picture book with beloved Greenlandic myth
retold by Tupaarnaq Rosing-Olsen, illustrated by Miki Jacobsen
When food was ready, and everyone was called in to eat, Kaassassuk would always be the last one to enter the entrance area. Because of his small size he was not able to climb the steps on his own. The men would then have a little competition going on who would be the first one to pull him up by his nostrils. They would stick two fingers in each of his nostrils and lift him up. That is why his nostrils were the only parts of his body that grew.
At meals, he was only ever given a small, almost meatless piece to eat. And when he wanted to eat another piece they would all shout at the same time: “Kaassassuk eats way too fast! Look and see if he has grown a new tooth!” Then they would force his mouth open and pull out his new tooth. Having no teeth, he could not chew his meat but an old man who had taken pity on him and become his friend gave him a knife, and this enabled him to eat.
Kaassassuk loses his parents while only a baby. He soon finds himself unwanted by the other people in the settlement, who don’t give him much to eat and lift him up from the bench by his nostrils. Only one old man and an old woman are kind to Kaassassuk. One day the old man says that he thinks Kasssassuk should seek out the Lord of Power. He takes the old man’s advice and the Lord of Power gives him superhuman powers. Suddenly the people of the settlement are kind to him but their kindness is false and much too late. So Kaassassuk wreaks a terrible revenge…
Kaassassuk is one of the most well-known and loved of the the Greelandic sagas. This book is one of series of four, all of which are retold in richly-illustrated books for children.
The stories are sometime scary and bizarre, but they all have a strong moral and are interesting reminders of Greenland’s history and heritage.
This book was originally published by Atuakkiorfik in 1994. This is an up-dated version, still being true to the original.
NB! This story is available in English to view if interested in international publishing rights