The Man Who Stabbed His Wife In The Leg
: Eskimo Folktales
There was once a man whose name was Neruvkaq, and his wife was named
Navarana, and she was of the tunerssuit, the inland-dwellers. She had
many brothers, and was herself their only sister. And they lived at
Natsivilik, the place where there is a great stone on which men lay
But Neruvkaq was cruel to his wife; he would stab her in the leg with
an awl, and when the point reached her shinbone, she
"Do not touch me; I have many brothers," she said to her husband.
And as he did not cease from ill-treating her, she ran away to those
brothers at last. And they were of the tunerssuit, the inland-dwellers.
Now all these many brothers moved down to Natsivilik, and when they
reached the place, they sprang upon the roof of Neruvkaq's house and
began to trample on it. One of them thrust his foot through the roof,
and Neruvkaq's brother cut it off at the joint.
"He has cut off my leg," they heard him say. And then he hopped about
on one leg until all the blood was gone from him and he died.
But Neruvkaq hastened to put on his tunic, and this was a tunic he
had worn as a little child, and it had been made larger from time
to time. Also it was covered with pieces of walrus tusk, sewn all
about. None could kill him as long as he wore that.
And now he wanted to get out of the house. He put the sealskin coat
on his dog, and thrust it out. Those outside thought it was Neruvkaq
himself, and stabbed the dog to death.
Neruvkaq came close on the heels of the dog, and jumped up to the great
stone that is used to set out meat on. So strongly did he jump that his
footmarks are seen on the stone to this day. Then he took his arrows
all barbed with walrus tusk, and began shooting his enemies down.
His mother gave him strength by magic means.
Soon there were but few of his enemies left, and these fled away. They
fled away to the southward, and fled and fled without stopping until
they had gone a great way.
But Navarana, who was now afraid of her husband, crept in under the
bench and hid herself there. And as she would not come out again,
her husband thrust in a great piece of walrus meat, and she chewed
and gnawed at it to her heart's content.
"Come out, come out, for I will never hurt you any more," he said. But
she had grown so afraid of him that she never came out any more,
and so she died where she was at last--the old sneak!