Chocorua by Charles M. Skinner
This beautiful alp in the White Mountains commemorates in its name a
prophet of the Pequawket tribe who, prior to undertaking a journey, had
confided his son to a friendly settler, Cornelius Campbell, of Tamworth.
The boy found some poison in the house that had been prepared for foxes,
and, thinking it to be some delicacy, he drank of it and died. When
Chocorua returned he could not be persuaded that his son had fallen
victim to his own ignorance, but ascribed his death to the white man's
treachery, and one day, when Campbell entered his cabin from the fields,
he found there the corpses of his wife and children scalped and mangled.
He was not a man to lament at such a time: hate was stronger than sorrow.
A fresh trail led from his door. Seizing his rifle he set forth in
pursuit of the murderer. A mark in the dust, a bent grass blade, a torn
leaf-these were guides enough, and following on through bush and swamp
and wood they led him to this mountain, and up the slope he scrambled
breathlessly. At the summit, statue-like, Chocorua stood. He saw the
avenger coming, and knew himself unarmed, but he made no attempt to
escape his doom. Drawing himself erect and stretching forth his hands he
invoked anathema on his enemies in these words: "A curse upon you, white
men! May the Great Spirit curse you when he speaks in the clouds, and his
words are fire! Chocorua had a son and you killed him while the sky
looked bright. Lightning blast your crops! Winds and fire destroy your
dwellings! The Evil One breathe death upon your cattle! Your graves lie
in the war-path of the Indian! Panthers howl and wolves fatten over your
bones! Chocorua goes to the Great Spirit. His curse stays with the white
The report of Campbell's rifle echoed from the ledges and Chocorua leaped
into the air, plunging to the rocks below. His mangled remains were
afterward found and buried near the Tamworth path. The curse had its
effect, for pestilence and storm devastated the surrounding country and
the smaller settlements were abandoned. Campbell became a morose hermit,
and was found dead in his bed two years afterward.