Here’s a strange tale from the frozen North, courtesy of the Inuit peoples. Qalupalik looks horrible, scares children, and waits patiently in the shadows to catch them. Cryptozoology lovers will be reminded of other mermaid tales that we’ve heard along these lines. But is this monster real?
Inuit legend gives us the tale of Qalupalik who is described as half human, half sea creature. Like other mermaids, she lives in the Arctic seas and is always searching for disobedient children who roam too close to the shoreline.
They describe her as having long wild hair, green skin, and fingernails so long they almost look like claws. She wears a garment called an amautik which is worn by Inuit women to hold their babies on their backs, sort of like a back pack. That’s how she carries away unsuspecting children.
The Inuit tell their children that if they are near the shore and hear a humming, the Qalupalik is near. She tries to entice them to the edge so she can grab them and take them away somewhere to hide.
Some tales say she eats the children, but most I read say she keeps them in a secret place, putting them to sleep so they don’t try to escape. These tales say she feeds off their “energy” to stay young, to keep her shiny green skin lovely, and her wild hair lustrous. As the children age, Qalupalik grows younger.
There is at least one tale where a boy’s father, a skilled hunter, searched for his son ceaselessly. Qalupalik saw this and was afraid of being found, so she let his son go. After that, the boy turned into a model citizen of the tribe and never disobeyed his parents or the elders again.
Reality Sets In
This makes a good story to keep the kiddies in line, especially when you’re living in a vast wilderness with treacherous seas nearby. For me, the thought of this creature taking a child on its back into those frozen waters instantly negates any possibility that this tale is real. The kids would die of hypothermia almost instantly.
I’ll have to chalk this interesting legend of Qalupalik up to “cautionary tale” status, designed by loving parents to keep their mischievous children in line.
What do you think?