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p. 63

12. Ermine-People.--II.

Ermine-People lived. After some time Ermine-Woman brought forth a son. Ermine-Man said, "Ermine-Woman has brought forth a son. [He said,] With what shall we cut the navel-string?"--"With-Smell-Pusher-Away has an axe."--"O Smell-Pusher! have you an axe?"--"No, (I have not.)"

Then he came to With-Odor-Pusher-Away. "Halloo! Have you an axe?"--"No, (I have not,) but With-Odor-Averter has one." He came to With-Odor-Averter. "O Odor-Averter! have you an axe?"--"Here it is!"

He took the axe, came home, and only then did they sever the navel-string. They began to arrange the birth-feast. They cooked for this one Ermine-Man. The master said, "Carry some meat to Big-Raven's people!" They

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carried some meat. (One girl) went and came there They said, "Why did you come?"--"The mother brought forth (a child)." They said, "Why did you come? You smell of excrement!"

They threw the meat to the dogs, and gave her back the empty dish. She went home again and said, "Oh, oh! Miti' ate it all herself, (she gave) nothing to the old man."--"Poor thing, that old man! Carry again some more meat there." She carried the meat; and they said to her, "Why did you come?" and again Big-Raven threw her out of the house, together with her dish.

She remained there in a swoon the whole day, only then she came home. "Why did you stay there so long?"--"Eme'mqut held me back all the time, (saying 'This is a) very good girl.' Moreover, Eme'mqut said, 'Go there, live together!'"--"Oh, but I have just now given birth to a child!"--"Have no care. I will carry it wrapped in a coverlet."

They set off, and arrived there. "Why have those Ermine-People come? They smell of excrement." They arrived there, and wanted to enter, but the others began to strike them. "Oh, they reject us!"--"(No,) they bid you welcome. Let mamma enter first!" Again Big-Raven began to strike them with a stick.

The daughter said, "I will go first. Eh, old man, why are you bidding me such a welcome? I can shake (my coat) myself." They were rejected, and went away. After that they said, "Where shall we go? We will go to a cave."

They went to a place rich in edible seaweed. (Ermine-Man) fell down from a cliff and fell in a swoon. (Then he came to, and said,) "Oh, it is a good (cliff), it makes you motionless with pleasure, a very good (place)!" They descended into a cave, and slept there. (Ermine-Man) went out in the night-time to pass water; and there (on

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the sea), upright blocks of ice were submerged in the water. "O Stone-Face! 1 what success have you had in catching fish)?" He went back into the house, "With whom have you been talking"' He said, "(I inquired) what success Stone-Face has had catching fish with a small drag-net; and they answered, 'All right!'" She said, "Now we shall eat some cooked fish."

They went to sleep, and in a little while the sea-water came to them. "You have passed water." The other one said, "It is you who have passed water." They looked around, and said, "We are caught by water." They began to climb up the cliff. (Ermine-Woman dragged up) all the children. Even all the straps were snapped (in two). They climbed up. He climbed first; then one of his sides fell down detached.

The others climbed up. "Cook (this meat)!" (Ermine-Woman) said, "Where does it come from?" He said, "The Chukchee 2 passed by and left it." They began to cook it. As soon as the (water in the) kettle began to boll, he felt unwell. The woman said, "What is the matter with you?" He said, "I am unwell." They ate the meat, and he died.

The woman saw that one of his sides was missing. (She exclaimed,) "We have eaten one of his sides without knowing it! Where shall we go! To every cache, to other people's caches." They turned into real ermine. That is all.


67:1 GIwIŁe' STONE-FACE. Standing columns of natural rock frequent on the shore cliffs and mountains of these countries, also the large bowlders lying about are considered by the natives to be human-like beings, petrified, but still leading a mysterious life of their own (cf. Bogoras, The Chukchee, Publications of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, vol. vii, p. 285). Ermine-Man pretends to have seen one of these beings catching fish in the sea, but it was only a standing block of ice, too unstable to be considered as a living being.

67:2 The Reindeer Koryak and the Reindeer Chukchee call each other mutually by the same name, Ta'nnñItan (cf. The Chukchee, l. c., p. 11).

Next: 13. Eme'mqut and the Kamaks