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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Kiviung"


When they were drowned, the little seal changed back into a boy and walked home over the water without wetting his feet. There was no one left now to torment him.

Kiv-i-ung, who had never abused the boy, had gone out with the rest, but his kayak did not capsize. Bravely he strove against the wild waves, and drifted far away from the place where the others had gone down. There was a dense fog and he could not tell in which direction to go.

He rowed for many days not knowing whither he was going, and then one day he spied through the mists a dark mass which he took to be land. As he pulled toward it the sea became more and more tempestuous, and he saw that what he had supposed to be a rocky cliff on an island was a wild, black sea with a raging whirlpool in the midst of it.

He had come so close that it was only by the utmost exertion he escaped being drawn into the whirlpool and carried down. He put forth all his strength and at last got away where the waves were less like mountains. But he had to be constantly on the alert, for at one moment his frail craft was carried high up on the crest of billows and the next it was plunged into a deep trough of the sea.

Again he saw a dark mass looming up, and rowed toward it hoping to find land, but again he was deceived, for it was another whirlpool which made the sea rise in gigantic waves. At last the wind subsided, and the sea became less rough, though the whitecaps still frothed around him. The fog lifted, and at a great distance he saw land, real land this time.

He went toward it, and after rowing along the coast for some distance he spied a stone house with a light in it. You may be sure he was delighted to come near a human habitation again. He landed and entered the house. There was no one in it but one old woman. She received him kindly and helped him to pull off his boots, and she hung his wet stockings on the frame above the lamp. Then she said:

"I will make a fire in the next room and cook a good supper."

Kiviung thought she was a very good woman, and he was so hungry that he could scarcely wait for the supper.

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