Native American Myths

The Maid of the Mist

A Native American Myth
Ongiaras Tribe
retold by
S. E. Schlosser

She lost her husband and her hope at a young age, and the beautiful girl could not find her way through the sorrow upon sorrow that was her lot in life. So she stepped one day into her canoe, singing a death song softly to herself, and paddle out into the current. Soon the canoe was caught by the rough waves and hurtled toward the falls. But as it pitched over and she fell, Heno, the god of thunder who lived in the falls, caught the maiden gently in his arms and carried her to his home beneath the thundering veil of water.

Heno and his sons ministered to the grieving girl, and she stayed with them until her heart healed within her. Then the younger son spoke words of love to the maiden and they married, to the delight of the god of thunder. A young son was born to the couple, and he followed his grandfather everywhere, learning what it meant to be a god of thunder.

The only shadow on the happiness of the maiden in the mist was a continual longing to see her people one more time. Her chance came in an unexpected and unwelcome way. A great snake came down the mighty river and poisoned the waters of her people. They grew sick and were dying. Soon the snake would return to devour the dead until my people were all gone. It was Heno himself who gave her the news, and she begged that she might return for one hour to warn her people of the danger. The god himself lifted her through the falls and set her down among her people to give warning about the evil snake that was causing such pestilence among them. She advised them to move to a higher country until the danger was past, and they agreed. Then Heno came and took the maiden back to her husband and her home.

In a few days, the giant serpent returned to the village, seeking the bodies of those who had died from the poison it had spread. When the snake realized that the people had deserted the village, it hissed in rage and turned upstream to search for them. But Heno heard the voice of the serpent and rose up through the mist of the falls. He threw a great thunderbolt at the creature and killed it in one mighty blast. The giant body of the creature floated downstream and lodged just above the cataract, creating a large semi-circle that deflected huge amounts of water into the falls at the place just above the god's home. Horrified by this disastrous turn of events, Heno swept in through the falls and did his best to stop the massive influx of water, but it was too late.

Seeing that his home would soon be destroyed, Heno called for the maiden and his sons to come away with him. The younger son caught up his wife and child and followed Heno through the water of the falls and up into the sky, where the Thunderer made them a new home. From this place, they watch over the people of the earth, while Heno thunders in the clouds as he once thundered in the vapors of the great falls. To this day, an echo of the Heno's voice can be heard in the thunder of the mighty waters of Niagara Falls.




Excerpt from Spooky New York by S.E. Schlosser.


When I heard the distant roaring of the great falls, my hands began to tremble, and the peace I had felt when I first set foot in my canoe fled. It was, I think, the realization that there would be physical pain before death that made me shiver and shake. I prayed to the Thunderer that my death would be swift and that my courage would remain with me until the end. Then I threw my useless paddle away as the canoe entered the rapids and I watched the falls growing nearer, the sky reaching down to touch the very edge of the water as it plunged into the abyss. I gripped the sides of the canoe as the current heaved the small craft to and fro, moving me swiftly to my end...



it sounds like a Greek myth kinda

cool! i loved that story

I ♥ these storys i read these for homework every night u c we have to reade 30 minutes a day for a week for the rest of the yeah and i love all of them i loved Pink where the husban stranggled his wife bcaz she was changing and he thought she was for a new boy i love ur storys S.E.Schlosser u rock now i got to get back to readin!!!!

i love the story but not scary

eh, not too scary.

The story about Heno was okay but not at all scary.

good story not scary though

looooved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but not scary

should use some of the info from here for my project

i love tht story it had the perfect ending even though it wasnt scary i liked it!?!?!?!

oh! so beautiful story

Awesome! I'm looking for mystery ghosts/boats stories near the great lakes for a project but this story was awesome!

Not Scarry

its not scary it happy

This is the story of niagra's maid of the mist in the boat its a beautiful ride and this story makes it so much better

Thanku, this will really help me with my project about niagara falls,

I loved it because it helped me with my project.

this was a good story! i still ove to read or listen to folktales such as these! :)

This is a blending of two different tales. One is the story of the Oniagara Natives (from whom the word "Niagara" comes) about how a plague (instead of snake poison)was averted by the Maid of the Mist's agreement to marry Henun's (or Heno, as it's alliterated here)son.
The other is an Iriquois story about the Thunderbird, which defeated Henun. The Iriquois and the Oniagara were rival tribes, and the Iriquois tale painted Henun as the venomous serpent.
It's interesting to see how myths blend and change over time.

I feel sad for them

its pretty tight cool story you should read this story if your cool

it's really sad but i loved it and is sounds a little like a greek myth but it is so cool and very i feel so sad for them.


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Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series

About the Author: S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series by Globe Pequot Press, as well as the Ghost Stories deck by Random House.  She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of "let's pretend" quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children's Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author. Read more

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