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Sebago-Wohelo camp fire girls online

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one by Ti-ya-ta, telling of the journey to
camp this year, the other by Embers, recount-
ing something of the events that had taken
place before camp had formally opened — how
the goat had chewed off some of Kee-wee's
hair, and how four girls had helped to shingle
the little house, Wakana Hit (house of In-
spiration) built for Timanous, that it might
be complete before he came. The Count
ended with the story of the week of rain that
had preceded the girls' arrival, and a happy
burst of welcoming gladness:

"On it rained, as if the sunshine
Had been swallowed up forever
By the great gray- feathered cloud bird!
Till, like Noah's gorgeous rainbow,
Promise of the sun and sunshine,
Came the sound of merry voices,
Came your songs and happy laughter.
And the sight of you brought sunshine


To the world, and to our hearts, too —
Burst the sun forth o'er Wohelo
And we welcomed you together!
No more lonesome, no more silent,
Now Wohelo's tents are happy,
Sheltering you so long, long absent;
Now the rocks are no more voiceless,
Ringing with your songs and laughter,
And our hearts are very happy
That you all are here, my sisters."

Then Hiiteni asked Alaska and the guar-
dian from Kansas City each to tell something
of their Camp Fires at home. It was interest-
ing to hear of the tireless efforts by which a
camp had been established in Kansas City,
and thrilling to know of the Camp Fire in
far-away Alaska, where the girls were learn-
ing to brave rain and snow in their wet, cold
country to go out among its beautiful mount-
ains for fun and health. The girls realized as
never before, how great a thing it was to be
a part of this nation-wide circle of girls of
which they had that morning been told.

The fire was flickering low when they rose
and circled slowly out into the darkness to the
strains of the good-night song, "The Sun Is


m m m n b ® iss^^s m

Sinking in the West," humming softly and
more softly as they scattered to their tents and
found their way to rest in the darkness. And
one heard whisperings from those girls to
whom it was all so new and wonderful, "Oh,
isn't Camp Fire splendid! I want to belong
as soon as I can!"




"TITH AT is the matter with the end-table? 1 '
* * someone whispered at dinner on Wed-
nesday. Loh-ah and Kani-da-ka, who were
waiting on the end-table that day, turned rosv
and giggled as they walked to and from the
serving table, and it was a moment before any-
one could discover the reason for their peculiar
appearance. "Oh, they've put on their middies
wrong-side before!" It burst upon everyone
at once that the end-table was nearly choking
in its heroic attempts to be original, with the big
square collars, that should have been behind,
hanging down oddly under their chins.

"Babies — why — are — you wearing bibs?"
chanted Ti-ya-ta's table in a strong, clear
chorus, talking together, as the girls often did
in camp.

What those of the end-table would have
replied in self-defense no one knows, for at
that moment Hiiteni called for silence, and
made an announcement that drove all other


m m m sa s © sa^sas m

thoughts into the background. She asked all
of the girls to go to the tennis court immedi-
ately after rest-hour, taking their ponchos and
blankets, to learn from Ho-sa how to roll
these for a camping trip. A camping trip!
The air was full of mystery and delight !


When they reached the tennis court Ho-sa,
with Ge-me-wun-ac's help, was cutting ropes
in two different lengths, and distributing them
to the girls as they arrived. Ho-sa was one
of the oldest campers, having been with the
camp since its very beginning, and was wise
in all its ways. She went about her work to-
day with a sphinx-like deliberation that made
one feel she had in trust some vast secret
which she would reveal only when the ap-
pointed moment should arrive.

By her direction each girl spread her
poncho wrong side up on the tennis court, and
laid her blankets straight upon it. One or two
who had brought small ponchos were puzzled
until Ho-sa explained that they must fold
their blankets to make them fit, as the poncho
should extend beyond the blankets on every


m es^mss u fa n @ m

side. "Now," said Ho-sa, stooping beside the
nearest poncho, "lay your nightgown, and
whatever else you want to take with you, near
the edge, this way, and then roll the whole as
tightly as you can, from the side, and tie it
in the middle — so ! Be sure you make a square
knot, or it will come undone, and spill every-
thing. Then tie the longer rope around one
end, not too near the end or it will slip off,
and then around the other end, holding them
together — so! Now you are ready to throw
your poncho over your shoulder, and tramp

She slung the horse-shoe-shaped roll over
her shoulder, and walked off a little, looking
so very camper-like that the girls could
scarcely wait to be following her example.
They fell to work on their own ponchos, work-
ing in twos for the most part, because they
could roll the bundles more tightly by working
one at each end. Ho-sa watched them, giving
correction or advice where either was needed,
and meanwhile explaining how to make their
beds when the camping place was reached.

"You'll find it easier," she said, "to sleep
two together, using one poncho on the ground
and the other over you, and if you have enough


® Ull E3 B ^3 S»S ID

blankets to put more than one under you, it
makes your bed much softer. Pin all the
blankets together around the edges with big
blanket pins, clasping them through the eye-
lets in the edge of the poncho. In that way
you make a big sleeping bag into which you
can crawl and sleep snugly without fear of
taking cold even though the ground is damp
or the dew falls heavily."

"And if you sleep alone how do you make
your bed?" asked one of the girls.

"Oh, you just fold your blankets and pon-
cho over all together, and make a narrow bag
instead of a wide one. Some people like that
better than 'sleeping in twos.' '

But most of the girls saw delightful possi-
bilities of chumming in the first plan, and
there was much pairing off in advance. Any-
one could have guessed that Pi-ki-da and
I-wa-da-ka would sleep together, for theirs
was one of the cases of inseparability which
had been evident almost from the first. And
they began to plan at once for being together.
Ki-lo-des-da was heard making similar ar-
rangements with Loh-ah, and Ti-ya-ta, their
councilor, hastily decided to make her bed near
theirs, wherever that might be. "If those two


get together there will be some mischief brew-
ing," she declared.


The camping trip was to begin on Thurs-
day afternoon, and the girls would scarcely
have known how to wait patiently if some-
thing had not happened that was almost as
exciting as the thoughts of the prospective
trip. As soon as the ponchos were carried back
to the tents the bugle called the girls together
to go to Wohelo Island to launch the war-
canoe. The "old girls" shouted with delight,
and the "new girls" thrilled with anticipation
when they heard of a large canoe in which
twelve or more could paddle together, and of
regular drill, with fancy strokes, and an "All-
Wohelo" crew to be picked before the end of
the summer.

The island, where the war-canoe had been
lying high and dry, waiting for its summer
playtime, was only a short distance across the
water, and, with the help of the good launch,
"Red Beak," and canoes for those who were
allowed to enter them, all soon reached it,
finding it a pretty wooded spot with rocky


m issftsss 11 m a @ m

After a scramble through the trees the war-
canoe was discovered, and with a cry of de-
light the girls marshalled themselves around it,
placed their shoulders under the sides, and,
with Helpful the Great sitting reluctantly on
its big backbone, carried it to the water's
brink, there to launch it with shouts of glee.

It was soon manned by a crew and swung
away to the rhythmic tune :

"Oh, we own the lake!
Oh, we own the lake!
Oh, we own the lake the people say!
Oh, we own the lake!
Oh, we own the lake!
W-O-H-E-L-O, yea, yea!"

Instead of going back to camp the girls
were kept on the island while the "Red Beak"
returned to bring their suppers to them. The
war-canoe came back with its impromptu
crew, and supper was served from a lone,
high boulder and eaten beside a roaring fire.
There were sandwiches and milk and mara-
schino jam, with a beautiful birthday cake to
crown it all, for it was I-ma-ga-ga's birthday,
and the candles were named and blown out


m m m n b m ^^s m

with proper ceremony. After supper the "new
girls" were required to entertain the "old
girls" with stunts, but as there were more "new
girls" this year than usual they showed a very
independent spirit. Under Te-ca-ya's leader-
ship they worked up a fine charade and gave
it, but firmly refused to do individual stunts
unless the girls could guess their charade. But
their triumph was short-lived, for clever
Ti-ya-ta guessed it, so the girls were obliged
to tell rhymes and jokes.

This was the first of many Wednesday
night suppers on the island, which came to be
one of the familiar haunts. But, perhaps be-
cause this was the first, every moment of the
evening was keen-edged with delight, and the
girls were reluctant to go home to their wait-
ing tents. But at last they crossed the water
in the quiet night stillness, wondering if a
camping trip could be much more delightful
than this!


The next day dawned clear, exhilarating,
with sunlight dancing in the trees and on the
water. Impatiently the girls lived through
craft-hour, folk-dancing and rest hour, then


hurried up to the tennis court to spread and
roll their blankets. They were all in dark
serge middies, and in a twinkle of time they
had their ponchos over their shoulders ready
for tramping.

Ce-ki-ca-ti came up with a smile to an-
nounce: "We start from the canoe dock. All
down to the canoes as quickly as you can get
there!" After she had enjoyed their surprise
for a moment, she added, "We thought we
had better give you an easy trip for the first."

The girls loved canoeing too well to be dis-
appointed, and willingly laid their ponchos
in the bottom of the craft and arranged them-
selves under Ti-ya-ta's direction. It was some-
thing of a test of judgment to arrange the
canoes. In all water trips greatest care was
taken against accident. No canoes could start
without a "water- witch," one who had not only
taken the test of the 100-yard swim, but swum
a distance about twice as far as that of the
test, undressed in deep water, tipped over a
canoe, righted it, and paddle to shore again,
and, in addition, showed herself possessed of
skill and judgment necessary to one who was
to be trusted with the management of a ca-
noe with other girls in it.


m m m n b @ issues \

The decorated canoe procession

At last the canoes were ready to start, the
girls who had not taken the test in the war-
canoe, and soon they were paddling over the
lake, the hills echoing to their happy songs
and laughter.

They passed several islands and a number
of pretty points and coves along the shores
before they reached the long, sandy beach of
Frye's Island, where they were to land. There
was room here to draw up the canoes along the
shore, build a great fire, and cook supper, and
plenty of space besides for spreading the pon-


chos on the sand to make the beds. Most of
the girls chose their places at once, some look-
ing for secluded spots among the trees, while
a few lazily dropped their ponchos wherever
they landed, trusting to luck to find a good
place to sleep. The thoughtful ones began to
gather drift wood, and soon a fire was blaz-
ing merrily.

The girls had scarcely noticed a bank of
mist that was rolling slowly up from the west
shore of the lake, but now its filmy blanket

'Dipping our paddlers,
Now swift, now slow' 3


m u m q Ei sa^^aas m

spread softly over their cove, and across the
clear blue waters of the lake, till the warmth
and sunshine vanished, and the dancing waters
grew gray under its chilly touch. The "Red
Beak," coming later with its precious freight
of food for the trip, bringing also Hiiteni and
a guest, had been wrapped in the mist soon
after leaving camp, and was guided to the
girls by the light of their fire, which glowed,
like a living thing out of the soft, gray blue of
the level shore. Coming nearer, Hiiteni saw
the dark canoes drawn up along the water's
edge, and the girls moving about, so busy and
contented, so at home there, camping in the
mist, that she was drawn irresistibly toward
the magnet of the fire, with its cozy protec-
tion against all the chill outside world.


As soon as the provisions brought by the
"Red Beak" had been landed, black pots be-
gan to boil over little fires along the shore —
the big fire was chiefly for comfort and com-
pany — and the supper of bread and butter,
boiled potatoes, creamed beef, and maple
syrup boiled down on walnuts was speedily
cooked. Some of the girls who were not busy


M SBtfE&T&S 11 O ® EO

paddled around the cove, making dreamily
beautiful pictures in the mist, but none were
absent when the committee began serving the
appetizing supper to the hungry girls.

The real Frye's Island frolic came after
supper. A huge stump was blazing on the
fire now, making strange shadows and weird
fire pictures. The mist wrapped the scene
about with a veil of privacy and aloofness, till
in that lonely spot the rest of the world
seemed hardly to exist at all. One by one
strange forms crept out from the bushes to
bask in the glow of the fire. Hair down, arms
bare, one in flaming yellow, another in sea
green, with now a kimono of scarlet wrapped
about bare white feet, or gowns of white
draped and girdled in fantastic forms, the
mist-maidens began their revelry. They
danced before the fire with sylph-like grace;
they acted a tragic Indian legend; they sang
quaint old English folk-songs, repeating with
thrilling impressiveness the one which ends,

"Tonight she'll sleep in the cold open field,
Along with the raggle-taggle gypsies, oh!"

The mystic beauty of the scene had cast
its spell over all, and set to its own harmony


m m m n ® gs^^ggK 01

the thoughts, the feelings, even the fun and
frolic of the night.

It was late before Hiiteni could bring her-
self to call the revelry to an end, but at last
she invited all to a good-night dip in the lake.
Gladly they went, and mysteriously the waters
closed about them, soft and cool. The beauty
of the scene can only be described by Embers's

The sand was silver white. The night
Was tenanted with wraiths of mist.
The dusky pebbles on the shore
Were wetly kissed.
And thick against the sky, and high,
The forest crowded down to meet
The mist wraiths hovering on the sand
About its feet.

Upon the sand, a band

Of maidens circled 'round a fire

That redly blazed, and touched with gold

Their strange attire.

Sounds rose of mystic chants, their dance

Wove in and out with solemn tread.

Reflected in the shifting waves

The fire was red.


m &?i& ^ u ® m m m m

The dance grew fast, its song more strong,

Then melted to a rosy flight

Of gleaming forms, that stole away,

Fire-touched with light,

And slipped into a swirl and curl

Of mist-clad waters, softly cool,

Whose velvet cling closed swiftly 'round

Without a sound.

The witchery of that hour a power has given
To take the clean, wild gifts of earth and

The love of stars at night, the light of fire.
The joy of song, the mystery of desire,
And dare the freedom of a wild new birth
Into the silent, great, glad joys of earth.

The warmth of the fire welcomed the maid-
ens back to earth and reality, and soon they
were slipping into their beds on the sand, too
happy at first to lose any of the new experi-
ence by falling asleep. The loon laughed his
long, eerie laughter, far out over the lake.
Close by, in the marshes of the island, a frog
tuned his bass viol with vigor, and the girls
felt as if they were waiting restlessly for the
tune to begin. But they fell asleep still wait-


ing, and when they woke it was daylight, and
a chickadee was balancing on the end of a
branch to sing them a friendly good-morning.
The early risers tried to be very quiet,
talking to each other in sign language and
moving about with mysterious silence; but
the sleepiest woke at last, and tongues were
loosened, and everyone hurried down to chris-
ten the new day with a dip. Then came break-
fast, with fried toast cooked on little fires in a
row between two logs, and cocoa from one
large kettle. Half a dozen girls were given
frying pans, and after they had fried their
own toast they passed on the use of the fire
and the pan to others. "Have you promised
your frying pan? May I have it next?" was
the slogan.


The sun was bright that morning, so every-
one was glad to sit in the shade and do craft-
work, wood-blocks, bead-bands, etc., while a
story was read aloud. Then came another dip,
a hurried rolling of ponchos, and the "Red
Beak" was at hand again to take them home.
A stiff breeze had risen, making the return
quite a different thing from the trip of the
day before. Everyone was tired, and a few


0MG0 @ gs^^ggs m

who were not very good sailors, were seasick
when the shore came in sight.

"How good camp looks!" cried Ma-na.

"But how terribly civilized it seems!" an-
swered Wa-ye-ka, looking with a dazed ex-
pression from one to another of the trim little
tents which a day or two before had seemed
so very primitive. It was a far cry back to
the city life, yet so gradually had they come
that they scarcely realized the steps they had

Supper that night was simple and quiet,
beside Hiiteni's fireplace, and after it Alaska,
clad in strange costume, talked from the high
rock about the native people of New Zealand,
where her childhood days had been spent. She
told of many interesting customs and tradi-
tions, but the one that particularly impressed
the girls was the tangi, which, she explained,
was a meeting of women to weep together, for-
mally, over one who died.

That night after the girls had gone to their
tents a woesome noise arose from "Niebelun-
gen" and was caught up by "The Heavenlies"
and swept over all the camp, a noise like a
nursery full of grown-up babies deprived of
their favorite toys. It was a tangi. Why it was


m ssft^.ss u @ ® m

given no one knew, unless because the first
camping trip of the season was over, and the
"Camp in the Mist" could never again be any-
thing but a memory in the hearts of the weep-





"T^rE pull long, we pull strong, we pull
* * keen and true,
A dip now, a foaming prow, through waters

so blue.
We sing to the king of the big black rocks,
Through waters we glide like a long-tailed

On the second Tuesday of camp this song
echoed across the lake, for crew practice had
begun. The four crews had already been
chosen, "The Flying Fishes," "The Singing
Swans," "The Blue Beavers" — the fourth was
yet nameless, as there had been but three in
other years. Helpful was to train two of the
crews, and To-mo-ke the other two.

Monday evening had been the time of
Council Fire, and the girls were a trifle sleep-
ier than usual, but the crew of "The Flying
Fishes" struggled bravely out of slumber at
a quarter of seven to the rattle of pebbles on


m gBftSSEES H S3 O © EQ

the tent roof. Dressed in bathing suits, they
tumbled sleepily into their places in the war-
canoe for the half hour of drill in the myster-
ies of "rest, "cross-rest," "fin-rest," etc., not
to mention the simple art of paddling together
in perfect time. It was a beautiful sight on the
still morning to see the long canoe on the silent,
gray lake, moving rhythmically farther and
farther away, then returning gaily just as
camp awakened. The girls came in singing
"Oh, we own the lake !" with an accompani-
ment of waving paddles, and lined up on the
dock for their trainer's "Thanks for the day,
Comrades," to which they replied with a vig-
orous and prolonged "Yea!" that made the
rocks echo. Then they joined the other dip-
pers, and crew practice was over for that


A dock was in place now, and the girls
noticed when they went out for their practice
that morning that a springboard had been
added. This meant that diving was to begin,
and the swimming hour was a time of great
excitement. Ki-lo-des-ka started the ball roll-
ing with her famous dives, and others soon f ol-


lowed, some making neat, clean dives with
feet together, some going down flat with a
stinging pain, but getting up to try again.
Some, even of those who could swim, were too
timid to try diving, but the brave ones cheered
them on. He-ta-ya especially devoted herself
to helping Sun-o-wa, who only needed self-
confidence. But today she refused to attempt
to dive, so He-ta-ya gave her up at last, and
took her own turn at the springboard. She
had never learned any but the simplest form
of diving, but she watched Ki-lo-des-ka, and
tried some of her dives with a fearlessness and
skill that promised well for her future attain-

Meanwhile Ki-lo-des-ka had been swim-
ming under water, her yellow hair glinting
golden in the sunshine. Those who watched
her, disappearing for long intervals, coming
up to breathe, then swimming away again, un-
derstood how she had won her name of "The
Mermaid." Three other girls were out in the
lake with overturned canoes, trying with rare
persistence to splash out the water and paddle
back to shore. No sooner was one wave
splashed out, than another leaped defiantly in,
and the canoes were all the while drifting a


Ki-lo-des-ha swimming under water

little farther from shore in the wind. When
the swimming time ended Da-su, one of the
twins, had paddled to shore, but the others
were compelled to give up and try another day.


In their strenuous play the girls had given
little heed to a visitor who had arrived during
swimming hour, and now sat on the bank
watching, commenting in a pleasant, southern
drawl on all that they were doing, exclaiming
over the value of these lessons in self-reliance,
which would fit them to meet any emergency
that might arise. She sat there quietly, with
an air of leisure that might have led anyone
to suppose she had never done anything more
strenuous in her life than watch from the
grand stand and smile a graceful approval.

But at dinner-time word was given, "Sing
a cheer to Miss Moore."

"Oh," one after another exclaimed with
enthusiasm, "she is the government expert
who has come to teach us canning!" And they
sang with right good will:

"Give a cheer, give a cheer,
Wake the echoes far and near,


To the pride of the white and blue ;

Oh, Wohelo, we'll sing till the mountain

echoes ring,
Miss Moore, here's to you!"

To this song of greeting Miss Moore made
smiling, graceful acknowledgment, and the
girls took her into their hearts at once, and
during her short visit in camp she proved that
they had made no mistake in giving her cordial

Then Hiiteni made a little speech which
absorbed all thoughts. "This evening," she
said, "the girls of each tent may cook their
own suppers. If there is no fireplace beside
your tent you can build one. Last year the
weather was too dry so that we were afraid
of causing fires, but this year it will be quite
safe, and unless conditions change, we shall
do this every Tuesday night. Each group
must fill a pail of water and keep it near the
fire, to be used in case of emergency. Ti-ya-ta
will give out the provisions from the kitchen.
You may send two representatives from each
tent to receive them when the bugle blows.
There will be bacon, potatoes, bread and but-
ter, and materials for fudge. If you like, you


® m m n b ®. assess m

Top o' the Rocks"

can pour the fudge on the bread and butter
before it is quite stiff, and make a delicious
dessert, but you may eat it as candy if you
prefer. Please decide during rest hour how
you will cook your food, and, if you need any

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Online LibraryEthel RogersSebago-Wohelo camp fire girls → online text (page 3 of 9)