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2. Thus the youthful Hiawatha

Said within himself and pondered,
Much perplexed by various feelings,
Listless, longing, hoping, fearing,
Dreaming still of Minnehaha,
Of the lovely Laughing Water,

In the land of the Dacotahs.
3. “ Wed a maiden of your people,"

Warning said the old Nokomis;
“Go not eastward, go not westward,
For a stranger, whom we know not!
Like a fire upon the hearthstone
Is a neighbour's homely daughter,
Like the starlight or the moonlight

Is the handsomest of strangers !”
4. Thus dissuading spake Nokomis,

And my Hiawatha answered
Only this: “Dear old Nokomis,
Very pleasant is the firelight,
But I like the starlight better,

Better do I like the moonlight !”
5. Gravely then said old Nokomis :

“Bring not here an idle maiden,
Bring not here a useless woman,
Hands unskilful, feet unwilling;
Bring a wife with nimble fingers,
Heart and hand that move together,

Feet that run on willing errands !” 6. Smiling answered Hiawatha :

“In the land of the Dacotahs
Lives the Arrow-maker's daughter,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water,
Handsomest of all the women.
I will bring her to your wigwam,
She shall run upon your errands,
Be your starlight, moonlight, firelight,
Be the sunlight of my people !"

7.

Still dissuading said Nokomis :
Bring not to my lodge a stranger
From the land of the Dacotahs !
Very fierce are the Dacotahs,
Often is there war between us,
There are feuds not yet forgotten,
Wounds that ache and still may open !”

Laughing answered Hiawatha :
“For that reason, if no other,
Would I wed the fair Dacotah,
That our tribes may be united,
That old feuds might be forgotten,
And old wounds be healed for ever!”

8.

9. Thus departed Hiawatha

To the land of the Dacotahs,
To the land of handsome women;
Striding over moor and meadow,
Through interminable forests,

Through uninterrupted silence.
10. On the outskirts of the forest,

'Twixt the shadow and the sunshine,
Herds of fallow deer were feeding,
But they saw not Hiawatha ;
To his bow he whispered, “Fail not!"
To his arrow whispered, “Swerve not !”
Sent it singing on its errand
To the red heart of the roebuck;
Threw the deer across his shoulder,

And sped forward without pausing. 11. At the door of his wigwam

Sat the ancient Arrow-maker,
In the land of the Dacotahs,
Making arrow heads of jasper,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony.
At his side, in all her beauty,

12.

Sat the lovely Minnehaha,
Sat his daughter, Laughing Water,
Plaiting mats of flags and rushes ;
Of the past the old man's thoughts were,
And the maiden's of the future.

He was thinking as he sat there,
Of the days when with such arrows
He had struck the deer and bison,
On the Muskoday, the meadow;
Shot the wild goose, flying southward,
On the wing, the clamorous Wawa;
Thinking of the great war-parties,
How they came to buy his arrows,
Could not fight without his arrows.
Ah, no more such noble warriors
Could be found on earth as they were !
Now the men were all like women,
Only used their tongues for weapons !

She was thinking of a hunter,
From another tribe and country,
Young and tall and very handsome,
Who one morning, in the Spring-time,
Came to buy her father's arrows,
Sat and rested in the wigwam,
Lingered long about the doorway,
Looking back as he departed.
She had heard her father praise him,
Praise his courage and his wisdom ;
Would he come again for arrows
To the Falls of Minnehaha ?
On the mat ber hands lay idle,
And her eyes were very dreamy.

Through their thoughts they heard a footstep,
Heard a rustling in the branches,
And with glowing cheek and forehead,
With the deer upon his shoulders,

13.

14.

Suddenly from out the woodlands

Hiawatha stood before them.
15. Straight the ancient Arrow-maker

Looked up gravely from his labour,
Laid aside the unfinished arrow,
Bade him enter at the doorway,
Saying, as he rose to meet him,

"Hiawatha, you are welcome!” 16. At the feet of Laughing Water

Hiawatha laid his burden,
Threw the red deer from his shoulders ;
And the maiden looked up at him,
Looked up from her mat of rushes,
Said with gentle look and accent,

“ You are welcome Hiawatha !”
17. Very spacious was the wigwam,

Made of deer-skin dressed and whitened,
With the gods of the Dacotahs
Drawn and painted on its curtains,
And so tall the doorway, hardly
Hiawatha stooped to enter,
Hardly touched his eagle-feathers

As he entered at the doorway.
18. Then uprose the Laughing Water,

From the ground fair Minnehaha,
Laid aside her mat unfinished,
Brought forth food and set before them,
Water brought them from the brooklet,
Gave them food in earthen vessels,
Gave them drink in bowls of bass-wood,
Listened while the guest was speaking,
Listened while her father answered,
But not once her lips she opened,

Not a single word she uttered.
19. Yes, as in a dream she listened

To the words of Hiawatha,

As he talked of old Nokomis,
Who had nursed him in his childhood,
As he told of his companions,
Chibiabos, the musician,
And the very strong man, Kwasind,
And of happiness and plenty
In the land of the Ojibways,
In the pleasant land and peaceful.

20.

“ After many years of warfare,
Many years of strife and bloodshed,
There is peace between the Ojibways
And the tribe of the Dacotahs.”
Thus continued Hiawatha,
And then added, speaking slowly,
· That this peace may last for ever,
And our hands be clasped more closely,
And our hearts be more united,
Give me as my wife this maiden,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water,
Loveliest of Dacotah women !”

21.

And the ancient Arrow-maker
Paused a moment ere he answered,
Smoked a little while in silence,
Looked at Hiawatha proudly,
Fondly looked at Laughing Water,
And niade answer very gravely :
“Yes, if Minnehaha wishes;
Let

your heart speak Minnehaha !”

22.

And the lovely Laughing Water
Seemed more lovely as she stood there,
Neither willing nor reluctant,
As she went to Hiawatha,
Softly took the seat beside him,
While she said, and blushed to say it,
“I will follow you, my husband !”

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