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Satan And His Burial-place






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Satan appears to have troubled the early settlers in America almost as
grievously as he did the German students. He came in many shapes to many
people, and sometimes he met his match. Did he not try to stop old Peter
Stuyvesant from rowing through Hell Gate one moonlight night, and did not
that tough old soldier put something at his shoulder that Satan thought
must be his wooden leg? But it wasn't a leg: it was a gun, loaded with a
silver bullet that had been charged home with prayer. Peter fired and the
missile whistled off to Ward's Island, where three boys found it
afterward and swapped it for double handfuls of doughnuts and bulls'
eyes. Incidentally it passed between the devil's ribs and the fiend
exploded with a yell and a smell, the latter of sulphur, to Peter's
blended satisfaction and alarm. And did not the same spirit of evil
plague the old women of Massachusetts Bay and craze the French and
Spaniards in the South? At Hog Rock, west of Milford, Connecticut, he
broke up a pleasant diversion:

Once four young men upon ye rock
Sate down at chuffle board to play
When ye Deuill appearde in shape of a hogg
And frightend ym so they scampered away
And left Old Nick to finish ye play.

One of the first buildings to be put up in Ipswich, Massachusetts, was a
church built on a ledge above the river, and in that church Satan tried
to conceal himself for purposes of mischief. For this act he was hurled
from the steeple-top by some unseen instrument of righteousness with such
force that his hoofmark was stamped into a solid stone near by. This did
not deter him from mounting to the ridge-pole and assuming a defiant air,
with folded arms, when Whitefield began to preach, but when that
clergyman's tremendous voice was loosed below him he bounced into the air
in terror and disappeared.

The Shakers report that in the waning of the eighteenth century they
chased the evil one through the coverts of Mount Sinai, Massachusetts,
and just before dawn of a summer morning they caught and killed and
buried him. Shakers are spiritualists, and they believe their numbers to
have been augmented by distinguished dead, among whom they already number
Washington, Lafayette, Napoleon, Tamerlane, and Pocahontas. The two first
named of these posthumous communists are still seen by members of the
faith who pass Satan's grave at night, for they sit astride of white
horses and watch the burial spot, lest the enemy of man arise and begin
anew his career of trouble. Some members of the brotherhood say that this
legend typifies a burial of evil tendencies in the hearts of those who
hunted the fiend, but it has passed down among others as a circumstance.
The Shakers have many mystic records, transmitted verbally to the present
disciples of Mother Ann, but seldom told to scoffers in the world, as
those are called who live without their pure and peaceful communes. Among
these records is that of the appearance of John the Baptist in the
meeting-house at Mount Lebanon, New York, one Sunday, clothed in light
and leading the sacred dance of the worshippers, by which they signify
the shaking out of all carnal things from the heart.





Next: Peter Rugg The Missing Man

Previous: The Gloucester Leaguers



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