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As above him Hiawatha
Quiet lay the sturgeon, Nahma,
In his fingers Hiawatha
Full of scorn was Hiawatha
Reeling downward to the bottom
Slowly upward, wavering, gleaming Like a white moon in the water, Rose the Ugudwash, the sun-fish, Seized the line of Hiawatha, Swung with all his weight upon it, Made a whirlpool in the water, Whirled the birch canoe in circles, Round and round in gurgling eddies,
Till the circles in the water
But when Hiawatha saw him
Slowly downward, wavering, gleaming,
From the white sand of the bottom
Down into that darksome cavern
And he smote it in his anger,
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, Adjidagmo, Frisked and chattered 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; I He was standing near his wigwam, Take the thanks of Hiawatha,
| On the margin of the water, And the name which now he gives you ; And be called to old Nokomis, For hereafter and for ever
Called and beckoned to Nokomis, Boys shall call you Adjidaumo,
Pointed to the sturgeon, Nahma, Tail-in-air the boys sball call you !” Lying lifeless on the pebbles, And again the sturgeon, Nahma, With the sea-gulls feeding on him. Gasped and quivered in the water, “I have slain the Mishe-Nahma, Then was still, and drifted landward Slain the King of Fishes !" said he ; Till he grated on the pebbles,
“Look! the sea-gulls feed upon him, Till the listening Hiawatha
Yes, my friends Kayoshk, the sea-gulls; Heard him grate upon the margin, Drive them not away, Nokomis, Felt bim strand upon the pebbles, They have saved me from great peril Knew that Nahma, King of Fishes, In the body of the sturgeon, Lay there dead upon the margin.
Wait until their meal is ended, Then he heard a clang and flapping, Till their craws are full with feasting, As of many wings assembling,
Till they homeward fly, at sunset, Heard a screaming and confusion,
To their nests among the marshes; As of birds of prey contending,
Then bring all your pots and kettles. Saw a gleam of light above him,
And make oil for us in Winter." Shining through the ribs of Nahma,
And she waited till the sunset, Saw the glittering eyes of sea-gulls, Till the pallid moon, the Night-sun, Of Kayoshk, the sea-gulls, peering, Rose above the tranquil water, Gazing at him through the opening, Till Kayoshk, the sated sea-gulls, Heard them saying to each other, From their banquet rose with clamour, “'Tis our brother, Hiawatha ! "
And across the fiery sunset And he shouted from below them, Winged their way to far-off islands, Cried exulting from the caverns,
To their nests among the rushes. “() ye sea-gulls ! O my brothers !
To his sleep went Hiawatha, I have slain the sturgeon, Nahma ; And Nokomis to her labour, Make the rifts a little larger,
Toiling patient in the moonlight, With your claws the openings widen, Till the sun and moon changed places, Set me free from this dark prison, Till the sky was red with sunrise, And henceforward and for ever
And Kayoshk, the hungry sea-gulls,
And the wild and clamorous sea-gulls nate
Till the waves washed through the ribAnd from peril and from prison,
bones, Prom the body of the sturgeon,
Till the sea-gulls came no longer, From the peril of the water,
And upon the sands lay nothing Was released my Hiawatha.
| But the skeleton of Nahma.
HIAWATHA AND THE PEARL-FEATHER. On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Pointing with her finger westward Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
O'er the water pointing westward, Stood Nokomis, the old woman.
To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending | Forward leaped Cheemaun exulting, Burned his way along the heavens, And the noble Hiawatha Set the sky on fire behind him,
Sang his war-song wild and woeful, As war-parties, when retreating, | And above hin the war-eagle, Burn the prairies on their war-trail; The Keneu, the great war-eagle, And the moon, the Night-Sun, eastward, Master of all fowls with feathers, Suddenly, starting from bis ambush, Screamed and hurtled through the Followed fast those bloody footprints,
heavens. Followed in that fiery war-trail,
Soon he reached the fiery serpents, With its glare upon his features.
The Kenabeek, the great serpents, And Nokomis, the old woman,
Lying huge upon the water, Pointing with her finger westward, Sparkling, rippling in the water, Spake these words to Hiawatha:
Lying coiled across the passage, “ Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Feather, With their blazing crests uplifted, Megissogwon, the Magician,
Breathing fiery fogs and vapours, Manito of Wealth and Wampum, So that none could pass beyond them. Guarded by his fiery serpents,
But the fearless Hiawatha
“Let me pass my way, Kenabeek, The Kenabeek, the great serpents, Let me go upon my journey!” Coiling, playing in the water;
And they answered, hissing fiercely,
Back to old Nokomis, Faint-beart!"
Every twanging of the bow-string
Every whizzing of an arrow Sends the poisonous exhalations,
Was a death-song of Kenabeek. Sends the white-fog from the fenlands, Weltering in the bloody water, Sends disease and death among us ! Dead lay all the fiery serpents,
“Take your bow, O Hiawatha, And among them Hiawatha Take your arrows, jasper-headed, Harmless sailed, and cried exulting: Take your war-club, Puggawaugun, “Onward, O Cheemaun, my darling! And your mittens, Minjekahwun, Onward to the black pitch-water!" And your birch canoe for sailing,
Then he took the oil of Nahima, And the oil of Mishe. Nahma,
And the bows and sides anointed, So to smear its sides, that swiftly Smeared them well with oil, that swiftly You may pass the black pitch-water; He might pass the black pitch-water. Slay this merciless magician,
All night long he sailed upon it, Save the people from the fever
Sailed upon that sluggish water, That he breathes across the fenlands, Covered with its mould of ages, And avenge my father's murder!” Black with rotting water-rushes,
Straightway then my Hiawatha Rank with flags and leaves of lilies, Armed himself with all his war-gear, Stagnant, lifeless, dreary, dismal, Launched his birch canoe for sailing; Lighted by the shimmering moonlight, With his palm its sides be patted, | And by will-o'-the-wisps illumined, Said with glee, “Cheemaun, my darling, Fires by ghosts of dead men kindled, O my Birch-Canoe ! leap forward, In their weary night encampments. Where you see the fiery serpents, 1 All the air was white with moonlight Where you see the black pitch-water !” All the water black with shadow,
And around him the Suggema,
1 “Well I know you, Hiawatha !"
Hasten back among the women,
I will slay you as you stand there,
But my Hiawatha answered,
Nothing daunted, fearing nothing : And the heron, the Shuh-shub-gab, “ Big words do not smite like war.clubs, Far off on the reedy margin,
Boastful breath is not a bow-string, Heralded the hero's coming.
| Taunts are not so sbarp as arrows. Westward thus fared Hiawatha, Deeds are better things than words are, Toward the realm of Megissogwon, Actions mightier than boastings !” Toward the land of the Pearl-Feather, Then began the greatest battle Till the level moon stared at him, That the sun had ever looked on, In his face stared pale and haggard, That the war-birds ever witnessed. Till the sun was hot behind him,
All a Summer's day it lasted,
For the shafts of Hiawatha
Harmless fell the blows he dealt it
With his mittens, Minjekahwun, Then once more Cheemaun he patted, Harmless fell the heavy war-club; To his Birch-Canoe said, “Onward !" It could dash the rocks asunder, And it stirred in all its fibres,
But it could not break the meshes
Till at sunset Hiawatha,
With his mighty war-club broken,
And three useless arrows only, With his knee he pressed the middle, Paused to rest beneath a pine-tree, Stretched the faithful bow-string tighter, From whose branches trailed the mosses, Took an arrow, jasper-headed,
And whose trunk was coated over Shot it at the Shining Wigwam, With the Dead-man's Moccasin-leather, Sent it singing as a herald,
With the fungus white and yellow. As a bearer of his message,
Suddenly from the boughs above him Of his challenge loud and lofty : Sang the Mama, the woodpecker : “Come forth from your lodge, Pearl “ Aim your arrows, Hiawatha, Peather!
At the head of Megissogwon, Hiawatha waits your coming!"
Strike the tuft of hair upon it, Straightway from the Shining Wigwam At their roots the long black tresses ; Came the mighty Megissogwon,
There alone can he be wounded !" Tall of stature, broad of shoulder, Winged with feathers, tipped with jasDark and terrible in aspect,
per, Clad from head to foot in wampum, Swiftly flew Hiawatha's arrow, Armed with all bis warlike weapons, | Just as Megissogwon, stooping, Painted like the sky of morning, Raised a heavy stone to throw it. Streaked with crimson, blue, and yellow, Full upon the crown it struck him, Crested with great eagle-feathers, | At the roots of his long tresses, Streaming upward, streaming outward. And he reeled and staggered forward,
Plunging like a wounded bison,
Swifter flew the second arrow,
But the third and latest arrow
Then the grateful Hiawatha
Then he stripped the shirt of wampum From the back of Megissogwon, As a trophy of the battle, As a signal of his conquest. On the shore he left the body, Half on land and half in water, In the sand his feet were buried, And his face was in the water, And above him wheeled and clamoured The Keneu, the great war-eagle, Sailing round in narrower circles,
Hovering nearer, nearer, nearer.
From the wigwam Hiawatha Bore the wealth of Megissogwon, All his wealth of skins and wampum, Furs of bison and of beaver, Furs of sable and of ermine, Wampum belts and strings and pouches, Quivers wrought with beads of wampum, Filled with arrows, silver-headed.
Homeward then he sailed exulting, Homeward through the black pitch-water, Homeward through the weltering ser.
Ever dear to Hiawatha
HIAWATHA'S WOOING " As unto the bow the cord is,
Listless, longing, hoping, fearing, So unto the man is woman,
Dreaming still of Minnebaha, Though she bends him she obeys him, Of the lovely Laughing Water, Though she draws him, yet she follows, In the land of the Dacotahs. Useless each without the other ! "
“Wed a maiden of your people," Thus the youthful Hiawatha
Warning said the old Nokomis; Said within himself and pondered, “Go not eastward, go not westward, Much perplexed by various feelings, | For a stranger, whom we know not!