The Legend of the Abanaki Burial Ground
Two Log Cabins ...One Home....
I had heard for years about the Abanaki Indians living along the area of the two rivers country where I lived and had built my log cabins . History has a way of filtering out the realities of life and traditions and rewriting of pasts and ways of native Americans , the recorded histories become whitewashed to fit the needs of contemporary truths . American history , as we all know , does just that in the regards of the original American natives .
This begins here near my home where I live , I have fished here since a boy , canoed , kayaked ,swam and generally done everything a kid and a man can do in the water. But in the background of growing up there were always the stories of the first settlers to live here. The Abanaki Indian , They lived here along the rivers edges as the fertile ground was always good for the summer growing seasons and as the rivers supplied a food source In winter seasons they probably migrated a little south of here.
One of the stories told as I was growing up had to do with a hidden burial grounds along the banks of the river very near my home. These stories and legends were told to me by my favorite cousins husband , a half blood Abinaki , He was a native American , pretty well known in the region for being an Abinaki basket weaver . Amazing is the only word to describe his work , I used to sit for hours and watch him at his trade ,
The hands of the man of darker skin who had many talents , and story telling was only one of those talents , would work away by the hours, all the time recalling stories and legends of the natives of our region. He spoke the names of many of the elders in the two river country and as if there was an underground language and line of communication , he often seemed to know of happenings and of local and distant events , before they were in the "news" .
I had bought a few acres of land on the river and planned to biuld a cabin , eventually a log cabin that I lived in for a decade or so . Though , before I had built the house I had explored the property lines a few times , and in digging up the tree roots and stumps for a driveway I had found a tarnished medalion in the root base of a large old oak tree that must have been dead for years before it toppled downin some long ago wind storm.
After cleaning off the dirt , the tarnish and mud imbedded in the crevass' of the intricate carvings , thinking this was an old belt buckle , I took it to my cousins house in a bag , as I opened the bag to show him , he reached in to pull out the medallion , but as he did , he immediately turned pale , his hands strarted shaking and he dropped it back into the bag. I looked at him and thinking for a moment he was going to be sick I closed the bag in reflex ,.
Newt immediately spoke, " Where did you get this ? " he asked sternly .
" I found it digging out the tree stumps where Black brook meets up with the river ."
He was very quiet and detached for a few moments .
And then ," You have to take this back and put it exactly where you found it ......do you understand me , put it exactly where you found it in the earth and leave it there.! Make sure you burry it right where you found it .
" But , Newt isn't this worth anything to us , I knew immediately that it was the wrong thing to ask , He became animated and edgy , "No , This is something from a burrial ground , I'm not even sure you should build a house there ! You should think about moving the location of your driveway at least and maybe even the house too!
To make a long story short , I did what he said , but only part of what he suggested. I burried the medalion two feet deep there where I had found it . But , what I didn't move was the location of my house . The log cabin being just a few feet from the burial site . A year later as I was nearing the end of building my house , on a late September evening just before the harvest moon , my house burned completely to the ground!
At the time , there was no electricity , no fires or heating system in the cabin, and as the fire marshall later determined the fire , "cause unknown ", I was , of course so dissapointed in the loss of all the hard work and labors I had invested in. But at the same time determinned to rebuild , I was working one Sunday cleaning up some of the remains of the fire whan My cousins truck came into the driveway , as he climbed out of the cab I walked down to greet him .
" Hello there ,Ferguson " one of his favorite greetings for anyone ! For whatever reason he called everyone , at some time or another , Feguson.!
And then he grew quiet as we walked around the burned wreckage of the cabin, and after looking at the lay of the land and trees , the river beyond the small cleared opening and the brook running nearby he said this.
" You will be fine in building again , you can build the cabin in the same spot if you want to and not worry about anything ever happening again.......I know this !"
And so another year went by as I rebuilt my cabin completely , and in the following years I lived there in peace and tranquility , not once having anything again happen out of the usual , however to the day years later , that I sold the cabin and moved away , Newt would not once step into my home , if I wanted to see him , I went to his house .
Though he also told me , that same day , of some long ago treaty an Indian chief had made with some of the 'Black Robe " people who came here before the first settlers .
Some gesture of peace , of a gold medalion traded for safe passage through the two rivers country and how later the Abinaki chief and the leaders of the religious travelers had many dissagreements about the land and the first settlers , upon the death of the native chief the medalion was buried as well with his body as a fortelling of the conflicts that would come .
It seemed that the disturbing of the burial sight had angered some long ago spirits of the local tribes and the fire was probably a result of that , not knowing for sure of the complete story or of the many agreements broken by both sides , you might say my time and years in the log cabin were a bit unsettling at times.
I will always remember the cold winter nights when I would sit watching the fire burn the chill out of the cabin , and watching the night sky through the big picture window panes , Or to get up in the middle of some night and look out at the , daylight like, moons glow on the white snow and thinking of the gold medallion burried two feet below the foundation of my home
That place where I had built two log cabins and one home.