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Once in olden times, the Ai´wan and the people of St. Lawrence Island were at war. One man from this shore met with misfortune through the wind. While on the icefields he was carried away and spent two months on the icefields. One day there was a fog, and no land was to be seen. Then he heard the roaring of walrus. Still he remained with head drawn back into his coat. Then he was visited by another man, by a shaman, who found him sleeping on [the surface of] the ice and awakened him, "Oh, how wonderful, you are here?" The other one looked up and, indeed, he wept aloud. The shaman said, "Do not weep! A settlement, though of St. Lawrence people, is quite near."
Then, suddenly, they saw it. They came ashore. A number of houses were there. The people were clad in bird-skin clothes. Those of St. Lawrence Island are also Ai´wan, their language being the same. They took hold of p. 8 the strangers, they took captive those two men. They bound the shaman, the other one they killed with a drill, having perforated his head at the crown. After that they set free the shaman, intending to keep him as a slave.
He passed there only one night. When they were about to go to sleep, he went out and shouted toward the sea, calling the walrus spirit. Immediately from afar came the walrus. Oh, oh, the walrus came. Indeed, they were (as numerous) as sand. He walked along over their heads and went away. Then also the walrus which he had passed would come up in front. An old male walrus said, "Oh, now we are nearing the land. Your people are eager to pursue us. Oh, therefore some of us are going away. It seems that your people are bad." Oh, he said to two walrus, two year old ones, "Let us carry away our guest." By one of them he was made to sit on its body, and it dashed on, plunging along. The old walrus, the one that was most clever, followed it (like a leader). When one walrus got tired, he was made to sit on the other one.
When night came, they found a floe of sea-ice. The old walrus said, p. 9 "Oh, all the people are tired. Let the people go to sleep." They put the man on [the surface of] the sea-ice. The old walrus said to the man, "Oh, you may sleep on [the surface of] the sea-ice. We will sleep by your side on the water." They inflated the crops on their throats and floated on the water like bladders. In due time the old walrus awoke. "Now let the people go along. Oh, my! you must be hungry." — "Oh yes!" said the man. It was still dark. The old walrus dived to the bottom of the sea and saw something like the [motionless star] Polar Star. He bent over it and it proved to be a shellfish. The little man was fed with those shellfish. They were quite warm and even hot. Probably the walrus cook them secretly, therefore they may have been hot.
They set off and moved on till midnight. The old walrus said, "It seems we are nearing land." They moved on, and before the land was near, the dawn came. "Oh, you must be hungry again." — "Oh yes!" The walrus again plunged down. This time he brought some shellfish of oblong shape. p. 10 He ate again. "Now we are going to leave you. As soon as we shall see a floe of sea-ice, though a small one, we shall leave you on it." Then they saw one. "Well, your people will be here this [dawn] morning. We are beginning to feel afraid." They put him on the ice. "Oh, what are you doing, you are leaving me alone." — "It is quite certain, that they will come."
Then he was told by the walrus, "When you are overtaken by sleep, roar like a walrus, when you are going to sleep." Then the walrus dashed on, plunging on the way. They went away, very far to the open sea. Soon after that he began to be overtaken by sleep. So he roared like a walrus and immediately turned into one.
When the dawn of the day came, some people approached in a boat and began to move along towards him. Before they were too near, he awoke. Just when the bowman was going to throw the harpoon, he said, "Oh, what are you going to do unto me?" — "Oh, dear! Is it not wonderful? You have become a walrus, and we came near killing you. Oh, whence did you come back?" — "Truly, it is bad. We come from a settlement of men. p. 11 My companion, however, is not with me. Those people are wrong-doers. They drilled through his head and killed him." He entered the house. "Oh, what news?" — "Truly, it is pitiful. Evil-doers are those people."
The summer came. They went to war, the men of Uñi´sak, and probably from every neighboring settlement a number of boats assembled. Then a large company of boats set off. All boats were overloaded (with warriors). Before they were too near, they saw a cluster of houses of the St. Lawrence people standing on the seashore. In the rear of the houses was a bay of St. Lawrence Island; there actually a large part of the boatsmen went ashore. They walked along in the fog from the rear, just out of sight of the islanders. Then an old man, one of the crew said, "Oh, howl like wolves!" They had not been seen by the St. Lawrence people and they were not expected by them. Now, when they uttered their howls, another old man, one from St. Lawrence Island, said, "Oh, now they are coming." The young men said, "But we are on an island." — "Give answer to them!" So they p. 12 roared like walrus. Then the old man, one of the boat's crew, said again, "Oh, where are you? Now they have become our quarry."
The larger part, those who had landed in the rear (of the houses), were still unknown to the St. Lawrence people. Those from St. Lawrence island hid by the seashore. But those from the boats attacked them from the rear and a slaughter ensued. The St. Lawrence women were already strangling themselves from mere fright. The others, at the same time, were mincing a large quantity of walrus blubber with their kitchen-knives, (preparing a meal for the victors). It was a great slaughter. Many St. Lawrence women were put on board the boats and brought over here.
Some years passed. The fourth year, the St. Lawrence people went to war. They landed in the night-time and found the people sleeping. So they started to murder them, thrusting their spears from outside under the outer tent-cover, all around the sleeping-room, and stabbing the sleepers. A small orphan child hid himself somewhere near the house, while they were still killing p. 13 some of the sleepers, and before they had time to go to another house. He awakened all the neighbors. They rushed out. Then those from St. Lawrence Island fled to the open sea. Two men staid behind on the ice-floe.
They lived on the ice-floe. Before the strong winds of autumn begin to blow, they came to steal some meat and so were taken captive. "Oh, we will not kill you." They, however, struggled on, not heeding these words. The next night, they stole some warm clothes and departed again. They went away together over the sea-ice, they walked along over the newly-frozen sea. The ice was salt and yielded under every step.
Then they came to the shore. A St. Lawrence old man asked them, "Well, what kind of men are the land-people?" — "Oh, they are deucedly good." — "Oh, Oh," said the St. Lawrence old man, "Now let the (two) people become friendly to each other."
Summer came again. "Oh well, now let the people set off." Then the people of St. Lawrence Island came over here. They brought a quantity of p. 14 wooden vessels, walrus hides, everything they had. They landed and the people became friends. So they distributed their vessels among our people. An old man from this side said, "Indeed, what will you give as return presents?" The visitors were clothed in bird skins. "What kind of skins are these?" — "Reindeer-skins." — "And what is a reindeer?" Then they showed them the reindeer-muzzles. They examined them. They said, "Oh, thus they are; like the holes in a boat cover,1 (namely in the walrus-hide cover, all along the border). Now then, eat some of the meat!" They cooked fat meat. "Oh, just like blubber!" They ate of it. "Oh, oh, quite exquisite!"
After that they went away. One man was left. He was a shaman, and he was treated just like the former one (i. e. he was bound). When winter came, they set him free. The shaman had a sledge. So he departed in the night-time. He was hauling the sledge loaded with walrus-blubber. He moved on until he felt tired. It was full moon. At that time he was overtaken by another shaman, one from the western country. That shaman also was hauling a sledge. The former heard only a noise above; that western shaman was p. 15 flying along. On both sides he had long knives, which he used as wings. The other shaman who was hauling the sledge was startled and fled. When he was approached by the other one, just on his arrival, he also fled up with his sledge. Still, the other one was about to overtake him. Before he could catch up with him, (the other one) dived under ground, only the sledge remained there on the ground. Oh, the other one was unable to pursue him, the western shaman.
Then he sat down. "Oh, oh, oh; indeed; indeed! Not without reason was he talked about. Really I am much interested in seeing you." It seems that shaman was called Ke´mneku.1 "No shaman from any country whatsoever can vanquish me." Then Ke´mneku spoke to the ground downward. "Nevertheless you have frightened me. I thought you were a ke´lẹ. Now come here." He appeared. "Give me your necklace. Let me give you this knife in exchange." — "No, I do not want to give it to you." — "Then I p. 16 shall not be believed. Please, do give it to me." — "No, I won't." — "Then I will give you this big knife. Please, give me your necklace."
Then they exchanged their (assistant) spirits. And the other one gave him the necklace. He gave him the knife. The western shaman said to the other one, "Now then, move about with the knives." All at once the other one moved upwards in this manner. Then Ke´mneku said, after they had exchanged even their bodies, "Well, now put on the necklace; go away and fly up, just as I did. You will fly up, then sink down to the ground and plunge in." The other one flew up. Then, slowly moving he fell down, plunged into the ground, but (when he was in as far as) the middle of his body, he stuck fast. "Oh, I have been unable to do it. Give me your wrist-bands!" — "I will not give them to you." — "Then I will give you the tassel from my back. It is my tail, my guide in motion."
Then he consented. The western shaman said to him, after the tassel had been given [then he said to him], "Well now, fly up just as I did." He p. 17 [himself] flew up and just went up clattering. The shaman from St. Lawrence Island said to the other one, "Well, now it is your turn." He gave him the wrist-bands. "You will fly up, then you will fall down again and plunge into the ground." Then the western shaman flew up. Slowly moving he fell down. Then he plunged into the ground and was submerged as in water. After a while he re-appeared. He said, "Oh, oh, indeed; Ke´mneku is talked about. How is it now? I am unable (to pursue him). Still before this in my own mind I thought I could hardly be pursued by anyone. Oh, oh, truly; Ke´mneku has been talked about. How is it now? You have vanquished me. Oh, let us go away!" Then the western shaman flew up. They were travelling at night. In one night they travelled flying through every land. Ke´mneku said. "I am going away."
The western shaman came home. He said to his companions, "I saw a shaman from St. Lawrence Island. I was unable to follow him." — "You lie." — "Indeed, it is true." — "Well then, what kind (of a shaman) was he?" He showed the necklace. "This is his necklace." — "You lie. You have p. 18 stolen it somewhere." — "Indeed, no!" — "Well then, what kind (of a shaman) was he?" Then he flew up with easy motion, then fell back to the ground and plunged in, as though it had been water. "Oh, really, you have acquired new shamanistic powers."
His father said to him, "Well now, let us see, whether he has really acquired new shamanistic powers. Go on, look for Children's-Death." He flew away night after night and travelled among all kinds of beings. Nothing. He came back to the house. By his father he was told, "What is the matter with you? You cause delay. Oh, surely he lied (to the people)." He departed again. This time he went underground. Then he came back and said, "I have been unable to do it." By his father he was told, "Oho, what is the matter with you?" By his son, the western shaman, (the father) was told, "Oh, but I could not find him among any kind of beings."
After that he went to the Being-of-Darkness. Then at last he saw a man; a mere mouth. This was Children's-Death. By the Darkness he was p. 19 questioned, "What do you want?" — "By my father I have been sent. I was told, 'Go and look for Children's-Death.'" — "Oh, oh, and for what purpose?" — "Only to show him to the people." — "Well, surely, he is in my neighbor's house." He went there. There was an old man who dwelled in those regions, a mere mouth, smeared all around with dried blood. The shaman entered. "Oh, at last I see you." The other one questioned him. (He replied,) "By my father you are bidden to come." — "And for what purpose?" — "He said thus, 'I want to see the old woman1 yonder.'" She refused to go. "For what purpose?" — "They only want to see you. My father said, 'Go and look for Children's-Death.'" — "Oh, but I refuse." — "Please come! It seems they will not believe me."
Then she consented. She said to him, "Sit down on my body." Then she flew up with him. A great noise spread around. It was very loud. And the whole world clattered and resounded. His father said, "Oh, what is the matter again? The world is full of noise. It appears that really he has p. 20 acquired new shamanistic powers." In coming he let her plunge underground, and after that appear in the outer tent. "What luck?" — "It seems that this time I brought Children's-Death." — "Now bring her here. I want to see her." She was as large as a tree. Still she decreased in size very quickly; and he put her on the palm of his hand before he showed her to them, so small had she come to be. Before she dwindled away, he spat on her, and she grew again. Then, on becoming thus, she decreased again in size. He made her plunge underground, then he made her appear. Then he took her in the other hand, and she became as large as before.
"Oh, that is you! You are the source of sorrow among every kind of beings, to those that have children. To whomsoever a child is born, it dies suddenly, and you are the cause of it. You are Children's-Death. Now we will bind you." They tied her with thongs, but she broke them all. Then they tied her with a grass-blade. She was struggling the whole night, but the grass-blade proved to be tough, (it could) not be broken by her. The whole night through there was clamor and weeping. Then they said to her, p. 21 "Will you do evil the same as before?" — "Oh, no! not now; not from now on. I will cease doing so." — "Oh, but it seems to us, you will do evil again. You are bad, you are the source of trouble. You kill new-born children." — "Oh, no! I have been made to obey by the angry ones (evil-minded conjurers). From now on, I shall not obey them. I repent having done so (heretofore). Oh, indeed! Set me free." — "But it seems you will do evil again. Well, we will set you free." — "From now on, I will turn to the Life-Giving-Being. Now the new-born child shall grow up, it shall die only in its old age." Then they set her free.
She departed. Darkness asked her, "Well, how were you treated by the human beings?" — "Oh, I have been cruelly treated by them. Now I repent. Whatsoever I may be ordered to do by the angry ones, from now on I shall not obey them." Darkness said, "That is your way. Though you say now, 'I shall not obey the angry ones,' still you lie. It seems, when you will be hungry again, you will comply again with their requests." p. 22 Nevertheless, when the angry ones spoke again, she paid no attention to them. Oh, but are the children dying only owing to the angry ones?
Again the (shaman's) father sent him, "Go and look for Death, by whom people are killed." Then again he sought among all kinds of beings, but could not find him. "What luck?" — "Oh, nothing." — "Oho, I thought you were a shaman!" He departed again, this time underground. Again he could not find Death, and came back. "What luck?" — "Oh, I could not find him." — "Oh, but what is the matter with you?" That was a wonderful father. Then he travelled along the crevices in the ground, and saw Iu´metun.1 Iu´metun was black like coal, and had only three fingers on each hand. "Oh, that is you. You are the source of death." Iu´metun said, "What do you want?" — "I have come to visit you." — "Oh, now you are meddling again with my affairs. No live being has ever been able to see me, and now you have seen me. I was not, however, to be seen by anybody." — "My father bids you come." — "Where to and for what purpose?" — "They only want to see you." They departed. "What luck?" — "Yes, now I have brought him." — "Well, bring him here."
Then he showed him to them. He was no larger than a reindeer-fly. "Ah, here you are! You are Iu´metun. You kill everybody without illness. We say, 'How wonderful, what has killed him?' And it is you." — "No, I am not the one." — "Indeed, you are the one. If you are not the one, then, indeed, I cannot become black. But if you are really Iu´metun, I shall become black from you." — "No, truly, I am not the one. Set me free." Indeed, he renounced his own body. "Now we will bind you." Meanwhile he was induced to touch the man's skin. All at once the place where he had been touched reddened, and then became black. "What now, then? Indeed, you are Iu´metun." — "Oh, truly I am not he." — "Yes, you are. You are evil, you are a source of trouble. Why do you meddle with the affairs of man?" — "Oh, the Ground-Beings (evil spirits) tell me to do so."
"Also, when a man is alone in the open country, you meddle with him. Oh, we will tie you up." — "Oh, set me free! From now on treat the p. 24 clefts of the ground with offerings. And when a shaman accuses me as the cause of suffering of a man, that shaman shall be able to cure him. Every source of illness of man shall be seen by the shamans, and even by merely breathing on the skin, they shall set (the sick) right. Also when a ransom is paid to the spirits, a single bead shall be used by the shaman as a sufficient payment. But when in a serious illness a reindeer is presented as ransom, let it be a buck, well broken, because if it struggles, it is not good for the suffering body. Also by incantations suffering shall be alleviated." Then the old man said to him, "You lie." — "No, I do not. I was not a murderer of my own free will; the Ground-Beings told me so. Set me free. Now, even when an orphan-child wanders alone in the open country, I shall not meddle with him. Indeed, also an orphan-child shall be able to sleep safely in the open country." — "But surely, you deceive us." — "No, indeed! Set me free. Now I shall turn to the Merciful-Being, and I will help every orphan-child. I have been induced to do wrong by the Ground-Beings. p. 25 From now on, let the Ground-Beings be placated by offerings. Let a dog be killed, let it be stabbed (with an iron knife). Also let blood be sprinkled on the ground. Sausages let also be [stabbed] offered. The Sea-Beings also must be made friendly, When the people are unable to find game, something small may be used, a small root of Polygonum viviparum. It must be thrown into the sea. Then sea-game shall appear again, and all kinds of sea-game shall be taken. Also a man who has trouble with his young children may call as a shaman a little old beggar-woman.1 Then the child's clothes must be pinned in some unusual manner. Let them be quite friendly to the conjurer. And when the conjurer comes, let them give her some small presents. She may take home some sausage. A part of it has to be thrown to the Incantation-Beings. Then the child shall cease to suffer. Oh, set me free! They set him free. Unfortunately he proved a liar. The end.
Told by Rịke´wġi, A Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.
1 The skin of a reindeer-head with its eye-holes and nostrils resembles in a way the walrus-hide covering of the skin-boat, with its holes around the edge. The resemblance lies in the appearance of the holes.
1 This passage is not clear. The narrator did not know exactly what each shaman did.
1 At first Children's-Death is called a man, now a woman.
1 Iu´metun is a spirit of nightmare, living in the open country and hiding in the crevices of the ground. He is much dreaded by the Chukchee (cf. Vol. VII of this series, pp. 42, 293).
1 Among the Pacific Chukchee, čata´m-yêɛ´čhịn means "beggar-woman," though both words signify "moon." Some tale must underlie this term, but I have been unable to secure it.