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The Revenge Of Shandaken


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

On the rock platform where the Catskill Mountain House now stands,
commanding one of the fairest views in the world, old chief Shandaken set
his wigwam,--for it is a mistake to suppose that barbarians are
indifferent to beauty,--and there his daughter, Lotowana, was sought in
marriage by his braves. She, however, kept faith to an early vow
exchanged with a young chief of the Mohawks. A suitor who was
particularly troublesome was Norsereddin, proud, morose, dark-featured, a
stranger to the red man, a descendant, so he claimed, from Egyptian
kings, and who lived by himself on Kaaterskill Creek, appearing among
white settlements but rarely.

On one of his visits to Catskill, a tavern-lounging Dutchman wagered him
a thousand golden crowns that he could not win Lotowana, and, stung by
avarice as well as inflamed by passion, Norsereddin laid new siege to her
heart. Still the girl refused to listen, and Shandaken counselled him to
be content with the smiles of others, thereby so angering the Egyptian
that he assailed the chief and was driven from the camp with blows; but
on the day of Lotowana's wedding with the Mohawk he returned, and in a
honeyed speech asked leave to give a jewel to the bride to show that he
had stifled jealousy and ill will. The girl took the handsome box he gave
her and drew the cover, when a spring flew forward, driving into her hand
the poisoned tooth of a snake that had been affixed to it. The venom was
strong, and in a few minutes Lotowana lay dead at her husband's feet.

Though the Egyptian had disappeared into the forest directly on the
acceptance of his treacherous gift, twenty braves set off in pursuit, and
overtaking him on the Kalkberg, they dragged him back to the rock where
father and husband were bewailing the maid's untimely fate. A pile of
fagots was heaped within a few feet of the precipice edge, and tying
their captive on them, they applied the torch, dancing about with cries
of exultation as the shrieks of the wretch echoed from the cliffs. The
dead girl was buried by the mourning tribe, while the ashes of
Norsereddin were left to be blown abroad. On the day of his revenge
Shandaken left his ancient dwelling-place, and his camp-fires never
glimmered afterward on the front of Ontiora.

Next: Condemned To The Noose

Previous: The Catskill Witch

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