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indeed avoid disputes ; but then it becomes difficult to know their minds, or what impression you make upon them. The missionaries who have attempted to convert them to Christianity, all complain of this as one of the
difficul ties of their mission. The Indians hear with patience the truths of the gospel explained to them, and give their usual tokens of afsent and approbation : you would think they were convinced. No such matter. It is mere civility.
A Swedish minister having assembled the chiefs of the Sasquehannah Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal historical facts on which our religion is founded ; such as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple ; the coming of Christ to repair the mischief; his miracles and suffering, &c. When he had finished, an Indian orator stood up to thank him. 6. What
you have told us,” says he,“ is
e all very good. It is indeed bad to “ eat apples. It is better to make « them all into cyder. We are much
obliged by your kindness in coming « so far, to tell us those things which
you have heard from your mothers. “ In return, I will tell you some of those
we have heard from ours.
“ In the beginning, our fathers had s only the flesh of animals to sublift on; " and if their hunting was unsuccessful, “ they were starving. Two of our young “ hunters having killed a deer, made a fire win the woods to broil fome parts of it. “ When they were about to satisfy their “ hunger, they beheld a beautiful young " woman descend from the clouds, and “ seat herself on that hill which you see “ yonder among the Blue Mountains. “ They said to each other, it is a spirit “ that perhaps has smelt our broiling 66 venison, and wishes to eat of it: let “ us offer some to her. They presented
“ her with the tongue : she was pleased " with the taste of it, and said, Your “ kindness shall be rewarded. Come or to this place after thirteen moons, and “ you shall find something that will “ be of great benefit in nourishing you “ and your children to the latest genera« tions.
They did so, and to their “ surprise, found plants they had never s seen before ; but which, from that “ ancient time, have been constantly cul“tivated among us, to our great ad
vantage. Where her right hand “ had touched the ground, they found “ maize, where her left hand had touch“ ed it they found kidney-beans; and « where her backside had sat on it, " they found tobacco.”
The good missionary, disgusted with this idle tale, said, “ What I delivered to you were sa“ cred truths; but what you tell me is mere ** fable, fiction, and falsehood.” The Indian, offended, replied, “My brother,
“ it seems your friends have not done
you justice in your education; they “ have not well instructed you in the “ rules of common civility. You saw “ that we, who understand and practice “ those rules, believed all your stories, « why do you refuse to believe ours ?”
When any of them come into our towns, our people are apt to crowd round them, gaze upon them, and incommöde them where they desire to be private; this they esteem great rudeness, and the effect of the want of instruction in the rules of civility and good manners. “ We have,” say they, “ as much “curiosity as you, and when you come “ into our towns, we wilh for opportuni“ ties of looking at you ; but for this “ purpose we hide ourselves behind " bushes where you are to pass, and "I never intrude ourselves into your com
Their manner of entering one another's villages has likewise its rules. It is rec6
koned uncivil in travelling strangers to enter a village abruptly, without giving notice of their approach. Therefore, as foon as they arrive within hearing, they stop and hollow, remaining there till invited to enter. Two old men usually come out to them, and lead them in. There is in every village a vacant dwelling, called the strangers' house. Here they are placed, while the old men go round from but to hut, acquainting the inhabitants that strangers are arrived, who are probably hungry and weary; and every one sends them what he can spare of victuals, and skins to repose on. When the strangers are refreshed, pipes and tobacco are brought ; and then, but not before, conversation begins, with enquiries who they are, whither bound, what news, &c. and it usually ends with offers of service ; if the strangers have occasion of guides, or any necessaries for continuing their journey ; and