Sacred Texts  Asia  Index  Previous  Next 


There was a Yukaghir man and his wife. He was exceedingly lazy. He was all the time lying in his tent, and did not want to go out. The woman chopped the wood and looked after the traps and snares. She also

p. 134

prepared their food. He would lie on the skins in the tent. She would come home and cook the dinner. Then she would ask, "Will you eat?"--"Why! If I must! čeméčina!"

One time the woman went out, and saw somebody coming. It was Yaghishna, the unclean idol. 1 The woman came back, and sang out:--

"Ke, ke, ke, ke, ke.
Čomúnda gałúnda
Bátkina déka
Comúnda ritéka!

[paragraph continues] "Oh!" said she, "old man, there comes Yaghishna!" He remained lying down. She went out again, and the female enemy was already nearby. She entered again. "Oh, she is here! Get up, old man! or I shall leave you." He remained lying there, as before. The third time she entered, and sang out:--

Ke, ke, ke, ke, ke,
Bátkina ta'lik
Čomúnda ričálik!"

[paragraph continues] "Oh, there, old man! get up! She is at the door. "Ah!" said he, "I shall get up and čeméčina, I shall put on my breeches and čeméčina, I shall put on my coat and čeméčina, I shall put on my boots and čeméčina, I shall take my quiver and čeméčina, I shall take my bow and čeméčina, I shall take my arrow and čeméčina." So he got up, took his bow and arrows, and rushed out of the house. He tried to shoot at the monster, but all his arrows that hit her body rebounded as from hard stone. The woman sang again:--

"Ke, ke, ke, ke, ke,
Čomúnda gałúnda!"

Old man, do not aim at her body: try as hard as you can to take aim at her anus, then you will kill her."

He had only one arrow left, so he aimed at her anus. The arrow pierced her, passed through the body, and came out at the mouth. She fell down like a big mountain. They ran to her, and chopped up her body with a broad spear and with an ax. The old woman said, "Old man! Let us pile up some wood. Let us burn her." They heaped up a pile of wood. Then they put her on top of it and burned her up. They threw the ashes to all four winds. The old man went back into the tent and wanted to lie down. "Oh, old man! don't lie down! Oh, old man! don't lie down! Let us rather go and see whether she has left anyone behind in her house. They may come here and destroy us unawares."

p. 135

They followed in her tracks, and finally found a house. They stole up to it. Nobody was stirring there. They found a chink and looked through it. The house was empty: so they entered and looked about. There was nothing of any use, mere rubbish and dirt. A large wooden dish stood in the middle of the house, bottom upward. The old man stumbled over the dish, and it turned right-side up. A number of small children jumped out of it, like so many peas, and ran about:--

"Oh, oh, máma ta kákača,
Máma ta vákeca!"

[paragraph continues] They broke the heads of all of the children. Then they set fire to the house and went home. From that time on the old man became quite active. He went hunting and brought back food and clothing. They lived in good style and had everything desired. So they have lived up to the present time.

Told by Anne Pleskov, an old Russianized native woman, in the village of Vakarena, the Anadyr River, autumn of 1899.


133:2 The tribal name "Yukaghir" is mentioned in the title as well as in the text of this tale. Still the unknown words occurring in it were indicated as belonging to the Chuvantzi language, though nobody was able to translate them. The Chuvantzi may have been a branch of the Yukaghir. (Cf. Bogoras, "The Chukchee," 18).--W. B.

134:1 Yaghishna, cf. No. 6 of the Kolyma tales, p. 52--W. B.

Next: 10. A Chuvantzi Tale (Anadyr Version)