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The Song of Hiawatha
Henry W. Longfellow
The Song of Hiawatha is based on the legends and stories of many North American
Indian tribes, but especially those of the Ojibway Indians of northern Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They were collected by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the
reknowned historian, pioneer explorer, and geologist. He was superintendent of
Indian affairs for Michigan from 1836 to 1841.
Schoolcraft married Jane, O-bah-bahm-wawa-ge-zhe-go-qua (The Woman of the
Sound Which the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), Johnston. Jane was a
daughter of John Johnston, an early Irish fur trader, and
O-shau-gus-coday-way-qua (The Woman of the Green Prairie), who was a daughter of
Waub-o-jeeg (The White Fisher), who was Chief of the Ojibway tribe at La Pointe,
Jane and her mother are credited with having researched, authenticated, and
compiled much of the material Schoolcraft included in his Algic Researches
(1839) and a revision published in 1856 as The Myth of Hiawatha. It was this
latter revision that Longfellow used as the basis for The Song of Hiawatha.
Longfellow began Hiawatha on June 25, 1854, he completed it on March 29,
1855, and it was published November 10, 1855. As soon as the poem was published
its popularity was assured. However, it also was severely criticized as a
plagiary of the Finnish epic poem Kalevala. Longfellow made no secret of the
fact that he had used the meter of the Kalevala; but as for the legends, he
openly gave credit to Schoolcraft in his notes to the poem.
I would add a personal note here. My father's roots include Ojibway Indians: his
mother, Margaret Caroline Davenport, was a daughter of Susan des Carreaux,
O-gee-em-a-qua (The Chief Woman), Davenport whose mother was a daughter of Chief
Waub-o-jeeg. Finally, my mother used to rock me to sleep reading portions of
Hiawatha to me, especially:
"Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly, Little, flitting, white-fire insect
Little, dancing, white-fire creature, Light me with your little candle, Ere upon
my bed I lay me, Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!"
Woodrow W. Morris April 1, 1991
The Song of Hiawatha
Should you ask me, whence these stories? Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest With the dew and damp of meadows, With the curling
smoke of wigwams, With the rushing of great rivers, With their frequent
repetitions, And their wild reverberations As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you, "From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland, From the land of the Ojibways, From the
land of the Dacotahs, From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands Where the heron,
the Shuh-shuh-gah, Feeds among the reeds and rushes. I repeat them as I heard
them From the lips of Nawadaha, The musician, the sweet singer."
Should you ask where Nawadaha Found these songs so wild and wayward, Found these
legends and traditions, I should answer, I should tell you, "In the bird's-nests
of the forest, In the lodges of the beaver, In the hoofprint of the bison, In
the eyry of the eagle!
"All the wild-fowl sang them to him, In the moorlands and the fen-lands,
In the melancholy marshes; Chetowaik, the plover, sang them, Mahng, the loon,
the wild-goose, Wawa, The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, And the grouse, the
If still further you should ask me, Saying, "Who was Nawadaha? Tell us of
this Nawadaha," I should answer your inquiries Straightway in such words as
"In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley, By the
pleasant water-courses, Dwelt the singer Nawadaha. Round about the Indian
village Spread the meadows and the corn-fields, And beyond them stood the forest,
Stood the groves of singing pine-trees, Green in Summer, white in Winter, Ever
sighing, ever singing.
"And the pleasant water-courses, You could trace them through the valley,
By the rushing in the Spring-time, By the alders in the Summer, By the white fog
in the Autumn, By the black line in the Winter; And beside them dwelt the
singer, In the vale of Tawasentha, In the green and silent valley.
"There he sang of Hiawatha, Sang the Song of Hiawatha, Sang his wondrous
birth and being, How he prayed and how be fasted, How he lived, and toiled, and
suffered, That the tribes of men might prosper, That he might advance his
Ye who love the haunts of Nature, Love the sunshine of the meadow, Love the
shadow of the forest, Love the wind among the branches, And the rain-shower and
the snow-storm, And the rushing of great rivers Through their palisades of
pine-trees, And the thunder in the mountains, Whose innumerable echoes Flap like
eagles in their eyries;Listen to these wild traditions, To this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye who love a nation's legends, Love the ballads of a people, That like
voices from afar off Call to us to pause and listen, Speak in tones so plain and
childlike, Scarcely can the ear distinguish Whether they are sung or spoken;Listen
to this Indian Legend, To this Song of Hiawatha! Ye whose hearts are fresh and
simple, Who have faith in God and Nature, Who believe that in all ages Every
human heart is human, That in even savage bosoms There are longings, yearnings,
strivings For the good they comprehend not, That the feeble hands and helpless,
Groping blindly in the darkness, Touch God's right hand in that darkness And are
lifted up and strengthened;Listen to this simple story, To this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles Through the green lanes of the country, Where
the tangled barberry-bushes Hang their tufts of crimson berries Over stone walls
gray with mosses, Pause by some neglected graveyard, For a while to muse, and
ponder On a half-effaced inscription, Written with little skill of song-craft,
Homely phrases, but each letter Full of hope and yet of heart-break, Full of all
the tender pathos Of the Here and the Hereafter; Stay and read this rude
inscription, Read this Song of Hiawatha!
On the Mountains of the Prairie, On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry, Gitche
Manito, the mighty, He the Master of Life, descending, On the red crags of the
quarry Stood erect, and called the nations, Called the tribes of men together.
From his footprints flowed a river, Leaped into the light of morning, O'er the
precipice plunging downward Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet. And the Spirit,
stooping earthward, With his finger on the meadow Traced a winding pathway for
it, Saying to it, "Run in this way!"
From the red stone of the quarry With his hand he broke a fragment, Moulded
it into a pipe-head, Shaped and fashioned it with figures; From the margin of
the river Took a long reed for a pipe-stem, With its dark green leaves upon it;
Filled the pipe with bark of willow, With the bark of the red willow; Breathed
upon the neighboring forest, Made its great boughs chafe together, Till in flame
they burst and kindled; And erect upon the mountains, Gitche Manito, the mighty,
Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe, As a signal to the nations.
And the smoke rose slowly, slowly, Through the tranquil air of morning, First a
single line of darkness, Then a denser, bluer vapor, Then a snow-white cloud
unfolding, Like the tree-tops of the forest, Ever rising, rising, rising, Till
it touched the top of heaven, Till it broke against the heaven, And rolled
outward all around it.
From the Vale of Tawasentha, From the Valley of Wyoming, From the groves of
Tuscaloosa, From the far-off Rocky Mountains, From the Northern lakes and rivers
All the tribes beheld the signal, Saw the distant smoke ascending, The Pukwana
of the Peace-Pipe.
And the Prophets of the nations Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana! By the
signal of the Peace-Pipe, Bending like a wand of willow, Waving like a hand that
beckons, Gitche Manito, the mighty, Calls the tribes of men together, Calls the
warriors to his council!"
Down the rivers, o'er the prairies, Came the warriors of the nations, Came
the Delawares and Mohawks, Came the Choctaws and Camanches, Came the Shoshonies
and Blackfeet, Came the Pawnees and Omahas,
Came the Mandans and Dacotahs, Came the Hurons and Ojibways, All the warriors
drawn together By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, To the Mountains of the Prairie,
To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,
And they stood there on the meadow, With their weapons and their war-gear,
Painted like the leaves of Autumn, Painted like the sky of morning, Wildly
glaring at each other; In their faces stem defiance, In their hearts the feuds
of ages, The hereditary hatred, The ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Gitche Manito, the mighty, The creator of the nations, Looked upon them with
compassion, With paternal love and pity; Looked upon their wrath and wrangling
But as quarrels among children, But as feuds and fights of children!
Over them he stretched his right hand, To subdue their stubborn natures, To
allay their thirst and fever, By the shadow of his right hand; Spake to them
with voice majestic As the sound of far-off waters, Falling into deep abysses,
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise :
"O my children! my poor children! Listen to the words of wisdom, Listen to
the words of warning, From the lips of the Great Spirit, From the Master of
Life, who made you!
"I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison, I have given you roe and reindeer, I have given
you brant and beaver, Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl, Filled the rivers
full of fishes: Why then are you not contented? Why then will you hunt each
"I am weary of your quarrels, Weary of your wars and bloodshed, Weary of
your prayers for vengeance, Of your wranglings and dissensions; All your
strength is in your union, All your danger is in discord; Therefore be at peace
henceforward, And as brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to you, A Deliverer of the nations, Who shall
guide you and shall teach you, Who shall toil and suffer with you. If you listen
to his counsels, You will multiply and prosper; If his warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish!
"Bathe now in the stream before you, Wash the war-paint from your faces,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers, Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from this quarry, Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes, Take
the reeds that grow beside you, Deck them with your brightest feathers, Smoke
the calumet together, And as brothers live henceforward!"
Then upon the ground the warriors Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skin,
Threw their weapons and their war-gear, Leaped into the rushing river, Washed
the war-paint from their faces. Clear above them flowed the water, Clear and
limpid from the footprints Of the Master of Life descending; Dark below them
flowed the water, Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson, As if blood were
mingled with it!
From the river came the warriors, Clean and washed from all their war-paint; On
the banks their clubs they buried, Buried all their warlike weapons. Gitche
Manito, the mighty, The Great Spirit, the creator, Smiled upon his helpless
And in silence all the warriors Broke the red stone of the quarry, Smoothed
and formed it into Peace-Pipes, Broke the long reeds by the river, Decked them
with their brightest feathers, And departed each one homeward, While the Master
of Life, ascending, Through the opening of cloud-curtains, Through the doorways
of the heaven, Vanished from before their faces, In the smoke that rolled around
him, The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!
The Four Winds
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" Cried the warriors, cried the old men, When
he came in triumph homeward With the sacred Belt of Wampum, From the regions of
the North-Wind, From the kingdom of Wabasso, From the land of the White Rabbit.
He had stolen the Belt of Wampum From the neck of Mishe-Mokwa, From the Great
Bear of the mountains, From the terror of the nations, As he lay asleep and
cumbrous On the summit of the mountains, Like a rock with mosses on it, Spotted
brown and gray with mosses.
Silently he stole upon him Till the red nails of the monster Almost touched him,
almost scared him, Till the hot breath of his nostrils Warmed the hands of
Mudjekeewis, As he drew the Belt of Wampum Over the round ears, that heard not,
Over the small eyes, that saw not, Over the long nose and nostrils, The black
muffle of the nostrils, Out of which the heavy breathing Warmed the hands of
Then he swung aloft his war-club, Shouted loud and long his war-cry, Smote
the mighty Mishe-Mokwa In the middle of the forehead, Right between the eyes he
With the heavy blow bewildered, Rose the Great Bear of the mountains; But his
knees beneath him trembled, And he whimpered like a woman, As he reeled and
staggered forward, As he sat upon his haunches; And the mighty Mudjekeewis,
Standing fearlessly before him, Taunted him in loud derision, Spake disdainfully
in this wise:
"Hark you, Bear! you are a coward; And no Brave, as you pretended; Else
you would not cry and whimper Like a miserable woman! Bear! you know our tribes
are hostile, Long have been at war together; Now you find that we are strongest,
You go sneaking in the forest, You go hiding in the mountains! Had you conquered
me in battle Not a groan would I have uttered; But you, Bear! sit here and
whimper, And disgrace your tribe by crying, Like a wretched Shaugodaya, Like a
cowardly old woman!"
Then again he raised his war-club, Smote again the Mishe-Mokwa In the middle of
his forehead, Broke his skull, as ice is broken When one goes to fish in Winter.
Thus was slain the Mishe-Mokwa, He the Great Bear of the mountains, He the
terror of the nations.
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" With a shout exclaimed the people,
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis! Henceforth he shall be the West-Wind, And
hereafter and forever Shall he hold supreme dominion Over all the winds of
heaven. Call him no more Mudjekeewis, Call him Kabeyun, the West-Wind!"
Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen Father of the Winds of Heaven. For himself he kept
the West-Wind, Gave the others to his children; Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind,
Gave the South to Shawondasee, And the North-Wind, wild and cruel, To the fierce
Young and beautiful was Wabun; He it was who brought the morning, He it was
whose silver arrows Chased the dark o'er hill and valley; He it was whose cheeks
were painted With the brightest streaks of crimson, And whose voice awoke the
village, Called the deer, and called the hunter.
Lonely in the sky was Wabun; Though the birds sang gayly to him, Though the
wild-flowers of the meadow Filled the air with odors for him; Though the forests
and the rivers Sang and shouted at his coming, Still his heart was sad within
him, For he was alone in heaven.
But one morning, gazing earthward, While the village still was sleeping, And
the fog lay on the river, Like a ghost, that goes at sunrise, He beheld a maiden
walking All alone upon a meadow, Gathering water-flags and rushes By a river in
Every morning, gazing earthward, Still the first thing he beheld there Was her
blue eyes looking at him, Two blue lakes among the rushes. And he loved the
lonely maiden, Who thus waited for his coming; For they both were solitary, She
on earth and he in heaven.
And he wooed her with caresses, Wooed her with his smile of sunshine, With
his flattering words he wooed her, With his sighing and his singing, Gentlest
whispers in the branches, Softest music, sweetest odors, Till he drew her to his
bosom, Folded in his robes of crimson, Till into a star he changed her,
Trembling still upon his bosom; And forever in the heavens They are seen
together walking, Wabun and the Wabun-Annung, Wabun and the Star of Morning.
But the fierce Kabibonokka Had his dwelling among icebergs, In the everlasting
snow-drifts, In the kingdom of Wabasso, In the land of the White Rabbit. He it
was whose hand in Autumn Painted all the trees with scarlet, Stained the leaves
with red and yellow; He it was who sent the snow-flake, Sifting, hissing through
the forest, Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers, Drove the loon and sea-gull
southward, Drove the cormorant and curlew To their nests of sedge and sea-tang
In the realms of Shawondasee.
Once the fierce Kabibonokka Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts From his
home among the icebergs, And his hair, with snow besprinkled, Streamed behind
him like a river, Like a black and wintry river, As he howled and hurried
southward, Over frozen lakes and moorlands.
There among the reeds and rushes Found he Shingebis, the diver, Trailing strings
of fish behind him, O'er the frozen fens and moorlands, Lingering still among
the moorlands, Though his tribe had long departed To the land of Shawondasee.
Cried the fierce Kabibonokka, "Who is this that dares to brave me? Dares
to stay in my dominions, When the Wawa has departed, When the wild-goose has
gone southward, And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, Long ago departed southward? I
will go into his wigwam, I will put his smouldering fire out!"
And at night Kabibonokka, To the lodge came wild and wailing, Heaped the snow in
drifts about it, Shouted down into the smoke-flue, Shook the lodge-poles in his
fury, Flapped the curtain of the door-way. Shingebis, the diver, feared not,
Shingebis, the diver, cared not; Four great logs had he for firewood, One for
each moon of the winter, And for food the fishes served him. By his blazing fire
he sat there, Warm and merry, eating, laughing, Singing, "O Kabibonokka,
You are but my fellow-mortal!"
Then Kabibonokka entered, And though Shingebis, the diver, Felt his presence
by the coldness, Felt his icy breath upon him, Still he did not cease his
singing, Still he did not leave his laughing, Only turned the log a little, Only
made the fire burn brighter, Made the sparks fly up the smoke-flue.
From Kabibonokka's forehead, From his snow-besprinkled tresses, Drops of sweat
fell fast and heavy, Making dints upon the ashes, As along the eaves of lodges,
As from drooping boughs of hemlock, Drips the melting snow in spring-time,
Making hollows in the snow-drifts.
Till at last he rose defeated, Could not bear the heat and laughter, Could
not bear the merry singing, But rushed headlong through the door-way, Stamped
upon the crusted snow-drifts, Stamped upon the lakes and rivers, Made the snow
upon them harder, Made the ice upon them thicker, Challenged Shingebis, the
diver, To come forth and wrestle with him, To come forth and wrestle naked On
the frozen fens and moorlands.
Forth went Shingebis, the diver, Wrestled all night with the North-Wind,
Wrestled naked on the moorlands With the fierce Kabibonokka, Till his panting
breath grew fainter, Till his frozen grasp grew feebler, Till he reeled and
staggered backward, And retreated, baffled, beaten, To the kingdom of Wabasso,
To the land of the White Rabbit, Hearing still the gusty laughter, Hearing
Shingebis, the diver, Singing, "O Kabibonokka, You are but my fellow-mortal!"
Shawondasee, fat and lazy, Had his dwelling far to southward, In the drowsy,
dreamy sunshine, In the never-ending Summer. He it was who sent the wood-birds,
Sent the robin, the Opechee, Sent the bluebird, the Owaissa, Sent the Shawshaw,
sent the swallow, Sent the wild-goose, Wawa, northward, Sent the melons and
tobacco, And the grapes in purple clusters.
From his pipe the smoke ascending Filled the sky with haze and vapor, Filled the
air with dreamy softness, Gave a twinkle to the water, Touched the rugged hills
with smoothness, Brought the tender Indian Summer To the melancholy north-land,
In the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes.
Listless, careless Shawondasee! In his life he had one shadow, In his heart
one sorrow had he. Once, as he was gazing northward, Far away upon a prairie He
beheld a maiden standing, Saw a tall and slender maiden All alone upon a prairie;
Brightest green were all her garments, And her hair was like the sunshine.
Day by day he gazed upon her, Day by day he sighed with passion, Day by day his
heart within him Grew more hot with love and longing For the maid with yellow
tresses. But he was too fat and lazy To bestir himself and woo her. Yes, too
indolent and easy To pursue her and persuade her; So he only gazed upon her,
Only sat and sighed with passion For the maiden of the prairie.
Till one morning, looking northward, He beheld her yellow tresses Changed and
covered o'er with whiteness, Covered as with whitest snow-flakes. "Ah! my
brother from the North-land, From the kingdom of Wabasso, From the land of the
White Rabbit! You have stolen the maiden from me, You have laid your hand upon
her, You have wooed and won my maiden, With your stories of the North-land!"
Thus the wretched Shawondasee Breathed into the air his sorrow; And the
South-Wind o'er the prairie Wandered warm with sighs of passion, With the sighs
of Shawondasee, Till the air seemed full of snow-flakes, Full of thistle-down
the prairie, And the maid with hair like sunshine Vanished from his sight
forever; Never more did Shawondasee See the maid with yellow tresses!
Poor, deluded Shawondasee! 'T was no woman that you gazed at, 'T was no
maiden that you sighed for, 'T was the prairie dandelion That through all the
dreamy Summer You had gazed at with such longing, You had sighed for with such
passion, And had puffed away forever, Blown into the air with sighing. Ah!
Thus the Four Winds were divided Thus the sons of Mudjekeewis Had their stations
in the heavens, At the corners of the heavens; For himself the West-Wind only
Kept the mighty Mudjekeewis.
Downward through the evening twilight, In the days that are forgotten, In the
unremembered ages, From the full moon fell Nokomis, Fell the beautiful Nokomis,
She a wife, but not a mother.
She was sporting with her women, Swinging in a swing of grape-vines, When her
rival the rejected, Full of jealousy and hatred, Cut the leafy swing asunder,
Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines, And Nokomis fell affrighted Downward
through the evening twilight, On the Muskoday, the meadow, On the prairie full
of blossoms. "See! a star falls!" said the people; "From the sky
a star is falling!"
There among the ferns and mosses, There among the prairie lilies, On the
Muskoday, the meadow, In the moonlight and the starlight, Fair Nokomis bore a
daughter. And she called her name Wenonah, As the first-born of her daughters.
And the daughter of Nokomis Grew up like the prairie lilies, Grew a tall and
slender maiden, With the beauty of the moonlight, With the beauty of the
And Nokomis warned her often, Saying oft, and oft repeating, "Oh, beware of
Mudjekeewis, Of the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis; Listen not to what he tells you; Lie
not down upon the meadow, Stoop not down among the lilies, Lest the West-Wind
come and harm you!"
But she heeded not the warning, Heeded not those words of wisdom, And the
West-Wind came at evening, Walking lightly o'er the prairie, Whispering to the
leaves and blossoms, Bending low the flowers and grasses, Found the beautiful
Wenonah, Lying there among the lilies, Wooed her with his words of sweetness,
Wooed her with his soft caresses, Till she bore a son in sorrow, Bore a son of
love and sorrow.
Thus was born my Hiawatha, Thus was born the child of wonder; But the daughter
of Nokomis, Hiawatha's gentle mother, In her anguish died deserted By the
West-Wind, false and faithless, By the heartless Mudjekeewis.
For her daughter long and loudly Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis; "Oh
that I were dead!" she murmured, "Oh that I were dead, as thou art! No
more work, and no more weeping, Wahonowin! Wahonowin!"
By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of
Nokomis, Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis. Dark behind it rose the forest, Rose the
black and gloomy pine-trees, Rose the firs with cones upon them; Bright before
it beat the water, Beat the clear and sunny water, Beat the shining
There the wrinkled old Nokomis Nursed the little Hiawatha, Rocked him in his
linden cradle, Bedded soft in moss and rushes, Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying, "Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"
Lulled him into slumber, singing, "Ewa-yea! my little owlet! Who is this,
that lights the wigwam? With his great eyes lights the wigwam? Ewa-yea! my
Many things Nokomis taught him Of the stars that shine in heaven; Showed him
Ishkoodah, the comet, Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses; Showed the Death-Dance of
the spirits, Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs, Flaring far away to
northward In the frosty nights of Winter; Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows, Running straight across the heavens, Crowded
with the ghosts, the shadows.
At the door on summer evenings Sat the little Hiawatha; Heard the whispering
of the pine-trees, Heard the lapping of the waters, Sounds of music, words of
wonder; 'Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees, Mudway-aushka!" said the
Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee, Flitting through the dusk of evening, With the
twinkle of its candle Lighting up the brakes and bushes, And he sang the song of
children, Sang the song Nokomis taught him: "Wah-wah-taysee, little
fire-fly, Little, flitting, white-fire insect, Little, dancing, white-fire
creature, Light me with your little candle, Ere upon my bed I lay me, Ere in
sleep I close my eyelids!"
Saw the moon rise from the water Rippling, rounding from the water, Saw the
flecks and shadows on it, Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?" And the
good Nokomis answered: "Once a warrior, very angry, Seized his grandmother,
and threw her Up into the sky at midnight; Right against the moon he threw her;
'T is her body that you see there."
Saw the rainbow in the heaven, In the eastern sky, the rainbow, Whispered,
"What is that, Nokomis?" And the good Nokomis answered: "'T is
the heaven of flowers you see there; All the wild-flowers of the forest, All the
lilies of the prairie, When on earth they fade and perish, Blossom in that
heaven above us."
When he heard the owls at midnight, Hooting, laughing in the forest, 'What is
that?" he cried in terror, "What is that," he said, "Nokomis?"
And the good Nokomis answered: "That is but the owl and owlet, Talking in
their native language, Talking, scolding at each other."
Then the little Hiawatha Learned of every bird its language, Learned their names
and all their secrets, How they built their nests in Summer, Where they hid
themselves in Winter, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's
Of all beasts he learned the language, Learned their names and all their
secrets, How the beavers built their lodges, Where the squirrels hid their
acorns, How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Why the rabbit was so timid, Talked
with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."
Then Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the traveller
and the talker, He the friend of old Nokomis, Made a bow for Hiawatha; From a
branch of ash he made it, From an oak-bough made the arrows, Tipped with flint,
and winged with feathers, And the cord he made of deer-skin.
Then he said to Hiawatha: "Go, my son, into the forest, Where the red
deer herd together, Kill for us a famous roebuck, Kill for us a deer with
Forth into the forest straightway All alone walked Hiawatha Proudly, with his
bow and arrows; And the birds sang round him, o'er him, "Do not shoot us,
Hiawatha!" Sang the robin, the Opechee, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,
"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!"
Up the oak-tree, close beside him, Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo, In and out
among the branches, Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree, Laughed, and said
between his laughing, "Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"
And the rabbit from his pathway Leaped aside, and at a distance Sat erect upon
his haunches, Half in fear and half in frolic, Saying to the little hunter,
"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"
But he heeded not, nor heard them, For his thoughts were with the red deer;
On their tracks his eyes were fastened, Leading downward to the river, To the
ford across the river, And as one in slumber walked he.
Hidden in the alder-bushes, There he waited till the deer came, Till he saw two
antlers lifted, Saw two eyes look from the thicket, Saw two nostrils point to
windward, And a deer came down the pathway, Flecked with leafy light and shadow.
And his heart within him fluttered, Trembled like the leaves above him, Like the
birch-leaf palpitated, As the deer came down the pathway.
Then, upon one knee uprising, Hiawatha aimed an arrow; Scarce a twig moved
with his motion, Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled, But the wary roebuck
started, Stamped with all his hoofs together, Listened with one foot uplifted,
Leaped as if to meet the arrow; Ah! the singing, fatal arrow, Like a wasp it
buzzed and stung him!
Dead he lay there in the forest, By the ford across the river; Beat his timid
heart no longer, But the heart of Hiawatha Throbbed and shouted and exulted, As
he bore the red deer homeward, And Iagoo and Nokomis Hailed his coming with
From the red deer's hide Nokomis Made a cloak for Hiawatha, From the red
deer's flesh Nokomis Made a banquet to his honor. All the village came and
feasted, All the guests praised Hiawatha, Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha!
Called him Loon-Heart, Mahn-go-taysee!
Hiawatha and Mudjekeewis
Out of childhood into manhood Now had grown my Hiawatha, Skilled in all the
craft of hunters, Learned in all the lore of old men, In all youthful sports and
pastimes, In all manly arts and labors.
Swift of foot was Hiawatha; He could shoot an arrow from him, And run forward
with such fleetness, That the arrow fell behind him! Strong of arm was Hiawatha;
He could shoot ten arrows upward, Shoot them with such strength and swiftness,
That the tenth had left the bow-string Ere the first to earth had fallen!
He had mittens, Minjekahwun, Magic mittens made of deer-skin; When upon his
hands he wore them, He could smite the rocks asunder, He could grind them into
powder. He had moccasins enchanted, Magic moccasins of deer-skin; When he bound
them round his ankles, When upon his feet he tied them, At each stride a mile he
Much he questioned old Nokomis Of his father Mudjekeewis; Learned from her
the fatal secret Of the beauty of his mother, Of the falsehood of his father;
And his heart was hot within him, Like a living coal his heart was.
Then he said to old Nokomis, "I will go to Mudjekeewis, See how fares it
with my father, At the doorways of the West-Wind, At the portals of the Sunset!"
From his lodge went Hiawatha, Dressed for travel, armed for hunting; Dressed
in deer-skin shirt and leggings, Richly wrought with quills and wampum; On his
head his eagle-feathers, Round his waist his belt of wampum, In his hand his bow
of ash-wood, Strung with sinews of the reindeer; In his quiver oaken arrows,
Tipped with jasper, winged with feathers; With his mittens, Minjekahwun, With
his moccasins enchanted.
Warning said the old Nokomis, "Go not forth, O Hiawatha! To the kingdom of
the West-Wind, To the realms of Mudjekeewis, Lest he harm you with his magic,
Lest he kill you with his cunning!"
But the fearless Hiawatha Heeded not her woman's warning; Forth he strode
into the forest, At each stride a mile he measured; Lurid seemed the sky above
him, Lurid seemed the earth beneath him, Hot and close the air around him,
Filled with smoke and fiery vapors, As of burning woods and prairies, For his
heart was hot within him, Like a living coal his heart was.
So he journeyed westward, westward, Left the fleetest deer behind him, Left the
antelope and bison; Crossed the rushing Esconaba, Crossed the mighty
Mississippi, Passed the Mountains of the Prairie, Passed the land of Crows and
Foxes, Passed the dwellings of the Blackfeet, Came unto the Rocky Mountains, To
the kingdom of the West-Wind, Where upon the gusty summits Sat the ancient
Mudjekeewis, Ruler of the winds of heaven.
Filled with awe was Hiawatha At the aspect of his father. On the air about
him wildly Tossed and streamed his cloudy tresses, Gleamed like drifting snow
his tresses, Glared like Ishkoodah, the comet, Like the star with fiery tresses.
Filled with joy was Mudjekeewis When he looked on Hiawatha, Saw his youth rise
up before him In the face of Hiawatha, Saw the beauty of Wenonah From the grave
rise up before him.
"Welcome!" said he, "Hiawatha, To the kingdom of the West-Wind
Long have I been waiting for you Youth is lovely, age is lonely, Youth is fiery,
age is frosty; You bring back the days departed, You bring back my youth of
passion, And the beautiful Wenonah!"
Many days they talked together, Questioned, listened, waited, answered; Much the
mighty Mudjekeewis Boasted of his ancient prowess, Of his perilous adventures,
His indomitable courage, His invulnerable body.
Patiently sat Hiawatha, Listening to his father's boasting; With a smile he
sat and listened, Uttered neither threat nor menace, Neither word nor look
betrayed him, But his heart was hot within him, Like a living coal his heart was.
Then he said, "O Mudjekeewis, Is there nothing that can harm you? Nothing
that you are afraid of?" And the mighty Mudjekeewis, Grand and gracious in
his boasting, Answered, saying, "There is nothing, Nothing but the black
rock yonder, Nothing but the fatal Wawbeek!"
And he looked at Hiawatha With a wise look and benignant, With a countenance
paternal, Looked with pride upon the beauty Of his tall and graceful figure,
Saying, "O my Hiawatha! Is there anything can harm you? Anything you are
But the wary Hiawatha Paused awhile, as if uncertain, Held his peace, as if
resolving, And then answered, "There is nothing, Nothing but the bulrush
yonder, Nothing but the great Apukwa!"
And as Mudjekeewis, rising, Stretched his hand to pluck the bulrush, Hiawatha
cried in terror, Cried in well-dissembled terror, "Kago! kago! do not touch
it!" "Ah, kaween!" said Mudjekeewis, "No indeed, I will not
Then they talked of other matters; First of Hiawatha's brothers, First of Wabun,
of the East-Wind, Of the South-Wind, Shawondasee, Of the North, Kabibonokka;
Then of Hiawatha's mother, Of the beautiful Wenonah, Of her birth upon the
meadow, Of her death, as old Nokomis Had remembered and related.
And he cried, "O Mudjekeewis, It was you who killed Wenonah, Took her
young life and her beauty, Broke the Lily of the Prairie, Trampled it beneath
your footsteps; You confess it! you confess it!" And the mighty Mudjekeewis
Tossed upon the wind his tresses, Bowed his hoary head in anguish, With a silent
Then up started Hiawatha, And with threatening look and gesture Laid his hand
upon the black rock, On the fatal Wawbeek laid it, With his mittens, Minjekahwun,
Rent the jutting crag asunder, Smote and crushed it into fragments, Hurled them
madly at his father, The remorseful Mudjekeewis, For his heart was hot within
him, Like a living coal his heart was.
But the ruler of the West-Wind Blew the fragments backward from him, With the
breathing of his nostrils, With the tempest of his anger, Blew them back at his
assailant; Seized the bulrush, the Apukwa, Dragged it with its roots and fibres
From the margin of the meadow, From its ooze the giant bulrush; Long and loud
Then began the deadly conflict, Hand to hand among the mountains; From his eyry
screamed the eagle, The Keneu, the great war-eagle, Sat upon the crags around
them, Wheeling flapped his wings above them.
Like a tall tree in the tempest Bent and lashed the giant bulrush; And in
masses huge and heavy Crashing fell the fatal Wawbeek; Till the earth shook with
the tumult And confusion of the battle, And the air was full of shoutings, And
the thunder of the mountains, Starting, answered, "Baim-wawa!"
Back retreated Mudjekeewis, Rushing westward o'er the mountains, Stumbling
westward down the mountains, Three whole days retreated fighting, Still pursued
by Hiawatha To the doorways of the West-Wind, To the portals of the Sunset, To
the earth's remotest border, Where into the empty spaces Sinks the sun, as a
flamingo Drops into her nest at nightfall In the melancholy marshes.
"Hold!" at length cried Mudjekeewis, "Hold, my son, my
Hiawatha! 'T is impossible to kill me, For you cannot kill the immortal I have
put you to this trial, But to know and prove your courage; Now receive the prize
"Go back to your home and people, Live among them, toil among them, Cleanse
the earth from all that harms it, Clear the fishing-grounds and rivers, Slay all
monsters and magicians, All the Wendigoes, the giants, All the serpents, the
Kenabeeks, As I slew the Mishe-Mokwa, Slew the Great Bear of the mountains.
"And at last when Death draws near you, When the awful eyes of Pauguk
Glare upon you in the darkness, I will share my kingdom with you, Ruler shall
you be thenceforward Of the Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin, Of the home-wind, the
Thus was fought that famous battle In the dreadful days of Shah-shah, In the
days long since departed, In the kingdom of the West-Wind. Still the hunter sees
its traces Scattered far o'er hill and valley; Sees the giant bulrush growing By
the ponds and water-courses, Sees the masses of the Wawbeek Lying still in every
Homeward now went Hiawatha; Pleasant was the landscape round him, Pleasant
was the air above him, For the bitterness of anger Had departed wholly from him,
From his brain the thought of vengeance, From his heart the burning fever.
Only once his pace he slackened, Only once he paused or halted, Paused to
purchase heads of arrows Of the ancient Arrow-maker, In the land of the Dacotahs,
Where the Falls of Minnehaha Flash and gleam among the oak-trees, Laugh and leap
into the valley.
There the ancient Arrow-maker Made his arrow-heads of sandstone, Arrow-heads
of chalcedony, Arrow-heads of flint and jasper, Smoothed and sharpened at the
edges, Hard and polished, keen and costly.
With him dwelt his dark-eyed daughter, Wayward as the Minnehaha, With her moods
of shade and sunshine, Eyes that smiled and frowned alternate, Feet as rapid as
the river, Tresses flowing like the water, And as musical a laughter: And he
named her from the river, From the water-fall he named her, Minnehaha, Laughing
Was it then for heads of arrows, Arrow-heads of chalcedony, Arrow-heads of
flint and jasper, That my Hiawatha halted In the land of the Dacotahs?
Was it not to see the maiden, See the face of Laughing Water Peeping from behind
the curtain, Hear the rustling of her garments From behind the waving curtain,
As one sees the Minnehaha Gleaming, glancing through the branches, As one hears
the Laughing Water From behind its screen of branches?
Who shall say what thoughts and visions Fill the fiery brains of young men?
Who shall say what dreams of beauty Filled the heart of Hiawatha? All he told to
old Nokomis, When he reached the lodge at sunset, Was the meeting with his
father, Was his fight with Mudjekeewis; Not a word he said of arrows, Not a word
of Laughing Water.
You shall hear how Hiawatha Prayed and fasted in the forest, Not for greater
skill in hunting, Not for greater craft in fishing, Not for triumphs in the
battle, And renown among the warriors, But for profit of the people, For
advantage of the nations.
First he built a lodge for fasting, Built a wigwam in the forest, By the
shining Big-Sea-Water, In the blithe and pleasant Spring-time, In the Moon of
Leaves he built it, And, with dreams and visions many, Seven whole days and
nights he fasted.
On the first day of his fasting Through the leafy woods he wandered; Saw the
deer start from the thicket, Saw the rabbit in his burrow, Heard the pheasant,
Bena, drumming, Heard the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Rattling in his hoard of acorns,
Saw the pigeon, the Omeme, Building nests among the pinetrees, And in flocks the
wild-goose, Wawa, Flying to the fen-lands northward, Whirring, wailing far above
him. "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives
depend on these things?"
On the next day of his fasting By the river's brink he wandered, Through the
Muskoday, the meadow, Saw the wild rice, Mahnomonee, Saw the blueberry, Meenahga,
And the strawberry, Odahmin, And the gooseberry, Shahbomin, And the grape.vine,
the Bemahgut, Trailing o'er the alder-branches, Filling all the air with
fragrance! "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our
lives depend on these things?"
On the third day of his fasting By the lake he sat and pondered, By the still,
transparent water; Saw the sturgeon, Nahma, leaping, Scattering drops like beads
of wampum, Saw the yellow perch, the Sahwa, Like a sunbeam in the water, Saw the
pike, the Maskenozha, And the herring, Okahahwis, And the Shawgashee, the
crawfish! "Master of Life!" he cried, desponding, "Must our lives
depend on these things?"
On the fourth day of his fasting In his lodge he lay exhausted; From his
couch of leaves and branches Gazing with half-open eyelids, Full of shadowy
dreams and visions, On the dizzy, swimming landscape, On the gleaming of the
water, On the splendor of the sunset.
And he saw a youth approaching, Dressed in garments green and yellow, Coming
through the purple twilight, Through the splendor of the sunset; Plumes of green
bent o'er his forehead, And his hair was soft and golden.
Standing at the open doorway, Long he looked at Hiawatha, Looked with pity
and compassion On his wasted form and features, And, in accents like the sighing
Of the South-Wind in the tree-tops, Said he, "O my Hiawatha! All your
prayers are heard in heaven, For you pray not like the others; Not for greater
skill in hunting, Not for greater craft in fishing, Not for triumph in the
battle, Nor renown among the warriors, But for profit of the people, For
advantage of the nations.
"From the Master of Life descending, I, the friend of man, Mondamin, Come
to warn you and instruct you, How by struggle and by labor You shall gain what
you have prayed for. Rise up from your bed of branches, Rise, O youth, and
wrestle with me!"
Faint with famine, Hiawatha Started from his bed of branches, From the
twilight of his wigwam Forth into the flush of sunset Came, and wrestled with
Mondamin; At his touch he felt new courage Throbbing in his brain and bosom,
Felt new life and hope and vigor Run through every nerve and fibre.
So they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunset, And the more they
strove and struggled, Stronger still grew Hiawatha; Till the darkness fell
around them, And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her nest among the
pine-trees, Gave a cry of lamentation, Gave a scream of pain and famine.
"'T Is enough!" then said Mondamin, Smiling upon Hiawatha, "But
tomorrow, when the sun sets, I will come again to try you." And he vanished,
and was seen not; Whether sinking as the rain sinks, Whether rising as the mists
rise, Hiawatha saw not, knew not, Only saw that he had vanished, Leaving him
alone and fainting, With the misty lake below him, And the reeling stars above
On the morrow and the next day, When the sun through heaven descending, Like a
red and burning cinder From the hearth of the Great Spirit, Fell into the
western waters, Came Mondamin for the trial, For the strife with Hiawatha; Came
as silent as the dew comes, From the empty air appearing, Into empty air
returning, Taking shape when earth it touches, But invisible to all men In its
coming and its going.
Thrice they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunset, Till the
darkness fell around them, Till the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her nest
among the pine-trees, Uttered her loud cry of famine, And Mondamin paused to
Tall and beautiful he stood there, In his garments green and yellow; To and fro
his plumes above him, Waved and nodded with his breathing, And the sweat of the
encounter Stood like drops of dew upon him.
And he cried, "O Hiawatha! Bravely have you wrestled with me, Thrice
have wrestled stoutly with me, And the Master of Life, who sees us, He will give
to you the triumph!"
Then he smiled, and said: "To-morrow Is the last day of your conflict, Is
the last day of your fasting. You will conquer and o'ercome me; Make a bed for
me to lie in, Where the rain may fall upon me, Where the sun may come and warm
me; Strip these garments, green and yellow, Strip this nodding plumage from me,
Lay me in the earth, and make it Soft and loose and light above me.
"Let no hand disturb my slumber, Let no weed nor worm molest me, Let not
Kahgahgee, the raven, Come to haunt me and molest me, Only come yourself to
watch me, Till I wake, and start, and quicken, Till I leap into the sunshine"
And thus saying, he departed; Peacefully slept Hiawatha, But he heard the
Wawonaissa, Heard the whippoorwill complaining, Perched upon his lonely wigwam;
Heard the rushing Sebowisha, Heard the rivulet rippling near him, Talking to the
darksome forest; Heard the sighing of the branches, As they lifted and subsided
At the passing of the night-wind, Heard them, as one hears in slumber Far-off
murmurs, dreamy whispers: Peacefully slept Hiawatha.
On the morrow came Nokomis, On the seventh day of his fasting, Came with food
for Hiawatha, Came imploring and bewailing, Lest his hunger should o'ercome him,
Lest his fasting should be fatal.
But he tasted not, and touched not, Only said to her, "Nokomis, Wait until
the sun is setting, Till the darkness falls around us, Till the heron, the
Shuh-shuh-gah, Crying from the desolate marshes, Tells us that the day is ended."
Homeward weeping went Nokomis, Sorrowing for her Hiawatha, Fearing lest his
strength should fail him, Lest his fasting should be fatal. He meanwhile sat
weary waiting For the coming of Mondamin, Till the shadows, pointing eastward,
Lengthened over field and forest, Till the sun dropped from the heaven, Floating
on the waters westward, As a red leaf in the Autumn Falls and floats upon the
water, Falls and sinks into its bosom.
And behold! the young Mondamin, With his soft and shining tresses, With his
garments green and yellow, With his long and glossy plumage, Stood and beckoned
at the doorway. And as one in slumber walking, Pale and haggard, but undaunted,
From the wigwam Hiawatha Came and wrestled with Mondamin.
Round about him spun the landscape, Sky and forest reeled together, And his
strong heart leaped within him, As the sturgeon leaps and struggles In a net to
break its meshes. Like a ring of fire around him Blazed and flared the red
horizon, And a hundred suns seemed looking At the combat of the wrestlers.
Suddenly upon the greensward All alone stood Hiawatha, Panting with his wild
exertion, Palpitating with the struggle; And before him breathless, lifeless,
Lay the youth, with hair dishevelled, Plumage torn, and garments tattered, Dead
he lay there in the sunset.
And victorious Hiawatha Made the grave as he commanded, Stripped the garments
from Mondamin, Stripped his tattered plumage from him, Laid him in the earth,
and made it Soft and loose and light above him; And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
From the melancholy moorlands, Gave a cry of lamentation, Gave a cry of pain and
Homeward then went Hiawatha To the lodge of old Nokomis, And the seven days of
his fasting Were accomplished and completed. But the place was not forgotten
Where he wrestled with Mondamin; Nor forgotten nor neglected Was the grave where
lay Mondamin, Sleeping in the rain and sunshine, Where his scattered plumes and
garments Faded in the rain and sunshine.
Day by day did Hiawatha Go to wait and watch beside it; Kept the dark mould
soft above it, Kept it clean from weeds and insects, Drove away, with scoffs and
shoutings, Kahgahgee, the king of ravens.
Till at length a small green feather From the earth shot slowly upward, Then
another and another, And before the Summer ended Stood the maize in all its
beauty, With its shining robes about it, And its long, soft, yellow tresses; And
in rapture Hiawatha Cried aloud, "It is Mondamin! Yes, the friend of man,
Then he called to old Nokomis And Iagoo, the great boaster, Showed them where
the maize was growing, Told them of his wondrous vision, Of his wrestling and
his triumph, Of this new gift to the nations, Which should be their food
And still later, when the Autumn Changed the long, green leaves to yellow, And
the soft and juicy kernels Grew like wampum hard and yellow, Then the ripened
ears he gathered, Stripped the withered husks from off them, As he once had
stripped the wrestler, Gave the first Feast of Mondamin, And made known unto the
people This new gift of the Great Spirit.
Two good friends had Hiawatha, Singled out from all the others, Bound to him
in closest union, And to whom he gave the right hand Of his heart, in joy and
sorrow; Chibiabos, the musician, And the very strong man, Kwasind.
Straight between them ran the pathway, Never grew the grass upon it; Singing
birds, that utter falsehoods, Story-tellers, mischief-makers, Found no eager ear
to listen, Could not breed ill-will between them, For they kept each other's
counsel, Spake with naked hearts together, Pondering much and much contriving
How the tribes of men might prosper.
Most beloved by Hiawatha Was the gentle Chibiabos, He the best of all
musicians, He the sweetest of all singers. Beautiful and childlike was he, Brave
as man is, soft as woman, Pliant as a wand of willow, Stately as a deer with
When he sang, the village listened; All the warriors gathered round him, All the
women came to hear him; Now he stirred their souls to passion, Now he melted
them to pity.
From the hollow reeds he fashioned Flutes so musical and mellow, That the
brook, the Sebowisha, Ceased to murmur in the woodland, That the wood-birds
ceased from singing, And the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Ceased his chatter in the
oak-tree, And the rabbit, the Wabasso, Sat upright to look and listen.
Yes, the brook, the Sebowisha, Pausing, said, "O Chibiabos, Teach my waves
to flow in music, Softly as your words in singing!"
Yes, the bluebird, the Owaissa, Envious, said, "O Chibiabos, Teach me
tones as wild and wayward, Teach me songs as full of frenzy!"
Yes, the robin, the Opechee, Joyous, said, "O Chibiabos, Teach me tones as
sweet and tender, Teach me songs as full of gladness!"
And the whippoorwill, Wawonaissa, Sobbing, said, "O Chibiabos, Teach me
tones as melancholy, Teach me songs as full of sadness!"
All the many sounds of nature Borrowed sweetness from his singing; All the
hearts of men were softened By the pathos of his music; For he sang of peace and
freedom, Sang of beauty, love, and longing; Sang of death, and life undying In
the Islands of the Blessed, In the kingdom of Ponemah, In the land of the
Very dear to Hiawatha Was the gentle Chibiabos, He the best of all musicians,
He the sweetest of all singers; For his gentleness he loved him, And the magic
of his singing.
Dear, too, unto Hiawatha Was the very strong man, Kwasind, He the strongest of
all mortals, He the mightiest among many; For his very strength he loved him,
For his strength allied to goodness.
Idle in his youth was Kwasind, Very listless, dull, and dreamy, Never played
with other children, Never fished and never hunted, Not like other children was
he; But they saw that much he fasted, Much his Manito entreated, Much besought
his Guardian Spirit.
"Lazy Kwasind!" said his mother, "In my work you never help me!
In the Summer you are roaming Idly in the fields and forests; In the Winter you
are cowering O'er the firebrands in the wigwam! In the coldest days of Winter I
must break the ice for fishing; With my nets you never help me! At the door my
nets are hanging, Dripping, freezing with the water; Go and wring them,
Yenadizze! Go and dry them in the sunshine!"
Slowly, from the ashes, Kwasind Rose, but made no angry answer; From the
lodge went forth in silence, Took the nets, that hung together, Dripping,
freezing at the doorway; Like a wisp of straw he wrung them, Like a wisp of
straw he broke them, Could not wring them without breaking, Such the strength
was in his fingers.
"Lazy Kwasind!" said his father, "In the hunt you never help me;
Every bow you touch is broken, Snapped asunder every arrow; Yet come with me to
the forest, You shall bring the hunting homeward."
Down a narrow pass they wandered, Where a brooklet led them onward, Where the
trail of deer and bison Marked the soft mud on the margin, Till they found all
further passage Shut against them, barred securely By the trunks of trees
uprooted, Lying lengthwise, lying crosswise, And forbidding further passage.
"We must go back," said the old man, "O'er these logs we cannot
clamber; Not a woodchuck could get through them, Not a squirrel clamber o'er
them!" And straightway his pipe he lighted, And sat down to smoke and
ponder. But before his pipe was finished, Lo! the path was cleared before him;
All the trunks had Kwasind lifted, To the right hand, to the left hand, Shot the
pine-trees swift as arrows, Hurled the cedars light as lances.
"Lazy Kwasind!" said the young men, As they sported in the meadow:
"Why stand idly looking at us, Leaning on the rock behind you? Come and
wrestle with the others, Let us pitch the quoit together!"
Lazy Kwasind made no answer, To their challenge made no answer, Only rose, and
slowly turning, Seized the huge rock in his fingers, Tore it from its deep
foundation, Poised it in the air a moment, Pitched it sheer into the river,
Sheer into the swift Pauwating, Where it still is seen in Summer.
Once as down that foaming river, Down the rapids of Pauwating, Kwasind sailed
with his companions, In the stream he saw a beaver, Saw Ahmeek, the King of
Beavers, Struggling with the rushing currents, Rising, sinking in the water.
Without speaking, without pausing, Kwasind leaped into the river, Plunged
beneath the bubbling surface, Through the whirlpools chased the beaver, Followed
him among the islands, Stayed so long beneath the water, That his terrified
companions Cried, "Alas! good-by to Kwasind! We shall never more see
Kwasind!" But he reappeared triumphant, And upon his shining shoulders
Brought the beaver, dead and dripping, Brought the King of all the Beavers.
And these two, as I have told you, Were the friends of Hiawatha, Chibiabos,
the musician, And the very strong man, Kwasind. Long they lived in peace
together, Spake with naked hearts together, Pondering much and much contriving
How the tribes of men might prosper.
"Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree! Of your yellow bark, O Birch-tree!
Growing by the rushing river, Tall and stately in the valley! I a light canoe
will build me, Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing, That shall float on the
river, Like a yellow leaf in Autumn, Like a yellow water-lily!
"Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-tree! Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
For the Summer-time is coming, And the sun is warm in heaven, And you need no
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha In the solitary forest, By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gayly, In the Moon of Leaves were singing, And the
sun, from sleep awaking, Started up and said, "Behold me! Gheezis, the
great Sun, behold me!"
And the tree with all its branches Rustled in the breeze of morning, Saying,
with a sigh of patience, "Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!"
With his knife the tree he girdled; Just beneath its lowest branches, Just above
the roots, he cut it, Till the sap came oozing outward; Down the trunk, from top
to bottom, Sheer he cleft the bark asunder, With a wooden wedge he raised it,
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.
"Give me of your boughs, O Cedar! Of your strong and pliant branches, My
canoe to make more steady, Make more strong and firm beneath me!"
Through the summit of the Cedar Went a sound, a cry of horror, Went a murmur of
resistance; But it whispered, bending downward, 'Take my boughs, O
Down he hewed the boughs of cedar, Shaped them straightway to a frame-work,
Like two bows he formed and shaped them, Like two bended bows together.
"Give me of your roots, O Tamarack! Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-tree! My
canoe to bind together, So to bind the ends together That the water may not
enter, That the river may not wet me!"
And the Larch, with all its fibres, Shivered in the air of morning, Touched
his forehead with its tassels, Slid, with one long sigh of sorrow. "Take
them all, O Hiawatha!"
From the earth he tore the fibres, Tore the tough roots of the Larch-tree,
Closely sewed the hark together, Bound it closely to the frame-work.
"Give me of your balm, O Fir-tree! Of your balsam and your resin, So to
close the seams together That the water may not enter, That the river may not
And the Fir-tree, tall and sombre, Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles, Answered wailing, answered weeping,
"Take my balm, O Hiawatha!"
And he took the tears of balsam, Took the resin of the Fir-tree, Smeared
therewith each seam and fissure, Made each crevice safe from water.
"Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog! All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog!
I will make a necklace of them, Make a girdle for my beauty, And two stars to
deck her bosom!"
From a hollow tree the Hedgehog With his sleepy eyes looked at him, Shot his
shining quills, like arrows, Saying with a drowsy murmur, Through the tangle of
his whiskers, "Take my quills, O Hiawatha!"
From the ground the quills he gathered, All the little shining arrows, Stained
them red and blue and yellow, With the juice of roots and berries; Into his
canoe he wrought them, Round its waist a shining girdle, Round its bows a
gleaming necklace, On its breast two stars resplendent.
Thus the Birch Canoe was builded In the valley, by the river, In the bosom of
the forest; And the forest's life was in it, All its mystery and its magic, All
the lightness of the birch-tree, All the toughness of the cedar, All the larch's
supple sinews; And it floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in Autumn, Like a
Paddles none had Hiawatha, Paddles none he had or needed, For his thoughts as
paddles served him, And his wishes served to guide him; Swift or slow at will he
glided, Veered to right or left at pleasure.
Then he called aloud to Kwasind, To his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Saying, "Help me clear this river Of its sunken logs and sand-bars."
Straight into the river Kwasind Plunged as if he were an otter, Dived as if he
were a beaver, Stood up to his waist in water, To his arm-pits in the river,
Swam and scouted in the river, Tugged at sunken logs and branches, With his
hands he scooped the sand-bars, With his feet the ooze and tangle.
And thus sailed my Hiawatha Down the rushing Taquamenaw, Sailed through all
its bends and windings, Sailed through all its deeps and shallows, While his
friend, the strong man, Kwasind, Swam the deeps, the shallows waded.
Up and down the river went they, In and out among its islands, Cleared its bed
of root and sand-bar, Dragged the dead trees from its channel, Made its passage
safe and certain, Made a pathway for the people, From its springs among the
mountains, To the waters of Pauwating, To the bay of Taquamenaw.
Forth upon the Gitche Gumee, On the shining Big-Sea-Water, With his
fishing-line of cedar, Of the twisted bark of cedar, Forth to catch the sturgeon
Nahma, Mishe-Nahma, King of Fishes, In his birch canoe exulting All alone went
Through the clear, transparent water He could see the fishes swimming Far down
in the depths below him; See the yellow perch, the Sahwa, Like a sunbeam in the
water, See the Shawgashee, the craw-fish, Like a spider on the bottom, On the
white and sandy bottom.
At the stern sat Hiawatha, With his fishing-line of cedar; In his plumes the
breeze of morning Played as in the hemlock branches; On the bows, with tail
erected, Sat the squirrel, Adjidaumo; In his fur the breeze of morning Played as
in the prairie grasses.
On the white sand of the bottom Lay the monster Mishe-Nahma, Lay the sturgeon,
King of Fishes; Through his gills he breathed the water, With his fins he fanned
and winnowed, With his tail he swept the sand-floor.
There he lay in all his armor; On each side a shield to guard him, Plates of
bone upon his forehead, Down his sides and back and shoulders Plates of bone
with spines projecting Painted was he with his war-paints, Stripes of yellow,
red, and azure, Spots of brown and spots of sable; And he lay there on the
bottom, Fanning with his fins of purple, As above him Hiawatha In his birch
canoe came sailing, With his fishing-line of cedar.
"Take my bait," cried Hiawatha, Dawn into the depths beneath him,
"Take my bait, O Sturgeon, Nahma! Come up from below the water, Let us see
which is the stronger!" And he dropped his line of cedar Through the clear,
transparent water, Waited vainly for an answer, Long sat waiting for an answer,
And repeating loud and louder, "Take my bait, O King of Fishes!"
Quiet lay the sturgeon, Nahma, Fanning slowly in the water, Looking up at
Hiawatha, Listening to his call and clamor, His unnecessary tumult, Till he
wearied of the shouting; And he said to the Kenozha, To the pike, the
Maskenozha, "Take the bait of this rude fellow, Break the line of
In his fingers Hiawatha Felt the loose line jerk and tighten, As he drew it in,
it tugged so That the birch canoe stood endwise, Like a birch log in the water,
With the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Perched and frisking on the summit. Full of scorn
was Hiawatha When he saw the fish rise upward, Saw the pike, the Maskenozha,
Coming nearer, nearer to him, And he shouted through the water, "Esa! esa!
shame upon you! You are but the pike, Kenozha, You are not the fish I wanted,
You are not the King of Fishes!"
Reeling downward to the bottom Sank the pike in great confusion, And the
mighty sturgeon, Nahma, Said to Ugudwash, the sun-fish, To the bream, with
scales of crimson, "Take the bait of this great boaster, Break the line of
Slowly upward, wavering, gleaming, Rose the Ugudwash, the sun-fish, Seized the
line of Hiawatha, Swung with all his weight upon it, Made a whirlpool in the
water, Whirled the birch canoe in circles, Round and round in gurgling eddies,
Till the circles in the water Reached the far-off sandy beaches, Till the
water-flags and rushes Nodded on the distant margins.
But when Hiawatha saw him Slowly rising through the water, Lifting up his
disk refulgent, Loud he shouted in derision, "Esa! esa! shame upon you! You
are Ugudwash, the sun-fish, You are not the fish I wanted, You are not the King
Slowly downward, wavering, gleaming, Sank the Ugudwash, the sun-fish, And again
the sturgeon, Nahma, Heard the shout of Hiawatha, Heard his challenge of
defiance, The unnecessary tumult, Ringing far across the water.
From the white sand of the bottom Up he rose with angry gesture, Quivering in
each nerve and fibre, Clashing all his plates of armor, Gleaming bright with all
his war-paint; In his wrath he darted upward, Flashing leaped into the sunshine,
Opened his great jaws, and swallowed Both canoe and Hiawatha.
Down into that darksome cavern Plunged the headlong Hiawatha, As a log on some
black river Shoots and plunges down the rapids, Found himself in utter darkness,
Groped about in helpless wonder, Till he felt a great heart beating, Throbbing
in that utter darkness.
And he smote it in his anger, With his fist, the heart of Nahma, Felt the
mighty King of Fishes Shudder through each nerve and fibre, Heard the water
gurgle round him As he leaped and staggered through it, Sick at heart, and faint
Crosswise then did Hiawatha Drag his birch-canoe for safety, Lest from out the
jaws of Nahma, In the turmoil and confusion, Forth he might be hurled and
perish. And the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Frisked and chatted very gayly, Toiled and
tugged with Hiawatha Till the labor was completed.
Then said Hiawatha to him, "O my little friend, the squirrel, Bravely
have you toiled to help me; Take the thanks of Hiawatha, And the name which now
he gives you; For hereafter and forever Boys shall call you Adjidaumo,
Tail-in-air the boys shall call you!"
And again the sturgeon, Nahma, Gasped and quivered in the water, Then was still,
and drifted landward Till he grated on the pebbles, Till the listening Hiawatha
Heard him grate upon the margin, Felt him strand upon the pebbles, Knew that
Nahma, King of Fishes, Lay there dead upon the margin.
Then he heard a clang and flapping, As of many wings assembling, Heard a
screaming and confusion, As of birds of prey contending, Saw a gleam of light
above him, Shining through the ribs of Nahma, Saw the glittering eyes of
sea-gulls, Of Kayoshk, the sea-gulls, peering, Gazing at him through the
opening, Heard them saying to each other, "'T is our brother,
And he shouted from below them, Cried exulting from the caverns: "O ye
sea-gulls! O my brothers! I have slain the sturgeon, Nahma; Make the rifts a
little larger, With your claws the openings widen, Set me free from this dark
prison, And henceforward and forever Men shall speak of your achievements,
Calling you Kayoshk, the sea-gulls, Yes, Kayoshk, the Noble Scratchers!"
And the wild and clamorous sea-gulls Toiled with beak and claws together,
Made the rifts and openings wider In the mighty ribs of Nahma, And from peril
and from prison, From the body of the sturgeon, From the peril of the water,
They released my Hiawatha.
He was standing near his wigwam, On the margin of the water, And he called to
old Nokomis, Called and beckoned to Nokomis, Pointed to the sturgeon, Nahma,
Lying lifeless on the pebbles, With the sea-gulls feeding on him.
"I have slain the Mishe-Nahma, Slain the King of Fishes!" said he'
"Look! the sea-gulls feed upon him, Yes, my friends Kayoshk, the sea-gulls;
Drive them not away, Nokomis, They have saved me from great peril In the body of
the sturgeon, Wait until their meal is ended, Till their craws are full with
feasting, Till they homeward fly, at sunset, To their nests among the marshes;
Then bring all your pots and kettles, And make oil for us in Winter."
And she waited till the sun set, Till the pallid moon, the Night-sun, Rose above
the tranquil water, Till Kayoshk, the sated sea-gulls, From their banquet rose
with clamor, And across the fiery sunset Winged their way to far-off islands, To
their nests among the rushes.
To his sleep went Hiawatha, And Nokomis to her labor, Toiling patient in the
moonlight, Till the sun and moon changed places, Till the sky was red with
sunrise, And Kayoshk, the hungry sea-gulls, Came back from the reedy islands,
Clamorous for their morning banquet.
Three whole days and nights alternate Old Nokomis and the sea-gulls Stripped the
oily flesh of Nahma, Till the waves washed through the rib-bones, Till the
sea-gulls came no longer, And upon the sands lay nothing But the skeleton of
Hiawatha and the Pearl-Feather
On the shores of Gitche Gumee, Of the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood Nokomis,
the old woman, Pointing with her finger westward, O'er the water pointing
westward, To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending Burned his way along the heavens, Set the sky on
fire behind him, As war-parties, when retreating, Burn the prairies on their
war-trail; And the moon, the Night-sun, eastward, Suddenly starting from his
ambush, Followed fast those bloody footprints, Followed in that fiery war-trail,
With its glare upon his features.
And Nokomis, the old woman, Pointing with her finger westward, Spake these
words to Hiawatha: "Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Feather, Megissogwon, the
Magician, Manito of Wealth and Wampum, Guarded by his fiery serpents, Guarded by
the black pitch-water. You can see his fiery serpents, The Kenabeek, the great
serpents, Coiling, playing in the water; You can see the black pitch-water
Stretching far away beyond them, To the purple clouds of sunset!
"He it was who slew my father, By his wicked wiles and cunning, When he
from the moon descended, When he came on earth to seek me. He, the mightiest of
Magicians, Sends the fever from the marshes, Sends the pestilential vapors,
Sends the poisonous exhalations, Sends the white fog from the fen-lands, Sends
disease and death among us!
"Take your bow, O Hiawatha, Take your arrows, jasper-headed, Take your
war-club, Puggawaugun, And your mittens, Minjekahwun, And your birch-canoe for
sailing, And the oil of Mishe-Nahma, So to smear its sides, that swiftly You may
pass the black pitch-water; Slay this merciless magician, Save the people from
the fever That he breathes across the fen-lands, And avenge my father's
Straightway then my Hiawatha Armed himself with all his war-gear, Launched his
birch-canoe for sailing; With his palm its sides he patted, Said with glee,
"Cheemaun, my darling, O my Birch-canoe! leap forward, Where you see the
fiery serpents, Where you see the black pitch-water!"
Forward leaped Cheemaun exulting, And the noble Hiawatha Sang his war-song
wild and woful, And above him the war-eagle, The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Master of all fowls with feathers, Screamed and hurtled through the heavens.
Soon he reached the fiery serpents, The Kenabeek, the great serpents, Lying huge
upon the water, Sparkling, rippling in the water, Lying coiled across the
passage, With their blazing crests uplifted, Breathing fiery fogs and vapors, So
that none could pass beyond them.
But the fearless Hiawatha Cried aloud, and spake in this wise, "Let me
pass my way, Kenabeek, Let me go upon my journey!" And they answered,
hissing fiercely, With their fiery breath made answer: "Back, go back! O
Shaugodaya! Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!"
Then the angry Hiawatha Raised his mighty bow of ash-tree, Seized his arrows,
jasper-headed, Shot them fast among the serpents; Every twanging of the
bow-string Was a war-cry and a death-cry, Every whizzing of an arrow Was a
death-song of Kenabeek.
Weltering in the bloody water, Dead lay all the fiery serpents, And among
them Hiawatha Harmless sailed, and cried exulting: "Onward, O Cheemaun, my
darling! Onward to the black pitch-water!"
Then he took the oil of Nahma, And the bows and sides anointed, Smeared them
well with oil, that swiftly He might pass the black pitch-water.
All night long he sailed upon it, Sailed upon that sluggish water, Covered
with its mould of ages, Black with rotting water-rushes, Rank with flags and
leaves of lilies, Stagnant, lifeless, dreary, dismal, Lighted by the shimmering
moonlight, And by will-o'-the-wisps illumined, Fires by ghosts of dead men
kindled, In their weary night-encampments.
All the air was white with moonlight, All the water black with shadow, And
around him the Suggema, The mosquito, sang his war-song, And the fire-flies,
Wah-wah-taysee, Waved their torches to mislead him; And the bull-frog, the
Dahinda, Thrust his head into the moonlight, Fixed his yellow eyes upon him,
Sobbed and sank beneath the surface; And anon a thousand whistles, Answered over
all the fen-lands, And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, Far off on the reedy
margin, Heralded the hero's coming.
Westward thus fared Hiawatha, Toward the realm of Megissogwon, Toward the
land of the Pearl-Feather, Till the level moon stared at him In his face stared
pale and haggard, Till the sun was hot behind him, Till it burned upon his
shoulders, And before him on the upland He could see the Shining Wigwam Of the
Manito of Wampum, Of the mightiest of Magicians.
Then once more Cheemaun he patted, To his birch-canoe said, "Onward!"
And it stirred in all its fibres, And with one great bound of triumph Leaped
across the water-lilies, Leaped through tangled flags and rushes, And upon the
beach beyond them Dry-shod landed Hiawatha.
Straight he took his bow of ash-tree, On the sand one end he rested, With his
knee he pressed the middle, Stretched the faithful bow-string tighter, Took an
arrow, jasperheaded, Shot it at the Shining Wigwam, Sent it singing as a herald,
As a bearer of his message, Of his challenge loud and lofty: "Come forth
from your lodge, Pearl-Feather! Hiawatha waits your coming!"
Straightway from the Shining Wigwam Came the mighty Megissogwon, Tall of
stature, broad of shoulder, Dark and terrible in aspect, Clad from head to foot
in wampum, Armed with all his warlike weapons, Painted like the sky of morning,
Streaked with crimson, blue, and yellow, Crested with great eagle-feathers,
Streaming upward, streaming outward.
"Well I know you, Hiawatha!" Cried he in a voice of thunder, In a
tone of loud derision. "Hasten back, O Shaugodaya! Hasten back among the
women, Back to old Nokomis, Faint-heart! I will slay you as you stand there, As
of old I slew her father!"
But my Hiawatha answered, Nothing daunted, fearing nothing: "Big words do
not smite like war-clubs, Boastful breath is not a bow-string, Taunts are not so
sharp as arrows, Deeds are better things than words are, Actions mightier than
Then began the greatest battle That the sun had ever looked on, That the
war-birds ever witnessed. All a Summer's day it lasted, From the sunrise to the
sunset; For the shafts of Hiawatha Harmless hit the shirt of wampum, Harmless
fell the blows he dealt it With his mittens, Minjekahwun, Harmless fell the
heavy war-club; It could dash the rocks asunder, But it could not break the
meshes Of that magic shirt of wampum.
Till at sunset Hiawatha, Leaning on his bow of ash-tree, Wounded, weary, and
desponding, With his mighty war-club broken, With his mittens torn and tattered,
And three useless arrows only, Paused to rest beneath a pine-tree, From whose
branches trailed the mosses, And whose trunk was coated over With the Dead-man's
Moccasin-leather, With the fungus white and yellow.
Suddenly from the boughs above him Sang the Mama, the woodpecker: "Aim
your arrows, Hiawatha, At the head of Megissogwon, Strike the tuft of hair upon
it, At their roots the long black tresses; There alone can he be wounded!"
Winged with feathers, tipped with jasper, Swift flew Hiawatha's arrow, Just as
Megissogwon, stooping, Raised a heavy stone to throw it. Full upon the crown it
struck him, At the roots of his long tresses, And he reeled and staggered
forward, Plunging like a wounded bison, Yes, like Pezhekee, the bison, When the
snow is on the prairie.
Swifter flew the second arrow, In the pathway of the other, Piercing deeper
than the other, Wounding sorer than the other; And the knees of Megissogwon
Shook like windy reeds beneath him, Bent and trembled like the rushes.
But the third and latest arrow Swiftest flew, and wounded sorest, And the mighty
Megissogwon Saw the fiery eyes of Pauguk, Saw the eyes of Death glare at him,
Heard his voice call in the darkness; At the feet of Hiawatha Lifeless lay the
great Pearl-Feather, Lay the mightiest of Magicians.
Then the grateful Hiawatha Called the Mama, the woodpecker, From his perch
among the branches Of the melancholy pine-tree, And, in honor of his service,
Stained with blood the tuft of feathers On the little head of Mama; Even to this
day he wears it, Wears the tuft of crimson feathers, As a symbol of his service.
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum From the back of Megissogwon, As a trophy
of the battle, As a signal of his conquest. On the shore he left the body, Half
on land and half in water, In the sand his feet were buried, And his face was in
the water. And above him, wheeled and clamored The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Sailing round in narrower circles, Hovering nearer, nearer, nearer.
From the wigwam Hiawatha Bore the wealth of Megissogwon, All his wealth of
skins and wampum, Furs of bison and of beaver, Furs of sable and of ermine,
Wampum belts and strings and pouches, Quivers wrought with beads of wampum,
Filled with arrows, silver-headed.
Homeward then he sailed exulting, Homeward through the black pitch-water,
Homeward through the weltering serpents, With the trophies of the battle, With a
shout and song of triumph.
On the shore stood old Nokomis, On the shore stood Chibiabos, And the very
strong man, Kwasind, Waiting for the hero's coming, Listening to his songs of
triumph. And the people of the village Welcomed him with songs and dances, Made
a joyous feast, and shouted: 'Honor be to Hiawatha! He has slain the great
Pearl-Feather, Slain the mightiest of Magicians, Him, who sent the fiery fever,
Sent the white fog from the fen-lands, Sent disease and death among us!"
Ever dear to Hiawatha Was the memory of Mama! And in token of his friendship, As
a mark of his remembrance, He adorned and decked his pipe-stem With the crimson
tuft of feathers, With the blood-red crest of Mama. But the wealth of
Megissogwon, All the trophies of the battle, He divided with his people, Shared
it equally among them.
"As unto the bow the cord is, So unto the man is woman; Though she bends
him, she obeys him, Though she draws him, yet she follows; Useless each without
Thus the youthful Hiawatha Said within himself and pondered, Much perplexed by
various feelings, Listless, longing, hoping, fearing, Dreaming still of
Minnehaha, Of the lovely Laughing Water, In the land of the Dacotahs.
"Wed a maiden of your people," Warning said the old Nokomis;
"Go not eastward, go not westward, For a stranger, whom we know not! Like a
fire upon the hearth-stone Is a neighbor's homely daughter, Like the starlight
or the moonlight Is the handsomest of strangers!"
Thus dissuading spake Nokomis, And my Hiawatha answered Only this: "Dear
old Nokomis, Very pleasant is the firelight, But I like the starlight better,
Better do I like the moonlight!"
Gravely then said old Nokomis: "Bring not here an idle maiden, Bring not
here a useless woman, Hands unskilful, feet unwilling; Bring a wife with nimble
fingers, Heart and hand that move together, Feet that run on willing
Smiling answered Hiawatha: 'In the land of the Dacotahs Lives the Arrow-maker's
daughter, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Handsomest of all the women. I will bring
her to your wigwam, She shall run upon your errands, Be your starlight,
moonlight, firelight, Be the sunlight of my people!"
Still dissuading said Nokomis: "Bring not to my lodge a stranger From
the land of the Dacotahs! Very fierce are the Dacotahs, Often is there war
between us, There are feuds yet unforgotten, Wounds that ache and still may
Laughing answered Hiawatha: "For that reason, if no other, Would I wed the
fair Dacotah, That our tribes might be united, That old feuds might be
forgotten, And old wounds be healed forever!"
Thus departed Hiawatha To the land of the Dacotahs, To the land of handsome
women; Striding over moor and meadow, Through interminable forests, Through
With his moccasins of magic, At each stride a mile he measured; Yet the way
seemed long before him, And his heart outran his footsteps; And he journeyed
without resting, Till he heard the cataract's laughter, Heard the Falls of
Minnehaha Calling to him through the silence. "Pleasant is the sound!"
he murmured, "Pleasant is the voice that calls me!"
On the outskirts of the forests, 'Twixt the shadow and the sunshine, Herds of
fallow deer were feeding, But they saw not Hiawatha; To his bow he whispered,
"Fail not!" To his arrow whispered, "Swerve not!" Sent it
singing on its errand, To the red heart of the roebuck; Threw the deer across
his shoulder, And sped forward without pausing.
At the doorway of his wigwam Sat the ancient Arrow-maker, In the land of the
Dacotahs, Making arrow-heads of jasper, Arrow-heads of chalcedony. At his side,
in all her beauty, Sat the lovely Minnehaha, Sat his daughter, Laughing Water,
Plaiting mats of flags and rushes Of the past the old man's thoughts were, And
the maiden's of the future.
He was thinking, as he sat there, Of the days when with such arrows He had
struck the deer and bison, On the Muskoday, the meadow; Shot the wild goose,
flying southward On the wing, the clamorous Wawa; Thinking of the great
war-parties, How they came to buy his arrows, Could not fight without his
arrows. Ah, no more such noble warriors Could be found on earth as they were!
Now the men were all like women, Only used their tongues for weapons!
She was thinking of a hunter, From another tribe and country, Young and tall and
very handsome, Who one morning, in the Spring-time, Came to buy her father's
arrows, Sat and rested in the wigwam, Lingered long about the doorway, Looking
back as he departed. She had heard her father praise him, Praise his courage and
his wisdom; Would he come again for arrows To the Falls of Minnehaha? On the mat
her hands lay idle, And her eyes were very dreamy.
Through their thoughts they heard a footstep, Heard a rustling in the
branches, And with glowing cheek and forehead, With the deer upon his shoulders,
Suddenly from out the woodlands Hiawatha stood before them.
Straight the ancient Arrow-maker Looked up gravely from his labor, Laid aside
the unfinished arrow, Bade him enter at the doorway, Saying, as he rose to meet
him, 'Hiawatha, you are welcome!"
At the feet of Laughing Water Hiawatha laid his burden, Threw the red deer
from his shoulders; And the maiden looked up at him, Looked up from her mat of
rushes, Said with gentle look and accent, "You are welcome, Hiawatha!"
Very spacious was the wigwam, Made of deer-skins dressed and whitened, With the
Gods of the Dacotahs Drawn and painted on its curtains, And so tall the doorway,
hardly Hiawatha stooped to enter, Hardly touched his eagle-feathers As he
entered at the doorway.
Then uprose the Laughing Water, From the ground fair Minnehaha, Laid aside
her mat unfinished, Brought forth food and set before them, Water brought them
from the brooklet, Gave them food in earthen vessels, Gave them drink in bowls
of bass-wood, Listened while the guest was speaking, Listened while her father
answered, But not once her lips she opened, Not a single word she uttered.
Yes, as in a dream she listened To the words of Hiawatha, As he talked of old
Nokomis, Who had nursed him in his childhood, As he told of his companions,
Chibiabos, the musician, And the very strong man, Kwasind, And of happiness and
plenty In the land of the Ojibways, In the pleasant land and peaceful.
"After many years of warfare, Many years of strife and bloodshed, There
is peace between the Ojibways And the tribe of the Dacotahs." Thus
continued Hiawatha, And then added, speaking slowly, "That this peace may
last forever, And our hands be clasped more closely, And our hearts be more
united, Give me as my wife this maiden, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Loveliest of
And the ancient Arrow-maker Paused a moment ere he answered, Smoked a little
while in silence, Looked at Hiawatha proudly, Fondly looked at Laughing Water,
And made answer very gravely: "Yes, if Minnehaha wishes; Let your heart
And the lovely Laughing Water Seemed more lovely as she stood there, Neither
willing nor reluctant, As she went to Hiawatha, Softly took the seat beside him,
While she said, and blushed to say it, "I will follow you, my
This was Hiawatha's wooing! Thus it was he won the daughter Of the ancient
Arrow-maker, In the land of the Dacotahs!
From the wigwam he departed, Leading with him Laughing Water; Hand in hand
they went together, Through the woodland and the meadow, Left the old man
standing lonely At the doorway of his wigwam, Heard the Falls of Minnehaha
Calling to them from the distance, Crying to them from afar off, "Fare thee
well, O Minnehaha!"
And the ancient Arrow-maker Turned again unto his labor, Sat down by his sunny
doorway, Murmuring to himself, and saying: "Thus it is our daughters leave
us, Those we love, and those who love us! Just when they have learned to help
us, When we are old and lean upon them, Comes a youth with flaunting feathers,
With his flute of reeds, a stranger Wanders piping through the village, Beckons
to the fairest maiden, And she follows where he leads her, Leaving all things
for the stranger!"
Pleasant was the journey homeward, Through interminable forests, Over meadow,
over mountain, Over river, hill, and hollow. Short it seemed to Hiawatha, Though
they journeyed very slowly, Though his pace he checked and slackened To the
steps of Laughing Water.
Over wide and rushing rivers In his arms he bore the maiden; Light he thought
her as a feather, As the plume upon his head-gear; Cleared the tangled pathway
for her, Bent aside the swaying branches, Made at night a lodge of branches, And
a bed with boughs of hemlock, And a fire before the doorway With the dry cones
of the pine-tree.
All the travelling winds went with them, O'er the meadows, through the
forest; All the stars of night looked at them, Watched with sleepless eyes their
slumber; From his ambush in the oak-tree Peeped the squirrel, Adjidaumo, Watched
with eager eyes the lovers; And the rabbit, the Wabasso, Scampered from the path
before them, Peering, peeping from his burrow, Sat erect upon his haunches,
Watched with curious eyes the lovers.
Pleasant was the journey homeward! All the birds sang loud and sweetly Songs of
happiness and heart's-ease; Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa, "Happy are you,
Hiawatha, Having such a wife to love you!" Sang the robin, the Opechee,
"Happy are you, Laughing Water, Having such a noble husband!"
From the sky the sun benignant Looked upon them through the branches, Saying
to them, "O my children, Love is sunshine, hate is shadow, Life is
checkered shade and sunshine, Rule by love, O Hiawatha!"
From the sky the moon looked at them, Filled the lodge with mystic splendors,
Whispered to them, "O my children, Day is restless, night is quiet, Man
imperious, woman feeble; Half is mine, although I follow; Rule by patience,
Thus it was they journeyed homeward; Thus it was that Hiawatha To the lodge
of old Nokomis Brought the moonlight, starlight, firelight, Brought the sunshine
of his people, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Handsomest of all the women In the
land of the Dacotahs, In the land of handsome women.
You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis, How the handsome Yenadizze Danced at
Hiawatha's wedding; How the gentle Chibiabos, He the sweetest of musicians, Sang
his songs of love and longing; How Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous
story-teller, Told his tales of strange adventure, That the feast might be more
joyous, That the time might pass more gayly, And the guests be more contented.
Sumptuous was the feast Nokomis Made at Hiawatha's wedding; All the bowls were
made of bass-wood, White and polished very smoothly, All the spoons of horn of
bison, Black and polished very smoothly.
She had sent through all the village Messengers with wands of willow, As a
sign of invitation, As a token of the feasting; And the wedding guests
assembled, Clad in all their richest raiment, Robes of fur and belts of wampum,
Splendid with their paint and plumage, Beautiful with beads and tassels.
First they ate the sturgeon, Nahma, And the pike, the Maskenozha, Caught and
cooked by old Nokomis; Then on pemican they feasted, Pemican and buffalo marrow,
Haunch of deer and hump of bison, Yellow cakes of the Mondamin, And the wild
rice of the river.
But the gracious Hiawatha, And the lovely Laughing Water, And the careful old
Nokomis, Tasted not the food before them, Only waited on the others Only served
their guests in silence.
And when all the guests had finished, Old Nokomis, brisk and busy, From an ample
pouch of otter, Filled the red-stone pipes for smoking With tobacco from the
South-land, Mixed with bark of the red willow, And with herbs and leaves of
Then she said, "O Pau-Puk-Keewis, Dance for us your merry dances, Dance
the Beggar's Dance to please us, That the feast may be more joyous, That the
time may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!"
Then the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis, He the idle Yenadizze, He the merry
mischief-maker, Whom the people called the Storm-Fool, Rose among the guests
Skilled was he in sports and pastimes, In the merry dance of snow-shoes, In
the play of quoits and ball-play; Skilled was he in games of hazard, In all
games of skill and hazard, Pugasaing, the Bowl and Counters, Kuntassoo, the Game
of Plum-stones. Though the warriors called him Faint-Heart, Called him coward,
Shaugodaya, Idler, gambler, Yenadizze, Little heeded he their jesting, Little
cared he for their insults, For the women and the maidens Loved the handsome
He was dressed in shirt of doeskin, White and soft, and fringed with ermine, All
inwrought with beads of wampum; He was dressed in deer-skin leggings, Fringed
with hedgehog quills and ermine, And in moccasins of buck-skin, Thick with
quills and beads embroidered. On his head were plumes of swan's down, On his
heels were tails of foxes, In one hand a fan of feathers, And a pipe was in the
Barred with streaks of red and yellow, Streaks of blue and bright vermilion,
Shone the face of Pau-Puk-Keewis. From his forehead fell his tresses, Smooth,
and parted like a woman's, Shining bright with oil, and plaited, Hung with
braids of scented grasses, As among the guests assembled, To the sound of flutes
and singing, To the sound of drums and voices, Rose the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis,
And began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measure, Very slow in step and gesture, In and out
among the pine-trees, Through the shadows and the sunshine, Treading softly like
a panther. Then more swiftly and still swifter, Whirling, spinning round in
circles, Leaping o'er the guests assembled, Eddying round and round the wigwam,
Till the leaves went whirling with him, Till the dust and wind together Swept in
eddies round about him.
Then along the sandy margin Of the lake, the Big-Sea-Water, On he sped with
frenzied gestures, Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it Wildly in the air around
him; Till the wind became a whirlwind, Till the sand was blown and sifted Like
great snowdrifts o'er the landscape, Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes,
Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo!
Thus the merry Pau-Puk-Keewis Danced his Beggar's Dance to please them, And,
returning, sat down laughing There among the guests assembled, Sat and fanned
himself serenely With his fan of turkey-feathers.
Then they said to Chibiabos, To the friend of Hiawatha, To the sweetest of
all singers, To the best of all musicians, "Sing to us, O Chibiabos! Songs
of love and songs of longing, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time
may pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!"
And the gentle Chibiabos Sang in accents sweet and tender, Sang in tones of deep
emotion, Songs of love and songs of longing; Looking still at Hiawatha, Looking
at fair Laughing Water, Sang he softly, sang in this wise:
"Onaway! Awake, beloved! Thou the wild-flower of the forest! Thou the
wild-bird of the prairie! Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like!
"If thou only lookest at me, I am happy, I am happy, As the lilies of the
prairie, When they feel the dew upon them!
"Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance Of the wild-flowers in the
morning, As their fragrance is at evening, In the Moon when leaves are falling.
"Does not all the blood within me Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee, As
the springs to meet the sunshine, In the Moon when nights are brightest?
"Onaway! my heart sings to thee, Sings with joy when thou art near me,
As the sighing, singing branches In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries!
"When thou art not pleased, beloved, Then my heart is sad and darkened, As
the shining river darkens When the clouds drop shadows on it!
"When thou smilest, my beloved, Then my troubled heart is brightened, As
in sunshine gleam the ripples That the cold wind makes in rivers.
"Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above
us, But I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me!
"I myself, myself! behold me! Blood of my beating heart, behold me! Oh
awake, awake, beloved! Onaway! awake, beloved!"
Thus the gentle Chibiabos Sang his song of love and longing; And Iagoo, the
great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the friend of old Nokomis,
Jealous of the sweet musician, Jealous of the applause they gave him, Saw in all
the eyes around him, Saw in all their looks and gestures, That the wedding
guests assembled Longed to hear his pleasant stories, His immeasurable
Very boastful was Iagoo; Never heard he an adventure But himself had met a
greater; Never any deed of daring But himself had done a bolder; Never any
marvellous story But himself could tell a stranger.
Would you listen to his boasting, Would you only give him credence, No one ever
shot an arrow Half so far and high as he had; Ever caught so many fishes, Ever
killed so many reindeer, Ever trapped so many beaver!
None could run so fast as he could, None could dive so deep as he could, None
could swim so far as he could; None had made so many journeys, None had seen so
many wonders, As this wonderful Iagoo, As this marvellous story-teller! Thus his
name became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastful
hunter Praised his own address too highly, Or a warrior, home returning, Talked
too much of his achievements, All his hearers cried, "Iagoo! Here's Iagoo
come among us!"
He it was who carved the cradle Of the little Hiawatha, Carved its framework out
of linden, Bound it strong with reindeer sinews; He it was who taught him later
How to make his bows and arrows, How to make the bows of ash-tree, And the
arrows of the oak-tree. So among the guests assembled At my Hiawatha's wedding
Sat Iagoo, old and ugly, Sat the marvellous story-teller.
And they said, "O good Iagoo, Tell us now a tale of wonder, Tell us of
some strange adventure, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may
pass more gayly, And our guests be more contented!"
And Iagoo answered straightway, "You shall hear a tale of wonder, You shall
hear the strange adventures Of Osseo, the Magician, From the Evening Star
The Son of the Evening Star
Can it be the sun descending O'er the level plain of water? Or the Red Swan
floating, flying, Wounded by the magic arrow, Staining all the waves with
crimson, With the crimson of its life-blood, Filling all the air with splendor,
With the splendor of its plumage?
Yes; it is the sun descending, Sinking down into the water; All the sky is
stained with purple, All the water flushed with crimson! No; it is the Red Swan
floating, Diving down beneath the water; To the sky its wings are lifted, With
its blood the waves are reddened!
Over it the Star of Evening Melts and trembles through the purple, Hangs
suspended in the twilight. No; it is a bead of wampum On the robes of the Great
Spirit As he passes through the twilight, Walks in silence through the heavens.
This with joy beheld Iagoo And he said in haste: "Behold it! See the sacred
Star of Evening! You shall hear a tale of wonder, Hear the story of Osseo, Son
of the Evening Star, Osseo!
"Once, in days no more remembered, Ages nearer the beginning, When the
heavens were closer to us, And the Gods were more familiar, In the North-land
lived a hunter, With ten young and comely daughters, Tall and lithe as wands of
willow; Only Oweenee, the youngest, She the wilful and the wayward, She the
silent, dreamy maiden, Was the fairest of the sisters.
"All these women married warriors, Married brave and haughty husbands; Only
Oweenee, the youngest, Laughed and flouted all her lovers, All her young and
handsome suitors, And then married old Osseo, Old Osseo, poor and ugly, Broken
with age and weak with coughing, Always coughing like a squirrel.
"Ah, but beautiful within him Was the spirit of Osseo, From the Evening
Star descended, Star of Evening, Star of Woman, Star of tenderness and passion!
All its fire was in his bosom, All its beauty in his spirit, All its mystery in
his being, All its splendor in his language!
"And her lovers, the rejected, Handsome men with belts of wampum, Handsome
men with paint and feathers. Pointed at her in derision, Followed her with jest
and laughter. But she said: 'I care not for you, Care not for your belts of
wampum, Care not for your paint and feathers, Care not for your jests and
laughter; I am happy with Osseo!'
'Once to some great feast invited, Through the damp and dusk of evening,
Walked together the ten sisters, Walked together with their husbands; Slowly
followed old Osseo, With fair Oweenee beside him; All the others chatted gayly,
These two only walked in silence.
"At the western sky Osseo Gazed intent, as if imploring, Often stopped and
gazed imploring At the trembling Star of Evening, At the tender Star of Woman;
And they heard him murmur softly, 'Ah, showain nemeshin, Nosa! Pity, pity me, my
'Listen!' said the eldest sister, 'He is praying to his father! What a pity
that the old man Does not stumble in the pathway, Does not break his neck by
falling!' And they laughed till all the forest Rang with their unseemly
"On their pathway through the woodlands Lay an oak, by storms uprooted, Lay
the great trunk of an oak-tree, Buried half in leaves and mosses, Mouldering,
crumbling, huge and hollow. And Osseo, when he saw it, Gave a shout, a cry of
anguish, Leaped into its yawning cavern, At one end went in an old man, Wasted,
wrinkled, old, and ugly; From the other came a young man, Tall and straight and
strong and handsome.
"Thus Osseo was transfigured, Thus restored to youth and beauty; But,
alas for good Osseo, And for Oweenee, the faithful! Strangely, too, was she
transfigured. Changed into a weak old woman, With a staff she tottered onward,
Wasted, wrinkled, old, and ugly! And the sisters and their husbands Laughed
until the echoing forest Rang with their unseemly laughter.
"But Osseo turned not from her, Walked with slower step beside her, Took
her hand, as brown and withered As an oak-leaf is in Winter, Called her
sweetheart, Nenemoosha, Soothed her with soft words of kindness, Till they
reached the lodge of feasting, Till they sat down in the wigwam, Sacred to the
Star of Evening, To the tender Star of Woman.
"Wrapt in visions, lost in dreaming, At the banquet sat Osseo; All were
merry, all were happy, All were joyous but Osseo. Neither food nor drink he
tasted, Neither did he speak nor listen; But as one bewildered sat he, Looking
dreamily and sadly, First at Oweenee, then upward At the gleaming sky above
"Then a voice was heard, a whisper, Coming from the starry distance, Coming
from the empty vastness, Low, and musical, and tender; And the voice said: 'O
Osseo! O my son, my best beloved! Broken are the spells that bound you, All the
charms of the magicians, All the magic powers of evil; Come to me; ascend,
"'Taste the food that stands before you: It is blessed and enchanted, It
has magic virtues in it, It will change you to a spirit. All your bowls and all
your kettles Shall be wood and clay no longer; But the bowls be changed to
wampum, And the kettles shall be silver; They shall shine like shells of
scarlet, Like the fire shall gleam and glimmer.
"'And the women shall no longer Bear the dreary doom of labor, But be
changed to birds, and glisten With the beauty of the starlight, Painted with the
dusky splendors Of the skies and clouds of evening!'
"What Osseo heard as whispers, What as words he comprehended, Was but
music to the others, Music as of birds afar off, Of the whippoorwill afar off,
Of the lonely Wawonaissa Singing in the darksome forest.
"Then the lodge began to tremble, Straight began to shake and tremble, And
they felt it rising, rising, Slowly through the air ascending, From the darkness
of the tree-tops Forth into the dewy starlight, Till it passed the topmost
branches; And behold! the wooden dishes All were changed to shells of scarlet!
And behold! the earthen kettles All were changed to bowls of silver! And the
roof-poles of the wigwam Were as glittering rods of silver, And the roof of bark
upon them As the shining shards of beetles. "Then Osseo gazed around him,
And he saw the nine fair sisters, All the sisters and their husbands, Changed to
birds of various plumage. Some were jays and some were magpies, Others thrushes,
others blackbirds; And they hopped, and sang, and twittered, Perked and
fluttered all their feathers, Strutted in their shining plumage, And their tails
like fans unfolded. "Only Oweenee, the youngest, Was not changed, but sat
in silence, Wasted, wrinkled, old, and ugly, Looking sadly at the others; Till
Osseo, gazing upward, Gave another cry of anguish, Such a cry as he had uttered
By the oak-tree in the forest. "Then returned her youth and beauty, And her
soiled and tattered garments Were transformed to robes of ermine, And her staff
became a feather, Yes, a shining silver feather! "And again the wigwam
trembled, Swayed and rushed through airy currents, Through transparent cloud and
vapor, And amid celestial splendors On the Evening Star alighted, As a
snow-flake falls on snow-flake, As a leaf drops on a river, As the thistledown
"Forth with cheerful words of welcome Came the father of Osseo, He with
radiant locks of silver, He with eyes serene and tender. And he said: `My son,
Osseo, Hang the cage of birds you bring there, Hang the cage with rods of
silver, And the birds with glistening feathers, At the doorway of my wigwam.'
"At the door he hung the bird-cage, And they entered in and gladly Listened
to Osseo's father, Ruler of the Star of Evening, As he said: `O my Osseo! I have
had compassion on you, Given you back your youth and beauty, Into birds of
various plumage Changed your sisters and their husbands; Changed them thus
because they mocked you In the figure of the old man, In that aspect sad and
wrinkled, Could not see your heart of passion, Could not see your youth
immortal; Only Oweenee, the faithful, Saw your naked heart and loved you.
"`In the lodge that glimmers yonder, In the little star that twinkles
Through the vapors, on the left hand, Lives the envious Evil Spirit, The Wabeno,
the magician, Who transformed you to an old man. Take heed lest his beams fall
on you, For the rays he darts around him Are the power of his enchantment, Are
the arrows that he uses.'
"Many years, in peace and quiet, On the peaceful Star of Evening Dwelt
Osseo with his father; Many years, in song and flutter, At the doorway of the
wigwam, Hung the cage with rods of silver, And fair Oweenee, the faithful, Bore
a son unto Osseo, With the beauty of his mother, With the courage of his father.
"And the boy grew up and prospered, And Osseo, to delight him, Made him
little bows and arrows, Opened the great cage of silver, And let loose his aunts
and uncles, All those birds with glossy feathers, For his little son to shoot
"Round and round they wheeled and darted, Filled the Evening Star with
music, With their songs of joy and freedom Filled the Evening Star with
splendor, With the fluttering of their plumage; Till the boy, the little hunter,
Bent his bow and shot an arrow, Shot a swift and fatal arrow, And a bird, with
shining feathers, At his feet fell wounded sorely.
"But, O wondrous transformation! `T was no bird he saw before him, `T
was a beautiful young woman, With the arrow in her bosom!
"When her blood fell on the planet, On the sacred Star of Evening, Broken
was the spell of magic, Powerless was the strange enchantment, And the youth,
the fearless bowman, Suddenly felt himself descending, Held by unseen hands, but
sinking Downward through the empty spaces, Downward through the clouds and
vapors, Till he rested on an island, On an island, green and grassy, Yonder in
"After him he saw descending All the birds with shining feathers,
Fluttering, falling, wafted downward, Like the painted leaves of Autumn; And the
lodge with poles of silver, With its roof like wings of beetles, Like the
shining shards of beetles, By the winds of heaven uplifted, Slowly sank upon the
island, Bringing back the good Osseo, Bringing Oweenee, the faithful.
"Then the birds, again transfigured, Reassumed the shape of mortals, Took
their shape, but not their stature; They remained as Little People, Like the
pygmies, the Puk-Wudjies, And on pleasant nights of Summer, When the Evening
Star was shining, Hand in hand they danced together On the island's craggy
headlands, On the sand-beach low and level.
"Still their glittering lodge is seen there, On the tranquil Summer
evenings, And upon the shore the fisher Sometimes hears their happy voices, Sees
them dancing in the starlight !"
When the story was completed, When the wondrous tale was ended, Looking round
upon his listeners, Solemnly Iagoo added: "There are great men, I have
known such, Whom their people understand not, Whom they even make a jest of,
Scoff and jeer at in derision. From the story of Osseo Let us learn the fate of
All the wedding guests delighted Listened to the marvellous story, Listened
laughing and applauding, And they whispered to each other: "Does he mean
himself, I wonder? And are we the aunts and uncles?"
Then again sang Chibiabos, Sang a song of love and longing, In those accents
sweet and tender, In those tones of pensive sadness, Sang a maiden's lamentation
For her lover, her Algonquin.
"When I think of my beloved, Ah me! think of my beloved, When my heart
is thinking of him, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
"Ah me! when I parted from him, Round my neck he hung the wampum, As a
pledge, the snow-white wampum, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
"`I will go with you, he whispered, Ah me! to your native country; Let
me go with you, he whispered, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
"Far away, away, I answered, Very far away, I answered, Ah me! is my native
country, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
"When I looked back to behold him, Where we parted, to behold him, After
me he still was gazing, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
"By the tree he still was standing, By the fallen tree was standing, That
had dropped into the water, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin! "When I think of
my beloved, Ah me! think of my beloved, When my heart is thinking of him, O my
sweetheart, my Algonquin!" Such was Hiawatha's Wedding, Such the dance of
Pau-Puk-Keewis, Such the story of Iagoo, Such the songs of Chibiabos; Thus the
wedding banquet ended, And the wedding guests departed, Leaving Hiawatha happy
With the night and Minnehaha.
Blessing the Cornfields
Sing, O Song of Hiawatha, Of the happy days that followed, In the land of the
Ojibways, In the pleasant land and peaceful! Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Blessing of the Cornfields!
Buried was the bloody hatchet, Buried was the dreadful war-club, Buried were
all warlike weapons, And the war-cry was forgotten. There was peace among the
nations; Unmolested roved the hunters, Built the birch canoe for sailing, Caught
the fish in lake and river, Shot the deer and trapped the beaver; Unmolested
worked the women, Made their sugar from the maple, Gathered wild rice in the
meadows, Dressed the skins of deer and beaver.
All around the happy village Stood the maize-fields, green and shining, Waved
the green plumes of Mondamin, Waved his soft and sunny tresses, Filling all the
land with plenty. `T was the women who in Spring-time Planted the broad fields
and fruitful, Buried in the earth Mondamin; `T was the women who in Autumn
Stripped the yellow husks of harvest, Stripped the garments from Mondamin, Even
as Hiawatha taught them.
Once, when all the maize was planted, Hiawatha, wise and thoughtful, Spake
and said to Minnehaha, To his wife, the Laughing Water: "You shall bless
to-night the cornfields, Draw a magic circle round them, To protect them from
destruction, Blast of mildew, blight of insect, Wagemin, the thief of
cornfields, Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear
"In the night, when all Is silence,' In the night, when all Is darkness,
When the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin, Shuts the doors of all the wigwams, So that
not an ear can hear you, So that not an eye can see you, Rise up from your bed
in silence, Lay aside your garments wholly, Walk around the fields you planted,
Round the borders of the cornfields, Covered by your tresses only, Robed with
darkness as a garment.
"Thus the fields shall be more fruitful, And the passing of your
footsteps Draw a magic circle round them, So that neither blight nor mildew,
Neither burrowing worm nor insect, Shall pass o'er the magic circle; Not the
dragon-fly, Kwo-ne-she, Nor the spider, Subbekashe, Nor the grasshopper,
Pah-puk-keena; Nor the mighty caterpillar, Way-muk-kwana, with the bear-skin,
King of all the caterpillars!"
On the tree-tops near the cornfields Sat the hungry crows and ravens, Kahgahgee,
the King of Ravens, With his band of black marauders. And they laughed at
Hiawatha, Till the tree-tops shook with laughter, With their melancholy
laughter, At the words of Hiawatha. "Hear him!" said they; "hear
the Wise Man, Hear the plots of Hiawatha!"
When the noiseless night descended Broad and dark o'er field and forest, When
the mournful Wawonaissa Sorrowing sang among the hemlocks, And the Spirit of
Sleep, Nepahwin, Shut the doors of all the wigwams, From her bed rose Laughing
Water, Laid aside her garments wholly, And with darkness clothed and guarded,
Unashamed and unaffrighted, Walked securely round the cornfields, Drew the
sacred, magic circle Of her footprints round the cornfields.
No one but the Midnight only Saw her beauty in the darkness, No one but the
Wawonaissa Heard the panting of her bosom Guskewau, the darkness, wrapped her
Closely in his sacred mantle, So that none might see her beauty, So that none
might boast, "I saw her!"
On the morrow, as the day dawned, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Gathered all
his black marauders, Crows and blackbirds, jays and ravens, Clamorous on the
dusky tree-tops, And descended, fast and fearless, On the fields of Hiawatha, On
the grave of the Mondamin.
"We will drag Mondamin," said they, "From the grave where he is
buried, Spite of all the magic circles Laughing Water draws around it, Spite of
all the sacred footprints Minnehaha stamps upon it!"
But the wary Hiawatha, Ever thoughtful, careful, watchful, Had o'erheard the
scornful laughter When they mocked him from the tree-tops. "Kaw!" he
said, "my friends the ravens! Kahgahgee, my King of Ravens! I will teach
you all a lesson That shall not be soon forgotten!"
He had risen before the daybreak, He had spread o'er all the cornfields Snares
to catch the black marauders, And was lying now in ambush In the neighboring
grove of pine-trees, Waiting for the crows and blackbirds, Waiting for the jays
Soon they came with caw and clamor, Rush of wings and cry of voices, To their
work of devastation, Settling down upon the cornfields, Delving deep with beak
and talon, For the body of Mondamin. And with all their craft and cunning, All
their skill in wiles of warfare, They perceived no danger near them, Till their
claws became entangled, Till they found themselves imprisoned In the snares of
From his place of ambush came he, Striding terrible among them, And so awful was
his aspect That the bravest quailed with terror. Without mercy he destroyed them
Right and left, by tens and twenties, And their wretched, lifeless bodies Hung
aloft on poles for scarecrows Round the consecrated cornfields, As a signal of
his vengeance, As a warning to marauders.
Only Kahgahgee, the leader, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, He alone was
spared among them As a hostage for his people. With his prisoner-string he bound
him, Led him captive to his wigwam, Tied him fast with cords of elm-bark To the
ridge-pole of his wigwam.
"Kahgahgee, my raven!" said he, "You the leader of the robbers,
You the plotter of this mischief, The contriver of this outrage, I will keep
you, I will hold you, As a hostage for your people, As a pledge of good
And he left him, grim and sulky, Sitting in the morning sunshine On the
summit of the wigwam, Croaking fiercely his displeasure, Flapping his great
sable pinions, Vainly struggling for his freedom, Vainly calling on his people!
Summer passed, and Shawondasee Breathed his sighs o'er all the landscape, From
the South-land sent his ardor, Wafted kisses warm and tender; And the
maize-field grew and ripened, Till it stood in all the splendor Of its garments
green and yellow, Of its tassels and its plumage, And the maize-ears full and
shining Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
Then Nokomis, the old woman, Spake, and said to Minnehaha:
`T is the Moon when, leaves are falling; All the wild rice has been gathered,
And the maize is ripe and ready; Let us gather in the harvest, Let us wrestle
with Mondamin, Strip him of his plumes and tassels, Of his garments green and
And the merry Laughing Water Went rejoicing from the wigwam, With Nokomis,
old and wrinkled, And they called the women round them, Called the young men and
the maidens, To the harvest of the cornfields, To the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forest, Underneath the fragrant pine-trees, Sat the old men
and the warriors Smoking in the pleasant shadow. In uninterrupted silence Looked
they at the gamesome labor Of the young men and the women; Listened to their
noisy talking, To their laughter and their singing, Heard them chattering like
the magpies, Heard them laughing like the blue-jays, Heard them singing like the
And whene'er some lucky maiden Found a red ear in the husking, Found a
maize-ear red as blood is, "Nushka!" cried they all together,
"Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart, You shall have a handsome
husband!" "Ugh!" the old men all responded From their seats
beneath the pine-trees.
And whene'er a youth or maiden Found a crooked ear in husking, Found a maize-ear
in the husking Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen, Then they laughed and sang
together, Crept and limped about the cornfields, Mimicked in their gait and
gestures Some old man, bent almost double, Singing singly or together:
"Wagemin, the thief of cornfields! Paimosaid, who steals the
Till the cornfields rang with laughter, Till from Hiawatha's wigwam
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Screamed and quivered in his anger, And from all
the neighboring tree-tops Cawed and croaked the black marauders.
"Ugh!" the old men all responded, From their seats beneath the
In those days said Hiawatha, "Lo! how all things fade and perish! From the
memory of the old men Pass away the great traditions, The achievements of the
warriors, The adventures of the hunters, All the wisdom of the Medas, All the
craft of the Wabenos, All the marvellous dreams and visions Of the Jossakeeds,
"Great men die and are forgotten, Wise men speak; their words of wisdom
Perish in the ears that hear them, Do not reach the generations That, as yet
unborn, are waiting In the great, mysterious darkness Of the speechless days
that shall be!
"On the grave-posts of our fathers Are no signs, no figures painted; Who
are in those graves we know not, Only know they are our fathers. Of what kith
they are and kindred, From what old, ancestral Totem, Be it Eagle, Bear, or
Beaver, They descended, this we know not, Only know they are our fathers.
"Face to face we speak together, But we cannot speak when absent, Cannot
send our voices from us To the friends that dwell afar off; Cannot send a secret
message, But the bearer learns our secret, May pervert it, may betray it, May
reveal it unto others." Thus said Hiawatha, walking In the solitary forest,
Pondering, musing in the forest, On the welfare of his people.
From his pouch he took his colors, Took his paints of different colors, On the
smooth bark of a birch-tree Painted many shapes and figures, Wonderful and
mystic figures, And each figure had a meaning, Each some word or thought
Gitche Manito the Mighty, He, the Master of Life, was painted As an egg, with
points projecting To the four winds of the heavens. Everywhere is the Great
Spirit, Was the meaning of this symbol.
Gitche Manito the Mighty, He the dreadful Spirit of Evil, As a serpent was
depicted, As Kenabeek, the great serpent. Very crafty, very cunning, Is the
creeping Spirit of Evil, Was the meaning of this symbol.
Life and Death he drew as circles, Life was white, but Death was darkened;
Sun and moon and stars he painted, Man and beast, and fish and reptile, Forests,
mountains, lakes, and rivers.
For the earth he drew a straight line, For the sky a bow above it; White the
space between for daytime, Filled with little stars for night-time; On the left
a point for sunrise, On the right a point for sunset, On the top a point for
noontide, And for rain and cloudy weather Waving lines descending from it.
Footprints pointing towards a wigwam Were a sign of invitation, Were a sign of
guests assembling; Bloody hands with palms uplifted Were a symbol of
destruction, Were a hostile sign and symbol.
All these things did Hiawatha Show unto his wondering people, And interpreted
their meaning, And he said: "Behold, your grave-posts Have no mark, no
sign, nor symbol, Go and paint them all with figures; Each one with its
household symbol, With its own ancestral Totem; So that those who follow after
May distinguish them and know them."
And they painted on the grave-posts On the graves yet unforgotten, Each his own
ancestral Totem, Each the symbol of his household; Figures of the Bear and
Reindeer, Of the Turtle, Crane, and Beaver, Each inverted as a token That the
owner was departed, That the chief who bore the symbol Lay beneath in dust and
And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets, The Wabenos, the Magicians, And the
Medicine-men, the Medas, Painted upon bark and deer-skin Figures for the songs
they chanted, For each song a separate symbol, Figures mystical and awful,
Figures strange and brightly colored; And each figure had its meaning, Each some
magic song suggested.
The Great Spirit, the Creator, Flashing light through all the heaven; The Great
Serpent, the Kenabeek, With his bloody crest erected, Creeping, looking into
heaven; In the sky the sun, that listens, And the moon eclipsed and dying; Owl
and eagle, crane and hen-hawk, And the cormorant, bird of magic; Headless men,
that walk the heavens, Bodies lying pierced with arrows, Bloody hands of death
uplifted, Flags on graves, and great war-captains Grasping both the earth and
Such as these the shapes they painted On the birch-bark and the deer-skin;
Songs of war and songs of hunting, Songs of medicine and of magic, All were
written in these figures, For each figure had its meaning, Each its separate
Nor forgotten was the Love-Song, The most subtle of all medicines, The most
potent spell of magic, Dangerous more than war or hunting! Thus the Love-Song
was recorded, Symbol and interpretation.
First a human figure standing, Painted in the brightest scarlet; `T Is the
lover, the musician, And the meaning is, "My painting Makes me powerful
Then the figure seated, singing, Playing on a drum of magic, And the
interpretation, "Listen! `T Is my voice you hear, my singing!"
Then the same red figure seated In the shelter of a wigwam, And the meaning
of the symbol, "I will come and sit beside you In the mystery of my
Then two figures, man and woman, Standing hand in hand together With their hands
so clasped together That they seemed in one united, And the words thus
represented Are, "I see your heart within you, And your cheeks are red with
Next the maiden on an island, In the centre of an Island; And the song this
shape suggested Was, "Though you were at a distance, Were upon some far-off
island, Such the spell I cast upon you, Such the magic power of passion, I could
straightway draw you to me!"
Then the figure of the maiden Sleeping, and the lover near her, Whispering to
her in her slumbers, Saying, "Though you were far from me In the land of
Sleep and Silence, Still the voice of love would reach you!"
And the last of all the figures Was a heart within a circle, Drawn within a
magic circle; And the image had this meaning: "Naked lies your heart before
me, To your naked heart I whisper!"
Thus it was that Hiawatha, In his wisdom, taught the people All the mysteries of
painting, All the art of Picture-Writing, On the smooth bark of the birch-tree,
On the white skin of the reindeer, On the grave-posts of the village.
In those days the Evil Spirits, All the Manitos of mischief, Fearing
Hiawatha's wisdom, And his love for Chibiabos, Jealous of their faithful
friendship, And their noble words and actions, Made at length a league against
them, To molest them and destroy them.
Hiawatha, wise and wary, Often said to Chibiabos, "O my brother! do not
leave me, Lest the Evil Spirits harm you!" Chibiabos, young and heedless,
Laughing shook his coal-black tresses, Answered ever sweet and childlike,
"Do not fear for me, O brother! Harm and evil come not near me!"
Once when Peboan, the Winter, Roofed with ice the Big-Sea-Water, When the
snow-flakes, whirling downward, Hissed among the withered oak-leaves, Changed
the pine-trees into wigwams, Covered all the earth with silence, Armed with
arrows, shod with snow-shoes, Heeding not his brother's warning, Fearing not the
Evil Spirits, Forth to hunt the deer with antlers All alone went Chibiabos.
Right across the Big-Sea-Water Sprang with speed the deer before him. With the
wind and snow he followed, O'er the treacherous ice he followed, Wild with all
the fierce commotion And the rapture of the hunting.
But beneath, the Evil Spirits Lay in ambush, waiting for him, Broke the
treacherous ice beneath him, Dragged him downward to the bottom, Buried in the
sand his body. Unktahee, the god of water, He the god of the Dacotahs, Drowned
him in the deep abysses Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.
From the headlands Hiawatha Sent forth such a wail of anguish, Such a fearful
lamentation, That the bison paused to listen, And the wolves howled from the
prairies, And the thunder in the distance Starting answered
Then his face with black he painted, With his robe his head he covered, In
his wigwam sat lamenting, Seven long weeks he sat lamenting, Uttering still this
moan of sorrow:
"He is dead, the sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers! He has
gone from us forever, He has moved a little nearer To the Master of all music,
To the Master of all singing! O my brother, Chibiabos!"
And the melancholy fir-trees Waved their dark green fans above him, Waved
their purple cones above him, Sighing with him to console him, Mingling with his
lamentation Their complaining, their lamenting.
Came the Spring, and all the forest Looked in vain for Chibiabos; Sighed the
rivulet, Sebowisha, Sighed the rushes in the meadow.
From the tree-tops sang the bluebird, Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,
"Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet musician!"
From the wigwam sang the robin, Sang the robin, the Opechee, "Chibiabos!
Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweetest singer!"
And at night through all the forest Went the whippoorwill complaining,
Wailing went the Wawonaissa, "Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is dead, the sweet
musician! He the sweetest of all singers!"
Then the Medicine-men, the Medas, The magicians, the Wabenos, And the
Jossakeeds, the Prophets, Came to visit Hiawatha; Built a Sacred Lodge beside
him, To appease him, to console him, Walked in silent, grave procession, Bearing
each a pouch of healing, Skin of beaver, lynx, or otter, Filled with magic roots
and simples, Filled with very potent medicines.
When he heard their steps approaching~, Hiawatha ceased lamenting, Called no
more on Chibiabos; Naught he questioned, naught he answered, But his mournful
head uncovered, From his face the mourning colors Washed he slowly and in
silence, Slowly and in silence followed Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.
There a magic drink they gave him, Made of Nahma-wusk, the spearmint, And
Wabeno-wusk, the yarrow, Roots of power, and herbs of healing; Beat their drums,
and shook their rattles; Chanted singly and in chorus, Mystic songs like these,
"I myself, myself! behold me! `T Is the great Gray Eagle talking; Come,
ye white crows, come and hear him! The loud-speaking thunder helps me; All the
unseen spirits help me; I can hear their voices calling, All around the sky I
hear them! I can blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha!"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayha-way!" the mystic
Friends of mine are all the serpents! Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk!
Mahng, the white loon, I can kill him; I can shoot your heart and kill it! I can
blow you strong, my brother, I can heal you, Hiawatha !"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Wayhaway!" the mystic
"I myself, myself! the prophet! When I speak the wigwam trembles, Shakes
the Sacred Lodge with terror, Hands unseen begin to shake it! When I walk, the
sky I tread on Bends and makes a noise beneath me! I can blow you strong, my
brother! Rise and speak, O Hiawatha!"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus, "Way-ha-way!" the mystic
Then they shook their medicine-pouches O'er the head of Hiawatha, Danced
their medicine-dance around him; And upstarting wild and haggard, Like a man
from dreams awakened, He was healed of all his madness. As the clouds are swept
from heaven, Straightway from his brain departed All his moody melancholy; As
the ice is swept from rivers, Straightway from his heart departed All his sorrow
Then they summoned Chibiabos From his grave beneath the waters, From the sands
of Gitche Gumee Summoned Hiawatha's brother. And so mighty was the magic Of that
cry and invocation, That he heard it as he lay there Underneath the
Big-Sea-Water; From the sand he rose and listened, Heard the music and the
singing, Came, obedient to the summons, To the doorway of the wigwam, But to
enter they forbade him.
Through a chink a coal they gave him, Through the door a burning fire-brand;
Ruler in the Land of Spirits, Ruler o'er the dead, they made him, Telling him a
fire to kindle For all those that died thereafter, Camp-fires for their night
encampments On their solitary journey To the kingdom of Ponemah, To the land of
From the village of his childhood, From the homes of those who knew him, Passing
silent through the forest, Like a smoke-wreath wafted sideways, Slowly vanished
Chibiabos! Where he passed, the branches moved not, Where he trod, the grasses
bent not, And the fallen leaves of last year Made no sound beneath his footstep.
Four whole days he journeyed onward Down the pathway of the dead men; On the
dead-man's strawberry feasted, Crossed the melancholy river, On the swinging log
he crossed it, Came unto the Lake of Silver, In the Stone Canoe was carried To
the Islands of the Blessed, To the land of ghosts and shadows.
On that journey, moving slowly, Many weary spirits saw he, Panting under heavy
burdens, Laden with war-clubs, bows and arrows, Robes of fur, and pots and
kettles, And with food that friends had given For that solitary journey.
"Ay! why do the living," said they, "Lay such heavy burdens on
us! Better were it to go naked, Better were it to go fasting, Than to bear such
heavy burdens On our long and weary journey!" Forth then issued Hiawatha,
Wandered eastward, wandered westward, Teaching men the use of simples And the
antidotes for poisons, And the cure of all diseases. Thus was first made known
to mortals All the mystery of Medamin, All the sacred art of healing.
You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis, He, the handsome Yenadizze, Whom the people
called the Storm-Fool, Vexed the village with disturbance; You shall hear of all
his mischief, And his flight from Hiawatha, And his wondrous transmigrations,
And the end of his adventures.
On the shores of Gitche Gumee, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo, By the shining
Big-Sea-Water Stood the lodge of Pau-Puk-Keewis. It was he who in his frenzy
Whirled these drifting sands together, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo, When, among
the guests assembled, He so merrily and madly Danced at Hiawatha's wedding,
Danced the Beggar's Dance to please them.
Now, in search of new adventures, From his lodge went Pau-Puk-Keewis, Came with
speed into the village, Found the young men all assembled In the lodge of old
Iagoo, Listening to his monstrous stories, To his wonderful adventures.
He was telling them the story Of Ojeeg, the Summer-Maker, How he made a hole
in heaven, How he climbed up into heaven, And let out the summer-weather, The
perpetual, pleasant Summer; How the Otter first essayed it; How the Beaver,
Lynx, and Badger Tried in turn the great achievement, From the summit of the
mountain Smote their fists against the heavens, Smote against the sky their
foreheads, Cracked the sky, but could not break it; How the Wolverine, uprising,
Made him ready for the encounter, Bent his knees down, like a squirrel, Drew his
arms back, like a cricket.
"Once he leaped," said old Iagoo, "Once he leaped, and lo! above
him Bent the sky, as ice in rivers When the waters rise beneath it; Twice he
leaped, and lo! above him Cracked the sky, as ice in rivers When the freshet is
at highest! Thrice he leaped, and lo! above him Broke the shattered sky asunder,
And he disappeared within it, And Ojeeg, the Fisher Weasel, With a bound went in
"Hark you!" shouted Pau-Puk-Keewis As he entered at the doorway;
"I am tired of all this talking, Tired of old Iagoo's stories, Tired of
Hiawatha's wisdom. Here is something to amuse you, Better than this endless
Then from out his pouch of wolf-skin Forth he drew, with solemn manner, All the
game of Bowl and Counters, Pugasaing, with thirteen pieces. White on one side
were they painted, And vermilion on the other; Two Kenabeeks or great serpents,
Two Ininewug or wedge-men, One great war-club, Pugamaugun, And one slender fish,
the Keego, Four round pieces, Ozawabeeks, And three Sheshebwug or ducklings. All
were made of bone and painted, All except the Ozawabeeks; These were brass, on
one side burnished, And were black upon the other.
In a wooden bowl he placed them, Shook and jostled them together, Threw them
on the ground before him, Thus exclaiming and explaining: "Red side up are
all the pieces, And one great Kenabeek standing On the bright side of a brass
piece, On a burnished Ozawabeek; Thirteen tens and eight are counted."
Then again he shook the pieces, Shook and jostled them together, Threw them on
the ground before him, Still exclaiming and explaining: "White are both the
great Kenabeeks, White the Ininewug, the wedge-men, Red are all the other
pieces; Five tens and an eight are counted."
Thus he taught the game of hazard, Thus displayed it and explained it,
Running through its various chances, Various changes, various meanings: Twenty
curious eyes stared at him, Full of eagerness stared at him.
"Many games," said old Iagoo, "Many games of skill and hazard
Have I seen in different nations, Have I played in different countries. He who
plays with old Iagoo Must have very nimble fingers; Though you think yourself so
skilful, I can beat you, Pau-Puk-Keewis, I can even give you lessons In your
game of Bowl and Counters!"
So they sat and played together, All the old men and the young men, Played
for dresses, weapons, wampum, Played till midnight, played till morning, Played
until the Yenadizze, Till the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis, Of their treasures had
despoiled them, Of the best of all their dresses, Shirts of deer-skin, robes of
ermine, Belts of wampum, crests of feathers, Warlike weapons, pipes and pouches.
Twenty eyes glared wildly at him, Like the eyes of wolves glared at him.
Said the lucky Pau-Puk-Keewis: "In my wigwam I am lonely, In my wanderings
and adventures I have need of a companion, Fain would have a Meshinauwa, An
attendant and pipe-bearer. I will venture all these winnings, All these garments
heaped about me, All this wampum, all these feathers, On a single throw will
venture All against the young man yonder!" `T was a youth of sixteen
summers, `T was a nephew of Iagoo; Face-in-a-Mist, the people called him.
As the fire burns in a pipe-head Dusky red beneath the ashes, So beneath his
shaggy eyebrows Glowed the eyes of old Iagoo. "Ugh!" he answered very
fiercely; "Ugh!" they answered all and each one.
Seized the wooden bowl the old man, Closely in his bony fingers Clutched the
fatal bowl, Onagon, Shook it fiercely and with fury, Made the pieces ring
together As he threw them down before him.
Red were both the great Kenabeeks, Red the Ininewug, the wedge-men, Red the
Sheshebwug, the ducklings, Black the four brass Ozawabeeks, White alone the
fish, the Keego; Only five the pieces counted!
Then the smiling Pau-Puk-Keewis Shook the bowl and threw the pieces; Lightly in
the air he tossed them, And they fell about him scattered; Dark and bright the
Ozawabeeks, Red and white the other pieces, And upright among the others One
Ininewug was standing, Even as crafty Pau-Puk-Keewis Stood alone among the
players, Saying, "Five tens! mine the game is,"
Twenty eyes glared at him fiercely, Like the eyes of wolves glared at him, As
he turned and left the wigwam, Followed by his Meshinauwa, By the nephew of
Iagoo, By the tall and graceful stripling, Bearing in his arms the winnings,
Shirts of deer-skin, robes of ermine, Belts of wampum, pipes and weapons.
"Carry them," said Pau-Puk-Keewis, Pointing with his fan of feathers,
"To my wigwam far to eastward, On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo!"
Hot and red with smoke and gambling Were the eyes of Pau-Puk-Keewis As he
came forth to the freshness Of the pleasant Summer morning. All the birds were
singing gayly, All the streamlets flowing swiftly, And the heart of
Pau-Puk-Keewis Sang with pleasure as the birds sing, Beat with triumph like the
streamlets, As he wandered through the village, In the early gray of morning,
With his fan of turkey-feathers, With his plumes and tufts of swan's down, Till
he reached the farthest wigwam, Reached the lodge of Hiawatha.
Silent was it and deserted; No one met him at the doorway, No one came to bid
him welcome; But the birds were singing round it, In and out and round the
doorway, Hopping, singing, fluttering, feeding, And aloft upon the ridge-pole
Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Sat with fiery eyes, and, screaming, Flapped his
wings at Pau-Puk-Keewis.
"All are gone! the lodge Is empty!" Thus it was spake
Pau-Puk-Keewis, In his heart resolving mischief "Gone is wary Hiawatha,
Gone the silly Laughing Water, Gone Nokomis, the old woman, And the lodge is
By the neck he seized the raven, Whirled it round him like a rattle, Like a
medicine-pouch he shook it, Strangled Kahgahgee, the raven, From the ridge-pole
of the wigwam Left its lifeless body hanging, As an insult to its master, As a
taunt to Hiawatha.
With a stealthy step he entered, Round the lodge in wild disorder Threw the
household things about him, Piled together in confusion Bowls of wood and
earthen kettles, Robes of buffalo and beaver, Skins of otter, lynx, and ermine,
As an insult to Nokomis, As a taunt to Minnehaha.
Then departed Pau-Puk-Keewis, Whistling, singing through the forest, Whistling
gayly to the squirrels, Who from hollow boughs above him Dropped their
acorn-shells upon him, Singing gayly to the wood birds, Who from out the leafy
darkness Answered with a song as merry.
Then he climbed the rocky headlands, Looking o'er the Gitche Gumee, Perched
himself upon their summit, Waiting full of mirth and mischief The return of
Stretched upon his back he lay there; Far below him splashed the waters, Plashed
and washed the dreamy waters; Far above him swam the heavens, Swam the dizzy,
dreamy heavens; Round him hovered, fluttered, rustled Hiawatha's mountain
chickens, Flock-wise swept and wheeled about him, Almost brushed him with their
And he killed them as he lay there, Slaughtered them by tens and twenties,
Threw their bodies down the headland, Threw them on the beach below him, Till at
length Kayoshk, the sea-gull, Perched upon a crag above them, Shouted: "It
is Pau-Puk-Keewis! He is slaying us by hundreds! Send a message to our brother,
Tidings send to Hiawatha!"
The Hunting of Pau-Puk-Keewis
Full of wrath was Hiawatha When he came into the village, Found the people in
confusion, Heard of all the misdemeanors, All the malice and the mischief, Of
the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis.
Hard his breath came through his nostrils, Through his teeth he buzzed and
muttered Words of anger and resentment, Hot and humming, like a hornet. "I
will slay this Pau-Puk-Keewis, Slay this mischief-maker!" said he.
"Not so long and wide the world is, Not so rude and rough the way is, That
my wrath shall not attain him, That my vengeance shall not reach him!"
Then in swift pursuit departed Hiawatha and the hunters On the trail of
Pau-Puk-Keewis, Through the forest, where he passed it, To the headlands where
he rested; But they found not Pau-Puk-Keewis, Only in the trampled grasses, In
the whortleberry-bushes, Found the couch where he had rested, Found the impress
of his body.
From the lowlands far beneath them, From the Muskoday, the meadow,
Pau-Puk-Keewis, turning backward, Made a gesture of defiance, Made a gesture of
derision; And aloud cried Hiawatha, From the summit of the mountains: "Not
so long and wide the world is, Not so rude and rough the way is, But my wrath
shall overtake you, And my vengeance shall attain you!"
Over rock and over river, Through bush, and brake, and forest, Ran the
cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis; Like an antelope he bounded, Till he came unto a
streamlet In the middle of the forest, To a streamlet still and tranquil, That
had overflowed its margin, To a dam made by the beavers, To a pond of quiet
water, Where knee-deep the trees were standing, Where the water lilies floated,
Where the rushes waved and whispered.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-Keewis, On the dam of trunks and branches, Through
whose chinks the water spouted, O'er whose summit flowed the streamlet. From the
bottom rose the beaver, Looked with two great eyes of wonder, Eyes that seemed
to ask a question, At the stranger, Pau-Puk-Keewis.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-Keewis, O'er his ankles flowed the streamlet, Flowed
the bright and silvery water, And he spake unto the beaver, With a smile he
spake in this wise:
"O my friend Ahmeek, the beaver, Cool and pleasant Is the water; Let me
dive into the water, Let me rest there in your lodges; Change me, too, into a
Cautiously replied the beaver, With reserve he thus made answer: "Let me
first consult the others, Let me ask the other beavers." Down he sank into
the water, Heavily sank he, as a stone sinks, Down among the leaves and
branches, Brown and matted at the bottom.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-Keewis, O'er his ankles flowed the streamlet, Spouted
through the chinks below him, Dashed upon the stones beneath him, Spread serene
and calm before him, And the sunshine and the shadows Fell in flecks and gleams
upon him, Fell in little shining patches, Through the waving, rustling branches.
From the bottom rose the beavers, Silently above the surface Rose one head
and then another, Till the pond seemed full of beavers, Full of black and
To the beavers Pau-Puk-Keewis Spake entreating, said in this wise: "Very
pleasant Is your dwelling, O my friends! and safe from danger; Can you not, with
all your cunning, All your wisdom and contrivance, Change me, too, into a
"Yes!" replied Ahmeek, the beaver, He the King of all the beavers,
"Let yourself slide down among us, Down into the tranquil water."
Down into the pond among them Silently sank Pau-Puk-Keewis; Black became his
shirt of deer-skin, Black his moccasins and leggings, In a broad black tail
behind him Spread his fox-tails and his fringes; He was changed into a beaver.
"Make me large," said Pau-Puk-Keewis, "Make me large and make
me larger, Larger than the other beavers." "Yes," the beaver
chief responded, "When our lodge below you enter, In our wigwam we will
make you Ten times larger than the others."
Thus into the clear, brown water Silently sank Pau-Puk-Keewis: Found the bottom
covered over With the trunks of trees and branches, Hoards of food against the
winter, Piles and heaps against the famine; Found the lodge with arching
doorway, Leading into spacious chambers.
Here they made him large and larger, Made him largest of the beavers, Ten
times larger than the others. "You shall be our ruler," said they;
"Chief and King of all the beavers."
But not long had Pau-Puk-Keewis Sat in state among the beavers, When there came
a voice, of warning From the watchman at his station In the water-flags and
lilies, Saying, "Here Is Hiawatha! Hiawatha with his hunters!"
Then they heard a cry above them, Heard a shouting and a tramping, Heard a
crashing and a rushing, And the water round and o'er them Sank and sucked away
in eddies, And they knew their dam was broken.
On the lodge's roof the hunters Leaped, and broke it all asunder; Streamed the
sunshine through the crevice, Sprang the beavers through the doorway, Hid
themselves in deeper water, In the channel of the streamlet; But the mighty
Pau-Puk-Keewis Could not pass beneath the doorway; He was puffed with pride and
feeding, He was swollen like a bladder.
Through the roof looked Hiawatha, Cried aloud, "O Pau-Puk-Keewis Vain
are all your craft and cunning, Vain your manifold disguises! Well I know you,
Pau-Puk-Keewis!" With their clubs they beat and bruised him, Beat to death
poor Pau-Puk-Keewis, Pounded him as maize is pounded, Till his skull was crushed
Six tall hunters, lithe and limber, Bore him home on poles and branches, Bore
the body of the beaver; But the ghost, the Jeebi in him, Thought and felt as
Pau-Puk-Keewis, Still lived on as Pau-Puk-Keewis.
And it fluttered, strove, and struggled, Waving hither, waving thither, As
the curtains of a wigwam Struggle with their thongs of deer-skin, When the
wintry wind is blowing; Till it drew itself together, Till it rose up from the
body, Till it took the form and features Of the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis Vanishing
into the forest.
But the wary Hiawatha Saw the figure ere it vanished, Saw the form of
Pau-Puk-Keewis Glide into the soft blue shadow Of the pine-trees of the forest;
Toward the squares of white beyond it, Toward an opening in the forest. Like a
wind it rushed and panted, Bending all the boughs before it, And behind it, as
the rain comes, Came the steps of Hiawatha.
To a lake with many islands Came the breathless Pau-Puk-Keewis, Where among
the water-lilies Pishnekuh, the brant, were sailing; Through the tufts of rushes
floating, Steering through the reedy Islands. Now their broad black beaks they
lifted, Now they plunged beneath the water, Now they darkened in the shadow, Now
they brightened in the sunshine.
"Pishnekuh!" cried Pau-Puk-Keewis, "Pishnekuh! my brothers!"
said he, "Change me to a brant with plumage, With a shining neck and
feathers, Make me large, and make me larger, Ten times larger than the
Straightway to a brant they changed him, With two huge and dusky pinions,
With a bosom smooth and rounded, With a bill like two great paddles, Made him
larger than the others, Ten times larger than the largest, Just as, shouting
from the forest, On the shore stood Hiawatha.
Up they rose with cry and clamor, With a whir and beat of pinions, Rose up from
the reedy Islands, From the water-flags and lilies. And they said to
Pau-Puk-Keewis: "In your flying, look not downward, Take good heed and look
not downward, Lest some strange mischance should happen, Lest some great mishap
Fast and far they fled to northward, Fast and far through mist and sunshine,
Fed among the moors and fen-lands, Slept among the reeds and rushes.
On the morrow as they journeyed, Buoyed and lifted by the South-wind, Wafted
onward by the South-wind, Blowing fresh and strong behind them, Rose a sound of
human voices, Rose a clamor from beneath them, From the lodges of a village,
From the people miles beneath them.
For the people of the village Saw the flock of brant with wonder, Saw the
wings of Pau-Puk-Keewis Flapping far up in the ether, Broader than two doorway
Pau-Puk-Keewis heard the shouting, Knew the voice of Hiawatha, Knew the outcry
of Iagoo, And, forgetful of the warning, Drew his neck in, and looked downward,
And the wind that blew behind him Caught his mighty fan of feathers, Sent him
wheeling, whirling downward!
All in vain did Pau-Puk-Keewis Struggle to regain his balance! Whirling round
and round and downward, He beheld in turn the village And in turn the flock
above him, Saw the village coming nearer, And the flock receding farther, Heard
the voices growing louder, Heard the shouting and the laughter; Saw no more the
flocks above him, Only saw the earth beneath him; Dead out of the empty heaven,
Dead among the shouting people, With a heavy sound and sullen, Fell the brant
with broken pinions.
But his soul, his ghost, his shadow, Still survived as Pau-Puk-Keewis, Took
again the form and features Of the handsome Yenadizze, And again went rushing
onward, Followed fast by Hiawatha, Crying: "Not so wide the world is, Not
so long and rough the way Is, But my wrath shall overtake you, But my vengeance
shall attain you!"
And so near he came, so near him, That his hand was stretched to seize him,
His right hand to seize and hold him, When the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis Whirled
and spun about in circles, Fanned the air into a whirlwind, Danced the dust and
leaves about him, And amid the whirling eddies Sprang into a hollow oak-tree,
Changed himself into a serpent, Gliding out through root and rubbish.
With his right hand Hiawatha Smote amain the hollow oak-tree, Rent it into
shreds and splinters, Left it lying there in fragments. But in vain; for
Pau-Puk-Keewis, Once again in human figure, Full in sight ran on before him,
Sped away in gust and whirlwind, On the shores of Gitche Gumee, Westward by the
Big-Sea-Water, Came unto the rocky headlands, To the Pictured Rocks of
sandstone, Looking over lake and landscape.
And the Old Man of the Mountain, He the Manito of Mountains, Opened wide his
rocky doorways, Opened wide his deep abysses, Giving Pau-Puk-Keewis shelter In
his caverns dark and dreary, Bidding Pau-Puk-Keewis welcome To his gloomy lodge
There without stood Hiawatha, Found the doorways closed against him, With his
mittens, Minjekahwun, Smote great caverns in the sandstone, Cried aloud in tones
of thunder, "Open! I am Hiawatha!" But the Old Man of the Mountain
Opened not, and made no answer From the silent crags of sandstone, From the
gloomy rock abysses.
Then he raised his hands to heaven, Called imploring on the tempest, Called
Waywassimo, the lightning, And the thunder, Annemeekee; And they came with night
and darkness, Sweeping down the Big-Sea-Water From the distant Thunder
Mountains; And the trembling Pau-Puk-Keewis Heard the footsteps of the thunder,
Saw the red eyes of the lightning, Was afraid, and crouched and trembled.
Then Waywassimo, the lightning, Smote the doorways of the caverns, With his
war-club smote the doorways, Smote the jutting crags of sandstone, And the
thunder, Annemeekee, Shouted down into the caverns, Saying, "Where is
Pau-Puk-Keewis!" And the crags fell, and beneath them Dead among the rocky
ruins Lay the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis, Lay the handsome Yenadizze, Slain in his
own human figure.
Ended were his wild adventures, Ended were his tricks and gambols, Ended all
his craft and cunning, Ended all his mischief-making, All his gambling and his
dancing, All his wooing of the maidens.
Then the noble Hiawatha Took his soul, his ghost, his shadow, Spake and said:
"O Pau-Puk-Keewis, Never more in human figure Shall you search for new
adventures' Never more with jest and laughter Dance the dust and leaves in
whirlwinds; But above there in the heavens You shall soar and sail in circles; I
will change you to an eagle, To Keneu, the great war-eagle, Chief of all the
fowls with feathers, Chief of Hiawatha's chickens."
And the name of Pau-Puk-Keewis Lingers still among the people, Lingers still
among the singers, And among the story-tellers; And in Winter, when the
snow-flakes Whirl in eddies round the lodges, When the wind in gusty tumult O'er
the smoke-flue pipes and whistles, "There," they cry, "comes
Pau-Puk-Keewis, He is dancing through the village, He is gathering in his
The Death of Kwasind
Far and wide among the nations Spread the name and fame of Kwasind; No man dared
to strive with Kwasind, No man could compete with Kwasind. But the mischievous
Puk-Wudjies, They the envious Little People, They the fairies and the pygmies,
Plotted and conspired against him.
"If this hateful Kwasind," said they, "If this great,
outrageous fellow Goes on thus a little longer, Tearing everything he touches,
Rending everything to pieces, Filling all the world with wonder, What becomes of
the Puk-Wudjies? Who will care for the Puk-Wudjies? He will tread us down like
mushrooms, Drive us all into the water, Give our bodies to be eaten By the
wicked Nee-ba-naw-baigs, By the Spirits of the water!
So the angry Little People All conspired against the Strong Man, All conspired
to murder Kwasind, Yes, to rid the world of Kwasind, The audacious, overbearing,
Heartless, haughty, dangerous Kwasind!
Now this wondrous strength of Kwasind In his crown alone was seated; In his
crown too was his weakness; There alone could he be wounded, Nowhere else could
weapon pierce him, Nowhere else could weapon harm him.
Even there the only weapon That could wound him, that could slay him, Was the
seed-cone of the pine-tree, Was the blue cone of the fir-tree. This was
Kwasind's fatal secret, Known to no man among mortals; But the cunning Little
People, The Puk-Wudjies, knew the secret, Knew the only way to kill him.
So they gathered cones together, Gathered seed-cones of the pine-tree,
Gathered blue cones of the fir-tree, In the woods by Taquamenaw, Brought them to
the river's margin, Heaped them in great piles together, Where the red rocks
from the margin Jutting overhang the river. There they lay in wait for Kwasind,
The malicious Little People.
`T was an afternoon in Summer; Very hot and still the air was, Very smooth the
gliding river, Motionless the sleeping shadows: Insects glistened in the
sunshine, Insects skated on the water, Filled the drowsy air with buzzing, With
a far resounding war-cry.
Down the river came the Strong Man, In his birch canoe came Kwasind, Floating
slowly down the current Of the sluggish Taquamenaw, Very languid with the
weather, Very sleepy with the silence.
From the overhanging branches, From the tassels of the birch-trees, Soft the
Spirit of Sleep descended; By his airy hosts surrounded, His invisible
attendants, Came the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin; Like a burnished
Dush-kwo-ne-she, Like a dragon-fly, he hovered O'er the drowsy head of Kwasind.
To his ear there came a murmur As of waves upon a sea-shore, As of far-off
tumbling waters, As of winds among the pine-trees; And he felt upon his forehead
Blows of little airy war-clubs, Wielded by the slumbrous legions Of the Spirit
of Sleep, Nepahwin, As of some one breathing on him.
At the first blow of their war-clubs, Fell a drowsiness on Kwasind; At the
second blow they smote him, Motionless his paddle rested; At the third, before
his vision Reeled the landscape Into darkness, Very sound asleep was Kwasind.
So he floated down the river, Like a blind man seated upright, Floated down
the Taquamenaw, Underneath the trembling birch-trees, Underneath the wooded
headlands, Underneath the war encampment Of the pygmies, the Puk-Wudjies.
There they stood, all armed and waiting, Hurled the pine-cones down upon him,
Struck him on his brawny shoulders, On his crown defenceless struck him.
"Death to Kwasind!" was the sudden War-cry of the Little People.
And he sideways swayed and tumbled, Sideways fell into the river, Plunged
beneath the sluggish water Headlong, as an otter plunges; And the birch canoe,
abandoned, Drifted empty down the river, Bottom upward swerved and drifted:
Nothing more was seen of Kwasind.
But the memory of the Strong Man Lingered long among the people, And whenever
through the forest Raged and roared the wintry tempest, And the branches, tossed
and troubled, Creaked and groaned and split asunder, "Kwasind!" cried
they; "that is Kwasind! He is gathering in his fire-wood!"
Never stoops the soaring vulture On his quarry in the desert, On the sick or
wounded bison, But another vulture, watching From his high aerial look-out, Sees
the downward plunge, and follows; And a third pursues the second, Coming from
the invisible ether, First a speck, and then a vulture, Till the air is dark
So disasters come not singly; But as if they watched and waited, Scanning one
another's motions, When the first descends, the others Follow, follow, gathering
flock-wise Round their victim, sick and wounded, First a shadow, then a sorrow,
Till the air is dark with anguish.
Now, o'er all the dreary North-land, Mighty Peboan, the Winter, Breathing on
the lakes and rivers, Into stone had changed their waters. From his hair he
shook the snow-flakes, Till the plains were strewn with whiteness, One
uninterrupted level, As if, stooping, the Creator With his hand had smoothed
them over. Through the forest, wide and wailing, Roamed the hunter on his
snow-shoes; In the village worked the women, Pounded maize, or dressed the
deer-skin; And the young men played together On the ice the noisy ball-play, On
the plain the dance of snow-shoes.
One dark evening, after sundown, In her wigwam Laughing Water Sat with old
Nokomis, waiting For the steps of Hiawatha Homeward from the hunt returning.
On their faces gleamed the firelight, Painting them with streaks of crimson,
In the eyes of old Nokomis Glimmered like the watery moonlight, In the eyes of
Laughing Water Glistened like the sun in water; And behind them crouched their
shadows In the corners of the wigwam, And the smoke In wreaths above them
Climbed and crowded through the smoke-flue.
Then the curtain of the doorway From without was slowly lifted; Brighter glowed
the fire a moment, And a moment swerved the smoke-wreath, As two women entered
softly, Passed the doorway uninvited, Without word of salutation, Without sign
of recognition, Sat down in the farthest corner, Crouching low among the
From their aspect and their garments, Strangers seemed they in the village;
Very pale and haggard were they, As they sat there sad and silent, Trembling,
cowering with the shadows.
Was it the wind above the smoke-flue, Muttering down into the wigwam? Was it the
owl, the Koko-koho, Hooting from the dismal forest? Sure a voice said in the
silence: "These are corpses clad in garments, These are ghosts that come to
haunt you, From the kingdom of Ponemah, From the land of the Hereafter!"
Homeward now came Hiawatha From his hunting in the forest, With the snow upon
his tresses, And the red deer on his shoulders. At the feet of Laughing Water
Down he threw his lifeless burden; Nobler, handsomer she thought him, Than when
first he came to woo her, First threw down the deer before her, As a token of
his wishes, As a promise of the future.
Then he turned and saw the strangers, Cowering, crouching with the shadows; Said
within himself, "Who are they? What strange guests has Minnehaha?" But
he questioned not the strangers, Only spake to bid them welcome To his lodge,
his food, his fireside.
When the evening meal was ready, And the deer had been divided, Both the
pallid guests, the strangers, Springing from among the shadows, Seized upon the
choicest portions, Seized the white fat of the roebuck, Set apart for Laughing
Water, For the wife of Hiawatha; Without asking, without thanking, Eagerly
devoured the morsels, Flitted back among the shadows In the corner of the
Not a word spake Hiawatha, Not a motion made Nokomis, Not a gesture Laughing
Water; Not a change came o'er their features; Only Minnehaha softly Whispered,
saying, "They are famished; Let them do what best delights them; Let them
eat, for they are famished."
Many a daylight dawned and darkened, Many a night shook off the daylight As
the pine shakes off the snow-flakes From the midnight of its branches; Day by
day the guests unmoving Sat there silent in the wigwam; But by night, in storm
or starlight, Forth they went into the forest, Bringing fire-wood to the wigwam,
Bringing pine-cones for the burning, Always sad and always silent.
And whenever Hiawatha Came from fishing or from hunting, When the evening meal
was ready, And the food had been divided, Gliding from their darksome corner,
Came the pallid guests, the strangers, Seized upon the choicest portions Set
aside for Laughing Water, And without rebuke or question Flitted back among the
Never once had Hiawatha By a word or look reproved them; Never once had old
Nokomis Made a gesture of impatience; Never once had Laughing Water Shown
resentment at the outrage. All had they endured in silence, That the rights of
guest and stranger, That the virtue of free-giving, By a look might not be
lessened, By a word might not be broken.
Once at midnight Hiawatha, Ever wakeful, ever watchful, In the wigwam, dimly
lighted By the brands that still were burning, By the glimmering, flickering
firelight Heard a sighing, oft repeated,
From his couch rose Hiawatha, From his shaggy hides of bison, Pushed aside
the deer-skin curtain, Saw the pallid guests, the shadows, Sitting upright on
their couches, Weeping in the silent midnight.
And he said: "O guests! why is it That your hearts are so afflicted, That
you sob so in the midnight? Has perchance the old Nokomis, Has my wife, my
Minnehaha, Wronged or grieved you by unkindness, Failed in hospitable
Then the shadows ceased from weeping, Ceased from sobbing and lamenting, And
they said, with gentle voices: "We are ghosts of the departed, Souls of
those who once were with you. From the realms of Chibiabos Hither have we come
to try you, Hither have we come to warn you.
"Cries of grief and lamentation Reach us in the Blessed Islands; Cries of
anguish from the living, Calling back their friends departed, Sadden us with
useless sorrow. Therefore have we come to try you; No one knows us, no one heeds
us. We are but a burden to you, And we see that the departed Have no place among
"Think of this, O Hiawatha! Speak of it to all the people, That
henceforward and forever They no more with lamentations Sadden the souls of the
departed In the Islands of the Blessed.
"Do not lay such heavy burdens In the graves of those you bury, Not such
weight of furs and wampum, Not such weight of pots and kettles, For the spirits
faint beneath them. Only give them food to carry, Only give them fire to light
"Four days is the spirit's journey To the land of ghosts and shadows,
Four its lonely night encampments; Four times must their fires be lighted.
Therefore, when the dead are buried, Let a fire, as night approaches, Four times
on the grave be kindled, That the soul upon its journey May not lack the
cheerful firelight, May not grope about in darkness.
"Farewell, noble Hiawatha! We have put you to the trial, To the proof have
put your patience, By the insult of our presence, By the outrage of our actions.
We have found you great and noble. Fail not in the greater trial, Faint not In
the harder struggle."
When they ceased, a sudden darkness Fell and filled the silent wigwam.
Hiawatha heard a rustle As of garments trailing by him, Heard the curtain of the
doorway Lifted by a hand he saw not, Felt the cold breath of the night air, For
a moment saw the starlight; But he saw the ghosts no longer, Saw no more the
wandering spirits From the kingdom of Ponemah, From the land of the Hereafter.
Oh the long and dreary Winter! Oh the cold and cruel Winter! Ever thicker,
thicker, thicker Froze the ice on lake and river, Ever deeper, deeper, deeper
Fell the snow o'er all the landscape, Fell the covering snow, and drifted
Through the forest, round the village. Hardly from his buried wigwam Could the
hunter force a passage; With his mittens and his snow-shoes Vainly walked he
through the forest, Sought for bird or beast and found none, Saw no track of
deer or rabbit, In the snow beheld no footprints, In the ghastly, gleaming
forest Fell, and could not rise from weakness, Perished there from cold and
Oh the famine and the fever! Oh the wasting of the famine! Oh the blasting of
the fever! Oh the wailing of the children! Oh the anguish of the women!
All the earth was sick and famished; Hungry was the air around them, Hungry was
the sky above them, And the hungry stars in heaven Like the eyes of wolves
glared at them!
Into Hiawatha's wigwam Came two other guests, as silent As the ghosts were,
and as gloomy, Waited not to be invited Did not parley at the doorway Sat there
without word of welcome In the seat of Laughing Water; Looked with haggard eyes
and hollow At the face of Laughing Water.
And the foremost said: "Behold me! I am Famine, Bukadawin!" And the
other said: "Behold me! I am Fever, Ahkosewin!"
And the lovely Minnehaha Shuddered as they looked upon her, Shuddered at the
words they uttered, Lay down on her bed in silence, Hid her face, but made no
answer; Lay there trembling, freezing, burning At the looks they cast upon her,
At the fearful words they uttered.
Forth into the empty forest Rushed the maddened Hiawatha; In his heart was
deadly sorrow, In his face a stony firmness; On his brow the sweat of anguish
Started, but it froze and fell not.
Wrapped in furs and armed for hunting, With his mighty bow of ash-tree, With
his quiver full of arrows, With his mittens, Minjekahwun, Into the vast and
vacant forest On his snow-shoes strode he forward.
"Gitche Manito, the Mighty!" Cried he with his face uplifted In that
bitter hour of anguish, "Give your children food, O father! Give us food,
or we must perish! Give me food for Minnehaha, For my dying Minnehaha!"
Through the far-resounding forest, Through the forest vast and vacant Rang
that cry of desolation, But there came no other answer Than the echo of his
crying, Than the echo of the woodlands, "Minnehaha! Minnehaha!"
All day long roved Hiawatha In that melancholy forest, Through the shadow of
whose thickets, In the pleasant days of Summer, Of that ne'er forgotten Summer,
He had brought his young wife homeward From the land of the Dacotahs; When the
birds sang in the thickets, And the streamlets laughed and glistened, And the
air was full of fragrance, And the lovely Laughing Water Said with voice that
did not tremble, "I will follow you, my husband!"
In the wigwam with Nokomis, With those gloomy guests that watched her, With
the Famine and the Fever, She was lying, the Beloved, She, the dying Minnehaha.
"Hark!" she said; "I hear a rushing, Hear a roaring and a
rushing, Hear the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to me from a distance!"
"No, my child!" said old Nokomis, "`T is the night-wind in the
pine-trees!" "Look!" she said; "I see my father Standing
lonely at his doorway, Beckoning to me from his wigwam In the land of the
Dacotahs!" "No, my child!" said old Nokomis. "`T is the
smoke, that waves and beckons!" "Ah!" said she, "the eyes of
Pauguk Glare upon me in the darkness, I can feel his icy fingers Clasping mine
amid the darkness! Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"
And the desolate Hiawatha, Far away amid the forest, Miles away among the
mountains, Heard that sudden cry of anguish, Heard the voice of Minnehaha
Calling to him in the darkness, "Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"
Over snow-fields waste and pathless, Under snow-encumbered branches, Homeward
hurried Hiawatha, Empty-handed, heavy-hearted, Heard Nokomis moaning, wailing:
"Wahonowin! Wahonowin! Would that I had perished for you, Would that I were
dead as you are! Wahonowin!. Wahonowin!"
And he rushed into the wigwam, Saw the old Nokomis slowly Rocking to and fro
and moaning, Saw his lovely Minnehaha Lying dead and cold before him, And his
bursting heart within him Uttered such a cry of anguish, That the forest moaned
and shuddered, That the very stars in heaven Shook and trembled with his
Then he sat down, still and speechless, On the bed of Minnehaha, At the feet of
Laughing Water, At those willing feet, that never More would lightly run to meet
him, Never more would lightly follow.
With both hands his face he covered, Seven long days and nights he sat there,
As if in a swoon he sat there, Speechless, motionless, unconscious Of the
daylight or the darkness.
Then they buried Minnehaha; In the snow a grave they made her In the forest deep
and darksome Underneath the moaning hemlocks; Clothed her in her richest
garments Wrapped her in her robes of ermine, Covered her with snow, like ermine;
Thus they buried Minnehaha.
And at night a fire was lighted, On her grave four times was kindled, For her
soul upon its journey To the Islands of the Blessed. From his doorway Hiawatha
Saw it burning In the forest, Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks; From his
sleepless bed uprising, From the bed of Minnehaha, Stood and watched it at the
doorway, That it might not be extinguished,
Might not leave her in the darkness. "Farewell!" said he,
"Minnehaha! Farewell, O my Laughing Water! All my heart is buried with you,
All my thoughts go onward with you! Come not back again to labor, Come not back
again to suffer, Where the Famine and the Fever Wear the heart and waste the
body. Soon my task will be completed, Soon your footsteps I shall follow To the
Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of Ponemah, To the Land of the
The White Man's Foot
In his lodge beside a river, Close beside a frozen river, Sat an old man, sad
and lonely. White his hair was as a snow-drift; Dull and low his fire was
burning, And the old man shook and trembled, Folded in his Waubewyon, In his
tattered white-skin-wrapper, Hearing nothing but the tempest As it roared along
the forest, Seeing nothing but the snow-storm, As it whirled and hissed and
All the coals were white with ashes, And the fire was slowly dying, As a young
man, walking lightly, At the open doorway entered. Red with blood of youth his
cheeks were, Soft his eyes, as stars In Spring-time, Bound his forehead was with
grasses; Bound and plumed with scented grasses, On his lips a smile of beauty,
Filling all the lodge with sunshine, In his hand a bunch of blossoms Filling all
the lodge with sweetness.
"Ah, my son!" exclaimed the old man, "Happy are my eyes to see
you. Sit here on the mat beside me, Sit here by the dying embers, Let us pass
the night together, Tell me of your strange adventures, Of the lands where you
have travelled; I will tell you of my prowess, Of my many deeds of wonder."
From his pouch he drew his peace-pipe, Very old and strangely fashioned; Made of
red stone was the pipe-head, And the stem a reed with feathers; Filled the pipe
with bark of willow, Placed a burning coal upon it, Gave it to his guest, the
stranger, And began to speak in this wise: "When I blow my breath about me,
When I breathe upon the landscape, Motionless are all the rivers, Hard as stone
becomes the water!"
And the young man answered, smiling: "When I blow my breath about me,
When I breathe upon the landscape, Flowers spring up o'er all the meadows,
Singing, onward rush the rivers!"
"When I shake my hoary tresses," Said the old man darkly frowning,
"All the land with snow is covered; All the leaves from all the branches
Fall and fade and die and wither, For I breathe, and lo! they are not. From the
waters and the marshes, Rise the wild goose and the heron, Fly away to distant
regions, For I speak, and lo! they are not. And where'er my footsteps wander,
All the wild beasts of the forest Hide themselves in holes and caverns, And the
earth becomes as flintstone!"
"When I shake my flowing ringlets," Said the young man, softly
laughing, "Showers of rain fall warm and welcome, Plants lift up their
heads rejoicing, Back Into their lakes and marshes Come the wild goose and the
heron, Homeward shoots the arrowy swallow, Sing the bluebird and the robin, And
where'er my footsteps wander, All the meadows wave with blossoms, All the
woodlands ring with music, All the trees are dark with foliage!"
While they spake, the night departed: From the distant realms of Wabun, From his
shining lodge of silver, Like a warrior robed and painted, Came the sun, and
said, "Behold me Gheezis, the great sun, behold me!"
Then the old man's tongue was speechless And the air grew warm and pleasant,
And upon the wigwam sweetly Sang the bluebird and the robin, And the stream
began to murmur, And a scent of growing grasses Through the lodge was gently
And Segwun, the youthful stranger, More distinctly in the daylight Saw the icy
face before him; It was Peboan, the Winter!
From his eyes the tears were flowing, As from melting lakes the streamlets,
And his body shrunk and dwindled As the shouting sun ascended, Till into the air
it faded, Till into the ground it vanished, And the young man saw before him, On
the hearth-stone of the wigwam, Where the fire had smoked and smouldered, Saw
the earliest flower of Spring-time, Saw the Beauty of the Spring-time, Saw the
Miskodeed in blossom.
Thus it was that in the North-land After that unheard-of coldness, That
intolerable Winter, Came the Spring with all its splendor, All its birds and all
its blossoms, All its flowers and leaves and grasses.
Sailing on the wind to northward, Flying in great flocks, like arrows, Like
huge arrows shot through heaven, Passed the swan, the Mahnahbezee, Speaking
almost as a man speaks; And in long lines waving, bending Like a bow-string
snapped asunder, Came the white goose, Waw-be-wawa; And in pairs, or singly
flying, Mahng the loon, with clangorous pinions, The blue heron, the
Shuh-shuh-gah, And the grouse, the Mushkodasa.
In the thickets and the meadows Piped the bluebird, the Owaissa, On the summit
of the lodges Sang the robin, the Opechee, In the covert of the pine-trees Cooed
the pigeon, the Omemee; And the sorrowing Hiawatha, Speechless in his infinite
sorrow, Heard their voices calling to him, Went forth from his gloomy doorway,
Stood and gazed into the heaven, Gazed upon the earth and waters.
From his wanderings far to eastward, From the regions of the morning, From
the shining land of Wabun, Homeward now returned Iagoo, The great traveller, the
great boaster, Full of new and strange adventures, Marvels many and many
And the people of the village Listened to him as he told them Of his marvellous
adventures, Laughing answered him in this wise: "Ugh! it is indeed Iagoo!
No one else beholds such wonders!"
He had seen, he said, a water Bigger than the Big-Sea-Water, Broader than the
Gitche Gumee, Bitter so that none could drink it! At each other looked the
warriors, Looked the women at each other, Smiled, and said, "It cannot be
so!" Kaw!" they said, it cannot be so!"
O'er it, said he, o'er this water Came a great canoe with pinions, A canoe with
wings came flying, Bigger than a grove of pine-trees, Taller than the tallest
tree-tops! And the old men and the women Looked and tittered at each other;
"Kaw!" they said, "we don't believe it!"
From its mouth, he said, to greet him, Came Waywassimo, the lightning, Came
the thunder, Annemeekee! And the warriors and the women Laughed aloud at poor
Iagoo; "Kaw!" they said, "what tales you tell us!"
In it, said he, came a people, In the great canoe with pinions Came, he said, a
hundred warriors; Painted white were all their faces And with hair their chins
were covered! And the warriors and the women Laughed and shouted in derision,
Like the ravens on the tree-tops, Like the crows upon the hemlocks.
"Kaw!" they said, "what lies you tell us! Do not think that we
Only Hiawatha laughed not, But he gravely spake and answered To their jeering
and their jesting: "True is all Iagoo tells us; I have seen it in a vision,
Seen the great canoe with pinions, Seen the people with white faces, Seen the
coming of this bearded People of the wooden vessel From the regions of the
morning, From the shining land of Wabun.
"Gitche Manito, the Mighty, The Great Spirit, the Creator, Sends them
hither on his errand. Sends them to us with his message. Wheresoe'er they move,
before them Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo, Swarms the bee, the honey-maker;
Wheresoe'er they tread, beneath them Springs a flower unknown among us, Springs
the White-man's Foot in blossom.
"Let us welcome, then, the strangers, Hail them as our friends and
brothers, And the heart's right hand of friendship Give them when they come to
see us. Gitche Manito, the Mighty, Said this to me in my vision.
"I beheld, too, in that vision All the secrets of the future, Of the
distant days that shall be. I beheld the westward marches Of the unknown,
crowded nations. All the land was full of people, Restless, struggling, toiling,
striving, Speaking many tongues, yet feeling But one heart-beat in their bosoms.
In the woodlands rang their axes, Smoked their towns in all the valleys, Over
all the lakes and rivers Rushed their great canoes of thunder.
"Then a darker, drearier vision Passed before me, vague and cloud-like;
I beheld our nation scattered, All forgetful of my counsels, Weakened, warring
with each other: Saw the remnants of our people Sweeping westward, wild and
woful, Like the cloud-rack of a tempest, Like the withered leaves of
By the shore of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, At the doorway of
his wigwam, In the pleasant Summer morning, Hiawatha stood and waited. All the
air was full of freshness, All the earth was bright and joyous, And before him,
through the sunshine, Westward toward the neighboring forest Passed in golden
swarms the Ahmo, Passed the bees, the honey-makers, Burning, singing In the
Bright above him shone the heavens, Level spread the lake before him; From
its bosom leaped the sturgeon, Sparkling, flashing in the sunshine; On its
margin the great forest Stood reflected in the water, Every tree-top had its
shadow, Motionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawatha Gone was every trace of sorrow, As the fog from off
the water, As the mist from off the meadow. With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation, As of one who in a vision Sees what is to be, but is
not, Stood and waited Hiawatha.
Toward the sun his hands were lifted, Both the palms spread out against it,
And between the parted fingers Fell the sunshine on his features, Flecked with
light his naked shoulders, As it falls and flecks an oak-tree Through the rifted
leaves and branches.
O'er the water floating, flying, Something in the hazy distance, Something in
the mists of morning, Loomed and lifted from the water, Now seemed floating, now
seemed flying, Coming nearer, nearer, nearer.
Was it Shingebis the diver? Or the pelican, the Shada? Or the heron, the
Shuh-shuh-gah? Or the white goose, Waw-be-wawa, With the water dripping,
flashing, From its glossy neck and feathers?
It was neither goose nor diver, Neither pelican nor heron, O'er the water
floating, flying, Through the shining mist of morning, But a birch canoe with
paddles, Rising, sinking on the water, Dripping, flashing in the sunshine; And
within it came a people From the distant land of Wabun, From the farthest realms
of morning Came the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet, He the Priest of Prayer, the
Pale-face, With his guides and his companions.
And the noble Hiawatha, With his hands aloft extended, Held aloft in sign of
welcome, Waited, full of exultation, Till the birch canoe with paddles Grated on
the shining pebbles, Stranded on the sandy margin, Till the Black-Robe chief,
the Pale-face, With the cross upon his bosom, Landed on the sandy margin.
Then the joyous Hiawatha Cried aloud and spake in this wise: "Beautiful is
the sun, O strangers, When you come so far to see us! All our town in peace
awaits you, All our doors stand open for you; You shall enter all our wigwams,
For the heart's right hand we give you.
"Never bloomed the earth so gayly, Never shone the sun so brightly, As
to-day they shine and blossom When you come so far to see us! Never was our lake
so tranquil, Nor so free from rocks, and sand-bars; For your birch canoe in
passing Has removed both rock and sand-bar.
"Never before had our tobacco Such a sweet and pleasant flavor, Never the
broad leaves of our cornfields Were so beautiful to look on, As they seem to us
this morning, When you come so far to see us!'
And the Black-Robe chief made answer, Stammered In his speech a little,
Speaking words yet unfamiliar: "Peace be with you, Hiawatha, Peace be with
you and your people, Peace of prayer, and peace of pardon, Peace of Christ, and
joy of Mary!"
Then the generous Hiawatha Led the strangers to his wigwam, Seated them on skins
of bison, Seated them on skins of ermine, And the careful old Nokomis Brought
them food in bowls of basswood, Water brought in birchen dippers, And the
calumet, the peace-pipe, Filled and lighted for their smoking.
All the old men of the village, All the warriors of the nation, All the
Jossakeeds, the Prophets, The magicians, the Wabenos, And the Medicine-men, the
Medas, Came to bid the strangers welcome; "It is well", they said,
"O brothers, That you come so far to see us!"
In a circle round the doorway, With their pipes they sat In silence, Waiting to
behold the strangers, Waiting to receive their message; Till the Black-Robe
chief, the Pale-face, From the wigwam came to greet them, Stammering in his
speech a little, Speaking words yet unfamiliar; "It Is well," they
said, "O brother, That you come so far to see us!"
Then the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet, Told his message to the people, Told
the purport of his mission, Told them of the Virgin Mary, And her blessed Son,
the Saviour, How in distant lands and ages He had lived on earth as we do; How
he fasted, prayed, and labored; How the Jews, the tribe accursed, Mocked him,
scourged him, crucified him; How he rose from where they laid him, Walked again
with his disciples, And ascended into heaven.
And the chiefs made answer, saying: "We have listened to your message, We
have heard your words of wisdom, We will think on what you tell us. It is well
for us, O brothers, That you come so far to see us!"
Then they rose up and departed Each one homeward to his wigwam, To the young
men and the women Told the story of the strangers Whom the Master of Life had
sent them From the shining land of Wabun.
Heavy with the heat and silence Grew the afternoon of Summer; With a drowsy
sound the forest Whispered round the sultry wigwam, With a sound of sleep the
water Rippled on the beach below it; From the cornfields shrill and ceaseless
Sang the grasshopper, Pah-puk-keena; And the guests of Hiawatha, Weary with the
heat of Summer, Slumbered in the sultry wigwam.
Slowly o'er the simmering landscape Fell the evening's dusk and coolness, And
the long and level sunbeams Shot their spears into the forest, Breaking through
its shields of shadow, Rushed into each secret ambush, Searched each thicket,
dingle, hollow; Still the guests of Hiawatha Slumbered In the silent wigwam.
From his place rose Hiawatha, Bade farewell to old Nokomis, Spake in whispers,
spake in this wise, Did not wake the guests, that slumbered.
"I am going, O Nokomis, On a long and distant journey, To the portals of
the Sunset. To the regions of the home-wind, Of the Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin.
But these guests I leave behind me, In your watch and ward I leave them; See
that never harm comes near them, See that never fear molests them, Never danger
nor suspicion, Never want of food or shelter, In the lodge of Hiawatha!"
Forth into the village went he, Bade farewell to all the warriors, Bade farewell
to all the young men, Spake persuading, spake in this wise:
I am going, O my people, On a long and distant journey; Many moons and many
winters Will have come, and will have vanished, Ere I come again to see you. But
my guests I leave behind me; Listen to their words of wisdom, Listen to the
truth they tell you, For the Master of Life has sent them From the land of light
On the shore stood Hiawatha, Turned and waved his hand at parting; On the clear
and luminous water Launched his birch canoe for sailing, From the pebbles of the
margin Shoved it forth into the water; Whispered to it, "Westward!
westward!" And with speed it darted forward.
And the evening sun descending Set the clouds on fire with redness, Burned
the broad sky, like a prairie, Left upon the level water One long track and
trail of splendor, Down whose stream, as down a river, Westward, westward
Hiawatha Sailed into the fiery sunset, Sailed into the purple vapors, Sailed
into the dusk of evening:
And the people from the margin Watched him floating, rising, sinking, Till the
birch canoe seemed lifted High into that sea of splendor, Till it sank into the
vapors Like the new moon slowly, slowly Sinking in the purple distance.
And they said, "Farewell forever!" Said, "Farewell, O
Hiawatha!" And the forests, dark and lonely, Moved through all their depths
of darkness, Sighed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!" And the waves upon the
margin Rising, rippling on the pebbles, Sobbed, "Farewell, O
Hiawatha!" And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah, From her haunts among the
fen-lands, Screamed, "Farewell, O Hiawatha!"
Thus departed Hiawatha, Hiawatha the Beloved, In the glory of the sunset,. In
the purple mists of evening, To the regions of the home-wind, Of the
Northwest-Wind, Keewaydin, To the Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of
Ponemah, To the Land of the Hereafter!
Adjidau'mo, the red squirrel
Ahdeek', the reindeer
Ahmeek', the beaver
Annemee'kee, the thunder
Apuk'wa. a bulrush
Baim-wa'wa, the sound of the thunder
Bemah'gut, the grape-vine
Chemaun', a birch canoe
Chetowaik', the plover
Chibia'bos, a musician; friend of Hiawatha; ruler of the Land of Spirits
Dahin'da, the bull frog
Dush-kwo-ne'-she or Kwo-ne'-she, the dragon fly
Esa, shame upon you
Gitche Gu'mee, The Big-Sea-Water, Lake Superior
Gitche Man'ito, the Great Spirit, the Master of Life
Gushkewau', the darkness
Hiawa'tha, the Prophet. the Teacher, son of Mudjekeewis, the West-Wind and
Wenonah, daughter of Nokomis
Ia'goo, a great boaster and story-teller
Inin'ewug, men, or pawns in the Game of the Bowl
Ishkoodah', fire, a comet
Jee'bi, a ghost, a spirit
Joss'akeed, a prophet
Kabibonok'ka, the North-Wind
Ka'go, do not
Kahgahgee', the raven
Kaween', no indeed
Kayoshk', the sea-gull
Kee'go, a fish
Keeway'din, the Northwest wind, the Home-wind
Kena'beek, a serpent
Keneu', the great war-eagle
Keno'zha, the pickerel
Ko'ko-ko'ho, the owl
Kuntasoo', the Game of Plumstones
Kwa'sind, the Strong Man
Kwo-ne'-she, or Dush-kwo-ne'-she, the dragon-fly
Mahnahbe'zee, the swan
Mahng, the loon
Mahnomo'nee, wild rice
Ma'ma, the woodpecker
Me'da, a medicine-man
Meenah'ga, the blueberry
Megissog'won, the great Pearl-Feather, a magician, and the Manito of Wealth
Meshinau'wa, a pipe-bearer
Minjekah'wun, Hiawatha's mittens
Minneha'ha, Laughing Water; wife of Hiawatha; a water-fall in a stream
running into the Mississippi between Fort Snelling and the Falls of St. Anthony
Minne-wa'wa, a pleasant sound, as of the wind in the trees
Mishe-Mo'kwa, the Great Bear
Mishe-Nah'ma, the Great Sturgeon
Miskodeed', the Spring-Beauty, the Claytonia Virginica
Monda'min, Indian corn
Moon of Bright Nights, April
Moon of Leaves, May
Moon of Strawberries, June
Moon of the Falling Leaves, September
Moon of Snow-shoes, November
Mudjekee'wis, the West-Wind; father of Hiawatha
Mudway-aush'ka, sound of waves on a shore
Mushkoda'sa, the grouse
Nah'ma, the sturgeon
Na'gow Wudj'oo, the Sand Dunes of Lake Superior
Noko'mis, a grandmother, mother of Wenonah
No'sa, my father
Nush'ka, look! look!
Odah'min, the strawberry
Okahha'wis, the fresh-water herring
Ome'mee, the pigeon
Ona'gon, a bowl
Opechee', the robin
Osse'o, Son of the Evening Star
Owais'sa, the blue-bird
Oweenee', wife of Osseo
Ozawa'beek, a round piece of brass or copper in the Game of the Bowl
Pah-puk-kee'na, the grasshopper
Pau-Puk-Kee'wis, the handsome Yenadizze, the son of Storm Fool
Pem'ican, meat of the deer or buffalo dried and pounded
Pezhekee', the bison
Pishnekuh', the brant
Puggawau'gun, a war-club
Puk-Wudj'ies, little wild men of the woods; pygmies
Sha'da, the pelican
Shahbo'min, the gooseberry
Shah-shah, long ago
Shaugoda'ya, a coward
Shawgashee', the craw-fish
Shawonda'see, the South-Wind
Shaw-shaw, the swallow
Shesh'ebwug, ducks; pieces in the Game of the Bowl
Shin'gebis, the diver, or grebe
Showain'neme'shin, pity me
Shuh-shuh-gah', the blue heron
Subbeka'she, the spider
Sugge'me, the mosquito
To'tem, family coat-of-arms
Ugudwash', the sun-fish
Unktahee', the God of Water
Wabas'so, the rabbit, the North
Wabe'no, a magician, a juggler
Wa'bun, the East-Wind
Wa'bun An'nung, the Star of the East, the Morning Star
Wahono'win, a cry of lamentation
Wah-wah-tay'see, the fire-fly
Waubewy'on, a white skin wrapper
Wa'wa, the wild goose
Waw-be-wa'wa, the white goose
Wawonais'sa, the whippoorwill
Way-muk-kwa'na, the caterpillar
Weno'nah, the eldest daughter; Hiawatha's mother, daughter of Nokomis
Yenadiz'ze, an idler and gambler; an Indian dandy