Imágenes de páginas
PDF

“But, O wondrous transformation: Twas no bird he saw before him, 'Twas a beautiful young woman, With the arrow in her bosom . “When her blood fell on the planet, On the sacred Star of Evening, 13roken was the spell of magic, Powerless was the strange enchantment, And the youth, the fearless bowman, Suddenly felt himself descending, Held by unseen hands, but sinking 10ownward through the empty spaces, lownward through the clouds and vapours, Till he rested on an island, On an island green and grassy, Yonder in the Big-Sea-Water. “After him he saw descending All the birds with shining feathers, Fluttering, falling, wafted downward, Like the painted leaves of Autumn; And the o with poles of silver, With its roof like wings of beetles, Like the shining shards of beetles, By the winds of heaven uplifted Slowly sank upon the island, Bringing back the good Osseo, Bringing Oweenee, the faithful. “Then the birds again transfigured, Reassumed the shape of mortals, Took their shape, but not their stature. They remained as Little People, Like the pigmies, the Puk-Wudjies, And on pleasant nights of Summer, When the Evening Star was shining, Hand in hand they danced together On the island's craggy head-lands, On the sand-beach low and level. “Still their glittering lodge is seen there, On the tranquil Summer evenings, And upon the shore the fisher Sometimes hears their happy Yoices, Sees them dancing in the starlight !” When the story was completed, When the wondrous tale was ended, looking round upon his listeners, Solemnly Iagoo added: ...There are great men, I have known such, Whom theif people understand not, Whom they even make a jest of, Scoff and jeer at in derision. From the story of Osseo Let them learn the fate of jesters.” All the wedding guests delighted Listened to the marvellous story, Listened laughing and applaudiing, And they whispered to each other: “Does he mean himself, I wonder? And are we the aunts and uncles?” Then again sang Chibiabos, Sang a song of love and longing, In those accents sweet and tender, In those tones of pensive sadness, Sang a maiden's lamentation, For her lover, her Algonquin : When I think of my beloved, “Ah me! think of my beloved, When my heart is thinking of him, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin . “Ah me! when I parted from him, Round my neck he hung the wanpum, As a pledge, the snow-white wanipum, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin, “I will go with you, he whispered, Ah me! to your native country: Let me go with you, he whispered, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin “Far away, away, I answered, Very far away, I answered. Ah me! is my native country, O my sweetheart, my Algonquin : “When I looked back to be hold him, Where we parted, to behold him, After me he still was gazing,

O my sweetheart, my Algonquin!
“When I think of inv beloved,
Ah me! think of my beloved,
When my heart is thinking of him,
O my sweethcart, my Algonquin!"
Such was Hiawatha's Wedding,
Such the dance of Pau-Puk-Keewis,
Such the story of Iagoo,
Such the song of Chibiahos:
Thus the wedding banqiuet ended,
And the wedding guests departed,
Leaving Hiawatha happy
With the night and Minnehaha.

xiii. Islessi NG THE CORN-FIELDs.

SING, O song of Hiawatha,
Of the happy days that followed,
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful :
Sing the mysteries of Mondamin,
Sing the Biessing of the Cornfields :
Buried was the bloody hatchet,
Buried was the dreadful war-club,
13uried were all warlike weapons,
And the war-cry was forgotten
There was peace among the nations; -
Uninolested roved the hunters,
Built the birch-canoe for sailing,
Caught the fish in lake and river,
Shot the deer and trapped the beaver
Unmolested worked the wouncil,
Made their sugar from the maple,
Gathered wild rice in the meadows,
I)ressed the skins of deer and leaver.
All around the |. village
Stood the maize-fields, green and shining,
Waved the green plumes of Mondalnin,
Waved his soft and sunny tresses,
Filling all the land with plenty,
‘Twas the women who in Spring-time
Planted the broad fields and fruitful,
13turied in the earth Mondamin :
‘Twas the women who in Autumn
Stripped the yellow husks of harvest,
Stripped the garments from Mondamin,
Even as Hiawatha taught them.
Once, when all the maize was planted,
Hiawatha, wise and thoughtful,
Spake and said to Minnehaha,
To his wife, the Laughing Water:
“You shall bless to-night the corn-fields,
I)raw a magic circle round them,
To protect them from destruction,
Blast of mildew, blight of insect,
Wagemin, the thief of corn-fields,
Paiimosaid, who steals the maize-car !
“In the night, when all is silence,
When the Spirit of Sleep, Nephaniin,
Shuts the door of all the wigwams,
So that not an ear can hear you,
So that not an eye can see you,
Rise up from your bed in silence,
Lay aside your garments wholly,
Walk around the fields you planted,
Round the borders of the corn-fields,
Covered by your tresses only.
Robed §§ darkness as a garment.
“Thus the fields shall be more fruitful,
And the passing of your footsteps
Draw a magic circlé round them,
So that neither blight nor mildew,
Neither burrowing worm nor insect,
Shall pass o'er the magic circle;
Not the dragon-fly, Kwo-ne-she,
Nor the spider, Sukabekashe,
Nor the grasshopper, Pau-puk-keena,
Nor the mighty caterpillar,
Way-muk-kwana, with the bear-skin,
King of all the caterpillars!”

On the tree-tops near the corn-fields Sat the hungry crows and ravens. Kahgahgee, the King of Itavens, With his band of black marauders, And they laughed at Hiawatha, Till the tree-tops shook with laughter, With their melancholy laughter At the words of Hiawatha. “Hear him :” said they : “hear the Wise Man! Hear the plots of Hiawatha!” When the noiseless night descended Broad and dark o'er field and forest, When the mournful Wawonaissa, Sorrowing sang among the hemlocks, And the Spirit of Sleep, Nepahwin, Shut the doors of all the wigwams, From her bed rose Laughing Water, Laid aside her garments wholly, And with darkness clothed and guarded, Unashamed and unaffrighted, Walked securely round the corn-fields. Drew the sacred, magic circle Of her footprints round the corn-fields. No one, but the Midnight only Saw her beauty in the darkness, No one bnt the Wawonaissa Heard the panting of her bosom : Guskewau, the darkness, wrapped her Closely in his sacred mantle, So that none might see her beauty. So that none might boast, “I saw her." On the morrow, as the day dawned, Kahgahgee, the King of Ravens, Gathered all his black marauders, Crows and black-birds, jays and ravens, Clamorous on the dusky tree-tops, And descended, fast and fearless, On the fields of Hiawatha, On the grave of the Mondalmin. ... We will drag Mondamim,” said they “From the grave where he is buried, Spite of all the magic circles Laughing Water draws around it, Spite of all the sacred footprints Minnehaha stamps upon it, But the wary Hiawatha, 2ver thoughtful, careful, watchful, Had o'erheard the scornful laughter When they mocked him from the tree-tops. ... Kaw " he said, ' my friends the ravens ! Rahgahgee, my King of Ravens ! I will teach you all a lesson That shall not be soon forgotten:" He had risen before the daybreak, He had spread o'er all the corn-fields Snares to catch the black marauders, And was lying now in ambush In the neighbouring grove of pine-trees, Waiting for the crows and black birds, Waiting for the jays and ravens. Soon they came with caw and clamour, Rush of wings and cry of voices, To their work of devastation, Settling down upon the corn-fields, I}elving deep with beak and talon, For the body of Mondamin. And with all their craft and cunning, All their skill in wiles and warfare, They perceived no danger near them, Till their claws became entangled, Till they found themselves imprisoned In the snares of Hiawatha. From his place of ambush came he, Striding terrible among them, And so awful was his aspect That the bravest quailed with terror. Without mercy he destroyed them Right and left, by tens and twenties, And their wretched, lifeless bodies Hung aloft on poles for scarcecrows Round the consocrated corn-fields, As a signal of his vengeance, As a warfăng to marauders.

Only Kahgahgee, the leader. Kahgallgee, the Ring of Ravens, He alone was spared unmong them .As a liostage for his people. With his prisoner-string he bound him, Led lion captive to lus wi.; woul, "I'led lili, fast will cortis of clin-bark To the ridge-pole on his wigwam. “ Rahgango, Illy ravell. said lie, “You the leader of the robber-, You the plotter of it is muschiei, The contriver of this outrage, I will keep you, I will hold you, As a hostage for your people, ...As it pledge of good behaviour!” And he left him, grim and sulky, Sitting in the inorning sunshine Oil the Sulmunit of the wigwain. Croaking fiercely his displeasure, Flapping his great sable pinions, Wainly struggling for his freedom. Wainly calling on his people ! Su:11111 or passed, and Shia wondasee I}reathed his sighs o'er all the landscape. From the South-land sent his odours, Wasted kisses warm and tender : And the maize-field grew and ripened, Till it stood in all the splendour Of its garments green and yellow, Of its tassels and its plumage, ...And the maize-cars full and shining Gleamed from bursting sheets of verdure, Then Nokomis, the old woman. Spake, and said to Minil, halia: “'Tis the moon when lettves are falling; All the wild-rice has been gathered, And the maize is ripe and ready : Let us gather in the harvest, Let us wrestle with Mondamin, Strip him of his plumes and tassels, Of his garments green and yellow !" And the merry Laughing Water Went rejoicing from the wigwam, With Nokolnis, old and wrinkled, And they called the women round them, Called the young men and the maidens, To the harvest of the corn-fields, To the husking of the maize-ear. On the border of the forest, Underneath the fragrant pine-trees,

| Sat the old man and the warriors

Smoking in the pleasant shadow.
In uninterrupted silence
Looked they at the gamesome labour
Of the young men and the women ;
Listenéd to thair molsy talking,
To their laughter and their singing.
Heard them chattering like the magpies,
Heard them laughing like the blue-jays,
Heard them singing like the robins.
And whene'er some lucky maiden
Found a red ear in the husking,
Found a maize-ear red as blood is,
“Noska" cried they all together,
“Noska' you shall have a sweetheart,
You shall have a handsome husband!"
“ Ugh !” the old men all responded
From their seats beneath the pine-trees.
And whene'er a youth or maiden
Found a crooked ear in husking,
Found a maize-ear in the husking
Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen,
Then they laughed and sang together,
Crept and limped about the corn-fields,
Mimicked in their gait and gestures
Some old man, bent almost double,
Singing singly or together:
“Wagemin, the thief of corn-fields :
Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear !”
Till the corn-fields rang with laughter
Till from Hiawatha's wigwam
Kahgahgee. the King of Ravens,
Screamed and quivered in his anger.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »