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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 957


Panaumbe, Penaumbe, and the Sea-Lion

Book Name:

Aino Folk-Tales

Tradition: Japan, Aino

There were Panaumbe and Penaumbe. Panaumbe went down to the sea-shore, and walked up and down upon the sand. Then he saw a sea-lion in the water. He wanted to catch that sea-lion, and eat its flesh. So he called out to it: "Oh! Mr. Sea-Lion, if you will come here, I will pick the lice out of your head." The sea-lion was very glad to have the lice picked out of its head. So it swam to him. Then he pretended to pick the lice out of its head. But in reality he picked the flesh off its head, and the fat, and ate it. Then he said: "All the lice are picked off. You may go." After the sea-lion had swum a short way, it put its paw up to its head, in order to see whether the lice had really all been taken off. Then it felt that its flesh and fat were all gone, and that only the bones remained. So it was very angry, and swam back quickly towards the shore, to catch Panaumbe and kill him.

Panaumbe, when he saw the sea-lion pursuing him, ran inland towards the mountains. After running some time, he reached a place where the path divided. An old crow was perching on a tree there, and said: "Right or left! right or left! I see a clever man." The road to the right was broad, and the road to the left was narrow, because it was in a valley which ended in a point. Panaumbe thought thus: "If I take the broad path to the right, the sea-lion will overtake me, and kill me. But if I take the narrow path to the left, he will run so fast that he will get stuck at the end of the narrow valley, and I, being small, can slip out between his legs, and beat in his head from behind, and kill him." So Panaumbe ran along the narrow path to the left, and the sea-lion pursued him. But the sea-lion ran so heedlessly and quickly that it got stuck at the end of the narrow valley. Then Panaumbe slipped out between the sea-lion's legs, and beat in his head from behind, and killed him, and took home his flesh and his skin. Then Panaumbe became very rich.

Afterwards Penaumbe came down to him, and said: "You and I were both poor. How is it that you are now so rich?" Panaumbe said: "If you will come and dine with me, I will instruct you." So they went together to Panaumbe's house, where Panaumbe's mother, and his wife and children, were eating the flesh of the sea-lion. But Penaumbe, when he had heard what Panaumbe had done, said: "I knew that before." Then he stepped in the dishes set before Panaumbe's mother and wife and children, and spilt their food. Then pissed on the threshold, and went away.

Penaumbe went down to the sea-shore, and saw a sea-lion, as Panaumbe had done. He called out to the sea-lion: "Oh! Mr. Sea-Lion, if you will come here, I will pick the lice out of your head." So the sea-lion swam to him. Then Penaumbe pretended to pick the lice out of its head. But in reality he picked the flesh and the fat off its head, and left nothing but the bones. The sea-lion felt a little pain, but thought that it was owing to the lice being picked out. So, when Penaumbe had finished picking and eating the flesh off its head, it swam away. But afterwards, feeling the pain more sharply, the sea-lion put its paw up to its head, and found that nothing but bone was left. So it was very angry, and swam back quickly towards the shore, to catch Penaumbe and kill him.

Penaumbe, when he saw the sea-lion pursuing him, ran inland towards the mountains. After running some time, he reached the place where the path divided. The old crow, which was perching on the tree, said: "Left or right! left or right! I see a fool." Penaumbe took the broad road to the right, in order to be able to run more easily. But the sea-lion ran more quickly than he could, and caught him and ate him up. Then Penaumbe died. But if he had listened to advice he might have become a rich man like Panaumbe.

Comments:

Written down from memory. Told by Kannariki, June, 1886.

Panaumbe means "the person on the lower course of the stream." Penaumbe means "the person on the upper course of the stream." Conf. Aino "M

emoir," p. 28. xxviii. – Panaumbe, Penaumbe, and the Weeping Foxes.

Abstract:

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