Tungujuluk And Saunikoq
Source: Eskimo Folktales
Tungujuluk and Saunikoq were men from one village. And both were
wizards. When they heard a spirit calling, one would change into a
bear, and the other into a walrus.
Tungujuluk had a son, but Saunikoq had no children.
As soon as his son was old enough, Tungujuluk taught him to paddle a
kayak. At this the other, Saunikoq, grew jealous, and began planning
One morning when he awoke, he went out hunting seal as usual. He had
been out some time, when he went up to an island, and called for
his bearskin. When it came, he got into it, and moved off towards
Tungujuluk's house. He landed a little way off, and then stole up to
kill Tungujuluk's son. And when he came near, he saw him playing with
the other children. But he did not know that his father had already
come home, and was sitting busily at work on the kayak he was making
for his son. He was just about to go up to them, when the boy went
weeping home to his father, and when his father looked round, there
was a big bear already close to them. He took a knife and ran towards
it, and was just about to stab that bear, when it began to laugh. And
then suddenly Tungujuluk remembered that his neighbour Saunikoq was
able to take the shape of a bear. And he was now so angry that he had
nearly stabbed him in spite of all, and it was a hard matter for him
to hold back his knife.
But he did not forget that happening. He waited until a long time had
passed, and at last, many days later, when he awoke in the morning,
he went out in his kayak. On the way he came to an island. And going
up on to that island, he called his other shape to him. When it came,
he crawled into it, and became a walrus. And when he had thus become
a walrus, he went to that place where it was the custom for kayaks
to hunt seal. And when he came near, he looked round, and sighted
Saunikoq, who lay there waiting for seal.
Now he rose to the surface quite near him, and when Saunikoq saw him,
he came over that way. And Saunikoq lifted his harpoon to throw it,
and the stroke could not fail. Therefore he made himself small,
and crept over to one side of the skin. And when he was struck,
he floundered about a little, but not too violently, lest he should
break the line. Then he swam away under water with the bladder float,
and folded it up under his arm, and took out the air from it, and
swam in towards land, and swam and swam until he came to the land
near by where his kayak was lying. Then he went to it, and having
taken out the point of the harpoon, he went out hunting.
He struck a black seal, and rowed home at once. And when he had come
home, he said to his wife:
"Make haste and cook the breast piece."
And when that breast piece was cooked, and the other kayaks had come
home, he made a meat feast, and Saunikoq, thinking nothing of any
matter, came in with the others. When he came in, Tungujuluk made no
sign of knowing anything, but went and took out the bladder and line
from his kayak. And then all sat down to eat together. And they ate and
were satisfied. And then each man began telling of his day's hunting.
At last Saunikoq said:
"To-day, when I struck a walrus, I did not think at all that it
should cause me to lose my bladder float. Where that came up again
is a thing we do not know. That bladder float of mine was lost."
And when Saunikoq had said this, Tungujuluk took that bladder and
line and laid them beside the meat dish, and said:
"Whose can this bladder be, now, I wonder? Aha, at last I have paid
you for the time when you came in the shape of a bear, and mocked us."
And when these words were said, the many who sat there laughed
greatly. But Saunikoq got up and went away. And then next morning
very early, he set out and rowed northward in his umiak. And since
then he has not been seen.
So great a shame did he feel.