It was in the summer of 183-, that a large party of Chippeways visited Fort Snelling. There was peace between them and the Sioux. Their time was passed in feasting and carousing; their canoes together flew over the waters of the Mississippi. The young Sioux warriors found strange beauty in the oval faces of the Chippeway girls; and the Chippeways discovered (what was actually the case) that the women of the Dahcotahs were far more graceful than those of their own nation.
But as the time of the departure of the Chippeways approached, many a Chippeway maiden wept when she remembered how soon she would bid adieu to all her hopes of happiness. And Flying Shadow was saddest of them all. She would gladly have given up everything for her lover. What were home and friends to her who loved with all the devotion of a heart untrammeled by forms, fresh from the hand of nature? She listened to his flute in the still evening, as if her spirit would forsake her when she heard it no more. She would sit with him on the bluff which hung over the Mississippi, and envy the very waters which would remain near him, when she was far away. But her lover loved his nation even more than he did her; and though he would have died to have saved her from sorrow, yet he knew she could never be his wife. Even were he to marry her, her life would ever be in danger. A Chippeway could not long find a home among the Dahcotahs.
The Track-maker bitterly regretted that they had ever met, when he saw her grief at the prospect of parting. “Let us go,” he said, “to the Falls, where I will tell you the story you asked me.”
The Track-maker entered the canoe first, and the girl followed; and so pleasant was the task of paddling her lover over the quiet waters, that it seemed but a moment before they were in sight of the torrent.
“It was there,” said the Sioux, “that Wenona and her child found their graves. Her husband, accompanied by some other Dahcotahs, had gone some distance above the falls to hunt. While there, he fell in love with a young girl whom he thought more beautiful than his wife. Wenona knew that she must no longer hope to be loved as she had been.
“The Dahcotahs killed much game, and then broke up their camp and started for their homes. When they reached the falls, the women got ready to carry their canoes and baggage round.
“But Wenona was going on a longer journey. She would not live when her husband loved her no more, and, putting her son in her canoe, she soon reached the island that divides the falls.
“Then she put on all her ornaments, as if she were a bride; she dressed her boy too, as a Dahcotah warrior; she turned to look once more at her husband, who was helping his second wife to put the things she was to carry, on her back.