Patussorssuaq Who Killed His Uncle
Source: Eskimo Folktales
There lived a woman at Kugkat, and she was very beautiful, and Alataq
was he who had her to wife. And at the same place lived Patussorssuaq,
and Alataq was his uncle. He also had a wife, but was yet fonder of
his uncle's wife than of his own.
But one day in the spring, Alataq was going out on a long hunting
journey, and made up his mind to take his wife with him. They were
standing at the edge of the ice, ready to start, when Patussorssuaq
came down to them.
"Are you going away?" he asked.
"Yes, both of us," answered Alataq.
But when Patussorssuaq heard thus, he fell upon his uncle and killed
him at once, for he could not bear to see the woman go away.
When Patussorssuaq's wife saw this, she snatched up her needle and
sewing ring, and fled away, following the shadow of the tent, over
the hills to the place where her parents lived. She had not even
time to put on her skin stockings, and therefore her feet grew sore
with treading the hills. On her way up inland she saw people running
about with their hoods loose on their heads, as is the manner of the
inland folk, but she had no dealings with them, for they fled away.
Then, coming near at last to her own place, she saw an old man,
and running up, she found it was her father, who was out in search
of birds. And the two went gladly back to his tent.
Now when Patussorssuaq had killed his uncle, he at once went up to
his own tent, thinking to kill his own wife, for he was already weary
of her. But she had fled away.
Inside the tent sat a boy, and Patussorssuaq fell upon him, crying:
"Where is she? Where is she gone?"
"I have seen nothing, for I was asleep," cried the boy, speaking
falsely because of his great fear. And so Patussorssuaq was forced
to desist from seeking out his wife.
And now he went down and took Alataq's wife and lived with her. But
after a little time, she died. And thus he had but little joy of the
woman he had won by misdeed. And he himself was soon to suffer in
At the beginning of the summer, many people were gathered at
Natsivilik, and among them was Patussorssuaq. One day a strange
thing happened to him, while he was out hunting: a fox snapped at
the fringe of his coat, and he, thinking it to be but a common fox,
struck out at it, but did not hit. And afterwards it was revealed
that this was the soul of dead Alataq, playing with him a little
before killing him outright. For Alataq's amulet was a fox.
And a little time after, he was bitten to death by the ghost of Alataq,
coming upon him in the shape of a bear. His daughter, who was outside
at that time, heard the cries, and went in to tell of what she had
heard, but just as she came into the house, behold, she had quite
forgotten all that she wished to say. And this was because that
vengeful spirit had by magic means called down forgetfulness upon her.
Afterwards she remembered it, but then it was too late. They found
Patussorssuaq torn to pieces, torn limb from limb; he had tried to
defend himself with great pieces of ice, as they could see, but all
Thus punishment falls upon the man who kills.
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