Book: Koryak Texts
Author: Waldemar Bogoras





Koryak Texts By Waldemar Bogoras

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 61
Publication Date: 1917

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Summary:

This is a collection of mythological texts from the Koryak, a traditional people who live on the Kamchatka peninsula, in the far east of Russia. The similarity of these tales to native American folklore, is very striking. The characters, although they occupy a supernatural dream-world, move in the same context as the people who tell the stories, hunting, fishing and gathering, celebrating good hunts and going hungry when there is no food.



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Excerpt:

Raven-Man and Little-Bird-Man wooed (the daughter) of Big-Raven. Big-Raven preferred Little- Bird-Man. He said, "I will give my daughter to Little-Bird-Man." Miti' said, "I will give my daughter to Raven-Man." After that Raven-Man would go out secretly. He would eat excrement and dog-carrion. (In the morning) they would wake up, and several wolverene-skins and wolf-skins would be there. They would ask both of the suitors, "Who killed those?" and Raven-Man would answer, "I killed them."

Then a snow-storm broke out, and continued for a long time with unabated violence. Big-Raven said to the suitors, "Go and try to calm this storm! To the one who calms it, to that one will I give my daughter to wife." Raven-Man said, "I will calm the storm." He said, "Prepare some provisions for me." They prepared several pairs of boots. He went out, and staid near by under a cliff, eating. Little-Bird-Man went out, and there he stood eating of the provisions. Raven-Man gave to Little-Bird-Man a wicked look. Little-Bird-Man entered again, and did not say anything.

Raven-Man staid at the same place. The snow-storm continued with the same vigor, without abating. Oh, at last Raven-Man entered. His boots were all covered with ice, for he would make water in his boots. That is the reason why the boots had ice. He said, "It is impossible! there is a crack in the heavens." After a while they said to Little-Bird-Man, "Now, then, calm this storm!" He said, "It is impossible. Shall I also go out and make water in my boots, like Raven-Man?" Then Big-Raven said to both suitors, "Go away! None of you shall marry here." Then Little-Bird-Man said, "All right! I will try." He took a round stopper, a shovel, and some fat, and went up to heaven. He flew up, and came to the crack in the heavens. He stopped it with a stopper, and threw the fat on the heavens all around it. For a while it grew calmer.

He came home, and the snow-storm broke out again. Even the stopper was thrust back into the house. It was too small. He said, "It is impossible. The heavens have a crack."

Big-Raven made another stopper, a larger one, and gave it to Little-Bird-Man. He also gave him a larger piece of fat. Little-Bird-Man flew up to the same place and put this stopper into the crack. It fitted well. He drove it in with a mallet. He spread the fat around over the heavens, shovelled the snow around the hole, and covered it. Then it grew quite calm. He came back, and then Raven-Man grew hateful to all of them. He took a place close to Miti'; and she said to him, "How is it that you smell of excrement?"--"Why! it is because I have had no bread for a long time. She said to him, "Enough, go away! You have done nothing to quiet this storm." He went away. Little-Bird-Man married Yini'a-ñawġut.

Summer came. It was raining hard. Then Raven-Man put the sun into his mouth; so it grew quite dark. After that they said to Čan*ai', "Čan*ai', go and fetch water!"--"How shall I fetch water? (It is too dark)." After a while they said to her, "Why, we are quite thirsty, We are going to die." She went groping in the dark, then she stopped and began to sing. She sang, "Both small rivers are stingy (with their water)." Then a small river came to that place, bubbling. She filled her pail bought from the Russians (i. e., an iron pail), and carried it on her back. (Suddenly) a man came to her. She could not carry the pail. He said, "I will carry the pail (for you)." She came home in the dark. The man followed. It was River-Man. They said to her, "Who is this man?" He said, "I am River-Man. I took pity on that singer." They scolded their daughter. Nevertheless River-Man married her.

After that they remained still in complete darkness. They said to River-Man, "Why are we living in darkness?" He said, "Why, indeed?" He put on a headband of ringed-seal thong. He went out (and practised magic). Then at least a little light appeared. The day dawned. They spoke among themselves, "How shall we do it?" Then Yini'a-ñawġut prepared for a journey. She went to Raven-Man and asked, "Halloo! Is Raven-Man at home?" Raven-Woman said, "He is." She said to Raven-Man, "Since you went away, I have been feeling dull all the time." She found Raven-Man, and said to him, "Did not you feel dull (since that time)? Will you stay so?" He turned his back to her, but she wanted to turn him (so that he should look with) his face to her. But he turned his back to her. Then she tickled him under the arms. She put her hands under his armpits. His sister said to him, "What is the matter with you? Stop it! This is good girl." After that he began to a make sounds in her direction, "Ġm, ġm, ġm!" She turned him around, and at last he laughed out, "Ha, ha, ha!" The sun jumped out and fastened itself to the sky. It grew daylight.

After that they slept together. She said to him, "Have you a tent?"--"No!"--"Have you a fork?"--"No!"--"Have you a plate?"--"No!" She said, "Then let us go home! I have all those things at home." They moved on to Big-Raven's house. She said to Raven-Man, "Oh, you are a good man!" and he felt flattered. Afterwards she killed him.

Yini'a-ñawġut put Raven-Man's (head) on above. She said, "That spotted palate of yours, let it grow to be a fine cloudless sky!"

She came home. And they said to her, "What have you been doing?" She said, "I killed Raven-Man. He had the sun in his mouth." From that time on it was quite calm. Raven-Woman said, "Well, now, does my brother remember me? (Probably) he has plenty to eat." She said, "Let me visit him." She visited him, and he was dead. Then she cried (and said), "He caused annoyance to the other people. (Therefore he is dead.)" She left him there. There was nothing else to do.