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Swift or slow at will he glided,
Veered to right or left at pleasure.
Then he called aloud to Kwasind,
To his friend, the strong man, Kwasind,
Saying, “ Help me clear this river
Of its sunken logs and sand-bars."
Straight into the river Kwasind Plunged as if he were an otter, Dived as if he were a beaver, Stood up to his waist in water, To his arm-pits in the river, Swam and shouted in the river, Tugged at sunken logs and branches, With his hands he scooped the sand-bars, With his feet the ooze and tangle.
And thus sailed Hiawatha Down the rushing Taquamenaw, Sailed through all its bends and windings, Sailed through all its deeps and shallows, While his friend, the strong man, Kwasind Swam the deeps, the shallows waded.
Up and down the river went they, In and out among its islands, Cleared its bed of root and sand-bar, Dragged the dead trees from its channel, Made its passage safe and certain, Made a pathway for the people, From its springs among the mountains, To the waters of Pauwating, To the bay of Taquamenaw.
the Gitche Gumee,
On the shining Big-Sea-Water,
With his fishing-line of cedar,
Of the twisted bark of cedar,
Forth to catch the sturgeon Nahma,
Mishe-Nahma, King of Fishes,
In his birch canoe exulting
All alone went Hiawatha.
Through the clear, transparent water
He could see the fishes swimming
Far down in the depths below him;
See the yellow perch, the Sahwa,
Like a sunbeam in the water,
See the Shawgashee, the craw-fish,
Like a spider on the bottom,
On the white and sandy bottom.
At the stern sat Hiawatha,
With his fishing-line of cedar ;
In his plumes the breeze of morning
Played as in the hemlock branches ;
On the bows, with tail erected,
Sat the squirrel, Adjidaumo;,
In his fur the breeze of morning
Played as in the prairie grasses.
On the white sand of the bottom
Lay the monster Mishe-Nahma,
Lay the sturgeon, King of Fishes ;
Through his gills he breathed the water,
With his fins he fanned and winnowed,
With his tail he swept the sand-floor.
There he lay in all his armor ; On each side a shield to guard him,
Plates of bone upon his forehead,
Down his sides and back and shoulders
Plates of bone with spines projecting !
Painted was be with his war-paints,
Stripes of yellow, red, and azure,
Spots of brown and spots of sable;
And he lay there on the bottom,
Fanning with his fins of purple,
As above him Hiawatha
In his birch canoe came sailing,
With his fishing line of cedar.
my bait!” cried Hiawatha, Down into the depths beneath him, “ Take my bait, 0 Sturgeon, Nahma ! Come up from below the water, Let us see which is the stronger! And he dropped his line of cedar Through the clear, transparent water, Waited vainly for an answer, Long sat waiting for an answer, And repeating loud and louder, “ Take my bait, O King of Fishes ! ”
Quiet lay the sturgeon, Nabma,
Fanning slowly in the water,
Looking up at Hiawatha,
Listening to his call and clamor,
His unnecessary tumult,
Till he wearied of the shouting;
And he said to the Kenozha,
To the pike, the Maskenozha,
* Take the bait of this rude fellow,
Break the line of Hiawatha ! ”
In his fingers Hiawatha
Felt the loose line jerk and tighten;
As he drew it in, it tugged so
That the birch canoe stood endwise,
Like a birch log in the water,
With the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
Perched and frisking on the summit.
Full of scorn was Hiawatha
When he saw the fish rise upward,
Saw the pike, the Maskenozha,
Coming nearer, nearer to him,
And he shouted through the water,
s Esa! esa ! shame upon you !
You are but the pike, Kenozha,
You are not the fish I wanted,
You are not the King of Fishes !”
Reeling downward to the bottom
Sank the pike in great confusion,
And the mighty sturgeon, Nahma,
Said to Ugudwash, the sun-fish,
To the bream, with scales of crimson,
" Take the bait of this great boaster,
Break the line of Hiawatha !”
Slowly upward, wavering, gleaming, Rose the Ugudwash, the sun-fish, Seized the line of Hiawatha, Swung with all his weight upon it, Made a whirlpool in the water, Whirled the birch canoe in circles, Round and round in gurgling eddies, Till the circles in the water · Reached the far-off sandy beaches, Till the water-flags and rushes Nodded on the distant margins.
But when Hiawatha saw him Slowly rising through the water, Lifting up his disk refulgent, Loud he shouted in derision, * Esa! esa ! shame upon you ! You are Ugudwash, the sun-fish, You are not the fish I wanted, You are not the King of Fishes !” Slowly downward, wavering, gleaming, Sank the Ugudwash, the sun-fish, And again the sturgeon, Nahma, Heard the shout of Hiawatha,
Heard his challenge of defiance,
The unnecessary tumult,
Ringing far across the water.
From the white sand of the bottom Up he rose with angry gesture, Quivering in each nerve and fibre, Clashing all his plates of armor, Gleaming bright with all his war-paint; In his wrath he darted upward, Flashing leaped into the sunshine, Opened his great jaws, and swallowed Both canoe and Hiawatha.
Down into that darksome cavern
Plunged the headlong Hiawatha,
As a log on some black river
Shoots and plunges down the rapids,
Found himself in utter darkness,
Groped about in helpless wonder,
Till he felt a great heart beating,
Throbbing in that utter darkness.
And he smote it in his anger,
With his fist, the heart of Nahma,
Felt the mighty King of Fishes
Shudder through each nerve and fibre,
Heard the water gurgle round him
As he leaped and staggered through it,
Sick at heart, and faint and weary.
Crosswise then did Hiawatha
Drag his birch-canoe for safety,
Lest from out the jaws of Nahma,
In the turmoil and confusion,
Forth he might be hurled and perish.
And the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
Frisked and chattered very gayly,
Toiled and tugged with Hiawatha
Till the labor was completed.
Then said Hiawatha to him,
O my little friend, the squirrel,
Bravely have you toiled to help me;