Once there lived on Point au Pelee
An Indian maiden blithe and gay,
Who often from her birch canoe
Would spear the spotted salmon through.
Pride of her Chieftain father’s heart,
She oft would through the wild woods dart,
And with her bow and arrow raised
Would pierce the deer that calmly grazed.
Joy of her mother’s loving eyes
This dusky maid was a household prize
Whose beauty, grace and gentle arts
Won her a place in manly hearts.
A pale face to the Island came
To catch the fish and kill the game,
And when this lovely maid he knew,
She won his heart – she loved him too.
“Be mine, dear maiden,” then he cried,
“Let me but win thee for my bride,
And on this IsIe I’ll gladly stay” –
The maiden did not say him nay.
Happy they lived from year to year,
Then tiding came of a mother dear,
Who dying, lay on a distant shore
And longed to see her son once more.
Then with the pledge to come again
Before another moon should wane,
The pale face parted from his bride
And o’er the waves his oars he plied.
But many moons did wax and wane,
The young wife’s heart grew sick with pain,
And all her life grew dark and chill –
Her recreant husband tarried still.
At length a boat approached the shore,
Her heart beat high with hope once more –
But ah! For her that small white yawl
Bore a brief letter – that was all.
A letter that brought a withering blight
And broke a faithful heart that night;
That told a tale of broken trust
And hurled bright hopes down in the dust.
Hark! Hark, a wail of dark despair
Floats out upon the midnight air;
A splash is heard, and Pelee’s pride
Floats out upon blue Erie’s tide.
Upon the north of Pelee Isle,
There strangers linger but awhile;
View “Hulda’s rock” – the mariner’s guide,
That marks the fate of the Indian bride.
It marks that death-leap into the sea,
And marks a white man’s perfidy.
The waves that gainst it foam and surge
Seem chanting e’er a funeral dirge.
Written in the 19th century by Bertha Smith, daughter of Thaddeus Smith.