Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network
Privacy
 


Last Stand Of The Biloxi






Category: LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF THE SOUTH

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The southern part of this country was once occupied by a people called
the Biloxi, who had kept pace with the Aztecs in civilization and who
cultivated especially the art of music. In lives of gentleness and peace
they so soon forgot the use of arms that when the Choctaws descended on
their fields they were powerless to prevent the onset. Town after town
they evacuated before the savages, and at last the Biloxi, reduced to a
few thousands, were driven to the mouth of the Pascagoula River,
Mississippi, where they intrenched themselves, and for a few months
withstood the invaders. But the time came when their supplies were
exhausted, and every form was pinched with hunger. Flight was impossible.
Surrender commonly meant slaughter and outrage. They resolved to die
together.

On a fair spring morning the river-ward gates of their fort were opened
and the survivors of that hapless tribe marched forth, their chief in
advance, with resolution on his wasted face, then the soldiers and
counsellors, the young men, the women and children, and the babes asleep
on the empty breasts of their mothers. As they emerged from the walls
with slow but steady step they broke into song, and their assailants, who
had retired to their tents for their meal, listened with surprise to the
chorus of defiance and rejoicing set up by the starving people. Without
pause or swerving they entered the bay and kept their march. Now the
waters closed over the chief, then the soldiers--at last only a few
voices of women were heard in the chant, and in a few moments all was
still. Not one shrank from the sacrifice. And for years after the echo of
that death-song floated over he waves.

Another version of the legend sets forth that the Biloxi believed
themselves the children of the sea, and that they worshipped the image of
a lovely mermaid with wondrous music. After the Spaniards had come among
this gay and gentle people, they compelled them, by tyranny and murder,
to accept the religion of the white man, but of course it was only
lip-service that they rendered at the altar. The Biloxi were awakened one
night by the sound of wings and the rising of the river. Going forth they
saw the waters of Pascagoula heaped in a quivering mound, and bright on
its moonlit crest stood a mermaid that sang to them, Come to me,
children of the sea. Neither bell, book, nor cross shall win you from
your queen. Entranced by her song and the potency of her glances, they
moved forward until they encircled the hill of waters. Then, with hiss
and roar, the river fell back to its level, submerging the whole tribe.
The music that haunts the bay, rising through the water when the moon is
out, is the sound of their revels in the caves below--dusky Tannhausers
of a southern Venusberg. An old priest, who was among them at the time of
this prodigy, feared that the want of result to his teachings was due to
his not being in a perfect state of grace. On his death-bed he declared
that if a priest would row to the spot where the music sounded, at
midnight on Christmas, and drop a crucifix into the water, he would
instantly be swallowed by the waves, but that every soul at the bottom
would be redeemed. The souls have never been ransomed.





Next: The Sacred Fire Of Nachez

Previous: The Swallowing Earthquake



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 1134