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Anonymous 2006

Created By: Jessica Khalili
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1) Query: I am on another story hunt - I am looking for otter stories that will go with my new Folkmanis River otter puppet. Have not been having an easy time of finding them on line - the stories are proving to be as slippery as the mammel they represent.

Cathy M. 9/28/06


a) There is a wonderful story called "The Otter's Children" in Stories for Telling by William R. White.

Yvonne Y. 9/29/06

b) I found a few references online you might want to check out. On one site of Thailand Law there was this reference: There were two otters who were close friends. They lived in a big river and always shared their food with each other. But once, one otter became greedy and did not want to share a fish, which he had caught, with his friend in a just manner. The argument arose between the friends, how much the one who caught the fish should share with his friend. Before, they had equal shares. But now, the first otter was willing to give only an insignificant part. At the time of the quarrel, a fox was passing by. They appealed to the fox to adjudicate the dispute. The fox first denied help, saying that he was busy and goes to the court of the king to make decisions. But eventually, he consented, providing that the parties to the dispute agree to be bound by the fox's decision. The otters agreed. The fox, then, gave the head of the fish to the one who caught it, and the tail to the other, leaving the rest for himself, and went his way. The otters felt sorry and concluded that it would have been better for them to settle the dispute by themselves.

I suspect this is the same story in this book by Sharon Creeden: "Indian Otters and the Fox" 79 Fair Is Fair 398/Creeden

And chapter eight in the books makes reference to otters. Half Human, Half Animal, Volume 2: More Tales of Werewolves and Related Creatures is a nonfiction book containing folklore from all over the world. It also includes extensive directories to werewolf (and other human-transforming-to-animal) novels, movies and pop culture miscellanea. It is aimed at an adult audience. Chaper 8 Other Mammals- Lore from Ireland, America, Switzerland, Malaysia, China, Japan, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Cameroon, and Kenya. Werebeasts mentioned include badgers, weasels, wolverines, polecats, otters, and monkeys. This section has 7 legends.

c) There are many legends about the sea otter on the Northwest Coast. Here is a short tale, taken from the tag off of a Folkmanis puppet, "How Sea Otter Came to Be."


[1] There was once a lovely young woman who had a devoted brother. They lived in a village by the sea near the cliff dwelling of the powerful Bird Spirit of the north. One day, the Spirit came to the maiden and lured her to his nest to be his wife. There she remained, lonely and frightened, until, one night, her brother rescued her and brought her home. Furious at his loss, the Spirit then sent a raging blizzard to destroy the village huts, so that the villagers were forced to cast brother and sister out into the storm. They made their way to the coast to hide, but there a huge wave swept them out to sea. They wold have drowned, if the Sea Goddess had not taken pity on them. As it was, she turned them into graceful sea creatures, and gave them the gift of the thickest coat of all animals so that they would never be cold in the icy ocean. And that is how sea otters were created. The sister went east and began the otter clans that we know; the brother went west to start the otter herds of Siberia. If an otter, raised out of the water, watches you in your kayak, with a playful glint in its shining eyes, greet it kindly, for it is one of your furred brothers or sisters of the sea.

Adapted from a folktale of the Aleutian Islands.
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