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The Spell Of Creve Ciur Lake


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Not far west of St. Louis the Lake of Creve Coeur dimples in the breezes
that bend into its basin of hills, and there, in summer, swains and
maidens go to confirm their vows, for the lake has an influence to
strengthen love and reunite contentious pairs. One reason ascribed for
the presence of this spell concerns a turbulent Peoria, ambitious of
leadership and hungry for conquest, who fell upon the Chawanons at this
place, albeit he was affianced to the daughter of their chief. The girl
herself, enraged at the treachery of the youngster, put herself at the
head of her band--a dusky Joan of Arc,--and the fight waged so furiously
that the combatants, what were left of them, were glad when night fell
that they might crawl away to rest their exhausted bodies and nurse their
wounds. Neither tribe daring to invite a battle after that, hostilities
were stopped, but some time later the young captain met the girl of his
heart on the shore, and before the amazon could prepare for either fight
or flight he had caught her in his arms. They renewed their oaths of
fidelity, and at the wedding the chief proclaimed eternal peace and
blessed the waters they had met beside, the blessing being potent to this

Another reason for the enchantments that are worked here may be that the
lake is occupied by a demon-fish or serpent that crawls, slimy and
dripping, through the underbrush, whenever it sees two lovers together,
and listens to their words. If the man prove faithless he would best
beware of returning to this place, for the demon is lurking there to
destroy him. This monster imprisons the soul of an Ozark princess who
flung herself into the lake when she learned that the son of the Spanish
governor, who had vowed his love to her, had married a woman of his own
rank and race in New Orleans. So they call the lake Creve Coeur, or
Broken Heart. On the day after the suicide the Ozark chief gathered his
men about him and paddled to the middle of the water, where he solemnly
cursed his daughter in her death, and asked the Great Spirit to confine
her there as a punishment for giving her heart to the treacherous white
man, the enemy of his people. The Great Spirit gave her the form in which
she is occasionally seen, to warn and punish faithless lovers.

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