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Indian and Other Tales   By:

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William Briggs


Copyright, Canada, 1911,

By M. L. Hope.



O beautiful wind of the West, In your wand'rings o'er land and sea, What have you seen in your quest? Come, tell your story to me.

In the isles of the southern seas, Where the crystal clear ocean a melody sang To the beautiful kauri trees, I wandered the summer day through, In the forest's dappled shade, Where the graceful fern tree bowed its head To woo the Maori maid. A nymph of the woods was she In her kiwi mantle brown; And the fern tree wooed her with tender grace From dawn till the sun went down; But a Maori chieftain came In the glory of life's young morn, And the maiden forsook her mystic love, Leaving it sad and forlorn. But the tui bird saw its grief, And in loving sympathy Built her beautiful, woven nest In the heart of the lonely tree.


And when its liquid notes echoed the woodland through, The fern tree lifted its drooping head And was fresh as the morning dew; So I left them in their joy the youth and his fairy bride, The tree with its nest of callow birds And I crossed the ocean tide.

In the early morn I came to a land where the orchards were white With their wealth of apple blossoms, and bathed in the spring sunlight; There I found a winding road with banks where the wild flowers grew, And through a vista of blossoming trees the sea came into view, As it sparkled in the sun and kissed the golden shore, Then laughed aloud in its mirth and ran back to the sea once more.

And again I wandered on, until in the twilight dim I came where the scent of the wattle seemed the incense to Nature's hymn, For a brooding peace lay o'er land and sea As I sank to rest in a blue gum tree, And when I awoke in the dawn, the dew lay on vineyards green,


Where they nestled in valleys of red hued loam; And a river whose fount was a cascade clear, Which burst from the brow of a mountain near, Wended its way through the verdant land, Till it reached at last the ocean strand, Where it lost itself in the waters deep, And only the mermaids saw it leap With joy, as it reached the Garden of Sleep.

And still I wandered on until I came to tropical seas, Where the odors of spices were wafted afar by every passing breeze; And in the pearly light of the coming day I saw the feathery bamboo groves, where the elephant loves to stray; I heard his mighty trump, as he waked from his dream, And the sound of women's voices as they wended their way to the stream; A laughing, chattering throng, they passed me on their way To bathe in the limpid waters, ere the sun held his sovereign sway. I followed a Purple Emperor to the cinnamon gardens near, Then chased a laughing rickshaw boy, and whispered in his ear; What the secret was I may not tell, But the rickshaw boy seemed to know it well.


Then I left behind me this island fair, With its wondrous charm and fragrant air, And ere night had fallen had crossed the sea, And come to the land of the banyan tree, Where nature is wrapped in mystery deep, And the gods in the cups of the Lotus flower sleep; And even my spirit felt its spell, For I scarcely breathed as the twilight fell; And when o'er the palm trees and temples fair The crescent moon hung in the evening air, And from shadowy doorways and wayside shrines near The chant of the Koran fell on my ear; Still more did its mystery my spirit fill, For I felt that I only could breathe and be still.

And so on to the Isles of the West I roam, Which the hearts of the exiles ever call home; And I think that the primrose and hare bells blue Are emblems of hearts that are ever true, And the shamrock doth also with elfin grace Claim for itself in my heart a place; So I whisper them each that no fairer land Have I found in my wanderings from strand to strand; They each have their charm and magic spell, And loving hearts in each one doth dwell... Continue reading book >>

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