Wednesday, 20 July 2016

How To Kill A Tupilak

(I prefer images of Greenland to images of tupilaks.)

A tupilak is body parts and inanimate objects animated and motivated by magic. Since it swims and attacks ships, the way to neutralize it is to hack at its underside until it disintegrates and ceases to function. An old wives' tale relates that a man invented the kayak in order to capsize on purpose and attack a tupilak from under the water.

The Norse settlers coerce the merman Tauno to help them against the tupilak. While it attacks their boats with its bear's claws, long neck and shark's head, he swims underneath and cuts a long gap in its paunch until some sailors' bones drop out. (This is disgusting.) Then he heaves the flap of skin wide while avoiding the creature's limbs. It dives to attack him so he swims around and clamps his thighs to its back where jaws, feet and tail cannot reach him. Drawing a second knife, having lost the first, he wreaks considerable damage, half severing the tail. When he withdraws for a short rest, the still moving monster re-attacks the boats, wrecking and maiming. Haakon throws his boat's anchor onto the tupilak where it puts out an eye and catches in the socket. Haakon, flayed open by the tupilak's jaws, dives overboard with all his crew. The tupilak cannot pursue because Tauno re-attacks. It cannot dive after him because it is held back by the boat. Every piece that Tauno cuts away ceases to be magically animated. At last, an empty hide and shark's head sink. Tauno hangs onto the side of the now overloaded second boat.

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