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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 108

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

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





THE HOBOMAK

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

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


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