Sunday, March 27, 2016
Legend of the: The Mound and the Old People (A Minnesota Tale) The Hyperborean Mythos
I had gone into Minnesota to track down and correlate one of the ghost stories that still lingered on with the population along the Mississippi, from its upper most wooded parts down and around the bend and mound area of Pigs Eye, as it was referred to in the 1820s and thereafter, and cliffs of St. Paul, and Minneapolis. Mark Twain, had once visited St. Paul, and called it quite the hidden secret.
I was searching for its lost lore, I could now vouch for that, for it had a strong and old Indian validation of lost legends. I now prefer to them, in particular one, as open-air ghost stories, or tales, told by old white folks back in the early 1960s, of those earlier years of the 1880s, which sounded flat. Indian mythology should be told by Native Americans, all woven around those vast, lonely looking mounds, resting quietly along the rim of the cliffs. When told by the Indians I could hear the hooves and the feet and the thud and the blows, the muffled cries of warriors. The Chippewa, or Ojibwa, the Cayuga, the old people.
I met an old fur seller in the late 1960s, he was in his 90s, and he lived up on York Street, on the East Side of St. Paul, and held these ghost tales in frightened veneration, and talked little of them, but he liked my beer, and so one evening he told me a story; a tale-teller he wasn’t, but his Indian friend was, and neither one was never too clear, and it sounded more on the order of phenomena, and as the white old fella said, “The older the tale, the bigger the spirit,” and we all three laughed.
Now it is the year 2016, all of this is old stuff from my youth, I’m now sixty-eight, but the tale remains deep inside my head, and I’m no ethnologist, but I have traveled some, and legends always have a strain of truth to them, and if this one then has just that, it is enough for a true legend of long buried races.
. . .
“It is an old, old tale,” said the old Indian, and his fur trading partner nodded his head in agreement, “so old it is wholly new to the outside world of looking into. It is a thrill to it for me, because it comes in fact out of the remote history of my family, Red Wing Reservation, although it is wound up with an old snake myth. It is centered on a huge mound, that looks more like a product of nature now, or a small hill, yet it is as it is, a mound, burial place by a prehistoric tribe. And it is haunted, I have gone by it many times, it is along the Mississippi on the cliffs, the figures which are buried in it are seven, from the reservation I have mentioned.
“Each night one of the several warriors buried in this mound leaves till dawn, as a squaw takes his place until he returns, and guides him back to his resting habitation. The apparition, each one is headless. The reason being, the squaw taking his place is because all seven fount over her and beheaded each other, and through sheer remorse, she gave her life up to this task by and by, the spirit of her victims roam the land, feeling their way back to her.
“It was one evening she sustained a mortal wound by a giant black snake that fell upon her from a tree she had been resting against, awaiting for her warrior’s return. Thus the phenomena being this late headless Indian was unable to return to his burial site, unable to find her or the entrance. As the open proof of her death lay next to a tree by the mound, bitten by the snake, and she was buried a distance away from the mound, though alone and in a lonelier landscape.
This ghost, blind without a head, and unable to hear, had only touch, and needed to feel her touch, now an alone and restless figure, feared and shunned, returns to this very area, near the site and cliffs, several times in its long, very long history, digging into many different mounds, unable to find his resting place, his comrades, and never has he found its entrance only the squaw knew. And then this lone spirit, unable to find his sentinel steps out of sight for another generation, leaving his comrades free to rest once more in peace.