There was an old man and an old woman. They had no sons or daughters so they prayed to God, and he sent them a son. He grew up quickly, and was useful in their household work. One morning they ordered him to start a fire. He climbed to the roof and pulled the skin stopper out of the chimney. Then he kindled the fire, and it flamed up brightly. He wanted to put the teakettle on the burning coals; but the kettle was set awry, and reclined to one side. Some of the scalding water poured out on the boy's hand. He let go of the kettle, and it was nearly overthrown. The father and the mother grew angry and gave him a severe spanking. "In vain was
it that we prayed to God for you. Better were it if we had prayed for a little girl." The old woman wanted to put the kettle in order, but she could not even move it from its place. Then the boy put the teakettle upon the hearth, at a safe distance from the fire. The old woman said again, "Bring some wood. We will cook the elk head." He brought the wood and the elk head, and she cooked it; but the head remained tough, however long she cooked it. Meanwhile the old woman did not feel well. She lay down on the bed and brought forth a girl. This girl grew up in a couple of days, and was able to work. The old man said, "Thank God, we have a girl now! She shall work for us and do everything." Again the girl cooked the elk head, and when it was done they ate of it; but the boy had a bone stick in his throat, of which he died. The old man and the old woman cried from grief, and repeated, "Ah, ah! we have a girl now, but the boy is gone."--"It was you, old fool! who complained of the boy," said the old man to his wife. After that he went chopping wood, and in his grief he cut his foot. He came back to the house; and the old woman said, "I always knew you were very clumsy." He grew angry, and struck her neck with his ax. Both fell down and died. The girl also died. The end.
Told by Kitty, called the Lamut girl, a Russian creole girl, aged twelve, in the village of Nishne-Kolymsk, summer of 1896.