The Swim At Indian Head

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

At Indian Head, Maryland, are the government proving-grounds, where the

racket of great guns and splintering of targets are a deterrent to the

miscellaneous visitations of picnics. Trouble has been frequently

associated with this neighborhood, as it is now suggested in the noisy

symbolry of war. In prehistoric days it was the site of an aboriginal

town, whose denizens were like other Indians in their love for fight and

their willingness to shed blood. Great was the joy of all these citizens

when a scouting party came in, one day, bringing with them the daughter

of one of their toughest old hunters and a young buck, from another

faction, who had come a-courting; her in the neighboring shades.

Capture meant death, usually, and he knew it, but he held himself proudly

and refused to ask for mercy. It was resolved that he should die. The

father's scorn for his daughter, that she should thus consort with an

enemy, was so great that he was on the point of offering her as a joint

sacrifice with her lover, when she fell on her knees before him and began

a fervent appeal, not for herself, but for the prisoner. She would do

anything to prove her strength, her duty, her obedience, if they would

set him free. He had done injury to none. What justice lay in putting him

to the torture?

Half in earnest, half in humor, the chief answered, Suppose we were to

set him on the farther shore of the Potomac, do you love him well enough

to swim to him?

I do.

The river is wide and deep.

I would drown in it rather than that harm should come to him.

The old chief ordered the captive, still bound, to be taken to a point on

the Virginia shore, full two miles away, in one of their canoes, and when

the boat was on the water he gave the word to the girl, who instantly

plunged in and followed it. The chief and the father embarked in another

birch--ostensibly to see that the task was honestly fulfilled; really,

perhaps, to see that the damsel did not drown. It was a long course, but

the maid was not as many of our city misses are, and she reached the

bank, tired, but happy, for she had saved her lover and gained him for a