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Sat Iagoo, old and ugly,
Sat the marvellous story-teller.

And they said, “ () good lagoo,
Tell us now a tale of wonder,
Tell us of some strange adventure,
That the feast may be more joyous,
That the time may pass more gayly,
And our guests be more contented!”

And Iagoo answered straightway, " You shall hear a tale of wonder, . You shall hear the strange adventures Of Ossco, the Magician, From the Evening Star descended.”

XII.

THE SON OF THE EVENING STAR

Can it be the sun descending
O'er the level plain of water?
Or the Red Swan floating, flying,
Wounded by the magic arrow,
Staining all the waves with crimson,
With the crimson of its life-blood,
Filling all the air with splendor,
With the splendor of its plumage ?

Yes; it is the sun descending,
Sinking down into the water;
All the sky is stained with purple,
All the water flushed with crimson !
No; it is the Red Swan floating,
Diving down beneath the water;
To the sky its wings are lifted,
With its blood the waves are reddened !

Over it the Star of Evening
Melts and trembles through the purple,
Hangs suspended in the twilight.
No; it is a bead of wampum
On the robes of the Great Spirit,
As he passes through the twilight,
Walks in silence through the heavens !

This with joy beheld lagoo
And he said in haste: “ Behold it!
See the sacred Star of Evening !
You shall hear a tale of wonder,
Hear the story of Osseo,
Son of the Evening Star, Osseo !

6 Once, in days no more remembered,
Ages nearer the beginning,
When the heavens were closer to us,

And the Gods were more familiar,
In the North-land lived a hunter,
With ten young and comely daughters,
Tall and lithe as wands of willow;
Only Oweenee, the youngesty
She the wilful and the wayward,
She the silent, dreamy maiden,
Was the fairest of the sisters.

“ All these women married warriors,
Married brave and haughty husbands;
Only Oweenee, the youngest,
Laughed and flouted all her lovers,
All her
young

and handsome suitors,
And then married old Osseo,
Old Osseo, poor and ugly,
Broken with age and weak with coughing
Always coughing like a squirrel.

“Ah, but beautiful within him
Was the spirit of Osseo,
From the Evening Star descended,
Star of Evening, Star of Woman,
Star of tenderness and passion !
All its fire was in his bosom
All its beauty in his spirit,
All its mystery in his being,
All its splendor in his language !

“ And her lovers, the rejected,
Handsome men with belts of wampum,
Handsome men with paint and feathers,
Pointed at her in derision,
Followed her with jest and laughter.
But she said: “I care not for you,
Care not for your belts of wampum,
Care not for your paint and feathers,
Care not for your jests and laughter;
I am happy with Osseo !'

“Once to some great feast invited, Through the damp and dusk of evening Walked together the ten sisters,

Walked together with their husbands ;
Slowly followed old Osseo,
With fair (weenee beside him;
All the others chatted gayly,
These two only walked in silence.

“ At the western sky Osseo
Gazed intent, as if imploring,
Often stopped and gazed imploring
At the trembling Star of Evening,
At the tender Star of Woman;
And they heard him murmur softly,
Ah, showain nemeshin, Nosa !
Pity, pity me, my father !'

co Listen !' said the eldest sister,
• He is praying to his father!
What a pity that the old man
Does not stumble in the pathway,
Does not break his neck by falling !'
And they laughed till all the forest
Rang with their unseemly laughter.

“On their pathway through the woodlande
Lay an oak, by storms uprooted,
Lay the great trunk of an oak-tree,
Buried half in leaves and mosses,
Mouldering, crumbling, huge and hollow.
And Osseo, when he saw it,
Gave a shout, a cry of anguish,
Leaped into its yawning cavern,
At one end went in an old man,
Wasted, wrinkled, old, and ugly;
From the other came a young man,
Tall and straight and strong and bandsome.

“ Thus Ossco was transfigured,
Thus restored to youth and beauty :
But, alas for good Osseo,
And for Oweence, the faithful !
Strangely, too, was she transfigured.
Changed into a wcak old woman,
With a staff she tottered onward,

66

Wasted, wrinkled, old, and ugly!
And the sisters and their husbands
Laughed until the echoing forest
Rang with their unseemly laughter.

“ But Osseo turned not from her,
Walked with slower step beside her,
Took her hand, as brown and withered
As an oak-leaf is in Winter,
Called her sweetheart, Nenemoosha,
Soothed her with soft words of kindness,
Till they reached the lodge of feasting,
Till they sat down in the wigwam,
Sacred to the Star of Evening,
To the tender Star of Woman.

Wrapt in visions, lost in dreaming,
At the banquet sat Osseo;
All were merry, all were happy,
All were joyous but Osseo.
Neither food nor drink he tasted,
Neither did he speak nor listen,
But as one bewildered sat he,
Looking dreamily and sadly,
First at Oweenee, then upward
At the gleaming sky above them.

“ Then a voice was heard, a whisper,
Coming from the starry distance,
Coming from the empty vastness,
Low, and musical, and tender;
And the voice said : 0 Osseo !
O my son, my best beloved !
Broken are the spells that bound you,
All the charms of the magicians,
All the magic powers of evil;
Come to me; ascend, Ossco!

«« Taste the food that stands before you : It is blessed and enchanted, It has magic virtues in it, It will change you to a spirit. All yo'ir

bowls and all your kettles

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