Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter II >> Page 20

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History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
allies of several Indian tribes, north and south of their fortress. Audusta, the king or chief of one of these tribes �a name in which we may almost recognize the modern Edisto�was in particular their friend. He sent them embassadors, invited them into his country, furnished them with provisions, and admitted them to a sight of those ceremonies of his religion, which, among the Indian tribes, have been most usually kept secret from strangers. Some of these ceremonies were curious, like those of most savages ; an odd mixture of the grotesque and sanguinary. The scene of the performance, and one of their superstitious festivals, is thus described by Laudonniere. "The place was a great circuit of ground, with open prospect, and round in figure. All who were chosen to celebrate the feast, were painted, and trimmed with rich feathers of divers colors. When they had reached the place of Toya�such was the name of their deity�they set themselves in order, following three other Indians, who differed in gait and in gesture from the rest."
Each of them bore in his hand a tabret, dancing and singing in a lamentable tune, when they entered the sacred circuit. After they had sung and danced awhile, they ran off through the thickest woods, like unbridled horses, where they carried on a portion of their ceremonies in secret from the crowd. The women spent the day in tears, as sad and woful as possible: and in such rage they cut the arms of the young girls with muscle shells, that the blood followed, which they flung into the air, crying out as they did so, He-Toya�He-Toya He-Toya." They had three priests, to whom they gave the