World of Tales
Stories for children, folktales, fairy tales and fables from around the world

Other Men

Eskimo folktale

Raven went back to the pea-vine and there he found that three other men had just fallen from the pod out of which the first one had dropped. These men, like the first, were looking about in wonder not knowing what to make of themselves and the world about them.

"Come with me," said Raven; and he led them away in an opposite direction from the one in which he had led the first Man, and brought them to solid land close to the sea. "Stop here, and I will teach you what to do and how to live," said he.

He caused some small trees and bushes to grow on the hillside and in the hollows, and he took a piece of wood from one of these, and a cord, and made a bow and showed them how to shoot game for food. Then he taught them to make a fire with a fire-drill. He made plants, and gulls, and loons, and other birds such as fly about on the seacoast.

Then he made three clay images somewhat resembling the men, and waved his wings over them and brought them to life, and led each one of these women to one of the men, and then led each pair to a dry bank, and had three families started on three hilltops.

"Go down to the shore," he said to the three men and the three women, "and bring up the logs that the tide has brought in, and I will show you how to make houses."

They brought the drift logs, and he showed them how to lay them up for walls, and how to make a roof of branches covered with earth. Seals had now become numerous, and he taught them how to capture them, and what use to make of their skins. He helped them to make arrows and spears, and nets to capture deer and fish, and other implements of the chase. He showed them how to make kayaks by stretching green hides over a framework of ribs, and letting the hides dry.

"I have not made as many birds and animals for you as I made for First Man and his wife, but I have made you so many more plants and trees that it isn't quite fair to him. I must go back and fix up his land a bit," said Raven.

So he went over to where First Man and his children were living, and told them all he had done for the three men who had come out of the pea-pod, and how well he had them fixed up.

"I must have you live as well as they do," he said. "Your land looks rather barren, and you have no houses."

That night while the people slept he caused birch, spruce, and cottonwood trees to spring up in the low places, and when the people awoke in the morning they clapped their hands in delight, for the birds were singing in the tree-tops and the green leaves with the sunlight flickering through them made it seem like a fairy land. And they were delighted with the shade of the trees in which they could sit and watch the quivering lights and shadows which the fluttering of the leaves made.

Then Raven taught these people how to build houses out of the trees and bushes, and how to make fire with a fire-drill, and to place the spark of tinder in a bunch of dry grass and wave it about until it blazed, and then put dry wood upon it. He showed them how to put a stick through their fish and hold it in the fire, till it was a thousand times more delicious than when raw. He took willow twigs and strips of willow bark, and made traps for catching fish; and, best of all, he taught them to look out for the future, by catching more salmon than they needed, when salmon were running, and drying them for use when they could catch none.

"Now you are pretty well fixed," he said one day; "it will take you some time to practice on all the things I have taught you; so I will go back and see how my coast men are coming on."

A Treasury of Eskimo Tales

A Treasury of Eskimo Tales

: Contains 31 folktales gathered from the Eskimo living in North America.

Author: Clara Kern Bayliss
Published: 1922
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, USA

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