[This tale is compiled from four manuscripts which differ somewhat.]
TWO brothers lived in the mouth of a fiord—the elder one on the sunny side, the other on the shady side of the inlet. One night the servant of the younger brother happening to go behind the house suddenly perceived something bright glittering out on the sea, and at the same time detected a boat that seemed to grow in size as it approached; on looking sharply she was horrified at recognising it to be an umiariak (or supernatural boat manned with fabulous beings). She wanted to run, but was not able to stir; she tried to call out, but found that she could not utter a sound, and so she must needs keep quiet. The next thing she saw was a number of people landing, all carrying glittering swords, and walking straight up to the tent, and sticking their spears through it from all sides. Loud cries were heard from within, and the foreigners rushed down to their boat. She saw the water foaming, and a multitude of seals moving out seawards. She was not able to rise till they were quite out of sight; then she got up and went to the tent, where she found all the inmates killed, and the earth covered with blood. Although it was still dark, she could not possibly wait, but set off at once, and wandered ever so far round the whole p. 155 bay to reach the opposite shore, where the other brother lived, and having reached his tent she told him what had taken place, and that all her housemates had been put to death. But somehow he got suspicious, and believed that she herself had killed them. Seeing this, she merely said, "First go and look for thyself, and afterward thou mayst kill me if thou likest." He now went across to his brother's station, and when he had seen the tent pierced from all sides he was reassured with regard to the servant, and only thought of finding out the enemies. He bespoke an angakok to come and see him, that he might point them out to him. At night, when the angakok had arrived, the lamps were extinguished, and he spoke, "Look there; far away in the interior of the land, I espy them." When he could no longer descry them he again had the lamps lighted. On the following day the surviving brother paddled up to the fiord head, left his kayak on the beach, and walked, only armed with his spear, to the interior. After a long ramble he at length discovered a house, and stealing to the window he peeped through it, and beheld a man with only one eye sitting down, and busily carving some implement out of wood. On turning round, the man caught sight of the stranger, and at once invited him to come in. Having entered the house, he went and sat down beside the man with one eye, who, however, motioned him off a little, saying, "Don't sit quite so close to me; I might happen to cut thee." When the guest had complied, and moved farther away, he went on, saying, "Let refreshment be brought in for the stranger." A loud peal of laughter was then heard, and from beneath the ledge emerged a lot of narrayoot (plural of nârrâjôk, big-bellied), these being the only womankind of his household. They went out, returning soon afterwards with great quantities of meat, chiefly reindeer flesh and tallow. The host now said to him, "To-morrow I will go with thee and help thee to find out thy p. 156 enemies, but now thou must lie down to rest here; thou hast nothing to fear." On the following day the one-eyed man prepared to follow him, taking with him a large bunch of arrows, fitted up in a skin cover. Having advanced somewhat into the country, he walked so quickly that his companion could hardly keep up with him. At length he stopped, and putting his arrows on the ground, he said, "Turn thy face towards the interior and give a shout." Without knowing the reason why, he turned his face towards the interior part of the country, and cried out aloud, upon which three large bears instantly appeared. The one-eyed man aimed his bow at them and killed them all. Again he said, "Turn round and call as before!" This done, a multitude of people appeared, armed with bows and arrows. He was dreadfully frightened; but his companion, seeing this, said, "Go and hide behind me; but mind, as soon as thou puttest forth thy head they'll shoot thee." Having thus sheltered himself behind his protector, though all the time trembling with fear, he soon observed the arrows to be flying about him right and left; but after a while they decreased in number, and finally abated altogether. The enemies having discharged all their arrows had taken flight. The one-eyed man then took up his bow, and the still revengeful brother his spear, and both set off in pursuit of them, overtaking and killing the whole of them. On the way home the inlander noticed his companion's weapon, questioned him concerning it, as he had never seen the like before, and told him he would like very much to purchase it; and because of his handsome behaviour he had his wish. On their return they went together to his storehouse, and he was repaid with the renowned sea-hare skin, (viz., white reindeer skins with black streaks), and one of the little women was called to take them down. She put the bundle on her stomach, and ran so fast with it that the visitor could not keep pace with her. On his reaching p. 157 home, he found them put on the roof of his house, and from that time his mind was at rest.
NOTE.—This rather mystical tale is in Greenland related in different ways. It seems to have originated from some historical tradition mixed up with the common belief that when seals are chased and killed in too great numbers, the surviving ones will often avenge themselves in the shape of umiarissat (plural of umiariaĸ)—that is, armed people in a boat fashioned out of a solid piece of ice. In one of the versions the inlanders here mentioned are called erkileks, in another "the men who twinkle lengthwise," which closely reminds one of the Indians called Loucheux or Squint-eyes, who up to the present day are one of the tribes most hostile to the Eskimo, and described as being able to make themselves proof against the arrows of their enemies by means of a certain movement of their eyes.
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