The Eskimo of Siberia, by Waldemar Bogoras, , at sacred-texts.com
Two cousins lived in the village of Uñi´sak. One had five sons, the other had a single daughter. Then the sons of the former began to die, and only the youngest one remained alive; and even he began to suffer. p. 423 Then his mother sent to her sister-in-law, and said, "My lost son is suffering. Please send your daughter to cheer him up. He feels quite ill." The other woman said to her daughter, "They have sent for you. You may go after the meal." — "No," said the girl, "Let me go at once!" The mother said, "Then at least put on your clothes." — "Why should I? It is not a long way."
She put on only her boots, and, being quite naked, went out of the sleeping-room and crossed over to the other cousin's house. She entered the sleeping-room. The suffering boy was stretched out upon the skins, moaning. He could neither eat nor drink. Night came, and they lay down to sleep. A new line, made of a thong-seal hide, was lying near the entrance. The girl picked it up, made a noose in the shape of a lasso, and crouched near the entrance, watching. She was quite naked, and had on only her boots, as before.
The sun had set, and it was quite dark. Then she heard a rustling-sound from the direction of sunset. She listened attentively, and heard some wary steps. She peered into the darkness, and at last noticed a form. It was a Raven. He approached noiselessly. Behind the house were some scraps of food. He picked at them, and crept slowly to the entrance. The girl threw the lasso over him, and caught him.
"Ah, ah, ah! Let me alone! I have done nothing." — "And why do you steal in here in the night-time, without giving notice to the master of the house?" — "I am looking for food, gathering meat-scraps and even excrements. Let me go!" — "All right!" She let him go, and he flew away. She watched on, the lasso in hand, quite naked. Then from the direction of midnight she heard a rustling-noise approaching guardedly. It was a Fox creeping toward the house. As soon as she approached, the suffering boy moaned louder. The Fox stopped, and put her nose close to the ground. She listened, and then said, "This time I shall probably carry him away."
The Fox approached nearer, and the girl threw the lasso and caught her. "Qa, qa, qa!" — "And why are you stealing in here in the night-time? The master of the house knows nothing about you. It is you, probably, who have taken away those boys." — "Why, yes, I did it." — "Then I shall kill you." — "Why will you kill me? — "Why, you scoundrel, you make all the people mourn. You source of trouble!" — "Oh, it is not my fault. This neighbor of yours induces me to do it, and pays me for it." — "Is that so? Nevertheless, I shall kill you." — "Oh, I will leave here and go away!" — "No, I shall kill you." — "I will pay you a large ransom. You shall be happy along with your husband. And I will kill your enemy." — "Ah, then you may go!"
The Fox ran away. The girl entered the sleeping-room; and her body, which was quite naked in the cold, felt warmer. She awakened the sleeping ones. "Get up! You have slept enough," she said. The boy did not moan p. 424 any more, and asked for food. They gave him some. She cut it into small pieces. He swallowed a morsel, then another one, and still another. So he ate five pieces of meat. She gave him some water to drink. Only then she herself ate and drank. They went to sleep. The boy also slept. In the morning they awoke, and the boy was quite well.
But their neighbor came, the secret enemy. "Ah, ah! What girl is that whom I saw last night going around quite naked, lasso in hand? She must be my secret enemy." The girl took off her clothes and went out. "It was I. Then I know that you also are my enemy."
He felt ashamed, and from mere shame he fell down and died. They lived on. The girl lived with the boy; and when they grew up, they married. She brought forth many children. All the people loved her. She was rich. It is finished.
Told by Ñịpe´wġi, an Asiatic Eskimo man, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.