The Marriage Of Mount Katahdin

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

An Indian girl gathering berries on the side of Mount Katahdin looked up

at its peak, rosy in the afternoon light, and sighed, I wish that I had

a husband. If Katahdin were a man he might marry me. Her companions

laughed at this quaint conceit, and, filled with confusion at being

overheard, she climbed higher up the slope and was lost to sight. For

three years her tribe lost sight of her; then she came back with a child

in her arms a beautiful boy with brows of stone. The boy had wonderful

power: he had only to point at a moose or a duck or a bear, and it fell

dead, so that the tribe never wanted food. For he was the son of the

Indian girl and the spirit of the mountain, who had commanded her not to

reveal the boy's paternity. Through years she held silence on this point,

holding in contempt, like other Indians, the prying inquiries of gossips

and the teasing of young people, and knowing that Katahdin had designed

the child for the founder of a mighty race, with the sinews of the very

mountains in its frame, that should fill and rule the earth. Yet, one

day, in anger at some slight, the mother spoke: Fools! Wasps who sting

the fingers that pick you from the water! Why do you torment me about

what you might all see? Look at the boy's face--his brows: in them do you

not see Katahdin? Now you have brought the curse upon yourselves, for you

shall hunt your own venison from this time forth. Leading the child by

the hand she turned toward the mountain and went out from their sight.

And since then the Indians who could not hold their tongues, and who

might otherwise have been great, have dwindled to a little people.