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Revenge Of The Accabee






Category: LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF THE SOUTH

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The settlement made by Lord Cardross, near Beaufort, South Carolina, was
beset by Spaniards and Indians, who laid it in ashes and slew every
person in it but one. She, a child of thirteen, had supposed the young
chief of the Accabees to be her father, as he passed in the smoke, and
had thrown herself into his arms. The savage raised his axe to strike,
but, catching her blue eye raised to his, more in grief and wonder than
alarm, the menacing hand fell to his side, and, tossing the girl lightly
to a seat on his shoulder, he strode off into the forest. Mile after mile
he bore her, and if she slept he held her to his breast as a father holds
a babe. When she awoke it was in his lodge on the Ashley, and he was
smiling in her face. The chief became her protector; but those who
marked, with the flight of time, how his fierceness had softened, knew
that she was more to him than a daughter. Years passed, the girl had
grown to womanhood, and her captor declared himself her lover. She seemed
not ill pleased at this, for she consented to be his wife. After the
betrothal the chief joined a hunting party and was absent for a time. On
his return the girl was gone. A trader who had been bartering merchandise
for furs had seen her, had been inspired by passion, and, favored by
suave manners and a white skin, he had won in a day a stronger affection
than the Indian could claim after years of loving watchfulness.

When this discovery was made the chief, without a word, set off on the
trail, and by broken twig, by bended grass and footprints at the
brook-edge, he followed their course until he found them resting beneath
a tree. The girl sprang from her new lover's arms with a cry of fear as
the savage, with knife and tomahawk girt upon him, stepped into view, and
she would have clasped his knees, but he motioned her away; then,
ordering them to continue their march, he went behind them until they had
reached a fertile spot on the Ashley, near the present site of
Charleston, where he halted. Though guilty, you shall not die, said he
to the woman; then, to his rival, You shall marry her, and a white
priest shall join your hands. Here is your future home. I give you many
acres of my land, but look that you care for her. As I have been merciful
to you, do good to her. If you treat her ill, I shall not be far away.

The twain were married and went to live on the acres that had been so
generously ceded to them, and for a time all went well; but the true
disposition of the husband, which was sullen and selfish, soon began to
disclose itself; disagreements arose, then quarrels; at last the man
struck his wife, and, seizing the deed of the Accabee land and a paper
that he had forced her to sign without knowing its contents, he started
for the settlements, intending to sell the property and sail for England.
On the edge of the village his flight was stayed by a tall form that
arose in his path-that of the Indian. I gave you all, said the chief,
the woman who should have been my wife, and then my land. This is your
thanks. You shall go no farther.

With a quick stroke of the axe he cleft the skull of the shrinking
wretch, and then, cutting off his scalp, the Indian ran to the cottage
where sat the abandoned wife, weeping before the embers of her fire. He
roused her by tossing on fresh fuel, but she shrank back in grief and
shame when she saw who had come to her. Do not fear, he said. The man
who struck you meant to sell your home to strangers--and he laid the
deed of sale before her, but he will never play you false or lay hands on
you again. Look! He tossed the dripping scalp upon the paper. Now I
leave you forever. I cannot take you back among my people, who do not
know deceit like yours, nor could I ever love you as I did at first.
Turning, without other farewell he went out at the door. When this gift
of Accabee land was sold--for the woman could no longer bear to live on
it, but went to a northern city--a handsome house was built by the new
owner, who added game preserves and pleasure grounds to the estate, but
it was haunted by a grief. Illness and ill luck followed the purchase,
and the house fell into ruin.





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Previous: The Hunter Of Calawassee



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