Shelby Legend
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By Mrs. L. E. Cannon-1880


Shelby Township Historical Committee

Long years ago-at least so runs the story-There lived, not far away,
A chieftain, covered o'er with paint and glory,
A gorgeous array.

When rang the war whoop or the scalp-knife glistened,
He led his tribe along,
Till the few settlers held their breath and listened,
Hearing thier barbarous  song.

The little children's eyes grew big with wonder
At mention of his name;
All feared they should from friends be torn asunder,
If that bold chieftan came.

The story goes, one day a wee small maiden
Of summers only four
Wandered along, with fragrant wild flowers laden,
Far from the cottage door.

The old chief saw the tiny, winsome creature,
And gloried in his might.
Covered with war paint, every hideous feature
Grew harder at the sight.

He snatched her up, and through the forest bore her
Where no pale face would roam,
And all thier faithful search could never restore her
To anxious ones at home.

The mother's heart the dreadful loss was pondering
'Till resting'neath the mound;
The father vowed he'd never cease his wandering
Until his child was found.

Meanwhile the chieftan treasured well his treasure,
Humored her every whim;
Thought nothing wrong that gave his Bright-eyes
'Till she grew fond of him.

And when ten times the snows had come and vanished
Slowly from the earth,
Thier different ways had from her memory banished
All knowledge of her birth.

Then to his wigwam with its gaudy trappings
He led her by his side;
Gave her bright beads and shells,with furs for wrappings
And kept her for his bride,
One ornament she had, a necklace golden,
Clasped round her throat of snow,
The only link that bound her to the olden
Strange life of long ago.

Years afterward, an old man, bent and hoary,
Came to the wigwam door,
Trying in broken ways to tell his story,
So often told before.

He saw the chain, and with a cry of pleasure
Started to reach her seat,
Calling,"Oh mother, I have found our treasure,"
And fell dead at her feet.

They buried him beside the river flowing
Through forest dark and wild,
And she lived on in ignorance, not knowing
She was that old man's child.

Until the chief from age and wounds lay dying
With many a feeble wail,
Called her beside the couch where he was lying
And told her all the tale.

And she forgave him then for the great sorrow
She could not understand,
And laid him by her father on the morrow,
Honored by all his band.