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DEC 16 - DEC 24, 2014

The Original Legend of the Maid of the Mist

December 16, 2014

The Maid of the Mist was originally a Haudenosaunee myth and predated European colonization of America.

In the ancient myth, a young widow, in a suicidal bereavement, got into her canoe and entered the waters above the falls. At first she felt peace, but when she heard the roar of the falls, her hands began to tremble, as she realized there would be physical pain with death.

She prayed to Heno, the God of Thunder, said to inhabit the waters below the falls, that her death should be swift and her courage would not fail her at the point of death.

As the canoe entered the rapids, she threw away her paddle, and watched the falls growing near, and the sky reached down to touch the edge of the water as it plunged into the cataract. She gripped the sides of her canoe as the current heaved it, moving her to and fro, swiftly to her end.

But Heno, having heard her prayers, caught the maiden in his arms, just as she was going over the crest, and carried her to his home beneath the waters, where he and his sons ministered to her, and ultimately she married the Thunder god's younger son.

In time, a son was born to the couple, and the lad followed his grandfather everywhere, learning what it was to be the God of Thunder and they lived happily for a time.

But the Maid of the Mist longed to see her people once more.

One day, Heno told her that an immense snake had come down the Niagara River poisoning the waters. Soon the snake would devour her people until they became extinct.

The Maid implored with Heno that she might return for one hour to warn her people. The god agreed and lifted her up through the falls and set her down amongst her people so that she might give them warning. She advised her people to move to higher country until the danger passed. They agreed and were saved and at the end of one hour, Heno came back and took the maiden back to her husband and home beneath the Falls.

In a few days, the serpent appeared at the village, seeking to consume the bodies of those who had died from its poison. When the snake realized the people had deserted the village, it turned upstream to search for them.
Heno alert, heard the serpent hiss, and, rising up through the mist of the falls, he threw a thunderbolt and killed the snake.
The body of the giant snake floated downstream until it lodged just above the falls, creating a giant semi-circle at the precipice and deflecting all the waters of the Falls just above the god's home. Horrified by this turn of events, Heno swept in through the falls and tried to stop the massive influx of water, but it was too late. His home was destroyed.

Heno called his sons to come away with him. The younger son caught up his wife and child and they followed Heno through the water of the Falls up to the sky, where the Thunder God made them all a new home. From this place, they watch over the people of earth, and Heno thunders now in the clouds as once he thundered in the vaporous mist of the great falls.

To this day, an echo of the Heno's voice can be heard in the thunder of the mighty waters of Niagara Falls.

When boat rides began under Niagara Falls back in 1846, the owners called their boats "Maid of the Mist." The latest Maid of the Mist owners, James and Chris Glynn formerly played a recording telling a bogus version of the Maid of the Mist legend, claiming human sacrifice and calling it historical fact.






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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
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