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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 90





THE VISION ON MOUNT ADAMS

There are many traditions connected with Mount Adams that have faded out of memory. Old people remember that in their childhood there was talk of the discovery of a magic stone; of an Indian's skeleton that appeared in a speaking storm; of a fortune-teller that set off on a midnight quest, far up among the crags and eyries. In October, 1765, a detachment of nine of Rogers's Rangers began the return from a Canadian foray, bearing with them plate, candlesticks, and a silver statue that they had rifled from the Church of St. Francis. An Indian who had undertaken to guide the party through the Notch proved faithless, and led them among labyrinthine gorges to the head of Israel's River, where he disappeared, after poisoning one of the troopers with a rattlesnake's fang. Losing all reckoning, the Rangers tramped hither and thither among the snowy hills and sank down, one by one, to die in the wilderness, a sole survivor reaching a settlement after many days, with his knapsack filled with human flesh.

In 1816 the candlesticks were recovered near Lake Memphremagog, but the statue has never been laid hold upon. The spirits of the famished men were wont, for many winters, to cry in the woods, and once a hunter, camped on the side of Mount Adams, was awakened at midnight by the notes of an organ. The mists were rolling off, and he found that he had gone to sleep near a mighty church of stone that shone in soft light. The doors were flung back, showing a tribe of Indians kneeling within. Candles sparkled on the altar, shooting their rays through clouds of incense, and the rocks shook with thunder-gusts of music. Suddenly church, lights, worshippers vanished, and from the mists came forth a line of uncouth forms, marching in silence. As they started to descend the mountain a silver image, floating in the air, spread a pair of gleaming pinions and took flight, disappearing in the chaos of battlemented rocks above.





THE GREAT CARBUNCLE

High on the eastern face of Mount Monroe shone the Great Carbuncle, its flash scintillating for miles by day, its dusky crimson glowing among the ledges at night. The red men said that it hung in the air, and that the soul of an Indian—killed, that he might guard the spot—made approach perilous to men of all complexions and purposes. As late as Ethan Crawford's time one search band took a "good man" to lay the watcher, when they strove to scale the height, but they returned "sorely bruised, treasureless, and not even saw that wonderful sight." The value of the stone tempted many, but those who sought it had to toil through a dense forest, and on arriving at the mountain found its glories eclipsed by intervening abutments, nor could they get near it. Rocks covered with crystals, at first thought to be diamonds, were readily despoiled of their treasure, but the Great Carbuncle burned on, two thousand feet above them, at the head of the awful chasm of Oakes Gulf, and baffled seekers likened it to the glare of an evil eye.


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