Hi dear friends and followers, today we visit the Inuit People.
The story shared here is from a collection of stories found in the book, TALES AND TRADITIONS OF THE ESKIMO, WITH A SKETCH OF THEIR HABITS, RELIGION, LANGUAGE AND OTHER PECULIARITIES BY DR HENRY RINK, KNIGHT OF DANNEBROG, DIRECTOR OF THE ROYAL GREENLAND BOARD OF TRADE, AND FORMERLY ROYAL INSPECTOR OF SOUTH GREENLAND, AUTHOR OF 'GRÖNLAND GEOGRAPHISK OG STATISTISK BESKREVET,' ETC. TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH BY THE AUTHOR, EDITED BY DR. ROBERT BROWN, F.L.S., F.R.G.S. AUTHOR OF 'THE RACES OF MANKIND,' ETC. [London, 1875]
The story has a moral, a lesson for the reader. It's about two men who were great friends, emphasis on the past tense.
[This is a very famous Greenland story, and is, in its present form, compiled from three copies.]
The islander, on his part, saved and laid by large quantities of seals: and when the reindeer-hunter returned, he immediately visited his friend and was regaled with nicely-dried seal-flesh; but in the evening, when the room grew heated, the frozen meat was produced and set before his friend as a cold dish. The guest then praised it very much, and they gossiped till late in the evening. The next day the reindeer-hunter usually had a visit from his friend, but now they only ate reindeer-flesh, and especially the tallow. The friend found it extremely delicious, and ate till he was ready to burst; and at his departure next day he was presented with some dried meat and tallow.
One autumn the hunter lingered in the interior longer than usual. At length the earth was quite frozen over, and still he did not return. At first the friend longed very much for him, but after a while he grew angry with him; and when the first of the preserved seals began to spoil, they commenced to eat away at the whole lot. Later on, when he heard that the hunter had returned, he went out to a grave and cut a bit of fat from a dead body, and with this he rubbed certain parts of a seal he intended to treat his friend with, in order to do him an evil turn on his arrival.
Shortly afterwards he came to pay his visit. The meeting was very pleasant, and as usual he was regaled with various delicacies; and the hunter now told that he had had small luck in getting the reindeer with velvety horns, and this was the reason why he had stayed away so long; and his friend answered, "I was expecting thee very anxiously for some time, but when my first preserved seals began to rot, we ate them all up;" and he added, "let us have the one that was last put by; we will have it for a cold dish." It was accordingly brought in and nicely served up, and the host laid the piece that had been rubbed over with the bit of fat uppermost, and set it before his friend, at the same time begging him to partake of it; but just as the visitor was in the act of helping himself to a piece, something from beneath the ledge gave a pull at his leg. This somewhat puzzled him; however, he was going to commence a second time when he got another pull, on which he said, "I must go outside a little," and rose up at the same time and went.
Being an angakok, the voice of his tornak (guardian-spirit) now warned him, saying, "Thy friend regales thee with a base design; turn the piece over when thou goest back and eat of the opposite part; if thou eatest of the part that is now uppermost thou wilt be sure to go mad." Having again seated himself, be turned the meat over; but his host thought it might be a mere accident. When the guest had eaten sufficiently, be felt a pain in his stomach—he had probably touched some of the poisoned flesh; but he soon recovered, and on taking leave, he asked his friend to return the visit soon.
Next day be took his leave, and it was a long time before his friend saw him again; when he went out kayaking he never met him as he had done formerly. At length, when the ice began to cover the waters, a boat was seen to put into the firth from the sea, and was recognised as being the boat of the friend; but finding that he himself was not of the party, he asked, "Where is your master?" "He is ill, and has turned raving mad; he wanted to eat us, and therefore we all took flight."
On the very next day the huntsman went out to visit his friend. Nobody was to be seen about the house; but, creeping through the entry and looking over the threshold, he beheld his friend lying on his back, with eyes staring wildly, and his head hanging over the edge of the couch. He went up to him and asked him how he did, but no answer was given. After a short silence he suddenly started up and shouted with all his might, "Because thou hast feasted me basely, I have eaten up all the inmates of my house, and I will now devour thee too"—and he bounded towards him; but the other escaped through the entry, and quickly made for his kayak.
He only succeeded in pushing off as his pursuer was in the very act of seizing hold of him. The madman now continued running along the shore and crying, "I feel much better now; do come back. When I have not seen thee for a day or two, I am longing dreadfully for thee." On hearing him speak quite sensibly the friend believed him, and put back again.
As soon as he reached the shore, however, the former made a rush at him; but, happily observing this, he pushed off in time. At home he never spoke nor ate from grief for his friend, and his housemates thought him much altered. Towards night he commenced talking to them of his own accord, and told them how he had fared; but the others advised him never to return any more, being sure the madman would eat him too, if he had the chance.
Nevertheless, he paddled away the very next morning as if compelled to do so. Then it all happened just as on the former day. The madman pursued him right into the house, and fastened the door, so that he was obliged to get out through the window, and he barely escaped to his kayak.
The day after, they again tried to detain him; but he was bent upon going. He entered his friend's house and found him worse than before: this time he was lying with his head on the floor and his heels resting on the edge of the bench; his eyes were far protruded and staring wildly, and the bone of his nose as sharp as a knife's edge. On approaching him he started up and pursued his former friend round the room, always crying, "I am starving; I must have thee for food."
The day after, his housemates again wanted to detain him, but he answered them, "When I have not seen my friend for a whole day, I am ready to die with longing, and cannot desist from going to him." Having arrived at the house of his friend, he found it to be deserted; he searched about everywhere, but did not find him. Outside he observed some footprints winding up hills, and following them, he stopped at a cave in the rock. Here his friend was sitting bent together and much shrunk. As he did not move his friend went up to him, and on trying to lift him up, found him to be quite dead, and his eyelids filled with blood. He now carefully covered and closed up the entrance of the cave, and was henceforth friendless.