The Springs of Blood and Water

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    A great drought had fallen on Long Island, and the red men prayed for water. It is true that they could get it at Lake Ronkonkoma, but some of them were many miles from there, and, beside, they feared the spirits at that place: the girl who plied its waters in a phosphor-shining birch, seeking her recreant lover; and the powerful guardians that the Great Spirit had put in charge to keep the fish from being caught, for these fish were the souls of men, awaiting deliverance into another form. The people gathered about their villages in bands and besought the Great Spirit to give them drink.

    His voice was heard at last, bidding their chief to shoot an arrow into the air and to watch where it fell, for there would water gush out. The chief obeyed the deity, and as the arrow touched the earth a spring of sweet water spouted into the air. Running forward with glad cries the red men drank eagerly of the liquor, laved their faces in it, and were made strong again; and in memory of that event they called the place the Hill of God, or Manitou Hill, and Manet or Manetta Hill it is to this day. Hereabouts the Indians settled and lived in peace, thriving under the smile of their deity, making wampum for the inland tribes and waxing rich with gains from it. They made the canal from bay to sea at Canoe Place, that they might reach open water without dragging their boats across the sand-bars, and in other ways they proved themselves ingenious and strong.

    When the English landed on the island they saw that the Indians were not a people to be trifled with, and in order to properly impress them with their superiority, they told them that John Bull desired a treaty with them. The officers got them to sit in line in front of a cannon, the nature of which instrument was unknown to them, and during the talk the gun was fired, mowing down so many of the red people that the survivors took to flight, leaving the English masters at the north shore, for this heartless and needless massacre took place at Whale’s Neck. So angry was the Great Spirit at this act of cruelty and treachery that he caused blood to ooze from the soil, as he had made water leap for his thirsting children, and never again would grass grow on the spot where the murder had been done.

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