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Vanity Fair

William Thackery

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Bhagavad Gita



by Johann Georg Kohl


In the language of the Indians, my island is called

* These two mysterious words are the Indian equivalent for the "big water," known as Lake Superior. Longfellow, in "Hiawatha," spells them "Geetchee-Gumee," but I decidedly prefer M. Kohl's spelling, for it looks more natural. I doubt whether Indians would double the vowel in the way Longfellow proposes. At any rate, all the other authors I have consulted agree with M. Kohl's spelling. Geetchee-Gumee may, however, be the true spelling in some dialect of the Ojibbeway.—L. W.



Shaguamikon, which means, literally, "something gnawed on all sides," or a promontory. The old French missionaries, who discovered and visited this strip of land two hundred years ago, translated this, consistently enough, into La Pointe. A sandy promontory, jutting out from the island, and covering its principal port or landing, was the originator of the name, which has been transferred to the village and the whole island.

La Pointe belongs to a larger group of islands, which the French missionaries named Les Isles des Apotres. They play a great part in the Indian traditions, and seem to have been from the earliest period the residence of hunting and fishing tribes, probably through their geographical position and the good fishing in the vicinity. The fables of the Indian Creator, Menaboju, often allude to these islands, and the chiefs who resided here have always laid claim, even to the present day, to the rank of princes of the Ojibbeways.

The French missionaries had here one of their chief missions, whence many of their celebrated "lettres edifiantes" were dated.

The great fur companies, too, which, after them, ruled on Lake Superior, had one of their most important stations at La Pointe; more especially the once so powerful North-West Company, which carried on a lively trade from this spot as far as the Polar Seas.

Even now it is one of the most important places on Lake Superior; and when I was staying on the lake, in the summer of 1855, the American authorities summoned to this island the principal tribes of the Ojibbeways residing round the lake, for the purpose of holding a consultation with them, and paying them their yearly tribute. For an observer, this was naturally


the best opportunity he could desire to regard more closely these curious American aborigines, and collect information as to their traditions and customs.

Besides the Indians, several hundred half-breeds had come in, many Indian traders, American travellers, and French voyageurs. They had come from a very widelyspread country, and were all much-travelled and intelligent men, from whom I could obtain explanations as to what I saw among the Indians. As I had also attracted to my side an excellent and experienced Canadian Frenchman, I succeeded in discovering all sorts of novelties, and understanding many strange matters.

Although so much has been said and written about the North American Indians since the days of Columbus, they still are in many respects a riddle, and though I had read nearly all already published about them, they seemed to me utter strangers when I went among them, and I fancied there was still a good deal to say about them. Hence I trust that my information about a race of men dying out so rapidly and irrevocably may prove to a certain extent acceptable.

My first care was to settle in the midst of this strange people, and I therefore built my own wigwam and kindled my own fire in one of their villages. Hence I will commence my narrative with the Indian lodgebuilding.

For this purpose I engaged an Indian woman, the squaw of a sensible and much-travelled Voyageur, who had offered to act as my interpreter to his relations and the other Indians. The first thing in building a wigwam is preparing the carcase and felling the young trees required for that purpose in the adjoining wood. This is the business of the women, like all the

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