Sunday, January 01, 2012

Heckewelder "enclosed it with a fence"

( Shekomeko NY:
CCCCXVI. Indian Reasoning.
    In the year 1777, says the Rev. Mr. Heckewelder, in his interesting account of the Indian Nations, some travelling Indians having put their horses over night in my little meadow at Gnadenhutten on the Muskingum, I called on them in the morning to know why they had done it. I endeavoured to make them sensible of the injury they had done me, especially as I intended to mow the meadow in a day or two. Having finished iny complaint, one of them replied—' My friend, it seems you lay claim to the grass my horses have eaten, because you have enclosed it with a fence; now tell me who caused the grass to grow? Can you make the grass grow? I think not, and nobody can, except the great Mannitto. He it is who causes it to grow both for my horses and for yours! See friend! the grass which grows out of the earth, is common to all. Say—did you ever eat venison and bear's meat ?'—' Yes, very often !'— 'Well, and did you ever hear me or any other Indian complain about that?' 'No.'—' Then be not disturbed at my horses eating only once, of what you call your grass, though the grass my horses eat, in like manner as the meat you did eat, was given to the Indians by the Great Spirit. Besides, if you will but consider, you will find that my horses did not eat all your grass. For friendship's sake, however, I shall not put my horses in your meadow again.'

1 comment:

  1. I find this very profound, and as a builder of dry stone fences it helps keep things in perspective. I hope that walls don't have to about possessing things but encompassing things and augmenting the landscape.