Leelinau





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.





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