An Aboriginal Presence

Our Origins

Wealth of Stories - Kaujjagjuk (Inuit)

Kaujjagjuk was an orphan boy, with no one to care for him. He lived on scraps of walrus hide, and slept with the household dogs for warmth. He was mistreated by everyone - grownups and children - except for one small girl, who gave him a bit of iron to use as a knife. He was small and weak, but had big nostrils. When he lay in the passage of the singing house, not daring to join the others but wanting to see and hear, men would pick him up by the nostrils to bring him into the hut so that he could carry out the large container of urine.

The man in the Moon took pity on him, and travelled down to the village on his sled with his dog, Tirietang. He called to Kaujjagjuk to come out. At first Kaujjagjuk refused, but after the third invitation he came out. He was frightened. Taking him to a place where there were large boulders, the Man in the Moon whipped Kaujjagjuk to give him strength. When he had been whipped several times, he grew larger, had gained enormous strength, and was able to pick up the boulders.

The next day the Man in the Moon sent three bears to the village. The village men were afraid to leave their houses, but Kaujjagjuk went down to the ice and killed two of the bears. He took the third back to the village and used it to kill some of those who had tormented him. He spared only those who had been kind. Some of his tormentors ran away forever.

Kaujjagjuk lived to be a great hunter and traveled through the country.

Condensed from Harold Seidelman and James Turner, The Inuit Imagination

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