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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 208

The other replied, "The Great Spirit places the water at the spring that his children may drink it undefiled. I am Ausaqua, chief of Shoshones, and I drink at the head-water. Shoshone and Comanche are brothers. Let them drink together."

"No. The Shoshone pays tribute to the Comanche, and Wacomish leads that nation to war. He is chief of the Shoshone as he is of his own people."

"Wacomish lies. His tongue is forked, like the snake's. His heart is black. When the Great Spirit made his children he said not to one, 'Drink here,' and to another, 'Drink there,' but gave water that all might drink."

The other made no answer, but as Ausaqua stooped toward the bubbling surface Wacomish crept behind him, flung himself against the hunter, forced his head beneath the water, and held him there until he was drowned. As he pulled the dead body from the spring the water became agitated, and from the bubbles arose a vapor that gradually assumed the form of a venerable Indian, with long white locks, in whom the murderer recognized Waukauga, father of the Shoshone and Comanche nation, and a man whose heroism and goodness made his name revered in both these tribes. The face of the patriarch was dark with wrath, and he cried, in terrible tones, "Accursed of my race! This day thou hast severed the mightiest nation in the world. The blood of the brave Shoshone appeals for vengeance. May the water of thy tribe be rank and bitter in their throats."

Then, whirling up an elk-horn club, he brought it full on the head of the wretched man, who cringed before him. The murderer's head was burst open and he tumbled lifeless into the spring, that to this day is nauseous, while, to perpetuate the memory of Ausaqua, the manitou smote a neighboring rock, and from it gushed a fountain of delicious water. The bodies were found, and the partisans of both the hunters began on that day a long and destructive warfare, in which other tribes became involved until mountaineers were arrayed against plainsmen through all that region.





BESIEGED BY STARVATION

A hundred years before the white men set up their trading-posts on the Arkansas and Platte, a band of mountain hunters made a descent on what they took to be a small company of plainsmen, but who proved to be the enemy in force, and who, in turn, drove the Utes—for the aggressors were of that tribe—into the hills. Most of them took refuge on a castellated rock on the south side of Bowlder Canon, where they held their own for several days, rolling down huge rocks whenever an attempt was made to storm the height; wherefore, seeing that the mountain was too secure a stronghold to be taken in that way, the besiegers camped about it, and, by cutting off the access of the beleaguered party to game and to water, starved every one of them to death.


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