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19. (The Man who married a Sky-Girl.)

 Once there was a father.1 He had five (grown-up) sons. The sixth one was a boy, a young lad, indeed a half-grown youth. All the others were big, ever so big. Then their father grew quite old and decrepit.

 Oh, he felt ill, and spoke thus (to his sons): "Now I am going to die. p. 108 When you (carry me to the funeral-place, and) leave me there for three nights, come to visit me after the third (night)." Indeed he died. They carried him (to the funeral-place).

 Well, what of that? He remained there for the third night. The sons returned home. The third night passed. Then several nights also passed. At last the youngest brother said, "Well, now, when shall we visit our daddy?"

 The older ones said, "Oh, he is of no use, since he is dead. Why should we visit him?" Then (the youngest son) visited (the grave) secretly. When he came to the place, it was like a house of the dead one, but in reality it was only the funeral-circle of stones.1

 "Oh, you have come?" — "Yes!" — "Aha! and where are your companions? Everything is well with them?" — "Yes, everything is well with them. However, they said, 'That one is of no use. He is dead. Why should we visit him, then?'" — "Did they (say so)? Oh, then you must go and look for a bride. Where will you live? Where will you have a household? You cannot live with me. I am of no use, either. And also with your brothers you must not stay, since your brothers are such (bad) ones."

 "All right! Still I shall not succeed." — "Oh, you must sue for the hand of the girl of the Upper People." He called [windward] towards the east, and, lo! iron-footed reindeer came at his call. They had iron hoofs. These (the young man) attached to his sledge and went upwards. He climbed p. 109 up one quite vertical mountain; then, when halfway, his reindeer were spent, and their hoofs were quite used up.

 He returned and went to his father, [and came there]. "Oh, you have come!" — "Yes!" — "What, you could not get there?" — "[Yes,] I could not." He called again [windward] towards the east, and then came reindeer with stone hoofs, with hoofs of obsidian. Oh, well! with these he climbed to the top. There he saw a small house.

 He entered the house. A girl was sleeping in an iron receptacle surrounded by a grating. She slept in a posture very convenient for copulating, without any covering, lying on her back [convenient for copulation]. The young man stripped, took off his clothes, and then he defecated between her legs, eased himself copiously under the buttocks. He was through with defecating, then he lay down.

 Oh, then she awoke. Indeed, he waked her up, gave her a push. Oh, the girl began to scold: "Who was here? Who entered here?" — "Be quiet, you! Indeed, I have defecated over you. You are a funny one! Oh, my! have you not slept! You did not even heed my defecating."

 What now? He married her [there]. Quite soon she brought forth a child. It was a boy. Her father said, "Take her to your home. You have a land of your own. Why, indeed, should I keep you here? You are a stranger." They brought home the herd. And he divided it into [two] halves, (and gave one half to the young man.)

 The young man went with a train of pack-sledges. They passed near the p. 110 father's place; but there was nothing, only the funeral stone circle. He slaughtered reindeer there for his father. Then he went to his brothers.

 When he arrived, the brothers spoke thus. They said, "Oh, there! if you have indeed married among real gods (literally, '[good] beings'),1 then bring a polar bear!" — "Oh, so!"

 He put his head under the covering of the sledge,2 toward his wife, (and said,) "Oh, they say thus: 'If you have indeed married among the real gods, then bring a polar bear." — "Oh, so!" Well, just bring it. Only go away [leeward] westward. Use also this whip of mine." — "I will."

 He went away leeward, and turned around to the rear side. Then he saw a polar bear, and simply struck it upon the head with the whip. He killed it, loaded it (upon the sledge), and carried it home. "There, there, the polar bear!" — "Oh, oh, indeed! Now, then, bring a brown bear!" — "Oh, so!"

 He put his head under the covering of the sledge, and said thus [spoke] to his wife: "Oh, now, they make me go again and say, 'Bring a brown bear.'" — "Oh, well! indeed, just bring it."

 He acted as before, struck it on the head, and killed it again. He carried it home, and when coming to the houses said thus [and spoke to them]: "There, there! the brown bear!" — "Oh, oh, indeed! This time, if you have in truth married among real gods, bring a ke´lẹ!" — "Oh, oh!"

 He put his head under the covering p. 111 of the sledge, towards his wife, (and said.) "This time they say again, "Now bring a ke´lẹ!'" — "Oh, oh! is that so? All right, just bring it. What of that?" She took her bag and rummaged (among its contents). Then she pulled out a pair of gloves. They had quite long claws on their finger-ends. [Quite long-clawed they were]. "These two dogs of mine you must take with you."

 He went away [windward] eastward. The dogs pulled the sledges. On the way one of the dogs began to speak: "Let us take the trail along that mountain-slope! A house will appear there. There we will go. They (the ke´let) are many there."

 Indeed, he saw a group of houses. The houses were full of people. They were quite numerous. They occupied themselves with tossing on a walrus-hide.1 They also had foot-races. As soon as they saw him, they rushed at him. "Oh, oh! a guest, a guest! Let us seize him!"

 They came nearer, but the dogs sprang at them. And with their long claws they lacerated all the ke´let.

 Oh, they stopped. "Ah, bring the little old woman, the one dying from old age." Indeed, they brought out the little old woman, very decrepit. Oh, she opened her mouth. Within the mouth were visible all kinds of game. (The man and his dogs), however, nearly died from it. He took her along and carried her to his house.

 And then he shouted again, "There, there! I brought the ke´lẹ. Pay attention, all of you! Come here all at once!" The people came. The little p. 112 old woman simply opened her mouth. Oh, the people were quick to die. All of them perished. And so he killed them and destroyed all. The end.

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



p. 107

1 This tale presents a clever joining of Russian (or perhaps Turko-Mongol) episodes with others which are genuine Chukchee. Mixed tales of such character are not rarely met with among the Chukchee.

p. 108

1 Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 526.

p. 110

1 Compare Vol. VII, p. 303.

2 "Qa´aran" is a sledge with a covering, in which brides and young mothers with nursing babies are transported (see Vol. VII of this series, p. 92).

p. 111

1 Compare Vol. VII, p. 410.