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The Eskimo of Siberia, by Waldemar Bogoras, [1913], at

14. Creation of St. Lawrence Island.

   When Creator was creating the earth, he made at first the shore of Uñi´sak; then he made the Russian land, after that the American land. Then he felt tired, and lay down to have a rest. The sun, however, had not set, and he said, "It is still light. Let me create sornething small. So he stretched out his hand, and took from the bottom of the sea a handful of sand. He pressed the water out of it, — and therefore our island is called Čibu´kak ("pressed out," "wrung out"), — and put it upon the ground before himself. Then he picked up a few small pebbles and put them in various places on this mound of sand. These were men. They were weak and without enterprise.

   He said to them, "You must take your food out of the water. I shall not give you reindeer. They are too good for you." They sought food, and found a walrus, a thong-seal, and a ringed-seal. Still it was not enough, and they were starving. All the people died of starvation; only an orphan was left alive. He was covered with scabs; his skin had large ulcers, and in some places hung down in tatters. He had no food for nearly a month. So he lay in the cold sleeping-room, unable to rise. His body was covered with an old coat of bird-skins without feathers. He lay shaking with cold, and asking for a speedy death.

   He wanted to sleep, but could not. So he prayed to the Sea-God, 2 not for food, at least for a little sleep. But the sleep did not come. Then he prayed to the Upper God for a little sleep. The sleep did not come. But the Sea-God had compassion on him, and sent a walrus. The walrus came roaring, and emerged out of the ground near the house. Then it plunged back, but left behind a few jelly-fish. Some of them were right

p. 434 in the sleeping-room. The boy felt around with his hands. He found one jelly-fish, and swallowed it; but his stomach was so little used to food, that he died of cramps. The Upper God had compassion on him, and brought him back to life. He ate five more jelly-fishes, and died again. The Upper God brought him back to life another time. Now his stomach was stronger. He ate plenty of jelly-fish, and felt better. Still he had no sleep. He prayed again to the Upper God, who had compassion on him and sent him sleep.

   He slept three days and two nights. Then he dreamed. Six women — one old one and five young ones — entered the sleeping-room. They put everything in good order, cleaned away the rubbish, spread the skins, and lighted the lamp. Then the room was warm and tidy. He wished to move nearer the lamp, and then he awoke. The sleeping-room was dark and cold, as before. He prayed again for sleep, but without success. Three days and two nights he was there, trembling with cold, then he dozed off and had the same dream. The women came and put the sleeping-room in order. The old woman said, "We are assistants of the Upper God. We must not waken him till everything is ready. Now prepare the food!" The younger women brought a large dish filled with fish, walrus-meat, and seal-blubber. There was everything except whale-skin.

   He was awake, but felt afraid to stir, lest the happy dream should vanish, as before. Then the old woman nudged him, "Get up! The meal is ready." He ate. The old woman urinated into a chamber-vessel, and rubbed his body all over with urine. Instantly he was healed of his sores. She blew upon him, and he became strong, like a walrus. Then he copulated with all five of the younger women, one after another; so that his name after that was The-One-copulating-with-Five-Divine-Women. After that he went out and set off, journeying towards the sky. He came to the Sun-Man, and said, "Give us reindeer!" Sun-Man answered, "I cannot do so. In the world above me there lives another God greater than I: he would be angry. Instead of that, I will give you something large and oily, — a great mass of food. Keep it as your property." He took two handfuls of small pebbles. "Take these, and when you come home, throw them into the water." The young man descended, and threw the stones into the water. They turned into whales of various kinds. After that he lived on the surface of the sea. He walked about with the walrus. In the end the people of Kuku´lik killed him by mistake. When dying, he said, "Such are you, and such shall be your fate. When you go out to sea, you shall be drowned. When you stay ashore, you shall die of starvation. When you have food enough, you shall be visited by to´ṛnaṛaks of the disease." After that he died. That is all.

Told by Ale´qat, an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


433:2 Ima´m Kịya´ṛnaṛak. Kịya´ṛnaṛak fully corresponds to the Chukchee Va´ịrġịn, and signifies "(Good) Being."

Next: 15. The Contest between the Giant and the Plover.