The Wapsie-Pinnekon Legend by Frank Vierth
Five out of five stars
Growing up in Eastern Iowa I became very familiar with the local place names. Furthermore, I am aware that a large percentage were derived from the Native American inhabitants. Yet, until I read this book, I was unaware of the origin of the name of the Wapsipinicon river. It is based on a legend, the topic of which is as old as human emotions and conflict over mates.
The legend is that there was a beautiful maiden named Wapsie that lived in a Native American village at what is now the location of the Iowa town of Quasqueton. A man named Pinnekon lived in a neighboring village and the two of them fell in love and were about to be married. While canoeing on the river that came to bear their name, Pinnekon was shot by a jealous man and fell into the river. Wapsie tried to rescue him and the two of them sank between the waves.
This pamphlet is a reprinting of the original story that is in the form of an epic poem, with alternate lines rhyming. It is a tragic love story of the traditional form, great joy followed by jealousy leading to tragedy. The book is a reprint published as part of the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the town of Quasqueton. It is proof that human lends are remarkable consistent across cultures.