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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 180

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





THE SUN FIRE AT SAULT SAINTE MARIE

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


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