Cherokee Phoenix

From Poulson's Advertiser

Published August, 3, 1833

Page 2 Column 4b

From Poulson's Advertiser


A Fragment from the Indian Traditions.

'Comest thou my father' said Sabawasqua as the ghost of his father came wandering along over the battle field. 'I come' said the shadow 'from the halls of Nowonett. Go my son-rest on the green banks of the Quantumyonkant beyond the lake of Shawbewem.' But I am not, my father, as I was when the new sun shone upon me on the plains of Pagyem. I am faint with the loss of blood-I am weak, who was once strong-I am low who have heaped the dead upon the plan (sic) and rolled upon the habitation of mine enemies like the torrent from the Suncook.' 'Rest then my son' said the shadow-'rest on thy bed of blood. I will go and prepare for thee--I will make ready for thy reception.' The shadow disappeared and the Sabawasqua closed his eyes in silence.

It was now midnight and the pale moon shed her rays dimly around him, affording just light enough for Indian superstition to play upon his half opened eye and disordered brain. Again he closed his eyes; and again his breast swelled with horror. But sleep bore down upon his eyelids and his blood ceased to flow. He was again awakened by the sound of a distant vaying (or Indian whistle) and finding his strength somewhat renewed-he raised himself from the ground-and leaning on his faithful bow, walked slowly to a large flat rock that projected out over the bed of the Cocheco.

This was his favorite seat in the days of mid-summer. The day came slowly along-and morning was somewhat cloudy. The succeeding day was hot and the black clouds arose in the west and the thunder rolled in the distant darkness. The Indian sat like a statue-he felt he was failing-he knew he should not behold tomorrow's sun. The storm came-the forest mowed down before it. The hills tottered, the mountains trembled, and the lightnings darted across the sky. The Indian beheld the wheeling skies unmoved-he looked upon the confusion of the heavens calmly and observed the strife of the angry elements without fear.

The sky was again cleared and a hollow silence hung over the deep forest that surrounded him. But still the wild echo chanted her song and responded to the birds of the grove-to the murmuring streams and the sweet voices of nature's children.

The Indian raised his aching head and thus began:-'Come, Sampeiro, faithful dog-come to thy master. Thou art all that is now left of the many friends of Sabawasqua. The dog drew near and laid down by his master, who was then preparing to speak. He thus began. 'This is the end-this is the glory of man-he is but a shadow-his life is like the morning dew.'

And the echo answered. 'Like the morning dew.'

Awed at a sound so unexpected, he stopt (sic) a moment!-but being a man of courage, and a stranger to fear, he went on.

'As the sun comes up out of the blue waters and climbs to the heights of the sky-so came I from childhood-so climbed I to the highest seat of human greatness. But I am passing away-I am going down.'

And the echo answered, 'going down.'

I have been great among the nations of red men.- I was the sun of my tribe. I came down from the heights Monadnock, like a broken cloud on the head of mine enemies. I led my tribe to the fight-I was strong as the mountain oak. We met on the plain yonder as the broken clouds rush in wrath over the parting skies. I devoured mine enemies as a lion-I swept them away as the leaves of autumn. But they killed my friends-they sent them to the Shanbewen. I too must follow them-I must go soon.'

And the echo answered 'Go soon.'

Suppose this voice to be that of some departed friend talking to him, his feelings were raised to an uncommon height, and he almost forgot that his end was fast approaching.

Again he said- 'How do we pass away. We crowd along to the faying(sic) like sheep over the fallen hedge-like the blue waves of the deep. Soon our voices will be silent, soon we shall be veyump (forgotten). Who shall be left to remember us-who shall weep over the wild flowers that wave over our silence? Alas! there is none to remember-none to weep?'

And the echo answered, 'None to weep.'

'I am tired of my life and I will go to the house of my father. He will rejoice to see me come.'

And the echo answered,'Come.'

'I will come Sire' said he-and he slowly arose and dropped himself into the depths below.-The dark waters closed over the mighty Sabawasqua-and the surface was as smooth as tho none were there.- No more was seen of him for he arose not again. He could not bear to live alone-for he was in the valley of bones-among the habitations of the dead. He is no more-now the breezes whisper around his cold seat of stone-and the wild cocheco exults over his bleaching bones.

When the storm comes down upon the plain - when the trees wave their forearms in the blast-when the mighty oaks clench their strong fingers together and bows loudly down before the tempest,- even then fancy hears his voice among the rough music of the elements--even then his form is seemingly there among the clouds and mists that wonder along the river's bank.

He was the last of his tribe; in him was seen the perfections of Indian greatness--in him was marked the true points of the Indian character.