Pokepsie





The name of this town has forty-two spellings in old records, and with

singular pertinacity in ill-doing, the inhabitants have fastened on it

the longest and clumsiest of all. It comes from the Mohegan words

Apo-keep-sink, meaning a safe, pleasant harbor. Harbor it might be for

canoes, but for nothing bigger, for it was only the little cove that was

so called between Call Rock and Adder Cliff,--the former indicating where

settlers awaiting passage hailed the masters of vessels from its top, and

the latter taking its name from the snakes that abounded there.



Hither came a band of Delawares with Pequot captives, among them a young

chief to whom had been offered not only life but leadership if he would

renounce his tribe, receive the mark of the turtle on his breast, and

become a Delaware. On his refusal, he was bound to a tree, and was about

to undergo the torture, when a girl among the listeners sprang to his

side. She, too, was a Pequot, but the turtle totem was on her bosom, and

when she begged his life, because they had been betrothed, the captors

paused to talk of it. She had chosen well the time to interfere, for a

band of Hurons was approaching, and even as the talk went on their yell

was heard in the wood. Instant measures for defence were taken, and in

the fight that followed both chief and maiden were forgotten; but though

she cut the cords that bound him, they were separated in the confusion,

he disappearing, she falling captive to the Hurons, who, sated with

blood, retired from the field. In the fantastic disguise of a wizard the

young Pequot entered their camp soon after, and on being asked to try his

enchantments for the cure of a young woman, he entered her tent, showing

no surprise at finding her to be the maiden of his choice, who was

suffering from nothing worse than nerves, due to the excitement of the

battle. Left alone with his patient, he disclosed his identity, and

planned a way of escape that proved effective on that very night, for,

though pursued by the angry Hurons, the couple reached safe harbor,

thence making a way to their own country in the east, where they were

married.





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