Legend of Old Indian

Provided to COI Staff Member John Thompson in about 1961 or 1962 by an adult leader named Billy Williams who died a few years after providing the Legend. The early History of the Atta Kulla Kulla Lodge, typed in 1946 was also presented at the same time. We can only assume the Legend of Old Indian was written by a COI staff member – probably in about the 1950’s.

From the valleys of these mountains
With their tribes of peaceful Indians
Come I, the Spirit of their Chieftain
With the Story of our Tribe.
In this valley set between the hills
We lived in peace and plenty.
Buried was the bloody hatchet
Buried was the dreadful war club,
Buried were all warlike weapons,
And the war cry was forgotten.
There was peace among the Nations.
Unmolested roved my hunters,
Caught the fish in the lake and river
Shot the deer and trapped the beaver.
All around the happy village
Stood the corn fields, green and shining.
Then one day the peace was ended.
For from yonder valley, across the hill
As a signal to all nations
Smoke rose slowly, slowly
Through the tranquil air of morning
Called the tribes of men together
Called the warriors into council
For the peace that we enjoyed
Was disturbed by envious tribes.
Forth into the valley
In the early morning
Forth onto the field of battle
With their weapons and their war gear
Painted like the leaves in autumn
Came our enemies from afar.
All that day the battle raged,
And the tide of battle changed,
From favor with my people to the tribe that came to kill.
My warriors fought with arrows,
And with mighty war clubs,
But slowly in the heat of noon time
We retreated through this valley.
Then as night drew nigh
And many of my warriors were slain
We stopped on yon mountain to take stock of the day’s fight.
There were but three of us remaining,
There were two young warriors and the old Chief.
These young warriors were the bravest.
And the fastest of our tribe,
But I was old and slow.
So I sent them on before me
To the place where our women,
Our children and treasure were hidden
To protect and shield those that remained
From the onslaught of the conqueror.
This place was yet afar
And its secret was hidden to all but few.
So alone I stood on yon mountain
On the rock above this camp
Alone, but not yet beaten
Alone, as the sun began to set.
Saw the warriors of my enemies
Up the hill behind the trees
Advance to where I stood and waited
Saw that the cliff prevented further passage
Knew that I was soon to die.
There at sunset stood I wounded, weary, but unbeaten
With my mighty tribe broken
With my people torn and scattered
And with three arrows only,
Then their Chief called unto me
Called so loud that all could hear,
“You the leader of these people,
You the great warrior of many battles,
You Old Indian, I will make
Great among my nation
I will give you power and wealth
I will give you honor next only to mine
If you will but tell us where your women and your treasures are hidden.”
To my bow I whispered, “Fail Not!”
To my arrow I whispered, “Swerve Not!”
And for an answer to his offer
My arrow leaped to kill a brave!
Ah! The singing of the fatal arrow.
Like a wasp, buzzed and stung him.
Dead he lay in the forest.
Again their Chief called unto me,
This time with angry words, “Old Indian, you will surely die
If you do not tell me where you have your treasure hidden.”
Again I answered with an arrow
Deep into the heart of a brave.
And with the last remaining arrow
Plunged it deep into my heart.
Wounded by my last arrow,
Staining the rocks with crimson
With the crimson of my life-blood
I staggered back and fell over the rock into this valley.
With me died the secrets of my tribe,
My treasures and women were never discovered.
So to you here tonight
I leave with a message:
A request to keep this Great Valley Full of Spirit of Peace and Fellowship of boyhood that my warriors knew before you!