Sacred-Texts Native American Inuit
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A LITTLE north of Pamiut (Frederikshaab) there is an island called K’erka. In olden times there lived on this islet a man who had no equal in kayaking. His paddle was so thick that he had to cut it narrower where it was to be grasped. He was alone in this place. Once in the winter time, when he was far out on the open sea, he was suddenly caught in a furious gale from the north. He tried hard to make the land, but the coast had altogether vanished in the tempest. At length, however, he knew by the great breakers that he must be right off Tulugartalik (close to the large glacier); and having passed those isles, land soon appeared ahead, and he observed a light from a window on shore. Landing his kayak, he went up towards the house, and stopped short on hearing some one singing within. After listening for a while, he found that he had unawares landed on Ukevik, the homestead of his adversary, who happened to be practising a nith-song (satirical song), with which to abuse him when they met in the spring. He took great care to impress the exact words on his memory, and then went silently down to his kayak, leaving the place in the dark; and having again crossed p. 362 the heavy surf about Tulugartalik, he reached his own home. The following spring, his adversary came from Ukevik to have a singing match with him; but as he had well remembered, and knew all the taunts and spiteful things beforehand, he soon gained an easy victory over him. The lonely resident of K’erka also had some enemies among the southern people. During the summer, when he was one day out at sea kayaking in fine calm weather, he noticed some kayakers coming from the south, and from their numbers guessed they were his enemies coming to attack him. On this surmise he fled towards the shore, with the rest in full pursuit after him; but reaching a large iceberg, he happened to observe a great cave on the opposite side of it, and quickly glided in, kayak and all. The prow turned outwards; and, holding his lance ready lifted, he lay in wait for his enemies. When the first man came up in front of the cave, he speared him, at once drawing his lance back; the second of them met the same fate; and all the others fared alike, excepting two, whom he left alive that they might inform their countrymen of what had happened. All those Southlanders had intended to kill their foe, but happened to be killed themselves instead.