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Arctic News

The myth of the "sea unicorn"




Indigenous Inuit had no written language system, and history was passed down through oral tradition during the long winter nights.


There was once a woman with long hair, who was a cruel mother to her blind son.

One day, while hunting whales, her son – who had recovered his sight - persuaded the mother to tie the end of a harpoon rope around her waist; instead of harpooning a small animal, he deliberately harpooned the largest one with the purpose of revenge.

The woman was pulled into the sea and in her struggle to get free her hair twisted around the rope. She was transformed into a narwhal and her hair created the legendary tusk.


The myth of the narwhal explains why it is different from other whales in the arctic, and why the narwhal—as a former human being living in the Arctic—is so special to the Inuit people.


Read more:


https://folklife.si.edu/talk-story/myth


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