Wizard's Glen

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.

With What Measure Ye Mete Woman's Curiosity facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail