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p. 150

p. 151



1. Raven Tale.2

First Version.

 Raven and his wife live together, — the first one, not created by any one, Raven, the one self-created. The ground upon which they live is quite small, corresponding only to their wants, sufficient for their place of abode. Moreover, there are no people on it, nor is there any other living creature, nothing at all, — no reindeer, no walrus, no whale, no seal, no fish, not a single living being. The woman says, "Ku´urkịl."3 — "What?" — "But we shall feel dull, being quite alone. This is an unpleasant sort of life. Better go and try to create the earth!" — "I cannot, truly!" — "Indeed, you can!" — "I assure you, I cannot!" — "Oh, well I since you cannot create the earth, then I, at least, shall try to create a 'spleen-companion.'"4 — "Well, we shall see!" said Raven.

 "I will go to sleep," said his wife. "I shall not sleep," said Ku´urkịl. "I shall keep watch over you. I shall look and see how you are going to be." — "All right!" She lay down and was asleep. Ku´urkịl is not asleep. He keeps watch, and looks on. Nothing! she is as before. His wife, of course, had the body of a raven, just like himself. He looked from the other side: the same as before. He looked from the front, and there her feet had ten human fingers, moving slowly. "Oh, my!" He stretches out his own feet, — the same raven's talons. "Oh," says he, "I cannot change my body!" Then he looks on again, and his wife's body is already white and without feathers, like ours. "Oh, my!" He tries to change his own body, but how can he do so? Although he chafes it, and pulls at the feathers, how can he do such a thing? The same raven's body and raven's feathers! Again he looks at his wife. Her abdomen has enlarged. In her sleep she creates without any effort. He is frightened, and turns his face away. He is afraid to look any more. He p. 152 says, "Let me remain thus, not looking on!" After a little while he wants to look again, and cannot abstain any longer. Then he looked again, and, lo! there are already three of them. His wife was delivered in a moment. She brought forth male twins. Then only did she awake from her sleep. All three have bodies like ours, only Raven has the same raven's body. The children laugh at Raven, and ask the mother, "Mamma, what is that?" — "It is the father." — "Oh, the father! Indeed! Ha, ha, ha!" They come nearer, push him with their feet. He flies off, crying, "Qa, qa!" They laugh again. "What is that?" — "The father." — "Ha, ha, ha! the father!" They laugh all the time. The mother says, "O children! you are still foolish. You must speak only when you are asked to. It is better for us, the full-grown ones, to speak here. You must laugh only when you are permitted to. You have to listen and obey." They obeyed and stopped laughing.

 Raven said, "There, you have created men! Now I shall go and try to create the earth. If I do not come back, you may say, 'He has been drowned in the water, let him stay there!' I am going to make an attempt." He flew away. First he visited all the benevolent Beings (va´ịrġịt1), and asked them for advice, but nobody gave it. He asked the Dawn, — no advice. He asked Sunset, Evening, Mid-day, Zenith, — no answer and no advice. At last he came to the place where sky and ground come together. There, in a hollow, where the sky and the ground join, he saw a tent. It seemed full of men. They were making a great noise. He peeped in through a hole burnt by a spark, and saw a large number of naked backs. He jumped away, frightened, ran aside, and stood there trembling. In his fear he forgot all his pride in his recent intentions.

 One naked one goes out. "Oh! it seemed that we heard some one passing by, but where is he!" — "No, it is I," came an answer from one side. " Oh, how wonderful! Who are you?" — "Indeed, I am going to become a creator. I am Ku´urkịl, the self-created one." — "Oh, is that so?" "And who are you?" — "We have been created from the dust resulting from the friction of the sky meeting the ground. We are going to multiply and to become the first seed of all the peoples upon the earth. But there is no earth. Could not somebody create the earth for us?" — "Oh, I will try!" Raven and the man who spoke flew off together. Raven flies and defecates. Every piece of excrement falls upon water, grows quickly, and becomes land. Every piece of excrement becomes land, — the continent and islands, plenty of land. "Well," says Raven, "Look on, and say, is this not enough?" — "Not yet," answers his companion. "Still not sufficient. Also there is no fresh water; and the land is too even. Mountains there are none." — "Oh," says Raven, "shall I try again?" He began to pass water. Where one drop falls, it becomes a lake; where a jet falls, it becomes a river. After that p. 153 he began to defecate a very hard substance. Large pieces of that excrement became mountains, smaller pieces became hills. The whole earth became as it is now.

 Then he asks, "Well, how is it now?" The other one looked. "It seems still not enough. Perhaps it would have been sufficient if there had not been so much water. Now some day the water shall increase and submerge the whole land, even the mountain-tops will not be visible."

 Oh, Raven, the good fellow, flew farther on. He strains himself to the utmost, creates ground, exhausts himself, and creates water for the rivers and lakes. "Well, now, look down! Is this not enough?" — "Perhaps it is enough. If a flood comes, at least the mountain-tops will remain above water. Yes, it is enough! Still, what shall we feed upon?"

 Oh, Raven, the good fellow, flew off, found some trees, many of them, of various kinds, — birch, pine, poplar, aspen, willow, stone-pine, oak. He took his hatchet and began to chop. He threw the chips into the water, and they were carried off by the water to the sea. When he hewed pine, and threw the chips into the water, they became mere walrus; when he hewed oak, the chips became seals. From the stone-pine the chips became polar bears; from small creeping black birch, however, the chips became large whales. Then also the chips from all the other trees became fish, crabs, worms, every kind of beings living in the sea; then, moreover, wild reindeer, foxes, bears, and all the game of the land. He created them all, and then he said, "Now you have food! hm!" His children, moreover, became men, and they separated and went in various directions. They made houses, hunted game, procured plenty of food, became people. Nevertheless they were all males only. Women there were none, and the people could not multiply. Raven began to think, 'What is to be done?' A small Spider-Woman ( Ku´rġu-ñe´ut1) is descending from above on a very slender thread. "Who are you?" — "I am a Spider-Woman!" — "Oh, for what are you coming here?" — "Well, I thought, 'How will the people live, being only males, without females?' Therefore I am coming here." — "But you are too small." — "That is nothing. Look here!" Her abdomen enlarged, she became pregnant, and then gave birth to four daughters. They grew quite fast and became women. "Now, you shall see!"

 A man came, — that one who was flying around with Raven. He saw them, and said, "What beings are these, so like myself and at the same time quite different? Oh, I should like to have one of them for a companion! We have separated, and live singly. This is uncomfortable. I am dull, being alone. I want to take one of these for a companion." — "But perhaps it will starve!" — "Why should it starve? I have plenty of food. We are hunters, all of us. No, I will have it fed abundantly. It shall not know hunger at all."

p. 154

 He took away one woman. The next day Raven went to visit them, made a hole in the tent-cover, and peeped through. "Oh," says he, "they are sleeping separately in opposite corners of the sleeping-room. Oh, that is bad! How can they multiply?"

 He called softly, "Halloo!" — "Halloo!" The man awoke and answered him. "Come out here! I shall enter." He entered. The woman lay quite naked. He drew nearer. He inhaled the odor1 of her arm. His sharp beak pricked her. "Oh, oh, oh!" — "Be silent! We shall be heard." He pushed her legs apart and copulated with her. Then he repeated it again. The other one was standing outside. He felt cold, and said, "It seems to me that you are mocking me." — "Now, come in! You shall know it too. This is the way for you to multiply." The other one entered. The woman said, "It is a good thing. I should like to repeat it once more." The man answered, "I do not know how." — "Oh, draw nearer!" He says, "Oh, wonderful!" — "Do this way, and thus and thus." They copulated. Therefore girls understand earlier than boys how to copulate. In this manner human kind multiplied.

Told by Aɛ´ttin·qeu, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.

(Second Version.)

 The Creator lived with his wife. There was nothing, no land, no mountains, only water and above it the sky; also a little piece of ground, just large enough for them to sleep on at night. Creator said to his wife, "Certainly, we feel downcast. We must create something to be company for us." — "All right!" They each took a spade and started to dig the ground, and to throw it in all directions. They dug a ditch so large and deep, that all water flowed down to it. Only the lakes remained in deep hollows, and the rivers in clefts and ravines. The large ditch became the sea. After that they created various animals and also men. Then they went away. Only the Raven they forgot to create. They left on their camping-place a large outer garment (nị´ġlon2). Raven came out from it in the night-time. He went to visit the Creator. "Oh, who are you?" — "I am Ku´urkịl, the self-created one." — "How strange! Self-created! I thought I had created everything, and now it appears that you are of separate origin." — "Yes, yes! I am Ku´urkịl, the self-created one." — "All right! — Here, you, bring a few pieces of fly-agaric. Let him eat them, and be full of their force!" Raven ate the fly-agaric. "Oh, oh, I am Ku´urkịl! I am the son of the nị´ġlon. I am Ku´urkịl! I am the son of the nị´ġlon." — "Ah, indeed! And I believed p. 155 that you were self-created. And now it appears that you are the son of the nị´ġlon, you are one of mine, created by me, you liar!" The end.

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

(Third Version.)

 When Raven was arranging the earth, one time he carried in his lap a heap of stones. He felt fatigued, and threw down the stones one by one. The stones turned into islands and cliffs on the main shore. Then he set his stone house in the western part of Mị´s·qạn Bay (Holy Cross Bay) and crossed to Kị´ịmịn (Cape Prince of Wales on the American shore).

Told by Va´lẹ, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October, 1900.



p. 151

1 Tɵt-tɵmwa´t-ta´ġnịkên pị´ñịltê (literally, "new-creation-limits-tidings").

2 Variations of this tale, with several different episodes, are to be met with everywhere among the Chukchee. Some were published in my Chukchee Materials, Nos. 49-61, pp. 159, 169. At the same time some notion or the Flood is also present. This was probably borrowed from the Russian.

3 Ku´urkịl is the name of the Raven (see Vol. VII of this series, p. 315).

4 Êmño´l-tɵ´mġịn (see Vol. VII of this series, p. 503, Footnote 2).

p. 152

1 Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 303.

p. 153

1 Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 330.

p. 154

1 Instead of kissing (compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 38).

2 A winter garment, loose and broad, made of thick autumn skins of full-grown reindeer.