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17. How Big-Raven's Daughter was swallowed by a Kamak. 1

Big-Raven was living with his people. One of his daughters was (almost) eaten by lice. They shook her combination suit, and found there one small louse. (Big-Raven) said to his wife, "What shall we do with it?" The woman said, "What will you do? Why, you will kill it." He said, "(No,) we will make it into a drum."

They made it into a drum. They looked at it, and the small louse turned into a drum. Big-Raven immediately began to act as a shaman. The news of this was carried everywhere, to all the villages; and the people began to talk, (and say,) "Big-Raven has become quite a shaman, but he has grown old without having any spirits. What unknown kind of drum has he made?"

Big-Raven's daughter was living in secrecy. She did not appear openly. All the neighbors gathered as suitors. He said, "Whosoever can state rightly the material of which my drum is made, to him I shall give my daughter." They named all kinds of sea-game. One said, "Of whale;" but Big-Raven said, "Not of that." Others also said it was of wolf-skin, of reindeer-skin. They named every living thing but he said, "Not of that." They could not describe it properly.

Then from the fire crept out an evil spirit, with no clothes on, with only a cap (on his head). "I can tell of what your drum is made. It is made of a chamber-vessel."--"Not of that."--"It is made of a kettle."--

p. 78 p. 79

[paragraph continues] "Not of that."--"Then of a small louse." Miti' said, "That is right! Now we must give our daughter to the Kamak."

They brought out the daughter, and began to prepare her for the journey. Then only, for the first time, was she seen. The daughter began to cry. They arranged for her three lines of sledges. One was hauled by whales; another, by reindeer; the third one, by white whales. All three kinds were alive. In the end they brought a small cow. The girl mounted it. She put on a large knife in a bandoleer, and also put a comb into her pocket. They set off. The girl was crying very hard.

They came to the kamak's house, and the other kamaks went out and ate all the reindeer, "N*am, n*am, n*am!" Only that cow was left. Then the girl began to kill the kamaks with her knife. At last only one was left,--the first one, with no clothes. Then she threw down the comb, (and it grew quite large.) She climbed to the top of it; but he could not climb it, and so the evil spirit could not eat her.

He said, "Though at a future time you will marry a certain man and have two children by him, just then I shall eat you." Then the evil spirit went away. She married a reindeer-breeder. After a while she brought forth a child, and then another. Again she began to cry. She said, "The kamak is going to eat me!"

One time her husband had gone out, and then the kamak came and ate her. She had concealed about her at this very moment her woman's knife, and with that knife she ripped open his body (insides). The evil spirit died, and she came out. The next morning, when they awoke, a woman was busying herself around their house. (The mistress) said, "Who are you?"--"I (am the one who) ate you yesterday)." 3

p. 80 p. 81

Meanwhile her sons became (grown) men. One son married that woman. Just then her husband came. They went to Big-Raven's people. Another son also married. They came to Big-Raven's people. The people said (to Big-Raven), "Your daughter is being [brought] here!" He said, "The evil spirit took her away. What (kind of a) daughter may come from there?' She looked into the house. "I am here, I have come!' They went out (to meet her), and all entered. From that time they lived together and grew rich. That is all.


77:1 Compare Jochelson, The Koryak, l. c., No. 103, p. 291.

79:3 The ka'mak turned into an ordinary human being; namely, into a woman, who was assisting them in their work.

Next: 18. The Kamak and his Wife