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LEGENDS OF

OF THE AMERICAN

INDIAN

BY EDNA WAHLERT McCOURT

THE CLOUD WOMAN

I found in the forest a white mist-
White like faint foam, a white mist.
And I said, “I have looked for you all my life,
Looked through the world for my wife.”

The white mist became a white woman-
Like a lily, a tall white woman.
And I said, “We will dwell together in my home,
You and I together, you and I alone.”

But my lily became a white shadow-
Melted in the flame of my love to a shadow.

I cried, “Not through the clod!
Go not through the grim ground to God!”

I lie in the sun, for the sky holds me-
As the flow'r holds the bee, the sky holds me.
And I say, “Within that warm white cloud
Is my Beloved. I am seeing her shroud.”

SCARLET WINGS

My lover has left me!
Tell me, Traveller, have you seen my lover?
In his eyes there was the call of the sea to the stream,
And the call of time to the tide,
And the call of the raw earth to the rain.

I saw a bird with scarlet lips caress your lover on the lips
Follow me! Follow!
Your lover hid his eyes within his hands-
But not the scarlet wings
Or “Follow me! Follow!"

My lover followed the bird with scarlet wings

WENEWELIR

I was a maiden
A beautiful maiden,
My skin like the summer, my hair like the dawn;
I was a maiden
A beautiful maiden,
My voice was the honey, the willow my form.

I had a lover
A warrior lover,
Strong as the thunder and light as the deer;
I had a lover
A warrior lover,
Brave as the lightning and gay as the mere.

She was a hag
A thousand year old hag,
Her body was like the dead roots of a tree;
She was a witch
The devil's own witch,
With powers as deep and as black as the sea,

In the top of my head,
Ah, my beautiful head,
She bored a deep hole and through it she blew-
She blew and she blew
She blew and she blew
Till all my fair body from off me she blew.

Over her bones
Her hideous bones,
She fitted the fair form that once had been mine;

Patting it, smoothing it,
Preening it, soothing it,
The witch stood arrayed in my beauty divine.

She and my lover
My strong, my gay lover,
Dwell in the teepee that he meant for me;
She and my lover-
My lover- my lover-
Croon to the children that God meant for me.

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So she swam down and dressed like any man,
Living as we who live and die.
She felt the foul of winter and its ban,
She heard the woe that through the nations ran,

“I cannot be a man-to die!”

She then became a bird that built in tops of trees,
But O the weary rain that ran
The withering wind born from the balmy breeze,
The constant call to Come from overseas
“I cannot live a bird's frail span.

Then she became a lily in the water
And laughed to the moon from her blue throne.
Every man that longed for beauty sought her,
And in the winter she was slumber's daughter,
Smiling in her dreams upon her throne.

THE LOST LOVER

She wandered in the woods
All day, by starshine, too,
Her pale face disconsolate,
Her eyes sad to view;
She wrung her hands with sorrow
As for death to sue.

Why does sadness mar the grace
Of one so fair as she?
Why greets she not the flowers,
Singing joyfully?
-He has been drowned, her lover,
In the sea.

He has been drowned in the sea
Whom she has loved always;
No joy,
Nor lovely thing to praise
Nor
peace,

will ever come to her Through her nights and days.

“I must find my love,
My lover in the sea;
I cannot live so far away
From him," wept she.
Sinking down upon the grass, ,
“May death come to me.
The stars came out

like a slender thread
Upon the grasses green
Her long white robe lay motionless
Like a silver seam.
But in the morning it was gone-
And there appeared a stream!
A silver stream flowed in the wood
Where she had wandered through,
And if you listened to its voice
It sang to you, -
Every stream meets the sea,
The sea that is deep and blue.

THE LOVERS

The father spoke,
You will wed him, Tomorrow"
“I will wed my Love, or in a shroud
Forfeited be tomorrow.

“His arms are strong,
His voice is like rippling water,
And in his eye is a singing song,"
Said the daughter.

The father cried, “Where is my child!
Stranger, have you seen her?
Her hair is heavy, like the morning tide,
Than her smile the flowers are meaner.

“I beheld a maiden with heavy hair
In the arms of her lover,
Smiling a smile than the flowers more fair,
In the Valley of Doom with her lover."

The father hurried to the Valley of Doom
And beheld what had not been before,-
Two lithe trees in the light of the moon
That no man had marked before.

Side by side,
Their branches blending together,
As wet waves blend with the tangent tide,
Their branches blended together.

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