Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/669

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GRANDFATHER THUNDER.

doings of poor fanatics of Mecca. Such is the solidarity of the modern world that at the present moment it is the doings of these people, who seem so far away (geographically thousands of miles, socially and as regards their sympathies and interests quite in another sphere), which threaten us now with a repetition of such epidemics as that which not so many years ago carried off one in every forty-seven residents in Whitechapel, one in fifty-seven in Ratcliffe, one in sixty-seven in Rotherhithe, and which only last year killed off people in Hamburg at the rate of two hundred to three hundred per day for weeks together.

This is no fanciful speculation, applicable only to days gone by. Last month five thousand pilgrims died in Mecca; their infected and scattered companions are reaching Jiddah and El Tor, and are spreading over the world to their various homes. To them we may look with fear and doubt for the probable initiation of an epidemic in Europe, to follow close upon the footsteps of that which is now at our doors.

 

GRANDFATHER THUNDER.
By ABBY L. ALGER.

DURING the summer of 1892, at York Harbor, Me., I was in daily communication with a party of Penobscot Indians from Oldtown, among whom were an old man and woman, from whom I got many curious legends. The day after a terrible thunderstorm I asked the old woman how they had weathered the storm. She looked searchingly at me and said, "It was good." After a moment she added, "You know the thunder is our grandfather?" I answered that I did not know it, and was startled when she continued: "Yes, when we hear the first roll of the thunder, especially the first thunder in the spring, we always go out into the open air, build a fire, put a little tobacco on it, and give grandfather a smoke. Ever since I can remember, my father and my grandfather did this, and I shall always do it as long as I live. I'll tell you the story of it and why we do so.

"Long time ago there were two Indian families living in a very lonely place. This was before there were any white people in the land. They lived far apart. Each family had a daughter, and these girls were great friends. One sultry afternoon in the late spring, one of them told her mother she wanted to go to see her friend. The mother said: 'No, it is not right for you to go alone, such a handsome girl as you; you must wait till your father or your brother are here to go with you.' But the girl insisted, and at last her mother yielded and let her go. She had