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Title: Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 09 : as to buried treasure
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
                              OUR OWN LAND

                           Charles M. Skinner

                                Vol. 9.

                          AS TO BURIED TREASURE





Kidd's Treasure
Other Buried Wealth


Monsters and Sea-Serpents
Stone-Throwing Devils
Storied Springs
Lovers' Leaps
God on the Mountains



Captain Kidd is the most ubiquitous gentleman in history. If his earnings
in the gentle craft of piracy were frugally husbanded, he has possibly
left some pots of money in holes in the ground between Key West and
Halifax. The belief that large deposits of gold were made at Gardiner's
Island, Dunderberg, Cro' Nest, New York City, Coney Island, Ipswich, the
marshes back of Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Isles of Shoals, Money
Island, Ocean Beach, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, and elsewhere has
caused reckless expenditure of actual wealth in recovering doubloons and
guineas that disappointed backers of these enterprises are beginning to
look upon--no, not to look upon, but to think about--as visionary. A hope
of getting something for nothing has been the impetus to these
industries, and interest in the subject is now and then revived by
reports of the discovery--usually by a farmer ploughing near the
shore--of an iron kettle with a handful of gold and silver coins in it,
the same having doubtless been buried for purposes of concealment during
the wars of 1776 and 1812.

Gardiner's Island, a famous rendezvous for pirates, is the only place
known to have been used as a bank of deposit, for in 1699 the Earl of
Bellomont recovered from it seven hundred and eighty-three ounces of
gold, six hundred and thirty-three ounces of silver, cloth of gold,
silks, satins, and jewels. In the old Gardiner mansion, on this island,
was formerly preserved a costly shawl given to Mrs. Gardiner by Captain
Kidd himself. This illustrious Kidd--or Kydd--was born in New York, began
his naval career as a chaser of pirates, became a robber himself, was
captured in Boston, where he was ruffling boldly about the streets, and
was hanged in London in 1701. In sea superstitions the apparition of his
ship is sometimes confused with that of the Flying Dutchman.

At Lion's Rock, near Lyme, Connecticut, a part of his treasure is under
guard of a demon that springs upon intruders unless they recite Scripture
while digging for the money.

Charles Island, near Milford, Connecticut, was dug into, one night, by a
company from that town that had learned of Kidd's visit to it--and what
could Kidd be doing ashore unless he was burying money? The lid of an
iron chest had been uncovered when the figure of a headless man came
bounding out of the air, and the work was discontinued right then. The
figure leaped into the pit that had been dug, and blue flames poured out
of it. When the diggers returned, their spades and picks were gone and
the ground was smooth.

Monhegan Island, off the Maine coast, contains a cave, opening to the
sea, where it was whispered that treasure had been stored in care of
spirits. Searchers found within it a heavy chest, which they were about
to lift when one of the party--contrary to orders--spoke. The spell was
broken, for the watchful spirits heard and snatched away the treasure.
Some years ago the cave was enlarged by blasting, in a hope of finding
that chest, for an old saying has been handed down among the people of
the island--from whom it came they have forgotten--that was to this
effect: "Dig six feet and you will find iron; dig six more and you will
find money."

On Damariscotta Island, near Kennebec, Maine, is a lake of salt water,
which, like dozens of shallow ones in this country, is locally reputed to
be bottomless. Yet Kidd was believed to have sunk some of his valuables
there, and to have guarded against the entrance of boats by means of a
chain hung from rock to rock at the narrow entrance, bolts on either side
showing the points of attachment, while ring bolts were thought to have
been driven for the purpose of tying buoys, thus marking the spots where
the chests went down. This island, too, has been held in fear as haunted

Appledore, in the Isles of Shoals, was another such a hiding-place, and
Kidd put one of his crew to death that he might haunt the place and
frighten searchers from their quest. For years no fisherman could be
induced to land there after nightfall, for did not an islander once
encounter "Old Bab" on his rounds, with a red ring around his neck, a
frock hanging about him, phosphorescence gleaming from his body, who
peered at the intruder with a white and dreadful face, and nearly scared
him to death?

A spot near the Piscataqua River was another hiding-place, and early in
this century the ground was dug over, two of the seekers plying pick and
spade, while another stood within the circle they had drawn about the
spot and loudly read the Bible. Presently their implements clicked on an
iron chest, but it slid sideway into the ground as they tried to uncover
it, and at last an interruption occurred that caused them to stop work so
long that when they went to look for it again it had entirely
disappeared. This diversion was the appearance of a monster horse that
flew toward them from a distance without a sound, but stopped short at
the circle where the process of banning fiends was still going on, and,
after grazing and walking around them for a time, it dissolved into air.

Kidd's plug is a part of the craggy steep known as Cro' Nest, on the
Hudson. It is a projecting knob, like a bung closing an orifice, which is
believed to conceal a cavern where the redoubtable captain placed a few
barrels of his wealth. Though it is two hundred feet up the cliff,
inaccessible either from above or below, and weighs many tons, still, as
pirates and devils have always been friendly, it may be that the corking
of the cave was accomplished with supernatural help, and that if blasts
or prayers ever shake the stone from its place a shower of doubloons and
diamonds may come rattling after it.

The shore for several hundred feet around Dighton Rock, Massachusetts,
has been examined, for it was once believed that the inscriptions on it
were cut by Kidd to mark the place of burial for part of his hoard.

The Rock Hill estate, Medford, Massachusetts, was plagued by a spectre
that some thought to be that of a New Hampshire farmer who was robbed and
murdered there, but others say it is the shade of Kidd, for iron treasure
chests were found in the cellar that behaved like that on the Piscataqua
River, sinking out of sight whenever they were touched by shovels.

Misery Islands, near Salem, Massachusetts, were dug over, and under
spiritual guidance, too, for other instalments of Mr. Kidd's
acquisitions, but without avail.

It takes no less than half a dozen ghosts to guard what is hidden in
Money Hill, on Shark River, New Jersey, so there must be a good deal of
it. Some of these guardians are in sailor togs, some in their mouldy
bones, some peaceable, some noisy with threats and screams and groans--a
"rum lot," as an ancient mariner remarked, who lives near their graves
and daytime hiding-places. Many heirlooms are owned by Jerseymen
hereabout that were received from Kidd's sailors in exchange for
apple-jack and provisions, and two sailor-looking men are alleged to have
taken a strong-box out of Money Hill some years ago, from which they
abstracted two bags of gold. After that event the hill was dug over with
great earnestness, but without other result to the prospectors than the
cultivation of their patience.

Sandy Hook, New Jersey, near "Kidd's tree," and the clay banks of the
Atlantic highlands back of that point, are suspected hiding-places; but
the cairn or knoll called Old Woman's Hill, at the highlands, is not
haunted by Kidd's men, as used to be said, but by the spirit of a
discontented squaw. This spirit the Indians themselves drove away with

At Oyster Point, Maryland, lived Paddy Dabney, who recognized Kidd from
an old portrait on meeting him one evening in 1836. He was going home
late from the tavern when a light in a pine thicket caused him to turn
from the road. In a clearing among the trees, pervaded by a pale shine
which seemed to emanate from its occupants, a strange company was playing
at bowls. A fierce-looking reprobate who was superintending the game
glanced up, and, seeing Paddy's pale face, gave such a leap in his
direction that the Irishman fled with a howl of terror and never stopped
till he reached his door, when, on turning about, he found that the
phantom of the pirate chief had vanished. The others, he conceived, were
devils, for many a sea rover had sold himself to Satan. Captain Teach, or
Blackbeard, proved as much to his crew by shutting himself in the hold of
his ship, where he was burning sulphur to destroy rats, and withstanding
suffocation for several hours; while one day a dark man appeared on board
who was not one of the crew at the sailing, and who had gone as
mysteriously as he came on the day before the ship was wrecked. It was
known that Kidd had buried his Bible in order to ingratiate the evil one.

A flat rock on the north shore of Liberty Island, in New York harbor, was
also thought to mark the place of this pervasive wealth of the pirates.
As late as 1830, Sergeant Gibbs, one of the garrison at the island, tried
to unearth it, with the aid of a fortune-teller and a recruit, but they
had no sooner reached a box about four feet in length than a being with
wings, horns, tail, and a breath, the latter palpable in blue flames,
burst from the coffer. Gibbs fell unconscious into the water and narrowly
escaped drowning, while his companions ran away, and the treasure may
still be there for aught we know.

Back in the days before the Revolution, a negro called Mud Sam, who lived
in a cabin at the Battery, New York City, was benighted at about the
place where One Hundredth Street now touches East River while waiting
there for the tide to take him up the Sound. He beguiled the time by a
nap, and, on waking, he started to leave his sleeping place under the
trees to regain his boat, when the gleam of a lantern and the sound of
voices coming up the bank caused him to shrink back into the shadow. At
first he thought that he might be dreaming, for Hell Gate was a place of
such repute that one might readily have bad dreams there, and the legends
of the spot passed quickly through his mind: the skeletons that lived in
the wreck on Hen and Chickens and looked out at passing ships with blue
lights in the eye-sockets of their skulls; the brown fellow, known as
"the pirate's spuke," that used to cruise up and down the wrathful
torrent, and was snuffed out of sight for some hours by old Peter
Stuyvesant with a silver bullet; a black-looking scoundrel with a split
lip, who used to brattle about the tavern at Corlaer's Hook, and who
tumbled into East River while trying to lug an iron chest aboard of a
suspicious craft that had stolen in to shore in a fog. This latter bogy
was often seen riding up Hell Gate a-straddle of that very chest,
snapping his fingers at the stars and roaring Bacchanalian odes, just as
skipper Onderdonk's boatswain, who had been buried at sea without
prayers, chased the ship for days, sitting on the waves, with his shroud
for a sail, and shoving hills of water after the vessel with the plash of
his hands.

These grewsome memories sent a quake through Mud Sam's heart, but when
the bushes cracked under the strangers' tread, he knew that they were of
flesh and bone, and, following them for a quarter-mile into the wood, he
saw them dig a hole, plant a strong-box there, and cover it. A
threatening remark from one of the company forced an exclamation from the
negro that drew a pistol-shot upon him, and he took to his heels. Such a
fright did he receive that he could not for several years be persuaded to
return, but when that persuasion came in the form of a promise of wealth
from Wolfert Webber, a cabbage-grower of the town, and promises of
protection from Dr. Knipperhausen, who was skilled in incantations, he
was not proof against it, and guided the seekers to the spot.

After the doctor had performed the proper ceremonies they fell to work,
but no sooner had their spades touched the lid of an iron-bound chest
than a sturdy rogue with a red flannel cap leaped out of the bushes. They
said afterward that he had the face of the brawler who was drowned at
Corlaer's Hook, but, in truth, they hardly looked at him in their flight;
nor, when the place was revisited, could any mark of digging be found,
nor any trace of treasure, so that part of Kidd's wealth may be at this
moment snugly stowed in the cellar of a tenement. Webber had engaged in
so many crazy enterprises of this nature that he had neglected cabbage
culture, and had grown so poor that the last disappointment nearly broke
his heart. He retired to his chamber and made his will, but on learning
that a new street had been run across his farm and that it would
presently be worth ten times as much for building-lots as it ever had
been for cabbages, he leaped out of bed, dressed himself, and prospered
for many a day after.


The wealth of the Astors hardly exceeds the treasure that is supposed to
be secreted here and there about the country, and thousands of dollars
have been expended in dredging rivers and shallow seas, and in blasting
caves and cellars. Certain promoters of these schemes have enjoyed
salaries as officers in the stock companies organized for their
furtherance, and they have seen the only tangible results from such

One summer evening, in the middle of the seventeenth century, a bark
dropped anchor at the mouth of Saugus River, Massachusetts, and four of
the crew rowed to the woods that skirt its banks and made a landing. The
vessel had disappeared on the following morning, but in the forge at the
settlement was found a paper stating that if a certain number of shackles
and handcuffs were made and secretly deposited at a specified place in
the forest, a sum of money equal to their value would be found in their
stead on the next day. The order was filled and the silver was found, as
promised, but, though a watch was set, nothing further was seen of men or
ship for several months.

The four men did return, however, and lived by themselves amid the woods
of Saugus, the gossips reporting that a beautiful woman had been seen in
their company--the mistress of the pirate chief, for, of course, the
mysterious quartette had followed the trade of robbery on the high seas.
Three of these men were captured, taken to England, and hanged, but the
fourth-Thomas Veale--escaped to a cavern in the wood, where, it was
reputed, great treasures were concealed, and there he lived until the
earthquake of 1658, when a rock fell from the roof of the cave, closing
the entrance and burying the guilty man in a tomb where, it is presumed,
he perished of thirst and hunger. Dungeon Rock, of Lynn, is the name that
the place has borne ever since.

In 1852 Hiram Marble announced that he had been visited by spirits, who
not only told him that the pirates' spoils were still in their olden
hiding-place, but pointed out the spot where the work of excavation
should begin. Aided by his son he tunnelled the solid granite for a
distance of one hundred and thirty-five feet, the passage being seven
feet high and seven wide. Whenever he was wearied the "mediums" that he
consulted would tell him to make cuttings to the right or left, and for
every fresh discouragement they found fresh work. For thirty years this
task was carried on, both father and son dying without gaining any
practical result, other than the discovery of an ancient scabbard in a
rift. The heiress of the house of Marble alone reaped benefit from their
labors, for-resuming on a petty scale the levies of the first dwellers in
the rock--she boldly placarded the entrance to the workings "Ye who enter
here leave twenty-five cents behind."

In several cases the chasms that have been caused by wear of water or
convulsions of nature (their opposite sides being matched) were believed
to have been hiding-places, but, in the old days in New England, it was
believed that all such fractures were caused by the earthquake at the
time of the crucifixion--a testimony of the power of God to shake

The Heart of Greylock is the name given to the crater-like recess, a
thousand feet deep, in the tallest of the Berkshire peaks, but it was
formerly best known as Money Hole, and the stream that courses through it
as Money Brook, for a gang of counterfeiters worked in that recess, and
there some spurious coinage may still be concealed. The stream is also
known as Spectre Brook, for late wandering hunters and scouting soldiers,
seeing the forgers moving to and fro about their furnaces, took them for

Province Island, in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont, is believed to contain
some of the profits of an extensive smuggling enterprise that was carried
on near the lake for several years.

A little company of Spanish adventurers passed along the base of the
Green Mountains early in the last century, expecting to return after
having some dealings with the trading stations on the St. Lawrence; so
they deposited a part of their gold on Ludlow Mountain, Vermont, and
another pot of it on Camel's Hump. They agreed that none should return
without his companions, but they were detained in the north and
separated, some of them going home to Spain. Late in life the sole
survivor of the company went to Camel's Hump and tried to recall where
the treasure had been hidden, but in vain.

While flying from the people whose declaration of independence had
already been written in the blood of the king's troops at Concord, the
royal governor--Wentworth--was embarrassed by a wife and a
treasure-chest. He had left his mansion, at Smith's Pond, New Hampshire,
and was making toward Portsmouth, where he was to enjoy the protection of
the British fleet, but the country was up in arms, time was important,
and as his wearied horses could not go on without a lightening of the
burden, he was forced to leave behind either Lady Wentworth or his other
riches. As the lady properly objected to any risk of her own safety, the
chest was buried at an unknown spot in the forest, and for a century and
more the whereabouts of the Wentworth plate and money-bags have been a
matter of search and conjecture.

When the Hessian troops marched from Saratoga to Boston, to take ship
after Burgoyne's surrender, they were in wretched condition-war-worn,
ragged, and ill fed,--and having much with them in the form of plate and
jewels that had been spared by their conquerors, together with some of
the money sent from England for their hire, they were in constant fear of
attack from the farmers, who, though they had been beaten, continued to
regard them with an unfavorable eye. On reaching Dalton, Massachusetts,
the Hessians agreed among themselves to put their valuables into a
howitzer, which they buried in the woods, intending that some of their
number should come back at the close of the war and recover it. An Indian
had silently followed them for a long distance, to gather up any
unconsidered trifles that might be left in their bivouacs, and he marked
the route by blazes on the trees; but if he saw the burial of this novel
treasury it meant nothing to him, and the knowledge of the hiding-place
was lost. For years the populace kept watch of all strangers that came to
town, and shadowed them if they went to the woods, but without result. In
about the year 1800 the supposed hiding-place was examined closely and
excavations were made, but, as before, nothing rewarded the search.

A tree of unknown age--the Old Elm--stood on Boston Common until within a
few years. This veteran, torn and broken by many a gale and
lightning-stroke, was a gallows in the last century, and Goody Glover had
swung from it in witch-times. On tempestuous nights, when the boughs
creaked together, it was said that dark shapes might be seen writhing on
the branches and capering about the sward below in hellish glee. On a
gusty autumn evening in 1776 a muffled form presented itself,
unannounced, at the chamber of Mike Wild, and, after that notorious miser
had enough recovered from the fear created by the presence to understand
what it said to him, he realized that it was telling him of something
that in life it had buried at the foot of the Old Elm. After much
hesitancy Mike set forth with his ghostly guide, for he would have risked
his soul for money, but on arriving at his destination he was startled to
find himself alone. Nothing daunted, he set down his lantern and began to
dig. Though he turned up many a rood of soil and sounded with his spade
for bags and chests of gold, he found nothing. Strange noises
overhead--for the wind was high and the twigs seemed to snicker eerily as
they crossed each other-sent thrills along his back from time to time,
and he was about to return, half in anger, half in fear, when his spirit
visitor emerged from behind the tree and stood before him. The mien was
threatening, the nose had reddened and extended, the hair was rumpled,
and the brow was scowling. The frown of the gold monster grew more awful,
the stare of his eye in the starlight more unbearable, and he was
crouching and creeping as if for a spring. Mike could endure no more. He
fainted, and awakened in the morning in his own chamber, where, to a
neighbor who made an early call, he told--with embellishments--the story
of the encounter; but before he had come to the end of the narrative the
visitor burst into a roar of laughter and confessed that he had
personated the supernatural visitant, having wagered a dozen bottles of
wine with the landlord of the Boar's Head that he could get the better of
Mike Wild. For all this the old tree bore, for many years, an evil

A Spanish galleon, the Saints Joseph and Helena, making from Havana to
Cadiz in 1753 was carried from her course by adverse winds and tossed
against a reef, near New London, Connecticut, receiving injuries that
compelled her to run into that port for repairs. To reach her broken ribs
more easily her freight was put on shore in charge of the collector of
the port, but when it was desired to ship the cargo again, behold! the
quarter part of it had disappeared, none could say how. New London got a
bad name from this robbery, and the governor, though besought by the
assembly to make good the shortage, failed to do so, and lost his place
at the next election. It was reputed that some of the treasure was buried
on the shore by the robbers. In 1827 a woman who was understood to have
the power of seership published a vision to a couple of young blades, who
had paid for it, to the effect that hidden under one of the grass-grown
wharves was a box of dollars. By the aid of a crystal pebble she received
this really valuable information, but the pebble was not clear enough to
reveal the exact place of the box. She could see, however, that the
dollars were packed edgewise. When New London was sound asleep the young
men stole out and by lantern-light began their work. They had dug to
water-level when they reached an iron chest, and they stooped to lift
it-but, to their amazement, the iron was too hot to handle! Now they
heard deep growls, and a giant dog peered at them from the pit-mouth; red
eyes flashed at them from the darkness; a wild-goose, with eyes of
blazing green, hovered and screamed above them. Though the witch had
promised them safety, nothing appeared to ward off the fantastic shapes
that began to crowd about them. Too terrified to work longer they sprang
out and made away, and when-taking courage from the sunshine--they
renewed the search, next day, the iron chest had vanished.

On Crown Point, Lake Champlain, is the ruin of a fort erected by Lord
Amherst above the site of a French work that had been thrown up in 1731
to guard a now vanished capital of fifteen hundred people. It was
declared that when the French evacuated the region they buried money and
bullion in a well, in the northwest corner of the bastion, ninety feet
deep, in the full expectancy of regaining it, and half a century ago this
belief had grown to such proportions that fifty men undertook to clear
the well, pushing their investigations into various parts of the
enclosure and over surrounding fields. They found quantities of lead and
iron and no gold.

Follingsby's Pond, in the Adirondacks, was named for a recluse, who, in
the early part of this century, occupied a lonely but strongly guarded
cabin there. It was believed afterward that he was an English army
officer, of noble birth, who had left his own country in disgust at
having discovered an attachment between his wife and one of his
fellow-officers. He died in a fever, and while raving in a delirium spoke
of a concealed chest. A trapper, who was his only attendant in his last
moments, dug over the ground floor of the hut and found a box containing
a jewelled sword, costly trinkets, and letters that bore out the
presumption of Follingsby's aristocratic origin. What became of these
valuables after their exhumation is not known, and the existence of more
has been suspected.

Coney Island is declared to have been used by a band of pirates as the
first national sand bank, and, as these rascals were caught and swung off
with short shrift, they do say that the plunder is still to be had--by
the man who finds it. But the hotel-keepers and three-card-monte men are
not waiting for that discovery to grow rich.

In Shandaken Valley, in the Catskills, it was affirmed that a party of
British officers buried money somewhere, when they were beset by the
farmers and hunters of that region, and never got it out of the earth

On Tea Island, Lake George, the buried treasures of Lord Abercrombie have
remained successfully hidden until this day.

The oldest house at Fort Neck, Long Island, was known for years as the
haunted house, and the grave of its owner--Captain Jones--was called the
pirate's grave, for, in the last century, Jones was accused of piracy and
smuggling, and there have been those who suspected worse. A hope of
finding gold and silver about the premises has been yearly growing
fainter. Just before the death of Jones, which occurred here in an
orderly manner, a crow, so big that everybody believed it to be a demon,
flew in at the window and hovered over the bed of the dying man until he
had drawn his last breath, when, with a triumphant cry, it flew through
the west end of the house. The hole that it broke through the masonry
could never be stopped, for, no matter how often it was repaired, the
stone and cement fell out again, and the wind came through with such a
chill and such shriekings that the house had to be abandoned.

The owner of an estate on Lloyd's Neck, Long Island, had more wealth than
he thought it was safe or easy to transport when he found the colonies
rising against Britain in 1775, and flight was imperative, for he was
known by his neighbors to be a Tory. Massing his plate, coin, and other
movables into three barrels, he caused his three slaves to bury them in
pits that they had dug beneath his house. Then, as they were shovelling
back the earth, he shot them dead, all three, and buried them, one on
each barrel. His motive for the crime may have been a fear that the
slaves would aid the Americans in the approaching struggle, or that they
might return and dig up the wealth or reveal the hiding-place to the
enemies of the king. Then he made his escape to Nova Scotia, though he
might as well have stayed at home, for the British possessed themselves
of Long Island, and his house became a place of resort for red-coats and
loyalists. It was after the turn of the century when a boat put in, one
evening, at Cold Spring Bay, and next morning the inhabitants found
footprints leading to and from a spot where some children had discovered
a knotted rope projecting from the soil. Something had been removed, for
the mould of a large box was visible at the bottom of a pit. Acres of the
neighborhood were then dug over by treasure hunters, who found a box of
cob dollars and a number of casks. The contents of the latter, though
rich and old, were not solid, and when diffused through the systems of
several Long Islanders imparted to them a spirituous and patriotic
glow--for in thus destroying the secreted stores of a royalist were they
not asserting the triumph of democratic principles?

The clay bluffs at Pottery Beach, Brooklyn, were pierced with artificial
caves where lawless men found shelter in the unsettled first years of the
republic. A wreck lay rotting here for many years, and it was said to be
the skeleton of a ship that these fellows had beached by false beacons.
She had costly freight aboard, and on the morning after she went ashore
crew and freight had vanished. It was believed that much of the plunder
was buried in the clay near the water's edge. In the early colonial days,
Grand Island, in Niagara River, was the home of a Frenchman, Clairieux,
an exile or refugee who was attended by a negro servant. During one
summer a sloop visited the island frequently, laden on each trip with
chests that never were taken away in the sight of men, and that are now
supposed to be buried near the site of the Frenchman's cabin. Report had
it that these boxes were filled with money, but if well or ill procured
none could say, unless it were the Frenchman, and he had no remarks to
offer on the subject. In the fall, after these visits of the sloop,
Clairieux disappeared, and when some hunters landed on the island they
found that his cabin had been burned and that a large skeleton, evidently
that of the negro, was chained to the earth in the centre of the place
where the house had stood. The slave had been killed, it was surmised,
that his spirit might watch the hoard and drive away intruders; but the
Frenchman met his fate elsewhere, and his secret, like that of many
another miser, perished with him. In 1888, when a northeast gale had
blown back the water of the river, a farmer living on the island
discovered, just under the surface, a stone foundation built in circular
form, as if it had once supported a tower. In the mud within this circle
he found a number of French gold and silver coins, one of them minted in
1537. Close by, other coins of later date were found, and a systematic
examination of the whole channel has been proposed, as it was also said
that two French frigates, scuttled to keep them out of the hands of the
English, lie bedded in sand below the island, one of them with a naval
paymaster's chest on board.

On the shore of Oneida Lake is an Indian's grave, where a ball of light
is wont to swing and dance. A farmer named Belknap dreamed several times
of a buried treasure at this point, and he was told, in his vision, that
if he would dig there at midnight he could make it his own. He made the
attempt, and his pick struck a crock that gave a chink, as of gold. He
should, at that moment, have turned around three times, as his dream
directed, but he was so excited that he forgot to. A flash of lightning
rent the air and stretched him senseless on the grass. When he recovered
the crock was gone, the hole filled in, and ever since then the light has
hovered about the place. Some say that this is but the will-o'-the-wisp:
the soul of a bad fellow who is doomed to wander in desolate regions
because, after dying, Peter would not allow him to enter heaven, and the
devil would not let him go into the other place, lest he should make the
little devils unmanageable; but he is allowed to carry a light in his

In Indian Gap, near Wernersville, Pennsylvania, the Doane band of Tories
and terrorists hid a chest of gold, the proceeds of many robberies. It is
guarded by witches, and, although it has been seen, no one has been able
to lay hands on it. The seekers are always blinded by blue flame, and
frightened away by roaring noises. The Dutch farmers of the vicinity are
going to dig for it, all the same, for it is said that the watch of evil
spirits will be given over at midnight, but they do not know of what
date. They will be on hand at the spot revealed to them through the
vision of a "hex layer" (a vision that cost them fifty cents), until the
night arrives when there are no blue flames.

In the southern part of Chester County, Pennsylvania, is money, too, but
just where nobody knows. A lonely, crabbed man, who died there in a poor
hut after the Revolution, owned that he had served the British as a spy,
but said that he had spent none of the gold that he had taken from them.
He was either too sorry for his deeds, or too mean to do so. He had put
it in a crock and buried it, and, on his death-bed, where he made his
statement, he asked that it might be exhumed and spent for some good
purpose. He was about to tell where it was when the death-rattle choked
his words.

The Isle of the Yellow Sands, in Lake Superior, was supposed by Indians
to be made of the dust of gold, but it was protected by vultures that
beat back those who approached, or tore them to pieces if they insisted
on landing. An Indian girl who stole away from her camp to procure a
quantity of this treasure was pursued by her lover, who, frightened at
the risk she was about to run from the vultures, stopped her flight by
staving in the side of her canoe, so that she was compelled to take
refuge in his, and he rowed home with her before the birds had come to
the attack.

Old Francois Fontenoy, an Indian trader, buried a brass kettle full of
gold at Presque Isle, near Detroit, that is still in the earth.

On the banks of the Cumberland, in Tennessee, is a height where a
searcher for gold was seized by invisible defenders and hurled to the
bottom of the cliff, receiving a mortal hurt.

The Spaniards were said to have entombed three hundred thousand dollars
in gold near Natchez. A man to whom the secret had descended offered to
reveal it, but, as he was a prisoner, his offer was laughed at. Afterward
an empty vault was found where he said it would be. Somebody had
accidentally opened it and had removed the treasure.

Caverns have frequently been used as hiding-places for things of more or
less value--generally less. Saltpetre Cave, in Georgia, for instance, was
a factory and magazine for saltpetre, gunpowder, and other military
stores during the Civil War. The Northern soldiers wrecked the potash
works and broke away tons of rock, so as to make it dangerous to return.
Human bones have been found here, too, but they are thought to be those
of soldiers that entered the cave in pursuit of an Indian chief who had
defied the State in the '40's. He escaped through a hole in the roof,
doubled on his pursuers, fired a pile of dead leaves and wood at the
mouth, and suffocated the white men with the smoke.

Spaniards worked the mines in the Ozark Hills of Missouri two hundred
years ago. One of the mines containing lead and silver, eighteen miles
southwest of Galena, was worked by seven men, who could not agree as to a
division of the yield. One by one they were killed in quarrels until but
a single man was left, and he, in turn, was set upon by the resurrected
victims and choked to death by their cold fingers. In 1873 a Vermonter
named Johnson went there and said he would find what it was the Spaniards
had been hiding, in spite of the devil and his imps. He did work there
for one day, and was then found dead at the mouth of the old shaft with
marks of bony fingers on his throat.

The seven cities of Cibola, that Coronado and other Spanish adventurers
sought in the vast deserts of the Southwest, were pueblos. A treacherous
guide who had hoped to take Coronado into the waterless plain and lose
him, but who first lost his own head, had told him a tale of the Quivira,
a tribe that had much gold. So far from having gold these Indians did not
know the stuff, but the myth that they had hoarded quantities of it has
survived to this day and has caused waste of lives and money. Towns in
New Mexico that have lain in ruins since 1670, when the Apaches butchered
their people--towns that were well built and were lorded by solid old
churches and monasteries erected by the Spanish missionaries--these towns
have often been dug over, and the ruinous state of Abo, Curari, and
Tabira is due, in part, to their foolish tunnelling and blasting.

A Spanish bark, one day in 1841, put in for water off the spot where
Columbia City, Oregon, now stands. She had a rough crew on board, and it
had been necessary for her officers to watch the men closely from the
time the latter discovered that she was carrying a costly cargo. Hardly
had the anchorchains run out before the sailors fell upon the captain,
killed him, seized all of value that they could gather, and took it to
the shore. What happened after is not clear, but it is probable that in a
quarrel, arising over the demands of each man to have most of the
plunder, several of the claimants were slain. Indians were troublesome,
likewise, so that it was thought best to put most of the goods into the
ground, and this was done on the tract known as Hez Copier's farm. Hardly
was the task completed before the Indians appeared in large numbers and
set up their tepees, showing that they meant to remain. The mutineers
rowed back to the ship, and, after vainly waiting for several days for a
chance to go on shore again, they sailed away. Two years of wandering,
fighting, and carousal ensued before the remnant of the crew returned to
Oregon. The Indians were gone, and an earnest search was made for the
money--but in vain. It was as if the ground had never been disturbed. The
man who had supervised its burial was present until the mutineers went
back to their boats, when it was discovered that he was mysteriously

More than forty years after these events a meeting of Spiritualists was
held in Columbia City, and a "medium" announced that she had received a
revelation of the exact spot where the goods had been concealed. A
company went to the place, and, after a search of several days, found,
under a foot of soil, a quantity of broken stone. While throwing out
these fragments one of the party fell dead. The spirit of the defrauded
and murdered captain had claimed him, the medium explained. So great was
the fright caused by this accident that the search was again abandoned
until March, 1890, when another party resumed the digging, and after
taking out the remainder of the stone they came on a number of human
skeletons. During the examination of these relics--possibly the bones of
mutineers who had been killed in the fight on shore--a man fell into a
fit of raving madness, and again the search was abandoned, for it is now
said that an immutable curse rests on the treasure.



It is hardly to be wondered at that two prominent scientists should have
declared on behalf of the sea-serpent, for that remarkable creature has
been reported at so many points, and by so many witnesses not addicted to
fish tales nor liquor, that there ought to be some reason for him. He has
been especially numerous off the New England coast. He was sighted off
Cape Ann in 1817, and several times off Nahant. Though alarming in
appearance--for he has a hundred feet of body, a shaggy head, and goggle
eyes--he is of lamb-like disposition, and has never justified the
attempts that have been made to kill or capture him. Rewards were at one
time offered to the seafaring men who might catch him, and revenue
cutters cruising about Massachusetts Bay were ordered to keep a lookout
for him and have a gun double shotted for action. One fisherman emptied
the contents of a ducking gun into the serpent's head, as he supposed,
but the creature playfully wriggled a few fathoms of its tail and made
off. John Josselyn, gentleman, reports that when he stirred about this
neighborhood in 1638 an enormous reptile was seen "quoiled up on a rock
at Cape Ann." He would have fired at him but for the earnest dissuasion
of his Indian guide, who declared that ill luck would come of the
attempt. The sea-serpent sometimes shows amphibious tendencies and
occasionally leaves the sea for fresh water. Two of him were seen in
Devil's Lake, Wisconsin, in 1892, by four men. They confess, however,
that they were fishing at the time. The snakes had fins and were a matter
of fifty feet long.

When one of these reptiles found the other in his vicinage he raised his
head six feet above water and fell upon him tooth and nail--if he had
nails. In their struggles these unpleasant neighbors made such waves that
the fishermen's boat was nearly upset.

Even the humble Wabash has its terror, for at Huntington, Indiana, three
truthful damsels of the town saw its waters churned by a tail that
splashed from side to side, while far ahead was the prow of the animal--a
leonine skull, with whiskers, and as large as the head of a boy of a
dozen years. As if realizing what kind of a report was going to be made
about him, the monster was overcome with bashfulness at the sight of the
maidens and sank from view.

In April, 1890, a water-snake was reported in one of the Twin Lakes, in
the Berkshire Hills, but the eye-witnesses of his sports let him off with
a length of twenty-five feet.

Sysladobosis Lake, in Maine, has a snake with a head like a dog's, but it
is hardly worth mentioning because it is only eight feet long-hardly
longer than the name of the lake. More enterprise is shown across the
border, for Skiff Lake, New Brunswick, has a similar snake thirty feet

In Cotton Mather's time a double-headed snake was found at Newbury,
Massachusetts,--it had a head at each end,--and before it was killed it
showed its evil disposition by chasing and striking at the lad who first
met it.

A snake haunts Wolf Pond, Pennsylvania, that is an alleged relic of the
Silurian age. It was last seen in September, 1887, when it unrolled
thirty feet of itself before the eyes of an alarmed spectator--again a
fisherman. The beholder struck him with a pole, and in revenge the
serpent capsized his boat; but he forbore to eat his enemy, and, diving
to the bottom, disappeared. The creature had a black body, about six
inches thick, ringed with dingy-yellow bands, and a mottled-green head,
long and pointed, like a pike's.

Silver Lake, near Gainesville, New York, was in 1855 reported to be the
lair of a great serpent, and old settlers declare that he still comes to
the surface now and then.

A tradition among the poor whites of the South Jruns to the effect that
the sea-monster that swallowed Jonah--not a whale, because the throat of
that animal is hardly large enough to admit a herring--crossed the
Atlantic and brought up at the Carolinas. His passenger was supplied with
tobacco and beguiled the tedium of the voyage by smoking a pipe. The
monster, being unused to that sort of thing, suffered as all beginners in
nicotine poisoning do, and expelled the unhappy man with emphasis. On
being safely landed, Jonah attached himself to one of the tribes that
peopled the barrens, and left a white progeny which antedated Columbus's
arrival by several centuries. God pitied the helplessness of these
ignorant and uncourageous whites and led them to Looking-Glass Mountain,
North Carolina, where He caused corn and game to be created, and while
this race endured it lived in plenty.

Santa Barbara Island, off the California coast, was, for a long time, the
supposed head-quarters of swimming and flying monsters and sirens, and no
Mexican would pass in hearing of the yells and screams and strange songs
without crossing himself and begging the captain to give the rock a wide
berth. But the noise is all the noise of cats. A shipwrecked tabby
peopled the place many years ago, and her numerous progeny live there on
dead fish and on the eggs and chicks of sea-fowl.

Spirit Canon, a rocky gorge that extends for three miles along Big Sioux
River, Iowa, was hewn through the stone by a spirit that took the form of
a dragon. Such were its size and ferocity that the Indians avoided the
place, lest they should fall victims to its ire.

The Hurons believed in a monster serpent--Okniont--who wore a horn on his
head that could pierce trees, rocks, and hills. A piece of this horn was
an amulet of great value, for it insured good luck.

The Zunis tell of a plumed serpent that lives in the water of sacred
springs, and they dare not destroy the venomous creatures that infest the
plains of Arizona because, to them, the killing of a snake means a
reduction in their slender water-supply. The gods were not so kind to the
snakes as men were, for the agatized trees of Chalcedony Park, in
Arizona, are held to be arrows shot by the angry deities at the monsters
who vexed this region.

Indians living on the shore of Canandaigua Lake, New York, tamed a pretty
spotted snake, and fed and petted it until it took a deer at a meal. It
grew so large that it eventually encircled the camp and began to prey on
its keepers. Vainly they tried to kill the creature, until a small boy
took an arrow of red willow, anointed it with the blood of a young woman,
and shot it from a basswood bow at the creature's heart. It did not enter
at once; it merely stuck to the scales. But presently it began to bore
and twist its way into the serpent's body. The serpent rolled into the
lake and made it foam in its agony. It swallowed water and vomited it up
again, with men dead and alive, before it died.

The monster Amhuluk, whose home is a lake near Forked Mountain, Oregon,
had but one passion-to catch and drown all things; and when you look into
the lake you see that he has even drowned the sky in it, and has made the
trees stand upside down in the water. Wherever he set his feet the ground
would soften. As three children were digging roots at the edge of the
water he fell on them and impaled two of them on his horns, the eldest
only contriving to escape. When this boy reached home his body was full
of blotches, and the father suspected how it was, yet he went to the lake
at once. The bodies of the children came out of the mud at his feet to
meet him, but went down again and emerged later across the water. They
led him on in this way until he came to the place where they were
drowned. A fog now began to steam up from the water, but through it he
could see the little ones lifted on the monster's horns, and hear them
cry, "We have changed our bodies." Five times they came up and spoke to
him, and five times he raised a dismal cry and begged them to return, but
they could not. Next morning he saw them rise through the fog again, and,
building a camp, he stayed there and mourned for several days. For five
days they showed themselves, but after that they went down and he saw and
heard no more of them. Ambuluk had taken the children and they would live
with him for ever after.

Crater Lake, Oregon, was a haunt of water-devils who dragged into it and
drowned all who ventured near. Only within a few years could Indians be
persuaded to go to it as guides. Its discoverers saw in it the work of
the Great Spirit, but could not guess its meaning. All but one of these
Klamaths stole away after they had looked into its circular basin and
sheer walls. He fancied that if it was a home of gods they might have
some message for men, so camping on the brink of the lofty cliffs he
waited. In his sleep a vision came to him, and he heard voices, but could
neither make out appearances nor distinguish a word. Every night this
dream was repeated. He finally went down to the lake and bathed, and
instantly found his strength increased and saw that the people of his
dreams were the genii of the waters--whether good or bad he could not
guess. One day he caught a fish for food. A thousand water-devils came to
the surface, on the instant, and seized him. They carried him to a rock
on the north side of the lake, that stands two thousand feet above the
water, and from that they dashed him down, gathering the remains of his
shattered body below and devouring them. Since that taste they have been
eager for men's blood. The rock on the south side of the lake, called the
Phantom Ship, is believed by the Indians to be a destructive monster,
innocent as it looks in the daytime.

So with Rock Lake, in Washington. A hideous reptile sports about its
waters and gulps down everything that it finds in or on them. Only in
1853 a band of Indians, who had fled hither for security against the
soldiers, were overtaken by this creature, lashed to death, and eaten.

The Indians of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas believed that the King
Snake, or God Snake, lived in the Gulf of Mexico. It slept in a cavern of
pure crystal at the bottom, and its head, being shaped from a solid
emerald, lighted the ocean for leagues when it arose near the surface.

Similar to this is the belief of the Cherokees in the kings of
rattlesnakes, "bright old inhabitants" of the mountains that grew to a
mighty size, and drew to themselves every creature that they looked upon.
Each wore a crown of carbuncle of dazzling brightness.

The Indians avoided Klamath Lake because it was haunted by a monster that
was half dragon, half hippopotamus.

Hutton Lake, Wyoming, is the home of a serpent queen, whose breathing may
be seen in the bubbles that well up in the centre. She is constantly
watching for her lover, but takes all men who come in her way to her
grotto beneath the water, when she finds that they are not the one she
has expected, and there they become her slaves. To lure victims into the
lake she sets there a decoy of a beautiful red swan, and should the
hunter kill this bird he will become possessed of divine power. Should he
see "the woman," as the serpent queen is called, he will never live to
tell of it, unless he has seen her from a hiding-place near the
shore--for so surely as he is noticed by this Diana of the depths, so
surely will her spies, the land snakes, sting him to death. In appearance
she is a lovely girl in all but her face, and that is shaped like the
head of a monster snake. Her name is never spoken by the Indians, for
fear that it will cost them their lives.

Michael Pauw, brave fisherman of Paterson, New Jersey, hero of the fight
with the biggest snapping-turtle in Dover Slank, wearer of a scar on his
seat of honor as memento of the conflict, member of the Kersey Reds--he
whose presence of mind was shown in holding out a chip of St. Nicholas's
staff when he met the nine witches of the rocks capering in the mists of
Passaic Falls--gave battle from a boat to a monster that had ascended to
the cataract. One of the Kersey Reds, leaning out too far, fell astride
of the horny beast, and was carried at express speed, roaring with
fright, until unhorsed by a projecting rock, up which he scrambled to
safety. Falling to work with bayonets and staves, the company despatched
the creature and dragged it to shore. One Dutchman--who was quite a
traveller, having been as far from home as Albany--said that the thing
was what the Van Rensselaers cut up for beef, and that he believed they
called it a sturgeon.


There is an odd recurrence among American legends of tales relating to
assaults of people or their houses by imps of darkness. The shadowy
leaguers of Gloucester, Massachusetts, kept the garrison of that place in
a state of fright until they were expelled from the neighborhood by a
silver bullet and a chaplain's prayers. Witchcraft was sometimes
manifested in Salem by the hurling of missiles from unseen hands. The
"stone-throwing devil" of Portsmouth is the subject of a tradition more
than two centuries of age, but, as the stone-thrower appears rather as an
avenger than as a gratuitously malignant spirit, he is ill treated in
having the name of devil applied to him. In this New Hampshire port lived
a widow who had a cabin and a bit of land of her own. George Walton, a
neighbor, wanted her land, for its situation pleased him, and as the old
woman had neither money nor influential friends he charged her with
witchcraft, and, whether by legal chicanery or mere force is not
recorded, he got his hands upon her property.

The charge of witchcraft was not pressed, because the man had obtained
what he wanted, but the poor, houseless creature laid a ban on the place
and told the thief that he would never have pleasure nor profit out of
it. Walton laughed at her, bade her go her way, and moved his family into
the widow's house. It was Sunday night, and the family had gone to bed,
when at ten o'clock there came a fierce shock of stones against the roof
and doors. All were awake in a moment. A first thought was that Indians
were making an assault, but when the occupants peered cautiously into the
moonlight the fields were seen to be deserted. Yet, even as they looked,
a gate was lifted from its hinges and thrown through the air.

Walton ventured out, but a volley of stones, seemingly from a hundred
hands, was delivered at his head, and he ran back to shelter. Doors and
windows were barred and shuttered, but it made no difference. Stones, too
hot to hold a hand upon, were hurled through glass and down the chimney,
objects in the rooms themselves were picked up and flung at Walton,
candles were blown out, a hand without a body tapped at the window, locks
and bars and keys were bent as if by hammer-blows, a cheese-press was
smashed against the wall and the cheese spoiled, hay-stacks in the field
were broken up and the hay tossed into branches of trees. For a long time
Walton could not go out at night without being assailed with stones.
Bell, book, candle, and witch-broth availed nothing, and it was many a
day before peace came to the Walton household.

In 1802 an epidemic of assault went through the Berkshire Hills. The
performance began in a tailor's shop in Salisbury, Connecticut, at eleven
of the clock on the night of November 2, when a stick and lumps of stone,
charcoal, and mortar were flung through a window. The moon was up, but
nothing could be seen, and the bombardment was continued until after
daylight. After doing some damage here the assailants went to the house
of Ezekiel Landon and rapped away there for a week. Persons were struck
by the missiles, and quantities of glass were destroyed. Nothing could be
seen coming toward the windows until the glass broke, and it was seldom
that anything passed far into a room. No matter how hard it was thrown,
it dropped softly and surely on the sill, inside, as if a hand had put it
there. Windows were broken on both sides of buildings at the same time,
and many sticks and stones came through the same holes in the panes, as
if aimed carefully by a gunner.

A hamlet that stood in Sage's ravine, on the east side of the Dome of the
Taconics, was assailed in the same way after nightfall. One house was
considerably injured. No causes for the performance were ever discovered,
and nobody in the place was known to have an enemy--at least, a malicious

At Whitmire Hill, Georgia, the spot where two murders were committed
before the war, is a headless phantom that comes thundering down on the
wayfarer on the back of a giant horse and vanishes at the moment when the
heart of his prospective victim is bumping against his palate. At times,
however, this spook prefers to remain invisible, and then it is a little
worse, for it showers stones and sods on the pedestrian until his legs
have carried him well beyond the phantom's jurisdiction.

The legends of buried treasure, instanced in another place, frequently
include assaults by the ghosts of pirates and misers on the daring ones
who try to resurrect their wealth.

Forty-seven years ago, in the township of St. Mary's, Illinois, two lads
named Groves and a companion named Kirk were pelted with snowballs while
on their way home from a barn where they had been to care for the stock
for the night. The evening had shut in dark, and the accuracy of the
thrower's aim was the more remarkable because it was hardly possible to
see more than a rod away. The snowballs were packed so tightly that they
did not break on striking, though they were thrown with force, and Kirk
was considerably bruised by them. Mr. Groves went out with a lantern, but
its rays lit up a field of untrodden snow, and there was no sound except
that made by the wind as it whistled past the barn and fences. Toward
dawn another inspection was made, and in the dim light the snowballs were
seen rising from the middle of a field that had not a footprint on it,
and flying toward the spectators like bullets. They ran into the field
and laid about them with pitchforks, but nothing came of that, and not
until the sun arose was the pelting stopped. Young Kirk, who was badly
hurt, died within a year.

The men of Sharon, Connecticut, having wheedled their town-site from the
Indians in 1754, were plagued thereafter by whoops and whistlings and the
throwing of stones. Men were seen in the starlight and were fired upon,
but without effect, and the disturbances were not ended until the Indians
had received a sum of money.

Without presuming to doubt the veracity of tradition in these matters, an
incident from the writer's boyhood in New England may be instanced. The
house of an unpopular gentleman was assailed--not in the ostentatious
manner just described, yet in a way that gave him a good deal of trouble.
Dead cats appeared mysteriously in his neighborhood; weird noises arose
under his windows; he tried to pick up letters from his doorstep that
became mere chalk-marks at his touch, so that he took up only splinters
under his nails. One night, as a seance was about beginning in his yard,
he emerged from a clump of bushes, flew in the direction of the
disturbance, laid violent hands on the writer's collar, and bumped his
nose on a paving-stone. Then the manifestations were discontinued, for
several nights, for repairs.


Like the Greeks, the red men endowed the woods and waters with tutelary
sprites, and many of the springs that are now resorted to as fountains of
healing were known long before the settlement of Europeans here, the
gains from drinking of them being ascribed to the beneficence of spirit
guardians. The earliest comers to these shores--or, rather, the earliest
of those who entertained such beliefs--fancied that the fabled fountain
of eternal youth would be found among the other blessings of the land. To
the Spaniards Florida was a land of promise and mystery. Somewhere in its
interior was fabled to stand a golden city ruled by a king whose robes
sparkled with precious dust, and this city was named for the
adventurer--El Dorado, or the Place of the Gilded One. Here, they said,
would be found the elixir of life. The beautiful Silver Spring, near the
head of the Ocklawaha, with its sandy bottom plainly visible at the depth
of eighty feet, was thought to be the source of the life-giving waters,
but, though Ponce de Leon heard of this, he never succeeded in fighting
his way to it through the jungle.

In Georgia, in the reputed land of Chicora, were a sacred stream that
made all young again who bathed there, and a spring so delectable that a
band of red men, chancing on it in a journey, could not leave it, and are
there forever.

In the island of "Bimini," one of the Lucayos (Bahamas), was another such
a fountain.

Between the Flint and Ocmulgee Rivers the Creeks declared was a spring of
life, on an island in a marsh, defended from approach by almost
impenetrable labyrinths,--a heaven where the women were fairer than any
other on earth.

The romantic and superstitious Spaniards believed these legends, and
spent years and treasure in searching for these springs. And, surely, if
the new and striking scenes of this Western world caused Columbus to
"boast that he had found the seat of paradise, it will not appear strange
that Ponce de Leon should dream of discovering the fountain of youth."

The Yuma Apaches had been warned by one of their oracles never to enter a
certain canon in Castle Dome range, Arizona, but a company of them forgot
this caution while in chase of deer, and found themselves between walls
of pink and white fluorite with a spring bubbling at the head of the
ravine. Tired and heated, they fell on their faces to drink, when they
found that the crumbling quartz that formed the basin of the spring was
filled with golden nuggets. Eagerly gathering up this precious substance,
for they knew what treasure of beads, knives, arrows, and blankets the
Mexicans would exchange for it, they attempted to make their way out of
the canon; but a cloudburst came, and on the swiftly rising tide all were
swept away but one, who survived to tell the story. White men have
frequently but vainly tried to find that spring.

In Southwestern Kansas, on a hill a quarter-mile from Solomon River, is
the Sacred Water, pooled in a basin thirty feet across. When many stand
about the brink it slowly rises. Here two Panis stopped on their return
from a buffalo hunt, and one of them unwittingly stepped on a turtle a
yard long. Instantly he felt his feet glued to the monster's back, for,
try as he might, he could not disengage himself, and the creature
lumbered away to the pool, where it sank with him. There the turtle god
remains, and beads, arrows, ear-rings, and pipes that are dropped in, it
swallows greedily. The Indians use the water to mix their paint with, but
never for drinking.

The mail rider, crossing the hot desert of Arizona, through the cacti and
over holes where scorpions hide, makes for Devil's Well, under El
Diablo--a dark pool surrounded with gaunt rocks. Here, coming when the
night is on, he lies down, and the wind swishing in the sage--brush puts
him to sleep. At dawn he wakens with the frightened whinny of his horse
in his ears and, all awake, looks about him. A stranger, wrapped in a
tattered blanket, is huddled in a recess of the stones, arrived there,
like himself, at night, perhaps. Poising his rifle on his knee, the rider
challenges him, but never a sign the other makes. Then, striding over to
him, he pulls away the blanket and sees a shrivelled corpse with a face
that he knows--his brother. Hardly is this meeting made when a hail of
arrows falls around. His horse is gone. The Apaches, who know no
gentleness and have no mercy, have manned every gap and sheltering rock.
With his rifle he picks them off, as they rise in sight with arrows at
the string, and sends them tumbling into the dust; but, when his last
bullet has sped into a red man's heart, they rise in a body and with
knives and hatchets hew him to death. And that is why the Devil's Well
still tastes of blood.

Among the Balsam Mountains of Western North Carolina is a large spring
that promises refreshment, but, directly that the wayfarer bends over the
water, a grinning face appears at the bottom and as he stoops it rises to
meet his. So hideous is this demon that few of the mountaineers have
courage to drink here, and they refuse to believe that the apparition is
caused by the shape of the basin, or aberrated reflection of their own
faces. They say it is the visage of a "haunt," for a Cherokee girl, who
had uncommon beauty, once lived hard by, and took delight in luring
lovers from less favored maidens. The braves were jealous of each other,
and the women were jealous of her, while she--the flirt!--rejoiced in the
trouble that she made. A day fell for a wedding--that of a hunter with a
damsel of his tribe, but at the hour appointed the man was missing.
Mortified and hurt, the bride stole away from the village and began a
search of the wood, and she carried bow and arrows in her hand. Presently
she came on the hunter, lying at the feet of the coquette, who was
listening to his words with encouraging smiles. Without warning the
deserted girl drew an arrow to the head and shot her lover through the
heart--then, beside his lifeless body, she begged Manitou to make her
rival's face so hideous that all would be frightened who looked at it. At
the words the beautiful creature felt her face convulse and shrivel, and,
rushing to the mirror of the spring, she looked in, only to start back in
loathing. When she realized that the frightful visage that glared up at
her was her own, she uttered a cry of despair and flung herself into the
water, where she drowned.

It is her face--so altered as to disclose the evil once hid behind
it--that peers up at the hardy one who passes there and knows it as the
Haunted Spring.

The medicinal properties of the mineral springs at Ballston and Saratoga
were familiar to the Indians, and High Rock Spring, to which Sir William
Johnson was carried by the Mohawks in 1767 to be cured of a wound, was
called "the medicine spring of the Great Spirit," for it was believed
that the leaping and bubbling of the water came from its agitation by
hands not human, and red men regarded it with reverence.

The springs at Manitou, Colorado (see "Division of Two Tribes"), were
always approached with gifts for the manitou that lived in them.

The lithia springs of Londonderry, New Hampshire, used to be visited by
Indians from the Merrimack region, who performed incantations and dances
to ingratiate themselves with the healing spirit that lived in the water.
Their stone implements and arrow-heads are often found in adjacent

The curative properties of Milford Springs, New Hampshire, were revealed
in the dream of a dying boy.

A miracle spring flowed in the old days near the statue of the Virgin at
White Marsh, Maryland.

Biddeford Pool, Maine, was a miracle pond once a year, for whoso bathed
there on the 26th of June would be restored to health if he were ill,
because that day was the joint festival of Saints Anthelm and Maxentius.

There was a wise and peaceable chief of the Ute tribe who always
counselled his people to refrain from war, but when he grew old the fiery
spirits deposed him and went down to the plains to give battle to the
Arapahoe. News came that they had been defeated in consequence of their
rashness. Then the old man's sorrow was so keen that his heart broke. But
even in death he was beneficent, for his spirit entered the earth and
forthwith came a gush of water that has never ceased to flow--the Hot
Sulphur Springs of Colorado. The Utes often used to go to those springs
to bathe--and be cured of rheumatism--before they were driven away.

Spring River, Arkansas, is nearly as large at its source as at its mouth,
for Mammoth Spring, in the Ozark Mountains, where it has its rise, has a
yield of ninety thousand gallons a minute, so that it is, perhaps, the
largest in the world. Here, three hundred years ago, the Indians
had gathered for a month's feast, for chief Wampahseesah's
daughter--Nitilita--was to wed a brave of many ponies, a hundred of which
he had given in earnest of his love. For weeks no rain had fallen, and,
while the revel was at its height, news came that all the rivers had gone
dry. Several young men set off with jars, to fill them at the
Mississippi, and, confident that relief would come, the song and dance
went on until the men and women faltered from exhaustion. At last,
Nitilita died, and, in the wildness of his grief, the husband smote his
head upon a rock and perished too. Next day the hunters came with water,
but, incensed by their delay, the chief ordered them to be slain in
sacrifice to the manes of the dead. A large grave was dug and the last
solemnities were begun when there was a roaring and a shaking in the
earth--it parted, and the corpses disappeared in the abyss. Then from the
pit arose a flood of water that went foaming down the valley. Crazed with
grief, remorse, and fear, Wampahseesah flung himself into the torrent and
was borne to his death. The red men built a dam there later, and often
used to sit before it in the twilight, watching, as they declared, the
faces of the dead peering at them through the foam.

During the rush for the California gold-fields in the '50's a party took
the route by Gila River, and set across the desert. The noon temperature
was 120, the way was strewn with skeletons of wagons, horses, and men,
and on the second night after crossing the Colorado the water had given
out. The party had gathered on the sands below Yuma, the men discussing
the advisability of returning, the women full of apprehension, the young
ones crying, the horses panting; but presently the talk fell low, for in
one of the wagons a child's voice was heard in prayer: "Oh, good heavenly
Father, I know I have been a naughty girl, but I am so thirsty, and mamma
and papa and baby all want a drink so much! Do, good God, give us water,
and I never will be naughty again." One of the men said, earnestly, "May
God grant it!" In a few moments the child cried, "Mother, get me water.
Get some for baby and me. I can hear it running." The horses and mules
nearly broke from the traces, for almost at their feet a spring had burst
from the sand-warm, but pure. Their sufferings were over. The water
continued to flow, running north for twenty miles, and at one point
spreading into a lake two miles wide and twenty feet deep. When
emigration was diverted, two years later, to the northern route and to
the isthmus, New River Spring dried up. Its mission was over.


So few States in this country--and so few countries, if it comes to
that--are without a lover's leap that the very name has come to be a
by-word. In most of these places the disappointed ones seem to have gone
to elaborate and unusual pains to commit suicide, neglecting many easy
and equally appropriate methods. But while in some cases the legend has
been made to fit the place, there is no doubt that in many instances the
story antedated the arrival of the white men. The best known lovers'
leaps are those on the upper Mississippi, on the French Broad, Jump
Mountain, in Virginia, Jenny Jump Mountain, New Jersey, Mackinac,
Michigan, Monument Mountain, Massachusetts, on the Wissahickon, near
Philadelphia, Muscatine, Iowa, and Lefferts Height. There are many other
declivities,--also, that are scenes of leaps and adventures, such as the
Fawn's Leap, in Kaaterskill Clove; Rogers's Rock, on Lake George; the
rocks in Long Narrows, on the Juniata, where the ghost of Captain Jack,
"the wild hunter" of colonial days, still ranges; Campbell's Ledge,
Pittston, Pennsylvania, where its name-giver jumped off to escape
Indians; and Peabody's leap, of thirty feet, on Lake Champlain, where Tim
Peabody, a scout, escaped after killing a number of savages.

At Jump Mountain, near Lexington, Virginia, an Indian couple sprang off
because there were insuperable bars to their marriage.

At the rock on the Wissahickon a girl sought death because her lover was
untrue to her.

At Muscatine the cause of a maid's demise and that of her lover was the
severity of her father, who forbade the match because there was no war in
which the young man could prove his courage.

At Lefferts Height a girl stopped her recreant lover as he was on his way
to see her rival, and urging his horse to the edge of the bluff she
leaped with him into the air.

Monument Mountain, a picturesque height in the Berkshires, is faced on
its western side by a tall precipice, from which a girl flung herself
because the laws of her tribe forbade her marriage with a cousin to whom
she had plighted troth. She was buried where her body was found, and each
Indian as he passed the spot laid a stone on her grave--thus, in time,
forming a monument.

"Purgatory," the chasm at Newport, Rhode Island, through which the sea
booms loudly after a storm, was a scene of self-sacrifice to a hopeless
love on the part of an Indian pair in a later century, though there is an
older tradition of the seizure of a guilty squaw, by no less a person
than the devil himself, who flung her from the cliff and dragged her soul
away as it left her body. His hoof-marks were formerly visible on the

At Hot Springs, North Carolina, two conspicuous cliffs are pointed out on
the right bank of the French Broad River: Paint Rock--where the
aborigines used to get ochre to smear their faces, and which they
decorated with hieroglyphics--and Lover's Leap. It is claimed that the
latter is the first in this country known to bear this sentimental and
tragically suggestive title. There are two traditions concerning it, one
being that an Indian girl was discovered at its top by hostiles who drove
her into the gulf below, the other relating to the wish of an Indian to
marry a girl of a tribe with which his own had been immemorially at war.
The match was opposed on both sides, so, instead of doing as most Indians
and some white men would do nowadays--marry the girl and let
reconciliation come in time,--he scaled the rock in her company and
leaped with her into the stream. They awoke as man and wife in the happy

In 1700 there lived in the village of Keoxa, below Frontenac, Minnesota,
on the Mississippi River, a Dakota girl named Winona (the First Born),
who was loved by a hunter in her tribe, and loved him in return. Her
friends commended to her affections a young chief who had valiantly
defended the village against an attack of hostiles, but Juliet would none
of this dusky Count de Paris, adhering faithfully to her Romeo. Unable to
move her by argument, her family at length drove her lover away, and used
other harsh measures to force her into a repugnant union, but she
replied, "You are driving me to despair. I do not love this chief, and
cannot live with him. You are my father, my brothers, my relatives, yet
you drive from me the only man with whom I wish to be united. Alone he
ranges through the forest, with no one to build his lodge, none to spread
his blanket, none to wait on him. Soon you will have neither daughter,
sister, nor relative to torment with false professions." Blazing with
anger at this unsubmissive speech, her father declared that she should
marry the chief on that very day, but while the festival was in
preparation she stole to the top of the crag that has since been known as
Maiden's Rock, and there, four hundred feet above the heads of the
people, upbraided those who had formerly professed regard for her. Then
she began her death-song. Some of the men tried to scale the cliff and
avert the tragedy that it was evident would shortly be enacted, and her
father, his displeasure forgotten in an agony of apprehension, called to
her that he would no longer oppose her choice. She gave no heed to their
appeals, but, when the song was finished, walked to the edge of the rock,
leaped out, and rolled lifeless at the feet of her people.

When we say that the real name of Lover's Leap in Mackinac is
Mechenemockenungoqua, we trust that it will not be repeated. It has its
legend, however, as well as its name, for an Ojibway girl stood on this
spire of rock, watching for her lover after a battle had been fought and
her people were returning. Eagerly she scanned the faces of the braves as
their war-canoes swept by, but the face she looked for was not among
them. Her lover was at that moment tied to a tree, with an arrow in his
heart. As she looked at the boats a vision of his fate revealed itself,
and the dead man, floating toward her, beckoned. Her death-song sounded
in the ears of the men, but before they could reach her she had gone
swiftly to the verge, her hands extended, her eyes on vacancy, and her
spirit had met her lover's.

From this very rock, in olden time, leaped the red Eve when the red Adam
had been driven away by a devil who had fallen in love with her. Adam,
who was paddling by the shore, saw she was about to fall, rushed forward,
caught her, and saved her life. The law of gravitation in those days did
not act with such distressing promptitude as now. Manitou, hearing of
these doings, restored them to the island and banished the devil, who
fell to a world of evil spirits underground, where he became the father
of the white race, and has ever since persecuted the Indians by proxy.

On the same island of Mackinac the English had a fort, the garrison of
which was massacred in 1763. A sole survivor--a young officer named
Robinson--owed his life to a pretty half-breed who gave him hiding in a
secluded wigwam. As the spot assured him of safety, and the girl was his
only companion, they lived together as man and wife, rather happily, for
several years. When the fort had been built again, Robinson re-entered
the service, and appeared at head-quarters with a wife of his own color.
His Indian consort showed no jealousy. On the contrary, she consented to
live apart in a little house belonging to the station, on the cliff,
called Robinson's Folly. She did ask her lover to go there and sit with
her for an hour before they separated forever, and he granted this
request. While they stood at the edge of the rock she embraced him; then,
stepping back, with her arms still around his neck, she fell from the
cliff, dragging him with her, and both were killed. The edge of the rock
fell shortly after, carrying the house with it.

Matiwana, daughter of the chief of the Omahas, whose village was near the
mouth of Omaha Creek, married a faithless trader from St. Louis, who had
one wife already, and who returned to her, after an absence among his own
people, with a third, a woman of his own color. He coldly repelled the
Indian woman, though he promised to send her boy--and his--to the
settlements to be educated. She turned away with only a look, and a few
days later was found dead at the foot of a bluff near her home.

White Rocks, one hundred and fifty feet above Cheat River, in Fayette
County, Pennsylvania, were the favorite tryst of a handsome girl, the
daughter of a well-to-do farmer of that region, and a dashing fellow who
had gone into that country to hunt. They had many happy days there on the
hill together, but after making arrangements for the wedding they
quarrelled, nobody knew for what. One evening they met by accident on the
rocks, and appeared to be in formal talk when night came on and they
could no longer be seen. The girl did not return, and her father set off
with a search party to look for her. They found her, dead and mangled, at
the foot of the rocks. Her lover, in a fit of impatience, had pushed her
and she had staggered and fallen over. He fled at once, and, under a
changed name and changed appearance, eluded pursuit. When the War of the
Rebellion broke out, he entered the army and fought recklessly, for by
that time he had tired of life and hoped to die. But it was of no use. He
was only made captain for a bravery that he was not conscious of showing,
and the old remorse still preyed on him. It was after the war that
something took him back to Fayette County, and on a pleasant day he
climbed the rocks to take a last look at the scenes that had been
brightened by love and saddened by regret. He had not been long on its
summit when an irresistible impulse came upon him to leap down where the
girl had fallen, and atone with his own blood for the shedding of hers.
He gave way to this prompting, and the fall was fatal.

Some years before the outbreak of the Civil War a man with his wife and
daughter took up their residence in a log cabin at the foot of Sunrise
Rock, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. It seemed probable that they had known
better days, for the head of the household was notoriously useless in the
eyes of his neighbors, and was believed to get his living through
"writin' or book-larnin'," but he was so quiet and gentle that they never
upbraided him, and would sometimes, after making a call, wander into his
garden and casually weed it for him for an hour or so. The girl, Stella,
was a well-schooled, quick-witted, rosy-cheeked lass, whom all the
shaggy, big-jointed farmer lads of the neighborhood regarded with
hopeless admiration. A year or two after the settlement of the family it
began to be noticed that she was losing color and had an anxious look,
and when a friendly old farmer saw her talking in the lane with a lawyer
from Chattanooga, who wore broadcloth and had a gold watch, he was
puzzled that the "city chap" did not go home with her, but kissed his
hand to her as he turned away. Afterward the farmer met the pair again,
and while the girl smiled and said, "Howdy, Uncle Joe?" the lawyer turned
away and looked down the river. It was the last time that a smile was
seen on Stella's face. A few evenings later she was seen standing on
Sunrise Rock, with her look bent on Chattanooga. The shadow of night
crept up the cliff until only her figure stood in sunlight, with her hair
like a golden halo about her face. At that moment came on the wind the
sound of bells-wedding-bells. Pressing her hands to her ears, the girl
walked to the edge of the rock, and a few seconds later her lifeless form
rolled through the bushes at its foot into the road. At her funeral the
people came from far and near to offer sympathy to the mother, garbed in
black, and the father, with his hair turned white, but the lawyer from
Chattanooga was not there.

The name of Indian Maiden's Cliff--applied to a precipice that hangs
above the wild ravine of Stony Clove, in the Catskills--commemorates the
sequel to an elopement from her tribe of an Indian girl and her lover.
The parents and relatives had opposed the match with that fatal fatuity
that appears to be characteristic of story-book Indians, and as soon as
word of her flight came to the village they set off in chase. While
hurrying through the tangled wood the young couple were separated and the
girl found herself on the edge of the cliff. Farther advance was
impossible. Her pursuers were close behind. She must yield or die. She
chose not to yield, and, with a despairing cry, flung herself into the

Similar to this is the tale of Lover's Leap in the dells of the Sioux,
among the Black Hills of South Dakota.

At New Milford, Connecticut, they show you Falls Mountain, with the cairn
erected by his tribe in 1735 to chief Waramaug, who wished to be buried
there, so that, when he was cold and lonely in the other life, he could
return to his body and muse on the lovely landscape that he so enjoyed.
The will-o'-the-wisp flickered on the mountain's edge at night, and
flecks of dew-vapor that floated from the wood by day were sometimes
thought to be the spirit of the chief. He had a daughter, Lillinonah,
whose story is related to Lover's Leap, on the riverward side of the
mountain. She had led to the camp a white man, who had been wandering
beside the Housatonic, ill and weak, vainly seeking a way out of the
wilderness, and, in spite of the dark looks that were cast at him and
her, she succeeded in making him, for that summer, a member of the tribe.
As the man grew strong with her care he grew happy and he fell in love.
In the autumn he said to her, "I wish to see my people, and when I have
done so I will come back to you and we shall be man and wife." They
parted regretfully and the winter passed for the girl on leaden feet.
With spring came hope. The trails were open, and daily she watched for
her white lover. The summer came and went, and the autumn was there
again. She had grown pale and sad, and old Waramaug said to young Eagle
Feather, who had looked softly on her for many years, "The girl sickens
in loneliness. You shall wed her." This is repeated to her, and that
evening she slips away to the river, enters a canoe, casts away the
paddle, and drifts down the stream. Slowly, at first, but faster and
faster, as the rapids begin to draw it, skims the boat, but above the
hoarse brawling of the waters she hears a song in a voice that she
knows--the merry troll of a light heart. The branches part at Lover's
Leap and her lover looks down upon her. The joyous glance of recognition
changes to a look of horror, for the boat is caught. The girl rises and
holds her arms toward him in agonized appeal. Life, at any cost! He, with
a cry, leaps into the flood as the canoe is passing. It lurches against a
rock and Lillinonah is thrown out. He reaches her. The falls bellow in
their ears. They take a last embrace, and two lives go out in the growing


From the oldest time men have associated the mountains with visitations
of God. Their height, their vastness, their majesty made them seem worthy
to be stairs by which the Deity might descend to earth, and they stand in
religious and poetic literature to this day as symbols of the largest
mental conceptions. Scriptural history is intimately associated with
them, and the giving of the law on Sinai, amid thunder and darkness, is
one of the most tremendous pictures that imagination can paint. Ararat,
Hermon, Horeb, Pisgah, Calvary, Adam's Peak, Parnassus, Olympus! How full
of suggestion are these names! And poetic figures in sacred writings are
full of allusion to the beauty, nobility, and endurance of the hills.

It is little known that many of our own mountains are associated with
aboriginal legends of the Great Spirit. According to the Indians of
California, Mount Shasta was the first part of the earth to be made. The
Great Spirit broke a hole through the floor of heaven with a rock, and on
the spot where this rock had stopped he flung down more rocks, with earth
and snow and ice, until the mass had gained such a height that he could
step from the sky to its summit. Running his hands over its sides he
caused forests to spring up. The leaves that he plucked he breathed upon,
tossed into the air, and, lo! they were birds. Out of his own staff he
made beasts and fishes, to live on the hills and in the streams, that
began to appear as the work of worldbuilding went on. The earth became so
joyous and so fair that he resolved at last to live on it, and he
hollowed Shasta into a wigwam, where he dwelt for centuries, the smoke of
his lodge-fire (Shasta is a volcano) being often seen pouring from the
cone before the white man came.

According to the Oregon Indians the first man was created at the base of
the Cascade Range, near Wood River, by Kmukamtchiksh, "the old man of the
ancients," who had already made the world. The Klamaths believe
Kmukamtchiksh a treacherous spirit, "a typical beast god," yet that he
punishes the wicked by turning them into rocks on the mountain-sides or
by putting them into volcanic fires.

Sinsinawa Mound, Wisconsin, was the home of strange beings who occupied
caverns that few dared to enter. Enchanted rivers flowed through these
caves to heaven. The Catskills and Adirondacks were abodes of powerful
beings, and the Highlands of the Hudson were a wall within which Manitou
confined a host of rebellious spirits. When the river burst through this
bulwark and poured into the sea, fifty miles below, these spirits took
flight, and many succeeded in escaping. But others still haunt the
ravines and bristling woods, and when Manitou careers through the Hudson
canon on his car of cloud, crying with thunder voice, and hurling his
lightnings to right and left as he passes, the demons scream and howl in
rage and fear lest they be recaptured and shut up forever beneath the

The White Mountains were held in awe by Indians, to whom they were homes
of great and blessed spirits. Mount Washington was their Olympus and
Ararat in one, for there dwelt God, and there, when the earth was covered
with a flood, lived the chief and his wife, whom God had saved, sending
forth a hare, after the waters had subsided, to learn if it were safe to
descend. From them the whole country was peopled with red men. Yet woe
betide the intruder on this high and holy ground, for an angered deity
condemned him to wander for ages over the desolate peaks and through the
shadowy chasms rifted down their sides. The despairing cries of these
condemned ones, in winter storms, even frightened the early white
settlers in this region, and in 1784 the women of Conway petitioned three
clergymen "to lay the spirits."

Other ark and deluge legends relate to the Superstition Mountains, in
Arizona, Caddoes village, on Red River, Cerro Naztarny, on the Rio
Grande, the peak of Old Zuni, in Mexico, Colhuacan, on the Pacific coast,
Mount Apaola, in upper Mixteca, and Mount Neba, in Guaymi. The
Northwestern Indians tell of a flood in which all perished save one man,
who fled to Mount Tacoma. To prevent him from being swept away a spirit
turned him into stone. When the flood had fallen the deity took one of
his ribs and made a woman of it. Then he touched the stone man back to

There were descendants of Manitou on the mountains, too, of North
Carolina, but the Cherokees believe that those heights are bare because
the devil strode over them on his way to the Devil's Court House
(Transylvania County, North Carolina), where he sat in judgment and
claimed his own. Monsters were found in the White Mountains. Devil's Den,
on the face of Mount Willard, was the lair of one of them--a strange,
winged creature that strewed the floor of its cave with brute and human
skeletons, after preying on their flesh.

The ideas of supernatural occurrences in these New Hampshire hills
obtained until a recent date, and Sunday Mountain is a monument to the
dire effects of Sabbath-breaking that was pointed out to several
generations of New Hampshire youth for their moral betterment. The story
goes that a man of the adjacent town of Oxford took a walk one Sunday,
when he should have taken himself to church; and, straying into the woods
here, he was delivered into the claws and maws of an assemblage of bears
that made an immediate and exemplary conclusion of him.

The grand portrait in rock in Profile Notch was regarded with reverence
by the few red men who ventured into that lonely defile. When white men
saw it they said it resembled Washington, and a Yankee orator is quoted
as saying, "Men put out signs representing their different trades.
Jewellers hang out a monster watch, shoemakers a huge boot, and, up in
Franconia, God Almighty has hung out a sign that in New England He makes

To Echo Lake, close by, the deity was wont to repair that he might
contemplate the beauties of nature, and the clear, repeated echoes were
his voice, speaking in gentleness or anger. Moosilauke--meaning a bald
place, and wrongly called Moose Hillock--was declared by Waternomee,
chief of the Pemigewassets, to be the home of the Great Spirit, and the
first time that red men tried to gain the summit they returned in fear,
crying that Gitche Manitou was riding home in anger on a storm--which
presently, indeed, burst over the whole country. Few Indians dared to
climb the mountain after that, and the first fruits of the harvest and
first victims of the chase were offered in propitiation to the deity. At
Seven Cascades, on its eastern slope, one of Rogers's Rangers, retreating
after the Canadian foray, fell to the ground, too tired for further
motion, when a distant music of harps mingled with the cascade's plash,
and directly the waters were peopled with forms glowing with silver-white,
like the moonstone, that rose and circled, hand in hand, singing gayly as
they did so. The air then seemed to be flooded with rosy light and
thousands of sylvan genii ascended altars of rock, by steps of rainbow,
to offer incense and greet the sun with song. A dark cloud passed,
daylight faded, and a vision arose of the massacre at St. Francis, a
retreat through untried wilderness, a feast on human heads, torture, and
death; then his senses left the worn and starving man. But a trapper who
had seen his trail soon reached him and led him to a friendly settlement,
where he was told that only to those who were about to take their leave
of earth was it given to know those spirits of fountain and forest that
offered their voices, on behalf of nature, in praise of the Great Spirit.
To those of grosser sense, on whom the weight of worldliness still
rested, this halcyon was never revealed.

It was to Mount Washington that the Great Spirit summoned Passaconaway,
when his work was done, and there was his apotheosis.

The Indians account in this manner for the birth of the White Mountains:
A red hunter who had wandered for days through the forest without finding
game dropped exhausted on the snow, one night, and awaited death. But he
fell asleep and dreamed. In his vision he saw a beautiful mountain
country where birds and beasts and fruits were plenty, and, awaking from
his sleep, he found that day had come. Looking about the frozen
wilderness in despair, he cried, "Great Master of Life, where is this
country that I have seen?" And even as he spoke the Master appeared and
gave to him a spear and a coal. The hunter dropped the coal on the
ground, when a fire spread from it, the rocks burning with dense smoke,
out of which came the Master's voice, in thunder tones, bidding the
mountains rise. The earth heaved and through the reek the terrified man
saw hills and crags lifting--lifting--until their tops reached above the
clouds, and from the far summits sounded the promise, "Here shall the
Great Spirit live and watch over his children." Water now burst from the
rocks and came laughing down the hollows in a thousand brooks and rills,
the valleys unfolded in leaf and bloom, birds sang in the branches,
butterflies-like winged flowers flitted to and fro, the faint and
cheerful noise of insect life came from the herbage, the smoke rolled
away, a genial sun blazed out, and, as the hunter looked in rapture on
the mighty peaks of the Agiochooks, God stood upon their crest.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Myths and Legends of Our Own Land — Volume 09 : as to buried treasure" ***

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