Sacred-Texts Asia
Index Previous Next

11. (The Adventures of the Brothers.)1

 A company of brothers went to sea in a boat. They were caught by a foul wind and carried away to another land. They lost their way in a dense fog, but at last they sighted land. It was an extraordinary land, a quite dark one. They spoke thus: "Oh, my! we have come to a strange land." They walked for a while, and saw people that were gulls. The gulls could also speak in the manner of men.

 "Oh, here are those people from the mainland!" — "Yes!" — "What is the matter with you?" — "We were badly treated by the wind." — "Oh, how terrible!" — "But we are dying!" The Gull people said, "You shall not die. Go down slowly along that sea-beach yonder, then you will not die. Indeed, [on your way] there is a stranded carcass (lying on the beach). You must not eat of it. Otherwise you will die. When you shall have passed it by, then you will see the carcass of a hunch-backed whale (Megaptera boöps) stranded (on the beach). You may eat some of its liver."

p. 65

 They were quite hungry when they found the carcass of the hunch-backed whale. They ate of its liver. One of the brothers was [a fool, even] quite foolish. (He said,) "I wish we could eat a little more!" The eldest brother said, "(What you have eaten) is enough. You would die."

 They departed again, and saw people that were gulls (Larus glaucus). "Oh, where are you from?" — "We were badly treated by the sea. We have lost our country. And so we are dying." — "Indeed, you shall not die. Go down again slowly along the seashore. There you will see the stranded carcass of a whale (Balænoptera velifera). You must pass it by. Then you will see another carcass, that of a sea-lion (Eumetopias Stelleri). Of that you may eat your fill."

 They departed from there, and saw the stranded carcass of a whale. They passed by it; and the foolish brother said again, "Oh, let us eat of it!" The eldest brother said, "Such is he, the quite foolish one. — You (actually) want to die." They left there again, and saw people that were gulls of a smaller size.

 "Oh, here are those people from the mainland!" — "Yes!" — "What is the matter with you?" — "We were badly treated by the sea." — "Oh, then move on slowly. You will see the stranded carcass of a white whale. Do not eat of it. After that you will find the stranded carcass of a walrus. You may eat your fill of that. That place is near to a settlement. A strong man lives in it."

 They departed, and saw the stranded p. 66 carcass of a white whale. They passed it by. The foolish brother said again, "Let us eat!" The eldest brother again gave him a scolding, and said thus [spoke to him]: "What do you want, you greedy one?" They passed by it again. Then they found the stranded carcass of a walrus. They ate a full meal of it.

 After that they travelled a little longer, and then landed. They brought their boat to the shore and buried it in the sand, so that it was not to be seen. Then they slept. They awoke (in the morning), and, lo! a man was walking along the shore. He was full of fear. Now he would come near, and again he would flee.

 The foolish brother was quite eager. He said, "Let me catch him!" The eldest one said, "Wait, wait!" They were keeping him back like a dog. Then the other man approached again. The foolish one rushed at him. This foolish brother was also very strong. "Oh, let us kill him!" — "Wait a bit! We will question him first." They kept him down on the ground. Then they asked him, "Are your people numerous?" — "Yes!" — "Have you strong men?" — "Yes, one strong man, and he does much violence. He takes away everybody's provisions." — "Oh, do not tell him about us! We will visit him."

 Evening came again. They sent the foolish one to get provisions. He went, and stole provisions from a cache. He came back and brought a load of whale-skin, ever so big. "Eġeġeġei´, I was almost up to their houses!" — "What did you do that for? Do you p. 67 want to die?" Thus spoke the eldest brother, as before.

 Morning came. A man from that place paddled out in a canoe. The canoe was quite large. He caught many seals. They looked into his canoe, and the canoe was filled [separate boat] (with seals), among them thong-seals. "Halloo! haul me up on shore!" The people did not hear. So he landed. He was very angry. He carried a walrus-penis. With this he began to strike about among all the people there, the neighbors.

 Then he went back to the canoe. "Haul me up on shore!" Of course the people knew better now. So the entire number went to the seashore. He was taking the thong-seals with one hand, [with a single hand,] and, sitting in the canoe, was hurling them ashore. So strong was he.

 The foolish one said, "Oh, indeed! I shall be able to manage him all right." — "Now, there! be quiet, will you?" They came there in the evening. A big jaw-bone house was standing there. The house-master was squirming upon his back in the inner room. Then he saw them. "O guests!" — "Yes!" — "To-morrow we will arrange a thanks-giving ceremonial."

 They passed a night there, and the people were arranging the ceremonial. The master brought in a big stone. They entered, and the entrance was closed. The foolish one spoke to the other brothers. "Oh, but they are going to kill us!" All these men had ermine-skins hanging down from their belts.

 Meanwhile the lamps were put out. p. 68 That stone was a very old one. It was covered all over with dried blood. They brought it in. The guests put on their ermine-skins (in the dark). After that they burrowed [themselves] in holes under the bases of the house-poles. Meanwhile the master was swaying in the dark in a ceremonial dance, and the stone was clattering all around in the house, "Pịw, pịw!"

 He ceased swaying, and said, "Oh, where are the guests?" and in a moment they were in their former places upon the pillow. Light the lamp!" The foolish one said, "Oh, oh! but it is a good merry house for thanksgiving ceremonials." — "Oh, oh, how wonderful! Oh, my! which way have they gone? Oh, there! let us try it again!"

 They brought in some slabs of whalebone. They were covered with dried blood. They were really murderous. Then, again, "Oh, put out the lamp!" They put out the lamp. Those men again concealed themselves in the same place. The master swayed again in his dance; and those slabs of whalebone were doing thus: "Cịġ, Cịġ!" Thus they clicked. If these men had remained on the surface, they would have been cut down by the whalebone slabs.

 Again he called, "Oh, eġeġeġeġei´!" They were sitting in their former places. "Oh, where are the guests?" — "Here we are!" — "Oh, oh, wonderful!" Again the foolish one said, "Oh, oh, my! but it is a good merry house for thanksgiving ceremonials!" — "Oh, again!" They put out the lamp again. This time they fled upwards, close to the vent-hole.

 Then a sling began to hurl stones p. 69 about in the sleeping-room, so that the jaw-bone house was shaking. Again the master ceased swaying. Oh, they were sitting in their former places. "Oh, where are the guests? Probably this time (they are killed)." — "Oh, indeed, here we are!" — "How wonderful! Light the lamps!" Again the foolish one said, while the lamps were being lighted, "Oh, my! what a good merry house for a thanksgiving ceremonial! We feel merry."

 "Oh, bring the Maritime woman for a dance!" They brought her. Again, "Oh, put out the lamp," The old woman danced. They hid themselves under the stone. Oh, oh! the jawbone house swayed to one side, and even the ground bent to one side. This time the foolish one was hit upon the head.

 Then again, "Enough! Light the lamp!" Oh, they appeared, and the head of that one was covered with blood. Then one of the guests, the eldest brother, said, "Oh, now it is our turn. Listen! And so also put out the lamp!" He began swaying in a ceremonial dance, and a big stone from a mountain rolled into the jawbone house. And it crushed even all the (stands made of) ribs of whale. There was a great clatter. The stone rolled about like thunder, and still more thunder approached.

 "There, enough! You will hit the children upon the head!" Still it continued. And as to the strong man, the present performer of the ceremonial, the stones that were rolling around in his house also broke his bones and killed him.

p. 70

 Then a little old man, a neighbor of his, called out, "Oġoġoġoi´, now the people will have a rest from game-robbing in a quite different manner for this one was robbing from his neighbors all their provisions.

 The people were very glad. The brothers ceased (killing). The old man said, "On the seashore (on your way) lies a big thong-seal: it lies on the shore with half of its body out of the water. Do not pass by it at a distance, but go quite close to it, just by the tip of its nose. If you pass at a distance, it will right away kill you. When you shall have passed it, farther on there is a young seal lying on the shore, out of the water up to the middle of its body. Do not attack it, only pass it by. When you have passed it, you will see there a young thong-seal. You may attack that."

 Oh, indeed, they departed. They passed the first one close to the tip of its nose, and saw the young seal. The foolish one spoke again: "Oh, we are too hungry! I wish we might kill this one!" The eldest brother said, "You are so greedy!" — "But it is because we are hungry." — "Such a one are you, that you cannot keep your big greedy jaws quiet."

 They passed it, and saw the young thong-seal. They slew it and had a meal. Just then they saw that a man was coming down the river. This was the master of the first thong-seal (they had passed) on their road. He asked them, "Have you met nothing on the way?" — "Nothing." — "Oh, there! he has not seen them!"

 They departed again. This time p. 71 they saw the Giant Bird.1 It sat crouching on the sea-beach. They passed it from the water-side. When they were moving at a great distance, (the bird stretched out its neck) and swallowed them, together with the boat. [They made promises,] they were so frightened. They promised (to the spirits) a white-haired dog in their house. Then they came out through the anus (quite safe), only their heads had become bald (and they had lost) their hair.

 They departed again, and saw some people who were mice, who were digging earth. They dug out underground houses. They passed a night there. One old woman was still sleeping, — an old mouse-woman. The foolish one said, "Oh, we are suffering from thirst! I will go and have a drink in the house!" The eldest brother said, "(Go,) but do not play any foolish tricks!"

 Oh, he came to that house, and saw the old woman. She had her eyes closed, and had not hailed him at all. Then that man, the foolish one, stood (there for a while). Then he came near the old woman. He took out his penis and directed it toward her nose. Then she stirred up and snuffed around. She spoke thus, quite alone: "Oh, indeed! where does this smell here of husbands come from?"

 She moved on and snuffed around. Then the other one laughed. He laughed on the sly when going out of the house. "Oh, oh! Who has made me a laughing-stock (of the people)?" She, however, heard this low laugh of p. 72 his. "Let his penis grow in length!" He went to the boat. His penis was growing very fast, his trousers were soon quite filled with it. He came to the boat, and his eldest brother scolded him. "I told you not to play silly tricks!" — "Indeed, I played no tricks! I only saw an old woman who had not hailed me at all. All at once I took out my penis and directed it toward her nose. She snuffed around, and then said, 'Whence, again, comes this smell here of husbands?' Then, on going out, I laughed a little. She said, 'Who has made me a laughing-stock? Let his penis grow in length!'"

 "Oh, sorrows! Quick! let us push off!" The boat was very soon filled with the penis. They tried to cut it off, but the remaining piece still continued to grow. At last they were coming home. The eldest brother was a shaman. So the eldest brother addressed that old woman, the mischievous one.

 "Oh, you old woman! thrust something between your own legs!" Then the old woman (sat) down upon the ground undressed, and began to shove her posterior parts to and fro. She thrust into her vulva a splinter of wood, and so killed herself.

 Those men came home. They brought out into the open a shaggy dog and slaughtered it. Their wives had become decrepit from age. The foolish one, on landing, was already quite bloodless, because they were cutting off his penis all the time.

 As soon as they landed, they went to sleep. Then they turned to stone, p. 73 and never again awoke. Oh, the end! The wind has been killed.

Told by Rịke´wġi, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.



p. 64

1 This tale represents a clever intermixture of some elements of Russian or Turko-Mongol origin with others which are genuine Chukchee.

p. 71

1 Concerning the Giant Bird of Chukchee mythology, cf. Vol. VII of this series, p. 328.