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p. 216


   I was brought up by my elder sister and always remained at home. I was reared in this wise:—

   The iron1 and wooden beams (of our house) were painted in diverse colours. Upon the iron beams were placed2 pictures of swords p. 217 and spears. By night these pictures of swords and spears became living gods3 and flashed about blindingly.4 The brightness of these tools and sharp instruments lit up the inside of the house during the darkness.

   Whilst things were in this state it was said that, the inhabitants of Kunashiri and Shumashiri5 were beyond measure brave, and pursued war as a profession. I was so angry at this that I was unable to sleep.

   On a certain occasion my elder sister cooked two days'6 food.

   After this she covered me up with the bed clothes7 p. 218 and, when I judged her to be fast asleep, I arose and girded on my sword.

   I then set out for Kunashiri and Shumashiri.

   As I went along a pretty little water-way opened up (before me). So I came to the river's mouth, and, a little mountain8 like fog was (I saw) sitting upon a log of wood which had been cast up by the waves of the sea.

   I went up to it; and this is what I saw:—An Ainu woman dressed in white clothing. The little woman looked as though she had come with a message; nevertheless I spake thus her:—"Look here, I am a person so brave that I cut down fast speakers ere they have finished talking, and slow talkers at the beginning of their speech. (So) speak quickly."

   As I spake the little woman trembled exceedingly;9 and, p. 219 chewing the sleeve of her dress (as in fear) spake as follows:—"At the source of this little river I have a blood-relation10—the Wolf-god. I am his younger sister and have been sent to say this:—The inhabitants of Kunashiri and Shumashiri are men so brave that neither gods nor men dare approach them, (so that) if even you go there, and alone, it will be bad (for you). My younger sister is a poor worthless creature,11 but I will make up for that by giving you some presents with her. So now return from here; it was to say these things (to you) that my elder brother sent me here." So spake she. I was angry at this and therefore struck her fiercely with my sword. I killed her whilst she was rising. Her soul departed with a great sound; but Lo, the shadow of a man appeared at my side; it was, p. 220 without doubt, the aforesaid Wolf-god. He had anger depicted upon his countenance. Now this is what he said:—"It is ridiculous of you, my young Ainu brother, to get angry in this way. What was there improper in the speech I sent my younger sister to deliver to you that made you slay her so suddenly? If it is death that you are seeking, I will slay you as quickly as you slew her."

   When he had so spoken he set upon me with his sword, but as I had no wish to be killed outright I turned myself into wind12 and jumped above his sword-sweep. I (then) attacked him as he had done me. I cut him down as he was rising up. His soul departed with a great sound, he became a new man13 and went round the mountains towards the source of the little river. p. 221 After this there was peace. When this was over, I walked fast till I arrived at Kunashiri and Shumashiri.

   After this, having arrived at Kunashiri I stirred up a grievous war from one end of the land to the other. And, as I was carrying on this war single-handed, both day I and night, I found that my clothes (were torn so much that) nothing but the front of my garment hung from my arms. By and by there arose over the distant mountain tops, such a mighty wind14 and shadow, and above all, there was the sound of the approach of a great company of the gods. Yea, they came to the place where I was fighting. On seeing the gods fly before the great wind (I recognised them as being) the spears and swords which were placed upon the iron beams of our house; they had become living gods. When they came, the war with the people of Kunashiri and Shumashiri was as nothing, for in a moment their country p. 222 was completely laid waste. When this was over, the spears and swords rose up in the air and departed in the same manner as they had come, before a mighty wind.

   And so I returned home. When going along there appeared a great host of gods riding upon a mighty wind. Hovering over me a voice from a god came forth, which said: "Look here, my lad, I have something to say, so pay attention. As for me I am that Poiyaumbe.15 I left my home at Shinutapka in wrath because there was nothing but war in the land. And, as I was coming along I heard the voice of a lad crying among the stones; I went therefore to see what it was and found it to be a little lad weeping. Now, Okikurumi16 was the governor of p. 223 the middle of Ainu-land; and (once upon a time) the devils made war against him with one accord and slew every one of his17 men, for the devils were numerous. The wife of Okikurumi took her child upon her back and came to avenge the death of her husband, but she was slain. You were that little child which she took and wrapped up in a garment and put among the stones. As we much desired to avenge you we brought you up in our home; and after our elder sister had reared you and the younger sister of the Wolf-god had come to you, it was settled that you were to govern the middle of Ainu-land. And now without cause you have warred against Kunashiri and Shumashiri, but above all, what evil had the Wolf-god and his sister done that you should have so quickly killed p. 224 them? I am angry with you for this and therefore your sister has been led away into captivity, yea, she is even now being taken away. However, these swords and spears, some of which are of your age and some of which are your elders, are your friends and relations."18 So spake the voice which came down from the gods.

   Then again I, was angry, and, weeping very bitterly, called after my sister. While weeping I thought to myself—"however much you weep it will not bring your sister to you"—so I wiped my face. On arriving at my home I found that my sister and all her furniture and ornaments had, in truth, entirely disappeared. After this I lived alone. Now, one day, I was much surprised to hear people outside. It was the Wolf-god and his sister whom I had killed that were coming; they were bringing a very large bundle19 with p. 225 them. After this they stayed as servants; then the pictures of spears and swords came to life at night and did nothing but exercise and talk together of old times. I then married the younger sister of the Wolf-god and we live together.



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1 The word here translated "iron" is, in the original, kane; by some Ainus also pronounced kani. It is doubtful whether kane would not be better rendered by the word "beautiful" than by "iron;" thus we should read,—"the beautiful wooden beams," &c., (see Legend VI Vol. XVI., Part II. note on verses 1 and 2.)

2 "Placed." Charuwatore really means "to be placed in order;" "to be set in rotation." Hence it is doubtful whether the "spears" and "swords" here spoken of were not real rather than mere pictures or paintings, and were carefully placed in order upon the beams as may sometimes be seen in some few Ainu huts to-day.

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3 "Became living gods." Probably some secret drill was carried on by night with a view to future war.

4 "Flashed about blindingly." Arutam is suid by the Ainus to mean a "flash" like a "flash" of lightning. Kochupuchupu means "to blink the eyes at." The flashes were here caused by the spears and swords knocking together when at drill.

5 Kunashiri and Shumashiri are Islands to the Northeast of Ezo.

6 "Two days' food." A poetical way of saying "much food," or "a large quantity of food."

7 "Bed clothes;" Ainu hotke kosonde. Kosonde appears to be the Japanese word kosode, a wadded silk garment, and hotke is "to lie down to sleep;" hence hotke kosonde, "sleeping clothes" or "bed clothes." None but a "well to do" Ainu could have a kosonde, and most likely the word is here used to show that our hero was a chief of the people. The Ainus, however, mainttain that kosonde is a real word whatever kosode may be.

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8 "Mountain like fog." Urat or urara is "fog," and tapkop a single, solitary mountain or hill; or a mountain standing quite alone. The "fog" which looked like a "little mountain" turned out to be an Ainu woman, as will be seen hereafter.

9 "Trembled exceedingly." The Ainu words are hottoro kata kotususatki, lit: "she trembled upon her fore-head." This is a phrase used to express great fear; her forehead shook through fear.

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10 "Blood relation." Iriwak are one's own blood-relations, while distant relations are called iritak.

11 "Poor, worthless creature." Shirikasak means, "destitute;" "poor;" "worthless;" "ugly." The Wolf-god meant to say that his sister was utterly unworthy of the hand of our hero. However, he would make up for that by giving a large dowry or marriage portion with her. It was customary among to Ainus to give some dowry with a bride when she got married.

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12 Peken' rera ne is "became bright wind." Though the Ainus say that their ancestors had power themselves invisible by turning into air, yet all our hero intends to say here is that he made haste to escape the sword sweep aimed at him.

13 "Became a new man." Pito is often used in Ainu legends and seems to be from the Japanese word hito, "man." The Wolf-god's spirit having been released from the body was renewed, and went off beyond the mountains. The victory belonged to the Ainu.

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14 "A mighty wind." Kamui man, lit.: a wind of god.

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15 Poiyaumbe, "Brave Ainu." The speaker here makes known to one hero that he is a well known person—in fact—a brave man whose fame has spread far and wide. No further introduction was needed than "that Poiyaumbe." [See Trans: Vol. XVI. Pt. ii, Page 147 Note 1].

16 Okikurumi is the Ainu name for Kurōhangwan Minamoto no Yoshitsune, who was driven to Yezo by his younger brother in the 12th century of our era, and who is said by the Ainus to have taught their ancestors the arts of fishing and hunting.

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17 We learn from this legend that Yoshitsune was slain while fighting. Who the "devils" were that slew him is not stated, but I have been told privately that he was killed in Karafto by the Karafto Ainus in one of their feuds with the inhabitants of Yezo. Yoshitsune, it is here stated, left one son. He also, we are told, was afterwards killed in battle.

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18 "Relations." It is here clearly stated that the spears and swords which have hitherto been spoken of as having been painted on the beams of the hut, were, in reality, living men, or warriors.

19 "Large bundle." The marriage portion spoken of above.