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p. 144


There was a man, Magus by name. He had four sons. One of them had legs of grass, another a head of bladder, the third a brisket of leaves, the fourth a voice of hair. Magus said to his sons, "Children! let us go and hunt elks!" They killed a big elk and carried it home. Magus said to the elder sons, "You, Legs-of-Grass I and you, Head-of-Bladder!--go and bring some water from the river." They went to the river and put the water tub near the water-hole; but they were so slow in filling it with water, that it was frozen to the moist ice. They tugged at it, but could not move it. Then Legs-of-Grass kicked it with his foot. He broke both of his legs and was dead. Head-of-Bladder was much troubled, and scratched his head. His nails cut through the bladder, and he dropped down dead. The other ones waited and waited, but nobody came: so they went to the river, and found the two dead. "Ah!" said their father, "let us arrange their funeral! We will cook a funeral meal. Brisket-of-Leaves go and bring the elk's brisket from the drying-poles." He wanted to take it down, but it slipped from his hands and fell down upon his own brisket and smashed it. He also dropped down dead. "Ah, woe! what is to be done?"--"Now, you must go, Voice-of-Hair, and fetch that brisket." Voice-of-Hair brought it and cooked it; but when he was tasting the meat, his throat of hair burst open, and he died. So Magus remained alone.

"Now, I will depart from here. I will go traveling." He walked on for several days and came to Kosetóka. 2 The evil spirit was not at home: only his children were there. He killed them all, and cut off their heads. Then he spread a large blanket, and set the heads close to it, in a row. It looked as if they were asleep side by side under the blanket. He also took a large bag and filled it with their meat and bones. He wrapped the bag in his own overcoat, and attached his cap to one end of it. Kosetóka went home carrying some human carrion as food for his children. "Ah!" said he, "they waited so long that they have fallen asleep." He made a fire and cooked the meat; but when he tugged at the blanket, the heads rolled off and out of the house. Kosetóka was wild with anger. "Who has done this?" He looked about and saw the bag. "Ah! it was you, Magus! it was you!" He rushed at the bag and trampled it down with his heavy feet. All the bones broke, and the blood of the children spurted through the holes. "I have killed YOU!" shouted the spirit; but from underground a voice answered, "I am here." It was Magus, who had found the underground

p. 145

storehouse and entered it, blocking the entrance behind him. "Ah! where are you?"--"I am here." The spirit ran out of the house and back again. The entrance was blocked; but he found a round hole, and tried to squeeze himself through it. His body was tightly wedged in and could move neither forward nor backward. Magus said, "O hole! you are round and tight, turn now into a circular knife and cut Kosetóka in halves." And thus it happened. He took everything he found, and went home.

Told by Mary Alin, a Russianized Chuvantzi woman. Recorded by Mrs. Sophie Bogoras in the village of Markova, the Anadyr country, winter of 1900.


144:1 See p. 131.

144:2 Cf. No. 3, p. 127--W. B.

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