Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/342

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298
ESKIMO LIFE

fish brought him to his wife and son.[1] The American Eskimos have an altogether similar story. Among the Samoyedes it is related that a man went out on a journey and came upon an old woman who was felling birch trees. He helped her, and went with her to her tent, where he hid himself. Then in came seven girls, who talked to the old woman and went away again. She said to him: 'In the darkest part of yonder wood there is a lake; there the seven girls will bathe; take away the clothes of one of them'—and he did so. The remainder is quite different from the Greenland story, and there is nothing at all about their being changed into birds, though their home was in air or in the sky.[2] This story, whose likeness to the Greenland legend is remarked by Dr. Rink,[3] is not, however, so like it as an Icelandic story, in which we are told that a man was walking early one morning beside the sea and came to the mouth of a cave. He could hear sounds of dancing and merriment from inside the cave, and outside it lay a heap of sealskins, one of which he took home with him. Later in the day he came again to the mouth of the cave; there sat a fair young woman quite naked, and

  1. P. Egede, Continuation af Relationerne, p. 19; Efterretninger om Grönland, p. 55; Rink, Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, p. 145; Meddelelser om Grönland, part 11, p. 20, Suppl. p. 117.
  2. Castrén, Ethnologiske Forelësningar, Helsingfors, 1857, p. 182.
  3. Meddelelser om Grönland, part 11, Suppl. p. 117.