We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Beating the Odds…Lucky Folktales Around the World to Brighten Your Day. Each post highlights that the stars aligned and what would have normally been…bad…turned out after all. Considering what we – as humankind – have experienced the past year, how nice is it to remember that all of us can “beat the odds” to some level in our lives.
And we’ll admit now…some are actually myths, legends, or epics rather than only limited to folktales. So is that a type of “loading the dice”? Ah, but the stories were too wonderful to pass by.
Walruses & Woe-be-gones-
In 1977, it became official that the offensive “Eskimo” word would be changed to “Inuit.” When a people are named by someone of another ethnicities, more than feelings and respect are harmed. Now, the story was in a book published in 1978 but probably was written in 1977 during this transition. Thus, the word “Eskimo” was used rather than “Inuit.”
What makes walruses (and woe-be-gones) dangerous?
Walruses have attacked humans in boats. Those tusks can gouge. Walruses can be dangerous to polar bears and vice versa. The fact that this story sees them together is remarkable. And then to throw in a hare? And a fox? I do appreciate the peace-making with these animals despite their tendencies. As for the term “woe-be-gone,” you already know that it represents someone who is sad or miserable. I think all in the story were miserable…but could find some light in each other.
Tiggak’s son drowned. Grief! Hut near son’s grave. Awoke in middle of night. Fox took son’s teeth. Walrus took son’s whiskers. Hare took organs. Ice-bear took–unsure. But explained to man that this was only way for them to get these gifts. Tiggak allowed it. Animals granted Tiggak successful hunts.
Those animals – walrus and “woe-be-gones” – were lucky that Tiggak gave his blessing despite his immense grief over his son’s loss. In turn for that incredible kindness, Tiggak was blssed forever in the hunt. Yet, who really is the woe-be-gone? The animals in need of those gifts or of Tiggak in his grief. I hope that all could find hope in each other despite the death.
Finding the Story “Tiggak”:
A Kayak Full of Ghosts: Eskimo Tales by Lawrence Millman – https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/tiggak
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2 thoughts on “W is for Wondering Walruses & Woe-be-gones – A to Z Blog Challenge”
I like this one. We all return to earth…
The Multicolored Diary
These are fascinating stories indeed; I read a few similar stories in a recent non-fiction read about Native American history and need to look back for the title