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The Spirit Of Cloudy


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Among the lumbermen of Alger, Michigan, was William Cloud, an Indian,
usually called Cloudy, who was much employed on a chute a mile and a half
out of the village. The rains were heavy one spring, and a large raft of
logs had been floated down to the chute, where they were held back by a
gate until it was time to send them through in a mass. When the creek had
reached its maximum height the foreman gave word to the log-drivers to
lower the gate and let the timber down. This order came on a chilly April
night, and, as it was pitchy dark and rain was falling in sheets, the
lumbermen agreed to draw cuts to decide which of them should venture out
and start the logs. Cloudy drew the fatal slip. He was a quiet fellow,
and without a word he opened the door, bent against the storm, and passed
into the darkness. An hour went by, and the men in the cabin laughed as
they described the probable appearance of their comrade when he should
return, soaked through and through, and they wondered if he was waiting
in some shelter beside the path for the middle of the night to pass, for
the Indians believed that an evil spirit left the stream every night and
was abroad until that hour.

As time lengthened the jest and talk subsided and a moody silence
supervened. At length one of the number resolved to sally out and see if
any mishap had fallen to the Indian. He was joined by three others, and
the party repaired to the creek. Above the chute it was seen that the
gate--which was released by the withdrawal of iron pins and sank of its
own weight-had not quite settled into place, and by the light of a
lantern held near the surface of the rushing current an obstruction could
be dimly seen. The gate was slightly raised and the object drawn up with
pike-poles. It was the mangled body of Cloudy. He was buried beside the
creek; but the camp was soon abandoned and the chute is in decay, for
between the hours of ten and twelve each night the wraith of the Indian,
accompanied by the bad spirit of the stream, ranges through the wood, his
form shining blue in the gloom, his groans sounding above the swish and
lap of the waters.

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