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17. (Battle with the Ta´n·ñịt.)

 In the olden times, in some (part of the country,) people were at war. There were a "set of brothers" with a sister. The girl was quite nimble (from constant exercise). They were attacked by Ta´n·ñịt. There were probably three [of them] (of the Chukchee).1 The girl had a spear (made) of walrus-tusk. Four p. 98 Ta´n·ñịt warriors, (also) nimble, fought with spears. All four of them wanted to attack the girl. Her brothers (meanwhile) were all killed by the Ta´n·ñịt.

 The other Ta´n·ñịt were also killed at the same time. The girl, the nimble one, was spoken to by the remaining Ta´n·ñịn warrior, (who said,) "I do not want it. You are a woman. Let us stop this!" The girl said, "(Nay,) it is all right." The Ta´n·ñịn warrior said, "No, you are weak." The girl said, "Well, now, try me first, (and see) whether you can do anything to me."

 Then she gathered up her tresses, and girt her body about the middle, also (arranged) her broad sleeves. Her spear was a short one. Oh, the Ta´n·ñịn warrior said, "It is to no purpose. You are a woman." — "You are too self-assured. Try me first!"

 The girl stood on the defensive, holding up her spear made of walrus-tusk. They fought with spears the whole day long, until the sun (went down) [very far, the whole day]. Before sunset the Ta´n·ñịn warrior began to lose his breath, and his tongue lolled (out of his mouth). He felt quite weak.

 All at once he sat down upon the ground. The girl said, "I will not kill you. I am a woman. I feel confused on account of this." The Ta´n·ñịn warrior said, "Oh, oh! but it is by a Ta´n·ñịn woman with a tattooed nose1 that I am treated like this!"

 The Ta´n·ñịn warrior was very nimble. He was really a very strong man. Then he said again, "Oh, oh, such a one, a Ta´n·ñịn woman with a tattooed p. 99 nose, I have met only now! I am not ashamed to return home. Well, now, dispose of me! I will not return home."

 A very nimble Ta´n·ñịn warrior! "Still, I have also despatched many, [I will not return home]." The girl said again, "I will not kill you. I am a woman." The man said, "Indeed, then if you will not kill me, I shall do something myself to my own body. Oho! these Ta´n·ñịt (i. e., the Chukchee) are born (in life) better than we. Here is such a Ta´n·ñịn woman with a tattooed nose! Kill me, now! Shall I come home without shame? Never! And, indeed, even if I should return home, my father would not allow me to live. He would say, 'Oh, you were overpowered by a mere woman!'"

 "Tell me, have you brothers still?" — "Yes, I have one brother." — "This spear of mine give to your brother." — "I cannot do this. They will blame me. They will say, 'Where have you found this spear, being a woman?'"

 "Surely, I will not go home. Take also this armor of mine. But first shall take a smoke of tobacco." He would not listen to any persuasion. He wanted to die.

 He had a smoke. As soon as he took the pipe out of his mouth, she stabbed him, and he fell on his back. (He lay there, touching the ground) merely with his calves, with his shoulder-blades, and with the other fleshy parts of his body. He lay (with the small of his back) quite on high. So strong was he. Then he died, and came to his end.

Told by Rịke´wġi, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.



p. 97

1 Two brothers are also "a set" (Cf. Vol. VII, p. 539).

p. 98

1 The Reindeer Chukchee and the Reindeer Koryak call each other mutually Ta´n·ñịt (cf. Vol. VII, p. 11). The Reindeer Chukchee women put their tattoo-lines on both sides of the nose (cf. Vol. VII, p. 254).