Page:American Anthropologist NS vol. 22.djvu/235
DELABARRE AND WILDER] INDIAN CORN-HILLS 22$
If, now, by the help of this corn-field, and what there is left by tradition, and by our knowledge of former courses of the rivers and the water level in general in this region, we should attempt to reconstruct in our mind's eye the appearance of this little region just previous to the advent of Master John Pynchon, Real Estate Dealer from Springfield, we get a most pleasing picture of an ideal aboriginal settlement, exceptionally well protected by nature from hostile forces and furnished with just the advantages desired. A bluff, sufficiently high to overlook the surrounding country on all sides, tapers off behind into a narrow neck, easily guarded, and is enclosed by an almost complete loop of a fairly swift stream, large enough to furnish a decided barrier to a band of hostile men. Aside from the highland the loop also included an ample stretch of good corn land on a clear meadow, protected by its position from the frequent floods from both rivers, which in front and on the lower (southern) side continually convert the meadows lying without the loop into an unbroken sheet of water. When one sees this palisaded village, standing up out of this vast expanse of flooded meadows, one thinks forcibly of Judd's derivation of the word Nonotuck (with its dialectic forms Norwattock, Nolwottogg, etc.), as "in the midst of the waters," from Natick noeu or noau (in the midst of), and tuck, a stream or river. 1 Unfortunately, however, as in so many other cases, a romantic significance given for an Indian word cannot stand the common-sense explanation of a man familiar with the spoken tongue of the Algonkians, in such nearby tribes as the Penobscot or Passamaquoddy; and in spite of the emotional appeal of this "Village-in-the-midst-of-the-river," candor compels us to state that our friend Dr. Frank G. Speck, who is not only a philogogist of much note, but who also lives on the best terms with the tribes just mentioned, and speaks their language with perfect readiness, says that nonotuck, in all its different dialectic forms, is simply to this day the common term for "up-river," a term applied to any thing, island, tribe, or whatever it may be, in the direction
��1 Sylvester Judd, History of Hadley, p. 114 . Trumbull's Natick Dictionary gives the word noeu, with the meaning of "in the middle, the midst," and Eliot uses it in this sense in his Bible, Joshua, chap, xiu, verses 9, 16.