Kunigseq





There was once a wizard whose name was Kunigseq.



One day, when he was about to call on his helping spirits and make a

flight down into the underworld, he gave orders that the floor should

be swilled with salt water, to take off the evil smell which might

otherwise frighten his helping spirits away.



Then he began to call upon his helping spirits, and without moving

his body, began to pass downward through the floor.



And down he went. On his way he came to a reef, which was covered with

weed, and therefore so slippery that none could pass that way. And

as he could not pass, his helping spirit lay down beside him, and by

placing his foot upon the spirit, he was able to pass.



And on he went, and came to a great slope covered with heather. Far

down in the underworld, men say, the land is level, and the hills are

small; there is sun down there, and the sky is also like that which

we see from the earth.



Suddenly he heard one crying: "Here comes Kunigseq."



By the side of a little river he saw some children looking for

greyfish.



And before he had reached the houses of men, he met his mother, who

had gone out to gather berries. When he came up to her, she tried

again and again to kiss him, but his helping spirit thrust her aside.



"He is only here on a visit," said the spirit.



Then she offered him some berries, and these he was about to put in

his mouth, when the spirit said:



"If you eat of them, you will never return."



A little after, he caught sight of his dead brother, and then his

mother said:



"Why do you wish to return to earth again? Your kin are here. And

look down on the sea-shore; see the great stores of dried meat. Many

seal are caught here, and it is a good place to be; there is no snow,

and a beautiful open sea."



The sea lay smooth, without the slightest wind. Two kayaks were

rowing towards land. Now and again they threw their bird darts,

and they could be heard to laugh.



"I will come again when I die," said Kunigseq.



Some kayaks lay drying on a little island; they were those of men

who had just lost their lives when out in their kayaks.



And it is told that the people of the underworld said to Kunigseq:



"When you return to earth, send us some ice, for we thirst for cold

water down here."



After that, Kunigseq went back to earth, but it is said that his son

fell sick soon afterwards, and died. And then Kunigseq did not care to

live any longer, having seen what it was like in the underworld. So he

rowed out in his kayak, and caught a guillemot, and a little after,

he caught a raven, and having eaten these one after the other, he

died. And then they threw him out into the sea.





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