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Skinner's Cave


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

The abhorrence to paying taxes and duties--or any other levy from which
an immediate and personal good is not promised--is too deeply rooted in
human nature to be affected by statutes, and whenever it is possible to
buy commodities that have escaped the observation of the revenue officers
many are tempted to do so for the mere pleasure of defying the law. In
the early part of this century the northern farmers and their wives were,
in a way, providing themselves with laces, silver-ware, brandy, and other
protected and dreadful articles, on which it was evident that somebody
had forgotten to pay duty. The customs authorities on the American side
of the border were long puzzled by the irruption of these forbidden
things, but suspicion ultimately fell on a fellow of gigantic size, named

It was believed that this outlaw carried on the crime of free trade after
sunset, hiding his merchandise by day on the islands of Lake
Memphremagog. This delightful sheet of water lies half in Canada and half
in Vermont--agreeably to the purpose of such as he. Province Island is
still believed to contain buried treasure, but the rock that contains
Skinner's Cave was the smuggler's usual haunt, and when pursued he rowed
to this spot and effected a disappearance, because he entered the cave on
the northwest side, where it was masked by shrubbery. One night the
officers landed on this island after he had gone into hiding, and after
diligent search discovered his boat drawn up in a covert. They pushed it
into the lake, where the winds sent it adrift, and, his communication
with the shore thus cut off, the outlaw perished miserably of hunger. His
skeleton was found in the cavern some years later.

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