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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Young Hiawatha
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)
 
From the ‘Song of Hiawatha

THEN the little Hiawatha
Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter;        5
Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them “Hiawatha’s Chickens.”
  Of all beasts he learned the language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,        10
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,
Why the rabbit was so timid;
Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them “Hiawatha’s Brothers.”        15
  Then Iagoo, the great boaster,
He the marvelous story-teller,
He the traveler and the talker,
He the friend of old Nokomis,
Made a bow for Hiawatha;        20
From a branch of ash he made it,
From an oak-bough made the arrows,
Tipped with flint, and winged with feathers,
And the cord he made of deerskin.
  Then he said to Hiawatha:—        25
“Go, my son, into the forest,
Where the red deer herd together,
Kill for us a famous roebuck,
Kill for us a deer with antlers!”
  Forth into the forest straightway        30
All alone walked Hiawatha
Proudly, with his bow and arrows;
And the birds sang round him, o’er him,
“Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!”
Sang the robin, the Opechee,        35
Sang the blue-bird, the Owaissa,
“Do not shoot us, Hiawatha!”
  Up the oak-tree, close beside him,
Sprang the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
In and out among the branches        40
Coughed and chattered from the oak tree,
Laughed, and said between his laughing,
“Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!”
  And the rabbit from his pathway
Leaped aside, and at a distance        45
Sat erect upon his haunches,
Half in fear and half in frolic,
Saying to the little hunter,
“Do not shoot me, Hiawatha!”
  But he heeded not, nor heard them,        50
For his thoughts were with the red deer;
On their tracks his eyes were fastened,
Leading downward to the river,
To the ford across the river,
And as one in slumber walked he.        55
  Hidden in the alder-bushes,
There he waited till the deer came,
Till he saw two antlers lifted,
Saw two eyes look from the thicket,
Saw two nostrils point to windward,        60
And a deer came down the pathway,
Flecked with leafy light and shadow.
And his heart within him fluttered,
Trembled like the leaves above him,
Like the birch-leaf palpitated,        65
As the deer came down the pathway.
  Then, upon one knee uprising,
Hiawatha aimed an arrow;
Scarce a twig moved with his motion,
Scarce a leaf was stirred or rustled,        70
But the wary roebuck started,
Stamped with all his hoofs together,
Listened with one foot uplifted,
Leaped as if to meet the arrow;
Ah! the singing, fatal arrow,        75
Like a wasp it buzzed and stung him!
  Dead he lay there in the forest,
By the ford across the river;
Beat his timid heart no longer,
But the heart of Hiawatha        80
Throbbed and shouted and exulted,
As he bore the red deer homeward
And Iagoo and Nokomis
Hailed his coming with applauses.
  From the red deer’s hide Nokomis        85
Made a cloak for Hiawatha,
From the red deer’s flesh Nokomis
Made a banquet in his honor.
All the village came and feasted,
All the guests praised Hiawatha,        90
Called him Strong-Heart, Soan-ge-taha!
Called him Loon-Heart, Mahn-go-taysee!
 
 
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