POST (11) "AN INDIAN LEGEND": There is an ancient legend of the Abenaki Indians...

ABENAKI

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CHAMPLAIN VALLEY

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There is an ancient legend of the Abenaki Indians from the Lake Champlain Valley of Vermont which states that on a certain night, long before the white man came to these shores, that a very magical event occurred.

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LAKE CHAMPLAIN

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     INDIAN LONGHOUSE

     VILLAGES

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The supposed eye-witness account of this event, after being passed down over the course of so many centuries...eventually became a "legend." Particularly since there was no physical evidence to support it. The legend itself has never been documented before now, but passed down by word-of-mouth from generation to generation. Just as it was to me, by the most senior member of the tribe, who is also the Tribal Leader. This is what the legend says:

 

LEGEND TELLER

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"THE LEGEND"

 

"Many, many moons ago a boy was born into the tribe during the month of October on the night of the full moon and was given the name "Son of the Moon." All the days of his growing up, he absolutely loved the moon. At night if there was a full-moon he was always slipping outside to gaze at the magical world of moonlight.

 

As a young man he says that in his mind "The Great Spirit" began telling him over a course of weeks that He had made a promise to the moon which He was ready to fulfill. The moon had requested Him to give the earth a gift, in thanks for the earth holding it within its embrace for all of these millennium. "The Great Spirit" told the young indian that the next rising of the full-moon would be very special! And that He would use the lad to help. He was told the event would be a half days journey from the village. The lad was told to travel west with the sun on the day leading up to the rising of the full-moon that night. And he would be led to a hill over-looking a very small secluded valley from which to watch the event.

 

At noon on this day, he began his journey early because he wanted to make sure he was well settled in to see the moon the moment it appeared over the ridge. He was led by "The Great Spirit" to the hill on the west side of the valley. There he settled in and had some dried venison while resting from his journey.

 

In a few hours the golden moon started appearing and rose higher until it just barely cleared the hill-top...to his absolute amazement he saw moonlight flowing from the bottom of the moon as a river of pure gold down the hill into the valley below. It would begin to fill the bottom of the valley and then begin to disappear...as if it was flowing underground. The flow gradually changed from a golden to a silvery-white color.

 

It kept flowing until suddenly a very strong wind arose, and dark clouds raced in and started filling the sky and blocking the moon. To him it was like "dark forces" were trying to interrupt and stop the beautiful sight he was seeing.  Suddenly the dark clouds started filling with light and it started to rain in a down-pour...but it was raining silvery-white liquid moonlight. The luminous drops gathered together on the hill-sides to flow in small streams of light into the valley below...where they would disappear.

 

All at once the moon-drops stopped and the clouds opened and raced away with the strong wind, which soon became a gentle breeze. With that, the event was over! And the silver full-moon continued to rise in the night sky. The dark forces had no power to stop what "The Great Spirit" had willed.

 

The Indian lad said that in his mind "The Great Spirit" told him to find the hole to the under-ground in order to hide and protect the secret. It was very easy to find in the small valley because there was a faint "shaft" of moon-light emanating from the hole whenever the moon went behind passing clouds. The entrance to the tunnel was large enough for a man to pass through. He noticed there was a very large rock hanging from the sloping earth right beside the hole and that if he started digging around and under the rock it should roll right on top of the hole. He covered the hole with brush and pine needles and laid down nearby to rest until sunrise.

 

With sunrise he awoke and had some dried venison, then walked over and removed the brush and pine needles. Before starting to dig around the rock he couldn't help peering down into the hole, and he saw a bottom. He dropped down into the hole and his feet touched the bottom when he reached waist deep. Then he crouched down and could see a gently sloping tunnel. He started crawling down the tunnel which was not dark...but glowing. The tunnel very soon became large enough for him to stand and eventually walk into a large cavern. The cavern was lit up like moon-light from a small lake which was glowing intensely in the dark. He walked over to the lake and cupped his hands and filled them with the liquid moon-light. He realized that the liquid flowing underground the night before had filled a portion of the bottom of the cave. He shouted out loud a thanks to "The Great Spirit" for His gift to the earth on behalf of the moon.

 

Reluctantly he returned to the tunnel, turned and took one last look at the amazing site! Back at the top he stood up and was able to lift himself out using his elbows. On the surface he found several strong sticks, sharpened them with his knife and began scraping the earth from around and under the rock. Scraping and resting, scraping and resting, scraping...until it loosened and then he pried it with a thick, long pole until it rolled and settled right on top of the hole. Sealing it! The rock was too large and heavy for anyone to move. Using his hands he filled around the rock until it looked like it had always been there. Then he filled the cavity from which the rock came with dirt. Packing it down solidly and then smoothing it out. When the rock looked like it had been there for a very long time, he began his long journey home.

 

The rest of his life he continued to tell his amazing story, but refused to tell the location of the valley and the rock. It was a secret between him and "The Great Spirit" which he kept the rest of his life.

 

So, this is the legend...as it was told to me.

                                                                 

Bill Carawan

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"THE GIFT"

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"THE MAN"

 

But, there is a second part to this story. The Tribal Leader who told me the legend, after seeing how interested and enthralled I was, said there was more to the story if I wanted to hear it. I told him I wanted to hear every last detail! He smiled and continued:

 

The Indian said that in the mid-nineties a man drove into the village asking about the legend...and was directed to him. This man was a pilot, geologist, surveyor, and landscaper by trade. But, he was also an avid "spelunker" or cave explorer. The Indian said he shared the legend in full detail with the man, who asked dozens of questions. The man said he was born in, and still lives in Burlington, Vermont. The family home he grew-up in sits near the top of the hill with a fantastic view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains on the opposite, up-state New York side of the lake. He had heard about the legend many times while growing up from his paternal grandfather, who was a full-blooded Abenaki. He credits this grandfather with passing along his own very strong love of Nature and the great outdoors to his grandson.

 

The man left saying that he believed the legend had some basis in fact and that he was going to use all of his skills to find the cave. If it actually existed.

 

The Indian continued by telling me that over five years later, in the year 2000, the man returned one night driving a dump-truck. He told the Indian that he couldn't wait to assure him that the legend is true! He said in his search the legend was full of clues which he had used to narrow down his search area. Such as "half a days journey" from the village. Since he knew the location of the village, he was roughly able to calculate how far the lad had travelled. Also, another clue was "traveling with the sun" which meant the lad was traveling west. This again, drastically reduced the search area. And another was "the hill overlooking a very small secluded valley." And finally, the rock itself at the very bottom of the valley right next to the slope from which it was pried. All...very good clues!

 

Using these clues he had outlined a "search area" which he searched relentlessly from overhead in his Piper Cub during his spare time. Finally, after years of searching he narrowed it down to "one very small secluded valley" from which he could glimpse what appeared to be one large rock sitting right next to a slope. Investigating in his Land Rover he was convinced that this finally had to be "the rock." If it wasn't...then his search was over...and it was just another legend! He took several pictures in order to preserve how it had looked for so many centuries. Then, trusting with all of his being that it was the right one...he began to mechanically lift the rock and set it over...and right underneath was the tunnel! He was so excited, that he immediately dropped down, crouched, and began to crawl down the long tunnel which was glowing just like the legend had said. It soon opened into a luminous cavern which was lit by the small lake of liquid moonlight. He said he could hardly believe his eyes! He said he started to dance, holler, and clap his hands!

 

THE ROCK

TUNNEL FOUND

UNDERNEATH

 

The Indian said the man asked if they could go inside the house, for he had something to show him. Once inside the living room the man pulled a small leather bag from his back pack and untied it. Then he asked the Indian to turn out the lamp. In the dark the Indian said he saw the man's face light up as he pulled a small Mason jar from the bag. The small jar was glowing intensely from the liquid inside. Liquid moonlight! Proof...that the legend was true!

 

The Indian asked him what he planned to do about his discovery? The man said that he was totally convinced that it needed to remain a secret for now in order not to be misused or destroyed for ill-gain. He said that he started inquiring about the land and was ecstatic to find out that a parcel of about 100 acres, which included the underground cavern, had been for sale for a couple of years.

 

The man said that as an only child he had recently received a very substantial family inheritance, which included the family home. He said he sold his condo, and moved back into the family home in which he now lives alone. So, he was able to immediately purchase all of the land along with the mineral rights, which he said used only a very small percentage of his inheritance.

 

The man said that after purchasing the land he had explored the cavern to make sure there was no other entrance or exit, and he could find none. Just the one tunnel. There were no sub-caverns, only the one cavern which included the lake of liquid moonlight. The cavern covered about sixty acres with the lake covering about fifteen acres of that space to a maximum depth of about eighteen feet. All of this was located well within the boundaries of the hundred acres he had purchased. There was no water with-in the cavern to contaminate the lake of liquid. When the liquid had flowed down into the cavern it had formed a lake by filling the dry bottom of a portion of the cavern. The liquid had the consistency of milk and was opaque, with the light emanating from the liquid itself.

 

The man said on a dark night, if there was no moon or the moon was covered by clouds, he had seen the faint shaft of moonlight emanating from the entrance to the cave...just like the legend says. 

 

He said he finally realized that another property of the liquid was that since it was the "essence" of moonlight that whatever color the visible moon was overhead...the liquid perfectly embodied that color. He had first observed this phenomena one night with the small Mason jar of liquid. On this night he happened to walk into his study and saw that the liquid in the jar was the color of gold (just as the legend said when it first started to flow like a river.) He carried the Mason jar out onto the porch and watched the liquid in the jar change color to silvery-white, along with the moon as it rose slowly into the sky.

 

The man then asked the Indian to walk out to his dumptruck. In the back of the truck was a canvas covering a large object. He pulled up one side of the canvas and underneath was a very large rock. It was the large rock that had covered the tunnel to the cavern for so many hundreds of years. He said he had used a small bull-dozer to load the rock into the dump-truck. He then topped the entrance with a thin slab of rock and covered the area with a very substantial layer of soil, which completely camouflaged the cave entrance. He was giving the rock to the tribe as a relic of the moon event, and their part in it. On a flat area on one side near the top, the man had chiseled the words "PROTECTOR OF THE GIFT" in English. And then right below it, the same words in the Abenaki language.

 

He said he had no explanation (other than the legend) for how the event had happened, and said the lake was the most amazing and beautiful sight he had ever seen! He emphasized it would be a secret between him and "The Great Spirit" for as long as he lived. Even though he said he felt that at sometime in the distant future, the time might arrive when it would be right to reveal it to the world.

 

After raising the dump-truck and depositing the rock at the front of the main lodge, he bumped it into place with the truck. He told the Indian that his lawyer was working on things and that sometime in the near future he would be back. Explaining that this would be to begin the process for transferring the land in trust forever to the Indian Council. With that they shook hands, and the man climbed into his truck and drove away.

 

The Indian told me that he was so excited about everything he had heard, that he sat up half the night writing it all down. He also told me that the man had kept his promise and that he had presented to the Indian Council the land along with the exact Latitude and Longitude for the entrance to the cave. During the presentation, the man told the Council that he had always been extremely proud of his Abenaki Indian heritage, and said he was thrilled about being able to prove the accuracy of the legend by finding the cave and lake. And finally...he was very grateful for having the opportunity to pass everything over to the Abenaki Tribe. The land could never be sold or transferred, which was the only restriction placed on the Trust agreement. The man said he completely trusted the Tribe and Council to do the right thing in the future, whatever that right thing was. So, this Council has for many years been most diligent in holding the land in trust. Forever!

 

Bill Carawan

 

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ABENAKI FLAG

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SO...SOMEWHERE IN THE LAKE CHAMPLAIN VALLEY OF VERMONT, IN A CAVERN JUST BELOW THE SURFACE, LIES A SMALL LAKE FILLED WITH THE PURE, LIQUID ESSENCE OF MOONLIGHT.

 

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THIS

SHORT STORY 

 

AN INDIAN LEGEND 

 

is published by

WORDS OF WILLIAM

 

©2018

     William F. Carawan

      "Poetry Guy"

 

All rights reserved

Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A.      

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 COMMENT SECTION

 

I interviewed and hired a blue cow (see picture below) with a one of a kind attitude! Her name is Sally, although she says "sassy" is what most people call her...and I can understand why.

 

She recently arrived in the USA from a very tiny country called Kows'r'blu. In fact it is so tiny...that no one seems to know where it is located. Sally says its' one claim to fame is a small population (or herd) of blue cows which are not found anywhere else in the world. She says that makes her very rare and special! And I might add...seems to be the main cause of her attitude.

 

Sally has agreed to manage the "Comment Section" of my blog. She will get paid by commission based strictly on the tally of comments for that months' blog post. She seems to think that her attitude will be a big help in reaching that goal. And I can only imagine that it certainly will.

 

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Shelley (Wednesday, 14 February 2018 10:20)

    Wow...what an adventure in reading about something so creative as a 'Legend' for that opens our thoughts and minds to what really lies 'out there' to be experienced. Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to be an Indian when I grew up. Well, I grew up but I have yet to become my Indian self. The Native Americans have so fascinated me with their way of life which seems truly spiritual.They see around themselves but they see beyond themselves also, that is their way of life. They can accept what is possible while another may speak of that same thing as impossible.
    Moon lovers beware for you will never look at that moon high in the night sky ever the same way again. The Legend, the Man, the Gift, the Moon all combine to create a story you want to be real...
    ...who is to say it can't be? Guess I haven't completely grown up yet for I do believe I will find my Indian self one day. I will find caverns and liquid moonlight and wonder how I was never not my Indian self. Maybe my story will become legend and I will be entwined into it as a story told through the ages, but if not I have Bill's story to read and delight in as it opens my thought to what can be possible in one's life lived as the gift it is...