Imágenes de páginas

Plunged beneath the sluggish water
Headlong: as an otter plunges;
And the bireh-canoe, abandoned,
Drifted empty down the river,
Bottom upward swerved and drifted;
Nothing more was seen of Kwasind.
Bnt the memory of the Strong Man
Lingered long among the people.
And whenever throngh the forest
Raged and roared the wintry tempest.
And the branches tossed and tronbled,
Creaked, and groaned, and split asunder,
"Kwasind!" cried they; "that is Kwasind!
He is gathering in his tire-wood!"


Nevee stoops the soaring vulture
On his quarry in the desert.
On the sick or wounded bison.
Bnt another vulture, watching
From his high aerial look-ont,
Sees the downward plunge, and follows;
And athird pursnes the second,
Coming from the invisible ether,
Flrst a speck, and then a vulture,
Till the air is dark with pinious.

So disasters come not singly;
Bnt as if they watched and waited,
Scauning one another's motious.
When the iirst descends, the others
Follow, follow, gathering flock-wise
Ronnd their vietim, sick and wonnded,
Flrst a shodow, then a sorrow,
Till the air is dark with anguish.

Now o'er all the dreary Northiand,
Mighty Peboan, the Winter,
Breathing on the lakes and rivers,
Into stone had changed their waters.
From his hair ho shook the suow-flakes,
Till the plaius were strewn with whiteness,
One uninterrupted level,
As if, stooping, the Creator
With his hand had smoothed tlicin over.

Throngh the forest, wide and wailing,
Roamed the hunter on his suow-shoes;
In the village worked the women,
Ponnded maize, or dressed the deer-skin;
And the yonng men played together
On the ice the noisy ball-play.
On the plain the dance of suow-shoes.

One dark evening, after sundown,
In her wigwam Laughing Water
Sat with old Nokomis waiting
For the steps of Hiawatha
Homeward from the hunt returning.

On their faces gleamed the fire-light,
Painting them with streaks of crimson,
In the eyes of old Nokomis
Glimmered like the watery mooulight,
In the eyes of Laughing Water
Glistened like the sun in water:
And behind them cronched their shadows
In the corners of the wigwam,
And the smoke in wreaths above them
Climbed and crowded throngh the smoke-flne.

Then the curtain of the doorway
From withont was slowly lifted;
Brighter glowed the fire a moment,
And a moment swerved the smoke-wreath,
As two women entered softly.
Passed the doorway uninvited,
Withont word of salntation,
Withont sigu of recoguition,
Sat down in the farthest corner,
Cronching low among the shadows.

From their aspeet and their garments
Strangers seemed ^hey in the village;
Very pale and haggard were they,
As they sat there sad and silent,

Trembling, cowering with the shadows.

Was it the wind above the smoke-flne Mnttering down into (he wigwam 'i Was it the owl, the Koko-kobo, Hooting from the dismal forest? Sure a voice said in the silence: "These are corpses clad in garments, These are gliosis that come to haunt yon, From the kingdom of 1'oncinah, From the land of the Hereafter!" Homeward now came Hiawatha From his hunting in t lie forest. With the suow upon his tresses, And the red-deer on his shonlders, At the feet of Laughing Water Down he threw his lifeless burden; Nobler, handsomer she thonght him. Than when first he came to woo her. Flrst threw down tlic deer before her, As a token of his wishes. As a promise of the fnture.

Then he turned and saw the strangers, Cowering, cronching with the shadow.-.; Said within himself, "Who are tiny V What strange gnests has Mmnehalu?" Bnt he qnestioned not the strangers, Ouly spake to bid them welcome To his lodge, his food, his fireside. When the evening meal was ready. And the deer had been divided, Both the pallid gnests, the strangers, . Springing from among the shadows, Seized upon the choicest portious. Seized the white fat of the roe-bnck, Set apart for Laughing Water, For the wife of Hiawatha: Withont asking, withont thanking, Eagerly devonred the morsels. Flitted back among the shadows In the corner of the wigwam. Not a word spake Hiawatha, Not a motion made Nokomis, Not a gesture Laughing Water; Not a change came o'er their features, Ouly Miunehaha softly Whispered, saving, "They are famished, Let them do what best delights them: Let them eat, for they are famished."

Many a daylight dawned and darkened,
Many a night shook off the day-li'-'lit
As the pine shakes off the suow-flakes
From the miduight of its branches;
Day by day the gnests umnoving
Sat"there silent in the wigwam;
Bnt by night, in storm or starlight,
Forth they went into the forest.
Bringing fire-wood to the wigwam.
Bringing pine-cones for the burning,
Always sad and always silent.

And whenever Hiawatha
Came from fishing or from hunting.
When the evening meal was ready,
And the food had been divided,
Gliding from their darksome corner.
Came the pallid gnests, the strangers,
Seized upon the choicest portious
Set aside for Laughing Water,
And withont rebuke or qnestion
Flitted back among the shadows.

Never once had Hiawatha
By a word or look reproved them;
Never once had old Nokomis
Made a gesture of impatience;
Never once had Laughing Water
Shown resentment at the ontrage.
All had they endured in silence,
That the rights of gnest and stranger,
That the virtne of free-giving,
By a look might not be lessened,
By a word might not be broken.

Once at miduight Hiawatha,
Ever wakeful, ever watchful.
In the wigwam, dimly lighted,
By the brands that still were burning.
By the glimmering, flickering fire-light,
Heard a sighing, oft repeated.
Heard a sobbing, as of sorrow.


From his conch rose Hiawatha,
From his shaggy hides of bison,
Pushed aside the deer-skin curtain.
Saw the pallid gnests, the shadows
Sitting upright on their conches.
Weeping in the silent miduight.

And he said: "O gnests! why is it That yonr hearts are so afflieted. That yon sob so in the miduight? Has perehance the old Nokomis, Has my wife, my Miunehaha, Wronged or grieved yon by unkinduess, Failed in hospitable dnties?

Then the shadows ceased from weeping
leased from sobbing and lamenting,
And they said, with gentle voices:
"We are ghosts of the departed.
Sonls of those who once were with yon.
From the reaims of Chibiabos
Hither have we come to try yon,
Hither have we come to warn yon.

"Cries of grief and lamentation
Beach us in the Blessed Islands;
Cries of anguish from the living.
Calling back their friends departed,
Sadden us with useless sorrow;
Therefore have we come to try yon;
No one-knows us, no one heeds us.
We are but a burden to yon.
And we see that the departed
Have no place among the living.

•' Think of this, O Hiawatha!
Speak of it to all the people,
That henceforward and for ever
They no more with lamentatious
Sadden the sonls of the departed
In the Islands of the Blessed.

"Do not lay such heavy burdeus
In the graves of those yon bury,
Not snch weight of furs and wampum,
Sot snch weight of pots and kettles.
For the spirits faint beneath them.
Ouly give them food to carry,
Ouly give them tire to light them

"Fonr days is the spirit's jonrncy
To the land of ghosts and shadows.
Fonr its lonely night encampments;
Fonr times umst their flres be lighted.
Therefore, wbon the dead are buried,
Let a fire, as night approaches,
Four times on the grave be kindled.
That the soul upon its jonrney
May not lack the cheerful tire-light,
Mav not grope abont in darkness.

"'Farewell, noble Hiawatha!
We have pnt yon to the trial.
To the proof have pnt yonr patience,
By the iusult of onr presence,
B'- the ontrage of onr aetious.
We have fonnd yon great and noble.
Fail not in the greater trial,
Faint not in the harder struggle."

When they ceased, a sndden darkness
Fell and filled the silent wigwam.
Hiawatha heard a rustle
As of garments trailing by him.
Heard the curtain of the doorway
Lifted by a hand he saw not;
Felt the cold breath of the air.
For a moment saw the starlight;
Bnt ho saw the ghosts no longer.
Saw no more the wandering spirits
From the kingdom of Ponemah,
From the land of the Hereafter.

Iie had broHght his young wife homeward
From the land of the Pacotahs;
When the birds sang in the thickets,
And the streamlets laughed mid glistened,
And the air was .full of fragrance,
And the lovely Laughing Water
Said with voice that did nnt tremble,
"I will follow yon, my husband!"

In the wigwam with Nokomls,
With those gloomy gnests, that watched Iier,
With the Famine and the Fever,
She was lying, the Beloved,
She was iiving, Miunehaha.

- Hark!" she said; "1 hear a rushing, Hear a roaring and a rushing, Hear the fallsof Miunehaha Calling to me from a distance!" "No, my child!" said old Nokomis. ""l'is the night-wind in the pine-trees!"

"Look!'' she said. "1 see my father,
Standing lonely nt his doorway,
Beckoning to me from his wigwam
In the land of the Dacotahs!"
"No, my child'." said old Nokomis,
"'Tis the smoke that waves and beckous!"

"Ah!" she said, "the eyes of Pauguk.
Olare upon 'me in the darkness,
1 can feel his iey fingers
Clasping mine amid the darkness!
Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"

And the desolate Hiawatha,
Far away amid the forest.
Mifes away among the monntaius,
Heard that sndden cry of anguish,
Heard the voice of Miunehaha
Calling to him in the darkness,
"Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"

Over suow-fields waste and pathiess,
Under suow-encumbered branches,
Homeward hurried Hiawatha,
Empty -handed, heavy-hearted,
Heard Nokomis wailing, moaning:
"Wahonomin! Wahonomin!
Wonld that I had perished for yon.
Wonld that I were dead as yon are!
Wahonomin! Wahonomin!"

And lie rushed into the wigwam,
Saw the old Nokomis slowly
Hocking to and fro nnd moaning,
Saw his lovely Miunehaha
Lving dead and cold before him.
And his bursting heart within him
I'ttered snch a cry of anguish.
That the forest moaned and shnddered,
That the very stars in heaven
Shook and trembled with lis anguish.

Then lie sat down, still and speechiess,
On the bed of Miunehaha,
At the feet of Laughing Water,
At those willing feet that never
More wonld lightlv run to meet him.
Never more wonld lightly follow.

With both hands his face he covered.
Seven long days and nights lie sat there,
As if in a swoon he sat there.
Speechiess, motiouless, uncouscions
Of the daylight or the darkness.

Then they buried Miunehaha;
In the suow a grave they made her,
In the forest deep and darksome,
I'ndornca'h the moaning hemlocks;
Clothed*er in her richest garments,
Wrapped her in her robes of erintne,
Covered her with suow, like ermine;
Thus they buried Miunehaha.

And at night a fire was lighted.
On her grave fonr times was kindled,
For her sonl upon its journey
To the Islands of the Blessed.
From his doorway Hiawatha
Saw it burning in the forest.
Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks.
From his sleepless bed uprising,

From the bed of Miunehaha,
Stood and watched it at the doorway,
That it might not be extinguished,
Might not leave her in the darkness.

"Farewell!" said he. '. Miunehaha!
Farewell, O my Laughing Water!
All my heart is burled with you!
All my thonghts go onward with yon!
Come not back again to labonr,
Coinc not back again to suffer.
Where the Famine and the Fever
Wear the heart and waste the body.
Soon my task will be completed.
Soon yonr footsteps I shall follow
To the Islands of the blessed,
To the kingdom of Foncinah,
To the Land of the Hereafter!"


Is his lodge beside a river
Close beside a frozen river,
Sat an old man, sad and lonely,
White his hair was as a suow-drift;
Dull and low his fire was burning,
And the old man shook and trembled,
Folded in his Wnubewyon,
In his tattered white-skin wrapper,
Hearing nothing bnt the tempest
As it roared along the forest.
Seeing nothing bnt the suow-storm.
As it whirled, and hissed, and drifted.

All the coals were white with ashes,
And the tire was slowlv dying.
As a yonng man. walking'lightlr,
At the open doorway entered,
lied with blood of yonth his cheeks were,
Soft his eyes, as stars in Spring-time,
Bonnd his forehead was with grasses,
Bonnd and plumed with scented grasses;
On his lips a smile of beanty.
Filling all the lodge with suushine,
In his hand a hunch of blossoms
Fllling all the lodge with sweetness.

"Ah, my son!" exclained the old man, "Happy are my eyes to see yon. Sit here on the mat beside me, sit here by the dying embers, Let us pass the night together, Tell me of yonr strange adventures. Of the land where yon have travelled; I will tell yon of my prowess. Of my many deeds of wonder."

From his ponch he drew liis peace-pipe,
Very old and strangely fashioned;
Mane of red stone was the pipe-head,
And the stem a reed with feathers;
Fllled the pipe with bark of willow,
Placed a burning coal upon it.
Gave it to hls gnest, the stranger.
And began to speak in this wise:

"When I blow my breath abont me,
When I breathe upon the landscape,
Motiouless are all the rivers,
Hard as stone becomes the water."

And the yonng man auswered, smiling; "When I blow my breath abont me. When I breathe upon the landscape,. Flowers spring up o'er all the meadows, Singing, onward rush the rivers!"

"When I shake mv hoary tresses,"
Said the old man, darkly frowning,
"All the land with suow is covered;
All the leaves from all the branches
Fall and fade and die and wither.
For I breathe, and lo! they are not.
From the waters and the marshes
Rise the wild goose and the heron.
Fly away to distant regious,
For I speak, and io! they are not.

And where'er my footsteps wander,
Al l the wild beasts of the forest
Hide themselves in holes and caverus.
And the earth becomes as flintstono!"

"When I shake my flowing ringlets,"
Said the yonng man, softly laughing,
"Showers of rain fall warm and welcome,
Plants lift up their heads rejoicing,
Back unto their lakes and marshes
Come the wild goose and the heron.
Homeward shoots the arrowy swallow,
Sing the blne-bird and the robin,
And where'er my footsteps wander.
All the meadows wave with blossoms,
All the woodlands ring with umsic.
All the trees are dark with foliage!"

While they spake the night departed;
From the distant reaims of Wabun,
From his shining lodge of silver,
Like a warrior robed and painted,
Came the sun, and said, "Behold me!
Gheezis, the great sun, behold me !-

Then the old man's tongne was speechiess,
And the air grew warm and pleasant,
And upon the wigwam sweetly
Sang the bine-bird and the robin,
And the stream began to umrmur,
And a scent of growing grasses
Throngh the lodge was gently wafted.

And Swegun. the yonthful stranger,
More distinetly in the daylight,
Saw the iey face before him.
It was Peboan, the Winter.

From his eyes the tears were flowing,
As from melting lakes and streamlets,
And his body shrunk and dwindled
As the shonting sun ascended.
Till into the air it faded,
Till into the gronnd it vanished.
And the yonng man saw before him,
On the hearth-stone of the wigwam,
Where the fire had smoked and smouldered,
Saw the earliest flower of Spring-time,
Saw the Beanty of the Spring-time,
Saw the MUkodeed in blossom.

Thus ft was that in the Northland
After that unheard-of colduess,
That intolerable Winter,
Came the Spring, with all its splendonr,
All its birds and all its blossoms,
All its flowers and leaves and grasses.

Sailing on the wind to northward,
Flying in great flocks like arrows.
Like hugearrows shot throngh heaven.
Passed the swan, the Mahualibezee,
Speaking aimost as a man speaks;
And in long lines waving, bending
Like a bow-string snapped asunder,
Came the white goose, Waw-be-wawa;
And in pairs, or singly flying.
Mahug the loon, with clamorons pinious,
The blne heron, the Shuh-shuh gah,
And the gronse, the Mushkodasa.

In the thickets and the meadows
Piped the blne-bird, the Owaissa,
On the summit of the lodges,
Sang the robin, the Opechee,
In the covert of the pme-trees
Cooed the Omeme, the pigeon,
And the sorrowing Hiawatha,
Speechiess in his infinite sorrow,
Heard their voices calling to him.
Went forth from his gloomy d»orway,
Stood and gazed into the heaven,
Gazed upon the earth and waters.

From his wanderings far to eastward,
From the regious of the morning,
From the shining land of Wabun,
Homeward now returned lagoo,
The great traveller, the great boaster,
Full of now and strange adventures,
Marvels many, and many wonders.

And the people of the viHago

Listened to him as he told them
Of his marvellons adventures.
Laughing auswered him in this wise:
l' (Jgh! it is indeed lagoo!
No one else beholds snch wonders!"

He had seen, he said, a water
Bigger than the Big-Sea-Water,
Broader than the Gitehe Gumee,
Bitter so that none conld drink it!
At each other looked the warriors,
Looked the women at each other,
Smiled, and said, "It caunot be so!
Kaw!" they said, " It caunot be so!"

O'er it, said he, o'er this water
Came a great canoe with pinious,
A canoe with wings came flying.
Bigger than a grove of pine-trees,
Taller than the tallest tree-tops!
And the old men and the women
Looked and tittered at eacli other;
"Kaw!" they said, "We don't believe it!"

From its month, he said, to greet him, Came Waywassimo, the lightning, Came the thunder, Aunemekee! And the warriors and the women Laughed alond at poor lagoo; "Kaw!" they said, "what tales yon tell us I

In it, said he, came a people,
In the great canoe with pinious
Came, he said, a hundred warriors;
Painted white were all their faces.
And with hair their chius were covered!
And the warriors and the women
Laughed and shonted in derision,
Like thc raveus on the tree-tops,
Like the crows upon the hemlock.
"Kaw!" they said, "what lies yon tell us!
Do not think that we believe them!"

Ouly Hiawatha laughed not,
Bnt he gravely spake and auswered
To their jeering and their jesting:
"Trne is all lagoo tells us;
I have seen it in a vision,
Seen the great canoe with pinious,
Seen the people with white faces,
Seen the coming of this bearded
People of the wooden vessel
From the regious of the morning,
From the shining land of Wabun.

"Gitche-Manito, the Mighty,
The Great Spirit, the Creator,
Sends them hither on his errand,
Sends them to us with ius message.
Wheresoe'er they move, before them
Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo,
Swarms the bee, the honey-maker;
Whereso'er they tread, beneath them
Springs a flower unknown among us.
Springs the White-man's Foot in blossom.

"Let us welcome, then, the strangers,
Hail them as onr friends and brothers.
And the heart's right hand of friendship
Give them when they come to see us.
Gitche Manito, the Mighty,
Said this to me in my vision.

"I beheld, too, in that vision
All the secrets of the fnture,
Of the distant days that shall be,
1 beheld the westward marehes
Of the unknown, crowded natious.
AH the land was full of people.
Restless, struggling, toiling, striving,
Speaking many tongnes, yet feeling,
Bnt one heart-beat in their bosoms.
In the woodlands rang their axes.
Smoked their towus in all the valleys.
Over all the lakes and rivers
Rushed their great canoes of thunder.

"Then a darker, drearier vision
Passed before me, vagne and clond-like*
I behold onr natious scattered,
All forgetful of my conusels.
Weakened, warring with each other;

Saw the reumants of our people
Sweeping westward, wild und woeful,
Like the cloml-rack of a tempest,
Like the withered leaves of antuum''


By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam.
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatlm stood and waited.

All the air was full of freshuess,
All the earth was bright and joyons,
And before him, throngh the suushine,
Westward toward the neighbonring forest
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
Burning, singing in the suushine.

Bright above him shone the heaveus,
Level spread the lake before him;
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
Sparkling, flashing in the suushine;
On its margin the great forest
Stood refleeted in the water.
Every tree-top had its shadow.
Motiouless beneath the water.

From the brow of Hiawatha
(.one was every trace of sorrow.
As the fog from off the water,
As the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and trinmph,
With a look of exultation.
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be hnt is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.

Toward the sun his hands were lifted,
Both the paims spread ont agaiust it
And between the parted fingers
Fell the suushine on his features.
Flecked with light his naked shonlders.
As it falls and flecks an oak-tree
Throngh the rifted leaves and branches.

O'er the water floating, flying.
Something in the hazy distance.
Something in the mists of morning.
Loomed and lifted from the water,
Now seemed floating, now seemed flying.
Coming nearer, nearer, nearer.

Was it Shingebis. tbjs diver?
Was it the pelican, the Shada?
Or the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah?
Or the white goose, Waw-be-wawa,
With the water dripping, flashing
From its glossy neck and feathers?

It was neither goose nor diver,
Neither the pelican, nor heron,
O er the water floating, flying.
Throngh the shining mist of morning,
Bnt a bireh canoe with paddles,
Rising, sinking on the water,
Dripping, flashing in the suushine,
And within it came a people
From the distant land of Wabun,
From-the farthest reaims of morning
Came the Black-Robe chief, the Prophet,
He the Priest of Prayor, the l'ale-face,
With his guides und'his companious.

And the noble Hiawatha, With his hands aloft extended, Held aloft in sigu of welcome, Waited, full of exultation, Till the bireh canoe with paddles, Grated on the shining pebbles. Stranded on the sandv margin, Till the Black-Robe chief, the Pale-face, With the cross upon his bosom, Landed on the sandy margin.

Then the joyons Hiawatha

('tied alond and spake in this wise: When voUUS-ili0 sun- ° strangers.

All onr doors stand open furyoti; -—. ....

Yon shall enter all our wigwams,

lor the hearts rigid hand we give yon.

"Never bloomed the earth so gayly
Never shone the sun so brightly,
As to-dav they shine and blossom
When you come so far to see us!
Never was onr lake so tranquil.
Nor so free from rocks und sand-bars;
For yonr bireh canoe in passing
Has removed both rock and sand-bar!

"Never before had onr tobaeco
Snch a sweet and pleasant flavonr.
Never the broad leaves of onr corn-fields
Were so beantiful to took on,
As they seem to us this morning.
When yon come so far to see us!"

And the Black-Robe chief made auswer, Stammered in his speech a little,' Speaking words yet unfamiliar: "Peace be with yon, Hiawatha, Peace be with yon and yonr people, Peace of prayer, and peace of pardon, Peace of Christ, and joy of Mary!"

Then tlie generons Hiawatha
Led the strangers to his wigwam,
Seated them on skius of bison,
Seated them on skius of ermine.
And the careful old Nokomis
Bronght them food in bowls of bass-wood.
Water bronght in birehen dippers.
And the calumet, the peace-pipe.
Filled and lighted for their smoking.

All the old men of the village,
All the warriors of the nation,
All the Josakeeds, the prophets,
The magiciaus, the Wabenos,
And the medicine-men, the Medas,
Came to bid tho strangers welcome;
"It is well," they said, "O brothers,
That yon come so far to see us!"

In a cirele ronnd the doorway,
With their pipes thev sat in silence,
Waiting to behold the strangers.
Waiting to receive their message;
Till the Black-Robe chief, the Pale-face,
From the wigwam came to greet them.
Stammering in his speech a little,
Speaking words vet unfamiliar:
-It is well," they said, "O brother,
That yon come so far to see us!"

Then the Black-Robe chief, the prophet,
Told his message to the people,
Told the purport of his mission,
Told them of the Virgin Mary,
And her blessed son, the Savionr,
How in distant lands and ages
He had lived on earth as we do;
How he fasted, prayed, and laboured;
How the Jews, the tribe accursed,
Mocked him. sconrged him, crnciaed him,
How lie rose from where they laid him,
Walked again with his disciples,
And ascended into heaven.

And the chiefs made auswer, saying:
"We have listened to your message,
We have heard yonr words of wisdom.
We will think on what yon tell us.
It is well for us, O brothers.
That von come so far to see us!"

The'n they rose up and departed
Each one homeward to his wigwam.
To the yonng men and the women
Told th's story of the strangers
Whom the Master of Life had sent them
From the shining land of Wabun.
Heavv with the heat and silence
drew' the afternoon of Summer;
With a drowsy sonnd the forest

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