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The Lost Lovers of Pontoosuc Lake

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Legend of the Lost Lovers of Pontoosuc Lake

The Indian maiden, Moon-keek, was deeply in love with her cousin Shon-keek. She was the daughter of the elderly chief, No-big-a-sha. Despite the fact that Shon-keek was the son of the chief's brother, in their hearts they were betrothed. It was said that evil always came upon a tribe that permitted the marriage of cousins. Moon-keek and Shon-keek continued to meet, their love stronger than the tribal customs. A deceitful Nock-a-wan-do, hoping to claim Moon-keek as his own, frequently spied on the lovers and whispered his secret observations to the chief. Shon-keet and Moon-keet eventually learned of a tribe far off to the Northeast that would welcome them. As their plan developed, they decided to meet at the island on Pontoosuc Lake, fleeing their nearby village to begin a new life together. Moon-keek and Shon-keek were joyful in the knowledge that they would soon be together. The night of their secret rendezvous, Moon-keek swiftly paddled her canoe to the island. Shon-keet followed. Unknown to them, the evil Nock-a-wan-do also followed. In a fit of murderous jealously, Nock-a-wan-do fired a flint-pointed arrow through his paddling rival's back, piercing his heart. Moon-keek saw her lover fall into the lake. Jumping into her canoe, she quickly paddled towards Shon-keek's canoe. She was startled to see the spirit of Shon-keek, still strongly paddling towards her. As she reached out to the fading presence, she plunged into the depths of the lake and both disappeared without a trace. Witnessing the scene, Nock-a-wan-do fled in terror. The bodies of the dead lovers were never recovered. It is said that Moon-keek found her lover, and they rest forever in each others arms. It is also believed to be an omen of great fortune to glimpse the spirit lovers, eternally paddling together on Pontoosuc Lake.

"But oft from the Indian hunter's camp
This lover and maid so true
Are seen, the hour of midnight damp,
To cross the lake by a firefly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe."


Pontoosuc--"The Place of the Waterfall"
Pontoosuc Lake,  
once known as Lake Shoon-keek-moon-keek,
is one of the most popular recreation areas in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. 
The 480 acre lake borders Lanesborough and Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Click here to visit Pontoosuc School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Click here to visit the official Website of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Click here to visit the official Website of Lanesborough, Massachusetts

Frank J. Leskovitz