Study Guide

Song of Hiawatha Part XVI: Pau-Puk-Keewis

By Henry W. Longfellow

Part XVI: Pau-Puk-Keewis

  • Remember the dude named Pau-Puk-Keewis who danced at Hiawatha's wedding feast earlier in this story? Well, it turns out that he's more of a problem than the narrator first let on.
  • Pau-Puk-Keewis is an agitator. He's really bored all the time and his only true enjoyment in life comes from creating conflict.
  • PPK goes to the home of Iagoo one day to find a bunch of people gathered around for story time. PPK interrupts Iagoo to say that he's sick of all these stories and sick of Hiawatha's wisdom. It's time to have some FUN! So he fishes in his pockets and brings out some dice so he can teach men how to gamble.
  • He convinces one of the men in Iagoo's tent to wager his son on a bet. PPK wins the bet and takes possession of the boy as a sort of slave. Everyone is mad at him, but there's nothing they can do according to the rules of the game. PPK adds the additional insult of ordering the boy to carry away all the wampum and goods he's won.
  • Next, PPK stops by Hiawatha's wigwam and finds the place empty. He makes sure to trash the joint and even kills the King of the Ravens, who was still tied to the wigwam.
  • PPK travels to a nearby high place where he can watch Hiawatha's reaction when he gets home. While he waits he kills all the birds who fly near him. Finally, the King of the Seagulls notices this and sends a messenger to tell Hiawatha about all the havoc PPK is causing.