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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 26

Pushing the boat on its course and telling her to hasten, Kayuta sprang ashore, sounded the warwhoop, and as Weutha rose into sight he clove his skull with a tomahawk. Two other braves now leaped forward, but, after a struggle, Kayuta left them dead or senseless, too. He would have stayed to tear their scalps off had he not heard his name uttered in a shriek of agony from the end of the lake, and, tired and bleeding though he was, he bounded along its margin like a deer, for the voice that he heard was Waneta's. He reached the blasted pine, gave one look, and sank to the earth. Presently other Indians came, who had heard the noise of fighting, and burst upon him with yells and brandished weapons, but something in his look restrained them from a close advance. His eyes were fixed on a string of beads that lay on the bottom of the lake, just off shore, and when the meaning of it came to them, the savages thought no more of killing, but moaned their grief; for Waneta, in stepping from her canoe to wade ashore, had been caught and swallowed by a quagmire. All night and all next day Kayuta sat there like a man of stone. Then, just as the hour fell when he was used to meet his love, his heart broke, and he joined her in the spiritland.





THE DROP STAR

A little maid of three years was missing from her home on the Genesee. She had gone to gather water-lilies and did not return. Her mother, almost crazed with grief, searched for days, weeks, months, before she could resign herself to the thought that her little one—Kayutah, the Drop Star, the Indians called her—had indeed been drowned. Years went by. The woman's home was secure against pillage, for it was no longer the one house of a white family in that region, and the Indians had retired farther and farther into the wilderness. One day a hunter came to the woman and said, "I have seen old Skenandoh,—the last of his tribe, thank God! who bade me say this to you: that the ice is broken, and he knows of a hill of snow where a red berry grows that shall be yours if you will claim it." When the meaning of this message came upon her the woman fainted, but on recovering speech she despatched her nephew to the hut of the aged chief and passed that night in prayer.

The young man set off at sunset, and by hard riding, over dim trails, with only stars for light, he came in the gray of dawn to an upright timber, colored red and hung with scalps, that had been cut from white men's heads at the massacre of Wyoming. The place they still call Painted Post. Without drawing rein he sped along the hills that hem Lake Seneca, then, striking deeper into the wilds, he reached a smaller lake, and almost fell from his saddle before a rude tent near the shore. A new grave had been dug close by, and he shuddered to think that perhaps he had come too late, but a wrinkled Indian stepped forth at that moment and waited his word.


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