intended to cut her throat open to extract the obstacle, fell a-screaming
with such violence that the bone flew out. What was supposed to be his
ready wit in this emergency restored him to confidence, and he was able
to resume the practice that he needed so much. In a couple of years he
displayed to the wondering eyes of Dunois so considerable an accumulation
of cash that he gave Marie to him almost without the asking, and, as
Tompkinson afterward turned Indian trader and quadrupled his wealth by
cheating the red men, he became one of the most esteemed citizens of the
West.



TWELFTH NIGHT AT CAHOKIA

It was Twelfth Night, and the French village of Cahokia, near St. Louis,
was pleasantly agitated at the prospect of a dance in the old court
saloon, which was assembly-room and everything else for the little place.
The thirteen holy fires were alight--a large one, to represent Christ; a
lesser one, to be trampled out by the crowd, typing Judas. The twelfth
cake, one slice with the ring in it, was cut, and there were drink and
laughter, but, as yet, no music. Gwen Malhon, a drift-wood collector, was
the most anxious to get over the delay, for he had begged a dance from
Louison. Louison Florian was pretty, not badly off in possessions and
prospects, and her lover, Beaurain, had gone away. She was beginning to
look a little scornful and impatient, so Gwen set off for a fiddler.

He had inquired at nearly every cabin without success, and was on his way
toward the ferry when he heard music. Before him, on the moonlit river,
was a large boat, and near it, on the bank, he saw a company of men
squatted about a fire and bousing together from a bottle. At a little
distance, on a stump, sat a thin, bent man, enveloped in a cloak, and it
was he who played. Gwen complimented him and pleaded the disappointment
of the dancers in excuse of an urgent appeal that he should hurry with
him to the court saloon. The stranger was courteous. He sprang into the
road with a limping bound, shook down his cloak so as to disclose a
curled moustache, shaggy brows, a goat's beard, and a pair of glittering
eyes. "I'll give them a dance!" he exclaimed. "I know one tune. They call
it 'Returned from the Grave.' Pay? We'll see how you like my playing."

On entering the room where the caperish youth were already shuffling in
corners, the musician met Mamzel Florian, who offered him a slice of the
cake. He bent somewhat near to take it, and she gave a little cry. He had
found the ring, and that made him king of the festival, with the right to
choose the prettiest girl as queen. A long drink of red wine seemed to
put him in the best of trim, and he began to fiddle with a verve that was
irresistible. In one minute the whole company--including the priest, some
said--was jigging it lustily. "Whew!" gasped one old fellow. "It is the
devil who plays. Get some holy water and sprinkle the floor."

Gwen watched the musician as closely as his labors would allow, for he
did not like the way the fiddler had of looking at Louison, and he
thought to himself that Louison never blushed so prettily for him.
Forgetting himself when he saw the fiddler smile at the girl, he made a
rush for the barrel where that artist was perched. He bumped against a
dancer and fell. At that moment the light was put out and the hall rang
with screams and laughter. The tones of one voice sounded above the rest:
"By right of the ring the girl is mine."

"He has me," Louison was heard to say, yet seemingly not in fear. Lights
were brought. Louison and the fiddler were gone, the stranger's cloak and
half of a false moustache were on the floor, while Gwen was jammed into
the barrel and was kicking desperately to get out. When released he
rushed for the river-side where he had seen the boat. Two figures flitted
before him, but he lost sight of them, and in the silence and loneliness
his choler began to cool. Could it really have been the devil? An owl
hooted in the bush. He went away in haste. There was a rumor in after
years that Beaurain was an actor in a company that went up and down the
great river on a barge, and that a woman who resembled Louison was also
in the troupe. But Gwen never told the story of his disappointment
without crossing himself.



THE SPELL OF CREVE CIUR LAKE

Not far west of St. Louis the Lake of Creve Coeur dimples in the breezes
that bend into its basin of hills, and there, in summer, swains and
maidens go to confirm their vows, for the lake has an influence to
strengthen love and reunite contentious pairs. One reason ascribed for
the presence of this spell concerns a turbulent Peoria, ambitious of
leadership and hungry for conquest, who fell upon the Chawanons at this
place, albeit he was affianced to the daughter of their chief. The girl
herself, enraged at the treachery of the youngster, put herself at the
head of her band--a dusky Joan of Arc,--and the fight waged so furiously
that the combatants, what were left of them, were glad when night fell
that they might crawl away to rest their exhausted bodies and nurse their
wounds. Neither tribe daring to invite a battle after that, hostilities
were stopped, but some time later the young captain met the girl of his
heart on the shore, and before the amazon could prepare for either fight
or flight he had caught her in his arms. They renewed their oaths of
fidelity, and at the wedding the chief proclaimed eternal peace and
blessed the waters they had met beside, the blessing being potent to this
day.

Another reason for the enchantments that are worked here may be that the
lake is occupied by a demon-fish or serpent that crawls, slimy and
dripping, through the underbrush, whenever it sees two lovers together,
and listens to their words. If the man prove faithless he would best
beware of returning to this place, for the demon is lurking there to
destroy him. This monster imprisons the soul of an Ozark princess who
flung herself into the lake when she learned that the son of the Spanish
governor, who had vowed his love to her, had married a woman of his own
rank and race in New Orleans. So they call the lake Creve Coeur, or
Broken Heart. On the day after the suicide the Ozark chief gathered his
men about him and paddled to the middle of the water, where he solemnly
cursed his daughter in her death, and asked the Great Spirit to confine
her there as a punishment for giving her heart to the treacherous white
man, the enemy of his people. The Great Spirit gave her the form in which
she is occasionally seen, to warn and punish faithless lovers.



HOW THE CRIME WAS REVEALED

In 1853 a Hebrew peddler, whose pack was light and his purse was full,
asked leave to pass the night at the house of Daniel Baker, near Lebanon,
Missouri. The favor was granted, and that was the last seen of Samuel
Moritz; although, when some neighbors shook their heads and wondered how
it was that Baker was so well in funds, there were others who replied
that it was impossible to keep track of peddlers, and that if Moritz
wanted to start on his travels early in the morning, or to return to St.
Louis for goods, it mattered to nobody. On an evening in 1860 when there
was a mist in the gullies and a new moon hung in the west, Rev. Mr.
Cummings, a clergyman of that region, was driving home, and as he came to
a bridge near "old man" Baker's farm he saw a man standing on it, with a
pack on his back and a stick in his hand, who was staring intently at
something beneath the bridge. The clergyman greeted him cheerily and
asked him if he would like to ride, whereat the man looked him in the
face and pointed to the edge of the bridge. Mr. Cummings glanced down,
saw nothing, and when he looked up again the man with the pack had
disappeared. His horse at the same moment gave a snort and plunged
forward at a run, so that the clergyman's attention was fully occupied
until he had brought the animal under control again; when he glanced back
and saw that the man was still standing in the bridge and looking over
the edge of it. The minister told his neighbors of this adventure, and on
returning with two of them to the spot next morning they found the body
of old man Baker swinging by the neck from a beam of the bridge exactly
beneath where the apparition had stood--for it must have been an
apparition, inasmuch as the dust, damped though it had been with dew,
showed no trace of footprint. In taking down the body the men loosened
the earth on a shelving bank, and the gravel rolling away disclosed a
skeleton with some bits of clothing on it that were identified as
belongings of Samuel Moritz. Was it conscience, craziness, or fate that
led old man Baker to hang himself above the grave of his victim?



BANSHEE OF THE BAD LANDS

"Hell, with the fires out," is what the Bad Lands of Dakota have been
called. The fearless Western nomenclature fits the place. It is an
ancient sea-bottom, with its clay strata worn by frost and flood into
forms like pagodas, pyramids, and terraced cities. Labyrinthine canons
wind among these fantastic peaks, which are brilliant in color, but
bleak, savage, and oppressive. Game courses over the castellated hills,
rattlesnakes bask at the edge of the crater above burning coal seams, and
wild men have made despairing stand here against advancing civilization.
It may have been the white victim of a red man's jealousy that haunts the
region of the butte called "Watch Dog," or it may have been an Indian
woman who was killed there, but there is a banshee in the desert whose
cries have chilled the blood that would not have cooled at the sight of a
bear or panther. By moonlight, when the scenery is most suggestive and
unearthly, and the noises of wolves and owls inspire uneasy feelings, the
ghost is seen on a hill a mile south of the Watch Dog, her hair blowing,
her arms tossing in strange gestures.

If war parties, emigrants, cowboys, hunters, any who for good or ill are
going through this country, pass the haunted butte at night, the rocks
are lighted with phosphor flashes and the banshee sweeps upon them. As if
wishing to speak, or as if waiting a question that it has occurred to
none to ask, she stands beside them in an attitude of appeal, but if
asked what she wants she flings her arms aloft and with a shriek that
echoes through the blasted gulches for a mile she disappears and an
instant later is seen wringing her hands on her hill-top. Cattle will not
graze near the haunted butte and the cowboys keep aloof from it, for the
word has never been spoken that will solve the mystery of the region or
quiet the unhappy banshee.

The creature has a companion, sometimes, in an unfleshed skeleton that
trudges about the ash and clay and haunts the camps in a search for
music. If he hears it he will sit outside the door and nod in time to it,
while a violin left within his reach is eagerly seized and will be played
on through half the night. The music is wondrous: now as soft as the stir
of wind in the sage, anon as harsh as the cry of a wolf or startling as
the stir of a rattler. As the east begins to brighten the music grows
fainter, and when it is fairly light it has ceased altogether. But he who
listens to it must on no account follow the player if the skeleton moves
away, for not only will it lead him into rocky pitfalls, whence escape is
hopeless, but when there the music will intoxicate, madden, and will
finally charm his soul from his body.



STANDING ROCK

The stone that juts from one of the high banks of the Missouri, in South
Dakota, gives its name to the Standing Rock Agency, which, by reason of
many councils, treaties, fights, feasts, and dances held there, is the
best known of the frontier posts. It was a favorite gathering place of
the Sioux before the advent of the white man. The rock itself is only
twenty-eight inches high and fifteen inches wide, and could be plucked up
and carried away without difficulty, but no red man is brave enough to do
that, for this is the transformed body of a squaw who was struck into
stone by Manitou for falsely suspecting her husband of unfaithfulness.

After her transformation she not only remained sentient but acquired
supernatural powers that the Sioux propitiated by offerings of beads,
tobacco, and ribbons, paint, fur, and game--a practice that was not
abandoned until the teachings of missionaries began to have effect among
them. Soldiers and trappers think the story an ingenious device to
prevent too close inquiry into the lives of some of the nobility of the
tribe. The Arickarees, however, regard this stone as the wife of one of
their braves, who was so pained and mortified when her husband took a
second wife that she went out into the prairie and neither ate nor drank
until she died, when the Great Spirit turned her into the Standing Stone.
The squaws still resort to it in times of domestic trouble.



THE SALT WITCH

A pillar of snowy salt once stood on the Nebraska plain, about forty
miles above the point where the Saline flows into the Platte, and white
men used to hear of it as the Salt Witch. An Indian tribe was for a long
time quartered at the junction of the rivers, its chief a man of blood
and muscle in whom his people gloried, but so fierce, withal, that nobody
made a companion of him except his wife, who alone could check his
tigerish rages.

In sooth, he loved her so well that on her death he became a recluse and
shut himself within his lodge, refusing to see anybody. This mood endured
with him so long that mutterings were heard in the tribe and there was
talk of choosing another chief. Some of this talk he must have heard, for
one morning he emerged in war-dress, and without a word to any one strode
across the plain to westward. On returning a full month later he was more
communicative and had something unusual to relate. He also proved his
prowess by brandishing a belt of fresh scalps before the eyes of his
warriors, and he had also brought a lump of salt.

He told them that after travelling far over the prairie he had thrown
himself on the earth to sleep, when he was aroused by a wailing sound
close by. In the light of a new moon he saw a hideous old woman
brandishing a tomahawk over the head of a younger one, who was kneeling,
begging for mercy, and trying to shake off the grip from her throat. The
sight of the women, forty miles from the village, so surprised the chief
that he ran toward them. The younger woman made a desperate effort to
free herself, but in vain, as it seemed, for the hag wound her left hand
in her hair while with the other she raised the axe and was about to
strike.

At that moment the chief gained a view of the face of the younger
woman-it was that of his dead wife. With a snarl of wrath he leaped upon
the hag and buried his own hatchet in her brain, but before he could
catch his wife in his arms the earth had opened and both women
disappeared, but a pillar of salt stood where he had seen this thing. For
years the Indians maintained that the column was under the custody of the
Salt Witch, and when they went there to gather salt they would beat the
ground with clubs, believing that each blow fell upon her person and kept
her from working other evil.





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