from the stone inscribed at the site of the historic cave mural near Elsah, IL, USA

"Many thousand moons before the arrival of the palefaces, when the great magalonyx and mastodon, whose bones are now dug up, were still living in this land of green prairies, there existed a bird of such dimensions that he could easily carry off in his talons a full grown deer. Having obtained a tasted of human flesh , from that time he would prey upon nothing else.

He was as artful as he was powerful, bold dart suddenly and unexpectedly upon an Indian, bear him off to one of the caves of the bluff, and devour him.

Hundreds of warriors attempted for years to destroy him, but without success.

Whole villages were nearly depopulated, and consternation spread throughout all the tribes of the Illini.

At length, Ouatoga, a chief whose fame as a warrior extended even beyond the great lakes, separated himself from the rest of his tribe, fasted in solitude for the space of a whole moon, and prayed to the great spirit the master of life that he would protect his children from the Piasa.

On the last night of the fast the great spirit appeared to Outaoga in a dream and directed him to select 20 of his warriors, each armed with a bow and poisoned arrow, and conceal themselves in a designated spot.

Near the place of concealment, another warrior was to stand in open view, as a victim for the Piasa, which they must shoot the instant that in pounced upon his prey.

When the chief awoke in the morning, he thanked the great spirit, and returning to his tribe, told them of his dream.

The warriors were quickly selected and placed in ambush as directed. Ouatoga offered himself as the victim. He was willing to die for his tribe.

Placing himself in open view of the bluff, he soon saw the Piasa perched on the bluff eyeing his prey. Ouatoga drew up his manly form to the utmost height and planting his feet firmly upon the earth began to chant the death song of a warrior.

A moment after the Piasa rose into the air, and, swift as a thunderbolt, darted down upon the chief.

Scarcely had he reached his victim when every bow was sprung and every arrow sent sot the feather, into his body.

The Piasa uttered a wild, fearful scream that resounded far over the opposite side of the river, and expired.

Ouatoga was safe. Not an arrow, not even the talons of the bird had touched him. The master of life, in admiration of the generous deed of Ouatoga had held an invisible shield over him.

In memory of the event, the image of the Piasa was engraved on the bluff.

Such is the Indian tradition."

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