Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network
Privacy
 


The Silence Broken






Category: LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF THE SOUTH

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

It was in 1734 that Joist Hite moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia, with
his wife and boys, and helped to make a settlement on the Shenandoah
twelve miles south of Woodstock. When picking berries at a distance from
the village, one morning, the boys were surprised by Indians, who hurried
with them into the wilderness before their friends could be apprised.
Aaron, the elder, was strong, and big of frame, with coarse, black hair,
and face tanned brown; but his brother was small and fair, with blue eyes
and yellow locks, and it was doubtless because he was a type of the hated
white race that the Indians spent their blows and kicks on him and spared
the sturdy one. Aaron was wild with rage at the injuries put upon his
gentle brother, but he was bound and helpless, and all that he could do
was to encourage him to bear a stout heart and not to fall behind.

But Peter was too delicate to keep up, and there came a day when he could
go no farther. The red men consulted for a few moments, then all of them
stood apart but one, who fitted an arrow to his bow. The child's eyes
grew big with fear, and Aaron tore at his bonds, but uselessly, and
shouted that he would take the victim's place, but no one understood his
speech, and in another moment Peter lay dead on the earth, with an arrow
in his heart. Aaron gave one cry of hate and despair, and he, too, sank
unconscious. On coming to himself he found that he was in a hut of
boughs, attended by an old Indian, who told him in rude English that he
was recovering from an illness of several weeks' duration, and that it
was the purpose of his tribe to adopt him. When the lad tried to protest
he found to his amazement that he could not utter a sound, and he learned
from the Indian that the fever had taken away his tongue. In the dulness
and weakness of his state he submitted to be clothed in Indian dress,
smeared with a juice that browned his skin, and greeted by his brother's
slayers as one of themselves. When he looked into a pool he found that he
had, to all intents, become an Indian. In time he became partly
reconciled to this change, for he did not know and could not ask where
the white settlements lay; his appearance and his inability to speak
would prevent his recognition by his friends, the red men were not unkind
to him, and every boy likes a free and out-door life. They taught him to
shoot with bow and arrow, but they kept him back if a white settlement
was to be plundered.

Three years had elapsed, and Aaron, grown tall and strong, was a good
hunter who stood in favor with the tribe. They had roamed back to the
neighborhood of Woodstock, when, at a council, Aaron overheard a plot to
fall on the village where his parents lived. He begged, by signs, to be
allowed to go with them, and, believing that he could now be trusted,
they offered no objection. Stoic as he had grown to be, he could not
repress a tear as he saw his old home and thought of the peril that it
stood in. If only he could give an alarm! The Indians retired into the
forest to cook their food where the smoke could not be seen, while Aaron
lingered at the edge of the wood and prayed for opportunity. He was not
disappointed. Two girls came up through the perfumed dusk, driving cows
from the pasture, and as they drew near, Aaron, pretending not to see
them, crawled out of the bush with his weapons, and made a show of
stealthily examining the town. The girls came almost upon him and
screamed, while he dashed into the wood in affected surprise and regained
the camp. The Indians had heard and seen nothing. The girls would surely
give the alarm in town.

One by one the lights of the village went out, and when it seemed locked
in sleep the red marauders crept toward the nearest house--that of Joist
Hite. They arose together and rushed upon it, but at that moment a gun
was fired, an Indian fell, and in a few seconds more the settlers, whom
the girls had not failed to put on their guard, were hurrying from their
hiding-places, firing into the astonished crowd of savages, who dashed
for the woods again, leaving a dozen of their number on the ground. Aaron
remained quietly standing near his father's house, and he was captured,
as he hoped to be. When he saw how his parents had aged with time and
grief he could not repress a tear, but to his grief was added terror when
his father, after looking him steadily in the eye without recognition,
began to load a pistol. They killed my boys, said he, and I am going
to kill him. Bind him to that tree.

In vain the mother pleaded for mercy; in vain the dumb boy's eyes
appealed to his father's. He was not afraid to die, and would do so
gladly to have saved the settlement; but to die by his father's band! He
could not endure it. He was bound to a tree, with the light of a fire
shining into his face.

The old man, with hard determination, raised the weapon and aimed it
slowly at the boy's heart. A surge of feeling shook the frame of the
captive--he threw his whole life into the effort--then the silence of
three years was broken, and he cried, Father! A moment later his
parents were sobbing joyfully, and he could speak to them once more.





Next: Siren Of The French Broad

Previous: Natural Bridge



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 1067