Mythological Creature Archive

Mythical Creature, ‘the Ahkiyyini,’ a dancing, music loving skeleton, from Inuit folklore-with writing prompt

ahkiyyini_by_chloo_m-d31l6f0
Photo Credit: https://chloo-m.deviantart.com/art/Ahkiyyini-18406623

The Ahkiyyini is a skeleton spirit from Inuit folklore.

According to this Ahkiyyini article, the Men who spend much of their time dancing or playing drums in life may continue to do so in death like this spirit.

To make music, the ghost uses his arm bone as a drumstick to beat his scapula, which acts as a drum or xylophone. When he strikes this improvised instrument, the ahkiyyini causes the ground to tremble and rivers to turn violent, wrecking ships and killing their passengers.

The site inuitmyths.com is fascinating and details many Inuit stories. The Ahkiyyini isn’t on this particular list, but there are other creatures worth reading about there for your story writing and for igniting your imagination, for that matter.

“The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) works hard to promote and protect Inuit culture. QIA has developed Inuitmyths.com, to provide a resource for Nunavummiut and people from around the world who want to learn more about the Inuit storytelling tradition.

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Photo Credit: http://www.creature-imaginaire.wikibis.com/ahkiyyini.php

And the same in the Inuit language below.

“ᕿᑭᖅᑕᓂ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑲᑐᔾᔨᖃᑎᒌᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖓᓂᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᔮᖅᑎᑦᑎᓇᓱᒃᐸᒃᐳᑦ ᓴᐳᒻᒥᒃᓯᓇᓱᐊᖅᑐᑎᒡᓗ. ᕿᑭᖅᑕᓂ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑲᑐᔾᔨᖃᑎᒌᒃᑯᑦ ᓴᖅᑮᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ Inuitmyths.com, ᐊᑐᐃᓐᓇᐅᑎᑦᑎᓇᓱᐊᖅᑐᑎᒃ ᐃᓕᒃᑲᓐᓂᕈᒪᔪᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒥᐅᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᓪᓗ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥᐅᓄᑦ. “

Writing Prompt Background-

According to firstpeoplesofcanada.com, the people of the Canadian Arctic but also Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia are known as the Inuit. They used to be called Eskimos, which came from a Native American word for ‘eater of raw meat.’

Now the Arctic people are officially known as the Inuit, which means ‘the people’, or singularly, Inuk, which means ‘the person’.

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Photo Credit: http://1granary.com/interviews/ktz-inuit-hugh-devlin/

The Inuit were the last native people to arrive in North America. All the good land to the south was already occupied by hostile Indians so they settled in the Arctic. Nobody else wanted it because it was one of the most extreme climates of the world.

The Inuit are masters at adapting to their surroundings in order to sustain their people. For thousands of years, they have thrived and their myths and folklore are no different.

Writing Prompt-

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Photo Credit: https://margopfeiff.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/the-angry-inuk-nunavuts-aaju-peter-is-an-activist-lawyer-teacher-sealskin-seamstress-rebel-rocker/

This woman has a secret. She knows who caused the shipwreck of 1954.

How does she know who did it? It isn’t that she believes in the myths passed down to her from ancestors, as much as, she had heard it from the horses mouth. 

Ahkiyyini began coming to see her late at night, in 1954…under a beautiful blanket of stars, within the seclusion of the dark shadows of night…she saw him. At first he rattled his bones at her to get her attention. She had just lost a loved one and was deeply saddened. She couldn’t sleep; hadn’t slept for several nights in a row.

He laughed, for some ungodly reason, reminding her of her loved one. Her grandfather had been taken away too soon.

The laugh was the laugh of an old man with no teeth…his bones clack, clacking together as he approached.

Her grandfather had loved to dance and sing in life. She thought of him strongly then.

So strong was his presence, that she could smell his scent, and then he was there. Within reach…only bones and she screamed. The Ahkiyyini muffled her scream…pulling a ragged piece of cloth from his belt and the woman stopped her screaming. The piece of cloth acted as a portal key of sorts and suddenly she was in his world…swirling emotions and objects all around her in a tornado of chaos. He began playing his music, keeping them steady. He hit his bones together and moved about to it’s rhythm. There was still chaos and movement all around them.., but the emotions began to resonate higher and higher, neither had said a word to one another. What was the point? This experience spoke louder than any words could.

When the woman awoke the next morning. She felt light and care-free. She had seen her grandfather one last time…but at breakfast she heard about a terrible shipwreck off of the coast, with no survivors and she suddenly knew what had happened. Surely her grandfather wasn’t THE Ahkiyyini? Was he?

What happens next in this story?

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If you find this article fun and interesting and you decide to expand on this story -let me know how this story continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing!

3 thoughts on “Mythical Creature, ‘the Ahkiyyini,’ a dancing, music loving skeleton, from Inuit folklore-with writing prompt”

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