In back of me stands Mt. Chocorua, the easternmost peak in the Sandwich range of the White Mountains. Rising to 3,490 feet in elevation, this mountain with its bald summit, can be seen from any direction in the central New Hampshire and western Maine. It is said to be one of the most photographed mountains in the world and one that is surrounded in legend and mystery .
There are four versions of this legend, all surrounding an Indian named Chocorua. The first describes Chocorua as being very friendly with the settlers, in particular the Campbell family, with whom he left his son when he was called away in 1720. There was an accident and his son drank some poison that was meant to kill some pesky foxes. When Chocorua returned and found that his son had died, he threatened revenge. One afternoon when Mr. Campbell had returned home, he found his wife and children slain. Suspecting Chocorua, Campbell pursued him up the mountain. Wounded by Campbell's rifle, Chocorua reached the summit, uttered a curse against all the white settlers and jumped to his death. Each of the legends differ slightly with each version, but they all end with Chocorua cursing the white man, then jumping to his death.
There are two different versions of the curse, which I am copying directly from the Wikipedia article, goes something like this:
Although no one can know the exact words of Chocorua's curse (or even if there was a curse), it has been reported (Mudge, page 34) to be as follows.
- "May the Great Spirit curse you when he speaks in the clouds and his words are fire! Lightning blast your crops! Wind and fire destroy your homes! The Evil One breathe death on your cattle! Panthers howl and wolves fatten on your bones!"
- 'A curse upon ye, white men! May the Great Spirit curse ye when he speaks in the clouds, and his words are fire! Chocorua had a son — and ye killed him while the sky looked bright! Lightning, blast your crops! Wind and fire destroy your dwellings! The Evil Spirit breathe death upon your cattle! Your graves lie in the war path of the Indian! Panthers howl, and wolves fatten over your bones! Chocorua goes to the Great Spirit — his curse stays with the white men!'
By the way, the bridge that I'm sitting on crosses Lake Chocorua, in which you can see the mountain reflected clearly in the water.
Many artists have painted Mt. Chocorua and you can see some of them from the links of the Wikipedia article that I will be leaving, as usual at the end of this blog. Thanks to Wikipedia as well for the pictures that I borrowed to fill this blog.
Here is the article: