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Leelinau






Source: The Myth Of Hiawatha

A CHIPPEWA TALE.


The Pukwudjininees, or fairies of Lake Superior, had one of their most
noted places of residence at the great sand dunes of Naigow Wudjoo,
called by the French La Grandes Sables. Here they were frequently
seen in bright moonlight evenings, and the fishermen while sitting in
their canoes on the lake often saw them playing their pranks, and
skipping over the hills. There was a grove of pines in that vicinity
called the manito wac, or Spirit wood, into which they might be seen to
flee, on the approach of evening, and there is a romantic little lake
on those elevated sand-hills, not far back from the Great Lake, on the
shores of which their tracks could be plainly seen in the sand. These
tracks were not bigger than little children's footprints, and the
spirits were often seen in the act of vanishing behind the little
pine-trees. They love to dance in the most lonesome places, and were
always full of glee and merriment, for their little voices could be
plainly heard. These little men, the pukwudjininees, are not deeply
malicious, but rather delighted in mischief and freaks, and would
sometimes steal away a fisherman's paddle, or come at night and pluck
the hunter's feathers out of his cap in the lodge, or pilfer away some
of his game, or fish. On one occasion they went so far as to entice
away into their sacred grove, and carry off a chief's daughter--a small
but beautiful girl, who had been always inclined to be pensive, and
took her seat often in these lonesome haunts. From her baby name of
Neenizu, my dear life, she was called Leelinau, but she never
attained to much size, remaining very slender, but of the most pleasing
and sylph-like features, with very bright black eyes, and little feet.
Her mother often cautioned her of the danger of visiting these lonely
fairy haunts, and predicted, playfully, that she would one day be
carried off by the Pukwudjees, for they were very frolicsome,
mischievous and full of tricks.

To divert her mind from these recluse moods and tastes, she endeavored
to bring about an alliance with a neighboring forester, who, though
older than herself, had the reputation of being an excellent hunter,
and active man, and he had even creditably been on the war path, though
he had never brought home a scalp. To these suggestions Leelinau had
turned rather a deaf ear. She had imbibed ideas of a spiritual life and
existence, which she fancied could only be enjoyed in the Indian
elysium, and instructed as she was by the old story-tellers, she could
not do otherwise than deem the light and sprightly little men who made
the fairy footprints as emissaries from the Happy Land. For this
happy land she sighed and pined. Blood, and the taking of life, she
said, the Great Spirit did not approve, and it could never be agreeable
to minds of pure and spiritual moulds. And she longed to go to a region
where there was no weeping, no cares, and no deaths. If her parents
laughed at these notions as childish, her only resource was silence, or
she merely revealed here motions in her eyes. She was capable of the
deepest concealment, and locked up in her heart what she feared to
utter, or uttered to deceive. This proved her ruin.

At length, after a series of conversational interviews on the subject,
she announced her willingness to accede to the matrimonial proposals,
and the day was fixed for this purpose. She dressed herself in the
finest manner possible, putting flowers in her hair, and carrying a
bunch of wild flowers, mixed with tassels of the pine-tree in her hand.
One only request she made, which was to make a farewell visit to the
sacred grove of the fairies, before she visited the nuptial bower. This
was granted, on the evening of the proposed ceremony, while the
bridegroom and his friends gathered in her father's lodge, and
impatiently waited her return. But they waited in vain. Night came but
Leelina was never more seen, except by a fisherman on the lake shore,
who conceived that he had seen her go off with one of the tall fairies
known as the fairy of Green Pines, with green plumes nodding o'er his
brows; and it is supposed that she is still roving with him over the
elysian fields.






Previous: The Enchanted Moccasins



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