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21. (The Shaman and the Ke´let.)

 Once — of whom shall I speak (now)? One time Tño´tirġịn, [a man, indeed] a shaman, walked up river. Then he saw two men driving reindeer.

 "Oh, well, now, where are you going?" — "Well, then, we are going to Tño´tirġịn's in search of food. In (our) search we are going to yonder settlement." — "Is that so? Really! But where is Tño´tirġịn?" — "Yes, where is he? We do not know, we have not found him." — "Really? Well, now, I also do not know. He is quite unknown to me."

 "The fact is, we are sent by Nota´rmê to look for food in Tño´tirġịn's (camp)." — "Really?" — "We are [in] the vanguard. In the rear the pack-sledges of Nota´rmê are slowly moving on." — "Indeed!"

 Oh, he killed them there, he stabbed all of them. Tño´tirġịn, this earthly p. 120 man, killed the ke´let, being a shaman. Then he departed and went home. Evening came, and they slept. The morning, about dawn, he woke up and went to the same place up river.

 There he saw two young women taking water from the river. "Ah! so you came for water?" — "Yes!" — "You women, whose (women) are you?" — "We are Nota´rmê's." — "Indeed! Where are your houses?" — "They are here, only they are not visible from this place." — "Oh, that is it!"

 The ke´lẹ-women, while taking water, sing a song, one of Tño´tirġịn's. "Oh, whose lullaby1 are you singing?" — "It is Tño´tirġịn's." — "Really! Then this Tño´tirġịn must be a man with pretty songs, with a pretty manner of singing."

 The ke´lẹ-women said, "It seems to us that you are Tño´tirġịn." — "Oh, well, how can I be Tño´tirġịn? I do not know him. He is quite unknown to me. I have never seen him." — "Really!" — "Then sing it again!" — "All right!" They sang on.

 They [finished] finished drawing water. Then they went home. Tño´tirġịn followed, and went after them. At the same time Nota´rmê, the chief, the strong one, was sitting on a sledge, sheltered from the wind, — Nota´rmê, the ka´mak,2 the ke´lẹ.

 "Oh, here you are!" — "Yes!" — "You have come?" Tño´tirġịn asked him. (He answered,) "Yes! Indeed, I am here. I am going to Tño´tirġịn's." — "Are you?" — "But then it is not known, we do not know, where Tño´tirġịn is." p. 121 — "Really!" — "Where he is, I do not know. I have not seen Tño´tirġịn."

 Then Tño´tirġịn asked of Nota´rmê, "Well, now, if you had found Tño´tirġịn, would you have done anything to him?" — "Oh, yes! if I had found him, I should of course have finished with him, because last year he killed all my people who were sent by me on reindeer (to look for human prey)." — "Oh, indeed!" — "Yes!"

 Close to Nota´rmê was a dog of giant size tied to.the sledge. What now! Tño´tirġịn seized Nota´rmê. He caught him, (and said,) "Oh, here I am! I am Tño´tirġịn." — "Eh!" — "Oh, at last we have met [each other]! I am going to kill you! Why, you too have (of late) almost killed me." "Oh, let me go! I shall not come to you. I am carrying antlers. We came here also carrying antlers.1 But I will send them (to the place rightly) from here." — "No, indeed! I am going to kill you. In vain you are trying to deceive me. At last we have met!"

 "Well, then, I will give you that dog there." — "I do not want it. You are deceiving me. No, indeed, I am going to kill you." — "Indeed, I do not want to deceive you. Why should I?" — "Oh, well! Then let me take it now to my house!" — "No, you could not [own] keep it as your own dog. If you should take it now openly to your house, you could not have it for your own. Let it be! In due time I will cause it to be born for you to a pregnant female dog." — "All right!" — "Yes!" He let him go.

p. 122

 "Oh, oh, women, hurry up! We are going to change camp. We are going back (to our own country)! Let us carry those antlers quickly to their place!" They carried away the antlers, and took them (to their destination). When they had done so, they went back, and fled to thelr own country.

 Tño´tirġịn also came back. Summer came. He lived close to the river, at its mouth. After a while a great mass of fish came to the river, so that it was quite filled with fish, and even the water could not flow down because of the fish. Some of the fish leaped to the shore, so full was the river. When he awoke in the morning, a number of whales and other sea-game were stranded on the shore, and even leaped up shore.

 After that a female dog brought forth pups. He looked over the puppies. Some were actual whelps. One, however, was [born] the dog of a ke´lẹ. This dog of the ke´lẹ grew up with Tño´tirġịn and became quite large, — a huge dog, of the size of a reindeer. Therefore it remained tied to a big iron chain, in the inner room, or in the outer room, near the wall.

 Then again Nota´rmê came to Tño´tirġịn. The houses of the settlement were quite numerous. Nota´rmê's people surrounded all the houses with nets, so that a number of souls were caught in them. Thus they were killing (human) people.

 The people of Tño´tirġịn and all his neighbors, however, were sleeping quite soundly, and not one of them would wake up. Then the big dog that was chained up began to bark at p. 123 its master, "Bow wow!" Still the master slept. Oh, oh! they did not even hear this deep and loud voice.

 At last, out of mere compassion, the dog snapped the chain in two and rushed on the sleeping master. Then it bit him in the finger. Then the master woke up at last, and came out at some place, somewhere up high. He killed a great many ke´let [Tño´tirġịn and the dog]. The dog also helped him in this.

 Right after that, Nota´rmê fled. Some (ke´let) were killed. The people of Tño´tirġịn remained quite safe.

 One of the next years Tño´tirġịn, in his turn, went to make war against the ke´lẹ, [went to make war] against the people of Nota´rmê. He came to his place. Nota´rmê said, "You have come!" — "Oh, I tell you! you have almost killed me! Now I have come to you openly. Well, now, let us have fight!" — "Eh! First let us go into the house and have a meal!" — "No, I do not want it. I refuse." — "Ah, all right!" He killed Tño´tirġịn.

 The ke´lẹ is quite strong on his own ground. And for what did he go to the ke´lẹ? (The ke´lẹ) killed him, and murdered all (his people). The end.

Told by Qora´wġê, a Reindeer Chukchee man of the Telqä´p tundra, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.



p. 120

1 The best praise of a Chukchee song is to say that it puts people to sleep.

2 This word belongs to the Koryak language and also to the Russo-Chukchee jargon. Perhaps it was used for my personal benefit.

p. 121

1 The Chukchee carry reindeer-antlers to the funeral-places of their parents and relatives (cf. Vol. VII, of this series p. 533).