The beginning was in Yai?'kni [May], early in the moon, in the year 1800.
It commences now.
The place is 1 Ohi'o` [on the Allegany river], in Diono?sade'gî [Cornplanter village].
Now it is the harvest time, so he 2 said.
Now a party of people move. They go down in canoes the Allegany river. They plan to hunt throughout the autumn and the winter seasons.
Now they land at Ganowoñ'gon [Warren, Pa.] and set up camp.
The weather changes and they move again. They go farther down the river. The ice melts opening up the stream and so they go still farther down. They land at Dione:gâ [Pittsburgh]. It is a little village of white people [literally, "our younger brethren" 3]. Here they barter their skins, dried meat and fresh game for strong drink. They put a barrel of it in their canoes. Now all the canoes are lashed together like a raft.
Now all the men become filled with strong drink (gonigä'nongi). They yell and sing like demented people. Those who are in the middle canoes do this. 4
Now they are homeward bound.
Now when they come to where they had left their wives and children these embark to return home. They go up Cornplanter creek, Awe'gäon.
Now that the party is home the men revel in strong drink and are very quarrelsome. Because of this the families become frightened and move away for safety. So from many places in the bushlands camp fires send up their smoke.
Now the drunken men run yelling through the village and there is no one there except the drunken men. Now they are beastlike
and run about without clothing and all have weapons to injure those whom they meet.
Now there are no doors left in the houses for they have all been kicked off. So, also, there are no fires in the village and have not been for many days. Now the men full of strong drink have trodden in the fireplaces. They alone track there and there are no fires and their footprints are in all the fireplaces.
Now the dogs yelp and cry in all the houses for they are hungry.
So this is what happens. 1
20:1 The present tense is always used by Chief Cornplanter.
20:2 The narrator, Handsome Lake.
20:3 The Seneca term is Honio?'on`, meaning "our younger brother."
20:4 The intoxicated men were put in the middle canoes to prevent their jumping into the water. The more sober men paddled from the outer canoes. This debauchery was common among the Six Nations at the beginning of the 19th century.
21:1 See plate 10.