The Spirit Of Cloudy

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Among the lumbermen of Alger, Michigan, was William Cloud, an Indian,

usually called Cloudy, who was much employed on a chute a mile and a half

out of the village. The rains were heavy one spring, and a large raft of

logs had been floated down to the chute, where they were held back by a

gate until it was time to send them through in a mass. When the creek had

reached its maximum height the foreman gave word to the log-drivers to
lower the gate and let the timber down. This order came on a chilly April

night, and, as it was pitchy dark and rain was falling in sheets, the

lumbermen agreed to draw cuts to decide which of them should venture out

and start the logs. Cloudy drew the fatal slip. He was a quiet fellow,

and without a word he opened the door, bent against the storm, and passed

into the darkness. An hour went by, and the men in the cabin laughed as

they described the probable appearance of their comrade when he should

return, soaked through and through, and they wondered if he was waiting

in some shelter beside the path for the middle of the night to pass, for

the Indians believed that an evil spirit left the stream every night and

was abroad until that hour.

As time lengthened the jest and talk subsided and a moody silence

supervened. At length one of the number resolved to sally out and see if

any mishap had fallen to the Indian. He was joined by three others, and

the party repaired to the creek. Above the chute it was seen that the

gate--which was released by the withdrawal of iron pins and sank of its

own weight-had not quite settled into place, and by the light of a

lantern held near the surface of the rushing current an obstruction could

be dimly seen. The gate was slightly raised and the object drawn up with

pike-poles. It was the mangled body of Cloudy. He was buried beside the

creek; but the camp was soon abandoned and the chute is in decay, for

between the hours of ten and twelve each night the wraith of the Indian,

accompanied by the bad spirit of the stream, ranges through the wood, his

form shining blue in the gloom, his groans sounding above the swish and

lap of the waters.