Tales of the Fire in the Sky

WP_20160128_028There are actually four collective stories that I would like to focus on. The stories are those that are frequently summaries because they are normally passed down through oral tradition. Although it took some digging in the Rasmussen library’s ALASKA section, I found some written forms of these stories.

To begin at the beginning, the god, or sometimes demigod, Nanaboozhoo created the world according to traditions of a native group in Canada (Lövgren, 34). After he gave his creation some instructions on how to live he retreated to the north of the North. He promised to remind them of his presence, and to show that he remembered them, by lighting a huge fire that they could see reflected on the night sky.

Another story that I enjoyed was that of a chieftain and his son. The son decided to leave his tribe to travel, and then was gone for days with no sight of return. Eventually his mother told his father, the chieftain, that she was concerned and suggested he find him. The chieftain followed after him and discovered a beautiful land with a great many people who spoke another language. A man who understood his language helped him to find his son and they watched him play a ball game. Once the ball game is over they are honored and sent home on two large birds. The story ends with a sentence saying that “It is that those very few who travel to the land of the northern lights… remember the remarkable journey.” (Lövgren, 40)

The last two are similar tales that I hope to connect in my final retelling. There is the movie by Disney called “Brother Bear” where a younger brother doesn’t respect tradition and pays the price by becoming a bear (Walker). This story shows the spirits of the aurora directly interacting  with people. Another more traditional story from Finmark is similar with brothers interactions with the lights above. The younger brother is qutoed to be saying a mocking poem at the lights and his older brother warns him to stop. Because the younger brother does not stop, he is killed by the lights.


Works Cited

Brekke, Asgeir, Alv Egeland, and A. Brekke. The Northern Light: From Mythology to Space Research. Germany: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K, 1 Sept. 1983. Print.

Brother Bear. Disney Movies, n.d. Film. 11 Feb. 2016.

Lövgren, Torbjorn. Das Polarlicht. N.p.: Geistesleben, 1983. Print.

Brother Bear. Dir. Aaron BlaiseRobert Walker. 5 Dec. 2003. Film. 11 Feb. 2016.


3 thoughts on “Tales of the Fire in the Sky

  1. There are some really interesting connections here. I am looking forward to seeing where this is going. Are you reading the Lovgren in German? Have you seen the book Aurora by Harald Falck-Ytter, which we have in the library?
    It has poetry and excerpts from original stories which might be helpful to you.
    PS: I really like your picture, the description of the artwork, and the fact that you tagged this. Good job!


    • Yes, I was sort of reading Lovgren in German. I have a translation app on my phone that I use. I use the camera on my phone to hover over the page (like the LayAr app), wait a few seconds, and it translates the words above where they are on the page itself. I can even save the translation to I can flip through the chapter easily. I’ve also used it to translate Simplified Chinese and Bulgarian.
      I have not seen that book, as far as I know, but I will look later because that sounds enjoyable to read, since I’m obviously well past due the assignment date.
      Thank you for the appreciation! That’s always encouraging and helps me to figure out what works best.


  2. Pingback: Loving Lights | Collective Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s