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Love And Rum


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Back in the seventeenth century a number of Yankee traders arrived in
Naugatuck to barter blankets, beads, buttons, Bibles, and brandy for
skins, and there they met chief Toby and his daughter. Toby was not a
pleasing person, but his daughter was well favored, and one of the
traders told the chief that if he would allow the girl to go to Boston
with him he would give to him--Toby--a quart of rum. Toby was willing
enough. He would give a good deal for rum. But the daughter declined to
be sold off in such a fashion unless--she coyly admitted--she could have
half of the rum herself. Loth as he was to do so, Toby was brought to
agree to this proposition, for he knew that rum was rare and good and
girls were common and perverse, so the gentle forest lily took her mug of
liquor and tossed it off. Now, it is not clear whether she wished to
nerve herself for the deed that followed or whether the deed was a result
of the tonic, but she made off from the paternal wigwam and was presently
seen on the ledge of Squaw Rock, locally known also as High Rock, from
which in another moment she had fallen. Toby had pursued her, and on
finding her dead he vented a howl of grief and anger and flung the now
empty rum-jug after her. A huge bowlder arose from the earth where it
struck, and there it remains--a monument to the girl and a warning to

Another version of the story is that the girl sprang from the rock to
escape the pursuit of a lover who was hateful to her, and who had her
almost in his grasp when she made the fatal leap. In the crevice half-way
up the cliff her spirit has often been seen looking regretfully into the
rich valley that was her home, and on the 20th of March and 20th of
September, in every year, it is imposed on her to take the form of a
seven-headed snake, the large centre head adorned with a splendid
carbuncle. Many have tried to capture the snake and secure this precious
stone, for an old prophecy promises wealth to whoever shall wrest it from
the serpent. But thus far the people of Connecticut have found more
wealth in clocks and tobacco than in snakes and carbuncles.

Next: The Swim At Indian Head

Previous: Robert Lockwood's Fate

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