Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / Legend of Missouri: Or, The Captive of the Pawnee >> Page 413

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Page 413

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE CHIEF ENEMOYA. 413
warriors show themselves more reluctant to bestow the much
desired chastisement. This sort of strategy could not last for
ever. Our Omahas began to be very impatient, and to curse
the priesthood and its prophecies, in their heart of hearts. It is
true that they were not kept idle, but constantly watchful and
busy ; true, also, that they kept their hands in for war, by prac-
tising a very slaughterous campaign against bear, buffalo, and
buck. But this did not satisfy the national appetite for the
blood of their hated rivals. And they groaned with impatience
at the difficulty of complying with the conditions of the war,
which the prophets had prescribed, in consequence of the most
unnatural forbearance displayed by the Pawnees.
Among the young warriors of the Omahas who suffered from
this impatience, there was one, a gallant youth, little more than
grown to manhood, who had already made himself famous by
his excellence in all the qualities of warrior and hunter. A
more daring or accomplished fellow than Enemoya, the nation
did not possess. Though quite young still, he had been tried
in frequent battles, and had acquired such a reputation for equal
spirit, skill, and understanding, that he took a foremost rank
among his people, whether in action, or in the preliminary de-
liberations of the council. But Enemoya, though brave and
savage in war, had yet his weaknesses. He was not insensible
to the tender passion. There was a young woman of his tribe,
known by the pretty poetical name of Missouri ; and the first
symptoms which Enemoya had that this young woman was of
any importance in his eyes, consisted in his sudden discovery of
the great beauties of this name. The Indian warrior, like Rich-
ard Coeur de Leon, and the knights most famous of Provence, is
something of a Jongleur. At all events, every chief of the red
men sings his war song, his battle hymn, his song of rejoicing,
and his death chant. Of the quality of these songs, as works
of art, we have not a syllable to say. They were probably not
any better than those of Coeur de Leon and his brother bard-
knights of Provence. Perhaps, metrical harmony considered,
they were not half so good. In making songs for the fair Mis-
souri, Enemoya did by no means set up for a poet ; and that
his song has been preserved at all, is due to the fact that it has
been found to answer the purposes of other lovers among the