“In the 1600s, an English missionary named Richard Bourne was living on the southern part of Cape Cod, doing God’s work in the New World. Naturally, he drew the fury of the Devil who happened to live on the Cape. One night while Bourne was sleeping, the Devil traveled south towards the missionary’s hut and decided to attack him. The Devil jumped on Bourne and tried to crush him in his sleep, but, to the fallen angel’s surprise, Bourne fought him off.
“You won this time, Richard Bourne, but I’ll be back,” the Devil said. Their feud went on for several years, but Bourne was protected because he was very religious.
Finally, one day the fallen angel gathered up all the rocks he could find on the Outer Cape and put them in his big leather apron. Then he set off for Richard Bourne’s house to dump all the rocks on the minister while he slept and crush him.
As the Devil waked down the Cape, carrying hundreds of boulders in his apron, a chickadee flew at him from out of the woods. The swift little bird flew around the Devil, mocking his plan to crush the minister.
The Devil does not have a very good temper and, with a howl of fury, he ran at the bird and tripped over a fall tree. All the boulders he was carrying in his apron spilled out and rolled across the landscape. This area is now the rocky town of Bourne.
With a big sigh the Devil walked back to the boulder-free Outer Cape, where he’s remained ever since.”
This short story was a chapter in Elizabeth Renard’s book The Narrow Land (1934), the chapter being called “Tales of the Praying Indians.” Praying Indian was a term that referred to Native Americans in New England who were early converts to Christianity. And this isn’t the only religious explanation for the rock-infested area of Massachusetts: the Reverend William Chaffin of Easton, MA also claimed that the boulders in that town fell out of the Devil’s apron. What do you think?