Sacred-Texts Native American Inuit
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IT once happened that two men went out deer-hunting, accompanied by a woman. On the way they scolded her, at which she got vexed, and tied up her boots in order to remain behind. They waited a while for her, but at length went along without her, and soon lost sight of her, as she had purposely hidden herself behind some large heaps of stones. She heard them seeking for her close beside her hiding-place, and lamenting their loss; but nevertheless she remained quiet until they were gone. When she was thus left alone she crept forth and went off in an opposite direction. After some time she came to a gull's mound, and observed a man coming out from it; she tried to escape, but he seized hold of her, and asked her to follow him to his dwelling-place in the gull's-hill, as he wished to marry p. 263 her. She followed him reluctantly; but when he opened it to her, she noticed that it was covered with reindeer-skins on the walls, and on the whole looked quite comfortable. She now left off crying, entered the hill, and became his wife, and in due time she bore him a child, whom the father wanted to be named Imitlungnarsunguak. The wife, however, remonstrated, saying, "That she had not got any relatives of that name;" but the husband answered her, "It did not matter; he would take care to make a great huntsman of him,"—and then she let him call the boy as he liked. When he grew on, and his mother had spent a good many winters in this place, she longed for her former home, and wished to return. The husband merely answered her, "I claim his first catch, mind!" and then she left him along with her son, and went back to her old relatives and housemates, and once more lived with them. When the other children played with her son, she used to tell them not to do him any harm; and for fear of his unknown father they desisted. When he was quite grown up, and saw the men prepare for the hunt, he was very desirous to join them; his mother observing this, went outside and shouted out aloud, "Now get him some tools!" When she came out next morning she found them lying on the ground, close beside the entry. When the son brought home what he had caught for the first time, she again went out and cried with all her might, "Imitlungnarsunguak has caught a seal!" and when she was about to re-enter, the people were all very busy in dragging this seal into the house. When they had reached the farther end of the passage, it could not be lifted across the threshold into the room, but rolled back, and in no time had vanished. The father, of course, had taken it away. His next catch the mother got; but when he went out hunting the third time, he remained away. His mother now mended his clothes and put them to rights, and in the evening went outside p. 264 as before, shouting something at the pitch of her voice, upon which his garments came flying out of the house, and she hurried after them. When they had got as far as the beach, the coast-ice appeared to be lifted up, and left room for the clothes to slip down beneath,—the mother following them closely. She now came to a house under ground belonging to ingnersuit, and there found her son, tied hands and feet. Loosening him she hurried him into his clothes, and brought him away with her. Her own name was Nagguanguak.



p. 262

1 Cor. sp. ingnerssuit, plur. of ingnerssuaĸ, signifying a sort of elves or spirits, having their abodes in the rocks along the sea.