Sacred-Texts Native American Inuit
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p. 268


A MAN, whose name was Tungnerdluk, had his fixed abode by a firth, from which he made his regular excursions into the highlands to hunt the reindeer, and generally he was lucky. In winter he carried on seal-hunting at the mouth of the firth. One summer he was out chasing the deer as usual, and during his absence his wife went away to gather berries among the heather, with their only child. She put the boy down on the sod, and left him a moment; but she had hardly turned away before she heard him crying out. Although she instantly turned back, she did not find him in his place, but only heard his lamentations a long way off from where she was standing. She returned to the tent in great affliction, and told how she had suffered her child to be taken by the inlanders, adding that she feared her husband's anger. In the evening he returned, heavily laden, and they heard him call out, "I have got plenty of reindeer-flesh for thee." On finding that nobody answered, he at once knew that some mischief had befallen them in his absence. He hurried in, and breathlessly asked if his son had died. The wife made no answer; but the others enlightened him, saying, "She let the inlanders take him;" upon which Tungnerdluk asked his trembling wife to put new soles on his boots—he wanted to go and consult his cousin, who was an angakok. This man pointed out the place to which the boy had been taken, and accompanied the father on his way to find him. At a good distance they reached a large house; and the angakok now told him he must go up to it alone, and that he himself would have to return. Tungnerdluk p. 269 peeped in at the window, and saw two terrible women quarrelling and fighting about his weeping child. He leapt down into the outer passage; but he was obliged to creep on hands and feet to get through the inner one up into the main room. Having at last succeeded, he made his way up to the two hags to snatch his child; but whenever he tried to take it from one woman, she directly handed it to the other, and thus they went on a good while. A huge man at length entered, who said he would assist him, declaring that he had sprung from the coast people. He said, "Thou'dst better run on beforehand: be sure I will soon come after with the child; but mind be quick—my house-fellows will soon be pursuing us." And Tungnerdluk came running at full speed, and entered his tent, saying, "Make ready to depart at once;" and meanwhile the other entered with the child. They folded their tents, and quickly loaded their boat; and at the very moment they pushed from shore they saw their enemies descending the hills. When they had fairly got down to the beach, Tungnerdluk could not resist putting back to fight them, and he soon despatched one of them with his harpoon, and then followed his own people out of the firth. After this his son fell sick, and again he consulted an angakok, who was not, however, able to find out the cause of his complaint. He then called another one, who was besides renowned as a performer of headlifting (a peculiar charm for discovering the cause of sickness). He conjured and called up spirits; and lying down on his back, he first let go his breath, then rose up, and again began to breathe, saying, "The child's spirit is still with the inlanders." The father rejoined, "Then lose no time in preparing for an angakok-flight to bring it back and restore it to us;" and he flew away to the inlanders, fetching the spirit of the child home with him. On his return to the parents, he heard the voice of the child growing weaker; but by restoring the spirit to it, the baby soon recovered. Tungnerdluk p. 270 paid the angakok well with different kinds of victuals, adding, "Whenever thou shouldst happen to be in any distress, I will gladly assist thee." Shortly afterwards he had two visitors who had come on purpose to mock him. On their approach, he observed that one carried a lot of whalebones with him. They addressed him, saying, "We have heard of the celebrated Tungnerdluk, who fetched his child back from the inlanders; pray tell us some of thy achievements: we will make thee a present of our whalebones in return." Tungnerdluk answered, "I am not in want of any such thing,"—whereat he took them to his storehouse, where he showed them his large stock of whalebones as well as of walrus-teeth. Seeing this, they respectfully retired, and left the place without so much as entering the house.

NOTE.—A story very similar to this has been received in another manuscript, and through a verbal narration written down by the author. The principal difference consists in the fact of the inlanders being replaced by the amarsiniook (a fabulous monster, which lived upon one of the mountain-tops emerging from the inland ice). The old k’elaumassok (or angakok of an inferior class), who brought back the child, was again overtaken by the amarsiniook, who put both of them into his hood. The angakok then summoned his tornaks, the slinghitter and the falcon, of which the latter succeeded in vanquishing the monster, and making him drop the old man and the child out of his hood.