The Story of Isaac Brock Hero, Defender and Saviour of Upper Canada, 1812 (TREDITION CLASSICS)

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All the other red men were descended from the Shawanoes. Long ago the ancestors of the Shawanoes inhabited a foreign land which they had determined to leave. They gathered their people together and marched to the seashore. Here they halted to choose a leader.


After the principal men had declined the duty, a member of the Turtle tribe accepted the chieftainship. Placing himself at the head of his people, he walked into the sea, which miraculously divided, and over the bed of the ocean the Shawanoes 19 The Story of Tecumseh journeyed to this land America. At night they saw through the trees the reflection of a fire. Curiosity overcoming their fear, they made their way through the woods towards the light.

Presently they came to a cleared space, in the midst of which a great fire was burning. The Shawanoes stood under the trees with- out the circle, not daring to venture closer. After the flames had died down, they observed a movement in the ashes and heard a great puffing sound. Suddenly a man stood up and walked out of the fire. This was the first man of the Piqua band, the name meaning " He who comes out of the ashes. Some of the tribes fled westward, where they lost their identity as Shawanoes, and became known as the Kickapoos. Others fled southward. Continually harassed by the Iro- quois, they found no refuge from their inveterate foe until they reached Florida.

Though few in numbers the Shawanoes were a proud and warlike race. They soon came into conflict with the southern tribes, the Creeks and Cherokees. Driven from Florida, they moved northward toward their old home. For a time they halted on the banks of the Savannah River in the territory of the Delawares. The Shawanoes built their village nearly opposite to one of the Delawa-re villages. They did not, however, remain long in the land 20 The Wampum Keeper of the Delawares.

One day the women and children of both tribes were gathering berries near the Delaware vil- lage. The younger children were playing in the open spaces near the river, chasing the butterflies and shooting their tiny arrows at the birds. One of the Shawanoe chil- dren chased and caught a very large grasshopper, and proudly showed it to his companions.

The Delaware children claimed that the wonderful grasshopper belonged to them, as it had been caught on the Delaware side of the river. Very soon the children were fighting over the grasshopper. The women, hearing the crying and shout- ing, came to inquire what was the matter, and soon them- selves came to blows. Being more numerous, the Dela- ware women drove their opponents to the canoes.

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The Shawanoe squaws retreated to their village, followed by the derisive shouts of the Delawares. As soon as the Shawanoe hunters returned to camp, they were surrounded by the excited women and children, who told of the in- sults and injuries they had suffered at the hands of the Delawares, and clamoured for revenge. The Shawanoe braves launched their canoes and set out for the Delaware village.

The Delawares were ready and advanced to meet the foe. The odds were much against the Shawanoes, and after a desperate battle in which many were slain on both sides, the remnant of the Shawanoes took to flight. This battle was called the Grasshopper War. Abandoning their village on the Savannah, the Shaw- anoes journeyed northward to the valley of the Ohio, " The beautiful river," and there built new villages where they have ever since dwelt in comfort and security. With his little tomahawk in his hand he stole along the trail, now gliding noiselessly be- hind a tree trunk in mock alarm,, and again stealthily emerging when the threatened danger had passed.

Sud- denly his quick ear informed him that some one was coming down the path towards the village. He heard the panting breath and the soft patter of the moccasins of a runner.

Places: Upper Canada

Concealing himself, he waited the approach of the stranger. Peering from behind the friendly tree trunk, he beheld an Indian running down the path. Tecumseh knew in an instant that the runner was the bearer of an important message, for the young man was naked, save for his loin cloth and a light cape of deerskin thrown over his shoulders. On his back was his bow and quiver of arrows, and in his hand was a wampum belt and tomahawk. As the runner passed swiftly by, Tecumseh saw the war-paint on his face and the significant glint of red on the blade of the tomahawk.

In an instant he realized,. With beating heart Tecum- seh turned and ran back towards the village. Here soft skins were spread for his comfort, and he was served with food and drink. Meanwhile, the crier walked through the village, announcing that a council would be held in the evening to receive a message from Cornstalk, head chief of the Shawanoes, and the word flew swiftly through the wigwams.

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When in the early evening the great council fire was lighted by the wampum keeper in the space of open land between the river and the fort, the whole village had. The chiefs and principal men of the village sat in an inner circle about the fire. Back of these in an outer circle were seated the warriors, and pressing close behind these were the women and children. Passitotha, the old wampum keeper, gravely filled the curiously carved stone bowl of the ceremonial pipe with tobacco, and handed it to Puckeshinwau, the father of Tecumseh. Puckeshinwau, holding the pipe by the long stem festooned with coloured feathers, waited until the wampum keeper had plucked a brand from the fire, then blew a few whiffs into the air.

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Turning to the stranger, he handed to him the lighted pipe. After a few puffs the stranger gave the pipe to one of the lesser chiefs beside him, and thus the pipe passed from hand to hand, around the inner circle. When the pipe had come once more into the hand of the wampum keeper, there was silence broken only by the crackling of the fire and the lapping of the little waves along the banks of the river.

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  6. Then the stranger arose, and lifting his right hand high above his head, thus spoke: 23 The Story of Tecumseh " Greeting to the Piqua band of the Shawanoes. Did we not make peace with the Longknives Americans and bury the hatchet? Are not their white belts in the lodge of the keeper of wampum? But the Longknives are as the wind, which r no man may bind, and as the water which slippeth out of the hand. Behold the red stream of blood which runs at our feet. It is the blood of our brethren, slain in time of peace by the Longknives of Virginia.

    This spring, Colonel Cresap, with a party of the Longknives, came into the lands which have been ours since this island America rose out of the sea, and which we have never ceded to the Americans. They hunted the game which the Master of Life had placed in our forests for the sus- tenance of his Indian children, and treacherously mur- dered the Indians whom they met.

    Later on, another party of the Virginians, led by one Greathouse, came into our country and visited a village of our people. Pre- tending to be friendly, they invited our people to their camp, and after making them drunk, slew them, men, women and children, so that none escaped, save one little girl. Thus were slain all the relatives of the great Mingo chief, Logan, the friend of the white man. What have we to do with it? Have they not taken from you the lands which were yours of old, and slain your sons? They sweep over the land as the fire, and we fall as the trees of the forest. Band by 24 The Council Fire band, tribe by tribe, will they destroy us, unless we so stand together that he that wrongeth one shall answer to all.