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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 1143


Story Of Gege-Woman

Book Name:

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

Tradition: Siberia

There was an old man and his wife. They had three sons. The old man said to his sons, "Listen, my children! Do not climb the roof, do not climb to the upper beam." The next morning the elder son climbed to the roof and mounted the upper beam. He saw from there, on the seashore, that a young woman was catching fish with her own breeches. He descended and went to the shore. Gege-Woman was there catching fish with her breeches. "Ah, you have come!" – "Yes, I have." – "Do you want to take me for your wife? If so, I will cook some food for you." – "All right!" They went home. Gege-Woman cooked some fish, and offered it to her future husband; but he pushed it off, and the fish fell to the ground. "Who wants to eat of your nasty fish, Breeches-Caught?" He left the house; but Gege-Woman followed him, and called aloud, "Gege, wolves, gege, bears, gege, wolverines, poz, poz, poz!" 2 So the wolves, the bears, and the wolverines came and devoured him. The old man had lost the first son.

The second son, mounted the roof, and saw Gege-Woman catching fish with her breeches. He went the same way, and came to the shore. "O young man! take me for your wife. If you are willing, I will cook some food for you." – "All right!" They went home, and she cooked some fish and offered it to her visitor; but he pushed it off. "Who wants to eat of your nasty fish, Breeches-Caught?" He left the house; but she followed him, and called aloud, "Gege, bears, gege, wolves, gege, wolverines, poz, poz, poz!" Bears, wolves and wolverines came and devoured him. The old man had lost his second son.

The third and the youngest son mounted the roof, and saw Gege-Woman. He went to the seashore. "O young man! take me for your wife. I will cook some food for you." "All right!" He ate of the food. So they lived together. She forbade the bears and the wolves to devour the young man. Meanwhile the old man built a number of deadfalls and other traps. He caught all the bears and wolves and wolverines one by one. Then he said to his boy, "You may go away. There is nobody left to destroy you." That very night he fled from there. Gege-Woman followed him. He saw a small stream of smoke coming out of the ground, and plunged down. It was the underground house of Haihai-Woman.[1] "Oh, oh I give me back my husband!" "I will not. He shall be mine." So the two women fought and killed each other. He went out, and fled to his parents' house. They visited the houses of the dead woman, and took everything there was. So they grew rich. That is all.

Comments:

Told by Mary Alin, a Russianized Chuvantzi woman. Recorded by Mrs. Sophie Bogoras, in the village of Markova, the Anadyr country, winter of 1900.

In Russian, Гегйка Баба which probably means "woman who cried 'gege, gege'! – W. B.

[1] One of the calls addressed to the dog-team (Cf. Bogoras, "The Chukchee," 111).

Abstract:

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