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9. How Eme'mqut became a Cannibal. 1

Big-Raven lived with his people. Eme'mqut married

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[paragraph continues] Grass-Woman. Eme'mqut said to his wife, "Let us go out." She said, "It seems that you are going to do wrong." He said, "Why should I? This time I shall not do so." He went out into the open country and came home, having killed wild reindeer. Then he staid for a night in the open. After that he staid for two nights and very soon all the time. Grass-Woman went for a visit to her father Root-Man. She came and looked through the vent-hole, she quietly looked in and saw that just then Eme'mqut had split Root-Man in twain. He was eating his own father-in-law.

Grass-Woman went to her open-country house and

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entered it. She put one small louse into the inner room, and another into the storehouse. Then she fled to Big-Raven's (house). She came to Big-Raven's, and said, "I do not know what has happened to Eme'mqut." They constructed a raised platform. Oh, Eme'mqut came to the open-country house, and he called, "Grass-Woman!" and it answered from the house, "Oh!" He came to the storehouse and called again, "Grass-Woman!" and it answered from the storehouse "Oh!" He recognized the voice of those small lice. He said, "The deuce! She is deceiving me!" He said, "Maybe I shall not be able to eat those people!" He came (to Big-Raven's house). The people were sitting on a raised platform. Eme'mqut

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said, "Maybe I shall not be able to eat them, since they have constructed a platform!"

He approached, and began to lick with his tongue (the supports of the platform). Big-Raven cut at his tongue with a hatchet. He broke the edge of the hatchet; and when he examined it, it was quite jagged, like the broken gums (of an old man). (He did) the same with an axe; then he examined it, and it was also all jagged.

Big-Raven said, "Well then, Grass-Woman, give him his own offspring!" She dropped their small son into his mouth, and he spat out mere broken bones. Then Big-Raven said to him, "Well, then listen to me! Since you are like that, listen to me! just do try and eat your own body!" Immediately he began to gnaw the points

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of the nails of his own toes. After that he consumed his legs; then his body, arms, and shoulders. At last merely the neck was left, merely the throat. Then only did he die. After a while they burned him.

One time they were sitting in the dark. Their fire had just gone out, and Yini'a-ña'wġut said to her sister, "Let us go and stop up the smoke-hole!" They stopped up the smoke-hole; and then they began to say, "Those two are coming back! (One of them) is carrying something on his shoulders. It seems to be Eme'mqut, carrying his little son." (Indeed,) those two came and said, "Bring out the fire!" The women carried out the fire. They fed the fire (with sacrifice). Then only did the new-comers enter.

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From that time on he ceased to say, "Let us go to the open country!" They staid at home all the time. They lost all desire to roam in all directions and to all places. They staid at home at the same place. That is all.


53:1 Compare W. Jochelson, The Koryak, l. c., No. 108. p. 295.

Next: 10. Eme'mqut and Fox-Woman