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p. 146


 The riddles contained in this section were collected among the River Chukchee living on the Middle Anadyr River. They probably arose under Russian influence. Some of them have even been translated from the Russian. On the whole, the Chukchee have no riddles. Of short productions of this kind, they have only a very few proverbs and brief sayings, some of which are given here, while others were published in my "Chukchee Materials." They have also some so-called "comic tales," and word-games, a few of which are given here.

Proverbs (Va´irġu-wê´t·hau1).

 1. Listening to a liar is like drinking warm water one can get no satisfaction from it.

 2. A desire to defecate is more imperious than any great officer.

 3. Even a small mouse has anger.

 4. My temper is as smooth as tallow.

 5. He repented of it even to his very buttocks.

 6. A small herd is like a short lasso.

 7. To a lazy camp-assistant an old reindeer for slaughter (and food).

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Riddles (Qolo´-wêthau´tê1).

 1. Once an old one with nine holes. — Man.

 2. Once outside, it is coming down, down; it enters; it lies down. — An axe.

 3. It enters from outside with clothes; it is undressed in the outer tent. — The alder tree.2

 4. An old woman is made to break wind by an angry old man. — Bears copulating.

 5. A grass-bound shoulder-blade. — A ring on the finger.3

 6. I have four holes and only one road. — A wooden house.4

 7. I move along — but without trace; I cut — but draw no blood. — A moving boat.

 8. It is round, has an eye, is used by women. After use it is thrown away. — Iron scraper.5

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 9. Its eye is poked by women; it gets angry, bites its lip, and ascends skyward. — The lamp.1

 10. I have a headache, my nose bleeds. Stop my nose bleeding! — Fly-agaric.2

Word-Games (Qêu´rê-yê´lị-ra´čvuñkên wê´t·hau3).

 1. I raced down from a hill-top and nearly fell down.

 2. Right-hand double antler-blade reindeer-buck, left-hand double-blade reindeer-buck.

 3. A dried scar left by a reindeer-halter, an instrument (hatchet) for working on sledge-runners, — such eyes had the little old man.

 4. Like a she-dog with tufts of old hair on her ears, so was he in the foot-race.

 5. A quite young woman, in running fast, caught her boot-strings on an excrescence of a tree-trunk, and, stumbling over a hummock, nearly struck her nose against the ground.

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Short Comic Tales.

 1. Once the root of Polygonum viviparum scratched its head on the ice.

 2. Once a great raven performed the thanksgiving ceremonial in a narrow house, and his tendons became cramped.

 3. A little bird married the hole in the edge of a walrus-hide, and its penis was skinned.



p. 146

1 Literally, "being-words."

p. 147

1 Literally, "hard words;" i. e., riddles.

2 Alder-bark is peeled off and used for tanning-purposes.

3 A bone of a reindeer or seal shoulder-blade bound around with grass is used in divination.

4 The River Chukchee live in wooden huts of simple construction. Each hut has a chimney, smoke-hole, and one window. These, with the entrance, make the four holes of the riddle. Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 180.

5 The iron blade of the scraper is round with a hole in the centre.

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1 When the lamp burns badly, the woman pokes it (in the eye). Then when it is "angry" and still refuses to burn brightly, it is lifted up on the stand.

2 The eating of fly-agaric causes, after the intoxication assuaged by a new dose of the same drug.

3 Literally, "hurry-tongue-competition words."