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I was wondering why you were looking at me so weird last night. I promised you a dark tale about Hendrick Spring. And instead I foisted off the stories about Nessmuk and Rushton. My apologies. These stories tend to blend together in my mind lately.

We will get that straightened out right now.

Hendrick Spring

First I will tell you I have to load my pipe and light it. That gives me a chance to remember the tale and to build lies about the things I can’t remember.

Now where the devil did I leave that pipe?

Oh yes. There we are. Now I can finish what I failed to start.

You may be asking “what is so important about Hendrick Spring?” That is a good question

First, I must say that Hendrick Spring did not always look as dark and foreboding as it does today. I will leave that statement right there for a moment. You will soon see why.

There are many sources of good fresh water in the Adirondacks. But we, the locals, have learned that there are many beavers building dams at the headwaters of our streams. Do you know what beavers do in the water? Yes, I see you get my drift.

That means many of these pristine cold streams coming out of the mountains contain things that make humans ill. Therefore, finding a spring that bubbles out of the earth is valuable. It is a source of fresh cold water – – – water that can be trusted.

Hendrick Spring is such a source.

The Abenaki Indians, like my mother, had made a beaten path to Hendrick Spring. The first settlers therefore easily located it and made use of it. Then these local hunters, trappers and farmers, who were pressed into service as guides for the “sports”, led the city visitors to Hendrick Spring.

Hendrick Spring was, at that time, no longer a pristine place to get a drink. The spring was often muddied from use. In fact we often wondered if the visitors were not taking on the habits of the beavers. There were signs near the spring that raised this question, if you get my drift.

The ire of many guides and Abenaki was raised. The Abenaki called the human waste found around Hendrick Spring “seganku miguen sanoba”; “Skunk feather of man.”

The habits of the visitors was appaling. But even worse, the results were devastating.

These visitors were well-to-do and had money to travel anywhere in the world that they wanted. The Adirondacks was a fad to them. I often heard some of the parasoled ladies say something like “Well, you know, she is a little behind the times. Hasn’t even visited the Adirondacks yet.” Although I did not care for people talking behind other people’s backs I thought that this may be a good sign. Maybe once the fad wore off they may not come here any longer.

I was wrong.

It didn’t take much time, after Hendrick Spring was befouled, when some of the camps started reporting that people were getting horribly ill. There were even a few deaths. Then someone noticed that the illness appeared in camps around Hendrick Spring.

The visitors mentioned that the industrial pollution in the cities was causing a problem like this. That made no sense, there was no pollution in the Adirondacks. Someone thought that maybe Doctor Trudeau from Saranac may have an idea. He had been working on the problem of consumption for some time. Doctor Trudeau came to one of the camps and brought something of importance with him.

Cholera book

It was a stroke of luck. Doctor Trudeau had been reading about the work of Doctor Koch from Europe. They were both attempting to find relief for their consumption patients. About the same time Doctor Koch had been attempting to find the source of Cholera. Because of all this Doctor Trudeau had obtained a book on Cholera.

The symptoms of the visitors at the lodges around Hendrick Spring were the symptoms related to cholera.

Our visitor to Hendrick Spring was not from New York or from Boston. Our visitor was from India; in the far east.

The common thinking was that one of the well–travelled visitors from New York City, Boston, or from London brought the disease. A lot of our visitors from London have had been to India recently. He or she must have picked up cholera there and brought it back as a gift for others; a deadly gift I may add.

Hendrick’s Spring was abandoned and warning signs were nailed to the trees surrounding it. People still avoid going near it.

The Abenaki say that there are bad spirits in the woods of Hendrick Spring.

They still have trouble with the concept that people say the cholera came from India. The Abenaki are insulted in their confusion between India and Indian. They think people say that the Abenaki are responsible for the cholera. I have tried to convince them otherwise but to no avail.

So the tale of a “Deadly Visitor of Hendricks Spring” is not about a human, but about a disease.

Indirectly, if you get my drift.

 

Tahawas and Tomosky c

 

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