Imágenes de páginas
PDF

And the bull-frog, the Dahinda,

Thrust his head into the mooulight,

Flxed hia yellow eyes upon him,

Sobbed and sank beneath the surface;

And anon a thonsand whistles, \

Auswered overall the fen-lands,

And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,

Far off on the reedy margin,

Heralded the hero s coming.
Westward thus fared Hiawatha,

Toward the reaim of Megissogwon,

Toward the land of the Fcarl-Fcnther,

Till the level moon stared at him,

In his face stared pale and haggard,

Till the sun was hot behind him,

Till it burned upon his shonlders,

And before him on the upland

ile conld see the Shining Wigwam

Of the Manito of Wampum,

Of the mightiest of Magiciaus.
Then once more Cheemaun he patted,

To his bireh-canoe said, " Onward!"

And it stirred in all its fibres,

And with one great bonnd of trinmph

Leaped across the water-lilies,

Leaped throngh tangled flags and rushes,

And upon the Deach beyond them

Dry-shod landed Hiawatha.
Straight he took his bow of ash-trec.

On the sand one end he rested,

With his knee he pressed the middle,

Stretched the faithful bow-string tighter,

Took an arrow, jasper-headed.
Shot it at the Shining Wigwam,

Sent it singing as a herald,

As a bearer of his message,

Of his challenge lond and lofty

"Come forth from yonr lodge. Pearl-Feather!

Hiawatha waits yonr coming!"

Straightway from the Shining Wigwam
Came the mighty Megissogwon,
Tall of stature, broad of shonlder,
Dark and terrible in aspeet,
Clad from head to foot in wampum,
Armed with all his warlike weapous,
Painted like the sky of morning.
Streaked with crimson, blne and yellow,
Crested with great eagle-feathers,
Streaming upward, streaming ontward

"Well 1 know yon, Hiawatha!"
Cried he, in a voice of thunder,
In a tone of lond derision.
"Hasten back, O Shaugodaya!
Hasten back among tne women,
Back to old Nokomls, Faint-heart!
1 will slay yon as yon stand there,
Asof old 1 slew her father!"

Bnt my Hiawatha auswered.
Nothing daunted, fearing nothing:
"Big words do not smite like war-clubs,
Boastful breath is not a bow-string.
Taunts are not so sharp as arrows,;
Deeds are better things than words are,
Aetious mightier than boastings!"

Then began the greatest battle
That the sun had ever looked on,
That the war-birds ever witnessed.
All a Summer's day it lasted.
From the suurise to the suuset;
For the shafts of Hiawatha
Harmless hit the shirt of wampum,
Harmless fell the blows he dealt it
With his mitteus, Minjekahwun,
Harmless fell the heavy war-club;
It conld dash the rocks asunder,
Bnt it conld not break the meshes
Of that magic shirt of wampum.

Till at sunset Hiawatha,
Leaning on his bow of ash-tree,
Wounded, weury, and desponding,
With his mighty war-club broken,
With his mitteus torn and tattered,
And three useless arrows ouly,

Paused to rest beneath a pine-tree,

From whose branches trailed the mosses,

And whose trunk was coated over

With the Dead-man's Moecasin-leather,

With the fungus white and yellow.
Snddeuly from the bonghs above him

Sang the Mama, the woodpecker:

"Aim yonr arrows, Hiawatha,

At the head of Megissogwon,

Strike the tuft of hair upon it.

At their roots the long black tresses •

There alone can he be wounded!"
Winged with feathers, tipped with jasper,

Swift flew Hiawatha's arrow,

Just as Megissogwon, stooping,

liaised a heavy stone to throw it.

Full upon the crown it strnck him,

At the roots of his long tresses,

And he reeled and staggered forward.

Plunging like a wonnded bison,

Yes,like Pezhekee, the bison,

When the suow is on the prairie.
Swifter flew the second arrow,

In the pathway of the other.

Piereing deeper than the other,

Wonnding sorer than the other,

And the knees of Megissogwon

Shook like windy reeds beneath him,

Bent and trembled like the rushes.
Bnt the third and latest arrow

Swiftest flew and wonnded sorest.

And the migbty Megissogwon

Saw the fiery eyes of Pauguk,

Saw the eyes of Death glare at him,

Heard his voice call in the darkness

At the feet of Hiawatha

Lifeless lay the great Pearl-Feather,

Lay the mightiest of Magiciaus.
Then the grateful Hiawatha

Called the Mama, the woodpecker,

From his pereh among the branches

Of the melancholy pine-tree,

And, in hononr of his service,

Stained with blood the tuft of feathers

On the little head of Mama;

Even to this day he wears it,

Wears the tuft of crimson feathers,

As a symbol of his service.
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum

From the back of Megissogwon,

As a trophy of the battle.
As a sigual of his conqnest.

On the shore he left the body,
Half on land and half on water,
in the sand his feet were buried,
And his face was in the water.
And above him, wheeled and clamonred
The Kenen, the great war-eagle,
Sailing ronnd in narrow cireles,
Hovering nearer, nearer, nearer.

From the wigwam Hiawatha
Bore the wealth of Megissogwon,
All his wealth of skius and wampum,
Furs of bison and of beaver,
Kurs of sable and of ermine,
Wampum belts and strings and ponches,
Fllled with arrows, silver-headed.

Homeward then he sailed exulting.
Homeward throngh the black-pitch water,
Homeward throngh the weltering serpents,
With the trophies of the battle,
With a shont and song of trinmph.
On the shore stood old Nokomis,
On the shore stood Chiblabos,
And the very strong man, Kwasind,
Waiting for the hero's coming.
Listening to his song of trtamph.
And the people of the village
Welcomed him with songs and dances,
Mado a joyons feast, and shonted:
"Hononr be to Hiawatha!
He has slain the great Pearl-Feather,
Slain the mightiest of Magiciaus,

Him, who sent the fiery fever,

Sent the white fog from the fen-lands,

Sent disease and death amongst us!"

Ever dear to Hiawatha Was the memory of Mama! And in token of his friendship. As a mark of his remembrance, He adorned and decked his pipe-stem With the crimson tuft of feathers, With the blood-red crest of Mama. Bnt the wealth of Meglssogwon, All the trophies of the battle, He divided with his people. Shared it equally among them.

HIAWATHA'S WOOING.

"As unto the bow the cord is,

So unto the man is woman.

Thongh she bends him, she obeys him.

Thongh she draws him, yet she follows,

t'seless eacli withont the other!"

Thus the yonthful Hiawatha,
Said within himself and pondered,
Mnch perplexed by various feelings.
Listless, longing, hoping, fearing.
Dreaming still of Miunehaha,
Of the lovely Laughing Water,
In the land of the^Dacutahs.

'" Wed a maiden of yonr people,"
Warning said the old Nokomls;
"Go not eastward, go not westward,
For a stranger, whom we know not!
Like a fire upon the hearthstone
Is a neighbonr's homely daughter.
Like the starlight or the mooulight
Is the handsomest of strangers!

Thus dissuading spake Nokomls,
And my Hiawatha auswered
Ouly this: "Dear old Nokomis,
Very pleasant is the firelight,
Hnt I like the starlight better.
Better do I like the mooulight!"

Gravely then said old Nokotula
"Bring not here an idle maiden,
Bring not here a useless woman.
Hands uuskilful, feet unwilling;
Bring a wife with nimble fingers,
Heart and hand that move together,
Feet that run on willing errands!"

Smiling auswered Hiawatha:
"In the land of the Dacotahs
Lives the Arrow-maker's daughter,
.Miunehaha, Laughing Water,
Handsomest of all the women.
1 will bring her to yonr wigwam,
She shall run upon yonr errands,
Be yonr starlight, mooulight, firelight,
Be the suulight of my people.

Still dissuading said Nokomis:
Bring not to my lodge a stranger
From the land of the Dacotahs!
Very fieree are the Dacotahs,
Often is there war between us,
There are fends yet unforgotten.
Wonnds that ache and still may open!"

Laughing auswered Hiawatha:
'• For that reason, if no other.
Wonld I wed the fair Dacotah.
That onr tribes might be united.
That old fends might be forgotten.
And old wonnds be healed for ever!"

Thus departed Hiawatha
To the land of the Dacotahs,
To the land of the handsome women:
Striding over moor and meadow,
Throngh interminable forests,
Throngh uninterrupted silence.

With his moecasius of magie,
At each stride a mile he measured;

Yet the way seemed l.mg before him.
And his heart ontrun his footsteps;
And he jonrneyed withont resting.
Till he heard the cataraet's laughter,
Heard the falls of Miunehaha
falling to him throngh the silence.
"Pleasant is the sonnd!" he umrumred,
"Pleasant is the voice that calls me!"

On the ontskirts of the forest,
'Twlxt the shadow and the suushine.
Herds of fallow deer were feeding,
Bnt they saw not Hiawatha;
To his bow he whispered " Fail not!"
To his arrow whispered "Swerve not!"
Sent it singing on its errand,
To the red heart of the roebnck:
Threw the deer across his shonlder,
And sped forward withont pausing.

At the doorway of his wigwam
Sat the ancient Arrow-make r
In the land of the Dacotahs,
Making arrow-heads of jasper,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony.
At his side in all her beanty,
Sat the lovely Miunehaha,
Sat his daughter. Laughing Water,
Plaiting mats of flags and rushes;
Of the past the old man's thonghts were,
And the Maiden's of the fnture.

He was thinking, as he sat there,
Of the days when with snch arrows
He had strnck the deer and bison,
On the Muskoday, the meadow;
Shot the wild goose, flying sonthward,
On the wing, the clamorons Witwa;
Thinking of the great war-parties.
How they came to buy his arrows,
Conld not fight withont his arrows.
Ah, no more snch noble warriors
Conld be fonnd on earth us they were!
Now the men were all like women,
Ouly used their tongnes for weapous!

She was thinking of a hunter,
From another tribe and conntry.
Young and tall and very handsome,
Who one morning, in the Spring-time,
Came to buy her father's arrows,
Sat and rested in the wigwam,
Lingered long abont the doorway.
Looking back as he departed.
She had heard her father praise him,
Praise his conrage and his wisdom;
Wonld he come again for arrows,
To the falls of Miunehaha?
On the mat her hands lay idle,
And her eyes were very dreamy.

Throngh their thonghts they heard a footstep,
Heard a rustling in the branches,
And with glowing cheek and forehead,
With the deer upon his shoulders,
Snddeuly from ont the woodlands
Hiawatha stood before them.

Straight the ancient Arrow-maker
Looked up gravely from his labonr,
Laid aside the unfinished arrow,
Bade him enter at the doorway,
Saying as he rose to meet him,
"Hiawatha, yon are welcome!"

At the feet of Laughing Water
Hiawatha laid his burden,
Threw the red deer from his shoulders;
And the maiden looked up at him,
Looked up from her mat of rushes,
Said with gentle look and aecent,
"Yon are welcome, Hiawatha!"

Very spacions was the wigwam.
Made of deer-skin dressed and whitened,
With the gods of the Dacotahs
Drawn and painted on its curtaius,
Ami so tall the doorway, hardly
Hiawatha stooped to enter.
Hardly tonched his eagle-feathers
As he entered at the doorway.

Then uprosc the Laughing Water,
From the gronnd fair Miunehaha,
Laid aside her mat unflui-dicd.
Bronght forth food and set he fore them,
Water bron^ht them from the brooklet,
(;ave them food in earthen vessels,
Gave them drink in howls of bass-wood,
Listened while the gin-t was peaking,
Listened while her father auswered,
Bnt not once her lips siie opened,
.Not a single word she nttered.

Yes, as in u dream she listened
To the words of Hiawatha,
As ho talked of old Xokomls,
Who had nursed him in his childhood,
As lie told of his companious,
chiblabos, the umsician.
And tlic very strong man, Kwasind,
And of happiness and plenty
In the land of the O jib ways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful.

"After many years of warfare.
Many years of strife and bloodshed.
There Is peace between the Ojibways
And the tribe of Hie Dacotahs."
Thus continned Hiawatha,
And then added, speaking slowly,
"That this peace may last forever,
And our hands he clasped more closely,
And onr hearts he more united,
Give me as my wife this maiden,
Miunehaha, Laughing Water,
Loveliest of Dacotah women!"

And the ancient Arrow-maker
Paused a moment ere he auswered,
Smoked a little while in silence,
Looked at Hiawatha prondly.
Fondly looked at Laughing Water,
And made auswer very gravely:
"Yes, if Miunehaha wishes;
Let yonr heart speak, Miunehaha!"

And the lovely Laughing Water
Seemed more lovely us she stood there,
Neither willing nor reluetant,
As she went to Hiawatha,
Softly took the seat beside him,
While she said, and blushed to say it,
"I will follow yon. mv husband!'

This was Hiawatha s wooing!
Thus it was he won the daughter
Of the ancient Arrow-maker,
In the land of the Dacotahs!

From the wigwam he departed,
Landing with him Laughing Water;
Hand in hand they went together.
Through the woodland and the meadow,
Left the old man standm.g lonely
At the doorway of his wigwam,
Heard the fulls of Miunehaha
Calling to them from the distance,
Crving to them from afar off.
"Pare thee well, O Miunehaha!"
And the ancient Arrow-maker
Turned aga-in unto his labonr.
Sat down by his suuny doorway,
Murumring to himself, and saymg:
"Thus it is onr daughters leave us,
Those we love, and those who love us!
Just when they have learned to help us,
When we are old and lean upon them,
Comes a yonth with fiaunting feathers,
With his flnte of reeds, a stranger
Wanders piping throngh the village,
Beckousl to the fairest maiden.
And she follows where he leads her.
Leaving all things for the stranger!''

Pleasant was the jonrney homeward, Throngh interminable forests, Over meadow, over monntain, Over river, hill, and hollow. Short It seemed to Hiawatha, Thongh they jonrneyed veryslowly, Thongh his pace he checked and slackened

| To the steps of Laughing Water".
Over wide and rushing rivers
Ih his arms he bore tjie maiden;
Light he thonght her as a feather.
As the plume upon his head-gear:
Cleared the tangled pathway for her,
Bent aside the swavhig branches.
Made at night a lodge of br;m.ches.
And a bed with boughs of hemlock,
And a tire before the doorway
With the dry cones of the pine-tree.

All the travelling winds went with them,
O'er the meadow, throngh the forest;
All the stars of night looked at them,
Watched with sleepless eyes their slumber;
From his ambush in the oak-tree
Peeped the squirrel Adjidaumo,
Watched with eager eyes the lovers;
And the rabbit, the Wabasso.
Scampered from the path before them,
Peering, peeping from his burrow,
Sat ereet upon his haunches.
Watched with curions eyes the lovers;

Pleasant was the jonrney homeward!
All the birds sang lond and sweetly
Songs of happiness and heart's-euse;
Sang the blne-bird, the Owalssa,
"Happy are yon, Hiawatha,
Having snch a wife to love yon!"
Sang the robin, the Opechee,
"Happy are yon. Laughing Water,
Having snch a noble husband!"

From the sky the sun beniguant
Looked upon them throngh the branches,
Saying to them, "O my children.
Love is suushine, hate is shadow.
Life is cheqnered shade and suushine.
Rtile by love, O Hiawatha!"

From the sky the moon looked at them.
Fllled the lodge with mystic splendonrs,
Whispered to them, "O my children,
Day is restless, night is quiet,
Man imperions, woman feeble;
Half is mine, althongh I follow;
Rule by patience. Laughing Water!"

Thus it was they jonrneyed homeward;
Thus it was that Hiawatha
To the lodge of Old Nokomis
Bronght the mooulight, starlight, firelight,
Bronght the suushine of his people,
Miunehaha, Laughing Water,
Handsomest of all the women
In the land of the Dacotahs,
In the land of handsome women

HIAWATHA'S WEDDING-FEAST.

You shall hear how Pan-Puk-Keewis,
How the handsome Yenadlzze
Danced at Hiawatha's wedding;
How the gentle Chibiabos,
He the sweetest of umsiciaus.
Sang his songs of love and longing;
How Iagoo, the great boaster.
He the marvellons story-teller.
Told his tale of strange adventure,
That the feast might be more joyons,
That the time might pass more gayly,
And the gnests be more contented.

Sumptuons was the feast Nokomis
Made at Hiawatha's wedding:
All the bowls were made of bass-wood,
White and polished very smoothiy.
All the spoous of horn of bison.
Black and polished very smoothiy,

She had sent throngh all the village
Messengers with wands of willow,
As a sigu of invitation,
As a token of the feasting;
And the wedding gnests assembled,

[graphic]

Clad in all their richest raiment,
Robes of fur and belts of wampum.
Splendid with their paint and plumage,
Beant if ni. with beads and tassels.

Flrst they ate the sturgeon, Nahma,
And the pike, the Maskenozha,
Caught and cooked by old Nokomis;
Then on pemican they feasted,
Pemiean and buffalo marrow,
Haunch of deer and hump of bison,
Yellow cakes of the Mondainin,
And the wild rice of the river.
Bnt the gracions Hiawatha,
And the lovely Laughing Water,
And the careful old .Nokomis.
Tasted not the food before them,
Ouly waited on the others,
Oniy served their gnests in silence.

And when all the gnests had finished,
Old Nokomis, brisk and busy,
From an ample ponch of otter,
Filled the red stone pipes for smoking
With tobacco from the Sonth-land,
Mixed with bark of the red willow,
And with herbs and leaves of fragrance.

Then she said, "O Pan-Puk-Keewis,
Dance for us yonr merry dances,
Dance the Beggar's Dance to please us,
That the feast may be more joyons,
That the time may pass more gayly,
And onr guests be more contented!"

Then the handsome Pan-Puk-Keewis,
He the idle Yenadizze,
He the merry mischief-maker,
Whom the people called the Storm-Fool,
Rose among the gnests assembled.

Skilled was he in sports and pastimes,
In the merry dance of suow-shoes.
In the play of quoits and ball-play;
Skilled was he in games of hazard,
in all games of skill and hazard,
Purgasaing, the Bowl and Connters.
Kantasso, the Game of Plum-stones.

Thongh the warriors called him Faint-Heart,
Called hira coward, Shaugodayn,
Idler, gambler, Yenadizze,
Little heeded he their jesting,
Little cared he for their iusults,
For the women and the maideus
Loved the handsome Pan-Puk-Keewis.

He was dressed in skirt of doe-skin.
White and soft, and fringed witli ermine,
All inwronght with beads of wampum;
He was dressed in duer-skin leggings,
Fringed with hedgehog quills and ermine,
And in moecasius of bnckskin,
Thick with quills and beads embroidered.
On liis head were plumes of swan's down,
On his heels were tails of foxes,
In one hand a fan of feathers,
And a pipe was in the other.

Barred with streaks of red and yellow,
Streaks of bints and bright vermilion,
Shone the face of Pan-Puk-Keewis,
From his forehead fell his tresses,
Smooth and parted like a woman's.
Shining bright with oil, and plaited,
Hung with braids of scented grasses,
As among the gnests assembled, .
To the sonnd oi flntes and singing,
To the sonnd of drums and voices,
ltosc the handsome Pan-Puk-Keewis,
And began his mystic dances.

Flrst he danced a soleum measure,
Very slow in step and gesture,
lu and nnt among the pine-trees,
throngh the shadows and the suushine,
Treading softly like a panther.
Then more swiftly and still swifter,
Whirling, spiuning ronnd in cireles,
Leaping o'er the gnests assembled,
Edifying ronnd and ronnd the wiswam,
Till the leaves went whirling with him,

Till the dust and wind together
Swept in eddies ronnd abont him.

Then along t he sandy margin
Of the lake, the Big-Sea-water,
On he sped with frenzied gestures.
Stamped upon the sand, and tossed it
Wildly in the air aronnd him;
Till the wind became a whirlwind.
Till the sand was blown and .sided
Like great suowdrifts e'er the landscape,
Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes,
Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo!

Thus the merry Pan-Puk-Keewis,
Danced his Beggar's Dance to piease them,
And, returning, sat down laughing.
There among the gnests assembled,
Sat and fauned himself serenely
With his fan of turkey-feathers.

Then they said to Chibiabos,
To the friend of Hiawatha,
To the sweetest of all singers,
To the best of all umsiciaus,
"Sing to us, O Chibiabos!
Son^s of love and songs of longing.
That the feast may be more joyons,
That the time may pass more gayly.
And onr gnests be more contented!"

And the gentle Chibiabos
Sang in aecents sweet and tender,
Sang in tones of deep emotion.
Songs of love and songs of longing;
Looking still at Hiawatha
Looking at fair Laughing Water,
Sang he softly, sang in this wise:

"Onaway! Awake, beloved!
Thon the wild-flower of the forest!
Thou the wild-bird of the prairie!
Thon with eyes so soft and fawn-like!

"If thon ouly lookest at me,
I am happy, 1 am happy,
As the Iilles of the prairie,
When they feel the dew upon them!

"Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance
Of the wild-flowers in the morning,
As their fragrance is at evening,
In the Moon when leaves are falling.

"Does not all the blood within mo
Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee,
As the springs to meet the suushine.
In the Moon when nights are brightest 'I

"Onaway! my heart sings to thee,
Sings with joy when thon art near me,
As the sighing, singing branches
In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries!

"When thon art not pleased, beloved,
Then my heart is sad and darkened,
As the shining river darkeus
When the clonds drop shadows on it!

"When thon smilest, my beloved,
Then my troubled heart is brightened,
As in suushine gleam the ripples
That the cold wind makes in rivers,

"Smiles the earth, and smile the waters,
Smile the clondless skies above us.
Bnt I lose the way of smiling
When thon art no longer near me!

"I myself, myself! behold ine!
Blood of my beating heart, behoUl me!
O awake, awake, beloved!
Onaway! awake, beloved!"

Thtis'the gentle Chibiabos
Sang his song of love and longing!
And Iagoo, the great boaster,
He the marvellons story-teller,
He the friend of old Nokomis,
Jealons of the sweet umsician,
Jealons of the applause they gave him,
Saw in all the eyes aronnd him,
Saw in all their looks and gestures,
That the wedding gnests assembled
Longed to hear his pleasant stories,
His immeasurable falsehoods.

Very boastful was Iagoo;

Never heard he an adventure
Bnt himself had met a greater;
Never any deed of daring
Bnt himself had done a bolder;
Never any marvellons story
Bnt himself conld tell a stranger.

Wonld yon listen to his boasting,
Wonld yon ouly give him credence,
No one ever shot an arrow
Half so far and high as he had;
Ever caught so many fishes,
Ever killed so many reindeer,
Ever trapped so many beuver!

None conld run so fast as he conld,
None conld dive so deep as he conld,
None conld swim so far as he conld;
None had made so many jonrneys,
None had seen so many wonders,
As this wonderful Iagoo,
As this marvellons story-teller;

Thus his name became a by-word And a jest among the people; And whene'er a boastful hunter Praised his own address too highiy. Or a warrior, home returning. Talked too mnch of his achievements, All his hearers cried, " Iagoo! Here's lagoo come among us!"

He it was who carved the cradle Of the little Hiawatha, Carved its framework ont of linden, Bonnd it strong with reindeir sinews; He it was who taught him later How to make his bows and arrows, How to make the bows of ash-tree. And the arrows of the oak-tree. So among the gnests assembled At my Hiawatha's wedding Sat lagoo, old and ugly, Sat the marvellons story-teller.

And they said, "O good lagoo, Tell us now a tale of wonder, Tell us of some strange adventure. That the feast may be more joyons, That the time may pass more gayly. And onr gnests be more contented!"

And lagoo auswered straightway, "Yon shall hear a tale of wonder. Yon shall hear the strange adventures Of Osseo, the Magician, From the Evening Star descended."

THE SON OF THE EVENING STAR.

Can it be the sun descending
O'er the level plain of water?
Or the Red Swan floating, flying,
Wonnded by the magic arrow,
Staining all the waves with crimson,
With the crimson of its life-blood,
Killing all the air with splendonr,
With the splendonr of its plumage?

Yes; it is the sun descending,
Sinking down into the water;
All the sky is stained with purple,
All the water flushed with crimson!
No; it is the Red Swan floating,
Diving down beneath the water;
To the sky its wings are lifted,
With its blood the waves are reddened!

Over ft the Star of Evening
Melts and trembles throngh the purple,
Hangs suspended in the twilight.
No; it is a bead of Wampum
On the robesof the Great Spirit,
As he passes throngh the twilight.
Walks hi silence throngh the heaveusi

This with joy beheld Ingoo.
And he said in haste: "Behold it!
See the sacred Star of Evening!

Yon shall hear a tale of wonder,

Hear the story of Osseo!

Son of the Evening Star Osseo!

"Once, in days no more remembered, Ages nearer the begiuning, When the heaveus were closer to us, And the Gods were most familiar, In the North-land lived a hunter,

[ocr errors]

With ten yonng and comely daughters,
Tall and lithe as wands of willow;
Ouly Oweence, the yonngest,
She the wilful and the wayward.
She the silent, dreamy maiden,
Was the fairest of the sisters.

"All these women married warriors.
Married brave and haughty husbands;
Ouly Oweenee, the yonngest.
Laughed and flonted all her lovers,
All her yonng and handsome suitors,
And then married old Osseo,
Old Osseo, poor and ugly,
Broken witli age and weak with conghing,
Always conghing like a squirrel.

"An, bnt beantiful within him
Was the spirit of Osseo,
From the Evening Star descended,
Star of Evening, Star of Woman,
Star of tenderness and passion!
All its fire was in his bosom,
All its beanty in his spirit,
All its mystery in his being,
All its splendonr in its language!

"And her lovers, the rejeeted,
Handsome men with belts of wampum,
Handsome men with paint and feathers.
Pointed at her in derision,
Followed her with jest and laughter.
Bnt she said: 'I care not for yon.
Care not for yonr belts of wampum,
Care not for yonr paint and feathers,
Care not for yonr jests and laughter;
I am happy with Osseo!'

"Once to some great feast invited.
Throngh the damp and dusk of evening
Walked together the ten sisters,
Walked together with their husbands;
Slowly followed old Osseo,
With fair Oweenee beside mm;
All the others chatted gayly.
These two ouly walked in silence.

"At the western sky Osseo
Gazed intent, as if imploring.
Often stopped and gazed imploring
At the trembling Star of Evening,
At the tender Star of Woman;
And they heard him umrumr softly,
'Ah, shoicain venieslttn, Koso!
Pity, pity me,my father!'

"'Listen!' said the eldest sister,
'He is praying to his father!
What a pity that the old man
Does not stumble in the pathway,
Does not break his nock by falling!
And thev laughed till all the forest
Rang with their uuseemly laughter.

"On their pathway throngh the woodland
Lay an oak, by storms uprooted,
Lay the great trunk of an oak-tree,
Buried half in leaves and mosses.
Monldering, crumbling, huge and hollow.
And Osseo, when he saw it,
Gave a shont, a cry of anguish,
Leaped into its yawning cavern,
At one end went in an old man.
Wasted, wrinkled, old, and ugly;
From the other came a yonng man,
Tall and straight and strong and handsome.

"Thus Osseo was trausfigured,
Thus restored to yotit h and beanty;
Bnt, alas for good Osseo,
And for Oweenee, the faithful!
Strangely, too, was she trausfigured
Changed into a weak old woman,

« AnteriorContinuar »