Down the rivers, o'er the prairies, came the
warriors of the nations,
All the warriors drawn together
By the signal of the Peace-Pipe, to the Mountains of the Prairie,
And they stood there in the meadow,
With their weapons and their war-gear, painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Painted like the sky of morning, wildly glaring at each other;
In their faces stern defiance, in their hearts the feuds of ages,
The hereditary hatred, the ancestral
thirst of vengeance.
"Gitche Manito, the mighty, the Creator of the
Looked upon them with compassion, with
paternal love and pity!
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling,
But as quarrels among children, but as feuds and fights of children!
To subdue their stubborn natures, to allay their thirst and fever,
By the shadow of his right hand;
Spake to them with voice majestic,
As the sound of far-off waters, falling into deep abysses,
Warning chiding, spake in this wise:
"O my children! My poor children! Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning, from the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you:
"I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in.
I have given you bear and bison, I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver, filled the marshes full of wildfowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes; Why then are you not contented?
Why then do you hunt each other:
"I am weary of your quarrels, weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance, of your wranglings and dissensions.
All your strength is in your union, all your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward, and as
brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to you, a Deliverer of the
Who shall guide you and shall teach you, who shall toil and suffer with you,
If you listen to his counsels, you will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded, you will fade away and perish!
"Wash the war-paint from your faces, wash the blood-stains from your fingers,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from the quarry, mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,
Take the reeds that grow beside you, deck them with your brightest feathers,
Smoke the calumet together, and as brothers live henceforward!"
Then upon the ground the warriors, threw their cloaks and shirts of deer skin,
Threw their weapons and their war-gear, leaped into the rushing river,
Washed the war-paint from their faces,
Clear above them flowed the water, clear and limpid from the foot-prints
Of the Master of Life descending;
Dark below them flowed the water, soiled and stained withstreaks of crimson,
As if blood were mingled with it!
From the river came the warriors, clean and washed from all all their war-paint;
On the banks their clubs they buried, buried all their warlike weapons.
Gitche Manito, the mighty, the Great Spirit,
Smiled upon his helpless children!
And in silence all the warriors, broke the red stone of the quarry,
Smoothed and formed it into Peace-Pipes, broke the long reeds of the river,
Decked them with their brightest feathers, and departed each one homeward.
Hiawatha, Henry W. Longfellow