ESKIMO FOLK TALES
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A GREAT READ FOR KIDS
THE 53 Eskimo, or Inuit, folk tales contained herein were collected in various parts of Greenland, taken down from the lips of the Eskimo story-tellers themselves, by Knud Rasmussen [1879 1933], the Danish explorer, himself partly of Eskimo origin.
Herein you will find 53 stories unlike any European märchen. There is no Puss in Boots, Cinderella or Snow White. Instead you will find stories and tales that the Inuit used to teach their children the moral lessons of life. Stories told around a campfire with great effect. Tales of NUKÚNGUASIK, WHO ESCAPED FROM THE TUPILAK, THE INSECTS THAT WOOED A WIFELESS MAN, THE VERY OBSTINATE MAN, THE DWARFS, THE RAVEN AND THE GOOSE, HOW THE FOG CAME, THE GIANT DOG and many more.
The technique of the fairy tale is frequently apparent, as it is in most cultures. One test fulfilled is followed by the demand for fulfilment of another. The constellation of the Great Bear is explained in one story and is the origin of Venus in another. There is a version of the Bluebeard theme in Ímarasugssuaq, "who, it is said, was wont to eat his wives." Instances of friendship and affection between human beings and animals are found, as in the tale of the FOSTER-MOTHER AND THE BEAR.
The 12 grey scale illustrations are by native Eskimo artists are not drawn to illustrate the particular stories, but represent typical scenes such as they are described.
As regards their contents, the stories present, more clearly, perhaps, than any objective study, the daily life of the Eskimos of old, their habit of thought, their conception of the universe, and the curious "spirit world" which formed their religion and mythology. In point of form they are unique.
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Excerpt from ESKIMO FOLK TALES
HOW THE FOG CAME
There was a Mountain Spirit, which stole corpses from their graves and ate them when it came home. And a man, wishing to see who did this thing, let himself be buried alive. The Spirit came, and saw the new grave, and dug up the body, and carried it off.
The man had stuck a flat stone in under his coat, in case the Spirit should try to stab him.
On the way, he caught hold of all the willow twigs whenever they passed any bushes, and made himself as heavy as he could, so that the Spirit was forced to put forth all its strength.
At last the Spirit reached its house, and flung down the body on the floor. And then, being weary, it lay down to sleep, while its wife went out to gather wood for the cooking.
Father, father, he is opening his eyes, cried the children, when the dead man suddenly looked up.
Nonsense, children, it is a dead body, which I have dropped many times among the twigs on the way, said the father.
But the man rose up, and killed the Mountain
Spirit and its children, and fled away as fast as he could. The Mountain Spirits wife saw him, and mistook him for her husband.
Where are you going? she cried.
The man did not answer, but fled on. And the woman, thinking something must be wrong, ran after him.
And as he was running over level ground, he cried:
Rise up, hills!
And at once many hills rose up.
Then the Mountain Spirits wife lagged behind, having to climb up so many hills.
The man saw a little stream, and sprang across.
Flow over your banks! he cried to the stream. And now it was impossible for her to get across.
How did you get across? cried the woman.
I drank up the water. Do you likewise.
And the woman began gulping it down.
Then the man turned round towards her, and said:
Look at the tail of your tunic; it is hanging down between your legs.
And when she bent down to look, her belly burst.
And as she burst, a steam rose up out of her, and turned to fog, which still floats about to this day among the hills.
Table of Contents for ESKIMO FOLK TALES
|The Two Friends Who Set Off To Travel Round The World|
|The Coming Of Men, A Long, Long While Ago|
|Nukúnguasik, Who Escaped From The Tupilak*|
|The Woman Who Had A Bear As A Foster-Son|
|Ímarasugssuaq, Who Ate His Wives|
|Qalagánguasê, Who Passed To The Land Of Ghosts|
|The Insects That Wooed A Wifeless Man|
|The Very Obstinate Man|
|The Boy From The Bottom Of The Sea, Who Frightened The People Of The House To Death|
|The Raven And The Goose|
|When The Ravens Could Speak|
|The Raven Who Wanted A Wife|
|The Man Who Took A Vixen To Wife|
|The Great Bear|
|The Man Who Became A Star|
|The Woman With The Iron Tail|
|How The Fog Came|
|The Man Who Avenged The Widows|
|The Man Who Went Out To Search For His Son|
|Atungait, Who Went A-Wandering|
|Kumagdlak And The Living Arrows|
|The Giant Dog|
|The Inland-Dwellers Of Etah|
|The Man Who Stabbed His Wife In The Leg|
|The Soul That Lived In The Bodies Of All Beasts|
|Papik, Who Killed His Wifes Brother|
|Pâtussorssuaq, Who Killed His Uncle|
|The Men Who Changed Wives|
|Artuk, Who Did All Forbidden Things|
|The Thunder Spirits|
|The Wife Who Lied|
|Kâgssagssuk, The Homeless Boy Who Became A Strong Man|
|Qasiagssaq, The Great Liar|
|The Eagle And The Whale|
|The Two Little Outcasts|
|Atdlarneq, The Great Glutton|
|Tungujuluk And Saunikoq|
|The Guillemot That Could Talk|
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