Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Haakon's Tale

The Merman's Children, Book Three, Chapter VIII.

Haakon Arnorsson wears "...sealskin shoon..." (p. 163), calls the Inuit "'...Skraelings...'" (p. 164) and "'...can steer by stars and sunstone...'" (p. 167) to a merfolk colony on an island in the vast sea between Greenland and Markland. His daughter and son-in-law had "'...a carl to help with the work...'" (p. 168) but she now lives with the Skraelings, "'...the nithings who defiled her...'" (p. 169)

The Skraelings have sent a tupilak:

"'A tupilak is a sea monster made by witchcraft. The warlock builds a frame, stretches a walrus hide across, stuffs the whole with hay and sews it up, adds fangs and claws and - and sings over it. Then it moves, seeks the water, preys on his enemies. This tupilak attacks white men. It staves in a skiff, or capsizes it, or crawls over the side. Spears, arrows, axes, nothing avails against a thing that has no blood, that is not really alive. It eats the crew... What few escaped bear witness.'" (p. 170)

It sounds like a hostile marine Gump.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The tupilak was an interesting example of Poul Anderson using a monster taken from a little known mythology most English speaking readers would know little of.