The Swim At Indian Head
Category: LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF THE SOUTH
Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land
At Indian Head, Maryland, are the government proving-grounds, where the
racket of great guns and splintering of targets are a deterrent to the
miscellaneous visitations of picnics. Trouble has been frequently
associated with this neighborhood, as it is now suggested in the noisy
symbolry of war. In prehistoric days it was the site of an aboriginal
town, whose denizens were like other Indians in their love for fight and
their willingness to shed blood. Great was the joy of all these citizens
when a scouting party came in, one day, bringing with them the daughter
of one of their toughest old hunters and a young buck, from another
faction, who had come a-courting; her in the neighboring shades.
Capture meant death, usually, and he knew it, but he held himself proudly
and refused to ask for mercy. It was resolved that he should die. The
father's scorn for his daughter, that she should thus consort with an
enemy, was so great that he was on the point of offering her as a joint
sacrifice with her lover, when she fell on her knees before him and began
a fervent appeal, not for herself, but for the prisoner. She would do
anything to prove her strength, her duty, her obedience, if they would
set him free. He had done injury to none. What justice lay in putting him
to the torture?
Half in earnest, half in humor, the chief answered, Suppose we were to
set him on the farther shore of the Potomac, do you love him well enough
to swim to him?
The river is wide and deep.
I would drown in it rather than that harm should come to him.
The old chief ordered the captive, still bound, to be taken to a point on
the Virginia shore, full two miles away, in one of their canoes, and when
the boat was on the water he gave the word to the girl, who instantly
plunged in and followed it. The chief and the father embarked in another
birch--ostensibly to see that the task was honestly fulfilled; really,
perhaps, to see that the damsel did not drown. It was a long course, but
the maid was not as many of our city misses are, and she reached the
bank, tired, but happy, for she had saved her lover and gained him for a
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