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Seth and Mary Eastman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about Dahcotah.

The song, the jest, the legend, by turns occupied them until they separated to sleep.  But as the warriors stepped into the open air, why does the light of the moon fall upon faces pale with terror?  “See!” said the chief, “how flash the mysterious lights! there is danger near, some dreadful calamity is threatening us.”

“We will shoot at them,” said Red Cloud; “we will destroy their power.”  And the Indians discharged their guns in quick succession towards the northern horizon, which was brilliantly illuminated with the Aurora Borealis; thus hoping to ward off coming danger.

The brother and sister were left alone at the door of the teepee.  The stern warrior’s looks expressed superstitious terror, while the maiden’s face was calm and fearless.  “Do you not fear the power of the woman who sits in the north, Wenona? she shows those flashes of light to tell us of coming evil.”

“What should I fear,” said Wenona; “I, who will soon join my mother, my father, my sisters, in the land of spirits?  Listen to my words, my brother:  there are but two of us; strife and disease have laid low the brave, the good, the beautiful; we are the last of our family; you will soon be alone.

“Before the leaves fell from the trees, as I sat on the banks of the Mississippi, I saw the fairy of the water.  The moon was rising, but it was not yet bright enough for me to see her figure distinctly.  But I knew her voice; I had often heard it in my dreams.  ‘Wenona,’ she said, (and the waves were still that they might hear her words), ’Wenona, the lands of the Dahcotah are green and beautiful—­but there are fairer prairies than those on earth.  In that bright country the forest trees are ever green, and the waves of the river flow on unchilled by the breath of winter.  You will not long be with the children of the earth.  Even now your sisters are calling you, and your mother is telling them that a few more months will bring you to their side!’

“The words were true, my brother, but I knew not that your harshness would hasten my going.  You say that I shall marry Red Cloud; sooner will I plunge my knife into my heart; sooner shall the waves of the Mississippi roll over me.  Brother, you will soon be alone!”

“Speak not such words, my sister,” said the chief; “it shall be as you will.  I have not promised Red Cloud.  I thought you would be happy if you were his wife, and you shall not be forced to marry him.  But why should you think of death? you saw our braves as they shot at the lights in the north.  They have frightened them away.  Look! they flash no more.  Go in, and sleep, and to-morrow I will tell Red Cloud that you love him not.”

And the cloudless moon shone on a happy face, and the bright stars, seemed more bright as Wenona gazed upon them; but as she turned to enter the wigwam, one star was seen falling in the heavens, and the light that followed it was lost in the brightness of the others.  And her dreams were not happy, for the fairy of the water haunted them.  “Even as that star, Wenona, thou shalt pass from all that thou lovest on earth; but weep not, thy course is upward!”

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