Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Page: 160When this discovery was made the chief, without a word, set off on the trail, and by broken twig, by bended grass and footprints at the brook-edge, he followed their course until he found them resting beneath a tree. The girl sprang from her new lover's arms with a cry of fear as the savage, with knife and tomahawk girt upon him, stepped into view, and she would have clasped his knees, but he motioned her away; then, ordering them to continue their march, he went behind them until they had reached a fertile spot on the Ashley, near the present site of Charleston, where he halted. "Though guilty, you shall not die," said he to the woman; then, to his rival, "You shall marry her, and a white priest shall join your hands. Here is your future home. I give you many acres of my land, but look that you care for her. As I have been merciful to you, do good to her. If you treat her ill, I shall not be far away."
The twain were married and went to live on the acres that had been so generously ceded to them, and for a time all went well; but the true disposition of the husband, which was sullen and selfish, soon began to disclose itself; disagreements arose, then quarrels; at last the man struck his wife, and, seizing the deed of the Accabee land and a paper that he had forced her to sign without knowing its contents, he started for the settlements, intending to sell the property and sail for England. On the edge of the village his flight was stayed by a tall form that arose in his path-that of the Indian. "I gave you all," said the chief, "the woman who should have been my wife, and then my land. This is your thanks. You shall go no farther."
With a quick stroke of the axe he cleft the skull of the shrinking wretch, and then, cutting off his scalp, the Indian ran to the cottage where sat the abandoned wife, weeping before the embers of her fire. He roused her by tossing on fresh fuel, but she shrank back in grief and shame when she saw who had come to her. "Do not fear," he said. "The man who struck you meant to sell your home to strangers"—and he laid the deed of sale before her, "but he will never play you false or lay hands on you again. Look!" He tossed the dripping scalp upon the paper. "Now I leave you forever. I cannot take you back among my people, who do not know deceit like yours, nor could I ever love you as I did at first." Turning, without other farewell he went out at the door. When this gift of Accabee land was sold—for the woman could no longer bear to live on it, but went to a northern city—a handsome house was built by the new owner, who added game preserves and pleasure grounds to the estate, but it was "haunted by a grief." Illness and ill luck followed the purchase, and the house fell into ruin.