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14. A Tale of the Raven Ku´urkịl2 (Ku´urkịl Lŭ´mñịl).

 Once (upon a time) there was a (young) girl, a daughter of Ku´urkịl.2 p. 78 Her father made a public call for suitors. Everybody assembled, suitors from every land, — the Wolf, the Wolverene, the Bear, the Wild Reindeer, the Mouse, the Fox.

 The Hares also heard of the news. They spoke thus: "Oh, let us also go and be suitors!" (One of them said,) "Oh, no! Why, I have no sledge!" — "Oh, well, do try!" Then he consented.

 They came to the place. A rod (was set down as a target for a shooting-contest among the suitors). Then the others began to shoot. The Wolf shot, and could not (hit the mark). Then the Wolverene shot, and could not (hit the mark). Then the Fox also could not (hit the mark). Then the Mouse shot, and could not (hit the mark).

 After that the Hare shot with a bow of grass. He hit the rod, and it fell down. Then they scrambled to see who was the strongest; and all said, "Oh, let her sit down first on my sledge!" The Wolf said, "Let her (sit down) first with me!" But (the sledge) broke down.

 Then the Wolverene said, "Oh, with me!" (The sledge) again broke down. Then the Hare also said, "Oh, with me too!" His sledge was of grass. Still, though she sat down upon it with a thump, it did not break.

 So he married her. He took her home. They came to his mother. The mother was staying simply under a heap of drifted snow. They had no house. "Oh, there! I have brought a woman."

 Then the mother began to sing, "Strange-ers' daughte-er simply under p. 79 drift sno-ow!" Oh, the son said, "Well, now, let me go on a search." He kicked (with his foot) a hummock: it turned into a house. He kicked some small willow-boughs: they turned into a train of sledges. Then he found bushes of black stunted willow, and kicked them, and they turned into a reindeer-herd.

 He came back to his mother. "Oh, now let us go to our house!" They came to the house. The mother-in-law said to the woman, "Enter with your eyes closed!" The woman entered with her eyes closed. Then the old woman said, "Look up!" She looked up.

 The inner room was of white skins. All kinds of objects (of value) were hanging around in the inner room, — beads, ear-rings, bead necklaces.

 Then she brought forth a child. They went visiting to dispel their loneliness.1 They came to the father. Ku´urkịl came out, and then he said to his wife, "It seems to me that I have seen our daughter." The wife said, "Where may our daughter have come here from?" He said, "Still I saw her." The mother came out also, with one sleeve dangling down.2 They entered the house.

 Then Ku´urkịl's son, the brother of the young woman, came home from a walk in the open. The father said, "Our son-in-law has come here. What shall we give him to eat?" The son said, "All right! Let me go on a search!"

 He went to an old camping-place, and found there a dead puppy, which p. 80 had died from (having) too many lice. It was quite lean.

 When he came back, the father asked him, "Well?" And it was only a small puppy, exceedingly lean. Oh, the father-in-law said, "Hi! the son-in-law is hungry, cook some meat for him!" They did the cooking, but he could not eat anything. He felt too much aversion (to eating).

 "Oh!" (exclaimed the Raven,) "how very extraordinary! Now, then, let me go for a walk myself!" He also went to an old camping-place of the Reindeer people. He found there some excrement, simply an outpouring from diarrhœa. He brought this home. "Now, here! this is (at least) more slippery (for swallowing)."

 Then the son-in-law became angry, and began to chide: "Oh, the deuce! What have they brought? How can I eat this?" He felt much aversion (to it). "We do not feed on such things."

 They went away. The next morning the father-in-law went to visit them. When he came to them, they were about to move camp, and the tents were already broken down. The son-in-law said, "Oh, goodness! we are going to move! and just at this time you come! Up to yesterday you could not come!" [Then the son-in-law said,] "Well, now, anyway, have a reindeer slaughtered for you." The father-in-law said, "Oh, I will slaughter it myself, with your leave."

 He had the reindeer slaughtered when they were ready to start. He slew a fat (doe whose) fawn (had) died (in the spring). The son-in-law said, p. 81 "I will carry it for you." He said, "No, I will carry it myself." They went away with their (pack-sledges, — a whole) train. Still before they vanished from sight, (he began to eat). He ate the whole day long of that reindeer-carcass, and pecked at it.

 After that he passed a night there near the carcass. While eating, he was also defecating upon the carcass. The son came to see him, and looked on at his doings. "What are you doing?" — "Oh, I am tired out! I have worked till this moment."

 "Well, let me bring a sledge!" The son departed. (He came home) and said to his mother, "Oh, your husband has made the whole reindeer-carcass into mere excrement." The mother said, "Oh, he will come all alone (i. e., empty-handed)!" (The Raven's son) hauled the sledge, and came (to the father). "Oh, you have come?" (said the Raven,) and he had almost consumed the (whole) carcass. "Where is the carcass?" — "There it is!" — "Is it?" said the son.

 They went away, and came (to the house). "Miti´!"1 She paid no attention. "Oh, I have a slaughtered reindeer!" (Still) she paid no attention. "Are you not glad?" Then the wife gave utterance. "For what should I be glad?" — "Oh, here is a slaughtered reindeer!" — "What reindeer?" — "The fawnless doe!" — "But it seems that you have brought only the skeleton, mere bones." — "Oh, look here, come out! It is simply white with fat!" But in reality it was his excrement, which looked white p. 82 upon the carcass. "It seems that it is the skeleton covered with excrement."

 In a moment [from mere confusion] he was dead from mere shame; or, rather, he simulated death. His wife carried him to the funeral place. She put him into an old jawbone house. Then she went home. As soon as they went home, he also went away. He came to some Reindeer people. He cut off his penis (and made it) into a needle-case; his testicles (he made) into thimbles, and the hair of his pubes into needles. He found a husband among the Reindeer people. He hung his needle-case with its appurtenances (up on his sitting-place); and when the other (women) came near, he would cry out, "(Beware!) You will break my needles!" lest they should look on them. The needle-case was simply his penis.

 At the same time the wife, forsaken by him, was crying (in her house). A small Fox visited her. (The Fox said,) "What is the matter with you? — "My husband is dead." — "Well, what of that! It seems that he has found a husband among the Reindeer people." (The Fox) said, "Make some reindeer, — the reindeer of excrement, the sledge of excrement. Make this, and then go away, [and say thus:] — Certainly she (i. e., the Raven turned into a woman) will come out with one sleeve dangling, she likes the newcomers much. — So when they say to you, 'Where are you going?' you just say, 'Ku´urkịl has died. Now I am going to make suit to his wife, Ku´urkịl's wife.' Then you must say, 'I am going away.'"

 She went away [came home] (and did p. 83 all this). Then again she was found by the Fox. (The Fox) said, "Make (a likeness of) a man's head with hair upon it, and put it close to yourself on the outer side of your pillow. When evening comes, put it down there. Then in a short time that husband of yours, the one you have seen to-day, who has come out with one sleeve dangling, he will come."

 When evening came, Ku´urkịl felt restless, he grew jealous, then he grew mad and wanted to come out. They could not keep him back.

 He went out, and went away. He came to his wife, and called out, "O Miti´!" She paid no attention. "O Miti´!" — "Ho!" — "I have revived!" — "Oh!" — "With whom are you sleeping?" — "A suitor came to me." (Just so she spoke as) she had been taught by the Fox. "Oh, I have come back, I have revived!" Then the woman said, "It seems that I have seen you recently. You came out with one sleeve dangling." He died again from shame. This time he did it in earnest. Verily, he died, was dead from shame, simply rolled down. That is all.

Told by Qo´tirġịn, a Maritime Chukchee man, in the village of Mi´s·qạn, November, 1900.



p. 77

2 The mythical name of Raven. It is pronounced in different ways, according to the localities: Ku´rkịl, Ku´urkịl, Qu´urkil, Qu´urqịl (cf. Vol. VII of this series, p. 315, Footnote 2).

p. 79

1 Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 595.

2 An attitude much in use among Chukchee women (cf. Vol. VII of this series, p. 245; also Plate XXVII, Fig. 3).

p. 81

1 {Mitei´.} This is a vocative of Miti´, the name of Raven's wife.