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The Chenoo, Or The Story Of A Cannibal With An Icy Heart
by [?]

Then the spring was at hand. One day the Chenoo told them that something terrible would soon come to pass. An enemy, a Chenoo, a woman was coming like wind, yes–on the wind–from the north to kill him. There could be no escape from the battle. She would be far more furious, mad, and cruel than any male, even one of his own cruel race, could be. He knew not how the battle would end; but the man and his wife must be put in a place of safety. To keep from hearing the terrible war-whoops of the Chenoo, which is death to mortals, their ears must be closed. They must hide themselves in a cave.

Then he sent the woman for the bundle which he had brought with him, and which had hung untouched on a branch of a tree since he had been with them. And he said if she found aught in it offensive to her to throw it away, but to certainly bring him a smaller bundle which was within the other. So she went and opened it, and that which she found therein was a pair of human legs and feet, the remains of some earlier horrid meal. She threw them far away. The small bundle she brought to him.

The Chenoo opened it and took from it a pair of horns,–horns of the chepitchcalm, or dragon. One of them has two branches; the other is straight and smooth. [Footnote: In the winter of 1882-1883, Tomah Josephs killed a deer whose horns were precisely like those of the chepitchcalm as regarded shape.] They were golden-bright. He gave the straight horn to the Indian; he kept the other. He said that these were magical weapons, and the only ones of any use in the coming fight. So they waited for the foe.

And the third day came. The Chenoo was fierce and bold; he listened; he had no fear. He heard the long and awful scream–like nothing of earth–of the enemy, as she sped through the air far away in the icy north, long ere the others could hear it. And the manner of it was this: that if they without harm should live after hearing the first deadly yell of the enemy they could take no harm, and if they did but hear the answering shout of their friend all would be well with them. [Footnote: In all this we clearly perceive the horrible scream of the angakok, or Eskimo Shaman, trained through years and generations to utter sounds which terrify even brave men.] But he said, “Should you hear me call for help, then hasten with the horn, and you may save my life.”

They did as he bade: they stopped their ears; they hid in a deep hole dug in the ground. All at once the cry of the foe burst on them like screaming thunder; their ears rang with pain: they were well-nigh killed, for all the care they had taken. But then they heard the answering cry of their friend, and were no longer in danger from mere noise.

The battle begun, the fight was fearful. The monsters, by their magic with their rage, rose to the size of mountains. The tall pines were torn up, the ground trembled as in an earthquake, rocks crashed upon rocks, the conflict deepened and darkened; no tempest was ever so terrible. Then the male Chenoo was heard crying: “N’loosook! choogooye! abog unumooe!” “My son-in-law, come and help me!”

He ran to the fight. What he saw was terrible! The Chenoos, who upright would have risen far above the clouds as giants of hideous form, were struggling on the ground. The female seemed to be the conqueror. She was holding her foe down, she knelt on him, she was doing all she could to thrust her dragon’s horn into his ear. And he, to avoid death, was moving his head rapidly from side to side, while she, mocking his cries, said, “You have no son-in-law to help you.” Neen nabujjeole, “I’ll take your cursed life, [Footnote: It is generally said that there can be no swearing in Indian, but Mr. Rand corrects this gross error. “It is a mistake,” he writes, “to suppose that the red man cannot swear in his own tongue.” It cannot, of course, be expected that simple savages can swear like cultivated Christians, but they do the best they can. They introduce the venom into their speech by inserting an extra syllable. Thus nabole or nabol’ means, “I will kill you,” but nabujeol’ is the equivalent of “I’ll take your cursed life,” though it has not that literal meaning. Having only one small syllable to swear with, the Indians are, however, not so profuse and wasteful of profanity as their more gifted and pious white brethren.] and, eat your liver.”