North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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It is well known that the serious avocations of the fathers often serve as games for the children. So it comes about that in the games of chance we have a survival of the ancient custom of divination. As, according to Indian belief, song was the me­dium through which man communicated with the mysterious powers, we find all his games of chance accompanied by melodies.
One autumn evening many years ago I was walk­ing along a stretch of the Pacific shore. The west­erning moon flooded the water with light, and lit up the edge of the dense forest that formed the back­ground of an Indian village. From one of its great square wooden dwellings came the sound of singing, and the ruddy firelight shone through the cracks of the plank door as I approached.
Entering, I saw that the central fire had just been lighted. The four families, which had each their particular portion of the communal house, had suffered their separate fires to burn to ashes, and had pushed back their various belongings to give more room for the gathering crowd.
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