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

p. 437

II. — SONGS. 1

1 (a).

"Who is this man? 3 Whence does he come?" — "Alaka´li, I do not know him." — "Do you not know Alaka´li? He and his companions, they have the shape of gulls. They screech just like gulls." 2

1 (b).

My heart longs only for that place, for that aunt of mine, who is always singing.

1 (c).

O women! run here with your vessels (for taking water)!

p. 438

1 (d).

Ra´wtačhaw exerted himself more than all other men, more than you. In these exertions he vanquished you, he will vanquish them also. Eskimo women were saying, "We will cut up for him this crab-meat."

1 (a-d) sung by Ri´rmi, an Asiatic Eskimo man, at Mariinsky Post, April 1901.

2 (a).

At the cape of Uñi´sak, at the pretty one, O girls! I learned a song, good for singing, a pretty one. The steamboats were already coming.

At the cape of Uñi´sak, at the pretty one, O boys! I learned a song, good for singing, a pretty one. O boys! You are my assistants (in singing), you never refuse. My heart yearns for King Island, for the woman Ača´ka.

p. 439

2 (b).

Where is it, this song? I was not able to use it. But I will begin it again. Well, now I shall sing it. Enough, I cease to sing. My singing has spoiled itself. 1 So I became poor of song.

O man! I sing shaman songs which are destined to give protection from evil spirits to your living-place. Enough, I cease to sing.

2 (c).

Oh, it is strange! This man all the time induces us to be his teachers in singing, so that we grew poor in songs. I have no more new songs.

My heart yearns only there to the village of Kakma´lik, 1 to the woman who sings well, who dances well. My cousin showed me, he informed me of this woman of his. My cousin showed me, informed me, told me of it: These women ask much; they speak too much. And when one turns away, they say to another man, "Come here, come here!"

Why, Ka´lmik here sang quite well, and she was not married. Oh, we two shall have a singing-match! But I cannot surpass you. Oh, there, I cease! I lost my voice. 3 Oh, it is strange! This idle man! 4 God damn! Son of a bitch!

p. 440

2 (a-c) Sung by Če´lhat, an Asiatic Eskimo man, in the village of Uñi´sak 1, at Indian Point, May, 1901.


Where is this song of the village of Uñi´sak? I could not find it. So I will sing the song of the village Nịbu´kak, What are its words? Oh, there repeat them to me! 3

How is it, my own ears heard the report of that rifle. I should like to eat of that reindeer-buck (i. e., killed with a shot). I have consumed the whole of it. Now where shall I eat some seaweed? I came too late, and missed seaweed at the cape of Uki´ṛalwak, though I hurried there,

p. 441

Sung by Tal‘i´mak, an Asiatic Eskimo man, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.


My heart within me yearns strongly (there) for my cousin Hai´tị, who sits at the boat's prow, 1 and who can write.

Sung by Tal‘i´mak, an Asiatic Eskimo man, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.

5 (a).

Oh, you who belong to my master and sit in the sleeping-room, come out! You have a crooked back, you are a hump-back. I look at this whiskered one (i. e., the walrus)! O people! pull him out, draw him ashore!

5 (b).

Of what material does this one make his new ladles? He makes them of bad whalebone from a humpback whale. Little took first take han lantl2 etc.

p. 442

5 (c).

What did they drop to the ground, those shamans 1 of the neighboring settlement? They dropped a walrus-flipper. What do they say about me? They say that I can dive into the ground and come out again. They speak much of me. Kis·li´tikak, La´ṛluk, Ukuñịl‘i´ṛak, Ya´ṛi, Ilaṛa´sima, Kana´xtṛyak, Ci´mpa, Ab‘a´tmi, Iṛla´ṛutka, Ma´lula, Mika´tuġri, Ai´b‘is·ik, Tuñxčï´ṛak, Cinka´luwak, U´lṛak. 2

5 (a-c) Sung by Mai´o, 3 an Eskimo boy of the village of Uñi´sak.

6 (a).

I sighted a woman for myself, a small woman, a bad woman, one with fat cheeks, one with ruddy cheeks, ka!

6 (b).

A small gull, a small auk, it is sitting crouched.

6 (a, b) Sung by Ap‘s·i´ñak, an Asiatic Eskimo lad, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, June, 1901.

7 (a).

Whose girl is this? It is the daughter of Uka´ṛutak. She is fingerless, she cannot work properly. Ka, ka, ka!

p. 443

7 (b).

Who is that girl there? I will tell you about her. It is a small, bad, pricking louse, of just the size of a louse-egg. She has pointed arms, she has pointed legs.

7 (a, b) Sung by Ča´n·au, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.


Men of one boat were picking berries upon an island. Their upper parts, their hind parts, their buttocks, are like those of a wolverene, nananas·u´, qapinas·u´, qapihohu´ 1.

Sung by Kai´uwa, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.


A small, weak man was walking very awkwardly. He was bow-legged, he was club-footed. There he is, there he is! He sits in the sleeping-room on the rear side, with his bad wife. Both are quite bad. From where is that woman? She is from the seacoast. She casts swift glances to either side.

Sung by Kai´uwa, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.

p. 444


To what purpose does this A´tañ make me sing, and cause me to come back with him to the trading-dance, giving me a present? And since I feel shame, he performs the ceremonial by the lamp in the outer house, and gives me as a present for the trading-dance a bitch.

Sung by Ka´bik, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, May, 1901.


This woman 1 has grown for herself two buttocks. The second is upon her nape. She carries it around. And even the third is upon her forehead. 2 She carries it around for her man, for Aña´ntị.

Sung by Ka´bik, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, May, 1901.

12 (a).

In what manner can I turn to the outer side of this big outer world; to the direction of the southern wind; to the direction of Ca´xcu, who has a black spot upon the forehead?

p. 445

12 (b).

She was married on the big land, she was married to a walrus, even to this one, Aiu´ṛa. The walrus roared.

12 (a, b) Sung by Iṛu´lik, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, June, 1901.

13. Dialogues. 1


"I am quarrelling with my husband." — "My bad wife speaks evil about me. I will tell you about her. All the time she is calling to other men."


"Who will carry my pretty sister?" — "What is this? I will haul her. Enough, I cease to sing. I constructed this sled for her."

13 (a, b) Sung by Ma´ṛla, an Asiatic Eskimo girl, in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, June, 1901.

14. Shaman's Songs. 2


p. 446

Oh, you men, 1 listen to this one! In the middle of the mainland a Tungus 2 is walking in blood. Oh, you men, listen to this one! He is all bedaubed with coagulated blood. Oh, you men, look at this one, deep in the sea! 3 She shoved out a dish filled with every kind of food. People of our land, and all the others living around, rejoiced.


Oh, you women there! laugh this time, because he 4 is approaching sideways. This one came to land with a roar. Will you haul the walrus-meat by the holes cut through it? 5


Oh, you man! this neck of mine cut into pieces, and carry it to that one (in the sea). Let it turn to food 6 near the walrus. Oh, you man! this head of mine cut to pieces, and carry it to that one (in the sea). Then let it be brought back by the walrus. 7

p. 447


That one staying there outside (i. e., the Spirit) troubles me with his constant demands. "There you! those sitting within do not listen, they pay no attention to you. Well, then, I shall ask them in your behalf, perhaps those sitting within shall give you a present, a sausage quite unbroken."


Where is this Tiwla´ña sitting in the inner room? She showed herself here. "Look at me! I came from afar off, and I brought you my staff. It is to be used for helping the suffering people to stand up. This staff of the far-off master I brought here to be used to raise the head of suffering people. The staff of the outside master used to raise the suffering people."


"Where did I live? I remained invisible to the Outside Grandfather (i. e., to the world), I remained unknown to the Outside Grandfather." — "Indeed, he does know you. The Outside Grandfather knows you; however, he pretends not to know you."

14 (a-f) Sung by Ča´plak, the oldest man in the village of Uñi´sak.

p. 448

15. Shaman's Songs.


Whose child 1 is crying there? O women! sing for me. I shall dance. Oh, there! I feel as if my soul, 2 the one within, were going out.


Why does the one within not sing? I look back upon him, the man within. Upon the seashore the fog is rising. Shake this one within on the seashore by the sea.

15 (a, b) Sung by Kakcu´bak, 3 an Asiatic Eskimo man in the village of Uñi´sak, at Indian Point, May, 1901.

16. Shaman's Songs. 4


O woman! I will teach you a song destined for dancing. It produces an itching desire to stamp on the ground to its sounds. Sing to me when you are stamping the ground. I shall dance too. There, you, scratch them, give them cramps!

p. 449


Oh, you, one within! I came to you, I brought you a harpoon-line, good for use. Oh, you, Hi´wuña! go around with a staff. Let them look at you. Like me, go around with a staff. 1


He was making a passage for himself, he was preparing a breath for himself. 2 All the people of our land saw him. He came out of the ground, and appeared between the houses. He looked back at them.


Whose magic master 3 is it, to whom I give liquor, to whom I give brandy? This person has again been left under the ground. He remained there. Oh, you, look at this dog! 4 He stands crosswise and looks back.

16 (a-d) Sung by Hi´wuña, a female shaman, in the village of Uñi´sak.

p. 450


My stomach is yearning for my cousin. I would leave Cimcai´va here; but I wish he would give me in his storehouse a drink of molasses mixed with hard bread-crumbs, a liquor not stupefying.

Sung by Qal‘u´wak, an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


From whom shall I have tea to drink? I shall have it from the Northwesterner, from the Russian, my cousin. He will give me his brick-tea of good quality. My stomach will feel well. Drinking tea, I shall laugh. 4

Sung by Ñịpe´wġi, an Asiatic Eskimo man, a native of Uñi´sak, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


I found here for myself a woman. She walks much in an overcoat of calico. She is a ruddy one, she is a pretty one.

Sung by Ñịpe´wġi, an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.

p. 451


I will go and look for game. I shall also throw at the birds my throwing-balls. 1

Sung by Ka´l‘i, an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


I wounded a seal which is always escaping. I could not find it. With what shall I stab it? With my small whip.

Sung by Či´mpak, an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.

22 (a).

I am singing here at the trading-dance. O young man! this one makes me perform the trading-dance in the outer tent. Let him himself also dance.

22 (b).

What shall I ask for? I will ask for a walrus-hide, for a new one, for a large one without patches.

22 (a, b) Sung by Ku´puña, an Asiatic Eskimo woman, on St. Lawrence Island, May, 1901.

p. 452

23. Shaman's Song.

When shall I sing this song? lt is good to be listened to. Oh, let all those sitting in the outer house around give something to that to´ṛnaṛak! Let them throw their presents, and let him stay at his own place! Oh, you there, women! shout with me! Shall I sing it? You will be given joy by that one in the sea. You shall laugh. Now it is finished.

Sung by Acu´naṛak, 3 an Asiatic Eskimo man, on St, Lawrence Island, May, 1901.


437:1 For explanation of alphabet see p. 456.

437:2 The songs (a), (b), (c), (d), are entirely disconnected. They are placed together here because they were given by one man. The first one (a) is a dialogue between a man and a to´ṛnaṛak named Alaka´lị. The second question of the man — "And who are you?" — addressed to the to´ṛnaṛak is omitted. The last song (d) is largely in Chukchee. Only the word "kayalka´tiu" and the last sentence are Eskimo, but the tune to which it was sung was also Eskimo. "Yañiya´ hịyaña´," etc., are burdens without any particular meaning. In singing, they are repeated several times. The word "taxluweiu´wa" in 1 (d), line 2, was also said to be a burden without meaning, although I am not quite sure of this.

437:3 Taṛu for yuk ("man") belongs to the so-called language of the to´ṛnaṛaks.

439:1 The singing person was hoarse at that time.

439:3 Literally, i´ṛlak ("throat").

439:4 That is, the writer of these lines.

440:1 A village on the American side.

440:3 The following part of this song is in the dialect of Nịbu´kak, and has been translated literally into the dialect of Uñi´sak.

441:1 The man who sits at the prow is the first to throw the harpoon in seal and walrus hunting. This is a place of honor. Hai´tị, of whom the song speaks, was an Eskimo of the American shore. He was the cousin of Tal‘i´mak on the mother's side. He actually knew how to read and write.

441:2 The words left without translation represent simply imitation of English words put in for fun. These words were moved from the transcription of the Chukchee original.

442:1 Čaṛoia´lik, "shaman" (literally, "that with the drum"), belongs to the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

442:2 Words left without translation represent a set of Eskimo names put in for fun.

442:3 Mai´o, to whom these three songs belong, died of measles a year before my coming there. He was a hunchback, and feeble of body. Nevertheless he was quite popular among his companions on account of his inexhaustible good humor. The songs of Mai´o were known by heart, word for word, by several boys and girls of Uñi´sak. Mai´o, like all the young men, had a strong desire to leam some English. Having no means to do so, he would imitate English sounds and words, and put them into his songs. The songs of Mai´o probably represent parodies of the solemn shamanistic songs of the grown-up people.

443:1 The last words could not be explained by the singer. They either belong to the ancient, now unused forms of speech, or, what is more probable, represent a series of casual sounds, having no meaning. This latter happens quite frequently in the Eskimo songs.

444:1 Kupu´ma, "woman" (literally, "that cut in two"). This word belongs to the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

444:2 Cama´tak, a forehead ornament made of iron, and given by shamans to a patient to carry as a magic remedy.

445:1 These two songs, according to the explanations of the singer and her companions, are of ancient origin. When they are sung, the listeners clap their palms in time.

445:2 These shamanistic songs represent incantations connected wilh the walrus-hunt. Others are sung in the great winter ceremonials. Some were inherited by the old man who sang them, from his father. Others belong to his son, to his daughter, etc. The six songs have no connection one with another.

446:1 Ta´ṛu is the word of the language of to´ṛnaṛaks for "man," Taru´ni maku´ni is vocative plural.

446:2 Kaara´mkak. From the Chukchee Qa´a-ra´mkin (literally "Reindeer People"). Compare Bogoras (Vol. VII of this series, p. 19). The Eskimo never meet the Tungus. This is the only mention of the Tungus in Eskimo folk-lore.

446:3 The narrator speaks here of a sea-deity, which, according to his explanations, is a female, like the well-known Sedna of all the Eskimo.

446:4 That is, the walrus.

446:5 The hunter who kills walrus on the ice, cuts the carcass to pieces, and hauls every piece upon the ice, holding it by the holes that are cut through the meat. In stretching the walrus-hide for drying, similar holes are cut all around the edge. They are also called pu´tuñuk (the Chukchee word "pɵttịña´lhin" is borrowed from the Eskimo).

446:6 Aku´ṛum, "food," in the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

446:7 Tuwu´til‘ik, "walrus" (literally, "the with tusks"), in the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

448:1 Ku´ṛak, "child," in the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

448:2 Yuwu´sik, in usual speech ịyu´s·ik ("body"). Here it means, however, "soul." ịyu´sik means, properly speaking, "self," "human self," and is derived from yuk ("man").

448:3 Kakcu´bak was a shaman, though of no great skill. He pretended that his song was sung wholly in the language of to´ṛnaṛaks, and so refused to translate it into the usual human speech, and even affirmed that he does not understand these strange words. In reality the song is in the usual Uñi´sak dialect of the Asiatic Eskimo, and the percentage of words or grammatical forms of unusual character is by no means larger than in the other shamanistic songs.

448:4 Each of these shamanistic songs is a song by itself. They are supposed to be sung by the to´ṛnaṛak or the female shaman who sang them, and to be addressed to her. So in several cases I had to translate yuk, ịyu´k, ta´ru, "human being," instead of "man."

449:1 The shaman's staff, with its tassels, is considered to be a magic weapon.

449:2 The spirit used the voice of this female shaman Hi´wuña as his breath.

449:3 In the language of to´ṛnaṛak, the shaman, the magic master of the spirits, is always spoken of as "their man," "their woman."

449:4 Literally, "that walking on all-fours." This word belongs to the language of to´ṛnaṛaks.

450:4 This song was not composed for my own benefit, as one might suppose. It originated a year before my arrival, when the missionary of St. Lawrence, an American, bought a few pieces of brick-tea of Japanese make from the Russian steamer "Progress." The Japanese brick-tea is inferior in quality to that made in China and brought by the Russian traders by land from the west.

451:1 Compare Vol. VII of this series, p. 145.

452:3 Acu´naṛak was a shaman, and also a descendant of a family of shamans. His great-grandfather, also Acu´naṛak by name, had much fame. Even now tales exist about the deeds he achieved. His grandson also showed me a few tricks, some of which I have described elsewhere, (Bogoras, The Chukchee, Vol. VII of this series, p. 448).

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