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The Lewiston Hermit






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

On an island above the falls of the Androscoggin, at Lewiston, Maine,
lived a white recluse at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The
natives, having had good reason to mistrust all palefaces, could think no
good of the man who lived thus among but not with them. Often they
gathered at the bank and looked across at his solitary candle twinkling
among the leaves, and wondered what manner of evil he could be planning
against them. Wherever there are many conspirators one will be a gabbler
or a traitor; so, when the natives had resolved on his murder, he,
somehow, learned of their intent and set himself to thwart it. So great
was their fear of this lonely man, and of the malignant powers he might
conjure to his aid, that nearly fifty Indians joined the expedition, to
give each other courage.

Their plan was to go a little distance up the river and come down with
the current, thus avoiding the dip of paddles that he might hear in a
direct crossing. When it was quite dark they set off, and keeping headway
on their canoes aimed them toward the light that glimmered above the
water. But the cunning hermit had no fire in his cabin that night. It was
burning on a point below his shelter, and from his hiding-place among the
rocks he saw their fleet, as dim and silent as shadows, go by him on the
way to the misguiding beacon.

Presently a cry arose. The savages had passed the point of safe sailing;
their boats had become unmanageable. Forgetting their errand, their only
hope now was to save themselves, but in vain they tried to reach the
shore: the current was whirling them to their doom. Cries and death-songs
mingled with the deepening roar of the waters, the light barks reached
the cataract and leaped into the air. Then the night was still again,
save for the booming of the flood. Not one of the Indians who had set out
on this errand of death survived the hermit's stratagem.





Next: The Dead Ship Of Harpswell

Previous: The Snoring Of Swunksus



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