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Type: Lake Monster
Location: Lake Koshkonong, Wisconsin
Source: Edgerton, WI Reporter, May 26, 1982
Water Monster of Lake Koshkonong
Many years ago the Mascouten, or Prairie Potawatomi, had
villages on the shores of Lake Koshkonong. A water monster of great power
and terrible form dwelt in its depth and made havoc with every Indian
canoe. No Indian dared to attempt to cross the lake from shore to shore
even in mild weather, because of fear of the destructive denizen of its
waters. No white men came to grief; the lake passage was unlucky for red
Near the narrows of the lake rises a high rocky hill, and near
it there is an island on which the Indians camped when trapping muskrats.
On the west side of the hill there was a place where no Indian could cross.
All who attempted it were sure to be drowned.
Once there were two
Potawatomi brothers who concluded that the story of the water monster was
false. One day, starting in opposite directions, they set out to navigate
the lake in their canoes. All the Indians watched them in fear, they
expected that they would never be seen again. Soon a big wind arose, and it
was so strong and fierce that it even blew the ducks that were flying
overhead into the water. The Indians in the camp sang sacred songs for the
well-being of the two boys, but night came and they did not return.
two canoes were later found capsized. After some time several white men
told the Potawatomi that they had found the bodies of the boys floating in
the lake. There was white clay in their nostrils and ears, a sure sign that
the Lake Koshkonong monster had caught them and drowned them. Some Indians
are afraid of the waters of Lake Koshkonong to this day, believing that the
water monster still prowls about its shores.
Before the Potawatomi came,
Indians of the Sauk tribe lived on the shore of this lake. They had
enemies, probably the llinois, who once trapped a number of them on an
island. They were unable to escape, as the island was partly surrounded by
a large swamp. The Sauk were here, exterminated by the arrows of the
enemy, and some also perished through starvation. This happening gave the
lake a bad name.
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