Sacred-Texts Native American Inuit
Index Previous Next

89. NAKASUNGNAK travelled far up north, and settled down with some people who used boats, but no kayaks. He was very presumptuous and obstinate. His new place-fellows told him that before long the ice-covered bear would make its appearance, that it was very dangerous, and for mere men a deed impracticable to slay it. But Nakasungnak, nothing heeding, set out to encounter the terrible animal; and on discovering it, he ran in upon it only armed with a knife. He instantly disappeared down its open mouth. The bear was then seen to totter, and soon after fell down dead. On approaching it, they observed a knife sticking out between its ribs; and when the hole was widened p. 439 Nakasungnak jumped out of it; but his hair, as well as the skin of his face, had come off, and shivering with cold and ague, he ran away to the house. In the meantime, the bear's flesh served them for food the greater part of the winter. Afterwards they told Nakasungnak how to behave when they were going to catch the birds that could speak, and the little fishes with both eyes on one side. The swarms of birds and fishes appeared; but Nakasungnak would not follow the advice they gave him, and consequently got none. Lastly, they told him that gnats were soon expected, the size of sea-fowls, and with stings like the point of an arrow; and when the swarms were approaching, and seen to come on like broken clouds from the south, the people had to retreat to their tents and close them with all care. Nakasungnak, however, again disregarded their warnings, and took no notice of what they had said. When the clouds appeared, and all the others sped into their tents, he remained outside. When all was over, and they went out to look for Nakasungnak, they found only a skeleton lying beneath the boat.