The Ball Game By The Saco

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Water-Goblins from the streams about Katahdin had left their birthplace

and journeyed away to the Agiochooks, making their presence known to the

Indians of that region by thefts and loss of life. When the manitou,

Glooskap, learned that these goblins were eating human flesh and

committing other outrages, he took on their own form, turning half his

body into stone, and went in search of them. The wigwam had been pitched

near the Home of the Water Fairies,--a name absurdly changed by the

people of North Conway to Diana's Bath,--and on entering he was invited

to take meat. The tail of a whale was cooked and offered to him, but

after he had taken it upon his knees one of the goblins exclaimed, That

is too good for a beggar like you, and snatched it away. Glooskap had

merely to wish the return of the dainty when it flew back into his

platter. Then he took the whale's jaw, and snapped it like a reed; he

filled his pipe and burned the tobacco to ashes in one inhalation; when

his hosts closed the wigwam and smoked vigorously, intending to foul the

air and stupefy him, he enjoyed it, while they grew sick; so they

whispered to each other, This is a mighty magician, and we must try his

powers in another way.

A game of ball was proposed, and, adjourning to a sandy level at the bend

of the Saco, they began to play, but Glooskap found that the ball was a

hideous skull that rolled and snapped at him and would have torn his

flesh had it not been immortal and immovable from his bones. He crushed

it at a blow, and breaking off the bough of a tree he turned it by a word

into a skull ten times larger than the other that flew after the wicked

people as a wildcat leaps upon a rabbit. Then the god stamped on the

sands and all the springs were opened in the mountains, so that the Saco

came rising through the valley with a roar that made the nations tremble.

The goblins were caught in the flood and swept into the sea, where

Glooskap changed them into fish.