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Pokepsie






Category: THE HUDSON AND ITS HILLS

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The name of this town has forty-two spellings in old records, and with
singular pertinacity in ill-doing, the inhabitants have fastened on it
the longest and clumsiest of all. It comes from the Mohegan words
Apo-keep-sink, meaning a safe, pleasant harbor. Harbor it might be for
canoes, but for nothing bigger, for it was only the little cove that was
so called between Call Rock and Adder Cliff,--the former indicating where
settlers awaiting passage hailed the masters of vessels from its top, and
the latter taking its name from the snakes that abounded there.

Hither came a band of Delawares with Pequot captives, among them a young
chief to whom had been offered not only life but leadership if he would
renounce his tribe, receive the mark of the turtle on his breast, and
become a Delaware. On his refusal, he was bound to a tree, and was about
to undergo the torture, when a girl among the listeners sprang to his
side. She, too, was a Pequot, but the turtle totem was on her bosom, and
when she begged his life, because they had been betrothed, the captors
paused to talk of it. She had chosen well the time to interfere, for a
band of Hurons was approaching, and even as the talk went on their yell
was heard in the wood. Instant measures for defence were taken, and in
the fight that followed both chief and maiden were forgotten; but though
she cut the cords that bound him, they were separated in the confusion,
he disappearing, she falling captive to the Hurons, who, sated with
blood, retired from the field. In the fantastic disguise of a wizard the
young Pequot entered their camp soon after, and on being asked to try his
enchantments for the cure of a young woman, he entered her tent, showing
no surprise at finding her to be the maiden of his choice, who was
suffering from nothing worse than nerves, due to the excitement of the
battle. Left alone with his patient, he disclosed his identity, and
planned a way of escape that proved effective on that very night, for,
though pursued by the angry Hurons, the couple reached safe harbor,
thence making a way to their own country in the east, where they were
married.





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Previous: The Culprit Fay



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