Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/66

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Ainos have no writing, but are very fond of telling and listening to tales in prose and verse. Those in verse are chanted in a sing-song monotone. The following is a literal translation of a legend of a famine: — "In explaining the subject from the beginning, and in setting it forth from the end, the tale runs thus: Now look, do you think that the great God, do you think that the true God was blind ? In Ainoland there was a great famine, and the Ainos were dying from want of food ; yet with what little rice- malt and with what little millet they had they made a cup of wine. Now, the great God had mercy, and, in order that our relatives might eat, produced both deer and fish. And the great God had mercy upon us, and, in truth, saw that in Ainoland there was a famine, and that the Ainos had nothing to eat. Then was that cup of wine emptied in six lacquer-ware vessels. In a very little while the scent of the wine filled the whole house. Therefore were all the gods led in, and the gods of places were brought from everywhere, and they were all well pleased with that delicious wine. Then the goddesses of the river and the goddesses of the mouths of rivers danced back and forth in the house. Upon this all the gods laughed with smiles upon their faces ; and while they looked at the goddesses, they saw them pluck out two hairs from a deer, and, as it were, blow them over the tops of the mountains. Then appeared two herds of deer skipping upon the mountain tops, one of bucks and one of does. Then they plucked out two scales from a fish, and, as it were, blew them over the rivers, and the beds of the rivers were so crowded with fish that they scraped upon the stones, and the tops of the rivers were so full that the fish stood out like the porches of houses and were dried up by the sun. So the things called fish filled all the rivers to the brim. Then the Ainos went fishing, and caused their boats to dance upon the rivers. The young men now found fish and venison in rich abundance. Hence it is that Ainoland is so good. Hence it is that from ancient times till now there has been hunting. Hence it is that there are inheritors to this hunting."

Folk-Tales. — Science states that Dr. A. Ernst, has collected a few