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[A tale from South Greenland.]

NAUJARSUAK and Kukajak were friends, and both skilled hunters. They lived apart; but being very fond of each other, they were often together. In spring, when the first seals had made their appearance, they used to bring full-loaded boats with dried meat to their storehouses. Once Kukajak happened to have put by a greater store than his friend, and this made Naujarsuak jealous. Kukajak used to go away deer-hunting in the spring, and did the same that summer; and on his way home in the autumn, he was as usual to p. 355 pass by his store-places on the coast, and take out some dried seal-meat for a welcome feast at home. He was longing greatly for some dried seal-flesh himself. But on arriving at his stores, he found that the foxes had been there beforehand, and had left nothing for him. On a close examination, he found out that some one had been making little holes in the stone coverings, just large enough for a fox to pass through. He got extremely vexed; and at home he learned that Naujarsuak had made the holes during his absence. At this intelligence he became still more angry; but nevertheless he could not help longing for his friend; and he started on a visit to him the day after. Naujarsuak, in his turn, was longing as much to see Kukajak; and as soon as the other had arrived, he hastened to draw his kayak on land, and take him to his house. During the meal, Kukajak carelessly observed, "I also had a small portion of dried meat put by, but the foxes have carried it all off, which has never happened to me before." Naujarsuak remarked, "Thou hast been wrong in coming so late to look after thy stores." At this speech Kukajak got inwardly enraged. Having passed the night beneath his friend's roof, he, as usual, invited him to accompany him home to have some dried reindeer-flesh. While they were thus talking, they saw from land some kayakers stopping outside, lying in wait for seals, when, all of a sudden, Kukajak came upon his friend from behind, and sent his harpoon right through him. The little son of Naujarsuak was standing on the beach, and saw his father being killed, while Kukajak called out, "I paid him back, because he spoiled my stores," and then turned his back upon them, and rowed home. The old father of Naujarsuak now took away the corpse of his son, and had it buried; and when the usual days of mourning had gone by, he accosted the little one thus—"Now thou hast seen thy father killed, it will not do for thee to grow up in idleness." He then resolved p. 356 to leave his place, where he was continually reminded of his lost son. They travelled on to Amerdlok (the present Holsteinsborg), where they established themselves for the winter. Here the boy grew up under the constant care and unceasing admonitions of his grandfather; and he was never seen to smile. While they were still at Amerdlok, he grew to manhood, assisted at the whale-fishing, and turned out an able and expert kayaker. Under these circumstances, the old man advised him to go southwards and revenge himself on Kukajak, if he were still alive; and during this last winter he carefully secured the whalebones whenever a whale was caught, knowing them to be a rare article, much in request in the south. When the first thaw set in, they started; and at every place they passed by, they inquired, "Have ye heard nothing of Kukajak?" but invariably the answer was, "No; we don't know him." Far away south, however, they met some people who told them—"Kukajak! ah, yes; he is all right! but getting rather old now, and has taken to frog-fish." At length they reached their former home, and settled there for good. All their relatives immediately came to see them after their long absence; and on leaving they presented them with some of the longest and best whalebones. They had many unexpected visitors, some of whom only came in the hope of getting their share of whalebones, which were well known to be desired for gifts. As time wore on, they had to change their tent for a winter hut; but as yet Naujarsuak's son had had no opportunity of avenging the murder of his father. He one day requested his grandfather to make him a very big harpoon, with a strong line to match. The grandfather got it ready for him the very next day; and, regarding it with great satisfaction, the son smiled, and thanked him, and concealed it carefully beneath the ledge. Some time after, Kukajak took a great fancy to go and ask the son of p. 357 his betrayed friend for a piece of whalebone for his fishing-line, but on further consideration gave up the idea, fearing that he might bring down vengeance upon himself if he carried it out. However, the people thereabout were always telling him of the gifts they had received, saying, "If thou goest, thou wilt be sure to get some too: it was only the other day the old man said that he longed much to see thee." On hearing this, he could resist no longer, and started the very next day. He got a friendly welcome, and was beginning to think "they had forgotten all about the murder." A plentiful repast was soon served up before him; and the talk went merrily round all the evening; but somehow, whenever there was a short silence, he always thought, "there, now, it all returns to them." At daybreak the following morning, when Naujarsuak's son went outside the house, the thought struck him it was just on such a day that his father was killed. The air was soft, and light clouds appeared and passed by overhead. At this his former wrath awoke with full force; but on entering the house, he looked quite guileless. At Kukajak's departure, he also was presented with whalebones. Still he apprehended some evil, and kept glancing back to be sure that he was not pursued; and thus he succeeded in getting a considerable way off. Now, however, was the time for Naujarsuak's son to make use of his new weapon. He took the bone-point which his grandfather had made, brought it down, and fixed it with a loud jerk. Kukajak heard the sound, and recognised the meaning (viz., charm) of it; and seeing his enemy in full pursuit, he hastened on as quickly as he could, but found his strength fast failing. Perceiving this, his enemy pursued him more slowly; and Kukajak began thinking that he might reach home unharmed. At that moment, however, his adversary again darted on, and, just outside his own house, took aim, and sent his lance with a great crash into Kukajak's body. The son of p. 358 Naujarsuak now turned to the bystanders, saying, "I saw him treat my father in the same way; and I have only paid him back; if ye care for his corpse, ye may take it." Having finished this speech, he left for home; and from that day his father was not always in his thought, though he never quite forgot him.