Friday, May 21, 2021

War on the Cannitticutt

(Source)

Little Wolf had convinced the brothers to spend a few days at the village of his father's brother, Blue Otter. The brothers had agreed, they were tired and both felt that a few days of staying in one place would be pleasant.

"Good, I think my arms are ready to fall off from paddling." Jacques groaned.

Little Wolf thought that amusing, he had seen no sign of either of les frères becoming tired, sleepy yes, but the two men were strong and had obviously traveled many days in the wilderness before he had met them.

When they reached the village, Alain noticed that it was on the western bank of the river, which he had assumed was Mohican territory. Which he then mentioned to Little Wolf, whose French was getting very good.

"Alain, the Mohican covet these lands, but we Abenaki have been here since Tabaldak created all that existed upon our Grandmother, the Earth. The Mohican are pushing hard to the south, but here, this is still the land of our ancestors." As he finished speaking a group of people had emerged from the village, his uncle among them and, to the surprise of Alain and Jacques, there was a Catholic priest.

(Source)

Blue Otter wrapped his arms around Little Wolf and in a voice a bear would be proud of, announced, "Son of my brother, son of my blood, welcome. Tell me who are your friends?"

The priest had thought the brothers to be Wyandot, for Little Wolf had convinced them to do their hair in the Wyandot style. The sun had also darkened their skin to the point where only their fine features and blue eyes gave them away.

"Welcome my children, perhaps I could hear your confessions later?" The priest was filthy from living in the village and never washing as the Abenaki did. In private the people called him Smelly Father. Though some in the village were interested in the religion of les français, all things spiritual interested them, they had no desire to offend their hero Gluscabi and Tabaldak. Their shaman had told them that to follow the Christian God would offend their Grandmother, the Earth. Respect Him, he said, but follow Him not.

To the priest Alain said, respectfully, "Perhaps Father, perhaps..." Alain muttered, in Abenaki, to Little Wolf, "I don't care for him, he smells."

Little Wolf laughed and then whispered to Alain, "Be careful, he speaks our language, not well, but he understands much."

(Source)

That night, after an excellent meal of venison, beans, corn, and squash (the latter were called the "Three Sisters" by the Abenaki according to Little Wolf), the brothers joined the men of the tribe around the main campfire. Blue Otter was watching them intently, he seemed to be having an internal debate with himself, finally he spoke.

"So, how did you français come to be so far south by yourselves? You are a long way from the Canadas."

Alain explained that they had traveled with a large party of Wyandot. Men of one clan had been sent by their sachem to determine the depth of English penetration up the Great River. What they had seen alarmed them. The brothers wanted to linger when the majority of the men wished to return to the north and report what they had seen.

The leader of the party, Little Beaver, had told them, "This is dangerous my friends, if something happens to you, your father would be most unhappy with me. But you are men now, not boys, what you will do, you will do." They had been given a small canoe and certain supplies for their trip up the river. The rest they would have to provide for themselves. Having grown up with their father in the wilderness, that wasn't a problem.

"Be careful, dress like the Wyandot, act like the Wyandot, and you might survive. Speak little, listen much. I will tell your father of your decision to have this adventure. I only wish I was young enough and foolish enough to join you." Little Beaver had sent them on their way with those parting words.

There were times when Alain wished they had stayed with the Wyandot, but, he had to admit, he was starting to enjoy himself.


Molly Henderson was upset, her father was insistent on her marrying William Tolbert, a fat merchant who plied his trade here in the wilderness. She thought that she would rather die than marry the much older man and move back to the town of Portsmouth, though it was the capitol of New Hampshire, it was not nearly as exciting as being on the frontier.

"Molly, you must be more ladylike, you will drive your father into an early grave!" Molly's mother Anne often chided her for her behavior. She had nearly fainted when Molly had announced her intention to go deer hunting with young Henry Abercrombie.

"You shall do no such thing young lady!"

Molly had dashed off in a huff, furious with her parents for expecting her to lead the boring life of a wife and mother. In a settled town of all places!


Short Bear was watching the small settlement from a stand of trees a bowshot from the nearest building. He saw a young woman run into view, she was nothing like any woman he had ever seen before. Her hair was the color of the leaves of the striped maple in the fall, rich and yellow. He hoped the signal to attack would be made soon. He was determined to make the woman his captive.

Spotted Wolf gave the signal shortly afterwards. Short Bear rushed forward with the others, he seized the yellow-haired woman and subdued her. While the others butchered the men of the settlement and took their own captives, Short Bear was content. He had what he desired.


Molly's hands were bound in front of her and she was pulled roughly along by her captor. She had turned once to look back and had seen the smoke and the flames rising from what had been her home. She supposed that now she at least wouldn't have to marry the fat merchant, but that did not ease her terror. Perhaps Portsmouth would not have been so bad after all.

Of the thirty-five people who had lived in the settlement, she saw only seven other survivors, three young boys of perhaps eight to ten years of age, and four girls, only one of which was near her in age. They had cried out and screamed until one of the Indians, a very tall man with a badly scarred face, had lifted his hand as if to strike them. They immediately grew quiet.

Molly wondered if they had seen the fresh blood on the tall man's body and arms. She knew then that her parents and all of the people she knew, save those with the war party, were now dead. She realized, with certain horror, that if she did not do as the Indians wished, they would kill her too.


In the afternoon of the second day of their stay at Blue Otter's village, a messenger came. After speaking with Blue Otter, the man continued on to the next village. Little Wolf came to see the brothers shortly afterwards.

"A war party of Abenaki, from a distant village, have attacked an English settlement further up the river. There is a soldier fort not far away, between us and the settlement that was attacked. The soldiers know of our village. Blue Otter fears that the soldiers will blame us for this attack and come here to make war."

Alain looked briefly at Jacques then asked, "Can we help you fight the English?"

Little Wolf looked surprised, then he said, "We are not going to fight them, Blue Otter will talk with them. As for you, brothers, Blue Otter says you must leave, if the English find any français in the village, it will look bad."

"What about Smelly Father?" Jacques asked his friend.

"He is to leave with us."

"You are coming with us? All four of us won't fit in our canoe..." Alain protested.

"Blue Otter has given us a larger canoe, but I know the Smelly Father, he will not paddle, he will sleep or pray all day. I would leave him but the Canadian Fathers would not like that, so we shall take him to the royal mountain."


As the canoe moved away from the shore, Alain noted with disgust that the priest was already asleep. The man didn't even awaken when the three friends heard the sounds of flintlocks firing and the screams of people dying.

It seemed that the English had no desire to talk with the Abenaki.



Link to all of the Chant's fiction.

30 comments:

  1. Despite the Northeast having men is calm as it has for so many years, it is sobering to remember that at one time men were fighting and killing each other. I fear we sometimes forget the trials that are forefathers underwent to bring us the civilization we have. - Barry

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    1. It seems these days that the youth aren't even taught about what our forefathers did to build this country.

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    2. "...the civilization we have." Breeds complacency, and sloth. These will lead to oppression, and eventual uprising. All is cyclic, in the grand scheme of things. Though it may seem long in terms of our lives, we enjoy but a momentary respite, in the grand tragic opera. The ignorance of today's youth is proof that the safeguards against the horrors of war and strife are melting away. The old and wise, who have seen such horrors, become fewer and fewer, and the young no longer seek their wisdom...and history will again repeat itself.

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  2. Sigh. Voice to text. "...been as..., Not ...men is..." - Barry

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    1. Yes, one of the reasons I shy away from using voice to text. I type badly but I speak worse...

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    2. Current technology does not recognize spoken American (New England). Half the time the live in person operator cannot understand what I'm saying, and I've been conversing since 1942. Old Guns

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    3. Hahaha! I had that experience recently with an "intelligent" computer program who claimed to be able to understand what I was saying.

      Nope, not even close.

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    4. Well guys and gals, after all, they do live in San José CA, most likely. If you have a slight Spanish essence to your speech, it will help. ¿Si?

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    5. (Don McCollor)...Back at work we had a project once having weekly phone meetings with engineers and scientists with origins in the US, Spain, Egypt, China, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. All speaking the international scientific language - heavily accented English. Somehow we all managed to understand each other...

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    6. Well, with common interests...

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  3. Life on the frontier was harsh whether it was the Northeast or the Ohio Valley or Arizona. Having a weapon to hand and the will to use it was paramount.

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    1. Any time there is a clash of cultures things get dicey. To say the least...

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  4. Thanks for the background. I was wondering how the brothers got south past the forts but now were going upstream and "discovering" them!

    /
    L.J.

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    1. Well, it was a fair question...

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    2. I was wondering that myself, but waited patiently, knowing that the pieces of the puzzle would appear, all in due time. I kinda like getting thrown directly into the story as it is now, and having to ponder and piece together the back story. It exercises the mind...the imagination.

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    3. Well, this was timely as it helps keep me on track as well.

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  5. "...she was like nothing like any woman..."

    I think ya got one too many likes in there, Sarge.

    Excellent tale. As others have said, the hook is indeed set!

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    1. I mean he really, really likes her. (Fixed it. 😁)

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  6. So where on the map are the Wyandot?

    As to the priest, some of the early missionaries to Japan and Korea were considered unclean and smelly, too. It took a bit of education for the various Orders of priests to learn to send non-crazy and clean priests.

    Unfortunately, far too often, the missionary priests were the idiot outcasts of various orders, banned from civilization for one reason or another, and, thus, not a great example of Christianity. Sigh. Thus, well, much harm had been and still is by 'uncivilized' missionaries.

    Blue Otter should have, upon hearing what the raiding party did, pulled up stakes and bugged out. But, well, home and all that. Hope some of them escape.

    And the hook is set deeply indeed. I can smell the river water, hear the sounds of the forest, feel the sunlight dappling through the tree canopy.

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    1. The Wyandot are what the French called the Huron. According to some sources... (I try to use the native names and not the garbled European equivalent.)

      Note that the soldiers came shortly after the messenger had been there.

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  7. Looks like I'll be taking a break from my usual Patrick O'Brian reading to delve into my colonial period historical fiction. Great writing, Sarge, the spirits of Edison Marshall, Kenneth Roberts and your fore fathers are strong with you, Sir.

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  8. Fun read! AND I am learning a lot, thanks so much. I played a lot of Indians vs. (most any other class of hero). Kids today don't play that way anymore. Probably racist.

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    1. Native Indigenous Peoples vs Livestock Management Technicians.

      Just isn't the same...

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  9. Excellent Sarge. For what it is worth, very similar in feeling and tone to the images in The Last of The Mohicans.

    Folks sometimes forget what tribalism actually looks like. It is not merely " I found people who enjoy what I enjoy", it is "Us against you" sometimes.

    Your Obedient Servant, Toirdhealbheach Beucail

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    1. That particular movie is one of my favorites, so it's no surprise that it's influenced this story.

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