1158. To raise an umbrella in a house is a sign of an approaching death. Pennsylvania; somewhat general in the United States. 1159. To open an umbrella in the house is a sign of ill luck. An action of this sort seriously distur... Read more of Death Omens at Superstitions.caInformational Site Network Informational

The Woman Of Stone

Source: Folk-lore And Legends: North American Indian

In one of the niches or recesses formed by a precipice in the cavern
of Kickapoo Creek, which is a tributary of the Wisconsin, there is a
gigantic mass of stone presenting the appearance of a human figure. It
is so sheltered by the overhanging rocks and by the sides of the
recess in which it stands as to assume a dark and gloomy character. Of
the figure the following legend is related:--

Once upon a time there lived a woman who was called Shenanska, or the
White Buffalo Robe. She was an inhabitant of the prairie, a dweller in
the cabins which stand upon the verge of the hills. She was the pride
of her people, not only for her beauty, which was very great, but for
her goodness. The breath of the summer wind was not milder than the
temper of Shenanska, the face of the sun was not fairer than her

At length the tribe was surprised in its encampment on the banks of
the Kickapoo by a numerous band of the fierce Mengwe. Many of them
fell fighting bravely, the greater part of the women and children were
made prisoners, and the others fled to the wilds for safety. It was
the fortune of Shenanska to escape from death or captivity. When the
alarm of the war-whoop reached her ear as she was sleeping in her
lodge with her husband, she had rushed forth with him and gone with
the braves to meet their assailants. When she saw half of the men of
her nation lying dead around, then she fled. She had been wounded in
the battle, but she still succeeded in effecting her escape to the
hills. Weakened by loss of blood, she had not strength enough left to
hunt for a supply of food, and she was near perishing with hunger.

While she lay beneath the shade of a tree there came to her a being
not of this world.

"Shenanska," said he, in a gentle voice, "thou art wounded and hungry,
shall I heal thee and feed thee? Wilt thou return to the lands of thy
tribe and live to be old, a widow and alone, or go now to the land of
departed spirits and join the shade of thy husband? The choice is
thine. If thou wilt live, crippled, and bowed down by wounds and
disease, thou mayest. If it would please thee better to rejoin thy
friends in the country beyond the Great River, say so."

Shenanska replied that she wished to die. The spirit took her, and
placed her in one of the recesses of the cavern, overshadowed by
hanging rocks. He then spoke some words in a low voice, and, breathing
on her, she became stone. Determined that a woman so good and
beautiful should not be forgotten by the world, he made her into a
statue, to which he gave the power of killing suddenly any one who
irreverently approached it. For a long time the statue relentlessly
exercised this power. Many an unconscious Indian, venturing too near
to it, fell dead without any perceptible wound. At length, tired of
the havoc the statue made, the guardian spirit took away the power he
had given to it. At this day the statue may be approached with safety,
but the Indians hold it in fear, not intruding rashly upon it, and
when in its presence treating it with great respect.

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