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The Springs Of Blood And Water






Category: THE ISLE OF MANHATTOES AND NEARBY

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

A great drought had fallen on Long Island, and the red men prayed for
water. It is true that they could get it at Lake Ronkonkoma, but some of
them were many miles from there, and, beside, they feared the spirits at
that place: the girl who plied its waters in a phosphor-shining birch,
seeking her recreant lover; and the powerful guardians that the Great
Spirit had put in charge to keep the fish from being caught, for these
fish were the souls of men, awaiting deliverance into another form. The
people gathered about their villages in bands and besought the Great
Spirit to give them drink. His voice was heard at last, bidding their
chief to shoot an arrow into the air and to watch where it fell, for
there would water gush out. The chief obeyed the deity, and as the arrow
touched the earth a spring of sweet water spouted into the air. Running
forward with glad cries the red men drank eagerly of the liquor, laved
their faces in it, and were made strong again; and in memory of that
event they called the place the Hill of God, or Manitou Hill, and Manet
or Manetta Hill it is to this day. Hereabouts the Indians settled and
lived in peace, thriving under the smile of their deity, making wampum
for the inland tribes and waxing rich with gains from it. They made the
canal from bay to sea at Canoe Place, that they might reach open water
without dragging their boats across the sand-bars, and in other ways they
proved themselves ingenious and strong.

When the English landed on the island they saw that the Indians were not
a people to be trifled with, and in order to properly impress them with
their superiority, they told them that John Bull desired a treaty with
them. The officers got them to sit in line in front of a cannon, the
nature of which instrument was unknown to them, and during the talk the
gun was fired, mowing down so many of the red people that the survivors
took to flight, leaving the English masters at the north shore, for this
heartless and needless massacre took place at Whale's Neck. So angry was
the Great Spirit at this act of cruelty and treachery that he caused
blood to ooze from the soil, as he had made water leap for his thirsting
children, and never again would grass grow on the spot where the murder
had been done.





Next: The Crumbling Silver

Previous: The Devil's Stepping-stones



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