Remnica[Y] too, furnished a share
of the legions that thronged to the races,
And a bountiful feast was prepared
by the diligent hands of the women,
And gaily the multitudes fared
in the generous tees of Kathaga.
The chief of the mystical clan
appointed a feast to Unktehee—
The mystic “Wacipee Wakan"[Z]—
at the end of the day and the races.
A band of sworn brothers are they,
and the secrets of each one are sacred,
And death to the lips that betray
is the doom of the swarthy avengers,
And the son of tall Wazi-kute
was the chief of the mystical order.
[Y] Pronounced Ray-mne-chah—The village of the Mountains, situate where Red Wing now stands.
[Z] Sacred Dance—The Medicine-dance—See description infra.
THE FOOT RACES.
On an arm of an oak hangs the prize
for the swiftest and strongest of runners—
A blanket as red as the skies,
when the flames sweep the plains in October.
And beside it a strong, polished bow,
and a quiver of iron-tipped arrows,
Which Kapoza’s tall chief will bestow
on the fleet-footed second that follows.
A score of swift runners are there
from the several bands of the nation,
And now for the race they prepare,
and among them fleet-footed Tamdoka.
With the oil of the buck and the bear
their sinewy limbs are annointed,
For fleet are the feet of the deer
and strong are the limbs of the bruin.
Hark!—the shouts and the braying of drums,
and the Babel of tongues and confusion!
From his teepee the tall chieftain comes,
and DuLuth brings a prize for the runners—
A keen hunting-knife from the Seine,
horn-handled and mounted with silver.
The runners are ranged on the plain,
and the Chief waves a flag as a signal,
And away like the gray wolves they fly—
like the wolves on the trail of the red-deer;
O’er the hills and the prairie they vie,
and strain their strong limbs to the utmost,
While high on the hills hangs a cloud
of warriors and maidens and mothers,
To see the swift-runners, and loud
are the cheers and the shouts of the warriors.
Now swift from the lake they return
o’er the emerald hills of the prairies;
Like grey-hounds they pant and they yearn,
and the leader of all is Tamdoka.
At his heels flies Hu-pa-hu,[AA]
the fleet—the pride of the band of Kaoza,—
A warrior with eagle-winged feet,
but his prize is the bow and the quiver.