The Girl Who Became A Bird

The father of Ran-che-wai-me, the flying pigeon of the Wisconsin,

would not hear of her wedding Wai-o-naisa, the young chief who had

long sought her in marriage. The maiden, however, true to her plighted

faith, still continued to meet him every evening upon one of the

tufted islets which stud the river in great profusion. Nightly,

through the long months of summer, did the lovers keep their tryst,

parting only after each meeting more and more endeared to each other.

At length Wai-o-naisa was ordered off upon a secret expedition against

the Sioux, and so sudden was his departure that he had no opportunity

of bidding farewell to his betrothed. The band of warriors to which he

was attached was a long while absent, and one day there came the news

that Wai-o-naisa had fallen in a fight with the Menomones.

Ran-che-wai-me was inconsolable, but she dared not show her grief

before her parents, and the only relief she could find from her sorrow

was to swim over by starlight to the island where she had been

accustomed to meet her lover, and there, calling upon his name,

bewail the loss of him who was dearer to her than all else.

One night, while she was engaged in this lamentation, the sound of her

voice attracted some of her father's people to the spot. Startled by

their appearance the girl tried to climb a tree, in order to hide

herself in its branches, but her frame was bowed with sorrow and her

weak limbs refused to aid her.

"Wai-o-naisa!" she cried, "Wai-o-naisa!"

At each repetition of his name her voice became shriller, while, as

she endeavoured to screen herself in the underwood, a soft plumage

began to cover her delicate limbs, which were wounded by the briers.

She tossed her arms to the sky in her distress and they became clothed

with feathers. At length, when her pursuers were close upon her, a

bird arose from the bush they had surrounded, and flitting from tree

to tree, it fled before them, ever crying--

"Wai-o-naisa! Wai-o-naisa!"

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