Sacred-Texts Native American Inuit
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THERE was once a queer old bachelor who had a singular dislike to singing: whenever he heard people sing, he would take himself off immediately. One day, being out at his hunting-place off the coast, he heard people singing, and it proved to proceed from the crew of a boat which was going up the firth right against the wind, and without being rowed. This song pleased him; and he went up to the boat, which he several times noticed to be lifted up into the air, soon to sink down again on the surface of the water, and constantly advancing, although the crew seemed resting on their oars all the while. He now asked leave to be one of the party; and the steersman said he might follow them if he chose, but that he must keep close to them; upon which they tied his kayak to the boat, and then continued singing, ĸangátarsa, ĸangátarsartigut! (let us be taken aloft!) imaĸaja, ah, ha, ha. They were instantly lifted up and taken away across the country. p. 301 Being now on the top of a very high mountain, they took a little rest there, but soon after travelled on through the air until they alighted close beside a house. They discharged the boat; and the old bachelor also got out of his kayak on land, and be entered a house to pay them a visit. He came to like them, remained with them, and learned their magic song. But at length he bethought himself of his relatives, who were sure to be missing him, and be concerned about his fate, and be resolved to return. His hosts proceeded to fill his kayak with victuals, after which he got in: and singing the magic lay, he flew away in the same direction he had formerly come from; but when he reached the high mountain, he got a strong fancy to repose for a while on the summit of it, which happened to be a very steep peak. After a while he wanted to be off again, but found that he had suddenly forgotten the lay, and then he sat down all at a loss on the steep mountain-side. At last he lost his balance, and was about to fall down. He tried to catch hold of the proper words, and sang, "'immakaja!'—no; not quite that; 'kanajaja!'—no, that's not it neither;" and now he began crying and tumbling down the precipice. When he was quite close to the stone-heaps at the foot of the mountain, he remembered the song, and was again carried through the air, and thus saved from destruction. At last he saw his dwelling-place, where his house-fellows had quite given him up for lost. They were just assembled outside, when all at once they heard a song from above, and looking upwards, perceived a kayaker overhead rushing through the air, and before long they recognised their own old bachelor. He directed his course staight towards the entrance, never stopping until he sat right down on the ledge, his kayak's point crushing against the wall of the room; and this was his first and last journey through the air.