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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 260

At New Milford, Connecticut, they show you Falls Mountain, with the cairn erected by his tribe in 1735 to chief Waramaug, who wished to be buried there, so that, when he was cold and lonely in the other life, he could return to his body and muse on the lovely landscape that he so enjoyed. The will-o'-the-wisp flickered on the mountain's edge at night, and flecks of dew-vapor that floated from the wood by day were sometimes thought to be the spirit of the chief. He had a daughter, Lillinonah, whose story is related to Lover's Leap, on the riverward side of the mountain. She had led to the camp a white man, who had been wandering beside the Housatonic, ill and weak, vainly seeking a way out of the wilderness, and, in spite of the dark looks that were cast at him and her, she succeeded in making him, for that summer, a member of the tribe. As the man grew strong with her care he grew happy and he fell in love. In the autumn he said to her, "I wish to see my people, and when I have done so I will come back to you and we shall be man and wife." They parted regretfully and the winter passed for the girl on leaden feet. With spring came hope. The trails were open, and daily she watched for her white lover. The summer came and went, and the autumn was there again. She had grown pale and sad, and old Waramaug said to young Eagle Feather, who had looked softly on her for many years, "The girl sickens in loneliness. You shall wed her." This is repeated to her, and that evening she slips away to the river, enters a canoe, casts away the paddle, and drifts down the stream. Slowly, at first, but faster and faster, as the rapids begin to draw it, skims the boat, but above the hoarse brawling of the waters she hears a song in a voice that she knows—the merry troll of a light heart. The branches part at Lover's Leap and her lover looks down upon her. The joyous glance of recognition changes to a look of horror, for the boat is caught. The girl rises and holds her arms toward him in agonized appeal. Life, at any cost! He, with a cry, leaps into the flood as the canoe is passing. It lurches against a rock and Lillinonah is thrown out. He reaches her. The falls bellow in their ears. They take a last embrace, and two lives go out in the growing darkness.





GOD ON THE MOUNTAINS

From the oldest time men have associated the mountains with visitations of God. Their height, their vastness, their majesty made them seem worthy to be stairs by which the Deity might descend to earth, and they stand in religious and poetic literature to this day as symbols of the largest mental conceptions. Scriptural history is intimately associated with them, and the giving of the law on Sinai, amid thunder and darkness, is one of the most tremendous pictures that imagination can paint. Ararat, Hermon, Horeb, Pisgah, Calvary, Adam's Peak, Parnassus, Olympus! How full of suggestion are these names! And poetic figures in sacred writings are full of allusion to the beauty, nobility, and endurance of the hills.


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