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THE WAYFARING LABORER.
or more than ten millions of miles an hour ! Rapid travelling that! It is almost to be regretted that Mohammed had not known the rapidity of light, and made his heavens far enough apart to justify the conclusion that he had travelled that one night rapidly as the most rapid traveller we know ; that is, light flashing through infinite space at the rate of two hundred thousand miles a second ! Indeed, counting “the infinite tracts of space” beyond the Lote Tree, perhaps he did travel fast as the light!
That was something of an angel too, seventy thousand days' travel between the eyes, or, the rate of forty miles a day, almost three millions of miles! One almost desires to know whether there was a nose there, since two or three worlds like ours melted together and cast into the shape of a nose, would be a mere atom to that which surmounted the face of Moham
med's angel ! And then the languages of Israfil amount to the trifling number of one million multiplied into itself five times, making a row of figures thirty-one in number, which would require one of Israfil's tongues to express intelligibly!
Alas for man's credulity! we have no way of dodging by supposing it to be a spiritual journey, since all good Moslems believe Mohammed performed this journey with his own proper body. And yet this is but one of the monstrosities which constitute the creed of a vast portion of the human family. In their design, credibility, sublime simplicity and results, how do the miracles of Jesus Christ contrast with the absurd imposture of Mohammed? And what a lesson is it also on the profound credulity of men, who have greedily swallowed this miserable stuff, as though it were the ambrosia of heaven!
NOBLE is he who treads the paths of earth,
Poor and unknown, to gain his daily bread,
Or delves with spade and plough its turfy bed.
pass luxurious years,
Traverse with lightsome step the open fields;
Who does not know that labor influence wields ?
THE WIGWAM IN THE FOREST.
BY KATE OLEVELAND.
Beneath the blossoming fruit trees the ground was hea ped with snow-white flakes of fallen flowers that the wind shook from the overladen boughs; for it was early summer, that season of beauty, which, like early childhood, bears within its bosom many a delicate leaf yet to be unfolded—telling not in its fresh loveliness of autumn's chilly blasts and withered beauty. Beautiful and perishable as are the first fair flowers of spring! From the forest came the cooing of the wood-dove, and the soft, sweet breath of summer, that played among the leaves, whispering low like some spirit voice. It was a western scene, with its warm and glowing light, with its wealth of clustering blossoms beneath, and its clear, unclouded sky above, that beamed with the hue of faith.
A mother stood at her cabin door, and looked lovingly forth as she watched the receding footsteps of her children; gazing till their little forms were lost to view among the forest trees. Hand in hand they passed; their arms now twined together in the sweet love of childhood, now stooping to gather the flowers that sprang beneath their feet. Then they would shout aloud and clap their hands in childish glee, as a bright-plumed bird flew swiftly past or a brilliant butterfly eluded their unsuccessful springs.
Still they wandered on, and the mother waited anxiously for their return. Deeper and deeper grew the sunlight that rested on the vines before the door, and the noon-day meal was spread on the white table; but they came not. Again the mother went forth to listen; the tiny foot-prints were visible from the door till where they were lost among the thick foliage, and that sweet picture of childish love came before her as when she watched them go forth, perhaps for the last time. A burst of childish laughter seemed borne upon the air, and the mother listened eagerly, but no sound met her ear. Then she called to them, and the forest resounded with their names. As the
never slumbering echo gave back the sounds, it seemed an answer to her summons; but the voice was hollow, and unlike the sprightly tones that usually greeted her ear.
Soon the father came from his work in the forest to partake of the noon-day meal, and missing the little arms that twined round his neck, and the warm kisses that met his return, he asked for his children. The wife tried to reply with a firm voice, though her heart misgave her as she uttered the words, " They will come soon.” Their meal was eaten in silence, and the husband prepared to return to his labors, when placing her hand on his arm, the mother with faltering voice begged him to go in search of the children. “Perhaps something has happened; they have fallen into the stream, or become the prey of some wild animal.” Gazing upon her tearful face in surprise, the husband suspected that all was not right, and prepared to seek the truants.
In the mean time, the children had wandered on to the side of a small stream, and busied themselves in throwing pebbles into its liquid depths. Again and again their childish laughter echoed through the dim old forest, as the transparent waters closed over the smooth white stones, and then reflected them upon the sandy bed beneath. Suddenly those peals of joyous laughter turned to agonizing shrieks that rang harshly upon the air, growing fainter and fainter as though life and strength were fast speeding. The girl, in bending over to reach a gorgeous lily that grew jnst by the shore, had lost her footing and fallen into the stream. She sankbut rose almost immediately to the surface, on which floated her white dress, and the garland of coral blossoms that wreathed her dimpled shoulders offered a painful contrast to the deathlike hue of her countenance. Again she sank, and once more rose to the surface--it was the last time. The boy gazed wildly on that expression of silent anguish, the forest resounded with his shrieks, and, in despair, he was about to plunge into the waves. At this moment a
THE WIGWAM IN THE FOREST.
terrible crackling resounded among the bushes, and a noble dog springing forward, bounded into the stream.
Soon the dripping form of the exhausted child rose to the surface, and proceeding cautiously forward, the faithful animal laid his burden at the feet of his master. As the boy's eyes
followed his sister, they rested upon a noble-looking Indian who leaned against a tree, watching with intense interest the motions of his dog. As the sagacious animal laid the drowning child at his feet, he took her gently in his arms, and placed his hand upon her heart to see if it still beat. Slowly the darkfringed lids began to unclose, and the blue eyes rested in terror on the dusky face bending over her. The boy had unconsciously stolen close to the side of the Indian, and fearful that his sister would soon be murdered by her preserver, he resolved to fight bravely in her defence, nothing daunted by the stature and strength of his fancied adversary. The countenance on which he gazed, though possessing some of the Indian characteristics, was nevertheless one which might inspire confidence in the most timid. He was apparently about thirty-five years of age, and the eyes were entirely devoid of that red, burning look peculiar to the savage; there was also Jess of cunning and more of mildness and intellect in the expression than is usually found among the Indians. The features were finely formed, and his figure possessed the prominent height and muscular strength of the savage.
Observing that the full lips of the child quivered, and her eyes were fast filling with tears, he placed her on the ground beside her brother, and with folded arms stood gazing on their inquiring faces. The girl clung to her brother for protection, who threw his arms around her with an air of proud defiance, and whispered to her not to be afraid. “ Let not the child of the white man fear--Yacota will not harm him.” The voice was very sweet and low, and its first tones reassured the children, who no longer looked upon him as an enemy. They followed him to a wigwam which stood near by, gazing in childish wonder at the articles of Indian warfare that decorated the interior. The girl paused timidly at the entrance, afraid to proceed, but her more resolute brother grasped her firmly by the hand, and the two entered together. In another corner stood a few cooking utensils of European manufacture, and a couch was formed of twisted branches covered by a thick buffalo robe. The children pa used
to gaze upon each article, so new and curious to them; and a smile fitted over the sad countenance of their host as he marked their delight. “ Where is the wigwam of the pale face ?" inquired Yacota; “ where dwell the children of the sunny brow ?”
Not comprehending the mixture of Indian and English in which these inquiries were uttered, and losing their sound from the rapid tone in which they were spoken, the boy shook his head and made no reply. Again the question was repeated, and from the animated gestures which accompanied it, the boy was able to form some idea of his meaning. But as home, with all its attendant joys, rushed upon his mind, he threw down the shining beads with which he had been playing, and clasping his sister in his arms, sobbed forth : “Mother! mother!” The little one, forgetting in her new toys the home she had so lately left, gazed wonderingly on her brother, and tried to bind his curls with a band of brilliant-hued wampum. Yacota marking the tear-drops that glittered on the rosy cheeks of the boy, took him kindly by the hand and led him forth. Then taking the girl in his arms, he attached a small ebony crass to the wampum with which she was playing, and fastened it round her waist. Onward they proceeded through the forest till the footprints of the children again became visible in the cleared ground. “Farewell," said their guide, “ farewell, and remember the Indian, Yacota."
In another moment he was gone; and hastening forward, the children were soon locked in the arms of their father, who, wearied with his fruitless search, was proceeding homeward in hopes of finding them there. The mother, pale and tearful, clasped her restored treasures again and again to her bosom; but when her eye glanced upon their strange ornaments, she shivered with horror at the sight of the cross. The child wept in vain as she was unwillingly deprived of her decorations; but seizing the Popish symbol, the mother flung it from her in horror. The father, a descendant of the old Puritans, and reared in the rigid customs that characterize the New Englanders, partook of his wife's dismay, and exclaimed with upraised eyes and hands, “A wolf hath entered the flock-in our own strength we may not withstand temptation!” The solemn voice of prayer was heard in the settler's cabin, and at the glowing hour of sunset, the incense of their worship ascended to the skies.
THE WIGWAM IN THE FOREST.
CHAPTER II. Whenever the children wandered into the forest-after this, the little girl returned with a wreath of rare wild flowers, or a small basket of the sweetest berries, the gift of Yacota. Sometimes a haunch of venison found its way to the settler's cabin; but these gifts were so secretly bestowed, that no one saw the Indian except the children. He seemed to have that antipathy to society natural to his race, and secluding himself in the solitude of his own wigwam, or wandering far from the haunts of man, he brooded over his wrongs. And they were many; deep and bitter were his feelings as the phantoms of the past rose up before his view—they seemed to call for revenge. There was one that always came at the soft twilight hour, and with a sweet smile upon its face, and waving lengths of dark floating hair wreathing round its shadowy form, sat down by his side and chased away his gloom. Well did he recognize the face of Mahtanee, his lost bride! There, on her green and early grave, the wild flowers grew the thickest, and thither he bent his steps when he left his solitary wigwam. Where now were his race? Banished from their homes by the rapacity of the white man, driven far beyond the waters of the noble Mississippi, their hunting grounds destroyed, and their names banished forever from the places of their birth!
The gratitude of the mother whose children he had saved, slumbered not. The Indian's deep reserve seemed to repulse all sympathy; but there was one heart, a woman's heart, that wept with compassion for the isolated being. Then, as the thought of his danger rushed upon her mind, as she reflected how he had been misled to abandon the religion of his fathers and adopt the errors of papacy, she longed to turn him in the right path. One evening, as the setting sun gilded the tops of the forest trees, the settler's wife hastily left the cabin and sought the wigwam in the forest. Now and then she glanced cautiously aside to see that she was not observed ; and gaining the wigwam, found that it was empty, as she had anticipated. Tremblingly she advanced, and approaching the couch, laid a small Bible upon it ; and then hastily withdrew. As she retraced her steps through the lonely forest, the light, happy heart of girlhood seemed to return; and with a feeling of exquisite happiness—a cheerful presentiment of forthcoming
good—she entered the cabin and began to prepare their frugal meal.
Soon the lonely heart of Yacota sought companionship in the settler's cabin. The delicacy of her gift left no doubt that it was a woman's; and that he should have inspired sympathy in one gentle heart, led the Indian more from himself and his own thoughts. He would sit for hours with the youngest child upon his knee, and gazing into its dark blue eyes murmur, as if to himself : “ They are the eyes of Mahtanee !"
He told them his melancholy story, and the soft eyes of the settler's wife filled with tears as he proceeded in his recital: “On the banks of the Illinois grew a slender wild flower, that day after day became more beautiful as the delicate leaves unclosed and expanded. Yacota saw this flower, that it was very beautiful, and it learned to look upon him with eyes of love. Yacota was very lonely; his father had gone to the hunting grounds of the Great Spirit, and many moons had waned since first they made his mother's grave. Yacota transplanted the flower to his own wigwam, and Mahtanee nestled lovingly in his bosom. When Yacota returned from the hunt, Mahtanee would come forth from the wigwam with her coral lips parted in a smile, and look tenderly to see if he were hurt; when no wound appeared the sinile grew brighter and brighter, but at the slightest scratch her tears fell, and with her soft hand locked in his she sat and gazed mournfully upon him. Like the graceful fawn was the step of Mahtanee; her hair was like the raven's wing, and her eye the startled doe. The lonely wigwam echoed with the voice of a singing bird; and ever still the face of Mahtanee changed not from its sweet smile. When she was happy it broke forth into peals of joyous laughter; but when sorrow clouded the brow of Yacota it was sad and mournful, and beamed lovingly upon him, like some faint star among the misty clouds.
" In the mean time the pale-faces had cast an envious eye upon the hunting grounds and noble forests of the Indians; and they gave glittering beads, which they said were as gold from the mines, for boundless prairies and thick forests, which they cut down to build their dwellings. And the white men came closer and closer; the Indians saw their lands depart from them and they had no place for their wigwams. Then went Yacota to the palefaces, and they called him brother, and handed
THE WIGWAM IN THE FOREST.
him the calumet of peace. But Yacota demanded the lands of his fathers that they had taken from him. Then they laughed loudly, and told him to carry his tribe far from their native homes-far from the place where the smoke of their wigwams would no longer curl. Then Yacota spoke bitter words, for his heart was full of hate, and he returned to his people. The Indian warriors painted themselves for the battle-they would leave no trace of the white men who had thus cruelly used them. Then came Mahtanee like an angel of good; for while the deceitful pale-faces slept, the warriors would strike the tomahawk into their brains, and hang their scalps within their wigwams. And Mahtanee wished not Yacota to slay the white men; she said the Great Spirit would be angry, and his face would darken to Yacota as a stormy sky. But the heart of Yacota burned for revenge, and he listened not to Mahtanee.
" Then the soft eyes of Mahtanee wept bitter tears; but Yacota heeded not; he painted himself for the battle, and longed to strike the treacherous pale-faces. Night came with all its starry splendor-and lo! while yet Yacota slept, Mahtanee lest his side and wandered from the wigwam. So quietly she went that Yacota knew it not—he thought she still slept. Then went Mahtanee forth in the moonlight to the pale-faced chief to whisper in his ear that Yacota would scatter his people like the forest leaves in autumn time. And Mahtanee went on--a beautiful hope clung round her heart, and the Great Spirit gave her strength. She loved Yacota, but she could not bear the shrieks of the white men as the deadly tomahawk sought their brains. But the pale-faces were on their guard—and as Mahtanee advanced they shot her to the ground! In the dim, misty night they thought to kill an Indian warrior. When Yacota awoke he found that Mahtanee was gone ; and he followed her footsteps through the forest till he traced them to the camp of the pale-faces.
“What sight is that which causes the heart of Yacota to jump, and his eyes to start from their sockets? There, on the ground before him, lies the form of Mahtanee, with the crimson stream still flowing from her heart! Then the quick ear of Mahtanee knew the step of Yacota ; and opening once more her eyes, she
smiled upon him, and then they closed forever! And often in the night comes Mahtanee and stands beside the couch of Yacota, with the smile upon her face. But as Yacota stretches forth his arms to clasp her to his bosom, the smile grows sad-and then she vanishes from his side. Yacota made the grave of Mahtanee far among the tall forest trees, and laid her to rest with the wild flowers blooming over her. Yacota departed from the battle, and the palefaces drove his tribe beyond the Mississippiand the heart of Yacota was lonely as at first.
" Then came a pale-face with a solemn countenance; one who fought not against the Indians, and dwelt apart from the white men. He came to Yacota and bade him be happy. He placed the cross in Yacota's hands, and taught him to pray to the saints; and Yacota listened to his words. They fell upon his ear like cooling rain in the summer time, and the heart of Yacota was comforted. Then went the pale-face back to his own people far, far beyond the great sea; he told Yacota to remember his words and join him in the spirit-land. And when Yacota saw the child of the pale-face, a bad spirit stood by his side and whispered in his ear: 'Let her die for Mahtanee.' But the face of Mahtanee looked mournfully upon him from the clouds, and Yacota krew that it was wrong.”
Long and patiently did the settler's wife, with a true woman's heart, that never failed, labor to convince the Indian of his error. Her mind was full of poetic feeling, which, though somewhat blunted by the rough habits of a settler's Jife, would now and then shine forth. The story of Yacota's griefs carried her back to the days of early girlhood, when Love first twined around her heart; and she brushed away a silent tear as those first fair visions of romantic happiness dawned upon her mind—now rudely dispelled by how different reality! But a Christian trust reproached her for these feelings; and when after long and toilsome labor came the reward she so earnestly sought, her full heart desired no more. And when in after years she related to her children's children the tale of Yacota's griefs--his error—and his happy death, the lips moved as though in silent prayer, and a smile of rapturous joy illumined her face.