X is for Xany Xhuuya

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 Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Haida People in Northwest Pacific Coast of Canada

First, what does “xany” mean? It means “wild” or “overly energetic.” For a trickster and shape-shifter Raven named Xhuuya (pronounced as Khoya), he needed to have those traits and many more to accomplish that amazing deed: stealing fire from the gods.

Xhuuya has an interesting family tree. His uncle was a killer whale known as Sghulghu Quuna. Considering Xhuuya’s ability to shape-shift…that was probably genetic.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

While there are many stories of this Raven named Xhuuya, he was known for constantly being two-faced or someone else. Due to this ability, he did mingle with women…a lot.

Yet, despite his–ahem–looseness, he is celebrated for bring light, water, berries, and fish to humans. Much appreciation is shown during mid-winter as light stays in the sky longer. His story is re-enacted.

50-word-or-less summary:

Dark! Xhuuya comes to home of old man and daughter. Owns box within box holding light! Daughter gathers water. Xhuuya transforms to hemlock needle. Drinks water. Daughter births Xhuuya as human. Begs! Old Man (Grandfather) allows Xhuuya to play with box. Takes light. Transforms back to Raven. Light for all!

Finding the Story: 

“How Raven brought light to the World” – found here

Understanding this and more legends of Haida People – found here

Wisdom of the Mythtellers (translates to English on next page) – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/Festival

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus; High Desert Brain Trust; Ashton Family Foundation; and people like you.

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