Years ago, in the dim ages,
In this, the valley of the Delaware,
Lived a peaceful tribe of Indians-
Leni Lenape their name was.
Dear and bear, wildcat and panther
Through these forests oft they hunted.
On the bosom of the river
Peacefully they fished and paddled
Round their busy village wigwams
Still the chase they nimbly followed.
In this state of bliss so happy,
Many moons they lived contented,
Springtime blossomed into summer,
Summer into autumn ripened,
Autumn died on winter's bosom;
Thus the seasons in succession
Never ending seemed to pass on.
But, behold, a cloud arising
Changed how soon this peaceful aspect.
Neighboring tribes, and distant enemies,
Suddenly disturbed their hunting.
Then, Chingachgook, aged chieftain
Of the tribe, made quick inquiry:
"Who will go and carry warning
Of this dire and dreadful danger
To all Delawares, our brothers?"
But none wished to make the journey.
Then spoke up the noble Uncas,
Worthy son of the aged chieftain,
"O my father, I am ready;
Send me on this gracious errand.
If we would remain a nation,
We must stand by one another.
Let us both urge on our kindred
Firm devotion to our brethren
And our cause. Ourselves forgetting,
Let us catch the higher vision.
Let us find the greater beauty
In the life of cheerful service."
Off upon the trail they started,
Old Chingachgook and young Uncas;
And in every tribal village
Some were found who were quite willing
To spend themselves in others' service.
When at last the fierce marauders
Were forced back to their own country
And peace was declared between them,
They who first themselves had offered
For the service of their Brethren,
To the places most respected
By the chieftain were promoted:
For, said he, who serves his fellows
Is, of all his fellows, greatest!
As a seed dropped by the sower
On good soil bears quick fulfillment:
So this saying of their chieftain
In their hearts found glad acceptance
And they asked that in some manner
He should make its memory lasting.
So together fast and firmly
Chief Chingachgook bound these warriors
In a great and honored Order
Into which can be admitted
Only those who their won interests
Can forget in serving other.
And so firm must be their purpose
So to live, that their companions,
taking note of their devotion,
Shall propose them to the order.
We therefore to them succeeding,
To the present day perpetuate
The names and tokens of this
Brotherhood of Cheerful Service
Called by the Delawares:
Wimachtendienk, W., W.