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The Legend of Taughannock Falls

A long time ago, the Cayugas had driven all the other Indians from the region, all accept Taughannock, who lived with his people in lodges along the lake near the falls. Taughannock had a daughter "as beautiful as the morning rainbow that springs from the mist of the falls."

 

The Cayugas gathered to make war on Taughannock, but Taughannock was a cunning leader. He instructed his warriors to dig pits and to hide in them. The women covered the pits with leaves and brush. When the Cayugas arrived, all they Taughannock Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York, USA.found were women and children.

 

The Cayuga leader saw Taughannock's beautiful daughter and asked her for directions to her father's lodge. She replied that her father and the other warriors were all "down below." Thinking that the men were dead, the Cayuga warriors expressed sorrow and said they would pay honor to them by being the guardians of Taughannock's women and children.

 

The Cayuga leader stepped forward to kiss Taughannock's daughter. Just then Taughannock and his men sprang from their pits and seized the Cayuga warriors. But when Taughannock saw his daughter's blushing face, he said to the Cayuga leader, "Oh, mighty Cayuga, you came to conquer but failed, because the mist that rises from the falls yonder has painted a rainbow on the faces of our women."

 

And so, the Cayuga warrior married Taughannock's beautiful daughter beside the falls that now bears his name. And today, the Cayuga still live along the lake that is named in their honor--Cayuga Lake--the longest of the 11 Finger Lakes.

 

Created 24 December 2009

 

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