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Drinking The Sea Dry


Source: Aino Folktales

There was the Chief of the Mouth of the River and the Chief of the Upper
Current of the River. The former was very vainglorious, and therefore
wished to put the latter to shame, or to kill him by engaging him in the
attempt to perform something impossible. So he sent for him, and said:
"The sea may be a useful thing, in so far as it is the original home of
the fish which come up the river. But it is very destructive in stormy
weather, when it beats wildly upon the beach. Do you now drink it dry,
so that there may be rivers and dry land only. If you cannot do so, then
forfeit all your possessions." The other (greatly to the vainglorious
man's surprise) said: "I accept the challenge."

So, on their going down together to the beach, the Chief of the Upper
Current of the River took a cup, and scooped up a little of the
sea-water with it, drank a few drops, and said: "In the sea-water itself
there is no harm. It is some of the rivers flowing into it that are
poisonous. Do you therefore first close the mouths of all the rivers
both in Aino-land and in Japan, and prevent them from flowing into the
sea, and then I will undertake to drink the sea dry." Hereupon the Chief
of the Mouth of the River felt ashamed, acknowledged his error, and gave
all his treasures to his rival.--(Written down from memory. Told by
Ishanashte, 18th November, 1886.)

Next: The Island Of Women

Previous: Panaumbe Penaumbe And The Lord Of Matomai[e]

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