North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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party, the united action in singing a song never used but for one purpose, made any explanatory words seem unnecessary. The distinctive mission of the song was to reach the absent man, who, far from home, was suffering hardship and facing dan­ger. Upon him the singers fixed their thoughts, and to him sent strength by their power of will. The words always referred to the difficulties that confronted the warrior, and promised him success and victory. They were not addressed to any vis­ible audience.
The We'-tow song here given was composed by a Dakota woman.
Many years ago a large party of warriors were out on a dangerous expedition for the purpose of recapturing some property stolen by an implacable enemy. There seemed little hope for their safe return, and great apprehension was felt in many a tent. One evening, as the moon rose, round and clear, over the wide rolling prairie, a group of women moved in single file to the lodge of the Leader of the war party, upon whom rested the responsibility of the expedition.
The tent stood dark against the evening sky, re-
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