Catskill Gnomes

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Behind the New Grand Hotel, in the Catskills, is an amphitheatre of

mountain that is held to be the place of which the Mohicans spoke when

they told of people there who worked in metals, and had bushy beards and

eyes like pigs. From the smoke of their forges, in autumn, came the haze

of Indian summer; and when the moon was full, it was their custom to

assemble on the edge of a precipice above the hollow and dance and caper

until the night was nigh worn away. They brewed a liquor that had the

effect of shortening the bodies and swelling the heads of all who drank

it, and when Hudson and his crew visited the mountains, the pygmies held

a carouse in his honor and invited him to drink their liquor. The crew

went away, shrunken and distorted by the magic distillation, and thus it

was that Rip Van Winkle found them on the eve of his famous sleep.