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A man lived in a Maritime settlement. He had seven grown-up sons. They were travelling in a boat, and hunting whales and walruses. One time they went to sea, and saw a large overhanging cliff, quite similar to a house. At that moment the boat capsized, and they were drowned. Their mother was left quite destitute, with the youngest son, who was still a small boy. The boy cried all the time, and asked his mother for food. She gathered some shells and seaweed on the shore, and with these she fed the boy; but he continued to cry, and to ask for whale-skin and walrus-blubher such as he was accustomed to. The mother also cried, "Where shall we find them? Your father is gone, and your brothers are also gone." He said, "Then I will go and find them." — "How can you find them? They are drowned in the sea."
The boy went away without his mother's knowledge, and walked along the shore. At last he came to that cliff-house. He entered it, and saw his father and his seven brothers sitting there. The father wept. "Why have you come? We are dead, drowned." A Cliff-Spirit was there also. He was very angry. "Why have you come?" said the Spirit, and gave the boy a tremendous thrashing, so that he was left hardly alive. The father helped him to get up, and led him out of the house. He gave him also three small roots, and said, "When you reach home, put one of these roots into each of our caches. Then in the morning send your mother to look into the caches." The boy came Home, and first of all he went to the caches, and put into each of them one root of those given to him by his father. Then he came to the mother. The mother was weeping. "Where have you been, and who has beaten you so frightfully?" — "I saw my father and my seven brothers." — "Do not say so! Your father and your brothers perished long ago." Weeping, she fell asleep. In the morning he awakened her, and said, "O mother! go and open the three caches, and then bring some food from there!" The mother thought, "What shall I bring? There is nothing in them." Notwithstanding, p. 196 she went to the caches and opened them. All the caches were full of provisions, — whale-skin and white-whale blubber and walrus-meat and everything as it was in the time when her husband and her seven sons were alive. The boy said, "Now, mother, we have plenty of food: so I will go and look for a wife." — "Where will you find her, child?" — "I shall." He got up about midnight, put on his clothes and boots, and departed. He looked up toward the sky, and saw two men descending directly toward him. "Where are you going? What do you want?" — "I am going to look for a wife." — "All right! Then drive these reindeer of ours, and follow our trail. The way we descended, that way you ascend." He sat down on the sledge and drove upwards along the moon's ray. He felt much fear; nevertheless he drove straight ahead, and came to the heavens. The heavens looked like firm ground, only it was quite white and shining. He saw a Raven, that flew by. "What do you want here? Oh, well! I know. Stay a little! I will tell you. You will find on the way a settlement of Reindeer people. Do not stop there. Then you will find another settlement of Reindeer people. Do not stop there, either. Also pass by the third settlement. Then you will see a large house, shining like gold. This is the house of the Sun. His daughter is quite ill. She is near unto death, and nobody knows how to help her. The Sun will greet you with great joy. He will say, 'Oh, it is a man from the Lower World! Can you not help my daughter? I will give you a rich reward.' Then say, 'I do not want your reward; but I will help, if you will consent to give me your daughter for a wife.' The Sun will think, 'She is dying. It is better to have her live and marry this stranger.' Then he will consent to your request. At the same time I will sit upon the roof. Enter the room, and look out of the window upon the roof. I will open my beak and take in three heavy breaths. Then do the same! Take three long breaths and let the air of them touch the girl. Then she will recover."
The young man came to that house, and fell backward, dazed by its mere brightness. The Sun lifted him from the ground, and said, "Do not be afraid! Since you came from the Lower World, help my daughter, who is ill! I will give you a rich reward." The boy answered, "I want no reward. Rather promise to let me marry your daughter!" The Sun thought to himself, 'Better that than to have her dead!' So he gave the promise. The young man looked out of the window. A Raven was sitting on the roof. The Raven opened his beak and drew in three breaths. He also drew three breaths. The air touched the girl, and she recovered. She looked as if just awakened from deep slumber. She asked for meat and drink, and they gave them to her. After that they married her to the visitor. In a few days the father-in-law said, "You have a country of your own. Go there to your mother!" The Sun said also, "On the way you will pass three settlements p. 197 with large herds of reindeer. Tell them to follow you. I give them to you." He came to the settlements, and said as he had been told. "All right!" they answered; and when he looked back, it seemed as if the whole land was moving around, so numerous were the reindeer and the herdsmen. About midnight they came to his mother. Oh, she felt much joy! The young man's wife entered the house, and said, "Oh, this house is too bad! How could we live in a house like this?" — "We cannot help it," said her husband. "This is our only house." She went out, and took from her bosom a golden egg. She threw the egg into the brook, and there was a big golden house. "Now," said the woman, "this is a house fit for us to live in." They lived in the house. Their mother wondered greatly, and from thus wondering she died in three days. The poor people used to come to them from all directions, and they slaughtered reindeer for every one. Thus they lived in affluence and grew numerous.1
Told by Mary Alin, a Russianized Chuvantzy woman, in the village of Markova, on the Middle Anadyr, 1901.
1 The episode of the golden house certainly does not belong to Chukchee folk-lore. Still in several tales collected among the Chukchee similar episodes are met with.