Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 161


Early in the days of the white occupation of Georgia a cabin stood not far from the Falls of Toccoa (the Beautiful). Its only occupant was a feeble woman, who found it ill work to get food enough from the wild fruits and scanty clearing near the house, and she had nigh forgotten the taste of meat; for her two sons, who were her pride no less than her support, had been killed by savages. She often said that she would gladly die if she could harm the red men back, in return for her suffering—which was not Christian doctrine, but was natural. She was brooding at her fire, one winter evening, in wonder as to how one so weak and old as she could be revenged, when her door was flung open and a number of red men filled her cabin. She hardly changed countenance. She did not rise. "You may take my life," she said, "for it is useless, now that you have robbed it of all that made it worth living."

"Hush!" said the chief. "What does the warrior want with the scalps of women? We war on your men because they kill our game and steal our land."

"Is it possible that you come to our homes except to kill?"

"We are strangers and have lost our way. You must guide us to the foot of Toccoa and lead us to our friends."

"I lead you? Never!"

The chief raised his axe, but the woman did not flinch. There was a pause, in which the iron still hung menacing. Suddenly the dame looked up and said, "If you promise to protect me, I will lead you."

The promise was given and the band set forth, the aged guide in advance, bending against the storm and clasping her poor rags about her. In the darkest part of the wood, where the roaring of wind and groaning of branches seemed the louder for the booming of waters, she cautioned the band to keep in single file, but to make haste, for the way was far and the gloom was thickening. Bending their heads against the wind they pressed forward, she in advance. Suddenly, yet stealthily, she sprang aside and crouched beneath a tree that grew at the very brink of the fall. The Indians came on, following blindly, and in an instant she descried the leader as he went whirling over the edge, and one after another the party followed. When the last had gone to his death she arose to her feet with a laugh of triumph. "Now I, too, can die!" she cried. So saying, she fell forward into the grayness of space.


The place of Macon, Georgia, in the early part of this century was marked only by an inn. One of its guests was a man who had stopped there on the way to Alabama, where he had bought land. The girl who was, to be his wife was to follow in a few days. In the morning when he paid his reckoning he produced a well-filled pocket-book, and he did not see the significant look that passed between two rough black-bearded fellows who had also spent the night there, and who, when he set forth, mounted their horses and offered to keep him company. As they rode through the deserted village of Chilicte one of the twain engaged the traveller in talk while the other, falling a little behind, dealt him a blow with a loaded whip that unseated him. Divining their purpose, and lacking weapons for his own defence, he begged for mercy, and asked to be allowed to return to his bride to be, but the robbers had already made themselves liable to penalty, and two knife-thrusts in the breast silenced his appeals. The money was secured, the body was dropped into a hollow where the wolves would be likely to find and mangle it, and the outlaws went on their way.