Anguta, the god of Pugtulik Island in the Inuit pantheon of deities had had it with his daughter Sedna. Originally he had shown patience with her since she had not yet reached her apotheosis, had not yet manifested her true level of godly power or given evidence of what aspects of the world she was destined to control.
Enough was enough, however. First she had refused all suitors, dismissing gods and heroes alike when they had tried to court her and thus embarrassing him and his wife Isarrataitsoq. Magnifying that insult she had taken to bedding down with animals and, disaster on top of insult -had conceived with some of the dogs she had taken as lovers! Those hybrid offspring numbered in the thousands and had grown into both the white-skinned and reddish-skinned races that were the enemies of his own people and of all the other Inuit tribes.
Next his monstrous daughter had taken to feeding on the humans who worshipped him, causing a panic that prompted a mass migration off of Pugtulik Island. Now bereft of worshippers, Anguta and Isarrataitsoq found their own godly powers fading to the point where they had trouble even preventing their malevolent daughter from feeding on them! Already she had gnawed off both her mother’s arms and one of Anguta’s. It had taken all his remaining power to subdue his ravenous daughter and awkwardly paddle out to sea in his divine canoe with his one remaining arm. He had dropped his groggy daughter over the side after he was a suitable distance from shore. Now he and his armless wife, whom he could spot off in the distance on shore, awaiting his return, would be free of their nightmarish spawn forever. In time their worshippers would return to abandoned Pugtulik Island and so, with their godly power restored, they could grow replacement limbs.
“Why father, how slowly you row with only one arm.”
“You! Impossible!” Anguta snapped, alarmed and angered at the sight of Sedna trying to pull herself up into his divine canoe from the churning seawater.
“Not impossible, father. The supreme god Sila has a grand destiny in store for me. I can feel it! No petty deity of a sparsely populated island, that’s you by the way, dear father, can stand in the way of the glorious role I sense I am to play in the cosmic scheme of things.”
“Sparsely populated,” Anguta sputtered, as he reached for his long knife, “Uninhabited now, thanks to you, you bitchling! You bride of dogs and birds! You ghoulish devourer of your own parents’ godly flesh!”
Sedna’s laughter as she struggled to pull herself aboard was her only reply. Infuriated beyond all reason now, Anguta pinned his daughter’s wrist to the lip of the canoe where she had grabbed ahold and with five swift stabbing motions he lopped off all the fingers of that hand. Sedna’s shrill howl of pain, nearly indiscernible from the sound waves made when they dashed themselves out against the rocks, frightened Anguta to the point of panic.
Desperately now, he gripped Sedna’s other wrist and sliced off the digits of that hand as well, then felt momentary relief as his daughter’s body sunk below the waves. That relief was short-lived, however, as he realized that his daughter’s severed fingers were changing shape … transforming into living creatures! Some of them had scales, some were tentacled, others boasted shells and claws. Anguta couldn’t know it at the moment, but Sedna’s amputated digits were becoming the first of all the animals of the sea. These new life forms would soon be populating the formerly lifeless seas, becoming crucial game animals for all the Inuit people.
As one who realizes too late that a moment of panic has actually sealed their own doom, Anguta paddled frantically for shore, watching his wife Isarrataitsoq’s armless form grow nearer and nearer. Impossibly, Sedna’s shrill howling grew louder and louder, blending into a chorus with the usual sounds of the raging sea.
Exhausted, Anguta reached the shore and collapsed onto it, dragging his weary body from the canoe. Isarrataitsoq, his wife, once the queen deity of Pugtulik Island, knelt beside him.
“Anguta,” she screamed, “Tell me what is happening! I don’t see our monstrous daughter anymore, but her cries will not fade and the sea churns as during a storm!”
“The hands, Isarrataitsoq,” Anguta haltingly said between deep breaths, “The hands that Sila endowed to the rest of us deities and to the Inuit who worship us … the hands that separate us from the beasts the Earth goddess Nunam created …”
Before the deposed god of Pugtulik Island could complete his remark a massive tidal wave reared up and crashed down on both him and Isarrataitsoq, washing, no, dragging them out to sea and down into the depths … with Sedna.
“Yes, father, the hands,” Sedna said to her cowering, cursed parents, speaking to them clearly through the seawater as gods can speak through all the elements, “The hands from Sila, the indweller in the wind and all the weather. The hands that distinguish you and the humans from the beasts … and now, with my hands mutilated, I am as different … no, as superior to you as you are to the beasts and the humans both.”
Sedna floated there, regally before them, her hands now fins, a feature she shared with some of the sea creatures spawned from her fingers.
“By destroying my hands you freed me, father. Freed me to realize my destiny, to complete my metamorphosis. My appointed task from our chieftain Sila has been whispered to me in his voice that penetrates even here to the sea bottom. I am to be the goddess of the seas, mistress of all the new game animals I willed into creation. I will grant them in large numbers when the Inuit obey the taboos, but deny them to them when they stray. And you, father and mother, are to be part of my subaquatic court. So you see, we will be together … forever.”
Sedna’s laughter filled the minds of Anguta and Isarrataitsoq as they screamed and screamed and screamed.
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