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Did not parley at the doorway,
Sat there without word of welcome
In the seat of Laughing Water;
Looked with haggard eyes and hollow
At the face of Laughing Water.
And the foremost said : “ Behold me!
I am Famine, Bukadawin !”
And the other said: “ Behold me !
I am Fever, Abkosewin!”
And the lovely Minnehaha
Shuddered as they looked upon her,
Shuddered at the words they uttered,
Lay down on her bed in silence,
Hid her face, but made no answer;
Lay there trembling, freezing, burning
At the looks they cast upon her,
At the fearful words they uttered.
Forth into the empty forest
Rushed the maddened Hiawatha;
In his heart was deadly sorrow,
In his face a stony firmness;
On his brow the sweat of anguish
Started, but it froze and fell not.
Wrapped in furs and armed for hunting,
With his mighty bow of ash-tree,
With his quiver full of arrows,
With his mittens, Minjekahwun,
Into the vast and vacant forest
On his snow-shoes strode he forward.
“ Gitche Manito, the Mighty !” Cried he with his face uplifted In that bitter hour of anguish, “ Give your children food, O father! Give us food, or we must perish! Give me food for Minnehaha, For my dying Minnehaha!”
Through the far-resounding forest, Through the forest vast and vacant Rang that cry of desolation,
But there came no other answer
Than the echo of his crying,
Than the echo of the woodlands,
“ Minnehaha ! Minnehaha !”
All day long roved Hiawatha
In that melancholy forest,
Through the shadow of whose thickets,
In the pleasant days of Summer,
Of that ne'er forgotten Summer,
Ile had brought his young wife homeward
From the land of the Dacotahs ;
When the birds sang in the thickets,
And the streamlets laughed and glistened,
And the air was full of fragrance,
And the lovely Laughing Water
Said with voice that did not tremble,
“I will follow you, my husband !”
In the wigwam with Nokomis,
With those gloomy guests, that watched her,
With the Famine and the Fever,
She was lying, the Beloved,
She the dying Minnehaha.
“ Hark!” she said; “I hear a rushing,
Hear a roaring and a rushing,
Hear the Falls of Minnehaha
Calling to me from a distance !”
No, my child !” said old Nokomis,
“ 'T is the night-wind in the pine-trees !”
“ Look !” she said ; “I see my father Standing lonely at his doorway, Beckoning to me from his wigwam In the land of the Dacotahs !” “No, my child !” said old Nokomis, “ 'T is the smoke, that waves and beckons 1* " Ah!” she said, “ the eyes
Glare upon me in the darkness,
I can feel his icy fingers
Clasping mine amid the darkness !
Hiawatha! Hiawatha !”
And the desolate Hiawatha,
Far away amid the forest,
Miles away among the mountains,
Heard that sudden cry of anguish,
Heard the voice of Minnehaha
Calling to him in the darkness,
* Hiawatha! Hiawatha ! ”
Over snow-fields waste and pathless,
Under snow-encumbered branches,
Homeward hurried Hiawatha,
Heard Nokomis moaning, wailing :
“ Wahonowin! Wahonowin!
Would that I had perished for you,
Would that I were dead as you are !
And he rushed into the wigwam,
Saw the old Nokomis slowly
Rocking to and fro and moaning,
Saw his lovely Minnehaha
Lying dead and cold before him,
And his bursting heart within him
Uttered such a cry of anguish,
That the forest moaned and shuddered,
That the very stars in heaven
Shook and trembled with his anguish.
Then he sat down, still and speechless, On the bed of Minnehaha, At the feet of Laughing Water, At those willing feet, that never More would lightly run to meet him, Never more would lightly follow
With both hands his face he covered,
Seven long days and nights he sat there,
As if in a swoon he sat there
Speechless, motionless, unconscious
Of the daylight or the darkness.
Then they buried Minnehaha ;
In the snow a grave they made her,
In the forest deep and darksome, Underneath the moaning hemlocks; Clothed her in her richest garments, Wrapped her in her robes of ermine, Covered her with snow, like ermine ; Thus they buried Minnehaha.
And at night a fire was lighted, On her grave four times was kindled, For her soul upon its journey To the Islands of the Blessed. From his doorway Hiawatha Saw it burning in the forest, Lighting up the gloomy hemlocks ; From his sleepless bed uprising, From the bed of Minnehaha, Stood and watched it at the doorway, That it might not be extinguished, Might not leave her in the darkness.
“ Farewell !” said he, “ Minnehaha! Farewell, O my Laughing Water ! All my heart is buried with you, All my thoughts go onward with you! Come not back again to labor, Come not back again to suffer, Where the Famine and the Fever Wear the heart and waste the body. Soon my task will be completel, Soon your footsteps I shall follow To the Islands of the Blessed, To the Kingdom of Ponemalı, To the Land of the Hereafter !”
In his lodge beside a river,
Close beside a frozen river,
Sat an old man, sad and lonely.
White his hair was as a snow-drift;
Dull and low his fire was burning,
And the old man shook and trembled,
Folded in his Waubewyon,
In his tattered white-skin-wrapper,
Hearing nothing but the tempest
As it roared along the forest,
Seeing nothing but the snow-storm,
As it whirled and hissed and drifted.
All the coals were white with ashes,
And the fire was slowly dying,
As a young man, walking lightly,
At the open doorway entered.
Red with blood of youth his cheeks were,
Soft his eyes, as stars in Spring-time,
Bound his forehead was with grasses ;
Bound and plumed with scented grasses,
On his lips a smile of beauty,
Filling all the lodge with sunshine,
hand a bunch of blossoms Filling all the lodge with sweetness.
6 Ah, my son! exclaimed the old man, • Happy are my eyes to see you. Sit here on the mat beside me, Sit here by the dying embers, Let us pass the night together. Tell me of your strange adventures, Of the lands where you have travelled;