What’s the Story Behind the Story?

Do you like to travel? I do, and I’m always thrilled when I can travel within my own country and learn about the mysteries of Canada, especially those in my own backyard. The photograph shows the landlocked Lake of the Mountain, near Picton, Ontario, a couple of hours away from where I live.

What Makes the Lake Special?

The lake is located approximately 62 metres (203 ft) above the Bay of Quinte, separated from the bay by a limestone cliff. For many years, people have disputed the origin of the seemingly bottomless lake. The nearest estimates put it at 34 metres (112 ft deep). Strangely enough, people can’t agree on where the lake gets its water since the level never changes regardless of weather conditions.

Some think the two small streams to the west and southwest feed it, while others think the extensive swampy area to the east is responsible. Not all hydrologists agree since even in times of drought, when the streams and the swamp dry up, the lake stays the same. Did I mention there’s a small but constant waterfall at one end of the lake that goes down the cliff into the Bay of Quinte?

Obviously, there’s a mystery here, one I decided to explore in my book. Echoes of the Past, a mild paranormal that explores the idea of reincarnated lovers set against a coroner’s search for the truth and what is poisoning the lake.

The Myth

The Lake of the Mountains is located within land once belonging to the Mohawk of Tyendinaga. To them, the lake was sacred. As the story goes, for hundreds of years before the people came to live on the land, Sky Woman lived in the heavens high above it. One day, she gave birth to a daughter who didn’t survive. Sky Woman buried her child and from her dead body came the Three Sisters–Corn, Beans, and Squash, the three crops that fed the tribe.

Iroquois Three Sisters by Barry Lee

The Mohawk believed that the spirit of those sisters dwelt at the bottom of the lake, which they called Onokenoga — “Lake of the Gods.”

Since it was a sacred place, the people would often go the the lake with sacrifices, and offer their thanks or ask for blessings. They also believed that the sisters carried messages to and from Manitto, the Creator.

The Three Sisters were no different from characters in any other mythology throughout the world. As such, they occasionally interfered in the affairs of men.

This was especially true when it came to a Mohawk maiden named Tayouroughay. The maiden was kind, gentle, beautiful–and the daughter of the chief. Her father selected a warrior, Annosothka, to be her husband. This didn’t please her, since she’d fallen in love with Gowanda, a young man from an enemy tribe, whom her people had captured.

The two young lovers planned to escape together. One night, she set him free. When the tribe found him missing, they raised the alarm, but the young man couldn’t be found.

Pleased with the seeming success of their plan, they met secretly. All seemed well until her father announced that it was time for the marriage. Instead of going to her proposed husband, Tayouroughay snuck away from the camp.

She set off in a canoe across the lake to be with the man she loved. Annosothka and other braves saw her and followed her. Before she could reach her lovers arms, he caught up to her. In an effort to escape him, she jumped into the lake near the small waterfall. Unfortunately, the strong current carried her over the wall.

Seeing what happened, Gowanda dove into the lake, but the angry gods determined to keep him there, eternally separated from the one he loved. The Braves searched the waters, but both the maiden and their enemy were gone.

The myth goes on to say that the three sisters took pity on the lovers and led Gowanda’s spirit to a weak place in the limestone wall and showed him a tiny hole. Legend has it that Gowanda worked at that hole until he could squeeze through and join his beloved far below in the waters of the bay. Has he done it yet? No one can say–and the water level never changes.

Echoes of the Past explores what would happen if the two doomed lovers were able to meet and make peace with the Three Sisters, enabling them to have the happily ever after denied them. But, since every one needs a complication, the lovers aren’t the only ones reincarnated.

The Blurb

Born Mohawk, raised white, forensic pathologist, Michelle Thomas is trapped between two worlds—this one and the spirit world where the ghosts of those who’ve drowned speak to her.

Haunted by crippling nightmares of her own drowning death and erotic dreams of a phantom lover, she strives to make sense of her life. When two suspicious deaths occur at the Lake of the Mountain Resort, she’s sent to investigate.

She’ll face the greatest challenge of her career when her past and her present collide. One of these men is her future, but which one—the rich and powerful Mayor Ron Davies, or Tony Steele, the hydrology professor who may be responsible for his students’ deaths? Charged by the spirits of her Mohawk ancestors to atone for her previous sins by protecting Lake of the Gods, can Michelle solve the murders, save the sacred waters, and fulfill her destiny?

You can find Echoes of the Past in the newest box set from the ABB

At only 99 cents USD, or free to read on KU, it’s a bargain you can’t miss. https://books2read.com/USatisaction

Enjoy your holiday weekend! Stay safe.

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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

3 Replies to “What’s the Story Behind the Story?”

    • I just visited the Lake a few days ago; and there is definitely something magical about it; and you’re story sounds like one I would enjoy. Wil definitely check it out!

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