NO doubt you will wonder what the stories of theFour Winds have to do with Hiawatha, and whyhe has not been spoken of before; but soon you will seethat if you had not read these stories, you could not
understand how the life of Hiawatha was different from
that of any other Indian. And Hiawatha had been chosen
by the great Manito to be the leader of the red men, to
share their troubles and to teach them; so of course there
were a great many things that took place before he was
born that have to be remembered when we think of him.
In the full moon, long ago, the beautiful Nokomis was
swinging in a swing of grape-vines and playing with her
women, when one of them, who had always wished to do
her harm, cut the swing and let Nokomis fall to earth. As
she fell, she was so fair and bright that she seemed to be a
star flashing downward through the air, and the Indians
all cried out: "See, a star is dropping to the meadow!"
There on the meadow, among the blossoms and the
grasses, a daughter was born to Nokomis, and she called
her daughter Wenonah. And her daughter, who was born
beneath the clear moon and the bright stars of heaven, grew
into a maiden sweeter than the lilies of the prairie, lovelier
than the moonlight and purer than the light of any star.
Wenonah was so beautiful that the West-wind, themighty West- wind, Mudjekeewis, came and whispered
tenderly into her ear until she loved him. But the West-
wind did not love Wenonah long. He went away to his
kingdom on the mountains, and after he had gone Wenonah
had a son whom she named Hiawatha, the child of the
West-wind. But Wenonah was so sad because the West-
wind had deserted her that she died soon after Hiawatha
was born, and the infant Hiawatha, without father or
mother, was taken to Nokomis' wigwam, which stood
beside a broad and shining lake called "The Big-Sea- Water."