Wahconah, it was decided, should be placed in a canoe without paddles at the base of the falls.
The canoe would then be set adrift. In the shallow water of the falls there was a small island. If
the vessel bearing Wahconah passed the island to the north side, she should belong to the
Mohawk warrior, if it passed to the south side, Nessacus could claim her.
Wahconah got into the canoe, sitting in a bundle of furs, and it was pushed out into the rushing
water. The Canoe turned and rocked as it sped toward the bank where the Mohawk warrior was
standing and then suddenly and inexplicably the canoe turned, hesitated, and then shot to the
center of the stream. As it rapidly approached the shallows close to the island, it grounded briefly
then twisted free and moved toward the bank where Nessacus was standing. Nessacus ran into
the water and dragged the canoe ashore, and gave his future wife a hug. Wahconah and Nessacus
were married and lived happily ever after .
Later that afternoon, Wahconah’s Father and the medicine man saw a canoe filled with water, lying
several feet from the bank. As they waded out and pulled the canoe to shore. It was the one used
by Wahconah. In the bottom was a bundle of soggy furs. The medicine man picked up the skins
and saw a ragged hole in the bottom of the craft. From a fold in the furs a sharp, sturdy stick fell
to the ground. They discovered that Wahconah had rigged the canoe with an ingenuous rudder - A
sharp stick pushed through the bottom could guide a canoe in shallow water.
Determination and ingenious creativity - The Wahconah Group