There are many similarities in this story to a particuarly strange native american story about huge bad people who live underground, wear bubble (carbuncle) hats, and finally leave in two lightning rafts. Here are three translations of the same story:
edited by Franz Boas
22. The Underground People
There was a village in Coos (Bay) called Baltiasa. The people (had) underground houses. Way (down) inside these underground (houses were). The people were big, tall. Their fish-poles (were) big. Whatever they caught (hung on their poles), they would swing it far. Whenever they played, they would go down into the water. Whenever (some one) dove in (from) there, he would come out on the other side, and would crawl just like a snake. About one mile they would dive, and would come back the same (distance). They made stone pots, and they used to float stones. They would talk loud. Thus the stones would not sink. If (one) does not talk loud, the stone sinks. They would place rocks on the top of their heads, and walk in (inside of) the water. That way they would gather oysters. This was their food. When they would float a rock and stand there (on it), the rock would not sink. Carbuncles were their hats. They would make knives out of large bones. They used to turn over their carbuncle hats. They used to hit one another with bone knives. They would not hurt one another. Thus they would practise.
They (were) bad people. All the other people feared them. (No matter) how many (of) all (the other) people (there were), just as many (of) the Baltiasa would follow them. And they would abuse them. The people did not like them any longer. And the people talked about them. "Suppose (we) drive them away." They made two rafts, and they went down the river on them. They came to the mouth of the river. And they were on the lookout. And the current took the rafts out into the ocean. They dropped anchor for a while. They poured seal-oil (grease) over the water, and the waves died down. There (was) no wind. And when evening came, one raft went (over the water) to the north, and one raft went to the south. One raft was (making) lightning, the one that went north. Thus people know it. No one knows where they went.
Journal of American Folklore 1909
13. THE UNDERGROUND PEOPLE
In a village on Coos Bay lived a people called Baltiasa. They were big, tall Indians, and lived underground. Their food was fish, which they caught on long fish-poles and then swung ashore, no matter how large the fish was. Their greatest sport was to dive in the water. They could dive and swim under water across the river and back again. They made pots of stones. They could float large stones. Whenever they floated stones, they would talk to heaven, that the rock should not sink. They could put a rock on the water, stand on top of it, and it would never sink. They could also float on feathers. They caught oysters by putting a rock on the top of their heads and walking around under the water. Their hats were made of carbuncles (?), and their knives of big, hard bones. They would club each other with these knives over the head without being hurt . They were very mean, and all the other Indians were afraid of them. They abused the Indians so much that it was decided to drive them out by force. This was done, and those people made two rafts, and went down the river until they came to the ocean. But the water was very rough. So they poured seal-oil on the water, and the ocean became perfectly smooth. They then sailed away, and separated later. One raft went north, and the other south. And nobody knows where they went, because they were never seen again.
Columbia University, New York.
From Shichils blog:
There was a village in Coos Bay they named Baltiasa. They lived in the ground, they lived way in the ground. They were big, tall Indians. They had long fish poles. Whenever they caught a fish, they would swing it ashore no matter how large a fish it was.
So when they play, they go down to the water and dive from the edge of the water. They would dive and go clean across the river and crawl ashore like a snake. They could dive about the distance of one mile, and they would come back the same way. They made pots out of stones. They also floated big stones. They talked up above (to Heaven). That’s the reason that the rock never sinks. If you don’t talk when you put a rock in the water, it will sink. He takes a big rock and puts it on top of his head and walks around under the water. That’s the way they got their oysters. That’s what they lived on. When they put a rock on the water, they can stand on top of it. The rock never sinks.
It makes no odds, they could make small feather float and stand on top of it, and it never sinks. They take the carbuncles off of trees and make hats out of them. They take some great big hard bones and make a sort of knife out of them. So they wore these carbuncle hats. So they wore these carbuncle hats. So they take these bone knives and club one another over the head with them. They could not hurt one another. That’s they way they had of practising.
Those Indians were mean. All the rest of the Indians were afraid of them. It made no odds how many went by that way, there would be just so many of these fellows following them. Then they would abuse those people. So the rest of the Indians got so they didn’t want them. So they held a big council. They were going to drive them away. So they did so. So they made two rafts. So they went down the river. They watched them from both sides. They followed them from behind. They were shooting at them with arrows. They got down to the bar. They watched them. And the current took the raft out over the bar. When they got outside, they dropped anchor awhile. They were pouring out a lot of seal oil into the ocean, and the ocean got perfectly smooth. There was no wind. So it got night, and they divided. One of the rafts went north and the other went south.
One of the rafts was made lightning like (kind of blaze). That was the one that went north. But that’s all they know about them. They don’t know where they went to.