There were five brothers. Two of them were walking about, and saw on the trail some wolf's tracks, quite fresh, but covered with a little snow. They were frightened, and hastened home; but their three brothers were not there. They sat down on the bed and cried bitterly. Then they went out and saw someone coming. It was their eldest brother. They hugged him and kissed him. Then all three fell down senseless. A snowstorm came and covered them up. They almost ceased breathing. The eldest one, however, succeeded in getting up. He crept home, but a blast of wind carried him off to the river. Then he fell down again, and became senseless as before. He was frostbitten all over and as cold as ice. The wind was so strong that it broke the ice on the river. All the ice moved onward down the river, and the eldest brother moved with it. The other two were also there. They were nearly dead. The ice crumbled to pieces. They fell
into the water, and were rocked to and fro by the waves and at last carried to the shore. There was a steep bank, where the flow of the water rushed by with great force. They were dragged to the bank, and then under the wall of earth overhanging the water. It fell down on them and nearly buried them. They were carried off however, back to the open water. The river was now free of ice. Two boats were paddling by; and all at once the bow of one of them split and the boat filled with water. The paddlers had to swim for their lives. Everything floated to the surface and the boat sank to the bottom. In ten days the river froze again. The three brothers who had been buried by the fall of earth and carried off by the water were frozen into the ice. They stuck there quite firmly, and stayed there until spring. In the spring the ice began to melt from the heat of the sun. The three brothers melted with it. One of them opened his eyes and looked up. His eyelashes were full of ice. So he died again, worse than ever. That is the end.
Told by Mary Shkuleff, a Russian creole girl, in the village of Pokhotsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.
115:2 I am not sure that this story belongs to the children's cycle. It looks much more like some mutilated version of a longer story of considerable interest. To my regret, however, I could find no other version of it.--W. B.