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There were an old man and an old woman. They had one daughter. They said to her, "Go to the roof and bring the elk's head." She brought the elk's head. They chopped it up small and cooked it in a kettle. They ate of it, and in one day they finished it. Then they said again to the girl, "Go to the roof and bring the mare's tongue." She brought the tongue. They cut it up small, and then fried it in a frying-pan. Then they wanted to eat of it; but the first morsel stuck in the throat of the girl, and she fell down, with the rattle of death in her throat. The old man and the old woman cried for grief, but the girl soon died. The old woman cried so much, that she brought forth a boy. The old man felt joyful, so he wanted to celebrate the birth. He kindled a large fire, and went to the roof to get a leg of elk; but before he came back, the old woman had died along with the boy. The old man was frantic with grief. He cried at first; then he struck the old woman, and said, "Why did the 'black ruin' take you this time? You never even felt slightly indisposed." The old woman was so angry, that she jumped up, struck the old man on the head, and died again. The old man fell down and scattered all around in their ashes. The end. They lived and lived, and live till now, but get nothing good whatever.

Told by Marie Dauroff, a Russian creole girl, aged fifteen, in the village of Nishne-Kolymsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1896.

Next: 10. Story of a Small Girl