At a time long ago, before old age had been introduced and while our early ancestors were still enjoying a state of perpetual youth, a boy was living with his grandmother. One day she remarked that they were out of provisions, to which he replied: “Never mind, grandma, I will set a snare and we will quickly have an owl to feast on.” He skipped merrily off and soon had ensnared a large white owl. On approaching the bird, the following conversation took place:
Owl—”What are you going to do with me?”
Boy—”I am going to kill and eat you.”
Owl—”Don’t you do it.”
Owl—”If you kill me, I will make you an old man.”
Boy—”Grandma and I are hungry, and we are going to eat you.”
Owl—”Again I warn you, if you kill me I will make an old man of you.”
Notwithstanding the warning, the boy killed the owl and started to carry it home.
Household duties did not hang heavily on the ladies of that day, so grandma was killing time by watching for the boy’s return. At last, slowly approaching and dragging a large white owl, she saw a withered old man, stricken with the infirmities of age. It was her grandson who had left her but a short time previous, a merry, happy youth.
So old age was introduced into the world for the first time and has continued ever since. And often since that day many an old Inupash3 who has felt the infirmity of age coming on has sighed and sincerely wished that the boy had shown more discretion by hearkening to the warning of the owl.
(Legend from Alaska) 16 months ago