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With the heavy blow bewildered, Rose the Great Bear of the mountains ; But his knees beneath him trembled, And he whimpered like a woman, As he reeled and staggered forward, As he sat upon his haunches; And the mighty Mudjekeewis, Standing fearlessly before him, Taunted him in loud derision, Spake disdainfully in this wise :
“ Hark you, Bear! you are a coward,
And no Brave, as you pretended ;
Else you would not cry and whimper
Like a miserable woman!
Bear! you know our tribes are hostile,
Long have been at war together;
Now you find that we are strongest,
You go sneaking in the forest,
You go hiding in the mountains !
Had you conquered me in battle
Not a groan would I have uttered;
But you, Bear! sit here and whimper,
And disgrace your tribe by crying,
Like a wretched Shaugodaya,
Like a cowardly old woman !”
Then again he raised his war-club,
Smote again the Mishe-Mokwa
In the middle of his forehead,
Broke his skull, as ice is broken
When one goes to fish in Winter.
Thus was slain the Mishe-Mokwa,
He the Great Bear of the mountains,
He the terror of the nations.
Honor be to Mudjekeewis !”
With a shout exclaimed the people,
“ Honor be to Mudjekeewis !
Henceforth he shall be the West-Wind,
And hereafter and forever
Shall he hold supreme dominion
Over all the winds of heaven.
Call him no more Mudjekeewis,
Call him Kabeyun, the West-Wind !"
Thus was Mudjekeewis chosen
Father of the Winds of Heaven.
For himself he kept the West-Wind,
Gave the others to his children;
Unto Wabun gave the East-Wind,
Gave the South to Shawondasee,
And the North-Wind, wild and cruel,
To the fierce Kabibonokka.
Young and beautiful was Wabun; He it was who brought the morning, He it was whose silver arrows Chased the dark o'er hill and valley; He it was whose cheeks were painted With the brightest streaks of crimson, And whose voice awoke the village, Called the deer, and called the hunter.
Lonely in the sky was Wabun; Though the birds sang gayly to him, Though the wild-flowers of the meadow Filled the air with odors for him, Though the forests and the rivers Sang and shouted at his coming, Still his heart was sad within him, For he was alone in heaven.
But one morning, gazing earthward, While the village still was sleeping, And the fog lay on the river, Like a ghost, that goes at sunrise, He beheld a maiden walking All alone upon a meadow, Gathering water-flags and rushes By a river in the meadow.
Every morning, gazing earthward, Still the first thing he beheld there Was her blue eyes looking at him, Two blue lakes among the rushes.
And he loved the lonely maiden,
Who thus waited for his coming;
For they both were solitary,
She on earth and he in heaven.
And he wooed her with caresses,
Wooed her with his smile of sunshine,
With his flattering words he wooed her,
With his sighing and his singing,
Gentlest whispers in the branches,
Softest music, sweetest odors,
Till he drew her to his bosom,
Folded in his robes of crimson,
Till into a star he changed her,
Trembling still upon his bosom ;
And forever in the heavens
They are seen together walking,
Wabun and the Wabun-Annung,
Wabun and the Star of Morning.
But the fierce Kabibonokka Had his dwelling among icebergs, In the everlasting snow-drifts, In the kingdom of Wabasso, In the land of the White Rabbit. He it was whose hand in Autumn Painted all the trees with scarlet, Stained the leaves with red and yellow; He it was who sent the snow-flakes, Sifting, hissing through the forest, Froze the ponds, the lakes, the rivers, Drove the loon and sea-gull southward, Drove the cormorant and curlew To their nests of sedge and sea-tang In the realms of Shawondasee.
Once the fierce Kabibonokka Issued from his lodge of snow-drifts, From his home among the icebergs, And his hair, with snow besprinkled, Streamed behind him like a river, Like a black and wintry river,
As he howled and hurried southward,
Over frozen lakes and moorlands.
There among the reeds and rushes
Found he Shingebis, the diver,
Trailing strings of fish behind him,
O’er the frozen fens and moorlands,
Lingering still among the moorlands,
Though his tribe had long departed
To the land of Shawondasee.
Cried the fierce Kabibonokka,
" Who is this that dares to brave me ?
Dares to stay in my dominions,
When the Wawa has departed,
When the wild-goose has gone southward,
And the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Long ago departed southward ?
I will go into his wigwam,
I will put his smouldering fire out!”
And at night Kabi bonokka
To the lodge came wild and wailing,
Heaped the snow in drifts about it,
Shouted down into the smoke-flue,
Shook the lodge-poles in his fury,
Flapped the curtain of the door-way.
Shingebis, the diver, feared not,
Shingebis, the diver, cared not ;
Four great logs had he for fire-wood,
One for each moon of the winter,
And for food the fishes served him.
By his blazing fire he sat there,
Warm and merry, eating, laughing,
Singing, “ O Kabibonokka,
You are but my fellow-mortal !”
Then Kabibonokka entered,
And though Shingebis, the diver,
Felt his presence by the coldness,
Felt his icy breath upon him,
Still he did not cease his singing,
Still he did not leave his laughing,
Only turned the log a little,
Only made the fire burn brighter,
Made the sparks fly up the smoke-flue.
From Kabibonokka's forehead,
From his snow-besprinkled tresses,
Drops of sweat fell fast and heavy,
Making dints upon the ashes,
As along the eaves of lodges,
As from drooping boughs of hemlock,
Drips the melting snow in spring-time,
Making hollows in the snow-drifts.
Till at last he rose defeated,
Could not bear the heat and laughter,
Could not bear the merry singing,
But rushed headlong through the door-way,
Stamped upon the crusted snow-drifts,
Stamped upon the lakes and rivers,
Made the snow upon them harder,
Made the ice upon them thicker,
Challenged Shingebis, the diver,
To come forth and wrestle with him,
To come forth and wrestle naked
On the frozen fens and moorlands.
Forth went Shingebis, the diver,
Wrestled all night with the North-Wind,
Wrestled naked on the moorlands
With the fierce Kabibonokka,
Till his panting breath grew fainter,
Till his frozen grasp grew feebler,
Till he reeled and staggered backward,
And retreated, baffled, beaten,
To the kingdom of Wabasso,
To the land of the White Rabbit,
Hearing still the gusty laughter,
Hearing Shingebis, the diver,
Singing, • O Kabibonokka,
You are but my fellow-mortal !”
Shawondasee, fat and lazy,
Had his dwelling far to southward,