She stood modestly on one side while Hiawatha urged his suit, and then putting her hand in his, she followed him home through the forest. Then came the wedding dances, full of life and spirit, the figures moving always round and round in a circle, with a swaying motion, the feet scarcely lifted from the ground. Under the pine-tree, tall and erect, with head and eyes uplifted, stood the musician, chanting his songs with a strange rhythmical cadence, and accompanying them on the flat Indian drum. The old Nokomis in one corner guarded with a war-club a group of maidens who were dancing all the while, and the braves circling round slyly stole one maiden after another, until Nokomis was left alone. Then followed the caribou dance, the dancers with arms uplifted like horns, knocking and striking one another; the bear dance, with its clumsy, heavy motion; and the snake dance, where the dancers wound and twisted in and out, round and round; and always the singer continued his rhythmic chant. Last came the gambling dance, the favorite with the actors. A mat of rushes was placed on the ground, and on each side kneeled the contestants. At the back stood the old singer, drumming and chanting advice to the players. On each side were grouped the women watching the game, their bodies swaying in time to the music, while the players grew more and more excited, arms, heads, bodies all moving
Brought forth food, and set before them,
Gave them drink in bowls of bass wood.
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