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p. 112


There lived an old man and an old woman. They had a little son, whose name was Kundarik. 1 One evening they made a fire in the house and noticed that somebody was sitting on the roof, close to the chimney-opening. It was Yaghishna. They were much frightened, but Yaghishna said, "Give me your boy, otherwise I shall swallow you." They ran off, leaving the boy who was sitting on the window-sill. Yaghishna called, "Kundar, where are you?"--"I am here in the house." She entered the house, but he was not there. "Kundar, where are you?"--"I am here, outside the house." She went out, and he was not there. She took the woman's scraper and the whetstone and wanted to kill him with them, but he turned into an ermine and fled. She went in pursuit, and soon overtook him. Then she said, "O my boy! I want to defecate." He answered, "Heretofore, when father wanted to defecate, I used to bring from the woods a big elk head, and we would defecate all around it." She said, "All right! bring it here." He went into the woods and brought back a stump with many roots which were sharp-pointed like so many spikes. "Here it is." She seated herself over the stump; but just then the boy pushed her over so that she fell back and was impaled on one of the roots. Then the boy ran off again, but Yaghishna followed him, stump and all, and, overtook him. Then she said, "I want to sleep." The boy answered, "When father wanted to sleep, he would dig a hole in the ground and sleep in that."--"All right! Dig a hole for me." For three days they dug the hole, the boy with his knife, and Yaghishna with her nails. The hole was deep, just like a grave. Yaghishna descended into the hole, and soon was snoring loudly. When she was fast asleep, the boy began to cut down green wood, and he threw it into the hole. In a very short time he had covered Yaghishna quite well, and she could not get out. After that he fled to his father and mother, and they continued to live together. That is all.

Told by Mary Shkuleff, a Russian creole girl, in the village of Pokhotsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.

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