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XV Hiawatha's Lamentation

 

In those days the Evil Spirits,

All the Manitos of mischief,

Fearing Hiawatha's wisdom,

And his love for Chibiabos,

Jealous of their faithful friendship,

And their noble words and actions,

Made at length a league against them,

To molest them and destroy them.

Hiawatha, wise and wary,

Often said to Chibiabos,

"O my brother! do not leave me,

Lest the Evil Spirits harm you!"

Chibiabos, young and heedless,

Laughing shook his coal-black tresses,

Answered ever sweet and childlike,

"Do not fear for me, O brother!

Harm and evil come not near me!"

Once when Peboan, the Winter,

Roofed with ice the Big-Sea-Water,

When the snow-flakes, whirling downward,

Hissed among the withered oak-leaves,

Changed the pine-trees into wigwams,

Covered all the earth with silence,

Armed with arrows, shod with snow-shoes,

Heeding not his brother's warning,

Fearing not the Evil Spirits,

Forth to hunt the deer with antlers

All alone went Chibiabos.

Right across the Big-Sea-Water

Sprang with speed the deer before him.

With the wind and snow he followed,

O'er the treacherous ice he followed,

Wild with all the fierce commotion

And the rapture of the hunting.

But beneath, the Evil Spirits

Lay in ambush, waiting for him,

Broke the treacherous ice beneath him,

Dragged him downward to the bottom,

Buried in the sand his body.

Unktahee, the god of water,

He the god of the Dacotahs,

Drowned him in the deep abysses

Of the lake of Gitche Gumee.

From the headlands Hiawatha

Sent forth such a wail of anguish,

Such a fearful lamentation,

That the bison paused to listen,

And the wolves howled from the prairies,

And the thunder in the distance

Starting answered "Baim-wawa!"

Then his face with black he painted,

With his robe his head he covered,

In his wigwam sat lamenting,

Seven long weeks he sat lamenting,

Uttering still this moan of sorrow:

"He is dead, the sweet musician!

He the sweetest of all singers!

He has gone from us forever,

He has moved a little nearer

To the Master of all music,

To the Master of all singing!

O my brother, Chibiabos!"

And the melancholy fir-trees

Waved their dark green fans above him,

Waved their purple cones above him,

Sighing with him to console him,

Mingling with his lamentation

Their complaining, their lamenting.

Came the Spring, and all the forest

Looked in vain for Chibiabos;

Sighed the rivulet, Sebowisha,

Sighed the rushes in the meadow.

From the tree-tops sang the bluebird,

Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,

"Chibiabos! Chibiabos!

He is dead, the sweet musician!"

From the wigwam sang the robin,

Sang the robin, the Opechee,

"Chibiabos! Chibiabos!

He is dead, the sweetest singer!"

And at night through all the forest

Went the whippoorwill complaining,

Wailing went the Wawonaissa,

"Chibiabos! Chibiabos!

He is dead, the sweet musician!



He the sweetest of all singers!"

Then the Medicine-men, the Medas,

The magicians, the Wabenos,

And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets,

Came to visit Hiawatha;

Built a Sacred Lodge beside him,

To appease him, to console him,

Walked in silent, grave procession,

Bearing each a pouch of healing,

Skin of beaver, lynx, or otter,

Filled with magic roots and simples,

Filled with very potent medicines.

When he heard their steps approaching,

Hiawatha ceased lamenting,

Called no more on Chibiabos;

Naught he questioned, naught he answered,

But his mournful head uncovered,

From his face the mourning colors

Washed he slowly and in silence,

Slowly and in silence followed

Onward to the Sacred Wigwam.

There a magic drink they gave him,

Made of Nahma-wusk, the spearmint,

And Wabeno-wusk, the yarrow,

Roots of power, and herbs of healing;

Beat their drums, and shook their rattles;

Chanted singly and in chorus,

Mystic songs like these, they chanted.

"I myself, myself! behold me!

`T Is the great Gray Eagle talking;

Come, ye white crows, come and hear him!

The loud-speaking thunder helps me;

All the unseen spirits help me;

I can hear their voices calling,

All around the sky I hear them!

I can blow you strong, my brother,

I can heal you, Hiawatha!"

"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus,

"Wayha-way!" the mystic chorus.

Friends of mine are all the serpents!

Hear me shake my skin of hen-hawk!

Mahng, the white loon, I can kill him;

I can shoot your heart and kill it!

I can blow you strong, my brother,

I can heal you, Hiawatha !"

"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus,

"Wayhaway!" the mystic chorus.

"I myself, myself! the prophet!

When I speak the wigwam trembles,

Shakes the Sacred Lodge with terror,

Hands unseen begin to shake it!

When I walk, the sky I tread on

Bends and makes a noise beneath me!

I can blow you strong, my brother!

Rise and speak, O Hiawatha!"

"Hi-au-ha!" replied the chorus,

"Way-ha-way!" the mystic chorus.

Then they shook their medicine-pouches

O'er the head of Hiawatha,

Danced their medicine-dance around him;

And upstarting wild and haggard,

Like a man from dreams awakened,

He was healed of all his madness.

As the clouds are swept from heaven,

Straightway from his brain departed

All his moody melancholy;

As the ice is swept from rivers,

Straightway from his heart departed

All his sorrow and affliction.

Then they summoned Chibiabos

From his grave beneath the waters,

From the sands of Gitche Gumee

Summoned Hiawatha's brother.

And so mighty was the magic

Of that cry and invocation,

That he heard it as he lay there

Underneath the Big-Sea-Water;

From the sand he rose and listened,

Heard the music and the singing,

Came, obedient to the summons,

To the doorway of the wigwam,

But to enter they forbade him.

Through a chink a coal they gave him,

Through the door a burning fire-brand;

Ruler in the Land of Spirits,

Ruler o'er the dead, they made him,

Telling him a fire to kindle

For all those that died thereafter,

Camp-fires for their night encampments

On their solitary journey

To the kingdom of Ponemah,

To the land of the Hereafter.

From the village of his childhood,

From the homes of those who knew him,

Passing silent through the forest,

Like a smoke-wreath wafted sideways,

Slowly vanished Chibiabos!

Where he passed, the branches moved not,

Where he trod, the grasses bent not,

And the fallen leaves of last year

Made no sound beneath his footstep.

Four whole days he journeyed onward

Down the pathway of the dead men;

On the dead-man's strawberry feasted,

Crossed the melancholy river,

On the swinging log he crossed it,

Came unto the Lake of Silver,

In the Stone Canoe was carried

To the Islands of the Blessed,

To the land of ghosts and shadows.

On that journey, moving slowly,

Many weary spirits saw he,

Panting under heavy burdens,

Laden with war-clubs, bows and arrows,

Robes of fur, and pots and kettles,

And with food that friends had given

For that solitary journey.

"Ay! why do the living," said they,

"Lay such heavy burdens on us!

Better were it to go naked,

Better were it to go fasting,

Than to bear such heavy burdens

On our long and weary journey!"

Forth then issued Hiawatha,

Wandered eastward, wandered westward,

Teaching men the use of simples

And the antidotes for poisons,

And the cure of all diseases.

Thus was first made known to mortals

All the mystery of Medamin,

All the sacred art of healing.

XVI Pau-Puk-Keewis

You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis,

He, the handsome Yenadizze,

Whom the people called the Storm-Fool,

Vexed the village with disturbance;

You shall hear of all his mischief,

And his flight from Hiawatha,

And his wondrous transmigrations,

And the end of his adventures.

On the shores of Gitche Gumee,

On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo,

By the shining Big-Sea-Water

Stood the lodge of Pau-Puk-Keewis.

It was he who in his frenzy

Whirled these drifting sands together,

On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo,

When, among the guests assembled,

He so merrily and madly

Danced at Hiawatha's wedding,

Danced the Beggar's Dance to please them.

Now, in search of new adventures,

From his lodge went Pau-Puk-Keewis,

Came with speed into the village,

Found the young men all assembled

In the lodge of old Iagoo,

Listening to his monstrous stories,

To his wonderful adventures.

He was telling them the story

Of Ojeeg, the Summer-Maker,

How he made a hole in heaven,

How he climbed up into heaven,

And let out the summer-weather,

The perpetual, pleasant Summer;

How the Otter first essayed it;

How the Beaver, Lynx, and Badger

Tried in turn the great achievement,

From the summit of the mountain

Smote their fists against the heavens,

Smote against the sky their foreheads,

Cracked the sky, but could not break it;

How the Wolverine, uprising,

Made him ready for the encounter,

Bent his knees down, like a squirrel,

Drew his arms back, like a cricket.

"Once he leaped," said old Iagoo,

"Once he leaped, and lo! above him

Bent the sky, as ice in rivers

When the waters rise beneath it;

Twice he leaped, and lo! above him

Cracked the sky, as ice in rivers

When the freshet is at highest!

Thrice he leaped, and lo! above him

Broke the shattered sky asunder,

And he disappeared within it,

And Ojeeg, the Fisher Weasel,

With a bound went in behind him!"

"Hark you!" shouted Pau-Puk-Keewis

As he entered at the doorway;

"I am tired of all this talking,

Tired of old Iagoo's stories,

Tired of Hiawatha's wisdom.

Here is something to amuse you,

Better than this endless talking."

Then from out his pouch of wolf-skin

Forth he drew, with solemn manner,

All the game of Bowl and Counters,

Pugasaing, with thirteen pieces.

White on one side were they painted,

And vermilion on the other;

Two Kenabeeks or great serpents,

Two Ininewug or wedge-men,

One great war-club, Pugamaugun,

And one slender fish, the Keego,

Four round pieces, Ozawabeeks,

And three Sheshebwug or ducklings.

All were made of bone and painted,

All except the Ozawabeeks;

These were brass, on one side burnished,

And were black upon the other.

In a wooden bowl he placed them,

Shook and jostled them together,

Threw them on the ground before him,

Thus exclaiming and explaining:

"Red side up are all the pieces,

And one great Kenabeek standing

On the bright side of a brass piece,

On a burnished Ozawabeek;

Thirteen tens and eight are counted."

Then again he shook the pieces,

Shook and jostled them together,

Threw them on the ground before him,

Still exclaiming and explaining:

"White are both the great Kenabeeks,

White the Ininewug, the wedge-men,

Red are all the other pieces;

Five tens and an eight are counted."

Thus he taught the game of hazard,

Thus displayed it and explained it,

Running through its various chances,

Various changes, various meanings:

Twenty curious eyes stared at him,

Full of eagerness stared at him.

"Many games," said old Iagoo,

"Many games of skill and hazard

Have I seen in different nations,

Have I played in different countries.

He who plays with old Iagoo

Must have very nimble fingers;

Though you think yourself so skilful,

I can beat you, Pau-Puk-Keewis,

I can even give you lessons

In your game of Bowl and Counters!"

So they sat and played together,

All the old men and the young men,

Played for dresses, weapons, wampum,

Played till midnight, played till morning,

Played until the Yenadizze,

Till the cunning Pau-Puk-Keewis,

Of their treasures had despoiled them,

Of the best of all their dresses,

Shirts of deer-skin, robes of ermine,

Belts of wampum, crests of feathers,

Warlike weapons, pipes and pouches.

Twenty eyes glared wildly at him,

Like the eyes of wolves glared at him.

Said the lucky Pau-Puk-Keewis:

"In my wigwam I am lonely,

In my wanderings and adventures

I have need of a companion,

Fain would have a Meshinauwa,

An attendant and pipe-bearer.

I will venture all these winnings,

All these garments heaped about me,

All this wampum, all these feathers,

On a single throw will venture

All against the young man yonder!"

`T was a youth of sixteen summers,

`T was a nephew of Iagoo;

Face-in-a-Mist, the people called him.

As the fire burns in a pipe-head

Dusky red beneath the ashes,

So beneath his shaggy eyebrows

Glowed the eyes of old Iagoo.

"Ugh!" he answered very fiercely;

"Ugh!" they answered all and each one.

Seized the wooden bowl the old man,

Closely in his bony fingers

Clutched the fatal bowl, Onagon,

Shook it fiercely and with fury,

Made the pieces ring together

As he threw them down before him.

Red were both the great Kenabeeks,

Red the Ininewug, the wedge-men,

Red the Sheshebwug, the ducklings,

Black the four brass Ozawabeeks,

White alone the fish, the Keego;

Only five the pieces counted!

Then the smiling Pau-Puk-Keewis

Shook the bowl and threw the pieces;

Lightly in the air he tossed them,

And they fell about him scattered;

Dark and bright the Ozawabeeks,

Red and white the other pieces,

And upright among the others

One Ininewug was standing,

Even as crafty Pau-Puk-Keewis

Stood alone among the players,

Saying, "Five tens! mine the game is,"

Twenty eyes glared at him fiercely,

Like the eyes of wolves glared at him,

As he turned and left the wigwam,

Followed by his Meshinauwa,

By the nephew of Iagoo,

By the tall and graceful stripling,

Bearing in his arms the winnings,

Shirts of deer-skin, robes of ermine,

Belts of wampum, pipes and weapons.

"Carry them," said Pau-Puk-Keewis,

Pointing with his fan of feathers,

"To my wigwam far to eastward,

On the dunes of Nagow Wudjoo!"

Hot and red with smoke and gambling

Were the eyes of Pau-Puk-Keewis

As he came forth to the freshness

Of the pleasant Summer morning.

All the birds were singing gayly,

All the streamlets flowing swiftly,

And the heart of Pau-Puk-Keewis

Sang with pleasure as the birds sing,

Beat with triumph like the streamlets,

As he wandered through the village,

In the early gray of morning,

With his fan of turkey-feathers,

With his plumes and tufts of swan's down,

Till he reached the farthest wigwam,

Reached the lodge of Hiawatha.

Silent was it and deserted;

No one met him at the doorway,

No one came to bid him welcome;

But the birds were singing round it,

In and out and round the doorway,

Hopping, singing, fluttering, feeding,

And aloft upon the ridge-pole

Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens,

Sat with fiery eyes, and, screaming,

Flapped his wings at Pau-Puk-Keewis.

"All are gone! the lodge Is empty!"

Thus it was spake Pau-Puk-Keewis,

In his heart resolving mischief

"Gone is wary Hiawatha,

Gone the silly Laughing Water,

Gone Nokomis, the old woman,

And the lodge is left unguarded!"

By the neck he seized the raven,

Whirled it round him like a rattle,

Like a medicine-pouch he shook it,

Strangled Kahgahgee, the raven,

From the ridge-pole of the wigwam

Left its lifeless body hanging,

As an insult to its master,

As a taunt to Hiawatha.

With a stealthy step he entered,

Round the lodge in wild disorder

Threw the household things about him,

Piled together in confusion

Bowls of wood and earthen kettles,

Robes of buffalo and beaver,

Skins of otter, lynx, and ermine,

As an insult to Nokomis,

As a taunt to Minnehaha.

Then departed Pau-Puk-Keewis,

Whistling, singing through the forest,

Whistling gayly to the squirrels,

Who from hollow boughs above him

Dropped their acorn-shells upon him,

Singing gayly to the wood birds,

Who from out the leafy darkness

Answered with a song as merry.

Then he climbed the rocky headlands,

Looking o'er the Gitche Gumee,

Perched himself upon their summit,

Waiting full of mirth and mischief

The return of Hiawatha.

Stretched upon his back he lay there;

Far below him splashed the waters,

Plashed and washed the dreamy waters;

Far above him swam the heavens,

Swam the dizzy, dreamy heavens;

Round him hovered, fluttered, rustled

Hiawatha's mountain chickens,

Flock-wise swept and wheeled about him,

Almost brushed him with their pinions.

And he killed them as he lay there,

Slaughtered them by tens and twenties,

Threw their bodies down the headland,

Threw them on the beach below him,

Till at length Kayoshk, the sea-gull,

Perched upon a crag above them,

Shouted: "It is Pau-Puk-Keewis!

He is slaying us by hundreds!

Send a message to our brother,

Tidings send to Hiawatha!"


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 156


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