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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 1123


Story About Two Girls

Book Name:

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

Tradition: Siberia

There were two girls. They had plenty to eat, and knew nothing bad. One time they were walking about, and saw some men on horseback ride by. They went home, and found five men in their house, before the burning fire. "Who are you?" – "We are people from the Upper Land. We came from on high, and Yaghishna is also coming. She is not very far off." – "Ah! we are afraid. Take us along!" – "How can we take you? Our horses are few, and we are too many for them." Indeed, only two horses were tied to the posts opposite the entrance. The girls cried from fright. Meanwhile Yaghishna came. She took both girls and laid them down on the ground. Then she struck them with a big knife; but the knife could not cut them, and not a single wound was inflicted upon either of them. She raised her knife again; but one of the girls snatched it out of her hands, and struck her directly in the heart. She died. The girls started for home. They arrived there and wanted to have some tea. They prepared it, and were going to drink it. The elder sister said, "I am very hungry. Go and look in the storehouse. Perhaps you will find at least a dried fishskin." Indeed, she found a piece of fishskin, and they ate of it. In the meantime they heard the clattering of hoofs outside. They saw horses that were breathing fire, and that sought revenge for the death of Yaghishna. They struck at the girls with their iron hoofs, and trampled them down; but they could not inflict upon them even the slightest wound. So they went away, all covered with foam and even their breath of fire was extinguished.

The girls wanted to thank God for their salvation. The elder one took a thin wax taper and wanted to light it; but with the taper her own finger flamed up. She was burnt to death, and her sister with her. That is all. They live and live, and get much that is good. I visited them recently. They washed their house.

Comments:

Told by Mary Shkuleff, a Russian creole girl, in the village of Pokhotsk, the Kolyma country, summer of 1895.

Abstract:

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