War between Senecas and Cherokees
A Seneca Legend
Hatcinobdon was a great warrior, the greatest of all the Senecas. Once, when out with a party of warriors, he came to a high cliff and knowing that the Cherokees were on the lookout he told his men to stay where they were and he would go ahead and see what could be done. He hadn't gone far when a party of Cherokees saw him and started in pursuit.
Hatcinobdon ran into tall reeds that grew in two great patches with a narrow space between them. He escaped from the first patch and hid in the second one. His pursuers thought he was in the first patch; they watched the narrow space and set fire to the reeds. When the reeds were destroyed they expected to find him dead, burned up.
Hatcinobdon fell asleep in his hiding place. In the night two men came, wakened him, and said, "Follow us, we have come for you."
He went with the men and after a time one of them pointed at a house, and said, "Nohnohsot, the man who lives there, sent for you."
He went to the house, but could find no door. After a while a voice called, "Come in!"
A door opened and he went in and saw a man, who said, "I sent for you and you have come. Are you hungry?"
Hatcinobdon smiled and said in his mind, "That's a strange question. That's not the way I do; I give food."
Nohnohsot laughed, he knew the man's thoughts. He brought out half a loaf of acorn bread, half of a wild apple, and half of a pigeon.
Hatcinobdon said, "How little will fill me."
"If you eat all of this I will give you more," said Nohnohsot.
As the Seneca ate he noticed that each thin-, became whole again, that he was unable to finish either the loaf, the apple or the pigeon.
When he had eaten all he could, Nohnohsot said to him, "Now I will talk with you."
Just then the door was thrown open and Sun came in so quickly and with such brightness that Hatcinobdon had to hold down his head.
Sun spoke to Nohnohsot and right away hurried off towards the East.
Then Nohnohsot said, "That is the man you call Endekha Geqgwa´(the orb of day). It is night down below and he is hurrying to the East. He told me of a great battle.
Nohnohsot was Háweniyo(Great Spirit), and he said, "That is what I expected when I made people, I thought they would fight. Hereafter when you meet an enemy don't run away, go up to him; he can't harm you; no arrow can kill you. I am the cause of the Senecas not fighting with the Cherokees. You will find your warriors where you left them. Now the Hsdionyageonon (Spirits) are ready to go with you."
Hatcinobdon went out, passed through an opening, as he thought, and found himself in the reeds. He got back I o his party and told the men what he had seen, and they all went home.
Soon after this the Senecas held a council and the warriors decided to go again to the Cherokee country.
When the Senecas and Cherokees met, Hatcinobdon, remembering what Nohnohsot had told him, went straight up to a Cherokee warrior, killed and scalped him, then called out, "I have killed and scalped a man! My name is Hatcinobdon."
After that there was a battle and many men were killed. But the Senecas won and went home carrying a large number of scalps.
Another party started off to fight the Cherokees. This time Hatcinobdon was captured; he was tied and led to the Cherokee village.
It was a Cherokee custom when a man was captured to leave it to two women to say how he should be tortured.
The two women decided that Hatcinobdon was to be bound to a tree and burned to death.
They tied him to a tree and piled dry brush and wood around him. He thought, "Now I am going to die." But, just as the women were setting fire to the brush a terrible rain storm came and every one ran for shelter, leaving the Seneca bound to the tree.
While he was there alone, an old woman came to him, and said, "My Grandson, you think that you are going to die, but you are not. Try to move."
He moved, the thongs fell off and he was free.
The woman said, "I have returned your kindness. Once when your people were making a circle of fire, you saw a toad inside the circle, you took it up and put it in your bosom and when you came to water put it down. I was that toad. Now when I saw you in trouble I brought rain to save you. Go to the river and run with the current."
When the rain was over the Cherokee women came back to the tree and found that their prisoner was gone. They raised an alarm, men ran together, found tracks, and followed them.
When they came to the river, they lost the trail, and after a time they abandoned pursuit and went home.
Two men came and sat down near Hatcinobdon's hiding place, and one said to the other, "It is strange where that man went."
The Seneca was afraid they would discover where he was, but at last they went away, then he went down the stream some distance and struck off toward the South.
Toward night he came to an opening and saw three men building a fire. He watched and listened till dark, then crept up to a place opposite the fire and found that the men were asleep; he stole their weapons and provisions.
The next morning he traveled in a circle till he found the trail by which he and his party had come. Soon he saw men sitting around a fire, he crept near and heard Seneca words, then he called "Goweh! Goweh!" three times. The men shouted with joy and ran to meet him.
This is their story.
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