The Monster Mosquitoe

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

They have some pretty big mosquitoes in New Jersey and on Long Island,

but, if report of their ancestry is true, they have degenerated in size

and voracity; for the grandfather of all mosquitoes used to live in the

neighborhood of Fort Onondaga, New York, and sallying out whenever he was

hungry, would eat an Indian or two and pick his teeth with their ribs.

The red men had no arms that could prevail against it, but at last the

Holder of the Heavens, hearing their cry for aid, came down and attacked

the insect. Finding that it had met its match, the mosquito flew away so

rapidly that its assailant could hardly keep it in sight. It flew around

the great lake, then turned eastward again. It sought help vainly of the

witches that brooded in the sink-holes, or Green Lakes (near Janesville,

New York), and had reached the salt lake of Onondaga when its pursuer

came up and killed it, the creature piling the sand into hills in its

dying struggles.

As its blood poured upon the earth it became small mosquitoes, that

gathered about the Holder of the Heavens and stung him so sorely that he

half repented the service that he had done to men. The Tuscaroras say

that this was one of two monsters that stood on opposite banks of the

Seneca River and slew all men that passed. Hiawatha killed the other one.

On their reservation is a stone, marked by the form of the Sky Holder,

that shows where he rested during the chase, while his tracks were until

lately seen south of Syracuse, alternating with footprints of the

mosquito, which were shaped like those of a bird, and twenty inches long.

At Brighton, New York, where these marks appeared, they were

reverentially renewed by the Indians for many years.