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10. (U´mqäqäi's Adventure.)

 This, indeed, is not a story, it is actual fact concerning somewhat ancient times. A certain man lived in the olden time. In those days the ke´lẹ evil spirits were going around visible, just like our own people, quite openly.

 Then in the Telqä´p land one U´mqäqäi and his companions were going somewhere, driving reindeer. There were three of them, all reindeer-drivers. So many they were. Then they saw a herd, and passed by on the outside of it. They also passed by houses. There were three houses, but nobody noticed them. They were quite invisible, were not seen at all by the ke´let, just as at present an evil spirit is invisible to us.

p. 62

 After that they passed by a pile of household things,1 past some luggage and loaded sledges. Some had their reindeer tied up there. Then U´mqäqäi untied his own thong, one of young-walrus hide. He discovered a grassy hummock on the ground. To this hummock on the ground he tied the thong.

 Then he tied his reindeer to the end of this long thong, and let them go. Only the end of the thong remained fastened to the hummock. So, then, U´mqäqäi's reindeer are tied to the end of a long thong of young-walrus hide, let out to its full length.

 After that U´mqäqäi and his three companions sat down, with their faces toward the entrance of one of the houses. The ke´let in the house were cooking food. They hung up a kettle. One ke´lẹ-man was working on the curve of a sledge-runner. He was bending it quite a little. A ke´lẹ-woman was cooking food. She was very pretty.

 She went out and looked around. Then she entered, and said, "Oh, p. 63 oh! as compared with yesterday, we feel ashamed.1 Oh, my! we are terrified!" (We call superstitious terror also shame.1) The woman entered, and said, "Oh, we feel ashamed, we are terrified!" — "Oh, how strange you are! Wherefore this shame? Good gracious! what is oppressing us so?" And it was only the men who came, "Oh, how strange you are! You feel terrified. But what is oppressing us so?" Then U´mqäqäi pointed with his finger at the woman. Immediately she felt a stinging pain, and could not breathe freely, "Oh, oh, oh!" — "Oh, how strange you are! What is oppressing us so again? Then let us make haste! Oh, something is oppressing us!"

 Then U´mqäqäi and his companions fled far away. (We call such a departure to a distant point a "flight"2). The others quickly untied their reindeer; but U´mqäqäi's reindeer tightened the noose, so that he could not p. 64 untie them. Then he pulled the noose over the grassy hummock, and thus loosened his reindeer. They fled, all of them. The ground became soft, like water. Nevertheless they came to their house. The end.

Told by Qo´tirġịn, a Maritime Chukchee man, in the village of Mi´s·qẹn, November, 1900.



p. 62

1 Compare Vol. VII of this senes, p. 177.

p. 63

1 Ñịrkịla´arkịn ("thou art ashamed") is also used as a synonym of yimġumġe´erkịn ("thou feelest superstitious fear"); cf. also p. 29.

2 Remark of the narrator.