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3. Story of Raven and Wolverene.1

 Once there lived Raven and Wolverene. Wolverene took Raven's girl for a daughter-in-law. They ill-treated her, beat her all the time; then they tied her tongue with a thread, smeared her face all over with fish-roe, made her put on clothing of walrus-hide. They kept her with the dogs, and fed her like a dog, with bones crushed and boiled down to extract the marrow. She had to drink from a chamber-vessel.

 Raven's son is a shaman. One morning he awoke, and said, "Oh, I see my sister in a bad state! They are treating her quite badly." — "Oh," says the Raven, "then let us go and visit her!" — "All right! Go and do so!" Raven came to the Wolverene's house. "You have come!" — "Yes, I have come. Where is the young woman?" — "Her eyes are troubling her. She is sitting in the dark sleeping-room, and cannot go out." — "Oh, oh!" In reality, however, she was there, clad in walrus-hide. He did not recognize her. In the sleeping-room, in the dark, a young Wolverene woman was sitting, a daughter of their own, "Oh, oh! that female slave, the loathsome one! Why is she staring so at you? If she comes near you, strike her with a stick! She is stinking!" Indeed when she seeks to approach him, he strikes her with a stick. "Keep off, you stinking one!" They ate supper. She was given a blunt-edged knife, and could not keep up with the others. Her knife was almost edgeless. They say, "How slow she is, your meat-carver, that one who sits at your side! If she lags behind once more in p. 157 carving meat for you, strike her again and again!" She could not carve with that edgeless knife. So he struck her again with a stick, nor was he able to recognize her. They lay down to sleep. "Let her lie at your side, and let her carry the chamber-vessel for you! Only you must be careful of her. She is given to biting in the night-time. She always bites; such is her wont. If she tries to bite you, strike her again with redoubled strength!" They slept. And really she took the father's hand and carried it to her mouth, in order to make him touch her tied tongue. He started up, and cried, "Oh, oh! Really she wants to bite." He struck her with redoubled force. He did not recognize his own daughter. In the morning he returned home. One more night has passed. In the morning his son got up, and said, "Oh, I see my sister in quite a bad state!" — "Let me visit her again!" — "No! This time I will visit her." He went to the Wolverenes. "You have come?" — "Yes, I have come." That one clad in walrus-hide is standing near the entrance. He looked, and recognized her, being a shaman. "That female slave, why is she staring so at the new-comer? Beat her with a stick!" — "For what shall I beat her? She also is curious to know. She wants to be with the other people." They ate supper. She was given the very worst knife. She could not carve meat with it. "How lazy she is! Strike her! She refuses to carve for you." — "For what shall I beat her? She needs a proper instrument for carving." And he gave her his own knife

 They went to sleep. She had to sleep again at his side. "Be careful! She bites in the night-time." — "Does she, eh?" — They put out the light. She took her brother's hand and put it into her mouth. He touched the string with which her tongue was tied. Then he took out another knife, a small one, and cut the thread.

 It was so tight, it snapped on being cut. The people awoke. "What snapped with such force?" — "My belt snapped." They slept again. "Oh," says he softly to his sister, "thus they are treating you!" — "Yes!" — "Well, to-morrow morning, when I am about going away, be near my sledge." The next morning they brought his reindeer. "Why does my sister not come out of the sleeping-room? I am going, and want to see her." There in her sleeping-room sits their woman, feigning illness. They entered the sleeping-room as if to ask her. "No, she is unwell, she cannot go out." — "Tell her that I want to see her. Let her come out!" The people of the house entered the sleeping-room again. "No, she refuses. She cannot come out." — "Oh, how false are your words! Is not this my sister standing by the sledge?" She jumped upon the sledge. He made the reindeer run at full speed. They cry from behind, "Oh, oh! He has carried off our female slave, our household woman-worker!" He made the reindeer run. So he came home. "There," he says, "see what they have done with your daughter!" — "Oh," says the Raven, "and I did not recognize her." The young Raven-shaman p. 158 called for his dog, and made him defecate. He turned the dog into a man, and the fæces into an infant. These two he made into a father with a little son. They were driving a spotted-reindeer team. Bells were on the sledge. Everything was quite neat, but it was only a dog with its fæces. The man drives on, singing. In the camp of the offenders they heard his song and the tinkling of the bells. "Oh, a good one is passing by! — a man from a wealthy camp." When they drew nearer to the camp, the infant cried. The women felt sorry. "Oh, stay for a while! The child is crying, — a motherless child. Probably the mother is dead." He came and stopped. "Who are you?" — "We are going to the spring fair. My people are coming behind." — "Oh, but where is your female companion?" — "She has been carried away by the Red Ke´lẹ (Small-Pox)." — "Oh, poor little child! Where shall we put it?" Whichever woman comes near, the infant cries still stronger. At last that one approached, the feigning one with the ailing eyes. The infant stretches out its hands toward her. "It is because her face has a likeness to that of its mother." — "Well, come in!" says the woman. They entered. "If I am like the mother, treat me as you treated her." He copulated with her. Then he turned into a dog, and they remained together as dogs do. He dragged her onward over stones and roots of trees, tore her body all to pieces. The infant turned into fæces. Only some excrement remained upon the bed. The end.

Told by Aɛ´ttịqäi, a Reindeer Chukchee man, in a camp near the village of A´čon, April, 1901.



p. 156

1 This tale and the next one, though not exactly referring to the creation of the world, still belong to the Raven cycle: therefore I have placed them here.