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horses on the ice; pursued the seals into the water; and leaped upon the back of the whale, while he was yet struggling with the remains of life. Nor was his diligence less to accumulate all that could be necessary to make winter comfortable; hę dried the roe of fishes and the flesh of seals; he entrapped deer and foxes, and dressed their skins to adorn his bride ; he feasted her with eggs from the rocks, and strewed her tent with flowers.
It happened that a tempest drove the fish to a distant part of the coast, before Anningait had completed his store; he therefore entreated Ajut that she would at last grant him her hand, and accompany him to that part of the country whither he was now summoned by necessity. Ajut thought him not yet entitled to such condescension, but proposed as a trial of his constancy, that he should return at the end of summer to the cavern where their acquaintance commenced, and there expect the reward of his assiduities. “O
virgin, beautiful as the sun shining on the water, “ consider,” said Anningait,
" what thou hast required. How easily may my return be precluded
by a sudden frost or unexpected fogs: then must " the night be passed without my Ajut. We live not,
my fair, in those fabled countries, which lying strangers so wantonly describe; where the whole
year is divided into short days and nights; where " the same habitation serves for summer and winter ; " where they raise houses in rows above the ground, “ dwell together from year to year, with flocks of “ tame animals grazing in the fields about them; can " travel at any time from one place to another,
through ways inclosed with trees, or over walls “ raised upon the inland waters; and direct their
course through wide countries by the sight of green “ hills or scattered buildings. Even in summer, we “ have no means of crossing the mountains, whose
snows are never dissolved; nor can remove to any « distant residence, but in our boats coasting the bays. “ Consider, Ajut; a few summer-days, and a few “ winter-nights, and the life of man is at an end.
Night is the time of ease and festivity, of revels and “ gaiety; but what will be the flaming lamp, the " delicious seal, or the soft oil, without the smile of
The eloquence of Anningait was vain ; the maid continued inexorable, and they parted with ardent promises to meet again before the night of winter.
Anningait, however discomposed by the dilatory coyness of Ajut, was yet resolved to omit no tokens of amorous respect; and therefore presented her at his departure with the skins of seven white fawns, of five swans and eleven seals, with three marble lamps, ten vessels of seal oil, and a large kettle of brass, which he had purchased from a ship, at the price of half a whale, and two horns of sea-unicorns.
Ajut was so much affected by the fondness of her lover, or so much overpowered by his magnificence, that she followed him to the sea-side ; and, when she saw him enter the boat, wished aloud, that he might return with plenty of skins and oil; that neither the mermaids might snatch him into the deeps, nor the spirits of the rocks confine him in their caverns.
She stood awhile to gaze upon the departing vessel, and then returning to her hut, silent and dejected, laid aside, from that hour, her white deer skin, suffered her hair to spread unbraided on her shoulders, and forbore to mix in the dances of the maidens. deavoured to divert her thoughts by continual application to feminine employments, gathered moss for the winter lamps, and dried grass to line the boots of Anningait. Of the skins which he had bestowed upon her, she made a fishing-coat, a small boat, and tent, all of exquisite manufacture; and while she was thus busied, solaced her labours with a song, in which she prayed, “ that her lover might have hands stronger
" than the paws of the bear, and feet swifter than the "feet of the rein-deer; that his dart might never
err, and that his boat might never leak; that he might never stumble on the ice, nor faint in the
water ; that the seal might rush on his harpoon, “ and the wounded whale might dash the waves in " vain.”
The large boats in which the Greenlanders transport their families, are always rowed by women; for a man will not debase himself by work which requires neither skill nor courage.
Anningait was therefore exposed by idleness to the ravages of passion. He went thrice to the stern of the boat, with an intent to leap into the water, and swim back to his mistress; but recollecting the misery which they must endure in the winter, without oil for the lamp, or skints for the bed, he resolved to employ the weeks of absence in provision for a night of plenty and felicity. He then composed his emotions as he could, and expressed in wild numbers, and uncouth images, his hopes, his sørrows, and his fears. “O life," says he, “ frail and “ uncertain! where shall wretched man find thy re“ semblance but on ice floating on the ocean? It “ towers on high, it sparkles from afar; while the “ storms drive and the waters beat it, the sun melts “ it above, and the rocks shatter it below. What art " thou, deceitful pleasure! but a sudden blaze stream“ ing from the north, which plays a moment on the
eye, mocks the traveller with the hopes of light, " and then vanishes for ever? What, love, art thou " but a whirlpool, which we approach without know, “ ledge of our danger, drawn on by imperceptible de
grees, till we have lost all power of resistance and escape ?
Till I fixed my eyes on the graces of - Ajut, while I had yet not called her to the banquet, “ I was careless as the sleeping morse, I was merry
as the singers in the stars. Why, Ajut, did I gaze upon thy graces why, my fair, did I call the to
* the banquet? Yet, be faithful, my love, remember
Anningait, and meet my return with the smile of
virginity. I will chase the deer, I will subdue the " whale, resistless as the frost of darkness, and un“ wearied as the summer sun. In a few weeks I shall “ return prosperous and wealthy; then shall the roe“ fish and the porpoise feast thy kindred; the fox and “ hare shall cover thy couch; the tough hide of the " seal shall shelter thee from cold, and the fat of the “ whale illuminate thy dwelling."
Anningait, having with these sentiments consoled his grief and animated his industry, found that they had now coasted the headland, and saw the whales spouting at a distance. He therefore placed himself in his fishing-boat, called his associates, to their several employments, plied his oar and harpoon with incredible courage and dexterity: and, by dividing his time between the chase and fishery, suspended the miseries of absence and suspicion.
Ajut, in the mean time, notwithstanding her neglected dress, happened as she was drying some skins in the sun, to catch the eye of Norngsuk, on his return from hunting. Norngsuk was of birth truly illustrious. His mother had died in child-birth, and his father, the most expert fisher of Greenland, had perished by too close pursuit of the whale. His dignity was equalled by his riches; he was master of four men's and two women's boats, had ninety tubs of oil in his winter habitation, and five and twenty seals buried in the snow against the season of darkness. When he saw the beauty of Ajut, he immediately threw over her the skin of a deer that he had taken, and soon after presented her with a branch of coral.
Ajut refused his gifts, and determined to admit no lover in the place of Anningait.
Norngsuk, thus rejected, had recourse to stratagem. He knew that Ajut would consult an Angekkok, or diviner, concerning the fate of her lover, and the felieity of her future life. He therefore applied himself to the most celebrated Angekkok of that part of the country, and by a present of two seals and a marble kettle obtained a promise, that when Ajut should consult him, he would declare that her lover was in the land of souls. Ajut, in a short time, brought him a coat made by herself, and enquired what events were to befal her, with assurances of a much larger reward at the return of Anningait, if the prediction should flatter her desires. The Angekkok knew the way.to riches, and foretold that Anningait, having already caught two whales, would soon return home with a large boat laden with provisions.
This prognostication she was ordered to keep secret; and Norngsuk, depending upon his artifice, renewed his addresses with greater confidence; but finding his suit still unsuccessful, applied himself to her parents with gifts and promises. The wealth of Greenland is too powerful for the virtue of a Greenlander; they forgot the merit and the presents of Anningait, and decreed Ajut to the embraces of Norngsuk. She entreated; she remonstrated; she wept, and raved; but finding riches irresistible, fed away into the uplands, and lived in a cave upon such berries as she could gather, and the birds or hares which she had the fortune to ensnare; taking care, at an hour when she was not likely to be found, to view the sea every day, that her lover might not miss her at his return,
At last she saw the great boat in which Anningait had departed, stealing slow and heavy laden along the coast. She ran with all the impatience of affection to catch her lover in her arms, and relate her constancy and sufferings. When the company reached the land, they informed her, that Anningait, after the fishery was ended, being unable to support the slow passage of the vessel of carriage, had set out before them in his fishing-boat, and they expected at their arrival to have found him on shore.