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III Hiawatha's Childhood

The Song of Hiawatha

Henry W. Longfellow



Should you ask me, whence these stories?

Whence these legends and traditions,

With the odors of the forest

With the dew and damp of meadows,

With the curling smoke of wigwams,

With the rushing of great rivers,

With their frequent repetitions,

And their wild reverberations

As of thunder in the mountains?

I should answer, I should tell you,

"From the forests and the prairies,

From the great lakes of the Northland,

From the land of the Ojibways,

From the land of the Dacotahs,

From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands

Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,

Feeds among the reeds and rushes.

I repeat them as I heard them

From the lips of Nawadaha,

The musician, the sweet singer."

Should you ask where Nawadaha

Found these songs so wild and wayward,

Found these legends and traditions,

I should answer, I should tell you,

"In the bird's-nests of the forest,

In the lodges of the beaver,

In the hoofprint of the bison,

In the eyry of the eagle!

"All the wild-fowl sang them to him,

In the moorlands and the fen-lands,

In the melancholy marshes;

Chetowaik, the plover, sang them,

Mahng, the loon, the wild-goose, Wawa,

The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,

And the grouse, the Mushkodasa!"

If still further you should ask me,

Saying, "Who was Nawadaha?

Tell us of this Nawadaha,"

I should answer your inquiries

Straightway in such words as follow.

"In the vale of Tawasentha,

In the green and silent valley,

By the pleasant water-courses,

Dwelt the singer Nawadaha.

Round about the Indian village

Spread the meadows and the corn-fields,

And beyond them stood the forest,

Stood the groves of singing pine-trees,

Green in Summer, white in Winter,

Ever sighing, ever singing.

"And the pleasant water-courses,

You could trace them through the valley,

By the rushing in the Spring-time,

By the alders in the Summer,

By the white fog in the Autumn,

By the black line in the Winter;

And beside them dwelt the singer,

In the vale of Tawasentha,

In the green and silent valley.

"There he sang of Hiawatha,

Sang the Song of Hiawatha,

Sang his wondrous birth and being,

How he prayed and how be fasted,

How he lived, and toiled, and suffered,

That the tribes of men might prosper,

That he might advance his people!"

Ye who love the haunts of Nature,

Love the sunshine of the meadow,

Love the shadow of the forest,

Love the wind among the branches,

And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,

And the rushing of great rivers

Through their palisades of pine-trees,

And the thunder in the mountains,

Whose innumerable echoes

Flap like eagles in their eyries;

Listen to these wild traditions,

To this Song of Hiawatha!

Ye who love a nation's legends,

Love the ballads of a people,

That like voices from afar off

Call to us to pause and listen,

Speak in tones so plain and childlike,

Scarcely can the ear distinguish

Whether they are sung or spoken;

Listen to this Indian Legend,

To this Song of Hiawatha!

Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,

Who have faith in God and Nature,

Who believe that in all ages

Every human heart is human,

That in even savage bosoms

There are longings, yearnings, strivings

For the good they comprehend not,

That the feeble hands and helpless,

Groping blindly in the darkness,

Touch God's right hand in that darkness

And are lifted up and strengthened;

Listen to this simple story,

To this Song of Hiawatha!

Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles

Through the green lanes of the country,

Where the tangled barberry-bushes

Hang their tufts of crimson berries

Over stone walls gray with mosses,

Pause by some neglected graveyard,

For a while to muse, and ponder

On a half-effaced inscription,

Written with little skill of song-craft,

Homely phrases, but each letter

Full of hope and yet of heart-break,

Full of all the tender pathos

Of the Here and the Hereafter;

Stay and read this rude inscription,

Read this Song of Hiawatha!

I The Peace-Pipe


On the Mountains of the Prairie,

On the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

He the Master of Life, descending,

On the red crags of the quarry

Stood erect, and called the nations,

Called the tribes of men together.

From his footprints flowed a river,

Leaped into the light of morning,

O'er the precipice plunging downward

Gleamed like Ishkoodah, the comet.

And the Spirit, stooping earthward,

With his finger on the meadow

Traced a winding pathway for it,

Saying to it, "Run in this way!"

From the red stone of the quarry

With his hand he broke a fragment,

Moulded it into a pipe-head,

Shaped and fashioned it with figures;

From the margin of the river

Took a long reed for a pipe-stem,

With its dark green leaves upon it;

Filled the pipe with bark of willow,

With the bark of the red willow;

Breathed upon the neighboring forest,

Made its great boughs chafe together,

Till in flame they burst and kindled;

And erect upon the mountains,

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

Smoked the calumet, the Peace-Pipe,

As a signal to the nations.

And the smoke rose slowly, slowly,

Through the tranquil air of morning,

First a single line of darkness,

Then a denser, bluer vapor,

Then a snow-white cloud unfolding,

Like the tree-tops of the forest,

Ever rising, rising, rising,

Till it touched the top of heaven,

Till it broke against the heaven,

And rolled outward all around it.

From the Vale of Tawasentha,

From the Valley of Wyoming,

From the groves of Tuscaloosa,

From the far-off Rocky Mountains,

From the Northern lakes and rivers

All the tribes beheld the signal,

Saw the distant smoke ascending,

The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe.

And the Prophets of the nations

Said: "Behold it, the Pukwana!

By the signal of the Peace-Pipe,

Bending like a wand of willow,

Waving like a hand that beckons,

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

Calls the tribes of men together,

Calls the warriors to his council!"

Down the rivers, o'er the prairies,

Came the warriors of the nations,

Came the Delawares and Mohawks,

Came the Choctaws and Camanches,

Came the Shoshonies and Blackfeet,

Came the Pawnees and Omahas,

Came the Mandans and Dacotahs,

Came the Hurons and Ojibways,

All the warriors drawn together

By the signal of the Peace-Pipe,

To the Mountains of the Prairie,

To the great Red Pipe-stone Quarry,

And they stood there on the meadow,

With their weapons and their war-gear,

Painted like the leaves of Autumn,

Painted like the sky of morning,

Wildly glaring at each other;

In their faces stem defiance,

In their hearts the feuds of ages,

The hereditary hatred,

The ancestral thirst of vengeance.

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

The creator of the nations,

Looked upon them with compassion,

With paternal love and pity;

Looked upon their wrath and wrangling

But as quarrels among children,

But as feuds and fights of children!

Over them he stretched his right hand,

To subdue their stubborn natures,

To allay their thirst and fever,

By the shadow of his right hand;

Spake to them with voice majestic

As the sound of far-off waters,

Falling into deep abysses,

Warning, chiding, spake in this wise:

"O my children! my poor children!

Listen to the words of wisdom,

Listen to the words of warning,

From the lips of the Great Spirit,

From the Master of Life, who made you!

"I have given you lands to hunt in,

I have given you streams to fish in,

I have given you bear and bison,

I have given you roe and reindeer,

I have given you brant and beaver,

Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,

Filled the rivers full of fishes:

Why then are you not contented?

Why then will you hunt each other?

"I am weary of your quarrels,

Weary of your wars and bloodshed,

Weary of your prayers for vengeance,

Of your wranglings and dissensions;

All your strength is in your union,

All your danger is in discord;

Therefore be at peace henceforward,

And as brothers live together.

"I will send a Prophet to you,

A Deliverer of the nations,

Who shall guide you and shall teach you,

Who shall toil and suffer with you.

If you listen to his counsels,

You will multiply and prosper;

If his warnings pass unheeded,

You will fade away and perish!

"Bathe now in the stream before you,

Wash the war-paint from your faces,

Wash the blood-stains from your fingers,

Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,

Break the red stone from this quarry,

Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,

Take the reeds that grow beside you,

Deck them with your brightest feathers,

Smoke the calumet together,

And as brothers live henceforward!"

Then upon the ground the warriors

Threw their cloaks and shirts of deer-skin,

Threw their weapons and their war-gear,

Leaped into the rushing river,

Washed the war-paint from their faces.

Clear above them flowed the water,

Clear and limpid from the footprints

Of the Master of Life descending;

Dark below them flowed the water,

Soiled and stained with streaks of crimson,

As if blood were mingled with it!

From the river came the warriors,

Clean and washed from all their war-paint;

On the banks their clubs they buried,

Buried all their warlike weapons.

Gitche Manito, the mighty,

The Great Spirit, the creator,

Smiled upon his helpless children!

And in silence all the warriors

Broke the red stone of the quarry,

Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes,

Broke the long reeds by the river,

Decked them with their brightest feathers,

And departed each one homeward,

While the Master of Life, ascending,

Through the opening of cloud-curtains,

Through the doorways of the heaven,

Vanished from before their faces,

In the smoke that rolled around him,

The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe!

II he Four Winds


"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!"

Cried the warriors, cried the old men,

When he came in triumph homeward

With the sacred Belt of Wampum,

From the regions of the North-Wind,

From the kingdom of Wabasso,

From the land of the White Rabbit.

He had stolen the Belt of Wampum

From the neck of Mishe-Mokwa,

From the Great Bear of the mountains,

From the terror of the nations,

As he lay asleep and cumbrous

On the summit of the mountains,

Like a rock with mosses on it,

Spotted brown and gray with mosses.

Silently he stole upon him

Till the red nails of the monster

Almost touched him, almost scared him,

Till the hot breath of his nostrils

Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis,

As he drew the Belt of Wampum

Over the round ears, that heard not,

Over the small eyes, that saw not,

Over the long nose and nostrils,

The black muffle of the nostrils,

Out of which the heavy breathing

Warmed the hands of Mudjekeewis.

Then he swung aloft his war-club,

Shouted loud and long his war-cry,

Smote the mighty Mishe-Mokwa

In the middle of the forehead,

Right between the eyes he smote him.

With the heavy blow bewildered,

Rose the Great Bear of the mountains;

But his knees beneath him trembled,

And he whimpered like a woman,

As he reeled and staggered forward,

As he sat upon his haunches;

And the mighty Mudjekeewis,

Standing fearlessly before him,

Taunted him in loud derision,

Spake disdainfully in this wise:

"Hark you, Bear! you are a coward;

And no Brave, as you pretended;

Else you would not cry and whimper

Like a miserable woman!

Bear! you know our tribes are hostile,

Long have been at war together;

Now you find that we are strongest,

You go sneaking in the forest,

You go hiding in the mountains!

Had you conquered me in battle

Not a groan would I have uttered;

But you, Bear! sit here and whimper,

And disgrace your tribe by crying,

Like a wretched Shaugodaya,

Like a cowardly old woman!"

Then again he raised his war-club,

Smote again the Mishe-Mokwa

In the middle of his forehead,

Broke his skull, as ice is broken

When one goes to fish in Winter.

Thus was slain the Mishe-Mokwa,

He the Great Bear of the mountains,

He the terror of the nations.

"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!"

With a shout exclaimed the people,

"Honor be to Mudjekeewis!

Henceforth he shall be the West-Wind,

And hereafter and forever

Shall he hold supreme dominion

Over all the winds of heaven.

Call him no more Mudjekeewis,

Call him Kabeyun, the West-Wind!"

Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen

Father of the Winds of Heaven.

For himself he kept the West-Wind,

Gave the others to his children;

Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind,

Gave the South to Shawondasee,

And the North-Wind, wild and cruel,

To the fierce Kabibonokka.

Young and beautiful was Wabun;

He it was who brought the morning,

He it was whose silver arrows

Chased the dark o'er hill and valley;

He it was whose cheeks were painted

With the brightest streaks of crimson,

And whose voice awoke the village,

Called the deer, and called the hunter.

Lonely in the sky was Wabun;

Though the birds sang gayly to him,

Though the wild-flowers of the meadow

Filled the air with odors for him;

Though the forests and the rivers

Sang and shouted at his coming,

Still his heart was sad within him,

For he was alone in heaven.

But one morning, gazing earthward,

While the village still was sleeping,

And the fog lay on the river,

Like a ghost, that goes at sunrise,

He beheld a maiden walking

All alone upon a meadow,

Gathering water-flags and rushes

By a river in the meadow.

Every morning, gazing earthward,

Still the first thing he beheld there

Was her blue eyes looking at him,

Two blue lakes among the rushes.

And he loved the lonely maiden,

Who thus waited for his coming;

For they both were solitary,

She on earth and he in heaven.

And he wooed her with caresses,

Wooed her with his smile of sunshine,

With his flattering words he wooed her,

With his sighing and his singing,

Gentlest whispers in the branches,

Softest music, sweetest odors,

Till he drew her to his bosom,

Folded in his robes of crimson,

Till into a star he changed her,

Trembling still upon his bosom;

And forever in the heavens

They are seen together walking,

Wabun and the Wabun-Annung,

Wabun and the Star of Morning.

But the fierce Kabibonokka

Had his dwelling among icebergs,

In the everlasting snow-drifts,

In the kingdom of Wabasso,

In the land of the White Rabbit.

He it was whose hand in Autumn

Painted all the trees with scarlet,

Stained the leaves with red and yellow;

He it was who sent the snow-flake,

Sifting, hissing through the forest,

Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers,

Drove the loon and sea-gull southward,

Drove the cormorant and curlew

To their nests of sedge and sea-tang

In the realms of Shawondasee.

Once the fierce Kabibonokka

Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts

From his home among the icebergs,

And his hair, with snow besprinkled,

Streamed behind him like a river,

Like a black and wintry river,

As he howled and hurried southward,

Over frozen lakes and moorlands.

There among the reeds and rushes

Found he Shingebis, the diver,

Trailing strings of fish behind him,

O'er the frozen fens and moorlands,

Lingering still among the moorlands,

Though his tribe had long departed

To the land of Shawondasee.

Cried the fierce Kabibonokka,

"Who is this that dares to brave me?

Dares to stay in my dominions,

When the Wawa has departed,

When the wild-goose has gone southward,

And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,

Long ago departed southward?

I will go into his wigwam,

I will put his smouldering fire out!"

And at night Kabibonokka,

To the lodge came wild and wailing,

Heaped the snow in drifts about it,

Shouted down into the smoke-flue,

Shook the lodge-poles in his fury,

Flapped the curtain of the door-way.

Shingebis, the diver, feared not,

Shingebis, the diver, cared not;

Four great logs had he for firewood,

One for each moon of the winter,

And for food the fishes served him.

By his blazing fire he sat there,

Warm and merry, eating, laughing,

Singing, "O Kabibonokka,

You are but my fellow-mortal!"

Then Kabibonokka entered,

And though Shingebis, the diver,

Felt his presence by the coldness,

Felt his icy breath upon him,

Still he did not cease his singing,

Still he did not leave his laughing,

Only turned the log a little,

Only made the fire burn brighter,

Made the sparks fly up the smoke-flue.

From Kabibonokka's forehead,

From his snow-besprinkled tresses,

Drops of sweat fell fast and heavy,

Making dints upon the ashes,

As along the eaves of lodges,

As from drooping boughs of hemlock,

Drips the melting snow in spring-time,

Making hollows in the snow-drifts.

Till at last he rose defeated,

Could not bear the heat and laughter,

Could not bear the merry singing,

But rushed headlong through the door-way,

Stamped upon the crusted snow-drifts,

Stamped upon the lakes and rivers,

Made the snow upon them harder,

Made the ice upon them thicker,

Challenged Shingebis, the diver,

To come forth and wrestle with him,

To come forth and wrestle naked

On the frozen fens and moorlands.

Forth went Shingebis, the diver,

Wrestled all night with the North-Wind,

Wrestled naked on the moorlands

With the fierce Kabibonokka,

Till his panting breath grew fainter,

Till his frozen grasp grew feebler,

Till he reeled and staggered backward,

And retreated, baffled, beaten,

To the kingdom of Wabasso,

To the land of the White Rabbit,

Hearing still the gusty laughter,

Hearing Shingebis, the diver,

Singing, "O Kabibonokka,

You are but my fellow-mortal!"

Shawondasee, fat and lazy,

Had his dwelling far to southward,

In the drowsy, dreamy sunshine,

In the never-ending Summer.

He it was who sent the wood-birds,

Sent the robin, the Opechee,

Sent the bluebird, the Owaissa,

Sent the Shawshaw, sent the swallow,

Sent the wild-goose, Wawa, northward,

Sent the melons and tobacco,

And the grapes in purple clusters.

From his pipe the smoke ascending

Filled the sky with haze and vapor,

Filled the air with dreamy softness,

Gave a twinkle to the water,

Touched the rugged hills with smoothness,

Brought the tender Indian Summer

To the melancholy north-land,

In the dreary Moon of Snow-shoes.

Listless, careless Shawondasee!

In his life he had one shadow,

In his heart one sorrow had he.

Once, as he was gazing northward,

Far away upon a prairie

He beheld a maiden standing,

Saw a tall and slender maiden

All alone upon a prairie;

Brightest green were all her garments,

And her hair was like the sunshine.

Day by day he gazed upon her,

Day by day he sighed with passion,

Day by day his heart within him

Grew more hot with love and longing

For the maid with yellow tresses.

But he was too fat and lazy

To bestir himself and woo her.

Yes, too indolent and easy

To pursue her and persuade her;

So he only gazed upon her,

Only sat and sighed with passion

For the maiden of the prairie.

Till one morning, looking northward,

He beheld her yellow tresses

Changed and covered o'er with whiteness,

Covered as with whitest snow-flakes.

"Ah! my brother from the North-land,

From the kingdom of Wabasso,

From the land of the White Rabbit!

You have stolen the maiden from me,

You have laid your hand upon her,

You have wooed and won my maiden,

With your stories of the North-land!"

Thus the wretched Shawondasee

Breathed into the air his sorrow;

And the South-Wind o'er the prairie

Wandered warm with sighs of passion,

With the sighs of Shawondasee,

Till the air seemed full of snow-flakes,

Full of thistle-down the prairie,

And the maid with hair like sunshine

Vanished from his sight forever;

Never more did Shawondasee

See the maid with yellow tresses!

Poor, deluded Shawondasee!

'T was no woman that you gazed at,

'T was no maiden that you sighed for,

'T was the prairie dandelion

That through all the dreamy Summer

You had gazed at with such longing,

You had sighed for with such passion,

And had puffed away forever,

Blown into the air with sighing.

Ah! deluded Shawondasee!

Thus the Four Winds were divided

Thus the sons of Mudjekeewis

Had their stations in the heavens,

At the corners of the heavens;

For himself the West-Wind only

Kept the mighty Mudjekeewis.

III Hiawatha's Childhood


Downward through the evening twilight,

In the days that are forgotten,

In the unremembered ages,

From the full moon fell Nokomis,

Fell the beautiful Nokomis,

She a wife, but not a mother.

She was sporting with her women,

Swinging in a swing of grape-vines,

When her rival the rejected,

Full of jealousy and hatred,

Cut the leafy swing asunder,

Cut in twain the twisted grape-vines,

And Nokomis fell affrighted

Downward through the evening twilight,

On the Muskoday, the meadow,

On the prairie full of blossoms.

"See! a star falls!" said the people;

"From the sky a star is falling!"

There among the ferns and mosses,

There among the prairie lilies,

On the Muskoday, the meadow,

In the moonlight and the starlight,

Fair Nokomis bore a daughter.

And she called her name Wenonah,

As the first-born of her daughters.

And the daughter of Nokomis

Grew up like the prairie lilies,

Grew a tall and slender maiden,

With the beauty of the moonlight,

With the beauty of the starlight.

And Nokomis warned her often,

Saying oft, and oft repeating,

"Oh, beware of Mudjekeewis,

Of the West-Wind, Mudjekeewis;

Listen not to what he tells you;

Lie not down upon the meadow,

Stoop not down among the lilies,

Lest the West-Wind come and harm you!"

But she heeded not the warning,

Heeded not those words of wisdom,

And the West-Wind came at evening,

Walking lightly o'er the prairie,

Whispering to the leaves and blossoms,

Bending low the flowers and grasses,

Found the beautiful Wenonah,

Lying there among the lilies,

Wooed her with his words of sweetness,

Wooed her with his soft caresses,

Till she bore a son in sorrow,

Bore a son of love and sorrow.

Thus was born my Hiawatha,

Thus was born the child of wonder;

But the daughter of Nokomis,

Hiawatha's gentle mother,

In her anguish died deserted

By the West-Wind, false and faithless,

By the heartless Mudjekeewis.

For her daughter long and loudly

Wailed and wept the sad Nokomis;

"Oh that I were dead!" she murmured,

"Oh that I were dead, as thou art!

No more work, and no more weeping,

Wahonowin! Wahonowin!"

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,

By the shining Big-Sea-Water,

Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,

Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.

Dark behind it rose the forest,

Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,

Rose the firs with cones upon them;

Bright before it beat the water,

Beat the clear and sunny water,

Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

There the wrinkled old Nokomis

Nursed the little Hiawatha,

Rocked him in his linden cradle,

Bedded soft in moss and rushes,

Safely bound with reindeer sinews;

Stilled his fretful wail by saying,

"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"

Lulled him into slumber, singing,

"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!

Who is this, that lights the wigwam?

With his great eyes lights the wigwam?

Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"

Many things Nokomis taught him

Of the stars that shine in heaven;

Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,

Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses;

Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,

Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,

Flaring far away to northward

In the frosty nights of Winter;

Showed the broad white road in heaven,

Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,

Running straight across the heavens,

Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.

At the door on summer evenings

Sat the little Hiawatha;

Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,

Heard the lapping of the waters,

Sounds of music, words of wonder;

"Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees,

"Mudway-aushka!" said the water.

Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee,

Flitting through the dusk of evening,

With the twinkle of its candle

Lighting up the brakes and bushes,

And he sang the song of children,

Sang the song Nokomis taught him:

"Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly,

Little, flitting, white-fire insect,

Little, dancing, white-fire creature,

Light me with your little candle,

Ere upon my bed I lay me,

Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!"

Saw the moon rise from the water

Rippling, rounding from the water,

Saw the flecks and shadows on it,

Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

"Once a warrior, very angry,

Seized his grandmother, and threw her

Up into the sky at midnight;

Right against the moon he threw her;

'T is her body that you see there."

Saw the rainbow in the heaven,

In the eastern sky, the rainbow,

Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

"'T is the heaven of flowers you see there;

All the wild-flowers of the forest,

All the lilies of the prairie,

When on earth they fade and perish,

Blossom in that heaven above us."

When he heard the owls at midnight,

Hooting, laughing in the forest,

"What is that?" he cried in terror,

"What is that," he said, "Nokomis?"

And the good Nokomis answered:

"That is but the owl and owlet,

Talking in their native language,

Talking, scolding at each other."

Then the little Hiawatha

Learned of every bird its language,

Learned their names and all their secrets,

How they built their nests in Summer,

Where they hid themselves in Winter,

Talked with them whene'er he met them,

Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens."

Of all beasts he learned the language,

Learned their names and all their secrets,

How the beavers built their lodges,

Where the squirrels hid their acorns,

How the reindeer ran so swiftly,

Why the rabbit was so timid,

Talked with them whene'er he met them,

Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."

Then Iagoo, the great boaster,

He the marvellous story-teller,

He the traveller and the talker,

He the friend of old Nokomis,

Made a bow for Hiawatha;

From a branch of ash he made it,

From an oak-bough made the arrows,

Tipped with flint, and winged with feathers,

And the cord he made of deer-skin.

Then he said to Hiawatha:

"Go, my son, into the forest,

Where the red deer herd together,

Kill for us a famous roebuck,

Kill for us a deer with antlers!"

Forth into the forest straightway

All alone walked Hiawatha

Proudly, with his bow and arrows;

And the birds sang round him, o'er him,

"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!"

Sang the robin, the Opechee,

Sang the bluebird, the Owaissa,

"Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!"

Up the oak-tree, close beside him,

Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo,

In and out among the branches,

Coughed and chattered from the oak-tree,

Laughed, and said between his laughing,

"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"

And the rabbit from his pathway

Leaped aside, and at a distance

Sat erect upon his haunches,

Half in fear and half in frolic,

Saying to the little hunter,

"Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!"

But he heeded not, nor heard them,

For his thoughts were with the red deer;

On their tracks his eyes were fastened,

Leading downward to the river,

To the ford across the river,

And as one in slumber walked he.

Hidden in the alder-bushes,

There he waited till the deer came,

Till he saw two antlers lifted,

Saw two eyes look from the thicket,

Saw two nostrils point to windward,

And a deer came down the pathway,

Flecked with leafy light and shadow.

And his heart within him fluttered,

Trembled like the leaves above him,

Like the birch-leaf palpitated,

As the deer came down the pathway.

Then, upon one knee uprising,

Hiawatha aimed an arrow;

Scarce a twig moved with his motion,

Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled,

But the wary roebuck started,

Stamped with all his hoofs together,

Listened with one foot uplifted,

Leaped as if to meet the arrow;

Ah! the singing, fatal arrow,

Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him!

Dead he lay there in the forest,

By the ford across the river;

Beat his timid heart no longer,

But the heart of Hiawatha

Throbbed and shouted and exulted,

As he bore the red deer homeward,

And Iagoo and Nokomis

Hailed his coming with applauses.

From the red deer's hide Nokomis

Made a cloak for Hiawatha,

From the red deer's flesh Nokomis

Made a banquet to his honor.

All the village came and feasted,

All the guests praised Hiawatha,

Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha!

Called him Loon-Heart, Mahn-go-taysee!

Date: 2016-04-22; view: 911

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