Study Guide

Song of Hiawatha Part XIII: Blessing the Cornfields

By Henry W. Longfellow

Part XIII: Blessing the Cornfields

  • This part of the story highlights how peaceful things became after Hiawatha and Minnehaha get married. All of the bad blood between their peoples seems to evaporate.
  • Hiawatha asks Minnehaha to bless the cornfields by drawing special circles around them and protecting them from the ravens (who like to dig up the young corn saplings).
  • Meanwhile, the King of the Ravens hears Hiawatha's plan and mocks it. No magic circle is going to stop him from gobbling up all that delicious young corn.
  • That night, The King of the Ravens gathers all his troops and flies to dig up the grave of Mondamin, the dude who sacrificed himself earlier in the story so that the corn would grow well.
  • Little do the ravens know that Hiawatha overheard them while they were making their plans to attack. All the ravens fly right into a series of snares that Hiawatha has set for them.
  • Hiawatha comes strutting out from his hiding place and he brutally kills all the ravens except their king. He takes the king prisoner and ties him to the front of his wigwam as a warning to other ravens. It's a humiliating punishment for the King. Meanwhile, the corn grows to be big and delicious looking, and the King has to stare at it all day.
  • When the people go out to harvest the corn, the younger people play games with each other and the crabby old men sigh at their silliness. The men's voices start to sound like the voices of the ravens in the trees who stare at the corn and mourn the imprisonment of their King.