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p. 174


[This apparently historical tradition has been given in two separate narratives, the original copies not agreeing sufficiently to admit of their being combined into one, although they have evidently sprung from the same source. The variants of this tale exemplify in a very remarkable manner how the narrators have practised their habit of localising events. The first copy is one from North Greenland, where the inlanders are meant to represent the fabulous inhabitants of the interior of Greenland; the second is one from Labrador, in which the native Indians of that country are plainly alluded to; and it is very remarkable that a third record of the same events has been received from South Greenland, in which the inlanders are represented as being identical with the ancient Scandinavian settlers in those parts of the country.]

THE inlanders and the coast-people in the beginning were friends. A servant-maid called Navaranak used to be sent out by the inlanders to the coast-people in order to fetch back matak (edible whale-skin), and in exchange brought them reindeer-tallow; but after a time she grew weary of this work, and resolved to free herself by making them enemies. For this purpose she told the inlanders that the coast-people were going to attack them, and to the coasters she asserted that the inlanders were making ready to invade them. At length she provoked the inlanders to such a degree that they resolved upon attacking the coast-people. They chose a time when they were well aware that the men had all gone out hunting; and, accompanied by Navaranak, fell upon the helpless women and children. In their fright some of the mothers killed their own children, but one woman who was pregnant fled down beneath the ledge; and when Navaranak was sent back by the inlanders to find her out, she promised her all she possessed not to betray her. Some also escaped by hiding themselves among the rocks, but all the rest were killed. When the men p. 175 returned, those who were left alive ran down and told them what had happened; and on coming up from the beach to their houses and beholding all their dead, the men were almost desperate. When the time came for flensing and cutting up the whale, Navaranak did not arrive as usual; she seemed to have disappeared altogether. When summer had again come round, the men prepared a great many arrows, and set out for the interior to take revenge on the inlanders. On their way they called out, as was their wont, "Navaranak, come on; we have got matak for thee!" but no one appeared. Again they went on a good distance, and then repeatedly called out, "Navaranak," &c. And this time she answered the summons, and went up to them. On noticing their arrows, she was about to take flight. Reassuring her, however, they told her she had no need to do that. When she had ventured quite close to them, they asked her where her countrymen were to be found, and she said, "Further away in the interior of the country!" but now they made her fast to a rope, and dragged her along with them until she perished. At length they arrived at a very large lake, where the tents of the inlanders were pitched all around, and they saw people going out and in. But they waited till all had entered the tents, and then they made their attack. Arrows came flying from both sides; but those of the inlanders soon grew fewer in number, and the coast-people remained all unwounded. When they had done with the men, they went inside, killing women and children; and having thus satisfied their revenge, returned to their homes.


[On the island of Okak, in Labrador, this tale is told as follows:—]

At Kivalek, on the island of Okak, there once lived a great many people, among whom was an Indian woman named Javraganak. From her childhood she had been p. 176 living with the coast-people, whose servant she was; but nevertheless she had always remained a stranger among them. One day when she was hungry, and longed for one of her Indian dishes, she said, "At Pangma my countrymen have plenty of tongues;" upon which an old man sneeringly replied, "I daresay thou hast many brothers and relatives away there; thou hadst better make them come over here,"—and at night she wandered away to give them warning. In those times hares were very abundant, and sometimes you might even hear them run about on the house-tops. One night when Javraganak had come with a great number of her countrymen, those within heard a murmuring sound outside, and the old man said, "Well, if that is not the hares again! They are very lively, it seems." Besides him there was not a man at home; they were all out hunting. And so it happened that all the inhabitants were put to death by Javraganak's Indian countrymen. Many of them sought refuge in a cave, where some were suffocated and others murdered. On their return the men found their wives and children all killed; but shortly afterwards they set out to kill the murderers. Among these men was an angakok, who made a road for them right through a mountain, and the countrymen of Javraganak were all destroyed. She, however, was not to be found, having gone to hide herself; but the men had great trust in their angakok. At last a man happened to call out, "How I wish that Javraganak would serve me again!" upon which she immediately appeared, looking very comfortable. But they soon all fell upon her, wound a cord around her body, and dragged her along the ground till she died. And in this way she was paid back for what she had done to them.