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PAGE 3

The Boy Captives
by [?]

(1) *Anathema maranatha* occurs at the close of St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, and in the English version is made to appear as a composite phrase. It has so passed into common use, *maranatha* being taken as intensifying the curse contained in *anathema*. The words are properly to be divided, *maranatha* signifying “The Lord cometh.”

Their sagacity was by no means at fault. The Indians, missing their prisoners in the morning, started off in pursuit with their dogs. As the young boys lay in the log they could hear the whistle of the Indians and the barking of dogs upon their track. It was a trying moment; and even the stout heart of the elder boy sank within him as the dogs came up to the log and set up a loud bark of discovery. But his presence of mind saved him. He spoke in a low tone to the dogs, who, recognizing his familiar voice, wagged their tails with delight, and ceased barking. He then threw to them the morsel of moose-meat he had taken from the wigwam. While the dogs were thus diverted, the Indians made their appearance. The boys heard the light, stealthy sound of their moccasins on the leaves. They passed close to the log; and the dogs, having devoured their moose- meat, trotted after their masters. Through a crevice in the log the boys looked after them, and saw them disappear in the thick woods. They remained in their covert until night, when they started again on their long journey, taking a new route to avoid the Indians. At daybreak they again concealed themselves, but travelled the next night and day without resting. By this time they had consumed all the bread which they had taken, and were fainting from hunger and weariness. Just at the close of the third day they were providentially enabled to kill a pigeon and a small tortoise, a part of which they ate raw, not daring to make a fire, which might attract the watchful eyes of savages. On the sixth day they struck upon an old Indian path, and, following it until night, came suddenly upon a camp of the enemy. Deep in the heart of the forest, under the shelter of a ridge of land heavily timbered, a great fire of logs and brushwood was burning; and around it the Indians sat, eating their moose-meat and smoking their pipes.

The poor fugitives, starving, weary, and chilled by the cold spring blasts, gazed down upon the ample fire, and the savory meats which the squaws were cooking by it, but felt no temptation to purchase warmth and food by surrendering themselves to captivity. Death in the forest seemed preferable. They turned and fled back upon their track, expecting every moment to hear the yells of pursuers. The morning found them seated on the bank of a small stream, their feet torn and bleeding, and their bodies emaciated. The elder, as a last effort, made search for roots, and fortunately discovered a few ground-nuts (*glycine apios*), which served to refresh in some degree himself and his still weaker companion. As they stood together by the stream, hesitating and almost despairing, it occurred to Isaac that the rivulet might lead to a larger stream of water, and that to the sea and the white settlements near it; and he resolved to follow it. They again began their painful march; the day passed, and the night once more overtook them. When the eighth morning dawned, the younger of the boys found himself unable to rise from his bed of leaves. Isaac endeavored to encourage him, dug roots, and procured water for him; but the poor lad was utterly exhausted. He had no longer heart or hope. The elder boy laid him on leaves and dry grass at the foot of a tree, and with a heavy heart bade him farewell. Alone he slowly and painfully proceeded down the stream, now greatly increased in size by tributary rivulets. On the top of a hill he climbed with difficulty into a tree, and saw in the distance what seemed to be a clearing and a newly-raised frame building. Hopeful and rejoicing, he turned back to his young companion, told him what he had seen, and, after chafing his limbs awhile, got him upon his feet. Sometimes supporting him, and at others carrying him on his back, the heroic boy staggered towards the clearing. On reaching it he found it deserted, and was obliged to continue his journey. Towards night signs of civilization began to appear,–the heavy, continuous roar of water was heard; and, presently emerging from the forest, he saw a great river dashing in white foam down precipitous rocks, and on its bank the gray walls of a huge stone building, with flankers, palisades, and moat, over which the British flag was flying. This was the famous Saco Fort, built by Governor Phips,(1) two years before, just below the falls of the Saco River. The soldiers of the garrison gave the poor fellows a kindly welcome. Joseph, who was scarcely alive, lay for a long time sick in the fort; but Isaac soon regained his strength, and set out for his home in Haverhill, which he had the good fortune to arrive at in safety.

(1) An interesting account of Sir William Phips will be found in Parkman’s *Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV.* Hawthorne also tells his romantic story in *Fanshawe and Other Pieces.*

Amidst the stirring excitements of the present day, when every thrill of the electric wire conveys a new subject for thought or action to a generation as eager as the ancient Athenians for some new thing, simple legends of the past like that which we have transcribed have undoubtedly lost in a great degree their interest. The lore of the fireside is becoming obsolete, and with the octogenarian few who still linger among us will perish the unwritten history of border life in New England.