(Image: Norman 241)
The Alaskan lake monster is most often a giant fish, originating from the stories of the Gwich’in people. It eats all of the fish in its lake and often lures game in to be swallowed by a whirlpool, causing famine in any nearby settlements. Eventually, the residents attempt to drive the fish out of the lake, but it dives underwater, creating a whirlpool that can suck people in. It can only be defeated by the most drastic measures, such as covering the lake in oil and setting it alight. When it is finally dead, the behemoth fish can provide food for a small village for many months (Norman 240-242).
This giant fish with predatory habits could be an explanation for a sudden disappearance of fish in a lake and game nearby, but the sweeping of its massive tail could also explain how whirlpools form. Finally, the winter’s food that the fish provides once it is killed is important to the myth and the culture because of the possibility of food scarcity in the winter.