The Men Who Changed Wives

: Eskimo Folktales

There were once two men, Talilarssuaq and Navssarssuaq, and they

changed wives. Talilarssuaq was a mischievous fellow, who was given

to frightening people.

One evening, sitting in the house with the other's wife, whom he

had borrowed, he thrust his knife suddenly through the skins of the

bench. Then the woman ran away to her husband and said:

"Go in and kill Talilarssuaq; he is playing very
angerous tricks."

Then Navssarssuaq rose up without a word, and put on his best clothes,

and took his knife, and went out. He went straight up to Talilarssuaq,

who was now lying on the bench talking to himself, and pulled him

out on the floor and stabbed him.

"You might at least have waited till I had dressed," said

Talilarssuaq. But Navssarssuaq hauled him out through the passage way,

cast him on the rubbish heap and went his way, saying nothing.

On the way he met his wife.

"Are you not going to murder me, too?" she asked.

"No," he answered in a deep voice. "For Pualuna is not yet grown big

enough to be without you." Pualuna was their youngest son.

But some time after that deed he began to perceive that he was haunted

by a spirit.

"There is some invisible thing which now and again catches hold

of me," he said to his comrades. And that was the avenging spirit,

watching him.

But about this time, many in the place fell sick. And among them was

Navssarssuaq. The sickness killed him, and thus the avenging spirit

was not able to tear him in pieces.