Imágenes de página

in the New York state, at a place they called Hoosink, which means the

[ocr errors]

hunter had despatched the bear, I asked him how ferocious kind of bear, called the naked bear, which they say once ex

The Indian includes all savage beasts within the number of his enemies. This is by no means a 7 metaphorical or figurative expression, but is used in a literal sense, as will appear from what I am going to relate.

2 A Delaware hunter once shot a huge bear and broke its back bone. The animal fell and set up a 1 most plaintive cry, something like that of the panther when he is hungry. The hunter, instead of giving 12 him another shot, stood up close to him, and addressed him in these words: “ Hark ye! bear;

you are a coward, and no warrior as you pretend to be. Were you a warrior, you would shew it

by your firmness, and not cry and whimper like an 6 old woman. You know, bear, that our tribes are 6 at war with each other, and that yours was the • aggressor*

You have found the Indians too - powerful for you, and you have gone sneaking - about in the woods, stealing their hogs; perhaps s at this time you have hog's flesh in your belly. 6. Had you conquered me, I would have borne it

with courage and died like a brave warrior; but or you, bear, sit here and cry, and disgrace your or tribe by your cowardly conduct." I was present

the delivery of this curious invective; when the Probably alluding to a tradition which the Indians have of a very,



isted, but was totally destroyed by their ancestors. The last was killed

Basin, or more properly the Kettle.

he thought the poor animal could understand what he said to it?" Oh !” said he in answer," the bear “understood me very well; did you not observe how ashamed he looked while I was upbraiding him ?”

Another time I witnessed a similar scene between the falls of the Ohio and the river Wabash. A young white man, named William Wells*, who had been when a boy taken prisoner by a tribe of the Wabash Indians, by whom he was brought up, and had imbibed all their notions, had so wounded a large bear that he could not move from the spot, and the animal cried piteously like the one I have just mentioned. The young man went up to him, and with seemingly great earnestness, addressed him in the Wabash language, now and then giving him a slight stroke on the nose with his ram-rod. I asked him, when he had done, what he had been saying to this bear? :* I have,” said he,“ upbraided him for act

ing the part of a coward; I told him that he knew “ the fortune of war, that one or the other of us “ must have fallen; that it was his fate, to be con“quered, and he ought to die like a man, like a

hero, and not like an old woman; that if the case “ had been reversed, and I had fallen into the power of my enemy, I would not have disgraced my na“ tion as he did, but would have died with firm“ness and courage, as becomes a true warrior.”_ HECKEWELDER.

* The same whom Mr. de Volney speaks of in his excellent“ View of the Soil and Climate of United States.” Supplement, No. VI 'page 356. Philadelphia Edition, 1804.

married other lovers. They both put an end to their

which he had judiciously selected for his dwelling.



them a subject of praise or blame. They view this

not considered by the Indians either as them an object of pity. Such cases do not frequently

, casions, in order to poison themselves, in which they all succeeded, except one. Two of them were young men, who had been disappointed in love, the girls

on whom they had fixed their choice, and to whom
haps, be thought uninteresting.

One of these unfortunate men was a person of an
excellent character, respected and esteemed by all.
fond of and two children, and they lived very happily.
together at the distance of about half a mile from
the place where I resided. He often came to visit
hearty welcome. When I thought he was too long

pleasecl with his visits, and always gave him a
without coming, I went myself to the delightful spot
Indians Of


Suicide an act of desperate ment, ang Occur.

act as the consequence of mental derange

the person who destroys himself is to

Between the years 1771 and 1780, four

my acquaintance took the root of the

which is commonly used on such oc

they were

engaged, having changed their minds and

existence. stories, as

The two others were married men. Their pictures of Indian manners, will not, per

who knew

him. He had a wife whom he was very


[ocr errors]


Here I always found the family cheerful, sociable and happy, until some time before the fatal catastrophe happened, when I observed that my friend's countenance bore the marks of deep melancholy, of which I afterwards learned the cause. His wife had received the visits of another man; he foresaw that he would soon be obliged to separate from her, and he shuddered when he thought that he must also part from his two lovely children; for it is the custom of the Indians, that when a divorce takes place between husband and wife, the children remain with their mother, until they are of a proper age to choose for themselves. One hope, however, still remained. The sugar-making season was at hand, and they were shortly to remove to their sugar camp, where he flattered himself his wife would not be followed by the disturber of his peace, whose residence was about ten miles from thence. But this hope was of short duration. They had hardly been a fortnight in their new habitation, when, as he returned one day from a morning's hunt, he found the unwelcome visiter at his home, in close conversation with his faithless wife. This last stroke was more than he could bear; without saying a single word, he took off a large cake of his sugar, and with it came to my house, which was at the distance of eight miles from his temporary residence. It was on a Sunday, at about ten o'clock in the forenoon, that he entered my door, with sorrow strongly* depicted on his manly countenance. As he came in he presented me

" have many a time served me with a good pipe o

farther, informed us of the shocking evento. He had
immediately on his return, remained a short time in
his house, indulging in the last caresses to his dear
innocent children , then retiring to some distance,
had eaten the fatal root, and before relief could be

administered by some persons who had observed him
married man,
happy with his

passion and n
guage as he cou

on the point of expiring, and all succours were vain.

quarrel with a v

seen in the first

ere a strong emetici diluted in


cake of sugar, saying, “ My friend! you


with his

s tobac eo, and I have not yet done any thing to

you. Take this as a reward for your good. and as an acknowledgment from me as your

He said no more, but giving me with both his hands, a warm farewell squeeze, he departed and returned to the camp. At about two o'clock in the forenoon a runner from thence passing a through the town to notify his death at the village two miles


“ friend.»;

staggering fros

The last wb


the other side of the river, he was

, On

I have to mention, was also a blit

had no children, He had lived wife, until one day that she fell into

de use to him of such abusive lankd not endure. Too high-minded to Jinan, he resolved to punish her by

his existence. Fortunately he was age of his fits, and was brought

putting an end t

into a house, lukewarm wate throat, He recs vas again the


forcibly - poured down his ared after some time, but never €rong healthy man he had been

« AnteriorContinuar »