Ethel Rogers.

Sebago-Wohelo camp fire girls online

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in camp that entitled her to become one of
those who pass on to others the light that they
themselves have received.

When the list of honors had been read, Ce-
ki-ca-ti suggested a new way of emphasizing
them. She asked all who had received home-
craft honors to rise and sing the canning song ;
all who had received health honors a boating
song, and so on with each of the seven crafts,
ending with "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" for
patriotism. Then everyone sang the Work
Song with motions, to fittingly celebrate the


work which they had done in winning their

Woh-do-ke-ca and four other girls had
volunteered to act out the tale of " Theseus
and the Minotaur/' and this they did in an
original style that set the fashion for many
charming folk stories before the summer's
end. When quiet Su-ni appeared as the mino-
taur, on all fours and growling dangerously,
the classic beauty of the myth was in danger
of being received with levity, but tragedy
sobered the audience at the sad climax.


"But why the strange unusual tension
Which we felt throughout the meeting?"

the next week's Count inquired, and an-
swered itself by telling how the maidens were
racking their brains to remember the words
and tunes for the contest that was to follow
this first bit of entertainment. With mingled
terror and relief they heard Hiiteni ask two
of the guests to aid Timanous in deciding the

"Heavenly I" set a high standard, with a
spectacular Torch Bearer's song, in which ten


Singing around Hiiteni's fire place

girls wandered in the darkness with unlighted
torches outside of the circle, then stepping
inside, found Hiiteni to light their torches and
to give them the privilege of passing on the
light to others. "The Blue Birds" sang a little
health song of their own, sang it with a sweet-
ness and care that showed how well their
councilor had trained them. "The King-
fishers" disgraced themselves, but amused the
company, by forgetting their song in the mid-
dle, though they always insisted it was stage
fright. At all events the song, or at least two
lines of it, won instant and complete popu-
larity. It begins:

"When Helpful blows the bugle,
Down to the dock we go!"

and is sung while gently, but firmly, holding
your nose. For Helpful the Little had not
yet learned to blow the bugle and breathe at
the same time.

The song of "Heavenly II" also won popu-
larity, in spite of the fact that the girls were
seized with giggles in the middle of it, and
left brave Te-ca-ya to finish it alone. But
their song was rivalled by the sweet "Camp
Fire Good-night" which Kee-wee had written


m isstf^s&s u ® o @ m

for "The Chipmunks," and taught their soft
little voices to sing with perfect harmony.
Another rival was the song of "Top o' the
Rocks" and Fawassa, which Dis-ya-di de-
clared she had stolen from a song sparrow that
woke her every morning. These three the
judges asked to have repeated, and finally de-
cided that the song of "The Chipmunks" de-
served the prize. The song proved the Tight-
ness of their choice by singing itself into the
hearts of everyone in camp at once, and from
that time the Council Fires were seldom closed
with any other tune.






A LL summer long Alaska had been making
•**■ remarks about the weather. She fre-
quently said that in her country you could not
go anywhere without planning for rain, and
that it seldom disappointed you, while Sebago-
Wohelo Camp Fire Girls had taken trip after
trip without a drop of rain to hinder. She
could not become accustomed to it.

At some time she must have spoken loud
enough for the weather-man to hear, and, just
to prove that he knew how to send rain if he
wished, he must have been ready for the
Crooked River trip, which thoroughly estab-
lished his reputation. If any girl thought
that the best he could do was the soft, drizzly
rain which had driven the Council Fire into
the teepee on the Monday night before, she
was to find herself much mistaken.

The annual Crooked River Trip was one
of the most important of the whole summer.
It is a long trip, lasting over two nights in-


m ESB^ffi^fcS I1S0I21O3

stead of one. The launch tows the canoes as
far up the Songo River and its Crooked
branch as possible, then the girls land and
camp for a night, to paddle on the next day
to a camping spot farther up the river. The
scenery is of rare beauty and a pleasant change
from the rough, hard outlines of the rocky lake
shore. The girls had heard much of this trip,
they felt in fine trim for paddling, and every-
one was eager to go.


And, presto, change! On the very Wed-
nesday morning on which they were to start
the sky clouded over in real earnest! Hiiteni
looked worried, but Ti-ya-to, who had charge
of the trip, was confident that she could keep
the girls dry, "even if it did rain a little," and
of course the girls were with her in pleading
to go just the same. They went — about nine
o'clock in the morning, with the rain beginning
to sprinkle as they reached the dock. The
canoes had been fitted out with new hooks
and staples to fasten the ropes which held
them together, and the long line curled into
place in the wake of the "Red Beak," and


® m m n b © g^ap-sss m

glided smoothly away, the girls smiling de-
fiance at the threatening sky above.

They were but out of reach from shore
when the rain came, first steadily, then in tor-
rents ! They put on their sweaters, covered the
provisions as best they could, and rode gaily
on. Helpful the Great offered to take them
back, but they scorned his offer. Long before
they reached the first-night camping ground
the rain was falling in such sheets that further
progress seemed inconvenient, to say the least,
so they landed and sought shelter under a tree,
and the "Red Beak" chugged away alone
through the rain.

"What a glorious chance to earn our honor
for building a fire in wind and rain!" cried
Alaska. They set to work with such materials
as they could find, using dead branches from
the trees for the first fuel, then gradually add-
ing damp wood as the fire grew strong enough
to bear it. They succeeded at last in getting a
splendid blaze. Then they cooked and ate a
very welcome dinner, and sat down around the
fire to spend the afternoon.

By some magical flash of forethought
Alaska had brought with her "Three Men in a
Boat," which, under any circumstances, is one


m sshs&ssb n m g s © id

of the funniest books that can possibly be read
aloud. Here, under conditions that made
every discomfort of that famous river trip
seem real and plausible, with Alaska's Eng-
lish accent and humorous tongue to add to the
spice, it was "roaringly funny!" The girls de-
clared that they had never had so jolly a time
in their lives! They forgot the wetness, and
time slipped away almost unnoticed until a
sense of inner want reminded them of its
flight. Then they cooked and ate a delicious
supper and made their beds for the night.


They had taken a vote as to whether or not
they should go home, but every vote was neg-
ative. It was not raining so hard now, and
as the blankets were dry they were sure of a
comfortable night. They turned the canoes
over for shelter, arranging for four to sleep
together with their heads under a canoe and
the ponchos to cover them. Ce-ki-ca-ti and
Ho-sa, for variety, made a shelter of their
poncho by hanging it over them on four sticks.

When these arrangements were made they
settled down by the fire for more of "Three
Men in a Boat." It was still raining quietly,


and the soft swish of it among the trees was
disturbed by gusts of wind that wailed through
the wet branches over their heads. As dark-
ness fell the weird mystery of the situation in-

The girls were just in the mood for Ti-ya-
ta's suggestion that they build watch fires and
tend them by turns all night. "It will seem
more cheerful," she said, "and we can dry each
other's shoes and stockings while we watch."
The girls went to work at once to build fires,
at long distances apart, and to divide the night
into watches. At two of the fires two or three
girls shared each watch, but the third was
tended by a single maiden through every
period of the night.

"How did you feel when you were watch-
ing by your fire?" someone asked Ma-na the
next morning.

"Oh, wonderful! Like some old pioneer
sitting alone in the forest," she answered.

"And it was the strangest thing," Embers
added, "to wake in the night and see that lone
watcher silhouetted against the firelight! Oh,
it was indescribable!"

"It was so funny to be wakened and told
that your time had come for watching," Kani-


m m g h m sa^^sss m

da-ka added. "Why, I thought I had just
fallen asleep when Alaska waked me and said,
'Don't you want to watch?' I thought she
meant didn't I want to watch when my turn
came, and I turned over and went to sleep!
She had to shake me hard before I understood.
And when I called Wa-ya-ka she slipped one
arm into her kimono, then dropped asleep
again before she knew it."

Never say girls do not sleep on camping
trips in the rain! They slept, they woke well
and happy, and not one of them showed the
slightest sign of a cold, either then or later.


The last watcher in the morning had seen
a rift of sunshine break through the clouds,
and by the time all gathered for breakfast the
sky was bright, and the clouds were blowing
away. Then, in the words of a favorite camp-
ing song: "The pancakes in the morning built
their constitutions up" for the paddling that
was before them. Ti-ya-ta made a trip to the
nearest hamlet for a few supplies, and tele-
phoned to Hiiteni that all was well. She
brought back word that Hiiteni had offered
to send the launch to bring them home, and


m gBfts^Bs n ia o m m

they laughed at the thought. They had had,
they declared, the greatest experience of the
whole summer, and they talked together for
many days of the wonder of that watch ia
the night.

The banks of the river, as they paddled
cautiously up its shallow, winding course,
were hung with lovely green things, fresh as
the shower could make them. Goldenrod was
beginning to gleam among the bushes, and
the cardinal flowers glowed like tiny blood
drops in the green. A king bird flashed black
and white in the trees. A dead branch bobbed
up and down in the water like a snake, and
the "old girls" laughed as they remembered
that it had played the same trick in other
years. Then they exclaimed: "Oh, there's the
place we camped last year," and laughed, and
then grew wistful over the memories. Soon
they passed the place where the boys of the
camp were staying, for they, too, had chosen
Crooked River as their camping ground, and
had passed a delightful night in the rain. To-
mo-ke, Helpful the Little, Pi-ki-da's brother
and Fuzzie's ten-year-old brother Pete made
up this party, and good campers they were,


0HS00 iss^^ias in

The final camping place was a long point,
jutting out where the river bent sharply back
on itself, a pleasant, grassy place, that looked
very familiar, the "old girls" said, except that
many of the trees had been cut down, "leaving
us more space to play in." It had been a long
pull up the river, and the paddlers were glad
enough to pull up their canoes and stretch
their tense muscles. Some of them were bare-
foot, for in several places it had been neces-
sary to lift the canoes over the rapids. Their
first thought now was to get into bathing suits,
and seek still further the acquaintance of the
river gods.


Even if the girls had not brought bead
bands, spoons to carve, and other hand-craft
materials, they would have been busy as bees
that afternoon. Ce-ki-ca-ti and Ho-sa built
a fine little shelter of hemlock boughs, with a
wall on one side and a roof over it, ready to
sleep under when night came.

Alaska, with some assistance from her
girls, made a real Indian bed of hemlock
boughs, laying part of them right side up and


part the other way to give spring to the bed,
bordering the whole with logs. Others built
hemlock beds, too, but Alaska's was the thick-
est and softest, and the girls came from all
over the camp to see it. Those who were not
similarly busy were sitting under the trees
making baskets of pine needles under the in-
structions of Mna-ka, who had thoughtfully
brought raffia and needles for the purpose.
This occupation proved so fascinating that she
could scarcely supply materials for all.

For supper there was corn chowder, with
biscuit baked in reflecting ovens, which the
girls had ingeniously made of syrup cans cut
and bent into shape. After supper there was
entertainment for all at the "Crooked Cuc-
koos' Curiorium," where massage was offered
at a modest price to two victims at a time,
with the privilege of resting on Alaska's bed
and listening to "pleasant conversation/' The
proceeds were to go as Camp Fire dues. So
many applied that some dates were left un-
filled until the next trip. While they waited
their turns the girls took delightful dips, or
watched the aesthetic dancing that was going
on far back among the trees near Ce-ki-ca-ti's
and Ho-sa's shelter. After these strenuous


amusements it was a luxury indeed to sur-
render to the softness of Alaska's bed, while
the faithful little assistant kept a merry fire
burning close by, and Alaska and He-ta-ya
kept the conversation going no less merrily
over their patients.

Before breakfast in the morning a number
of the girls were off to gather branches with
which to make portable Indian beds, and the
few Wohelo knives that had come to Crooked
River were in great demand. Meanwhile
others went to a neighboring farm-house to
buy milk, and breakfast was soon on the way,
with one or two fancy styles in cooking the
eggs, such as poaching in milk and baking in
hot sand. Cocoa and toast gave the generous-
hearted an opportunity to wait upon those
who were busy over fires or hand work.


Hiiteni had been detained from sharing this
trip by a necessary journey to Portland, but
in the middle of the morning she arrived, and
was greeted with cheers of delight. She
brought with her a crate of fresh peaches,
which also received a cheer when they made
their appearance at dinner. In addition to


m gB£ c f?MBS li^000

The camp mascot

this she made everyone's happiness complete
by saying "yes" to their eager plea for an-
other day at Crooked River. As she had
brought the mail with her, there was nothing
in the world for which to return, and the girls
felt as if they could remain here for the rest
of the summer.

Their energies now were redoubled. With
the aid of Ti-ya-ta's hatchet they cut down
hemlock boughs and built more shelters (care
being taken not to injure the trees), eagerly
calling Ce-ki-ca-ti to approve them so that


m m m n b § r G ^ o s m

they could receive their honors for the work.
They made more pine baskets, finding beauti-
ful long needles for the purpose, and enjoyed
the eager search for balsam to carry home for

At noon the boys made a visit to the camp,
bringing with them fish for dinner. Each girl
was given a fish to clean and cook for herself,
with the promise of a local honor for doing so.
The peaches which Hiiteni had brought com-
pleted a sumptuous feast.

Through the afternoon the girls paddled
around on the river, wrote letters, worked at
pine baskets, while Alaska read more from
"Three Men in a Boat," and were happy,
either quietly or actively, according to their
inclination. They retired early, with a beau-
tiful, lazy moon shining down upon them, and
slept as sweetly in their beds of hemlock or of
blankets on the grassy earth, as if they had
been in their own far-away homes.


Before they could realize it someone was
singing, "Wake ye, arise !" and it was five
o'clock and time to be off to meet the launch!
As the next week's Count said :


m !SBft?M3S U E3 B @ m


"Very early rose the maidens,
And they spent no time in fooling,
But they hastened on through breakfast,
Looked at food and thought they ate it,
Packed their blankets and their baskets,
Took canoes and then sped downward
Just as if pursued by white men."

There is a tradition about the return from
Crooked River which would probably suggest
itself anew every summer even if it had never
been heard of before. Instinctively the girls


m u fi n b © gft^aas eq

began to decorate their canoes with the
branches of balsam they had gathered, and as
they passed down the river, now one canoe,
now another, drew up along the banks to
gather more boughs and blossoms, willows,
goldenrod, berries, and ferns, to transform
their craft into fairy barques, with drooping
vines of clematis to twine in the hair of the
fairy princesses who rode in them. One canoe
bore at its prow a purple thistle fastened to a
pine branch. The boys, who had joined the
procession on its way, had a small pine tree
planted in the middle of their craft. There
was variety, and everywhere loveliness and en-
chantment in the line of ten canoes that fol-
lowed the "Red Beak" down the Songo, and
out into the open lake.

The girls were contentedly busy with their
hand work, or idly talking and singing. Two
in the war-canoe were comparing the gems of
poetry they knew, in an effort to find the
twenty-five lines needed for one of the re-
quired honors. They were a trifle chagrined
to find how much they thought they knew but
did not, but finally recalled several short
poems that more than met the requirement.
One of these was Tennyson's "Crossing the


Bar," which gained a new meaning out on the
water, with the memory of lake sunsets about
them :

" Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me;
And may there be no moaning on the bar
When I put out to sea."

The lake was quiet and the canoes glided
smoothly along, making as rapid time as pos-
sible in order to meet the steamer at the South
Casco dock. For on that steamer were Madge,
an "old girl," and two "new girls" who had
warm friends at camp waiting to give them a
welcome. They arrived on time, and the "Red
Beak" circled about, swinging the long line of
flower-decked canoes gracefully after it, while
the people on the steamer crowded to the decks
to watch. As the ribbon of canoes rested by
the dock the girls sang a cheer of welcome to
the new arrivals, then they swung away to

"You may go in for a dip when you have
made up your beds," Hiiteni announced. And
the girls welcomed the word with delight, for
their faces were burning from the long ride
in the sun. So they found the best delight


m m m o b m ^^sts m

that homecoming held for them, in plunging
from their own dock and splashing in their
own clear waters, which seemed more crystal-
clear than ever in contrast to the brown water
of Crooked River.

If you should meet a girl somewhere who
showed you a wooden salad spoon which she
had decorated with carvings, and she should tell
you that the zigzag pattern on the handle was
for Crooked River, could you guess what that
spoon meant to her? If on the bowl of the
spoon she had carved an overturned canoe,
with four little heads under it peeping out
from under a blanket, could you imagine the
memories and dreams which lurked in the carv-
ing on that spoon?




T7 VERY week in camp is lived over twice,
■" once as the days go by, and again at the
Council Fire the following Monday, when the
Count brings it all back with a fresh personal
interest. The Crooked River trip was so great
an event that it has been celebrated in song,
as well as in the classic lines of the Count, for
most opportunely the second song contest fol-
lowed before the rare experiences of the trip
were forgotten.

This contest was open to individuals in-
stead of tents, and the tunes were not neces-
sarily to be original, provided they were not
commonly known. Before the contest a notice
had appeared on the bulletin suggesting as

The Barcarole of the "Red Beak"
Three Girls in a Boat
That Tin Can Reflecting Oven
Earning Money's All the Rage


m m m n s @ samara m

Ode to the Mail Bag
Threnody to the Teepee

These subjects were not noticeably adopt-
ed, perhaps because no one but the originator
of them could have lived up to their humor,
but the results of the contest were quite en-
tertaining enough.


The ceremonial was over, and all had been
put in a gay humor by a vivid rendering of
the story of the Faithful Servant, in which
the princess and the servant had cantered ju-
bilantly about on imaginary horses, in a way
that prevented anyone's taking the scene with
entire seriousness, even though the beauty of
its lesson was not lost. Twin sisters from Hol-
land, who had come to visit the camp, gave a
folk dance in wooden shoes, with native cos-
tumes improvised for the occasion, and made
a warm place for themselves in the heart of
the camp. Hiiteni then opened the song con-
test by calling upon the girls in turn around
the circle.

There was a sound of smothered laughter
when she started with Ho-sa, but Ho-sa rose


m ssftEgE&s 11 n ©

bravely, and three other maidens with her.
They were, Ho-sa announced, the poorest
singers in camp, but they had decided to con-
tribute their mite to the occasion, and the}
would award a prize the next morning to any-
one who guessed the tune of their song.

Amid roars of laughter, they sang bravely
through their three stanzas, without once mak-
ing the mistake of striking the same key at the
same time. The words, with their mixture of
slang and cleverness, were reminiscent oi
nothing in particular. Next morning one
maiden guessed the tune correctly — "Sing
Tangent, Co-tangent," but another had been
equally sure that it was "Home, Sweet Home."
The four, who afterward came to be known
as the "Crow Quartette," were heartily en-
cored, and given the fame they deserved for
this noble sacrifice of themselves to the public

Each girl who had written a song had in-
vited a select little group to sing it for her,
and Te-ca-ya, who had the best soprano voice
in camp, and a remarkable talent for keeping
the tune, had been quite distracted by the de-
mand for her services. She was called upon
now to bring her guitar and assist in render-


m m m n © tga^a^ass m

ing Embers' newest song, written to the tune
of "Chapel Steps," which was given the prize
for that evening, and has since become part of
the regular repertoire of camp.


"Here in the dusk at twilight time,
When sunset glows are o'er,
We gather 'round the laughing fire
To sing our songs once more.
The drooping branches of the pines
In silence hover near,
While shadows of old camping days
Come creeping back to hear.

"From every haunted rocky nook,
From every listening tree,
A phantom voice comes stealing forth
To join our melody.
And visions of old fire-lit nights
Come creeping back again,
While touched with fire, a silent watch
Sits lonely in the rain.
Then as the flickering firelight dies
To dim the drowsy glow,
We listen to the shadowy voice
Of silent Wohelo.


With dreamy eyes we turn away
And leave the dying light
To join the phantom memories
That linger in the night."

Alaska and He-ta-ya were also reminis-
cent of Crooked River with their surprising
song of the "Crooked Cuckoos Curiorium,"
the chorus of which has ever since been ren-
dered with an abrupt, decisive ending,

"Mas-sage for-evah!"

in memory of Alaska's accent, about which
she so good-naturedly submitted to endless


On Tuesday evening, when the suppers
were cooked at the tents, "Niebelungen" en-
tertained guests in royal fashion, with a menu
in French, and floral decorations by "an expert
from New York." Eggs were served in sev-
eral styles, and fudge. Wo-do-ke-ca came
sumptuously attired as the "Comtesse de la
Brie de Sauce Mayonnaise," with an insignifi-
cant "Compte" on her arm, and Embers and
Mna-ka, as "George de Thames" and "Sir


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Online LibraryEthel RogersSebago-Wohelo camp fire girls → online text (page 5 of 9)