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bdNM
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"Song of Hiawatha," III-V

III -- "Hiawatha's Childhood" -- Hiawatha is successful in killing a deer, to the celebration of the village and Nokomis.

IV -- "Hiawatha and Mudjekeewis" -- Hiawatha travels to the far west to see his dad, who is in charge of the West Wind.  The two of them tussle.

V -- "Hiawatha's Fasting" -- Hiawatha fasts for a week and meets with the spirit of the growing corn (maize) and learns his secret and brings the ability to grow corn to the people.

 

Some thoughts as I read these pages -- in fighting with his dad -- I saw a reflection of Jacob wrestling with the angel, and, of course, there's the whole Oedipus thing, and the ideas in Greek myth where the dad is worried about his son, who will ultimately surpass him. 

 

I also thought about the Fasting and how the vigil is very important in knight literature -- the knight before undertaking some great quest, will fast and do a vigil before the altar, and esp. before the image of Mary.  The bit about fighting with the corn spirit, and the idea of burying him and then corn springing forth is also reminiscent of other myths.  There is a song about John Barleycorn (the spirit of Barley growing in the field), who is set upon by young men who kill him, cut him up, and then turn his dead body over to the miller to grind into bread and brew into beer, but the buried seed will spring forth again next year, so the spirit is immortal and, by feeding humans, keeps humankind alive and immortal (as a group, not as an individual).

 

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say about this -- what about the verse form?  How is it sounding now?  I'm using a text that has illustrations of Native Americans, Native paraphernalia, and beautiful landscapes.  And Remington fits in somewhat with Longfellow's time (well, he's about 30 or 40 years younger than Longfellow and was born after this poem was published the first time). 

Dignity, always dignity.
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Peppermill
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Re: "Song of Hiawatha," III-V

 I'm using a text that has illustrations of Native Americans, Native paraphernalia, and beautiful landscapes. And Remington fits in somewhat with Longfellow's time (well, he's about 30 or 40 years younger than Longfellow and was born after this poem was published the first time).

 

I like that edition.  It is the one I have, too.

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: "Song of Hiawatha," Chapter III, Hiawatha's Childhood

Below are among my favorite lines from "Song of Hiawatha."  They are probably the ones that I once was closed to memorizing and from which fragments still float to consciousness from time to time

 

  By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
  There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"


  Many things Nokomis taught him
Of the stars that shine in heaven;
Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,
Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses;
Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,
Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,
Flaring far away to northward
In the frosty nights of Winter;
Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Running straight across the heavens,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.


  At the door on summer evenings
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,
Heard the lapping of the water,
Sounds of music, words of wonder;
'Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees,
Mudway-aushka!" said the water.


  Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes,
And he sang the song of children,
Sang the song Nokomis taught him:
"Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly,
Little, flitting, white-fire insect,
Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
Ere upon my bed I lay me,
Ere in sleep I close my eyelids!"


  Saw the moon rise from the water
Rippling, rounding from the water,
Saw the flecks and shadows on it,
Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"
And the good Nokomis answered:
"Once a warrior, very angry,
Seized his grandmother, and threw her
Up into the sky at midnight;
Right against the moon he threw her;
'T is her body that you see there."


  Saw the rainbow in the heaven,
In the eastern sky, the rainbow,
Whispered, "What is that, Nokomis?"
And the good Nokomis answered:
"'T is the heaven of flowers you see there;
All the wild-flowers of the forest,
All the lilies of the prairie,
When on earth they fade and perish,
Blossom in that heaven above us."


  When he heard the owls at midnight,
Hooting, laughing in the forest,
"What is that?" he cried in terror,
"What is that," he said, "Nokomis?"
And the good Nokomis answered:
"That is but the owl and owlet,
Talking in their native language,
Talking, scolding at each other."


  Then the little Hiawatha
Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter,
Talked with them whene'er he met them,
Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens."


  Of all beasts he learned the language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,
Why the rabbit was so timid,
Talked with them whene'er he met them,
Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."

 

"Song of Hiawatha", Chapter III, Hiawatha's Childhood

 

There is something mystical about this description of the Milky Way that is wonderful to contrast with photography from the Hubble:

 

"Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Running straight across the heavens,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows."

 

Constructed view of the Milky Way

 

Milky Way Constructed Photo

 

Milky Way Over Hawaii

Milky Way over Hawaii

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Lmfwhite
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Re: "Song of Hiawatha," Chapter III, Hiawatha's Childhood

Pepper - I agree with you.  I do not recall having to memorize anything for school, but the quote you provided is definitely the most familiar to me.  In fact, even in a non-literary capacity, Lucy Ricardo from "I Love Lucy" quoted at least the first 10 lines auditioning for a part in Ricky's Native American show!

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Lmfwhite
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Re: "Song of Hiawatha," III-V

 

bdNM wrote:

 

Some thoughts as I read these pages -- in fighting with his dad -- I saw a reflection of Jacob wrestling with the angel, and, of course, there's the whole Oedipus thing, and the ideas in Greek myth where the dad is worried about his son, who will ultimately surpass him. 

 

I also thought about the Fasting and how the vigil is very important in knight literature --

 

I immediately thought of Jacob and the angel wrestling when Hiawatha fought with his dad.  Also, although Hiawatha fasted for 7 days, I thought of the biblical reference to Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert.  There is also another biblical parallel in Chapter VIII, that I won't touch on now but will in that section.  Does anyone know if it was a deliberate effort on Longfellow's part to insert similiarites to Christianity in the poem?