12 June 2012

Legend of Flying Pigeon and the Whip-poor-will

The aboriginal tradition concerning the origin of the well known inhabitant of our forests, whose plaintive cry has induced its cognomen of whip poor will is highly imaginative, and worthy of the ancient mythologists.

Ranchewaine, or the Flying Pigeon of Wisconsin, loved Wai-o-naisa a young chief. The father and kinsmen of the maiden were opposed to her wedding with Wai-o-naisa.

In the beautiful islands of the river, near the home of the Indian maiden, the lovers had frequent stolen interviews.

The young Chief was forced to go out on a war scout against the Sioux. The maiden, disconsolate during his absence, was accustomed to swim nightly to the loved islands, and there wandering among scenes hallowed by his remembrance, call[ing] plaintively on the name of her lover. One night some of her father's people heard her voice, and pursued the sounds. — Whilst fleeing from them, just as her weary limbs were about to fail her, the kind Maniton changed her into a bird, which has ever since borne the name of her lover, and flits continually from bush to bush, repeating in melancholy notes, Wai-o-naisa!

April 9, 1841. An Indian legend. Macon Georgia Telegraph 15(27): 2. From the Philadelphia North American.