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Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Some thoughts on "Song of Hiawatha," VI

In stressing the closeness of his friendships to Chibiabos and Kwasind, the poet notes that no words spoken could come between them, but I found the expression of this a bit strange:

"singing birds, that utter falsehoods,

storytellers, mischief-makers,

found no eager eare to listen,

could not breed ill-will between them..."

What are these lying birds?  Why are they lying?  There is a story told by Ovid about the raven that told Apollo his woman was cheating on him -- but that wasn't a lying bird, just a tattle-teller.

And by referring to the "storytellers" as "mischief-makers," does he not cast some doubt on his own telling?  Are we to conclude from this the sense that bards tell whoppers and sew dissension among the people?


I notice that Kwasind is seen by his family as lazy -- in a sense he's a lot like "Jack" in the "Jack" stories, whom people view as a no-good layabout, but who ends up winning in the end.


Dignity, always dignity.