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The White Canoe
by [?]


In days long gone by it was the custom of the Indian warriors of the forest to assemble at the Great Cataract and offer a human sacrifice to the Spirit of the Falls. The offering consisted of a white canoe, full of ripe fruits and blooming flowers, which was paddled over the terrible cliff by the fairest girl of the tribe. It was counted an honor not only by the tribe to whose lot it fell to make the costly sacrifice, but even by the doomed maiden herself. The only daughter of a widowed Chief of the Seneca Indians was chosen as a sacrificial offering to the Spirit of Niagara. Tolonga, the Great Elk, was bravest among the warriors, and devotedly attached to his child, but, when the lot fell on her, he crushed down in the pride of Indian endurance the feelings of grief that filled his bosom. The eventful night arrived. The moon arose and shone brightly down oh the turmoil of Niagara, when the White Canoe and its precious freight glided from the bank and swept out into the dread rapid. The young girl calmly steered towards the centre of the stream, when suddenly another canoe shot forth upon the water and, under the strong impulse of the Seneca Chief, flew like an arrow to destruction. It overtook the first; the eyes of father and child met in a parting gaze of love, and then they plunged together over the Cataract into Eternity.


A Legend of Niagara Falls


MINAHITA, Indian Maiden.
OREIKA, Her Friend.
TOLONGA, Minahita’s Father.
DOLBREKA, Indian Chief.



In summer’s rare beauty the earth is arrayed,
Gay flowers are blooming on hill-side and glade,
Embalming the air with sweet subtle perfume,
Enriching the earth with their beautiful bloom;
The moss, like green velvet, yields soft ‘neath the tread,
The forest trees wave in luxuriance o’er head,
Whilst fresh dawning beauties of sky, wood and plain,
Proclaim that fair summer is with us again.
Let the choice, then, be made of the thrice-favored one
Whom Niagara’s Spirit will soon call his own!
At morn, when the sun wakes refulgent on high
In billows of gold, hooding earth, sea and sky,
How glorious the music that welcomes his rays,
One loud choral song of rejoicing and praise:
The clear notes of birds and the soft rustling breeze
The murmur of waters, the sighing of trees,
And the thousand sweet voices, so tender and gay,
That haunt our old woods through the bright summer day.
Let the choice, then, be made of the thrice-favored one
Whom Niagara’s Spirit will soon call his own!


Ah! yes, the time and hour have come
To choose a fitting bride
For that Spirit who from his wat’ry home,
Speaks forth in might and pride;
Whilst the zephyrs toy with his sapphire waves,
He would bear her down to his crystal caves.

Seek the woods for buds to deck her brow;
And offerings must she bring,
Ripe blooming fruits and fragrant bough,
As gifts for the River King–
Gifts of earth’s loveliest things, while she,
‘Mid our maidens fair, must the fairest be!



The Sachems all have spoken, and the lot has fallen on one
As fair as any wild rose that blossoms ‘neath the sun,
Her eyes, like starlit waters, are liquid, soft and clear;
Her voice like sweetest song-bird’s in the springtime of the year;
No merry fawn that lightly springs from forest tree to tree
Hath form so light and graceful, or footstep half as free;