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6. (The Ai´wan and the Reindeer-Breeder.)

 In olden times there was an Ai´wan warrior who hunted whales. He had killed a whale. He had a reindeer-breeding neighbor. The son of this neighbor said to his old father, "Now, then, go to the whale-hunter (and ask for some meat)." — "All right!" The Ai´wan said to the old man, "Oh, what do you want?" — "My son sent me." — "Did he?" He turned out the upper part of his trousers. Then he filled it full with blubber. The old man came home. "What result?" But he felt angry. "Why did you not go yourself?"

 Then the son went, in his turn. He came to the Ai´wan. The latter was cutting the whale (in the shallow water). One of his companions said to him, "The reindeer-breeder has come to you." Then he came to the shore. A walrus-hide destined to be split, with the blubber not yet scraped away, p. 47 lay buried in the sand. He dug for it with his nails. Somehow then he took it by the holes in the edge with two fingers, and, ceasing to dig any more, shook off the sand. He pulled it out, so strong was he. He spread it upon the ground, the blubber upwards, to serve as a wrestling-place.

 Then they took off their clothes, the Ai´wan and the reindeer-breeder, and they wrestled. It was quite slippery just to tread upon that blubber. The Ai´wan extended his hands. Then he was attacked by the reindeer-breeder. The latter, catching him by the head, caused it to spring off. The head rolled down upon the ground. He is still standing with extended hands, headless. Then only did the others say, "Oh, how wonderful! the head has sprung off!" The Ai´wan fell down and died. The reindeer-breeder took possession of the whale and went home. His father asked him, "Eh?" — "I came back." — "What result?" — "Indeed, I took the whole whale." — "Oh, you are wonderful! Still we have remained without maritime neighbors."

p. 48

 They went for the whale with a train of pack-sledges. He stood on the seashore. That Ai´wan who was killed had sons; and while the reindeer-breeder, the victor of yesterday, was standing on the shore, the son of the Ai´wan concealed a long thong in the sand (across his path). He tugged at the thong, (tripped up the reindeer-breeder,) and made him fall into the water.

 So he was drowned and died. The Ai´wan took the wife of the reindeer-breeder (and also his herd). Nevertheless he did not care very much about the reindeer, only slaughtered them all the time in great numbers. Still he ate no meat, only the tongues of the reindeer. Every morning he slaughtered reindeer. On waking up, he would say to his wife, that of the reindeer-breeder, "Put my clothes on me!" On her refusal, he would beat her so hard that her head would become all swollen from the blows of his stick. "Oh, bring the herd to the house!" Then again he slaughters reindeer. The wife cried, sorrowing for the reindeer, "Why are you crying?" — "So!" — p. 49 "You are mourning for your husband?" — "No!" — "Then why are you crying?" He was ready for violence.

 A small Spider-Woman visited this one who was secretly crying. She came down to that place. "You are married to the Ai´wan?" — "Oh, yes! . . . And he is all the time exterminating the herd. The whole time he is slaughtering, but he eats only tongues, and consumes no meat." — "Oh, right away prepare some clothes. When you are ready with them, when you have finished them, promise to the sea a shy reindeer-buck. Then offer to the sea those clothes." She promised. Then she threw those clothes in the direction of the sea. The Ai´wan was asleep. The wife remained outside, and continued to cry. All at once her husband appeared in the distance from the direction of the sea, the one who was drowned the other day. The wife brushed away her tears. "What is there? Methinks, my husband." Then he came, "Oh, my! you have come!" — "Yes. Why are you crying?" — "Why, this Ai´wan here, who stays with us, has almost exterminated our whole herd." Her husband questioned her, and said to her, "Oh, let us seize him!"

p. 50

 They seized him and carried him outside. Then they laid him, stretched out on his back, on a dung-hill. They fastened his hands (to the ground) with spikes. And every morning all the neighbors, on awakening, would pour (the contents of) their chamber-vessels into his mouth. Still he lived. Thus they poured into his mouth urine and excrement. "Oh, let me go! I shall give you my wives. Have them for slaves." — "Oh, but we do not (want them)." — "I shall give you my riches." — "I do not believe you!" — "Indeed, I shall give you my wives and children. And you shall have (my) children for slaves." And, indeed, he was a rich Ai´wan. So they unbound him. The reindeer-breeder followed him. He gave his wives, and his children for reindeer-herdsmen.

 Then he brought to his home the small old woman, the Ai´wan old woman, the mother of this one, who before that used to employ evil charms. He took a reindeer, a quite unbroken one; then he undressed her, and attached her (to it) by the ankle. Thus he tied her to the unbroken reindeer. The reindeer ran away. It was winter-time. Then the reindeer dragged her p. 51 away, at first to the reindeer-herd, then to the open country. After that the reindeer brought her back, and her backbone was all (torn off) and destroyed. From there the reindeer took her to the reindeer-herd again, running. After a while it brought her back, and her whole body was destroyed. Merely her legs were left unbroken. After that, before (the time when) only her legs were left, he unharnessed the reindeer.

 Before he freed it, it fell down and died. Then the master began to cough in the manner of a reindeer; and he was tearing (the ground) all the time, reindeer-like. After that he fell, swooning. Then he died. The end.1

Told by Qo´tirġịn. a Maritime Chukchee man, in the village Mị´s·qạn, in March, 1901.



p. 51

1 Most of the episodes contained in this story are borrowed from well-known Chukchee Stories, — "Ele´ndi and his Song," "The Shaman with Warts," etc. These were published in my Russian edition of Chukchee Materials, collected in the Kolyma country. Here the episodes in question appear in an abbreviated form. Still they prove the uniformity of Chukchee folk-lore from the Kolyma River to the Pacific Ocean.