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1001 Stories Collection

The Ten Fingers of Sedna

1001 tenfingersofsedna
Added on 09th August 2020

Oral Tradition Inuit myth

The story of Sedna, goddess of the sea.


A young woman, Sedna, is tricked into marriage by a hunter with magical powers, and is later rescued by her father. On the way home in their kayak, a terrible storm rages and Sedna’s father throws his daughter overboard to stop the boat from capsizing. When she tries to climb back into the boat, he cuts off her fingers so she cannot hold on. Sedna’s fingers grow into the fish, seals, walruses and whales, and Sedna becomes a powerful spirit.

Why we chose it

A dramatic and unusual story which tells of the origins of sea creatures and the story of the goddess of the sea.

Where it came from

The story is a creation myth to explain the origin of sea animals. In Inuit culture, hunters pray to Sedna in order hunt well. There are many different versions of the story to explain how Sedna became a vengeful goddess.

Where it went next

Sedna appears throughout Inuit culture under different names. She is still used by adults to scare children away from dangerous places. She also features in Anthony Horowitz’s The Wrath of the Gods, a collection of myths from Greek, Norse and Inuit mythology.

Associated Stories

Many Inuit myths feature supernatural beings, such as Mahaha, a demon that tickles its victims to death, and the Qallupilluk, scaly creatures that steal children and take them into the sea.

Added on 09th August 2020

Oral Tradition Inuit myth