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

16. The Shaman A´bla.

   In the village of Čibu´kak there lived a rich man and a strong man. The name of the latter was A´bla. They had a running-match, the course being a circle. Then the rich man said, "Now let us wrestle!" A´bla said, "All right!" They wrestled near a tumble-down house, and then left off and shot with bows. A´bla could not hit the rich man. He was too nimble, and would jump aside. Then A´bla said, "Though you do jump aside, now take heed! With this arrow of mine I shall hit you." He took an arrow from his quiver, made of whalebone and quite small, and shot at the rich man, who turned on the spot where he was standing, and fell down dead.

   A´bla was very angry. He went to a solitary place and lived there. After a while there came to the island a man from the village A´vak, 1 in two large boats, and with his whole family. They brought reindeer-skins for sale. They went to the village Kuku´lik to gather wood, and one of the boys was lost. His father, who was a shaman, could not find him. The people said, "Go to A´bla. Perhaps he will do something for you." The father went to A´bla. A´bla said, "Who knows! Probably I too shall not succeed. Still I will try, at least." He took a small hatchet made of shell, and pretended to work on a piece of wood. All at once the lost boy shouted. He swept by, crying, carried along by a to´ṛnaṛak of the mountains. A´bla was still chopping with his hatchet, and did not even look up. The boy passed by again, and he saw him, but the to´ṛnaṛak who carried him was invisible. Still A´bla aimed at him, and threw his hatchet. The to´ṛnaṛak cried aloud, and the boy fell down; but after a moment he was swept along, being carried away again by the to´ṛnaṛak. A´bla gave chase, but could not overtake them. Whatever shape he would assume, whatever song he would sing, the to´ṛnaṛak was ahead of him, though quite near. At last he sang the song of the ceremonial of boats. Then the boy fell down.

p. 436

   A´bla came to him, and asked him, "What is your name?" The boy answered, "My name is A´bla." — "Oh, oh! and what is my own name?" — "Your name is A´pịlo." Thus they exchanged names. Then the new A´pịlo sent his own son to the boy's parents. They had shaved their hair, and were sitting in the sleeping-room, mourning. The shaman's son came, and said, "My father sends for you." — "Why? Did he kill a walrus on the shore?" — "I do not know. He sends for you." — "Perhaps he has found a stranded whale." — "I do not know. He bids you come." They went, and saw their lost boy. Then the father, full of joy, filled a large boat with skins and new clothes, with beads, and with everything they had brought for sale, and gave it to the shaman. He took one skin, one fur shirt, and one long head necklace. 1 Everything else he gave back. Thus they lived.

Told by Acu´naṛak, an Asiatic Eskimo man; on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


435:1 The shaman A´bla was one of the forerathers of Acu´naṛak, and the latter assured me that the necklace in question is still kept in his family. He said that it is in the possession of his uncle, who at that time was absent. He also made two toy-hatchets or sea-shells in the shape or the shell hatchets or the shaman. These toy-hatchets are in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History.

436:1 On the Asiatic shore.

Next: II. — SONGS.