Niagara Falls History - Legend of the Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist cruise boat The most famous legend in Niagara Falls is that of the Maid of the Mist, the Thunder God Hinum which explained the origin of the Falls of Niagara. This legend originated with the Neuter Indian Nation, which occupied the Niagara District when the first French Christian missionaries arrived.

Long ago, Indian tribes were dying of an unknown cause. Each year the Indians tried appeasing the God Hinu, who with his two sons lived behind the Falls, by sending canoes filled with fruit over the Falls When the Indian's health still did not improve, they thought that their God was not satisfied. Subsequently, each year they began sacrificing their most beautiful Indian maiden, but still their luck did not improve.

One year, Lelawalo, the daughter of the Chief of the tribe was sacrificed to the spirit of the Falls in a canoe filled with food. As she fell over the mighty cataract, the legend says that this Indian maiden was caught in the arms of the God's sons. Recalling that she had been sent to her death, the Indian maiden agreed to take one of the sons as her husband, with one condition.

One of the sons told her that there was a poisonous snake living at the bottom of the river, which would get hungry once a year. It would crawl to the where the Indians were and poison their water, which the Indians would drink and then die. Then the snake would return to consume their bodies.

The Indian maiden convinced the youngest son of the God to allow her to return to the tribe one last time to tell them about the snake and how to kill it with spears. The indian braves waited for the snake to return, and speared it. The snake crawled to the edge of the Falls, and died with its body arc-ed like a horseshoe, giving the Falls its shape.To this day, the Gods continue to protect the Indians from evil spirits.

The Maid of the Mist boat, the eleventh boat of that name (though it is numbered, VII the seventh) since the first in 1833, was delivered to the Falls in 1997 in 14 sections built at Cartier Construction in Belleville, Ontario. The Maid of the Mist was assembled and welded together on location, and is 80 feet long, weighs 145 tons and can carry 582 passengers. Interestingly, there is a 6 feet (2m) difference in water level at the Maid of the Mist docks between daytime and nighttime, due to water diversion for power generation..


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