The Hobomak

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Such was the Indian name of the site of Westboro, Massachusetts, and the

neighboring pond was Hochomocko. The camp of the red men near the shore

was full of bustle one day, for their belle, Iano, was to marry the young

chief, Sassacus. The feast was spread and all were ready to partake of

it, when it was found that the bride was missing. One girl had seen her

steal into the wood with a roguish smile on her lip, and knew that she
intended to play hide-and-seek with Sassacus before she should be

proclaimed a wife, but the day wore on and she did not come. Among those

who were late in reaching camp was Wequoash, who brought a panther in

that he had slain on Boston Hill, and he bragged about his skill, as

usual. There had been a time when he was a rival of the chief for the

hand of Iano, and he showed surprise and concern at her continued

absence. The search went on for two days, and, at the end of that time,

the girl's body was taken from the lake.

At the funeral none groaned so piteously as Wequoash. Yet Sassacus felt

his loss so keenly that he fell into a sickness next day, and none was

found so constant in his ministrations as Wequoash; but all to no avail,

for within a week Sassacus, too, was dead. As the strongest and bravest

remaining in the tribe, Wequoash became heir to his honors by election.

A year later he sat moodily by the lakeside, when a flame burst up from

the water, and a canoe floated toward him that a mysterious agency

impelled him to enter. The boat sped toward the flame, that, at his

approach, assumed Iano's form. He heard the water gurgle as he passed

over the spot where the shape had glimmered, but there was no other sound

or check. Next year this thing occurred again, and then the spirit spoke:

Only once more.

Yet a third time his fate took him to the spot, and as the hour came on

he called his people to him: This, said he, is my death-day. I have

done evil, and the time comes none too soon. Sassacus was your chief. I

envied him his happiness, and gave him poison when I nursed him. Worse

than that, I saw Iano in her canoe on her wedding-day. She had refused my

hand. I entered my canoe and chased her over the water, in pretended

sport, but in the middle of the lake I upset her birch and she was

drowned. See! she comes!

For, as he spoke, the light danced up again, and the boat came,

self-impelled, to the strand. Wequoash entered it, and with head bent

down was hurried away. Those on the shore saw the flame condense to a

woman's shape, and a voice issued from it: It is my hour! A blinding

bolt of lightning fell, and at the appalling roar of thunder all hid

their faces. When they looked up, boat and flame had vanished. Whenever,

afterward, an Indian rowed across the place where the murderer had sunk,

he dropped a stone, and the monument that grew in that way can be seen on

the pond floor to this day.