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Breathing on the lakes and rivers, From the kingdom of Ponemah,
With the snow upon his tresses,
And the red deer on his shoulders.
At the feet of Laughing Water
Through the forest, wide and wailing, Nobler, handsomer she thought him,
Then he turned and saw the strangers, On the plain the dance of snow-shoes. Cowering, crouching with the shadows;
One dark evening, after sun-down, Said within himself, “ Who are they? In her wigwam Laughing Water What strange guests has Minnehaha ?" Sat with old Nokomis, waiting
But he questioned not the strangers, For the steps of Hiawatha
Only spake to bid them welcome Homeward from the hunt returning. To his lodge, his food, his fireside.
On their faces gleamed the fire-light, When the evening meal was ready, Painting them with streaks of crimson, And the deer bad been divided, In the eyes of old Nokomis
Both the pallid guests, the strangers, Glimmered like the watery moonlight, Springing from among the shadows, In the eyes of Laughing Water
Seized upon the choicest portions,
Seized the white fat of the roebuck,
For the wife of Hiawatha ;
Flitted back among the shadows
Not a word spake Hiawatha, Brighter glowed the fire a moment, Not a motion made Nokomis, And a moment swerved the smoke | Not a gesture Laughing Water ; wreath,
Not a change came o'er their features ; As two women entered softly,
Only Minnehaha softly Passed the doorway uninvited,
Whispered, saying, “They are famished; Without word of salutation,
Let them do what best delights them; Without sign of recognition,
Let them eat, for they are famished." Sat down in the farthest corner,
Many a daylight dawned and darkened, Crouching low among the shadows. Many a night shook off the daylight
From their aspect and their garments, As the pine sbakes off the snow-flakes Strangers seemed they in the village; From the midnight of its branches; Very pale and haggard were they, Day by day the guests unmoving As they sat there sad and silent,
Sat there silent in the wigwam ; Trembling, cowering with the shadows. But by night, in storm or starlight,
Was it the wind above the smoke-flue, Forth they went into the forest, Muttering down into the wigwam ? Bringing firewood to the wigwam, Was it the owl, the Koko-koho,
Bringing pine-cones for the barning, Hooting from the dismal forest ?
Always sad and always silent. Sure a voice said in the silence :
And whenever Hiawatha “ These are corpses clad in garments, Came from fishing or from hunting, These are ghosts that come to baunt you, / When the evening meal was ready,
And the food had been divided,
Never once bad Hiawatha
Once at midnight Hiawatha,
From his couch rose Hiawatha, From his shaggy hides of bison, Pushed aside the deer-skin curtain, Saw the pallid guests, the shadows, Sitting upright on their couches, Weeping in the silent midnight.
And he said: “O guests! why is it That your hearts are so afflicted, That you sob so in the midnight? Has perchance the old Nokomis, Has my wife, my Minnebaba, Wronged or grieved you by unkindness, Failed in hospitable duties ?”
Then the shadows ceased from weeping, Ceased from sobbing and lamenting, And they said, with gentle voices : " We are ghosts of the departed, Souls of those who once were with you. From the realms of Chibiabos Hither bave we come to try you, Hither have we come to warn you.
“ Cries of grief and lamentation Reach us in the Blessed Islands; Cries of anguish from the living, Calling back their friends departed,
Sadden us witn useless sorrow.
" Think of this, O Hiawatha!
“Do not lay such heavy burdens In the graves of those you bury, Not such weight of furs and wampum, Not such weight of pots and kettles, For the spirits faint beneath them. Only give them food to carry, Only give them fire to light them.
"Four days is the spirit's journey To the land of ghosts and shadows, Four its lonely night encampments; Four times must their fires be lighted. Therefore, when the dead are buried, Let a fire, as night approaches, Four times on the grave be kindled, That the soul upon its journey May not lack the cheerful fire-light, May not grope about in darkness.
“Farewell, noble Hiawatha !
O THE long and dreary Winter !
1 Forth into the empty forest O the cold and cruel Winter !
Rushed the maddened Hiawatha; Ever thicker, thicker, thicker
In his heart was deadly sorrow, Froze the ice on lake and river,
In his face a stony firmness ; Ever deeper, deeper, deeper
On his brow the sweat of anguish Fell the snow o'er all the landscape, Started, but it froze, and fell not. Fell the covering snow, and drifted Wrapped in furs, and armed for huntThrough the forest, round the village.
ing, Hardly from his buried wigwam With his mighty bow of ash-tree, Could the hunter force a passage ; With his quiver full of arrows, With his mittens and his snow-shoes With bis mittens, Minjekahwun, Vainly walked he through the forest, Into the vast and vacant forest Sought for bird or beast and found none, On his snow-shoes strode he forward. Saw no track of deer or rábbit,
"Gitche Manito, the Mighty!" In the snow beheld no footprints, Cried he with his face uplifted In the ghastly, gleaming forest
In that bitter hour of anguish, Fell, and could not rise from weakness, “Give your children food, O father! Perished there from cold and hunger. Give us food, or we must perish ! O the famine and the fever !
Give me food for Minnehaha, O the wasting of the famine !
For my dying Minnehaha !” O the blasting of the fever!
Through the far-resounding forest, O the wailing of the children !
Through the forest vast and vacant,
Rang that cry of desolation,
Than the echo of his crying,
Than the echo of the woodlands, And the hungry stars in heaven
“Minnehaha ! Minnehaha !" Like the eyes of wolves glared at them! | All day long roved Hiawatha Into Hiawatha's wigwam
In that melancholy forest, Came two other guests, as silent
Through the shadow of whose thickets, As the ghosts were, and as gloomy,
In the pleasant days of Summer, Waited not to be invited,
Of that ne'er forgotten Summer, Did not parley at the doorway,
He had brought his young wife homeward,
And the air was full of fragrance,
Said, with voice that did not tremble,
In the wigwam with Nokomis, And the lovely Minnehaha
With those gloomy guests that watched Shuddered as they looked upon her,
ber, Shuddered at the words they uttered, With the Famine and the Fever, Lay down on her bed in silence,
She was lying, the Beloved, Hid her face, but made no answer; She the dying Minnebaha. Lay there trembling, freezing, burning “Hark!" she said, “I hear a rushing, At the looks they cast upon her,
Hear a roaring and a rushing, At the fearful words they uttered. | Hear the falls of Minnehaha
Calling to me from a distance !” | At the feet of Laughing Water, “No, my child !” said old Nokomis, At those willing feet, that never " 'Tis the night-wind in the pine-trees !” | More would lightly run to meet him, “Look !" she said, “I see my father Never more would lightly follow. Standing lonely at his doorway,
With both hands his face he covered, Beckoning to me from his wigwam, Seven long days and nights he sat there, In the land of the Dacotahs !”
As if in a swoon he sat there, “No, my child!” said old Nokomis, Speechless, motionless, unconscious “'Tis the smoke that waves and beckons!" Of the daylight or the darkness.
"Ah !” she said, “the eyes of Pauguk Then they buried Minnehaha ; Glare upon me in the darkness;
In the snow a grave they made her, I can feel his icy fingers
In the forest deep and darksome, Clasping mine amid the darkness ! Underneath the moaning hemlocks; Hiawatha! Hiawatha!”
Clothed her in her ricbest garments, And the desolate Hiawatha,
Wrapped her in her robes of ermine, Far away amid the forest,
Covered her with snow-like ermine; Miles away among the mountains,
Thus they buried Minnehaha. Heard that sudden cry of anguish,
And at night a fire was lighted, Heard the voice of Minnehaha
On her grave four times was kindled, Calling to him in the darkness,
For her soul upon its journey “Hiawatha! Hiawatha!”
To the Islands of the Blessed. Over snow-fields waste and pathless, From his doorway Hiawatha Under snow-encumbered branches, Saw it burning in the forest, Homeward hurried Hiawatha,
Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks; Empty-handed, heavy-hearted,
From his sleepless bed uprising, Heard Nokomis moaning, wailing, From the bed of Minnehaha, “Wahonomin! Wahonomin!
Stood and watched it at the doorway, Would that I had perished for you, That it might not be extinguished, Would that I were dead as you are ! Might not leave her in the darkness. Wabonomin! Wahonomin!”
* Farewell !” said he, “Minnehaha! And he rushed into the wigwam, Farewell, O my Laughing Water ! Saw the old Nokornis slowly
All my heart is buried with you, Rocking to and fro and moaning, All my thoughts go onward with you ! Saw his lovely Minnehaha
Coine not back again to labour, Lying dead and cold before him ; Come not back again to suffer, And his bursting heart within him Where the Famine and the Fever Uttered such a cry of anguish,
Wear the heart and waste the body. That the forest moaned and shuddered, Soon my task will be completed, That the very stars in heaven
Soon your footsteps I shall follow Shook and trembled with his anguish. | To the Islands of the Blessed,
Then he sat down, still and speechless, To the kingdom of Ponemah! On the bed of Minnehaha,
To the Land of the Hereafter !”
THE WHITE MAN'S FOOT.
In his lodge beside a river,
| And the old man shook and trembled,
Seeing nothing but the snow-storm
“When I shake my flowing ringlets," As it whirled and hissed and drifted. Said the young man, softly laughing,
All the coals were white with ashes, “Showers of rain fall warm and welcome, And the fire was slowly dying,
Plants lift up their heads rejoicing, As a young man, walking lightly, Back unto their lakes and marshes At the open doorway entered
Come the wild-goose and the heron, Red with blood of youth his cheeks were, Homeward shoots the arrowy swallow, Soft his eyes as stars in Spring-time; Sing the blue-bird and the robin ; Bound his forehead was with grasses, And where'er my footsteps wander, Bound and plumed with scented grasses ;| All the meadows wave with blossoms, On his lips a smile of beauty,
All the woodlands ring with music, Filling all the lodge with sunshine ; All the trees are dark with foliage !" In bis hand a bunch of blossoms,
While they spake, the night departed; Filling all the lodge with sweetness. From the distant realms of Wabun,
“Ah, my son !” exclaimed the old man, From his shining lodge of silver, “ Happy are my eyes to see you. Like a warrior robed and painted, Sit here on the mat beside me,
Came the sun, and said, “Behold me Sit here by the dying embers,
Gheezis, the great sun, behold me !” Let us pass the night together.
. Then the old man's tongue was speechTell me of your strange adventures,
less, Of the lands where you have travelled ; And the air grew warm and pleasant, I will tell you of my prowess, ,
And upon the wigwam sweetly Of my many deeds of wonder.'
Sang the blue-bird and the robin, From his pouch he drew his peace-pipe, And the stream began to murmur, Very old and strangely fashioned ; And a scent of growing grasses Made of red stone was the pipe-head, Through the lodge was gently wafted. And the stem a reed with feathers; And Segwun, the youthful stranger, Filled the pipe with bark of willow, | More distinctly in the daylight Placed a burning coal upon it,
Saw the icy face before him ; Gave it to his guest, the stranger, It was Peboan, the Winter ! And began to speak in this wise : | From his eyes the tears were flowing,
“When I blow my breath about me, As from melting lakes the streamlets, When I breathe upon the landscape, And his body shrunk and dwindled Motionless are all the rivers,
As the shouting sun ascended, Hard as stone becomes the water !” Till into the air it faded,
And the young man answered, smiling: Till into the ground it vanished, " When I blow my breath about me, And the young man saw before him, When I breathe upon the landscape, On the hearthstone of the wigwam, Flowers spring up o'er all the meadows, Where the fire had smoked and smoul. Singing, onward rush the rivers !”
dered, “When I shake my hoary tresses," Saw the earliest flowers of Spring-time, Said the old man, darkly frowning, Saw the Beauty of the Spring-time, “ All the land with snow is covered ; Saw the Miskodeed in blossom. All the leaves from all the branches
Thus it was that in the Northland, Fall and fade and die and wither, After that unheard-of coldness, For I breathe, and lo ! they are not. That intolerable Winter, From the waters and the marshes Same the Spring with all its splendour, Rise the wild-goose and the heron, All its birds and all its blossoms, Fly away to distant regions,
All its flowers and leaves and grasses. For I speak, and lo ! they are not.
Sailing on the wind to northward, And where'er my footsteps wander, Flying in great flocks, like arrows, All the wild beasts of the forest Like huge arrows shot through heaven, Hide themselves in holes and caverns, Passed the swan, the Mahnah bezee, And the earth becomes as flintstone !” Speaking almost as a man speaks ;