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There lived a man who had one son. This son was all the time with the reindeer-herd. One time he came to the herd and saw that one reindeer-doe had an abscess on her ear. The night passed. The next morning he went to his father and said, "O father! a doe of ours has a very strange abscess on her ear. It is better that we kill her." The father said, "How foolishly you talk! Let her be!" The next evening he saw that the reindeer-doe was lying on the ground. The third evening he came, he heard a small infant crying. It was Reindeer-Born. He sped home. "O father! I told you we had better kill her. Now a little infant is crying there, Reindeer-Born." The father scolded him: "Go and bring it here!" The infant was so heavy, he was hardly able to carry it home. "Now you may nurse it, if you want to." In three days the infant walked about and grew to be a boy. On the fourth day the boy wanted to go to the reindeer-herd. The young man did not want to take him. Then the father blamed him. "You must take him for an assistant herdsman." He took him along when going to the herd. Then the boy said, "You watch the herd on this side, and I will watch it on that side." As soon as evening came, the boy said, "Oh, let my mouth open!" and his mouth opened; "O reindeer! enter my mouth," and the reindeer entered his mouth. The next morning several reindeer were missing. The brother asked, "What has happened to those reindeer?" The boy said, "Wolves have attacked them and driven them away." — "Then why are no traces of wolves to be seen on the snow?"
They came home. The young man said again, "Let us kill him! He will destroy the whole herd." The father blamed him. "It is because you are a bad herdsman, that the wolves come and destroy our reindeer." They went again toward the herd. The boy said, "Let me watch on this end, and you on that!" As soon as evening came, the boy said, "Oh, you, my mouth, open!" and the mouth opened; "Oh, you, reindeer, enter my mouth!" and they entered.
The next moming the young man asked again, "What has happened to those reindeer?" The boy said, as before, "The wolves came and drove them away." — "Then why are no wolves' tracks to be seen on the snow? I think that you ate them yourself." They came home. The young man said to his parents, "I told you before that he destroys the herd. Now I shall leave you and go away. Otherwise he will eat me also." He ran away, and kept running throughout the night. In the morning he walked on more slowly. After a while he saw a house. Near that house, upon the supports, carcasses of men were hanging, fastened there by the hair. A woman came out and called with great joy, "Oh, oh! a man, a guest!" She sprang to the support and drew down one human carcass. "What are you going to do with it?" — "I am going to cook it for you." — "Oh, horrors! we do not eat food like that!" She bounced off, and in a few moments brought to the house a large reindeer-herd. She slaughtered one reindeer, which was very fat. Then she took the carcass into the house. "Take care!" said the man, "do not cook this clean food in that kettle of yours!" She threw the kettle away, and took another one, which was quite new. Then he ate. Night came: they were going to sleep. The woman said, "I wish you would marry me!" He answered, "When you cease to feed on things like these, then I will marry you." — "All right!" said the woman, "marry me, and I will eat and drink as you may order." So he married her and copulated with her. Every day she would go out. The next morning, when she left, he began to cry bitterly. In the evening she asked, "What is the reason that you cried so bitterly after I left?" — "The stunted willow whipped me," said the young man. Oh, the woman sprang out of the house, and beat at the bushes with an iron pan-shovel. "How dared you to whip my husband?" — "We did nothing," said the bushes. He cried when thinking of his father and mother.1
Told by Mary Alin, a Russianized Chuvantzy woman, in the village of Markova on the Anadyr River, December, 1905.
1 This tale was left unfinished. The narrator knew no more. Tales with similar episodes were collected also among the Chukchee on the Kolyma and on the Pacific (see p. 173).