* * * * *
The wild rice bent its fragile stalk Beneath a crown of ripened grain; The birch and oak and maple blazed The Autumn's glory forth, and set aflame With red and gold, the northland pines, Perennial green. The light wind's voice Was muffled in requiem, mournful, low,— A parting song to Summer, sad, soft, And measured slow. Timed to the chant Of death, but tuned to death's sweet hope— Joy-hope of sorrow born—fair birth, A freer life of fuller scope! The sinking sun set all ablush The bosom of the lake. Upon the edge Of twilight rode the specter moon— Swift pinioned bird of noiseless flight— And hung a halo far above Mount Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog. Along the shard-strewn shore, a band Of Chippeway braves had pitched their camp, To celebrate, with rites of their Medawe, the flooding season's Tide of full-grown grain. In and out Among the shadow-lengthened pines, Their dusky forms moved, one by one, To circle silently around The council fire. And when the tribe Were gathered all, the day was done; Its splendor shifted to the Queen Of Night, that, flushed with triumph, flung Adown the path of sky, beyond Mount Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog A bridge of golden gleams, to lose Themselves within the darkling depths Of Lake Vermilion's lifeless bay.
Then Guteba, like Jacob's son, The favored one of twelve, arose. No warrior paint his tawny skin Bedecked, nor eagle plume, nor claw Of beast adorned his royal head— Base custom that of vulgar herd. He wore a girt of wampum, nor Need had he of other raiment; For form erect, and sinewy frame And kindling eye, bespoke the garb Of manhood.
Thus he addressed them: "From yonder window, framed in sky, Swings Ko-go-gau-pa-gon. The God of Life has placed it there. Down-hanging from the happy land, Where spirits go, it forms a bridge, O'er which all ransomed souls must cross.
In fineness built, of beam of moon, It sinks and rolls, my children. But The light of foot and brave of heart Fear not. And one thing mark: before An Indian may touch sole upon Those gleaming strands of gold, he first Must navigate the bay, within Whose darkly deep and treacherous bounds The water, shamming, seems to sleep, But only lies, like cunning fox, To snare unwary passers-by And hold them from their homeward way.
"The story is not new. It is Told with every year, as I do tell It now, when comes Medawe time; When all the earth was young in youth The mighty Water reigned thereon And breath of life was not. Then, here, Upon the wind was heard a voice In thunder tones, which said unto The Water, 'Kitchie Gumme, I Am Gezha Manitou—of Life The Master Spirit. Lo! I bid Thy waves recede. Here, leading up Past Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog Unto the Soul's Hereafter, I Have established Ke-wa-ku-na. Thy waters overleap my path So that my children cannot pass. Thou'st gone too far. Retreat to serve Within the spacious metes which I Have set for thee.' Because the waves Would not, Gezha Manitou hurled Them back upon each other, till They sank deeper and deeper and Deeper into perpetual sea. Time does not count backward beyond That struggle, but the water's voice Has ever since been dumb where it Took place; his arms have there refused The birch canoe to cradle, or The fish to succor. There, also He called the Matchie Manitou, The evil ones, to do his will. They slew the buffalo, until The rocks turned red with blood. They stole The souls of them who sought to pass The water grave; and man grew sad And heavy-hearted. Then the voice Of Gezha Manitou again Was heard in words of speech to say: 'When winter snows, and springtime showers, And summer suns have rounded out The moon of ripened grain, light fires To mark the places where your dead Await my messengers to guide Them home. Of meat to eat provide Them none; but shape their arrows strong And true. My buffalo will herd Upon the water, and, along The shores, thy garnered stores of grass And grain must yield them food. Their horns Will golden glimmer on the night To make them easy prey for home Bound souls, and they shall not be harmed By Matchie Manitou. All clothed In serpent skin and sharpened tooth And poisoned tongue, my guides will come. Then, let the living wary be And go not near the tombs after The haze of dusk turns dark of night; For swift my heralds will approach Those ghostly haunts with sure demand For every soul that's found therein, Be it in body dead or quick.'
"The month, the day, the hour is here, My children, when the dead may cross To Ke-wa-ku-na less the fear Of harm, and we have come to say The last farewell. Wacumic's tomb, Among the rest, awaits the torch. In council, he was the Wise Man; In war, the Brave Chief, and at home The Best Loved,—his forefathers famed For deeds of valor, virtue, and Wisdom far back as memory takes The trail. His name, interpreted 'The waters ceased and earth began,' Denotes the time to which his line Of lineage runs. His spirit craves The promised land of happy hunt, And chase, and sweetly flowing streams. Our numbers are few, but our hearts Are strong. We are weak from the loss Of many battles, far from home; Our horizon is shadowed by the Sioux; Their echoing songs ring the woodlands Through. Is it wise for us to light The zenith of our skies, e'en tho' It be with flame of sacred fire? Wacumic was my father; you My children are. I have finished." Against the circle's center stake The chieftain placed his wing-trimmed stick— Most curious crozier, which gave Unto the thought of him, whose palm It touched a brilliant speaking tongue; Resumed his honored place the tribe Among.
Then stranger far, than track Of wayward bird, or swirling wind, Was Janishkisgan's forward course. A maid of plebeian birth, she did Not ask the leave of public speech— A right to woman not allowed— But from her people, where she sat, With meekness due, stepped out and grasped The staff Guteba had released, Thus arrogating to herself The right of oracle.
She said: "I was thy dead chief's handmaid, Friends. Twelve months agone, I was with him Upon the battle-field alone. The Sioux were all around us; their Faces war-red painted; their cries Of vengeance filling all the air. He to his saddle caught me up. The Great Spirit strengthened his arm; The lightning whet his ax; the wind Speeded his pony's hoofs. Through walls Of human blood he cut our way, And on his tomb no single scalp The deed remarks, or notes the slain He left to whiten bones upon The plains. He saved my life. What can I better do with it than use It for him? Arrows ready make; Gather the grass and grain with which To feed the golden horns; prepare The fuel for the sacred fires And I will light and keep them bright Upon the tombs. From my lips Speaks Gezha Manitou. I have done."
Upon the silence which her words Produced, the night-hawk's startling cry Succeeded, and, round and round, above Her head a milk-white falcon soared, Now sailing high, now skimming low, As if some mystic orison In exultation it performed.
Symbolic bird! Thy course no chance Directed. Talismanic art Thou held by this nomadic tribe: For, when the First Wacumic ruled The band, from all the hosts of field And feathery flock of heaven, thou wert Elected Totem. Favored One! Their fate forever linked to thine; Thy image crested on their shields; Thy every flight prophetic held!
Now, watch the trend of savage mind. Even Chief Guteba, who loved The Indian maid, knew that the bird A seal had put upon her, from which Her accomplished task alone would Freedom give; and drove his knife Into the thickness of his thigh Hilt deep, to ease his pain of heart That one so young, so fair and so Much loved withal, must need take thought Of courage.
The Great Medicine Confirmed the omen, in these words: "Daughter, thou art chosen: go forth. I give thee holy token, no Woman ever wore before. It is The medicine, which none but brave Of noble birth may wear. Though thou Art not of chieftain father bred, Still yet thou art born noble. Take, Janishkisgan, and to the top Of Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog. There let thine eye be keen, the path Of open safety to descry;— Use this plume of eagle plucked, To point to us the way. We will Prepare the arrows; grass and grain Arrange, and make the fuel ready for The flame upon the graves. When four And twenty hours have passed, light thou The fires upon the tombs, and keep Them brightly burning till the ripe Rich moon has emptied all its gold."
He hung the amulet about Her throat—the medicine, a bag Of dried, misshapen skin, that held The healing herbs—a homely guise That promised for them little worth; For, so are virtues ofttimes clothed.
She raised her eyes to heaven, as one Made free of fear and full of faith; Then moved away, while marveled all Who saw her glowing, peaceful face, Not knowing that her heart held court Within its inner self, as thus: "I thank thee, milk-white bird, that guides My path. E'en now Guteba's lips Are ripe to burst with love of me. I see it in his glance; I hear It in his tones. My heart doth not Respond. His presents are prepared With which to buy me from my sire; His wigwam waits his bride, but I Will never follow there. Thou hast Given me right, thou barbarous bird, To say him nay, who loves him not; For, where the handmaid must obey, The maid who lights the sacred fire And bears the medicine shall have Her equal say. And should my life Yield in my task, thou'rt kinder, Death, Than wandering heart from wigwam fire."
The Chippeway band to safety moved, Far toward the rising sun, and pitched Their camp anew; then hoped, less hope, For tidings of Janishkisgan, That never came.
Guteba's face The while was draped with care, his tongue With sadness locked. To muffled ears His wise men spake, when they implored Him, for his honor's sake, to take A wife—he being counted less Than man by Redskin code, who sits Within his teepee door, without The serving squaw and papoose squawk.
Meantime the Great White Bird, from out The North, came riding on the wind, Its wings o'er heaven spread, and shed Its down on hill and plain, the earth In snow deep lying. Fasted then Guteba long, and vowed unto Himself that, cold in death or rich In life, the maiden should be found; Across his shoulder flung his bow And arrow quiver; in his belt Placed tomahawk and battle-ax And lance; to westward sallied forth, Nor of his purpose spoke.
Three times the sun went round Its course and still he tarried from His home, while in the Chippeway camp Anxiety grew alarm at his Extended stay, and laggard seemed Each tiny fleeting moment to The last, until, when three times three The days had rolled into the past. A shout was heard, and sound of life And roll of drum and tramp of feet And happy, joyous song proclaimed The sachem's safe return.
He came With flowing locks and steady step, And form erect, his people round About him flocking, wild with joy, And full of eager questions, put, Of where he'd been and what he'd seen; To which his only answer was: "Up Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog." As one possessed by purpose stern, He passed along, nor paused until The halt was made his wigwam door Before, where his aged mother stood To give him greeting. Something more Than sweetness beamed in welcome from His smile the while he took her hand In his and spoke that blessed name Of "Mother."
Then, most sudden end Of joy!—into her outstretched arms He sank, as tho' he lent himself To gentle sleep, upon his lips The seal of Gezha Manitou; Else had they told the tale, the which To tell, had given him strength to bear A deep and mortal arrow wound A long march: How Janishkisgan Lingered from her father's tent To nurse the water Medicine Sioux, "Chief Minnepazuka" called, who, though For healing arts renowned, had down Been stricken with the plague upon The mountain top, his wisdom shorn Of power through lack of body strength With which to put it into use. The dead Chief's sense of justice craved The gift of further speech, to tell The facts that lead thereto as all Sufficient in themselves to plead Her pardon. How Janishkisgan Found the Sioux, near the jaws of death, And in her sympathy forgot That she a Chippeway was and he Of hostile stem. She took from him The secret he had wrested from The waves, and mixed a cure thereby With which his life she saved. She kept The fires burning, while waiting on His needs, nor gave him but the time That they required; yet both had learned A lesson, dear as life itself— Each to the other had taught it, And both had learned the same—learned to love With a love so holy, that they Must needs a union plan, in which There, too, should be united all Their severed bands. Guteba heard, With his own ears, the chieftain swear That he would bring from his far home, On western slopes, the richest gifts Of field and forest, to demand His bride from her own father's hand: And, with the rest, bring too, the white Winged dove of peace, nor claim from lips So passing sweet, one tiny kiss Without this all accomplished. Chief Guteba, hid in neighboring shrub, O'erheard these vows, with tomahawk Well aimed against the Sioux Chief's head; And, hanging on the words, felt all His being's manhood stir in plea For nobler action: fall down let The threatening blade, and, chief to chief, Challenged the Sioux to combat with The lance for Janishkisgan's hand; It being current practice, that He who victored in such a fray Was held a friend for aye, by all The vanquished chieftain's people. Hurt With fatal stab, the Chippeway Chief Had hastened home, to urge upon His tribe the well-earned peace, the which Minnepazuka's lance had won.
Inexplicable fate! That coined His lofty purpose and effort, staunch, Into the very ill, for whose Opposite good he sought; in death, Closed his lips, still undelivered Of their message, and left instead A gaping wound to cry, "Revenge!"
The tribe tore out their hair, and put The blackening pigment on, and sang Their grieving songs; athirst for blood, Unheeding danger, struck their tents And formed for march, in single file, Back, back in gloom, to silent tombs, Beside the dark, deep bay, below Mount Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog, There to lay their beloved chief's Remains.
And, there, Janishkisgan, Filled with the superstition of Her kind, made pillow nightly on Her mother's grave, as well secure As tho' she slept within the wigwam. And there it was, one morning's dawn, The somber funeral cortege found Her. Most certain proof of innocence And guilelessness and conscience all At ease to rest upon a grave At night, was it considered. But thus To be, in calm repose, a smile Transcendent on the lips, as if Good spirits hovered near, almost Were past belief of seeing eye. So moved were they, who saw her there, They stole away in awesome hush Along a trackless trail, beneath A ledge of rugged rock. Above Their heads a bowlder's jutting edge Protruded, where, this early morn, Minnepazuka came to sing A song of love.
Alas! That she, Who dreamed of him, had dream so sweet, Her smile to him disastrous proved: For, in that northern wild, no spot So fit for ambush was as this Unbeaten, shrub-grown path of rock To which the Chippeways' impulse Led them; and none so ill-secure From ambuscading foe as this Same barren bowlder, upon whose O'erhanging height, the Sioux reclined.
His prelude, played on flageolet, In clear and clarion tones, broke through The still of dawn and fell on ears Of foes, who crept upon him, the while He softly sang:
"Oh, my Dove's Eye, Thou dear one, hearest thou not My voice? Thou lingerest far from me. I am the Water Medicine. Rocks Flow living streams if I but call. Thou sharest my secrets, wee one; Thou, too, hast quaffed of Immortal Waters. Why linger far from me? When the fever was upon me, Then wast thou near me, thou Sunbeam. Now, I am strong. To-morrow will I journey toward the setting sun. But I will come back again for thee. My people shall be thine, my own. Hearken to the voice of my song.
My love is like the shining sun Upon the pure snow of the mount— It would blush upon thy cheek, but It would not destroy thee. Hear me, Gentle one; fear me not. Thou didst Not love the Chief Guteba. Thy Lips have confessed it to me, and My lance drank his heart dry. Now, thou Sleepest upon thy mother's tomb."
As like the lightning of the storm Forensic message on the walls Of heaven writes, to fill the earth With pause of tragic dread, so did Guteba's name, on alien tongue For one brief moment holden stay The stealthy steps that stole about The Sioux and closed escaping path Around him. And as thunder lends Unto the tempest's roar a voice More awful because of that but Momentary respite, so with The next succeeding breath, the air Was curdled with the Chippeway cry Of vengeance. Before the Sioux could Change within his grasp the place Of joyous flute for battle-ax He was surrounded by them and made Their royal captive.
In thongs bound Down and tortured, Janishkisgan Next beheld him. But love, like theirs, Which hath preserved itself through test In purity, knows not despair. Nor can it hush itself to ease If it can find the chance to act In the beloved one's behalf. So while the maid, well-honored guard Of sacred fires, passed freely round, From friend, to friend, with greetings kind, In measure full returned, her thoughts Were busy with the night.
When all Was still beneath the stars, she left Her blanket couch, high-heaped on leaves, And let the prisoner free. Under An old oak tree they said farewell, Not without Minnepazuka's Protestations, who plead as thus:
"Oh, come with me, and be my bride; My home is on the prairies wide, Where West sweeps westward, in its pride, To mount the heights of mountain side; Where yellow glows the sunflower's gold, And earth rolls rich in mellow mold; Where cactus bloom and roses blush, And rivers sweep through greensward lush; Where deer and antelope and bear Abound as free as sunlit air; Where buffalo and cayote dwell And perch and trout the clear brook swell. Oh, come; oh, come, and live with me— To serve thee I shall happy be. I'll pluck thee bed of down of swan; Thy cares make light as foot of fawn; I'll build canoe of birch-wood bark To cradle thee, my Singing Lark. I'll rob the white bear for thy frock; I'll bring thee paint from red of rock; I'll note the honey-bee in its flight— Gather its sweets by bright moonlight. I'll coax the fishes from the wave; Thy slightest wish shall bind me slave; My arrow true its bow will fly To draw abundance from the sky; The heavens shall tremble at my voice And thy dear heart rejoice, rejoice. Oh, fly with me, these arms to bless; Rest, rest, my little love, on my breast."
"It cannot be, my beaming-eyed, Until our people are allied. My father's step is growing slow, No other child hath he. The snow Upon his head would pile did I But go with thee. I beg thee fly."
"No claim so binding is as love— Oh, come, oh, come, my nestling dove— Thy hands have set me free. And all The blame of my escape will fall On thee. Thy father will disown Thee; the children cruel will stone Thee, and——"
"And I will think of thee."
"Leave thee alone to bear such wrongs! Oh, no. Upon my wrists bind back The thongs. I will not freedom take. 'Twere better far than price like this To perish at the stake. Bind back The thongs."
"Thou wouldst spare me pain? Then, Go. Each tiny, lapping flame of fire That fed its tongue on thee, would scorch The life-blood in my heart until Upon the funeral pyre, I'd throw My worthless self. I beg thee go."
"Alas! Thy heart is cold to me."
"Nay, nay, not so; it all is thine. I give it in this kiss. 'Twill sing To thee from throat of bird; it will Echo on the wind; it will Caress thee from the dew;—'tis all I have; it is thine. Farewell."
"Gentle One, thou givest me life, To take it from me. Thou lily heart, Thou art my own, my other self: Thy god declares it unto thee, And mine to me."
"And over all Is the Great Spirit. Farewell."
"Thou wilt not go?"
Sad fate, by human standard judged, The Indian maiden brought upon Herself. Given to eat with dogs, Clothed in rags, disgraced, driven from Her father's door, the power of love Sustained her. Magic Power, Great Architect, Superb Chemist Love! The heart that entertains thee Grows lofty in spirit gentleness, E'en tho' thou deignst to make it but Thy workshop. So Janishkisgan Knew thee. Fearing only to prove Unworthy of her august guest, She walked in the midst of scorn, Contempt, contumely, sneers and stern Displeasure, with that forbearance And kindly dignity, which re-won Her friends, despite themselves; so that At last they gave her pitying peace, And listened with their heart-strings tuned To life's better part, while she sang Her farewell song, each eve beneath The tree.
After a time the plague Broke out and lamentations rose On every hand. Old women made Their teas and plied their healing arts; The Great Medicine Men implored Gezha Manitou's aid, and all The vibrant air was resonant With invoking incantations.— Death marched on. Then Janishkisgan Bethought her of her lover's cure; Gathered the balsam root and mixed Therefrom the potent draught, as he Had taught her. Great Medicine It was, that brought the glow of health Into the faded, hollow cheeks, And all the people blessed the maid; Called her, "Mahnusatia," which means The balm that heals. Surrounded by The dread disease, she came and went Unscathed, as if by unseen hands Protected. Where her gentle tones Were heard or where her light step fell, It was as if an angel passed.— Wan faces smiled, and hearts felt hope, And trembling lips found voice to cry: "Mahnusatia! Mahnusatia!"
Thus in love was she renamed. Reinstated and reintrenched Deeper then ever in hearts which Had once renounced her, still she lived As one apart. The seasons came And passed, and as they did, the tribe Changed camp, from place to place, with each Recurring Autumn to return To Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog; But "Mahnusatia" never left The silent village. There she kept Her vigil, night by night, under The old oak tree. Her form became Wasted; her eyes lustrous; her limbs Grew to tremble, but her voice was Sweeter, as on each even's breeze, In rain or shine, in storm or calm, Was heard her fond farewell. Her life's Last breath was spent in that farewell. Her body lay under the oak, whose Spreading branches caught up the sad Refrain, "Farewell, farewell," and gave It back again each eventide.
Her spirit lived in a thousand Tongues, for where the Chippeway saw The balsam tree, he turned his face Toward Wey-do-dosh-she-ma-de-nog, As Mahometan to Mecca, and Cried out in reverential tones, "Mahnusatia! Mahnusatia!"
It lives to-day, mere chance of fate, Perchance, a monument of fame, Than which nor time, nor nation, nor People have ever better built; A monument of State, that rears Its regal, star-crowned head above Its sisters', in the grandest, most Glorious Union, which the world Has ever known.
Yet who shall say, Who hath not infinite knowledge, It is but fortune's accident That honors such fidelity? Who, rather, shall not concede, that, Down the path of time, a fitness,
Everlasting, perpetuates That sweet, sweet Indian name, which, in Nobler accents, English spoken, Echoes the wide, wide world around: "Minnesota! Minnesota!"
MRS. FANNIE L. STONE.
The Descending Star.
(A CHIPPEWA LEGEND.)
The Chieftain sat in his wigwam door And smoked his evening pipe, While a crowd of Indian boys and girls, Knowing his wisdom ripe, Were begging him to a story tell, For votive offering brought, The tobacco loved by the aged sage; So he told the tale they sought.
"There was once a time when the world was filled With a people happy," he said: "The crimson tide of war rolled not, Nor against each other led, Each rival tribe their warriors brave: For the nations were as one, The frightful scourge that has wasted us Had, happily, not begun.
"With game in plenty forest and plain Abounded. None were in want And ghastly famine never touched The tribes with its finger gaunt.
At the bidding of man the beasts of the field All meekly went and came; For they feared him not, nor reason had, But all were harmless and tame.
"Unending spring for winter's blasts And chills gave never a place; Each tree and bush bowed low with fruit So they needed not the chase. A carpet of flowers covered the earth, While the air with their perfume Was laden. The songs of mated birds Rose ever in sweetest tune.
"The earth was indeed a paradise, And man was worthy to live 'Mong these delights in tranquil peace That merit alone can give. The Indians—sole possession then— Roamed here and there at will, O'er plains and lakes and wilderness— Ah, that it were so still!
"They numbered millions, as nature designed, Enjoying her many gifts. The sports of the field were their delight; Such life the soul uplifts. They watched the stars with loving gaze, And thought that they must be The homes of the good, with the Great Spirit In the heavens roaming free.
"One night a star shone strangely bright, Out-shining all the rest. At first they deemed it far away, Its nearness never guessed. Then some declared they believed it stood Just over the tree-tops tall. To solve the doubt a council of The wisest men they call.
"These went one night and found the star Was something like a bird. It hovered just above the trees— They feared, for they had heard From their forefathers that it might A bloody war foretell, And over them a silent dread Of some disaster fell.
"One moon had waned—the mystery No one could solve or tell If the omen of their heavenly guest Foreboded ill or well: When a warrior had a wondrous dream, A lovely maiden came And stood by his side—in sweetest tones, She called him by his name.
"'I love your beautiful lakes,' said she, 'Your mountains clothed in green, In yonder sky, shining above, My sisters still are seen. But I have left them to come and live Among your race, young brave: To find a suitable home for me Go ask your sages grave.'
"'And pray what form shall I assume To be best loved by you?' The youth awoke and stepped from his lodge The ominous star to view. It shone with undimmed luster where It had stood for many a day: Yet he firmly believed it the visitor His waking had driven away.
"At early dawn the crier was sent Around the camp to call The warriors at once to the Council Lodge, And there before them all, The young brave told his dream so strange. For love, they said, no doubt For love of man the star had come And wandered thereabout.
"To welcome her to earth next night Five noble braves were sent. She took the pipe of peace, which herbs A sweet aroma lent. Then with expanded wing she came And hovered near their homes, Like one who wished to be at rest But still unwilling roams.
"In dreams she asked the youth again: 'Pray tell where I shall live, And what form now must I assume To most enjoyment give?' He could not decide, so she was told For herself 'twere best to choose. The tribe might through their ignorance Her heavenly wisdom lose.
"On the mountains first in the pure white rose She dwelt; but all unseen By the tribe she loved: so next she went To be the prairie's queen. She trembled with fear, with ceaseless dread, At the hoof of the buffalo; For safety then a rocky cliff She sought and glanced below.
"'I know where I will live,' she said, 'Where glides the swift canoe Of the race I most admire, and where, Dear children, always you My playmates can be. I will kiss your cheeks As you slumber by the lake. Here with you all, my best beloved, My home I will ever make.'
"These words she spoke and alighted soon On the water's limpid breast. Looked down at her image reflected there, At last she was at rest.
In the morning sun, as pure as heaven, A thousand lilies basked; For Wah-be-gwan-nee, water lily, The Indian children asked.
"In the southern sky this bright star lived; Her brethren can be seen Far off in the cold North, hunting the bear: Meanwhile, with ardor keen, Her sisters watch from East and West, And here, an exile lone, She sees her heavenly kindred fair In the home that was her own.
"My children, when the lilies pure You pluck from the placid lake, Hold them toward heaven, their rightful home, Abandoned for your sake. So they may be happy here on earth As any sister star That, stationed in the summer sky, Gleams brightly from afar."
IDA SEXTON SEARLS.
The Trailing Arbutus.
In the vast, primeval forest, unremembered moons ago, When the streams were dumb and palsied, all the earth was white with snow, When the eerie wind went chasing evil spirits through the wood, 'Neath the gaunt and leafless tree-tops, an old Indian teepee stood. In it lived an old man only, with white locks and flowing beard, Clad in furs from head to foot-sole, like one to the north-land reared:
Weakly his scant fire resisted the dread storm-fiend's icy breath, And its deep, portentous rumblings spoke of swift approaching death. Crouching there, "O Mannaboosho," cried he through the awful night, "Here behold me, thy brave warrior. I will conquer in thy might." Then the lodge door softly opened and in stepped a beauteous form Clad in ferns and sweet spring grasses. When she breathed, the air grew warm. Large her eyes were, glowing brightly, as at night, the lustrous fawn's. Red her cheeks were like wild roses or bright carmine-tinted dawns. Long her hair and black as raven's, trailing o'er the frozen ground, And her hands with pussy-willows, like close-fitting gloves were bound. Fair wild-flowers crowned her tresses and her dainty little feet Were encased in two white lilies from the great lakes pure and sweet.
Said the old man, "Ah, my daughter, I am glad to see you here. Though my lodge is cold and cheerless, it will shield you, never fear; But pray tell me, fearless maiden, how these icy blasts you dare To confront in such strange clothing? Will you not the secret share? I am old Kabibonokka, and my breath in ice congeals. When I shake my locks, the snow falls. All the earth my power feels. Hastily the birds fly southward and the squirrels safely hide." "Ah how strange!" replied the maiden. "I spread beauty far and wide. When I shake my raven tresses, soft, warm rain falls from the sky, All the birds come back a-building in the leafy tree-tops high." Thus they talked, but soon the teepee grew like summer, strangely warm, And the old man's head dropped listless o'er a soundly-sleeping form. High the sun rode in the heavens, and a bluebird, pert and trim, Called out, "Say-ee, I am thirsty;" and the rivers flowed for him. As the old man slept, the maiden passed her hand above his head, And he smaller grew and smaller, till, all mortal substance sped, But a mass of green leaves growing there remained upon the earth; And the fairy maiden stooping, with an air of quiet mirth, Took pink-tinted flowers and hid them all about beneath the leaves; And her sweet, fresh breath upon them, like a spell she softly breathes As she sings with clear, wild warblings, "of my graces, I give all; And who shall desire to pluck thee, on his bended knees shall fall."
Then as onward moved the maiden, through the woods and o'er the plains, All the jocund birds sang to her, o'er her fell the spring-time rains, And the arbutus in beauty, 'neath her fairy footsteps sprung. Nowhere else in vale or woodland were the precious seedlets flung. Still Northern Minnesota, near the great unsalted sea, Trace we will the maiden's footsteps where these self-same blossoms be.
ADELAIDE GEORGE BENNET.
In the shelter of the forest, By the cataract's lonely brink, (Shadow Falls, we call them nowadays) Where the red deer came to drink, Lived old Chaska and his daughter Nopa, in their tepee small. Handsome was this dusky maiden, Eyes like deer and form so tall.
"Seche-do—bad man," said Chaska, As the moccasin he laid down, Ready for the wampum finish; Nopa's skill his work must crown. She had told him of an artist, Sunny-haired with hand of snow, Whose canoe was fastened daily, In the river just below.
"Talk not to the treacherous white man," Chaska said, in tones of wrath, "Harken, daughter, to my warning; Never must he cross my path!" But poor Nopa little heeded Her old father's wise command; Watching close, each day and evening For the footsteps in the sand.
Weeks have passed without his coming; Weeks like years, so full of pain To the Indian maiden thinking, "Will he never come again?" Surely now she hears his footsteps Where the misty waters pour. Falling headlong down the chasm: Nopa will return no more.
Chaska hears her calling wildly; Seeks to grasp the fleeing form Follows till the rushing waters, Swollen with the autumn's storm, Cruel, cast his lifeless body 'Mong the rocks and caverns wild; Desolate, the lonely tepee Waits the hunter and his child.
Now, in autumn, when the aster Nods its purple plumes in pride; When the black-eyed Susan coyly 'Neath the gorgeous sumach hides; And the golden-rod so stately, To outshine all others tries; In the mist of early evening Two dark forms are seen to rise.
Chaska and his dusky daughter, Shades from out the spirit-land, Flitting, falling, downward, downward, Till they reach the shining sand. Vanish then beside the river, Where her faithless lover's bark Once was moored. The waves, all lonely, Lap the sands with shadows dark.
IDA SEXTON SEARLS.
A LEGEND OF LAKE SUPERIOR. OJIBWAY.
In the measure of Hiawatha.
[The numerals refer to Notes to The Sea-Gull, in Appendix.]
On the shore of Gitchee Gumee— Deep, mysterious, mighty waters— Where the manitoes—the spirits— Ride the storms and speak in thunder, In the days of Neme-Shomis, In the days that are forgotten, Dwelt a tall and tawny hunter— Gitchee Pez-ze-u—the Panther, Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior, Famous Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior. Strong was he and fleet as roebuck, Brave was he and very stealthy; On the deer crept like a panther; Grappled with Makwa, the monster, Grappled with the bear and conquered; Took his black claws for a necklet, Took his black hide for a blanket. When the Panther wed the Sea-Gull, Young was he and very gladsome; Fair was she and full of laughter; Like the robin in the spring-time, Sang from sunrise till the sunset; For she loved the handsome hunter. Deep as Gitchee Gumee's waters Was her love—as broad and boundless; And the wedded twain were happy— Happy as the mated robins. When their first-born saw the sunlight Joyful was the heart of Panther, Proud and joyful was the mother, All the days were full of sunshine, All the nights were full of starlight. Nightly from the land of spirits On them smiled the starry faces— Faces of their friends departed. Little moccasins she made him, Feathered cap and belt of wampum From the hide of fawn a blanket, Fringed with feathers, soft as sable; Singing at her pleasant labor, By her side the tekenagun, And the little hunter in it. Oft the Panther smiled and fondled, Smiled upon the babe and mother, Frolicked with the boy and fondled. Tall he grew and like his father, And they called the boy the Raven— Called him Kak-kah-ge—the Raven. Happy hunter was the Panther. From the woods he brought the pheasant,
Brought the red-deer and the rabbit, Brought the trout from Gitchee Gumee— Brought the mallard from the marshes— Royal feast for boy and mother: Brought the hides of fox and beaver, Brought the skins of mink and otter, Lured the loon and took his blanket, Took his blanket for the Raven. Winter swiftly followed winter, And again the tekenagun Held a babe—a tawny daughter, Held a dark-eyed, dimpled daughter; And they called her Waub-omee-mee— Thus they named her—the White-Pigeon. But as winter followed winter Cold and sullen grew the Panther; Sat and smoked his pipe in silence; When he spoke he spoke in anger; In the forest often tarried Many days, and homeward turning, Brought no game unto his wigwam; Only brought his empty quiver, Brought his dark and sullen visage.
Sad at heart and very lonely Sat the Sea-Gull in the wigwam; Sat and swung the tekenagun Sat and sang to Waub-omee-mee: Thus she sang to Waub-omee-mee, Thus the lullaby she chanted:
Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea; Kah-ween, nee-zheka ke-diaus-ai, Ke-gah nau-wai, ne-me-go s'ween, Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is ais, Wa-wa, wa-wa, wa-we-yea; Ne-baun, ne-baun, ne-daun-is-ais, E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea, E-we wa-wa, wa-we-yea.
Swing, swing, little one, lullaby; Thou'rt not left alone to weep; Mother cares for you—she is nigh; Sleep, my little one, sweetly sleep; Swing, swing, little one, lullaby; Mother watches you—she is nigh; Gently, gently, wee one, swing; Gently, gently, while I sing E-we wa-wa—lullaby, E-we wa-wa—lullaby.
Homeward to his lodge returning Kindly greeting found the hunter, Fire to warm and food to nourish, Golden trout from Gitchee Gumee, Caught by Kah-kah-ge—the Raven. With a snare he caught the rabbit— Caught Wabose, the furry-footed, Caught Penay, the forest-drummer; Sometimes, with his bow and arrows, Shot the red-deer in the forest, Shot the squirrel in the pine-top, Shot Ne-ka, the wild-goose, flying. Proud as Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior, To the lodge he bore his trophies. So when homeward turned the Panther, Ever found he food provided, Found the lodge-fire brightly burning, Found the faithful Sea-Gull waiting, "You are cold," she said, "and famished; Here are fire and food, my husband." Not by word or look he answered; Only ate the food provided, Filled his pipe and pensive puffed it, Sat and smoked in sullen silence. Once—her dark eyes full of hunger— Thus she spoke and thus besought him: "Tell me, O my silent Panther, Tell me, O beloved husband, What has made you sad and sullen? Have you met some evil spirit— Met some goblin in the forest? Has he put a spell upon you— Filled your heart with bitter waters, That you sit so sad and sullen, Sit and smoke, but never answer, Only when the storm is on you?"
Gruffly then the Panther answered: "Brave among the brave is Panther Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior, And the brave are ever silent; But a whining dog is woman, Whining ever like a coward." Forth into the tangled forest, Threading through the thorny thickets, Treading trails on marsh and meadow, Sullen strode the moody hunter. Saw he not the bear or beaver, Saw he not the elk or roebuck; From his path the red-fawn scampered, But no arrow followed after; From his den the sly wolf listened, But no twang of bow-string heard he. Like one walking in his slumber, Listless, dreaming, walked the Panther; Surely had some witch bewitched him, Some bad spirit of the forest.
When the Sea-Gull wed the Panther, Fair was she and full of laughter; Like the robin in the spring-time, Sang from sunrise till the sunset; But the storms of many winters Sifted frost upon her tresses, Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles, Not alone the storms of winters Seamed her tawny face with wrinkles. Twenty winters for the Panther Had she ruled the humble wigwam; For her haughty lord and master Borne the burdens on the journey, Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire, Tanned the skins of bear and beaver, Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer; Made him moccasins and leggins, Decked his hood with quills and feathers— Colored quills of Kaug, the thorny, Feathers from Kenew, the eagle. For a warrior brave was Panther; Often had he met the foemen, Met the bold and fierce Dakotas, Westward on the war-path met them; And the scalps he won were numbered, Numbered seven by Kenew-feathers. Sad at heart was Sea-Gull waiting, Watching, waiting in the wigwam; Not alone the storms of winters Sifted frost upon her tresses.
Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty, He that sends the cruel winter, He that turned to stone the Giant, From the distant Thunder-mountain, Far across broad Gitchee Gumee, Sent his warning of the winter, Sent the white frost and Kewaydin, Sent the swift and hungry North-wind. Homeward to the South the Summer Turned and fled the naked forests. With the Summer flew the robin, Flew the bobolink and blue-bird. Flock-wise following chosen leaders, Like the shaftless heads of arrows Southward cleaving through the ether, Soon the wild-geese followed after. One long moon the Sea-Gull waited, Watched and waited for her husband, Till at last she heard his footsteps, Heard him coming through the thicket. Forth she went to meet her husband, Joyful went to greet her husband. Lo behind the haughty hunter, Closely following in his footsteps, Walked a young and handsome woman, Walked the Red Fox from the island— Gitchee Menis—the Grand Island— Followed him into the wigwam, Proudly took her seat beside him. On the Red Fox smiled the hunter, On the hunter smiled the woman.
Old and wrinkled was the Sea-Gull, Good and true, but old and wrinkled. Twenty winters for the Panther Had she ruled the humble wigwam, Borne the burdens on the journey, Gathered fagots for the lodge-fire, Tanned the skins of bear and beaver, Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer, Made him moccasins and leggins, Decked his hood with quills and feathers, Colored quills of Kaug, the thorny, Feathers from the great war-eagle; Ever diligent and faithful, Ever patient, ne'er complaining. But like all brave men the Panther Loved a young and handsome woman; So he dallied with the danger, Dallied with the fair Algonkin, Till a magic mead she gave him, Brewed of buds of birch and cedar, Madly then he loved the woman; Then she ruled him, then she held him Tangled in her raven tresses, Tied and tangled in her tresses. Ah, the tall and tawny Panther! Ah, the brave and brawny Panther! Son of Waub-Ojeeg, the warrior! With a slender hair she led him, With a slender hair she drew him, Drew him often to her wigwam; There she bound him, there she held him Tangled in her raven tresses, Tied and tangled in her tresses. Ah, the best of men are tangled— Sometimes tangled in the tresses Of a fair and crafty woman.
So the Panther wed the Red Fox, And she followed to his wigwam. Young again he seemed and gladsome, Glad as Raven when the father Made his first bow from the elm-tree, From the ash-tree made his arrows, Taught him how to aim his arrows, How to shoot Wabose—the rabbit. Then again the brawny hunter Brought the black bear and the beaver, Brought the haunch of elk and red-deer, Brought the rabbit and the pheasant— Choicest bits of all for Red Fox. For her robes he brought the sable, Brought the otter and the ermine, Brought the black-fox tipped with silver.
But the Sea-Gull murmured never, Not a word she spoke in anger, Went about her work as ever, Tanned the skins of bear and beaver, Tanned the hides of moose and red-deer, Gathered fagots for the lodge fire, Gathered rushes from the marshes; Deftly into mats she wove them; Kept the lodge as bright as ever. Only to herself she murmured, All alone with Waub-omee-mee. On the tall and toppling highland, O'er the wilderness of waters; Murmured to the murmuring waters, Murmured to the Nebe-naw-baigs— To the spirits of the waters; On the wild waves poured her sorrow. Save the infant on her bosom With her dark eyes wide with wonder, None to hear her but the spirits, And the murmuring pines above her. Thus she cast away her burdens, Cast her burdens on the waters; Thus unto the good Great Spirit, Made her lowly lamentation: "Wahonowin!—Wahonowin! Gitchee Manito, bena-nin! Nah, Ba-ba showain nemeshin! Wahonowin!—Wahonowin!"
Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty, He that sends the cruel winter, From the distant Thunder-mountain On the shore of Gitchee Gumee, On the rugged northern border, Sent his solemn, final warning, Sent the white wolves of the Nor'land. Like the dust of stars in ether— In the Pathway of the Spirits, Like the sparkling dust of diamonds, Fell the frost upon the forest, On the mountains and the meadows, On the wilderness of woodland, On the wilderness of waters. All the lingering fowls departed— All that seek the South in winter, All but Shingebis, the diver; He defies the Winter-maker, Sits and laughs at Winter-maker.
Ka-be-bon-ik-ka, the mighty, From his wigwam called Kewaydin— From his home among the icebergs, From the sea of frozen waters, Called the swift and hungry North-wind, Then he spread his mighty pinions Over all the land and shook them. Like the white down of Waubese Fell the feathery snow and covered All the marshes and the meadows, All the hill-tops and the highlands. Then old Peboean—the winter— Laughed along the stormy waters, Danced upon the windy headlands, On the storm his white hair streaming, And his steaming breath, ascending, On the pine-tops and the cedars Fell in frosty mists of silver, Sprinkling spruce and fir with silver, Sprinkling all the woods with silver.
By the lodge-fire all the winter Sat the Sea-Gull and the Red Fox, Sat and kindly spoke and chatted, Till the twain seemed friends together. Friends they seemed in word and action, But within the breast of either Smoldered still the baneful embers— Fires of jealousy and hatred— Like a camp-fire in the forest Left by hunters and deserted; Only seems a bed of ashes, But the East wind, Wabun-noodin, Scatters through the woods the ashes, Fans to flame the sleeping embers, And the wild-fire roars and rages, Roars and rages through the forest. So the baneful embers smoldered, Smoldered in the breast of either.
From the far-off Sunny Islands, From the pleasant land of Summer, Where the spirits of the blessed Feel no more the fangs of hunger, Or the cold breath of Kewaydin, Came a stately youth and handsome, Came Segun, the foe of Winter. Like the rising sun his face was, Like the shining stars his eyes were, Light his footsteps as the Morning's, In his hand were buds and blossoms, On his brow a blooming garland. Straightway to the icy wigwam Of old Peboean, the Winter, Strode Segun and quickly entered. There old Peboean sat and shivered, Shivered o'er his dying lodge-fire.
"Ah, my son, I bid you welcome; Sit and tell me your adventures; I will tell you of my power; We will pass the night together." Thus spake Peboean—the Winter; Then he filled his pipe and lighted; Then by sacred custom raised it To the spirits in the ether; To the spirits in the caverns Of the hollow earth he lowered it. Thus he passed it to the spirits, And the unseen spirits puffed it. Next himself old Peboean honored; Thrice he puffed his pipe and passed it, Passed it to the handsome stranger.
"Lo I blow my breath," said Winter, "And the laughing brooks are silent. Hard as flint become the waters, And the rabbit runs upon them."
Then Segun, the fair youth, answered: "Lo, I breathe upon the hillsides, On the valleys and the meadows, And behold, as if by magic— By the magic of the spirits, Spring the flowers and tender grasses."
Then old Peboean replying: "Nah! I breathe upon the forests, And the leaves fall sere and yellow; Then I shake my locks and snow falls, Covering all the naked landscape."
Then Segun arose and answered: "Nashke!—see!—I shake my ringlets; On the earth the warm rain falleth, And the flowers look up like children Glad-eyed from their mother's bosom. Lo, my voice recalls the robin, Brings the bobolink and bluebird, And the woods are full of music. With my breath I melt their fetters, And the brooks leap laughing onward."
Then old Peboean looked upon him, Looked and knew Segun, the Summer, From his eyes the big tears started And his boastful tongue was silent. Now Keezis—the great life-giver, From his wigwam in Waubu-nong Rose and wrapped his shining blanket Round his giant form and started, Westward started on his journey, Striding on from hill to hill-top. Upward then he climbed the ether— On the Bridge of Stars he traveled, Westward traveled on his journey To the far-off Sunset Mountains— To the gloomy land of shadows.
On the lodge-poles sang the robin— And the brooks began to murmur. On the South-wind floated fragrance Of the early buds and blossoms. From old Peboean's eyes the tear-drops Down his pale face ran in streamlets; Less and less he grew in stature Till he melted down to nothing; And behold, from out the ashes, From the ashes of his lodge-fire, Sprang the Miscodeed and, blushing, Welcomed Segun to the North-land.
So from Sunny Isles returning, From the Summer-Land of spirits, On the poles of Panther's wigwam Sang Opee-chee—sang the robin. In the maples cooed the pigeons— Cooed and wooed like silly lovers. "Hah!—hah!" laughed the crow derisive, In the pine-top, at their folly— Laughed and jeered the silly lovers. Blind with love were they, and saw not; Deaf to all but love, and heard not; So they cooed and wooed unheeding, Till the gray hawk pounced upon them, And the old crow shook with laughter.
On the tall cliff by the sea-shore Red Fox made a swing. She fastened Thongs of moose-hide to the pine-tree, To the strong arm of the pine-tree. Like a hawk, above the waters, There she swung herself and fluttered, Laughing at the thought of danger, Swung and fluttered o'er the waters. Then she bantered Sea-Gull, saying, "See!—I swing above the billows! Dare you swing above the billows— Swing like me above the billows?"
To herself said Sea-Gull—"Surely I will dare whatever danger Dares the Red Fox—dares my rival; She shall never call me coward." So she swung above the waters— Dizzy height above the waters, Pushed and aided by her rival, To and fro with reckless daring, Till the strong tree rocked and trembled, Rocked and trembled with its burden. As above the yawning billows Flew the Sea-Gull like a whirlwind, Red Fox, swifter than red lightning, Cut the thongs, and headlong downward, Like an osprey from the ether, Like a wild-goose pierced with arrows, Fluttering fell the frantic woman, Fluttering fell into the waters— Plunged and sunk beneath the waters! Hark!—the wailing of the West-wind! Hark!—the wailing of the waters, And the beating of the billows! But no more the voice of Sea-Gull.
In the wigwam sat the Red Fox, Hushed the wail of Waub-omee-mee, Weeping for her absent mother. With the twinkling stars the hunter From the forest came and Raven. "Sea-Gull wanders late," said Red Fox, "Late she wanders by the sea-shore, And some evil may befall her." In the misty morning twilight Forth went Panther and the Raven, Searched the forest and the marshes, Searched for leagues along the lake-shore, But they found no trace or tidings, Found no track in marsh or meadow, Found no trail in fen or forest, On the shore-sand found no footprints. Many days they sought and found not. Then to Panther spoke the Raven: "She is in the Land of Spirits— Surely in the Land of Spirits. High at midnight I beheld her— Like a flying star beheld her— To the waves of Gitchee Gumee Downward flashing through the ether Thus she flashed that I might see her, See and know my mother's spirit; Thus she pointed to the waters, And beneath them lies her body, In the wigwam of the spirits— In the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs."
Then spoke Panther to the Raven: "On the tall cliff by the waters Wait and watch with Waub-omee-mee. If the Sea-Gull hear the wailing Of her infant she will answer."
On the tall cliff by the waters So the Raven watched and waited; All the day he watched and waited, But the hungry infant slumbered, Slumbered by the side of Raven, Till the pines' gigantic shadows Stretched and pointed to Waubu-nong— To the far-off land of Sunrise; Then the wee one woke and, famished, Made a long and piteous wailing.
From afar where sky and waters Meet in misty haze and mingle, Straight toward the rocky highland, Straight as flies the feathered arrow, Straight to Raven and the infant, Swiftly flew a snow-white sea-gull— Flew and touched the earth a woman. And behold, the long-lost mother Caught her wailing child and nursed her.
Thrice was wound a chain of silver Round her waist and strongly fastened. Far away into the waters— To the wigwam of the spirits— To the lodge of Nebe-naw-baigs— Stretched the magic chain of silver. Spoke the mother to the Raven: "O my son—my brave young hunter, Feed my tender little orphan; Be a father to my orphan; Be a mother to my orphan— For the crafty Red Fox robbed us— Robbed the Sea-Gull of her husband, Robbed the infant of her mother. From this cliff the treacherous woman Headlong into Gitchee Gumee Plunged the mother of my orphan. Then a Nebe-naw-baig caught me— Chief of all the Nebe-naw-baigs— Took me to his shining wigwam, In the cavern of the waters, Deep beneath the mighty waters. All below is burnished copper, All above is burnished silver Gemmed with amethyst and agates. As his wife the Spirit holds me; By this silver chain he holds me.
"When my little one is famished, When with long and piteous wailing Cries the orphan for her mother, Hither bring her, O my Raven; I will hear her—I will answer. Now the Nebe-naw-baig calls me— Pulls the chain—I must obey him." Thus she spoke, and in the twinkling Of a star the spirit-woman Changed into a snow-white sea-gull, Spread her wings and o'er the waters Swiftly flew and swiftly vanished.
Then in secret to the Panther Raven told his tale of wonder. Sad and sullen was the hunter; Sorrow gnawed his heart like hunger; All the old love came upon him, And the new love was a hatred. Hateful to his heart was Red Fox, But he kept from her the secret— Kept his knowledge of the murder. Vain was she and very haughty— Oge-ma-kwa of the wigwam. All in vain her fond caresses On the Panther now she lavished; When she smiled his face was sullen, When she laughed he frowned upon her; In her net of raven tresses Now no more she held him tangled. Now through all her fair disguises Panther saw an evil spirit, Saw the false heart of the woman.
On the tall cliff o'er the waters Raven sat with Waub-omee-mee, Sat and watched again and waited, Till the wee one, faint and famished, Made a long and piteous wailing. Then again the snow-white Sea-Gull, From afar where sky and waters Meet in misty haze and mingle, Straight toward the rocky highland, Straight as flies the feathered arrow, Straight to Raven and the infant, With the silver chain around her, Flew and touched the earth a woman.
In her arms she caught her infant— Caught the wailing Waub-omee-mee, Sang a lullaby and nursed her. Sprang the Panther from the thicket— Sprang and broke the chain of silver! With his tomahawk he broke it. Thus he freed the willing Sea-Gull— From the Water-Spirit freed her, From the Chief of Nebe-naw-baigs.
Very angry was the Spirit; When he drew the chain of silver, Drew and found that it was broken, Found that he had lost the woman, Very angry was the Spirit. Then he raged beneath the waters, Raged and smote the mighty waters, Till the big sea boiled and bubbled, Till the white-haired, bounding billows Roared around the rocky headlands, Rolled and roared upon the shingle.
To the wigwam happy Panther, As when first he wooed and won her Led his wife—as young and handsome. For the waves of Gitchee Gumee Washed away the frost and wrinkles, And the spirits by their magic Made her young and fair forever.
In the wigwam sat the Red Fox Sat and sang a song of triumph, For she little dreamed of danger, Till the haughty hunter entered, Followed by the happy mother, Holding in her arms her infant.
When the Red Fox saw the Sea-Gull— Saw the dead a living woman, One wild cry she gave despairing, One wild cry as of a demon. Up she sprang and from the wigwam To the tall cliff flew in terror; Frantic sprang upon the margin, Frantic plunged into the waters, Headlong plunged into the waters.
Dead she tossed upon the billows; For the Nebe-naw-baigs knew her, Knew the crafty, wicked woman, And they cast her from the waters, Spurned her from their shining wigwams; Far away upon the shingle With the roaring waves they cast her. There upon her bloated body Fed the cawing crows and ravens, Fed the hungry wolves and foxes.
On the shore of Gitchee Gumee, Ever young and ever handsome, Long and happy lived the Sea-Gull, Long and happy with the Panther. Evermore the happy hunter Loved the mother of his children. Like a red star many winters Blazed their lodge-fire on the sea-shore. O'er the Bridge of Souls together Walked the Sea-Gull and the Panther. To the far-off Sunny Islands— To the Summer-Land of Spirits, Sea-Gull journeyed with her husband— Where no more the happy hunter Feels the fangs of frost or famine, Or the keen blasts of Kewaydin, Where no pain or sorrow enters, And no crafty, wicked woman. There she rules his lodge forever, And the twain are very happy, On the far-off Sunny Islands, In the Summer-Land of Spirits. On the rocks of Gitchee Gumee— On the Pictured Rocks—the legend Long ago was traced and written, Pictured by the Water-Spirits; But the storms of many winters Have bedimmed the pictured story, So that none can read the legend But the Jossakeeds, the prophets.
A LEGEND OF DAHKOTAH LAND.
Within the forest, by a crystal spring Where I, a weary hunter, paused to fling My form at length upon the velvet bank, And from the cool, delicious water drank A draught so comforting it well might seem The fabled fount of Ponce de Leon's dream, I met an aged half-breed, on whose cheek The marks of seasons wild and winters bleak Were softened by the warm light from the west— Sunset—the last day-beauty, and the best! Beside the spring he sat and gazed and dreamed In melancholy silence, till it seemed His very soul was pouring from his eyes And melting in that mirror, where the skies Were glassed in all their purity, and where No ripple reached the surface from the fair White bosom of the palpitating sand,— A constant flowing breast o'er Nature's grand, Tender, never weary heart! 'Twas life Of her life which I quaffed; 'twas sweet, and rife With flavor from foundations of her hills:
'Twas strong with her strength; throbbing with her thrills; Enriched with her untainted blood; a part Of that divinity which rules my heart! Thus when at last I drew my lips away, And in the quiet of the closing day Gave voice to my delight, the old man turned To meet my glance. His deep eyes lit and burned With growing brightness, and he softly said: "This spring is sacred for the holy dead; The spirit of Sweet Water lingers here; The powers of mystery and reverent fear And lovely death brood o'er this sleeping wave— A monument for one who had no grave." Forthwith he poured into my willing ear A tale so wondrous I must tell it here:
One morning in the strawberry moon, Her heart with Nature's heart in tune A maid went forth to meet the sun. That wonderous alchemist of day With mystic pigments had begun To tint the dark with twilight gray; On mystic fans the breezy hills Bestirred the air with perfumed thrills, And mystic voices tried to tell What dewy benedictions fell Through all the silent hours of night. The bend of eastern sky grew light With mystic rays of silver-green, Soon vanished in a violet sheen; And this fair, mystic phantom flew Before a potent golden hue. The maiden idly wandered over Banks of moss and beds of clover, Pausing as she strolled along To hear the sweetest wildwood song, Or watch the butterfly whose flight From meadow bloom to forest flower Enticed her pleasure-searching sight With Nature's happiest power. She passed along a forest trail 'Neath trees that thrilled with morning life; Above the song-birds' concert strife She heard the blithesome call of quail, The scornful cry of blue-jay dressed In splendid robes, with lordly crest. 'Twas joy to see, 'twas joy to hear, 'Twas joy to wander without fear. O lightsome heart! O peaceful breast! Where yet no passion brought unrest! Gayly she tripped, unconscious all That any danger might befall. But suddenly the song-birds fled From all the branches overhead. Then on her startled hearing rang The sharp and vengeful bow-string's twang A whizz—a yell—a writhing mass Fell on the path she thought to pass— A tawny panther from whose side An arrow drained the living tide. With shrinking eyes she saw the beast Rolling in agony, until At last the sensate struggles ceased, And all that mighty frame was still. While she was wondering whose keen sight
So well had sped the arrow's flight, A tall young brave stepped from the wood And silently before her stood. He gazed enraptured on her face, Her womanly charms, her youthful grace; And when he spoke, it was to tell The flattering things that win so well. She saw that he was one who fought Against her father's tribe, but naught Availed that knowledge for defense Against his passionate eloquence, And ere they parted on that morn Within her breast young Love was born. They met again, and many times, As young hearts have in many climes. At last, upon a starry night, Unable longer to resist, She gave up all and took her flight And went with him where he might list. While they had lingered in their love, The stars had swiftly marched above— And thus it chanced that on their way They met the heralds of the day. Her lover led through forests dim, He brought her to the river bank; His light canoe, all tight and trim, He drew from grasses tall and rank. They pushed away; no time was lost, And soon the placid stream was crossed. Again they plunged among the trees. Although no doubt had power to seize Upon the maiden's heart, she feared And wondered that her brave appeared To lose his wonted care; she knew 'Twas strange to leave their tried canoe, But went, unquestioning, and thought His deeds would bring her fears to naught. To her astonishment, he led Her from the forest's sheltering spread Into a small and star-lit glade, And, turning to her, softly bade Her fear not, for a warlike band Encompassed them on every hand. They were her lover's friends in arms, The war paint on their faces filled Her faithful breast with wild alarms, For she herself would fain be killed A thousand times than that her flight Should lead her own to death that night. She clasped his arm with trembling hand, And lifted to his bold black eyes A look he could but ill withstand— Love's first reproach, doubt's first surmise. From cold, white lips her question broke: "Why do we thus these warriors meet So near the lodges of my folk? Why do you thus their presence greet?" Before his tongue could make reply, A burly warrior, standing by, Strode forward, and, with murderous look, His tomahawk before her shook, And fiercely said: "I am Two Bear; Great chief am I! 'Tis sweet to tear The craven hearts and drink the blood Of Two Bear's foes; a big red flood Shall flow from coward Sioux, this morn Their scalps Ojibway spears adorn. Why have you kept us waiting here? Behold, the sun will soon appear, The hour is late, the good time flies, And vengeance still unsated cries! Come," growled the brute, and clutched her wrist, And gave it rough and cruel twist; "Come, lead us now, with noiseless creep, To where thy Sioux dogs lie in sleep." Like thunderbolt from storm-filled air, The young brave sprang upon Two Bear; With mighty grasp he whirled him 'round And threw him fiercely to the ground. "Dog thou," he cried; "and darest thou pain This beauty with thy paws again I'll kill thee, ponderous as thou art!" Black with the fury in his heart, The bully rose, and toward the young And fearless champion wildly flung His tomahawk, which, lightly dodged, Swung through the hissing air and lodged Deep in the nearest cottonwood. Brief were the moments while they stood And glared into each other's eyes. Then forward leaped, with fearful cries, And joined in combat, hand to hand. With whirlwind sweep their knives outflashed, And lightning followed when they clashed. The maiden stood in dumb surprise, All heedless of the warrior band; Too anxious for her lover's fate To think upon his present state, Or care what stir she might create. Sternly the conflict raged. At length, Although he fought with giant strength, The youthful brave was overpowered. He fell; a crushing knee was pressed Upon his form, his foeman towered A moment o'er him, then his breast Received the cruel, plunging knife. The crimson flood gushed forth; a thrill Of anguish swept his features o'er; The light departed; mortal strife Would stir the living pulse no more Within that ghastly form so still! Her lover's awful death awoke The maiden from her flight-born trance. She flashed around one fearful glance— The peril of her people broke Upon her mind; she must be brave, For she alone could hope to save. She saw with horror and alarm Two Bear approach herself to claim As prize for his victorious arm; His wicked face was all aflame. 'Twas worse than death for her to stay, And she must warn those far away. No time was her's for useless grief. She turned, and like a storm-chased leaf, Fled swiftly toward the river bank. Alas! A dozen leaps were all. The murderous tomahawk was thrown And cleft her brain. With one low moan, Upon her green death-bed she sank. But simultaneous with her fall A wild Dahkotah war-whoop rang From out the forest, and a wall Of warriors rose on every hand. With common stroke their bow-strings' twang Sounded death to that fated band. The avengers closed upon their foe, And ere they ceased the conflict wild, Laid every feathered top-knot low; In heaps Ojibway braves were piled. When all the last red scalps were torn They turned to find the murdered maid. All in her tribe would rise and mourn When dead before them she was laid. But strange event! With wondering tone, Each asked of each where she had flown. In vain they searched. They found her not; But there, upon the very spot Where she had fallen, a fountain gushed Which never man had seen before. They gathered round with breathing hushed And gazed, and wondered more and more. While every grass-blade growing near Was red and matted thick with gore, The overflow was sweet and clear; The bosom of the bubbling spring Was spotless as a spirit's wing. With single voice they all proclaimed The magic spot a sacred place. The vanished girl was thenceforth named "Sweet Water," and to see her face Dahkotah hearts will journey here Till from the earth they disappear; And when they die, their souls shall know The secret of its crystal flow.
Death of Winona.
Down the broad Ha-Ha Wak-pa the band took their way to the Games at Keoza, While the swift-footed hunters by land ran the shores for the elk and the bison. Like magas ride the birchen canoes on the breast of the dark, winding river, By the willow-fringed island they cruise, by the grassy hills green to their summits; By the lofty bluffs hooded with oaks that darken the deep with their shadows; And bright in the sun gleam the strokes of the oars in the hands of the women. With the band went Winona. The oar plied the maid with the skill of a hunter. They tarried a time on the shore of Remnica—the Lake of the Mountains. There the fleet hunters followed the deer, and the thorny pahin for the women. From the tees rose the smoke of good cheer, curling blue through the tops of the maples, Near the foot of a cliff that arose, like the battle-scarred walls of a castle, Up-towering, in rugged repose, to a dizzy height over the waters. But the man-wolf still followed his prey, and the step-mother ruled in the teepee; Her will must Winona obey, by the custom and law of Dakotas. The gifts to the teepee were brought—the blankets and beads of the White men, And Winona, the orphaned, was bought by the crafty, relentless Tamdoka. In the Spring-time of life, in the flush of the gladsome mid-May days of Summer, When the bobolink sang and the thrush, and the red robin chirped in the branches, To the tent of the brave must she go; she must kindle the fire in his teepee; She must sit in the lodge of her foe, as a slave at the feet of her master. Alas for her waiting! the wings of the East-wind have brought her no tidings; On the meadow the meadow-lark sings, but sad is her song to Winona, For the glad warbler's melody brings but the memory of voices departed. The Day-Spirit walked in the west to his lodge in the land of the shadows; His shining face gleamed on the crest of the oak-hooded hills and the mountains, And the meadow-lark hied to her nest, and the mottled owl peeped from her cover. But hark! from the teepees a cry! Hear the shouts of the hurrying warriors! Are the feet of the enemy nigh,—of the crafty and cruel Ojibways? Nay; look!—on the dizzy cliff high—on the brink of the cliff stands Winona! Her sad face up-turned to the sky. Hark! I hear the wild wail of her death-song:
"My Father's Spirit, look down, look down— From your hunting grounds in the shining skies; Behold, for the light of my heart is gone; The light is gone and Winona dies.
"I looked to the East, but I saw no star; The face of my White Chief was turned away. I harked for his footsteps in vain; afar His bark sailed over the Sunrise-sea.
"Long have I watched till my heart is cold; In my breast it is heavy and cold as a stone. No more shall Winona his face behold, And the robin that sang in her heart is gone.
"Shall I sit at the feet of the treacherous brave? On his hateful couch shall Winona lie? Shall she kindle his fire like a coward slave? No!—a warrior's daughter can bravely die.
"My Father's Spirit, look down, look down— From your hunting-grounds in the shining skies; Behold, for the light in my heart is gone; The light is gone and Winona dies."
Swift the strong hunters climbed as she sang, and the foremost of all was Tamdoka; From crag to crag upward he sprang; like a panther he leaped to the summit. Too late!—on the brave as he crept turned the maid in her scorn and defiance; Then swift from the dizzy height leaped. Like a brant arrow-pierced in mid-heaven, Down whirling and fluttering she fell, and headlong plunged into the waters. Forever she sank mid the wail, and the wild lamentation of women. Her lone spirit evermore dwells in the depths of the Lake of the Mountains, And the lofty cliff evermore tells to the years as they pass her sad story.
In the silence of sorrow the night o'er the earth spread her wide, sable pinions; And the stars hid their faces; and light on the lake fell the tears of the spirits. As her sad sisters watched on the shore for her spirit to rise from the waters, They heard the swift dip of an oar, and a boat they beheld like a shadow, Gliding down through the night in the gray, gloaming mists on the face of the waters. 'Twas the bark of DuLuth on his way from the Falls to the Games at Keoza.
The Legend of the Moccasin Flower.
Minneopa was a maiden Fleet of foot and fond of sport, She, her mother's only daughter, Cared not for the harsh report That she left the woman's labor To her only parent, while With the hunt and ramble busied, Oft she wandered many a mile.
Scarce her cousins could excel her In the bending of the bow, Though they were so tall and manly, With them hunting she would go. She had shot the timid rabbit, With her arrows swift and keen, Now she wished to slay the red-deer As the hunters she had seen.
Beautiful she was, and graceful, Like the young fawn she pursued, Gayly decked with beads and wampum, For her mother fond endured With great worth this only daughter; As her sire a chief had been, E'en the boyish pranks and pastime For her no reproof could win.
Tiny moccasins, so dainty, Well her little feet encased, And her long braids streamed behind her As down woodland paths she raced. "I will go alone and find them, Then the red-deer I will kill." So she went, for all she minded Was her own caprice and will.
Warm and smoky Indian summer Lent the earth a russet glow, And the hazel nuts dropped softly 'Mong the rustling leaves below. Far she wandered, but no creature Caught her ear or crossed her path, Save the blue-jay in the treetop Screaming oft in seeming wrath.
Suddenly she heard a roaring, Crackling sound. In sickening dread Looked and saw the forest burning With a lurid flame and red. Fast she flew; the flames spread faster, Caught her in their fierce embrace; Minneopa, never, never, Will you now the wild deer chase.
Ashes gray and failing cinders Made for her a lonely grave. But with springtime came the verdure, And the kindly grasses waved; Peeping up came gorgeous blossoms, Never seen on earth before, Shaped and colored like the moccasins That the Indian maiden wore.
Some there were of heavenly coloring, Such as clouds at sunset wear, White and rosy; they were emblems Of the new ones waiting where In the spirit land she wanders With her father strong and brave; And the mother, when she saw them, Knew they marked her daughter's grave.
IDA SEXTON SEARLS.
* * * * *
[Footnote 1: The name given by the Dakotas to the first-born, if a female.]
[Footnote 2: Tipi, skin tent.]
[Footnote 3: An edible root found on the prairies.]
[Footnote 4: The Crow Indians, hereditary foes of the Dakotas, call themselves Absaraka, which means crow in their language.]
[Footnote 5: Each Indian guest at a banquet carries with him his own wooden bowl and spoon.]
[Footnote 6: Many Indians believe in the transmigration of souls, and some of them profess to remember previous states of existence.]
[Footnote 7: A renowned chief, formerly living on Lake Pepin.]
[Footnote 8: A supernatural monster inhabiting the larger rivers and lakes, and hereditary foe of the Thunder Bird.]
[Footnote 9: The Falls of St. Anthony.]
[Footnote 10: The name given to a first-born, if a male. Upon becoming a warrior or performing some feat of arms, the youth is permitted to select another name.]
[Footnote 11: Hereditary foe of the Dakotas.]
[Footnote 12: The Dakotas formerly disposed of their dead by fastening them to the branches of trees or to rude platforms. This is still practiced to some extent.]
[Footnote 13: The Indians paint and adorn a body before sepulture.]
[Footnote 14: "On the mountains of the prairie." (Mt. Catlin, etc.) Located near the boundary between Minnesota and Dakota, near the head waters of the Mississippi.]
[Footnote 15: This quarry, located near the hills or mountains, was very famous among the Indians, who by common consent had made the adjacent territory neutral ground. Here they came and provided themselves with pipes, very necessary to the Indian's happiness. To apply the stone to any other use than that of pipe-making would have been sacrilege in the native's mind. From similarity in color, they even fancied it to have been made, at the great deluge, from the flesh of the perishing Indian.]
[Footnote 16: In Northern Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River, the scene of a terrible massacre by the Indians and Tories in 1778. Campbell wrote Gertrude of Wyoming on the incidents of that July 5th.]
[Footnote 17: A section of Alabama, taking its name from the chief defeated by De Soto in 1540.]
"The Falls of Minnehaha." (The Scenery about Fort Snelling, etc.)
THE DESCENDING STAR.
This legend is related by Kah-ge-ga-gah-bawh, chief of the Ojibway Nation, or Chippewas, in his "Traditional History of the Ojibway Nation" purporting to be the first volume of Indian history written by an Indian. In common with his forest brethren, he "was brought up in the woods." Twenty months passed in a school in Illinois constituted the sum-total of his schooling. But he had learned the traditions of his people, as was customary, from the lips of the chief, his father.
Through the stilted language of this somewhat unlettered Indian we catch faint glimpses of the poetic beauty with which the tradition glowed when actually related at the wigwam door. An attempt has been made to retain and crystallize this poetic beauty in the preceding metrical version of the Indian legend.
THE TRAILING ARBUTUS.
A new version of the beautiful and popular legend of the first spring flower, making the visitant to the old man's lodge a maiden, and identifying the blossom as the trailing arbutus, was told by Hon. C. L. Belknap of Michigan before the Folk-Lore Society in Washington, Dec., 1891.
[Footnote 18: Kay-oshk is the Ojibway name for the sea-gull.]
[Footnote 19: Gitchee—great,—Gumee—sea or lake,—Lake Superior also often called Ochipwe Gitchee Gumee, Great Lake (or sea) of the Ojibways.]
[Footnote 20: Ne-me-Shomis—my grandfather. "In the days of my grandfather" is the Ojibway's preface to all his traditions and legends.]
[Footnote 21: Waub—white—O-jeeg—fisher (a furred animal). White Fisher was the name of a noted Ojibway chief who lived on the south shore of Lake Superior many years ago. Schoolcraft married one of his descendants.]
[Footnote 22: Ma-kwa or mush-kwa—the bear.]
[Footnote 23: The Te-ke-nah-gun is a board upon one side of which a sort of basket is fastened or woven with thongs of skin or strips of cloth. In this the babe is placed and the mother carries it on her back. In the wigwam the tekenagun is often suspended by a cord to the lodge-poles and the mother swings her babe in it.]
[Footnote 24: Wabose (or Wabos)—the rabbit. Penay, the pheasant. At certain seasons the pheasant drums with his wings.]
[Footnote 25: Kaug, the porcupine. Kenew, the war-eagle.]
[Footnote 26: Ka-be-bon-ik-ka is the god of storms, thunder, lightning, etc. His home is on Thunder-Cap at Thunder-Bay, Lake Superior. By his magic the giant that lies on the mountain was turned to stone. He always sends warnings before he finally sends the severe cold of winter, in order to give all creatures time to prepare for it.]
[Footnote 27: Kewaydin, or Kewaytin, is the North wind or Northwest wind.]
[Footnote 28: Algonkin is the general name applied to all tribes that speak the Ojibway language or dialects of it.]
[Footnote 29: This is the favorite "love-broth" of the Ojibway squaws. The warrior who drinks it immediately falls desperately in love with the woman who gives it to him. Various tricks are devised to conceal the nature of the "medicine" and to induce the warrior to drink it; but when it is mixed with a liberal quantity of "fire-water" it is considered irresistible.]
Translation: Woe-is-me! Woe-is-me! Great Spirit, behold me! Look, Father; have pity upon me! Woe-is-me! Woe-is-me!
[Footnote 31: Snow-storms from the Northwest.]
[Footnote 32: The Ojibways, like the Dakotas, call the Via Lactea (Milky Way) the Pathway of the Spirits.]
[Footnote 33: Shinge-bis, the diver, is the only water-fowl that remains about Lake Superior all winter.]
[Footnote 34: Waub-ese—the white swan.]
[Footnote 35: Pe-boan, Winter, is represented as an old man with long white hair and beard.]
[Footnote 36: Segun is Spring (or Summer). This beautiful allegory has been "done into verse" by Longfellow in Hiawatha. Longfellow evidently took his version from Schoolcraft. I took mine originally from the lips of Pah-go-nay-gie-shiek—"Hole-in-the-day,"—(the elder), in his day head-chief of the Ojibways. I afterward submitted it to Gitche Shabash-Konk, head-chief of the Misse-sah-ga-e-gun —(Mille Lac's band of Ojibways), who pronounced it correct.
"Hole-in-the-day," although sanctioned by years of unchallenged use, is a bad translation of Pah-go-nay-gie-shiek, which means a clear spot in the sky.
He was a very intelligent man; had been in Washington several times on business connected with his people, and was always shrewd enough to look out for himself in all his treaties and transactions with the Government. He stood six feet two inches in his moccasins, was well-proportioned, and had a remarkably fine face. He had a nickname— Que-we-zanc (Little Boy)—by which he was familiarly called by his people.
The Pillagers—Nah-kand-tway-we-nin-ni-wak—who live about Leech Lake (Kah-sah-gah-squah-g-me-cock) were opposed to Pa-go-nay-gie-shiek, but he compelled them through fear to recognize him as Head-Chief. At the time of the "Sioux outbreak" in 1862 "Hole-in-the-day" for a time apparently meditated an alliance with the Po-ah-nuck (Dakotas) and war upon the whites. The Pillagers and some other bands urged him strongly to this course, and his supremacy as head-chief was threatened unless he complied. Messengers from the Dakotas were undoubtedly received by him, and he, for a time at least, led the Dakotas to believe that their hereditary enemies, the Ojibways, would bury the hatchet and join them in a war of extermination against the whites. "Hole-in-the-day," with a band of his warriors, appeared opposite Fort Ripley (situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River between Little Falls and Crow Wing), and assumed a threatening attitude toward the fort, then garrisoned by volunteer troops. The soldiers were drawn up on the right bank and "Hole-in-the-day" and his warriors on the left. A little speech-making settled the matter for the time being and very soon thereafter a new treaty was made with "Hole-in-the-day" and his head men, by which their friendship and allegiance were secured to the whites. It was claimed by the Pillagers that "Hole-in-the-day" seized the occasion to profit personally in his negotiations with the agents of the Government.
In 1867 "Hole-in-the-day" took "another wife." He married Helen McCarty, a white woman, in Washington, D. C., and took her to his home at Gull Lake (Ka-ga-ya-skunc-cock) literally, plenty of little gulls.
She bore him a son who is known as Joseph H. Woodbury, and now (1891) resides in the city of Minneapolis. His marriage with a white woman increased the hatred of the Pillagers, and they shot him from ambush and killed him near Ninge-ta-we-de-gua-yonk—Crow Wing—on the 27th day of June, 1868.
At the time of his death, "Hole-in-the-day" was only thirty-seven years old, but had been recognized as Head-Chief for a long time. He could speak some English, and was far above the average of white men in native shrewdness and intelligence. He was thoroughly posted in the traditions and legends of his people.
The Ojibways have for many years been cursed by contact with the worst elements of the whites, and seem to have adopted the vices rather than the virtues of civilization. I once spoke of this to "Hole-in-the-day." His reply was terse and truthful—"Madge tche-mo-ko-mon, madge a-nische-nabe: menoge tche-mo-ko-mon, meno a-nische-nabe.—Bad white men, bad Indians: good white men, good Indians."]
[Footnote 37: Nah—look, see. Nashke—behold.]
[Footnote 38: Kee-zis—the sun,—the father of life. Waubunong—or Waub-o-nong—is the White Land or Land of Light,—the Sunrise, the East.]
[Footnote 39: The Bridge of Stars spans the vast sea of the skies, and the sun and moon walk over on it.]
[Footnote 40: The Miscodeed is a small white flower with a pink border. It is the earliest blooming wild flower on the shores of Lake Superior, and belongs to the crocus family.]
[Footnote 41: The Ne-be-naw-baigs, are Water-spirits; they dwell in caverns in the depths of the lake, and in some respects resemble the Unktehee of the Dakotas.]
[Footnote 42: Ogema, Chief,—Oge-ma-kwa—female Chief. Among the Algonkin tribes women are sometimes made chiefs. Net-no-kwa, who adopted Tanner as her son, was Oge-ma-kwa of a band of Ottawas. See John Tanner's Narrative, p. 36.]
[Footnote 43: The "Bridge of Souls" leads from the earth over dark and stormy waters to the spirit-land. The "Dark River" seems to have been a part of the superstitions of all nations.]
[Footnote 44: The Jossakeeds of the Ojibways are soothsayers who are able, by the aid of spirits, to read the past as well as the future.]
DEATH OF WINONA.
Mr. Gordon has taken for his theme the love of the beautiful maiden Winona for Du Luth the explorer. He leaves her to continue his travels, and she, driven to desperation at the thought of marriage with Tauedoka, whom she loathes, takes her life.
[Footnote 45: The Dakota name for the Mississippi.]
[Footnote 46: Wild geese.]
[Footnote 47: Lake Pepin: by Hennepin called the Lake of Tears.—Called by the Dakotas Pem-uee-chah-mday—Lake of the Mountain.]
[Footnote 48: The rock from which Winona leaped was formerly perpendicular to the water's edge and she leaped into the lake. The rock to-day is crumbled and the waters have receded to some distance from the rock. Winona's spirit is said to still haunt the lake.]
* * * * *
Original variations in spelling, grammar, punctuation, diacritical marks, and hyphenation have been retained, except for the following changes:
Page 5: CONTENTS: Changed some titles slightly to match the poem titles.
Page 48: relf-reliant changed to self-reliant (Fearless and relf-reliant, she could go)
Page 91: Period changed to comma after warriors (Ah, no more such noble warriors. Could be found on earth as they were!)
Page 130: Illustration caption changed from LIMPED to LIMPID ("... AND ALIGHTED SOON ON THE WATERS' LIMPED BREAST.")
Page 149: whie changed to white (Like the whie down of Waubese)
Page 171: No footnote reference for pahin, so footnote anchor removed. (There the fleet hunters followed the deer, and the thorny pahin for the women.)
Pages 179-184: Notes renumbered sequentially.
Page 182: "Hold-in-the-day" changed to "Hole-in-the-day" ("Sioux outbreak" in 1862 "Hold-in-the-day" for a time)
Page 184: WINONA changed to DEATH OF WINONA to match poem title.