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94. Hatcinoñdoñ's Escape From The Cherokee

Hatcinoñdoñ was a great warrior, the greatest among the Seneca. Once he led a company against the Cherokee. They traveled until they came to the great ridge on the border of the Cherokee country, and then they knew their enemies were on the lookout on the other side. Hatcinoñdoñ told his men to halt where they were while he went ahead to see what was in front. The enemy discovered and chased him, and he ran into a canebrake, where the canes were in two great patches with a narrow strip of open ground between. They saw him go into the canes, so they set fire to the patch and watched at the open place for him to come out, but before they got around to it he had run across into the second patch and escaped. When the canes had burned down the Cherokee looked for his body in the ashes, but could not find any trace of it, so they went home.

When Hatcinoñdoñ got into the second canebrake he was tired out, so he lay down and fell asleep. At night while he was asleep two men came and took him by the arm, saying: "We have come for you. Somebody has sent for you." They took him a long way, above the sky vault, until they came to a house. Then they said: "This is where the man lives who sent for you." He looked, but could see no door. Then a voice from the inside said "Come in," and something like a door opened of itself. He went in and there sat Hawëñni'o, the Thunder-god.

Hawëñni'o said, "I have sent for you and you are here. Are you hungry?" Hatcinoñdoñ thought: "That's a strange way to talk; that's not the way I do--I give food." The Thunder knew his thoughts, so he laughed and said, "I said that only in fun."' He rose and brought half a cake of bread, half of a wild apple, and half a pigeon. Hatcinoñdoñ said, "This is very little to fill me," but the Thunder replied, "If you eat that, there is more." He began eating, but, as he ate, everything became whole again, so that he was not able to finish it.

While he was sitting he heard some one running outside, and directly

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the door was thrown open and the Sun came in, so bright that Hatcinoñdoñ had to hold his head down. The two beings talked together, but the Seneca could not understand a word, and soon the visitor went out again. Then the Thunder said: "That is the one you call the Sun, who watches in the world below. It is night down there now, and he is hurrying to the east. He says there has just been a battle. I love both the Seneca and the Cherokee, and when you get back to your warriors you must tell them to stop fighting and go home." Again he brought food, half of each kind, and when Hatcinoñdoñ had eaten, the Thunder said, "Now my messengers will take you to your place."

The door opened again of itself, and Hatcinoñdoñ followed the two Sky People until they brought him to the place where he had slept, and there left him. He found his party and told the warriors what he had seen. They held a council over it and decided to strike the enemy once before going home. Hatcinoñdoñ led them. They met the Cherokee and went home with scalps.

He led another party against the Cherokee, but this time he was taken and carried to the Cherokee town. It was the custom among the Cherokee to let two women say what should be done with captives. They decided that he should be tortured with fire, so he was tied to a tree, and the wood was piled around him. Hatcinoñdoñ gave himself up for lost, when a rain storm came up and the people concluded to wait until it was over. They went away and left him tied to the tree.

Pretty soon an old woman came up to him, and said, "My grandson, you think you are going to die, but you are not. Try to stir your limbs." He struggled and finally got his limbs free. Then she said,

Now you are free. I have come to repay your kindness. You remember that you once found a frog in the middle of a circle of fire and that you picked it up and put it into the water. I was that frog, and now I help you. 1 sent the rain storm, and now you must go down to the creek and follow the current. "

When the rain was over the people came back, but Hatcinoñdoñ was gone. They trailed him down to the creek, but he had found a hollow tree lying in the water, with a hole on the upper side' through which he could breathe, so he crawled into it and they could not find him. Once two of the Cherokee came and sat on the log and he could hear them talking about him, but they did not know that he was inside. When they were all gone, he came out and kept on down the stream. After dark he came to a place where three hunters had made a fire and gone to sleep for the night. Their hatchets and arms were hung up on a tree. Hatcinoñdoñ was naked. He listened until he was sure the men were asleep, then he took one of their hatchets and killed all three, one after another. He dressed himself in the clothes of one, and put on his belt, with the knife and hatchet. Then he washed himself at the creek and sat down by the fire and cooked his supper.

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After that he stretched and painted the three scalps and lay down by the fire to sleep. In the morning he took what provision he could carry and traveled in a great circle until he found the road by which he and his warriors had come. He found fresh tracks and followed them until he saw smoke ahead. He listened until he heard men speaking Seneca, and knew that it was his party. Then he gave the Seneca shout--Gowe'!--three times and his friends ran out to meet him. They had been afraid that he was killed, but were glad now that they had waited for him. They went home together. This is their story.-Arranged from Curtin, Seneca manuscript.

Next: 95. Hemp-carrier