Index Previous Next
There lived once a people that were Re´kkẹñ.1 They were rich in reindeer and had a large herd. One of them wanted to visit men. He said to his wife, "Let us go toward men!" The weather was cold. The wife answered, "It is too cold (to travel)." He said, "That is nothing. Let us go, if we are really hunters! Of course, we shall leave the herd and the herdsmen here, also the heavy tent. We shall go alone with a light tent to visit them." Then they went. The Upper Being2 saw their moving train of sledges, which was very long. He said, "Oh, how wonderful! They are again at it! They are exterminating mankind. The people are all the time asking me for help, but still they are being exterminated. I am sorry for it. Therefore I want to give a lesson, at least to this one; and so I want to make his mind broader than it is at present." He took his staff and went away. The Re´kkẹñ and his wife were sleeping while on the way. He came to a covered sledge and lifted the cover. A little infant was sleeping there, one year old, in a little cap. On the top of the cap was fastened a tassel made of human fingers. He touched the tassel with his staff. The fingers stuck to the staff. He drew the child out of the covered sledge, and took it away from there. He took it to his wife. "There, I have brought it." — "All right!" — "But what is to be done with it?" — "I do not know. I never had any children." — "I had better go to Killer-Whale.3 Perhaps he knows." Killer-Whale and his wife live in a big stone house. They too are childless. The Upper Being came, put the child near the entrance, and then went away. After a while the husband said to the wife, "I want to make water. I will go out." He went out, and saw the infant. It was still sleeping. He was very glad. He called to his wife, "I have found an assistant! We have an assistant! Now we shall not be lonesome in our old age. Let us try and raise this child." — "All right!"
The ke´let are going back. They found people, killed many of them, and are carrying the game home. They arrived home. The tent was put up, and the woman started to put up the sleeping-room. The husband said, "I will look at the infant." He opened the covered sledge. Only then did they discover that it was not there. The husband said, "Halloo!" — "Halloo!" — "Where is the child? Have you carried it into the tent." — "No, it is in the sledge." — "I say it is not here!" — "Where is it, then? Perhaps the neighbors have taken it. But why should they take the infant child of other people? No, somebody else has played this trick upon us while we were sleeping. What for! Oh, oh!"
The woman sought the shaman. He was a Raven. p. 161 "Oh, oh, oh! who comes here?" — "It is I. My husband sends me. He says, 'I am feeling sad. Let the knowing-one come!'" — "A-ta-ta-ta, I am coming!"
"There, you have come here!" — "Yes, I have come! What do you want?" — "Somebody has taken away the infant. Can you not find it?" — "All right! I will try." The Raven flew away to the house of Killer-Whale. "Halloo!" — "Halloo!" — "Who is there?" — "It is I. I come to fetch the infant." — "You shall not have it." — "Oh, give it back, since I come for it!" — "I shall not give it up." — "Oh, you will not?" The Raven flew upwards, and dropped on the house a big stone pillar (pê´rka-wu´kwulhịn1). The stone pillar rebounded. The house of Killer-Whale was too strong. The Raven came back, and said, "I could not do it." — "Alas!" said the house-master, "if even you could not do it!"
The next day he says again to his wife, "I am feeling sad. Go and bring two Winds, — West-Wind, the cold one; and East-Wind, the biting one." The two Wind-brothers came then. "What do you want?" — "Somebody has robbed me of my little infant. You are looking everywhere. Will you not look for it?" — "All right!" They went away. On the way they passed near by the house of the Upper Being. Says East-Wind, "Why are we passing by so? This is the Upper Being. Let us at least ask him too! What will he say? Halloo!" — "Halloo!" — "Well, a ke´lẹ family have lost their little infant. They are living in sorrow. And we are looking for their child. Do you not know where it is?" — "Oh, yes! they are living in sorrow, and at the same time every year they go to the people and steal away so many! Mankind is lessening in number. Let them learn that lesson. Still we shall go."
They arrived at Killer-Whale's house. "Halloo!" — "Halloo!" — "I came to get the child that I brought here lately." — "You shall not have it." — "How is it that I shall not have it, since I brought it myself? Give it back!" — "Ho, I will not. I will raise it for an assistant to myself." — But how can you refuse, since you are my own creation? I gave to your eyes the faculty of seeing. How dare you refuse!" — "I do refuse." — "Oh, you refuse! — Enter, Winds!" Both winds entered Killer-Whale's house. It grew very cold. The Killer-Whales felt cold. Then they were frozen, and they died. After that he said to the Winds, "Now go out!" They went out. The house grew warmer, and the Killer-Whales returned to life again. "What now! will you give back the child?" — "Oh, yes! we will!" — "Then quick, make haste!" — "All right, in a moment!" — "There, take it, and give it to its parents!" From that time the ke´let stopped coming to this country.
Told by Vịyê´nto the Blind, a Maritime Chukchee man, at Mariinsky Post, October 1900.
1 Evil spirits (cf. Vol. VII of this series, p. 296).
2 Ibid., p. 314.
3 Ibid., p. 323.
1 For pê´rkapêr cf. Vol. VII of this series, p. 285.