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[307]
Starve, if need be; but, while you live, look out
From honest eyes on all men, unashamed.
God help me! I am deacon of the church,
A baptized, praying Indian! Should I do
This secret meanness, even the barken knots
Of the old trees would turn to eyes to see it,
The birds would tell of it, and all the leaves
Whisper above me: ‘Nauhaught is a thief!’
The sun would know it, and the stars that hide
Behind his light would watch me, and at night
Follow me with their sharp, accusing eyes.
Yea, thou, God, seest me!” Then Nauhaught drew
Closer his belt of leather, dulling thus
The pain of hunger, and walked bravely back
To the brown fishing-hamlet by the sea;
And, pausing at the inn-door, cheerily asked:
‘Who hath lost aught to-day?’
“I,” said a voice;
“Ten golden pieces, in a silken purse,
My daughter's handiwork.” He looked, and lo!
One stood before him in a coat of frieze,
And the glazed hat of a seafaring man,
Shrewd-faced, broad-shouldered, with no trace of wings.
Marvelling, he dropped within the stranger's hand
The silken web, and turned to go his way.
But the man said: “A tithe at least is yours;
Take it in God's name as an honest man.”
And as the deacon's dusky fingers closed
Over the golden gift, “Yea, in God's name
I take it, with a poor man's thanks,” he said.

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