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The Wolf Women and Kiviuq’s Return Home
Artwork: Qiviuq Comes to the Old Woman, Janet Kigusiuq

Qiviuq Comes to the Old Woman, by Janet Kigusiuq


As told by Annie Peterloosie

After the incident with the woman Kiviuq kept traveling. As he paddled along the shore he heard a voice saying, “Come and clean my eyes”. He went to shore and walked inland and looked all around but he could not see anyone. As he was turning he saw seal bone on the ground which looked like a dog. It was saying it needed its eye lids cleaned. He cleaned the eyelids and left the bone. He went down to shore and went into his qayaq and started traveling again.

Once when he was in his qayaq on the open water he had a hard time moving. Then he heard a voice calling from the shore, “Help me up, help me up!”

He went to where he heard the voice, but there was no one in sight. All he saw was a lemming which was stuck trying to go over a fold in the ground. That was all he saw. He pushed the lemming on its little behind, up over the mound to where it seemed to want to go. After he helped the lemming there was no one else around so he went back to the shore to his qayaq and left without any problem.

As he rode his qayaq he saw a sod hut on the shore. He went there looked through the smoke house and saw a woman. She was scraping the skin of a human being, scraping away. As he watched he moved closer, blocking her light. She had big eyelids – now she said, “Is this the thing causing a “shadow”? She took her ulu and cut off her eyelids, thinking that they were causing the shadow and darkening her work area. Then she put them into her mouth and ate them. He watched her consume her own flesh and thought that she must not be totally human. And so he left here there and continued his journey.

As he was journeying he came upon couple of qarmaqs. As it was getting dark, he stopped. There were two woman who were very pleasant and welcoming. It seems that these two had tails – we call them Pamiuliin. Since they have a tail they generally live in a body of standing water. We were told not to drink from the water during the spring melt because it would be full of these parasites. We were told to strain the water through snow before we drank. If we swallowed the parasites could get their tails into the lining of the stomach and puncture it, causing death.

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These two women were Pamiuliin people. It was late at night and Kiviuq was tired. He felt the need to urinate so he went outside and did his business. While he was outside he proceeded to put thin pieces of shell onto his chest and abdomen for protection since he did not feel comfortable with the woman. He pretended to fall asleep and watched the women across from him. One of them whispered to other, “He is across from us. Do you feel like using your tail?” The other answered, “I do want to.” All the while she was sharpening her tail. After she was satisfied that it was really sharp, they approached him.

One of them sat on his torso and tried to stab him with her tail and kill him. As she plunged her tail into the man, her tail met the resistance of the flat shell on his chest and the tail lashed back into her and speared her. Her tail was lashing around and she was saying, “Long tail tu-tu-tu, long tail tu-tu-tu-tu.” Finally she died. After this incident, Kiviuq fell back to sleep for the night and left in the morning.

He traveled for long while. As he was traveling in his qayaq, he met some tuutaliit who were bothering him. The tuutaliit, who are half fish and half human, live in the water. They would take the front end of the qayaq and move it side to side, almost making him flip. The tuutaliit kept bothering him although he kept telling them to stop. They had been sent by the woman who had tried to kill and eat him. They were trying to slow down his journey. She also sent the seal bone and the lemming as puzzles he had to solve in order to move forward. Then one person who was present told him to harpoon them on the meaty part of their rump but not to kill them. He did as he was told and harpooned one on the rump using his harpoon without the head. Afterwards he was left alone and continued on his way.

Once again he saw qarmuit and approached them. There were females living there, a mother and daughter. He went to their hut since they were pleasant and welcoming. As he walked in he saw a big piece of driftwood lying on the bed – the knots were stained with the juices of mating. It turned out that the driftwood was the mother’s husband. When evening came he went to bed with the mother. As they were trying to sleep, a moaning sound came from the driftwood and it moved around by itself. The driftwood was jealous of the man!

When they woke up they ate before he left. As he was getting ready to leave, the woman took the driftwood to the shore and attached a cord of an ugjuk skin rope. The woman pushed the drift wood out into open sea. Kiviuq went hunting in his qayaq, after awhile he returned from hunting. He had caught a seal and he took it the beach. As he was doing that the piece of the driftwood came in. There was a trail of bearded seals attached to the cord. He was the husband of the two woman and this is how he provided for them.

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The woman took the wood out of the water and brought it up the shore. The daughter was a strong woman – she brought the seals up from the shore. She would take them by their front flippers and toss them to her amauti and carry them up the shore. While he was in their camp he would go hunting with the drift wood.

That night he went to bed with the daughter. And she was pretty. When he went into the younger woman’s bed the piece of the driftwood was very jealous and moved more then usual, making louder moaning sounds. The driftwood was jealous because Kiviuq had become the younger woman’s husband.

The women made gloves for the man for hunting, with beads as decorations. When he left the place where the women were and went hunting, he would put them into the space at the front of the qayaq and then he would tell his wife that he lost them. All the while he hoarded them for later use. A man needed extra mittens since they would wear out quickly. Since he was raised as a male child he had not learned to make them for himself. He left to hunt, and returned that evening with a catch of seals.

While the men were out hunting the mother got jealous of her daughter for being the spouse of the younger man. One day she offered to look for lice on the girl’s head and when her daughter was relaxed and dozing she used a special tool to kill her by piercing her through the ear. After she killed her daughter the mother took off the younger woman’s skin and put it on herself and pretended to be a daughter. She put on her daughter’s skin and pretended to be her.

As the men were coming in from the hunt she put on her kamiik and proceeded to go and see them. As she came down to shore it was obvious that the skin on her legs was gathered at the top of the kamiik and the skin was loose. She had not put it on properly and loose skin was hanging. It seems that the woman had filleted her daughter’s skin and was wearing the skin so as to become his wife. The woman tried to pack the seal in her amauti but could not do so because she was not strong enough. Since she was an old woman she did not have the energy of a younger woman and had a hard time packing the seal in her amauti.

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He stayed with her for a short while and then he left. While he was traveling, the season changed to fall. He came upon a cache and approached it. The place was a spring and someone had left a cache behind. There was no one around. While he was still there some people came by. There were two or three people, probably there were two men. They had a qamuti with them. He saw people, he started telling them of the the time when the hunters were trying to catch the yearling seal. He told them about the other men whose qayaqs had tipped over and the way they had drowned. He explained that he had been the sole survivor and that is when he began his long journey.

No one could recognize him because his face had become quite dark. The people he was with too started telling what had happened when they were children – about the men who had gone out following a yearling seal who took them way out into the open water. Now they started to recognize each other. One younger man of the group seemed to recognize his father’s teeth. But the elder of the two could not recognize the man by his teeth The men told of earlier happenings and told stories. Now Kiviuq thought he recognized the two as his sons who had grown into men while he was away. They were indeed his sons. Once he found out that they were his sons, he went to their camp with them.

Kiviuq accompanied the two men who were his sons, he was the elder of the two when they arrived. Whenever he came to their camp after a hunting trip he had a trait he would yell a certain way. Now his wife heard someone calling, “Asigai, asigai, asi asi asigai!” She came out and said, “Kiviuq is the only one who would chant those words when he was coming back to camp! Asigai, asigai, asi asi asigai!” She recognized Kiviuq.

While he was away she had started living with a common Eider duck. The eider husband came into the dwelling and put feathers between his fingers. He flew off as Kiviuq came home. The man had finally gotten home. That is all I know , and will stop there.

Because he did not ridicule the orphan child, the grandmother spared him while others were lost. The woman who adopted the orphan spared Kiviuq since he was tolerant of the orphan boy.

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The same story as told by Niviuvak Marqniq

Kiviuq continued on his journey by kayak. He was now far away from his land.

He came across a tent and as earlier, secured his kayak on the shore in a departure position, then walked up to the tent. A female wolf and her young daughter occupied the dwelling. There was a long piece of wood, (much like the one outside) erected in front of their tent.

He stayed over night with the pair. Soon Kiviuq married the daughter of the female wolf. On occasions when Kiviuq returned from a successful caribou hunt, his young wife would leave her socks in the tent and run down to the shore to greet her husband. Carrying a rump on her shoulders, she would return to the tent.

While Kiviuq was on another hunt, the mother wolf groomed her daughter’s head of lice then she deliberately killed her, by piercing her eardrum. Then she skinned her daughter and placed the facial part on herself, disguising herself as her.

When Kiviuq returned home, disguised as her daughter, the old lady removed her socks and ran down to greet him. Upon reaching him, she explained, “My mother has died.” In actual fact, she wanted to be Kiviuq’s wife instead.

Kiviuq had caught another caribou, so the old lady, posing as her daughter, took the hind-legs on her shoulders and turned towards the tent. From behind, one could notice her old and baggy legs.

Every time Kiviuq got ready for a hunting trip, she accused him of wanting to leave her, so eventually he did leave her, never to return.

He traveled along the shore in search of his home.

He reached an island, which was inhabited by women adorned in beaded clothing. He took their beads and sped away, leaving them crying.

A pair of sandpipers were swimming near by. Feeling exhausted, he instructed them to guide his kayak towards his home while he slept.
“Wake me up when you recognize my homeland” he said. The pair did as they were told.

When they recognized his homeland, they poked at him. Kiviuq sat up and saw his father, sitting on a rocky ledge. He had long been waiting for his son’s return and had made a dent on the rock where he sat.

Prior to his departure from home, Kiviuq had two wives. The one had remarried and was well dressed. The other had not remarried and was poorly dressed. The two wives, along with their father-in-law ran to the shore to greet him. The father was purely elated that his son had returned home and died on the spot from exhaustion.

Kiviuq gave all the beads he had taken from the island women, to his wife that had not remarried. The other woman cried home empty handed.

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What other elders said about this part of the story
Some people told us that the seal bone Kiviuq found on the ground was one used in a game. All the small bones have names and this one was the "Dog bone". It has a small hole in it that is called the "eye". And so Kiviuq helped the bone by cleaning its eye.

They also say that as he paddled he came to a place where he worked and worked and didn't seem to be moving at all. This is when he heard the voice of the bone and then the lemming. After helping them he was free to move again.

Many elders do not say the mother and daughter were wolves, but they were human women living with a log of wood who slept with them at night and provided for them by hunting seals in the water.

One elder told us the that Kiviuq killed the tuutalik but it came back to life after three days.

To continue the story, click here.

New Vocabulary in this part of the story
Amauti – a woman’s parka with a back pouch for carrying an infant or toddler.
Ugjuk – bearded seal

Questions
How do you think Kiviuq felt when he realized the mother had killed her daughter?
Why do you think she did it?
How else could this situation have been resolved?

Continue the story: The Lake Spirit.

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