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The Path on the Rainbow, edited by George W. Cronyn, [1918], at

p. 6


The members of the Ho-no-tci-no-ga Society assemble. Now the Medicine Doctor or Shaman casts the sacred tobacco on the medicine-blaze, and in a low voice he chants:

Great Spirit who puts us to sleep in darkness,
We thank thee for the silences of darkness.
Now I ask blessing and make prayers.
(He sprinkles sacred tobacco on the fire.
Then he speaks to the Invisible)
Now I give you tobacco,
You, the great Darkness!
(To the Thunder Spirit)
Now we act as we offer you tobacco!
You love it most of all offerings.
With it you will hear us better
And not tire of our talking
But love us with all power
Beyond all treasures
Or spreading of words through the air!
All men traveling under great heaven
You have invited, your grandchildren and all nations;
Oh you, maker of noise,
You, the great Thunderer!
Your grandchildren wish to thank you!
All your grandchildren have asked me
To offer this tobacco upon the mountain to you!
(Speaking to the Great Spirit)
You the All-maker,
Best Friend of people!
We ask you to help us!
We implore your favor!
I have spoken.

p. 7

The lights are extinguished, leaving the assembly in total darkness. The Watcher of the Medicine uncovers the bundles, exposing it to the air, and as he does so a faint luminous cloud hovers over the table and disappears. Now the Chanter gives the signal and the members sing:


Wait here in the darkness!
Come, all you who listen,
Go the magic journey:
Now the sky is empty
Of all sun-and-star-shine;
Come, we lose our footing.
Night no friend of ours is;
She has shut her eyelids.
Moon who has forgotten
Lets us wait in darkness!

Now the chiefs take their rattles, shaking them softly as the Chanter sings and members of the clan give the whip-poor-will cry.


Thus sings the Whip-poor-will,
Follow me, follow me!
Thus speaks the Chief to him,
Yes, I will follow you!
Lo! the night darkening
Stalks through the shadow-land;
No light to beckon us
Murmurs the waterfall,
Thus sings the river-voice!
Someone is nearing us,

p. 8

Creeping upon us close,
Two fires of eyes are close
Lighting the forest path—
Hear how his breath blows by!
Fol-low me, fol-low me,—
So sings the whip-poor-will!
Yes, I am following—
Thus the Chief answers him.

Cries announce that the Wolf and his mate have entered the room.

Hark the trees whispering
Bend their old bodies low,
Not the strong North Wind's hand
Nay, but One great and swift
Parts them with whistling breath!
Hark! how the thickets snap!
Fearless the footfalls pass
Pushing the trees apart!
Great horns dividing them.
(Again the Whip-poor-will chorus)

Now Buck and Doe, with cries, enter. The song continues:

How I go shivering!
No snow is falling now,
Where hides the sun his fire?
Something swift-footed comes
Roaring and warning me!
Eyes of the night it blinds,
Falling like heavy mist!
Now it creeps close to me,
Warning and beckoning
Where the black forest looms.
(Whip-poor-will chorus)

The Bear and his mate have come and the song goes on:

How the wind whistles now!
No one dares race with it.
Great trees bend low to it,
Rivers fight back to it,

p. 9

Roaring and splashing it!
Hear how its strong wings beat
Deep in the gusty sky!
High through the night it flies
Whistling and screaming, still
Hunting the prey that runs!
(Whip-poor-will chorus)

The Hawk and its mate are announced. Then rites symbolizing the dangers of the forest tangles and swampy horrors are performed. According to the legend Eagle must dismiss the meeting. His coming, which is imitated on the small flute, announces the day. As the dawn-light penetrates the ceremonial place the last chorus is chanted of


Deep the dew-water falls
No one comes close to me!
Where are you, Whip-poor-will?
Why am I waiting now
Calling you, calling you?
Screaming the night away
With his great feathers spread
Catching the darkness up
I hear the Eagle-bird
Pulling the blanket back
From the east, sleeping still.
How swift he flies, bearing the sun to the morning;
See how he perches there on the trail of the east-sky.
Whip-poor-will, Whip-poor-will,
No more I follow thee!
When night springs up again
Will you cry, "Follow me?"

The singing ends and the matrons bring in food and distribute it to all.

Next: Fire-Fly Song (Ojibwa)