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And the merry Laughing Water Went rejoicing from the wigwam, With Nokomis, old and wrinkled, And they called the women round them, Called the young men and the maidens, To the harvest of the corn-fields, To the husking of the maize-ear.
On the border of the forest, Underneath the fragrant pine-trees, Sat the old men and the warriors Smoking in the pleasant shadow. In uninterrupted silence Looked they at the gamesome labor Of the young men and the women; Listened to their noisy talking, To their laughter and their singing, Heard them chattering like the magpies, Heard them laughing like the blue-jays, Heard them singing like the robins.
And whene'er some lucky maiden Found a red ear in the husking, Found a maize-ear red as blood is, "Nushka!" cried they all together, "Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart, You shall have a handsome husband!" "Ugh!" the old men all responded From their seats beneath the pine-trees
And whene'er a youth or maiden Found a crooked ear in husking, Found a maize-ear in the husking, Blighted, mildewed, or misshapen, Then they laughed and sang together, Crept and limped about the corn-fields Mimicked in their gait and gestures Some old man, bent almost double, Singing singly or together: k' Wagemin, the thief of corn-fields \ Paimosaid, who steals the maize-ear!" Till the corn-fields rang with \aughter,
Till from Hiawatha's wigwam
In those days said Hiawatha,
u Lo! how all things fade and perish 1
From the memory of the old men Pass away the great traditions, The achievements of the warriors, The adventures of the hunters, All the wisdom of the Medas, All the craft of the Wabenos, All the marvellous dreams and visions Of the Jossakeeds, the Prophets!
"Great men die and are forgotten, Wise men speak; their words of wisdom Perish in the ears that hear them, Do not reach the generations That, as yet unborn, are waiting In the great, mysterious darkness Of the speechless days that shall be!
"On the grave-posts of our fathers Are no signs, no figures painted; Who are in those graves we know not, Only know they are our fathers. Of what kith they are and kindred, From what old, ancestral Totem, Be it Eagle, Bear, or Beaver, They descended, this we know not, Only know they are our fathers.
"Face to face we speak together, But we cannot speak when absent, Cannot send our voices from us
To the friends that dwell afar off;
Thus said Hiawatha, walking
From his pouch he took his colors,
Gitche Manito the Mighty,
Mitche Manito the Mighty,
Life and Death he drew as circles,
For the earth he drew a straight line, For the sky a bow above it; White the space between for day-time, Filled with little stars for night-time; On the left a point for sunrise,
On the right a point for sunset,
Footprints pointing towards a wigwam
All these things did Hiawatha Show unto his wondering people, And interpreted their meaning, And he said: "Behold, your grave-posts Have no mark, no sign, nor symbol. Go and paint them all with figures; Each one with its household symbol, With its own ancestral Totem; So that those who follow after May distinguish them and know them."
And they painted on the grave-posts
And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets,