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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 77

Presently a cry arose. The savages had passed the point of safe sailing; their boats had become unmanageable. Forgetting their errand, their only hope now was to save themselves, but in vain they tried to reach the shore: the current was whirling them to their doom. Cries and death-songs mingled with the deepening roar of the waters, the light barks reached the cataract and leaped into the air. Then the night was still again, save for the booming of the flood. Not one of the Indians who had set out on this errand of death survived the hermit's stratagem.





THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL

At times the fisher-folk of Maine are startled to see the form of a ship, with gaunt timbers showing through the planks, like lean limbs through rents in a pauper's garb, float shoreward in the sunset. She is a ship of ancient build, with tall masts and sails of majestic spread, all torn; but what is her name, her port, her flag, what harbor she is trying to make, no man can tell, for on her deck no sailor has ever been seen to run up colors or heard to answer a hail. Be it in calm or storm, in-come or ebb of tide, the ship holds her way until she almost touches shore.

There is no creak of spars or whine of cordage, no spray at the bow, no ripple at the stern—no voice, and no figure to utter one. As she nears the rocks she pauses, then, as if impelled by a contrary current, floats rudder foremost off to sea, and vanishes in twilight. Harpswell is her favorite cruising-ground, and her appearance there sets many heads to shaking, for while it is not inevitable that ill luck follows her visits, it has been seen that burial-boats have sometimes had occasion to cross the harbor soon after them, and that they were obliged by wind or tide or current to follow her course on leaving the wharf.





THE SCHOOLMASTER HAD NOT REACHED ORRINGTON.

The quiet town of Orrington, in Maine, was founded by Jesse Atwood, of Wellfleet, Cape Cod, in 1778, and has become known, since then, as a place where skilful farmers and brave sailors could always be found. It also kept Maine supplied for years with oldest inhabitants. It is said that the name was an accident of illiteracy, and that it is the only place in the world that owes its title to bad spelling. The settlers who followed Atwood there were numerous enough to form a township after ten years, and the name they decided on for their commonwealth was Orangetown, so called for a village in Maryland where some of the people had associations, but the clerk of the town meeting was not a college graduate and his spelling of Orange was Orring, and of town, ton. His draft of the resolutions went before the legislature, and the people directly afterward found themselves living in Orrington.





JACK WELCH'S DEATH LIGHT


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