Origin of Tobacco

The Origin of Tobacco: by Dr. Franklin.

A Swedish minister took occasion to inform the chiefs of the Susquehanna Indians, in a kind of sermon, of the principal historical facts on which the Christian religion is founded; and particularly the fall of our first parents, by eating an apple. When the sermon was over, an old Indian orator replied, "what you have told us is very good; we thank you for coming so far to tell us those things you have heard from your mothers; in return, we will tell you what we heard from ours.
"In the beginning, we had only flesh of animals to eat;  and if they failed, we starved; two of our hunters, having killed a deer, and broiled a part of it, saw a young woman descend from the clouds, and seat herself on a hill hard by. Said one to the other, "It is a spirit, perhaps, that has smelt our venison; let us offer some of it to her.''  They accordingly gave her the tongue; he was pleased with its flavor, and said your kindness shall be rewarded; come here thirteen moons hence, and you will find it." They did so, and found where her right hand had touched the ground, maize growing: where her left hand had been, kidney-beans; and where her back-fide had been, they found tobacco."
The Swedish minister was disgusted. "What I told you, said he, is sacred truth: yours is fable, fiction, and falsehood."

The Indian, offended in his turn, replied, "My friend, your education has not been a good one; your mothers have not done you justice; they have not well instructed you in the rules of common civility. You saw that we, who understand and practice these rules, believed all your stories; why then do you refuse to believe ours? We believe, indeed, as you have told us, that it is bad to eat apples; it had been better that they had all been made into cider; but we would not have told you so, had you not disbelieved the method by which we first obtained maize, kidney-beans and tobacco,"
-- American Museum, Or Repository Of Ancient And Modern Fugitive Pieces, Prose And Poetica, Volume I, Number III,, July 1787, page 86

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.