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

The Fire-Plume

A day was appointed on which the cousin was to yield his life for his friend's.

He was a brave youth, and they bound him only by his word to be ready at the appointed hour. He said that he was not afraid to die; for he was innocent of the great wrong they laid to his charge.

A day or two before the time set to take his life, he wandered sadly along the shore of the lake. He looked at the glassy water, and more than once the thought to end his griefs by casting himself in its depths, came upon him with such sudden force that it was only by severe self-control that he was able to turn his steps in another direction. He reflected—"They will say that I was guilty if I take my own life. No. I will give them my blood for that of my cousin."

He walked on, with slow steps, but he found no comfort, turn where he would; the sweet songs of the grove jarred upon his ear; the beauty of the blue sky pained his sight; and the soft green earth, as he trode upon it, seemed harsh to his foot, and sent a pang through every nerve. "Oh, where is my cousin?" he kept saying to himself.

Meanwhile, when Wassamo fell senseless before the two young women in the wood, he lost all knowledge of himself until he wakened in a distant scene. He heard persons conversing. One spoke in a tone of command, saying, "You foolish girls, is this the way that you rove about at nights without our knowledge? Put that person you have brought on that couch of yours, and do not let him lie upon the ground."

Wassamo felt himself moved, he knew not how, and placed upon a couch. Some time after, the spell seemed to be a little lightened, and on opening his eyes, he was surprised to find that he was lying in a spacious and shining lodge, extending as far as the eye could reach.

One spoke to him and said: "Stranger, awake, and take something wherewith to refresh yourself."

He obeyed the command and sat up. On either side of the lodge he beheld rows of people seated in orderly array. At a distance he could see two stately persons, who looked rather more in years than the others, and who appeared to exact obedience from all around them.

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