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[The following three tales are here given separately, but nevertheless put under one number, their contents being, on the one hand, interesting with regard to the information implied about the art of angakut (plur. of angakok) in general, while, on the other, they are somewhat imperfect and obscure, so as to make it difficult to decide whether we have one or two original stories before us. The first was written down in p. 271 North Greenland before 1830; the second in the southernmost part of Greenland, about 1860; and the last has been written down by the author himself from a verbal narration, but is given here only in an abridged form. Akilinek is the fabulous country beyond the ocean.]

(1.) THERE was once a very clever angakok. When he was about to practise his art, and his limbs had been tied and the lamps extinguished, he took flight, and having found the wind favourable, he flew across the sea, but did not sight the opposite shore before daybreak, when he was obliged to return. Several times he tried to get farther away, but was never able to pass beyond this mark; and therefore he determined to educate his son for an angakok, hoping that he might possibly be brought to excel him. When the boy was grown up, he went through all the grades and branches of the angakok-science with him; but when the father proposed to give up teaching him, the son turned very moody and low-spirited. The father now questioned him, saying, "Is there any part of the science thou thinkest we have overlooked, and neglected to practise?" and the son answered, "I think there is;" whereat the father recalled all the exercises they had gone through, one by one, but after due meditation asked him, "Didst thou visit the graves?" The son told him he had not; and the father said, "Welll I will take thee thither this evening;" whereat the son was very glad. At the time appointed, they wandered to the burying-grounds, where the father opened one of the graves, and undid the pall of a corpse beneath the waist, and made his son thrust his hand right into the flesh of the deceased body. This done, the father left him as if nothing at all were the matter. When the son was about to follow him, the father remarked, "As yet thou hast observed nothing particular at this tomb; but wait till thou seest the last rays of the setting sun, and take not thy eyes from its splendour: but the moment thou dost notice a spark of light falling down from it, beware, and flee the place at p. 272 once." While he was yet standing and gazing at the declining sun, the father suddenly beheld something glistening through the brightness of the sky, at the sight of which he immediately took flight, but the son remained with his hands attached to the corpse, unable to extricate himself. Not until midnight did he return, all smiles and joy; and now the father deemed him thoroughly tried and expert in his art. On the night of the following day he resolved to bind him for his first flight. When the lamps had all been extinguished, the son flew out. Having no particular end or aim, however, he only went backwards and forwards, but saw nothing very remarkable: his father questioned him concerning the currents of the air, but he did not happen to have taken note of any. The next day he again prepared for an angakok flight, and this time observed that the wind was favourable. He crossed part of the sea, and soon perceived that he was taking the same course as his father. At last great perpendicular rocks arose in front of him, and he had reached now the limit of his father's journey. He continued his flight towards it; and having with some difficulty succeeded in passing it, he saw an extensive country: crossing it in a southerly direction, he came upon a small house, and alighted close beside it. It was a house with two windows; and peeping within, he saw one man standing at each window, and watching him closely. One of the men went out and beckoned to a woman: on seeing the stranger, he invited him to step inside; and as both were entering, they met the woman in the passage ready to follow, and he now turned to her, saying, "Thou seest I have brought a visitor." Having passed the doorway, the angakok seated himself on the side-ledge to the right, and on the opposite side he saw a squint-eyed person, whose breath was like fire (peculiar to angakut, and also only to be observed by them). At his feet were chips of bone, at which he had been working. Further away he observed p. 273 a woman, whose body was all over hairy. When the squint-eyed man noticed that he was being looked at, he said, "Why dost thou thus stare at me?" "Oh, I was only looking at the chips at thy feet." The other answered, "In the summer I have not got time to make chips, and that is why I am at it now." Some of them said, "Perhaps our visitor would like to show us some of his art?" and be answered, "Why, I am not unwilling, though it is but the second time I have practised angakok science." They all repaired to the kagse (their house of festivities). The squint-eyed person, who was always keeping close at the visitor's heels, asked him what fearful tornak (guardian spirit) he had got at his service; and he answered, "If I succeed, a large iceberg will presently appear." They all entered the dark kagse, and he also observed the hairy woman, the sight of whom he did not like, suspecting her to be dangerous to his purpose. When the conjuring had begun, and he felt that his tornak was drawing nigh, he said, "I fancy that something is approaching us." They looked out at the window, and whispered to each other, "A monstrous iceberg is close upon the beach." The angakok said, "Let a young man and a maiden step forth and post themselves in the middle of the floor." When they had taken their place, a tremendous noise proceeded from the iceberg bouncing ashore and suddenly calving. Then a married couple was ordered out on the floor, and a loud roar from without followed. Thus they were all called forth, one after the other, and at last it was the turn of the ugly woman to step out. When she was about to advance, she missed her footing on one of the flags, and got beyond the proper stepping-stones, and at the same time the iceberg turned over, and came tumbling over the shore, crushing the house to atoms. Only the angakok visitor and the man with the squint came out unhurt. He now tied his limbs, rose high in the air, and returned, accompanied by a swarm of croaking ravens. He was p. 274 silent and dejected; and when his father questioned him as to the reason, he answered, "I am heavy with grief because I have practised my art badly: I did wrong in calling forth the hairy woman; and by this fault of mine many happy and vigorous people have perished." Next day the squint-eyed person made his appearance in the house, and observed, "Perhaps I too may be allowed to exhibit my art? I too am an angakok." To this the old angakok remarked, "My son there is just telling me that he has killed many brave and strong people by his want of experience." The other answered, "So he did, the bad one." The squint-eyed was now tied hand and foot, and began his flight in the house, which was still lighted up, and as soon as they began singing, he flew out of it. Somehow they suspected that he was likely to be dangerous to them, and accordingly they extinguished the lamps, in order to prevent his re-entering the place; but on looking out at the window, they saw him take a direction towards his own homestead, and soon after proceeded to light the lamps, concluding that, at any rate, he would not return the same night.

(2.) Of an angakok called Ipisanguak, who was still a novice in his art, this tale is told: On a certain evening, when he was just ready to set out on a flight, he said, "I intend to go away in search of the little house my forefathers have often spoken of, outside of which lies the bloody sword." Having spoken thus, he set off, making a circuit all round the horizon, without having anything particular to relate on his return; but the next time he flew straight across to Akilinek, and alighted right in front of a house, where lay the bloody sword which was to be taken by him. He went up to the entrance, from whence a man emerged whose eyes were all dim, like those of an unborn seal. He re-entered the house without noticing the stranger, and p. 275 another man now appeared whose eyes were like the blackest berries, and this one asked him to step inside, where the inmates of the house welcomed him, saying, "Thou art just in time to join us at our meal." After a while the angakok observed, "I want another to fill my place at home to-night, otherwise my relatives will not believe that I have been here." The dim-eyed man answered him, "I should very much like to be thy substitute, but I am rather a slow one." They now proceeded to have him tied. Presently he was lifted up within the house, and then soared out into the open air, while Ipisanguak enjoyed a happy night in the company of his pleasant hosts. At dawn of day he broke off, saying, "The night is done; I must be off." Again he crossed the sea; and about midway he saw a glare as of a great fire shining about him, which appeared to be from his substitute, who likewise was on his way home, and thus meeting, both aimed at each other. Ipisanguak again visited Akilinek next evening, and at the same time his substitute exclaimed, "I hear him coming; behold, there he is!" whereupon he also went off, and again they encountered each other on the way, and smiled as they met, and returned in the same way at daybreak. On the following day, when Ipisanguak returned from a trip in his kayak, he said he had met several kayakers from an adjoining place, called Kagsimiut, and likewise reported that he had heard them say of himself, "Ipisanguak has turned angakok, and almost every day exchanges place with an angakok from Akilinek. Let us go and hear him." On the following day a great many kayakers and several boats' crews arrived; and when he suffered himself to be tied, and left for Akilinek, he was soon replaced by his comrade, who entered the house, and entertained the guests all the night long. Some time after this Ipisanguak paid a visit to Kagsimiut; and during his stay one of the seal-hunters said: "Seals are rather scanty with us at present: a clever p. 276 hunter can hardly get one at a time; thou mightest bring on the seals, I should think, and thus improve the hunting." At the same time Ipisanguak observed a handsome young woman, to whom he at once took a fancy, standing outside the house. In the evening he conjured spirits; and during that interval an immense iceberg appeared, fast approaching the beach. He now let the women advance one by one; but she to whom he had taken a liking would not come. At length one appeared with a fine new ribbon round her topknot, and at that very moment the iceberg began to waver and shake; the angakok immediately sank down beneath the floor, and reached his own house by an underground way, while the iceberg came rolling on, tumbling right across the beach, crushing the house to atoms. On getting home he had all the lamps lighted; but in less than a moment the angakok from Kagsimiut made his appearance to avenge his people. However, they hit him with stones, and drove him back, and his voice had become inaudible. The following day Ipisanguak went to have a look at the destroyed house, but not a trace was left of it. The girl with the new topknot was possessed of an anghiak (the ghost of an abortion, or a child born in concealment), and it was all owing to her that Ipisanguak had been the cause of the accident that had happened to her housemates.

(3.) A great angakok at his conjurations always used to talk of his having been to Akilinek, and his auditors fully believed him. Once he forced his little son to attend his conjurations, sitting upon his knee. The boy, who was horribly frightened, said, "Lo! what is it I see? The stars are dropping down in the old grave on yonder hill." The father said, "When the old grave is shining to thee, it will enlighten thy understanding." When the boy had been lying down in his lap for a while, he again burst out, "What is it I now see?—the bones in the old p. 277 grave are beginning to join together." The father only repeating his last words, the son grew obstinate and wanted to run away; but the father still kept hold of him. Lastly, the ghost from the grave came out, and being called upon by the angakok, he entered the house to fetch the boy, who only perceived a strong smell of maggots, and then fainted away. On recovering his senses, he found himself in the grave quite naked, and when he arose and looked about, his nature was totally altered—he found himself able at a sight to survey the whole country away to the farthest north, and nothing remained concealed from him. All the dwelling-places of man appeared to be close together, side by side; and on looking at the sea, he saw his father's tracks, stretching across to Akilinek. When going down to the house, he observed his clothes flying through the air, and had only to put forth his hands and feet to make them cover his body again. But on entering the house he looked exceedingly pale, because of the great angakok wisdom he had acquired down in the old grave. After having become an angakok himself, he once went on a flight to Akilinek, and entered a house where a number of men were assembled, one of whom he observed to be dim-eyed. By help of his angakok sense he discovered this man also to be an angakok, and remarked some bone-chips lying at his feet. These chips (probably supernatural ones, and only visible to a clairvoyant) the dim-eyed man had in vain tried to get rid of; because they arose from some work he had taken in hand before the appointed days of mourning for some person deceased had gone by, (thereby provoking the invisible rulers). While staying here, the angakok visitor was requested to make a conjuration, in order to procure a plentiful seal-hunting. He summoned his tornak called a kivingak (viz., an iceberg, steep on one side, but sloping down on the other, all covered with seals). The iceberg quickly approached with the latter side towards them, and bending p. 278 over, was just about to cast off all the seals into the water. But it so happened that among the housemates who had stepped forth on the floor there was a woman with an anghiak, which immediately made the iceberg turn on its steep side; and tumbling over with a tremendous roar, it crushed the house and all the people within, all of whom perished excepting the two angakut, who took care to make their escape at the right moment.