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In musical flow of rhythm and word this poem of early Indian life tells the tragedy of a beautiful maiden whose love for a chieftain led her into jealous revenge. This revenge was the means of destroying not only her rival, but herself. In the telling there are passages of surpassing beauty, pictures of forest life and of Indian customs. The life drama is skilfully handled and the weaving in of the legend of The Fire Bird shows a knowledge of early American literature that is authoritative.
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The Fire Bird
The Fire Bird, G. Stratton-Porter
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
PART I - THE LOVE DANCE OF YIADA.. 1
PART II - COÜY-OÜY AND MOUNTAIN LION.. 1
PART III - YIADA'S FLIGHT TO THE MANDANAS. 1
Medicine Man, O Medicine Man, Make for me High Magic. I, Yiada, daughter of White Wolf, Mighty Chief of the Canawacs, Mate of Star Face, Brave of the Mandanas, I of your blood, I have said it! From the roots of the white toluache lilies Make me a strong medicine That will drown my scorching spirit-fire And empty my hands of their fulness. Beat your sacred turtle drums Loud and threateningly. Drive back to the fear peopled forest Of the far and dread Shadow Land The flaming ghost of the fire bird And the white flower of the still water. Heal me of the dread head-sickness Like the midsummer madness Of foaming-mouthed quiota. I, Yiada, proud daughter of the fierce Canawacs, I, mate of the Brave, Star Face, Chief of a forest of wigwams, With ponies like the sands of the sea, have said it. Hear me, for the healing of my sickened spirit! Where the triumphant blue sea water, Sky-gold all day in the slanting sunlight, Silver-white in the uncertain moonlight, Teases the pale sands of the craggy beaches, Lay the lodge of my Father, White Wolf, The savage hunter of beast and enemy, First at the kill, Chief of great wealth, Next in power to the high Sachem, Chief of all Chiefs.
Many were the strong sons Who sprang from White Wolf's loins— I, Yiada, his one daughter, pride of Falcon Eye, His daring chieftainess, from the far Mandanas. Tall our wigwams of deer and bear and elk skins, Stout our warm lodges of cedar and pine tree, Many our robes of beaver and buffalo and marten, Heavy our necklaces with cunningly carved beads, Polished elk teeth and eagle talons, Shining black obsidian and precious blue shell; Our war ponies flocking like birds fleeing winter. Always for me, the one daughter, The warm spot by the storm fire, The floating sweet fat from the cooking kettles, The first crusty brown cake From the smoking red baking stones, The clear flowing gold sweet From the tall nests of the wood bees; The soft sun coloured robe of down fine doeskin Embroidered with broad bands of white beads, Luring beads of green, and blue, and yellow, The red stained singing quills of the porcupine, And downy snow white under feathers From the breast of the white swan. I, first in the picking of the juicy berries The fruits of earth and bush, Most skilful in the weaving Of the bright story baskets, Swiftest at embroidering robes of doeskin For chieftain or little fatling; Leader in the ceremonial dances Of the young women of our tribe, In the great Assembly Lodge of our people. I, of slim body, willow smooth, oak strong, With thick long hair of crow-back blackness, And keen far eyes like the high eagle Of the top crag of the cloud country Spying in the gold hunting grounds of the sun. Many the gaily dressed young Braves Who nightly crept close our lodges And made soft eyes and sang wooing songs, When the moon of full womanhood shone on me. But always, when she braided ornaments In my hair, for dancing, And oiled me for high ceremonials, In my ear Falcon Eye, my Mother, whispered: "Keep your body for Mountain Lion, Son of the High Sachem, Chief of Chiefs when his Father makes his journey To the far country of the Great Spirit." Mountain Lion was the tallest, The strongest of our young men, The fastest rider, the most skilful dancer, The surest hunter among us, The spy who never failed, The warrior who always returned in triumph. Like the young trees of the sea shore He was slim and straight. Like the water rolling up the white sands He was ever tireless. Like the shining of the spirit sun He lighted all the day with gold magic; Like the kindly silver moon He peopled all the night with friendly shadows. The heart of every maiden was wingéd In the wild breast of her, If he but looked where her footsteps led her. Medicine Man, O Medicine Man, Make for me a new, a sure medicine That will ease my scorched heart Of the fire of a flaming red bird And take from my tortured hands Their burden of moon white lilies. In the cool night of the fat, bloody moon of harvest When the tribal storehouses were full heaped With dried fish and bear, buffalo and deer meat, With little mountains of maize for winter; When the cakes and candles of yellow tallow Were moulded past numbering, When the wide-mouthed seed baskets Were high heaped with richness, And many deep nut baskets were overflowing, When the dried berries from far thickets Made little sun painted hills— Then all of the tribe of our hunting grounds Bathed their hard worked bodies, Oiled their smooth skins, painted their happy faces And put on the wealth of their richest robes For the Great Dance of Thanksgiving. When the robins made love chase that season, In the secret ceremonial of the wise old women My Maiden's Hour had been celebrated. Always had my proud, savage Mother Taken me alone to the forest, And there, beating hands and chanting, She had carefully taught me The Wonder Dance of the Maidens' Hour Of the Mandanas, her people. It was a dance of moonlight and moon madness, Of sign love talk, of eyes asking great gifts, Of swift feet stamping like the roebuck And singing bead and shell trinket music, So that all the night was softly lighted With strange visions flower sweet. On the day of the Thanksgiving Ceremonial When my Mother oiled me to leaf fine smoothness, And hung me heavy with bracelets of bone beads And a necklace of precious carved blue shell, As her skilled hands of love flew, In my ear she made Canawac talk: "To-night, before the Great Sachem On his high throne of prideful authority, With the son who follows him in Council, Sitting beside his knee, When thou leadest the Thanksgiving Dance At the head of the young women Thou shalt wave all of them back to their places, And alone, before the assembled Chieftains, Thou shalt dance the Mating Dance Of the rich and powerful Mandanas, Ever keeping thine eye of glad submission, Fast on the eye of Mountain Lion. "If the soft light in his eye strike fire for thee, Then shalt thou forget all others And dance out thy heart for him alone And bow low as the young cedar before him, And as the serpent charm him. If he arise and stand facing thee And dance love manifest before thee, Then is the hour come for thy union with him. "Then shall I fly to set up thy wigwam Of down-fine doeskin, bleached with love, That many suns I have worked on in hiding for thee, And gladly in the sand before it Thou shalt set thy lighted candle, Thy tall proud candle of gold bear tallow; And if he come to thee with soft words With words of wooing magic, Then shalt thou bury thy candle flame In the yielding sands before him. "Then art thou our Chieftainess in seasons to come, And high shall thy sure heart beat With pride of love and power, And swift shall thy red blood run in leaping streams With the flood-high tide of mighty Chieftains. "Braves shall thy many straight sons be,
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