There was a Lamut camp. An old Lamut had three daughters, who were not married. Another family made their camp nearby. I do not know whether they were men or spirits. They attacked the Lamut, and killed all of them. The three sisters fled. The strangers dried the flesh of their victims. They split the bones and extracted the marrow. The sisters were very hungry. The oldest one said, "I will go to them. I am very hungry. Perhaps they will not kill me."
They bade her welcome and offered her meat. It seems, they gave her flesh of one of her own people, for she could not eat it. The master of the house was the shaman of the camp. In the evening he said to his wife and the visiting girl, "I will sleep this night with both of you." So they lay down side by side. The shaman copulated first with the one, then with the other. When they lay there tired, the girl asked the mistress, "Do you live on the flesh of those Lamut people?"--"It is so," she answered. The shaman suddenly jumped up. "Ah! my heart is throbbing. It forbodes something."--"What does it forbode?" asked his wife. "Is there anybody stronger than you are?"--"Lie down!" said the guest, "since you are my new husband." He lay down. The guest asked again, "Eh, sister, do you ever suffer from any illness?"--"Never," answered the mistress. "In the valley down there is a reindeer that belongs to my husband. Its liver is full of reindeer fly maggots. Whoever gets this liver kills all of us. This is our only fear."--"Ah, sister!" answered the guest, "it is time to sleep."
Soon they slept. The Lamut woman crept out of the tent. She took the bow and arrows, put on her snowshoes, and went to look for the reindeer. She saw it in the valley, close to a group of larch trees. It was
spotted, and its antlers stood upright. She tried to approach, but it ran away. At last she came within range of it and killed it. Then she opened it and extracted the liver. It was full of maggots. She destroyed these one by one. Soon there was heard a great lamentation from the camp of the invaders. "Arai, arai." 1 She came to the shaman's tent. He jumped up; but when she destroyed the largest maggot, he fell back dead. Then she went to her sisters. "Ah, sisters! I have killed them all."--"How is it possible?" said the sisters. "It is not true."--"Indeed, let us go and look at them!" They arrived at the camp. All their enemies were stone-dead. They carried out the bodies, and took everything in the camp for themselves. The end.
Told by Anne Sosykin, a Russianized Chuvantzi woman, in the village of Markova. Recorded by Mrs. Sophie Bogoras, winter of 1900.
127:1 In the Lamut language, "Alas, alas!"--W. B.