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Story No. 1082

A Shaman and a Boy

Book Name:

Tales of Yukaghir, Lamut, and Russianized Natives of Eastern Siberia

Tradition: Siberia

There was a great shaman who reached a very great age. When angry he could lay his spell on any one, even upon another shaman. One time he as walking about and met a little boy, who roamed about, not knowing where to go. "Who are you?" – "I do not know." – "Perhaps you are a shaman." – "What kind of a shaman may I be? Though, indeed, I get up in my sleep and walk about sleeping." – "I shall kill you." – "Do, please. I shall not resist. My father and mother are gone, and I wish to follow them." – "Oh, well! then follow me."

He took him to his house, and put a plate before him. "Sit down and let us have a match!" – "What kind of a match shall we have?" – "A shamanistic match. You area shaman." – "No, I am not, I know nothing." – "Enough. Be quiet, or I shall kill you." He spat into his palm, and put the spittle upon the plate. It grew to a small bear not greater than a louse. "Here is my champion and where is yours?" The boy scratched his head, not knowing what to do, and, lo! a small louse fell down upon the plate, a real louse. "Ah! this is yours. All right, let them fight." The bear and the louse fought throughout the day, and the louse proved the stronger. It caught the bear by the throat and wanted to strangle it. "Let go!" cried the old man. "Leave the bear alone! I shall die." – "No, I shall not do so," said the boy. "It is you who wanted to have this fight." So the louse strangled the bear. As soon as the bear died the old man fell down and died also. The boy took his wives and all his goods, and became a rich man.


Told by Ulashkan, a Lamut man, on the Molonda River, in the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.

This tale was collected among the Lamut living on the upper course of the Omolon River and on its affluents in the Kolyma country, a few also among the Lamut of the Chaun desert met with in the Russian village of Nishne-Kolymsk. They were written down without the original texts.


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