A skeptic finds out that ghosts are real
On a small tributary of the upper Assiniboine River is a pleasant plain with an unpleasant memory: the place of the two dead men. It is said that a quarrel happened between two brothers that ended in one of them drawing a knife and slaying the other. A companion, seeing the brother kill his brother quickly avenged the killing. The brothers were buried side by side at this place. From that time no Indian camped at this place, for when they did the dead men would rise from their graves and disturb the traveler who stopped near their resting place.
The famous white captive, John Tanner, once took it upon himself to camp at this spot. He had heard the legend and resolved to show his courage by spending a night there. He pushed his canoe to the shore, ate his supper, and rolled himself in his buffalo-skin to sleep.
However, as soon as he got comfortable, two dead men walked out of the darkness and squatted by his fire. They spoke no words and they did not move. Instead, they looked steadily at him with their milky dead eyes until he could endure it no longer and sat up; whereupon the dead men vanished. He soon fell asleep and the dead men returned in his dreams. In his dream the men not only stared at him, they teased him at him and poked him with sticks. He tried to resist, to rise, to cry out but he could not stop them. At last one of the dead brothers spoke and told him that he would see a horse at the top of a low hill nearby. The dead man stated, “There, my brother, is a horse which I give you to ride tomorrow. And as you pass here on your way home you can call and leave the horse and spend another night with us.”
Tanner awoke, and as soon as it was light enough to travel, he drew his canoe among the bushes. With a sense of dread that the words of the dead man were true, he climbed the little hill and found the horse that he was promised. He quickly mounted the horse and rode to a nearby trading post not many miles away. Though he had to abandon his canoe, Tanner could not bring himself to return to the place of the two dead men.
Adapted from Myths and Legends Beyond Our Borders by Charles Skinner (1899) Lipincott.
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