Eskimo Folk-Tales | Annotated Tale

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


THERE was once a wifeless man who always went out hunting ptarmigan. It became his custom always to go out hunting ptarmigan every day.

                And when he was out one day, hunting ptarmigan as was his custom, he came to a place whence he could see out over a rocky valley. And it looked a good place to go. And he went there.

                But before he had come to the bottom of the valley, he caught sight of something that looked like a stone. And when he could see quite clearly that it was not a stone at all, he went up to it. He walked and walked, and came to it at last.

                Then he looked in, and saw an old couple sitting alone in there. And when he had seen this, he crawled very silently in through the passage way. And having come inside, he looked first a long time at them, and then he gave a little whistle. But nothing happened when he did so, and therefore he whistled a second time. And this time they heard the whistle, and the man nudged his wife and said:

                "You, Puagssuaq, you can talk with the spirits. Take counsel with them now."

                When he had said this, the wifeless man whistled again. And at this whistling, the man looked at his wife again and said earnestly:

                "Listen! It sounds as if that might be the voice of a shore-dweller; one who catches miserable fish."

                And now the wifeless man saw that the old one's wife was letting down her hair. And this was because she was now about to ask counsel of the spirits.

                And he was now about to look at them again, when he saw that the passage way about him was beginning to close up. And it was already nearly closed up. But then it opened again of itself. Then the wifeless man thought only of coming out again from that place, and when the passage way again opened, he slipped out. And then he began running as fast as he could.

                For a long time he ran on, with the thought that some one would surely come after him. But at last he came up the hillside, without having been pursued at all.

                And when he came home, he told what had happened.

                Here ends this story.


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

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Puagssuaq
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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