One winter's day in 1649, a band of warriors from the Petun Indian village of St. Jean, south of the Georgian Bay, went out to intercept an invading war-party of Iroquois. They did not find the enemy. When they returned to the village, four days later, they saw only the ashes of their homes and the charred and mutilated bodies of many of their wives, children, and old men. Not one living soul had escaped death or capture; not one cabin had been spared from the flames. The Petun warriors sat down in the snow, mute and motionless, and no one spoke or moved for half a day; no one even stirred to pursue the Iroquois in order to save the captives or to gain revenge.

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