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Once (there lived) a polygamist.
He said to his wives, "One (of you) have a fur shirt made, and the other have some trousers made, and let them be all white." They finished the clothes, and all of them went out. The moon was on the wane. Then (the polygamist) p. 84 ran away. His wives looked on. He crouched down and made himself flat right before them. Then they looked for him, but could not find him.
They entered the house. He departed towards the east [windward], and saw a number of ke´let. One of them, just as he was coming, began to angle for fish with a rod. Very soon he pulled out a little infant. It was a human infant. He pulled it out. The infant cried, "Aña´, aña´, aña´!"
The man coughed. The ke´lẹ said, "Oh, oh, a guest!" — "Yes!" — "Let us go home!" — "You go first," the ke´lẹ said to the man. "How can I go first? I do not know (the way). The house-masters (should) go first." — "Oh, oh, all right!"
The ke´lẹ went first. They came to the house. "Go in!" — "We in our houses are wont to say to our wives, 'Spread good skins for bedding. A guest is here.'"
"Ah, well, all right!" The ke´lẹ entered the house. "Oh, I bring this one! Sharpen your butcher-knives!" Meanwhile the man fled, running to a corner of the house — the one clad in white.
The ke´lẹ came out, but (the man) was not to be seen. He made himself flat there (upon the ground). The ke´lẹ began to chide his wife: "Oh, this is bad! We have let our quarry go, very good game." The other one again departed. Again he found a settlement. This one was of real human people.
One man came out. He stopped close by him, but the other one could not see him at all. That one passed p. 85 water, and then said, "The moon is on the wane." The guest then said, "It is quite true." — "Oh, oh, a guest?" — "Yes!" — "Indeed, you are human?" — "Oh, yes! Rather it is you who are not human. You are the ke´let." — "In truth, we are not." — "Oh, then let us enter the house!"
"But we have neighbors who indeed are ke´let, and these ke´let will fetch you to their own house." They entered the sleeping-room. Before they had time to eat, a ke´lẹ-woman entered. "Oh, I have come to fetch you! You must marry me." He went out. She took him to her home. On the sides of the entrance a brown bear and a polar bear were tied up. Before they could enter, the monsters rushed at the man. The ke´lẹ-woman said to them, "Aha! it is the master."
They lay down and copulated. All at once an old woman appeared from the rear wall. She carried a butcher-knife. This was the mother of the ke´lẹ-woman. This old woman approached the man, carrying the butcher-knife.
She wanted to strike him on the head. He simulated sleep. Still she proved to be quite nimble, and fled again. He (simulated awakening), said to the ke´lẹ-woman, "Oh, I had a dream! Such an old woman (it was), who nearly killed me!" The woman said, "Oh, oh! again, again! What are you doing? I want to have this one for a husband."
They slept again, The ke´lẹ-woman slept quite soundly, Then the man laid her down and exchanged clothes with her. The woman's combination-suit he used for a covering for himself, p. 86 and his own fur shirt he put on her as a covering. Then he slept again, simulated sleep. He had a knife ready. The old woman appeared again from the rear wall, and all at once she rushed on her daughter and struck her, sleeping, (with such force) that the head was cut off.
Just then the man struck the old woman with his knife, and also cut off her head. He put on his clothes, and then went out, carrying both heads with him. These he threw down to the bears. They pounced upon them. At that moment he went out. He came to his recent host. "Oh, you have come!" — "Yes." Then the old man called out, "Oh, oh, oh! from this time the people shall go around in a different manner." Then he departed, and on the way died of old age. That is all.
Told by Qo´tirġịn, a Maritime Chukchee man, in the village of Mị´s·qạn, November, 1900.