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Nukunguasik Who Escaped From The Tupilak

Source: Eskimo Folktales

Nukunguasik, it is said, had land in a place with many brothers. When
the brothers made a catch, they gave him meat for the pot; he himself
had no wife.

One day he rowed northward in his kayak, and suddenly he took it into
his head to row over to a big island which he had never visited before,
and now wished to see. He landed, and went up to look at the land,
and it was very beautiful there.

And here he came upon the middle one of many brothers, busy with
something or other down in a hollow, and whispering all the time. So
he crawled stealthily towards him, and when he had come closer,
he heard him whispering these words:

"You are to bite Nukunguasik to death; you are to bite Nukunguasik
to death."

And then it was clear that he was making a Tupilak, and stood there
now telling it what to do. But suddenly Nukunguasik slapped him on
the side and said: "But where is this Nukunguasik?"

And the man was so frightened at this that he fell down dead.

And then Nukunguasik saw that the man had been letting the Tupilak
sniff at his body. And the Tupilak was now alive, and lay there
sniffing. But Nukunguasik, being afraid of the Tupilak, went away
without trying to harm it.

Now he rowed home, and there the many brothers were waiting in vain
for the middle one to return. At last the day dawned, and still he
had not come. And daylight came, and then as they were preparing to
go out in search of him, the eldest of them said to Nukunguasik:

"Nukunguasik, come with us; we must search for him."

And so Nukunguasik went with them, but as they found nothing, he said:

"Would it not be well to go and make search over on that island,
where no one ever goes?"

And having gone on to the island, Nukunguasik said:

"Now you can go and look on the southern side."

When the brothers reached the place, he heard them cry out, and the
eldest said:

"O wretched one! Why did you ever meddle with such a thing as this!"

And they could be heard weeping all together about the dead man.

And now Nukunguasik went up to them, and there lay the Tupilak, still
alive, and nibbling at the body of the dead man. But the brothers
buried him there, making a mound of stones above him. And then they
went home.

Nukunguasik lived there as the oldest in the place, and died at last
after many years.

Here I end this story: I know no more.

Next: Qujavarssuk

Previous: The Coming Of Men A Long Long While Ago

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