[This and the next tale, with a third one about "the dog's offspring," which has been omitted in this translation, are taken from five manuscripts, one of which was written down in Labrador, the others in different parts of Greenland. In these some parts of the stones were intermixed in various ways, but still they seem originally to have represented the three separate stories, of which two are here given.]
A MAN who was living alone with his wife noticed that she often left the place without his knowing where she went. On his return from his day-work, he seldom found her at home. This made him suspicious; and one morning he feigned to be going far away, but when he went out in his kayak he only paddled to the nearest point, and went on shore again and hid himself behind some rocks. After a little his wife emerged from the tent in her best attire. He now stole up behind her, and followed her till she reached a lake; there he observed her throw off something into the water, upon p. 144 which a masculine being appeared, and she undressing, went out to him in the water. At this sight the husband got into a great rage, and set about gathering all kinds of vermin; and one day when he was quite alone with his wife he stuffed them into her, and in this manner killed her. From that time he was all alone, but did not wish to go out in his kayak minding his usual business. One day, on his returning to his lonely tent, he was very much surprised to find his supper cooked, and the smoking meat served up. The next day the same thing happened again; the meat smoking hot was served up on his dish, and his boots were dried and ready to put on:1 and all this was repeated every day. One day he only paddled a little way off the coast, and then went on shore to hide in a place, whence he could keep a look-out on his tent; and he soon observed a little woman, with her hair dressed up in a very large tuft, come down the hill and enter his tent. He now quickly made for his kayak, paddled home, and went creeping up to his house. Having softly lifted the door-curtain, he noticed a strong unpleasant smell, and saw the little woman busily trimming his lamp. She was really a fox transformed into the shape of a woman, and this accounted for the strong smell. Nevertheless, he took her for his wife. One day he met his cousin out at sea, and told him about his new wife, praising her loveliness, and next asked him to come and see her, "But," added he, "if thou shouldst happen to notice a rank smell about her, be sure not to make any remarks about it." The cousin followed him at once, and having landed together they both entered the tent. But when the visitor observed how nice and pleasant the wife of his cousin was, p. 145 he grew quite jealous; and in order to make mischief exclaimed, "Whence comes this nasty smell?" Instantly the little woman rose to her feet: she had now got a tail, wherewith she extinguished the lamp, and like a fox cried, "Ka, ka, ka!"1 and ran out of the tent. The husband followed her quickly; but when he again caught sight of her she was transformed into a fox, running up hill as fast as possible. He pursued her, and at last she vanished into a cave. It is told that while he stood outside calling for her, she first sent him a beetle, and then a spider, and at last a caterpillar. He then grew quite enraged, heaped some fuel together at the entrance, and burned her alive; and once more he was quite alone, and at last killed himself in a fit of madness.
1 The Eskimo boots, or kamik, are neatly made of dressed seal-skin. After they are put off they must be dried, and then rubbed with a broad-pointed blunt stick until they are soft and fit to be used again. Rubbing and drying boots and dog-skin socks form a most important part of an Eskimo wife's household duties.
1 Or, as the sound is sometimes attempted to be expressed in the books of Arctic voyagers, "Huk, huk, huk!"