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peter kalifornsky Kił Ch’u Dujemi The Man and the Loon One man had a wife and a young boy. The husband became blind and they were hungry. People would give them some food, but that woman would not give this food to her husband. He was starving and beginning to lose strength. He said to his wife, ‘‘Give me my bow.’’ And she gave it to him. He said, ‘‘I whittled it down to make it easier to draw back the bowstring. If it shoots well, take me out hunting,’’ he told her. And they went out with their son. She took him to his brush camp. She built a fire. And then a caribou appeared in the clearing. ‘‘Try out your bow,’’ the woman said, and she pointed him toward it and he shot it. But she didn’t tell him he killed the caribou. She would cut off a piece of that caribou and roast it for herself and eat it. And the man would smell it. When he said, ‘‘What do I smell?’’ she would say to him, ‘‘Those are only greasy rocks that have been heated.’’ One day she said, ‘‘Tomorrow I will take you out. Maybe we will find some game.’’ And the next morning she took her husband out into the woods, and she told him, ‘‘You stay right here.’’ And she hid his bow and left him to starve. And then she went back to the brush camp and roasted meat for herself and ate. The man hollered out for her, but she was gone. And he began feeling around there, and he made a wooden cane for himself. And then he vowed, ‘‘I will survive, whatever happens.’’ He turned in one direction and walked that way. He heard a loon calling, and he walked in the direction of the loon. And he came out to the edge of the water. He felt the water with his staff. He stooped and he drank some water. And Loon swam up to him. Loon said to him, ‘‘What are you doing?’’ and  Dena’ina the man told him what had happened to him. Loon said, ‘‘Good. I will help you, but you will have to pay me.’’ The man said, ‘‘What can I pay you with? I am a poor man. All I have is this vest with dentalium shells.’’ ‘‘Good,’’ Loon said. ‘‘I’ll dive down with you three times. When I come back up with you, open your eyes and look closely.’’ The first time Loon surfaced with the man, he could see slightly. After the next time he could see better. The third time they surfaced he could see well. ‘‘Can you recognize the places we surfaced each time?’’ Loon asked. ‘‘Yes,’’ the man said, ‘‘over there the first time, and there the second time, and over here the third time.’’ ‘‘Good,’’ [Loon] said, ‘‘try to remember this place here. By this landmark you will return to your camp. From this place go that way, and you will return to your camp.’’ And the man left, and as he approached his camp, he began to crawl. His wife was roasting something again. She saw him. She said, ‘‘Loved one! I too had gotten lost and have just gotten back.’’ ‘‘What is that smell?’’ he asked her. ‘‘It is just those greasy rocks.’’ When she said that, he said, ‘‘That is what I killed when we arrived here. And you did not give me anything to eat.’’ And he grabbed a sharp, broken rock, and he pierced her eyes. And he said to that boy, ‘‘You love your mother more than me. You stay with your mother.’’ And he left them. He returned to the village and he told the people the story. He told them, ‘‘I paid Loon with a dentalium vest, a white beaded vest.’’ about the man and the loon story This story describes how Loon is paid before he gave his help.1 In helping the man, the loon points out three landmarks, which gives the man a spiritual understanding of his place. The man cannot see, and, in the end, neither can the woman. In this story, blindness is a metaphor for unawareness.2 The man and the woman are each blind to one another at different points in the story, and, being incapable of being aware of each other at the same time, they eventually separate to seek happiness with someone else. notes . This is...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780803202368
MARC Record
OCLC
607194129
Pages
394
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-10
Language
English
Open Access
No
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