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The Legend of the Living Solid Face (Mesingw)


In the Book "Traveling New Jersey", the author makes  an observation that the Jersey Devil Legend is similar to an Indian belief in the "living Solid Face" of the forest. Since I had never heard that before and I was not familar with the Indian belief, I have decided to research the Leni Lenape Indians of South Jersey and "The Legend of Mesingw".

Below is an excerpt from a book  on the Leni Lenape by M.R. Harrington.

                        "Ku-les-ta! Listen! One time long ago there were 
                         three boys about your age who weren't treated very
                         well; in fact their parents did not seem to care
                         whether they lived or died. They were out in the
                         forest one day thinking about their troubles when
                         they saw a strange-looking hairy person with a big
                         face half red and half black. This person said: "I am
                         Mee-sing haw lee kun; I have taken pity on you and
                         I will give you strength so that nothing can ever hurt
                         you again. Come with me and I will show you my

                         "He took one boy up in the air to the place where he
                         came from; it was a great range of mountains up in
                         the sky reaching from north to south. While he was
                         showing the boy his country, he promised he should
                         become stout and strong and should gain the power
                         to get anything he wished. Then he brought the boy
                         back to earth again.

                         "Afterwards when the boy grew up and went hunting 
                         he used to see Mee-sing-haw-lee-kun riding on a
                         buck, herding the deer together and giving his
                         peculiar call 'Ho-ho-ho.'

                                       Harrington in Dikon Among the Lenape

Leni Lenape Mesingw Mask
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Click here for a audio file of the words "Do you speak Lenape?" in native Lenape language.