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The Indian Brave

Freda Isaksen

Many years ago before the white man came to AMerica there were two Indian tribes who lived on opposite sides of a big lake. At the camp on the south side there was a young Indian brave, son of the chieftain and his future successor. But like any other young man he became very restless and longed to see other places. He would sit at the edge of the lake dreaming of a different life.

One late summer night he heard the sound of a young girl’s soprano voice coming across the water. The next night and the next he returned and each night the melodies of beautiful love songs reached his ears and he could imagine the girl standing at the shores of the far away lake. He pictured her with large brown eyes and long black gleaming hair flowing in the breeze, her ivory teeth between ripe red lips. He thought he saw her outstretched arms beckoning to him and his one desire became to cross the lake to her. But how could he reach her? He had only a canoe available to him and all his life he had been warned not to venture across the lake because the currents were too strong.

Night after night he returned to the rapture of that beautiful voice until winter came and ice formed and he knew he had waited too long. All winter he was haunted by the exquisite memory and the image of the girl, until the spring thaws when again he returned to the lake shore and to his delight the same melodies enthralled him.

He could no longer endure the agonies of what he knew was true love for the unknown girl, so one spring day he determined to brave the dangers of the waters and swim across to the other side.

It is not known whether or not he reached the other shore to meet his love, but we do know that he never returned to his home on the south side. The tribe was distraught that he had forsaken his heritage and his prestige as the son of the chieftain, and his future as head of them after his father became too old to guide them. The elders gathered together and held pow-wows over the campfires. After smoking many pipes and beating many tomtoms they determined to do something so that the young brave would never be forgotten even though he had been foolish enough to leave them. So they decided to name the lake after him.

Look carefully at your maps because to this very day that lake is still known by the same name: Lake Weelostim.


Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at math.wayne.edu.

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