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There was a house. A woman of the human people (who lived in it) was deserted by her husband. She was starving, and (at last) was crawling on all fours from mere starvation. She was very hungry. Then she saw a house, entered it, and looked around. Ready-made clothes were hanging there. A dish was filled with tallow. She ate of it. As soon as she finished, she fled to the open country.
A man came (who was in the open), walking on foot. It was the (Man in) the Moon. "Oh, how very extraordinary! Who was that who came p. 87 around and ate the tallow? The whole dishful is gone." The next morning he went away again. He changed his boots and put on other ones. Still no wife was to be seen. As soon as he went away, the woman came, and again found the tallow. She ate abundantly of it, and felt much better.
The man came home. "Oh, it is bad! How very extraordinary! Who is it that (steals) so much food? Well, now, let me stay at home (literally, 'let me be not walking') to-morrow morning!" Noon-time came. Then the woman appeared again. She entered the house and made for the food. Before she had time to begin eating, he caught her.
"Ah, ah, ah! Don't! Off!" She struggled. "Oh, then it is you!" — "Off, off! Let me go!" — "Be quiet! I shall not harm you. I want to question you. Oh, why are you wandering about? You have a master?" — "I have not." — "How is it?" — "I have been deserted by my husband, cast off and starved." — "Have you seen nothing here in the house?" — "Nothing at all." — "Oh, then I will marry you!"
He married her. Again he went away. In the evening he came back. He said to his wife, "Do not come out from the inner room. Let us enter (both), (and then) simply throw my boots out to the outer tent."
She threw the boots outside. Immediately after that the dish appeared, quite by itself, filled with cooked meat. They ate, and then they put the dish outside. They awoke in the morning. The woman looked towards the dish. It was (clean and) in (good) order.
He went again, and killed a wild reindeer. "Oh, to-morrow we will arrange a thanksgiving feast! Do not carry the charm-strings yourself." Then they came to the wild reindeer prepared for the feast, and the charm-strings were there.
Oh, they slept! They awoke in the morning, and he departed again. (She asked herself,) "For what reason did he say to me, 'Leave that trunk there unopened! Do not pry into (its contents). Do obey this (order of mine)'?"
Oh, as soon as he went away, she opened the trunk. Another woman was sitting there: the two halves of her face were of different forms. One half was black, the other half was red. The new-comer made a sound with her tongue: "Pr!"
The other one looked up, and all of a sudden died and fell down. The new-comer closed the trunk, because she felt great fear, [of course]. The husband came home. They entered the house. She told him nothing, because she feared his (anger). She threw the boots out to the outer tent, but they waited vainly for the dish.
Then the husband thrust (his head) out from under (the cover of the sleeping-room). "Oh, oh! How extraordinary! Where is she? (You are) sure that you have not opened the trunk?" — "I have not!" — "Then where is she? Listen (to reason), and tell (the truth)!" Then she said, "I looked on her. She would not look on me. Then I made a creaking sound with my mouth. And she fell down."
"Oh, how very strange you are! Why could you not obey? Not without p. 89 reason, then, were you deserted by your husband. Give me my drum!" He drummed on it, and the other woman revived. Only she was quite angry, and shoved in the dish (with all her might).
The next morning they awoke, and he sent (the woman) back. He said, "Not without reason were you deserted by your husband. You have a home, let me convey you there." He conveyed her to her father, took her there, and said to his father-in-law, "Oh, but I cannot keep watch of her!"
They wanted to marry her to an (earthly) man. But she refused. Then the father said, "Whom will you marry, a ke´lẹ will you marry?" On the next day, when she was (walking) in the (open) land, a man came to her. He said to her, "There, let us go home!" — "I do not want that!" — "Your father has invited me to marry you." He took her to his home. The home was of stone. There were worms in it. This man was feeding on worms.
The woman felt disgusted. "Why do you not eat?" — "We do not feed on such things!" — "On what, then, do you feed?" — "We feed on meat." — "Oh, well! I will go and procure meat." He killed a mouse. "Why do you not eat?" — "We do not feed on such things." — "On what, then, do you feed?" — "We feed on seal." — "Oh, well! I will bring that." He brought a sea-worm.
"Why do you not eat?" — "How can I eat a worm? It is disgusting." — "What, then, do you feed on?" — "We feed on meat of the wild reindeer." He brought a marmot. "Why p. 90 do you not eat?" — "We do not feed on such things. Why, it stinks of marmot!" — "What, then, do you feed on?" — "We feed on walrus-blubber." — "Oh, well! I will bring that."
He brought one from the sea, a stranded carcass. Of this she ate. "Oh, what do you wish for now?" — "For a root of Polygonum Polymorphum out of the ground." — "Oh, well! I will bring it." This time he brought a lady-bug. "We do not feed on such things. They are disgusting. How can I eat it?" — "Oh, well! I will bring another one."
Very soon she brought forth a child. He brought a human body (for food), it was her brother's. Next morning she was crying near [the corner of] her house. Then a small Fox visited her. "Oh, you! what is the matter with you?" — "It is bad! I have been married to a ke´lẹ. My father gave me to a ke´lẹ."
"Oh, make [those — what is their name? Make] some ornamented boots. And when he would come back from somewhere, [when he would come back from the open land], you must give them to him (with your hand) [from hand to hand]. Just throw them down (before him). Let him examine them. Then the thread of a spider-web will descend."
Indeed, he came from the (open) country. "Why are you crying?" — "It is only because of some birds (of passage) that came from my country, that I am crying. — There, change your boots!" He took them. When he was examining the ornaments, the woman tried to speak to him, but he p. 91 did not hear. Then she went out. Just then she saw the thread of a spider-web hanging down.
Then she was hauled up. Her husband gave pursuit. She was to the (house of) Small-Spider (-Woman). And just then he also came. "Oh, where is my wife?" — "Which wife?" — "Again you have made me an object of ridicule." — "Oh, but she has passed by to the Upper People."
He ascended upward, and came to the Upper People. That woman came to the Polar Star (literally, "motionless star"1). "Oh, a pursuer is overtaking me!" — "Oh, then, what is the matter with you?" — "My father gave me to a ke´lẹ." — "Oh, well! stay here, I will conceal you." — "There was a ray of light of elongated shape, like a funnel.2 He put her there. Just then her husband came, quite tired.
"Oh, where is my wife? The Zenith said, "She is here. Take her out yourself." — "Oh, give her to me!" — "I will not give her to you. Take her out yourself." — "And where is she?" — "She entered [into] this ray of light." And (the ray) was quite long.
Then he began to ascend. Before he reached the middle, he slid (down); so that even the nails of his fingers were covered with blood. "Oh, give me my wife!" — "Indeed, I will not [give her to you]. It is too bad. I have been given by her (people) fine dishes (with food)." And (he spoke) p. 92 simply of sacrifices. "It is too bad. Her parents have (indeed) fine dishes."
"Let me give you a spell!" — "Oh, I do not want it." — "Then take also my house of stone." — "I do not want that, either. This house of mine is also hardly accessible to the winds. This house of mine is also a good one. The wind blows (only in regions) lower than (where) I (live). Nevertheless dishes of everybody reach here (all right). I am [also] greater than you."
"Oh, give me my wife! [Then also] I will give you the Game-Substance." The Zenith said, "I also am (a possessor of) the Game-Substance. I distribute it among the Lower People. To the (possessors of) good dishes I give wolverene. To the (possessors of) bad dishes I give fox, and polar fox to those (whose) dishes (were) sniffed (at by) dogs. To those (whose) dishes (were) not sniffed (at by) dogs I give wolverene. Also to the (possessors of) good dishes I give wild reindeer."1
"Indeed, give me my wife! Then will I also give you an incantation of (noiselessly) creeping (toward) man." — "Oh, but why should I desire to kill man, who is protected in life by me." — "'Oh, indeed, give me my wife!" — "Oh, I will not give her to you. You ask in vain. I also do not (find) it impossible to kill any game whatsoever."
"You are so greedy! Why should you kill all the game? What are you doing it for? I will put you into a trunk. You scoundrel! You make every kind of game your quarry. I always look to (the wants of) the Lower p. 93 People. I bring back to life those wronged by the ke´let."
"Indeed, give me my wife! Then also will I give you the means of walking around in secret." — "There, I do not want it. You may walk in secret. I know you well. Not even a single hair (sent by you) would reach me here." — "Then I will also give you the incantation for making one lame."1 — "No, you are only the cause of my anxiety. So the incantation for making people lame is of your making. And probably also it is you who cause the vomiting of blood."
"Oh, indeed, give me my wife!" — "Oh, I will not!" — "I also am (capable) of stealing men." — "You also steal men. Therefore (their) promised gifts do not come to me. You are simply a source of anxiety to me."
"Then will I also give you an incantation for weakening (people)." — "But to what purpose shall I use it? Evidently it is you who lie in ambush (trying to kill) every (living) thing. From this time on I shall know you. You are only a source of suffering for other people, a source of anguish to them."
"Oh, give me my wife!" — "Oh, I will not give her to you. Get her out yourself." — "Then I will also give you the whale incantation." — "I am not in need of hunting animals. I myself give food also to the whale."
"Oh, give me my wife! I will give you [this one, what is its name?] epilepsy." — "But, surely, I have no desire for this thing. You are an object to be shunned by other people. p. 94 I was saying, 'Oh, my! what being acts like this?' And it is you." — "Oh, give me my wife!"
Then at last the Creator1 said to his wife, "Open the trunk!" He said, "Gracious! you are truly a murderer of men. Why (in truth) are you living? Look here! I am really a god.2 Look here! I will put you in."
Then he put him in. And the sky was obscured. It grew dark. No light was left. (The Zenith) asked him, "Well, now, are you still so (importunate) as before?"
Then (the ke´lẹ) spoke quite low: "Really, you are killing me." — "Well, now, I tell you once more, 'I am keeping watch on the Lower People.' Well, now, are you still as importunate as before?" — "Oh, truly, (no!) I am even defecating into my own trousers."
The Polar Star spoke to his wife, (and then said,) "Open (the trunk) a little!" She opened (it), and it grew somewhat brighter. "Well, then, are you still as importunate as before?" — "Indeed, give me my wife!" He said again to his wife, "Close the trunk."
Then a tempest of snow came. [Even] the sky was full of whirling snow. (Creator) asked (the ke´lẹ) again, "Well, now, will you disown me still?" — "Oh, not from this time. It is bad. I am cold." And he trembled from cold. "Well, now! How are you now?" — "You kill me altogether." Again he said to his wife, "Open the trunk a little." The storm subsided again. (The weather) cleared.
"Well, now, you disown me still? p. 95 Once more I say to you, 'I keep watch on the Lower People.' You are no match (for me)." — "Oh, indeed, make me your slave, but get me out of this!" — "Indeed, I will not get you out. It seems, you will continue your violent doings against human people."
"Oh, not from this time. You may have me for your servant." — "Oh, indeed, you will still continue your claim for your wife?" — "Oh, I have ceased." — "And should I make her descend, will you pursue her?" — "Oh, no!"
He said to his wife, "Open (the trunk)!" She opened (it). "Well, now, do you still want to have your wife?" — "Indeed, I have ceased. You may use me for your servant." He took him out. After that he would fetch fuel, everything. And even the chamber-vessel he would carry out (of the house), full of urine.
Oh, he took out the woman. Then her husband, the ke´lẹ, saw her, and said, "Oh, I wish I could eat of your liver!" The Polar Star asked, "What do you say?" — "I am only saying this: 'Go to your father!'" — "Perhaps you want her still." — "Indeed, no! I am only saying this: 'Go to your father.'" He lied.
Then the other one opened a lid, and there (appeared) all the world, settlements of every country. The distant (things were) quite near, from there right down. And even the people were visible a little. He said again to her, "There, close it, open another one." She opened it again. And there were her parents quite close, right there. (The father) was working wlth a hatchet.
(The Zenith) said to her, "Yonder is p. 96 your father." He said again, "There, close it." Then he said to the woman, "You feel lonesome? Open the trunk to the eastern side." (It was full of) seals. He said again to her, "Close it." This time the next one. Oh, thong-seals.
Again (he said), "Close it." He said, "These I am giving without distinction to the possessors of bad dishes." Again she opened another one. (It was full of) white whale. "These I am giving to (those whose) dishes (are) sniffed (at by) dogs." Again she opened another one. (It was full of) walrus. "These I give to those who bring sacrifices.
Again she opened another one. And (it was full of) gray foxes. "These I give to the possessors of good clean dishes." Again she opened another one. This time there were blue foxes. "These I give to the possessors of dishes newly made." Again she opened another one. Oh, fur-seals! She opened another one. It was filled with squirrels. "These I give without distinction."
Again she opened another one. This time it was filled with hares. "These I give to the hungry ones." She opened another one. This time it (was full of) wild reindeer. "These here I give without distinction to the poor ones." She opened another one. This time it (was full of) wolves. "These I give to those in need of fur trimming."
Then the western side. Again she opened another one, and they saw a group of houses. "Yonder is your country." Her father was rich in reindeer. And they saw also his herd. (The Zenith) spoke thus: "Yonder white-haired p. 97 barren doe I do desire to have. It is an object of my old desire, because I have none such. Also the buck of yellow and white mixed. And that, too, with one leg white."
"Oh, you feel lonesome! Return home." And before evening came he made her descend. The woman was seen by one who came out at her call. Then (the person) re-entered the house. "What woman is there?"
The father went out. "Oh, whence, from what land, do you come?" — "At one time I belonged to this land." — "Oh, what kind of a woman are you?" — "It seems that you have given me in marriage to a ke´lẹ." — "Oh, then it is you!" — "Indeed, I." — "Where do you come from?" — "I come from the god [being]." — "From what being?" — "From the Polar Star. He must be given a barren doe, also one with, a white leg."
They slaughtered (these reindeer) and (gave) [threw] them (as a sacrifice). The father died. The daughter carried him (to a funeral-place). Before returning home, she fell down and died. The end.
Told by Rịke´wġi, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.
1 Compare Vol. VII, p. 307.
2 Koivị´lqan means literally "glacier-top." Glaciers of the country are usually small, every river coming from the hills having some ice in the valley in which it rises. The funnel in question is probably only the small funnel of the Russian samovar (tea-urn), which is also called koivị´lqan. It is often made of bright copper. Perhaps the lustre of the copper called to mind the sheen on ice. I got this explanation from the Chukchee, though I do not consider it very plausible.
1 Some of these details seem to be misplaced. They break the course of the narrative, and later on they are repeated.
1 Compare Vol. VII, p. 479.
1 For the identity of the Polar Star, Dawn, Zenith, Creator, etc., compare. Vol. VII, p. 314.
2 Literally, "being." Compare Vol. VII, p. 303.