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 Lettre de La Barre au Ministre, 14 Nov., 1682.
Being, says Hennepin, exceedingly tall and active, they walked at a prodigious speed, insomuch that no European could long keep pace with them. Though the month of May had begun, there were frosts at night; and the marshes and ponds were glazed with ice, which cut the missionary's legs as he waded through. They swam the larger streams, and Hennepin nearly perished with cold as he emerged from the icy current. His two companions, who were smaller than he, and who could not swim, were carried over on the backs of the Indians. They showed, however, no little endurance; and he declares that he should have dropped by the way, but for their [Pg 258] support. Seeing him disposed to lag, the Indians, to spur him on, set fire to the dry grass behind him, and then, taking him by the hands, ran forward with him to escape the flames. To add to his misery, he was nearly famished, as they gave him only a small piece of smoked meat once a day, though it does not appear that they themselves fared better. On the fifth day, being by this time in extremity, he saw a crowd of squaws and children approaching over the prairie, and presently descried the bark lodges of an Indian town. The goal was reached. He was among the homes of the Sioux.Xenocles looked enquiringly at Sthenelus, who nodded assent.
The East, the West, the North, and the South were vaguely personified as spirits or manitous. Some of the winds, too, were personal existences. The West-Wind, as we have seen, was father of Manabozho. There was a Summer-Maker and a Winter-Maker; and the Indians tried to keep the latter at bay by throwing firebrands into the air. La Salle, Relation; Thomassy, 11.
Early in the spring following the English attack, Pontrincourt came to Port Royal. He found the place in ashes, and his unfortunate son, with the men under his command, wandering houseless in the forests. They had passed a winter of extreme misery, sustaining their wretched existence with roots, the buds of trees, and lichens peeled from the rocks.77 He found them unusually arrogant. Instead of coming to him, they demanded that he should come to them, and many of the French wished him to comply; but Frontenac refused, on the ground that such a concession would add to their insolence, and he declined to go farther than Montreal, or at the utmost Fort Frontenac, the usual place of meeting with them. Early in August he was at Montreal, expecting the arrival of the Ottawas and Hurons on their yearly descent from the lakes. They soon appeared, and he called them to a solemn council. Terror had seized them all. "Father, take pity on us," said the Ottawa orator, "for we are like dead men." A Huron chief, named the Rat, declared that the world was turned upside down, and implored the protection of Onontio, "who is master of the whole earth." These tribes were far from harmony among themselves. Each was jealous of the other, and the Ottawas charged the Hurons with trying to make favor with the common enemy at their expense. Frontenac told them that they were all his children alike, and advised them to live together as brothers, and make treaties of alliance with all the tribes of the lakes. At the same time, he urged them to make full atonement for the death of the Seneca murdered in their country, and carefully to refrain from any new offence.