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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Fire-Plume"

The Fire-Plume

Wassamo started up alone, and glided toward the strange females.

As he approached them he was more and more enraptured with their beauty; but just as he was about to speak to them, he suddenly fell to the earth, and they all three vanished together. The moon shone where they had just stood, but she saw them not. A gentle sound of music and soft voices accompanied their vanishing, and this wakened the cousin.

As he opened his eyes, in a dreamy way, he saw the kettle near him. Some of the fish he observed were in the bowl. The fire flickered, and made light and shadow; but nowhere was Wassamo to be seen. He waited, and waited again, in the expectation that Wassamo would appear.

"Perhaps," thought the cousin, "he is gone out again to visit the nets."

He looked off that way, but the canoe still lay close by the rock at the shore. He searched and found his footsteps in the ashes, and out upon the green ground a little distance, and then they were utterly lost.

He was now greatly troubled in spirit, and he called aloud, "Netawis! cousin! cousin!" but there was no answer to his call. He called again in his sorrow, louder and louder, "Netawis! Netawis! cousin! cousin! whither are you gone?" But no answer came to his voice of wailing. He started for the edge of the woods, crying as he ran, "My cousin!" and "Oh, my cousin!"

Hither and thither through the forest he sped with all his fleetness of foot and quickness of spirit; and when at last he found that no voice would answer him, he burst into tears, and sobbed aloud.

He returned to the fire, and sat down. He mused upon the absence of Wassamo with a sorely-troubled heart. "He may have been playing me a trick," he thought; but it was full time that the trick should be at an end, and Wassamo returned not. The cousin cherished other hopes, but they all died away in the morning light, when he found himself alone by the hunting-fire.

"How shall I answer to his friends for Wassamo?" thought the cousin. "Although," he said to himself, "his parents are my kindred, and they are well assured that their son is my bosom-friend, will they receive that belief in the place of him who is lost.

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