There was once an Inung man who lived with his
daughter, Sedna, by the ocean. Their life was bad though, because fishing
was not good and the hunting was often poor. But all this did not effect
Sedna, for she grew up to be a strong and pretty woman. Many men asked to
marry her but none of them were good enough for her. She was just to proud
for them. One day, just before spring was arriving, a very handsome young
man came to Sedna. He was wearing gray and white clothing and Sedna could
see he was like no other man. He was actually a fullmar taking the shape
of a man to take her to the Island of the Fullmars. He sang a song of love,
beauty, and comfort to her.
His song was so lovely and enticing that Sedna could not resist him. She agreed to go with him, across the far sea. The journey to the land of fulmars was a long hard one and when they reached it Sedna saw that the fullmar lied to her. His tent was not beautiful and covered in soft bearskins. It was made of old fish skins and it was full of holes so the snow and rain blew in. His bed was also not made of soft bearskins but of hard walrus hide. There was no oil for a lamp because there was no lamp and all her food was raw fish. Sedna realized her mistake to late and sang to her father a song pleading for him to come save her.
So she sang this song each day and a year passed. Now the ice had melted on the ocean so Aja decided he would visit his daughter. In his boat he went to the land of fulmars. He found his daughter starving, cold and in a tent of fish skins. She greeted him happily and she begged him to take her home. Just then the fullmar returned from fishing. Aja was so mad that he killed the fullmar and placed Sedna in his boat. He began to paddle away. By now the other fulmars had seen the dead body of Sedna's husband and were mourning and crying. In fact to this day you can still hear the cries of the fullmars when you go to the ocean. They decided to find who killed their brother. Before long they saw Aja's boat with Sedna in it. Then, using their magical powers, they made a great storm around the boat. The waves became high above the little boat and Aja became afraid. They were going to kill him as punishment for killing Sedna's husband. "Fullmars,"he cried,"look!I give you back this girl. Do not kill me."Then he pushed Sedna out of the boat but Sedna held on to the edge of the boat."Let go,"Aja shouted at her,"The fulmars will kill me if I don't give you to the sea."But Sedna still held on to the boat.So, taking his sharp knife, cut off the tips of her fingers. The ends of her finger tips fell into the ocean and became the whales. Sedna still held onto the boat so her father cut of the middle joints of her fingers too. They fell into the ocean also and became the seals.
The fulmars, who saw what Aja did, thought it certain that Sedna would drown. They were satisfied and flew away. As soon as they left the storm stopped and Aja pulled Sedna back into the boat.
Now, though, Sedna hated her father. When they had reached shore and her father had gone to sleep in his tent, she called to her dogs, who would do whatever she said. "Gnaw off the hands and feet of my father,"she told them. And the dogs did as she said. When this happened, Aja cursed his daughter. The earth opened up beneath them and all of them fell deep down to the land of Adlivun, which is beneath the land and the sea.
To this day, that is where Sedna lives. Because the whales and the seals where made from her fingers, she can call them and tell them where to go. So it is that when people wish to hunt, they have their angakok, the shaman, descend in his dream trance to the land under the sea where Sedna lives.
He combs out Sedna's long, tangled hair for without fingers she is unable to do it herself. Then he can ask her to send the whales and the seals back to the places where people can hunt them. Thanks to the blessings of Sedna, who is always generous to those who remember to ask her in the right way, the people no longer go hungry.
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