Sedna the Sea Goddess
Sedna was a beautiful Inuit girl who didn’t want to get married. Many hunters wanted to marry her, but she refused their offers. Her father scolded her, saying, “I am getting older, and soon you will need a good husband who can provide
you with food and furs. You must marry the next hunter who asks for you.” Sedna still wasn’t interested.
Soon a young hunter from a distant place came to her father’s camp . He was dressed in warm furs, and spoke in a soft voice.
He promised to provide a good home and plenty of animals for food and clothing. Although he kept his face hidden under his hood, Sedna was very impressed with him, so she agreed to marry him.
Sedna got into her husband’s kayak
and travelled with him to her new home. When they arrived at his island, she saw that her home was nothing but some sticks and bits of moss and feathers clinging to a large rock. Her husband took off his hood, and she realized that
he was not a man, but an evil raven. He never hunted, he only caught fish. Sedna was cold, lonely, hungry, and very unhappy. Every day she cried for her father to come and save her.
Her father heard her cries and decided to
rescue her. He paddled his kayak to the island where she was living. On their way home, Sedna looked back and saw that the raven was following them. He was gaining on them quickly. As the raven came close, her father took his paddle
and struck the bird, who had to fall back. Then the raven flapped his powerful wings at the ocean and caused a huge storm to blow up.
When her father saw that their lives were in danger, he became afraid for his own life. He
threw Sedna over the side of the kayak. Sedna tried to save herself. She grabbed onto the kayak with her fingers, but her father took his paddle and beat at her fingers until they broke off. As they sank into the ocean, her fingers
turned into seals and fish. Again, Sedna grabbed the kayak with her hands, but her father took his paddle and beat her hands until they also fell into the water. As they sank into the ocean, her hands turned into whales and walrus.
Sedna also sank into the ocean.
Sedna lives at the bottom of the ocean. She is the goddess of the sea. She is the one who provides animals for the hunters, but only when she feels generous. When she is angry, and this is often,
the hunters can’t find food; and the people go hungry.
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay
Story adapted by Mary Mahoney from a traditional Inuit legend. The Inuit people live in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland and Alaska.