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18. The Kamak and his Wife. 1

Some people lived in a certain place. One day a kamak and his wife looked down (through the entrance-hole). They said, "Halloo! have you not some blubber?"--"There is some in the cache." They entered the cache, and began to eat blubber. Then they sang, "It tastes well. We are eating blubber." 2 The next morning it was the same. "Halloo! have you not some blubber?"--"There is some in the porch."--"It tastes well. We are eating blubber; but when you have no more blubber, [to-morrow] we shall eat you."

They fled upwards in the night-time. They threw an arrow (upwards), and it became a road. They fled along this road.

Those came again. "Halloo! have you not some blubber?" But there was no answer. "Let us jump in! They are hidden somewhere." They entered, and searched in all the corners. There was nothing.

They said, "Let us try the divining-stone!" 3 (The

p. 82 p. 83

kamak-woman) made (her husband) stand with his legs apart. She used his penis as a divining-stone. "If they have fled to the morning dawn, we shall follow them. If they have fled to the sunset, we shall follow them. To the seaside also we shall follow them. If they have fled upwards, what then? God would not treat us very pleasantly. How can we follow them?"

He began to sway his penis. "Shall we go out through the same opening without any fear. 1 Let us go out through the vent-hole in the roof of the porch!" The kamak-woman said, "Take me on your shoulders!" He took her on his back. "Oh, you are strangling me!" (His head) thrust itself into her anus. "Oh, you are playing mischief!"

Finally they both died, and lay there. His head slipped into her anus. After a while (the fugitives) said, "Let us visit the house!" They visited it, and dragged out his head with an iron hook, and his head had become (quite) hairless.

"Oh, oh?" They threw them into the direction of the sunset. Then they lived and were happy. They were not (molested) by spirits. That is all.


81:1 p. 80 Compare Jochelson, The Koryak, l. c., No. 105, p. 293.

81:2 Compare p. 68, footnote 3.

81:3 Literally "let us act with the grandmother". The word "grandmother" is used also for "divining-stone" (Cf. W. Jochelson, The Koryak, l. c., p. 44). p. 81 The reason is probably that divination with stones is chiefly practised by women, and that the divining-stone, though usually a round pebble or a piece of bone ornamented with beads and tassels, represents a female guardian of the family.

83:1 Literally, "without shame". "Shame" for "fear" is used also in the Chukchee (Publications of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, vol. viii, No. 10, p. 61 footnote 1.

Next: 19. Gull-Woman and Cormorant-Woman