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Boy from the Bottom of the Sea, Who Frightened the People of the House to Death, The

WELL, you see, it was the usual thing: "The Obstinate One" had taken a wife, and of course he beat her, and when he wanted to make it an extra special beating, he took a box, and banged her about with that.

                One day, when he had been beating her as usual, she ran away. And she was just about to have a child at that time. She walked straight out into the sea, and was nearly drowned, but suddenly she came to herself again, and found that she was at the bottom of the sea. And there she built herself a house.

                While she was down there, the child was born. And when she went to look at it, she nearly died of fright, it was so ugly. Its eyes were jellyfish, its hair of seaweed, and the mouth was like a mussel.

                And now these two lived down there together. The child grew up, and when it was a little grown up, it could hear the children playing on the earth up above, and it said:

                "I should like to go up and see."

                "When you have grown stronger, then you may go," said his mother. And then the boy began practising feats of strength, with stones. And at last he was able to pick up stones as big as a chest, and carry them into the house.

                One evening, when it was dark, they heard again a calling from above. The children, not content with simply shouting at their play, began crying out: "Iyoi-iyoi-iyoi," with all their might.

                "Now I will go with you," said the mother. "But you must not go into the houses nearest the shore, for there I often fled in when your father would have beaten me; I have suffered much evil up there. And when you thrust in your head, be sure to look as angry as you can."

                There were two houses on the shore, one a little way above the other. As they went up, the mother suddenly saw that her son was going into the one nearest the shore. And she cried:

                "Ha-a; Ha-a! When your father beat me, I always ran in there. Go to the one up above."

                And now the boy made his face fierce, and thrust in his head at the doorway, and all those inside fell down dead with fright. He would have beaten his father, but his father had died long since. Then he went down again to the bottom of the sea.

                When the day dawned, the people from the house nearest the shore came out and said:

                "Ai! What footsteps are these, all full of seaweed?"

                And seeing that the tracks led up to the house a little way above, they followed there, and found that all inside had died of fright.


The particular source of this tale is South-East Greenland.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Boy from the Bottom of the Sea, Who Frightened the People of the House to Death, The
Tale Author/Editor: Rasmussen, Knud
Book Title: Eskimo Folk-Tales
Book Author/Editor: Rasmussen, Knud
Publisher: Gyldendal
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1921
Country of Origin: Greenland
Classification: unclassified

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