|The Dancing Man |
The Inuit people love to dance. They dance to tell stories about hunting, stories about animals, about life. Once there was a dancing man who loved to dance more than anything. Even when he was a baby, he would dance. As soon as he could stand up he would make up dances about polar bears or foxes. His brothers and sisters would bang on a drum or clap hands for him inside their igloo. And he would dance.
When he got older he learned to hunt and make kayaks and igloos with his Dad. He would carve igloos out of snow. Stretch animal skins to make a kayak. He hunted polar bears and foxes. He loved these jobs. And while he did them the dancing man though of dances he could make.
In the spring, summer and fall, the dancing man worked hard to get meat and fur and oil for his family. He wanted their igloo to be warm and happy for the winter. Then in the winter, the Inuit people kept busy with games and sports. They saw who could shoot the furthest or lift the heaviest object. Inside their igloos they had wrestling, storytelling, and song contests – and dance contests! The dancing man always won. He never got tired of dancing, he was always the last one standing. He never got tired of dancing, he loved it so much.
But after many years passed, the dancing man’s back and legs got stiff. It was a little harder to get up from the floor of the igloo and start to dance. But still he did. Some young people teased him and said “When are you going to stop dancing and let us take over?” He replied “Never! Even when I die I will dance!”
Of course the dancing man did die at last. His family wrapped him in fur skins and buried him. Some of the young people were out hunting in their kayaks when they saw where he was buried. They laughed and called out “Dancing man! You said you would dance for us after you died!! Where are you now dancing man!?”
There was a rattling noise…and the dancing man’s skeleton rose from his grave. He stood on his skeleton legs and started to dance. His bones made music. A big wave came and pushed the young people's kayaks over into the sea. And they were never seen again. Now people from their village remind their children to respect elder men and women. “Do you want the dancing man to come as a skeleton and dance for you?”