Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/44

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28
AINO FOLK-LORE.

the axe is angry. Therefore, as we were your playmates, we have come to warn you that, if you wish to live, you must tell your father to search for the axe, to polish it, to make a new handle for it, and to set up the divine symbols in its honour. Then may you be cured, and the axe too will pay you a visit in human shape."

So the boy told his father of this. The father thought that his son had been instructed in a dream. He searched under the floor of the house, and found the axe, and polished it, and made a new handle for it, and set up the divine symbols in its honour. Then his son was immediately healed.

After that, the axe (who appeared as a very handsome man), the tray, and the pestle all came, and became the little boy's brothers and sisters. The axe, being a god, knew all that went on and the causes of everything; and it and the tray and the pestle used always to tell the boy everything. Thus, if any one was sick, he knew why the sickness had come, and how it should be treated. He was looked upon as a great soothsayer and wizard, who could turn death into life. This was because other people only saw him. They did not see his divine informants, the axe, the tray, and the pestle.

For this reason never throw away anything that has belonged to your ancestors. You will be punished by the gods if you do so.

[In a variant of this tale, the death of child after child borne by a certain woman was owing to the fact that the doll with which she herself had played as a child (a piece of wood shaped like a bird) had been thrown away in the grass, and had thus had its anger aroused. A conversation on the subject between the spoon, the cup, and the iron chain whereby the kettle is hung over the fire from a hook in the ceiling, is overheard by a half-burnt piece of firewood, who warns the woman's husband in a dream. The doll is then looked for; and, when found, the divine symbols are set up in its honour. Thereupon the woman bears again. This time the child survives, to the delight of both its parents.]—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 2nd December, 1886.)