The Mother of Sea Beasts

(Image: Norman 213)

A tale of the Netsilik Inuit, the mother of the sea beasts was once a young girl that nobody in the tribe cared about. When the tribe began boating to a new island to look for better hunting grounds, the girl was pushed off of the raft. As she tried to pull herself back onto the raft, her fingers were cut off and she sank to the bottom. When she reached the bottom, she became a sea spirit, with knowledge of all the secrets of aquatic animals and dominion over them. Her fingers became the seals in the sea, which she shut up in a lamp to cause the traitors to starve. Only when she is satisfied with their penance does she allow the people to have food (Norman 212-214).

The mother of the sea beasts is motivated mainly by revenge, and this gives the story added meaning to the people who were said to have pushed her off the raft. She is used in folklore to explain seemingly random scarcities of food and to make sense of this by implying that the tribe has done something to deserve such a punishment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.