Monday, July 19, 2004
Inuit legends - How the Caribou came to be
Origin of Caribou
Back in the days when animals and men could change themselves and all spoke one language, a spirit came and took a human woman for a wife. He dwelt among the humans but does not hunt for food for he needs none.
The other hunters work hard to provide the needed materials for their families and slowly grow angry that such a one among them does not hunt. The hunters angrily say he must hunt or will be exiled from the camp. Angrily, the spirit leaves the camp and after walking several miles, the spirit punches a hole into the ground and out jumps a caribou which he immediately kills, then covers the hole returning back to the camp.
He says to the hunters "There, this animal is food, I am a hunter".
The next day the spirit goes out to hunt again, but this time another hunter secretly follows him. When he gets out of sight of the camp, the spirit once again punches a hole into the earth and once again out jumps a caribou. Once again the spirit slays it and covers the hole. Unbeknownst to him, he was being watched.
After the spirit leaves, the man runs to the hole and uncovers it, again a caribou jumps out frightening the man so he runs away, leaving the hole open so that all the caribou come out. They dot the land for there are many many.
The spirit seeing them, runs to them and kicks them in the head, flattening their foreheads and says "You must always wander the land now; and you will always fear man".
This is how the caribou came to be, why they have flat heads, why their colouring comes from the land and they are timid for they always remember a man kicking them.