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HE is dead.
Our Chief.
Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
Our Chief
On whom has fallen a sickness,
He, our Leader,
Who has grievously died.


At his feet we are gathered,
Warriors, his children,
We have cut our flesh
Before his body.
Our blood drips on the willow-leaves,
The willows with which we have pierced our arms.
We beat the willow-sticks,
We mourn our Brother, our Father,
We chant slow songs
To the listening spirit of the great Chief


When the sky was red
And the sun falling through it,
They called to you,
Your ancestors,
From the middle of the sky;
From a cloud, circling above you,
They pronounced your name.


He is dead,
Our Leader.
Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
Our Chief, Blackbird.
Beat the willow-sticks,
Let our blood drop before him.


You have sung your death-song,
To your friends you have sung it,
To the grasses of the prairie,
To the river,
Cutting the prairie
As the moon cuts the sky.


See, we lift you,
The blood of our willow-wounds drop upon you.
We dress you in your shirt of white buckskin,
We fasten your leggings of mountain-goat skin,
We lay upon your shoulders
Your robe of the skin of a young buffalo bull.
We clasp your necklace of grizzly bears' claws
About your neck.


We place upon your head
Your war-bonnet of eagle plumes.
All this you have commanded.
Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
Strike the willow-sticks,
You shall depart
From among us.
It is time for you to depart,
You are going on a long journey.


Up to the tall cliff
We carry you.
Our blood drips upon the ground.
And your horse,
Your white horse,
Goes with you.
He follows you.
Softly we lead him
After your body.
After your not heavy body
Shrunken in death.


The hawk is flying
Halfway up the sky.
So will you be halfway above the earth.
On the high bluff
You are standing.
The ground trembles
As we place you upon it.


You are dead,
But you hear our songs.
You are dead,
But we lift you on your White Weasel Horse.
He trembles as the earth trembles.
His skin quivers
At the loose touch of your knees.
Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!


Leader of the Warriors
To the spirit land you are going.
Our blood cries to you,
Dropping upon the willow-leaves.


Who is this that rides the Wolf Trail at evening?
Chief of his people.
His bow is in his hand,
Scarlet the heads of his arrows,
The feathers of his shield sweep the ground.
Lift him,
Lift him,
Lift the War Chief
To his light-legged horse.
We will stand,
We will see him.
We shall behold his body
Set high on a high horse,
On his own horse,
His white horse of many battles.
We shall see him
As we desire.


You are bright as the sun among trees,
You are dazzling as the long sun running among the prairie grasses,
You pierce our eyes as a thunder-cloud rising against the wind.
Who shall be to us as he,
Our Chief?
Your white horse shivers and is still,
He will carry you safely over the Wolf Trail
To those who are talking about you,
Calling to you to come.


Lay little sods of earth
About the feet of the white horse.
Gather those which contain the seeds
Of camass and puccoon, and lupin.
Watch that the seeds of the looks-like-a-plume flower
Spread the earth we are laying against his sides,
So that, in the time when the ducks and geese shed their feathers,
The black breasts may drop from the sky upon them, singing,
As our blood drops on these sods.


Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
Proudly he sits his white horse,
His head-feathers make a noise in the wind.
Great Chief,
Father of people,
Facing the cleft hill,
Facing the long, moving river,
Waiting briefly for the edge of night,
Abiding the coming of the stars,
Poised to leap,
To strike the star-way with the mighty energy
Of your powerful horse,
To take the Wolf Trail with the shout of cunning,
To ride streaming over the great sky.
We watch you,
We exalt you,
We cheer you with our hunting-cries,
Our battle-songs,
To the beating of our wallow-sticks you shall ride,
And he, your White Weasel Horse,
Shall bear you above the clouds
To the tepees beyond the star-which-never-moves.


When the waters are calm
And the fog rises,
Will you appear?
Then will come up out of the waters
Your brothers,
The Otters.
From beneath the high hill
Your voice will echo forth.
Your voice shall be as metal
In the spaces of the sky,
Your war club shall resound through the sky.
Like your brothers,
The Eagles,
Your voice shall descend to us
Down the slopes of the wind.
You will go round the world,
You will go over and under the world,
You will come to the Place of Spirits.
Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
We are pitying ourselves
That he, our Father, is dead.
He is carried like thunder
Across the sky.
The trees are afraid of the wind,
So are we afraid of the whirlwind of our enemies
Without our Chief to lead us.
When the rain comes
On the wings of crows
In the Spring.
We shall fear even the voice of the owl,
Sitting alone in our lodges
Now that you are gone.


How many the count of your battles!
At night,
When the dogs were still,
Going softly
You would seek the villages of your enemies to destroy them.
You who, all night long,
Were standing up until daylight.
You fought as one who dances singing:
"Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh!
Death I bring!
I dance upon those I kill,
I scalp those I kill,
I laugh over those I kill.
Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh! Heh-yeh!"
Your enemies were not able to shoot,
Their bow-strings were wet
And the sinews stretched
And slipped off the ends of the bows.
Your arrows were red
As grasshoppers' wings
When they fly high in the sun.
Your enemies were ashamed before you
Since you cut off their heads
And tied their scalps to your bridle-rein.
Now you journey alone,
Journey along the Wolf Trail
Wearily among the little stars.


Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
It is time for you to depart,
You are going on a long journey.
You are going in your shoes.
You cannot travel,
Your feet are weary with many steps,
But your round-hoofed horse shall step for you,
He shall bear you over the trail of stars.
The deer walks alone,
Singing of his shining horns,
So shall you walk
Singing of the great deeds
You have done in this world.


Leader of the Warriors,
Where are you?
We, your children,
Sing a song of five sounds
To your departing spirit.
We sing a song of vermilion,
We stain our hands
And mark the palms of them in red
On the flanks of your horse.
We heap the sods about him,
We hold his head
And stuff his nostrils and ears with earth.
We cover your arms, your shoulders,
Your glittering face,
The feathers flying above your head.
The water-birds will alight upon your body,
We shall see your grave from below,
From the place where the snipe stand above their shadows in the water.


Aï! Aï! Aï! Aï!
The Morning Star and the Young Morning Star
Are together in the sky above the prairie.
How far have you already gone from us?
Our blood drips slowly,
The wounds are closing,
It is time we pulled out the willow-sprays
And left this place
Before the rising of the sun.