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Legends of the Northwest by Hanford Lennox Gordon

Part 2 out of 3

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And now at the end of the day,
by the shore of the Beautiful Island, [b]
A score of fair maidens and gay
made joy in the midst of the waters.
Half-robed in their dark, flowing hair,
and limbed like the fair Aphrodite,
They played in the waters,
and there they dived and they swam like the beavers,--
Loud-laughing like loons on the lake
when the moon is a round shield of silver,
And the songs of the whippowils
wake on the shore in the midst of the maples.

[a] The Dakotas say that for many years in olden times a war-eagle
made her nest in an oak tree on Spirit island--Wanagi-wita just below the
Falls till frightened away by the advent of white men.
[b] The Dakotas called Nicollet Island "Wi-ta Waste"--the Beautiful Island.

But hark!--on the river a song,
--strange voices commingled in chorus;
On the current a boat swept along
with DuLuth and his hardy companions;
To the stroke of their paddles they sung,
and this the refrain that they chanted:

"Dans mon chemin j'ai recontre
Deux cavaliers bien montees.
Lon, lon, laridon daine,
Lon, lon, laridon dai."

"Deux cavaliers bien montees;
L'un a cheval, et l'autre a pied.
Lon, lon, laridon daine,
Lon, lon, laridon dai." [a]

Like the red, dappled deer in the glade,
alarmed by the footsteps of hunters,
Discovered, disordered, dismayed,
the nude nymphs fled forth from the waters,
And scampered away to the shade,
and peered from the screen of the lindens.

[a] A part of one of the favorite songs of the French _voyageurs_.

A bold and and adventuresome man was DuLuth,
and a dauntless in danger,
And straight to Kathaga he ran,
and boldly advanced to the warriors,
Now gathering, a cloud, on the strand,
and gazing amazed on the strangers;
And straightway he offered his hand
unto Wazi-kute, the Itancan.
To the Lodge of the Stranger were led
DuLuth and his hardy companions;
Robes of beaver and bison were spread,
and the Peace pipe [23] was smoked with the Frenchman.

There was dancing and feasting at night,
and joy at the presents he lavished.
All the maidens were wild with delight
with the flaming red robes and the ribbons,
With the beads and the trinkets untold,
and the fair, bearded face of the giver;
And glad were they all to behold the friends
from the Land of the Sunrise.
But one stood apart from the rest
--the queenly and peerless Winona,
Intently regarding the guest
--hardly heeding the robes and the ribbons,
Whom the White Chief beholding admired,
and straightway he spread on her shoulders
A lily-red robe and attired,
with necklet and ribbons, the maiden.
The red lilies bloomed in her face,
and her glad eyes gave thanks to the giver,
And forth from her teepee apace
she brought him the robe and the missal
Of the father--poor Rene Menard;
and related the tale of the "Black Robe."
She spoke of the sacred regard
he inspired in the hearts of Dakotas;
That she buried his bones with her kin,
in the mound by the Cave of the Council;
That she treasured and wrapt
in the skin of the red-deer his robe and his prayer-book--
"Till his brothers should come from the East
--from the land of the far Hochelaga,
To smoke with the braves at the feast,
on the shores of the Loud-laughing Waters. [76]
For the "Black Robe" spake much of his youth
and his friends in the Land of the Sunrise;
It was then as a dream, now in truth,
I behold them, and not in a vision."
But more spake her blushes, I ween,
and her eyes full of language unspoken,
As she turned with the grace of a queen,
and carried her gifts to the teepee.

Far away from his beautiful France
--from his home in the city of Lyons,
A noble youth full of romance,
with a Norman heart big with adventure,
In the new world a wanderer, by chance,
DuLuth sought the wild Huron forests.
But afar by the vale of the Rhone,
the winding and musical river,
And the vine-covered hills of the Saone,
the heart of the wanderer lingered,--
'Mid the vineyards and mulberry trees,
and the fair fields of corn and of clover
That rippled and waved in the breeze,
while the honey-bees hummed in the blossoms
For there, where the impetuous Rhone,
leaping down from the Switzerland mountains,
And the silver-lipped soft flowing Saone,
meeting, kiss and commingle together,
Down-winding by vineyards and leas,
by the orchards of fig trees and olives,
To the island-gemmed, sapphire-blue seas
of the glorious Greeks and the Romans;
Aye, there, on the vine covered shore,
'mid the mulberry trees and the olives,
Dwelt his blue-eyed and beautiful Flore,
with her hair like a wheat field at harvest,
All rippled and tossed by the breeze,
and her cheeks like the glow of the morning,
Far away o'er the emerald seas,
ere the sun lifts his brow from the billows,
Or the red-clover fields when the bees,
singing sip the sweet cups of the blossoms.
Wherever he wandered
--alone in the heart of the wild Huron forests,
Or cruising the rivers unknown
to the land of the Crees or Dakotas--
His heart lingered still on the Rhone,
'mid the mulberry-trees and the vineyards,
Fast-fettered and bound by the zone
that girdled the robes of his darling.

Till the red Harvest Moon [71]
he remained in the vale of the swift Mississippi.
The esteem of the warriors he gained,
and the love of the dark eyed Winona.
He joined in the sports and the chase;
with the hunters he followed the bison,
And swift were his feet in the race
when the red elk they ran on the prairies.
At the Game of the Plum-stones [77] he played
and he won from the skillfulest players;
A feast to Wa'tanka [78] he made,
and he danced at the feast of Heyoka. [16]
With the flash and the roar of his gun
he astonished the fearless Dakotas;
They called it the "Maza Wakan"
--the mighty, mysterious metal.
"'Tis a brother," they said,
"of the fire in the talons of dreadful Wakinyan, [32]
When he flaps his huge wings in his ire,
and shoots his red shafts at Unktehee." [69]

The Itancan, [74] tall Wazi-kute,
appointed a day for the races.
From the red stake that stood by his tee,
on the southerly side of the Ha-ha
To a stake at the Lake of the Loons [79]
--a league and return--was the distance.
On the crest of the hills red batons
marked the course for the feet of the runners.
They gathered from near and afar,
to the races and dancing and feasting.
Five hundred tall warriors were there
from Kapoza [6] and far off Keoza; [8]
Remnica, [a] too, furnished a share
of the legions that thronged to the races,
And a bountiful feast was prepared
by the diligent hands of the women,
And gaily the multitudes fared
in the generous tees of Kathaga.
The chief of the mystical clan
appointed a feast to Unktehee--
The mystic "Wacipee Wakan" [b]--
at the end of the day and the races.
A band of sworn brothers are they,
and the secrets of each one are sacred.
And death to the lips that betray
is the doom of the swarthy avengers,
And the son of tall Wazi-kute
was the chief of the mystical order.

[a] Pronounced Ray mne chah--the village of the Mountains situate where
Red Wing now stands.
[b] Sacred Dance--The Medicine dance--See description infra.

On an arm of an oak hangs the prize
for the swiftest and strongest of runners--
A blanket as red as the skies,
when the flames sweep the plains in October.
And beside it a strong, polished bow,
and a quiver of iron tipped arrows,
Which Kapoza's tall chief will bestow
on the fleet-footed second that follows.
A score of swift-runners are there
from the several bands of the nation;
And now for the race they prepare,
and among them fleet-footed Tamdoka.
With the oil of the buck and the bear
their sinewy limbs are anointed,
For fleet are the feet of the deer
and strong are the limbs of the bruin,
And long is the course and severe
for the swiftest and strongest of runners.

Hark!--the shouts and the braying of drums,
and the Babel of tongues and confusion!
From his teepee the tall chieftain comes,
and Duluth brings a prize for the runners--
A keen hunting-knife from the Seine,
horn-handled and mounted with silver.
The runners are ranged on the plain,
and the Chief waves a flag as a signal,
And away like the gray wolves they fly
--like the wolves on the trail of the red deer;
O'er the hills and the prairie they vie,
and strain their strong limbs to the utmost,
While high on the hills hangs a cloud
of warriors and maidens and mothers,
To behold the swift runners,
and loud are the cheers and the shouts of the warriors.

Now swift from the lake they return,
o'er the emerald hills and the heather;
Like grey-hounds they pant and they yearn,
and the leader of all is Tamdoka.
At his heels flies Hu-pa-hu, [a] the fleet
--the pride of the band of Kaoza,
A warrior with eagle-winged feet,
but his prize is the bow and the quiver.
Tamdoka first reaches the post,
and his are the knife and the blanket,
By the mighty acclaim of the host
and award of the chief and the judges.
Then proud was the tall warrior's stride,
and haughty his look and demeanor;
He boasted aloud in his pride,
and he scoffed at the rest of the runners.
"Behold me, for I am a man! [b]
my feet are as swift as the West wind.
With the coons and the beavers I ran;
but where is the elk or the cabri? [80]
Come!--where is the hunter will dare
match his feet with the feet of Tamdoka?
Let him think of Tate [c] and beware,
ere he stake his last robe on the trial."
"Oho! Ho! Ho-heca!" [d] they jeered,
for they liked not the boast of the boaster;
But to match him no warrior appeared,
for his feet wore the wings of the west-wind.

[a] The wings.
[b] A favorite boast of the Dakota braves.
[c] The wind.
[d] About equivalent to Oho--Aha--fudge.

Then forth from the side of the chief
stepped DuLuth and he looked on the boaster;
"The words of a warrior are brief,
--I will run with the brave," said the Frenchman;
"But the feet of Tamdoka are tired;
abide till the cool of the sunset."
All the hunters and maidens admired,
for strong were the limbs of the stranger.
"Hiwo! Ho!" [a] they shouted
and loud rose the cheers of the multitude mingled;
And there in the midst of the crowd
stood the glad-eyed and blushing Winona.

[a] Hurra there!

Now afar o'er the plains of the west
walked the sun at the end of his journey,
And forth came the brave and the guest,
at the tap of the drum, for the trial.
Like a forest of larches the hordes
were gathered to witness the contest;
As loud is the drums were their words
and they roared like the roar of the Ha-ha.
For some for Tamdoka contend,
and some for the fair, bearded stranger,
And the betting runs high to the end,
with the skins of the bison and beaver.
A wife of tall Wazi-kute
--the mother of boastful Tamdoka--
Brought her handsomest robe from the tee,
with a vaunting and loud proclamation:
She would stake her last robe on her son who,
she boasted, was fleet as the Cabri [80]
And the tall, tawny chieftain looked on,
approving the boast of the mother.
Then fleet as the feet of a fawn to her lodge
ran the dark eyed Winona,
She brought and she staked on the lawn,
by the side of the robe of the boaster,
The lily-red mantle Duluth, with his own hands,
had laid on her shoulders.
"Tamdoka is swift, but forsooth,
the tongue of his mother is swifter,"
She said, and her face was aflame
with the red of the rose and the lily,
And loud was the roar of acclaim;
but dark was the face of Tamdoka.

They strip for the race and prepare,
--DuLuth in his breeches and leggins;
And the brown, curling locks of his hair
downward droop to his bare, brawny shoulders,
And his face wears a smile debonair,
as he tightens his red sash around him;
But stripped to the moccasins bare,
save the belt and the breech-clout of buckskin,
Stands the haughty Tamdoka aware
that the eyes of the warriors admire him;
For his arms are the arms of a bear
and his legs are the legs of a panther.

The drum beats,--the chief waves the flag,
and away on the course speed the runners,
And away leads the brave like a stag,
--like a hound on his track flies the Frenchman;
And away haste the hunters, once more,
to the hills for a view to the lake-side,
And the dark-swarming hill-tops,
they roar with the storm of loud voices commingled.
Far away o'er the prairie they fly,
and still in the lead is Tamdoka,
But the feet of his rival are nigh,
and slowly he gains on the hunter.
Now they turn on the post at the lake,
--now they run full abreast on the home-stretch;
Side by side they contend for the stake,
for a long mile or more on the prairie.
They strain like a stag and a hound,
when the swift river gleams through the thicket,
And the horns of the rulers resound,
winding shrill through the depths of the forest.
But behold!--at full length on the ground
falls the fleet-footed Frenchman abruptly.
And away with a whoop and a bound,
springs the eager, exulting Tamdoka.
Long and loud on the hills
is the shout of his swarthy admirers and backers;
"But the race is not won till it's out,"
said DuLuth, to himself as he gathered,
With a frown on his face,
for the foot of the wily Tamdoka had tripped him.
Far ahead ran the brave on the route,
and turning he boasted exultant.
Like spurs to the steed to DuLuth
were the jeers and the taunts of the boaster;
Indignant was he and red wroth,
at the trick of the runner dishonest;
And away like a whirlwind he speeds
--like a hurricane mad from the mountains;
He gains on Tamdoka,--he leads!
--and behold, with the spring of a panther,
He leaps to the goal and succeeds,
'mid the roar of the mad acclamation.

Then glad as the robin in May
was the voice of Winona exulting;
And the crest-fallen brave turned away,
and lonely he walked by the river;
He glowered as he went
and the fire of revenge in his bosom was kindled,
But he strove to dissemble his ire,
and he whistled alone by the Ha-ha.


Lo the lights in the "Teepee Wakan!"
'tis the night of the Wakan-Wacepee.
Round and round walks the chief of the clan,
as he rattles the sacred Ta-sha-kay; [81]
Long and loud on the Chan-che-ga [81]
beat the drummers with magical drumsticks,
And the notes of the Cho-tanka [81] greet,
like the murmur of winds on the waters.
By the friction of white-cedar wood
for the feast was a Virgin-fire [20] kindled.
They that enter the firm brotherhood
first must fast and be cleansed by E-nee-pee; [81]
And from foot-sole to crown of the head
must they paint with the favorite colors;
For Unktehee likes bands of blood-red,
with the stripings of blue intermingled.
In the hollow earth, dark and profound,
Unktehee and fiery Wakin-yan
Long fought and the terrible sound
of the battle was louder than thunder;
The mountains were heaved and around
were scattered the hills and the boulders,
And the vast solid plains of the ground
rose and fell like the waves of the ocean.
But the god of the waters prevailed.
Wakin-yan escaped from the cavern,
And long on the mountains he wailed,
and his hatred endureth forever.

When Unktehee had finished the earth,
and the beasts and the birds and the fishes,
And men at his bidding came forth
from the heart of the huge hollow mountains [69]
A band chose the god from the hordes,
and he said "Ye are sons of Unktehee;
Ye are lords of the beasts and the birds,
and the fishes that swim in the waters.
But hearken ye now to my words,
--let them sound in your bosoms forever.
Ye shall honor Unktehee and hate Wakinyan,
the Spirit of Thunder,
For the power of Unktehee is great,
and he laughs at the darts of Wakinyan.
Ye shall honor the Earth and the Sun,
--for they are your father and mother. [70]
Let your prayer to the Sun be
--_Wakan, Ate: on-si-ma-da ohee-nee_ [a]
And remember the Taku Wakan, [73]
all pervading in earth and in ether--
Invisible ever to man,
but he dwells in the midst of all matter;
Yea, he dwells in the heart of the stone
--in the hard granite heart of the boulder;
Ye shall call him forever Tunkan
--grandfather of all the Dakotas.
Ye are men that I choose for my own;
ye shall be as a strong band of brothers,
Now I give you the magical bone
and the magical pouch of the spirits. [b]
And these are the laws ye shall heed:
Ye shall honor the pouch and the giver.
Ye shall walk as twin-brothers;
in need, one shall forfeit his life for another.
Listen not to the voice of the crow. [c]
Hold as sacred the wife of a brother.
Strike, and fear not the shaft of the foe,
for the soul of the brave is immortal.
Slay the warrior in battle,
but spare the innocent babe and the mother.
Remember a promise;--beware,
--let the word of a warrior be sacred.
When a stranger arrives at the tee
--be he friend of the band or a foeman,
Give him food; let your bounty be free;
lay a robe for the guest by the lodge-fire;
Let him go to his kindred in peace,
if the peace-pipe he smoke in the teepee;
And so shall your children increase,
and your lodges shall laugh with abundance.
And long shall ye live in the land,
and the spirits of earth and the waters
Shall come to your aid, at command,
with the power of invisible magic.
And at last, when you journey afar
--o'er the shining "_Wanagee Ta-chan-ku_," [70]
You shall walk as a red, shining star, [18]
in the land of perpetual summer."

[a] "Sacred Spirit, Father have pity on me always"
[b] Riggs' Tahkoo Wakan, p. 90.
[c] Slander.

All the night in the teepee they sang,
and they danced to the mighty Unktehee,
While the loud-braying Chan-che-ga rang
and the shrill-piping flute and the rattle,
Till Anpetuwee [70] rose in the east
--from the couch of the blushing Han-nan-na.
And then at the dance and the feast
sang the song of Unktehee in chorus:

"Wa-du-ta o-hna mi-ka-ge!
Wa-du-ta o-hna mi-ka-ge!
Mini-yata ite wakande maku,
Ate wakan--Tunkansidan,

Tunkansidan pejihuta wakan
Micage--he Wicage!
Miniyata ite wakande maku.
Taukansidan ite, nape du-win-ta woo,
Wahutopa wan yuha, nape du-win-ta too."


In red swan-down he made it for me;
In red swan-down he made it for me;
He of the water--he of the mysterious face--
Gave it to me;
Sacred Father--Grandfather!

Grandfather made me magical medicine
That is true!
Being of mystery,--grown in the water--
He gave it to me!
To the face of our Grandfather stretch out your hand;
Holding a quadruped, stretch out your hand!

Till high o'er the hills of the east
Anpetuwee walked on his journey,
In secret they danced at the feast,
and communed with the mighty Unktehee.
Then opened the door of the tee
to the eyes of the day and the people,
And the sons of Unktehee, to be,
were endowed with the sacred Ozuha [82]
By the son of tall Wazi-kute, Tamdoka,
the chief of the Magi.
And thus since the birth-day of man
--since he sprang from the heart of the mountains, [69]
Has the sacred "Wacepee Wakan"
by the warlike Dakotas been honored,
And the god-favored sons of the clan
work their will with the help of the spirits.

'Twas sunrise; the spirits of mist
trailed their white robes on dewy savannas,
And the flowers raised their heads to be kissed
by the first golden beams of the morning.
The breeze was abroad with the breath
of the rose of the Isles of the Summer,
And the humming-bird hummed on the heath
from his home in the land of the rain-bow. [a]
'Twas the morn of departure.
Duluth stood alone by the roar of the Ha-ha;
Tall and fair in the strength of his youth
stood the blue-eyed and fair-bearded Frenchman.
A rustle of robes on the grass broke his dream
as he mused by the waters,
And, turning, he looked on the face of Winona,
wild rose of the prairies,
Half hid in her forest of hair,
like the round, golden moon in the pine tops.
Admiring he gazed--she was fair
as his own blooming Flore in her orchards,
With her golden locks loose on the air,
like the gleam of the sun through the olives,
Far away on the vine-covered shore,
in the sun-favored land of his fathers.
"Lists the chief to the cataract's roar
for the mournful lament of the Spirit?" [b]
Said Winona,--"The wail of the sprite
for her babe and its father unfaithful,
Is heard in the midst of the night,
when the moon wanders dim in the heavens."

[a] The Dakotas say the humming-bird comes from the "land of the
[b] See Legend of the Falls or Note 28--Appendix.

"Wild-Rose of the Prairies," he said,
"DuLuth listens not to the Ha-ha,
For the wail of the ghost of the dead,
for her babe and its father unfaithful;
But he lists to a voice in his heart
that is heard by the ear of no other,
And to-day will the White Chief depart
--he returns to the land of the sunrise."
"Let Winona depart with the chief,
--she will kindle the fire in his teepee;
For long are the days of her grief,
if she stay in the tee of Ta-te-psin,"
She replied and her cheeks were aflame
with the bloom of the wild prairie lilies.
"Tanke, [a] is the White Chief to blame?"
said DuLuth to the blushing Winona.
"The White Chief is blameless," she said,
"but the heart of Winona will follow
Wherever thy footsteps may lead,
O blue-eyed brave Chief of the white men.
For her mother sleeps long in the mound,
and a step-mother rules in the teepee.
And her father, once strong and renowned,
is bent with the weight of his winters.
No longer he handles the spear,
--no longer his swift, humming arrows
Overtake the fleet feet of the deer,
or the bear of the woods, or the bison;
But he bends as he walks, and the wind
shakes his white hair and hinders his footsteps;
And soon will he leave me behind,
without brother or sister or kindred.
The doe scents the wolf in the wind,
and a wolf walks the path of Winona.
Three times have the gifts for the bride [25]
to the lodge of Ta-te-psin been carried.
But the voice of Winona replied
that she liked not the haughty Tamdoka.
And thrice were the gifts sent away,
but the tongue of the mother protested,
And the were wolf [52] still follows his prey,
abides but the death of my father."

[a] My Sister.

"I pity Winona," he said,
"but my path is a pathway of danger,
And long is the trail for the maid
to the far-away land of the sunrise;
And few are the braves of my band,
and the braves of Tamdoka are many;
But soon I return to the land,
and a cloud of my hunters will follow.
When the cold winds of winter return,
and toss the white robes of the prairies,
The fire of the White Chief will burn
in his lodge at the Meeting-of-Waters; [a]
And when from the Sunrise again
comes the chief of the suns of the Morning,
Many moons will his hunters remain
in the land of the friendly Dakotas.
The son of Chief Wazi-kute
guides the White Chief afar on his journey;
Nor long on the Tonka Mede [b]
--on the breast of the blue, bounding billows--
Shall the bark of the Frenchman delay,
but his pathway shall kindle behind him."

[a] Mendota, properly _Mdo-te_--meaning the outlet of lake or river into
commonly applied to the region about Fort Snelling.
[b] Tonka Mede--Great Lake, i.e. Lake Superior. The Dakotas seem to have
had no other name for it. They generally referred to it as
_Mini-ya-ta--There at the water._

She was pale, and her hurried voice swelled
with alarm as she questioned replying
"Tamdoka thy guide?
--I beheld thy death in his face at the races!
He covers his heart with a smile,
but revenge never sleeps in his bosom;
His tongue--it is soft to beguile;
but beware of the pur of the panther!
For death, like a shadow,
will walk by thy side in the midst of the forest,
Or follow thy path like a hawk
on the trail of a wounded Mastinca. [a]
A son of Unktehee is he,
--the Chief of the crafty magicians;
They have plotted thy death; I foresee,
and thy trail, it is red in the forest;
Beware of Tamdoka,--beware.
Slumber not like the grouse of the woodlands,
With head under wing,
for the glare of the eyes that sleep not are upon thee."

[a] The rabbit. The Dakotas called the Crees "Mastincapi"--Rabbits.

"Winona, fear not," said Duluth,
"for I carry the fire of Wakinyan, [a]
And strong is the arm of my youth,
and stout are the hearts of my warriors;
But Winona has spoken the truth,
and the heart of the White Chief is thankful.
Hide this in thy bosom, dear maid,
--'tis the crucified Christ of the white men. [b]
Lift thy voice to his spirit in need,
and his spirit will hear thee and answer;
For often he comes to my aid;
he is stronger than all the Dakotas;
And the Spirits of evil, afraid,
hide away when he looks from the heavens."
In her swelling brown bosom
she hid the crucified Jesus in silver;
"Niwaste," [c] she sadly replied;
in her low voice the rising tears trembled;
Her dewy eyes turned she aside,
and she slowly returned to the teepees.
But still on the swift river's strand,
admiring the graceful Winona,
As she gathered, with brown, dimpled hand,
her hair from the wind, stood the Frenchman.

[a] i.e. a fire arm which the Dakotas compare to the roar of the wings of
the Thunder-bird and the fiery arrows he shoots.
[b] Duluth was a devout Catholic.
[c] Nee-wahshtay--Thou art good.

To bid the brave White Chief adieu,
on the shady shore gathered the warriors;
His glad boatmen manned the canoe,
and the oars in their hands were impatient.
Spake the Chief of Isantees,
--"A feast will await the return of my brother
In peace rose the sun in the East,
in peace in the West he descended.
May the feet of my brother be swift,
till they bring him again to our teepees;
The red pipe he takes as a gift,
may he smoke that red pipe many winters.
At my lodge-fire his pipe shall be lit,
when the White Chief returns to Kathaga;
On the robes of my tee shall he sit,
he shall smoke with the chiefs of my people.
The brave love the brave;
and his son sends the Chief as a guide for his brother,
By the way of the Wakpa Wakan [a]
to the Chief at the Lake of the Spirits.

[a] Spirit River, now called _Rum_ River.

As light as the foot-steps of dawn
are the feet of the stealthy Tamdoka,
And he fears not the Maza Wakan; [a]
he is sly as the fox of the forest.
When he dances the dance of red war
all the hungry wolves howl by the Big Sea, [b]
For they scent on the south-wind
afar their feast on the bones of Ojibways."
Thrice the Chief puffed the red pipe of peace,
ere it passed to the lips of the Frenchman.
Spake DuLuth,--"May the Great Spirit
bless with abundance the Chief and his people;
May their sons and their daughters increase,
and the fire ever burn in their teepees."
Then he waved with a flag his adieu
to the Chief and the warriors assembled;
And away shot Tamdoka's canoe
to the strokes of ten sinewy hunters;
And a white path he clove up the blue,
bubbling stream of the swift Mississippi;
And away on his foaming trail flew,
like a Sea-Gull the bark of the Frenchman.
Then merrily rose the blithe song
of the _voyageurs_ homeward returning,
And thus, as they glided along,
sang the bugle-voiced boatmen in chorus:


Home again! home again! bend to the oar!
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_
He rides on the river with his paddle in his hand,
And his boat is his shelter on the water and the land.
The clam in his shell and the water turtle too,
And the brave boatman's shell is his birch bark canoe.
So pull away, boatmen, bend to the oar;
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.

Home again! home again! bend to the oar!
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.
His couch is as downy as a couch can be,
For he sleeps on the feathers of the green fir-tree.
He dines on the fat of the pemmican-sack,
And his _eau de vie_ is the _eau de lac_.
So pull away, boatmen; bend to the oar;
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.

Home again! home again! bend to the oar!
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.
The brave, jolly boatman,--he never is afraid
When he meets at the portage a red, forest maid,
A Huron, or a Cree, or a blooming Chippeway;
And he marks his trail with the _bois brules_.
So pull away, boatmen; bend to the oar;
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.
Home again! home again! bend to the oar!
Merry is the life of the gay _voyageur_.

[a] Fire arm--spirit metal.
[b] Lake Superior--at that time the home of the Ojibways. (Chippewas)

In the reeds of the meadow the stag
lifts his branchy head stately and listens,
And the bobolink, perched on the flag,
her ear sidelong bends to the chorus.
From the brow of the Beautiful Isle, [a]
half hid in the midst of the maples,
The sad-faced Winona, the while,
watched the boat growing less in the distance.
Till away in the bend of the stream,
where it turned and was lost in the lindens,
She saw the last dip and the gleam
of the oars ere they vanished forever.
Still afar on the waters the song,
like bridal bells distantly chiming,
The stout, jolly boatmen prolong,
beating time with the stroke of their paddles;
And Winona's ear, turned to the breeze,
lists the air falling fainter and fainter
Till it dies like the murmur of bees
when the sun is aslant on the meadows.
Blow, breezes,--blow softly
and sing in the dark, flowing hair of the maiden;
But never again shall you bring
the voice that she loves to Winona.

[a] Wista Waste--Nicollet Island.

Now a light, rustling wind from the South
shakes his wings o'er the wide, wimpling waters;
Up the dark winding river
DuLuth follows fast in the wake of Tamdoka.
On the slopes of the emerald shores
leafy woodlands and prairies alternate;
On the vine-tangled islands
the flowers peep timidly out at the white men;
In the dark-winding eddy the loon sits warily,
watching and voiceless,
And the wild goose, in reedy lagoon,
stills the prattle and play of her children.
The does and their sleek, dappled fawns
prick their ears and peer out from the thickets,
And the bison-calves play on the lawns,
and gambol like colts in the clover.
Up the still flowing Wakpa Wakan's winding path
through the groves and the meadows.
Now DuLuth's brawny boatmen
pursue the swift gliding bark of Tamdoka;
And hardly the red braves out-do
the stout, steady oars of the white men.

Now they bend to their oars in the race
--the ten tawny braves of Tamdoka;
And hard on their heels in the chase
ply the six stalwart oars of the Frenchmen.
In the stern of his boat sits DuLuth,
in the stern of his boat stands Tamdoka;
And warily, cheerily,
both urge the oars of their men to the utmost.
Far-stretching away to the eyes,
winding blue in the midst of the meadows,
As a necklet of sapphires
that lies unclaspt in the lap of a virgin,
Here asleep in the lap of the plain
lies the reed-bordered, beautiful river.
Like two flying coursers that strain,
on the track, neck and neck, on the home-stretch,
With nostrils distended, and mane froth-flecked,
and the neck and the shoulders,
Each urged to his best by the cry
and the whip and the rein of his rider,
Now they skim o'er the waters and fly,
side by side, neck and neck, through the meadows.
The blue heron flaps from the reeds,
and away wings her course up the river;
Straight and swift is her flight o'er the meads,
but she hardly outstrips the canoemen.
See! the _voyageurs_ bend to their oars
till the blue veins swell out on their foreheads;
And the sweat from their brawny breasts pours;
but in vain their Herculean labor;
For the oars of Tamdoka are ten,
and but six are the oars of the Frenchmen,
And the red warriors' burden of men
is matched by the _voyageur's_ luggage.
Side by side, neck and neck, for a mile,
still they strain their strong arms to the utmost,
Till rounding a willowy isle, now ahead creeps the boat of Tamdoka,
And the neighboring forests profound,
and the far-stretching plain of the meadows
To the whoop of the victors resound,
while the panting French rest on their paddles.

With sable wings wide o'er the land,
night sprinkles the dew of the heavens;
And hard by the dark river's strand,
in the midst of a tall, somber forest,
Two camp-fires are lighted, and beam
on the trunks and the arms of the pine-trees.
In the fitful light darkle and gleam
the swarthy-hued faces around them.
And one is the camp of DuLuth,
and the other the camp of Tamdoka,
But few are the jests and uncouth
of the _voyageurs_ over their supper,
While moody and silent the braves
round their fire in a circle sit crouching;
And low is the whisper of leaves
and the sough of the wind in the branches;
And low is the long-winding howl
of the lone wolf afar in the forest;
But shrill is the hoot of the owl,
like a bugle blast blown in the pine-tops,
And the half-startled _voyageurs_
scowl at the sudden and saucy intruder.
Like the eyes of the wolves are the eyes
of the watchful and silent Dakotas;
Like the face of the moon in the skies,
when the clouds chase each other across it.
Is Tamdoka's dark face in the light
of the flickering flames of the camp fire.
They have plotted red murder by night,
and securely contemplate their victims.
But wary and armed to the teeth
are the resolute Frenchmen and ready,
If need be, to grapple with death,
and to die hand to hand in the desert.
Yet skilled in the arts and the wiles
of the cunning and crafty Algonkins,
They cover their hearts with their smiles,
and hide their suspicions of evil.
Round their low, smouldering fire,
feigning sleep, lie the watchful and wily Dakotas;
But DuLuth and his _voyageurs_ heap their fire
that shall blaze till the morning,
Ere they lay themselves snugly to rest,
with their guns by their side on the blankets,
As if there were none to molest
but the ravening beasts of the forest.

'Tis midnight. The rising moon gleams,
weird and still o'er the dusky horizon;
Through the hushed, somber forest she beams,
and fitfully gloams on the meadows;
And a dim, glimmering pathway she paves,
at times, on the dark stretch of river.
The winds are asleep in the caves
--in the heart of the far-away mountains;
And here on the meadows and there,
the lazy mists gather and hover;
And the lights of the Fen-Spirits [72] flare
and dance on the low-lying marshes,
As still as the footsteps of death
by the bed of the babe and its mother;
And hushed are the pines, and beneath
lie the weary limbed boatmen in slumber.
Walk softly,--walk softly, O Moon,
through the gray, broken clouds in thy pathway,
For the earth lies asleep, and the boon
of repose is bestowed on the weary.
Toiling hands have forgotten their care;
e'en the brooks have forgotten to murmur;
But hark!--there's a sound on the air!
--'tis the light-rustling robes of the Spirits.
Like the breath of the night in the leaves,
or the murmur of reeds on the river,
In the cool of the mid-summer eves,
when the blaze of the day has descended.
Low-crouching and shadowy forms,
as still as the gray morning's footsteps,
Creep sly as the serpent that charms,
on her nest in the meadow, the plover;
In the shadows of pine-trunks they creep,
but their panther-eyes gleam in the fire-light,
As they peer on the white men asleep,
in the glow of the fire, on their blankets.
Lo, in each swarthy right hand a knife,
in the left hand, the bow and the arrows!
Brave Frenchmen! awake to the strife!
--or you sleep in the forest forever.
Nay, nearer and nearer they glide,
like ghosts on the fields of their battles,
Till close on the sleepers, they bide
but the signal of death from Tamdoka.
Still the sleepers sleep on.
Not a breath stirs the leaves of the awe-stricken forest;
The hushed air is heavy with death;
like the footsteps of death are the moments.
"_Arise_!"--At the word, with a bound,
to their feet spring the vigilant Frenchmen;
And the dark, dismal forests resound
to the crack and the roar of their rifles;
And seven writhing forms on the ground
clutch the earth. From the pine-tops the screech owl
Screams and flaps his wide wings in affright,
and plunges away through the shadows;
And swift on the wings of the night
flee the dim, phantom forms of the spirit.
Like cabris [80] when white wolves pursue,
fled the four yet remaining Dakotas;
Through forest and fen-land they flew,
and wild terror howled on their footsteps.
And one was Tamdoka. DuLuth through the night
sent his voice like a trumpet;
"Ye are Sons of Unktehee, forsooth!
Return to your mothers, ye cowards!"
His shrill voice they heard as they fled,
but only the echoes made answer.
At the feet of the brave Frenchmen, dead,
lay seven swarthy Sons of Unktehee;
And there, in the midst of the slain,
they found, as it gleamed in the fire light,
The horn-handled knife from the Seine,
where it fell from the hand of Tamdoka.


In the gray of the morn,
ere the sun peeped over the dewy horizon,
Their journey again was begun,
and they toiled up the swift, winding river;
And many a shallow they passed
on their way to the Lake of the Spirits;
But dauntless they reached it at last,
and found Akee-pa-kee-tin's village, [a]
On an isle in the midst of the lake;
and a day in his teepee they tarried.

[a] see Hennepin's account of Aqui-pa-que-tin and his village.
Shea's Hennepin 227.

Of the deed in the wilderness spake,
to the brave Chief, the frank-hearted Frenchman.
A generous man was the Chief
and a friend of the fearless explorer;
And dark was his visage with grief
at the treacherous act of the warriors.
"Brave Wazi-Kute is a man,
and his heart is as clear as the sun-light;
But the head of a treacherous clan,
and a snake in the bush is Tamdoka,"
Said the chief; and he promised Duluth,
on the word of a friend and a warrior,
To carry the pipe and the truth
to his cousin, the chief at Kathaga;
For thrice at the Tanka Mede
had he smoked in the lodge of the Frenchman;
And thrice had he carried away
the bountiful gifts of the trader.

When the chief could no longer prevail
on the white men to rest in his teepee,
He guided their feet on the trail
to the lakes of the winding Rice-River. [a]
Now on speeds the light bark canoe,
through the lakes to the broad Gitchee Seebee; [b]
And up the great river they row,
--up the Big Sandy Lake and Savanna;
And down through the meadows they go
to the river of broad Gitchee Gumee. [c]

[a] Now called "Mud River"--it empties into the Mississippi at Aitkin.
[b] _Gitchee seebee_--Big River--the Ojibway name for the Mississippi,
which is a corruption of Gitchee Seebee--as Michigan is a corruption of
_Gitchee Gumee_--Great Lake, the Ojibway name of Lake Superior.
[c] The Ojibways call the St. Louis River
_Gitchee-Gumee See-bee--Great-lake River_, i.e. the river of the Great Lake
(Lake Superior).

[Illustration: DALLES OF THE ST. LOUIS]

Still onward they speed to the Dalles
--to the roar of the white-rolling rapids,
Where the dark river tumbles and falls
down the ragged ravine of the mountains,
And singing his wild jubilee
to the low-moaning pines and the cedars,
Rushes on to the unsalted sea
o'er the ledges upheaved by volcanoes.
Their luggage the _voyageurs_ bore
down the long, winding path of the portage, [a]
While they mingled their song
with the roar of the turbid and turbulent waters.
Down-wimpling and murmuring there,
twixt two dewy hills winds a streamlet,
Like a long, flaxen ringlet of hair
on the breast of a maid in her slumber.

[a] The route of Duluth above described--from the mouth of the Wild Rice
Mud River to Lake Superior--was for centuries and still is, the Indians'
canoe route. I have walked over the old portage from the foot of the
Dalles to the St. Louis above--trod by the feet of half-breeds and
_voyageurs_ for more than two centuries, and by the Indians for,
perhaps, a thousand years.

All safe at the foot of the trail,
where they left it, they found their felucca,
And soon to the wind spread the sail,
and glided at ease through the waters,
Through the meadows and lakelets and forth,
round the point stretching south like a finger,
From the mist-wreathen hill on the north,
sloping down to the bay and the lake-side
And behold, at the foot of the hill,
a cluster of Chippewa wigwams,
And the busy wives plying with skill
their nets in the emerald waters.
Two hundred white winters and more
have fled from the face of the Summer
Since DuLuth, on that wild, somber shore,
in the unbroken forest primeval,
From the midst of the spruce and the pines,
saw the smoke of the wigwams up-curling,
Like the fumes from the temples and shrines
of the Druids of old in their forests.
Ah, little he dreamed then, forsooth,
that a city would stand on that hill-side,
And bear the proud name of Duluth,
the untiring and dauntless explorer.
A refuge for ships from the storms,
and for men from the bee-hives of Europe.
Out-stretching her long, iron arms
o'er an empire of Saxons and Normans.

The swift west-wind sang in the sails,
and on flew the boat like a Sea-Gull,
By the green, templed hills and the dales,
and the dark rugged rocks of the North Shore;
For the course of the brave Frenchman
lay to his fort at the Gah-mah-na-tek-wahk, [83]
By the shore of the grand Thunder Bay,
where the gray rocks loom up into mountains;
Where the Stone Giant sleeps on the Cape,
and the god of the storms makes the thunder, [83]
And the Makinak [83] lifts his huge shape
from the breast of the blue-rolling waters,
And thence to the south-westward led his course
to the Holy Ghost Mission. [84]
Where the Black Robes, the brave shepherds,
fed their wild sheep on the isle Wau-ga-ba-me. [84]


In the enchanting Cha-quam-e-gon Bay,
defended by all the Apostles; [a]
And thence by the Ke-we-naw,
lay his course to the Mission Sainte Marie. [b]
Now the waves drop their myriad hands,
and streams the white hair of the surges;
DuLuth at the steady helm stands,
and he hums as he bounds o'er the billows:

O sweet is the carol of bird,
And sweet is the murmur of streams,
But sweeter the voice that I heard--
In the night--in the midst of my dreams.

[a] The Apostle Islands.
[b] At the Saut St. Marie.

'Tis the moon of the sere, falling leaves.
From the heads of the maples the west-wind
Plucks the red-and-gold plumage
and grieves on the meads for the rose and the lily;
Their brown leaves the moaning oaks strew,
and the breezes that roam on the prairies,
Low-whistling and wanton pursue
the down of the silk weed and thistle.
All sere are the prairies and brown,
in the glimmer and haze of the Autumn;
From the far northern marshes flock down,
by thousands, the geese and the mallards.
From the meadows and wide-prairied plains,
for their long southward journey preparing,
In croaking flocks gather the cranes,
and choose with loud clamor their leaders.
The breath of the evening is cold,
and lurid along the horizon
The flames of the prairies are rolled,
on the somber skies flashing their torches.
At noontide a shimmer of gold,
through the haze, pours the sun from his pathway.
The wild-rice is gathered and ripe,
on the moors, lie the scarlet po-pan-ka; [a]
Michabo [85] is smoking his pipe,
--'tis the soft, dreamy Indian Summer,
When the god of the South as he flies
from Waziya, the god of the Winter,
For a time turns his beautiful eyes,
and backward looks over his shoulder.

[a] Cranberries.

It is noon. From his path in the skies
the red sun looks down on Kathaga,
Asleep in the valley it lies,
for the swift hunters follow the bison.
Ta-te-psin, the aged brave, bends
as he walks by the side of Winona;
Her arm to his left hand she lends,
and he feels with his staff for the pathway;
On his slow, feeble footsteps attends
his gray dog, the watchful Wichaka; [a]
For blind in his years is the chief
of a fever that followed the Summer,
And the days of Ta-te-psin are brief.
Once more by the dark-rolling river
Sits the Chief in the warm, dreamy haze
of the beautiful Summer in Autumn;
And the faithful dog lovingly lays his head
at the feet of his master.
On a dead, withered branch sits a crow,
down-peering askance at the old man;
On the marge of the river below
romp the nut-brown and merry-voiced children,
And the dark waters silently flow,
broad and deep, to the plunge of the Ha-ha.

[a] Wee-chah kah--literally "Faithful".

By his side sat Winona.
He laid his thin, shriveled hand on her tresses,
"Winona my daughter," he said,
"no longer thy father beholds thee;
But he feels the long locks of thy hair,
and the days that are gone are remembered,
When Sisoka [a] sat faithful and fair
in the lodge of swift footed Ta-te-psin.
The white years have broken my spear;
from my bow they have taken the bow-string;
But once on the trail of the deer,
like a gray wolf from sunrise till sunset,
By woodland and meadow and mere,
ran the feet of Ta-te-psin untiring.
But dim are the days that are gone,
and darkly around me they wander,
Like the pale, misty face of the moon
when she walks through the storm of the winter;
And sadly they speak in my ear.
I have looked on the graves of my kindred.
The Land of the Spirits is near.
Death walks by my side like a shadow.
Now open thine ear to my voice,
and thy heart to the wish of thy father,
And long will Winona rejoice
that she heeded the words of Ta-te-psin.
The cold, cruel winter is near,
and famine will sit in the teepee.
What hunter will bring me the deer,
or the flesh of the bear or the bison?
For my kinsmen before me have gone;
they hunt in the land of the shadows.
In my old age forsaken, alone,
must I die in my teepee of hunger?
Winona, Tamdoka can make my empty lodge
laugh with abundance;
For thine aged and blind father's sake,
to the son of the Chief speak the promise.
For gladly again to my tee
will the bridal gifts come for my daughter.
A fleet-footed hunter is he,
and the good spirits feather his arrows;
And the cold, cruel winter
will be a feast-time instead of a famine."

[a] The Robin--the name of Winona's Mother.

"My father," she said, and her voice
was filial and full of compassion,
"Would the heart of Ta-te-psin rejoice
at the death of Winona, his daughter?
The crafty Tamdoka I hate.
Must I die in his teepee of sorrow?
For I love the White Chief,
and I wait his return to the land of Dakotas.
When the cold winds of winter return,
and toss the white robes of the prairies,
The fire of the White Chief will burn,
in his lodge, at the Meeting-of-Waters.
Winona's heart followed his feet
far away to the land of the morning,
And she hears in her slumber
his sweet, kindly voice call the name of thy daughter.
My father, abide, I entreat,
the return of the brave to Kathaga.
The wild-rice is gathered,
the meat of the bison is stored in the teepee;
Till the Coon-Moon [71] enough and to spare;
and if then the white warrior return not,
Winona will follow the bear, and the coon,
to their dens in the forest.
She is strong; she can handle the spear;
she can bend the stout bow of the hunter;
And swift on the trail of the deer
will she run o'er the snow on her snow-shoes.
Let the step-mother sit in the tee,
and kindle the fire for my father;
And the cold, cruel winter shall be
a feast-time instead of a famine."
"The White Chief will never return,"
half angrily muttered Ta-te-psin;

"His camp-fire will nevermore burn
in the land of the warriors he slaughtered.
I grieve, for my daughter has said
that she loves the false friend of her kindred;
For the hands of the White Chief are red
with the blood of the trustful Dakotas."
Then warmly Winona replied,
"Tamdoka himself is the traitor,
And the white-hearted stranger had died
by his treacherous hand in the forest,
But thy daughter's voice bade him beware
of the sly death that followed his footsteps.
The words of Tamdoka are fair,
but his heart is the den of the serpents.
When the braves told their tale,
like a bird sang the heart of Winona rejoicing,
But gladlier still had she heard
of the death of the crafty Tamdoka.
The Chief will return, he is bold,
and he carries the fire of Wakinyan;
To our people the truth will be told,
and Tamdoka will hide like a coward."
His thin locks the aged brave shook;
to himself half inaudibly muttered;
To Winona no answer he spoke
--only moaned he "Micunksee! Micunksee! [a]
In my old age forsaken and blind!
Yun! He he! Micunksee! Micunksee!" [b]
And Wichaka, the pitying dog, whined,
as he looked on the face of his master.

[a] My Daughter! My Daughter!
[b] Alas! O My Daughter,--My Daughter!

Waziya came down from the North
--from his land of perpetual winter.
From his frost-covered beard issued forth
the sharp-biting, shrill-whistling North-wind;
At the touch of his breath the wide earth turned to stone,
and the lakes and the rivers;
From his nostrils the white vapors rose,
and they covered the sky like a blanket.
Like the down of Maga [a] fell the snows,
tossed and whirled into heaps by the North-wind.
Then the blinding storms roared on the plains,
like the simoons on sandy Sahara;
From the fangs of the fierce hurricanes
fled the elk and the deer and the bison.
Ever colder and colder it grew,
till the frozen earth cracked and split open;
And harder and harder it blew,
till the prairies were bare as the boulders.
To the southward the buffaloes fled,
and the white rabbits hid in their burrows;
On the bare sacred mounds of the dead
howled the gaunt, hungry wolves in the night-time.
The strong hunters crouched in their tees;
by the lodge-fires the little ones shivered;
And the Magic Men [b] danced to appease,
in their teepee, the wrath of Waziya;
But famine and fatal disease,
like phantoms, crept into the village.
The Hard Moon [c] was past, but the moon
when the coons make their trails in the forest [d]
Grew colder and colder. The coon or the bear,
ventured not from his cover;
For the cold, cruel Arctic Simoon swept the earth
like the breath of a furnace.
In the tee of Ta-te-psin the store of wild-rice
and dried meat was exhausted;
And Famine crept in at the door,
and sat crouching and gaunt by the lodge-fire.
But now with the saddle of deer,
and the gifts, came the crafty Tamdoka;
And he said, "Lo I bring you good cheer,
for I love the blind Chief and his daughter.
Take the gifts of Tamdoka,
for dear to his heart is the dark-eyed Winona."
The aged chief opened his ears;
in his heart he already consented;
But the moans of his child and her tears
touched the age-softened heart of the father,
And he said, "I am burdened with years,
--I am bent by the snows of my winters;
Ta-te-psin will die in his tee;
let him pass to the Land of the Spirits;
But Winona is young; she is free,
and her own heart shall choose her a husband."
The dark warrior strode from the tee;
low-muttering and grim he departed.
"Let him die in his lodge," muttered he,
"but Winona shall kindle my lodge-fire."

[a] Wild goose.
[b] Medicine men.
[c] January.
[d] February.

Then forth went Winona. The bow of Ta-te-psin
she took and his arrows,
And afar o'er the deep, drifted snow,
through the forest, she sped on her snow-shoes.
Over meadow and ice-covered mere,
through the thickets of red oak and hazel,
She followed the tracks of the deer,
but like phantoms they fled from her vision.
From sunrise till sunset she sped;
half-famished she camped in the thicket;
In the cold snow she made her lone bed;
on the buds of the birch [a] made her supper.
To the dim moon the gray owl preferred,
from the tree top, his shrill lamentation,
And around her at midnight she heard
the dread famine-cries of the gray wolves.
In the gloam of the morning again
on the trail of the red-deer she followed--
All day long through the thickets in vain,
for the gray wolves were chasing the roebucks;
And the cold, hungry winds from the plain
chased the wolves and the deer and Winona.

[a] The pheasant feeds on birch-buds in winter. Indians eat them when very

In the twilight of sundown she sat,
in the forest, all weak and despairing;
Ta-te-psin's bow lay at her feet,
and his otter skin quiver of arrows.
"He promised,--he promised," she said
--half-dreamily uttered and mournful,--
"And why comes he not? Is he dead?
Was he slain by the crafty Tamdoka?
Must Winona, alas, make her choice
--make her choice between death and Tamdoka?
She will die but her soul will rejoice
in the far Summer-land of the spirits.
Hark! I hear his low, musical voice!
He is coming! My White Chief is coming!
Ah, no; I am half in a dream!
--'twas the mem'ry of days long departed;
But the birds of the green Summer
seem to be singing above in the branches."
Then forth from her bosom she drew
the crucified Jesus in silver.
In her dark hair the cold north wind blew,
as meekly she bent o'er the image.
"O Christ of the White man," she prayed,
"lead the feet of my brave to Kathaga;
Send a good spirit down to my aid,
or the friend of the White Chief will perish."
Then a smile on her wan features played,
and she lifted her pale face and chanted:

"E-ye-he-kta! E-ye-he-kta!
He-kta-ce; e-ye-ce-quon.
Mi-Wamdee-ska, he-he-kta;
He-kta-ce; e-ye-ce-quon,


He will come; he will come;
He will come, for he promised.
My White Eagle, he will come;
He will come, for he promised,--
My White Eagle.

Thus sadly she chanted, and lo
--allured by her sorrowful accents--
From the dark covert crept a red doe
and wondrously gazed on Winona.
Then swift caught the huntress her bow;
from her trembling hand hummed the keen arrow.
Up-leaped the red gazer and fled,
but the white snow was sprinkled with scarlet,
And she fell in the oak thicket dead.
On the trail ran the eager Winona.
Half-famished the raw flesh she ate.
To the hungry maid sweet was her supper.
Then swift through the night ran her feet,
and she trailed the sleek red-deer behind her.
And the guide of her steps was a star
--the cold-glinting star of Waziya--[a]
Over meadow and hilltop afar,
on the way to the lodge of her father.
But hark! on the keen frosty air
wind the shrill hunger-howls of the gray wolves!
And nearer,--still nearer!
--the blood of the doe have they scented and follow;
Through the thicket, the meadow,
the wood, dash the pack on the trail of Winona.
Swift she speeds with her burden,
but swift on her track fly the minions of famine;
Now they yell on the view from the drift,
in the reeds at the marge of the meadow;
Red gleam their wild, ravenous eyes;
for they see on the hill-side their supper;
The dark forest echoes their cries;
but her heart is the heart of a warrior.
From its sheath snatched Winona her knife,
and a leg from the red doe she severed;
With the carcass she ran for her life,
--to a low-branching oak ran the maiden;
Round the deer's neck her head-strap [b] was tied;
swiftly she sprang to the arms of the oak-tree;
Quick her burden she drew to her side,
and higher she clomb on the branches,
While the maddened wolves battled and bled,
dealing death o'er the leg to each other;
Their keen fangs devouring the dead,
--yea, devouring the flesh of the living,
They raved and they gnashed and they growled,
like the fiends in the regions infernal;
The wide night re-echoing howled,
and the hoarse North wind laughed o'er the slaughter.
But their ravenous maws unappeased
by the blood and the flesh of their fellows,
To the cold wind their muzzles they raised,
and the trail to the oak-tree they followed.
Round and round it they howled for the prey,
madly leaping and snarling and snapping;
But the brave maiden's keen arrows slay,
till the dead number more than the living.
All the long, dreary night-time, at bay,
in the oak sat the shivering Winona;
But the sun gleamed at last, and away
skulked the gray cowards [c] down through the forest.
Then down dropped the doe and the maid.
Ere the sun reached the midst of his journey,
Her red, welcome burden she laid
at the feet of her famishing father.

[a] Waziya's Star is the North Star.
[b] A strap used in carrying burdens.
[c] Wolves sometimes attack people at night but rarely if ever in the day
time. If they have followed a hunter all night, or "treed" him they will
skulk away as soon as the sun rises.

Waziya's wild wrath was appeased,
and homeward he turned to his teepee, [3]
O'er the plains and the forest-land breezed,
from the Islands of Summer, the South wind.
From their dens came the coon and the bear;
o'er the snow through the woodlands they wandered;
On her snow shoes with stout bow and spear
on their trails ran the huntress Winona.
The coon to his den in the tree,
and the bear to his burrow she followed;
A brave, skillful hunter was she,
and Ta-te-psin's lodge laughed with abundance.

The long winter wanes. On the wings
of the spring come the geese and the mallards;
On the bare oak the red-robin sings,
and the crocuses peep on the prairies,
And the bobolink pipes, but he brings,
of the blue-eyed, brave White Chief, no tidings.
With the waning of winter, alas,
waned the life of the aged Tatepsin;
Ere the blue pansies peeped from the grass,
to the Land of the Spirits he journeyed;
Like a babe in its slumber he passed,
or the snow from the hill tops in April;
And the dark-eyed Winona, at last,
stood alone by the graves of her kindred.
When their myriad mouths opened the trees
to the sweet dew of heaven and the rain drops,
And the April showers fell on the leas,
on his mound fell the tears of Winona.
Round her drooping form gathered the years
and the spirits unseen of her kindred,
As low, in the midst of her tears,
at the grave of her father she chanted:

E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah ke-yay!
E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah ke-yay!
E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah ke-yay!
Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay.
Tu-way ne ktay snee e-yay-chen e-wah chay.
E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah ke-yay!
E-yo-tan-han e-yay-wah ke-yay!
Ma-kah kin hay-chay-dan tay-han wan-kay.


Sore is my sorrow!
Sore is my sorrow!
Sore is my sorrow!
The earth alone lasts.
I speak as one dying;
Sore is my sorrow!
Sore is my sorrow!
The earth alone lasts.

Still hope, like a star in the night
gleaming oft through the broken clouds somber,
Cheered the heart of Winona, and bright,
on her dreams, beamed the face of the Frenchman.
As the thought of a loved one and lost,
sad and sweet were her thoughts of the White Chief;
In the moon's mellow light, like a ghost,
walked Winona alone by the Ha-ha,
Ever wrapped in a dream. Far away
--to the land of the sunrise--she wandered;
On the blue rolling Tanka Mede, [a]
in the midst of her dreams, she beheld him--
In his white-winged canoe, like a bird,
to the land of Dakotas returning;
And often in fancy she heard
the dip of his oars on the river.
On the dark waters glimmered the moon,
but she saw not the boat of the Frenchman;
On the somber night bugled the loon,
but she heard not the song of the boatmen.
The moon waxed and waned, but the star
of her hope never waned to the setting;
Through her tears she beheld it afar,
like a torch on the eastern horizon.
"He will come,--he is coming," she said;
"he will come, for my White Eagle promised,"
And low to the bare earth the maid
bent her ear for the sound of his footsteps.
"He is gone, but his voice in my ear
still remains like the voice of the robin;
He is far, but his footsteps I hear;
he is coming; my White Chief is coming!"

[a] Lake Superior,--The _Gitchee Gumee_ of the Chippewas.

But the moon waxed and waned. Nevermore
will the eyes of Winona behold him.
Far away on the dark, rugged shore
of the blue Gitchee Gumee he lingers.
No tidings the rising sun brings;
no tidings the star of the evening;
But morning and evening she sings,
like a turtle-doe widowed and waiting;

Ake u, ake u, ake u;
Ma cante maseca.
Ake u, ake u, ake u;
Ma cante maseca.

Come again, come again, come again;
For my heart is sad.
Come again, come again, come again;
For my heart is sad.

Down the broad Gitchee Seebee [a]
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 [b] ride the birchen canoes
on the breast of the dark Gitchee Seebee;
By the willow-fringed islands 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 loitered and camped on the shore of Remnica
--the Lake of the Mountains. [c]
There the fleet hunters followed the deer,
and the thorny _pahin_ [d] for the women.

[a] Chippewa name of the Mississippi
[b] Wild Geese
[c] Lake Pepin; by Hennepin called Lake of Tears--Called by the Dakotas
Remnee-chah-Mday--Lake of the Mountains.
[d] Pah hin--the porcupine--the quill of which are greatly prized for
ornamental work.

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 tepee;
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 tepee;
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 warblers 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 steps of the enemy nigh,
--of the crafty and creeping 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 chant 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 soul 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 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 of my soul is gone,--
The light is gone and Winona dies.

Swift the strong hunters clomb 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. [a]
In the silence of sorrow the night
o'er the earth spread her wide, sable pinions;
And the stars [18] 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.

[a] The Dakotas say that the spirit of Winona forever haunts the lake.
They say that it was many, many winters ago when Winona leaped from the
rock--that the rock was then perpendicular to the water's edge and she
leaped into the lake, but now the rock has worn away, or the water has
receded, so that it does not reach the foot of the rock.


* * * * *


Note: An-pe-tu Sa-pa--Clouded Day--was the name of the Dakota mother who
committed suicide, as related in this legend, by plunging over the Falls
of St. Anthony. Schoolcraft calls her "_Ampata_ Sapa." _Ampata_
is not Dakota. There are several versions of this legend, all agreeing in
the main points.

[Read at the celebration of the Old Settlers of Hennepin County, at the
Academy of Music, Minneapolis, July 4, 1879.]

(The numerals refer to notes in the Appendix.)

On the Spirit-Island [a] sitting under midnight's misty moon,
Lo I see the spirits flitting o'er the waters one by one!
Slumber wraps the silent city, and the droning mills are dumb;
One lone whippowil's shrill ditty calls her mate that ne'er will come.
Sadly moans the mighty river, foaming down the fettered falls,
Where of old he thundered ever o'er abrupt and lofty walls.
Great Unktehee [69]--god of waters--lifts no more his mighty head;--
Fled he with the timid otters?--lies he in the cavern dead?

[a] The small island of rock a few rods below the Falls, was called by the
Dakotas Wanagee We-ta--Spirit-Island. They say the spirit of Anpetu Sapa
sits upon that island at night and pours forth her sorrow in song. They
also say that from time out of mind, war-eagles nested on that island,
until the advent of white men frightened them away. This seems to be true.
Carver's Travels. London. 1778, p. 71.

Hark!--the waters hush their sighing, and the whippowil her call,
Through the moon-lit mists are flying dusky shadows silent all.
Lo from out the waters foaming--from the cavern deep and dread--
Through the glamour and the gloaming, comes a spirit of the dead.
Sad she seems, her tresses raven on her tawny shoulders rest;

Sorrow on her brow is graven, in her arms a babe is pressed.
Hark!--she chants the solemn story,--sings the legend sad and old,
And the river wrapt in glory listens while the tale is told.
Would you hear the legend olden, hearken while I tell the tale--
Shorn, alas, of many a golden, weird Dakota chant and wail.


Tall was young Wanata, stronger than Heyoka's [16] giant form.
Laughed at flood and fire and hunger, faced the fiercest winter storm.
When Wakinyan [32] flashed and thundered, when Unktehee raved and roared,
All but brave Wanata wondered, and the gods with fear implored.
When the war-whoop wild resounded, calling friends to meet the foe,
From the teepee swift he bounded, armed with polished lance and bow.

In the battle's din and clangor fast his fatal arrows flew,
Flashed his fiery eyes with anger,--many a haughty foe he slew.
Hunter, swift was he and cunning, caught the beaver, slew the bear,
Overtook the roebuck running, dragged the panther from his lair.
Loved was he by many a maiden; many a dark eye glanced in vain;
Many a heart with sighs was laden for the love it might not gain.
So they called the brave "Ska Capa"; [a] but the fairest of the band--
Moon-faced, meek Anpetu-Sapa--won the hunter's heart and hand.

[a] Or Capa Ska--White beaver. White beavers are very rare, very cunning
and hard to catch.

From the wars with triumph burning, from the chase of bison fleet,
To his lodge the brave returning, spread his trophies at her feet.
Love and joy sat in the tepee; him a black-eyed boy she bore;
But alas, she lived to weep a love she lost forevermore.
For the warriors chose Wanata first Itancan [a] of the band.
At the council-fire he sat a leader loved a chieftain grand.
Proud was fair Anpetu-Sapa, and her eyes were glad with joy;
Proud was she and very happy, with her chieftain and her boy.
But alas, the fatal honor that her brave Wanata won,
Brought a bitter woe upon her,--hid with clouds the summer sun
For among the brave Dakotas, wives bring honor to the chief.
On the vine-clad Minnesota's banks he met the Scarlet Leaf.
Young and fair was Ape-duta [b]--full of craft and very fair;
Proud she walked a queen of beauty with her wondrous flowing hair.
In her net of hair she caught him--caught Wanata with her wiles;
All in vain his wife besought him--begged in vain his wonted smiles.
Ape-duta ruled the teepee--all Wanata's smiles were hers;
When the lodge was wrapped in sleep a star [c] beheld the mother's tears.
Long she strove to do her duty for the black-eyed babe she bore;
But the proud, imperious beauty made her sad forevermore.
Still she dressed the skins of beaver, bore the burdens, spread the fare;
Patient ever, murmuring never, while her cheeks were creased with care.

[a] E-tan-can--Chief.
[b] A-pe--leaf,--duta--Scarlet,--Scarlet leaf.
[c] Stars, the Dakotas say, are the faces of departed friends and
relatives on earth.

In the moon Maga-o-Kada, [71] twice an hundred years ago--
Ere the "Black Robe's" [a] sacred shadow
stalked the prairies' pathless snow
Down the swollen, rushing river, in the sunset's golden hues,
From the hunt of bear and beaver came the band in swift canoes.
On the queen of fairy islands, on the Wita-Waste's [b] shore,
Camped Wanata, on the highlands, just above the cataract's roar.
Many braves were with Wanata; Ape-duta, too, was there,
And the sad Anpetu-sapa spread the lodge with wonted care.
Then above the leafless prairie leaped the fat faced, laughing moon,
And the stars--the spirits fairy--walked the welkin one by one.
Swift and silent in the gloaming on the waste of waters blue,
Speeding downward to the foaming, shot Wanata's birch canoe,
In it stood Anpetu-sapa--in her arms her sleeping child;
Like a wailing Norse-land _drapa_ [c] rose her death-song weird and wild:

Mihihna, [d] Mihihna, my heart is stone;
The light is gone from my longing eyes;
The wounded loon in the lake alone
Her death-song sings to the moon and dies.

Mihihna, Mihihna, the path is long.
The burden is heavy and hard to bear;
I sink,--I die, and my dying song
Is a song of joy to the false one's ear.

Mihihna, Mihihna, my young heart flew
Far away with my brave to the bison-chase;
To the battle it went with my warrior true,
And never returned till I saw his face.

Mihihna, Mihihna. my brave was glad
When he came from the chase of the roebuck fleet;
Sweet were the words that my hunter said,
As his trophies he laid at Anpetu's feet.

Mihihna, Mihihna, the boy I bore--
When the robin sang and my brave was true,
I can bear to look on his face no more.
For he looks, Mihihna, so much like you.

Mihihna, Mihihna, the Scarlet Leaf
Has robbed my boy of his father's love;
He sleeps in my arms--he will find no grief
In the star-lit lodge in the land above.

Mihihna, Mihihna, my heart is stone,
The light is gone from my longing eyes;
The wounded loon in the lake alone,
Her death-song sings to the moon and dies.

[a] The Dakotas called the Jesuit priests "Black Robes" from the color of
their vestments.
[b] Wee tah Wah-stay--Beautiful Island,--the Dakota name for Nicollet
Island just above the Falls.
[c] _Drapa_, a Norse funeral wail in which the virtues of the
deceased are recounted.
[d] Mee heen-yah--My husband.

Swiftly down the turbid torrent, as she sung her song she flew;
Like a swan upon the current, dancing rode the light canoe.
Hunters hurry in the gloaming, all in vain Wanata calls;
Singing through the surges foaming, lo she plunges o'er the Falls.

Long they search the sullen river--searched for leagues along the shore,
Bark or babe or mother never saw the sad Dakotas more;
But at night or misty morning oft the hunters heard her song,
Oft the maidens heard her warning in their mellow mother-tongue.

On the bluffs they sat enchanted till the blush of beamy dawn;
Spirit Isle they say, is haunted, and they call the spot "Wakan." [a]
Many summers on the highland, in the full-moon's golden glow--
In the woods on Fairy Island, [b] walked a snow white fawn and doe
Spirits of the babe and mother sadly seeking evermore,
For a father's love another turned with evil charm and power.

[a] Pronounced Walk on--Sacred, inhabited by a Spirit.
[b] Fairy Island--Wita Waste--Nicollet Island.

Sometimes still when moonbeams shimmer through the maples on the lawn,
In the gloaming and the glimmer walk the silent doe and fawn;
And on Spirit-Isle or near it, under midnight's misty moon,
Oft is seen the mother's spirit, oft is heard her mournful tune.


* * * * *




(The numerals 1 2 etc., refer to Notes to Sea-Gull in Appendix.)

On the shore of Gitchee Gumee--[2]
Deep, mysterious, mighty waters--Where the manitoes--the spirits--
Ride the storms and speak in thunder,
In the days of Neme-Shomis, [3]
In the days that are forgotten,
Dwelt a tall and tawny hunter--
Gitchee Pez-ze-u--the panther,
Son of Waub-Ojeeg, [4] 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, [5] 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 star light.
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 [6]
And the little hunter in it.
Oft the Panther smiled and fondled,
Smiled upon the babe and mother,
Frolicked with the boy and fondled.

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