Index Previous Next
A Raven married a Fox-Woman. They had nothing to eat. The Raven said, "Now I am going to the Sea-Spirit." His wife laughed. "How will you find him?" — "Oh, I shall, I know the sea!" The Raven flew away, p. 194 and came to the middle of the sea. He sat down on the ice, and saw, down in the water under the ice, a large house. It was the house of the Sea-Spirit. So he took off his coat and entered the house. The house-master met him with great joy. "So you have come? Who are you?" — "I am the Raven." — "And where is your coat?" — "I left it outside, near the house." — "Bring it here!" The Raven brought it. The Sea-Spirit put it on, and asked, "Do I look well in this coat?" — "Oh, quite so! You may wear it all the time." — "No!" said the Sea-Spirit. He took off the coat and gave it back to the Raven. "Now tell me, what is the matter with you?" — "We have nothing to eat, my wife and I. Give us something!" — "All right! Go home!" He came to his wife, and the house was filled with ringed seals and spotted seals. Also all kinds of fish, whatsoever fish lives in the sea, were there in plenty. The Raven's wife was frightened. "Whence came all this abundance?" The Raven said, "Do not be frightened! The Sea-Spirit gave all this to me." — "Oh, oh! the Sea-Spirit! Have you really seen him?" — "I saw him in the middle of the sea. He lives in a house under the water." Oh, the Fox was very angry. "You fool! you asked for too little. I am going to get more." — "But you will not act in a proper manner." — "No, I am clever enough."
The Fox ran to the middle of the sea, and saw the house of the Sea-Spirit. She took off her coat and entered the house. The Sea-Spirit met her with great joy. "Oh, a guest! Who are you?" — "I am Fox-Woman." — "And where is your coat?" — "I left it outside, near the house." — "Bring it here!" She brought it. The Sea-Spirit put it on, and asked, "Do I look well in this coat?" The Fox laughed aloud, and derided him. The Sea-Spirit was very angry. He pushed the Fox out. Then he broke all the ice on the sea. The Fox was nearly drowned. She came to the shore utterly exhausted. When she came to her husband, the Raven grew very angry. "I told you so," said he. "Now everything has vanished, and we have nothing to eat." They suffered hunger worse than before. The Raven once more flew to the middle of the sea and found the Sea-Spirit. This time the Sea-Spirit was so angry, he did not want even to talk to him. The Raven stood near the entrance, and said, "I have come." — "What do you want?" The Raven said with great sorrow, "O Sea-Spirit! I have lost everything you gave me, and now we are suffering hunger. Give us something, howsoever small!" The Sea-Spirit laughed aloud, and relented. "Ah, you are suffering! And where is your coat?" — "It is outside, near the house." — "Bring it here!" The Raven brought it, and the Sea-Spirit put it on. "Do I look well in this coat?" — "Oh, quite so! You may wear it all the time." — "I will." He took the coat for himself. Then he asked, "What do you want from me?" — "I want herds of reindeer and herds of mountain-sheep." — "Go home! You shall have them all."
The Raven came home, and saw near his house large reindeer-herds with many herdsmen. They greeted him, and said, "You have come, O master!" — "I am not your master at all, I am too poor for that." — "But the Sea-Spirit has sent all these herds and herdsmen to be under your hand." — "All right!" They lived there, the Raven without a coat, and the Fox, who had been nearly drowned. They ate of the best meat, and were quite wealthy. Then the Fox brought forth two children, — a son and a daughter. They felt so much joy, they died from it. That is the end.
Written down by Peter Korkin, a Russianized Yukaghir, in the village of Pokhotsk on the Lower Kolyma, 1895.
1 A tale of a somewhat similar character was collected among the Kolyma Chukchee, and published in my Chukchee Materials, p. 128.