The Swallowing Earthquake

The Indian village that in 1765 stood just below the site of Oxford,

Alabama, was upset when the news was given out that two of the squaws had

given simultaneous birth to a number of children that were spotted like

leopards. Such an incident betokened the existence of some baneful spirit

among them that had no doubt leagued itself with the women, who were at

once tried on the charge of witchcraft, convicted, and sentenced to death

at the stake, while a watch was to be set on the infants, so early

orphaned, lest they, too, should show signs of malevolent possession. The

whole tribe, seventeen hundred in number, assembled to see the execution,

but hardly were the fires alight when a sound like thunder rolled beneath

their feet, and with a hideous crack and groan the earth opened and

nearly every soul was engulfed in a fathomless and smoking pit-all,

indeed, save two, for a couple of young braves who were on the edge of

the crowd flung themselves flat on the heaving ground and remained there

until the earthquake wave had passed. The hollow afterward filled with

water and was called Blue Pond. It is popularly supposed to be

fathomless, but it was shown that a forest once spread across the bottom,

when, but a few years ago, a great tree arose from the water, lifting

first its branches, then turning so as to show its roots above the

surface, and afterward disappeared.

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