Qugaagix - First Nation Tales From Alaska & The Arctic


There are many sources & traditions within Native American storytelling & mythologies. These tales are a selection of those told by the Inuit tribes & peoples of Alaska & the Arctic.


These tales are an absolute delight, showing just how deep & rich are the veins of folk & tribal lore across the Americas. 

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Table of Contents

And There Was Light
Wolverene And The Geese
Wolverene And Rock
Wolverene And Brant
The Two Friends Who Set Off To Travel Round The World
The Coming Of Men, A Long, Long While Ago
The Raven Myth
Thunder, Lightning, And Rain
Nukúnguasik, Who Escaped From The Tupilak
The Man In The Moon
Ímarasugssuaq, Who Ate His Wives
The Flood
Qalagánguasê, Who Passed To The Land Of Ghosts
The Origin Of The Tides
The Insects That Wooed A Wifeless Man
How The Rivers Were Formed
The Origin Of Fire
Duration Of Winter
Bird Beginnings
The Very Obstinate Man
Raven's Feast
The Dwarfs
Creation Of The Porcupine
How Raven Taught The Chilkats
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
Raven's Marriage
Origins Of Animals
Raven And The Seals
Raven And Pitch
The Raven Who Wanted A Wife
The Man Who Took A Vixen To Wife
Raven's Dancing Blanket
Raven And The Gulls
The Water Carrier
The Great Bear
The Venturesome Hare
The Land Otter
The Man Who Became A Star
The Woman With The Iron Tail
Raven And Coot
How The Fog Came
The Man Who Avenged The Widows
Raven And Marmot
The Man Who Went Out To Search For His Son
The Bringing Of The Light By Raven
Atungait, Who Went A-Wandering
Daylight On The Nass River
Kumagdlak And The Living Arrows
The Naming Of The Birds
The Origin Of The Winds
Duration Of Life
Ghost Town
Rabbit And Frog
The Giant Dog
How Raven Stole The Lake
The Inland-Dwellers Of Etah
The Man Who Stabbed His Wife In The Leg
The Killer Whale
The Soul That Lived In The Bodies Of All Beasts
Origin Of The Chilkat Blanket
Papik, Who Killed His Wife's Brother
Origin Of Land And People
Pâtussorssuaq, Who Killed His Uncle
Creation Of The World
Origin Of Mankind
The First Woman
The First Tears
The Men Who Changed Wives
Artuk, Who Did All Forbidden Things
Origin Of The Winds
Origin Of The Wind
East Wind And North Wind
The Thunder Spirits
The Wife Who Lied
Creation Of The Killer Whale
Kâgssagssuk, The Homeless Boy Who Became A Strong Man
Future Life
Qasiagssaq, The Great Liar
The Land Of The Dead
The Eagle And The Whale
The Ghost Land
The Two Little Outcasts
Atdlarneq, The Great Glutton
The Lost Light
Ta-Ka The Mosquito And Khandatagoot The Woodpecker
The Chief In The Moon
The Boy In The Moon
The Meteor
How The Fox Became Red
Beaver And Porcupine
Tungujuluk And Saunikoq
The Wolves And The Deer
The Guillemot That Could Talk
The Woman Who Had A Bear As A Foster-Son
The Camp Robber
The Circling Of Cranes
The Last Of The Thunderbirds
How The Kiksadi Clan Came To Sitka
Origin Of The Grizzly Bear Crest
Origin Of The Frog Crest
Origin Of The Beaver Crest
Origin Of The Killer Whale Crest
The Discontented Grass Plant
The Wind People
Tricks Of The Fox
Historical Notes
About The Editor

SAMPLE chapter


This adaptation is taken from a story collected by Knud Rasmussen in Eskimo Folk Tales, which was edited and translated by William John Alexander Worster and originally published by Gyldendal, London & Copenhagen, in 1919. This is a tale from the peoples of South-East Greenland.


NUKÚNGUASIK, IT IS SAID, HAD LAND in a place with many brothers. When the brothers made a catch, they gave him meat for the pot. He himself had no wife.

One day he rowed northward in his kayak, and suddenly he took it into his head to row over to a big island which he had never visited before, and now wished to see. He landed, and went up to look at the land, and it was very beautiful there.


And here he came upon the middle one of many brothers, busy with something or other down in a hollow, and whispering all the time. So he crawled stealthily towards him, and when he had come closer, he heard him whispering these words, "You are to bite Nukúnguasik to death. You are to bite Nukúnguasik to death."


And then it was clear that he was making a Tupilak, and stood there now telling it what to do. But suddenly Nukúnguasik slapped him on the side and said, "But where is this Nukúnguasik?"


And the man was so frightened at this that he fell down dead.


And then Nukúnguasik saw that the man had been letting the Tupilak sniff at his body. And the Tupilak was now alive, and lay there sniffing. But Nukúnguasik, being afraid of the Tupilak, went away without trying to harm it.


Now he rowed home, and there the many brothers were waiting in vain for the middle one to return. At last the day dawned, and still he had not come. And daylight came, and then as they were preparing to go out in search of him, the eldest of them said to Nukúnguasik, "Nukúnguasik, come with us. We must search for him."


And so Nukúnguasik went with them, but as they found nothing, he said, "Would it not be well to go and make a search over on that island, where no one ever goes?"


And having gone on to the island, Nukúnguasik said, "Now you can go and look on the southern side."


When the brothers reached the place, he heard them cry out, and the eldest said, "O wretched one! Why did you ever meddle with such a thing as this!"


And they could be heard weeping all together about the dead man.


And now Nukúnguasik went up to them, and there lay the Tupilak, still alive, and nibbling at the body of the dead man. But the brothers buried him there, making a mound of stones above him. And then they went home.


Nukúnguasik lived there as the oldest in the place, and died at last after many years.