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Wizard's Glen






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Four miles from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, among the Berkshire Hills, is
a wild valley, noted for its echoes, that for a century and more has been
called Wizard's Glen. Here the Indian priests performed their
incantations, and on the red-stained Devil's Altar, it was said, they
offered human sacrifice to Hobomocko and his demons of the wood. In
Berkshire's early days a hunter, John Chamberlain, of Dalton, who had
killed a deer and was carrying it home on his shoulders, was overtaken on
the hills by a storm and took shelter from it in a cavernous recess in
Wizard's Glen. In spite of his fatigue he was unable to sleep, and while
lying on the earth with open eyes he was amazed to see the wood bend
apart before him, disclosing a long aisle that was mysteriously lighted
and that contained hundreds of capering forms. As his eyes grew
accustomed to the faint light he made out tails and cloven feet on the
dancing figures; and one tall form with wings, around whose head a wreath
of lightning glittered, and who received the deference of the rest, he
surmised to be the devil himself. It was such a night and such a place as
Satan and his imps commonly chose for high festivals.

As he lay watching them through the sheeted rain a tall and painted
Indian leaped on Devil's Altar, fresh scalps dangling round his body in
festoons, and his eyes blazing with fierce command. In a brief
incantation he summoned the shadow hordes around him. They came, with
torches that burned blue, and went around and around the rock singing a
harsh chant, until, at a sign, an Indian girl was dragged in and flung on
the block of sacrifice. The figures rushed toward her with extended arms
and weapons, and the terrified girl gave one cry that rang in the
hunter's ears all his life after. The wizard raised his axe: the devils
and vampires gathered to drink the blood and clutch the escaping soul,
when in a lightning flash the girl's despairing glance fell on the face
of Chamberlain. That look touched his manhood, and drawing forth his
Bible he held it toward the rabble while he cried aloud the name of God.
There was a crash of thunder. The light faded, the demons vanished, the
storm swept past, and peace settled on the hills.





Next: Balanced Rock

Previous: The White Deer Of Onota



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