Sacred-Texts Asia
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p. 159


1. The Sacrifice to the Dead.

 There was a group of houses standing on the shore, — a long row of houses. One girl awoke early in the morning, and began to scrape skins. At last the sun rose, still no man left the sleeping-room. The sun mounted high, but nobody appeared. She says, "Where are they? I will go and see. What are they doing there?" She looked in, and saw that all the people were lying down, as if asleep. They were dead, all of them. She alone, of the whole camp, was alive. Then she says, "What shall I do?" She went and carried water to all the houses, hung up the kettles, and cooked food. When the food was ready, she said, "There, eat!" She went home and lay down to sleep. As soon as she shut her eyes, she heard the voice of her father. She was not asleep, but only had her eyes shut. Her father was saying, "We are content that you have cooked food. To-morrow, when you get up and spend the day, do not go to sleep in the inner room, lie down in the outer tent. The next night take a place outside of the tent, then at a distance from the tent. For ten days keep moving your sleeping-place away until you reach the herd. There remain until the snow shall fall upon the earth. After that come here again and bring the herd — not all of it: bring the lesser portion. This must be given to us." She slept through the night. In the morning she again brought water and cooked food in all ten houses. She went to sleep in the outer tent. The next night she slept outside of the tent. Then she moved off, and at last came to the herd. The herdsmen asked, "What has happened?" — "All the people in the houses are dead." — "Oh, oh!" — "We must not go home. Only when the first snow comes shall we go there." — "All right!" They remained with the herd. When snow fell and the ground was covered, they came nearer, and brought the herd — one part of it: the lesser portion they brought to the camp. The larger part was to become their own herd in the future. They slaughtered the reindeer that were brought, and offered them in sacrifice. They also left there the houses and everything that was in them. They took for themselves only the things in the summer pile. They left and went away. The end.

Told by Vịyê´nto the Blind, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.