Sacred-Texts Asia
Index Previous Next

7. (The Polygamist.)

 There lived a polygamist (lị´mịlịn). He had two wives. By the older wife he had two daughters; by the younger, no children at all. Still he loved the younger wife best. The elder one he did not love at all. One time, at a thanksgiving ceremonial, both women danced. The man with his drum was dancing too. He struck the older wife in the face. She grew angry and went away to the seashore. The ice-floe was separated from the shore by a narrow crack. She jumped over, although she had not even put on her upper garment. The ice was carried away far into the open sea, and at last reached another land. She landed close to a rock, which was quite steep. All the time she was thinking, "Oh, I have left my two daughters behind me! I made them miserable orphans. From now on they will be badly dressed, clad in worn-out skins, wronged by everybody." She saw a man upon the rock. He was very large and tall. He was Sun-Man (Têrkaɛ´-la´ul). His shirt had a hood. The hood was drawn over his face, and the sleeves were drawn over his hands. Still he was full of light, and his head was encircled by a halo. She said to herself, "It seems, he wants to kill me. All right! Let him kill me! My life is a torment to me." He answered from beneath his hood, "Why should I kill you? On the contrary, I pity you. Therefore I made you come to this land of mine, for you have not come by accident, and still less by your own will. I led you here unbeknown to you." He took her hand and helped her up the rock. There she saw a large house. It was resplendent with light, and the sleeping-room was aglow with brightness. On both sides of the sleeping-room there were round vessels filled with food. Some contained boiled meat, others were full of tallow, others again were filled with fermented leaves, and some were empty. He said, "All these are sacrificial vessels. The people gave them to me, and some who wanted to cheat me gave me empty vessels. I took everything, as I never refuse a sacrifice." They lived together. They brought forth a son, then two children more. After a time Sun-Man said, "Well, now, we are p. 170 from different lands; and you are not homeless, you have your own native country. So go back to your country! Take your children along. On the way you shall not starve. I will procure food for you, also a shelter wherein to rest by night. So far I have made you secure."

 He cut small pieces from his outer tent, also from the sleeping-room, and from every bag of provisions. These pieces he handed over to her, and said, "Put them down into a mitten. Then you may go." He made her descend along a sun-ray, because they were in the upper world. She thought it was a steep rock, but in reality it was a separate world. She came to the earth. Then she took those pieces out of the mitten and spat upon them. A house was created there, standing upon the shore, not worse than that of the Sun-Man, with bags full of meat, and with various kinds of food. She lived there. Two young girls were walking on the beach, gathering seaweed. "Oh, oh! What girls are those? Are they not daughters of mine? How poorly clad they are! How thinly dressed!" She called them in, and saw that they were really her daughters. "Oh, oh! I am not dead. I am your mother. I have come back to you!" She gave them pretty clothes of spotted fawn-skins. Then they went home, and she went along with them. Their step-mother and her husband were sitting in the sleeping-room. "Where is your seaweed?" The girls did not answer, as if hearing nothing. "Why do you not answer?" Then at last they flung the seaweed into the sleeping-room. Their step-mother sprang out. "Why do they fling things like that?" She saw their pretty clothes. "Where did they get such clothes? Let me follow them." She followed them, and came to that house. She saw that it was very large, and filled with all kinds of provisions. Then she envied them that were having their meals in that house. The end.

Told by Nuwa´t, a Reindeer Chukchee man, in the camp near the village Mị´s·qạn, April, 1901.