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Lay the sturgeon, King of Fishes:
Through his gills he breathed the water,
With his fins he fanned and winnowed,
With his tail he swept the sand-floor.
There he lay in all his armour:
On each side a shield to guard him,
Plates of bone upon his forehead,
Down his sides and back and shoulders
Plates of bone with spines projecting;
Painted was he with his war-paints,
Stripes of yellow, red, and azure,
Spots of brown and spots of sable;
And he lay there on the botton,
. Fanning with his fins of purple,
As above him Hiawatha
In his birch-canoe came sailing, o
With his fishing-line of cedar.
“Take my bait !” cried Hiawatha,
I)own into the depths beneath him,
“Take my bait, O Sturgeon, Nahma'
Come up from below the water,
Let us see which is the stronger!"
And he dropped his line of cedar
Through the clear, transparent water,
W.; vainly for an answer
Long sat waiting for an answer,
And repeating loud and louder,
“Take my bait, O. King of Fishes!”
Quiet lay the sturgeon Nahma,
Fanning slowly in the water,
Looking up at Hiawatha,
Listening to his call and clamour,
His unnecessary tumult,
Till he wearied of the shouting;
And he said to the Kenozha,
To the pike, the Maskenozha,
“Take the bait of this rude fellow,
Break the line of Hiawatha l''
In his fingers Hiawatha -
Felt the loose line jerk and tighten;
As he drew it in, it tugged so
That the birch-canoe stood endwise,
Like a birch log in the water,
With the squirrel, Adjidaume.
"Perched and frisking on the summit.
Full of scorn was Hiawatha When he saw the fish rise upward, Saw the pike, the Maskenozha, Coming nearer, nearer to him, And he shouted through the water, “Esal esa! Shame upon you, You are but the pike, Kenozha, You are not the fish I wanted. You are not the King of Fishes ." IReeling downward to the bottom Sank the pike in great confusion, And the mighty sturgeon, Nahma, Said to Ugud wash, the sun-fish, To the bream with scales of crimson, “Take the bait of this great boaster, Ibreak the line of Hiawatha! Slowly upward, wavering, gleaming, Rose the Ugud wash, the sun-fish, Seized the line of Hiawatha, Swung with all its weight upon it, Made a whirlpool in the water, Whirled the birch-canoe in circles, Round and round in gurgling cddies, Till the circles in the water Reached the far-off sandy beaches, Till the water-flags and rushes Nodded on the distant margins. But when Hiawatha saw him Slowly rising through the water, lifting his great disc refulgent, Loud he shouted in derision, “Esa! esa . shame upon you! You are Ugudwash, the sun-fish, You are not the fish I wanted, You are not the King of Fishes:” Slowly downward, wavering, gleaming, Sank the Ugud wash, the sun-fish, And again the sturgeon, Nahma,
Heard the shout of Hiawatha,
Heard his challenge of defiance,
The unnecessary tumult,
Ringing far across the water.
From the white sand of the bottom
Up, he rose with angry gesture,
Quivering in each nerve and fibre,
Clashing all his plates of armour,
Gleaming bright with all his war-paint:
In his wrath he darted upward,
Fashing leaped into the sunshine,
Opened his great jaws and swallowed
Both canoe and Hiawatha.
Down into that darksome cavern
Plunged the headlong Hiawatha.
As a log on some black river,
Shoots and plunges down the rapids,
Found himself in utter darkness,
Groped about in helpless wonder,
Till he felt a great heart beating,
Throbbing in that utter darkness.
And he smote it in his anger,
With his fist the heart of Nahma,
Felt the mighty King of Fishes
Shudder through each nerve and fibre,
Heard the water gurgle round him
Hs he leaped and staggered through it,
Sick at heart, and faint and weary.
Crosswise then did Hiawatha
Drag his birch-canoe for safety,
Lest from out the jaws of Nahma,
In the turmoil and confusion,
Forth he might be hurled and perish.
And the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
Frisked and chatted very gaily,
Toiled and tugged with Hiawatha
Till the labour was completed.
Then said Hiawatha to him.
“O my little friend, the squirrel,
Bravely have you toiled to help me;
Take the thanks of Hiawatha,
And the name which now he gives you;
For hereafter and for ever.
Boys shall call you Adjidaumo,
Tail-in-air the boys shall call you!”
And again the sturgeon, Nahma,
Gasped and quivered in the water,
Then was still and drifted landward,
Till he grated on the pebbles,
Till the listening Hiawatha
Heard him grate upon the margin,
Felt him strand upon the pebbles,
Knew that Nahma, King of Fishes,
Lay there dead upon the margin.
hen he heard a clang and flapping,
As of many wings assembling,
Heard a screaming and confusion,
As of birds of prey contending,
Saw a gleam of light above him,
Shining through the ribs of Nahma,
Saw the glittering eyes of sea-gulls,
Of Kayoshk, the sea-gulls, peering,
Gazing at him through the opening,
Heard them saying to each other,
“'Tis our brother, Hiawatha!”
o he shouted from below them,
Cried exulting from the caverns:
“O ye sea-gulls! O my brothers :
I have slain the sturgeon, Nahma:
Make the rifts a little larger,
With your claws the openings widen,
Set me free from this dark prison,
And henceforward and for ever
Men shall speak of your achievements,
Çalling you Kayoshk, the sea-gulls,
Yes, Kayoshk, the Noble Scratchers!"
And the wild and clamorous sea-gulls
Toiled with beak and claws together,
Made the rifts and openings wider
In the mighty ribs of Nahma,
And from peril and from pri on,
From the body of the sturgeon,
From the peril of the water,
They released my Hiawatha.
* He was standing near his wigwam,
On the margin of the water,
And he called to old Nokomis,
Called and beckoned to Nokomis,
Pointed to the sturgeon, Nahma,
Lying lifeless on the pebbles,.
With the sea-gulls feeding on him.
“I have slain the Mishe-Nahma,
Slain the King of Fishes!” said he .
“Look! the sea-gulls feed upon him,
Yes, my friend Kayoshk, the sea-gulls;
Drive them not away, Nokomis,
They have saved in from great peril
In the body of the sturgeon.
Wait until their meal is ended.
Till their craws are full with feasting,
Till they home ward fly at sunset,
To their nests among the marshes:
Then bring all your pots and kettles,
And make oil for us in Winter.
And she waited till the sun set,
Till the pallid moon the night-sun,
Rose above the tranquil water,
Till Kayoshk, the sated sea-gulls,
From their banquet rose with clamour,
And across the fiery sunset,
Winged their way to far-off islands,
To their nests among the rushes.
To his sleep went Hiawatha, -
And Nokomis to her labour.
Toiling patient in the moonlight,
Till the sun and moon changed places,
Till the sky was red with sunrise,
And Kayoshk, the hungry sea-gulls,
'aime back from the reedy islands,
Clamorous for their morning banquet.
Three whole days and nights alternate
ON the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O'er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset
Fiercely the red sun descending,
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him.
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail :
And the moon, the Night-Sun, castward,
Suddenly starting from his ambush.
Followed fast those bloody footprints,
Followed in that fiery war-trail.
With its glare upon his features.
And Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
Spake these words to Hiawatha :
“Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Neather,
Megissogwon, the Magician,
Manito of Wealth and Wampurn,
Guarded by his fiery serpents,
Guarded by the black is co-ovates'.
You can see his fiery Serjoits,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Coiling, playing in the water:
You can see the black pitch water
Stretching far away beyond them,
To the purplc clouds of sunset !
“He it was who slew my father,
y his wicked wilco and cunning,
hon he ramic or on rth to scook inv';
He, the mightiest of Magicians.
Sends the fever from the marshes,
Sends the pestilential vapours,
Sends the poisonous exhalations,
Sends the white fox from the fen-lands,
Sends disease and death among us !
“Take your bow, O Hiawatha,
Take your war-club, Puggawaugun,
And your mittens, Minjekahwun,
And your birch-canoe for sailing,
And the oil of Mishe-Nahma,
So to smear its sides, that swiftly
You may pass the black pitch-water;
Slay this merciless magician,
Save the people from the fover
That he breathes across the fell-lands,
And avenge my father's unurder '"
Straightway then my IIIa watha
Armed himself with o lı is war-gear,
Launched his birch-canoe for sailing:
With his palm its sides he patted,
Said with glee, “ Cheernatin, my darling,
O my Birch-Canoe leap forward,
Where you see the fiery serpents,
Where you see the black pitch-water!”
Forward leaped Cheemaun exulting,
And the noble Hiawatha
Sang his war-song wild and woeful,
And above him the war-eagle.
The Keneu, the great war-eagle,
Master of all fowls with feathers, -
Screamed and hurtled through the heavens.
Soon he reached the fiery serpents,
The Kenabeek, the great serpents,
Lying huge upon the water,
Sparkling, rippling in the water,
Lying coiled across the passage,
With their blazing crests uplifted,
Breathing fiery fogs and vapours,
So that none could pass beyond them.
But the fearless Hiawatha
Cried aloud, and spake in this wise:
“Let me pass my way, Kenabeek,
Let me go upon imy journey !”
And they answered, hissing fiercely.
With their fiery breath made answer:
“Back, go back! O Shaugoday a
I3ack to old Nokomis, Faint-heart!"
Then the angry Hiawatha
Raised his mighty bow of ash-tree,
Seized his arrows, jasper-headed,
Shot them fast among the serpents:
Every twanging of the bow-string
Was a war-cry and a death-cry,
Every whizzing of an arrow
Was a death-song of Kenabeek.
Weltering in the bloody water,
Dead lay all the fiery serpents,
And among them Hiawatha
Harmless sailed, and cried exulting:
“Onward, O Cheemaun, my darling:
Onward to the black pitch-water!”
Then he took the oil of Nahma,
And the bows and sides anointed,
Smeared them well with oil, that'swiftly
He might pass the black pitch-water.
All night long he sailed upon it,
Sailed upon that sluggish water,
Covered with its mould of ages,
13 lack with rotting water-rushes.
Rank with flags and leaves of lilies.
Stagnant, lifeless, dreary, distrial.
Lighted by the shimmering moonlight,
And by will-o'-the-wisps Huminos!,
Fires by ghosts of dead men kindled,
In their weary night-encampments
All the air was white with moonlight,
All the water black with shadow,
And around him t lie Suggelna.
The mosquitos, sang their war-soilo,
And the fire-flics. Wah-wah-tays oc.
waved their torcher to mislend him
4% With his in it tens, Minjekahwun, On the shore stood old Nokomis,
Harmless fell the heavy war-club: On the shore stood ( ‘libiu loos,
It could dash the rocks as under, And the very strong man, Kwasind,
But it could not break the meshes Waiting for the hero’s coming,
Of that magic shirt of wampum. Listening to his song of triumph.
Till at sunset Hiawatha, And the people of the village
Leaning on his bow of ash-tree, Welcomed him with songs and dances,
Wounded, weary, and desponding, Made a joyous feast, and shouted:
With his mighty war-club broken, “Honour be to Hiawatha :
With his mittens torn and tattered, 3.89% Ile has slain the great Pearl-Feather, Z00. And three useless arrows only, Slain the mightiest of Magicians,