Charles Montgomery Skinner, (1852 - 1907), was an author and folklorist advocate. He raised many stories that were written in America during the close of the frontier to the status of folklore. Skinner was born in Victor, New York and had a successful career in literature and journalism. He also collected myths, legends and folklore not only from America, but from around the world.
Skinner's Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land is a collection of over 100 stories. One of those stories is The Weary Watcher, which is about a man and wife who (supposedly) were very fond of each other. Here is the story:
THE WEARY WATCHER
Before the opening of the great bridge sent commerce rattling up Washington Street in Brooklyn that thoroughfare was a shaded and beautiful avenue, and among the houses that attested its respectability was one, between Tillary and Concord Streets, that was long declared to be haunted. A man and his wife dwelt there who seemed to be fondly attached to each other, and whose love should have been the stronger because of their three children none grew to years. A mutual sorrow is as close a tie as a common affection. One day, while on a visit to a friend, the wife saw her husband drive by in a carriage with a showy woman beside him. She went home at once, and when the supposed recreant returned she met him with bitter reproaches. He answered never a word, but took his hat and left the house, never to be seen again in the places that had known him.
The wife watched and waited, daily looking for his return, but days lengthened into weeks, months, years, and still he came not. Sometimes she lamented that she had spoken hastily and harshly, thinking that, had she known all, she might have found him blameless. There was no family to look after, no wholesome occupation that she sought, so the days went by in listening and watching, until, at last, her body and mind gave way, and the familiar sight of her face, watching from a second floor window, was seen no longer. Her last day came. She had risen from her bed; life and mind seemed for a moment to be restored to her; and standing where she had stood so often, her form supported by a half-closed shutter and a grasp on the sash, she looked into the street once more, sighed hopelessly, and so died. It was her shade that long watched at the windows; it was her waxen face, heavy with fatigue and pain, that was dimly seen looking over the balusters in the evening.
Another is a touching tale of a young Indian maiden:
BIRTH OF THE WATERLILY
Back from his war against the Tahawi comes the Sun, chief of the Lower Saranacs, back to the Lake of the Clustered Stars, afterward called, by dullards, Tupper's Lake. Tall and invincible he comes among his people, boasting of his victories, Indian fashion, and stirring the scalps that hang at his breast. "The Eagle screams," he cries. "He greets the chief, the Blazing Sun. Wayotah has made the Tahawi tremble. They fly from him. Hooh, hooh! He is the chief." Standing apart with wistful glance stands Oseetah, the Bird. She loves the strong young chief, but she knows that another has his promise, and she dares not hope; yet the chief loves her, and when the feasting is over he follows her footprints to the shore, where he sees her canoe turning the point of an island. He silently pursues and comes upon her as she sits waving and moaning. He tries to embrace her, but she draws apart. He asks her to sing to him; she bids him begone.
He takes a more imperious tone and orders her to listen to her chief. She moves away. He darts toward her. Turning on him a face of sorrow, she runs to the edge of a steep rock and waves him back. He hastens after. Then she springs and disappears in the deep water. The Sun plunges after her and swims with mad strength here and there. He calls. There is no answer. Slowly he returns to the village and tells the people what has happened. The Bird's parents are stricken and the Sun moans in his sleep.
At noon a hunter comes in with strange tidings: flowers are growing on the water! The people go to their canoes and row to the Island of Elms. There, in a cove, the still water is enamelled with flowers, some as white as snow, filling the air with perfume, others strong and yellow, like the lake at sunset. "Explain to us," they cry, turning to the old Medicine of his tribe, "for this was not so yesterday."
"It is our daughter," he answered. "These flowers are the form she takes. The white is her purity, the yellow her love. You shall see that her heart will close when the sun sets, and will reopen at his coming." And the young chief went apart and bowed his head.
Sometimes a mug of hot chocolate, your favorite blanket or quilt to snuggle in and a book for light and fun reading can chase away the chills of a cold wintry night. Cozy in and enjoy your evening.