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Henry W. Longfellow.
“Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree!
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-tree!
Growing by the rushing river,
Tall and stately in the valley!
I a light canoe will build me,
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing,
That shall float upon the river,
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily!

Lay aside your cloak, O Birch-tree!
Lay aside your white-skin wrapper,
For the Summer-time is coming,
And the sun is warm in heaven,
And you need no white-skin wrapper!”

Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gayly,
In the Moon of leaves were singing,
And the sun, from sleep awaking,
Started up and said, “Behold me!
Geesiz, the great sun, behold me!

And the tree with all its branches
Rustled in the breeze of morning,
Saying, with a sigh of patience,
"Take my cloak, O Hiawatha!”

With his knife the tree he girdled;
Just beneath its lowest branches,
Just above the roots, he cut it,
Till the sap came oozing outward;
Down the trunk, from top to bottom,
Sheer he cleft the bark asunder,
With a wooden wedge he raised it,
Stripped it from the trunk unbroken.

“Give me of your boughs, O Cedar!
Of your strong and pliant branches,
My canoe to make more steady,
Make more strong and firm beneath me!"

Through the summit of the Cedar
Went a sound, a cry of horror,
Went a murmur of resistance;
But it whispered, bending downward,
“Take my boughs, O Hiawatha!

Down he hewed the boughs of cedar, Shaped them straightway to a frame-work, Like two bows he formed and shaped them, Like two bended bows together.

“Give me of your roots, O Tamarack!
Of your fibrous roots, O Larch-tree!
My canoe to bind together,
So to bind the ends together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!

And the Larch with all its fibres,
Shivered in the air of morning,
Touched his forehead with its tassels,
Said, with one long sigh of sorrow,
"Take them all, O Hiawatha!”

From the earth he tore the fibres,
Tore the tough roots of the Larch-tree,
Closely sewed the bark together,
Bound it closely to the frame-work.

“Give me of your balm, 0 Fir-tree!
Of your balsam and you resin,
So to close the seams together
That the water may not enter,
That the river may not wet me!”

And the Fir-tree, tall and sombre,
Sobbed through all its robes of darkness,
Rattled like a shore with pebbles,
Answered wailing, answered weeping,
“Take my balm, 0 Hiawatha!”

And he took the tears of balsam,
Took the resin of the Fir-tree,
Smeared therewith each seam and fissure,
Made each crevice safe from water.

Give me of your quills, O Hedgehog!
All your quills, O Kagh, the Hedgehog!
I will make a necklace of them,
Make a girdle for my beauty,
And two stars to deck her bosom!”

From a hollow tree the Hedgehog
With his sleepy eyes looked at him,
Shot his shining quills, like arrows,
Saying with a drowsy murmur,
Through the tangle of his whiskers,
“Take my quills, O Hiawatha!”

From the ground the quills he gathered,
All the little shining arrows,
Stained them red and blue and yellow,
With the juice of roots and berries;
Into his canoe he wrought them,
Round its waist a shining girdle,
Round its bows a gleaming necklace,
On its breast two stars resplendent.

Thus the Birch Canoe was builded
In the valley, by the river,
In the bosom of the forest;
And the forest's life was in it,
All its mystery and magic,
All the lightness of the birch-tree,
All the toughness of the cedar,
All the larch's supple sinews;
And it floated on the river
Like a yellow leaf in Autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily.

Paddles none had Hiawatha,
Paddles none he had or needed,
For his thoughts as paddles served him,
And his wishes served to guide him;
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 my 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.


Hulda T. Hollands. Long, long ago, before the world was all finished, a very old man lived alone in his lodge, which stood on the bank of a stream near the edge of a dark forest.

Outside snow and ice were everywhere, for it was winter. The spirit of the North Wind roamed through the forest searching every tree and bush for birds to chill, and chasing the evil Manitous over hill and dale.

Every day the old man went out through the forest hunting for wood to feed his fire, and although he was dressed in the warmest furs, he shivered with the cold.

At last the snow became so deep that he could not find the wood and he was obliged to return to his lodge without it. He was cold and hungry, and in despair threw himself down beside the few dull coals that were still smouldering and called aloud to Mauna-Boosha, the great and good Manitou, beseeching him to come to his rescue lest he perish.

At that moment the wind lifted the fur hangings at the door and there appeared before him a beautiful maiden. Her eyes were large and glowing, her cheeks were stained with wild roses, her hair was like the raven's plumage, and so long that it touched the ground when she walked. Her hands were covered with willow buds, and on her head was a wreath of pale pink blossoms. Her breath was odorous as a morn in spring and when she breathed the air of the lodge became warm. Her robe was long and trailing, and was covered with sweet grasses and ferns, her moccasins were made of white lilies.

“Thou art welcome, my daughter,” said the old man. “My lodge is cold, but it will shield thee from the storm. Come, tell me who thou art. I am a mighty manitou. I blow my breath, and the streams cease to flow. The running waters stand still."

“I breathe softly,” replied the maiden, "and beautiful flowers spring up all over the prairies.”

“I shake. my locks," said the old man, "and the leaves run away like a flock of frightened birds and snow covers all the ground.”

"I shake my curls," the maiden whispered softly, “and the warm rains fall from the clouds and drench the parched earth, the flowers lift up their heads, and the little bubbles splash over the growing streams like young plovers.”

“When I walk about,” continued the old man, “the leaves fall from the trees, and when I shout the tempest rides screaming on the wings of the North Wind. At my command, the animals hide in their holes and the birds fly away."

“When I walk about," the maiden responded, “the plants awaken and lift up their heads, the trees cover their nakedness with many leaves, the birds return to their nests, and all who see me sing for joy."

The old man made no further reply, his head drooped on his breast, and he slept. Then the sun came back, and a bluebird called:

“Sayee, sayee, I am thirsty," and the river called back in reply:

"I am free! I am free, come and drink.”

Then the maiden passed her hands above the old man's head and he grew small. A murmuring stream of water ran out of his mouth and his clothing turned to green leaves. Kneeling by his side she took from his bosom long sprays of odorous pink flowers and hid them among the leaves, she breathed upon them, saying as she did so:

"I give thee all my virtues and my sweetest breath, and all who would pluck thee must do so on bended knee.”

She then moved away, leaving behind her an odorous pink trail, and wherever her moccasined feet left a print in the moist sod the trailing arbutus grows, and nowhere else.


James Whitcomb Riley.
Wasn't it pleasant, o brother mine,
In those old days of the lost sunshine
Of youth-when the Saturday's chores were through,
And the “Sunday's wood” in the kitchen, too,
And we went visiting, “me and you,"

Out to Old Aunt Mary's?

It all comes back so clear today!
Though I am as bald as you are gray-
Out by the barn-lot, and down the lane,
We patter along in the dust again,
As light as the tips of the drops of the rain,

Out to Old Aunt Mary's!

We cross the pasture, and through the wood
Where the old gray snag of the poplar stood,
Where the hammering “red-heads” hopped awry,
And the buzzard “raised” in the “clearing” sky,
And lolled and circled, as we went by

Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

And then in the dust of the road again;
And the teams we met, and the countrymen;
And the long highway, with sunshine spread
As thick as butter on country bread,
Our cares behind, and our hearts ahead

Out to Old Aunt Mary's.

Why, I see her now in the open door,
Where the little gourds grew up the sides, and o'er
The clapboard roof. And her face-ah, me!
Wasn't it good for a boy to see-
And wasn't it good for a boy to be

Out to Old Aunt Mary's?
And O my brother, so far away,
This is to tell you she waits today
To welcome us:-Aunt Mary fell
Asleep this morning, whispering, “Tell
The boys to come!” And all is well

Out to Old Aunt Mary's.


Will Carleton.
Well, when I first infested this retreat,
Things to my view look'd frightful incomplete;
But I had come with heart-thrift in my song,
And brought my wife and plunder right along;

I hadn't a round-trip ticket to go back,
And if I had there was no railroad track;
And driving East was what I couldn't endure:
I hadn't started on a circular tour.

My girl-wife was as brave as she was good,
And helped me every blessed way she could;
She seem'd to take to every rough old tree,
As sing'lar as when first she took to me.
She kep' our little log house neat as wax,
And once I caught her fooling with my axe.
She hadn't the muscle (though she had the heart)
In outdoor work to take an active part;
She was delicious, both to hear and see,-
That pretty girl-wife that kep house for me.

Well, neighborhood meant counties in those days;
The roads didn't have accommodating ways;
And maybe weeks would pass before she'd see-
And much less talk with-any one but me.
The Indians sometimes show'd their sun-baked faces,
But they didn't teem with conversational graces;
Some ideas from the birds and trees she stole,
But 'twasn't like talking with a human soul;
And finally I thought that I could trace
A half heart-hunger peering from her face.

One night, when I came home unusual late,
Too hungry and too tired to feel first-rate,
Her supper struck me wrong (though I'll allow
She hadn't much to strike with, anyhow);
And, when I went to milk the cows, and found
They'd wandered from their usual feeding ground,
And maybe'd left a few long miles behind 'em,
Flash-quick the stay-chains of my temper broke,
And in a trice these hot words I had spoke:
“You ought to've kept the animals in view,
And drove 'em in; you'd nothing else to do.
The heft of all our life on me must fall;
You just lie round, and let me do it all.”

That speech,-it hadn't been gone half a minute
Before I saw the cold black poison in it;
And I'd have given all I had, and more,
To've only safely got it back in-door.
I'm now what most folks “well-to-do" would call:
I feel today as if I'd give it all,
Provided I through fifty years might reach
And kill and bury that half-minute speech.

She handed back no words, as I could hear;
She didn't frown; she didn't shed a tear;
Half proud, half crushed, she stood and look'd me o'er,
Like someone she had never seen before!
But such a sudden anguish-lit surprise
I never viewed before in human eyes.
(I've seen it oft enough since in a dream;
It sometimes wakes me like a midnight scream.)

Next morning, when, stone-faced but heavy-hearted, With dinner-pail and sharpen'd axe I started Away for my day's work, she watch'd the door, And followed me half way to it or more; And I was just a-turning round at this, And asking for my usual good-bye kiss; But on her lip I saw a proudish curve, And in her eye a shadow of reserve;

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