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Goretti Publications

By Stone and Fire

Donald P. Goodman III

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When an Indian makes his canoe, he must first fell a tree of great age and great girth, toppling strength and vitality, bringing what once reach'd the sky down to laying on earth; then with axe made of stone, he must strip what had grown, till the wood underneath is expos'd, and then flatten one side of the hard, mighty trunk, till his will on the wood he's impos'd.
Though the great tree is strong, he can shape as he wills, and he takes red-hot coals from his fire, and he places them carefully, knowing their heat will give form to his inward desire; though the tree had seem'd strong, it had not lasted long, ere he molded it to his own will, and he burns out its heart to make something quite new, in the wood his own heart to instill.
Though the wood has been chang'd, it is still the same wood; but it's better than it was before, serving purpose beyond merely growing and spreading, its new form is lov'd even more; by the axe and the fire, it's been shap'd to desire, so the Indian has what he needs; but 'tis only by axe and by fire that the tree its original shape soon exceeds.