Whence these stories?

It had been a long, long, dreary summer, and Algy had often found himself hopelessly lost in the dense Scotch mist which smothered the land and the sea, blown hither and yon by the gales and drenched by the persistent rain, but as the world turned and the wind swung round to the north at last, a bitter squall from the arctic swept down across the ocean and drove all before it as it chased the clinging mists away. And when the wind finally dropped the sun came out and lit up the land in all its autumn glory, and Algy found himself safely at home once more… Tired but happy, he picked a comfortable spot on a bed of drying grasses and fallen leaves, and settled down comfortably in the sunshine to enjoy the unusual luxury of a quiet afternoon’s reading:

Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest,
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations,
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you,
“From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fenlands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.

[Algy is reading the famous opening lines from The Song of Hiawatha by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

When Algy woke up on Sunday morning, the weather had changed. It was still very chilly, but the wind was calmer, the sky was brighter, and – in between fast-moving showers of rain and sleet – the sun shone. Algy picked up his volume of Longfellow’s poems and looked for the least-sodden spot he could find. No part of the ground was actually dry, but he discovered a bank of budding daffodils that was only moderately wet. So, resigned to the prospect of damp tail feathers, he settled down happily in the sunshine, and started to read The Song of Hiawatha to his friend from Germany, the little black teddy:

           Should you ask me, whence these stories?
           Whence these legends and traditions,
           With the odours of the forest
           With the dew and damp of meadows,
           With the curling smoke of wigwams,
           With the rushing of great rivers,
          
With their frequent repetitions,
          
And their wild reverberations
          
As of thunder in the mountains?
           I should answer, I should tell you,
          
“From the forests and the prairies,
          
From the great lakes of the Northland,
          
From the land of the Ojibways,
          
From the land of the Dacotahs,
          
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
          
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
          
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
          
I repeat them as I heard them
          
From the lips of Nawadaha,
          
The musician, the sweet singer.”

Algy hopes that you will all have a bright and peaceful Sunday xoxo

[ Algy is of course reading the opening lines of the long narrative poem The Song of Hiawatha by the 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. ]