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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 AmericanIndian tribesbut especially those of the Ojibway Indians of northern MichiganWisconsinand Minnesota. They were collected by Henry Rowe Schoolcraftthereknowned historianpioneer explorerand geologist. He was superintendent ofIndian affairs for Michigan from 1836 to 1841.
Schoolcraft married JaneO-bah-bahm-wawa-ge-zhe-go-qua (The Woman of theSound Which the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky)Johnston. Jane was adaughter of John Johnstonan early Irish fur traderandO-shau-gus-coday-way-qua (The Woman of the Green Prairie)who was a daughter ofWaub-o-jeeg (The White Fisher)who was Chief of the Ojibway tribe at La PointeWisconsin.
Jane and her mother are credited with having researchedauthenticatedandcompiled much of the material Schoolcraft included in his Algic Researches(1839) and a revision published in 1856 as The Myth of Hiawatha. It was thislatter revision that Longfellow used as the basis for The Song of Hiawatha.
Longfellow began Hiawatha on June 251854he completed it on March 291855and it was published November 101855. As soon as the poem was publishedits popularity was assured. Howeverit also was severely criticized as aplagiary of the Finnish epic poem Kalevala. Longfellow made no secret of thefact that he had used the meter of the Kalevala; but as for the legendsheopenly gave credit to Schoolcraft in his notes to the poem.
I would add a personal note here. My father's roots include Ojibway Indians: hismotherMargaret Caroline Davenportwas a daughter of Susan des CarreauxO-gee-em-a-qua (The Chief Woman)Davenport whose mother was a daughter of ChiefWaub-o-jeeg. Finallymy mother used to rock me to sleep reading portions ofHiawatha to meespecially:
"Wah-wah-tayseelittle fire-flyLittleflittingwhite-fire insectLittledancingwhite-fire creatureLight me with your little candleEre uponmy bed I lay meEre in sleep I close my eyelids!"
Woodrow W. Morris April 11991
The Song of Hiawatha
Should you ask mewhence these stories? Whence these legends and traditionsWith the odors of the forest With the dew and damp of meadowsWith the curlingsmoke of wigwamsWith the rushing of great riversWith their frequentrepetitionsAnd their wild reverberations As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answerI should tell you"From the forests and the prairiesFrom the great lakes of the NorthlandFrom the land of the OjibwaysFrom theland of the DacotahsFrom the mountainsmoorsand fen-lands Where the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFeeds among the reeds and rushes. I repeat them as I heardthem From the lips of NawadahaThe musicianthe sweet singer."
Should you ask where Nawadaha Found these songs so wild and waywardFound theselegends and traditionsI should answerI should tell you"In the bird's-nestsof the forestIn the lodges of the beaverIn the hoofprint of the bisonInthe eyry of the eagle!
"All the wild-fowl sang them to himIn the moorlands and the fen-landsIn the melancholy marshes; Chetowaikthe ploversang themMahngthe loonthe wild-gooseWawaThe blue heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahAnd the grousetheMushkodasa!"
If still further you should ask meSaying"Who was Nawadaha? Tell us ofthis Nawadaha" I should answer your inquiries Straightway in such words asfollow.
"In the vale of TawasenthaIn the green and silent valleyBy thepleasant water-coursesDwelt the singer Nawadaha. Round about the Indianvillage Spread the meadows and the corn-fieldsAnd beyond them stood the forestStood the groves of singing pine-treesGreen in Summerwhite in WinterEversighingever singing.
"And the pleasant water-coursesYou could trace them through the valleyBy the rushing in the Spring-timeBy the alders in the SummerBy the white fogin the AutumnBy the black line in the Winter; And beside them dwelt thesingerIn the vale of TawasenthaIn the green and silent valley.
"There he sang of HiawathaSang the Song of HiawathaSang his wondrousbirth and beingHow he prayed and how be fastedHow he livedand toiledandsufferedThat the tribes of men might prosperThat he might advance hispeople!"
Ye who love the haunts of NatureLove the sunshine of the meadowLove theshadow of the forestLove the wind among the branchesAnd the rain-shower andthe snow-stormAnd the rushing of great rivers Through their palisades ofpine-treesAnd the thunder in the mountainsWhose innumerable echoes Flap likeeagles in their eyries;Listen to these wild traditionsTo this Song of Hiawatha!
Ye who love a nation's legendsLove the ballads of a peopleThat likevoices from afar off Call to us to pause and listenSpeak in tones so plain andchildlikeScarcely can the ear distinguish Whether they are sung or spoken;Listento this Indian LegendTo this Song of Hiawatha! Ye whose hearts are fresh andsimpleWho have faith in God and NatureWho believe that in all ages Everyhuman heart is humanThat in even savage bosoms There are longingsyearningsstrivings For the good they comprehend notThat the feeble hands and helplessGroping blindly in the darknessTouch God's right hand in that darkness And arelifted up and strengthened;Listen to this simple storyTo this Song of Hiawatha!
Yewho sometimesin your rambles Through the green lanes of the countryWherethe tangled barberry-bushes Hang their tufts of crimson berries Over stone wallsgray with mossesPause by some neglected graveyardFor a while to museandponder On a half-effaced inscriptionWritten with little skill of song-craftHomely phrasesbut each letter Full of hope and yet of heart-breakFull of allthe tender pathos Of the Here and the Hereafter; Stay and read this rudeinscriptionRead this Song of Hiawatha!
On the Mountains of the PrairieOn the great Red Pipe-stone QuarryGitcheManitothe mightyHe the Master of LifedescendingOn the red crags of thequarry Stood erectand called the nationsCalled the tribes of men together.
From his footprints flowed a riverLeaped into the light of morningO'er theprecipice plunging downward Gleamed like Ishkoodahthe comet. And the Spiritstooping earthwardWith his finger on the meadow Traced a winding pathway foritSaying to it"Run in this way!"
From the red stone of the quarry With his hand he broke a fragmentMouldedit into a pipe-headShaped and fashioned it with figures; From the margin ofthe river Took a long reed for a pipe-stemWith its dark green leaves upon it;Filled the pipe with bark of willowWith the bark of the red willow; Breathedupon the neighboring forestMade its great boughs chafe togetherTill in flamethey burst and kindled; And erect upon the mountainsGitche Manitothe mightySmoked the calumetthe Peace-PipeAs a signal to the nations.
And the smoke rose slowlyslowlyThrough the tranquil air of morningFirst asingle line of darknessThen a denserbluer vaporThen a snow-white cloudunfoldingLike the tree-tops of the forestEver risingrisingrisingTillit touched the top of heavenTill it broke against the heavenAnd rolledoutward all around it.
From the Vale of TawasenthaFrom the Valley of WyomingFrom the groves ofTuscaloosaFrom the far-off Rocky MountainsFrom the Northern lakes and riversAll the tribes beheld the signalSaw the distant smoke ascendingThe Pukwanaof the Peace-Pipe.
And the Prophets of the nations Said: "Behold itthe Pukwana! By thesignal of the Peace-PipeBending like a wand of willowWaving like a hand thatbeckonsGitche Manitothe mightyCalls the tribes of men togetherCalls thewarriors to his council!"
Down the riverso'er the prairiesCame the warriors of the nationsCamethe Delawares and MohawksCame the Choctaws and CamanchesCame the Shoshoniesand BlackfeetCame the Pawnees and Omahas
Came the Mandans and DacotahsCame the Hurons and OjibwaysAll the warriorsdrawn together By the signal of the Peace-PipeTo the Mountains of the PrairieTo the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry
And they stood there on the meadowWith their weapons and their war-gearPainted like the leaves of AutumnPainted like the sky of morningWildlyglaring at each other; In their faces stem defianceIn their hearts the feudsof agesThe hereditary hatredThe ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Gitche Manitothe mightyThe creator of the nationsLooked upon them withcompassionWith paternal love and pity; Looked upon their wrath and wranglingBut as quarrels among childrenBut as feuds and fights of children!
Over them he stretched his right handTo subdue their stubborn naturesToallay their thirst and feverBy the shadow of his right hand; Spake to themwith voice majestic As the sound of far-off watersFalling into deep abyssesWarningchidingspake in this wise :
"O my children! my poor children! Listen to the words of wisdomListen tothe words of warningFrom the lips of the Great SpiritFrom the Master ofLifewho made you!
"I have given you lands to hunt inI have given you streams to fish inI have given you bear and bisonI have given you roe and reindeerI have givenyou brant and beaverFilled the marshes full of wild-fowlFilled the riversfull of fishes: Why then are you not contented? Why then will you hunt eachother?
"I am weary of your quarrelsWeary of your wars and bloodshedWeary ofyour prayers for vengeanceOf your wranglings and dissensions; All yourstrength is in your unionAll your danger is in discord; Therefore be at peacehenceforwardAnd as brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to youA Deliverer of the nationsWho shallguide you and shall teach youWho shall toil and suffer with you. If you listento his counselsYou will multiply and prosper; If his warnings pass unheededYou will fade away and perish!
"Bathe now in the stream before youWash the war-paint from your facesWash the blood-stains from your fingersBury your war-clubs and your weaponsBreak the red stone from this quarryMould and make it into Peace-PipesTakethe reeds that grow beside youDeck them with your brightest feathersSmokethe calumet togetherAnd as brothers live henceforward!"
Then upon the ground the warriors Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skinThrew their weapons and their war-gearLeaped into the rushing riverWashedthe war-paint from their faces. Clear above them flowed the waterClear andlimpid from the footprints Of the Master of Life descending; Dark below themflowed the waterSoiled and stained with streaks of crimsonAs if blood weremingled with it!
From the river came the warriorsClean and washed from all their war-paint; Onthe banks their clubs they buriedBuried all their warlike weapons. GitcheManitothe mightyThe Great Spiritthe creatorSmiled upon his helplesschildren!
And in silence all the warriors Broke the red stone of the quarrySmoothedand formed it into Peace-PipesBroke the long reeds by the riverDecked themwith their brightest feathersAnd departed each one homewardWhile the Masterof LifeascendingThrough the opening of cloud-curtainsThrough the doorwaysof the heavenVanished from before their facesIn the smoke that rolled aroundhimThe Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!
The Four Winds
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" Cried the warriorscried the old menWhenhe came in triumph homeward With the sacred Belt of WampumFrom the regions ofthe North-WindFrom the kingdom of WabassoFrom the land of the White Rabbit.
He had stolen the Belt of Wampum From the neck of Mishe-MokwaFrom the GreatBear of the mountainsFrom the terror of the nationsAs he lay asleep andcumbrous On the summit of the mountainsLike a rock with mosses on itSpottedbrown and gray with mosses.
Silently he stole upon him Till the red nails of the monster Almost touched himalmost scared himTill the hot breath of his nostrils Warmed the hands ofMudjekeewisAs he drew the Belt of Wampum Over the round earsthat heard notOver the small eyesthat saw notOver the long nose and nostrilsThe blackmuffle of the nostrilsOut of which the heavy breathing Warmed the hands ofMudjekeewis.
Then he swung aloft his war-clubShouted loud and long his war-crySmotethe mighty Mishe-Mokwa In the middle of the foreheadRight between the eyes hesmote him.
With the heavy blow bewilderedRose the Great Bear of the mountains; But hisknees beneath him trembledAnd he whimpered like a womanAs he reeled andstaggered forwardAs he sat upon his haunches; And the mighty MudjekeewisStanding fearlessly before himTaunted him in loud derisionSpake disdainfullyin this wise:
"Hark youBear! you are a coward; And no Braveas you pretended; Elseyou would not cry and whimper Like a miserable woman! Bear! you know our tribesare hostileLong have been at war together; Now you find that we are strongestYou go sneaking in the forestYou go hiding in the mountains! Had you conqueredme in battle Not a groan would I have uttered; But youBear! sit here andwhimperAnd disgrace your tribe by cryingLike a wretched ShaugodayaLike acowardly old woman!"
Then again he raised his war-clubSmote again the Mishe-Mokwa In the middle ofhis foreheadBroke his skullas ice is broken When one goes to fish in Winter.Thus was slain the Mishe-MokwaHe the Great Bear of the mountainsHe theterror of the nations.
"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!" With a shout exclaimed the people"Honor be to Mudjekeewis! Henceforth he shall be the West-WindAndhereafter and forever Shall he hold supreme dominion Over all the winds ofheaven. Call him no more MudjekeewisCall him Kabeyunthe West-Wind!"
Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen Father of the Winds of Heaven. For himself he keptthe West-WindGave the others to his children; Unto Wabun gave the East-WindGave the South to ShawondaseeAnd the North-Windwild and cruelTo the fierceKabibonokka.
Young and beautiful was Wabun; He it was who brought the morningHe it waswhose silver arrows Chased the dark o'er hill and valley; He it was whose cheekswere painted With the brightest streaks of crimsonAnd whose voice awoke thevillageCalled the deerand called the hunter.
Lonely in the sky was Wabun; Though the birds sang gayly to himThough thewild-flowers of the meadow Filled the air with odors for him; Though the forestsand the rivers Sang and shouted at his comingStill his heart was sad withinhimFor he was alone in heaven.
But one morninggazing earthwardWhile the village still was sleepingAndthe fog lay on the riverLike a ghostthat goes at sunriseHe beheld a maidenwalking All alone upon a meadowGathering water-flags and rushes By a river inthe meadow.
Every morninggazing earthwardStill the first thing he beheld there Was herblue eyes looking at himTwo blue lakes among the rushes. And he loved thelonely maidenWho thus waited for his coming; For they both were solitarySheon earth and he in heaven.
And he wooed her with caressesWooed her with his smile of sunshineWithhis flattering words he wooed herWith his sighing and his singingGentlestwhispers in the branchesSoftest musicsweetest odorsTill he drew her to hisbosomFolded in his robes of crimsonTill into a star he changed herTrembling still upon his bosom; And forever in the heavens They are seentogether walkingWabun and the Wabun-AnnungWabun and the Star of Morning.
But the fierce Kabibonokka Had his dwelling among icebergsIn the everlastingsnow-driftsIn the kingdom of WabassoIn the land of the White Rabbit. He itwas whose hand in Autumn Painted all the trees with scarletStained the leaveswith red and yellow; He it was who sent the snow-flakeSiftinghissing throughthe forestFroze the pondsthe lakesthe riversDrove the loon and sea-gullsouthwardDrove the cormorant and curlew To their nests of sedge and sea-tangIn the realms of Shawondasee.
Once the fierce Kabibonokka Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts From hishome among the icebergsAnd his hairwith snow besprinkledStreamed behindhim like a riverLike a black and wintry riverAs he howled and hurriedsouthwardOver frozen lakes and moorlands.
There among the reeds and rushes Found he Shingebisthe diverTrailing stringsof fish behind himO'er the frozen fens and moorlandsLingering still amongthe moorlandsThough his tribe had long departed To the land of Shawondasee.
Cried the fierce Kabibonokka"Who is this that dares to brave me? Daresto stay in my dominionsWhen the Wawa has departedWhen the wild-goose hasgone southwardAnd the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahLong ago departed southward? Iwill go into his wigwamI will put his smouldering fire out!"
And at night KabibonokkaTo the lodge came wild and wailingHeaped the snow indrifts about itShouted down into the smoke-flueShook the lodge-poles in hisfuryFlapped the curtain of the door-way. Shingebisthe diverfeared notShingebisthe divercared not; Four great logs had he for firewoodOne foreach moon of the winterAnd for food the fishes served him. By his blazing firehe sat thereWarm and merryeatinglaughingSinging"O KabibonokkaYou are but my fellow-mortal!"
Then Kabibonokka enteredAnd though Shingebisthe diverFelt his presenceby the coldnessFelt his icy breath upon himStill he did not cease hissingingStill he did not leave his laughingOnly turned the log a littleOnlymade the fire burn brighterMade the sparks fly up the smoke-flue.
From Kabibonokka's foreheadFrom his snow-besprinkled tressesDrops of sweatfell fast and heavyMaking dints upon the ashesAs along the eaves of lodgesAs from drooping boughs of hemlockDrips the melting snow in spring-timeMaking hollows in the snow-drifts.
Till at last he rose defeatedCould not bear the heat and laughterCouldnot bear the merry singingBut rushed headlong through the door-wayStampedupon the crusted snow-driftsStamped upon the lakes and riversMade the snowupon them harderMade the ice upon them thickerChallenged ShingebisthediverTo come forth and wrestle with himTo come forth and wrestle naked Onthe frozen fens and moorlands.
Forth went Shingebisthe diverWrestled all night with the North-WindWrestled naked on the moorlands With the fierce KabibonokkaTill his pantingbreath grew fainterTill his frozen grasp grew feeblerTill he reeled andstaggered backwardAnd retreatedbaffledbeatenTo the kingdom of WabassoTo the land of the White RabbitHearing still the gusty laughterHearingShingebisthe diverSinging"O KabibonokkaYou are but my fellow-mortal!"
Shawondaseefat and lazyHad his dwelling far to southwardIn the drowsydreamy sunshineIn the never-ending Summer. He it was who sent the wood-birdsSent the robinthe OpecheeSent the bluebirdthe OwaissaSent the Shawshawsent the swallowSent the wild-gooseWawanorthwardSent the melons andtobaccoAnd the grapes in purple clusters.
From his pipe the smoke ascending Filled the sky with haze and vaporFilled theair with dreamy softnessGave a twinkle to the waterTouched the rugged hillswith smoothnessBrought the tender Indian Summer To the melancholy north-landIn the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes.
Listlesscareless Shawondasee! In his life he had one shadowIn his heartone sorrow had he. Onceas he was gazing northwardFar away upon a prairie Hebeheld a maiden standingSaw a tall and slender maiden All alone upon a prairie;Brightest green were all her garmentsAnd her hair was like the sunshine.
Day by day he gazed upon herDay by day he sighed with passionDay by day hisheart within him Grew more hot with love and longing For the maid with yellowtresses. But he was too fat and lazy To bestir himself and woo her. Yestooindolent and easy To pursue her and persuade her; So he only gazed upon herOnly sat and sighed with passion For the maiden of the prairie.
Till one morninglooking northwardHe beheld her yellow tresses Changed andcovered o'er with whitenessCovered as with whitest snow-flakes. "Ah! mybrother from the North-landFrom the kingdom of WabassoFrom the land of theWhite Rabbit! You have stolen the maiden from meYou have laid your hand uponherYou have wooed and won my maidenWith your stories of the North-land!"
Thus the wretched Shawondasee Breathed into the air his sorrow; And theSouth-Wind o'er the prairie Wandered warm with sighs of passionWith the sighsof ShawondaseeTill the air seemed full of snow-flakesFull of thistle-downthe prairieAnd the maid with hair like sunshine Vanished from his sightforever; Never more did Shawondasee See the maid with yellow tresses!
Poordeluded Shawondasee! 'T was no woman that you gazed at'T was nomaiden that you sighed for'T was the prairie dandelion That through all thedreamy Summer You had gazed at with such longingYou had sighed for with suchpassionAnd had puffed away foreverBlown into the air with sighing. Ah!deluded Shawondasee!
Thus the Four Winds were divided Thus the sons of Mudjekeewis Had their stationsin the heavensAt the corners of the heavens; For himself the West-Wind onlyKept the mighty Mudjekeewis.
Downward through the evening twilightIn the days that are forgottenIn theunremembered agesFrom the full moon fell NokomisFell the beautiful NokomisShe a wifebut not a mother.
She was sporting with her womenSwinging in a swing of grape-vinesWhen herrival the rejectedFull of jealousy and hatredCut the leafy swing asunderCut in twain the twisted grape-vinesAnd Nokomis fell affrighted Downwardthrough the evening twilightOn the Muskodaythe meadowOn the prairie fullof blossoms. "See! a star falls!" said the people; "From the skya star is falling!"
There among the ferns and mossesThere among the prairie liliesOn theMuskodaythe meadowIn the moonlight and the starlightFair Nokomis bore adaughter. And she called her name WenonahAs the first-born of her daughters.And the daughter of Nokomis Grew up like the prairie liliesGrew a tall andslender maidenWith the beauty of the moonlightWith the beauty of thestarlight.
And Nokomis warned her oftenSaying oftand oft repeating"Ohbeware ofMudjekeewisOf the West-WindMudjekeewis; Listen not to what he tells you; Lienot down upon the meadowStoop not down among the liliesLest the West-Windcome and harm you!"
But she heeded not the warningHeeded not those words of wisdomAnd theWest-Wind came at eveningWalking lightly o'er the prairieWhispering to theleaves and blossomsBending low the flowers and grassesFound the beautifulWenonahLying there among the liliesWooed her with his words of sweetnessWooed her with his soft caressesTill she bore a son in sorrowBore a son oflove and sorrow.
Thus was born my HiawathaThus was born the child of wonder; But the daughterof NokomisHiawatha's gentle motherIn her anguish died deserted By theWest-Windfalse and faithlessBy the heartless Mudjekeewis.
For her daughter long and loudly Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis; "Ohthat I were dead!" she murmured"Oh that I were deadas thou art! Nomore workand no more weepingWahonowin! Wahonowin!"
By the shores of Gitche GumeeBy the shining Big-Sea-WaterStood the wigwam ofNokomisDaughter of the MoonNokomis. Dark behind it rose the forestRose theblack and gloomy pine-treesRose the firs with cones upon them; Bright beforeit beat the waterBeat the clear and sunny waterBeat the shiningBig-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis Nursed the little HiawathaRocked him in hislinden cradleBedded soft in moss and rushesSafely bound with reindeer sinews;Stilled his fretful wail by saying"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"Lulled him into slumbersinging"Ewa-yea! my little owlet! Who is thisthat lights the wigwam? With his great eyes lights the wigwam? Ewa-yea! mylittle owlet!"
Many things Nokomis taught him Of the stars that shine in heaven; Showed himIshkoodahthe cometIshkoodahwith fiery tresses; Showed the Death-Dance ofthe spiritsWarriors with their plumes and war-clubsFlaring far away tonorthward In the frosty nights of Winter; Showed the broad white road in heavenPathway of the ghoststhe shadowsRunning straight across the heavensCrowdedwith the ghoststhe shadows.
At the door on summer evenings Sat the little Hiawatha; Heard the whisperingof the pine-treesHeard the lapping of the watersSounds of musicwords ofwonder; 'Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-treesMudway-aushka!" said thewater.
Saw the fire-flyWah-wah-tayseeFlitting through the dusk of eveningWith thetwinkle of its candle Lighting up the brakes and bushesAnd he sang the song ofchildrenSang the song Nokomis taught him: "Wah-wah-tayseelittlefire-flyLittleflittingwhite-fire insectLittledancingwhite-firecreatureLight me with your little candleEre upon my bed I lay meEre insleep I close my eyelids!"
Saw the moon rise from the water Ripplingrounding from the waterSaw theflecks and shadows on itWhispered"What is thatNokomis?" And thegood Nokomis answered: "Once a warriorvery angrySeized his grandmotherand 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 heavenIn the eastern skythe rainbowWhispered"What is thatNokomis?" And the good Nokomis answered: "'T isthe heaven of flowers you see there; All the wild-flowers of the forestAll thelilies of the prairieWhen on earth they fade and perishBlossom in thatheaven above us."
When he heard the owls at midnightHootinglaughing in the forest'What isthat?" he cried in terror"What is that" he said"Nokomis?"And the good Nokomis answered: "That is but the owl and owletTalking intheir native languageTalkingscolding at each other."
Then the little Hiawatha Learned of every bird its languageLearned their namesand all their secretsHow they built their nests in SummerWhere they hidthemselves in WinterTalked with them whene'er he met themCalled them "Hiawatha'sChickens."
Of all beasts he learned the languageLearned their names and all theirsecretsHow the beavers built their lodgesWhere the squirrels hid theiracornsHow the reindeer ran so swiftlyWhy the rabbit was so timidTalkedwith them whene'er he met themCalled them "Hiawatha's Brothers."
Then Iagoothe great boasterHe the marvellous story-tellerHe the travellerand the talkerHe the friend of old NokomisMade a bow for Hiawatha; From abranch of ash he made itFrom an oak-bough made the arrowsTipped with flintand winged with feathersAnd the cord he made of deer-skin.
Then he said to Hiawatha: "Gomy soninto the forestWhere the reddeer herd togetherKill for us a famous roebuckKill for us a deer withantlers!"
Forth into the forest straightway All alone walked Hiawatha Proudlywith hisbow and arrows; And the birds sang round himo'er him"Do not shoot usHiawatha!" Sang the robinthe OpecheeSang the bluebirdthe Owaissa"Do not shoot usHiawatha!"
Up the oak-treeclose beside himSprang the squirrelAdjidaumoIn and outamong the branchesCoughed and chattered from the oak-treeLaughedand saidbetween his laughing"Do not shoot meHiawatha!"
And the rabbit from his pathway Leaped asideand at a distance Sat erect uponhis haunchesHalf in fear and half in frolicSaying to the little hunter"Do not shoot meHiawatha!"
But he heeded notnor heard themFor his thoughts were with the red deer;On their tracks his eyes were fastenedLeading downward to the riverTo theford across the riverAnd as one in slumber walked he.
Hidden in the alder-bushesThere he waited till the deer cameTill he saw twoantlers liftedSaw two eyes look from the thicketSaw two nostrils point towindwardAnd a deer came down the pathwayFlecked with leafy light and shadow.And his heart within him flutteredTrembled like the leaves above himLike thebirch-leaf palpitatedAs the deer came down the pathway.
Thenupon one knee uprisingHiawatha aimed an arrow; Scarce a twig movedwith his motionScarce a leaf was stirred or rustledBut the wary roebuckstartedStamped with all his hoofs togetherListened with one foot upliftedLeaped as if to meet the arrow; Ah! the singingfatal arrowLike a wasp itbuzzed and stung him!
Dead he lay there in the forestBy the ford across the river; Beat his timidheart no longerBut the heart of Hiawatha Throbbed and shouted and exultedAshe bore the red deer homewardAnd Iagoo and Nokomis Hailed his coming withapplauses.
From the red deer's hide Nokomis Made a cloak for HiawathaFrom the reddeer's flesh Nokomis Made a banquet to his honor. All the village came andfeastedAll the guests praised HiawathaCalled him Strong-HeartSoan-ge-taha!Called him Loon-HeartMahn-go-taysee!
Hiawatha and Mudjekeewis
Out of childhood into manhood Now had grown my HiawathaSkilled in all thecraft of huntersLearned in all the lore of old menIn all youthful sports andpastimesIn all manly arts and labors.
Swift of foot was Hiawatha; He could shoot an arrow from himAnd run forwardwith such fleetnessThat the arrow fell behind him! Strong of arm was Hiawatha;He could shoot ten arrows upwardShoot them with such strength and swiftnessThat the tenth had left the bow-string Ere the first to earth had fallen!
He had mittensMinjekahwunMagic mittens made of deer-skin; When upon hishands he wore themHe could smite the rocks asunderHe could grind them intopowder. He had moccasins enchantedMagic moccasins of deer-skin; When he boundthem round his anklesWhen upon his feet he tied themAt each stride a mile hemeasured!
Much he questioned old Nokomis Of his father Mudjekeewis; Learned from herthe fatal secret Of the beauty of his motherOf the falsehood of his father;And his heart was hot within himLike a living coal his heart was.
Then he said to old Nokomis"I will go to MudjekeewisSee how fares itwith my fatherAt the doorways of the West-WindAt the portals of the Sunset!"
From his lodge went HiawathaDressed for travelarmed for hunting; Dressedin deer-skin shirt and leggingsRichly wrought with quills and wampum; On hishead his eagle-feathersRound his waist his belt of wampumIn his hand his bowof ash-woodStrung with sinews of the reindeer; In his quiver oaken arrowsTipped with jasperwinged with feathers; With his mittensMinjekahwunWithhis moccasins enchanted.
Warning said the old Nokomis"Go not forthO Hiawatha! To the kingdom ofthe West-WindTo the realms of MudjekeewisLest he harm you with his magicLest he kill you with his cunning!"
But the fearless Hiawatha Heeded not her woman's warning; Forth he strodeinto the forestAt each stride a mile he measured; Lurid seemed the sky abovehimLurid seemed the earth beneath himHot and close the air around himFilled with smoke and fiery vaporsAs of burning woods and prairiesFor hisheart was hot within himLike a living coal his heart was.
So he journeyed westwardwestwardLeft the fleetest deer behind himLeft theantelope and bison; Crossed the rushing EsconabaCrossed the mightyMississippiPassed the Mountains of the PrairiePassed the land of Crows andFoxesPassed the dwellings of the BlackfeetCame unto the Rocky MountainsTothe kingdom of the West-WindWhere upon the gusty summits Sat the ancientMudjekeewisRuler of the winds of heaven.
Filled with awe was Hiawatha At the aspect of his father. On the air abouthim wildly Tossed and streamed his cloudy tressesGleamed like drifting snowhis tressesGlared like Ishkoodahthe cometLike the star with fiery tresses.
Filled with joy was Mudjekeewis When he looked on HiawathaSaw his youth riseup before him In the face of HiawathaSaw the beauty of Wenonah From the graverise up before him.
"Welcome!" said he"HiawathaTo the kingdom of the West-WindLong have I been waiting for you Youth is lovelyage is lonelyYouth is fieryage is frosty; You bring back the days departedYou bring back my youth ofpassionAnd the beautiful Wenonah!"
Many days they talked togetherQuestionedlistenedwaitedanswered; Much themighty Mudjekeewis Boasted of his ancient prowessOf his perilous adventuresHis indomitable courageHis invulnerable body.
Patiently sat HiawathaListening to his father's boasting; With a smile hesat and listenedUttered neither threat nor menaceNeither word nor lookbetrayed himBut his heart was hot within himLike a living coal his heart was.
Then he said"O MudjekeewisIs there nothing that can harm you? Nothingthat you are afraid of?" And the mighty MudjekeewisGrand and gracious inhis boastingAnsweredsaying"There is nothingNothing but the blackrock yonderNothing but the fatal Wawbeek!"
And he looked at Hiawatha With a wise look and benignantWith a countenancepaternalLooked with pride upon the beauty Of his tall and graceful figureSaying"O my Hiawatha! Is there anything can harm you? Anything you areafraid of?"
But the wary Hiawatha Paused awhileas if uncertainHeld his peaceas ifresolvingAnd then answered"There is nothingNothing but the bulrushyonderNothing but the great Apukwa!"
And as MudjekeewisrisingStretched his hand to pluck the bulrushHiawathacried in terrorCried in well-dissembled terror"Kago! kago! do not touchit!" "Ahkaween!" said Mudjekeewis"No indeedI will nottouch it!"
Then they talked of other matters; First of Hiawatha's brothersFirst of Wabunof the East-WindOf the South-WindShawondaseeOf the NorthKabibonokka;Then of Hiawatha's motherOf the beautiful WenonahOf her birth upon themeadowOf her deathas old Nokomis Had remembered and related.
And he cried"O MudjekeewisIt was you who killed WenonahTook heryoung life and her beautyBroke the Lily of the PrairieTrampled it beneathyour footsteps; You confess it! you confess it!" And the mighty MudjekeewisTossed upon the wind his tressesBowed his hoary head in anguishWith a silentnod assented.
Then up started HiawathaAnd with threatening look and gesture Laid his handupon the black rockOn the fatal Wawbeek laid itWith his mittensMinjekahwunRent the jutting crag asunderSmote and crushed it into fragmentsHurled themmadly at his fatherThe remorseful MudjekeewisFor his heart was hot withinhimLike a living coal his heart was.
But the ruler of the West-Wind Blew the fragments backward from himWith thebreathing of his nostrilsWith the tempest of his angerBlew them back at hisassailant; Seized the bulrushthe ApukwaDragged it with its roots and fibresFrom the margin of the meadowFrom its ooze the giant bulrush; Long and loudlaughed Hiawatha!
Then began the deadly conflictHand to hand among the mountains; From his eyryscreamed the eagleThe Keneuthe great war-eagleSat upon the crags aroundthemWheeling flapped his wings above them.
Like a tall tree in the tempest Bent and lashed the giant bulrush; And inmasses huge and heavy Crashing fell the fatal Wawbeek; Till the earth shook withthe tumult And confusion of the battleAnd the air was full of shoutingsAndthe thunder of the mountainsStartinganswered"Baim-wawa!"
Back retreated MudjekeewisRushing westward o'er the mountainsStumblingwestward down the mountainsThree whole days retreated fightingStill pursuedby Hiawatha To the doorways of the West-WindTo the portals of the SunsetTothe earth's remotest borderWhere into the empty spaces Sinks the sunas aflamingo Drops into her nest at nightfall In the melancholy marshes.
"Hold!" at length cried Mudjekeewis"Holdmy sonmyHiawatha! 'T is impossible to kill meFor you cannot kill the immortal I haveput you to this trialBut to know and prove your courage; Now receive the prizeof valor!
"Go back to your home and peopleLive among themtoil among themCleansethe earth from all that harms itClear the fishing-grounds and riversSlay allmonsters and magiciansAll the Wendigoesthe giantsAll the serpentstheKenabeeksAs I slew the Mishe-MokwaSlew the Great Bear of the mountains.
"And at last when Death draws near youWhen the awful eyes of PaugukGlare upon you in the darknessI will share my kingdom with youRuler shallyou be thenceforward Of the Northwest-WindKeewaydinOf the home-windtheKeewaydin."
Thus was fought that famous battle In the dreadful days of Shah-shahIn thedays long since departedIn the kingdom of the West-Wind. Still the hunter seesits traces Scattered far o'er hill and valley; Sees the giant bulrush growing Bythe ponds and water-coursesSees the masses of the Wawbeek Lying still in everyvalley.
Homeward now went Hiawatha; Pleasant was the landscape round himPleasantwas the air above himFor the bitterness of anger Had departed wholly from himFrom his brain the thought of vengeanceFrom his heart the burning fever.
Only once his pace he slackenedOnly once he paused or haltedPaused topurchase heads of arrows Of the ancient Arrow-makerIn the land of the DacotahsWhere the Falls of Minnehaha Flash and gleam among the oak-treesLaugh and leapinto the valley.
There the ancient Arrow-maker Made his arrow-heads of sandstoneArrow-headsof chalcedonyArrow-heads of flint and jasperSmoothed and sharpened at theedgesHard and polishedkeen and costly.
With him dwelt his dark-eyed daughterWayward as the MinnehahaWith her moodsof shade and sunshineEyes that smiled and frowned alternateFeet as rapid asthe riverTresses flowing like the waterAnd as musical a laughter: And henamed her from the riverFrom the water-fall he named herMinnehahaLaughingWater.
Was it then for heads of arrowsArrow-heads of chalcedonyArrow-heads offlint and jasperThat my Hiawatha halted In the land of the Dacotahs?
Was it not to see the maidenSee the face of Laughing Water Peeping from behindthe curtainHear the rustling of her garments From behind the waving curtainAs one sees the Minnehaha Gleamingglancing through the branchesAs one hearsthe 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 toold NokomisWhen he reached the lodge at sunsetWas the meeting with hisfatherWas his fight with Mudjekeewis; Not a word he said of arrowsNot a wordof Laughing Water.
You shall hear how Hiawatha Prayed and fasted in the forestNot for greaterskill in huntingNot for greater craft in fishingNot for triumphs in thebattleAnd renown among the warriorsBut for profit of the peopleForadvantage of the nations.
First he built a lodge for fastingBuilt a wigwam in the forestBy theshining Big-Sea-WaterIn the blithe and pleasant Spring-timeIn the Moon ofLeaves he built itAndwith dreams and visions manySeven whole days andnights he fasted.
On the first day of his fasting Through the leafy woods he wandered; Saw thedeer start from the thicketSaw the rabbit in his burrowHeard the pheasantBenadrummingHeard the squirrelAdjidaumoRattling in his hoard of acornsSaw the pigeonthe OmemeBuilding nests among the pinetreesAnd in flocks thewild-gooseWawaFlying to the fen-lands northwardWhirringwailing far abovehim. "Master of Life!" he crieddesponding"Must our livesdepend on these things?"
On the next day of his fasting By the river's brink he wanderedThrough theMuskodaythe meadowSaw the wild riceMahnomoneeSaw the blueberryMeenahgaAnd the strawberryOdahminAnd the gooseberryShahbominAnd the grape.vinethe BemahgutTrailing o'er the alder-branchesFilling all the air withfragrance! "Master of Life!" he crieddesponding"Must ourlives depend on these things?"
On the third day of his fasting By the lake he sat and ponderedBy the stilltransparent water; Saw the sturgeonNahmaleapingScattering drops like beadsof wampumSaw the yellow perchthe SahwaLike a sunbeam in the waterSaw thepikethe MaskenozhaAnd the herringOkahahwisAnd the Shawgasheethecrawfish! "Master of Life!" he crieddesponding"Must our livesdepend on these things?"
On the fourth day of his fasting In his lodge he lay exhausted; From hiscouch of leaves and branches Gazing with half-open eyelidsFull of shadowydreams and visionsOn the dizzyswimming landscapeOn the gleaming of thewaterOn the splendor of the sunset.
And he saw a youth approachingDressed in garments green and yellowComingthrough the purple twilightThrough the splendor of the sunset; Plumes of greenbent o'er his foreheadAnd his hair was soft and golden.
Standing at the open doorwayLong he looked at HiawathaLooked with pityand compassion On his wasted form and featuresAndin accents like the sighingOf the South-Wind in the tree-topsSaid he"O my Hiawatha! All yourprayers are heard in heavenFor you pray not like the others; Not for greaterskill in huntingNot for greater craft in fishingNot for triumph in thebattleNor renown among the warriorsBut for profit of the peopleForadvantage of the nations.
"From the Master of Life descendingIthe friend of manMondaminCometo warn you and instruct youHow by struggle and by labor You shall gain whatyou have prayed for. Rise up from your bed of branchesRiseO youthandwrestle with me!"
Faint with famineHiawatha Started from his bed of branchesFrom thetwilight of his wigwam Forth into the flush of sunset Cameand wrestled withMondamin; At his touch he felt new courage Throbbing in his brain and bosomFelt new life and hope and vigor Run through every nerve and fibre.
So they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunsetAnd the more theystrove and struggledStronger still grew Hiawatha; Till the darkness fellaround themAnd the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFrom her nest among thepine-treesGave a cry of lamentationGave a scream of pain and famine.
"'T Is enough!" then said MondaminSmiling upon Hiawatha"Buttomorrowwhen the sun setsI will come again to try you." And he vanishedand was seen not; Whether sinking as the rain sinksWhether rising as the mistsriseHiawatha saw notknew notOnly saw that he had vanishedLeaving himalone and faintingWith the misty lake below himAnd the reeling stars abovehim.
On the morrow and the next dayWhen the sun through heaven descendingLike ared and burning cinder From the hearth of the Great SpiritFell into thewestern watersCame Mondamin for the trialFor the strife with Hiawatha; Cameas silent as the dew comesFrom the empty air appearingInto empty airreturningTaking shape when earth it touchesBut invisible to all men In itscoming and its going.
Thrice they wrestled there together In the glory of the sunsetTill thedarkness fell around themTill the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFrom her nestamong the pine-treesUttered her loud cry of famineAnd Mondamin paused tolisten.
Tall and beautiful he stood thereIn his garments green and yellow; To and frohis plumes above himWaved and nodded with his breathingAnd the sweat of theencounter Stood like drops of dew upon him.
And he cried"O Hiawatha! Bravely have you wrestled with meThricehave wrestled stoutly with meAnd the Master of Lifewho sees usHe will giveto you the triumph!"
Then he smiledand said: "To-morrow Is the last day of your conflictIsthe last day of your fasting. You will conquer and o'ercome me; Make a bed forme to lie inWhere the rain may fall upon meWhere the sun may come and warmme; Strip these garmentsgreen and yellowStrip this nodding plumage from meLay me in the earthand make it Soft and loose and light above me.
"Let no hand disturb my slumberLet no weed nor worm molest meLet notKahgahgeethe ravenCome to haunt me and molest meOnly come yourself towatch meTill I wakeand startand quickenTill I leap into the sunshine"
And thus sayinghe departed; Peacefully slept HiawathaBut he heard theWawonaissaHeard the whippoorwill complainingPerched upon his lonely wigwam;Heard the rushing SebowishaHeard the rivulet rippling near himTalking to thedarksome forest; Heard the sighing of the branchesAs they lifted and subsidedAt the passing of the night-windHeard themas one hears in slumber Far-offmurmursdreamy whispers: Peacefully slept Hiawatha.
On the morrow came NokomisOn the seventh day of his fastingCame with foodfor HiawathaCame imploring and bewailingLest his hunger should o'ercome himLest his fasting should be fatal.
But he tasted notand touched notOnly said to her"NokomisWait untilthe sun is settingTill the darkness falls around usTill the herontheShuh-shuh-gahCrying from the desolate marshesTells us that the day is ended."
Homeward weeping went NokomisSorrowing for her HiawathaFearing lest hisstrength should fail himLest his fasting should be fatal. He meanwhile satweary waiting For the coming of MondaminTill the shadowspointing eastwardLengthened over field and forestTill the sun dropped from the heavenFloatingon the waters westwardAs a red leaf in the Autumn Falls and floats upon thewaterFalls and sinks into its bosom.
And behold! the young MondaminWith his soft and shining tressesWith hisgarments green and yellowWith his long and glossy plumageStood and beckonedat the doorway. And as one in slumber walkingPale and haggardbut undauntedFrom the wigwam Hiawatha Came and wrestled with Mondamin.
Round about him spun the landscapeSky and forest reeled togetherAnd hisstrong heart leaped within himAs the sturgeon leaps and struggles In a net tobreak its meshes. Like a ring of fire around him Blazed and flared the redhorizonAnd a hundred suns seemed looking At the combat of the wrestlers.
Suddenly upon the greensward All alone stood HiawathaPanting with his wildexertionPalpitating with the struggle; And before him breathlesslifelessLay the youthwith hair dishevelledPlumage tornand garments tatteredDeadhe lay there in the sunset.
And victorious Hiawatha Made the grave as he commandedStripped the garmentsfrom MondaminStripped his tattered plumage from himLaid him in the earthand made it Soft and loose and light above him; And the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFrom the melancholy moorlandsGave a cry of lamentationGave a cry of pain andanguish!
Homeward then went Hiawatha To the lodge of old NokomisAnd the seven days ofhis fasting Were accomplished and completed. But the place was not forgottenWhere he wrestled with Mondamin; Nor forgotten nor neglected Was the grave wherelay MondaminSleeping in the rain and sunshineWhere his scattered plumes andgarments Faded in the rain and sunshine.
Day by day did Hiawatha Go to wait and watch beside it; Kept the dark mouldsoft above itKept it clean from weeds and insectsDrove awaywith scoffs andshoutingsKahgahgeethe king of ravens.
Till at length a small green feather From the earth shot slowly upwardThenanother and anotherAnd before the Summer ended Stood the maize in all itsbeautyWith its shining robes about itAnd its longsoftyellow tresses; Andin rapture Hiawatha Cried aloud"It is Mondamin! Yesthe friend of manMondamin!"
Then he called to old Nokomis And Iagoothe great boasterShowed them wherethe maize was growingTold them of his wondrous visionOf his wrestling andhis triumphOf this new gift to the nationsWhich should be their foodforever.
And still laterwhen the Autumn Changed the longgreen leaves to yellowAndthe soft and juicy kernels Grew like wampum hard and yellowThen the ripenedears he gatheredStripped the withered husks from off themAs he once hadstripped the wrestlerGave the first Feast of MondaminAnd made known unto thepeople This new gift of the Great Spirit.
Two good friends had HiawathaSingled out from all the othersBound to himin closest unionAnd to whom he gave the right hand Of his heartin joy andsorrow; Chibiabosthe musicianAnd the very strong manKwasind.
Straight between them ran the pathwayNever grew the grass upon it; Singingbirdsthat utter falsehoodsStory-tellersmischief-makersFound no eager earto listenCould not breed ill-will between themFor they kept each other'scounselSpake with naked hearts togetherPondering much and much contrivingHow the tribes of men might prosper.
Most beloved by Hiawatha Was the gentle ChibiabosHe the best of allmusiciansHe the sweetest of all singers. Beautiful and childlike was heBraveas man issoft as womanPliant as a wand of willowStately as a deer withantlers.
When he sangthe village listened; All the warriors gathered round himAll thewomen came to hear him; Now he stirred their souls to passionNow he meltedthem to pity.
From the hollow reeds he fashioned Flutes so musical and mellowThat thebrookthe SebowishaCeased to murmur in the woodlandThat the wood-birdsceased from singingAnd the squirrelAdjidaumoCeased his chatter in theoak-treeAnd the rabbitthe WabassoSat upright to look and listen.
Yesthe brookthe SebowishaPausingsaid"O ChibiabosTeach my wavesto flow in musicSoftly as your words in singing!"
Yesthe bluebirdthe OwaissaEnvioussaid"O ChibiabosTeach metones as wild and waywardTeach me songs as full of frenzy!"
Yesthe robinthe OpecheeJoyoussaid"O ChibiabosTeach me tones assweet and tenderTeach me songs as full of gladness!"
And the whippoorwillWawonaissaSobbingsaid"O ChibiabosTeach metones as melancholyTeach me songs as full of sadness!"
All the many sounds of nature Borrowed sweetness from his singing; All thehearts of men were softened By the pathos of his music; For he sang of peace andfreedomSang of beautyloveand longing; Sang of deathand life undying Inthe Islands of the BlessedIn the kingdom of PonemahIn the land of theHereafter.
Very dear to Hiawatha Was the gentle ChibiabosHe the best of all musiciansHe the sweetest of all singers; For his gentleness he loved himAnd the magicof his singing.
Deartoounto Hiawatha Was the very strong manKwasindHe the strongest ofall mortalsHe the mightiest among many; For his very strength he loved himFor his strength allied to goodness.
Idle in his youth was KwasindVery listlessdulland dreamyNever playedwith other childrenNever fished and never huntedNot like other children washe; But they saw that much he fastedMuch his Manito entreatedMuch besoughthis 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 youare cowering O'er the firebrands in the wigwam! In the coldest days of Winter Imust break the ice for fishing; With my nets you never help me! At the door mynets are hangingDrippingfreezing with the water; Go and wring themYenadizze! Go and dry them in the sunshine!"
Slowlyfrom the ashesKwasind Rosebut made no angry answer; From thelodge went forth in silenceTook the netsthat hung togetherDrippingfreezing at the doorway; Like a wisp of straw he wrung themLike a wisp ofstraw he broke themCould not wring them without breakingSuch the strengthwas in his fingers.
"Lazy Kwasind!" said his father"In the hunt you never help me;Every bow you touch is brokenSnapped asunder every arrow; Yet come with me tothe forestYou shall bring the hunting homeward."
Down a narrow pass they wanderedWhere a brooklet led them onwardWhere thetrail of deer and bison Marked the soft mud on the marginTill they found allfurther passage Shut against thembarred securely By the trunks of treesuprootedLying lengthwiselying crosswiseAnd forbidding further passage.
"We must go back" said the old man"O'er these logs we cannotclamber; Not a woodchuck could get through themNot a squirrel clamber o'erthem!" And straightway his pipe he lightedAnd sat down to smoke andponder. But before his pipe was finishedLo! the path was cleared before him;All the trunks had Kwasind liftedTo the right handto the left handShot thepine-trees swift as arrowsHurled the cedars light as lances.
"Lazy Kwasind!" said the young menAs they sported in the meadow:"Why stand idly looking at usLeaning on the rock behind you? Come andwrestle with the othersLet us pitch the quoit together!"
Lazy Kwasind made no answerTo their challenge made no answerOnly roseandslowly turningSeized the huge rock in his fingersTore it from its deepfoundationPoised it in the air a momentPitched it sheer into the riverSheer into the swift PauwatingWhere it still is seen in Summer.
Once as down that foaming riverDown the rapids of PauwatingKwasind sailedwith his companionsIn the stream he saw a beaverSaw Ahmeekthe King ofBeaversStruggling with the rushing currentsRisingsinking in the water.
Without speakingwithout pausingKwasind leaped into the riverPlungedbeneath the bubbling surfaceThrough the whirlpools chased the beaverFollowedhim among the islandsStayed so long beneath the waterThat his terrifiedcompanions Cried"Alas! good-by to Kwasind! We shall never more seeKwasind!" But he reappeared triumphantAnd upon his shining shouldersBrought the beaverdead and drippingBrought the King of all the Beavers.
And these twoas I have told youWere the friends of HiawathaChibiabosthe musicianAnd the very strong manKwasind. Long they lived in peacetogetherSpake with naked hearts togetherPondering much and much contrivingHow the tribes of men might prosper.
"Give me of your barkO Birch-tree! Of your yellow barkO Birch-tree!Growing by the rushing riverTall and stately in the valley! I a light canoewill build meBuild a swift Cheemaun for sailingThat shall float on theriverLike a yellow leaf in AutumnLike a yellow water-lily!
"Lay aside your cloakO Birch-tree! Lay aside your white-skin wrapperFor the Summer-time is comingAnd the sun is warm in heavenAnd you need nowhite-skin wrapper!"
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha In the solitary forestBy the rushing TaquamenawWhen the birds were singing gaylyIn the Moon of Leaves were singingAnd thesunfrom sleep awakingStarted up and said"Behold me! Gheezisthegreat Sunbehold me!"
And the tree with all its branches Rustled in the breeze of morningSayingwith a sigh of patience"Take my cloakO Hiawatha!"
With his knife the tree he girdled; Just beneath its lowest branchesJust abovethe rootshe cut itTill the sap came oozing outward; Down the trunkfrom topto bottomSheer he cleft the bark asunderWith a wooden wedge he raised itStripped it from the trunk unbroken.
"Give me of your boughsO Cedar! Of your strong and pliant branchesMycanoe to make more steadyMake more strong and firm beneath me!"
Through the summit of the Cedar Went a sounda cry of horrorWent a murmur ofresistance; But it whisperedbending downward'Take my boughsOHiawatha!"
Down he hewed the boughs of cedarShaped them straightway to a frame-workLike two bows he formed and shaped themLike two bended bows together.
"Give me of your rootsO Tamarack! Of your fibrous rootsO Larch-tree! Mycanoe to bind togetherSo to bind the ends together That the water may notenterThat the river may not wet me!"
And the Larchwith all its fibresShivered in the air of morningTouchedhis forehead with its tasselsSlidwith one long sigh of sorrow. "Takethem allO Hiawatha!"
From the earth he tore the fibresTore the tough roots of the Larch-treeClosely sewed the hark togetherBound it closely to the frame-work.
"Give me of your balmO Fir-tree! Of your balsam and your resinSo toclose the seams together That the water may not enterThat the river may notwet me!"
And the Fir-treetall and sombreSobbed through all its robes of darknessRattled like a shore with pebblesAnswered wailinganswered weeping"Take my balmO Hiawatha!"
And he took the tears of balsamTook the resin of the Fir-treeSmearedtherewith each seam and fissureMade each crevice safe from water.
"Give me of your quillsO Hedgehog! All your quillsO Kaghthe Hedgehog!I will make a necklace of themMake a girdle for my beautyAnd two stars todeck her bosom!"
From a hollow tree the Hedgehog With his sleepy eyes looked at himShot hisshining quillslike arrowsSaying with a drowsy murmurThrough the tangle ofhis whiskers"Take my quillsO Hiawatha!"
From the ground the quills he gatheredAll the little shining arrowsStainedthem red and blue and yellowWith the juice of roots and berries; Into hiscanoe he wrought themRound its waist a shining girdleRound its bows agleaming necklaceOn its breast two stars resplendent.
Thus the Birch Canoe was builded In the valleyby the riverIn the bosom ofthe forest; And the forest's life was in itAll its mystery and its magicAllthe lightness of the birch-treeAll the toughness of the cedarAll the larch'ssupple sinews; And it floated on the river Like a yellow leaf in AutumnLike ayellow water-lily.
Paddles none had HiawathaPaddles none he had or neededFor his thoughts aspaddles served himAnd his wishes served to guide him; Swift or slow at will heglidedVeered to right or left at pleasure.
Then he called aloud to KwasindTo his friendthe strong manKwasindSaying"Help me clear this river Of its sunken logs and sand-bars."
Straight into the river Kwasind Plunged as if he were an otterDived as if hewere a beaverStood up to his waist in waterTo his arm-pits in the riverSwam and scouted in the riverTugged at sunken logs and branchesWith hishands he scooped the sand-barsWith his feet the ooze and tangle.
And thus sailed my Hiawatha Down the rushing TaquamenawSailed through allits bends and windingsSailed through all its deeps and shallowsWhile hisfriendthe strong manKwasindSwam the deepsthe shallows waded.
Up and down the river went theyIn and out among its islandsCleared its bedof root and sand-barDragged the dead trees from its channelMade its passagesafe and certainMade a pathway for the peopleFrom its springs among themountainsTo the waters of PauwatingTo the bay of Taquamenaw.
Forth upon the Gitche GumeeOn the shining Big-Sea-WaterWith hisfishing-line of cedarOf the twisted bark of cedarForth to catch the sturgeonNahmaMishe-NahmaKing of FishesIn his birch canoe exulting All alone wentHiawatha.
Through the cleartransparent water He could see the fishes swimming Far downin the depths below him; See the yellow perchthe SahwaLike a sunbeam in thewaterSee the Shawgasheethe craw-fishLike a spider on the bottomOn thewhite and sandy bottom.
At the stern sat HiawathaWith his fishing-line of cedar; In his plumes thebreeze of morning Played as in the hemlock branches; On the bowswith tailerectedSat the squirrelAdjidaumo; In his fur the breeze of morning Played asin the prairie grasses.
On the white sand of the bottom Lay the monster Mishe-NahmaLay the sturgeonKing of Fishes; Through his gills he breathed the waterWith his fins he fannedand winnowedWith his tail he swept the sand-floor.
There he lay in all his armor; On each side a shield to guard himPlates ofbone upon his foreheadDown his sides and back and shoulders Plates of bonewith spines projecting Painted was he with his war-paintsStripes of yellowredand azureSpots of brown and spots of sable; And he lay there on thebottomFanning with his fins of purpleAs above him Hiawatha In his birchcanoe came sailingWith his fishing-line of cedar.
"Take my bait" cried HiawathaDawn into the depths beneath him"Take my baitO SturgeonNahma! Come up from below the waterLet us seewhich is the stronger!" And he dropped his line of cedar Through the cleartransparent waterWaited vainly for an answerLong sat waiting for an answerAnd repeating loud and louder"Take my baitO King of Fishes!"
Quiet lay the sturgeonNahmaFanning slowly in the waterLooking up atHiawathaListening to his call and clamorHis unnecessary tumultTill hewearied of the shouting; And he said to the KenozhaTo the piketheMaskenozha"Take the bait of this rude fellowBreak the line ofHiawatha!"
In his fingers Hiawatha Felt the loose line jerk and tightenAs he drew it init tugged so That the birch canoe stood endwiseLike a birch log in the waterWith the squirrelAdjidaumoPerched and frisking on the summit. Full of scornwas Hiawatha When he saw the fish rise upwardSaw the pikethe MaskenozhaComing nearernearer to himAnd he shouted through the water"Esa! esa!shame upon you! You are but the pikeKenozhaYou are not the fish I wantedYou are not the King of Fishes!"
Reeling downward to the bottom Sank the pike in great confusionAnd themighty sturgeonNahmaSaid to Ugudwashthe sun-fishTo the breamwithscales of crimson"Take the bait of this great boasterBreak the line ofHiawatha!"
Slowly upwardwaveringgleamingRose the Ugudwashthe sun-fishSeized theline of HiawathaSwung with all his weight upon itMade a whirlpool in thewaterWhirled the birch canoe in circlesRound and round in gurgling eddiesTill the circles in the water Reached the far-off sandy beachesTill thewater-flags and rushes Nodded on the distant margins.
But when Hiawatha saw him Slowly rising through the waterLifting up hisdisk refulgentLoud he shouted in derision"Esa! esa! shame upon you! Youare Ugudwashthe sun-fishYou are not the fish I wantedYou are not the Kingof Fishes!"
Slowly downwardwaveringgleamingSank the Ugudwashthe sun-fishAnd againthe sturgeonNahmaHeard the shout of HiawathaHeard his challenge ofdefianceThe unnecessary tumultRinging far across the water.
From the white sand of the bottom Up he rose with angry gestureQuivering ineach nerve and fibreClashing all his plates of armorGleaming bright with allhis war-paint; In his wrath he darted upwardFlashing leaped into the sunshineOpened his great jawsand swallowed Both canoe and Hiawatha.
Down into that darksome cavern Plunged the headlong HiawathaAs a log on someblack river Shoots and plunges down the rapidsFound himself in utter darknessGroped about in helpless wonderTill he felt a great heart beatingThrobbingin that utter darkness.
And he smote it in his angerWith his fistthe heart of NahmaFelt themighty King of Fishes Shudder through each nerve and fibreHeard the watergurgle round him As he leaped and staggered through itSick at heartand faintand weary.
Crosswise then did Hiawatha Drag his birch-canoe for safetyLest from out thejaws of NahmaIn the turmoil and confusionForth he might be hurled andperish. And the squirrelAdjidaumoFrisked and chatted very gaylyToiled andtugged with Hiawatha Till the labor was completed.
Then said Hiawatha to him"O my little friendthe squirrelBravelyhave you toiled to help me; Take the thanks of HiawathaAnd the name which nowhe gives you; For hereafter and forever Boys shall call you AdjidaumoTail-in-air the boys shall call you!"
And again the sturgeonNahmaGasped and quivered in the waterThen was stilland drifted landward Till he grated on the pebblesTill the listening HiawathaHeard him grate upon the marginFelt him strand upon the pebblesKnew thatNahmaKing of FishesLay there dead upon the margin.
Then he heard a clang and flappingAs of many wings assemblingHeard ascreaming and confusionAs of birds of prey contendingSaw a gleam of lightabove himShining through the ribs of NahmaSaw the glittering eyes ofsea-gullsOf Kayoshkthe sea-gullspeeringGazing at him through theopeningHeard them saying to each other"'T is our brotherHiawatha!"
And he shouted from below themCried exulting from the caverns: "O yesea-gulls! O my brothers! I have slain the sturgeonNahma; Make the rifts alittle largerWith your claws the openings widenSet me free from this darkprisonAnd henceforward and forever Men shall speak of your achievementsCalling you Kayoshkthe sea-gullsYesKayoshkthe Noble Scratchers!"
And the wild and clamorous sea-gulls Toiled with beak and claws togetherMade the rifts and openings wider In the mighty ribs of NahmaAnd from periland from prisonFrom the body of the sturgeonFrom the peril of the waterThey released my Hiawatha.
He was standing near his wigwamOn the margin of the waterAnd he called toold NokomisCalled and beckoned to NokomisPointed to the sturgeonNahmaLying lifeless on the pebblesWith the sea-gulls feeding on him.
"I have slain the Mishe-NahmaSlain the King of Fishes!" said he'"Look! the sea-gulls feed upon himYesmy friends Kayoshkthe sea-gulls;Drive them not awayNokomisThey have saved me from great peril In the body ofthe sturgeonWait until their meal is endedTill their craws are full withfeastingTill they homeward flyat sunsetTo their nests among the marshes;Then bring all your pots and kettlesAnd make oil for us in Winter."
And she waited till the sun setTill the pallid moonthe Night-sunRose abovethe tranquil waterTill Kayoshkthe sated sea-gullsFrom their banquet rosewith clamorAnd across the fiery sunset Winged their way to far-off islandsTotheir nests among the rushes.
To his sleep went HiawathaAnd Nokomis to her laborToiling patient in themoonlightTill the sun and moon changed placesTill the sky was red withsunriseAnd Kayoshkthe hungry sea-gullsCame back from the reedy islandsClamorous for their morning banquet.
Three whole days and nights alternate Old Nokomis and the sea-gulls Stripped theoily flesh of NahmaTill the waves washed through the rib-bonesTill thesea-gulls came no longerAnd upon the sands lay nothing But the skeleton ofNahma.
Hiawatha and the Pearl-Feather
On the shores of Gitche GumeeOf the shining Big-Sea-WaterStood Nokomisthe old womanPointing with her finger westwardO'er the water pointingwestwardTo the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending Burned his way along the heavensSet the sky onfire behind himAs war-partieswhen retreatingBurn the prairies on theirwar-trail; And the moonthe Night-suneastwardSuddenly starting from hisambushFollowed fast those bloody footprintsFollowed in that fiery war-trailWith its glare upon his features.
And Nokomisthe old womanPointing with her finger westwardSpake thesewords to Hiawatha: "Yonder dwells the great Pearl-FeatherMegissogwontheMagicianManito of Wealth and WampumGuarded by his fiery serpentsGuarded bythe black pitch-water. You can see his fiery serpentsThe Kenabeekthe greatserpentsCoilingplaying in the water; You can see the black pitch-waterStretching far away beyond themTo the purple clouds of sunset!
"He it was who slew my fatherBy his wicked wiles and cunningWhen hefrom the moon descendedWhen he came on earth to seek me. Hethe mightiest ofMagiciansSends the fever from the marshesSends the pestilential vaporsSends the poisonous exhalationsSends the white fog from the fen-landsSendsdisease and death among us!
"Take your bowO HiawathaTake your arrowsjasper-headedTake yourwar-clubPuggawaugunAnd your mittensMinjekahwunAnd your birch-canoe forsailingAnd the oil of Mishe-NahmaSo to smear its sidesthat swiftly You maypass the black pitch-water; Slay this merciless magicianSave the people fromthe fever That he breathes across the fen-landsAnd avenge my father'smurder!"
Straightway then my Hiawatha Armed himself with all his war-gearLaunched hisbirch-canoe for sailing; With his palm its sides he pattedSaid with glee"Cheemaunmy darlingO my Birch-canoe! leap forwardWhere you see thefiery serpentsWhere you see the black pitch-water!"
Forward leaped Cheemaun exultingAnd the noble Hiawatha Sang his war-songwild and wofulAnd above him the war-eagleThe Keneuthe great war-eagleMaster of all fowls with feathersScreamed and hurtled through the heavens.
Soon he reached the fiery serpentsThe Kenabeekthe great serpentsLying hugeupon the waterSparklingrippling in the waterLying coiled across thepassageWith their blazing crests upliftedBreathing fiery fogs and vaporsSothat none could pass beyond them.
But the fearless Hiawatha Cried aloudand spake in this wise"Let mepass my wayKenabeekLet me go upon my journey!" And they answeredhissing fiercelyWith their fiery breath made answer: "Backgo back! OShaugodaya! Back to old NokomisFaint-heart!"
Then the angry Hiawatha Raised his mighty bow of ash-treeSeized his arrowsjasper-headedShot them fast among the serpents; Every twanging of thebow-string Was a war-cry and a death-cryEvery whizzing of an arrow Was adeath-song of Kenabeek.
Weltering in the bloody waterDead lay all the fiery serpentsAnd amongthem Hiawatha Harmless sailedand cried exulting: "OnwardO Cheemaunmydarling! Onward to the black pitch-water!"
Then he took the oil of NahmaAnd the bows and sides anointedSmeared themwell with oilthat swiftly He might pass the black pitch-water.
All night long he sailed upon itSailed upon that sluggish waterCoveredwith its mould of agesBlack with rotting water-rushesRank with flags andleaves of liliesStagnantlifelessdrearydismalLighted by the shimmeringmoonlightAnd by will-o'-the-wisps illuminedFires by ghosts of dead menkindledIn their weary night-encampments.
All the air was white with moonlightAll the water black with shadowAndaround him the SuggemaThe mosquitosang his war-songAnd the fire-fliesWah-wah-tayseeWaved their torches to mislead him; And the bull-frogtheDahindaThrust his head into the moonlightFixed his yellow eyes upon himSobbed and sank beneath the surface; And anon a thousand whistlesAnswered overall the fen-landsAnd the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFar off on the reedymarginHeralded the hero's coming.
Westward thus fared HiawathaToward the realm of MegissogwonToward theland of the Pearl-FeatherTill the level moon stared at him In his face staredpale and haggardTill the sun was hot behind himTill it burned upon hisshouldersAnd before him on the upland He could see the Shining Wigwam Of theManito of WampumOf the mightiest of Magicians.
Then once more Cheemaun he pattedTo his birch-canoe said"Onward!"And it stirred in all its fibresAnd with one great bound of triumph Leapedacross the water-liliesLeaped through tangled flags and rushesAnd upon thebeach beyond them Dry-shod landed Hiawatha.
Straight he took his bow of ash-treeOn the sand one end he restedWith hisknee he pressed the middleStretched the faithful bow-string tighterTook anarrowjasperheadedShot it at the Shining WigwamSent it singing as a heraldAs a bearer of his messageOf his challenge loud and lofty: "Come forthfrom your lodgePearl-Feather! Hiawatha waits your coming!"
Straightway from the Shining Wigwam Came the mighty MegissogwonTall ofstaturebroad of shoulderDark and terrible in aspectClad from head to footin wampumArmed with all his warlike weaponsPainted like the sky of morningStreaked with crimsonblueand yellowCrested with great eagle-feathersStreaming upwardstreaming outward.
"Well I know youHiawatha!" Cried he in a voice of thunderIn atone of loud derision. "Hasten backO Shaugodaya! Hasten back among thewomenBack to old NokomisFaint-heart! I will slay you as you stand thereAsof old I slew her father!"
But my Hiawatha answeredNothing dauntedfearing nothing: "Big words donot smite like war-clubsBoastful breath is not a bow-stringTaunts are not sosharp as arrowsDeeds are better things than words areActions mightier thanboastings!"
Then began the greatest battle That the sun had ever looked onThat thewar-birds ever witnessed. All a Summer's day it lastedFrom the sunrise to thesunset; For the shafts of Hiawatha Harmless hit the shirt of wampumHarmlessfell the blows he dealt it With his mittensMinjekahwunHarmless fell theheavy war-club; It could dash the rocks asunderBut it could not break themeshes Of that magic shirt of wampum.
Till at sunset HiawathaLeaning on his bow of ash-treeWoundedwearyanddespondingWith his mighty war-club brokenWith his mittens torn and tatteredAnd three useless arrows onlyPaused to rest beneath a pine-treeFrom whosebranches trailed the mossesAnd whose trunk was coated over With the Dead-man'sMoccasin-leatherWith the fungus white and yellow.
Suddenly from the boughs above him Sang the Mamathe woodpecker: "Aimyour arrowsHiawathaAt the head of MegissogwonStrike the tuft of hair uponitAt their roots the long black tresses; There alone can he be wounded!"
Winged with featherstipped with jasperSwift flew Hiawatha's arrowJust asMegissogwonstoopingRaised a heavy stone to throw it. Full upon the crown itstruck himAt the roots of his long tressesAnd he reeled and staggeredforwardPlunging like a wounded bisonYeslike Pezhekeethe bisonWhen thesnow is on the prairie.
Swifter flew the second arrowIn the pathway of the otherPiercing deeperthan the otherWounding sorer than the other; And the knees of MegissogwonShook like windy reeds beneath himBent and trembled like the rushes.
But the third and latest arrow Swiftest flewand wounded sorestAnd the mightyMegissogwon Saw the fiery eyes of PaugukSaw the eyes of Death glare at himHeard his voice call in the darkness; At the feet of Hiawatha Lifeless lay thegreat Pearl-FeatherLay the mightiest of Magicians.
Then the grateful Hiawatha Called the Mamathe woodpeckerFrom his perchamong the branches Of the melancholy pine-treeAndin honor of his serviceStained with blood the tuft of feathers On the little head of Mama; Even to thisday he wears itWears the tuft of crimson feathersAs a symbol of his service.
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum From the back of MegissogwonAs a trophyof the battleAs a signal of his conquest. On the shore he left the bodyHalfon land and half in waterIn the sand his feet were buriedAnd his face was inthe water. And above himwheeled and clamored The Keneuthe great war-eagleSailing round in narrower circlesHovering nearernearernearer.
From the wigwam Hiawatha Bore the wealth of MegissogwonAll his wealth ofskins and wampumFurs of bison and of beaverFurs of sable and of ermineWampum belts and strings and pouchesQuivers wrought with beads of wampumFilled with arrowssilver-headed.
Homeward then he sailed exultingHomeward through the black pitch-waterHomeward through the weltering serpentsWith the trophies of the battleWith ashout and song of triumph.
On the shore stood old NokomisOn the shore stood ChibiabosAnd the verystrong manKwasindWaiting for the hero's comingListening to his songs oftriumph. And the people of the village Welcomed him with songs and dancesMadea joyous feastand shouted: 'Honor be to Hiawatha! He has slain the greatPearl-FeatherSlain the mightiest of MagiciansHimwho sent the fiery feverSent the white fog from the fen-landsSent disease and death among us!"
Ever dear to Hiawatha Was the memory of Mama! And in token of his friendshipAsa mark of his remembranceHe adorned and decked his pipe-stem With the crimsontuft of feathersWith the blood-red crest of Mama. But the wealth ofMegissogwonAll the trophies of the battleHe divided with his peopleSharedit equally among them.
"As unto the bow the cord isSo unto the man is woman; Though she bendshimshe obeys himThough she draws himyet she follows; Useless each withoutthe other!"
Thus the youthful Hiawatha Said within himself and ponderedMuch perplexed byvarious feelingsListlesslonginghopingfearingDreaming still ofMinnehahaOf the lovely Laughing WaterIn the land of the Dacotahs.
"Wed a maiden of your people" Warning said the old Nokomis;"Go not eastwardgo not westwardFor a strangerwhom we know not! Like afire upon the hearth-stone Is a neighbor's homely daughterLike the starlightor the moonlight Is the handsomest of strangers!"
Thus dissuading spake NokomisAnd my Hiawatha answered Only this: "Dearold NokomisVery pleasant is the firelightBut I like the starlight betterBetter do I like the moonlight!"
Gravely then said old Nokomis: "Bring not here an idle maidenBring nothere a useless womanHands unskilfulfeet unwilling; Bring a wife with nimblefingersHeart and hand that move togetherFeet that run on willingerrands!"
Smiling answered Hiawatha: 'In the land of the Dacotahs Lives the Arrow-maker'sdaughterMinnehahaLaughing WaterHandsomest of all the women. I will bringher to your wigwamShe shall run upon your errandsBe your starlightmoonlightfirelightBe the sunlight of my people!"
Still dissuading said Nokomis: "Bring not to my lodge a stranger Fromthe land of the Dacotahs! Very fierce are the DacotahsOften is there warbetween usThere are feuds yet unforgottenWounds that ache and still mayopen!"
Laughing answered Hiawatha: "For that reasonif no otherWould I wed thefair DacotahThat our tribes might be unitedThat old feuds might beforgottenAnd old wounds be healed forever!"
Thus departed Hiawatha To the land of the DacotahsTo the land of handsomewomen; Striding over moor and meadowThrough interminable forestsThroughuninterrupted silence.
With his moccasins of magicAt each stride a mile he measured; Yet the wayseemed long before himAnd his heart outran his footsteps; And he journeyedwithout restingTill he heard the cataract's laughterHeard the Falls ofMinnehaha 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 sunshineHerds offallow deer were feedingBut they saw not Hiawatha; To his bow he whispered"Fail not!" To his arrow whispered"Swerve not!" Sent itsinging on its errandTo the red heart of the roebuck; Threw the deer acrosshis shoulderAnd sped forward without pausing.
At the doorway of his wigwam Sat the ancient Arrow-makerIn the land of theDacotahsMaking arrow-heads of jasperArrow-heads of chalcedony. At his sidein all her beautySat the lovely MinnehahaSat his daughterLaughing WaterPlaiting mats of flags and rushes Of the past the old man's thoughts wereAndthe maiden's of the future.
He was thinkingas he sat thereOf the days when with such arrows He hadstruck the deer and bisonOn the Muskodaythe meadow; Shot the wild gooseflying southward On the wingthe clamorous Wawa; Thinking of the greatwar-partiesHow they came to buy his arrowsCould not fight without hisarrows. Ahno more such noble warriors Could be found on earth as they were!Now the men were all like womenOnly used their tongues for weapons!
She was thinking of a hunterFrom another tribe and countryYoung and tall andvery handsomeWho one morningin the Spring-timeCame to buy her father'sarrowsSat and rested in the wigwamLingered long about the doorwayLookingback as he departed. She had heard her father praise himPraise his courage andhis wisdom; Would he come again for arrows To the Falls of Minnehaha? On the mather hands lay idleAnd her eyes were very dreamy.
Through their thoughts they heard a footstepHeard a rustling in thebranchesAnd with glowing cheek and foreheadWith the deer upon his shouldersSuddenly from out the woodlands Hiawatha stood before them.
Straight the ancient Arrow-maker Looked up gravely from his laborLaid asidethe unfinished arrowBade him enter at the doorwaySayingas he rose to meethim'Hiawathayou are welcome!"
At the feet of Laughing Water Hiawatha laid his burdenThrew the red deerfrom his shoulders; And the maiden looked up at himLooked up from her mat ofrushesSaid with gentle look and accent"You are welcomeHiawatha!"
Very spacious was the wigwamMade of deer-skins dressed and whitenedWith theGods of the Dacotahs Drawn and painted on its curtainsAnd so tall the doorwayhardly Hiawatha stooped to enterHardly touched his eagle-feathers As heentered at the doorway.
Then uprose the Laughing WaterFrom the ground fair MinnehahaLaid asideher mat unfinishedBrought forth food and set before themWater brought themfrom the brookletGave them food in earthen vesselsGave them drink in bowlsof bass-woodListened while the guest was speakingListened while her fatheransweredBut not once her lips she openedNot a single word she uttered.
Yesas in a dream she listened To the words of HiawathaAs he talked of oldNokomisWho had nursed him in his childhoodAs he told of his companionsChibiabosthe musicianAnd the very strong manKwasindAnd of happiness andplenty In the land of the OjibwaysIn the pleasant land and peaceful.
"After many years of warfareMany years of strife and bloodshedThereis peace between the Ojibways And the tribe of the Dacotahs." Thuscontinued HiawathaAnd then addedspeaking slowly"That this peace maylast foreverAnd our hands be clasped more closelyAnd our hearts be moreunitedGive me as my wife this maidenMinnehahaLaughing WaterLoveliest ofDacotah women!"
And the ancient Arrow-maker Paused a moment ere he answeredSmoked a littlewhile in silenceLooked at Hiawatha proudlyFondly looked at Laughing WaterAnd made answer very gravely: "Yesif Minnehaha wishes; Let your heartspeakMinnehaha!"
And the lovely Laughing Water Seemed more lovely as she stood thereNeitherwilling nor reluctantAs she went to HiawathaSoftly took the seat beside himWhile she saidand blushed to say it"I will follow youmyhusband!"
This was Hiawatha's wooing! Thus it was he won the daughter Of the ancientArrow-makerIn the land of the Dacotahs!
From the wigwam he departedLeading with him Laughing Water; Hand in handthey went togetherThrough the woodland and the meadowLeft the old manstanding lonely At the doorway of his wigwamHeard the Falls of MinnehahaCalling to them from the distanceCrying to them from afar off"Fare theewellO Minnehaha!"
And the ancient Arrow-maker Turned again unto his laborSat down by his sunnydoorwayMurmuring to himselfand saying: "Thus it is our daughters leaveusThose we loveand those who love us! Just when they have learned to helpusWhen we are old and lean upon themComes a youth with flaunting feathersWith his flute of reedsa stranger Wanders piping through the villageBeckonsto the fairest maidenAnd she follows where he leads herLeaving all thingsfor the stranger!"
Pleasant was the journey homewardThrough interminable forestsOver meadowover mountainOver riverhilland hollow. Short it seemed to HiawathaThoughthey journeyed very slowlyThough his pace he checked and slackened To thesteps of Laughing Water.
Over wide and rushing rivers In his arms he bore the maiden; Light he thoughther as a featherAs the plume upon his head-gear; Cleared the tangled pathwayfor herBent aside the swaying branchesMade at night a lodge of branchesAnda bed with boughs of hemlockAnd a fire before the doorway With the dry conesof the pine-tree.
All the travelling winds went with themO'er the meadowsthrough theforest; All the stars of night looked at themWatched with sleepless eyes theirslumber; From his ambush in the oak-tree Peeped the squirrelAdjidaumoWatchedwith eager eyes the lovers; And the rabbitthe WabassoScampered from the pathbefore themPeeringpeeping from his burrowSat erect upon his haunchesWatched with curious eyes the lovers.
Pleasant was the journey homeward! All the birds sang loud and sweetly Songs ofhappiness and heart's-ease; Sang the bluebirdthe Owaissa"Happy are youHiawathaHaving such a wife to love you!" Sang the robinthe Opechee"Happy are youLaughing WaterHaving such a noble husband!"
From the sky the sun benignant Looked upon them through the branchesSayingto them"O my childrenLove is sunshinehate is shadowLife ischeckered shade and sunshineRule by loveO Hiawatha!"
From the sky the moon looked at themFilled the lodge with mystic splendorsWhispered to them"O my childrenDay is restlessnight is quietManimperiouswoman feeble; Half is minealthough I follow; Rule by patienceLaughing Water!"
Thus it was they journeyed homeward; Thus it was that Hiawatha To the lodgeof old Nokomis Brought the moonlightstarlightfirelightBrought the sunshineof his peopleMinnehahaLaughing WaterHandsomest of all the women In theland of the DacotahsIn the land of handsome women.
You shall hear how Pau-Puk-KeewisHow the handsome Yenadizze Danced atHiawatha's wedding; How the gentle ChibiabosHe the sweetest of musiciansSanghis songs of love and longing; How Iagoothe great boasterHe the marvellousstory-tellerTold his tales of strange adventureThat the feast might be morejoyousThat the time might pass more gaylyAnd the guests be more contented.
Sumptuous was the feast Nokomis Made at Hiawatha's wedding; All the bowls weremade of bass-woodWhite and polished very smoothlyAll the spoons of horn ofbisonBlack and polished very smoothly.
She had sent through all the village Messengers with wands of willowAs asign of invitationAs a token of the feasting; And the wedding guestsassembledClad in all their richest raimentRobes of fur and belts of wampumSplendid with their paint and plumageBeautiful with beads and tassels.
First they ate the sturgeonNahmaAnd the pikethe MaskenozhaCaught andcooked by old Nokomis; Then on pemican they feastedPemican and buffalo marrowHaunch of deer and hump of bisonYellow cakes of the MondaminAnd the wildrice of the river.
But the gracious HiawathaAnd the lovely Laughing WaterAnd the careful oldNokomisTasted not the food before themOnly waited on the others Only servedtheir guests in silence.
And when all the guests had finishedOld Nokomisbrisk and busyFrom an amplepouch of otterFilled the red-stone pipes for smoking With tobacco from theSouth-landMixed with bark of the red willowAnd with herbs and leaves offragrance.
Then she said"O Pau-Puk-KeewisDance for us your merry dancesDancethe Beggar's Dance to please usThat the feast may be more joyousThat thetime may pass more gaylyAnd our guests be more contented!"
Then the handsome Pau-Puk-KeewisHe the idle YenadizzeHe the merrymischief-makerWhom the people called the Storm-FoolRose among the guestsassembled.
Skilled was he in sports and pastimesIn the merry dance of snow-shoesInthe play of quoits and ball-play; Skilled was he in games of hazardIn allgames of skill and hazardPugasaingthe Bowl and CountersKuntassoothe Gameof Plum-stones. Though the warriors called him Faint-HeartCalled him cowardShaugodayaIdlergamblerYenadizzeLittle heeded he their jestingLittlecared he for their insultsFor the women and the maidens Loved the handsomePau-Puk-Keewis.
He was dressed in shirt of doeskinWhite and softand fringed with ermineAllinwrought with beads of wampum; He was dressed in deer-skin leggingsFringedwith hedgehog quills and ermineAnd in moccasins of buck-skinThick withquills and beads embroidered. On his head were plumes of swan's downOn hisheels were tails of foxesIn one hand a fan of feathersAnd a pipe was in theother.
Barred with streaks of red and yellowStreaks of blue and bright vermilionShone the face of Pau-Puk-Keewis. From his forehead fell his tressesSmoothand parted like a woman'sShining bright with oiland plaitedHung withbraids of scented grassesAs among the guests assembledTo the sound of flutesand singingTo the sound of drums and voicesRose the handsome Pau-Puk-KeewisAnd began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measureVery slow in step and gestureIn and outamong the pine-treesThrough the shadows and the sunshineTreading softly likea panther. Then more swiftly and still swifterWhirlingspinning round incirclesLeaping o'er the guests assembledEddying round and round the wigwamTill the leaves went whirling with himTill the dust and wind together Swept ineddies round about him.
Then along the sandy margin Of the lakethe Big-Sea-WaterOn he sped withfrenzied gesturesStamped upon the sandand tossed it Wildly in the air aroundhim; Till the wind became a whirlwindTill the sand was blown and sifted Likegreat snowdrifts o'er the landscapeHeaping all the shores with Sand DunesSand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo!
Thus the merry Pau-Puk-Keewis Danced his Beggar's Dance to please themAndreturningsat down laughing There among the guests assembledSat and fannedhimself serenely With his fan of turkey-feathers.
Then they said to ChibiabosTo the friend of HiawathaTo the sweetest ofall singersTo the best of all musicians"Sing to usO Chibiabos! Songsof love and songs of longingThat the feast may be more joyousThat the timemay pass more gaylyAnd our guests be more contented!"
And the gentle Chibiabos Sang in accents sweet and tenderSang in tones of deepemotionSongs of love and songs of longing; Looking still at HiawathaLookingat fair Laughing WaterSang he softlysang in this wise:
"Onaway! Awakebeloved! Thou the wild-flower of the forest! Thou thewild-bird of the prairie! Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like!
"If thou only lookest at meI am happyI am happyAs the lilies of theprairieWhen they feel the dew upon them!
"Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance Of the wild-flowers in themorningAs their fragrance is at eveningIn the Moon when leaves are falling.
"Does not all the blood within me Leap to meet theeleap to meet theeAsthe springs to meet the sunshineIn the Moon when nights are brightest?
"Onaway! my heart sings to theeSings with joy when thou art near meAs the sighingsinging branches In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries!
"When thou art not pleasedbelovedThen my heart is sad and darkenedAsthe shining river darkens When the clouds drop shadows on it!
"When thou smilestmy belovedThen my troubled heart is brightenedAsin sunshine gleam the ripples That the cold wind makes in rivers.
"Smiles the earthand smile the watersSmile the cloudless skies aboveusBut I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me!
"I myselfmyself! behold me! Blood of my beating heartbehold me! Ohawakeawakebeloved! Onaway! awakebeloved!"
Thus the gentle Chibiabos Sang his song of love and longing; And Iagoothegreat boasterHe the marvellous story-tellerHe the friend of old NokomisJealous of the sweet musicianJealous of the applause they gave himSaw in allthe eyes around himSaw in all their looks and gesturesThat the weddingguests assembled Longed to hear his pleasant storiesHis immeasurablefalsehoods.
Very boastful was Iagoo; Never heard he an adventure But himself had met agreater; Never any deed of daring But himself had done a bolder; Never anymarvellous story But himself could tell a stranger.
Would you listen to his boastingWould you only give him credenceNo one evershot an arrow Half so far and high as he had; Ever caught so many fishesEverkilled so many reindeerEver trapped so many beaver!
None could run so fast as he couldNone could dive so deep as he couldNonecould swim so far as he could; None had made so many journeysNone had seen somany wondersAs this wonderful IagooAs this marvellous story-teller! Thus hisname became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastfulhunter Praised his own address too highlyOr a warriorhome returningTalkedtoo much of his achievementsAll his hearers cried"Iagoo! Here's Iagoocome among us!"
He it was who carved the cradle Of the little HiawathaCarved its framework outof lindenBound it strong with reindeer sinews; He it was who taught him laterHow to make his bows and arrowsHow to make the bows of ash-treeAnd thearrows of the oak-tree. So among the guests assembled At my Hiawatha's weddingSat Iagooold and uglySat the marvellous story-teller.
And they said"O good IagooTell us now a tale of wonderTell us ofsome strange adventureThat the feast may be more joyousThat the time maypass more gaylyAnd our guests be more contented!"
And Iagoo answered straightway"You shall hear a tale of wonderYou shallhear the strange adventures Of Osseothe MagicianFrom the Evening Stardescending."
The Son of the Evening Star
Can it be the sun descending O'er the level plain of water? Or the Red SwanfloatingflyingWounded by the magic arrowStaining all the waves withcrimsonWith the crimson of its life-bloodFilling all the air with splendorWith the splendor of its plumage?
Yes; it is the sun descendingSinking down into the water; All the sky isstained with purpleAll the water flushed with crimson! No; it is the Red SwanfloatingDiving down beneath the water; To the sky its wings are liftedWithits blood the waves are reddened!
Over it the Star of Evening Melts and trembles through the purpleHangssuspended in the twilight. No; it is a bead of wampum On the robes of the GreatSpirit As he passes through the twilightWalks in silence through the heavens.
This with joy beheld Iagoo And he said in haste: "Behold it! See the sacredStar of Evening! You shall hear a tale of wonderHear the story of OsseoSonof the Evening StarOsseo!
"Oncein days no more rememberedAges nearer the beginningWhen theheavens were closer to usAnd the Gods were more familiarIn the North-landlived a hunterWith ten young and comely daughtersTall and lithe as wands ofwillow; Only Oweeneethe youngestShe the wilful and the waywardShe thesilentdreamy maidenWas the fairest of the sisters.
"All these women married warriorsMarried brave and haughty husbands; OnlyOweeneethe youngestLaughed and flouted all her loversAll her young andhandsome suitorsAnd then married old OsseoOld Osseopoor and uglyBrokenwith age and weak with coughingAlways coughing like a squirrel.
"Ahbut beautiful within him Was the spirit of OsseoFrom the EveningStar descendedStar of EveningStar of WomanStar of tenderness and passion!All its fire was in his bosomAll its beauty in his spiritAll its mystery inhis beingAll its splendor in his language!
"And her loversthe rejectedHandsome men with belts of wampumHandsomemen with paint and feathers. Pointed at her in derisionFollowed her with jestand laughter. But she said: 'I care not for youCare not for your belts ofwampumCare not for your paint and feathersCare not for your jests andlaughter; I am happy with Osseo!'
'Once to some great feast invitedThrough the damp and dusk of eveningWalked together the ten sistersWalked together with their husbands; Slowlyfollowed old OsseoWith fair Oweenee beside him; All the others chatted gaylyThese two only walked in silence.
"At the western sky Osseo Gazed intentas if imploringOften stopped andgazed imploring At the trembling Star of EveningAt the tender Star of Woman;And they heard him murmur softly'Ahshowain nemeshinNosa! Pitypity memyfather!'
'Listen!' said the eldest sister'He is praying to his father! What a pitythat the old man Does not stumble in the pathwayDoes not break his neck byfalling!' And they laughed till all the forest Rang with their unseemlylaughter.
"On their pathway through the woodlands Lay an oakby storms uprootedLaythe great trunk of an oak-treeBuried half in leaves and mossesMoulderingcrumblinghuge and hollow. And Osseowhen he saw itGave a shouta cry ofanguishLeaped into its yawning cavernAt one end went in an old manWastedwrinkledoldand ugly; From the other came a young manTall and straight andstrong and handsome.
"Thus Osseo was transfiguredThus restored to youth and beauty; Butalas for good OsseoAnd for Oweeneethe faithful! Strangelytoowas shetransfigured. Changed into a weak old womanWith a staff she tottered onwardWastedwrinkledoldand ugly! And the sisters and their husbands Laugheduntil the echoing forest Rang with their unseemly laughter.
"But Osseo turned not from herWalked with slower step beside herTookher handas brown and withered As an oak-leaf is in WinterCalled hersweetheartNenemooshaSoothed her with soft words of kindnessTill theyreached the lodge of feastingTill they sat down in the wigwamSacred to theStar of EveningTo the tender Star of Woman.
"Wrapt in visionslost in dreamingAt the banquet sat Osseo; All weremerryall were happyAll were joyous but Osseo. Neither food nor drink hetastedNeither did he speak nor listen; But as one bewildered sat heLookingdreamily and sadlyFirst at Oweeneethen upward At the gleaming sky abovethem.
"Then a voice was hearda whisperComing from the starry distanceComingfrom the empty vastnessLowand musicaland tender; And the voice said: 'OOsseo! O my sonmy best beloved! Broken are the spells that bound youAll thecharms of the magiciansAll the magic powers of evil; Come to me; ascendOsseo!
"'Taste the food that stands before you: It is blessed and enchantedIthas magic virtues in itIt will change you to a spirit. All your bowls and allyour kettles Shall be wood and clay no longer; But the bowls be changed towampumAnd the kettles shall be silver; They shall shine like shells ofscarletLike the fire shall gleam and glimmer.
"'And the women shall no longer Bear the dreary doom of laborBut bechanged to birdsand glisten With the beauty of the starlightPainted with thedusky splendors Of the skies and clouds of evening!'
"What Osseo heard as whispersWhat as words he comprehendedWas butmusic to the othersMusic as of birds afar offOf the whippoorwill afar offOf the lonely Wawonaissa Singing in the darksome forest.
"Then the lodge began to trembleStraight began to shake and trembleAndthey felt it risingrisingSlowly through the air ascendingFrom the darknessof the tree-tops Forth into the dewy starlightTill it passed the topmostbranches; 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 theroof-poles of the wigwam Were as glittering rods of silverAnd the roof of barkupon them As the shining shards of beetles. "Then Osseo gazed around himAnd he saw the nine fair sistersAll the sisters and their husbandsChanged tobirds of various plumage. Some were jays and some were magpiesOthers thrushesothers blackbirds; And they hoppedand sangand twitteredPerked andfluttered all their feathersStrutted in their shining plumageAnd their tailslike fans unfolded. "Only Oweeneethe youngestWas not changedbut satin silenceWastedwrinkledoldand uglyLooking sadly at the others; TillOsseogazing upwardGave another cry of anguishSuch a cry as he had utteredBy the oak-tree in the forest. "Then returned her youth and beautyAnd hersoiled and tattered garments Were transformed to robes of ermineAnd her staffbecame a featherYesa shining silver feather! "And again the wigwamtrembledSwayed and rushed through airy currentsThrough transparent cloud andvaporAnd amid celestial splendors On the Evening Star alightedAs asnow-flake falls on snow-flakeAs a leaf drops on a riverAs the thistledownon water.
"Forth with cheerful words of welcome Came the father of OsseoHe withradiant locks of silverHe with eyes serene and tender. And he said: `My sonOsseoHang the cage of birds you bring thereHang the cage with rods ofsilverAnd the birds with glistening feathersAt the doorway of my wigwam.'
"At the door he hung the bird-cageAnd they entered in and gladly Listenedto Osseo's fatherRuler of the Star of EveningAs he said: `O my Osseo! I havehad compassion on youGiven you back your youth and beautyInto birds ofvarious plumage Changed your sisters and their husbands; Changed them thusbecause they mocked you In the figure of the old manIn that aspect sad andwrinkledCould not see your heart of passionCould not see your youthimmortal; Only Oweeneethe faithfulSaw your naked heart and loved you.
"`In the lodge that glimmers yonderIn the little star that twinklesThrough the vaporson the left handLives the envious Evil SpiritThe Wabenothe magicianWho transformed you to an old man. Take heed lest his beams fallon youFor the rays he darts around him Are the power of his enchantmentArethe arrows that he uses.'
"Many yearsin peace and quietOn the peaceful Star of Evening DweltOsseo with his father; Many yearsin song and flutterAt the doorway of thewigwamHung the cage with rods of silverAnd fair Oweeneethe faithfulBorea son unto OsseoWith the beauty of his motherWith the courage of his father.
"And the boy grew up and prosperedAnd Osseoto delight himMade himlittle bows and arrowsOpened the great cage of silverAnd let loose his auntsand unclesAll those birds with glossy feathersFor his little son to shootat.
"Round and round they wheeled and dartedFilled the Evening Star withmusicWith their songs of joy and freedom Filled the Evening Star withsplendorWith the fluttering of their plumage; Till the boythe little hunterBent his bow and shot an arrowShot a swift and fatal arrowAnd a birdwithshining feathersAt his feet fell wounded sorely.
"ButO wondrous transformation! `T was no bird he saw before him`Twas a beautiful young womanWith the arrow in her bosom!
"When her blood fell on the planetOn the sacred Star of EveningBrokenwas the spell of magicPowerless was the strange enchantmentAnd the youththe fearless bowmanSuddenly felt himself descendingHeld by unseen handsbutsinking Downward through the empty spacesDownward through the clouds andvaporsTill he rested on an islandOn an islandgreen and grassyYonder inthe Big-Sea-Water.
"After him he saw descending All the birds with shining feathersFlutteringfallingwafted downwardLike the painted leaves of Autumn; And thelodge with poles of silverWith its roof like wings of beetlesLike theshining shards of beetlesBy the winds of heaven upliftedSlowly sank upon theislandBringing back the good OsseoBringing Oweeneethe faithful.
"Then the birdsagain transfiguredReassumed the shape of mortalsTooktheir shapebut not their stature; They remained as Little PeopleLike thepygmiesthe Puk-WudjiesAnd on pleasant nights of SummerWhen the EveningStar was shiningHand in hand they danced together On the island's craggyheadlandsOn the sand-beach low and level.
"Still their glittering lodge is seen thereOn the tranquil SummereveningsAnd upon the shore the fisher Sometimes hears their happy voicesSeesthem dancing in the starlight !"
When the story was completedWhen the wondrous tale was endedLooking roundupon his listenersSolemnly Iagoo added: "There are great menI haveknown suchWhom their people understand notWhom they even make a jest ofScoff and jeer at in derision. From the story of Osseo Let us learn the fate ofjesters!"
All the wedding guests delighted Listened to the marvellous storyListenedlaughing and applaudingAnd they whispered to each other: "Does he meanhimselfI wonder? And are we the aunts and uncles?"
Then again sang ChibiabosSang a song of love and longingIn those accentssweet and tenderIn those tones of pensive sadnessSang a maiden's lamentationFor her loverher Algonquin.
"When I think of my belovedAh me! think of my belovedWhen my heartis thinking of himO my sweetheartmy Algonquin!
"Ah me! when I parted from himRound my neck he hung the wampumAs apledgethe snow-white wampumO my sweetheartmy Algonquin!
"`I will go with youhe whisperedAh me! to your native country; Letme go with youhe whisperedO my sweetheartmy Algonquin!
"Far awayawayI answeredVery far awayI answeredAh me! is my nativecountryO my sweetheartmy Algonquin!
"When I looked back to behold himWhere we partedto behold himAfterme he still was gazingO my sweetheartmy Algonquin!
"By the tree he still was standingBy the fallen tree was standingThathad dropped into the waterO my sweetheartmy Algonquin! "When I think ofmy belovedAh me! think of my belovedWhen my heart is thinking of himO mysweetheartmy Algonquin!" Such was Hiawatha's WeddingSuch the dance ofPau-Puk-KeewisSuch the story of IagooSuch the songs of Chibiabos; Thus thewedding banquet endedAnd the wedding guests departedLeaving Hiawatha happyWith the night and Minnehaha.
Blessing the Cornfields
SingO Song of HiawathaOf the happy days that followedIn the land of theOjibwaysIn the pleasant land and peaceful! Sing the mysteries of MondaminSing the Blessing of the Cornfields!
Buried was the bloody hatchetBuried was the dreadful war-clubBuried wereall warlike weaponsAnd the war-cry was forgotten. There was peace among thenations; Unmolested roved the huntersBuilt the birch canoe for sailingCaughtthe fish in lake and riverShot the deer and trapped the beaver; Unmolestedworked the womenMade their sugar from the mapleGathered wild rice in themeadowsDressed the skins of deer and beaver.
All around the happy village Stood the maize-fieldsgreen and shiningWavedthe green plumes of MondaminWaved his soft and sunny tressesFilling all theland with plenty. `T was the women who in Spring-time Planted the broad fieldsand fruitfulBuried in the earth Mondamin; `T was the women who in AutumnStripped the yellow husks of harvestStripped the garments from MondaminEvenas Hiawatha taught them.
Oncewhen all the maize was plantedHiawathawise and thoughtfulSpakeand said to MinnehahaTo his wifethe Laughing Water: "You shall blessto-night the cornfieldsDraw a magic circle round themTo protect them fromdestructionBlast of mildewblight of insectWageminthe thief ofcornfieldsPaimosaidwho steals the maize-ear
"In the nightwhen all Is silence' In the nightwhen all Is darknessWhen the Spirit of SleepNepahwinShuts the doors of all the wigwamsSo thatnot an ear can hear youSo that not an eye can see youRise up from your bedin silenceLay aside your garments whollyWalk around the fields you plantedRound the borders of the cornfieldsCovered by your tresses onlyRobed withdarkness as a garment.
"Thus the fields shall be more fruitfulAnd the passing of yourfootsteps Draw a magic circle round themSo that neither blight nor mildewNeither burrowing worm nor insectShall pass o'er the magic circle; Not thedragon-flyKwo-ne-sheNor the spiderSubbekasheNor the grasshopperPah-puk-keena; Nor the mighty caterpillarWay-muk-kwanawith the bear-skinKing of all the caterpillars!"
On the tree-tops near the cornfields Sat the hungry crows and ravensKahgahgeethe King of RavensWith his band of black marauders. And they laughed atHiawathaTill the tree-tops shook with laughterWith their melancholylaughterAt the words of Hiawatha. "Hear him!" said they; "hearthe Wise ManHear the plots of Hiawatha!"
When the noiseless night descended Broad and dark o'er field and forestWhenthe mournful Wawonaissa Sorrowing sang among the hemlocksAnd the Spirit ofSleepNepahwinShut the doors of all the wigwamsFrom her bed rose LaughingWaterLaid aside her garments whollyAnd with darkness clothed and guardedUnashamed and unaffrightedWalked securely round the cornfieldsDrew thesacredmagic circle Of her footprints round the cornfields.
No one but the Midnight only Saw her beauty in the darknessNo one but theWawonaissa Heard the panting of her bosom Guskewauthe darknesswrapped herClosely in his sacred mantleSo that none might see her beautySo that nonemight boast"I saw her!"
On the morrowas the day dawnedKahgahgeethe King of RavensGathered allhis black maraudersCrows and blackbirdsjays and ravensClamorous on thedusky tree-topsAnd descendedfast and fearlessOn the fields of HiawathaOnthe grave of the Mondamin.
"We will drag Mondamin" said they"From the grave where he isburiedSpite of all the magic circles Laughing Water draws around itSpite ofall the sacred footprints Minnehaha stamps upon it!"
But the wary HiawathaEver thoughtfulcarefulwatchfulHad o'erheard thescornful laughter When they mocked him from the tree-tops. "Kaw!" hesaid"my friends the ravens! Kahgahgeemy King of Ravens! I will teachyou all a lesson That shall not be soon forgotten!"
He had risen before the daybreakHe had spread o'er all the cornfields Snaresto catch the black maraudersAnd was lying now in ambush In the neighboringgrove of pine-treesWaiting for the crows and blackbirdsWaiting for the jaysand ravens.
Soon they came with caw and clamorRush of wings and cry of voicesTo theirwork of devastationSettling down upon the cornfieldsDelving deep with beakand talonFor the body of Mondamin. And with all their craft and cunningAlltheir skill in wiles of warfareThey perceived no danger near themTill theirclaws became entangledTill they found themselves imprisoned In the snares ofHiawatha.
From his place of ambush came heStriding terrible among themAnd so awful washis aspect That the bravest quailed with terror. Without mercy he destroyed themRight and leftby tens and twentiesAnd their wretchedlifeless bodies Hungaloft on poles for scarecrows Round the consecrated cornfieldsAs a signal ofhis vengeanceAs a warning to marauders.
Only Kahgahgeethe leaderKahgahgeethe King of RavensHe alone wasspared among them As a hostage for his people. With his prisoner-string he boundhimLed him captive to his wigwamTied him fast with cords of elm-bark To theridge-pole of his wigwam.
"Kahgahgeemy raven!" said he"You the leader of the robbersYou the plotter of this mischiefThe contriver of this outrageI will keepyouI will hold youAs a hostage for your peopleAs a pledge of goodbehavior!"
And he left himgrim and sulkySitting in the morning sunshine On thesummit of the wigwamCroaking fiercely his displeasureFlapping his greatsable pinionsVainly struggling for his freedomVainly calling on his people!
Summer passedand Shawondasee Breathed his sighs o'er all the landscapeFromthe South-land sent his ardorWafted kisses warm and tender; And themaize-field grew and ripenedTill it stood in all the splendor Of its garmentsgreen and yellowOf its tassels and its plumageAnd the maize-ears full andshining Gleamed from bursting sheaths of verdure.
Then Nokomisthe old womanSpakeand said to Minnehaha:
`T is the Moon whenleaves are falling; All the wild rice has been gatheredAnd the maize is ripe and ready; Let us gather in the harvestLet us wrestlewith MondaminStrip him of his plumes and tasselsOf his garments green andyellow!"
And the merry Laughing Water Went rejoicing from the wigwamWith Nokomisold and wrinkledAnd they called the women round themCalled the young men andthe maidensTo the harvest of the cornfieldsTo the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forestUnderneath the fragrant pine-treesSat the old menand the warriors Smoking in the pleasant shadow. In uninterrupted silence Lookedthey at the gamesome labor Of the young men and the women; Listened to theirnoisy talkingTo their laughter and their singingHeard them chattering likethe magpiesHeard them laughing like the blue-jaysHeard them singing like therobins.
And whene'er some lucky maiden Found a red ear in the huskingFound amaize-ear red as blood is"Nushka!" cried they all together"Nushka! you shall have a sweetheartYou shall have a handsomehusband!" "Ugh!" the old men all responded From their seatsbeneath the pine-trees.
And whene'er a youth or maiden Found a crooked ear in huskingFound a maize-earin the husking Blightedmildewedor misshapenThen they laughed and sangtogetherCrept and limped about the cornfieldsMimicked in their gait andgestures Some old manbent almost doubleSinging singly or together:"Wageminthe thief of cornfields! Paimosaidwho steals themaize-ear!"
Till the cornfields rang with laughterTill from Hiawatha's wigwamKahgahgeethe King of RavensScreamed and quivered in his angerAnd from allthe neighboring tree-tops Cawed and croaked the black marauders."Ugh!" the old men all respondedFrom their seats beneath thepine-trees!
In those days said Hiawatha"Lo! how all things fade and perish! From thememory of the old men Pass away the great traditionsThe achievements of thewarriorsThe adventures of the huntersAll the wisdom of the MedasAll thecraft of the WabenosAll the marvellous dreams and visions Of the Jossakeedsthe Prophets!
"Great men die and are forgottenWise men speak; their words of wisdomPerish in the ears that hear themDo not reach the generations Thatas yetunbornare waiting In the greatmysterious darkness Of the speechless daysthat shall be!
"On the grave-posts of our fathers Are no signsno figures painted; Whoare in those graves we know notOnly know they are our fathers. Of what kiththey are and kindredFrom what oldancestral TotemBe it EagleBearorBeaverThey descendedthis we know notOnly know they are our fathers.
"Face to face we speak togetherBut we cannot speak when absentCannotsend our voices from us To the friends that dwell afar off; Cannot send a secretmessageBut the bearer learns our secretMay pervert itmay betray itMayreveal it unto others." Thus said Hiawathawalking In the solitary forestPonderingmusing in the forestOn the welfare of his people.
From his pouch he took his colorsTook his paints of different colorsOn thesmooth bark of a birch-tree Painted many shapes and figuresWonderful andmystic figuresAnd each figure had a meaningEach some word or thoughtsuggested.
Gitche Manito the MightyHethe Master of Lifewas painted As an eggwithpoints projecting To the four winds of the heavens. Everywhere is the GreatSpiritWas the meaning of this symbol.
Gitche Manito the MightyHe the dreadful Spirit of EvilAs a serpent wasdepictedAs Kenabeekthe great serpent. Very craftyvery cunningIs thecreeping Spirit of EvilWas the meaning of this symbol.
Life and Death he drew as circlesLife was whitebut Death was darkened;Sun and moon and stars he paintedMan and beastand fish and reptileForestsmountainslakesand rivers.
For the earth he drew a straight lineFor the sky a bow above it; White thespace between for daytimeFilled with little stars for night-time; On the lefta point for sunriseOn the right a point for sunsetOn the top a point fornoontideAnd for rain and cloudy weather Waving lines descending from it.Footprints pointing towards a wigwam Were a sign of invitationWere a sign ofguests assembling; Bloody hands with palms uplifted Were a symbol ofdestructionWere a hostile sign and symbol.
All these things did Hiawatha Show unto his wondering peopleAnd interpretedtheir meaningAnd he said: "Beholdyour grave-posts Have no marknosignnor symbolGo and paint them all with figures; Each one with itshousehold symbolWith its own ancestral Totem; So that those who follow afterMay distinguish them and know them."
And they painted on the grave-posts On the graves yet unforgottenEach his ownancestral TotemEach the symbol of his household; Figures of the Bear andReindeerOf the TurtleCraneand BeaverEach inverted as a token That theowner was departedThat the chief who bore the symbol Lay beneath in dust andashes.
And the Jossakeedsthe ProphetsThe Wabenosthe MagiciansAnd theMedicine-menthe MedasPainted upon bark and deer-skin Figures for the songsthey chantedFor each song a separate symbolFigures mystical and awfulFigures strange and brightly colored; And each figure had its meaningEach somemagic song suggested.
The Great Spiritthe CreatorFlashing light through all the heaven; The GreatSerpentthe KenabeekWith his bloody crest erectedCreepinglooking intoheaven; In the sky the sunthat listensAnd the moon eclipsed and dying; Owland eaglecrane and hen-hawkAnd the cormorantbird of magic; Headless menthat walk the heavensBodies lying pierced with arrowsBloody hands of deathupliftedFlags on gravesand great war-captains Grasping both the earth andheaven!
Such as these the shapes they painted On the birch-bark and the deer-skin;Songs of war and songs of huntingSongs of medicine and of magicAll werewritten in these figuresFor each figure had its meaningEach its separatesong recorded.
Nor forgotten was the Love-SongThe most subtle of all medicinesThe mostpotent spell of magicDangerous more than war or hunting! Thus the Love-Songwas recordedSymbol and interpretation.
First a human figure standingPainted in the brightest scarlet; `T Is theloverthe musicianAnd the meaning is"My painting Makes me powerfulover others."
Then the figure seatedsingingPlaying on a drum of magicAnd theinterpretation"Listen! `T Is my voice you hearmy singing!"
Then the same red figure seated In the shelter of a wigwamAnd the meaningof the symbol"I will come and sit beside you In the mystery of mypassion!"
Then two figuresman and womanStanding hand in hand together With their handsso clasped together That they seemed in one unitedAnd the words thusrepresented Are"I see your heart within youAnd your cheeks are red withblushes!"
Next the maiden on an islandIn the centre of an Island; And the song thisshape suggested Was"Though you were at a distanceWere upon some far-offislandSuch the spell I cast upon youSuch the magic power of passionI couldstraightway draw you to me!"
Then the figure of the maiden Sleepingand the lover near herWhispering toher in her slumbersSaying"Though you were far from me In the land ofSleep and SilenceStill the voice of love would reach you!"
And the last of all the figures Was a heart within a circleDrawn within amagic circle; And the image had this meaning: "Naked lies your heart beforemeTo your naked heart I whisper!"
Thus it was that HiawathaIn his wisdomtaught the people All the mysteries ofpaintingAll the art of Picture-WritingOn the smooth bark of the birch-treeOn the white skin of the reindeerOn the grave-posts of the village.
In those days the Evil SpiritsAll the Manitos of mischiefFearingHiawatha's wisdomAnd his love for ChibiabosJealous of their faithfulfriendshipAnd their noble words and actionsMade at length a league againstthemTo molest them and destroy them.
Hiawathawise and waryOften said to Chibiabos"O my brother! do notleave meLest the Evil Spirits harm you!" Chibiabosyoung and heedlessLaughing shook his coal-black tressesAnswered ever sweet and childlike"Do not fear for meO brother! Harm and evil come not near me!"
Once when Peboanthe WinterRoofed with ice the Big-Sea-WaterWhen thesnow-flakeswhirling downwardHissed among the withered oak-leavesChangedthe pine-trees into wigwamsCovered all the earth with silenceArmed witharrowsshod with snow-shoesHeeding not his brother's warningFearing not theEvil SpiritsForth to hunt the deer with antlers All alone went Chibiabos.
Right across the Big-Sea-Water Sprang with speed the deer before him. With thewind and snow he followedO'er the treacherous ice he followedWild with allthe fierce commotion And the rapture of the hunting.
But beneaththe Evil Spirits Lay in ambushwaiting for himBroke thetreacherous ice beneath himDragged him downward to the bottomBuried in thesand his body. Unktaheethe god of waterHe the god of the DacotahsDrownedhim in the deep abysses Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.
From the headlands Hiawatha Sent forth such a wail of anguishSuch a fearfullamentationThat the bison paused to listenAnd the wolves howled from theprairiesAnd the thunder in the distance Starting answered"Baim-wawa!"
Then his face with black he paintedWith his robe his head he coveredInhis wigwam sat lamentingSeven long weeks he sat lamentingUttering still thismoan of sorrow:
"He is deadthe sweet musician! He the sweetest of all singers! He hasgone from us foreverHe has moved a little nearer To the Master of all musicTo the Master of all singing! O my brotherChibiabos!"
And the melancholy fir-trees Waved their dark green fans above himWavedtheir purple cones above himSighing with him to console himMingling with hislamentation Their complainingtheir lamenting.
Came the Springand all the forest Looked in vain for Chibiabos; Sighed therivuletSebowishaSighed the rushes in the meadow.
From the tree-tops sang the bluebirdSang the bluebirdthe Owaissa"Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is deadthe sweet musician!"
From the wigwam sang the robinSang the robinthe Opechee"Chibiabos!Chibiabos! He is deadthe sweetest singer!"
And at night through all the forest Went the whippoorwill complainingWailing went the Wawonaissa"Chibiabos! Chibiabos! He is deadthe sweetmusician! He the sweetest of all singers!"
Then the Medicine-menthe MedasThe magiciansthe WabenosAnd theJossakeedsthe ProphetsCame to visit Hiawatha; Built a Sacred Lodge besidehimTo appease himto console himWalked in silentgrave processionBearingeach a pouch of healingSkin of beaverlynxor otterFilled with magic rootsand simplesFilled with very potent medicines.
When he heard their steps approaching~Hiawatha ceased lamentingCalled nomore on Chibiabos; Naught he questionednaught he answeredBut his mournfulhead uncoveredFrom his face the mourning colors Washed he slowly and insilenceSlowly and in silence followed Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.
There a magic drink they gave himMade of Nahma-wuskthe spearmintAndWabeno-wuskthe yarrowRoots of powerand herbs of healing; Beat their drumsand shook their rattles; Chanted singly and in chorusMystic songs like thesethey chanted.
"I myselfmyself! behold me! `T Is the great Gray Eagle talking; Comeye white crowscome and hear him! The loud-speaking thunder helps me; All theunseen spirits help me; I can hear their voices callingAll around the sky Ihear them! I can blow you strongmy brotherI can heal youHiawatha!"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus"Wayha-way!" the mysticchorus.
Friends of mine are all the serpents! Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk!Mahngthe white loonI can kill him; I can shoot your heart and kill it! I canblow you strongmy brotherI can heal youHiawatha !"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus"Wayhaway!" the mysticchorus.
"I myselfmyself! the prophet! When I speak the wigwam tremblesShakesthe Sacred Lodge with terrorHands unseen begin to shake it! When I walkthesky I tread on Bends and makes a noise beneath me! I can blow you strongmybrother! Rise and speakO Hiawatha!"
"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus"Way-ha-way!" the mysticchorus.
Then they shook their medicine-pouches O'er the head of HiawathaDancedtheir medicine-dance around him; And upstarting wild and haggardLike a manfrom dreams awakenedHe was healed of all his madness. As the clouds are sweptfrom heavenStraightway from his brain departed All his moody melancholy; Asthe ice is swept from riversStraightway from his heart departed All his sorrowand affliction.
Then they summoned Chibiabos From his grave beneath the watersFrom the sandsof Gitche Gumee Summoned Hiawatha's brother. And so mighty was the magic Of thatcry and invocationThat he heard it as he lay there Underneath theBig-Sea-Water; From the sand he rose and listenedHeard the music and thesingingCameobedient to the summonsTo the doorway of the wigwamBut toenter they forbade him.
Through a chink a coal they gave himThrough the door a burning fire-brand;Ruler in the Land of SpiritsRuler o'er the deadthey made himTelling him afire to kindle For all those that died thereafterCamp-fires for their nightencampments On their solitary journey To the kingdom of PonemahTo the land ofthe Hereafter.
From the village of his childhoodFrom the homes of those who knew himPassingsilent through the forestLike a smoke-wreath wafted sidewaysSlowly vanishedChibiabos! Where he passedthe branches moved notWhere he trodthe grassesbent notAnd 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 thedead-man's strawberry feastedCrossed the melancholy riverOn the swinging loghe crossed itCame unto the Lake of SilverIn the Stone Canoe was carried Tothe Islands of the BlessedTo the land of ghosts and shadows.
On that journeymoving slowlyMany weary spirits saw hePanting under heavyburdensLaden with war-clubsbows and arrowsRobes of furand pots andkettlesAnd with food that friends had given For that solitary journey.
"Ay! why do the living" said they"Lay such heavy burdens onus! Better were it to go nakedBetter were it to go fastingThan to bear suchheavy burdens On our long and weary journey!" Forth then issued HiawathaWandered eastwardwandered westwardTeaching men the use of simples And theantidotes for poisonsAnd the cure of all diseases. Thus was first made knownto mortals All the mystery of MedaminAll the sacred art of healing.
You shall hear how Pau-Puk-KeewisHethe handsome YenadizzeWhom the peoplecalled the Storm-FoolVexed the village with disturbance; You shall hear of allhis mischiefAnd his flight from HiawathaAnd his wondrous transmigrationsAnd the end of his adventures.
On the shores of Gitche GumeeOn the dunes of Nagow WudjooBy the shiningBig-Sea-Water Stood the lodge of Pau-Puk-Keewis. It was he who in his frenzyWhirled these drifting sands togetherOn the dunes of Nagow WudjooWhenamongthe guests assembledHe so merrily and madly Danced at Hiawatha's weddingDanced the Beggar's Dance to please them.
Nowin search of new adventuresFrom his lodge went Pau-Puk-KeewisCame withspeed into the villageFound the young men all assembled In the lodge of oldIagooListening to his monstrous storiesTo his wonderful adventures.
He was telling them the story Of Ojeegthe Summer-MakerHow he made a holein heavenHow he climbed up into heavenAnd let out the summer-weatherTheperpetualpleasant Summer; How the Otter first essayed it; How the BeaverLynxand Badger Tried in turn the great achievementFrom the summit of themountain Smote their fists against the heavensSmote against the sky theirforeheadsCracked the skybut could not break it; How the WolverineuprisingMade him ready for the encounterBent his knees downlike a squirrelDrew hisarms backlike a cricket.
"Once he leaped" said old Iagoo"Once he leapedand lo! abovehim Bent the skyas ice in rivers When the waters rise beneath it; Twice heleapedand lo! above him Cracked the skyas ice in rivers When the freshet isat highest! Thrice he leapedand lo! above him Broke the shattered sky asunderAnd he disappeared within itAnd Ojeegthe Fisher WeaselWith a bound went inbehind him!"
"Hark you!" shouted Pau-Puk-Keewis As he entered at the doorway;"I am tired of all this talkingTired of old Iagoo's storiesTired ofHiawatha's wisdom. Here is something to amuse youBetter than this endlesstalking."
Then from out his pouch of wolf-skin Forth he drewwith solemn mannerAll thegame of Bowl and CountersPugasaingwith thirteen pieces. White on one sidewere they paintedAnd vermilion on the other; Two Kenabeeks or great serpentsTwo Ininewug or wedge-menOne great war-clubPugamaugunAnd one slender fishthe KeegoFour round piecesOzawabeeksAnd three Sheshebwug or ducklings. Allwere made of bone and paintedAll except the Ozawabeeks; These were brassonone side burnishedAnd were black upon the other.
In a wooden bowl he placed themShook and jostled them togetherThrew themon the ground before himThus exclaiming and explaining: "Red side up areall the piecesAnd one great Kenabeek standing On the bright side of a brasspieceOn a burnished Ozawabeek; Thirteen tens and eight are counted."
Then again he shook the piecesShook and jostled them togetherThrew them onthe ground before himStill exclaiming and explaining: "White are both thegreat KenabeeksWhite the Ininewugthe wedge-menRed are all the otherpieces; Five tens and an eight are counted."
Thus he taught the game of hazardThus displayed it and explained itRunning through its various chancesVarious changesvarious meanings: Twentycurious eyes stared at himFull of eagerness stared at him.
"Many games" said old Iagoo"Many games of skill and hazardHave I seen in different nationsHave I played in different countries. He whoplays with old Iagoo Must have very nimble fingers; Though you think yourself soskilfulI can beat youPau-Puk-KeewisI can even give you lessons In yourgame of Bowl and Counters!"
So they sat and played togetherAll the old men and the young menPlayedfor dressesweaponswampumPlayed till midnightplayed till morningPlayeduntil the YenadizzeTill the cunning Pau-Puk-KeewisOf their treasures haddespoiled themOf the best of all their dressesShirts of deer-skinrobes ofermineBelts of wampumcrests of feathersWarlike weaponspipes and pouches.Twenty eyes glared wildly at himLike the eyes of wolves glared at him.
Said the lucky Pau-Puk-Keewis: "In my wigwam I am lonelyIn my wanderingsand adventures I have need of a companionFain would have a MeshinauwaAnattendant and pipe-bearer. I will venture all these winningsAll these garmentsheaped about meAll this wampumall these feathersOn a single throw willventure All against the young man yonder!" `T was a youth of sixteensummers`T was a nephew of Iagoo; Face-in-a-Mistthe people called him.
As the fire burns in a pipe-head Dusky red beneath the ashesSo beneath hisshaggy eyebrows Glowed the eyes of old Iagoo. "Ugh!" he answered veryfiercely; "Ugh!" they answered all and each one.
Seized the wooden bowl the old manClosely in his bony fingers Clutched thefatal bowlOnagonShook it fiercely and with furyMade the pieces ringtogether As he threw them down before him.
Red were both the great KenabeeksRed the Ininewugthe wedge-menRed theSheshebwugthe ducklingsBlack the four brass OzawabeeksWhite alone thefishthe Keego; Only five the pieces counted!
Then the smiling Pau-Puk-Keewis Shook the bowl and threw the pieces; Lightly inthe air he tossed themAnd they fell about him scattered; Dark and bright theOzawabeeksRed and white the other piecesAnd upright among the others OneIninewug was standingEven as crafty Pau-Puk-Keewis Stood alone among theplayersSaying"Five tens! mine the game is"
Twenty eyes glared at him fiercelyLike the eyes of wolves glared at himAshe turned and left the wigwamFollowed by his MeshinauwaBy the nephew ofIagooBy the tall and graceful striplingBearing in his arms the winningsShirts of deer-skinrobes of ermineBelts of wampumpipes and weapons.
"Carry them" said Pau-Puk-KeewisPointing with his fan of feathers"To my wigwam far to eastwardOn the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo!"
Hot and red with smoke and gambling Were the eyes of Pau-Puk-Keewis As hecame forth to the freshness Of the pleasant Summer morning. All the birds weresinging gaylyAll the streamlets flowing swiftlyAnd the heart ofPau-Puk-Keewis Sang with pleasure as the birds singBeat with triumph like thestreamletsAs he wandered through the villageIn the early gray of morningWith his fan of turkey-feathersWith his plumes and tufts of swan's downTillhe reached the farthest wigwamReached the lodge of Hiawatha.
Silent was it and deserted; No one met him at the doorwayNo one came to bidhim welcome; But the birds were singing round itIn and out and round thedoorwayHoppingsingingflutteringfeedingAnd aloft upon the ridge-poleKahgahgeethe King of RavensSat with fiery eyesandscreamingFlapped hiswings at Pau-Puk-Keewis.
"All are gone! the lodge Is empty!" Thus it was spakePau-Puk-KeewisIn his heart resolving mischief "Gone is wary HiawathaGone the silly Laughing WaterGone Nokomisthe old womanAnd the lodge isleft unguarded!"
By the neck he seized the ravenWhirled it round him like a rattleLike amedicine-pouch he shook itStrangled Kahgahgeethe ravenFrom the ridge-poleof the wigwam Left its lifeless body hangingAs an insult to its masterAs ataunt to Hiawatha.
With a stealthy step he enteredRound the lodge in wild disorder Threw thehousehold things about himPiled together in confusion Bowls of wood andearthen kettlesRobes of buffalo and beaverSkins of otterlynxand ermineAs an insult to NokomisAs a taunt to Minnehaha.
Then departed Pau-Puk-KeewisWhistlingsinging through the forestWhistlinggayly to the squirrelsWho from hollow boughs above him Dropped theiracorn-shells upon himSinging gayly to the wood birdsWho from out the leafydarkness Answered with a song as merry.
Then he climbed the rocky headlandsLooking o'er the Gitche GumeePerchedhimself upon their summitWaiting full of mirth and mischief The return ofHiawatha.
Stretched upon his back he lay there; Far below him splashed the watersPlashedand washed the dreamy waters; Far above him swam the heavensSwam the dizzydreamy heavens; Round him hoveredflutteredrustled Hiawatha's mountainchickensFlock-wise swept and wheeled about himAlmost brushed him with theirpinions.
And he killed them as he lay thereSlaughtered them by tens and twentiesThrew their bodies down the headlandThrew them on the beach below himTill atlength Kayoshkthe sea-gullPerched upon a crag above themShouted: "Itis Pau-Puk-Keewis! He is slaying us by hundreds! Send a message to our brotherTidings send to Hiawatha!"
The Hunting of Pau-Puk-Keewis
Full of wrath was Hiawatha When he came into the villageFound the people inconfusionHeard of all the misdemeanorsAll the malice and the mischiefOfthe cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis.
Hard his breath came through his nostrilsThrough his teeth he buzzed andmuttered Words of anger and resentmentHot and humminglike a hornet. "Iwill slay this Pau-Puk-KeewisSlay this mischief-maker!" said he."Not so long and wide the world isNot so rude and rough the way isThatmy wrath shall not attain himThat my vengeance shall not reach him!"
Then in swift pursuit departed Hiawatha and the hunters On the trail ofPau-Puk-KeewisThrough the forestwhere he passed itTo the headlands wherehe rested; But they found not Pau-Puk-KeewisOnly in the trampled grassesInthe whortleberry-bushesFound the couch where he had restedFound the impressof his body.
From the lowlands far beneath themFrom the Muskodaythe meadowPau-Puk-Keewisturning backwardMade a gesture of defianceMade a gesture ofderision; And aloud cried HiawathaFrom the summit of the mountains: "Notso long and wide the world isNot so rude and rough the way isBut my wrathshall overtake youAnd my vengeance shall attain you!"
Over rock and over riverThrough bushand brakeand forestRan thecunning Pau-Puk-Keewis; Like an antelope he boundedTill he came unto astreamlet In the middle of the forestTo a streamlet still and tranquilThathad overflowed its marginTo a dam made by the beaversTo a pond of quietwaterWhere knee-deep the trees were standingWhere the water lilies floatedWhere the rushes waved and whispered.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-KeewisOn the dam of trunks and branchesThroughwhose chinks the water spoutedO'er whose summit flowed the streamlet. From thebottom rose the beaverLooked with two great eyes of wonderEyes that seemedto ask a questionAt the strangerPau-Puk-Keewis.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-KeewisO'er his ankles flowed the streamletFlowedthe bright and silvery waterAnd he spake unto the beaverWith a smile hespake in this wise:
"O my friend Ahmeekthe beaverCool and pleasant Is the water; Let medive into the waterLet me rest there in your lodges; Change metoointo abeaver!"
Cautiously replied the beaverWith reserve he thus made answer: "Let mefirst consult the othersLet me ask the other beavers." Down he sank intothe waterHeavily sank heas a stone sinksDown among the leaves andbranchesBrown and matted at the bottom.
On the dam stood Pau-Puk-KeewisO'er his ankles flowed the streamletSpoutedthrough the chinks below himDashed upon the stones beneath himSpread sereneand calm before himAnd the sunshine and the shadows Fell in flecks and gleamsupon himFell in little shining patchesThrough the wavingrustling branches.
From the bottom rose the beaversSilently above the surface Rose one headand then anotherTill the pond seemed full of beaversFull of black andshining faces.
To the beavers Pau-Puk-Keewis Spake entreatingsaid in this wise: "Verypleasant Is your dwellingO my friends! and safe from danger; Can you notwithall your cunningAll your wisdom and contrivanceChange metoointo abeaver?"
"Yes!" replied Ahmeekthe beaverHe the King of all the beavers"Let yourself slide down among usDown into the tranquil water."
Down into the pond among them Silently sank Pau-Puk-Keewis; Black became hisshirt of deer-skinBlack his moccasins and leggingsIn a broad black tailbehind 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 makeme largerLarger than the other beavers." "Yes" the beaverchief responded"When our lodge below you enterIn our wigwam we willmake you Ten times larger than the others."
Thus into the clearbrown water Silently sank Pau-Puk-Keewis: Found the bottomcovered over With the trunks of trees and branchesHoards of food against thewinterPiles and heaps against the famine; Found the lodge with archingdoorwayLeading into spacious chambers.
Here they made him large and largerMade him largest of the beaversTentimes 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 beaversWhen there camea voiceof warning From the watchman at his station In the water-flags andliliesSaying"Here Is Hiawatha! Hiawatha with his hunters!"
Then they heard a cry above themHeard a shouting and a trampingHeard acrashing and a rushingAnd the water round and o'er them Sank and sucked awayin eddiesAnd they knew their dam was broken.
On the lodge's roof the hunters Leapedand broke it all asunder; Streamed thesunshine through the creviceSprang the beavers through the doorwayHidthemselves in deeper waterIn the channel of the streamlet; But the mightyPau-Puk-Keewis Could not pass beneath the doorway; He was puffed with pride andfeedingHe was swollen like a bladder.
Through the roof looked HiawathaCried aloud"O Pau-Puk-Keewis Vainare all your craft and cunningVain your manifold disguises! Well I know youPau-Puk-Keewis!" With their clubs they beat and bruised himBeat to deathpoor Pau-Puk-KeewisPounded him as maize is poundedTill his skull was crushedto pieces.
Six tall hunterslithe and limberBore him home on poles and branchesBorethe body of the beaver; But the ghostthe Jeebi in himThought and felt asPau-Puk-KeewisStill lived on as Pau-Puk-Keewis.
And it flutteredstroveand struggledWaving hitherwaving thitherAsthe curtains of a wigwam Struggle with their thongs of deer-skinWhen thewintry wind is blowing; Till it drew itself togetherTill it rose up from thebodyTill it took the form and features Of the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis Vanishinginto the forest.
But the wary Hiawatha Saw the figure ere it vanishedSaw the form ofPau-Puk-Keewis Glide into the soft blue shadow Of the pine-trees of the forest;Toward the squares of white beyond itToward an opening in the forest. Like awind it rushed and pantedBending all the boughs before itAnd behind itasthe rain comesCame the steps of Hiawatha.
To a lake with many islands Came the breathless Pau-Puk-KeewisWhere amongthe water-lilies Pishnekuhthe brantwere sailing; Through the tufts of rushesfloatingSteering through the reedy Islands. Now their broad black beaks theyliftedNow they plunged beneath the waterNow they darkened in the shadowNowthey brightened in the sunshine.
"Pishnekuh!" cried Pau-Puk-Keewis"Pishnekuh! my brothers!"said he"Change me to a brant with plumageWith a shining neck andfeathersMake me largeand make me largerTen times larger than theothers."
Straightway to a brant they changed himWith two huge and dusky pinionsWith a bosom smooth and roundedWith a bill like two great paddlesMade himlarger than the othersTen times larger than the largestJust asshoutingfrom the forestOn the shore stood Hiawatha.
Up they rose with cry and clamorWith a whir and beat of pinionsRose up fromthe reedy IslandsFrom the water-flags and lilies. And they said toPau-Puk-Keewis: "In your flyinglook not downwardTake good heed and looknot downwardLest some strange mischance should happenLest some great mishapbefall you!"
Fast and far they fled to northwardFast and far through mist and sunshineFed among the moors and fen-landsSlept among the reeds and rushes.
On the morrow as they journeyedBuoyed and lifted by the South-windWaftedonward by the South-windBlowing fresh and strong behind themRose a sound ofhuman voicesRose a clamor from beneath themFrom the lodges of a villageFrom the people miles beneath them.
For the people of the village Saw the flock of brant with wonderSaw thewings of Pau-Puk-Keewis Flapping far up in the etherBroader than two doorwaycurtains.
Pau-Puk-Keewis heard the shoutingKnew the voice of HiawathaKnew the outcryof IagooAndforgetful of the warningDrew his neck inand looked downwardAnd the wind that blew behind him Caught his mighty fan of feathersSent himwheelingwhirling downward!
All in vain did Pau-Puk-Keewis Struggle to regain his balance! Whirling roundand round and downwardHe beheld in turn the village And in turn the flockabove himSaw the village coming nearerAnd the flock receding fartherHeardthe voices growing louderHeard the shouting and the laughter; Saw no more theflocks above himOnly saw the earth beneath him; Dead out of the empty heavenDead among the shouting peopleWith a heavy sound and sullenFell the brantwith broken pinions.
But his soulhis ghosthis shadowStill survived as Pau-Puk-KeewisTookagain the form and features Of the handsome YenadizzeAnd again went rushingonwardFollowed fast by HiawathaCrying: "Not so wide the world isNotso long and rough the way IsBut my wrath shall overtake youBut my vengeanceshall attain you!"
And so near he cameso near himThat his hand was stretched to seize himHis right hand to seize and hold himWhen the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis Whirledand spun about in circlesFanned the air into a whirlwindDanced the dust andleaves about himAnd amid the whirling eddies Sprang into a hollow oak-treeChanged himself into a serpentGliding out through root and rubbish.
With his right hand Hiawatha Smote amain the hollow oak-treeRent it intoshreds and splintersLeft it lying there in fragments. But in vain; forPau-Puk-KeewisOnce again in human figureFull in sight ran on before himSped away in gust and whirlwindOn the shores of Gitche GumeeWestward by theBig-Sea-WaterCame unto the rocky headlandsTo the Pictured Rocks ofsandstoneLooking over lake and landscape.
And the Old Man of the MountainHe the Manito of MountainsOpened wide hisrocky doorwaysOpened wide his deep abyssesGiving Pau-Puk-Keewis shelter Inhis caverns dark and drearyBidding Pau-Puk-Keewis welcome To his gloomy lodgeof sandstone.
There without stood HiawathaFound the doorways closed against himWith hismittensMinjekahwunSmote great caverns in the sandstoneCried aloud in tonesof thunder"Open! I am Hiawatha!" But the Old Man of the MountainOpened notand made no answer From the silent crags of sandstoneFrom thegloomy rock abysses.
Then he raised his hands to heavenCalled imploring on the tempestCalledWaywassimothe lightningAnd the thunderAnnemeekee; And they came with nightand darknessSweeping down the Big-Sea-Water From the distant ThunderMountains; And the trembling Pau-Puk-Keewis Heard the footsteps of the thunderSaw the red eyes of the lightningWas afraidand crouched and trembled.
Then Waywassimothe lightningSmote the doorways of the cavernsWith hiswar-club smote the doorwaysSmote the jutting crags of sandstoneAnd thethunderAnnemeekeeShouted down into the cavernsSaying"Where isPau-Puk-Keewis!" And the crags felland beneath them Dead among the rockyruins Lay the cunning Pau-Puk-KeewisLay the handsome YenadizzeSlain in hisown human figure.
Ended were his wild adventuresEnded were his tricks and gambolsEnded allhis craft and cunningEnded all his mischief-makingAll his gambling and hisdancingAll his wooing of the maidens.
Then the noble Hiawatha Took his soulhis ghosthis shadowSpake and said:"O Pau-Puk-KeewisNever more in human figure Shall you search for newadventures' Never more with jest and laughter Dance the dust and leaves inwhirlwinds; But above there in the heavens You shall soar and sail in circles; Iwill change you to an eagleTo Keneuthe great war-eagleChief of all thefowls with feathersChief of Hiawatha's chickens."
And the name of Pau-Puk-Keewis Lingers still among the peopleLingers stillamong the singersAnd among the story-tellers; And in Winterwhen thesnow-flakes Whirl in eddies round the lodgesWhen the wind in gusty tumult O'erthe smoke-flue pipes and whistles"There" they cry"comesPau-Puk-KeewisHe is dancing through the villageHe is gathering in hisharvest!"
The Death of Kwasind
Far and wide among the nations Spread the name and fame of Kwasind; No man daredto strive with KwasindNo man could compete with Kwasind. But the mischievousPuk-WudjiesThey the envious Little PeopleThey the fairies and the pygmiesPlotted and conspired against him.
"If this hateful Kwasind" said they"If this greatoutrageous fellow Goes on thus a little longerTearing everything he touchesRending everything to piecesFilling all the world with wonderWhat becomes ofthe Puk-Wudjies? Who will care for the Puk-Wudjies? He will tread us down likemushroomsDrive us all into the waterGive our bodies to be eaten By thewicked Nee-ba-naw-baigsBy the Spirits of the water!
So the angry Little People All conspired against the Strong ManAll conspiredto murder KwasindYesto rid the world of KwasindThe audaciousoverbearingHeartlesshaughtydangerous Kwasind!
Now this wondrous strength of Kwasind In his crown alone was seated; In hiscrown too was his weakness; There alone could he be woundedNowhere else couldweapon pierce himNowhere else could weapon harm him.
Even there the only weapon That could wound himthat could slay himWas theseed-cone of the pine-treeWas the blue cone of the fir-tree. This wasKwasind's fatal secretKnown to no man among mortals; But the cunning LittlePeopleThe Puk-Wudjiesknew the secretKnew the only way to kill him.
So they gathered cones togetherGathered seed-cones of the pine-treeGathered blue cones of the fir-treeIn the woods by TaquamenawBrought them tothe river's marginHeaped them in great piles togetherWhere the red rocksfrom the margin Jutting overhang the river. There they lay in wait for KwasindThe malicious Little People.
`T was an afternoon in Summer; Very hot and still the air wasVery smooth thegliding riverMotionless the sleeping shadows: Insects glistened in thesunshineInsects skated on the waterFilled the drowsy air with buzzingWitha far resounding war-cry.
Down the river came the Strong ManIn his birch canoe came KwasindFloatingslowly down the current Of the sluggish TaquamenawVery languid with theweatherVery sleepy with the silence.
From the overhanging branchesFrom the tassels of the birch-treesSoft theSpirit of Sleep descended; By his airy hosts surroundedHis invisibleattendantsCame the Spirit of SleepNepahwin; Like a burnishedDush-kwo-ne-sheLike a dragon-flyhe hovered O'er the drowsy head of Kwasind.
To his ear there came a murmur As of waves upon a sea-shoreAs of far-offtumbling watersAs of winds among the pine-trees; And he felt upon his foreheadBlows of little airy war-clubsWielded by the slumbrous legions Of the Spiritof SleepNepahwinAs of some one breathing on him.
At the first blow of their war-clubsFell a drowsiness on Kwasind; At thesecond blow they smote himMotionless his paddle rested; At the thirdbeforehis vision Reeled the landscape Into darknessVery sound asleep was Kwasind.
So he floated down the riverLike a blind man seated uprightFloated downthe TaquamenawUnderneath the trembling birch-treesUnderneath the woodedheadlandsUnderneath the war encampment Of the pygmiesthe Puk-Wudjies.
There they stoodall armed and waitingHurled the pine-cones down upon himStruck him on his brawny shouldersOn his crown defenceless struck him."Death to Kwasind!" was the sudden War-cry of the Little People.
And he sideways swayed and tumbledSideways fell into the riverPlungedbeneath the sluggish water Headlongas an otter plunges; And the birch canoeabandonedDrifted empty down the riverBottom upward swerved and drifted:Nothing more was seen of Kwasind.
But the memory of the Strong Man Lingered long among the peopleAnd wheneverthrough the forest Raged and roared the wintry tempestAnd the branchestossedand troubledCreaked and groaned and split asunder"Kwasind!" criedthey; "that is Kwasind! He is gathering in his fire-wood!"
Never stoops the soaring vulture On his quarry in the desertOn the sick orwounded bisonBut another vulturewatching From his high aerial look-outSeesthe downward plungeand follows; And a third pursues the secondComing fromthe invisible etherFirst a speckand then a vultureTill the air is darkwith pinions.
So disasters come not singly; But as if they watched and waitedScanning oneanother's motionsWhen the first descendsthe others Followfollowgatheringflock-wise Round their victimsick and woundedFirst a shadowthen a sorrowTill the air is dark with anguish.
Nowo'er all the dreary North-landMighty Peboanthe WinterBreathing onthe lakes and riversInto stone had changed their waters. From his hair heshook the snow-flakesTill the plains were strewn with whitenessOneuninterrupted levelAs ifstoopingthe Creator With his hand had smoothedthem over. Through the forestwide and wailingRoamed the hunter on hissnow-shoes; In the village worked the womenPounded maizeor dressed thedeer-skin; And the young men played together On the ice the noisy ball-playOnthe plain the dance of snow-shoes.
One dark eveningafter sundownIn her wigwam Laughing Water Sat with oldNokomiswaiting For the steps of Hiawatha Homeward from the hunt returning.
On their faces gleamed the firelightPainting them with streaks of crimsonIn the eyes of old Nokomis Glimmered like the watery moonlightIn the eyes ofLaughing Water Glistened like the sun in water; And behind them crouched theirshadows In the corners of the wigwamAnd the smoke In wreaths above themClimbed and crowded through the smoke-flue.
Then the curtain of the doorway From without was slowly lifted; Brighter glowedthe fire a momentAnd a moment swerved the smoke-wreathAs two women enteredsoftlyPassed the doorway uninvitedWithout word of salutationWithout signof recognitionSat down in the farthest cornerCrouching low among theshadows.
From their aspect and their garmentsStrangers seemed they in the village;Very pale and haggard were theyAs they sat there sad and silentTremblingcowering with the shadows.
Was it the wind above the smoke-flueMuttering down into the wigwam? Was it theowlthe Koko-kohoHooting from the dismal forest? Sure a voice said in thesilence: "These are corpses clad in garmentsThese are ghosts that come tohaunt youFrom the kingdom of PonemahFrom the land of the Hereafter!"
Homeward now came Hiawatha From his hunting in the forestWith the snow uponhis tressesAnd the red deer on his shoulders. At the feet of Laughing WaterDown he threw his lifeless burden; Noblerhandsomer she thought himThan whenfirst he came to woo herFirst threw down the deer before herAs a token ofhis wishesAs a promise of the future.
Then he turned and saw the strangersCoweringcrouching with the shadows; Saidwithin himself"Who are they? What strange guests has Minnehaha?" Buthe questioned not the strangersOnly spake to bid them welcome To his lodgehis foodhis fireside.
When the evening meal was readyAnd the deer had been dividedBoth thepallid gueststhe strangersSpringing from among the shadowsSeized upon thechoicest portionsSeized the white fat of the roebuckSet apart for LaughingWaterFor the wife of Hiawatha; Without askingwithout thankingEagerlydevoured the morselsFlitted back among the shadows In the corner of thewigwam.
Not a word spake HiawathaNot a motion made NokomisNot a gesture LaughingWater; Not a change came o'er their features; Only Minnehaha softly Whisperedsaying"They are famished; Let them do what best delights them; Let themeatfor they are famished."
Many a daylight dawned and darkenedMany a night shook off the daylight Asthe pine shakes off the snow-flakes From the midnight of its branches; Day byday the guests unmoving Sat there silent in the wigwam; But by nightin stormor starlightForth they went into the forestBringing fire-wood to the wigwamBringing pine-cones for the burningAlways sad and always silent.
And whenever Hiawatha Came from fishing or from huntingWhen the evening mealwas readyAnd the food had been dividedGliding from their darksome cornerCame the pallid gueststhe strangersSeized upon the choicest portions Setaside for Laughing WaterAnd without rebuke or question Flitted back among theshadows.
Never once had Hiawatha By a word or look reproved them; Never once had oldNokomis Made a gesture of impatience; Never once had Laughing Water Shownresentment at the outrage. All had they endured in silenceThat the rights ofguest and strangerThat the virtue of free-givingBy a look might not belessenedBy a word might not be broken.
Once at midnight HiawathaEver wakefulever watchfulIn the wigwamdimlylighted By the brands that still were burningBy the glimmeringflickeringfirelight Heard a sighingoft repeated
From his couch rose HiawathaFrom his shaggy hides of bisonPushed asidethe deer-skin curtainSaw the pallid gueststhe shadowsSitting upright ontheir couchesWeeping in the silent midnight.
And he said: "O guests! why is it That your hearts are so afflictedThatyou sob so in the midnight? Has perchance the old NokomisHas my wifemyMinnehahaWronged or grieved you by unkindnessFailed in hospitableduties?"
Then the shadows ceased from weepingCeased from sobbing and lamentingAndthey saidwith gentle voices: "We are ghosts of the departedSouls ofthose who once were with you. From the realms of Chibiabos Hither have we cometo try youHither have we come to warn you.
"Cries of grief and lamentation Reach us in the Blessed Islands; Cries ofanguish from the livingCalling back their friends departedSadden us withuseless sorrow. Therefore have we come to try you; No one knows usno one heedsus. We are but a burden to youAnd we see that the departed Have no place amongthe living.
"Think of thisO Hiawatha! Speak of it to all the peopleThathenceforward and forever They no more with lamentations Sadden the souls of thedeparted In the Islands of the Blessed.
"Do not lay such heavy burdens In the graves of those you buryNot suchweight of furs and wampumNot such weight of pots and kettlesFor the spiritsfaint beneath them. Only give them food to carryOnly give them fire to lightthem.
"Four days is the spirit's journey To the land of ghosts and shadowsFour its lonely night encampments; Four times must their fires be lighted.Thereforewhen the dead are buriedLet a fireas night approachesFour timeson the grave be kindledThat the soul upon its journey May not lack thecheerful firelightMay not grope about in darkness.
"Farewellnoble Hiawatha! We have put you to the trialTo the proof haveput your patienceBy the insult of our presenceBy the outrage of our actions.We have found you great and noble. Fail not in the greater trialFaint not Inthe harder struggle."
When they ceaseda sudden darkness Fell and filled the silent wigwam.Hiawatha heard a rustle As of garments trailing by himHeard the curtain of thedoorway Lifted by a hand he saw notFelt the cold breath of the night airFora moment saw the starlight; But he saw the ghosts no longerSaw no more thewandering spirits From the kingdom of PonemahFrom the land of the Hereafter.
Oh the long and dreary Winter! Oh the cold and cruel Winter! Ever thickerthickerthicker Froze the ice on lake and riverEver deeperdeeperdeeperFell the snow o'er all the landscapeFell the covering snowand driftedThrough the forestround the village. Hardly from his buried wigwam Could thehunter force a passage; With his mittens and his snow-shoes Vainly walked hethrough the forestSought for bird or beast and found noneSaw no track ofdeer or rabbitIn the snow beheld no footprintsIn the ghastlygleamingforest Felland could not rise from weaknessPerished there from cold andhunger.
Oh the famine and the fever! Oh the wasting of the famine! Oh the blasting ofthe 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 themHungry wasthe sky above themAnd the hungry stars in heaven Like the eyes of wolvesglared at them!
Into Hiawatha's wigwam Came two other guestsas silent As the ghosts wereand as gloomyWaited not to be invited Did not parley at the doorway Sat therewithout word of welcome In the seat of Laughing Water; Looked with haggard eyesand hollow At the face of Laughing Water.
And the foremost said: "Behold me! I am FamineBukadawin!" And theother said: "Behold me! I am FeverAhkosewin!"
And the lovely Minnehaha Shuddered as they looked upon herShuddered at thewords they utteredLay down on her bed in silenceHid her facebut made noanswer; Lay there tremblingfreezingburning At the looks they cast upon herAt the fearful words they uttered.
Forth into the empty forest Rushed the maddened Hiawatha; In his heart wasdeadly sorrowIn his face a stony firmness; On his brow the sweat of anguishStartedbut it froze and fell not.
Wrapped in furs and armed for huntingWith his mighty bow of ash-treeWithhis quiver full of arrowsWith his mittensMinjekahwunInto the vast andvacant forest On his snow-shoes strode he forward.
"Gitche Manitothe Mighty!" Cried he with his face uplifted In thatbitter hour of anguish"Give your children foodO father! Give us foodor we must perish! Give me food for MinnehahaFor my dying Minnehaha!"
Through the far-resounding forestThrough the forest vast and vacant Rangthat cry of desolationBut there came no other answer Than the echo of hiscryingThan the echo of the woodlands"Minnehaha! Minnehaha!"
All day long roved Hiawatha In that melancholy forestThrough the shadow ofwhose thicketsIn the pleasant days of SummerOf that ne'er forgotten SummerHe had brought his young wife homeward From the land of the Dacotahs; When thebirds sang in the thicketsAnd the streamlets laughed and glistenedAnd theair was full of fragranceAnd the lovely Laughing Water Said with voice thatdid not tremble"I will follow youmy husband!"
In the wigwam with NokomisWith those gloomy guests that watched herWiththe Famine and the FeverShe was lyingthe BelovedShethe dying Minnehaha.
"Hark!" she said; "I hear a rushingHear a roaring and arushingHear the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to me from a distance!""Nomy child!" said old Nokomis"`T is the night-wind in thepine-trees!" "Look!" she said; "I see my father Standinglonely at his doorwayBeckoning to me from his wigwam In the land of theDacotahs!" "Nomy child!" said old Nokomis. "`T is thesmokethat waves and beckons!" "Ah!" said she"the eyes ofPauguk Glare upon me in the darknessI can feel his icy fingers Clasping mineamid the darkness! Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"
And the desolate HiawathaFar away amid the forestMiles away among themountainsHeard that sudden cry of anguishHeard the voice of MinnehahaCalling to him in the darkness"Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"
Over snow-fields waste and pathlessUnder snow-encumbered branchesHomewardhurried HiawathaEmpty-handedheavy-heartedHeard Nokomis moaningwailing:"Wahonowin! Wahonowin! Would that I had perished for youWould that I weredead as you are! Wahonowin!. Wahonowin!"
And he rushed into the wigwamSaw the old Nokomis slowly Rocking to and froand moaningSaw his lovely Minnehaha Lying dead and cold before himAnd hisbursting heart within him Uttered such a cry of anguishThat the forest moanedand shudderedThat the very stars in heaven Shook and trembled with hisanguish.
Then he sat downstill and speechlessOn the bed of MinnehahaAt the feet ofLaughing WaterAt those willing feetthat never More would lightly run to meethimNever more would lightly follow.
With both hands his face he coveredSeven long days and nights he sat thereAs if in a swoon he sat thereSpeechlessmotionlessunconscious Of thedaylight or the darkness.
Then they buried Minnehaha; In the snow a grave they made her In the forest deepand darksome Underneath the moaning hemlocks; Clothed her in her richestgarments Wrapped her in her robes of ermineCovered her with snowlike ermine;Thus they buried Minnehaha.
And at night a fire was lightedOn her grave four times was kindledFor hersoul upon its journey To the Islands of the Blessed. From his doorway HiawathaSaw it burning In the forestLighting up the gloomy hemlocks; From hissleepless bed uprisingFrom the bed of MinnehahaStood and watched it at thedoorwayThat it might not be extinguished
Might not leave her in the darkness. "Farewell!" said he"Minnehaha! FarewellO my Laughing Water! All my heart is buried with youAll my thoughts go onward with you! Come not back again to laborCome not backagain to sufferWhere the Famine and the Fever Wear the heart and waste thebody. Soon my task will be completedSoon your footsteps I shall follow To theIslands of the BlessedTo the Kingdom of PonemahTo the Land of theHereafter!"
The White Man's Foot
In his lodge beside a riverClose beside a frozen riverSat an old mansadand lonely. White his hair was as a snow-drift; Dull and low his fire wasburningAnd the old man shook and trembledFolded in his WaubewyonIn histattered white-skin-wrapperHearing nothing but the tempest As it roared alongthe forestSeeing nothing but the snow-stormAs it whirled and hissed anddrifted.
All the coals were white with ashesAnd the fire was slowly dyingAs a youngmanwalking lightlyAt the open doorway entered. Red with blood of youth hischeeks wereSoft his eyesas stars In Spring-timeBound his forehead was withgrasses; Bound and plumed with scented grassesOn his lips a smile of beautyFilling all the lodge with sunshineIn his hand a bunch of blossoms Filling allthe lodge with sweetness.
"Ahmy son!" exclaimed the old man"Happy are my eyes to seeyou. Sit here on the mat beside meSit here by the dying embersLet us passthe night togetherTell me of your strange adventuresOf the lands where youhave travelled; I will tell you of my prowessOf my many deeds of wonder."
From his pouch he drew his peace-pipeVery old and strangely fashioned; Made ofred stone was the pipe-headAnd the stem a reed with feathers; Filled the pipewith bark of willowPlaced a burning coal upon itGave it to his guestthestrangerAnd began to speak in this wise: "When I blow my breath about meWhen I breathe upon the landscapeMotionless are all the riversHard as stonebecomes the water!"
And the young man answeredsmiling: "When I blow my breath about meWhen I breathe upon the landscapeFlowers spring up o'er all the meadowsSingingonward 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 branchesFall and fade and die and witherFor I breatheand lo! they are not. From thewaters and the marshesRise the wild goose and the heronFly away to distantregionsFor I speakand lo! they are not. And where'er my footsteps wanderAll the wild beasts of the forest Hide themselves in holes and cavernsAnd theearth becomes as flintstone!"
"When I shake my flowing ringlets" Said the young mansoftlylaughing"Showers of rain fall warm and welcomePlants lift up theirheads rejoicingBack Into their lakes and marshes Come the wild goose and theheronHomeward shoots the arrowy swallowSing the bluebird and the robinAndwhere'er my footsteps wanderAll the meadows wave with blossomsAll thewoodlands ring with musicAll the trees are dark with foliage!"
While they spakethe night departed: From the distant realms of WabunFrom hisshining lodge of silverLike a warrior robed and paintedCame the sunandsaid"Behold me Gheezisthe great sunbehold me!"
Then the old man's tongue was speechless And the air grew warm and pleasantAnd upon the wigwam sweetly Sang the bluebird and the robinAnd the streambegan to murmurAnd a scent of growing grasses Through the lodge was gentlywafted.
And Segwunthe youthful strangerMore distinctly in the daylight Saw the icyface before him; It was Peboanthe Winter!
From his eyes the tears were flowingAs from melting lakes the streamletsAnd his body shrunk and dwindled As the shouting sun ascendedTill into the airit fadedTill into the ground it vanishedAnd the young man saw before himOnthe hearth-stone of the wigwamWhere the fire had smoked and smoulderedSawthe earliest flower of Spring-timeSaw the Beauty of the Spring-timeSaw theMiskodeed in blossom.
Thus it was that in the North-land After that unheard-of coldnessThatintolerable WinterCame the Spring with all its splendorAll its birds and allits blossomsAll its flowers and leaves and grasses.
Sailing on the wind to northwardFlying in great flockslike arrowsLikehuge arrows shot through heavenPassed the swanthe MahnahbezeeSpeakingalmost as a man speaks; And in long lines wavingbending Like a bow-stringsnapped asunderCame the white gooseWaw-be-wawa; And in pairsor singlyflyingMahng the loonwith clangorous pinionsThe blue herontheShuh-shuh-gahAnd the grousethe Mushkodasa.
In the thickets and the meadows Piped the bluebirdthe OwaissaOn the summitof the lodges Sang the robinthe OpecheeIn the covert of the pine-trees Cooedthe pigeonthe Omemee; And the sorrowing HiawathaSpeechless in his infinitesorrowHeard their voices calling to himWent forth from his gloomy doorwayStood and gazed into the heavenGazed upon the earth and waters.
From his wanderings far to eastwardFrom the regions of the morningFromthe shining land of WabunHomeward now returned IagooThe great travellerthegreat boasterFull of new and strange adventuresMarvels many and manywonders.
And the people of the village Listened to him as he told them Of his marvellousadventuresLaughing answered him in this wise: "Ugh! it is indeed Iagoo!No one else beholds such wonders!"
He had seenhe saida water Bigger than the Big-Sea-WaterBroader than theGitche GumeeBitter so that none could drink it! At each other looked thewarriorsLooked the women at each otherSmiledand said"It cannot beso!" Kaw!" they saidit cannot be so!"
O'er itsaid heo'er this water Came a great canoe with pinionsA canoe withwings came flyingBigger than a grove of pine-treesTaller than the tallesttree-tops! And the old men and the women Looked and tittered at each other;"Kaw!" they said"we don't believe it!"
From its mouthhe saidto greet himCame Waywassimothe lightningCamethe thunderAnnemeekee! And the warriors and the women Laughed aloud at poorIagoo; "Kaw!" they said"what tales you tell us!"
In itsaid hecame a peopleIn the great canoe with pinions Camehe saidahundred warriors; Painted white were all their faces And with hair their chinswere covered! And the warriors and the women Laughed and shouted in derisionLike the ravens on the tree-topsLike the crows upon the hemlocks."Kaw!" they said"what lies you tell us! Do not think that webelieve them!"
Only Hiawatha laughed notBut he gravely spake and answered To their jeeringand their jesting: "True is all Iagoo tells us; I have seen it in a visionSeen the great canoe with pinionsSeen the people with white facesSeen thecoming of this bearded People of the wooden vessel From the regions of themorningFrom the shining land of Wabun.
"Gitche Manitothe MightyThe Great Spiritthe CreatorSends themhither on his errand. Sends them to us with his message. Wheresoe'er they movebefore them Swarms the stinging flythe AhmoSwarms the beethe honey-maker;Wheresoe'er they treadbeneath them Springs a flower unknown among usSpringsthe White-man's Foot in blossom.
"Let us welcomethenthe strangersHail them as our friends andbrothersAnd the heart's right hand of friendship Give them when they come tosee us. Gitche Manitothe MightySaid this to me in my vision.
"I beheldtooin that vision All the secrets of the futureOf thedistant days that shall be. I beheld the westward marches Of the unknowncrowded nations. All the land was full of peopleRestlessstrugglingtoilingstrivingSpeaking many tonguesyet feeling But one heart-beat in their bosoms.In the woodlands rang their axesSmoked their towns in all the valleysOverall the lakes and rivers Rushed their great canoes of thunder.
"Then a darkerdrearier vision Passed before mevague and cloud-like;I beheld our nation scatteredAll forgetful of my counselsWeakenedwarringwith each other: Saw the remnants of our people Sweeping westwardwild andwofulLike the cloud-rack of a tempestLike the withered leaves ofAutumn!"
By the shore of Gitche GumeeBy the shining Big-Sea-WaterAt the doorway ofhis wigwamIn the pleasant Summer morningHiawatha stood and waited. All theair was full of freshnessAll the earth was bright and joyousAnd before himthrough the sunshineWestward toward the neighboring forest Passed in goldenswarms the AhmoPassed the beesthe honey-makersBurningsinging In thesunshine.
Bright above him shone the heavensLevel spread the lake before him; Fromits bosom leaped the sturgeonSparklingflashing in the sunshine; On itsmargin the great forest Stood reflected in the waterEvery tree-top had itsshadowMotionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawatha Gone was every trace of sorrowAs the fog from offthe waterAs the mist from off the meadow. With a smile of joy and triumphWith a look of exultationAs of one who in a vision Sees what is to bebut isnotStood and waited Hiawatha.
Toward the sun his hands were liftedBoth the palms spread out against itAnd between the parted fingers Fell the sunshine on his featuresFlecked withlight his naked shouldersAs it falls and flecks an oak-tree Through the riftedleaves and branches.
O'er the water floatingflyingSomething in the hazy distanceSomething inthe mists of morningLoomed and lifted from the waterNow seemed floatingnowseemed flyingComing nearernearernearer.
Was it Shingebis the diver? Or the pelicanthe Shada? Or the herontheShuh-shuh-gah? Or the white gooseWaw-be-wawaWith the water drippingflashingFrom its glossy neck and feathers?
It was neither goose nor diverNeither pelican nor heronO'er the waterfloatingflyingThrough the shining mist of morningBut a birch canoe withpaddlesRisingsinking on the waterDrippingflashing in the sunshine; Andwithin it came a people From the distant land of WabunFrom the farthest realmsof morning Came the Black-Robe chiefthe ProphetHe the Priest of PrayerthePale-faceWith his guides and his companions.
And the noble HiawathaWith his hands aloft extendedHeld aloft in sign ofwelcomeWaitedfull of exultationTill the birch canoe with paddles Grated onthe shining pebblesStranded on the sandy marginTill the Black-Robe chiefthe Pale-faceWith the cross upon his bosomLanded on the sandy margin.
Then the joyous Hiawatha Cried aloud and spake in this wise: "Beautiful isthe sunO strangersWhen you come so far to see us! All our town in peaceawaits youAll our doors stand open for you; You shall enter all our wigwamsFor the heart's right hand we give you.
"Never bloomed the earth so gaylyNever shone the sun so brightlyAsto-day they shine and blossom When you come so far to see us! Never was our lakeso tranquilNor so free from rocksand sand-bars; For your birch canoe inpassing Has removed both rock and sand-bar.
"Never before had our tobacco Such a sweet and pleasant flavorNever thebroad leaves of our cornfields Were so beautiful to look onAs they seem to usthis morningWhen you come so far to see us!'
And the Black-Robe chief made answerStammered In his speech a littleSpeaking words yet unfamiliar: "Peace be with youHiawathaPeace be withyou and your peoplePeace of prayerand peace of pardonPeace of Christandjoy of Mary!"
Then the generous Hiawatha Led the strangers to his wigwamSeated them on skinsof bisonSeated them on skins of ermineAnd the careful old Nokomis Broughtthem food in bowls of basswoodWater brought in birchen dippersAnd thecalumetthe peace-pipeFilled and lighted for their smoking.
All the old men of the villageAll the warriors of the nationAll theJossakeedsthe ProphetsThe magiciansthe WabenosAnd the Medicine-mentheMedasCame to bid the strangers welcome; "It is well"they said"O brothersThat you come so far to see us!"
In a circle round the doorwayWith their pipes they sat In silenceWaiting tobehold the strangersWaiting to receive their message; Till the Black-Robechiefthe Pale-faceFrom the wigwam came to greet themStammering in hisspeech a littleSpeaking words yet unfamiliar; "It Is well" theysaid"O brotherThat you come so far to see us!"
Then the Black-Robe chiefthe ProphetTold his message to the peopleToldthe purport of his missionTold them of the Virgin MaryAnd her blessed Sonthe SaviourHow in distant lands and ages He had lived on earth as we do; Howhe fastedprayedand labored; How the Jewsthe tribe accursedMocked himscourged himcrucified him; How he rose from where they laid himWalked againwith his disciplesAnd ascended into heaven.
And the chiefs made answersaying: "We have listened to your messageWehave heard your words of wisdomWe will think on what you tell us. It is wellfor usO brothersThat you come so far to see us!"
Then they rose up and departed Each one homeward to his wigwamTo the youngmen and the women Told the story of the strangers Whom the Master of Life hadsent them From the shining land of Wabun.
Heavy with the heat and silence Grew the afternoon of Summer; With a drowsysound the forest Whispered round the sultry wigwamWith a sound of sleep thewater Rippled on the beach below it; From the cornfields shrill and ceaselessSang the grasshopperPah-puk-keena; And the guests of HiawathaWeary with theheat of SummerSlumbered in the sultry wigwam.
Slowly o'er the simmering landscape Fell the evening's dusk and coolnessAndthe long and level sunbeams Shot their spears into the forestBreaking throughits shields of shadowRushed into each secret ambushSearched each thicketdinglehollow; Still the guests of Hiawatha Slumbered In the silent wigwam.
From his place rose HiawathaBade farewell to old NokomisSpake in whispersspake in this wiseDid not wake the gueststhat slumbered.
"I am goingO NokomisOn a long and distant journeyTo the portals ofthe Sunset. To the regions of the home-windOf the Northwest-WindKeewaydin.But these guests I leave behind meIn your watch and ward I leave them; Seethat never harm comes near themSee that never fear molests themNever dangernor suspicionNever want of food or shelterIn the lodge of Hiawatha!"
Forth into the village went heBade farewell to all the warriorsBade farewellto all the young menSpake persuadingspake in this wise:
I am goingO my peopleOn a long and distant journey; Many moons and manywinters Will have comeand will have vanishedEre I come again to see you. Butmy guests I leave behind me; Listen to their words of wisdomListen to thetruth they tell youFor the Master of Life has sent them From the land of lightand morning!"
On the shore stood HiawathaTurned and waved his hand at parting; On the clearand luminous water Launched his birch canoe for sailingFrom the pebbles of themargin 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 rednessBurnedthe broad skylike a prairieLeft upon the level water One long track andtrail of splendorDown whose streamas down a riverWestwardwestwardHiawatha Sailed into the fiery sunsetSailed into the purple vaporsSailedinto the dusk of evening:
And the people from the margin Watched him floatingrisingsinkingTill thebirch canoe seemed lifted High into that sea of splendorTill it sank into thevapors Like the new moon slowlyslowly Sinking in the purple distance.
And they said"Farewell forever!" Said"FarewellOHiawatha!" And the forestsdark and lonelyMoved through all their depthsof darknessSighed"FarewellO Hiawatha!" And the waves upon themargin Risingrippling on the pebblesSobbed"FarewellOHiawatha!" And the heronthe Shuh-shuh-gahFrom her haunts among thefen-landsScreamed"FarewellO Hiawatha!"
Thus departed HiawathaHiawatha the BelovedIn the glory of the sunset. Inthe purple mists of eveningTo the regions of the home-windOf theNorthwest-WindKeewaydinTo the Islands of the BlessedTo the Kingdom ofPonemahTo the Land of the Hereafter!
Adjidau'mothe red squirrel
Apuk'wa. a bulrush
Baim-wa'wathe sound of the thunder
Chemaun'a birch canoe
Chibia'bosa musician; friend of Hiawatha; ruler of the Land of Spirits
Dahin'dathe bull frog
Dush-kwo-ne'-she or Kwo-ne'-shethe dragon fly
Esashame upon you
Gitche Gu'meeThe Big-Sea-WaterLake Superior
Gitche Man'itothe Great Spiritthe Master of Life
Hiawa'thathe Prophet. the Teacherson of Mudjekeewisthe West-Wind andWenonahdaughter of Nokomis
Ia'gooa great boaster and story-teller
Inin'ewugmenor pawns in the Game of the Bowl
Jee'bia ghosta spirit
Keeway'dinthe Northwest windthe Home-wind
Keneu'the great war-eagle
Kuntasoo'the Game of Plumstones
Kwa'sindthe Strong Man
Kwo-ne'-sheor Dush-kwo-ne'-shethe dragon-fly
Megissog'wonthe great Pearl-Feathera magicianand the Manito of Wealth
Minneha'haLaughing Water; wife of Hiawatha; a water-fall in a streamrunning into the Mississippi between Fort Snelling and the Falls of St. Anthony
Minne-wa'waa pleasant soundas of the wind in the trees
Mishe-Mo'kwathe Great Bear
Mishe-Nah'mathe Great Sturgeon
Miskodeed'the Spring-Beautythe Claytonia Virginica
Moon of Bright NightsApril
Moon of LeavesMay
Moon of StrawberriesJune
Moon of the Falling LeavesSeptember
Moon of Snow-shoesNovember
Mudjekee'wisthe West-Wind; father of Hiawatha
Mudway-aush'kasound of waves on a shore
Na'gow Wudj'oothe Sand Dunes of Lake Superior
Noko'misa grandmothermother of Wenonah
Okahha'wisthe fresh-water herring
Osse'oSon of the Evening Star
Oweenee'wife of Osseo
Ozawa'beeka round piece of brass or copper in the Game of the Bowl
Pau-Puk-Kee'wisthe handsome Yenadizzethe son of Storm Fool
Pem'icanmeat of the deer or buffalo dried and pounded
Puk-Wudj'ieslittle wild men of the woods; pygmies
Shesh'ebwugducks; pieces in the Game of the Bowl
Shin'gebisthe diveror grebe
Shuh-shuh-gah'the blue heron
Unktahee'the God of Water
Wabas'sothe rabbitthe North
Wabe'noa magiciana juggler
Wa'bun An'nungthe Star of the Eastthe Morning Star
Wahono'wina cry of lamentation
Waubewy'ona white skin wrapper
Wa'wathe wild goose
Waw-be-wa'wathe white goose
Weno'nahthe eldest daughter; Hiawatha's motherdaughter of Nokomis
Yenadiz'zean idler and gambler; an Indian dandy