Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Inuit Legends- The Lumack Legend
Once upon a time, lived a blind boy, his sister and an evil stepmother. The blind boy was strong and could hunt and provided much food to the stepmother. One spring day a bear attacked the hut, the stepmother yelled out for the boy to shoot the bear with his bow and arrow and so he did.
But the greedy stepmother wanted all the food for herself and the daughter and lied to the blind boy and cried out "Aiyyeee, you have shot our dog, our dog is no more, for this you will be punished."
The stepmother exiles the blind boy to another snow house, one that is old and smelly and is falling down. The blind boy knows he shot the bear for he heard the animal, much larger than a dog, fall dead. The stepmother keeps the bear and as the blind boy starves, she has much food. She only feeds him bits of walrus skin.
Seqineq, the boy's sister feels remorse, and so begins sneaking her blind brother food from the bear. He knows now that he has been cheated but can do nothing for he is blind.
As the weather warms, the blind boy makes his way down to the lake to think and while he is there a loon comes up and asks " Why are your eyes funny?"
The blind boy responds " I am blind and can not see. I see only darkness." The boy tells everything to the loon, about his stepmother, about his sister.
The loon calls over his loon friends and after much talking, the loon says to the boy, "We are loons and see far and wide, if you trust us, we will give you back your sight, for you have suffered much."
The loons take hold of the boy and begin to fly over the lake, suddenly diving with the boy in their grasps, he nearly drowns but does not tell them to stop for he trusts them. Suddenly he sees, for the water is so clear, it clears his eyes. The loons return him to shore. He can now see like a loon.
The boy returns to his hut that he was given, only to see, that there were much better ones that his stepmother could have given him. His was the worse. The next day, the evil stepmother comes to him and calls, "Come, we need more food, you must get us food or we will starve." But he sees that this is not true, for the stepmother is fat from bear.
The boy continues to act blind, and taking up his harpoon, he and his evil stepmother and his sister travel to the sea, where they spy two white whales. One small, one large. The blind boy turns to his stepmother and says "Tie the line around your waist and help brace when I harpoon the whale".
The evil stepmother is happy for she will eat whale soon, and thus she ties the rope around her waists and says, "There is a small whale ten feet away, harpoon it and we can eat, but do not miss like you did the bear". The evil stepmother plans to cheat him again from his share by saying it was not a whale but a small fish.
The boy, with all his might then flings his harpoon out, but not at the small white whale, but at the much larger one further out. His aim is true and the harpoon sinks deep, and as the whale thrashes and pulls out towards the sea, the boy who was once blind, steps aside, and his evil stepmother is dragged into the water.
The evil step mother changed then into the first narwhal with her plaited hair becoming the long spiral horn, as the stepmother is about to be pulled underwater, she mournfully cries out "lumack, lumack, lumack". Even today, out over the water, one can still hear her crying out as she is dragged around the seas.
The boy turns to his sister and says "Seqineq, I can now see and am I strong hunter, we will leave this place and seek our fortune with others far and wide."
And so the boy that was once blind and his sister begin their travels. Together, they wander the land, having many adventures until finally they find a group of families to stay with. All is good in the world, until one night, in the snow house, someone enters and has pleasure with Seqineq.
Thereafter, each and every night, someone enters the sister's snow house and makes pleasure with her. But it is too dark and she can not see who it is. In the morning as she glances around, no one looks at her.
Seqineq seeks counsel with one of the old women of the camp and explains what is happening for all men are married. The old woman says to Seqineq, "On this night, take the black from the kudlik (seal oil lamp) and rub it unto your face and body. When we know who does this, he will be punished." Seqineq does so.
That night, Seqeniq is once again visited in the dark and once again the man has his way with her.
Seqeniq arises and steps out in front of the camp, her body smudged and blackened, and looking across from her from the fire is her brother, he too is blackened and smudged. In horror of her find, she cuts off her breast and screams "If you are so fond of my body, there you can have it". She then grabs a torch and runs out. Jumping up realizing that he is about to be found out, the boy who once was blind begins to chase his sister, he too carries a torch.
Round and round the snow house they run, faster and faster, so fast do they run, that they begin to ascend into the very skies, but still they run faster until finally in one last desperate surge, she becomes the Sun and he becomes the Moon, Sila.
visit Jim's Soapstone Carvings at http://www3.sympatico.ca/ve3jji