: Eskimo Folktales
It is said that Angangujuk's father was very strong. They had no other
neighbours, but lived there three of them all alone. One day when the
mother was going to scrape meat from a skin, she let the child play at
kayak outside in the passage, near the entrance. And now and again she
called to him: "Angangujuk!" And the child would answer from outside.
And once she called in this way, and called again, for there came
no answer. And when no answer came again, she left the skin she
was scraping, and began to search about. But she could not find the
child. And now she began to feel greatly afraid, dreading her husband's
return. And while she stood there feeling great fear of her husband,
he came out from behind a rock, dragging a seal behind him.
Then he came forward and said:
"Where is our little son?"
"He vanished away from me this morning, after you had gone, when he
was playing kayak-man out in the passage."
And when she had said this, her husband answered:
"It is you, wicked old hag, who have killed him. And now I will
To this his wife answered:
"Do not kill me yet, but wait a little, and first seek out one who
can ask counsel of the spirits."
And now the husband began eagerly to search for such a one. He came
home bringing wizards with him, and bade them try what they could do,
and when they could not find the child, he let them go without giving
them so much as a bite of meat.
And seeing that none of them could help him, he now sought for a
very clever finder of hidden things, and meeting such a one at last,
he took him home. Then he fastened a stick to his face, and made him
lie down on the bedplace on his back.
And now he worked away with him until the spirit came. And when this
had happened, the spirit finder declared:
"It would seem that spirits have here found a difficult task. He is
up in a place between two great cliffs, and two old inland folk are
looking after him."
Then they stopped calling spirits, and wandered away towards the
east. They walked and walked, and at last they sighted a lot of
houses. And when they came nearer, they saw the smoke coming out from
all the smoke holes. It was the heat from inside coming out so. And the
father looked in through a window, and saw that they were quarrelling
about his child, and the child was crying.
"Who is to look after him?"
So he heard them saying inside the house; each one was eager to have
the child. When the father saw this, he was very angry.
And the people inside asked the child:
"What would you like to eat?"
"No," said the child.
"Will you have seal meat?"
"No," said the child.
And there was nothing he cared to have. Therefore they asked him
"Do you want to go home very much?"
Angangujuk answered quickly: "Yes." And his father was very greatly
angered by now. And said to those with him:
"Try now to magic them to sleep."
And now the wizard began calling down a magic sleep upon those in the
hut, and one by one they sank to sleep and began to snore. And fewer
and fewer remained awake; at last there were only two. But then one
of those two began to yawn, and at last rolled over and snored.
And now the great finder of hidden things began calling down sleep
with all his might over that one remaining. And at last he too began
to move towards the sleeping place. Then he began to yawn a little,
and at last he also rolled over.
Now Angangujuk's father went in quickly, and now he caught up his
son. But now the child had no clothes on. And looking for them, he
saw them hung up on the drying frame. But the house was so high that
they had to poke down the clothes with poles.
At last they came out, and walked and walked and came farther on. And
it was now beginning to be light. As soon as they came to the place,
they cut the moorings of the umiak, and hastily made all ready, and
rowed out to the farthest islands. They had just moved away from land
when they saw a number of people opposite the house.
But when the inland folk saw they had already moved out from the land,
they went up to the house and beat it down, beating down roof and
walls and all that there was of it.
After that time, Angangujuk's parents never again took up their
dwelling on the mainland.
Here ends this story.