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Inuit mythology: the Qallupilluit

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In Inuit mythology, the Qallupilluit, also known as Qalupalik, are creatures that inhabit Arctic shorelines.
They dwell beneath the waters of the Arctic regions across the world, residing along the coastline and, even if accounts of their appearance differ across tales, there are some commonalities.
For example, a Qallupilluit is often described as having green, slimy skin, long hair, and long fingernails.
Their hands are webbed like an aquatic creature, along with scales and fins, and It wears an amautik, an Inuit parka mostly worn by women (some say made of eider duck feathers and are used to carry kidnapped children).
While some interpretations include the pronoun ‘he’, the Qallupilluit is predominantly described in a feminine manner.
It is said to have two flippers, one is able to emit a shrill sound that paralyzes its victims, but they also have the ability to alter their appearance, through a technique known as pilutitaminik.

The Qallupilluit are also known to prowl amidst the ice floes, capturing children who venture too near.
One tactic they employ in hunting is emitting an eerie hum, enticing children to approach the water’s edge, from where they are then ensnared.
Accounts vary even regarding the fate of the abducted children.
Some stories suggest that the child is simply consumed, while others claim they are held in a state akin to stasis, their energy feeding the youthfulness of the Qallupilluit.
It is also said that the creature uses the abducted children to maintain her long, flowing hair.
While they are generally impervious in their natural form, resourceful Inuit hunters discovered a way to outsmart them: by engaging them in conversation and coaxing them to transform, often into creatures like seals or whales, the hunters could then defeat them and return home with a valuable prize.

But there are tales of children willingly being given to a Qallupilluit. One is about a grandmother and her grandson, struggling without food. The grandmother called upon a Qallupilluit to come and take him away, as she was not able to feed him and he would be better off. Once the tribe was able to successfully hunt again, a young Inuit couple took it upon themselves to retrieve the child.
They were able to track him down, tethered to a piece of seaweed by the Qallupilluit so he could not escape her. However, they were not able to retrieve him because the Qallupilluik would drag him back under the waves whenever they got too close. They stealthily hid nearby all night long, and cut him loose once the sun rose. This tale has different variations, some versions have the grandmother giving the child to the Qallupilluit as a punishment, or becoming a great hunter after being rescued.

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