This set of verse stories by Longfellow has an undeservedly bad reputation for being naff. There are some painful passages of tortured verse, but also some wonderful, descriptive, uplifting verses. The Song of Hiawatha is a good read, the tales are based on indian legend and while they are romanticised pastoral of Indian life, written by a westerner, they also introduce the culture and fable in an easy to access way. I still have in my mind whenever I read them of the *fabulous* Incantations (Mike Oldfield) with Maddy Prior: see 6 min,8 secs onwards in this video for a taster:
From the brow of Hiawatha
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the water,
As the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation,
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be, but is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.
Toward the sun his hands were lifted,
Both the palms spread out against it,
And between the parted fingers
Fell the sunshine on his features,
Flecked with light his naked shoulders,
As it falls and flecks an oak-tree
Through the rifted leaves and branches.
O’er the water floating, flying,
Something in the hazy distance,
Something in the mists of morning,
Loomed and lifted from the water,
Now seemed floating, now seemed flying,
Coming nearer, nearer, nearer.