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The Fire-Plume

The summer and fall which Wassamo thus passed with his parents and the people of his tribe were prosperous with all the country.

The cousin of Wassamo recovered heart, and sang once more his sad or mirthful chants, just as the humor was upon him; but he kept close by Wassamo, and watched him in all his movements. He made it a point to ask many questions of the country he came from; some of which his cousin replied to, but others were left entirely in the dark.

At every thunder-storm, as the old Sand-Spirit had foreboded, the wife of Wassamo disappeared, much to the astonishment of her Indian company, and, to their greater wonder, she was never idle, night nor day.

When the winter came on, Wassamo prepared for her a comfortable lodge, to which she withdrew for her long sleep; and he gave notice to his friends that they must not disturb her, as she would not be with them again until the spring returned.

Before lying down, she said to her husband, "No one but yourself must pass on this side of the lodge."

The winter passed away with snows, and sports and stones in the lodge; and when the sap of the maple began to flow, the wife of Wassamo wakened, and she immediately set about work as before. She helped at the maple-trees with the others; and, as if luck were in her presence, the sugar-harvest was greater than had been ever known in all that region.

The gifts of tobacco, after this, came in even more freely than they had at first; and as each brought his bundle to the lodge of Wassamo, he asked for the usual length of life, for success as a hunter, and for a plentiful supply of food. They particularly desired that the sand-hills might be kept quiet, so that their lands might be moist, and their eyes clear of dust to sight the game.

Wassamo replied that he would mention each of their requests to his father-in-law.

The tobacco was stored in sacks, and on the outside of the skins, that there might be no mistake as to their wants, each one who had given tobacco had painted and marked in distinct characters the totem or family emblem of his family and tribe.

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