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catherine attla K’etl’enbaalots’ek In the time very long ago there was a village. A girl had reached puberty. Her mother went from the village with her, over a hill. Her mother built her a house and left her there. Her mother would often bring her food. She stayed there. She stayed there and sewed. It is said that that is what girls in puberty seclusion used to do. She was staying there. Then she heard people come to her door. ‘‘What are you doing here? What are you doing here?’’ they asked her, but they got no answer.1 They kept asking her. Then she said, ‘‘Oh, I’m staying hidden.’’ ‘‘Come home with us,’’ they started telling her. ‘‘No, my mother always comes to see me here,’’ she said, but they would not listen. They continued to urge her. Then they took her. She said, ‘‘No,’’ but in vain. She left for their home with them. They left so fast it was as if they were flying. catherine attla: k’etl’enbaalots’ek  Apparently they were the spirits of dead people. People who have died are the ones we call ‘‘naaghedeneełne.’’ The naaghedeneełne took her. They were so fast they traveled as if they were flying. They traveled a great distance. Then they came to what looked like a mountain of ice with a slick surface. It looked like a mountain that no one could climb. They had come to something, the entire surface of which appeared to be slick ice. One of the men had taken the girl to be his wife. They went up the mountain, but she kept slipping and slipping with him. He couldn’t do anything for her. She couldn’t climb up. He tried wetting the bottoms of her feet with water and with saliva, hoping that her feet would freeze to the side of the mountain. They couldn’t do anything for her. She could not climb up. Apparently it was because she had not died yet. Way down at the bottom of the mountain, the man built a house. He started living there with her. The spirits who had gone up the mountain would come often to visit. They would travel as if they were flying around. When they would start going back up, they would go up the mountain very fast. They would go up the thing with the icelike surface as if they were flying. She was living there with that man, her husband; he provided for her. They all loved her. One day, she heard people crying off in the distance. She heard people crying. She asked one of her friends, ‘‘Friend, what is that noise?’’ ‘‘Well, there is a woman there who’s going to have a child. She’s going to give birth,  Koyukon but they deliver only by cutting the stomach,’’ she said.2 ‘‘They’re saying that she’s not going to live.’’ ‘‘O——h! Bring her to me. In the place they took me from, we help each other give birth,’’ she said. Then they said, ‘‘Bring her to her. She might be able to help.’’ Then they brought the woman in labor to her, and she made a place for the woman to give birth. She put up a pole. Every time she felt a contraction, she would lift the woman up. She kept doing that to her, and then a baby was born. Nothing was wrong with the woman who had given birth. After that, they were very happy that she was there. They loved K’etl’enbaalots’ek even more than before. They took very good care of her. They also gave her many things. Apparently she hadn’t died yet, but she was living among the dead. She was living there, but she was thinking about her mother. Then she said, ‘‘Oh dear! You know I have parents.’’ She cried, saying she was lonesome for her parents. Then her husband took pity on her. ‘‘What are you going to do?’’ he said to her. ‘‘I want my mother and father,’’ she said. ‘‘If that’s what you want to do, I’ll build a canoe for you so that you can go home in it,’’ he said to her. She had been sewing, as was her habit. She was sewing. She was making a lot of clothing, mittens and boots. Then she put everything into the canoe. Her husband cried very hard for her...


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