Pashepaho heard the young men
by Albery Allson Whitman
Till their lofty words had ended,
And in accents stern, thus answered:
'For your presents, I am thankful.
By your speeches I'm encouraged.
Peace now lighteth all the Nations
As a noon sun lights the prairies.
Time once was when peace was broken
Up in all our Western borders.
Horsed on fire, bloody battle
Rode throughout our ancient forests.
From his home within the sunrise,
From his land of bells and steeples,
From the regions of the East wind,
The hoar dwelling place of Wabun,
Then Spake the Great Father to us,
To his red tribes spake in loud tones
As of thunder in the forests.
'Now be peaceable, my children,
Dwell in friendship's tents together,
You, my red sons and my white sons.'
Then he took his great war hatchet,
That could strike with blows of thunder,
And into the mountains wandered,
Went forth in the deepest valleys,
And at one blow hewed a pine down,
Fell a great pine of the valleys,
That looked upward into Heaven,
With the East winds in his left hand,
And the West winds in his right hand,
And the noon-beams in his forelocks;
Took this old pine of the valleys,
And to make a war-post, reared it.
Then he spake again, in this wise:
'Lo! the war-post now ascendeth!
See the war-post of the nations,
Now the Great Spirit beholds it;
See it pointing into Heaven
Like the finger of a giant!
Bury now your hatchets neath it,
And be peaceable my children,
Dwell in friendship's tents together.'
Then the sky above the war-post,
Grew as clear as any crystal,
And the dreamy air was softened,
And the dazing blue seemed higher,
And the far off hills seemed farther,
And all sounds were low and solemn.
Then the red sons and the white sons,
Neath the war-post sat together.
When the red sons spake in this wise:
'Raise your eyes and look now, brothers,
See it now is Indian Summer.
Lo! the sky is all serene now,
And the hills are all a sleeping,
How the brown woods now are yawning?
Now the slow streams sing in whispers.
And the South wind passeth softly
In her moccasins of damp moss.
Lo! this now is Indian Summer,
And the time to go a hunting.
We wlll leave you now, and hasten
To the mountains for a bear hunt.
Our light canoes are waiting
By the waters. Brothers, farewell.
Then spake the Great Father to us,
As we stood beside the waters,
By the moorings of our canoes,
And shook hands with all our brothers.
'Thus your hunting grounds, my red sons,
Shall extend; my white sons know them.
From Kaskaskia to Cahokia,
From St. Vincennes to St. Louis,
Up the Wabash, Illinois,
The Wisconsin, and Great Water,
To the regions of the North wind,
Where the bold St. Lawrence spreadeth
Out the fingers of his right hand;
Where the dun moose snuffs the lake fog,
Snuffs the cold breath of the North Lakes,
And the slow bear baffles Winter,
In his sullen reign of deep snows;
Where the son of Giant waters
Rocks the earth as in a cradle,
And sings lullabys of thunder
In the ear of old Forever,
Till the darkness sighs and shudders,
And the white hills quake and whisper,
'Lo, Niagara is waking!'
From this birth-place of the hoar blasts,
To the wigwam of the South wind,
In the myriad-voiced prairies,
Where the wild goose sounds her pibroch,
And the wild duck talks her nonsense,
And the heron shoots her slant flights,
From her dreamings in the long grass;
These shall be - then loud he uttered -
Hunting grounds for you forever.'
Then said Pashepaho, turning
From his audience, and smoking,
'Peace now lighteth up our forests,
And our wigwams all are cheerful.'