Our tales do not always tell of beautiful things


Our tales are narratives of human experience, and therefore they do not always tell of beautiful things. But one cannot both embellish a tale to please the hearer  and at the same time keep to the truth. The tongue should be the echo of that which must be told, and it cannot be adapted according to the moods and the tastes of man. The word of the new-born is not to be trusted, but the  experiences of the ancients contain truth. Therefore, when we tell our myths, we do not speak  for ourselves; it is the wisdom of the fathers which speaks through us.

Osarqaq, Greenland Inuit storyteller, early 20th century. Knud Rasmussen, Greenland by the Polar Sea: The Story of the Thule Expedition from Melville Bay to Cape Morris Jesup, New York: Frederick A. Stokes [1921], p. 27.
Illustration inspired by a drawing of the Mochica culture, Peru.