« AnteriorContinuar »
“As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman,
Though she bends him, she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Use less each without the other '''
Thus the youthful [liawatha,
Said within himself and pondered,
Much perplexed by various feelings,
Listless, longing, hoping, fearing,
I)reaming still of Minnehaha,
Of the lovely Laughing Water,
In the land of the I); tootahs.
“Wed a maiden of your people,”
Warning said the old Nokomis:
“ (jo not eastward, go not west ward,
For a stranger, whom we know not!
Like a fire upon the heartlist one
Is a neighbour's homely daughter,
Like the starlight or the moonlight
Is the handsomest of strangers '''
Thus dissuading spake Nokolnis,
And my Hiawatha tins wered
Only this : “I)ear old Nokomis,
Very pleasant is the firelight,
Hut I like the starlight better,
I3etter do I like the moonlight !”
Gravely then said old Nokomis
“Bring not here an idle maiden,
Bring not here a useless woman,
Hands unskilful, feet unwilling ;
13ring a wife with nimble singers,
Heart and hand that move together,
Feet that run on willing errands !”
Suniling answered Ilia watha :
“In the land of the Dacotahs
Lives the Arrow-maker's daughter,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water,
Handsomest of all the women.
I will bring her to your wigwam,
She shall run upon your errands.
Iłe your starlight, moonlight, firclight,
I3e the sunlight of my people.
Still dissuading said Nokomis:
I}ring not to my lodge a stranger
From the land of the Dacotahs .
Very fierce are the Dacotahs,
Often is there war between us,
There are feuds yot unforgotten,
Wounds that acfie and still may open."
Laughing answered Ilia watha:
* For that reason. if no other,
Would I wed the fair l) acotall.
That our tribes inight loc uni; ( d.
That old feuds might he forgotten.
And old wounds loe healed for ever!”
Thus departfol Hiawatha
To the land of the IOacotahs,
To the land of the handsome women:
Striding over moor and meadow,
Through interminable forests,
Through uninterrupted silence.
With his moccasins of magic,
At each stride a mile he measured;
Yet the way seemed long before him,
And his heart outrun his footsteps;
And he journeyed without resting,
Till he heard the cataract's laughter,
Heard the falls of Minnehaha
Calling to him through the silence.
“Pleasant is the sound!” he murmured,
“Pleasant is the voice that calls me!”
On the outskirts of the forest,
"Twixt the shadow and the sunshine,
Herds of fallow deer were feeding,
But 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 ruebuck:
Threw the deer across his shoulder,
And sped forward without pausing.
At the doorway of his wigwam
Sat the ancient Arrow-maker
In the land of the Dacotahs,
Making arrow-heads of jasper,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony.
At his side in all her beauty,
Sat the lovely Minnehaha,
Sat his daughter, Laughing Water,
Plaiting mats of flags and rushes:
Of the past the old man's thoughts were,
And the Maiden's of the future.
He was thinking, as he sat there,
Of the days when with such arrows
He had struck the deer and bison,
On the Muskoday, the meadow;
Shot the wild goose, flying southward,
On the wing, the clamorous Wawa;
Thinking of the great war-parties,
How they came to buy his arrows,
('ould not fight without his arrows.
Ah, no more such noble warriors
Could be found on earth as they were !
Now the men were all like women,
Only used their tongues for weapons!
She was thinking of a hunter,
From another tribe and country,
Young and tall and very handsome,
Who one morning, in the Spring-time,
('ame to buy her father's arrows,
Sat and rested in the wigwam,
Lingered long about the doorway,
looking back as he departed.
She had heard her father praise him,
Praise his courage and his wisdom ;
Would he come again for arrows,
To the falls of Minnehaha :
On the mat her hands lay idle,
And her eyes were very dreamy.
Through their thoughts they heard a footstep,
Heard a rustling in the branches,
And with glowing cheek and fore head,
With the deer upon his shoulders,
Suddenly from out the woodlands
i Iiawatha stood before thein.
Straight the ancient Arrow-maker
Looked up gravely from his labour,
Laid aside the unfinished arrow,
}:\de him enter at the doorway,
Saying as he rose to meet him.
“I Hiawatha, you are welcoline !”
.V. t the feet of Laughing Water
Hiawatha laid his lou rulo n.
Threw the red deer from his shoulders;
A hol the maiden looked up at him,
Looked up from her mat of rushes,
Said with gentle look and accent,
“You are welco: no. Hiawath: '''
Very spacious was the wigwam,
Made of deer-skin dressed and whitched,
With the gods of the I)acotahs
1)rawn and painted on its curtains,
And so tall the doorway, hardly
Hiawatha stooped to enter,
Hardly touched his eagle-feathers
As he entered at ; he doorway.
Then uprose the Laughing Water, From the ground fair Minnehaha, Laid aside her in at unfinished, Brought forth food and set before them, Water brought them from the brooklet, Gave them food in earthen vessels, Gave them drink in bowls of bass-wood, Listened while the guest was speaking, Listened while her father answered, !}ut not once her lips she opened, Not a single word she uttered. Yes, as in a dream she listened To the words of Hiawatha, As he talked of old Nokomis. Who had nursed him in his childhood, As he told of his companions, ('hibiabos, the musician, And the very strong man, Kwasind, And of happiness and plenty In the land of the Ojibways, In the pleasant land and peaceful. “After many years of warfare, Many . of strife and bloodshed, There is peace between the Ojibways And the tribe of the Dacotahs.” Thus continued Hiawatha, And then added, speaking slowly, “That this peace may last for ever, And our hands be clasped more closely, And our hearts be more united, Give me as my wife this maiden, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Loveliest of I)acotah women'" And the ancient Arrow-maker l'aused a moment ere he answered, Smoked a little while in silence, Looked at Hiawatha proudly, Fondly looked at Laughing Water, And made answer very gravely: “Yes, if Minnehaha wishes: Let your heart speak, Minnehaha :" And the lovely Laughing Water Seemed more lovely as she stood there, Neither willing nor reluctant, As she went to Hiawatha, Softly took the seat beside him, While she said, and blushed to §ly it, “I will follow you, my 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, Leading with him Laughing Water; Hand in hand they went together, Through the woodland and the meadow, Left the old man standing lonely At the doorway of his wigwam, Heard the falls of Minnehilha Calling to them from the distance, ('rying to them from afar off. “Fare thee well. O Minnellaha." And the ancient Arrow-maker Turned again unto his labour. Sat down by his sunny doorway, Murmuring to himself, and saying: “Thus it is our daughters leave us. Those we love, and those who love us! Just when they have learned to help us, When we are old and loan upon them. ('oines a youth with slaunting feathers, With his flute of reeds, a stranger Wanders piping through the village, J3eckons to the fairest maiden, And she follows where he leads her, Leaving all things for the stranger." Pleasant was the journey homeward, Through interminable forests, Over meadow, over mountain, Over river, hill, and hollow. Short it scenned to Hiawatha, ##! they journoyed very slowly, Though his pace he hocked and sjäckened
To the steps of Laughing Water. Over wide and rushing rivers In his arms he bore the inaiden :
| Light he thought her as a feather,
As the plume upon his head-gear:
Cleared the tangled pathway for her,
Bent aside the o: branches,
Made at night a lodge of branches,
And a bed with boughs of hemlock,
And a fire before the doorway
With the dry cones of the pine-tree
Al; the travelling winds went with thcm,
O'er the meadow, through 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 Adjiditumo,
Watched with eager eyes the lovers;
.Vind the rabbit. the Wabasso,
Scampered from the path before them,
Peering, peeping from his burrow,
Sat erect upon his haunches,
Watched with curious eyes the lovers;
Pleasant was the journey home ward:
All the birds sang loud and sweetly
Songs of happiness and heart's-case ;
Sang the blue-bird, the () waissa,
... Happy are you. Hiawatha,
Having such a wife to love you!”
Sang the robin, the Opechet.
... Happy are you, Laughing Water,
Having such a noble husband."
From the sky the sun benignant
Looked upon them through the branches,
Saying to them, “O my children,
Love is sunshine, hatc. is shadow,
Life is chequered shade and sunshine,
Itule by love, O Hiawatha :"
From the sky the moon looked at them,
| Filled the lodge with mystic splendours,
Whispered to them, “O my children,
I)ay is restless, night is quiet,
Man imperious, woman foe) le:
Half is mine, although I follow :
Itule by patience, Laughing Water!"
Thus it was they journeyed homeward;
Thus it was that ilia watha
To the lodge of Old Nokomis
13rought the moonlight, starlight. firclight,
Iłrought the sunshine of his people,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water,
Ilandsomest of all the women
| 11 the land of the I Yacotahs,
In the land of handsome women
YoU shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis,
How the handsome Yena dizze
Danced at Hiawatha's wedding:
How the gentle ('hibia bos,
He the sweetest of musicians,
Sang his songs of love and longing:
How Iagoo, the great boaster,
He the marvellous story-teller.
Told his tale of strange adventure.
That the feast might be more joyous,
That the time might lass more ovly,
..And the guests be inore cont onte (i.
Sumptuous was the feast Nokolnis
Made at Hiawatha’s wedding:
All the bowls were made of bass-wood,
White and polished very smoothly.
All the spoons of horn of bison.
Black and polished very smoothly.
She had sent through all the villago
Messengers with wants of willow,
| As a sign of invitation, | As a token of the feasting:
Clad in all their richest raiment,
IRobes of fur and belts of wampum,
Splendid with their paint and plumage,
Beautiful with beads and tassels.
First they ate the sturgeon, Nahma,
And the pike, the Maskenozha,
C. lught and cooked by old Nokomis;
Then on pemican they feasted,
Pemican and buffalo marrow,
Haunch of deer and hump of bison,
Yellow cakes of the Mondamin,
And the wild rice of the river.
But the gracious Hiawatha,
And the lovely. Laughing Water,
And the careful old Nokomis,
'Tasted not the food before them,
Only waited on the others,
Only served their guests in silence.
And when all the guests had finished,
Old Nokomis, brisk and busy,
From an ample pouch of otter, -
Filled the red stone pipes for smoking
With tobacco from the South-land,
Mixed with bark of the red willow,
And with herbs and leaves of fragrance.
Then she said, “O Pau-Puk-Keewis,
Dance for us your merry dances,
Dance the Beggar's Dance to please us,
That the feast may be more joyous,
That the time may pass more gayly,
And our guests be more contented!”
Then the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis,
He the idle Yenadizze
He the merry mischief-maker,
Whom the people called the Storm-Fool,
Rose among the guests assembled.
Skilled was he in sports and pastimes,
In the merry dance of snow-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 Counters.
Kuntasso, the Game of Plum-stones.
Though the warriors called him Faint-Heart,
Called him coward, Shaugodaya,
Idler, gambler, Yenadizze
Little heeded he their jesting,
Little cared he for their insults,
For the women and the maidens
Loved the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis.
He was dressed in skirt of doe-skin.
White and soft, and fringed with ermine,
All inwrought with beads of wampum ;
He was dressed in deer-skin leggings,
Fringed with hedgehog quills and ermine,
And in moccasins of buckskin,
Thick with quills and beads embroidered.
On his 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 blue and bright vermilion,
Shone the face of Pau-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 guests assembled,
To the sound of flutes and singing,
To the sound of drums and voices,
Rose the handsome Pau-Puk-Keewis,
And began his mystic dances.
First he danced a solemn measure,
Very slow in step and gesture,
In and out among the pine-trees,
Through the shadows and the sunshine,
Treading softly like a panther.
Then more o and still swifter,
Whirling, spinning round in circles,
Leaping o'er the guests assembled,
Eddying round and round the wigwam,
Till the leaves went whirling with him,
Till the dust and wind together "Swept in eddies round about him. Then along the 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 around him: Till the wind became a whirlwind, Till the sand was blown and sifted Like great snowdrifts e'er the landscape, Heaping all the shores with Sand Dunes, Sand Hills of the Nagow Wudjoo! Thus the merry Pau-Puk-Keewis, I)anced his Beggar's Dance to please them, And, returning, sat down laughing, There among the guests assembled, Sat and fanned 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 musicians, “Sing to us, O Chibiabos! Songs of love and songs of longing, That the feast may be more joyous, That the time may pass more gayly, And our guests bê more contented!” And the gentle Chibiabos Sang in accents 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 Thou the wild-flower of the forestl Thou the wild-bird of the prairie Thou with eyes so soft and fawn-like l “If thou only lookest at me, I am o, I am happy, As the liliés of the prairie, When they feel the dew upon them 1 “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 me Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee, As the springs to meet the sunshine, In the Moon when nights are brightest ? “Onaway ! my heart sings to thee, Sings with joy when thou art near ine, As the sighing, singing branches In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries : “When thou art not pleased, beloved, Then my heart is sad and darkened, As the shining river darkens When the clouds drop shadows on it ! “When thou smilest, my beloved, Then my troubled heart is brightened, As in sunshine gleam the ripples That the cold wind makes in rivers, “Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above us, But I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me! “I myself, myself!, behold me ! Blood of my beating heart, behold me ! O awake, awake, beloved : Onaway! awake, beloved'." Thus the gentle Chibiabos Sang his o of love and longing ! And Iagoo, the great boaster, He the marvellous story-teller, He the friend of old Nokomis, Jealous of the sweet musician, Jealous of the applause they gave him, Saw in all the eyes around him, Saw in all their looks and gestures, That the wedding guests assembled Longed to hear his pleasant stories, His immeasurable falsehoods. | Very boastful was Iagoo: