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Lelawala, the Maid of the Mist (a North-American Indian Legend, interpreted by Van)

Elders in the smoky council lodge had spoken,
“Show no fear, oh, chosen maiden. You, Lelawala,
must ask Heno the thunder god to intercede.
Go and see him in his cave, in the cave behind the roaring
waters; go, find out why our people are dying.

“Don yourself in white doe skin; put soft moccasins
with red-stained porcupine bristles on your feet, place
a wreath of flowers upon your hair, then take heart
and plunge over rushing Falls.”

Where the Upper-Niagara River feeds thunderous
Niagara Falls, the Indian maiden stepped into a canoe
made of birch bark and undertook the journey,
but Heno’s two sons caught her up in their arms
and saved the maid from certain death.
Both desired to marry her, but she would pledge
herself only to the one who could reveal this riddle:
What causes our people’s death?

One son said, “It is the giant snake that lives
at the bottom of Niagara River. It poisons drinking
water, then devours the dead.”
He set out to kill the monster snake. In its death throes
the snake sank long fangs into one river bank and fastened
its rattle tail to the other side, and crooked as the snake was,
it shaped the Horseshoe Falls.

Lelawala still lives in the cave behind the thundering
waters that forever cascade overhead. On a sunny day
her spirit glows in rainbow colors, and over the voice
of the thunder god, some tourists say they hear her whisper.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Review Request (Direction): 
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


I was not aware of the legend at all. Good story, made me hungry for more of it. Like, the ending happened too soon...

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and thanks very much for the encouragement. Yeah, I have been in contact with many members od American Natives, like Navajoes, Utes, and Apaches, who had regaled me with their tales that I might divulge here on this site. I'm pleased you liked my story. Thank you, my friend. Van.

author comment

The story and language flow with perfect clarity. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Bathe yourself with poetry and let the world go to pieces.

I appreciate your comment very much. Much appreciated, good friend. Take care.

author comment
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