Historical Reprints History Traditions of the North American Indians

Traditions of the North American Indians

Traditions of the North American Indians
Catalog # SKU3337
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name E. G. Thomssen
ISBN 10: 1610336682
ISBN 13: 9781610336680


of the
North American Indians

Three Volumes in One Book!

Tales of an Indian Camp

E. G. Thomssen

In the year 1695, a number of savans associated in Paris for the purpose of procuring information respecting the American Indians. The undertaking met with almost prompt and cordial support; the proudest names and the brightest lights of the age were enlisted in it.

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Once upon a time, a young Indian of the Delaware nation, hunting in the lands which belonged to his tribe, had the good fortune to take captive an old white owl, who had for his lodge a hollow oak in which he dwelt with his family. As it was a time of great scarcity among the Indians, all their late hunts having been singularly unsuccessful, the hunter determined to kill the owl and make a present of its flesh to the maiden he loved, who had tasted no food for many suns. As he was rubbing his knife upon a stone, that it might be sharp and do the murder easily, the owl, who, with his leg tied to a tree, was looking on with a very curious and knowing air, turning his head first one way and then another, now scratching it with his untied claw and now shaking it as the beams of the sun came into his eyes, asked him what he was doing. The young hunter, who, being a good and brave warrior, scorned to tell a lie See Note-1 even to an owl, answered that he was making ready to cut off his head. "Poh, poh," said the cunning old fellow, "if you kill me, what will my wife, and my daughters, and my little ones, do? My woman is old and blind, and the rest are but so-so. Who will catch mice for them, pray?"

"They will be adopted into other families, I suppose," answered the hunter, "or the old woman will get another husband." "Such may be the Indian custom," said the owl, "but it is not the custom of my nation. Besides, the woman is so old and ugly that the Evil One would not take her for a second wife. No, no, if you take my life, the little ones will starve. Their eyes are very weak in the day time, and they are too young and shy to go out by night. If you kill me they will starve," repeated the owl.

"I am very hungry," said the hunter. "Neither fish nor flesh has been taken by my nation for many days; the maiden whom I love is dying for want of food. You would be a nice dish for her." "Old and tough, old and tough," said the owl, winking very knowingly. "But does not the Lenape hunter know that there are things to be worse feared than death? The warrior should fear captivity and disgrace before the evils of an unsatisfied appetite."

"The Delawares are men," said the hunter, proudly. "They are the masters of the earth, they are never captured. They will themselves take care that no disgrace falls upon them. The owl must be cooked for the dinner of the Lenape maiden."

"The youngest son of the head chief of the Gray Owls is this night to marry my daughter," said the captive. "May I not go to the feast? The guests are assembled, the food is prepared, they wait but my presence."

"No," answered the hunter.

"Then will a warrior of the Delawares be a greater fool than the Mingo who married a rattlesnake , and forgot to cut off her tail. He will be deaf to the voice of a Great Medicine ; the owl bids him beware." "Is my brother a Medicine?" asked the alarmed hunter.

"He is," answered the grave old bird, shaking his head. "If now the Delaware hunter will suffer the owl to return to his family in the hollow oak, the good deed shall never be forgotten by my tribe. There shall be two eyes watching for the safety of the Delawares upon every tree around their lodges. While they, wearied out by war or the chase, are sleeping in darkness and imagined security, the owl shall stand sentry, and warn them if danger should be nigh. When they hear the voice of the owl, calling out in the depths of the night, 'Up! up! danger! danger!' let them grasp their bows and war-spears, and be men." "Go," said the hunter, cutting the string which bound the prisoner to the tree of death. So the old white owl, with a couple of mice in his claws, went back to his lodge in the hollow oak, to comfort his old woman whom the Evil One would not have, and to see his daughter married to the young gray owl, while the youthful hunter departed to pursue a deer, which that moment appeared in a glade of the neighbouring forest.

Many seasons had passed away, flowers had sprung up to wither, and the sprouts from the seed of the oak had become lofty trees that bent not with the weight of the panther. The young hunter married the maiden for whose sake he would have killed the old white owl; their children were many and good; and the hunter himself had become head chief of the Unamis or Turtles, the most potent tribe of Delawares, and who reckon themselves the parent of all other Indians. They had fought many great battles; they had warred with the nations of the North and the South, the East, and the West, with the Shawanos of the Burning Water , the Mengwe of the Great Lakes, the Sioux who hunt beyond the River of Fish , and the Narragansetts who dwell in the land of storms: and in all and over all they had been victorious. The warriors of the Smoking Water had confessed themselves women, the Sioux had paid their tribute of bear-skins, the Narragansetts had sent beautiful shells for their women, and the Mengwees had fled from the war-shout of the Delawares, as a startled deer runs from the cry of the hunter.

Our warriors had just returned from invading the lands of the latter tribe, and had brought with them many scalps. They were weary and exhausted, but an Indian warrior never admits that he is either. So they feasted and rejoiced loud and long. They sung in the open ears of their people their exploits, the foes by their valour laid low, or duped by their cunning, or victims to their patience in awaiting the proper moment for attack, or to their speed and celerity in pursuit. And they danced the dance of thanksgiving in honour of their protecting Wahconda, and gave the scalp-yell for every scalp taken, as is the custom of Indian warriors when returned from a successful expedition.

500 pages - 8½ x 11softcover
ISBN-10: 1610336682
ISBN-13: 9781610336680

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