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Title: The Master of Life
Date of first publication: 1908
Author: William Douw Lighthall (1857-1954)
Date first posted: September 25, 2015
Date last updated: September 25, 2015
Faded Page eBook #20150923

This eBook was produced by: David Edwards, David T. Jones & the Online Distributed Proofreading Canada Team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net


The Master of Life


A Romance of the Five Nations

and of Prehistoric Montreal






Author of "The False Chevalier," etc.





    Entered according to Act of the Parliament of

Canada, by The Musson Book Company, Limited, in the

year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eight,

in the Department of Agriculture.


Book I.—Tiotiake.

Chapter 1.The Feather1
Chapter 2.The Feast of Harvest13
Chapter 3.Fire in the Forest42
Chapter 4."Where They Make Axes"59
Chapter 5.The Siege76
Chapter 6.The Vision of the Gods93

Book II. —Onondaga.

Chapter 1.Atotarho, "The Entangled"113
Chapter 2.Hiawatha's Fast130
Chapter 3.The Message of the Gods140
Chapter 4.The Rainbow and the Lightning157
Chapter 5.The White Beaver166
Chapter 6.The Reign of the False Face174
Chapter 7.The Flight of Hiawatha190
Chapter 8.The Beginning of the League200
Chapter 9.The Cherokee Captive210
Chapter 10.The Mohawks Coming218
Chapter 11.The Ghost227
Chapter 12.Atotarho Fights the Black Ones237
Chapter 13.The Bewitchment of Atotarho245


The Child of the GhostFrontispiece
The Death of Black Wolverine84
The Arrowmaker106
Beside the Spring198
The Passing of the Prophet257









This is a story of woods and waters and prehistoric scenes. Hiawatha was the founder of the famous League of the Five Nations, or Iroquois. (The "Hiawatha" of Longfellow is a different being.) The Iroquois were a town-building people. The view is here adopted, that, as between the five Iroquois tribes themselves, he was originally a Mohawk, who spent some years in Onondaga and afterwards returned to his own "nation." Field scholars now identify the Mohawks with the Hochelagans, who had been driven out from the Montreal country by Algonkins, assisted by Hurons of the West, shortly before the formation of the League. The description of their town, Hochelaga, by Jacques Cartier in 1535, and its subsequent disappearance, is one of the most fairy-like tales in history. The present book is an attempt to picture the strange ideas of the Red Man's mind, life, and melancholy. It is an aboriginal romance, without a white man in it. The Indian is here represented in the chivalrous and reverent side of his nature. To understand his philosophy it is necessary to remember that he was a mystic; yet he believed one thing firmly,—that the whole world of objects was living: nothing to him was inanimate: he himself was but part of a living world, and so were his dreams. And that world had one exquisite and incomparable quality to him in its state of perfect nature—its beauty.

W. D. L.

The Master of Life


The Master of Life—A Romance of the Five Nations and of Prehistoric Montreal


The stag was brought forth. Well rested but anxious-eyed, he was held with thongs by two men of splendid brown skins, some thirty paces in front of where the chiefs sat, along the trail leading into the forest.

Hiawatha and the Black Wolverine, the young champions of their respective nations—stripped of all but belt and loincloth—bent forward ready for the race, their bronze sinews and muscles gleaming and their faces shining with the smile of contest. Their mothers, seated near by, watched them silently but intensely, their faces shaded by their robes. The thousands of both tribes present bent forward, too, especially the young braves, all pent and tense as full drawn bows. They regarded the stag as a cousin—a man in the guise of a stag.

He was quietly slipped off his thongs.

As soon as the chief of the white-breasted tribe felt the lightness of freedom, he drew in one quivering breath through his silken black nostrils and with a lightning bound darted, as if through the air, into the woods. A single scream leaped from thousands of throats and the two runners shot after him. Their task was to defeat the very symbol of fleetness—to run the stag down!

The Sun, the Chief of Chiefs, passing high in the west, looked full upon the contest and rejoiced.

The stag had the whole green forest before him, covering the forty square leagues of the Island, but all knew with native certainty that he would follow some one of a few runs only—for at the commencement the Great River was on his left hand and the Little River on his right; and the smoke-scent of habitations along the Great would drive him to choose the side of the Little; and thus they reasoned for other parts of his flight, for they knew the Sacred Island Tiotiaké better than he a stranger. Hours passed and the two runners still fled after him, catching at rare intervals a glimpse of red and white hindquarters amid the distant green shadows and being left miles on miles behind again, to be guided only by their unerring nostrils and eyes. The marvel of human endurance was yet to be shown. So, the quill-embroidered ends of their loin-cloths streaming behind them, we leave them running, and increasing in swiftness. After the start, the people returned from the forest to the weedy point, where the Little River ran into the Great, or, as it was mostly called, the River of the Master of Life, for the Master of Life dwelt under its majesty of vast waters and his voice could be heard continually speaking. No other river was so wide or so great. Multitudes of ruddy bark canoes bearing strange insignia of eyes and suns and beasts were drawn up on shore as far as the eye could see, and many smoky-topped wigwams of pictured skin were near them, many black-edged pots, sunk in sand beside many little fires, and among the cornfields which held up their tasseled heads over some sixty acres at a little distance off, seven immense, round-topped bark houses stood, each the home of several families of the Men of Men, whose chief town, Hochelaga, was a crow's flight inland. Looking up the shallow gravels of the Little River, the visitors saw the grasses and scrub willows of a marsh whose limits were lost in outlines of distant forest.

Why were all these thousands of the dwellers in wigwams and the dwellers in houses now assembled?

Every year, at full moon of cornharvest, the people of the Northern Lights—scattered hunters of the woods—came in from their fishing haunts by many far off lakes, to meet the Men of Men, the polished race of the town, here where the Pine of Peace, standing alone on this point, dominated for miles the view up and down the River of the Master, and now dwarfed the whole assembly of both tribes into pigmies by its mighty, rough-ribbed girth and straight rise of the height of thirty braves. And here on the fragrant brown needles beneath it the gifts of both nations were laid, a pile for each band, and the council fire was made ready. There the strangely-painted Sachems of the Wilderness sat down in a wide semicircle on the side towards the river, and behind them their braves, and behind these the multitude of their women and children; while on the side towards the land sat the statesmen and warriors of the Hochelagans, and behind them their women and children. It was easy to distinguish the two races, if only by their ornaments and feathers, for those of the Nation of the Town were rich and well-made, while those of the Wilderness were clumsy and scant. A long and solemn silence was their first tribute of respect to each other.

Awitharoa, Peace-Chief of Hochelaga, at length rose, lit the fire of hospitality, and, lifting the brilliant-feathered Calumet between his outstretched hands, presented it first reverently in turn to the gods of the East, the South, the West and the North, passed it to Nikona, the oldest of the People of the Northern Lights, and, facing the assembly under the boughs of the Pine above them, addressed the guest tribe:

"People of the Night-dawn!"

He checked his utterance. A muttering roll was heard in the sky. A high-piled cloud appeared over the woods, advancing rapidly eastward. In it all saw some vivid portent. The Algonkins discovered it as the mighty bird, the Ahnemeekee, fraught with magic and mishap, flashing its eyes and clapping its great wings together. The Men of Men beheld the glorious form of their Uncle the Thundergod, wrestling overhead with the Stone Giants. In each detonation they heard him smiting them with loud-resounding blows. Neither nation moved or spoke, but the former bowed their heads and the latter held themselves erect.

Then Awitharoa recommenced:

"People of the Night-dawn, be not afraid. We are the Nephews of the Thunder.

"It was our Uncle who spoke, who approves of this our meeting. Our Father the Sun is also on high. The gods are with us.

"People of the Night-dawn! Our forefathers met yours here when they first landed on the Island before the memory of any of the living, and this Pine, which then was young, was chosen as the everlasting meeting-place. They cut upon it our Bear; they cut upon it your Rabbit; and these totems have now grown together. The Pine was then small: it has risen to the sky, and its roots are fixed in the country below the earth. That it may never be cut down I give to each of your head-chiefs a belt embroidered with a pine-tree."

"Hoh! Hoh!" all the Algonkins ejaculated approvingly as he placed the shapely belts on the mat before him and continued:

"Your feet are torn by the thorns of the journey ye have come. That you may forget the thorns and the cold and have incense for sacrifice, I give you this asogun, the noble crop not raised by women, but by warriors." He pointed to a great heap of fragrant Indian tobacco.

Awitharoa as he spoke moved about with dramatic gestures, according to the custom of their oratory. Thick-set, but all muscle, was the Peace Chief, with small hands and feet, mighty neck cut with deep wrinkles of seasoned power, a face also cut with a mass of sharpened wrinkles made by weather rather than age; a dark metallic complexion; eyes so keen that they seemed to see into the bones and heart—a man so generous that his own poor shreds of clothing told the people of his many gifts to others.

"Your eyes have been dimmed in winter by the demon Famine," he continued, as he walked about under the tree. "We make them clear by this mountain of maize, into which the Chief of the Sky has put his beams, in eating which you will take the Sun within you to drive the clouds from your sky and that demon from your wigwams.

"You have been tracked in the wilds by the black Windigos who live upon the flesh of men, by demons of waterfalls, of mountains and of dark ravines. I give you for protection these cunning amulets of black stone, the art of which the Men of Men were taught of old by our Uncle the Thunder, of whom all Windigos are afraid.

"People of the Northern Lights! my nation and yours are one house. Whenever you are hungry come into our doors and sit down by the fires; our women will bring you corn; they will spread you mats; we will pass you the pipe; you shall see through the smoke of it your mother and brothers."

"Hoh! hoh!" replied the Algonkin chorus, the people eagerly eyeing the gifts.

Nikona, their patriarch, walked to the orator's place as Awitharoa sat down. A fierce energy lit the eyes which looked out between his bent shoulders; it held together his palsied frame, and stamped the dark face, wrinkled in many folds.

"Our people know not crops nor crafts," he said in a voice shaky with age, but not weak.

"We are not as yours, who can make palisades and houses, and amulets: ye are a wonderful nation. But this our country is large; it feeds thousands of deer, and there are none like the Algonkins in the killing of stags. I give you, then, these many pelts of buckskin which will make leggins and moccasins for your women to embroider, and here is fawn skin for white pouches of braves and for your feet at the dances. Our swamps are fat with nations of beaver, and as we slay them we tell them their skins shall be beds and robes for our friends the Nephews of the Thunder, and then they die gladly. Therefore, Nephews of the Thunder, I give you this hill of beaver-skins. Also for the warriors I give these bark parcels of war-paint from the lake where the Bright One placed it—Onomening. And from the shore of the mighty Salt Lake we bring you these strings of shell wampum which is precious. Hang it in the house of your Council that it may say to you whenever you are gathered together, 'What is more beautiful than peace.' And to thee, Awitharoa, I give this axe of the sharp green copper we have brought from the Sorcerers of the Sunset. It is full of magic for cutting of trees and slaying of foes."

"Hoh! Hoh!" all the Hochelagans responded. "Hee-a-hee-ee-hoh!"—because of the pearly sheen of the polished wampum and the red shining of the axes.

Other orators having spoken, until the Sun had passed far down towards his Red Tepee, the two divisions of the assembly thronged forward together to the partition of the presents. The Algonkin women were already loading the first portions on each other's backs for removal to the canoes, when a shout echoed and re-echoed in the woods just across the Little River.

The women threw down their loads of maize and tobacco, braves hastily ran for their bows, the chiefs and great warriors disdainfully looked round, and all, as by one movement, faced the opposite bank. They saw issuing from the trees along it the stag. But how changed! No more a chief in mien, he tottered towards the water, a red-streaked froth dripping from his lips, his tongue hung out on one side, his eyes were dull, his nostrils quivered with fear, broad stripes of perspiration moistened his sides, and his failing limbs struck against one another. Another moment and young Hiawatha sprang out, dishevelled and red, not fresh as at the start, but withal like a man who has labored yet is fit for his labor, as with a final burst of speed he leaped down the slope, and catching the horns crushed the forehead of the deer with his stone axe, and it dropped with a loud groan. Another blow, and the creature, breathing a deep sigh of final effort, passed out of life at the water's edge. The youth, all shining with perspiration, his hair fallen from its fastenings, his face flushed, his chest heaving for breath, and his eyes brilliant with triumphant excitement, faced the multitude, waved his axe, and uttered the piercing "Ko-weh" of victory. Man had outrun deer. Not only had he outrun him, but by a refinement of skill, had compelled him to end his career at a given spot!

Nor had game ever any audience more able to appreciate and enjoy it. The Algonkins, it is true, regretted that their champion had not won this year's contest, but as they had been victorious at several previous meetings, they were willing to give way to the admiration of the moment; on the other hand, the Hochelagan youths and boys screamed and screamed their congratulations; their women wept with joy, and waded into the water to take charge of the stag. Hiawatha's mother, Onata, sat, bright-eyed, within her shawl, and Awitharoa, coming down to the waterside, invited the victor, who now sat modestly upon a boulder near his victim, to cross, and when he did so, took a red-tipped eagle feather from his own head-dress and placed it in the youth's hair to be worn all his life thereafter in feast and war. Long afterwards the Hochelagans remembered the first wearing of this feather in tragic and momentous experiences. But none of them dreamt even then that it was to affect, as it did, the history of the whole world.

The stag was speedily stripped of its hide by the women, brought over and arranged for broiling, and during the preparation of the feast the dance of peace was started under the Pine. It was only then that the Black Wolverine wearily emerged from the forest, angrily waded over to the tree, and, refusing to utter a word, sat down apart on the bank of the River of the Master, steadily following the red-tipped feather in Hiawatha's hair with a sullen fury which the Hochelagan women liked not.

["Beside the Up-and-Down," i.e., the Great Rapids—the oldest and present Iroquois name for Montreal.]


A few days later came the Maize-Harvest Feast at Hochelaga. All the night before the principal house of each of the three clans—Turtle, Bear and Wolf—rang with voices of women. For a maiden was being chosen and adorned by those of each clan to represent, or, in their thought, to be one of the Three, Beneficent Spirits in the Festival.

In the house of the Turtle, although discussion was long, it was not over the choice of their maiden, since all were agreed upon the orphan Quenhia, the child of the Ghost.

"What is the custom, O grandmother?" they enquired of the most venerable matron the white-haired Kâwi, The-Oldest-Woman-That-Ever-Lived.

"Our ancestors said: 'Ye shall choose the most beautiful,'" muttered the ancient Kâwi; and her decision was reverenced. And as no one thought of any other than Quenhia when beauty was the standard, they called the young girl to the side of Kâwi's fire near the sunset door of the house, and as she came up the long central corridor, the red light of the seven other fireplaces successively fell upon her, and the women sitting around them spoke pleasantly to her. When she came, the eldest matrons made way, and she stood among them.

"Yea," said garrulous Kâwi, "according to the tradition it was Adohasu the Beautiful who in times long ago was wooed by the youthful brave in his lodge in the forest. And at night, in the hour of dreams, he saw her flitting brightly out of the doorway and fleeing away with her wampum necklaces in her hands. And when he ran after her, she ran faster and faster, until his swift feet brought him near and he stretched out his hands and caught at her robe. But she raised her arms in her fright to the Moonmother. And Ataensic the Sorceress shone down upon her the light of ghosts, her feet became rooted in the earth with fear, her flying robes became long leaves, her hands and wampum beads became corn-ears, her hair became the tassels, the feathers in her hair became the corn-plumes. Then the young brave wailed and sat down to sing his death-song. But she said to him, 'Mourn not, my love, for now I am Osizy the Maize, who shall be thy friend and the friend of all thy race. I have two sisters, also friends, and together ye shall name us "Our Supporters."'"

Onata, Hiawatha's mother, threw a piece of bark on their fire, which flamed up, and at the same time pulled off Quenhia's deer-skin shoulder robe. The form of the girl, her softly moulded limbs and breasts were revealed in the crimson firelight, and what was more striking—her exceeding fairness and the delicate color of her cheeks and lips. The features also were clear-cut, sweet and spiritual.

"Verily she is Adohasu the Beautiful," exclaimed Kâwi.

"Thou art Osizy, the spirit of Maize, the daughter of the Sun," they told her, as they brought down from the pole shelves above the dress and ornaments which had been made. They placed upon her a sleeveless tunic of the rustling maize-leaves, which fell below her knees, girdled with a wide and figured belt as of wampum of varicolored corn kernels; armlets and garlands of twisted leaves fringed with the corn tassels; necklaces, bracelets and anklets of threaded kernels; they covered her head with the silken green tassel hair and crowned her with a head-dress curiously worked of plumes and kernels, and put in her hand a tall stem with the leaves still clinging and the top crested with the graceful flower.

Falling back to admire, they called upon the Sun and the Moon, the Turtle and the spirits of their ancestresses to come and be with her, and Adohasu herself to dwell in her.

Then all the matrons marching out with her under the light of the stars, across the broad square to the Council House, delivered her there to the Mystery Men, who solemnly received her, rattling their sacred rattles and beating their holy drums; and the matrons returned to the various houses over which they had the rulership. And when the women of the other clans had done the same, slumber fell upon the town.

Hochelaga, which thus slept silently under the stars, was walled about with a triple palisade in the form of a circle, lashed together with thongs of elm-bark. It was of the height of four warriors. The town had but one gate. Its open square in the centre, a good stone's throw across, was adorned with the painted Council House and the principal houses of the clans, and in its centre was the War-post, carved and painted with totems; the Turtle surmounting the Bear, and the Wolf below. Two thousand of the tribe slept in the many long and lofty bark houses with which it was packed. Intricate sandy lanes led here and there between these houses, some of which were more than fifty paces long. They were constructed of large squares of bark corded on a frame of saplings, an opening being left along the top for a smoke exit. The fires were on the ground down the centre, while partitions and sleeping platforms were made of poles on either side, where families slept. Corn-ears and other food were hung and stored on the light rafters above. Such houses were enlarged from time to time by adding to their length, hence in after times the Men of Men were called the People of the Long House. The dwellings were grouped into three wards, containing the houses of the Three Clans, each ward separated from the others by a wide street. The town stood on a slight elevation between two creeks, surrounded by its maize fields, which merged irregularly at the edges of their circle, into the surrounding woods. A broad trail about a mile in length led through the forest to the river. Behind the place was the mountain, towering in dusky mystery now, but by daylight a magnificent surge of living woods.

Next morning, at the earliest dawn, the chiefs of the Men of Men were seen sitting in their order before the Council House, looking silently towards the east. Opposite them, over oak woods which stood up sharply against the glowing horizon, the Red Chief of the Worlds Above and Below was appearing out of his Lodge Door. He gazed at them as he climbed up into their country, and while they watched him Hiawatha, newly entrusted with the honor and wearing his red-tipped feather, built a small sacred fire. Awitharoa lit it and diaphanous smoke was blown eastward towards the horizon, through the crystalline air. They were met to render the first thanks to their Father the Sun for his gift of the harvest. The first arrow from the rim of his bow shot in a flash of red-gold fire across the plain and flooded it with color. The council rose and bent their heads. Awitharoa, advancing to the fire, drew from an embroidered pouch a sacrificial offering of sumac bark and cast it upon the flames, and as the incense was wafted towards the splendor in the east, he prayed:

"O Host of the Warrior dead! Before thee we are smoke as thou art fire. Upon our soil thou hast poured thy shining arrows. They have risen through the stalks of the living maize and to-day we shall gather of their brightness to light our hearts during the darkness. Accept our thanks for corn and game, for fish and fruits, for thy child the fire, for thy long spears in the woods that slay the serpents of dark places, thy shield that chases the night. Continue, to listen, O Red Chief of men and spirits, our Ancestor!"

Even as he spoke the people had assembled. The figured mat at the door of the Council House, was pushed aside, and forty Mysterymen in masks and fantastic costumes ran forth. Some wore upon their backs and heads the skin and antlers of the elk and moose, some those of the wood-buffalo, some the huge pelts of the black bear, with its claws over their hands, the masks of some were black and marked with stripes of white or red, others were brown or green, with staring eyes of inlaid shell and mouths twisted up at one side, and in the hands of each was a hollow rattle of tortoise-shell or carved wood filled with dried beans. As they issued they danced a chant to the Chief of the Sky, and having reached the centre of the square, the disguised figures squatted on the grass in two rows facing each other, rattling and still chanting. They were no mere disguises. To take a shape was to be that thing.

"Listen!" they sang in wild chorus,—

"Listen, daughters of the Sun!

"Maize-maiden! Bean-maiden! Squash-maiden!


"Sitting at the town-gate, Maize-maiden,

"We have seen you in the moonlight flitting amidst the tasseled fields,

"We have heard you rustle your folds

"As you passed among the maize—the feather-crested warrior maize,

"The maize, generous and haughty as chiefs, holding in its hand the gift of our Father the Sun to his children.

"There, O Bean-maiden, we have seen you bend and twine around its stalks your vine,—the vine that brings to our children the fair white food, from your father the Bowman of the Blue Land.

"We have seen you, O Squash-maiden, also,

"Conferring with your sisters in the moonlight,

"Keeping away the black blight from the cob, and the worm from the root and the bear that eats the crops in the gloaming,

"And weaving of golden threads your golden flowers,

"And shaping of golden clay the jars that hold your life-sustaining fruit.

"O Three! Come forth!

"Keep watch!

"Come forth and let us worship! Come forth!"

At the loud and long-drawn all-together of the last "Come forth!" the thousands of watching eyes turned from the Mystery Men to the Council House. The mat which constituted its door, woven in colors with the figure of a Thunderbird, trembled, was lifted, and from it issued the Spirit of the Maize. Following the Maize-maiden came the other two Spirits invoked. The three figures slowly advanced in a measured step towards the Mysterymen, halting, swaying their arms, entwining them in loving embraces, and looking this way and that as if in surprise.

Low exclamations passed among the women.

"They are the most beautiful ever chosen!" exclaimed an old one.

The Spirit of the Bean was covered with the leaves and tendrils of her vine; the Squash-spirit with her large leaves and yellow flowers; but Quenhia was decorated, as we saw, in devices of the corn-plumes and corn-tassels, and wide armlets, a belt as of wampum and several necklaces made of the golden grain; and at different changes in her dance she threw kernels from a pouch towards the people.

No sooner had the three reached the Mysterymen than all the hundreds of young women around the sides of the square ran forward, surrounded the Spirits, raised their arms on high, and commenced a measured dance. The matrons followed, forming a circle of their own, and singing their own chant to the same step. A little later the young men formed their circle, and in time all but the oldest were engaged in invocation to the daughters of the Sun who thus had come among them from the sky. Then, with the chiefs at their head, the population marched in order out of the gate, following Quenhia to the fields, where to the songs of the Spirit-maidens, the procession of women spread out into a wide army of workers and entered vigorously upon the harvesting, and heaps of corn and squash began to delight the warriors who, arrayed in their festal ornaments, sat in numbers on the slope before the gate shaping pipes, mending nets and bows, chaffing, and overlooking the busy fields.

Awitharoa, standing within the top of the town wall, on its platform of defence, above the gate, surveyed them. The sun was well risen, and the brilliant moving scene before his eyes, with the forest fringing it round, had a great fascination in that land where men were so few and solitudes so complete. The Peace-Chief delighted in the numbers and comfort of his people. No poor and no greed nor avarice were known here. These fields belonged to no one proprietor: their fruits, the product of the united labor, were the common property of all. None could go hungry while a handful of corn was to be found in Hochelaga. The aged, the brave and the wise were looked up to, but otherwise all were equals as a single family and old and young were all to Awitharoa his children. He called Hiawatha. The young runner sprang up the nearest ladder to his side.

"Hochelaga is a happy people!" the Chief exclaimed.

But even as he began to speak his voice dropped.

"Hearken!" The Peace-Chief did not alter his expression a tittle, but Hiawatha, following his glance towards the woods, saw six young Algonkins in hunting gear advancing in file by the trail which led from the river. The Black Wolverine was their leader, and both Hiawatha and the Chief marked his furtive but prolonged glance at Quenhia as she sang—a glance like the gaze of the wildcat which has sighted an oriole. Yet his countenance was watchfully expressionless as he approached the nearest Hochelagan warrior, holding out his clay pipe in token of friendliness.

In the evening, when the Black Wolverine and his companions were called into the Council House to state their errand to the chiefs, Hiawatha sat at his mother's fire in the House of the Turtle, on the door of which was painted, large and brilliant, the Turtle, their token. This was Kawi's house, for his great grandmother was the ancient Kawi, who, being a hundred and forty years old, was called "The Oldest Woman Who Ever Lived." She sat opposite him, her watery eyes peering out of her little wrinkled face, and of the embroidered deer-skin shawl over her head, while she slowly smoked her queer reed-stemmed pipe, from which the black head on the bowl grinned at her great-grandson. Hiawatha's mother, Onata, bent near her, tending the pot of broth, a vessel whose flared edge and ornamental markings bore witness to her success in the woman's art of pottery. It was half buried in the ashes beside the fire and from time to time she dropped into it a red-hot stone, setting the pottage boiling from the inside. While she was cooking thus the line of fires extending down the house illumined here and there some similar steaming pot and its attendant, some group of olive-skinned maidens musically laughing over the day's work and procession, some knot of agile athletes smoking, while one recounted a bear-hunt; the kind Awitharoa entertaining children with fairy tales of the Stone Giants and the race of the Bodiless Heads; prankish boys and girls chasing about under the eyes of parents; and the watchful, beady eyes of many pappooses looking down from their gaudy cradle-boards hung on the end of nearly every partition. Wood smoke enveloped all in blue mist; deep shadows wrapped the recesses; moonlight peeped in on the corn hung along the smoke-slit in the ceiling, and the great Turtle, pictured in black, white and red, watched its descendants from each end of the long house. Onata was a highly honored name among the nation and clan. For was she not the mother of Hiawatha, the young hero. The son and his glory belong to the mother.

All at once old Kâwi's eyes sparkled and Hiawatha, looking around, saw Quenhia standing near.

"My child, sit down here; you do not eat with us often enough," said Onata, watching her pot. Going back between the platforms behind her, she drew from a shelf of poles a beaver pelt and placed it by the fire for the girl. As the latter seated herself Onata passed her arm over her shoulders most tenderly and added, "Everybody must be the orphan's mother, beloved little one."

Quenhia looked at her and smiled. It was a happy life to be an orphan in Hochelaga. Onata ladled the first of the pottage for Hiawatha into a carved bowl of basswood. She served Quenhia, the guest; then Kâwi: "The custom of the Mothers," she said—"The men before the women; the guests before the household; old before young."

"Where is your stag-skin?" Quenhia laughed to Hiawatha. "How does it feel to be a chief?"

"The skin is soaking in the brook," put in Onata. "I am making him a shirt of it."

"Let me come and embroider it with you," the orphan cried. "I will put on a figure of a man with a long feather."

"Dress not a crow in eagle's clothes," Hiawatha retorted.

"Here," Quenhia said, raising something on her spoon, "here is one of the ankle-bones in my pottage."

"Then wait," croaked Kâwi, "the slayer must say the invocation."

Hiawatha bent his head. "O Stag," he said gravely, "bear me no ill-will for slaying thee: it was for the glory of my tribe. Graze in endless peace with thy people in the forests of the Land of Souls."

"When you are a great chief, Hiawatha, when you walk sternly among the warriors, do not forget your little sister Quenhia. When I saw you go up to the council-place this morning it seemed as if I had lost my brother."

"Fear not, my little one," returned the hero. "Let us go out and sit at the brookside and listen to the Voice of the Night."

"Go, lose not the beautiful moonlight," exclaimed Onata to her, lifting another hot stone into the pottage.

The orphan and Hiawatha rose to go.

"Beware of the Men-eating Ghosts Beware them, thou who art their child, for they will claim thee," croaked Kâwi.

The youth led Quenhia by the hand out of the house, through the town gate and eastward by a path across the cornfields, until they sat down under a spreading butternut tree which leaned across the little glen of the east brook. Both were full of inherited love of and insight into the matchless music and the matchless art of Nature. They looked up and saw the round moon's light break in melting brightness on the branches and thin black leafage of the butternut, against the liquid sky above. They heard the soft song of the stream splashing gently down the slope. They heard from the fields and woods the concert of the ever-replying cicadas, the shrill pulsating myriad crooning of the crickets and the sweet treble of the treetoads; all singing together to Ataentsic, the Moon-mother, in one harmony, of which some unseen one was leader; and all these voices were one—the Voice of Night.

Listening, with the incense of the forest in their nostrils, they kept intently still and were filled with happiness. Sometimes before they had sat thus listening the whole night through.

Enchanted, Quenhia sat. She rested her face against his arm and looked up.

"Thou art the mountain," she said, "and I am a little sumach tree on one of its ledges. What art thou saying to thyself? Does the mountain see far above the sumach?"

The young brave laughed.

"I was thinking how like the night is to a river, and the red dawn to a Mysteryman, and the sun to a victor in battle, and how quiet is twilight, and how pleasant are swift hunting and racing and archery and listening to the adventures of renowned chiefs; but more than all, how the greatest joy would be war. We of the Sacred Island are dishonored for want of enemies. In the spring I will give a feast to the young men, and call on them to follow me to the Town of the Rock,[2] and there we will form a party to take up the hatchet against the Toudamans, the enemy of the Stadaconas. In that way I shall bring honor upon our town, the mother and leader of the Men of Men."

"But, Hiawatha, will not the Toudamans come in return and kill some of us?"

"They will come, they will lie in wait for us among the islands and reeds, and along the paths of the woods, even up to the wall of the town—they will slay here and there some of our braves, but then we shall hunt them again and bring home the long scalps and the trophies—they shall be hung up on the poles before our lodges, and the fires shall shine upon warriors telling glorious deeds, and we shall be indeed men of men."

"But what of those that would fall, my brother, and would wander in the dark swamps of death?"

"Those that fall—or are tortured?"


"Yes, by fire—they will die singing their exploits and taunting the Toudamans."

"Thy thoughts are the thoughts of the Mountain, but I am only the little sumach. I hear the wailing of the women; the widows are many; the mothers have blackened their faces, and the virgins fear to go into the cornfields."

"Warriors must endure these things; to be men is first before all."

"And what," she gasped, "if the Toudamans should kill thee also in the woods or among the reeds?"

"Then the mother of Hiawatha will not be ashamed."

"She hath but thee."

"Yes," he mused, "me only."

"Tall brother," whispered Quenhia, "it is but the rustle of the sumach—perhaps honor prevents thee from listening."

"Speak on."

"The spirits, my people, whisper to me—they whisper to me, 'Peace.' My father the Spirit taught my mother that the Master of Life hateth war; that His Son is Lord of Peace; and that when wounded he smote not back, but was tied to the stake."

"How could so mighty a chief endure such shame?"

"It is the teaching of the Spirits."

Hiawatha fell into the deepest silence.

"The wisdom of spirits is wonderful," he said.

A bright light spread all at once around them, a rocket seemed to leap through the sky and six or seven meteors sprang over it in quick succession. Quenhia leaped up, hid her face, and caught at his arm.

"Ataentsic, the Sorceress! O we gazed at her!"

"Nay, be calm, little sister," returned he peacefully, "those were spirits of braves rushing to the Land of Souls."

"Many will die!" she cried. "Let us leave. O! I fear it!"

"There is no danger."

"Thou art brave: I am foolish, Hiawatha."

"Every little tree shakes in the wind."

"But mournful visions have come to me from my father's people the spirits." Then she added in sweet, far-off tones which vibrated many years in his memory:

"If I ask thee for something wilt thou give it?"

"Have I ever refused thee anything?"

"A white bead, then, from thy belt."

"White wampum is the token of lovers: I am but thy older brother, little one. We are of the same clan, between whom there can be no marriage."

"That is well," she said, "for my father taught that I must be holy to the Master of Life; but give me a single bead, my brother, to hang about my neck: when thou art absent thou wilt live in it to me."

The brave drew his knife, and, sawing off a pearly bead, gave it to Quenhia, who removed the corn-grains from a string of her necklace, and, replacing them by the bead, suspended it at her neck.

Suddenly he bent alertly and listened.

The Voice of Night hushed, in part.

"Hark! Behold!" he whispered, sharply nodding towards the field of corn-stalks stacked on their hills like Algonkin wigwams.

An indistinct shape was making its way across.

"A ghost!" she gasped.

"Elk!" he whispered, and she descried in the moonlight a heavy antlered stag which two does and a fawn were following. The stag paused and sniffed from corn-hill to corn-hill, while his companions nibbled the vines and weeds behind him. Raising his head, he trotted straight to the gateway. He stopped, sniffed as if in curiosity, and finally entered. The does and fawn, hesitating, huddled together, and whistled in fear, and as the stag did not answer, they whistled again, bewildered.

Hiawatha was already half way towards the gate, and in a few moments the clang of its bars came to Quenhia and she knew that the buck was a prisoner within the walls. Its companions darted back to the woods, and the yelping of all the dogs of Hochelaga could be heard. She fled to the gate in an agony of superstition. Every brave in the town sprang for his arms, war cries echoed among the houses and the elk fled towards the middle of the square—and disappeared!

Now, here was a marvel. The first dogs that rushed to the attack turned tail and stood howling; the jaws of the rest that rushed on after them met in nothing but an empty skin. The excited warriors who reached the scene found but a mangled pelt and head of antlers. The Mysterymen agreed that the spirit of a great brave had visited them in the form of an elk. The dogs were whipped off and the pelt dragged to Awitharoa. The old chief commanded fire to be brought. He examined the pelt closely by its light, which splashed and flickered on many awe-struck faces. Then he walked carefully over the ground where it had fallen, examining every blade and grain of sand, till a red gleam shone in some grass before him. It was green-rusted, slender, shapely—a copper axe. The Hochelagans had no copper. Moreover, the handle was carved in strange patterns.

Awitharoa stood still.

"This was no elk, and no god. This was two strangers—good hunters—mighty warriors. They came from the sunset: they must be followed—the matter is grave. Let the criers call the braves to Council and thither let Kâwi and the aged men be brought."

When the Peace-chief thus solved the problem the assembly marvelled that none else had remembered how the old traditions told that spies cover themselves like hunters with heads and skins of beasts and imitate their gait. But what skill, when the very does were made to follow the slayers of their master! The town fell into a ferment of excitement. The Council-house was speedily full; chiefs, matrons and warriors sat in their order; in the centre Awitharoa lit the fire, and they passed the calumet around. Firelight, shadows and faces made a wild scene. On a mat opposite the Peace-chief sat "The Oldest Woman That Ever Lived," little, wrinkled, white-haired, half-blind, feebleness itself, yet in some way mistress of the assembly. On each side of her was placed a very old man, so old in both cases that each was sightless and toothless.

Awitharoa explained the circumstances to her. She motioned for the hatchet. Hiawatha brought it to her and she examined it as closely as her emaciated hands would permit.

"I am the last of the children of the founders,—yea, the last. When I was a pappoose on the board, as my mother told me, we came out of the Land of the Sun. We see the bright edges of that land at the end of the day. There all was great. Great seas, that cannot be seen across were there, the greatest of woods, the greatest of falls, the greatest of warriors; and they dwelt in many towns walled like Hochelaga, and there were many cornfields and much red copper and red stone for pipes, the holy gift of the Master of Life. There was hunting of all beasts and fishing of all fish, and there were warriors wearing armor of cords and twigs and round shields, and warring constantly. Of that people sprang our forefathers, who dwelt in these towns and villages until the Holder of the Heavens said: 'Ye must build canoes and sail down the river towards the sunrise. I have made for you an island; I have made for you there the most beautiful country in the world, full of herds of deer and monstrous sturgeons and sparkling waters and lofty forests. For ye are the Men of Men.' Thus the Holder of the Heavens led us to this sacred Tiotiaké. We were but a little people, and our chief was Tekari the Eloquent—he of the double gift of speech, the ancestor of Tekarihoken, who is here.

"Now the totem of this axe, which it bears on its handle, is the Crane. It is the totem of the axe of my grand uncle that he brought from the sunset. It was lost in the Rapids when I was a child, but I knew it well in the house of my grandmother. This axe has been borne by one of our kindred who dwell in the sunset."

Exclamations, breathless and low, all around the Council-house, followed her words; and the old dame gave way with the fatigue of her effort, and fell into a stupor.

The two aged men feebly agreed with what she had said.

Fierce Iakonon, the War-chief, surnamed The Buffalo, next spoke. His head was shaven, except the scalplock; his long robe fell to the ground. Its upper part was edged with black bearskin, and upon it the feats and scenes of his career were pictured.

"Kinsmen come not at midnight in elkskins," he cried. "The laws of war are the people's safety, and the kinsmen that do this thing will slay us if they be not sacrificed in the fire. Let the swiftest runners seek their tracks and let all strangers understand well that it is best to keep far from our country."

Other speakers spoke briefly, and then Awitharoa resumed the matter:

"My children, our fathers said: 'Kindred must not be destroyed.' If the men be found ye must offer them the pipe and receive them by the fires; ye must share with them the pottage that is ready and pick the thorns from their limbs if they have travelled through brambles. But their trail must first be found. In the earliest of the morning, all the warriors who have taken scalps or led races must follow, and finding them, offer the pipe, for the laws of peace are the people's safety as well as the laws of war. But every night the gate-keepers must now keep watch by turns at the gate and along the top of the wall."

With this the Council separated, but the shock destroyed the sleep of all the households, Quenhia, trying to close her eyes, tossed tormented with the thought of Ataentsic, the beautiful Moonwoman, and of the rush of spirits to the Land of Souls, and heard "The Oldest Woman That Ever Lived" taking on to Onata in the waning light of the fire.

"No such trouble hath come," said Kâwi, "since the visit of the Men-eating Ghosts."

Quenhia clasped the bead at her neck and whispered an invocation to her oki the Echo.

"It is like it," continued garrulous Kâwi. "In the time of the orphan's grandmother came the Men-eating Ghosts to the town. They came from the Sunrise out of the Great Water in the canoes of the white clouds. Their faces were pale as snow, and it was by this that we knew they were the ghosts; but at first we took them for beneficent gods, for they brought thunder in their hands and lightning, and gave gifts and spoke softly. Their robes, their belts, their leggins, were not as of men; they were of skins of animals that live not on earth—some scarlet, some yellow, some like fresh charcoal; and many were sheathed hard like the beetles about their waists and their heads, and their sheaths shone like blue water. They had long knives of white copper, and spears of it, made by spirits, and small gods of stone like the sun. And they drank the blood of demons from cups of ice that did not melt. We received them at the river and brought them into the town and up to the top of the mountain and worshipped them reverently. The chief of the ghosts spoke many things to us in the language of the dead, healing also our sick by magic with his hands, for the dead know the secrets of sickness. He gave us gifts made by spirits, some of which I will show thee, for their beauty is great. But all these things were false and terrible, for afterwards the Peace-chief of Stadacona and some of his people were carried away by them, eaten, and never heard of again, and such was their intention toward us.[3]

"Some of the Stadaconans pretended they were White Men, but who ever saw men that were white unless they were dead; and no men have articles of such magic. One such was the lover of the orphan's mother—the father of Quenhia, and he drew her to him into the land of the dead. The Ghosts came once again, but the warriors, with charmed arrows and the Mysterymen with their masks, by the aid of our Uncle the Thunder, and the Echo, drove them away like a mist. Still, plague followed and slew many of our people the same winter, and some of the sick saw the pale ghosts in the night. Now these elk-men, see how they, too, will bring us affliction! This is my wisdom—to compare one event with another."

Then the voice of a crier pealed loudly through the House of the Turtle, like the wind on a stormy night, proclaiming the business of the six Algonkins, which was to invite an equal number of the Hochelagan youth to hunt bear with them beyond the distant Two Mountains.

Stadacona, now Quebec.

The visit of Jacques Cartier, in 1535.


Iakonon, the Buffalo! it needed not that any one should explain the name. The huge man, as he moved along the top of the wall in the gloaming, scanning each rock and bush without, and each lane within, where a stranger might have lurked, had something of the fierce large eye, the heavy neck and shoulders, the deep brown color and the forceful advance of the lord of the plains and woods.

His stone-headed mace of double size swung in his right hand, his bow with an arrow ready-fitted between the fingers, was in his left, and his face was streaked with white and red warpaint. He stopped as his glances caught a frenzied runner dashing from the woods down the lower slopes of the mountain from the southwest. He hailed the man as he drew near, and the latter, whose breath was spent, gasped a feeble "Ko-weh!"

The Buffalo started. Never before had the cry of war, uttered in earnest, been heard in Hochelaga. Generations of peace had accustomed the town to unbroken tranquility, and that tranquility had been ascribed to the favor of the Holder of the Heavens. Nevertheless Iakonon echoed the war cry in a scream that had the ring of a bellow. A band of thirty braves, sitting ready within the wall below him, answered it. Their cry was transmitted by others, and astonishment filled the place. Soon the top of the palisade was thick with figures brandishing bows, axes, spears, stones and clubs, and shrilling the "Ko-weh."

Iakonon raised his hand for silence and it was given.

"What is it, my brother?" he cried from the wall to the newcomer.

The exhausted man could only gesture back along the route he had taken. Iakonon waited for him to catch his breath, and noticed that blood was dried, in thick streams, down his arm and legs.

"At the lake——" he gasped at length, sitting down—then more freely, "the lake above the Great Rapid."

"Has some bear wounded thee?"

"Nay, chief—it was outlandish men."


These enemies of the Stadaconans had never reached the neighborhood.

"Nay, chief, they were not Toudamans. This night as I passed through the wood, by the lake shore, on the Long Point, I saw a canoe of elm-bark, of five paddles, in the bushes along the trail to our lodges. Two men slept under it, and one kept watch, sitting against a cedar. They had no fire. Their faces were painted, their quivers full of war-arrows. I covered myself with moss. I lay all night behind a fallen birch. Thus I watched them till, at the last of the night, two others came, running fast through the woods. Their faces were painted. And as I watched the men pushed out the canoe and paddled westward across the lake with all their strength. Then I ran along the bank and hailed them in the moonlight, calling, "Okanaguen?—Of what tribe be ye, friends?"

"One rose in the canoe, and saying, "Of the Bear tribe, thou coward!" drew bow, and sent an arrow into this arm, and the others derided me and paddled yet more swiftly across the lake. The speech of the men was strange for it was like ours, yet different, and I could not understand some words, but no Northern Light speaketh that language."

Iakonon saw that the two runners were the elk men.

"Thinkest thou men could catch them, my brother?"

"Such is not my opinion, unless they lay on the other shore of the lake."

"Had they corn or meat with them?"


"They must stop then, to hunt or fish. Away, braves!" cried he, leaping down from the wall.

"To the village of the Rapid for canoes! Take pouches of corn about your necks!"

Awitharoa had been listening. "Carry also your pipes," he said, "and see that ye disgrace not your people in hospitality any more than ye disgrace them in war."

The thirty braves, impatient to distinguish themselves, broke away in file for the lake. Their expedition proved entirely useless, for though they closely searched the opposite shores and many leagues of the water westward, they found not the slightest trace of the strangers and in the end it was whispered that after all these were spirits in disguise.

The many souls of warriors that Hiawatha had seen rushing through the night-sky were remembered, and women asked each other tremblingly what was in store for the nation.

The Black Wolverine watched these events very sharply. Why?

Awitharoa had named the six young men who were to hunt with the Algonkins. Hiawatha was included, for every one saw that the real object of the invitation was a return contest where the Wolverine would have a chance of recovering his prestige lost in the stag race. Not only had his pride been aroused by the defeat itself, but he could not bear the merciless chaffing of the wigwams. Nevertheless he now paid good-humored attentions to Hiawatha and made him a gift of two otter skins, so that the latter could not avoid the implied challenge. Nor would he; it would have brought his disgrace.

The Hochelagans assembled in a great crowd, and cried the bear-hunters success as they filed northward, clad in the scant array of the chase, their sleek forms looking, in the grace of their athletic perfection, like so many Doric warriors of the ancient world.

Quenhia kept her eyes on Hiawatha until the file disappeared among the distant trees. She foreboded all sorts of evils.

"Would that it were even for war instead of this!" she thought.

The glances of the Black Wolverine at herself were hateful enough, but she could not forget his resentful gaze at her "elder brother's" victory feather. So, to quiet her heart-beats she sought out Onata. She found her beside the clay-pit, at the west brook, making pottery. A mass of blue clay lay beside her, on a flat stone, together with a heap of pounded quartz. Onata had mixed portions of the two and worked them well together, had shaped a round-bottomed jar with her hands, flared the rim and formed two little ball-like projections within the edge to suspend the vessel by.

Quenhia sat down and began to mould a lump of the mixture into the form of a face. The matron understood her presence. "Little daughter," said she softly, proceeding to draw a pattern with a pointed bone on the rim of the jar, "it is not the part of women to show fear for sons and brothers, and therefore I went not to see my son depart. Before you were born we had many wars with the people of the Lake of the South Wind and of the Stony Mountains to the east of it. Every spring our braves sang their songs and went out on the path against our enemies. We women incited them to go, and if any held back we offered him our pots to boil, the gathering of wood, the hoe, and a woman's skirt—thus we told our scorn, unless he were lame, or old, or wasted with disease, or under age, or honored with wounds. And when the forerunner came announcing their return we went out to meet them, bringing them berries, cakes and their best apparel and their crowns of feathers, and sang songs of their valor, unless some of us had lost a son in the fighting, in which case the lamentation was first sung. That girl was happy whose lover brought a prisoner or a scalp, or wounds, or wore in his hair a new feather marked with the sign of some act of war. The tribe lives by brave women as well as by brave men, and the bravery of a woman is to give her men to war."

"If this were but open war!" Quenhia sighed.

"But the treachery of this barbarian will accomplish nothing. I have never seen the Men of Men beaten by such people. Hiawatha will prove himself ready."

"Still, if the Black Wolverine should take him unawares?"

"He will not take him unawares."

The statement relieved Quenhia much. Though she could not rise to the heroism of the matron, she could picture Hiawatha meeting the expected treachery and checkmating it. Yet as she went back to the gate Onata looked after her and murmured: "She is different—she is different. Even her steps turn not inward as she walks, like the pure race of the living. The nature of the dead is to be pale, slender, trembling, like the three-leaved lily of spring."

Five days later, one pleasant afternoon as her cheeks aglow and her tongue quick with the chatter of girls, Quenhia came merrily back towards the clearing with a score of the maidens who had been gathering beech nuts, one of them hushed the rest and listened. They heard a faint sound borne to them in snatches on the wind. They started forward and, a few yards on, stopped in a group to listen again. The sound was a man's voice chanting at a distance. The chant was a dirge. Was it some mourner beside a grave in the woods? There was no new grave, and no man mourned aloud in solitudes. They hurried to the open and saw the warriors issuing from the town and running towards a point where the trail from the north entered the clearing. Approaching this spot they saw a man sitting in the middle of the trail, facing the town, his countenance blackened with ashes and his head bowed upon his knees; and they made out, under the disguise of the ashes, the features of Keraronwe the swift runner, one of the five who had set out with Hiawatha and the Algonkins. He seemed famished and exhausted, and his countenance was drawn with woe, but not more mournful than the quaver of his chant, whose volume and despair rose as the people gathered.

"Tell me, mothers of Hochelaga, where are your children?

"Those that ye carried on cradle-boards, and that ran about your knees;

"That grew up like sapling oaks, the promise of all these forests;

"Whom your eyes delighted to follow in the ball game;

"Who were first in hunting, first in war!

"Mothers, where are your sons?

"Mothers, where are your sons?

"Maidens, where are your lovers?

"Ball players, where are your companions?

"Warriors, where are your nephews, your successors?

"Where is thy son, O mother of Shadekaronyes?"

The mother of Shadekaronyes shrieked. Bitter wailing rose from her and all the women of the clan of the young ball player, and amidst their grief Keraronwe continued:

"Where is thy son, Onata, mother of the Pine Tree, the pleasure of all the others."

A long wail went up from stricken Onata. A scream came from the lips of Quenhia. The women of all the Turtle clan added their wailing. A universal fierce lamentation arose and continued among all the people like a stormwind, and Keraronwe continued his chanting, calling upon mother after mother.

"Five is their number; the number of the travellers is five.

"They travel through the dark of the woods, and are weak for want of provision.

"On the long, long path to the west they go;

"Across the Dark River behind the sunset—

"To the villages of the departed,

"None will provide them with meal, nor with fire, wild plums, nor tobacco,

"Nor arms; but lost and weary they shiver and starve in the swamps.

"Across the Dark River they wend to the villages of the departed."

The report Keraronwe made to the chiefs was this: The evening after leaving Hochelaga the twelve hunters camped beside the fort of the Long Rapid of the Ottawa. As they sat around the fire the Algonkins grew boastful. The Black Wolverine told Hiawatha that he and his companions would show "the beaver-hunters" how bear were killed—a different play from running down deer. Hiawatha replied good-humoredly to every taunt. Next day the Algonkins, having first danced their bear-dance, invoking the bear-spirits to come and be slain, started out alone, but though absent all day in the hills, returned at night empty-handed. Two Hochelagans, however, found and killed bears, and a cow moose and two deer were among the spoil of their companions. The Wolverine was in bad temper.

The morning following the Algonkins made magic with their medicine bags, and set off swearing that to-night they would bring back a triumphant load. Hunter's luck was nevertheless against them, while the Hochelagans returned with great rejoicings, for they brought back the skins, paws and choice parts of four bears whom they had found together up a beechtree feeding on the nuts. The Algonkins met them with pleasant faces, accepted tidbits roasted for them by their rivals, and joined in jubilation. Hiawatha warned Keraronwe to be on his guard. The latter kept his ears open as long as he could after the others had fallen asleep. A few minutes doze had overcome him at last, when, on reopening his eyes he saw the six Algonkins standing, each with his hammer raised above a Hochelagan and awaiting a signal which the Wolverine was about to give, for the simultaneous blow. Their leader had chosen Hiawatha, and the hatred and delight of which his countenance was the mirror made him pause to enjoy the moment of triumph. The face of the nomad who stood over Keraronwe was turned towards his leader. In an instant Keraronwe, seeing that his arms had been removed, gave voice to a terrific shout, and, darting into the forest, fled for safety. The shout awoke some of his companions, but too late, for the crunch of the hammers and the groans he heard told him the conclusion. He saw Hiawatha start, being less deeply asleep than the others, but it was only to escape some of the direct force of the Black Wolverine's hammer and swerve it a little by his hand. A glance back when running showed the son of Onata, stunned and bleeding, stagger to the edge of the rocks on which they were encamped, reel and fall into the seething Rapid and sink, lost in its rushing waters. Keraronwe, pursued by the traitors, made speed to reach the Sacred Island, and now, approaching the town, sang his dirge.

The account fell upon the tribe like a stroke of lightning. The flower of their clans were destroyed and every one mourned a cousin, a brother, a son, or a lover. The women threw their hair out of braid into wild dishevelment, rubbed their faces with ashes, tore their clothing and sacrificed gifts to the dead. The chiefs were filled with silent sorrow and disturbed with the future consequences of the troubles, feeling their tribe surrounded as if by a fire of the forest. In view of the peace of generations with the Northern Lights, here was a beginning of reprisals and miseries, to an extent none could tell. An earthquake seemed to have rent their cornfields with a yawning chasm.

The avengers—the nearest males of kin—according to a custom from which it would have disgraced them to depart—wrought themselves to fury over the murderers. They ran through the village to the square shouting of vengeance, and each in turn striking the old war-post with his axe.

In the crisis the Peace-chief proclaimed a Lodge of Silence. At dusk the principal men of the town came into the Council-house, deposited sticks on the fireplace, and seated themselves, without a word, in their established precedence. The orators' mats were placed, the fire was lit, an offering of fragrant asogun was cast upon it, the great Calumet was passed from chief to chief, and then all sank into motionless contemplation. Many hours they sat thus, absorbed in thought, the flame of the fire illumining ring upon ring of intent and troubled faces, until, far on in the night, Awitharoa commanded the ancient liturgy of condolence to be sung to the bereaved families. He chanted the opening words:

"Children, we are met together this night. The Master of Life has appointed the time.

"We meet because of the solemn event which has befallen.

"To earth have they gone upon whom we were wont to look.

"Yea, therefore, in tears let us condole together."

The sachems intoned their portions of the rite; the warriors responded. Each hereditary chief sang the lines ordained for his ancestor. And the mourners found comfort in the holy words. Speakers then rose one after another. They condoled with the bereaved. They gave their advice on the emergency. The effect of the silent meditation showed in the weight of their utterances; passion was not absent, for all were full of grief; and revenge was determined, but their recommendations were solely for the good of the nation. It was agreed that messengers be sent to the Algonkin chiefs offering to meet them for discussion of the murderers; that a party be despatched with Keraronwe to bury the dead; that they should lay beside them gifts suitable for their journey to the Land of Souls; that the Mysterymen be counseled with as to pacifying the spirits; that the town be prepared against attack; and that runners be sent to all the hamlets along the river to warn them of the occurrence.

The country of the Men of Men is now known as the St. Lawrence valley; the Sacred Island Tiotiaké is Montreal; the River of the Master of Life is the St. Lawrence; the Lake of the South Wind is Lake Champlain; Stadacona, the Town of the Rock, is Quebec; the Man-eating Ghosts were the explorer Jacques Cartier and his company, who visited Hochelaga in 1535. The little band of stray Hurons who, generations before, had discovered these rich plains and waters had multiplied and extended their settlements to great distances towards the east and south. On the Sacred Island they founded, besides the population of the town, a ring of flourishing settlements around the shores, who fished, hunted and raised crops, in peace and plenty. A little above and a little below the Island they had villages, and then a gap of some eighty miles left to the Algonquin tribes the possession of their immemorial fishing-ground of Lake St. Peter and the Three Rivers. Lower down, near Stadacona, a string of seven unfortified villages was found—Hochelay, Tekenonday, Stadacona, Satahdin, Starnatam, and Ajoasté, interspersed with many smaller places, whose large fishing parties were wont to push for hundreds of miles into the Gulf. A population as strong had pushed across the great plain to the south-east of Hochelaga and up the river afterwards named Richelieu, making clearings and planting villages on the way and fortifying the strategic hills until they had established themselves in considerable number on Lake Champlain. The number of the race may perhaps be set at ten or eleven thousand, and all, though each settlement considered itself independent, were strongly bound by the tie of origin to Hochelaga, the head of the confederation. Awitharoa had all these souls upon his care in keeping the Algonkin peace.


"The Sacred Isle is full of spirits!" cried Tekarihoken, handsomest and youngest of the chiefs. "The trees speak now continually and the rocks beckon. Now in the Moon of Falling Leaves the spirit flames burn all over the land and every maple is a holy Daughter of Fire."

"Of a truth!" Keraronwe assented.

They sat together on the edge of the Mountain-top.

"They call us to the country of the Departed," Tekarihoken continued, "the Land of Life becometh beautiful as the Land of Death."

"Assuredly the trails of life lead into the trails of death," Keraronwe replied. "'Tis said the Bodiless Heads are seen by the women at the springs, Stone Giants pursue our hunters, and the Father of Bears is prowling at the Lake of Two Mountains."

"Then a warrior should not fear, but these others he should worship—the maples, the spirits of light."


"And how glorious is our mountain, in the midst of the host of flames! How wonderful from it appears the wide-stretching land of the Hochelagans!"

Glorious indeed was the Mountain of Hochelaga, crested with pines and clothed with most beautiful, deciduous trees. Its ridge was broken into two summits behind which a third was concealed, while dales embowered in leafage separated the three.

As the two braves looked down, the vast plain below them spread grandly away to the horizon and the River of the Master shimmered across it. To the Men of Men nothing was so beloved as their Mountain. From afar, as they hunted and fished, they looked to its low, blue elevation as the landmark. It was worshipped with camp-fire offerings and tribal rites of invocation; endless legends and winter tales of romance and sorcery attached to every precipice, dell and spring. Through its groves the boys clambered, the maidens roamed, the merry camps picnicked under this or that venerable patriarch among its trees—some oak, known from its shape as the Bear, or some monstrous elm named the Butting Buffalo. The watchers for returning parties looked out over the landscape from the summit, and sometimes climbed the towering pines to gain a wider view.

The point at which they sat was on the western part of the ridge and overlooked a plateau about a mile westward from the town, where, under the precipitous summit, the rocky shoulder of the hill exposed a large area comparatively open. This lovely and striking plateau[4] was known by the name of "Where They Make Axes"—a name whispered with awe whenever it was necessary to pronounce it, but never pronounced without utter necessity. For all over that neighborhood were found worn pieces of limestone strangely like arrowheads, hatchets, stone hammers, scrapers and knives, strewn about by thousands upon the soil and in it. The hand of mortal had never made these weapons: they were the work of a race of invisible beings dwelling within the Mountain, who strewed them here for the service of the Men of Men—some finished, ready to hack, scrape, or cut, others partly made and left for the warriors to complete. This was the reason of the awe and sacred speculation with which the reverent people whispered "Where They Make Axes." The haunted plateau was crossed with breathless approach and noiseless footsteps, and there, under the tutelage of such friends from the other world, it was thought fitting by many to bring their dead.

The two young chiefs caught sight of a figure flitting through the woods towards the plateau from the direction of the town. Keraronwe spoke to Tekarihoken, and he pronounced the figure to be Quenhia.

"She goes to the spirits!" he ejaculated, startled.

"They call her!" Keraronwe said, mournfully.

"Hiawatha calls her."

They gazed in sorrow as she sped along.

"She has changed, like the maples. Quickly she goeth to them. She is fairer every day, and the ghost is more plain in her. Light filleth her eyes and she liveth with the gods. Soon she will take the trail of the sunset and we shall see her no more."

And now she was crossing the plateau, and they perceived another figure sitting in a clump of young trees alone, whom Quenhia joined. It was Onata. The mother was wont to give way to her sorrow in this retired place.

That afternoon as Quenhia sought her among the tree-clumps, she heard a wailing, and saw her kneeling by two hawthorns digging in the earth, her implement a flat stone formed into a scoop by the spirits of the place. She had hollowed out a cavity some two feet deep by four long, in the dry soil, and was scraping the hard-pan below. The work had been laborious but it assuaged a craving to spend her energies, and her dark eyes were running tears.

Quenhia approached and called her by name. The matron turned and looked at her wildly, clasped the girl to her bosom and pointed to the excavation.

"This is his grave," she wailed, the tears flowing afresh down her cheeks.

Quenhia gave way and passionately returned her clasp, weeping as bitterly.

"This is his grave," Onata wailed again, "but where is Hiawatha?"

"My mother, O my mother! I must die!" Quenhia cried. "I must follow him on the long path."

"Not so," Onata answered, checking her gently. "Thou shalt live, for I have no more any sons nor any daughters. I adopt thee; I kiss thee, my daughter, for Hiawatha."

"I have made his grave," she continued, wailing, "I have brought for it the provision." She raised the lower branches of a hawthorn and disclosed a large pack, opened. There Quenhia saw collected every device of a mother's tenderness for the comfort of the dead. A bow and quiver, a knife and mace, his head-dress of feathers, his embroidered hunting-shirt which the mother's own fingers had made, his gay dress mocassins and pearly belt; and besides these a bag of sunflower seeds for travelling provision, a broken jar, a beautiful pipe and pouch of tobacco, dried beans and berries, meal, wild plums, war-paint. Onata took up a young bear's skin and lined the cavity with it. The grave was short because in the burials of their race the knees were drawn up to the chin and the body laid on its side.

"Lie thou here my son," she mourned.

Quenhia wept again. The mother placed the head-dress at the end where his head would have lain, his bow and his war-club along the side and with them his knife and quiver, beside them the food and other articles near where his hands should be, that is to say, under the chin. She surveyed the grave a moment.

"But, it is not Hiawatha," she lamented, and stretching her arms towards the tree-tops, lifted up her voice in unassuageable lamentations, while the tears of Quenhia splashed the leaves like dropping rain.

"Where art thou, my son? Come to me, my son!"

"Come out of thy hiding-place in the dark woods;

"Or tell me whither to go to thee; thither I will go and seek thee,

"Even into the Twilit Meadows, the Spirit of a Land, where all that is seen is of spirit,

"For the mother should be with the son: we cannot live separated; there must be one house and one fire;—

"Thou my son and thy mother; it must be death or life together."

Onata folded a robe of rare otter over the grave and with the help of the girl placed upon the top four large flat stones in the A shape to keep off wild animals, finally covering all with the soil by aid of her stone handscoop. She then planted a little white clematis near the head.

Lastly they two seated themselves, one on each side, and making a fire on the top of the grave, roasted a squirrel which the mother had snared, and they tasted, but could not eat—the feast of the dead.

So, both, overwrought with the same phantasy, sang a sad, sad call to the dead to return, which was chanted by mourners in Hochelaga; and they fancied they heard him faintly rustle the trees and answer.

From that time the women of Hochelaga remarked that Quenhia wasted more rapidly. They whispered more pityingly than ever the tale of her descent from the spirit—and the word went round that she was now being drawn out of life by the beckoning soul of Hiawatha. More and more her pale face grew celestial, until one night her soul gently floated away; and that night many people saw white shapes of the Men-eating Ghosts crowding around and above the House of the Turtle. Onata, going again to "Where They Make Axes," laid her body in the spot which she had chosen, close beside the empty grave of Hiawatha, amid the bare woods and misty smiling silences of the Indian Summer.

The party who went with Keraronwe to the scene of the murders returned reporting another serious fact. The bloody traces on the moss and rocks showed that the slain had been scalped; this was a sign of war declared.

The bodies themselves had disappeared, having been dragged to the edge and thrown into the boiling rapid. On hearing this a tenfold fury filled all the young men.

"Clan of the Turtle!" cried Tekarihoken, hereditary chief of the illustrious line of Tekari the Eloquent. "The law of the chiefs of old commands us to avenge our brother Hiawatha."

"Wolf Clan," cried Tree-in-Sky, of the Wolf totem, "the spirits of Shadekaronyes and White Eagle reproach us."

"Remember our slain brothers!" shouted the Wood-Drift to his fellow clansmen of the Bear.

A war-dance was started, weapons were furbished, crowds pressed around the arrow-makers, there was grinding of dolomite axes, polishing of iron-wood clubs, and sullen mourning for their lost brethren. In a few days, when Onata, having been respectfully left alone in her grief, had somewhat recovered her self-control, a stately file of young braves entered the House of the Turtle armed, painted, bucklered, shaven-headed and scalp-locked and completely arrayed for war. They approached the portion of the dwelling where she sat bowed within her robe, and, seating themselves around her, bent their heads and remained speechless, with eyes fixed upon the ground.

The young men patiently waited for her to speak. The stillness at last was broken—Onata sobbed.

"Mother," said Tekarihoken, softly, "behold, thy sons. We sit in darkness with thee, and by this memorial," reverently laying a belt of white wampum with black figures upon it on the ground before her, "we bury Hiawatha. None shall reproach us with remaining slothful in our sorrow, for we know what the ancestors command us, and our hearts go with their law. Receive this belt, showing six black men upon it, which signifies that the six snakes which strangled our brother, be already as dead. Mother, we wipe away the tears from thine eyes; adopt us." He bowed his head again.

Similar scenes were enacted in the households of the mourners among the Bear and Wolf Clans.

Now the chiefs and old warriors, when they saw this considerable movement of young men, could not but feel that their hot blood would bring the nation mischief.

Awitharoa called the Avengers together, and entreated them to await the result of an embassy he would send to the winter settlements of the People of the Northern Lights, in the hope that the older Algonkins might persuade the offenders to make reparation to the relatives of the dead. He appealed also to the patriotism of the Hochelagans not to bring down limitless woes upon the nation, and he promised that, should the embassy fail, the entire tribe would then unite with them as one man, in their work of retribution. The Chief entrusted with the delicate negotiation was the orator Dekanaweda, who at once headed a deputation to the Isle of the Torch, seven days up the River of Sunset. On his return, three weeks later, the people ran to hear him. He was a stately speaker and no detail of the scene of his address was ever afterwards forgotten. Even his raiment was remembered. His head-dress of rich-colored feathers stood erect and high above his head. He wore a robe of dressed deer-skin decorated with fringe at the edges. Around his neck was a long necklace of bears' claws, supporting a great breastplate of polished sea shell glistening in blues and greens. Fringed leggins adorned his legs, and mocassins of fine porcupine quill-work his feet. His left arm bore a round shield hung about with colored feathers. His right hand held his tall spear, with head of chipped flint, like a long leaf, and a handle adorned with colors and tufts.

His report was as follows: "Children of the Sun, we have conferred with the head men of the barbarians; they smoked our Calumet.

"The sun was clear and the scarlet leaves were on the trees. But on the second day there came a snake and the sun was obscured by his breath. In the night time this snake entered the lodges of the young men of the Northern Lights; their hearts became snake-hearts, and their poisoned breaths obscured the sky. The scarlet leaves fell from the trees, till the earth was the color of blood. The old men were left in loneliness with us till we parted in sorrow. We heard the war song, the hatchets' striking the post, and the speeches of the Snake, which were the words of the Black Wolverine. But the Wolverine himself was gone to the Three Rivers to dance the war-dance in the lodges of the many Algonkin fishers there. And in spring they say they will come here to Tiotiaké to dig at the roots of the Pine of Peace for the red hatchet buried there in the days of Tekari the Eloquent; the sky shall be smoke and the earth shall be blood, and we shall dwell no more upon the Sacred Island nor fish in the River of the Master, nor raise our corn; but our chiefs and warriors shall lose their finger-joints in the torture, our fair women shall become their slaves, and they shall boil our hearts in their pottage. So say these loutish barbarians. The forest is burning."

"Winter is almost here," Awitharoa answered. "Perhaps the snows will put out the fire."

"Not so," Dekanaweda returned, "for there is more to tell. There was that among the barbarians which we could not understand. It was the smell of a fire that had been burning there, but we could not tell of what kind of wood. At last the old Sachem Tessouat came to me and woke me, while others slept, to tell me of two strange men of the west, who had smoked with the young men of the village, having friends there of the far tribe of Nipissings, and that they are to bring down warriors against us out of the Land of Sunset in number like the saplings."

"Were these strangers the elk-men?" the Peace-chief asked.

"Such is my opinion." replied Dekanaweda.

Deep silence fell upon the Council. The eyes of the Avengers glistened like those of eager deer-dogs held in thong. It was not theirs to speak, for the young were seldom heard in council, but many furtive glances were cast their way.

"Let us have war!" vociferated the Buffalo.

As if the thongs were slipped, the war cry leaped simultaneously from the lips of all the Avengers. They rushed out of the lodge and, gathering in a ring, danced and sang their chants, and they fixed in the war-post a tomahawk painted red, ornamented with red feathers and black wampum, signifying blood and death. But an early fall of soft snow as deep as the hips checked the issue of war parties for the winter.

Five nights later, in the dead of sleep, the Great Drum began to sound, rousing every one by its solemn, rapid tones. Crowds poured out of the houses and started towards the Mystery Lodge, from the interior of which the sound proceeded. But the brilliancy of light that fell upon them as they flocked out, drew their eyes involuntarily to the sky, where so startling a pageant had transformed the firmament as caused all to tremble and stand watching. The whole sky was moving and circling in broad, waving ribands of color and light around a centre directly above their heads. The faint war dances of spirits—the Auroras—which they were accustomed to see at a distance in the north, were objects of ordinary enough occurrence and the shaking of the spirit lances was wont to cause at most a shudder and some small offering, but nothing so majestic, so terrible, so threatening, and awesomely beautiful as this brilliant menace moving above them was within the memory of any. So, standing in groups with the tinted light falling upon themselves and the snow, the Men of Men agreed with one consent that here was a portent of some tremendous event.

At last the brilliancy paled, the movements grew fewer, the centre changed and withdrew, dark returned and deepened, they heard again as if louder, the continued tones of the Great Drum, and by common movement they converged before the Mystery Lodge. They could not look within, but from the throat of the unseen Drum came the voices of the Ancestors, which had spoken in it for ages—voices sent thither by them from the far-off Land behind the Sunset to warn their descendants of impending disaster. It was few that had ever before heard its sound.

So, regardless of the nakedness of many of their bodies and of the severe weather, they sat down in the snow—a crowd of many hundreds—before the door, and listened to make out what the voices were saying. They listened and listened, while the Drum kept on in the darkness, and though none could claim to catch more than a confused word here and there out of the many-voiced babble in its tone, yet the solemn sound contained one unmistakable import, and chanted unbrokenly: "Warning of doom—warning of doom!" The Wood-drift heard it repeating "destruction and trouble and grieving"; the noble-born Tekarihoken found in it the voice of the by-gone Tekari the Eloquent himself, warning him of war; and, after a long time, Iakonon exclaimed loudly: "This portent goeth with the portent of the War Dance of the Spirits!" Then all thought again of the celestial conflagration and believed that it meant a death struggle with the People of the Northern Lights. When he said this the Drum ceased to sound.

Thenceforward Hochelaga was alive with preparations for a campaign, offensive and defensive. "Let the strong cords binding the walls be lashed more strongly," Awitharoa said to one party. "Let trees be hewn by aid of fire," he said to another. "Let the old palisades which have become rotten be replaced; bring heaps of boulders, place them on the platforms in readiness to be thrown upon the heads of the foes; put water-troughs to extinguish fires should the enemy set them; close the gate; guard it night and day; run, ye scouts, and scour the woods of the Island vigilantly on your snowshoes." In the evenings the veterans of former wars and distant excursions fanned the eagerness of the untried youth by narratives of peril and instructions in the customs of war. And some deputations from the Stadaconan villages or those of the Solitary Mountains were always arriving to bring news of hostile indications and to arrange for mutual signals and places of meeting.

Now Westmount Heights.


In the Moon of Sowing Maize the women one morning were pounding corn at the doors and chattering softly. The boys were shooting painted beavers with their toy bows and arrows. The chiefs were discussing public matters at one side of the square, and near them the Avengers were painting their faces and limbs for a foray.

A screech, long and terrible, froze the blood of all. So terrible a sound had never before been heard in Hochelaga. Onata, who in her disconsolation had been pacing the platform on the wall, was seen to throw herself down a ladder and rush in madness across the square. "The gate!" she screeched. The gate-keepers leaped and barred it; the Avengers caught up their arrows, and Awitharoa and the chiefs sprang up the palisade. The sight that met their glance was enough to throw the bravest into panic. Swarming out of the forest and dashing silently across the clearing, was an immense horde of warriors of a race unknown to the townsmen, but evidently both skilled in warfare and very numerous. They carried painted shields of hide surrounded with fluttering feathers, many wore breast-plates and greaves of corded armor, their faces were hideously painted, and brilliant spearheads and axes of red and green metal added splendor to their array. Even while they ran some discharged their arrows. Then the wave of attack suddenly dashed against the palisade in a surf of forms striking with axe and hammer and leaping up on the shoulders of their comrades to reach the top. The thunder of their onset shook the sturdy timbers and the din of their shouts of fury was like the many-voiced roar of some tempest-hurled cataract. From those behind a cloud of arrows rose and struck down on the bark roofs of the houses within. Awitharoa acted, from the first instant he saw the attack. The chiefs obeyed the rapid indications of his hand assigning their positions along the platforms far and near. The Avengers took their positions trembling and excited. Veterans hastened from the lodges and lanes, but the general mass of braves and women seemed to have lost their heads and were running helplessly about. Awitharoa's heroic moment was now. The bright mastery in his keen eyes, the clear-cut, scornful smile upon his lips, was so striking in contrast with the screaming storm of war bursting upon him that his little force caught a courage which rendered them formidable. He signed, and they bowed to permit the first cloud of darts to whistle past. A woman threw him a shield, but he hurled it out over the heads of the enemy. Bending, he signalled commands to the people gathering below, ordering up the men and sending the women and boys for more arrows. While he bent, though it was only a few moments, an ominous commotion of the palisade began. He looked over and saw mounting quickly against it a pyramid of men, the topmost aiding themselves by the slope of the timbers; and already a shaven-headed brave was nimbly reaching to the top, and others were preparing to run up the sides of the pyramid to his support—a moment more would give them a foothold on the wall, and the next might see the whole horde swarming over like the ocean through a broken dyke. The mass of invaders stopped and watched the pyramid.

Awitharoa grasped a granite boulder. But while he lifted it, a roar more animal than man was heard and The Buffalo, leaping, swung his stone hammer through the air and swept half the topmost foeman's head from the lower half, while the body trembled upon his supporters in the midst of a flood of gore.

The pyramid fell apart, snarling loud dismay, and as it did so Awitharoa hurled his boulder down upon the central mass.

His action was imitated with a scream of triumph by the Avengers along the wall, who snatched up the stones on the platforms and threw them with all their might upon the crowding climbers and hackers below. Again and again the pyramid was attempted, but the defenders, receiving accessions from the inspirited population, on each occasion broke it to fragments, until the storming parties drew off with sore and heavy loss.

A widespread duel of single archers followed, and then a contest of arrows, volleys and attempts by individuals to hack the wall. Many deeds of bravado marked the ensuing hours.

The Men of Men soon learned the strange fact that they could understand the speech of the enemy, and defied them by all kinds of taunts, which were answered with similar raillery. Swift Keraronwe ran along the wall the whole length of the line of battle, crying derisively to the attacking bowmen "Shoot better! Shoot better! Ye are sleeping, my friends!" Tekarihoken determined on a more daring adventure. He suddenly stood up and leaping lightly over the wall slid down it like a flash to the ground. The Hochelagans gasped and looked over. The Hurons—for the invaders were they—were also amazed and stopped to see the upshot; but deafening howls of rage went from them as Tekarihoken bent over two of those slain by the boulders and instantly cut off their scalps, and the hostile army rushed forward to annihilate him. Then it was seen that he had previously thrown over a pole, placing which against a niche of the palisade's top, he drew himself swiftly up and swinging his body over the wall flourished the scalps above in the eyes of the foe.

The Wooddrift was not so fortunate. In a similar act of bravado, he received an arrow through the ribs and fell over dead into the town, at which a wail rose from the anxious women and the exploits of the invaded were stayed for the day.

The Hurons on their part were not to be outdone. Again and again some ambitious brave would throw down his round buckler, dash up to the wall and dodge quickly along it through the shower of stone and arrows defying the besieged;—sometimes falling wounded or slain, and sometimes taunting as he died. Then his clan-brothers would run in and carry his body out of range, under such bloody punishment as they might be forced to endure; till the foot of the palisade, along the western side, was reddened with the hue of life.

The whole population of the town crouched either on the wall or just beneath it, anxiously looking for the turns of the conflict and ready to assist. The boys and old men brought arms and stones, the women water and provisions, girls kept the children quiet, under cover of the platforms, and a feeling of gravity and fear weighed upon all.

Once more a shout of alarm was heard. It was in the distance, on the opposite or gate side of the town and, looking, everyone saw one of the watchers on the east side of the wall making frantic signals for assistance. Awitharoa signed to Dekanaweda to take the command on the west where they were, and beckoning Iakonon, Tree-in-Sky and some others, he ran across to the new point of danger himself. It was a danger he had expected, but was none the less grave. On that side a horde of Algonkins were creeping slowly forward from point to point, irregularly and incoherently, masked, feathered and painted in all sort of outlandish stripes and spots, and following many chiefs, without reference to any common plan. Yet one—the most outlandish of them all in the vanity and elaboration of his bur headdress and array—had put himself well in front. He was The Black Wolverine.

The tactics of the Northern Lights were different from those of the Hurons; they did not expose themselves nor storm the wall, nor perform any concerted manoeuvre; but creeping behind the inequalities of the ground, the large cornhills and the heaps of last year's stalks, they shot in chance arrows, and kept up a din worthy of demons—thus they hung about like thousands of coyotes sharply watching for some neglected point in the defence. Not very dangerous in themselves as besiegers, they were greatly to be dreaded should the Hurons make a breach. So Awitharoa ordered up some of the common people and women to hold them in check.

The Black Wolverine came forward, dancing a fantastic step. His jeer was more hideous from the stripes across his face. From time to time he uplifted in his left hand a black streaming object which all divined to be the scalp of one of the hunting-party, and as he came along he exulted over that exploit.

"Place a sure arrow in thy bow, Iakonon," said Awitharoa to the Buffalo; "this fool hath not seen thee drive it through the moose."

The Buffalo smiled as the mighty muscles of his arm and shoulder undulated while setting the arrow—but a cry of wailing drew their attention, and looking they saw Onata bending from the wall, screaming maledictions upon the Algonkin.

"Art thou then its mother" he sneered—"look upon it, it is indeed thy son's. See how I twirl it by the hair. Mark it well, but thou canst not have it; it is mine. I cut it from the head of thy son myself, and he fell beneath this hand. Look upon my piece of thy son, O mother of Hiawatha—"

The desperation of the matron at these words was so great that life counted for nothing in her thirst to recover the scalp. Before Awitharoa could prevent her she was over the wall and rushing to meet the slayer. He awaited her, grinning his painted grin, his strung bow in his hand, just out of ordinary bow-shot of the wall.

"I am the wolf," he cried, "and thou art an angry doe," and he counted her his prey. Realizing her helplessness she stopped and cried, "Give me back my son, evil one; give me what thou hast of him, then slay me and let me die."

She started forward again: he lifted his bow to aim, and at the same moment Awitharoa touched Iakonon. The powerful frame of the other contracted with a gigantic effort, his bow twanged, the arrow flew swifter than sight and the murderer fell pierced from breast to spine. A shout of triumph arose from the Men of Men.

"Come back, come back, Onata!" cried Tree-in-Sky, but she would not come back. So sweet a treasure near as a part of her son! so holy a duty as to recover Hiawatha's scalp! Those goals in reach—and to return! Men, ye know not the mother!


Quickly, fiercely, she sprang to the fallen foe's hand, grasped the scalp and hurried back; while the neighboring Algonkins, no longer afraid of injuring their compatriot, poured after her a hail from many bows. Pierced in several places she gurgled a broken cry and stumbled on, holding out her treasure. But a few yards further on, she stumbled for the last time and fell, feebly throwing the scalp at the foot of the palisade and giving up the ghost.

To recover her body and the scalp were sacred tasks to the avengers, which they accomplished by a sortie from the gate, a desperate and dangerous enterprise, but one which was wholly successful. The omen dispirited the Northern Lights, and Awitharoa, leaving the defence of the gate side to Dekanaweda and Iakonon, returned to the side of the Hurons.

Here a new manoeuvre threatened. A number of shields were brought out of the forest, quickly made of rough wicker-work, each large enough to fully cover a man and rounded so as to protect his sides as well as front. Equipped with torches and metal axes, they advanced in line pushing these shields as covers, and set fire to the palisade. It is needless to recount the efforts necessitated to counteract this device and the determination with which it was pressed. The fires lit were all successfully extinguished by the water-troughs which stood on the platform for that purpose. The besiegers finally withdrew out of bowshot, but throughout the day the evidences that they were on the constant watch for opportunities occasioned ceaseless suspense. At night a ring of fires in the woods proclaimed the completeness of the investiture. That they divined the scarcity of water in the town was clear from their close guard of the approaches to the two brooks. So matters remained for three days—nightly attacks and daily skirmishes weakening the population, and the scarcity of water becoming more painful and more alarming. A number of the bravest warriors had been lost in the nocturnal attempt to reach the brooks. Tree-in-Sky and Shadeka were captured and tortured—although the latter escaped. Awitharoa himself was wounded in five places, Iakonon had not avoided harm, the young children—to the great grief of Awitharoa—were dying fast, the women were sunk in despair. It was necessary to use up even the bad rain-water in the defence troughs of the palisade and to forbid a sufficient supply to any but the leading braves, whose strength it was the interest of the nation to husband as long as possible.

In the Council, Kawi gave advice:

"Take the Calumet and tell them the grandmother of this people is their sister and would speak to their oldest chiefs. Ask them if we talk not their tongue and have not their customs, and if we be not also of the brotherhood of their clans. And say I would tell them how we came to this land and would ask their old men about my cousins. The tribe of the strangers be not barbarians; they be our uncles."

So Dekanaweda, who was the Pipe-Keeper, mounted the wall, holding up the Great Calumet. When they saw it, the Hurons, out of respect to Him Who is Master, ceased hostilities, and Dekanaweda, beckoning some of them, sent Kawi's message to their chiefs. These replied after a time: "We desire greatly to see The-Oldest-Woman-Who-Ever-Lived, and she shall be safe if she will come to us." Consequently, Kawi, being carried on her litter, and Dekanaweda, holding out the Calumet, met the Huron Chiefs and a vast multitude who gathered around them for a parley. The dame and her story were matters of unbounded wonder to the warlike assemblage.

"See," she said, looking at them with her bright little eyes, "am I not your grand-aunt, the sister of your grandmothers? In what do we differ? Listen to your language; behold upon me your manner of dress, even to the pucker of the moccasins—and the same are our fields of corn and tobacco—yea, even the features of my children. We are not another people. Make with us, therefore, a league of brotherhood; we will bestow plentiful gifts as a price for your dead, and you shall go home and tell how you have found nephews."

Many were in favor of her proposal, seconded as it was by the oratory of Dekanaweda; so that they promised to send an answer after deliberation. This was in the morning, and by late after noon the thirst-fevered watchers along the wall saw a giant chief approach and deliver the answer to them from below:

"Our nation have considered your message. We honor the old woman your grandmother, and if she will come out to us we will take her back to her people. As for yourselves, you have said that you are the same nation as we; but your speech has become altered. In the countries around us there are many nations that speak a like language and were once our cousins—the Cats, the Senecas, the Tobacco Nation, the Andastes, and the People-of-a-Speech-a-Little-Different. Our cousins are many, but they are not all our friends, and if we had too many friends, of whom would our young men obtain honor by scalps? Have our braves come thus far to take your country, and shall they return to their people empty-handed? What shall we answer when our women ask us for the spoil of Hochelaga?

"What shall we show them for their dead ye have slain, O dogs? What shall we say to the People of the Northern Lights who have promised us this land for a hunting-ground? How shall we appease them for the Wolverine, that bull-moose of their youth?

"Yet this will we do for the sake of our kinswoman your grandmother. A sacrifice is necessary to the spirits of the dead. Give us your wise Head-chief—to pass through the fire—and we will let you go out and leave this country safely: but forever after when we meet you we will slay you."

In answer the Hochelagan people cried out as one voice, "Never!"

"Then are ye already ashes," he replied, stalking away.

That evening was a magnificent one—without a moon, but all the stars sparkled like a web of jewels on the large velvet overhead.

"This night," said Awitharoa, going about seeing to all the positions; "this night the wolves will fight the buffalo. Remember now that your ancestors called you Superior to all other Men, and if ye should go to them, be ready to tell them how ye died. Look up:—that White Path through the Sky is your way if ye fall like chiefs. These stars watch you, the sky watches you, the Sacred Island watches you: and to-morrow your father the Sun will look and inquire how ye have borne yourselves this night. If a breach should be made and the enemy get through the wall, remember that I have set the children and the old people in the barricade at the corner of the gate, and that it is strong: thither withdraw when the chiefs shout together, and there we shall fight afresh, and perhaps we may escape by the gate. Remember that if ye drive off the wolves this night Hochelaga shall be saved. But if the place fall, let none give himself up: let all die: our Father to-morrow must not look upon a coward."

The children were hushed, and even the dogs went about awed. There came a general assault. It was preceded by the advance from different points of the Huron camp, of four glowing fires, made of well-lit pinelogs, and hurried forward on large sheets of earth-strewn bark. Pushed and piled well against the palisade, in spite of the rain of stones from above, the logs communicated their blaze to the wall, and the last water in the town did not suffice to put out even one. The sandy soil was used with better effect, but in spite of every exertion the invaders, harassed by an ever-closing circle of yelling foes, saw one of the fires obtain headway beyond control and speedily clothe the platform above in flames, shooting tongues of flame along it, and illumining the agonized desperation of the townspeople and the devilish energy of the invaders. The latter pressed in upon every unguarded point, and the rapid sharp hacking of hundreds of their hatchets could be heard accompanied by the thuds of many a stone mace and flail.

The burning breach was soon wide enough to admit a man who would dare the flame and the reception within. A tufted Algonquin sprang through—to be brained by waiting warclubs.

Several Hurons pressed forward, calculating their chances.

It was now that the Hochelagan chiefs shouted together—the signal for retreat to the barricade; but a number of the defenders had been arrayed to still guard the breach and delay the assault as far as possible. The retreat was made in sullen order, and the weak and crowded barricade soon contained in its small limits the trembling remnant of the population, compelled to sell their lives.


Again and again the panther-like, blood-seeking scream of the Huron war-cry was heard to rend the sky in victory, and terrified babes clung to their mothers, who laid no silencing finger on their throats as usual. Everywhere except on the guarded section of the wall behind the refugees their foes could be seen gleaming in the light of the fires, leaping in thousands over the palisade, and driving back by weight of numbers the chosen braves opposing them. Those left of the latter retreated within the barricades, and the houses of the town were soon brilliantly alight. Already some of these warriors were sitting down within the barricade singing their death songs, while others were preparing to exact a heavy price for the extinction of their tribe. Awitharoa walked about exhorting them, and, hatchet in hand, stiffened his own arms for the final struggle.

He passed Kawi, and she named him faintly.

"Saigo, grandmother," he returned, gently.

Her eager expression attracted his attention, and he listened to her tremulous words:

"They are coming!"

"Who?" he asked, his eyes watching the conflagration.

"Our dead."

"Yes, grandmother, we are near them," he answered. "She dreams," he thought, yet he involuntarily listened as she kept watching the conflagration and the Hurons flitting about it in thousands. They were concentrating now in a dark mass of leaping shadows for the final rush on the barricade.

But—he saw them halt and waver. They wavered more, and a howl came from them. An unearthly warcry was heard from somewhere near, and strange forms swept into the arena between besiegers and besieged—gigantic shadows, upon whom the latter looked with awe. They saw the spirits of dead heroes of the Hochelagan race! Lusty and supernatural in power of limb, terrible in onrush, their shapes looming black and swift against the flames, and casting monstrous shadows, they swept upon the Huron and Algonkin host, whose advance dissolved into a rout, and who fled over the burning stumps of the palisade, abandoning wounded and dead, and, tumbling across the field of cornhills, plunged into the weird, lofty woods beyond.

The Hochelagans, astounded and all emotion, rose up behind their barricade and followed with wide-open eyes the supernatural event. Awe, gratitude and joy swayed together in their breasts as the gods passed out of sight in pursuit of their executioners. "Hiawatha's ghost!" they cried, for the leader of these immortals had, they imagined, something of the form of their recently-slain brave.

Awitharoa stretched out his hands and bent his head in thanks towards the field of Fire before them, and gave it heartfelt wordless prayer.

But greater was the fear when the leader of the dead reappeared from the pursuit and strode towards themselves. He advanced, and they fell on their faces; he spake, and the sound seemed to them like thunder—his features became discernible as he neared their breastwork.

"O spirit most revered!" Awitharoa cried, "art thou he we knew?"

"Fear me not," the spirit answered, "I am he; it is Hiawatha."

"O our beloved!—also, O chief of gods!—we revere thee, and we render thee thanks. Who are the mighty ones with thee?"

"None of us are spirits, O friends! We are living Hochelagans. I did not die, as ye suppose. The braves I lead are our kindred, inhabitants of the Solitary Mountains; and it seems we have not been too early." It appeared that Hiawatha, returning after a winter of adventures, and hearing the peril of the town, was just in time to lead this band and push his way into the burning limits. The rescuers brought pouches full of water, most precious and refreshing to the fevered throats of the children, and to all; and when their gift was distributed the rescuers and rescued sat down together within the barricades.

Awitharoa walked over to Hiawatha. He took the crown of eagle feathers, the symbol of earned glory, from his head, and placed it upon that of the youth, and there was perfect silence.

"Most honorable," he said, "is he who is made a chief on the field of battle; but this one hath saved the whole nation."

And with emphasis never more solemn, the people answered, "Hear!"

"Wilt thou tell us," said Keraronwe, after a long pause, "how thou camest here, and what befel after thou didst plunge into the rapid?"

"My soul plunged into the River of Night, to which the night ye know is day," answered Hiawatha, "and when the day came back I was in the canoe of an old man. He was a stranger from a land in the west, whose people are enemies of these Hurons. He was an Arrow-maker, and from love of travel wandered constantly about. He was glad when he found me thrown upon the beach, for he had lost his nephew by the Hurons; therefore he nursed me kindly, took me back to his country, and adopted me into his tribe, so that now I am of a great nation calling themselves the Onondagas, the People of the Hill. The man is justly my father, for by him I have my second life. But I could not forget my first life people, and in the spring I started alone to see you; thus, on the way I saw marks on the beaches of Huron war-canoes numberless as icecakes in the waters in spring, which had passed down on the summer warpath against you. I hastened, and am here. But why I do not see my mother?"

None answered; the glance of the assembly was fixed upon the ground as one man's; and on every face as one man's he read a painful truth. He stood, checked and rigid, a few moments; then he said, very low:

"Where is her body?"

Tekarihoken pointed to the burning ruins of the House of the Turtle. Hiawatha sighed—the sigh of a son who has just lost his mother.

After a time he said—again quietly: "I see not Quenhia here."

Once more the reply was as one on every downcast countenance. Tekarihoken pointed in the direction of "Where-They-Make-Axes."

The tears of a warrior flow in his soul. He strode apart, and, taking off the crown of feathers, sat down and drew his robe over his head.

Then all but the principal men and the watchers disposed themselves for the night: the children were placed by their mothers under robes and behind the bark casks of corn in fashions suggested by feminine care; and a heavy slumber of exhaustion fell over most of the camp, which the now lowered conflagration continued to glow upon, and occasionally to obscure with its smoke when the wind shifted.

Awitharoa left the headmen to lay plans for the hopeless morrow, and, silent and unspoken to, walked about everywhere through the packed enclosure, seeking out and briefly glancing at, each sleeping child, with eyes full of paternal tears; and some women who could not sleep, and saw him, spoke afterwards of his countenance as seeing things they did not;—but then Fate hung heavy over Hochelaga, and everything seemed spun of the weird mists between Life and Death. The sleeping men dreamed of bottomless clefts and topless precipices—and dreaming was living, and life a dream.

The Headchief climbed the barricade, strode slowly through the coals of the destroyed houses, and disappeared beyond the charred sticks of the farther palisade. He went on across into the forest, and in a few minutes reached the Huron camp and stalked up to the central council-fire. Like his own headmen, those of the enemy were sitting in consultation. They were deliberating whether, after all, it was not mortals who had arrived to aid the Men of Men, for the Algonkins had explained the manner of their entry into the town. Awitharoa's appearance among themselves was a surprise so startling that many again thought of ghosts and sprang to their feet.

He passed to the place of speakers, and, wrapping his robe about him, addressed them:

"Men of the Strange Nation: Ye have said ye will let my people go out and leave this country safely if they will give you their Head-chief to pass through the fire. Here I am, and there," exclaimed he, pointing to the coals, "is the fire."

An involuntary guttural of astonishment and praise came from every throat—but the profound impression produced by his words, and still more by his stern and noble mien, was better expressed by the long, respectful stillness which followed. No one threatened and none addressed him; until, after sufficient deliberation, the Huron Head-chief took upon himself to express the decision of the whole:

"No nation in the world exceeds the Children of the Bear in courage and glory. Assuredly, O Lord of Hochelaga, thou must be of their race, for thou hast the heart of the Father of Bears. We weep that thou shouldest die, but the spirits of our dead are in misery, and the ghost of so great a warrior as thou, following after them, shall gladden their hearts.

"Thou shalt first see, however, that we keep our honor with thee, and give thee the thing thou so greatly desirest. Do thou," he said, beckoning to one of the younger chiefs, "take up the Great Calumet, go into the town, and tell that nation they may pass out safely at sunrise; but if they remain till noonday none shall save them; and this is accorded because the Firegod the Holy hath accepted the flesh of their Head-chief."

"And tell them," said Awitharoa, "that I await them with the braves of old in the plains behind the sunset, where we will rebuild Hochelaga in the hunting-grounds of Areskoui."

The envoy slipped away in the direction of the smouldering town; and then the whoop of the Huron chief, ringing through the woods, was echoed and re-echoed by a thousand voices of trees, and brought rushing upon the scene all the rest of the Huron and Algonkin bands. Many were the cries of amazement at the presence of the prisoner. However, he was left untouched and unjostled, self-absorbed in the midst.

By the orders of their commander, the Hurons brought live coals from each of their many fires and began to lay a long line of them down a reach of the forest, and to feed it with balsam boughs and dry branches. While they were nursing it, Awitharoa sat down and chanted his death-song. They were astonished to hear in it no taunts to them, no boasts of scalps taken, nor warriors slain. He sang of his triumphs of peace, the treaties he had made, the honor he had kept, the feuds he had allayed, and the happiness of the people of his city.

When all was completed, a bed of glowing coals extended down the vista, bordered by warriors armed with war-clubs, spears, and flaming brands, between whom the victim was to run up and down along the burning coals, goaded at every stop or stumble, until death. Expectancy ran high, for so great a foe had never been in their power, and the latent ferocity of many breasts was aroused, though those who had seen him arrive were torn with sincere regret for the old man.

The Huron leader, after a short invocation to the Fire, signed to the Hochelagan in the direction of the coals.

No man's countenance ever showed a nobler firmness than Awitharoa's did then; and the ferocious ones among his enemies drew back overcome with awe; while the nobler would gladly have escaped the fierce duty of this rite of sacrifice for their dead. He quietly advanced. He nerved himself. He stepped upon the fire, resisting and battling with the instant agony. He stood upright upon it, while it ate terribly into his bare feet; drew his robe slowly around him, and, lying down, composed himself in the midst of the eager flames as if in slumber. His eyes had hitherto rested on the long files of his enemies; now they looked up through the crackling smoke at the portion of sky between the trees above him, and, in that terrible moment, with voice fighting against the choking vapors, his tones rang loud and strange out of his fierce pains and the crackle and roar—

"I do this for thee, Hochelaga!"

The torture was vast, but quick, as the fire raged at his flesh and smothered his senses, but not his stern fortitude. Shudders and convulsions shook his frame, he clutched at the air in delirium and writhed on the raging bed. But soon he fell totally unconscious; and the last broken words caught from his mutterings were:

"I do this—for the little children."

The Mysterymen raised a din of rattles, pells, and drums, and began to circle around the fire, drowning further sounds.

At last, the sacrifice being completed, the Huron Headchief raised his hand. The body was taken from the fire and carried away for burial, and the honor of the tribe was satisfied.

In grief, in terrible grief, the Hochelagans followed Dekanaweda in file down the well-worn trail to the river shore and across the water on hastily-gathered rafts and canoes (many swimming by their sides), and thence through the dense woods on the long journey to the Lake of the Southwind. They wept and lamented as they left the shores of the Sacred Island behind, and, all across the shining water, as they paddled on, one and another looking back towards the receding woods and mountain, and the column of smoke which marked the ruined town, kept wailing, "Farewell, Tiotiaké! Farewell, Hochelaga! Farewell, O our Father, beloved Awitharoa!"

For a long time the Men of Men lived the life of a wandering horde. They never gave up their right to their ancient country nor their sense of bitter wrong in the unprovoked dispossession—and the hatchet of war which was lifted at the palisade of Hochelaga would not be buried for two hundred years. The Stadaconas and the villagers of the Solitary Mountains, withdrawing, with those of the capital, to the Lake of the Southwind, made a stand there and united with their kindred along its shores in resisting the yearly incursions of the Hurons and Algonkins which followed. Such a discipline turned them from a people of peace into formidable warriors; yet the power and numbers of the Hurons gradually drove them down the Lake and across the fastnesses of the high mountains on its eastern shores, which are now the Green Mountains of Vermont, and thus they were thrust among hostile neighbors and into a barren country, ever nursing their sorrow and rage.

It was at this juncture that, one evening at sunset, in the Harvesting Moon, as the people of Dekanaweda's fastness sat together on their hillside, they saw a thin smoke rising out of the top of the forest, in the vale beneath them. They signed to each other to notice it, and prepared against surprise. Then Dekanaweda sent a runner to discover the cause, who soon returned, followed by an old man, who tramped along, bent under an enormous quiver of arrows, and who, walking silently into their midst, sat down with dignity of one accustomed to honor. An old woman brought him a dish of boiled squash flowers, of which he partook a little. He then took all the arrows from his monstrous quiver and laid them out in a long line before him. The people made way for the chiefs, who came forward and examined them. The glittering beauty of the heads—clear crystal, black flint, red pipestone, green soapstone, and shining copper; the delicate evenness of their chipping and rubbing; the straightness and lightness of the arrowwood shafts—brought eager exclamations from these connoisseurs, and, possessing themselves each of some coveted one, they cried to their women to bring gifts to the guest. In a little while, though his arrows had disappeared, he was surrounded with precious skins, embroidered belts, all sorts of food, and quantities of other riches. But the old man did not touch them. He stretched out his hand and spoke in a dialect broad and strange, and yet they were able to catch its drift.


"Though He-Who-Is-Master has given this hand skill, I am no trader. I am the delight of those in whom He has planted the brave heart of the Bear. It is enough to me that the whistle of my arrows will be as the rustle of the wareagle. But not for this have I come to you, ye People of the Island. Know that I am the Arrowmaker of Onondaga—the father of your brother, the glorious Hiawatha, who led ye out of the burning.

"Your feet are bruised with much wandering, your eyes are red with watching for panthers in the night, your women are anxious when the boys are fishing among the reeds; and ye are all in mourning for the blood that lies in the forest."

Sighs and wails attested the truth of his description of their state.

"I have come for this, ye tribe of Hiawatha!—to show you a land of peace, rich and beautiful, where there is none who will trouble you." He paused. There was deathly silence. The possibilities of his suggestion were so profound that the tremor among the speechless people proved their intense eagerness. "It is watered and wooded," he continued, while they lost not a sound nor an expression, "and full of game and full of fastnesses, far removed and protected by the wilderness of mountains from the Huron and the Northern Light."

What beauty seemed to them to shine in his wrinkled face!

"There ye shall bring up your children in plenty and thither carry your wounded; and your old men and women shall hear no longer the panther in the night. Thence ye may issue in the spring with the paint on your faces, and your axes in your hand, and seek the old paths and the old waters, even to the River of the Master; but safety shall rest behind you, which shall make you strong. Come with me! Come with me, O People of my son!" he cried, putting forth a wild and prophetic eloquence. "Tell all your villagers I will lead you to that land which your Father in the Sky has now given you! This is why ye have seen the smoke of my fire in the valley."

Ah, with what emotions the wanderers from the Sacred Island heard these words! At the mention of Hiawatha, the Arrowmaker became one of their own. They listened to him as one who appealed to their whole weeping, desperate hearts. Word was sent among the mountains to the castles of the other clans, and soon they were all following their benefactor in a stream to a new, secure, and lovely country in the vacant valley of the river, since named Mohawk, adjoining the land of the Onondagas; there the weary people, feeling their feet at length at rest, built three strong towns on secluded hills, one for each of the clans.

But, though attached to the delights of their land of refuge, they never forgot nor abandoned their vaster St. Lawrence homeland. Some of them resorted to it every summer, in spite of all risks. There Iakonon fell, among the willows of the Little River, surrounded with Huron dead.

They named their towns the Bear, Wolf, and Tortoise from the clans. Eloquent Dekanaweda was their head-chief, while Tekarihoken and Shadekaronyes were distinguished leaders. Thither, too, they called in their younger Brothers, the Men of Men of the Town of the Rock, who founded beside them another nation calling themselves People of the Stone, or Oneidas. Good feeling due to the efforts of their friend the old Arrowmaker and to Hiawatha (now an Onondaga warrior), existed between these peoples and the fierce Onondaga mountaineers, and also with the two offshoot nations from Onondaga, the Cayugas and Senecas of the west. These Five Nations found a subject of sympathy in a common enmity to the Hurons, and matters went well between them.

Such was the situation of the Hochelagans eighteen years after their exodus from Tiotiaké.





After a time things did not go so well at Onondaga for Hiawatha. He stood in the first rank of the leaders of that powerful tribe, but the Chief of the False Faces[5] had a grievance against him:

"He cures by roots and not by drumming!"

The False Face, his ghastly-painted mask over his head, danced about holding his treasure, a great pink-lipped tropical shell, to his ear.

"Arrowmaker, I hear them! The voices of the gods are in it!"

"What say they!" the Arrowmaker enquired.

"They say they hate this son of thine."

"But he is a god," replied the Arrowmaker, without looking up from his work. He was sitting astride a long boulder of light-grey millstone, across the top of which were three grooves; and in one of these grooves he was rubbing a new arrow-shaft to smooth it before he should tie on and glue in the head.

Piles of unbaked clay pipes adorned with figures of men and animals lay around him; piles of new arrows, finished and unfinished; piles of black hornstones roughly chipped, ready for those later touches which gave them their shapes; a bag of fine catgut; a little bowl of red dye and another of glue; a knife, and a scraper.

"He is a god,—for was it a man who could lie alone in the bushes on the Rock of Ticonderoga and hold back seventy Huron warriors by fear? Was it a man who, having crept forty days within the land of the Northern Lights, could walk at evening into the village of the Torch, and up to the fire in the lodge of the Head-chief Tessouat's son, take down his warclub, slay and scalp him, and leave a feather beside him, for a sign to our enemies, marked with the mark of the Onondagas. And does not the war-club of Tessouat's son hang on the post in my lodge? Surely, Hiawatha is a god!" and he straightened the arrow-shaft with his teeth.

"He is only a vile Mohawk—one of the cowards driven like women from their land; only a slave, although thou hast adopted him thy son. Not such is Atotarho. Doth the whole world hold a chief like Atotarho? He is trueborn Onondaga!"

"False Face, I am a lover of all warriors. Atotarho indeed is great. Give me a leader of the brave, and I ask but to make him beautiful arrows."

The Arrowmaker cast a sidelong glance at the charlatan, and with his sharp scraper drew a long, crooked cut along the arrow-shaft, to represent lightning, so that it might swiftly kill the enemy.

"Atotarho reviles not the gods," bitterly returned the other.

"Does Hiawatha?" the old man queried, dipping the point into his bag of snake-poison.

"He scorneth the mouthpieces of the gods—us who speak with the Black Ones and the White Ones. And he cureth men by roots and not by drumming!"

"Hath he uttered any revilement of you?"

"He hath left off giving us presents."

"Doth he not reverently sacrifice?"

"But he cures by roots and not by drumming; and no man should cure by roots any except himself. For, curing is our part, and the sacred drumming is our custom of cure. Moreover, he pretends to talk with the gods by himself and not by us. Thus would he introduce into the Onondagan nation new customs which belonged to the vile race of Hochelaga. I tell thee, though thou art his father, that the False Faces will not suffer such things. They will have a charm made that shall suck away his breath. Why hast thou adopted this water-snake?"

"Because, loving me, the Master of Bright Arrows, the Thunder sent me, not a water-snake, but a War-Eagle."

"Hatiria chattereth like a crow," he added to himself; "such as he would wing the proud messenger of war with turkey-feathers,"—and he wound upon the shaft three slitted feathers of the splendid eagle that Hiawatha had shot.

The discontented False Face Hatiria had the body of a chief. But in it dwelt a soul less brave than that of the commonest warrior. Stoutly built and dignified, it was the deficiency of courage which had led him for distinction into the profession of mystery-man. He adorned it with an imposing presence, varied adeptitude, and a ritual instinct. The small soul restricted his influence among the chiefs, but his reputation with the common people was immense.

"What is that?" the Arrowmaker exclaimed, sharply, turning toward the town, for they were on the top of the high hill on which Onondaga was built. A commotion came from within the walls. Their backs were towards the palisade, and they had been facing the wood-clothed country that fell away from the mountain-top. Far to the north, from where they were sitting, could be faintly caught a glimmer of the vast Beautiful Lake.[6] The mountain's brow was bold and savage; rude winds careered about it; at daylight mists enveloped it below, and clouds threatened it above, while the eagle spread his broad wings, and bent his head above it; and the rude palisades of the town looked not less wild. If the spirit of war could have chosen a home, it was here. And this home the spirit of war had indeed chosen; for all in Onondaga breathed of war.

The noise heard by the Arrowmaker was a clamor of shouts and drum-beats, and both he and Hatiria advanced to see what was the matter.

The largest lodges of the place faced on the town square, and they saw a crowd in front of a lodge wider and more brilliantly painted than any of the others. Two tall poles were erected before its door, each bearing on the top a dried human head, and below it at intervals fringes of scalp-hair. The pictures on the lodge represented many exploits of the owner, and strings of scalps were festooned upon the front.

Before the entrance sat the master, the renowned Atotarho, watching the exercises of the young men, each emulous of his approbation. A giant over seven feet in height, and dark of skin, he appeared a man of enormous strength; not, as with Iakonon of Hochelaga, unequally distributed in the shoulders and upper parts, but symmetrical in its wealth of iron muscle and play of knotted sinew. But the force and size of his body seemed minor beside the thunder which dwelt in the arches of his brow, in the dark, storm-cloud and sleeping lightning of his eyes, the organizing hypnotism which compelled obedience. His robe had fallen to his waist, leaving to free view the copper surface, and his shaven head, and his scalp-lock, with its many notched and dotted exploit-feathers, his quiver and pearly gorget; his flint-toothed war-club lay on his lap; all larger than belonged to ordinary men. Most astonishing was the horrible adornment with which he was toying—a mass of hissing, black snakes, which coiled and twisted around his neck and shoulders and craned above his head; an ornament which rendered his appearance quite other than human, and crowned the fearsomeness of his mien.

This lord of horrors was the idol of Onondaga. His strength, his capacity, and his gift of producing terror, were the pride of the tribe. They knew what it was to feel that in the stress of battle they had a tower of rock in the front. They deciphered upon his lodge the records of many a glorious national victory, and through him the name of Onondagan had become a whisper of foreboding in the countries of their enemies.

Now, arrow-contests and wrestling were proceeding in his presence; but his particular command to-day was the ordeal called "looking at the Sun." Three saplings had been set up, from the top of each of which a thong with a bone hook depended; in each case a candidate had run the hook through the muscles of his breast and hung half-suspended from the end of the bent-over sapling. Atotarho had ordered the three to remain in their agony from morning till sundown, tortured with thirst and pain and looking with unclosed eyeballs at the naked orb of day;—should any fail, eternal disgrace would follow him, with revilings of the women, and contempt of the boys; but should he succeed there was life-long reputation, and, above all, admission into Atotarho's chosen band. Hence the crowd and the tumult. By beating of drums the candidates were incited to courage, and the cries of their friends adjuring them to keep up heart continued unremittingly.

The Warchief, however, was also absorbed all day in other matters. He at length rose, and, leaving the mangled sufferers to "look at the sun" unnoticed, called the chiefs and principal warriors around him, and, proceeding to the outside of the palisade, addressed them:

"Look down from this mountain and you will see that the whole world is ours. Who is there that dares to put his head out of the willows when an Onondagan is on the creeks? Is it the Huron? Our boys are tired of chasing him with their wood-headed arrows, and he hides far away in the Kingdom of the Frost! Is it the Cherokee? He has run to the South so far that he cannot be found in two moons' journey. Is it the Mohican of the East? He looks over the edge of the mountains and trembles when he thinks he sees smoke in the direction of our land. Is it the Pawnee of the Sunset? So far has he fled that we must spend the whole summer to bring him back a slave.

"People of the Mountain, I have something to tell you. I hate these walls around the town. They say, 'The Huron is coming! The Pawnee may catch you! The Cherokee is creeping in the bushes! These walls are like a toothless woman—I am going to tear them down."

A more appalling announcement would have been hard to invent. Involved in many wars, and constantly apprehensive of serious disasters, their defences had always been to them of the first importance. The old men and women looked at each other with the deepest gravity. It was looks and not words by which the comments were uttered; but looks as expressive as if they were loud voices which were not drowned by the cries of admiration of the hero's band of supporters.

"I hear some say—so low that they think I cannot catch it—that this will endanger our people. Let them speak aloud, and I will answer that my young men shall be your walls, and that if any touch but the pawnail of the Great White Wolf that watches from Onondaga mountain-top he will be eaten. Now let the old chiefs debate this subject."

So the old chiefs sat down, watchful and furtive, and passed the pipe around a long time; but none spoke; for the brave Onondagans seemed, after all, not so brave that any cared to dispute the determination of the snake-encircled giant. Usually he maintained a reticence in council until the rest had given their opinions, when he uttered his own conclusions in some monosyllable or two. Now, finally, he got up, and they got up, he placed his snakes in a writhing tangle upon the ground, and the chiefs and people followed him, away from the "lookers at the sun" to the town gate, where he lifted his hammer and smote, shivering the tree into splinters, while the whole palisade, thirty feet high and thousands long, resounded and trembled with the blow, to the uttermost end of the town. Then all—the women and old men included—compelled by his example and will, set to with hammers, adzes, shell scoops, fire, and strength of bare arms, destroying and loosening the timbers, cutting the elm thongs which bound them together, pulling down the tall tree-trunk beams, and digging out their foundations to make them fall. The boys and girls enthusiastically imitated their elders; and the horde of dogs, yelping from spot to spot in wildest excitement, scratched into the ground and made holes where they were no use. By sundown a long breach gaped open in the wall, strewn with overthrown logs, and through which the women looked with misgiving and the children with wonder; and across the breach appeared the sudden break of the hill-top, and in the distance the forest-clad plain below.

High was the satisfaction on Atotarho's face as he looked over his work. And, being satisfied, he returned to preside over the release of the agonized aspirants, who, struggling still between overmastering thirst and fainting-fit, and their breast-wounds dripping gore, were striving to turn their swollen lids and blinded eyeballs for the last moments to the disappearing red orb, while their friends were again adjuring them in chorus to hold out to the end.

Afterwards, as the Warchief sat alone in the middle of his lodge at supper, attended at a respectful distance by the women, Hatiria the False Face came in, sat down beside him, took a share of roast shoulder of deer which was there, and said:

"Lightning of Onondaga!"

The giant chief did not look up.

"Lord of all nations!"

Again the giant was silent.

"Great Wolf! What meaneth the blood-scent on the trail?"

The stern eyes turned fiercely upon the Mysteryman.

"Hath the Cherokee come up?"

"Nay, nor the Huron."

"What meanest thou?"

"The walls are down."

"I am the wall of Onondaga!"

Hatiria continued: "In a dream last night I saw a Pine growing on the top of a Mountain. It was the loftiest tree among all the hills. And it took upon one of its boughs a hemlock seed, that grew by the kindness of the Pine and was supported by its strength. At length the hemlock, becoming a tree, stretched itself and tried to overtop the branches of the Pine, and sang to the forest below: 'All the trees are beneath me; I am the loftiest in the world,' and it sang to the Pine: 'I am loftier than thou—I am the Pine.'"

Atotarho pondered. To him Hatiria's talk was generally puerile chatter; but now he hesitated. "What was the meaning of thy dream, O False Face?"

Hatiria cast a pinch of something on the coals, which sent up a fragrant smoke, and chattering words of the unknown tongue of the Mystery-men.

"The mountain," said he, "is Onondaga."

"What is the Pine?"

"The Pine is our people. The topstem of the Pine is Atotarho."

"But the hemlock—what is the hemlock?"

"The hemlock which we have taken up on the bough is the People of the Island. They boasted themselves our brothers, and now they boast themselves greater than we."

Atotarho's brow took on a darker shadow.

"Which hath said they are greater than we?"

"Hiawatha the Mohawk boasteth thus."

"Hiawatha?" exclaimed the Warchief.

"Yea; he sang it in his song before the journey he is on—that journey the direction whereof none knoweth."

"But he is an adopted Onondagan—the son of the Arrowmaker."

"Thou knowest not what I know by my magic—I follow him on that journey; and I see him paddling to their Sacred Island."

"Still are not the Mohawks brothers to us?"

"As that hemlock to the Pine."

"We gave them their country."

"As the Pine bough received the Seed."

"But Hiawatha has fought well for us."

"It has puffed his heart."

"He has fought by my side; we are brothers in clan."

"His craft is deep. He rises by thy help. He has learnt war from thee. In my shell I hear him boasting that he goes back to their Island to build up his own people again and make them the masters, since the walls of Onondaga are down."

Atotarho's face grew fiery and his eyes were deeply abstracted.

"Be silent," he said, testily. The women, who had been whispering together in the corners of the lodge, hushed their voices, and Hatiria drew back. The Warchief uttered a low sound resembling a hiss, and from all sides, out of the darkness, appeared snaky heads and writhing bodies, which crawled up to his shoulders and caressed his head and neck.

He took up one of them, a black snake much thicker and longer than the rest, by the neck, and holding its repulsive face up before his own with both hands, addressed it:

"My chief, what sayest thou of the matter?"

The head of the serpent moved from side to side. It opened its red jaws wide and darted out its tongue, while its eyes flashed in needly scintillations.

"Meseems thy look is of war-lightning."

The creature darted its head at his breast.

"Wouldst thou bite my bosom?" exclaimed he. "Thus the Mohawk would do, sayest thou? Now, tell me, shall it be war, then, with the Mohawks?"

A low short breath sounded from between the fangs.

"Thou sayest 'Ugh!' Then it shall be yes, my chief. Thou givest me another war to make me glorious. We shall see, my chief, which is the Pine tree. We shall see, and every wind spirit shall tell its quarter who are the lords of all the world. Since none other hath a god equal to thee, lo! my women shall give thee mice in plenty, bugs, flies, toads, and places in the sun, and there thou shalt dream secret things and see into the present and the future. Tell now what I must do to Hiawatha? Shall he die? Thou escapest? He is, then, to escape. Thine answers are plain to him who worships thee. Then I shall make war with the Mohawks, but thou thyself shalt deal with Hiawatha. Perhaps he, too, is, as they say, in part a god; and, verily, he seems sometimes wiser and stranger—yea, and braver—than a man."

The snake-chief drew itself down and crept away into the darkness, followed by its companions and the eyes of the False Face and of the trembling women.

"What thinkest thou?" the Warchief said, with eyes of triumph, to Hatiria.

"Thou shouldest be initiated into the Lodge of Life. Never have I seen a better communication with the Holy ones."

Within an hour he had called together the Society of False Faces in the Lodge of Life. They had constructed a little tightly-closed wigwam of bark upon its floor, lit a fire inside it, and put on their masks, their fantastic costumes, and their animals' heads; and their runner had careered through the whole town calling the people to the incantation. Their sacred rattles and drums were beating, their feet stamping and whirling. Hatiria himself, standing masked in the middle, was chanting to the spirit within and calling upon it for a message.

The squeaky oracle which came from within was translated from the language of spirits by the False Face Chief, and as its purport became less obscure, the people were paralyzed with apprehension. No cries of approbation of the war thus supernaturally commanded were heard, but instead deep misgivings filled many hearts. Save the few young hotheads, the nation fought only when it must, and only with tribes with whom it had some standing feud. To break with friends, close allies, and shed the blood of those with whom they frequently ate and smoked in concord, was a course full of sorrow. There was little sleep that night in Onondaga.

Medicine men.

Lake Ontario.


Afar in a distant country, at noon of that same day, Hiawatha crossed the River of the Master. He headed his canoe for the Sacred Island and landed at the Tree of Peace. Mournful yet eager feelings ruled his breast as he trod the well-known soil. He saw stretches of wild grass where formerly fields of waving corn had been.

Looking warily around, and listening, he heard voices, and, creeping to the crest of the point, he saw a band of four men, two in a canoe and two standing in the water, engaged in fishing with nets in the Little River. They wore the Algonkin crest-feather.

He loosened his knife, fitted four arrows in his bow, and rising suddenly, covered the party. They saw him, his bold manner threw them into panic, and, comprehending their danger, each instantly acted out his separate plan of safety. Two dived into the water, one sprang on a rock, and leaped for the opposite shore, and one in the canoe grasped his bow and cried out. His cry saved the lives of the others, for Hiawatha, who excelled in archery, would have shot all four arrows to their separate marks in the twinkling of an eye, had not that cry been in the tongue of his own people:

"Do not!"

He lowered his bow, and the speaker added:

"We are your kindred."

The party were of the rural Hochelagan remnant who had been forced into adoption by the Algonkins. They told him they were now a mere handful, dwelling in a retired place up the River of Sunset, calling themselves in Algonkin the Little Nation, and living in dread on the one hand of their conquerors and the Hurons and on the other of possible incursions by the Men of Men themselves. They informed him that a strong encampment of Algonkins was sojourning at the Rapids near by, and begged leave to separate from him so as to run no risk of being treated as traitors; and they tried to strongly impress him with his own danger. Of the danger he took no account, and, accepting a small present of dried corn, set out along the former highroad to Hochelaga. The road was still open, though overgrown at some points by small bushes; but as he passed along it, its loneliness whelmed his soul in melancholy recollections. But this was nothing to the shock of his first glance across the clearing where the town itself had stood. From his point of entrance not the slightest trace of a town was visible. All seemed a confused growth of saplings—maple, birch, small oaks, and infant spruces. When he advanced into the area, these gave way to the beautiful fireweed, and then to beaver grass, but the only signs of the former cultivated fields were the shapes of large cornhills and occasional self-sown squash or bean running riot and struggling for existence. Pushing forward to the site of the town itself he discovered the three rings of charred stumps which had once been the palisades. A few burnt remnants of the great lodges were also discoverable here and there, several granite corn mills, and a slate axe or two where they had been dropped in the last fight; and the ash-strewn depressions of the fireplaces. These were all that was left of Hochelaga, the centre and capital of a rich and populous land.

Under the motionless countenance of the warrior a host of sad recollections and emotions were hidden as he contemplated the ruins, and regret for the beautiful days of the past weighed heavily on his spirit. He sought out the sites of the several lodges with which his younger days were most associated, the Council House, the House of the Turtle, and those of the mothers of Iakonon and of his playmate and clanbrother Tekari. He stood where he had hung up his arms, where he had been accustomed to sleep, where he had listened to his mother's stories around the fire, and to the traditions of Kâwi. The spirits of the ancestors crowded around him. Awitharoa, the grand old hero, walked with him about the place again, uttering words of kindness and counsel. He visited the two brooks and the spot under the butternut where he had sat with Quenhia—until her tender pale face, faintly lit with the moonlight of old, became a presence again, and her voice floated back silvery and sad in the rustle of the birch saplings.

Then, with a long backward look, he passed slowly out of the opening in the forest and made his way along the old trail westward, to the foot of the Mountain, and onward to "Where-They-Make-Axes." There he searched out Quenhia's grave, the special object of his pilgrimage. There was little change here in the trees, and he quickly discovered the two white hawthorns which his friends had described, and saw between and overgrowing both the white clematis planted by Onata, now thick-stemmed, luxuriant, and covered with starry blossoms. Seating himself at the foot of the grave, he contemplated it motionlessly for several hours.

While he remained thus fixed in profound thought, the sun sank well down behind the Mountain. His boyhood and youth passed before him, and the glad days spent with his companions on River and Hill; but, most of all, the attachment of the sweet cousin who was now wandering in search of him in the Land of Lands. Here lay her mortal form, here the grave which she had helped to make for himself, and by her side were the instruments of the household that was to be in the lodge where she would some time receive him, as a sister, waiting across the Dismal River. He could hear her appealing to him in the rustle of the tree-tops; in the wavering of the lights he caught glimpses of her shadow; on his arm he felt a gentle touch. She was close; she was speaking plainly: her sisterly love for him conquered the grave. He heard again her strange words about the Lord of Peace. He remained long in this communion.

He took at last from the clematis vine a few sprays of the blossom and disposed them on the grave. He stood for some time with bent head resting a last glance upon the spot, while the silent worship of the tall warrior seemed more earnest than the wildest lamentation. Then he reverently placed a small sprig of the clematis in his neck-pouch, turned, and, still with bent head, walked slowly away.

He climbed to the Mountain-top and passed across it until he stood on the top facing the sunset. There in the mystic glories of the west he could descry Quenhia beckoning to him to come to the Kingdom of Peace.

An arrow stung him in the left arm; another tore its way across his thigh.

Instantly Hiawatha was the man of battle again, and, throwing himself on the ground behind an oak, he fitted a handful of arrows in his bow.

The band of Algonkins from the Rapid had discovered his trail. They had watched him harmlessly at the grave, out of respect for the dead, but once he left it they launched their attack, and thus he lay in face of some twoscore foes, with only his position on the Mountain, and the approach of night, in his favor.

But of this fight on the Mountain, and how his arrows bit, and how his ground was changed, until it dawned on the Algonkins that no common adversary lay before them, and how they finally divined that it was the magic deliverer of Hochelaga, and feared to close upon him, and how he escaped in the darkness—the place for these things is in the fireside stories of old men to their grand-nephews about the fights of ages in the woods.

His long return journey to Onondaga was impeded by his wounds, and when he came within three leagues of the town a faintness overcame him, and he turned aside into a lonely trail.

He built himself a slight lodge of poles and bark, on the edge of a marsh, where he sat for several days, fasting and haunted by visions.

A warrior hastened through a strange forest. It was dim and entangled, yet solemnly lovely, and in its atmosphere the warrior felt freed from the sense of lurking foes and beasts. In himself the strength of a god was running, and, as he bounded along the deer-run, it was more to feel the elation of his wonderful power than to pursue game. He wore over his shoulders a light bearskin, around his loins a breech-cloth, on his feet embroidered moccasins, about his neck a string of wampum, with a great mother-of-pearl pendant, in his hands a bow half-drawn for sending, and fitted with a flint-headed arrow from his quiver. A noble elk—more tempting than any he had ever seen—leaped across his path, and he drew—but continued in the act of drawing, the pleasure surging through his veins; and the deer, instead of disappearing, remained in the act of leaping. As it did so it looked at him with a gaze as human as his own, and every part of the forest looked at him also. It seemed not necessary that the trees, and ground, and sky should speak, or any of them would do so.

This was the Land of Souls. There all things, being dead, live, and the warrior and all he saw, were shadows. The bow he carried was the shadow of a bow, the deer was a shadow; the trees and sky were shadows; he trod upon a shadow, and he himself was a soul without a body.

"Look!" said the stag, and, turning, he saw, in the dusky light, four unclothed braves coming toward him in single file, each silent, with his eyes fixed upon the ground and oblivious of his presence. By their feathers he knew they were Mohawks. Woe was on their faces; a large bleeding gash was open on the breast of one, and an arrow pierced the neck of another.

He involuntarily moved aside to let them pass, and as they hurried by, a great red wound on the head of each proclaimed that they had suffered scalping. Their whole sad mien showed them to be spirits of men just deceased making their way to the Villages of the Dead, there to hunt, with the ghosts of their former weapons, the spirits of dead deer and beaver.

So they passed on, downcast and silent, disappearing into the rapidly-gathering dusk.

The sight sent a long pang through the bosom of the warrior. His senses, up to then so full of bliss, fell into doubt and disorder, and his vision into a whirling confusion. A raging storm of thunder, rain and lightning, mixed with angry cries, overwhelmed him; he bent his head in awe and fear of the storm spirits—and felt himself again in the land of living people.

Hiawatha, whose soul had thus visited the other world, knew that his vision was a message from the gods.

The passage back from one world to the other was not made instantaneously. The objects of the strange forest he had just left mingled in equal reality with the poles of his lodge, and the still reeds of the marsh, and even when the world of the living gradually attained dominance over that of the dead, the sight of the four scalped men and the cries of the storm-gods pursued him as omens of utmost gloom. He sat motionless and light-headed for several hours, abandoning his consciousness to the super-natural. Finally he slowly rose and stood leaning for support against a tree, until he had grown a little accustomed to the upright position, when, sternly straightening himself, he stalked off, a haggard embodiment of stateliness. Ultimately he came to a rude lodge, where he was fed and honored by its master, a hunter, and restored by rest and refreshment he pushed on up the hill to the town, as dusk fell.


Climbing the steep path, he saw with surprise a fire break out on the edge of the rocks at the top, and a cloud of smoke sweep above him on the wind.

Knowing this to be a war-signal, he cast his eyes towards the hills within view, and saw a flame was burning on the crest of one a few miles eastward, signifying operations in that direction, and as he approached the top a little boy leaned over the rocks and piped excitedly:

"Hiawatha! What news, Hiawatha?"

Then faces multiplied over the cliff—children, women, old men, looking down anxiously, and he knew there was something unusual in the air. They received him with cries of joy, thronged down the path to welcome him, and demanded an account of his adventures. But when he reached the summit and saw the uprooted palisades, he uttered an exclamation. They told him the reason of the uprooting.

"Why is this fire burning?" he asked.

"To answer Atotarho's yonder," replied a woman.

"But why eastward? Has the Huron struck our hamlets?"

"Atotarho strikes the Mohawk."

Dumb with the shock, and feeling the truth of his dream, Hiawatha pushed on through the eager crowd to the lodge of the Arrowmaker.

It was a large, round dwelling, full of specimens of the owner's craft and of all kinds of gifts.

The warrior went and sat down silently beside the fire, disregarding the boys and women who peeped in at the door. The Arrowmaker respecting his reticence, continued his work. He was completing a great stone knife, shaped like a long leaf, by pressing off flakes of the flint against a bone flaker.

Hiawatha's face showed that he was trying to realize the import of the announcement that, "Atotarho strikes the Mohawk." It meant again the miseries of blood-shed of which he had for years been heart-sick.

It meant desperations manifold, the flames and horrors of Hochelaga over again, extermination to prevent being exterminated, inhuman tortures to daunt approach; the extinction of despairing races, the ruin of both his original and his adopted nation, the setting of one-half of his nation to cutting the throat of the other half. The happy peace of his youth, which he had hoped was to be repeated between the two peoples, by their alliance, was rendered henceforth impossible. The teeth of the Bear and the Wolf were at each other's throats.

"Son," said the Arrowmaker, at last. "I have told them this war is evil."

"All war is evil," returned Hiawatha bitterly; and as he said it he realized that the gods were speaking by his lips, for he had not thought so wide a thing.

The Arrowmaker spoke no more, he waited patiently for hours, for Hiawatha to break silence, and found no fault that he did not do so; and ultimately, having completed the leaf of flint—a masterpiece of the art of flaking—he laid it carefully on a buck-skin, in a corner, and covered himself for sleep. Hiawatha placed some sticks on the fire and returned to his brooding. The Master was in him, the Fire was in him, the Sun was in him; and in his exalted spirit a thought was being born. This thought was—to abolish war.

All through the night, as he sat pondering, it surged before his sight in a crowd of forms. The old annual meeting of the Men of Men with the Northern Lights at the Tree of Peace; the friendly gifts and mutual esteem; the prosperous fisheries and plantations along the river, more lately the welcomed embassies to Onondaga; the victorious joint warparties of the allies; the ending of Huron incursions into their territories—such was the death of war by alliance. By alliance forever might come the death of war forever. But what would the war-gods, the Sun, the Thunder and the Echo say to this? He called upon these to answer.

At dead of night the spirit of the Sun appeared to him, among the embers, in the form of a red flame. It uttered no speech, but glowed and gleamed him a mystic message: "Green corn and ripening corn, laughing waters, glowing words, glad faces, are mine; darkness, abandoned fields, the cold dead, and hiding terror, are not mine." Then the Thunder passed over the mountain-top and the Echo God repeated his reverberating voice through the valley. "War against war!" it sounded, and pondering the meaning of this, Hiawatha formed his revelation to completeness. Then when the ashes dimmed into cold grey, and with the growth of twilight, the east appeared through the lodge door, glowing with splendor, and the Sun himself sprang up, and began to watch the daily works of his children, Hiawatha rose in the still light and facing him, prayed.

"Chieftain of the Blue Land; give me arrows of thine to fight with thee against the night-spirit"—and bending his head, he walked to the side of the Arrowmaker, lay down and fell into a heavy slumber.

Hark! Piercing sounds break intermittently into his sleep. He wakes and sees the Arrowmaker listening intently.

"The warriors return," the latter murmured. "I hear their chants of the victory—they sing of prisoners—the scalpers exult—the women sing around the trophies.—Now they are almost up—the lines are formed for the prisoners to pass the gauntlet.—Now the prisoners are running through:—these are the shouts and screams of the beaters—the strokes of the clubs upon them. The platform is already built in the midst of the town and upon it they will be bound and left to torture and insult."

Noticing that Hiawatha was now awake, he turned to him and said: "My son, these evil deeds upon our cousins are the work of Hatiria. Who knoweth what consequence the Master of Life, whose peace we have broken, shall bring upon us through these Mohawks!"

Hiawatha listened with agony to the sounds, which grew louder and more distinct. At length, as the tumult passed the lodge, he heard, in the midst of the taunts and jeers, a strong voice calling in the Mohawk dialect: "Strike hard, ye feeble people! Ye are foxes and muskrats but ye snap at Bears. Do ye not see that your sticks are naught, your knives and fires naught. Ye are little flies that know not how to make a man wince!"

A wave of shouts of rage broke in on this defiance.

"The Huron chased you"—the voice again declared; and again cries of rage drowned its taunting.

"The day is near when ye shall all die rotting for the crows," the Mohawk continued. "For one night Onondaga shall be a rolling fire and thenceforth the winds shall blow its ashes from this hill and your scalps shall wave before the lodges of the Men of Men."

Hiawatha started forward, but the old man firmly held him back.

"Be still," counselled he. "Leave the men to my care. The Council will immediately be sitting; go thou to the Council," and quieting his son by stroking him with his hands he beckoned the women to bring him food and passed out taking a pot of water and a pipe, into the bowl of which he dropped a coal from the fireplace.

The townspeople were rendered absolutely wild by the presence of the prisoners. When the Arrowmaker reached the square he saw the population crowded around the platform of poles on which the Mohawks sat; young men jeering at the captured, old hags reviling them, boys and some of the cowards of the tribe squatting at little fires heating sticks for the torture. The Mohawk warriors—five in number—sat like images of majesty, silent except the one who sang defiances. Seldom had the Arrowmaker, who loved warriors, seen five such lordly men. One past middle age, who was their leader, and whose voice had been heard by Hiawatha in the lodge, looked with scorn over the heads of the Onondagans, and thereby roused the mass of them to special anger.

The Arrowmaker passed through the crowd, and mounting the platform put the waterpot to the lips of the leader. Great was the astonishment of the mob. They checked their shouts with chagrin and resentment, but the person of the Arrowmaker was sacred. The Mohawk Sachem accepted the draught, and quaffed as calmly of it as though it had been offered in some friendly lodge; and then his benefactor passed it to the others.

The crowd were now silent, while the Arrowmaker returned to the old Sachem and placed in his mouth the lighted pipe, which, after a few whiffs had been taken, he tendered to the next, and so on; and when all five had been thus comforted, he turned to the Onondagans:

"It is wise to be exceedingly careful," he said, with deep gravity, "lest we be held to account by the Sun, who is watching, for having broken the faith of the calumet. Touch not these men till the Council have deliberated; for it is easy to enter the lair of the she-bear, but few may be certain to come out alive."

The older heads, who had not been carried away by the hothead movement, were glad to find one bold enough to speak for them.

"It is good," said several of these. Those who had been heating torture-stocks desisted. It was well, that Hatiria and his False Faces were absent at a meeting in their lodge.

Very soon the Council came together. Deep passions burned beneath the motionless countenances. Atotarho sat in the principal place arrayed in his full panoply, and not far from him Hatiria, surrounded by the False Faces. And on the opposite side, at the head of the distinguished braves, was Hiawatha, gaunt, haggard and unornamented, just as he had come back from his journey and his dream. He was the first to advance to the speaking-mat:

"Brothers of the Hill;" he said. "The gods have spoken to me. Do you wish a sign? Then hear—In my vision I saw that the number ye have slain was four. If this be right my words are from the gods."

The exclamations of the assembly showed that he had spoken correctly. "I see," he continued, "at the head of the four who are travelling, an old chief. His forehead is painted and his left breast is pierced by a broken arrow. If this be right, my words are from the gods."

The chiefs ejaculated their astonishment and groans came from the aged matrons.

"The youngest" Hiawatha went on, "is a youth without a feather, but a hammer has crushed his skull and he carries a broken knife; if this be right my words are from the gods."

The confidence of the speaker in his vision was not more strange than the hush that fell on the Council as if some fearful sight had thrilled them. They looked at Hiawatha with the awe due to a White One; and after a few instants of this thrill, one of the war chiefs murmured: "The very least thou hast said is true."

Hiawatha continued, and related his journey, his battle on the mountain, his dream, and his communion with the supernaturals during the past night. Even Atotarho was compelled to regard him as a prophet.

Finally the speaker declared that the Mohawk war should end, that the prisoners should be released, and that they be sent home with large presents to the relatives of their dead companions.

The anger of Atotarho, however, still burned in his fierce eyes, and though silent himself, he looked commandingly towards Hatiria, who, thus supported, boldly went forward. To counteract the supernatural element in Hiawatha's address, he put on his mystic mask, opened out to show a more horrible inner face, which was surrounded by a wild mass of black hair. He shook his tortoise rattle and began:

"Chiefs, and braves! The False Faces also have taken counsel with spirits. I dreamt that a wolf stepped on a nest of rattlesnakes. The snakes sprang up and darted their fangs at him on every side. He gnashed his teeth and four snakes lay dead. Then, as he returned, he met the Great Rattlesnake of the Hills, who said to him, 'Come back and eat a feast with us; for the children of the dead will welcome thee.' Did the Wolf believe that the children of the dead would welcome him? The message of Hiawatha is from the Mohawk gods and not from those of Onondaga. How can ye sup with the Avengers of those ye have slain?" Thus scornfully explaining himself he went back to his place. He had sowed much suspicion.

Now came forward that old sachem whose superior wisdom won him the name of The Doublesighted:

"People of the Hill," he said. "In the many autumns of my age I have known one way only. I have seen that winter followeth summer and summer winter, from the time that I lay on the cradleboard through all these cornharvests until now; and therein sprang up the same pines and birches and ghost-flower and every other plant; and the beaver, the deer and the muskrat and the kinds of fish in the waters were always exactly the same. Thus also I have seen it to be with men: among them there has always been war, for to war is the nature of men: in the spring they went on the warpath just as in spring the sap runneth up within the bark of trees. And the way of conducting war was always the same, founded forever on the same necessity; that is to say, when war was once begun there was no safety except to exterminate the foe. Hence men torture the enemy and pass him through fire that fear may keep him from their villages. Hence also the young braves must eat the warfeast and go out for scalps together. Now this is the nature of war, and destruction will follow if, after having incensed the enemy, we think that he will not complete his revenge."

The effect of Hiawatha's revelation was considerably waning; and now a sensation followed, for Atotarho himself, contrary to his custom, took the mat.

"What fear ye, Onondagans!" he cried in a voice so stern and resounding that its menace alone carried along the obedience of many. "Are ye not able for the People of the Island? Surely the prudence of Hiawatha is great: but he who prides in Onondaga will never shrink from subduing until the Great Hill shall tower above all the mountains of the world. Know this my people, concerning this matter—whereever ye hear the voice of Atotarho, there shall ye hear of scalps and expeditions, warpaint and battleaxes, scars, breastworks, strategems, war and ever war!" And with a sweep of his axe in the air, he went back and sat down.

His words gave great satisfaction to the False Faces and a chorus of rattles greeted their close.

But now arose the aged Red Wings, the wisest of the nation:

"My children," said he, and the previous speeches seemed to pale in seriousness by comparison, "seek not to shatter a mountain: the vision of a truthful man can not be set aside. The Sun has spoken: what shall men dare to reply to the Gods?"

Death-like silence followed for more than half an hour, for no question so momentous had ever been debated in Onondaga; in none had a super-natural warning ever been so plain: the existence of the nation was among the possibilities. The settling of ashes in the Council fire from time to time could be heard with distinctness throughout the Lodge.

At last Hiawatha moved, and all glances were fixed on him. He walked quietly to the mat and stood looking over the heads of those present, an air of sadness in his eyes, yet of such mysterious strength in his bearing that it became as when they had hushed their voices beside a waterfall in some path darkened by overhanging mountains. Lifting his bow and drawing it to the full, he made as if sending an invisible shaft into the distance, and the twang reminded the warriors of the twang of it in battle which foes ever feared.

"Now is the death of night!" he cried, "now arrows of the sun do pierce the breast of war. Too long have the mothers wailed for their elder sons that came not back in summer. Too long have we cut off the fingers of the captive and exhorted each other to make our hearts of stone. The day is come to plant a tree upon this mountain that shall spread its branches over all vales; at its feet the red axe shall be buried as deep as the roots of the mountain, and shall never again be seen; the chiefs shall be princes of many people, the children shall play in safety, the hunters shall not hide their trails, the women shall sing in the cornfields, and the matrons in palisades shall leave their strongholds and go down to live in the plain.

"This is the way that such things shall be brought about: Ye shall make a Chain of Silver, of five links, ye shall build a Long House for five families whose doors shall be towards sunrise and sunset. Ye shall found a League of the Five Nations and bind it with belts of wampum. And lest the chain become dimmed or the house decay, or the tree wither, ye shall brighten them every year at an appointed time on this mountain. So must ye do forever. And these shall be the Laws of the Long House:

"If any tribe submit to the League, there

shall be peace with it and it shall be added to

the Chain. If any hurt not the League, the

League shall hurt it not. But if the hindmost

cub of the League be snapped at, the Wolf-pack

shall all be on the hunter's scent. Yet after the

biter be bitten, he shall not be eaten; he shall be

adopted: the Chain shall be a Chain of Peace.

Thus your Tree shall grow great of girth and

put forth spreading boughs, until wailing no

more be heard in the houses nor blood of men

be met in the woods."

In the silence that followed the observant, furtive glances from one to another showed that his proposal of a permanent and universal League was understood. But none cared to cross Atotarho by openly favoring the idea. Still, none divined more keenly than he that the sentiment of the Council was not with him. His resentment was hotly kindled, but he restricted himself to the influence of his black frown. So matters stood, until Red Wings the Peace chief addressed Hiawatha briefly:

"Thou speakest of a League of many Nations. As the Sun and the Moon paddle slowly through the Blue Lake, so goeth the pace of a wise Council. Meanwhile we must send the captives back."

Hiawatha answered: "By the side of the stream in the valley there is the White Stone that is a spirit. Let all the people meet there a day hence to deliberate upon the League."

In state affairs, a day was a year. The Council assented—except Atotarho who withdrew to his lodge with black looks, gripping his axe; and Hatiria, who led away his False Faces. The Peace Chief then proceeded to the platform and released the prisoners, feasted them, and quickly sent them home bearing presents to the relatives of the dead.

"My son," the Arrowmaker said to Hiawatha, when he returned from starting the Mohawks on their journey, "here I ever see upon thy head the shadow of an uplifted axe. Let us go to the Beautiful Lake, to the mouth of the river of Oshwego, and there camp on the low land under the cliffs, and fish with nets and hunt muskrat until the year be accomplished."

Leaving their lodge in charge of the women they slipped away.


From one of the cliffs at Oshwego, Hiawatha looked out on the Beautiful Lake. Many of the Onondagas had visited him during the summer to reflect over his plans for the Universal League, and he felt that the people were in its favor and was full of hope that the meeting of the next year would succeed. They told him that the Mohawks had thus far shown singular forbearance, although the tension on their part was great. He was also told that Atotarho and his youths had crossed the Lake to war in the Huron country.

The lonely cliff on which he sat was his withdrawing-place for solitary thought. The immense, peaceful ocean-like Lake under his eyes was his inspiration. Its shores sent out point after point until the vista died away, and looking northward, across the water, only the horizon line of waters could be seen. His thoughts sometimes turned with his eyes eastward over its waves, where, far beyond sight, the Spirit Islands lay in innumerable maze, down the River of the Master of Life, which sprang from it a full-grown giant; and far down that River to the former land of the Men of Men. At other times, northward to the forests behind which were hidden the thickly sown towns of the Hurons; or far westward to the Sweet-water Sea, and the lands of the Neutrals, the Cats and the Nation of Tobacco; or southward, over the hills of the Five Nations, to the far-off mountains of the stranger-hating Cherokees. When all these tribes should come in time into his League, and perhaps also even the Northern Lights, the wild Toudamans, and the Mohegans, up to the borders of the Salt-water of the East, had not the Holder of the Heavens still other children to be sought? Or were there nothing but giants and men-eating ghosts beyond? Who were the warring races of the farthest south—the land of the castor-oil plant and the mystery-shells? Where began the icy country of the North-wind Giant? What race inhabited the land of the Red Pipestone Quarry, the brooding-place of the Master of Life? Where were the copper mines of the west? How large, in a word, was his mission? Such questions he sometimes put to the Arrowmaker, who took a pleasure in the subject.

"I have paddled many years through distant countries none molesting me; for there is no nation so barbarian but that the Arrowmaker is welcome at every fire. On the west shore of the Lake of the Hurons, there is the Land of Saguenay. Thence, my grandfathers told me, came both the Hurons, the Mohawks and ourselves, for all who speak the Tongues-a-Little-Different were once one people, and it was there that they became divided. Before that they came to Saguenay by water from the Sweet-water Sea that is far beyond, among whose rocks, men hammer out the copper and the silver by aid of fire. Still beyond, is the land of the Dakotas, a strong people making houses and pottery like us and speaking some words the same, and it is my opinion that we and the Cherokees came first from that people, for the Cherokees also are called 'Hochelagas.' Beyond the Dakotas there are great open plains and many nations until they come to the Mountains of Sunset, where dwell evil spirits and behind which is the River of Death and the House of the Sun and the Land of Souls."

"The League shall send runners to our cousins the Cherokees and Dakotas," mused Hiawatha.

The Arrowmaker continued carving out the figure of a bear on a red stone calumet and without looking up spoke in a low voice, and Hiawatha noticed an Onondagan climbing up to them. Soon he saw it was Hatiria.


"Saigo—good day," the Arrowmaker answered gravely.

"Saigo," repeated Hiawatha, looking out over the Lake. A storm raged in the distance and the bright-colored Bow of the Holder of the Heavens was visible over it, while his arrows still flashed and his distant thunder rolled.

The False Face sat down on a ledge of the rock. The Arrowmaker got up and descended the cliff. As soon as he was gone, Hatiria brought out of his robe a gaily-colored bag and from it drew and laid at Hiawatha's feet a little object like a black mouse. A girdle around its waist tied against it an arrowhead of chipped crystal. It was the mystery man's sacred wolf-fetish, Hiawatha looked at it closely, because, although he knew what it was, none had ever seen it before except the members of the False Face Society. It was the centre of their incantations by which they brought disasters on distant enemies and put the hearts of wolves into absent Onondaga war parties.

"Thou hast dreamt of ghosts," Hatiria said:—"it is the sign that thou must join the Ghost Society."

"Did ye not say my dreaming was false?" returned Hiawatha gravely.

"We acknowledge thou hast heard from the gods."

Hiawatha gave no answer.

"I bring the invitation of the Mystery Brotherhood. The outer door is open, and so is the inner door. Wilt thou take the oaths? Wilt thou pass the ordeals? Wilt thou put on the mask and learn the unknown language?"

"Did ye not tell the people that the spirits commanded war with the Mohawks?"

"I said it, but I knew that it was not so. Hiawatha, I would know how thou communest with the gods. If thou wilt give me this secret, I will give thee the hearts of Atotarho the Entangled, and of the whole people, and the men of mystery as thy servants. This is thy path to the Headchiefship of the four quarters of the world."

"Why didst thou withstand the message of the gods?"

"Because war was the desire of the people. It was the will of Atotarho."

"Ought the priest of the spirits to disobey them for the will of a man?"

"Let us not be too nice my brother, but act for mutual advantage. Tell me the secret of thy communion: reveal me thine incantation and thou and I shall have great power."

"I will," exclaimed Hiawatha rising and sweeping his arm around towards both lake and land; "Behold the Sacred Lodge: yonder is its roof, and the gods are performing in it the ceremonial of the day. Behold, in the west, how Areskoui hath stirred the coals of the council fire, and in the east how the Thunder pours his libation of rain, and the Bow of the Spirits is drawn, and the sparkling Arrows fly. Hearest thou not the ritual of the Lake and the answers of the south wind? Listen now—listen as to a deer coming—listen as to a hare panting in the alders—then thou shalt hear the gods speaking."

Hatiria regarded him first incredulously—next indignantly. He took up the wolf-fetish from the ground and put it back in his bag.

"What thou sayest is for children," he exclaimed. "Remember, Mohawk, whom thou scoutest, for I can stir the anger of the War-chief as a man stirs a fire."

"I scout thee not," replied Hiawatha, "but spirit is heard only by him who will listen. Go back to thy mystery; keep it for the curing of thy believers, and set not thyself up against the strength of the Wind, nor the strength of Fire, nor the strength of the war party of the Spirits, for a man is too small to stand against them."

"Sayest thou so—sayest thou so. Foolishness hath snared thee, Mohawk! Thou wilt not give up the secret, nor accept the initiation? Never more then shalt thou be seen in the Council of Onondaga: never shalt thou see even the shadow of thy League: never shall peace be granted to thy Mohawks—until the snow be black, this Lake be stone—or the last of the Mohawk men be burnt alive and their women and children whimper as slaves in our houses. Moreover, although the White Ones be with thee, the Black Ones are on my side, and listening to my incantations they shall fill thy mouth with coals and cover thy face with ashes, shall make thee die a trembling coward and eat thine head about their fire and scattering thy bones, leave thee to wail forever by some waterfall, cast out from the path of stars and rejected at the River of the Dead."

His very eyeballs stood out, his form quivered, and if he had been a warrior there would have been seen a duel to the death between the two men; but such not being the nature of the mysteryman, he turned with majesty and strode down the hill.

Hiawatha returned to his father's camp and related to him, as evening fell, the occurrences of the conversation. He felt depressed, like a swimmer swimming towards a mark, and suddenly swept from it by a current. And as the night closed in, he saw tall forms of the Black Ones glaring around and heard murmured incantations in the depths of the forest and afar off at Onondaga.

The Arrowmaker smoked at his new Calumet, the bowl of which glowed in the night. After smoking some time, he passed it to Hiawatha and remarked:

"It is well, my son: thou must be the bowman, not the arrow."

In a little while he said again:

"The battle is won by the wounded and the dead."


The sweetness of the Indian hay pervaded the air of the beaver-meadow by the creek of Onondaga, and in the midst of it gleamed the White Stone, a beautiful boulder of quartz. The Creek, flecked with the foam of the mountainside cascades above, began here to slow its current in dark stretches of smooth water; and the forest stood back around the place. The year from the day of the first Council had drawn to its close. The elmbark canoes of the Onondagan people were seen hastening along all the waters towards the Vale, and there, at the clear September dawn of the appointed day, many fires set up their blue pillars of smoke around the meadow. Those who came saw Hiawatha, the proposer of Everlasting Peace, seated alone in the centre of the meadow upon a large mat of rushes; beside him, a bunch of white wampunbelts; in front a fire-pile ready to be lit; and beyond, at some distance the White Stone, the landmark of the place. The face and form of the prophet again bore traces of long fasting, in sunken cheeks and seamed muscles, and the expression of exalted abstraction; and notwithstanding an occasional anxious glance towards the trail to Onondaga Hill, he had the habitual air of confidence that circumstances would be shaped to his will which men of long distinction acquire.

The red of the dawn began, deepened, and paled again, and the sparkling dews dried off the grasses, without the Council appearing. The set hour had long passed, the sun climbed higher, the prophet remained solitary, and the people grew uneasy. Why this delay? Why this unseemly neglect of a chief and hero? No word came down the hill to solve it.

The delay continued until it became unsupportable; and just as rustic Onondagans were preparing to go forward into the meadow, it was murmured that the men from the Castle were approaching, and in a few moments Atolarho came out of the trail, and advancing to the White Stone sat down upon it, facing the Creek. The giant chief was dressed in panoply of war, his brilliant crest of feathers streaming down his back to his knees, his toothed club upon his shoulder, his bow in hand and quiver on back, his tall spear tufted with many scalps, and his face painted in hideous stripes of white and black. Behind him glided, each in the footsteps of the preceding one, not the chiefs and matrons who had been expected, but the youthful adherents of the Warchief the "lookers at the Sun," and these, in array of battle, with bows and tomahawks strung and sharpened, sat down facing Hiawatha, around their leader, who kept staring, under threatening brows, at the hurrying stream.

Silently, one by one of the people drew back into the woods and slipped away to his canoe or his trail. The thousands melted as the dews had done. Hiawatha was left alone before his adversary. His plan was defeated; his great hope ruined. He looked like a wounded father upon those youths, for whose very interest he was laboring, and their ingratitude anguished his soul. In bitter grief he took up his belts of wampum and striding with them to the waterside entered his birch canoe—then drawing his robe over his bent head he slipped his paddle into the water, and, long stroke after stroke, floated down the stream out of sight.

As the ripple of his canoe disappeared, one low wail—the moan of some mother—was heard in the woods.

Grim and satisfied, Atotarho also left the spot, accompanied by his following, and the meadow again became a whispering solitude, redolent with the odor of Indian hay.

As Hiawatha passed down the creek, he went like a ghost newly wrenched from all ties of the living. A sharp tearing rap struck the canoe, and an arrow pierced it and stuck in one of the ribs of the opposite side. The shaft was red and on it were the black slashes of the Mystery sign—a reminder from some hidden emissary of Hatiria; and it added a pang to Hiawatha's bitterness. His was that hour of the reformer, when, repulsed and spurned by those he would benefit, he repeats the history of the Headchief of his Guild, the "despised and rejected of men, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Moving along the shady vistas of the little stream, their silence broken only by an occasional ripple of the paddle or the rapid tapping of some woodpecker, the marvellous beauty of the natural world, so falsely lovely, so witchingly deceitful, so exquisitely mocking in the calm of its unconcern for his sorrow, and yet so mysteriously wise, gave him the feeling of desertion not only by men but by the gods. No one who has not seen something of the absolutely untouched solitudes can realize the perfect beauty of such a scene of the old Indian world as that in which he was gliding. The solitary, tranquil stream was complete in all its rich complement of water plants, shrubbery and trees; no lumberman had stripped its banks of the lofty groups of pines which whispered dark mysteries of old to the wind; no sawmill had disfigured its white sands with rotten chips and shingles, or dammed and ruined its cascades; the abundant leafage of the gracefully drooping arrowleaves and mountain laurel along its borders was still glittering with large drops of last night's shower; and their sparkling ranks glittered again in a ravishing line of clear reflections along the surface. The sense of the perfection of these things, sweeping in upon the lacerated pain of his thoughts through the artist eye of his race made him feel both himself and his mission of no account to the great beautiful Creature into whose haunts he was intruding, turn after turn, and reach after reach. The mystery of the animal life too added to this feeling of his loneliness. The mink ran along the edge, half seen, half unseen, eyeing him—but intent on thoughts that were not his thoughts and belonged to the circle of the mysteries of nature. Partridges clucked in the brushwood—an otter bolted up his little path.

Hiawatha's robe was still folded over his humiliated head, his paddle still was wielded in slow and broken sweeps. As he swung around a mirror-like corner, there was a commotion among the waterlilies. A little animal was swimming away with a lily-root in its mouth. Its eyes were pink, its head and body snowy. It climbed the bank, intent on its food, turned and for a second darted at him a keen glance, and disappeared into a hole. He leaned forward with sadden eagerness, and his face reacquired the light of courage. The gods had not deserted him. It was one of themselves that had just slipped away before him—the white beaver.

The sight of the white beaver had been accorded to few: it had never been seen by a living Onondagan except in dreams, and the tales of its appearances were replete with marvellous lore. Hiawatha would not have been surprised if it had spoken to him. Who can affirm that in this world of Purpose the sign was not intended?

The food of a prophet is his revelations: it is these which solace, support and restore him. In hunger and weakness, give him not wine nor bread but a message from heaven. It was well that this message came to him or, believing himself ruled out of life, he might have climbed some mountainside precipice and thrown himself down, or built a shelter of branches and starved himself to death, or committed some other of the numerous forms of aboriginal suicide. But the white beaver had appeared—that was sufficient.

At once he drank in the cordial of the belief that the glory and mysterious beauty of the forests and streams was on his side. The mocking witchery of their expression became instead an intimate and approving smile of beautiful spirit-hood. In a trance he passed softly along the glassy, dimpling stream.

At length he came to a region of low lands where now the city of Syracuse extends its handsome avenues, and, passing on through flats and sedgy marshes, whitened by the salt springs, saw before him the sandy shores and blue waters of the Salt Lake of Onondaga; where he drew up his canoe on the eastern strand and remained to meditate and recruit. Having lit a fire and eaten, he threw himself down, his face resting on the pillow of his folded arms, breathed a weary breath, and fell into slumber. He saw gathered upon the shores of the Lake, a concourse of all the tribes, their canoes crossing and recrossing, the smoke of their fires rising in all directions, and on the spot where he was lying a general Council, grave and immobile, passing around a Silver Calumet of the blinding brightness of the Sun.


Atotarho, after humbling Hiawatha, gave a warfeast and led all the young braves southward towards the country of the Cherokees. The women and cowards, who remained with the old men and the lame, were nervous and fearful. The circumstance suited Hatiria—it brought him importance as an oracle, enabled him to mould the people to his ends, and best of all, procured him many presents. So he and his False Faces ran through the place every night, shaking their rattles, foaming at the mouth, scattering the brands of the fires upon the inmates of the lodges, and beating their bark sides furiously with sticks, as a remedy for ghosts. They cried: "Onondaga is bewitched! Hiawatha the sorcerer vomits fire towards the town from far away. His pestilence is flying among the lodges at night! It has the shape of a Great Head without body, but with flaming eyes!" And several old women screamed: "We have seen it!"

The Arrowmaker, however—remaining daily at his art, and to whom all the people came to watch him working—smiled at the measures of the magicians, and chipped his arrowheads more neatly still, before the eyes of his admirers.

One night a tempest wrapped the great mountain-top in pandemonium. One of the houses collapsed under the weight of driven rain. The Chief of the False Faces sat in the Lodge of Life that night, arrayed in a weird and magnificent costume of skins and feathers, and over his head an immense mask of a nameless bird. A young man stood before him. He was heavy and rustic and fevered with long fasting, and he trembled with apprehension. As the thunder-peals cracked and roared above their heads, the young man shuddered when they came.

"Every shape hath a spirit." uttered the loud voice from the Bird-mask: "Behind the shape of a man is the spirit of a man; behind the shape of a panther is the spirit of a panther; behind the shape of a mountain is the spirit of the mountain; behind the shape of a ghost is the spirit of the ghost. He that taketh on a shape taketh in the spirit of it; he that putteth on a mask becometh the spirit of it. I am what I seem!"

The emaciated ascetic listened to the Bird-mask and trembled still more. He was in the very presence of a Demon!

The Mask took on the demoniac ferocity.

"Satyenwat, thou are favored of the Black Ones," It said: "O prophet, I see in thee great strength of mystery and thou doest well to seek entrance into the Society. I shall open to thee the secrets and teach thee the language in which we converse with the gods."

The young man looked at it fearfully.

"Wouldst thou walk the trail of mystery?"

The candidate nodded.

"Canst thou look upon the terrible Askurha Rhih—the Ghost that would devour thee, and is bodied in a skeleton?"

The candidate trembled violently, but nodded.

The Mask exclaimed with demoniac force, "And Thou shalt."

"Canst thou talk with the Utkutcrha Ksn—the evil spirit whence we receive our power?"

The candidate reeled and stayed himself a moment, but again he overcame his tremor in his anxiety for initiation, and nodded.

"Canst thou face the mighty Utkusurhu—the Witch of Animal Shape—that will follow thee in the woods?"

The young man continued his assent.

"Canst thou take as thy friend the Uhnawak—the departing ghost that revisits its body?"

"Art thou fearless of the Yaskununas—the ghosts of men that live afar?"

"Art thou now prepared to see here the Yatcunhuhkwâkwâ—the apparition that emits flames of light?"

The youth still assented.

"Then follow;" thundered the majestic False Face, and led the trembling neophyte into the inner chamber of the Lodge. The rustic was astounded to see a dark hole in the rock at their feet and Hatiria beginning to go down into it. Still, he leaped in and stumbled after for a considerable distance. They slipped down a rude slope between walls of rock, at first dark, then dim with reddish gloom, and ultimately level and more fully visible.

"Hush!" said the Bird-headed Chief, turning back a glance at his companion, "This is the dwelling of Tawiskaron, the Black One;" and they came into a stalactitic hall, in the middle of whose flat, sandy floor, around a fire, a motionless company were standing. They stood in attitudes as if petrified in the middle of a dance, some holding up rattles, some raising a foot for the next step, some in crouching positions. Their costumes were grotesque; all were masked, some black, some red, some with one side red, the other black, most of them with the mouth twisted up on one side, and all surrounded by long disordered shocks of false hair, black or white. A few moments they stood thus, wax-like and speechless, while Hatiria advanced, and the heart of Satyenwat sank at the sight and at the long vista of sparkling pendants and columns of the cave. They, he thought, who could call up a realm like this in the heart of the mountain must truly be Okis.

Every massy icicle, cascaded bench, and ribbed pillar of the Stalactitic porcelain gleamed and glowed in flowing waves of delicately tinted brightness like the motions of the northern lights, and in their illumination he could see hall on hall stretching into the distance before him living and moving, beautiful and appalling beyond expression.

The existence of this marvel of nature was a carefully guarded secret of the False Faces, the knowledge of it was a strong bond among the initiated, and it gave the elder members power over the newer and younger, who were universally awed on their introduction to it. As Hatiria, the master of these splendors, neared the group of dancers, he shook his tortoise-shell and instantly they became animated and started with their rattles and the steps of the dance they had suspended. The music of their song was in a minor key with strange jumps and sudden long notes and every now and then two successive wild grunts slipping quickly down the entire scale one after the other. Yet, notwithstanding its wildness, it had a pleasing musical quality, and Hatiria introduced his splendid voice into it two or three times in solo:

"I am moving along a road,

Although you may think there is none.

I know what I behold in nature;

I know and care not whether I do wrong,

Or whether someone else does the wrong!"

The rattles beat loudly, the dancing struck up vigorously, and the whoops were wild. The actions performed in unison, represented the sighting of ghosts approaching, the defying of them, threatening them, appeals to gods for assistance, battle with the ghosts, and triumph.

Hatiria was now in the centre looking at the fire and casting upon it some little shells. He threw off the Bird's head; bent and picked up a blazing stick and inserting it between his teeth, gave vent to a scream and started furiously into the ring of dancers. They imitated him by snatching each a firebrand with their naked fingers and cramming it into their teeth, circled about, a screaming, leaping band of demons with mouths full of flame—to the terror of the superstitious neophyte, who stood apart still quaking at the phosphorescence of the cavern. But among all the long-haired masked creatures who wheeled, and gesticulated and breathed fire before him, their unmasked chief had become to him the most terrible. His countenance lost the semblance of a man and grew contorted and swollen with the real passions of a devil. Staying the dancers again to their original silence by a crash of his rattle, he leaped at the neophyte swinging on high a warclub caught from a dancer's hand, as if to crash it instantly into his skull.

Satyenwat involuntarily drew himself together but did not flee, and as Hatiria's arm swerved the heavy stone across his hair, the Chief's face showed some satisfaction.

He turned to the South:

"Here is the slayer of ghosts," he sang,

"At last the Black Ones send him,

"Now shall the mountain be delivered,

"Now shall the people sleep in safety.

"And see no more in the distant clouds

"The pestilence Head approaching."

Then the dancing maskers rose and departed along the passages of the cavern, the light died away and only Hatiria and the neophyte were left, while nothing relieved the darkness except the light of the red fire. There was silence, and then the neophyte thought he saw a shape approaching. It came nearer and nearer in the darkness and stopped, regarding him stonily. He made out a giant skull with huge teeth, and without a body.

"The Uskurha Rhih!" muttered Hatiria.

The candidate swooned. In a moment he came to, and saw but the fire and the False Face. Then he beheld another lofty shape approaching. It shook a muffled rattle once and slowly drew back into the darkness.

"The Utkutcrha Ksn!" said the Sorcerer.

The vague shape of a wolf now trotted past, and as it did so it turned and showed its angry teeth and fire between them.

Then came and went a shape wailing low an indistinct dirge in a strange language—the ghost that revisits the body of the dead, and the Yaskununa and the Yatcu appeared, both cunningly contrived and brought on in forms of horror, but dimly seen.

"And now," cried the False Face, seeing that the young man was fully mastered by terror, "thou must run where I command, and do whatever I bid, or these powers shall pursue and destroy thee. But if thou wilt, thou shalt have all their aid behind thee. Art thou ready to obey?"

The cowering neophyte nodded again.

"To walk when I command?"


"To run?"


"To descend?"


"To mount?"


"To kill?"

Satyenwat hesitated. "Whom?" he asked, in trepidation.

"Thine own mother."

The candidate shook and shuddered. With a violent effort he brought his senses together.

"Take the weapon!" the False Face shouted, with voice rising into fury, and thrusting the warclub into the other's hands he pushed him away. "Go kill thy mother!" he shouted.

The neophyte took the club helplessly. He could not but go: he was under the power.

"'Tis enough!" Hatiria said. But as—dripping from head to foot with sweat—the neophyte returned the club, he handed it back.

"Take the weapon," he said, holding it out to the young man; who took it.


The youth faltered. He was speechless with bewilderment.

"Go," Hatiria commanded, eyeing him with a glance so malignant, yet hypnotic, that all his hateful soul burned in it.

"Go stand at the door of the Arrowmaker, by the porch of his lodge, on the side of the shadow of the lightnings, that they show thee not. He shall pass out and then thou shall crush his head with all thy might and return here quickly. Why lingerest thou?"

The neophyte trembled violently, "Kill the old Arrowmaker?" he groaned.

"It is he who bewitcheth the town. It is not for thee to question the mysteries."

"Must I be his slayer?" the youth groaned again in anguish.

"Or now die by this club thyself; and thy soul and body be eaten by the Spirits."

The neophyte caught the club and fled up the entrance path, climbed into the Lodge, passed the curtain, and stopped to collect his senses in the outer chamber, around which were hung the paraphernalia of the craft. His eyes rested but a moment on the skulls, the fetiches, the sacred shields and drums, before the ferocious face of Hatiria seemed to pursue him again, and the False Face cave itself to be belching up threats; and terrified by the loneliness of the chamber and the deed he had undertaken, he rushed out into the rain and pushed through the tempest to the lodge of his victim. The falling torrents beat loudly on its sides, and red light came here and there through chinks. He felt that he was about to put out the red light in the house of a beloved life. But the mandate of the False Faces pursued him. He tremblingly crept up to the porch and crouching beside it, grasped the war club tightly for the blow, while the cold rain poured over his head and shoulders, the thunder crashed its wings over the mountain and the flashes of its eyes lit up the houses around, in fitful brilliancy.

All at once the mat which hung in the doorway was pushed aside and a man emerged. Terror threw haste into the muscles of the neophyte, he struck with all his might; the victim fell forward silently; the crushing of his skull was felt along the striker's arm; and he realized then that he had slain the favorite of the town, the kind old servant of the Sun. Remorse followed swiftly on terror, and the two emotions in their tumult tore his heart to insanity. Look which way he might he saw torturers pursuing—pursuit by the False Faces; pursuit by the Avenger Hiawatha; pursuit by the raging pain of his own breast; pursuit impending and all-comprehending by the Master of Life. And at this instant another pursuer appeared, a fearsome sight—the ghost of the Arrowmaker itself emerging from the door—his Uhnawak! The slayer fled to the back of the mountain and threw himself down the awful precipice.

No more was heard or seen of the Arrowmaker or the neophyte in Onondaga, nor of the other neophyte, Nishen, to whom the calling out of the Arrowmaker had been assigned.

While awaiting the return of these emissaries, the False Face Chief put on his Bird mask again, sat down with the fraternity, and ordered magic to be prepared for Hiawatha's destruction. Each took out his fetish from the medicine-bag at his neck and placed it on the ground between him and the fire. They were a queer collection of little stone and clay beasts, of objects that had been seen in dreams, of crystals, fossils, carved sticks, strange seeds, and even pieces of demons' hair. Hatiria's fetish, the most potent and wondrous, was brought over from a corner of the cavern and placed before him by one of the youngest of the order. This marvel was his tropical shell. In the sounds heard within it by the attentive ear, the initiated recognized the sound of the wind in distant forests, the falling of waves on distant lakes, and the doings and sayings—some said even the thoughts—of distant men. Hatiria lifted the Shell to his ear, listened some moments, and commenced to sing a puerile chant:

"I hear an incantation in a wood;

The wood is far away, the fire crackles,

The blacksnakes come from all around to hear;

And they give counsel to their brother serpent the sorcerer,

I hear them making pestilence;

Each one gives him some venom;

I hear them slipping through the woods to bear the pestilence hither;

I hear them slipping into houses in the night."

He laid down the shell, drew from his bag a crooked green stick, one end of which he had carved in the shape of a serpent's head, and throwing the stick on the fire, resumed:

"Thus I burn up Hiawatha.

He writhes in the flames that I send him,

I hear his cry far away;

This night he is dying in torments,

If any should think he ever see him again

It will be but his ghost remaining."

The green stick writhed, leaped, cracked, flamed, and finally glowed through and through while they watched it.

The cavern meanwhile was glowing and changing with the fitful auroral light and Hatiria's impatience to learn from the two neophytes grew to such a pitch that he despatched a third to the upper world to bring a report to the others. Unbounded was his disappointment when the third returned reporting that all the town were running hither and thither in excitement, that a loud cry was said to have been heard, that traces had been found of a man having been brained at the door of the Arrowmaker, that the latter and the two neophytes had entirely disappeared, that the belief was passed from lip to lip that the storm, which was drawing to a close had been conjured up by Hatiria in order to work Evil upon the good old man, and that demons, descending in the form of lightning, had carried away his body and those of the two youths.

Hatiria's malignity and rage were not greater than his mystification. His rage proceeded chiefly from the conclusion that the neophytes had fled out of remorse. So he rushed to the upper world and made straight for the Arrowmaker's lodge. It was indeed empty of men, the traces of braining wert profuse at the door, and all the three had disappeared. So for days he stalked about Onondaga like a cloud of that storm he was said to have brought on. The old chiefs hated him, the women and children trembled at him; his power was chiefly in the False Face Society, and he suffered the unpopularity—most scathing of all punishments—of those who injure any member of an Indian community. But he made up for it by the ferocity of his reign of fear. One by one who displeased him fell by deadly illness, until all who could leave the village fled. The daily sports and pleasant conversations of the town gave place to universal foreboding, and everyone longed for the return of Atotarho, or still better, if possible, of Hiawatha, if he were still among the living.


But Hiawatha had taken a different determination. When at the gloaming of the morn he looked out over the Salt Lake, he had already decided on a plan—to go to the Mohawk nation and offer them the first membership of his League. The journey he thus marked out is famous in Iroquois legend: it is to their history what the forty years spent by Moses in Midian were to that of the Hebrews; what the Flight of Mahomet was to the Arabs; every lake and island has its story of his flight. The outlet of the Salt Lake is said to have been formed by a cut with his paddle. Innumerable marvels are recounted of him on the way; but it need not be said that no marvels were done: when he wanted food he rested to hunt, when he wished reflection he tarried to think, when the gods spoke he withdrew to the forest and fasted. The sweet dream of Nature soothed away the effects of his first depression as he passed along, leaving the hidden chorus of many brooks, the whistle of the wheeling eagle, the melodious rustle of leaves along the side of some mountain. The odor of the leafage sweet in his nostrils, the pure air cool in his lungs, the large sky all luminous lifting his spirit to greatness, the speech of lonely raven lost in the ringing spaces of twilit woods, of loon in the nooks of the lakes, the soft water-voices and wind voices of the woods, fed his days with charm.

His course lay down the six miles of the narrow, low-shored Salt Lake; thence, through its outlet to the little River of the Senecas, which flowed gently from the west, overhung with elms and fringed with green willows; thence eastward to the devious full-flooded River of the Oneidas, into which it ran; and still eastward up the River of the Oneidas, climbing portage after portage, through the Land of the Oneidas; until he reached the large and pleasant Oneida Lake, where he saw plenty of trails of that people, and came in sight of an encampment on the north shore, enjoying the expanse of waters and its abundance of fish and game. Their strongholds were up among the mountains.

Approaching the hamlet openly, straight across the water, he saw the people running about along the shore, and the warriors arming, so that when he had reached the distance of a little more than a bowshot off, he put up his hands in the attitude of shading his eyes and bent his head—an attitude signifying peace—and after making this sign he paddled straight forward to the beach. None of them returned the sign, as usual. There was instead a plain mistrust on their features as they looked at his Onondaga headfeather; and the bows of the whole band were drawn upon him when he stepped ashore, until a chief called out:


Immediately the bows were lowered and unstrung, reserve of manner gave place to joy, and the braves crowded around to welcome their hero of past days: for the Oneidas were the Younger Brothers of the Hochelagans. They told him that both their nation and the Mohawks retained intense resentment against Onondaga for the recent attack, and that the proposal of a league with them would be unpopular. They also said that several Onondagas had recently taken refuge with their nation from the intolerable rule of the False Faces, having fled by the land trail across the hills; that they were thus well acquainted with the events of his proposal and its rejection through Atotarho; and they informed him of the tragedy at the Arrowmaker's door and of the latter's ominous disappearance. The news startled and saddened Hiawatha; and the duty of vengeance prompted a temptation to go back and drive an arrow through Hatiria's breast. Rubbing the ashes of mourning on his face, he left these hospitable Oneidas, and, wrapped in recollections of the kindness of his adopted father to him, he drifted regardlessly along the centre of the Lake. He noticed nothing of its beautiful white beaches, its fair, pure waters, the oaks and lofty pines of its shores, until he landed at its eastern end, by the mouth of the Little River of the Oneidas. There, searching along the sands, he collected a pouchful of small white shells. He stripped an elm tree of some of its bark, and shaped the inner fibres into strands such as were used for fishnets; and, stringing the shells on them, packed them carefully in the bow of his canoe. Still sorrowing, he proceeded ever eastward, up the Little River and its branch, Wood Creek, and, portaging, arrived some days later at a tiny stream, secluded, narrow, gentle, and given to overmuch winding, none other than the famous Mohawk River, whose valley was the refuge of the Hochelagans.

Solaced by its witchery, he drifted down it for several days; its banks grew higher and more savage, its flood fuller, the forests denser, and the wild neighborhood of the Hochelagan castles nearer. A mighty fall stood in the way, where the river rushed through a gorge of giant rocks, but, passing around it, he came in time to the Creek of Garoga, on the north bank. Here he turned and toiled up the creek some ten miles, through country wilder and wilder and more forbidding. None met him along the creek. All was solitude, and the very trees on the height seemed to call down to him to go back. At the most desolate turn of the stream a lofty sand-cliff came in view, whose slope fell sheer to the water's edge, a hundred and fifty feet. On the edge, high above him, he descried the palisades of the Town of the Bear, the principal of the three fastnesses of the Hochelagans. He now hid his canoe and crept through the woods. Sounds of a warsong reached him, floating down the height. He divined that the tribesmen were gathered at a dance of fury against Onondaga. It was early evening. The moon was clear. He watched and listened in the cedars on the opposite side of the stream, which swept around the hill in almost a circle, while everywhere except on one side the same inaccessible bank rose from the waters, relieved only by a few scant birches. The accessible side was that he could not see—a narrow tongue of land, down whose slope, as well as over a space of several acres on the level top, in front of the fastness, the ripened corn was standing.

The whole neighborhood was made up of abrupt hills of sand and boulders, shaggy crests of pines, hurrying torrents, caverns, and violent rifts of rock. Such was the place where the Men of Men had rebuilt their Hochelaga; and the two other towns were situated similarly, within a few miles. In the names of the three castles they repeated old ones in slightly different forms, this of the Bear was "Tiotiaké," and those of the Turtle and Wolf were respectively "Hocheguaga" and "Hocherue." Only, these defiant hills were not the beautiful land of the Sacred Island and its matchless river. So, looking up at the palisade on the height, the changed fortune of his people came over him, and the cool night threw him into a strange longing. He turned aside into the woods, overcome. A sound of rapids drew him, and, stepping softly along the bank, he came to a place where the stream faced him in a roaring low wall of white, surrounded with dark shadows of rock and water and a skyline of evergreens. The moonbeams played faintly on the steps of the cascade. In a bright spot below a panther lay on a floating tree-trunk watching for fish among the shallow eddies. He sat down on a boulder at the shore end of the tree trunk and watched the panther, which drew up, growling, with lowered head, and fixed angry eyes upon him. It felt its will weaker than his, however, and, venting an unearthly yell, leaped from rock to rock across the stream and disappeared, leaving him at peace. So he turned to the fall and gazed on it undisturbed under the spell of that strange longing. The mystic life to which he had attained lifted its veil, and this time a soft mist came down the rapid shimmering in the moonlight. It came floating through the air between the sheen of the rocks and saplings, and he saw it form into the shape of a maiden clad in white. Though she floated near, she stayed her veil-like approach, above the middle of the water. She still retained the beauty of mist, but her voice came to him in tones tuned to the chanting of the cataract.

"I am Quenhia, my brother."

He gazed eagerly, his sight became clearer; he saw her smile; he saw the lovelight in her eyes. She smiled again, and chanted the strangest of words:

"On the mountainside thy grave is empty—

I lie beside it and dream——"

Vast and tremulous emotions rushed over him as he drank in that marvellous affection.

"I am waiting, brother;

I have not gone the long journey,

Hiawatha! Hiawatha!"

The voices of the waterfall echoed back, "Hiawatha! Hiawatha!" —and again the tremor died away in the watery roar.

He leapt to his feet and threw into his cry all the passion of his soul: "Yes, my sister; thy Hiawatha follows on from life to life."

None can describe what a light softly brightened and trembled over the cataract. He could feel the spirit's cool arms around his neck and his own clasped her in reciprocal embrace, yet to his eyes she still remained out of reach, swaying white over the middle of the dark stream.

"Strange things I see in the grave," she chanted on, "where, under the earth are innumerable waters and creatures that have lived—all their doings are before me. Others are coming and others preparing for their turn to go out above the grass. Our race shall pass away and never more be seen upon the Sacred Island. I see there a people, in number like the drops of rain, covering the island with lodges of stone. I see them pass, and a race of the splendor of gods make the land beautiful and fill the skies like birds. I see them pass—and the earth itself is living and needs but itself for life. But ever the sun and the moon continue, and our love is between them like a star in the sky."

And so her voice became fainter and fainter, and could no longer be distinguished from the cataract, nor her features from the mist.


The howl of wolves like devils in the distance broke upon his peace. They did not trouble him otherwise, for laying his hand upon his brow he threw himself on the ground under a spruce tree, and dropped into a deep slumber.


He awoke before dawn, and, going back to his canoe, took from it his strings of white shells and returned. Then he marked, through the gloaming, under the still gleaming stars, that the foot of the cascade on the opposite bank was the place to which the townsfolk came for water, for a path led down the hill to it. He therefore crossed and sat down on a stone by the brink, where, taking up the shells, he disposed them about his shoulders and all over his breast.

At the first daylight, before the sun had yet looked over the horizon, and while the wind was still roaring loud in the tops of the trees, a young girl came tripping down out of the corn fields bearing an empty waterjug by its thong. She parted the bushes and was kneeling to fill it when she perceived the stranger sitting on the stone. With a gasp of alarm she dropped her jar into the water, flew back, and did not stay her feet until she had entered the town and closed the gate.

Dekanaweda, hearing the screams of squaws, came out of his house. The effect of the alarm on his people was very different from that of the first attack of the Hurons on Hochelaga. There, surprise and inexperience had been their characteristics; here, all the braves took down their arms and deployed to appointed posts on the wall; the screams of the women were not of fear, but of eager incitement to battle; and they hurried off themselves to carry stones and water to the defenders; even three-year-old girls imitated them; and baby boys caught up their toy bows and set their faces fiercely.

But as no enemy was visible the din soon quieted, and Dekanaweda sought out the one who was the centre of questioning.

"A man of Onondaga," she said, in reply to his question, "is sitting at the bank of the creek."

"An Onondagan!" the old women exclaimed.

"Did he speak?" Dekanaweda queried.

"He looked at me gravely."

"Sorcery!" the old women cried.

"Was he painted?"

"He was not painted nor armed. Strings of shells covered his breast. His look of greatness frightened me, as well as his Onondagan feather."

The old women raised a tumult of distrust and hate against the stranger. But Dekanaweda said to them:

"Light your fires and heat the cooking-stones red. Take down your corn-ears to roast, for the house belongs to whoever stands at the threshold, and, though this man be Onondagan, he comes with white shells of peace. Let Serontha, the eldest of my seven brothers, go out and light the fire on the hillslope and lead the stranger thereto, and I will come after."

Dekanaweda was obeyed. So wise had they found him, as well as eloquent, that they followed the spell of his slightest deliverance. In this manner, and by the help of his seven brothers, he ruled the Town of the Bear.

Serontha passed through the gate full-armed. At the edge of the slope, he made a small fire, took his knife in one hand and his calumet in the other, and descended the path to the water. Warily peering through the saplings he saw the figure of the thinker, sunk in meditation. At once he advanced, and, holding out the stem of his pipe, exclaimed: "Clan-brother!"

"Saigo," Hiawatha returned, accepting the pipe and handing him a string of the shells. The dreamy look was strong upon his face, and he followed Serontha up the hill, and sat down mechanically by the little fire. His heart beat loudly now, and he looked for a moment up to the Sun.

A procession, profoundly affecting to him, came out of the gate, in single file—the remnant of the old chiefs, the matrons, the braves, and the people of Hochelaga. Grown older and fewer, but still the familiar faces, they advanced towards him. The past itself seemed to him to be advancing out of some vast tribal grave; for a moment that past and the present united in one vivid scene.

When Dekanaweda and the elders had crossed half the distance through the cornfield, Serontha lifted his hand towards the supposed Onondagan and cried the magic name:


The long file stood still, and gazed intensely.

A ripple of astonished laughter ran along the line of old warriors, and immediately a scene of dancing, shouting, weeping, and extravagant joy followed. In the revulsion the grave became fools and the whole town ran forward to greet him.

Dekanaweda, his countenance full of emotion, and tears coursing down his cheeks, embraced the guest, and as the people crowded up he ordered a space to be cleared around Hiawatha. He understood at a glance, the idea symbolized by the white shells, and, lifting the calumet towards the sky, he passed it to Hiawatha.

The latter glanced with satisfaction at the multitude of stately young braves, and also of children, the hope of the tribe, and the vanity of the young women was flattered by an approving glance. He saw that there were present, sitting with Dekanaweda and his brothers and the other Bear Chiefs, some of the notables of the Turtle and Wolf towns. When at last he opened his lips he said:

"I come from Onondaga." A silence, cold as a thunder cloud's shadow, fell over all, and many eyes sought the ground.

"I come rejected and driven out——" The faces were lifted, a thousand eyes looked at him with a light of fierce sympathy.

"I come back to my people." The expression changed again, as if brightened under a shaft of sunlight.

"I am henceforth a Mohawk." The younger braves rose in a simultaneous movement, and leaping into the air, threw their weapons up and began the steps of the Feather Dance. But Dekanaweda raised his hand and they sank down in their places. Then Serontha cried: "Let us go forth immediately and avenge the driving out of our brother! Let us send up the lodges of proud Onondaga in smoke and drive their warriors to attend our slain in the Land of Shadows. Hiawatha shall lead us!"

Once more the young men were hard to restrain. But the mere uplifted hand of Dekanaweda allayed the tempest of their cries, and Hiawatha's answer was awaited in a half delirium of stilled excitement. The moment desired by the Prophet had come quickly, and, his soul flaming with his mission, he stood up and drew the quick bow of his oratory.

"Assuredly I would lead you," he exclaimed, if I spoke words of my own, but the words I speak, O children of Tiotiaké, are the words of the Thunder and the Sun: "Thou shalt tell thy people of a Sky of Everlasting Light. Beneath it is a fruitful, watered valley; and the wall of the Valley is Five Great Mountains joined together, roundabout!"

Thus in parables he set before them his project, illustrating it part by part, each with some figure of speech; and relating to their attentive ears in simpler narrative the story of his visions, his proposals to Onondaga, the parts taken by Atotarho and Hatiria, and the events of his journey from Onondaga Creek to the wild Garoga. He explained how the death of his adopted father left him free to return to his kindred and take up their ties, and he adjured them, with all the force at his command, to adopt his scheme and become the founders of the Great Confederacy.

He eagerly read their countenances as he proceeded. The fury of the war dances was freshly reflected there, he saw it gradually die as he fought it with arrow after arrow of persuasion or imagery. "Yes, yes," became frequent; admiration, conviction, enthusiasm rose higher and higher. At length he felt that his scheme had made a deep impression, and he gently ended his words as a canoe glides gracefully down the last billows of a long rapid and slips into placid water.

But while the coming of Hiawatha and his general sentiments were approved, the independent minds were not all ready to give up the war on the Onondagas. Shadeka spoke strongly in its favor, but after he had finished the Chief named Two-Equal-Statements went to the speaking mat and said: "The arguments for war are these: The young braves prove themselves men; the enemy are driven off from the country; the hunting-grounds are preserved; the people are made proud by trophies; the wisdom won by warriors keeps the nation safe; and foes are weakened by destructive blows.

"And the arguments for peace are the following: The losses by death are diminished; the people rest and labor in confidence; the people grow numerous and rich; extended trade rejoices the hearts of all; travel is possible; friendships gladden the hearts of those who roam."

The fickle people wavered between the two courses, and the passions aroused by the wardancing, the feasts, and the harangues upon their wrongs kept burning in their breasts, especially among the hot-headed young men, and in the end it was evident that Hiawatha's counsel, after all, would fail for the present.

Dekanaweda had sat, during this time, wrapped closely in his black bearskin, his expressive eyes fixed intently on the white shells which lay before him, and immersed in thought.

When Two-Equal-Statements had finished, he sprang up, all life and action, and his musical voice ringing far among the fields and trees:

"Son of the Spirits," he cried, "henceforth thy labor is done. Our Father the Divine has given it to me to move the councils as the East wind bends the poplars. Stay thou in the lodge and I will go out and lead the nation into thy House of Friendship. Its east door shall be at the Sunrise and its west door shall be at the Sunset. Thou hast proposed the league; I shall build it; and in the end, though dying, I and thou shall live forever in the Assembly of All Tribes."

How vast was the weight that was lifted from Hiawatha's overstrained breast! The tension of the past months had sorely racked his frame, and all his stoicism would not suppress the wearing fires of disappointment and suspense.

Dekanaweda's service to the cause during the next few weeks was deserving of all praise. Skilful, powerful, musical, with the art and force of a genius, the success of the enterprise was soon secured by him among the Hochelagans. He passed down the Mohawk River to Hocherue, the Castle of the Turtles, where Tekarihoken, overborne by his persuasion, gave the scheme the added prestige of his noble name; and up to Hochequaga, the Wolf Town, where Chief Tree-in-Sky was brought over; and now the general council of the nation was called at Tribes' Hill, the meeting-place. And it is needless to say that there also Dekanaweda conquered; and he came back in triumph to announce to the quiet brooder in his dark longhouse that the entire Mohawk nation had joined his League.


There was a fascination about the ruthless face of the Warchief of Onondaga when he was in good humor. The massive lines of his head, his stature and carriage, the moulded bronze of his chest and arms, drew forth the admiration paid by mankind to Nature's monarchs. His face shone pleasantly as he suddenly rounded the foot of the rocks of Onondaga, and sprang up towards the town at the head of his braves. They were returning from the Cherokee campaign, in which they had driven the warriors of the South from cliff to cliff along their mountains; eighty-four long-haired scalps waved on poles above the party. Nine streamed from Atotarho's own girdle as he swung along on easy strides; and on his breast, above and below them, shone his beautifully worked armour of twigs and cords; on his left arm was his round shield; on his head the brilliant crest of feathers, standing out and falling down his back. He swung his celt as he ran, his braves followed in line, his couriers dashed up the path ahead. So it came that none but a boy or two saw them before they were pouring up on the level hilltop and piercing the air with the Cherokee warwhoop as they rushed into the town. The screams of squaws responded, and only then the men came out of the houses. Atotarho's experiment had succeeded better than he desired—the destruction of the palisade had not produced vigilance. The lack of preparation angered him. Red Wings and a few ancients were the only adult males who appeared. And this was the reception of the great war-party after their journey of a thousand miles and their glorious victory! The Warchief stood still and his wrath raged hot.

Hatiria with all the False Faces came out to him from the Mystery Lodge.

"Show me the holes of the badgers," Atotarho cried, in a tone of scorn. "Where have they hidden from the dogs?"

His braves had now all swarmed up and were standing around him—a great assembly of life and fire. Some faces shared his fierce decision, some were radiant at returning home after months of fatigue.

"Where are the rattlesnakes in the nest of Onondaga?" he cried. "Has the Huron stamped them out with his foot? Are the men I left all dead? I see women, and infants, and aged chiefs, but who is here to protect them and welcome us? Lo! had we truly been Cherokees the tribe had been destroyed."

Hatiria drew up his imposing form and sententiously answered him:

"The walls of flesh, in truth, are gone, as well as the walls of wood. The cause is the Mohawk Hiawatha. First by his father he bewitched the town with deaths, and I heard him in the Shell laughing far away. Still incantating, he raised the blackest storm that ever was, and carried the two youths, Satyenwat and Nishen, away with him into the sky. Only their blood and brains were found at the door of the Arrowmaker, who also flew into the sky. I have seen him in the shell laughing and lifting of the bones Satyenwat and Nishen out of the broth-pot, and breaking of them for the marrow. Also the people are very troubled with ghosts."

Atotarho's eyes were dark with doubt and dissatisfaction.

"Red Wings," he exclaimed, with impatient anger, "what sayest thou?"

"In my old age I am foolish; I know nothing."

"Hath Hiawatha done this?"

"I know not; it hath been done."

Atotarho paused.

"Is it true that the Arrowmaker is gone?"

"No man hath found even his footsteps."

The Warchief chafed and turned away.

"There is none other that can make a wararrow," was his growl, as he strode to his lodge.

Hatiria harangued the people.

"Beware, in the black of night, when even the coals sleep and blink, the dreadful Black Ones from whom witches derive their power; and the Skeleton Ones who live on human flesh; and the panting Wolf Men; and the spirits of sorcerers that fly from afar; and the witches that are under the power of superior witches; and the ghosts that come back to revisit their bodies. For now they crowd around the houses and whoso speaks aloud they enter by the roofhole and find him and carry him away like Satyenwat and Nishen; beware the great Black Giants of the woods that eat men, for yesterday their footsteps were found in the cornfield by one of the Society; beware the sorcerers that make images of you afar and suck your souls away in your sleep. But, chiefly, beware the Men-eating Ghosts of white faces—close not your eyes too closely for fear of this thing. In the high night-wind whistling, listen for their voices, and if loudly they shriek, run for me swiftly, and most swiftly."

Only one prisoner had been brought back from the Cherokee country, for the journey was so dangerous that all the others had been slain. This one—saved by Atotarho—was a young woman. It was her unmeasured defiance which had won his favor, and by his order she was granted every liberty except freedom. Notwithstanding his protection, it would have gone hard with her among her own sex, however, had she not been what she was.

But, as every race has its exceptionally beautiful women, she was of that rare class, seen only now and then, both in mien and temperament, one of those regal females to whom everybody by nature admits precedence. Her figure was tall and exquisitely graceful, her features slender and fine of line, the red blood was delicately distributed in her olive cheeks, her hair was very long and neatly braided, and she was full of daring and spirit. The braves, who were not slow to appreciate these points, had learned during their march to take a certain pride even in her fearless diatribes against themselves and their nation. She was the daughter of the headchief of all the Cherokees, and reared among a household of captive slaves. These Onondagas, therefore, named her The Noblewoman. She now mounted the hill with the last of the braves and walked into the meeting.

This handsome creature, when she had listened a good while to Hatiria haranguing, went up, stood before him, and looked him in the eye.

"Thou art a coward," she said to him.

"What sayest thou, woman?" he cried, almost speechless.

"Thy words have the manner of one who lives by lies."

"Strange woman, who art thou?" he roared, aroused. "Thou shalt die by fire! False Faces!"

But the springing of the False Faces to seize her was forestalled by a movement forward of the warriors.

Hatiria drew back.

She stretched up her hand at him and laughed. "Body of a chief; heart of a rat, I fear neither thee nor thy ghosts. Where are the scalps thou hast taken?" and still laughing lightly she turned and trotted into the village.

Hatiria retired, with fury beyond description, to the Mystery Lodge, and there were many secret doings during the rest of the day. At night in the principal house of the Wolf Clan, after the weary warriors had fallen into heavy slumber, the women, sitting around the fires exchanging tales of superstition, became fearful and disquieted, for the scream of the East Wind Spirit was wild, there was hard-driven rain on the bark walls, the teeth of the Wolf that was painted on the end wall seemed to tremble, and the storm searched down the houses with long fingers. With every thundercrash some sprang up shuddering, and soon the females were instinctively huddled about the couch of the fearless Cherokee. At every great crack of the frail longhouse, some one would dart a glance up through the roof-slit and into the dark and whisper, "The Black Ones!"

"Babble!" she would then exclaim to them. "In our land we have mountains thrice as high as these, and winds like this every night of the winter. These little crackings sound ever in the houses of my people, and I laugh at the tale of Old Woodenface that such are ghosts."

But another crash would come, and once more the women would involuntarily catch at her robe in terror.

"Fear not, my friends," she would say, "without doubt they have told you these many nights that ye were about to die, but ye were still living at dawn. The fires are dulling; bring wood; let the blaze be bright, and I will sing you a song of the North Wind."

With something to do they were relieved of the spell, and Hatiria loved less this female adversary when he heard of it, but could not persuade Atotarho to permit him vengeance.


Atotarho was grievously vexed at the absence of the Arrowmaker. "Is this a dog's claw?" he would remark, scornfully, when shown some arrowhead made by anyone else. His contempt was unmeasured for the clumsy flint-chipping of the young men and the weak snake-poison of the matrons; his fastidious eye found some flaw in the feather tips of even the most expert; for the highest excellence alone was fitting to the dignity of a war-arrow, sacred and living. In his discomfort he went to Red Wings, as he sat on the edge of the mountain, watching the flames and smoke of a wide forest fire in the valley below, and sitting down beside him communicated his vexation.

"Thou wast leader in battle before me, and now thou art leader in council, and hast knowledge of more mystery than serpents."

Red Wings expressed some cautious contempt for Hatiria, as an honored warrior might do towards a medicine man, and absolved the Arrowmaker, as far as his own opinion went, from all guilt of treason or of murder, reminding Atotarho that the old man had always been known to disappear from time to time and wander at will.

"But where are Satyenwat and Nishen?"

Red Wings silently pointed to the sunset land.

"By whom sent?"

"Who can answer? I am old."

"What of the blood beside the Arrowmaker's porch?"

"Who can answer? All are gone."

"It is a great mystery."

"Listen, Warchief," the Sachem said; "the wolf wears the wolfskin and the caribou the hair of caribou. So have I always found of men—that what they are they must be. The Arrowmaker is not a killer of young men, neither is he a sorcerer of the night. The blood beside his porch was the work of some doer of such things."

"Was it the deed, then, of Satyenwat or of Nishen?"

"Those were incapable of it."

"Whose, then?"

"When thou wert a boy I taught thee the hunting of bears. We watched the track, and we knew it would be bear that would appear from the mountain and not deer. Behind this blood there is a man of blood."

Atotarho expressed no surprise. He sat thinking.

"It is Hiawatha that will appear from the mountain," he said.

Red Wings returned no reply for a long time; his face was changeless.

"We will wait at the opening of the woods," he said, at last.

The voices of the women were heard as they passed the door in a crowd with their deerbone hoes, on the way down to the cornfields. The Cherokee woman was in the midst of them, and a shade of admiration crossed Atotarho's countenance. Soon again were heard voices—those of men—and Hatiria, passing with some of his followers, looked in, and, seeing the two chiefs, entered and sat down.

"Friend, where are the scalps thou hast taken?" Atotarho chaffed; but Hatiria received the jest gravely, for his hatred towards the woman whose insult the Warchief quoted was unappeasable; but her insolence had mightily pleased her protector.

"What hast thou new from the spirits?"

The False Face produced from under his robe his Shell, placed it to his ear and dropped it in surprise.

He muttered something. Then he chanted, holding the shell to his ear:

"He was born upon an Island—

"Wide is our River;

"Fair is our Mountain;

"Whither are we marching, Father Echo?—

"Whither, under the green oaks and maples?

"It is spotted with red,

"It is streaked with red,

"Look ye!

"Look through the woods—

"There is Onondaga on the hilltop.

"Ha! Speak now softly."

He was claiming to hear in the Shell the chant of Mohawks approaching.

The two chiefs ceased their banter and meditated.

Two days later the prediction of Hatiria was verified. A hunter prowling in the Oneida country came in nearly dead with running, gasping that he had trailed and followed a party of Mohawks marching directly towards Onondaga. At the news the wildest excitement arose, the braves ran together, arms in hand, the women hastened in from the fields, Huron slaves fortified the hill's edge and path with boulders to roll down upon the foe, the war dance with its accompanying frenzy started full swing, and the Council sat busy with anxious ordering of affairs, while scouts were despatched one after another and messengers from time to time came in, sweating and panting. At the height of the excitement word came that the Mohawks had camped close by and asked permission to be heard.

Red Wings went down to meet them, with some of the old men, accompanied by a crowd of the lesser braves, carrying their bows strung.

Dekanaweda stood at the head of eleven principal chiefs of the Mohawks and Oneidas. He held forward to Red Wings the stem of a new and richly inlaid calumet. The situation of these men was very critical, notwithstanding the emblem of the Master of Life, for suspicion was strong among the bystanders, and had any of the strangers made the least false movement hundreds of arrows would have pierced their bodies.

Their next motion was not less perilous, when they spread out a shining band of wampum, on whose white ground the wondering eyes of the Onondagas saw rudely outlined in purple the figures of five men joining hands, and enclosed in a long lodge. Then Dekanaweda raised his voice, and the danger was over: their senses became enchanted with the music of his rhetoric, the persuasive power of his appeal. Electrified to find that a man whom they had seen sent off so signally defeated had here his project made real before them, they listened to the story of its inception, and soon their antagonism and suspicion melted in eager favor towards the federation. Red Wings, who had always quietly supported it, listened with the consideration which was its proper tribute, and at the conclusion took Dekanaweda by the hand, and led the embassy up into the Council House. There again Dekanaweda carried the assembly with him, and painted the thought of Hiawatha in such hues of figurative splendor and passion that old chiefs and wrinkled matrons were betrayed into fervid exclamations of desire.

In a corner, one listened more keenly than any. The eyes of the Cherokee woman were riveted on the faces of the delegates and the light of an absorbing interest glowed on her countenance.

Two notables alone were absent—Atotarho and Hatiria. The absence of the latter did not trouble the veterans greatly, but it was absolutely necessary that the Warchief should be consulted; and with this in view Red Wings brought the twelve Mohawks to his lodge. He was ready to receive them. Many scalps hung around the sides of the dwelling and fringed the two poles which towered before it. The door was closed when they approached. Red Wings lifted the mat, and they entered. In the shadow they saw, across the fireplace, the Warchief sitting facing them, stiff and silent. The dark cloud was upon his brow, his eyes regarded them like coals of fire, his great muscles seemed knotted all over, his face was painted in threatening streaks of black and red, his bow was gripped in one hand, and his mighty mace in the other. Altogether, as they looked, he seemed to them like a wargod of the semidarkness ready to spring—hostile, unbendable.

Dekanaweda essayed to speak, but his tongue refused to articulate. And as he looked—even as he reverently held out the calumet and the wampum-belt—he saw above Atotarho's head and around his shoulders the writhing mass of hissing heads. What use to speak, when the answer was already given? The serpent forms thickened and grew angrier at the intruders; the brow grew darker, the repulse more emphatic every moment.

Red Wings caught Dekanaweda's arm and drew him from the dwelling.

The Council sat secretly, and again debated the subject, and then Red Wings announced to the visitors the formal refusal of the Onondaga nation to unite in the movement, and regretfully advised them to leave.

Atotarho sat long, pondering undisturbed. His mien soon fell from its forbidding majesty into a sweep of mighty thought. For, though pride of battle was the passion of that breast, and though contempt for pain and for cowardice made him seem the cruel tyrant, his was not solely a physical predominance. A clear mind dwelt in that brow, and thought worked within it for the welfare of his nation. Hence, after all, he pondered on the mission of the Embassy, after it withdrew; while the serpents played around him and darted hither and thither about the lodge.

Forthwith Hatiria proclaimed a False Face dance; and sang, to the thudding of the drums, a boastful chant of his triumph in predicting the Mohawk arrival. He boasted, too, that it was his power which had driven them away and nullified their treacherous designs.


"Alas, a Mountain is in the path: the Chain can never go round it," wailed Dekanaweda to Hiawatha, on his return to Garoga, depressed in his turn.

Tekarihoken offered comfort: "After all, let us rest content: the chain will still be of silver: it will be small, but it will bind together the Mohawk and the Oneida—the Elder and the Younger Brother, of the family of Hochelaga, and we shall be a strong house with two doors."

Hiawatha's hopes had run high. Their want of success struck him hard. But he had learnt to buffet with disasters. "Children of the Sun," he answered, "it is the Holder of the Heavens that places the mountains, but the sky is always above them, and out of the sky we hear the voices of the gods."

"Tell me, then, thou that nearest them," returned Tekarihoken, "what say the voices of the gods in this matter?"

Hiawatha listened, as if to something within himself:

"That we must pass beyond the Onondagan."

"To the Cayuga?"

"To the Cayuga and the Seneca."

"But if these joined the Long House, the Onondaga would still break it in the middle. So that none could enclose it under one roof."

"Their roof is the sky; it is above Mount Onondaga."

"But, still, the Cayuga and Seneca are the Younger Brothers of the Onondaga—they will follow their brother instead of us. There is no hope in this cause."

"The gods are wiser than hope."

"Alas, we are not gods," Dekanaweda groaned, and he spoke the feelings of the Embassy, for the vision of the snaky heads had produced a powerful impression.

"My brother," Hiawatha answered, "well has thy work been done, and thou art the founder of our League. Now I and thou must go together. We shall go to the Cayuga, and with us these eleven companions. Thou shalt speak, but I will bear the burden."

Meanwhile, at Onondaga, Hatiria's boasting grew louder and louder, and all the warriors except Atotarho became more or less scornful and took pleasure in the free speech of the Cherokee woman.

"Simple it is to foretell like that man," she said, "for I myself saw the smoke signs upon the mountains whereby the approach of the Mohawks was signalled, and in my land we do it much better. And, as for these chieftains that came to us, think ye such men would ignobly traffic with the calumet? Not such a one is that Dekanaweda; not such are any one that bear themselves so like eagles. This tale of Hatiria's is like his tales of the ghosts."

When this speech was reported to the False Face, he gave way to excessive rage. That night, in the clear October air, under the feeble glimmer of a sickly moon, some women of the Wolf Clan sat singing together behind the town. Recent events—the return of the warriors, the peaceful protestations of the Mohawks, and the courage of the Cherokee woman as to ghosts—had calmed their apprehensions, and they were happy as moonlight could make them. Seated on the overthrown logs of the palisade, they looked westward, facing the orb and across a slope of rock, towards the rear edge of the mountain; and beyond it, across the sheer depth below, to the dim shape of the range beyond the vale. Their songs were of all sorts—weird invocations, recitals of ancient traditions, love, humor, melancholy, mourning, war. And sometimes, in the intervals, refrains were wafted to them of the chants of the clanswomen of the Bear on the opposite side of the palisade, or fragments of the merriment of the young men.

A small cloud veiled the moon a few moments. When the light shone out again, something stood on the edge of the mountain-top. The Onondagas had heard from the Mohawks the story of the man-eating Ghosts. They had twisted the tale into a thousand incredible shapes and made of it material for many a campfire marvel. What the Wolf clanswomen saw on the edge of the cliff, was a Man-eating Ghost, beyond question; and one and another, as they all rose trembling, shrieked and fled into the town.

That night was the worst ever spent in Onondaga. The fright of the women and children, the helpless misery of the braves, the horror in all eyes, as they sat together, sleepless and listening, were never to be forgotten by any in after years.

The nonchalance of the Southern prisoner was looked upon as blasphemy, and the False Faces were in complete credit.

The next night several of the boldest warriors crept out to watch for the apparition, hiding themselves among the overturned logs from which it had been seen before. They saw the moon take the same place in the heavens. The edge of the cliff stood out clearly against the valley, and then—casting a chill into the bravest bosom—the apparition was seen once more. An imposing figure, marked with every appearance of the substantial, it stalked along the edge, keeping its face toward the town. It carried a spear erect, a glint of bluish brightness shimmered on its shoulders to the waist, its costume was strange and highly colored, a knife hung by its side, a cap was on its head, and as it kept on gazing toward the town the watchers saw that its face was white as death!

Every vein of the gazers was frozen with awe, and Atotarho himself, who was among them, was stony and still. Pictures of mysterious results of the visitation upon the town involuntarily came into their minds; of victims selected nightly for its unholy feasts; of mist-like pestilences creeping in; of angry Black Ones distorting the affairs of the tribe. What rites of exorcism ought they to appeal to, to rid the place of the intruder? Must they not abandon the mountain itself?

But in all the confusion of queries and fears, the ghostly face kept casting its sinister look steadily upon the town. And now it began to advance. Slowly it came, with mechanical steps, and was seen at each step clearer in the faint moonlight. Its eyes gleamed, a great mouth of black teeth began to show in the chalky face, the ghastliness of the unearthly countenance became more and more awful.

The bravest warriors could stand it no longer; they ran speechless from their hiding-places among the fallen logs, and added to the terror of the town. Some did not stay their flight until they had leaped down the path on the opposite side, and fled to the cornfields and the forest. Others took positions in the village, whence, grasping their axes and trying to stop trembling, they kept watching at a distance the object approaching. The women wailed and called on their totems, in the houses.

Atotarho alone remained crouched at his post among the fallen palisades, his gaze fixed in horror on the spectre. Instinctive pride restrained him from following the retreat; but not the less was he thrilled with helplessness and fear in the presence of the supernatural; and from moment to moment it seemed as if his nerve would give way and his battle-record be broken. A sort of rage at being forced to feel afraid was mixed with his terror. Atotarho against the Cherokees was like a rooted oak; but Atotarho against a demon—here was a different feeling. Yet the great warrior was determined not to shrink from the awful contest; there was no course for an Atotarho but to stand his ground and meet his death, and he gripped his useless axe for the hopeless struggle.

The Man-eating Ghost slowly advanced upon him, and the warriors of Onondaga held their breath. When it had reached some twenty paces from him it stood still; then a tongue of fire shot from its mouth and lit more distinctly its fearful countenance. This it did four times in succession, like a serpent hissing at an intruder in the path; while Atotarho in an agony of silent fury shuddered and trembled like any coward and awaited his death.

Suddenly a scream—a woman's peal of wildest, loudest, shrillest scorn—rent the air, and he started and glanced behind. There was seen a tall female form rushing past him from behind, brandishing a knife, and instantly the spirit turned to flee.

"I have caught thee, thou god, thou ghost, thou Evil One! Thou canst not escape me!" screamed the Noblewoman, grasping the ghost. "Come, off thou magic robe," she cried, tearing away the bright armour from its shoulders—"come off, thou mask of chalk; thou hair of bearskin," and she slashed them from his head before he could run. "Aha! Wooden Face, not so wouldst thou fright children and women in the land of the Cherokees! Stand, or I stab thee, I who am but a woman; stand, O coward of cowards, lord of false ghosts, disturber of villages; stand here and face the battle lord!"

With these words she stripped the last vestige of his disguise from Hatiria, and pushed him forward into the presence of Atotarho.

The latter caught his mace with a swing that meant the instant destruction of the offender, who had just been passing him through such torment and humiliation; but the young woman stayed the Warchief's arm with equal quickness, and continued her laughing raillery at the discomfited False Face; whose overwhelming desire was to get away.

"Thou liar! thou rat!" raged Atotarho. "Pestilence of the people, the fire shall end thee! Dares a coward like thee to mock real men?—dares one beaten of women to play upon a chief?—thou art dead—yea, I seize thee"—and, springing, he swung his club in the air with a stroke that would have broken the stoutest skull. But Hatiria's imposing bearing was replaced by as surprising an agility. An old skill in dodging in the games of his youth remained with him, and speeding to the edge of the cliff, he dropped over and was heard crashing down its side. Atotarho sped after him to the edge, looked over, and returned to the Cherokee.

"Thou she-bear!" he said, smiling, and she, laughing, walked independently back to the town, while the warriors, hurrying forward, crowded around their leader, vehemently discussing the revelations of the evening.

That night, though it was one long buzz of wakeful chatter, was an epoch of delight and relief for the tribe. They recounted the incidents of the reign of superstition and death to which they had been so long subjected, and the hatred for Hatiria of the warriors who had been betrayed into fear by his devices, was expressed between clenched teeth. Many recalled his machinations against Hiawatha, with regret, and spoke freely of the noble character of the latter compared with that of his enemy.

Though search was constantly made next day around the spot where the Mystery Man had disappeared, no trace of him could be found. Some claimed to discover signs of his trail in the woods in the valley, but those who did so were suspected to be members of his secret society, concealing his trail by false information.


That evening Atotarho sent for The Noblewoman, and when she came into his presence, said to her: "Daughter of the Eagle, I have prepared thee a place in my lodge; the house is large, and thou shalt be perfectly free, like the women of my clan who dwell with me. I have never been slave to a woman, but I take pleasure in thee, for thou art equal to me. Who wert thou in the land of thy mother?"

"A child of as great as thou art," she answered, "and truly thou didst seem a warrior last evening; and though I have never been slave to a man I will accept a place, O chief, in thy lodge," and straightway she chose a corner and arranged with the black-haired women for her utensils and duties.

When the fire was low in the middle of the night, and all were sleeping, Atotarho lay in his place wakeful, and watching with strange interest the unconscious form of the Cherokee on the opposite side of the lodge. Although he had saved the beautiful woman from insult and given her a home, he had done it out of admiration only. Warrior that he was, he despised love and counted it weakness. A slight stir at the doorway roused his attention; he closed his eyes almost completely, and kept watch. Two young men, stripped except for the loin-cloth, wearing masks and holding warclubs in their hands, crept in, gazing from side to side. One motioned to the other in the direction of the Noblewoman, and both crept towards her couch in the low light and raised their clubs above her. Their backs were towards Atotarho; he saw their purpose and glided across. The clubs were lifted amid the rhythmic whispers of a formula he could not understand. But their throats were at the same moment grasped by two great hands of iron, and the crush and gurgle of the windpipes went together, as he drew them backward and pinned them down to their death.

"The bear has come out of the mountain," he muttered.

Then the works of Hatiria became to him the surf-rocks of a surging rapid of wrath. He sprang to the post where his battle-arms hung, took down his warclub, and flew towards the Mystery Lodge. He was not unseen; the scream of a woman of his household followed him through the dark, the commotion spread to all the lodges, and the inmates ran out into the lanes. So he was seen, like a swift shadow, speeding towards the Mystery Lodge, and eyes were strained to see what was to happen.

In the Mystery Lodge there was reddish light and sounds of drumming and of chanting in the mystery tongue. The Society were teasing rattlesnakes to bite a deer's liver so as to collect the poison. Atotarho burst in the matting door from without, and, leaping into the midst of the squatting False Faces, peered rapidly at each, searching for Hatiria under the masks and disguises. The grotesques did not appall him.

Seeing that Hatiria was not among the chanters, who all fled affrighted, he turned towards the curtain which concealed the inner sanctum, into which no layman's eyes had dared to look. Rudely he tore the curtain away. Within were seen many of the secret paraphernalia of the craft. And there, sitting within a ring of skulls, performing a charm, was the Medicine Man himself. Dodging the sweep of the club, he leaped down the open mouth of the passage into the cave and seemed to be swallowed up in the depths of the earth. But Atotarho now hesitated before no magic; he sprang down the chasm into the darkness, heedless of death or life, and rushed on after the False Face.

Dim light appeared and grew, as a few flying steps brought the runners toward the cavern, and then its echoing vaults seemed to engulf them. A fire burned in the centre, and on the further side of it, mounted on a stake, was a small effigy of a woman with two knives stuck in her breast. Around the fire were other effigies, one with the Mohawk drooping feather, for Hiawatha; one with a chipped arrowhead, for the Arrowmaker; others for various members of the tribe marked out for destruction by the False Faces. And one opposite the woman's, Atotarho saw, in the hasty glance he stopped to give, was for himself, for its head was surrounded with snakes.

Now Atotarho's soul swelled with the sense of a greatness it had never yet known. Most glorious to the chief, to whom earthly battle was too small a sphere, was this battle with the great Black Ones and all their magic powers, in their own dwelling in the bowels of the world! Now the fierce proud passion of his courage made him feel at last the demi-god; he believed that death was now to come to him, but determined that he would still continue the immortal struggle, spirit against spirit, shape fighting shape, power contesting power. Hatiria dashed like a swift moose into the darkness beyond. Atotarho picked up a brand and pursued. The lofty arches, the solemn stalactites, the black, flickering vistas, and volleying echoes exalted and did not frighten him.

The runners flew down a narrow passage, the warrior gaining, when suddenly he crashed against a wall of stone and dropped his brand. The passage stopped abruptly, and Hatiria disappeared as if into the stone. Turning quickly and picking up the brand, Atotarho saw a breast-high ledge, and, leaping up to it, found it part of a path on a higher level. He sped along, although the False Face's footsteps were no longer heard, and almost immediately a great mass of rock fell towards him, shattering itself in thunder on the floor; and glancing up he saw a ferocious demon crouched above. It was the masked magician preparing to throw down another heavy mass of the loosened stone. His mask glared with the ferocity of the demon it was meant to represent, and when the chief saw it, a flame issued from between its teeth in roaring draughts. The warrior's tomahawk flew, but the False Face was quicker, and, climbing, he drew himself upward out of sight. Unhesitatingly the chief sprang upward also, carrying only his brand, and dodging the stones which were hurled back towards him, saw the night sky out of an opening ahead. It proved to be the side of the cliff. Hatiria was escaping by this exit; from which he had on other occasions, climbed up to act the ghost on the plateau above. Here Atotarho caught him, and, swinging his knotty brand, brought it down on the fantastic head with the blow that no skull ever resisted, and, grasping the charlatan's body with both hands, he flung it out and down. Monstrous was the yell of the False Face as the brand rose to strike him, and it rang over the valley in a curdling scream. The townspeople shuddered as they heard it in the darkness. Also they heard a crashing of rocks down the mountain, and opined it was Atotarho destroyed by the spirits.

The Warchief sat down panting, and looked out upon the valley. He peered into the depths and scanned the face of the cliff above, through the rocky opening. Then, rested, he drew himself up the precipice by trees and ledges and appeared before the gaze of the town from the very place where the ghost had been seen. Many who saw him believed it was his own ghost walking, and he passed to his lodge avoided by all.

Next day it was found that every False Face had slipped away from Onondaga. All the town was in the greatest confusion, and Atotarho's lodge was the centre of the excitement, although the most silent spot. What he had done had taken but a short time, and when he returned he saw no one coping with the situation except the Noblewoman. When awakened, on Atotarho's exit, she divined what had been the purpose of the two dead youths lying beside her, and also by whose hand they had been throttled, and after the first deep shudder she called the other women around, removed the two masks, and sent for the mothers of the twain. When the Warchief returned, the mothers had just gone away, bewailing their dead, his own women sat huddled in the furthermost corner, and the Cherokee came forward, and, weeping, embraced his knees. He raised her gravely, and passing to his place in the centre, sat down and wrestled silently for hours to bring back his disordered emotions to the calm to which he was used. The whirl of blood through his brain continued to depict the scenes of his contest with the powers of the underworld.


After his war against the spirits, the Chief was surrounded with a new awe. Men refused to pronounce his name aloud, lest some ill come upon them—they referred to him by a gesture when they came to his name—the women regarded him, as he passed by, with eyes of superstitious bewitchment. The actions of the conqueror of the False Faces were followed and weighed with more minuteness than those of all the Mystery Men themselves had ever been—for this was he who had fought the Evil Ones, and returned to earth.

Fearsome changes were noticed in him upon which all speculated with dread. One day he was sitting among the smallest children, cutting little arrows for their toy bows, and playing gently among them. Wise wives said it was the sickness of an invisible wound—an arrowpoison from some Black One's weapon, received in the strife. The band of young warriors who sat before his lodge found that the manly exercises of the day were no longer mixed with cruel tests of soul and body; they noticed in him an unwonted abstraction, and they whispered that he was under the power of some superior witch—some Uhtku! He treated the women with a peculiar, sad consideration, which surprised and stirred them because so unlike the stern indifference to their sex which had been his pride. The chiefs found him no longer stirring up the subject of forays and vetoing precautions for defence. To them especially the change in him seemed remarkable, and his melancholia a problem.

The ghost which possessed him led him to do many other strange things. In the glooms of night, he was seen sitting alone on the cliff's side, where the apparition had walked, looking over the deep, dark vale beneath, sunk in thought; and on one of these occasions a child crept back and told with awe that she had heard him draw heavy sighs.

"It is the Uhtku," whispered the women. "It is the body of Atotarho, but the soul of the other."

At times he surprised them by a loosened tongue—an uncanny rhapsody of diction.

A Cayuga once came in from the west and took the guest-place at the hearths. He told of the progress of the League of Hiawatha, and how his nation had accepted it; how the populous Senecas further west were also joining; and how secure and resistless the peoples already felt who had banded themselves within its "long house"; and Atotarho, to the surprise of all, said nothing, and did not show himself unfriendly.

The Noblewoman listened to the Cayuga as the glow of the fire lit up his face. She became much preoccupied, and was ever singing to herself incomprehensible lilts in her own tongue, fraught with touching wail and music.

"Where is this Hiawatha?" she asked of the Cayuga. "What like is so great a man?"

Atotarho, when he heard her say this, broke out into sudden violence of rage, and he sulked as she passed him in and out of the lodge. She suffered his rudeness with an appearance of sorrowful humility, but she was seen apart in close and long conversation with the Cayuga before dawn the next morning.

That evening she did not appear in the lodge at the supper of the women. The Warchief sent an enquirer through the town but none knew where she could be found, nor where she had been during the day. She had disappeared. He despatched his best runners down the hill to the scattered camps in the valley. They came back one by one unsuccessful. One at last returned reporting that, in a swamp far to the east he had found her trail running directly for the Mohawk country.

Then Atotarho's malady became plain to all. He raved in the anguish of jealousy and rejected passion. He reproached her with faithlessness to promises she had never given; accused her of a causeless preference for Hiawatha; foamed wildly against him and all the Mohawk race; lamented, like any weaker lover, the pity and despair of his own fate. The proud conqueror of men and gods was mortal. A stronger than he had bound him in thongs, and he broke down weakly on the platform of common torture.

At one moment he inclined to follow the woman and throw himself at her feet, notwithstanding her contempt and the grief it had caused him: the next, he would return undying revenge for her scorn—and at another he would treat her with haughty indifference and remember her face no more.

In this uncertainty and these efforts to forget her faithfulness he lost two nights and days of fever and melancholy. Then he called together the braves at midnight, gave them the dogfeast of war, and bade them prepare to take the warpath against the Mohawks. They painted and danced the rest of the night, and started down the hill before sunrise, while the rest of the people watched them pass in silence. Sad were the hearts of the women, who had hoped that the Mohawk trouble was over and who now saw in the League a new and great danger should Onondaga attack the leading member of the new confederacy. But the Warchief would take none of their hints of disapproval, and flew on at the head of the file of braves in the direction of the Salt Lake, where they were to take to canoes. They reached the Lake at sunset, and Atotarho had fallen into a new mood. What good, he thought, would it do him to kill and torture Mohawks and take Onondagans to their graves? He was sick of blood—pride of glory moved him no longer—these brought him not his heart's desire.

"Ah, Noblewoman, bitter, bitter, bitter, is it that thou wilt never come to me! Hast thou gone to mine enemy, or is it to Atahentsic who rises across the lake, smiling sweetly through the tops of the forest. Thou hast her beauty, her false smile, her dominion over the soul. Atahentsic, O Mysterious, call back thy daughter to me! Daughter of Atahentsic, return, return!" So they heard him in the woods lamenting by himself and wandering aimlessly about, half in unassuageable pain and passion, yet half, it seemed, in the madness and luxury of a worship of beauty. And little did any at his campfire see of him ere their heads were all wrapped in their robes and their breathing whistled even and heavy.

While they were deliberating next morning, several war whoops were heard at the western end of the long camp: a runner soon appeared flying along the shore; he swiftly neared Atotarho and as he did so, he cried, "The Mohawks come!" Short was the deliberation; all grasped their weapons and everybody ran or looked to the spot where Atotarho was.

"Lead us!" he signed to the runner, and following him, headed the file towards the foot of the Lake. They took to the forest trail to avoid being seen, and ran for some miles until they came to where the sheet of water closed in at its foot, and stretched on in a narrow, bush-bordered stream. The guide stopped and made a motion of silence.

"They come on the water," he said to the chiefs. The latter looked to Atotarho for a command. His order was to ambush. So the warriors hid themselves in line among the thick willows along the edge and waited a full half-hour in patience.

A whisper was passed, and the dip of a paddle could be heard in the distance by keen ears. The canoes drew nearer, the drooping eagle-feathers of the Men of Men could be distinguished on the heads of their crews, and forms of chiefs were seen, wielding the paddles of the foremost. The fascination of the most awful of hunts—the man-hunt—was now tense like some irresistible strain, upon the line of crouching Onondagans. Terrible was the rigid stillness of their muscles, the glistening of their moveless eyes. A word—and death would pierce a hundred breasts! Like an ambushed warrior itself, that word crouched behind the teeth of Atotarho.

Onward they came—the flower of the enemy. Here were Shadeka, Tekarihoken, Two-Equal-Statements, Dekanaweda and his seven brothers, and, sitting in majesty at the stern of the second canoe, a figure like to no other—Hiawatha himself! And who before him? A female form—the daughter of Atahentsic, the false sorceress. She leads them to the sack of Onondaga? And lo, in front of her—that old wizard, the Arrowmaker. Now Atotarho; let the death-word slip from thy teeth!

Yet he delays.

Eyes turn to him in amazement. His own are riveted in doubt upon the approaching procession. Behind the chiefs of the Mohawks came canoes, bearing, not Mohawk warriors, but the chiefs of the Oneidas. This was natural; but behind them again came the chiefs of the Cayugas; and behind them, those of the Senecas. Were all these great men to be so lightly destroyed? The Onondagans could not so slay their younger brothers.

It dawned upon Atotarho that this was the new League; here it was, visible before him, in its banded pride and strength. To his experienced warrior eye how splendid was the array of famous men in their brilliant feathers and embroideries! And behind them, as far as eye could see, the water was thick with others.

Well, Onondaga would face and fight them all! While there was a brave living of the breed of the Great Wolf, the men of the Mountains would never allow themselves to be conqueredthe desperate song of a war party who had died defending themselves against a Huron host echoed in his memory:

"We will fight you,

 We will fight you,

 Until we are all dead!"

The canoes of the chiefs were opposite and close: all were within his power. He stood up quickly, but held out his arm towards his warriors in token of restraint. No arrow was shot, but the silent host had leaped up in the long line like their leader, and their bows were drawn upon the canoes, ready for destruction.

Those on the water faced the danger without a word, and stayed their paddles. The forces of War and Peace were lined up against one another. Hiawatha, rising in his canoe slowly lifted a long and beautifully feathered new Calumet.

At a word from him, the paddlers (Tekarihoken and his brothers) made for the shore towards the spot where Atotarho was, and bearing the Pipe, he stepped out of the canoe, and after him The Noblewoman. With the grave humility of a prophet, Hiawatha stood bent before the Warchief; and beside him, humble too, the beautiful maiden. But at the sight, the madness of the Warchief's jealousy boiled like a seething, molten furnace; he grasped his heavy club; his muscles hardened, his face blazed with hate; and those around and those beside him were prepared to witness a tornado of destruction, the end of which none dared to picture. Sternest of all was the look he turned upon the false woman.

She trembled before it and her liquid eyes turned to him full of meek and sorrowful reproach, so that his hand hesitated. Never had her gracefulness and beauty appeared more signal.

Then low-voiced, she uttered his name:


Low, musical, excellently clear, all the softness of the voice of an Indian woman, caught from falling streams and the south wind, went into the rustle of that slender silver leaf of sound.

He trembled and lost grasp of his rage. It ebbed, but still he looked at her, and began, in broken-voiced reproach:

"O woman, it is thus thou hast repaid me for the trust I placed in thee! The freedom that I gave thee, the place in my lodge, the honorable condition thou hast despised—thou hast rejected and fled from me, and behold thou hast sought another whom thou hadst never seen. Such is woman and treacherous beyond all women hast thou shown thyself, O Snake, O Moon-daughter, O false one!"

She listened at first in surprise, but then in comprehension; and again came the soft, reproachful cry:


He stayed his outburst, and she went on:

"Knowest thou not why I left thee—why I went to Hiawatha? It was to make my Atotarho the greatest man in the world. I bring the Head-Chiefship of the Long, Long House that is to shelter all peoples about its fires of one mother!"

Hiawatha lifted the Peacepipe and offered it to him with outstretched arms. "The custom saith: It shall be in the keeping of the Principal Chief," said he gravely.

The Warchief's club dropped from his hands, upon the ground; he bent his head in shame and turned from the eyes of the woman, mourning his haste and injustice. So, wrapped in unspeakable remorse, he turned away and looked down upon the earth.

"Atotarho," she exclaimed softly, "my Atotarho, Chief of the World!"

His eyes sought hers in grievous repentant beseeching.

"O maiden, look at me not so softly," he cried in anguish. "Not I, but Hiawatha is the greatest of men. Let the Pipe be given to him."

"Nay," replied Hiawatha, "The Council of Nations hath chosen, and hath chosen the best."

The peoples and their leaders followed Atotarho, some by land, some by water, along the borders of the Salt Lake, until they came to a deserted beaver meadow, broad and verdant, in shape a gently sloping amphitheatre surrounded by woods on the land side and by a sandy beach and the lake on the other. The canoes were drawn up along the shore, the people crowded together, wood was brought in the midst, and Atotarho solemnly lit the fire. Then raising to the four quarters of the sky the rich silver-inlaid, brightly-feathered Calumet which the Arrowmaker had wrought for the alliance, he thanked the gods of the North, East, South and West, and presented it to the guests.


A moon later, the people were increased to a vast assemblage, for swift couriers had sped to every town of the Five Nations with word.

A lodge had been prepared in the centre of the beaver-meadow, for a House of Silence. Into it, at every sunrise for six successive days, the chiefs entered. They remained within without speaking, wrapped in meditation, until sundown. But on the seventh day Hiawatha called everybody together into the meadow, and there they established the League in the Presence of the Nations. First they established rites of condolence for the dead chiefs. Then they fixed laws that were to last forever.

"Here, Children of the Sun," he said, "we build a House of living Trees. The number of its hearths is five. Whoever will enter its doors may sit at the Coals and the women will bring him roasted corn. Its doors shall be open to all.

"The Doorkeeper of the Dawn shall be the Mohawk; the Doorkeeper of the Sunset shall be the Seneca.

"The Council of the House are fifty chiefs—and their noble blood shall compose the Council forever—Atotarho shall follow Atotarho, Tekarihoken Tekarihoken, and Shadekaronyes shall succeed Shadekaronyes unto all generations. One alone shall not be succeeded—he is Dekanaweda, for none can replace the Founder.

"The Grand Chief to light the fire shall be Atotarho of the Onondagas, and the Council shall meet at Onondaga yearly, under a Pine whose head is in the clouds.

"No Nation shall oppress the other, nor move it against its will; ye shall be a Chain of Silver.

"In wampum shall the story be kept, and never shall it cease from your memories—the tale of the day when ye founded the Peace."

The glories of the autumn forest encircled the brown-hued multitude, rising in flames of living color, burning and glowing and ravishing the soul with celestial sadness. The chiefs, sitting in rich ceremonial apparel, showed in their bearing the momentousness of the hour. The bird-tribe wheeled above them in agitated multitudes. Such was the manner in which the "Long House" of the Five Nations was built.

When the Council had settled down to statesmanship, The Noblewoman, happy with her Warchief, had one request to make of Hiawatha. By his advice they were sending out an embassy proposing union to the Hurons. Her prayer was that it should go also to the Cherokees; and this he ordered, although it turned out unsuccessful; for every war could not be suddenly brought to an end, and in such things the way of the Master of Life is long.

Hiawatha, while he lingered between the different nations of the alliance, seemed always to have his thoughts in another world. And at the close of the third yearly council, when the ritual and laws were in safe order, he said farewell to the assembly and to all his friends and taking a canoe of white birch started on a journey down the river of Oshwego and set out into Ontario the Great Beautiful Lake. Far out, he disappeared in a mist and was seen no more of men; but the truth is that he proceeded on across the Lake until he entered the River of the Master of Life, passed down it, resting among the Thousand Isles in meditation, and then bravely launched on the roaring and terrible Rapid of the Long Sault. Undaunted at the swiftness of its waves, and the thunder of their voices, he did the same at the next Rapid, the treacherous and broken Cedars, guiding his canoe and playing with death through its whirling currents and numberless rocks. And now he came to the most deadly and strong of all, the Rapid of Lachine, along the shores of Tiotiaké the Sacred Island, and there on the shining mountain of a fierce and thundering wave-crest, he was hurled into a mist of seething white which embraced and shut him from sight forever. But that white mist that so passionately embraced him had long been waiting for him, hovering on the slopes and waters of the Isle.

Now, who was this savage that he should go down in history among the great and glorious of the world, whose work endures and lives? It might be enough that his soul was heroic, it might be enough that his thought was broad, that his heart was gentle and generous beyond his time. But also, the Master of Life decreed that his League should turn and guide the mighty current of the World itself. When, a generation later, the white men came, they came in two directions. The Frenchman, Champlain, came up the St. Lawrence; the Netherlander, Hudson, up the Hudson. The former rashly took up the unjust quarrel of the Huron and Algonkin against the Mohawk; the League replied by crippling the colony of France until its doom was written before all eyes and its dominion passed away. The Netherlander linked his future with the Silver Chain; he held to it for himself and the Briton; and the League was the bulwark which protected them during years of weakness and prepared the way for the spread of British principles in North America.

What vast issues then are due to the thought of a savage! Was he a savage?

Does aught remain of the League itself? Today, among some little bands in strange places, Atotarho, Hiawatha, Tekarihoken and the others, genuinely descended from the line of their original namesakes, take their parts in an ancient ritual, and a song is heard as follows:

"Woe! woe!

Hearken ye!

We are diminished

Woe! woe!

The cleared land has become a thicket,

  Woe! woe!

The clear places are deserted,


They are in their graves—

They who established it—



The Great League—

Yet they declared

It should endure

The Great League—


Their work has grown old


Thus we are become miserable."

[The end of The Master of Life by W. D. Lighthall]