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      An Indian trail led inland, through woods and thickets, across broad meadows, over brooks, and along the skirts of green acclivities. To the eye of Champlain, accustomed to the desolation he had left behind, it seemed a land of beauty and abundance. He reached at last a broad opening in the forest, with fields of maize, pumpkins ripening in the sun, patches of sunflowers, from the seeds of which the Indians made hair-oil, and, in the midst, the Huron town of Otonacha. In all essential points, it resembled that which Cartier, eighty years before, had seen at Montreal,the same triple palisade of crossed and intersecting trunks, and the same long lodges of bark, each containing several families. Here, within an area of thirty or forty miles, was the seat of one of the most remarkable savage communities on the continent. By the Indian standard, it was a mighty nation; yet the entire Huron population did not exceed that of a third or fourth class American city.


      substance of this letter is given by Marie de lIncarnation,Thus it appeared that the fortune of war did not always smile even on the Iroquois. Indeed, if there is faith in Indian tradition, there had been a time, scarcely half a century past, when the Mohawks, perhaps the fiercest and haughtiest of the confederate nations, had been nearly destroyed by the Algonquins, whom they now held in contempt. [2] This people, whose inferiority arose chiefly from the want of that compact organization in which lay the strength of the Iroquois, had not lost their ancient warlike spirit; and they had one champion of whom even the audacious confederates stood in awe. His name was Piskaret; and he dwelt on that great island in the Ottawa of 279 which Le Borgne was chief. He had lately turned Christian, in the hope of French favor and countenance,always useful to an ambitious Indian,and perhaps, too, with an eye to the gun and powder-horn which formed the earthly reward of the convert. [3] Tradition tells marvellous stories of his exploits. Once, it is said, he entered an Iroquois town on a dark night. His first care was to seek out a hiding-place, and he soon found one in the midst of a large wood-pile. [4] Next he crept into a lodge, and, finding the inmates asleep, killed them with his war-club, took their scalps, and quietly withdrew to the retreat he had prepared. In the morning a howl of lamentation and fury rose from the astonished villagers. They ranged the fields and forests in vain pursuit of the mysterious enemy, who remained all day in the wood-pile, whence, at midnight, he came forth and repeated his former exploit. On the third night, every family placed its sentinels; and Piskaret, stealthily creeping from lodge to lodge, and reconnoitring each through crevices in the bark, saw watchers everywhere. At length he descried a sentinel who had fallen asleep near the entrance of a lodge, though his companion at the other end was still awake and vigilant. He pushed aside the sheet of bark that served as a door, struck the sleeper a deadly blow, yelled his war-cry, and fled 280 like the wind. All the village swarmed out in furious chase; but Piskaret was the swiftest runner of his time, and easily kept in advance of his pursuers. When daylight came, he showed himself from time to time to lure them on, then yelled defiance, and distanced them again. At night, all but six had given over the chase; and even these, exhausted as they were, had begun to despair. Piskaret, seeing a hollow tree, crept into it like a bear, and hid himself; while the Iroquois, losing his traces in the dark, lay down to sleep near by. At midnight he emerged from his retreat, stealthily approached his slumbering enemies, nimbly brained them all with his war-club, and then, burdened with a goodly bundle of scalps, journeyed homeward in triumph. [5]


      [5] It was scarcely possible to convince the Indians, that there was but one God for themselves and the whites. The proposition was met by such arguments as this: "If we had been of one father, we should know how to make knives and coats as well as you."Le Mercier, Relation des Hurons, 1637, 147. * Dlibration de la Sorbonne sur la Traite des Boissons, 8

      ** Some imputations against him, not of much weight, are,

      M. de Courcelle, 23 Mais, 1665; Commission dintendant de laCHAPTER VI.


      Qubec; Approbation du Roy (Edits et Ordonnances, I. 33,

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      argument of Mr. Dunkin in behalf of the seigniors, and the

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      The people of Montreal made a solemn vow to celebrate publicly the fte of this mother of all blessings; whereupon the Iroquois came to ask for peace.For several days the whole town was in an uproar with the crazy follies of the dream feast, * and one of the Fathers nearly lost his life in this Indian Bedlam.

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      * Lettre de Laval M. dArgenson, frre du Gouverneur, 20 better to send a few who were good Christians, rather than


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