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[A tale from South Greenland.]

A MAN, named Utereetsok, once started from Ilulissat, and travelled northwards, visiting all the inhabited places he passed. He went beyond Umanak and even Upernivik, and at last came to people who had no wood for tent-poles, and merely placed the stiff dried seal-skins upon end, so as to form a tent, in which they slept on the bare ground. The first morning after their arrival, Utereetsok was standing quite unconsciously, his arms drawn out of his sleeves, when, all of a sudden, he felt some one giving him a heavy push from behind; but without hesitation he turned round and dealt the offender such a blow that he rolled along the ground, and then went off without saying a word. When this had been twice repeated, the inhabitants learned to fear him, and he was left in peace. In this p. 393 place they noticed that the infants had all holes in the hoods of their jackets. Having got more familiar with the parents, they asked them about these holes, and pointing to the moon, they answered, "It is because he on high has been gazing at them; whomsoever he deigns to look down on is always sure to get holes in his garments."

When Utereetsok got weary of his stay there, he travelled still farther north, following the margin of the solid ice. All along the coast there were abundance of white whales. Unable to get on shore, they pitched their tents upon the ice, sometimes spreading the skin of a white whale, without removing the blubber, as a flooring on the ground to sleep upon, and always leaving it behind on starting. At length they approached a very steep and craggy coast; and near the only place where landing was practicable they found a little house, but no people. On entering it, Utereetsok at once perceived that the ceiling-beams were made out of narwals' horn, and not a bit of wood was seen anywhere. They likewise found a head of strange appearance, consisting of tallow only, and instruments whose points were carefully wrapped up in tallow and skin. Seeing no people whatever, they began to feel uneasy, and soon left again. They managed the same way on their homeward journey, and settled for the winter at a place where the people were excellent ball-players. In the middle of winter they made an immense ball, by stuffing out an entire seal-skin with sand and various other heavy things, and finally making their old crones sit down upon it and enchant it by magic spells. On coming to the play they wore their usual dress, excepting on the feet, which they had only clothed in stockings with new soles. The ball was brought out on the ice upon a sledge, and the counter party was stationed nearer the shore. They continued playing and pushing one another until the winners succeeded in striking the ball ashore and right p. 394 {see picture on page 394} p. 395 through the window of their house. Then it was seized on by an old hag, who seated herself upon it. Afterwards the victorious party gave a succession of entertainments; and the general amusement continued during all the season of the increasing daylight. In spring Utereetsok returned to Ilulissat. There he met with a man called Kepigsuak, from Kangamiut (South Greenland), and it was he to whom he told his adventures in the north. During Kepigsuak's stay two sledgers also arrived from the north, who stated that they had left their far-away home at the time of full moon, and who had arrived here just at the next full moon. These visitors were total strangers to the inhabitants, and were from head to feet clothed in suits made of reindeer-skin; they reported that in their home the reindeers might be seen lying close to the houses, and on the tops of the roofs, like dogs in other places. Their object in this long journey, they said, was to barter with the Europeans for firearms, with which view they had brought fox and reindeer skins. The merchant wanted also to buy their dogs, and made a handsome bid for them, offering a tin box of powder, and a whole barrel of lead for balls, in exchange for them. The strangers, however, answered that they could not spare them.

In the spring Kepigsuak returned to Kangamiut, while Utereetsok started for another trip to the far north to revisit the house with beams of narwal-horn. This time he intended to land at a little distance and approach it cautiously from the land side, in order to find out whether it was occupied; and if so, he wanted to see what the people were like.

When Kepigsuak had been staying for some time at Kangamiut, he planned a journey southwards, and went to Kakortok. During his stay there a man named Sakak captured a k’epokak (fin-whale, Balænoptera boops). Sakak had four wives, of which the last, Igpak, was very haughty, and greedy besides. When the news p. 396 of the k’epokak was spread many visitors came; but Igpak had nothing to spare for the guests. Sakak himself invited an old man to his house, but when he was fairly seated Igpak rudely exclaimed, "Why, really, we have no lack of old men looking in upon us this time." The old man retorted, "For my part I only came because I was asked." On this reply she gave him a piece of matak, and likewise a knife for cutting it; the latter, however, he rejected, saying he only wanted to take it home with him. Igpak, who was always eating as if she could never be satisfied, after a while went on in this style: "What ails me? what is becoming of me? I left my work undone because of the victuals, that always seem to be drawing me on." However, she did not give over, but ate all the more, till her tongue at length was so sore that it turned quite awry, and crying out, "Sakak, my tongue! I am growing matak myself," she suddenly died. People say that while she lived a noxious whale-monster used to appear above the water whenever she left the house; but after her death it was seen no more. The principal wife being gone, the others were now at liberty to share out as they liked. In the following spring Kepigsuak returned to Kangamiut. He was afterwards baptised and called Egede. He is buried at Kangamiut.