“My Father’s Spirit,
look down, look down—
From your hunting grounds in the shining skies;
Behold, for the light of my heart is gone;
The light is gone and Winona dies.
I looked to the East,
but I saw no star;
The face of my White Chief was turned away.
I harked for his footsteps in vain; afar
His bark sailed over the Sunrise-sea.
Long have I watched
till my heart is cold;
In my breast it is heavy and cold as a stone.
No more shall Winona his face behold,
And the robin that sang in her heart is gone.
Shall I sit at the feet
of the treacherous brave?
On his hateful couch shall Winona lie?
Shall she kindle his fire like a coward slave?
No!—a warrior’s daughter can bravely die.
My Father’s Spirit,
look down, look down—
From your hunting-grounds in the shining skies;
Behold, for the light in my heart is gone;
The light is gone and Winona dies.”
[Illustration: DOWN WHIRLING AND FLUTTERING SHE FELL, AND HEADLONG PLUNGED INTO THE WATERS.]
Swift the strong hunters climbed as she sang,
and the foremost of all was Tamdoka;
From crag to crag upward he sprang;
like a panther he leaped to the summit.
Too late!—on the brave as he crept
turned the maid in her scorn and defiance;
Then swift from the dizzy height leaped.
Like a brant arrow-pierced in mid-heaven.
Down whirling and fluttering she fell,
and headlong plunged into the waters.
Forever she sank mid the wail,
and the wild lamentation of women.
Her lone spirit evermore dwells
in the depths of the Lake of the Mountains,
And the lofty cliff evermore tells
to the years as they pass her sad story.[BW]
In the silence of sorrow the night
o’er the earth spread her wide, sable pinions;
And the stars hid their faces; and light
on the lake fell the tears of the spirits.
As her sad sisters watched on the shore
for her spirit to rise from the waters,
They heard the swift dip of an oar,
and a boat they beheld like a shadow,
Gliding down through the night in the gray,
gloaming mists on the face of the waters.
’Twas the bark of DuLuth on his way
from the Falls to the Games at Keoza.
[BW] The Dakotas say that the spirit of Winona forever haunts the lake. They say that it was many, many winters ago when Winona leaped from the rock,—that the rock was then perpendicular to the water’s edge and she leaped into the lake, but now the rock has partly crumbled down and the waters have also receded, so that they do not now reach, the foot of the perpendicular rock as of old.