Tlingit Legend's How Mosquitoes Came To Be

Satisfactory Essays
"How Mosquitoes Came To Be": The Giant Lives On

Every time I read the Tlingit Legend, "How Mosquitoes Came To Be," there

are certain questions that come to mind about where the legend came from and who

wrote it. The legend was first published in 1883 and later found by Richard

Erdoes, who included it in one of his publications, American Indian Myths and

Legends. Why is the human race so selfish to think we can be the hunter and not

the hunted. Although giants could be a dominant presence in our lives, humans

prove that they will not be over-taken.

Each time I read the Tlingit legend, a new question would arise in my

mind as to how this legend came to be and particularly, who wrote it? The first

question I thought of was, is he the only giant on the planet? This was

answered for me with the introduction of the giant's son. As I read on,

something seemed puzzling to me, the fact that why humans are so selfish to

think they are better than giants, let alone anything else. For instance, why

is it okay for humans to kill a chicken, roast it and eat it, and a giant is bad

to "kill humans, eat their flesh, and drink their blood"(11)? Later in the

story we learn that the giant also liked to roast the hearts of humans. Another

puzzling question I asked myself is, if the giant was stabbed by the human and

"The monster screamed and fell down dead."(12), why did the giant still speak?

I know this is a legend or maybe just a fictionous story, but if the giant is

also a spirit then that would be helpful when reading the legend. I will

analyze these questions in hopes of understanding the problems with humans and

giants, which I might add is still being dealt with today with mosquitoes


My first question, if this giant was the only one on the planet, seemed

answered toward the end of the story with the introduction of the giant's son.

When the human threatened the life of the boy giant as he asked where the heart

of his father was, why didn't he kill the boy anyway? As we all know, a boy

will eventually become a person, and the boy is in fact a giant, therefore by

killing the giant by stabbing him in the left heel, the human simply forgot the

son. There are a lot of parts in this legend that are very unclear and when we
Get Access