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belle deacon Nił’oqay Ni’idaxin The Man and Wife This story came from Anvik when I was around maybe twelve years old.1 . . . One named Old Jackson told this story to four of us girls. And he told us to listen to it good, because if you don’t get the stories [now], even if you never even think about it [again], you don’t [ever] get the story. He told us to really think about it. It comes from way [back] generation[s], from the story beginning. They pass it on to one another . That’s what he told us. A man and wife, they say, lived at the mouth of a side stream. They lived there year in and year out. They didn’t know how they got there. They didn’t know where they came from. One time, when it was becoming fall, [the man] put traps out. He did a lot of trapping, and every evening he came back with marten piled over his shoulders. His pack was completely stuffed full of skins, too. His wife worked outdoors. As she worked outdoors, she made a big pile of firewood. She had all the wood piled up by the door. She also built a fire every evening. Having finished all that work, she sewed. She made beautiful parkas, boots, mittens, caps, and blankets, which she packed away in big storage bags. What great big storage bags they were, so big. She filled them up. Then she put them in the cache. She never told her husband what she was doing. belle deacon: the man and wife  Whenever her husband came home, she would just be twisting thread. He never asked her, ‘‘What are you doing?’’ This made her very happy. She cooked for him. After that, always, ‘‘I really want some ice cream,2 that’s all. I’m so accustomed to that fat ice cream,’’ he said. So she always took the ice cream to him. After he ate that, then he skinned what he trapped. He skinned all the marten and he left some in a big pile there. There were many of them. Early in the morning, before dawn, he would wake up. He would skin the rest. He put them on stretchers and hung them up outside. After that he’d go hunting again. ‘‘Why don’t you stay home a day sometimes; what will you do with all those skins you’re getting, anyway?’’ she said to him. ‘‘How many days will I be alone?’’ she asked him. ‘‘I get very lonesome here.’’ ‘‘I do it because I enjoy being out,’’ he said. ‘‘Ah, keep yourself busy,’’ he said to her. Soon after that, he left again. As soon as he left, she started sewing again, putting her belt around her waist. This young woman was just very neat, very clean and orderly. She was dressed in very pretty clothes. The young woman was very pretty. She was just like a doll. And her husband thought a lot of her; whenever he came home, he always put her on his knees, holding her. After he did that, they would eat and then go to bed. Whenever he went out, she would make him fish ice cream. Once in a while, too, she would make snow ice cream. With all that, and the half-dried fish, they had plenty to eat. I don’t know how many years went by while they went on this way, doing the same things every day, nothing else. They would leave the ice cream outside to keep it cool.  Deg Hit’an In the summer, when it was not very cool outside, she made only enough ice cream for one meal because she didn’t want it to get sour. Fall came again. Soon it got cold again, and he started setting traps again. I – – y. One day, I don’t know what happened, but she didn’t feel well. And so then ‘‘I don’t feel like making ice cream,’’ she thought. ‘‘If he goes one night without ice cream, what will happen?’’ she thought to herself. Soon evening fell as she was sewing, and she didn’t get any firewood because she just didn’t feel well. In the evening he came back. He lowered his pack and she took it. Then she gave him what was cooked, and, when the time came, ‘‘Where is the ice cream?’’ he said to her. ‘‘Well...


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