Eskimo Folk-Tales | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in August 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.


IT IS said that Ángángujuk'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: "Ángángujuk!" 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 kill you."

                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 at last:

                "Do you want to go home very much?"

                Ángángujuk 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 Ángángujuk'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, Ángángujuk's parents never again took up their dwelling on the mainland.

                Here ends this story.


The particular source of this tale is Godthaab, West Greenland.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Ángángujuk
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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