Dog tale

This short tale comes from the Inuit nations of Greenland. There are several versions of this story, but this is the one which I liked and which at least one anthropologist, Franz Boas, regards as an earlier version (some other accounts have merged with elements of the Sedna story which emanate from different nations in that part of the world). Thanks to Su Voke for advice on pronouncing the names.
I'm including a canine story because it is the Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology - I was initially going to tell the tale of the dog-warrior Pan Hu, but the versions I have read are so short as to be little more than anecdotes and I didn't think I could pad it out to full story without it ceasing to be identifiably Chinese in the process. Like this Inuit story, the account of Pan Hu involves the marriage of a woman with a magical dog and suggests that the descendants of their union go on to become modern day nations of people (in the case of Pan Hu there are at least two ethnic groups who claim descent from the dog and who - reportedly - eschew dog meat because of this, the Yao and the Man).
Boas interprets the Ijirqang story as filled with seasonal symbolism, whilst others have suggested different meanings. One interesting discourse looks at how the Chinese ideogram for dog is appended to a number of words in Chinese, particularly ones connected to foreign ethnicities (that is to say, groups who are not Han Chinese). A similar meaning could easily be read into the Inuit story. Such slightly dry subjects aside, we can just take both accounts as rather fun stories involving dogs and not dwell too much on the biological implications of what goes on!


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