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The Hobomak


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Such was the Indian name of the site of Westboro, Massachusetts, and the
neighboring pond was Hochomocko. The camp of the red men near the shore
was full of bustle one day, for their belle, Iano, was to marry the young
chief, Sassacus. The feast was spread and all were ready to partake of
it, when it was found that the bride was missing. One girl had seen her
steal into the wood with a roguish smile on her lip, and knew that she
intended to play hide-and-seek with Sassacus before she should be
proclaimed a wife, but the day wore on and she did not come. Among those
who were late in reaching camp was Wequoash, who brought a panther in
that he had slain on Boston Hill, and he bragged about his skill, as
usual. There had been a time when he was a rival of the chief for the
hand of Iano, and he showed surprise and concern at her continued
absence. The search went on for two days, and, at the end of that time,
the girl's body was taken from the lake.

At the funeral none groaned so piteously as Wequoash. Yet Sassacus felt
his loss so keenly that he fell into a sickness next day, and none was
found so constant in his ministrations as Wequoash; but all to no avail,
for within a week Sassacus, too, was dead. As the strongest and bravest
remaining in the tribe, Wequoash became heir to his honors by election.

A year later he sat moodily by the lakeside, when a flame burst up from
the water, and a canoe floated toward him that a mysterious agency
impelled him to enter. The boat sped toward the flame, that, at his
approach, assumed Iano's form. He heard the water gurgle as he passed
over the spot where the shape had glimmered, but there was no other sound
or check. Next year this thing occurred again, and then the spirit spoke:
Only once more.

Yet a third time his fate took him to the spot, and as the hour came on
he called his people to him: This, said he, is my death-day. I have
done evil, and the time comes none too soon. Sassacus was your chief. I
envied him his happiness, and gave him poison when I nursed him. Worse
than that, I saw Iano in her canoe on her wedding-day. She had refused my
hand. I entered my canoe and chased her over the water, in pretended
sport, but in the middle of the lake I upset her birch and she was
drowned. See! she comes!

For, as he spoke, the light danced up again, and the boat came,
self-impelled, to the strand. Wequoash entered it, and with head bent
down was hurried away. Those on the shore saw the flame condense to a
woman's shape, and a voice issued from it: It is my hour! A blinding
bolt of lightning fell, and at the appalling roar of thunder all hid
their faces. When they looked up, boat and flame had vanished. Whenever,
afterward, an Indian rowed across the place where the murderer had sunk,
he dropped a stone, and the monument that grew in that way can be seen on
the pond floor to this day.

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