Missuarniannga was an orphaned boy who always wept. His father, a great hunter, had one day been dragged into the depths by a narwhal, and the boy had become poor. You never saw him where other children were playing. He was always lonely, and he always had red eyes.
**Then one day, an old sorcerer approached him and said: 'It's a bad life you live, by mourning your father every day. Become an Angakkoq, I will show you how.' An Angakkoq is an Inuit sorcerer.
**'I dare not,' replied Missuarniannga.
**'There is nothing to be afraid of. Just go down to the sea and find a stone that is black on one side and white on the other. It must never have been out of the sea, and you must be able to wade out to it. When you pick it up, it is best if it has seaweed stuck to it.
**You must then shed your clothes and wash your body with seaweed and salt water, and you must then go into the mountains and find an isolated lake. There you must find a smooth rock and sit down and grind the stone around to the left, towards you, in the same direction as the sun - and here you must remain, grinding continuously, without regard to hunger or fatigue, until something happens.'
**The secretive way in which the old sorcerer described everything, gave the boy a great desire to do it; and he did indeed do, as the old man said. When he had found a stone that was as it should be, he went to the mountains, enthralled and timid about what would happen.
**Suddenly he heard a voice, and discovered a small dwarf walking beside him.
* *'My name is Qataatsaaq Diskant,' said the dwarf.
* *Missuarniannga, who knew, you must touch everything supernatural you meet, immediately stroked his hand over the dwarf's head, and had, in that instant, his first spirit-helper.
* *The dwarf went with him, repeating everything the old sorcerer had told him, and Missuarniannga became even more determined, to get to know the mountain spirits. He easily found a lake that lay as it should, and immediately began to grind his stone around. But he ground it in vain all that day. Being disappointed, he did not sleep the following night, and early the next morning he hurried back up to the same place. This time, he had not ground the stone for long, before the water in the lake began to move and strong currents began to bubble and boil. Then, like a depression in the water, a vortex appeared, and the water in the lake began to rise and sink. Now and then great waves emerged and broke against the beach. There was the sound of a deep sigh from the sky, and soon after, there appeared a monster in the middle of the lake, a spirit in bearskin. It was so terrible to look at, that Missuarniannga wanted to flee, but he was petrified and couldn't move a limb.
* *The Spirit, who had first had its back to Missuarniannga, now came swimming towards the shore, and when it set foot on the ground, drew Missuarniannga away with irresistible force. Missuarniannga felt the hot breath from its nose, and a bite in the neck; and then he fainted and sensed no more.
* *How long he lay unconscious, he didn't know, but when he came to himself again, the dwarf Diskant sat beside him, singing magical songs over him. He was completely naked, and so exhausted that he couldn't get up. As he regained his strength, he went on his way home. Along the way his clothes came flying after him, and stopped in front of him, so he could put them on; first his shirt, then his trousers and boots. On returning he kept everything secret, but he visited the spirit three times, and allowed himself to be eaten alive every time.
* *This opened his eyes, to that witch otherwise is hidden from other people.

The beginning was now made, and the treatment the spirit in bearskin had given him, made his mind think about, how he could get dominion over all the spirit-helpers a sorcerer must have.
* *'I wish I could get an Angiut, I wish I could get an Angiut, an Angiut, an Angiut.' It was the only thing, he could think about all day.
An Angiut is a spirit, in the guise of a fjord-seal that sorcerers can call upon when they want to know if someone is sick, or if anyone has caught (seals etc). It is quite indispensable, because these things are what people most of all ask, and no sorcerer must be ignorant.
* *Then Missuarniannga went to the mountains again, and stopped by a slippery ledge overlooking a small lake. Here he sat down and began to grind the black and white stone, witch he had brought with him, around. Again he sat all day, and ground and ground the stone around in a ring, toward himself again and again, still following the sun's direction. When he was so tired, that he could hardly lift his right arm anymore, the mountain suddenly turned soft. He felt no resistance anymore, and when he lifted the stone up, he discovered that there had formed a hole into the mountain; a hole that went all the way through the depths, and looked like one of the blowholes, seals keep open through thick ice.
* *No sooner had he lifted the stone, before a strange creature stuck its head out of the hole. The body was just like that of a little fjord seal, but the head was without skin and meat, like the skeleton of a ghost. It looked scary, but happy, and Missuarniannga began to talk to it. Its speech was like that of a human. He touched it and learned what he wanted; who was ill and who had caught, and afterwards he pushed the spirit back into the mountain and put the stone back in the hole. As with the spirit in bearskin, he also sought out this new spirit three times, and it became his spirit-helper.

Now the next step was to get a Toornaarsuk. The name sounds like the nickname, 'the dear little spirit,' but in reality it is Toornat Naalagaat, witch means the master of all the spirits, and it is used more frequently than any other spirit-helper. If no other spirit can handle a case, you just call Toornaarsuk. But it is difficult to get hold of, and you must search in vain, up amongst the mountains, for a long time, and live in great solitude before it shows itself. You must be tenacious and fearless. Thus it happened that Missuarniannga almost gave up.
* *But one day, as he sat on top of a mountain near a small cove, there was a sudden movement in the water, and a living creature came up, and he saw a mighty back shoot up, and a face that was half animal and half man - and this face came out of the sea and smiled at him. Missuarniannga knew that you had to hit it with a small white stone, thrown with your left hand, and he immediately did this, to get it as a spirit-helper. The stone hit the monster right in the back, and it slipped quietly back under the water. Missuarniannga stood up to go home, but now heard a rumbling sound like rocks falling, but underneath the cliff. Something beneath the ground was writhing in pain. It was Toornaarsuk, who was breaking his way, and swimming through the mountain. Missuarniannga began to run towards home, as fast as he could; he had never been so frightened in all his life. A strange dizziness seized him, and his entire body felt light, and it was, as if he wasn't really touching the ground. He ran as fast as a bird can fly, and it was because Toornaarsuk kept swimming through the ground directly below him, and took the weight of his body from him. It didn't leave him, until he reached the houses, and then Missuarniannga was so stiff and heavy in his limbs, he nearly fell. Once again he was a man with a heavy body.
* *Thus Missuarniannga got his strongest spirit-helper. When he had haste, would it to follow him; at sea below his kayak, in the mountains below the ground, right under him.
* *When he met danger, in human or animal shape, it came all the way up into the daylight, and fought for him. Also, he used it to thieve souls with, whether he had enemies who had to be avenged, or to thieve back souls, others had stolen.

Now Missuarniannga had come so far, that he began to think about getting an Aajumaaq. Its body looks much like that of a human, but it only has three fingers and three toes. Its head looks like a dog's, and its arms and legs are black. It doesn't walk, but moves hovering over the ground, and everything it touches, must rot and die.
* *'I wish I could get an Aajumaaq! I wish I could get an Aajumaaq - an Aajumaaq - an Aajumaaq!'
* *One day, as he sat on a stone near a deep ravine, he was suddenly overcome by a great fear. His whole body started shaking, but he didn't know what was causing the fear. Then the fear suddenly disappeared, and from deep down in the ravine, he heard a voice that whispered.
* *'I am Aajumaaq. Everything I touch must rot and die.' The voice was distant and faint.
* *Without knowing what he did, Missuarniannga repeated, 'Everything I touch must rot and die.'
* *Immediately the voice returned, but lauder than the first time, and it repeated the words again; they came as a shrill cry from the troll.
* *'I am Aajumaaq. Everything I touch must rot and die.'
* *Missuarniannga stared spellbound at the ravine, and saw the spirit glide slowly toward him. The black arms were stretched out at him; the claw like hands with three fingers waving, and the head, that was pointed and sharp as a dog's, without hair and with large glowing eyes, nodded and swayed under the body's silent movement through the air. When Missuarniannga felt its warm breath on his face, he collapsed and fainted. All he felt was Aajumaaq walking over him. When he came to, he immediately looked towards the ravine, but there was nothing to be seen. The troll had disappeared.
* *Later he visited the site twice more, and when he had seen Aajumaaq three times, it became his spirit-helper.

Every sorcerer apprentice, who has an Aajumaaq, must also have an Amuu; a spirit invoked when the lights are out in a house where sorcery is being practised. While the spiritual flight is going on; and the sorcerer's body is back-bound, without its soul, Amuu keeps the spectators at bay.
* *Now that the nature-spirits had begun to come to him, he no longer needed to make any special effort; and he was indeed to see this for himself, as one day he sat on a hillside facing the sea, watching the big-ice, that the west wind gathered outside the mouth of the fjord. From under the beach he heard a voice gently whispering: 'Amuu - Amuu! I'm haling you to me; I'm haling you to me!'
* *He repeated the words, and immediately the sound grew, until it became a deafening cry. 'Amuu – Amuu!'
* *Then he saw an ugly troll come up from the depths. Its eyes were large, and rolled and shone like fire. It came toward him. Its head was huge. It was almost all head, but with a small withered body, short legs, and long arms, it stretched up against children with the cry: 'I'm haling you to me; I'm haling you to me!'
* *Then he lost fainted, and when he regained consciousness, he was laying by the water.

A long time had passed, since that which is described here, had happened, and Missuarniannga was still working at developing his skills as a sorcerer.
* *Once he stayed at the settlement called Itilleq near Kulusuk. As usual, he went over land, and came to a lush and beautiful valley witch lay in front of a canyon, through which a river flowed. Here he saw a small man, a dwarf that was no larger than a thumb. He was dressed in beautiful clothes with pants and boots of garish skin. On the upper body, he had a blue anorak that seemed to not be made of skin.
* *'Where are you from?' asked Missuarniannga.
'I come from the interior, from a place near Umiivik. I came here by folding the lands together, so the mountain peaks kiss each other.'
* *When dwarves are in a hurry, they have a Tikkuut, a small pointer, which they hold in front of them, thus shrinking the lands together, so they become able to walk long distances in one step. The dwarf had his pointer in his hand. It was hollow, and into it, was stuck something that looked like three fingertips. It was his weapon.
* *He told that he had stolen some dried meat near Umiivik, and that the man he had stolen it from, had become so enraged, he had shouted: 'Let the thief come forward!' He then appeared and pointed his stick at the man, who immediately dropped dead.
* *At that moment the dwarf disappeared so suddenly, that Missuarniannga quite forgot to touch him; and therefore, he did not get him as a spirit-helper.

The sorcerer was now grown up, and had begun to hunt with his fellow hunters in the settlement. Often times he was far out to sea, and it was now his greatest wish to get an Innersuaq, but many times he rowed in vain without managing to get one.
* *Once he visited a place near Ikerasak where there was an old house lot. From here he noticed a kayak-man rowing towards him. He looked strange, for he had almost no nose and his cheeks were hollow. They got to talking with each other.
* *'What's your name?'
* *'Nakkalia.' Witch means, he who is made to fall down.
* *'Where do you have land?'
* *'By that reef over there, you should come and visit us. We are only two, my wife and me.'
* *Missuarniannga rowed together with him to the reef. The 'undergrounding' swept across the stones with his hand, and immediately it seemed as if the lands rose, and before them was a grassy valley with a small house; a beautiful little house, that they rowed up to. When the 'undergrounding' stepped out of his kayak, it turned out he was lame in both hips, and had to crawl over the ground. He said it was because he had tried to cast disease over someone, but his enemy had been stronger than he was, and had struck him with the disease, witch he had intended for the other.
* *Inside the house everything was neat and clean, the woodwork gleamed white. Skins were hung over the entrance hole and rolled up, and this was a sign that Nakkalia was an experienced sorcerer.
* *He told, he had had five sons, but they had all been killed by enemies.
* *'When were you born?' asked Missuarniannga.
* *'The day before yesterday,' replied Nakkalia.
* *In the language of the 'undergrounders', this means the same as Itsarsuaq, a long, long time ago.
* *'How long do you live?'
* *'Atanitta naggataat nalunarpoq. We can know nothing about, when our union with life ends.'
* *And this means, that dying is unknown to them.
* *Missuarniannga stayed for some time with the 'undergrounders', and since went home. He was too new a sorcerer to have anything to eat, for he would have forgotten his return, had he done so.
* *As he rowed away, he was not aware of coming out of the earth, and he had now gotten an underground spirit-helper.

Once, Missuarniannga was to travel from Amitsuarsuit to Tasiusaq. When he came across the place called Ptarmigans' Hollow, he heard a loud rushing in the sky, and went ashore to examine what it was.
* *By a small lake, he saw a huge giant lying comfortably, with his hand under his cheek. Now and then he patted the turf beside him, and it was this that made the strange sound in the air. The giant was a Timerseq of medium size. That is to say, one of those who live nearest the sea. As soon as he saw the sorcerer, he beckoned him over. The giant's name is forgotten, but they talked together for a long time, and he asked Missuarniannga if he had learned to fly and move through the air.
* *No. No one had taught him that.
* *'Then I will teach you,' said the giant.
* *Then he blew with his mouth over the fjord, and immediately a thick cloud of smoke appeared, like a band of mist stretching from the top of Killuisaajuit to Akulliit. Then the 'inlander' bent his legs, and gathered them under himself, and rose into the air, as he flew over the narrow belt of fog; that quite looked like a slide made from new-ice. The belt of fog followed the 'inlander' all the way to Akulliit.
* *'This is how we move, when we have a long way to go. When you see a belt of fog stretched out over the mountain peaks, it is we who are air travelling. Touch me now, and I will be your spirit-helper, and you will be able to move through the air, as I.'
* *Thus, this 'inlander' became his spirit-helper.

Then it happened that his uncle was going on a long journey that would take many years. And when Missuarniannga wanted to say goodbye to him, he rowed into the bay in his kayak. As he passed Eqqualand, he heard a whistle and a hiss from the other side of the fjord, and saw a mighty giant on the shore. The giant sat whistling happily, and every time he paused for a moment, he slapped the ground with his hand.
* *Missuarniannga rowed over to him, took out his little knife, and got out of his kayak to go up to the giant; but when the giant saw the knife, he beckoned to him to let him know, that here was no need for weapons.
* *The giant smiled and laughed and roared, almost like a storm.
* *'Don't be afraid of me. I'm just laying here enjoying the view of the land and the sea.'
* *Scarcely had he said this, before an even greater and mightier giant appeared, up on the mountain. They both looked just like humans, but were as big as mountains, and wore blue clothes. This last giant also smiled at him, and Missuarniannga was not afraid.
* *But then came a third giant. He came creeping and scowling, and had red cheeks, witch was a sign, that he was evil. Missuarniannga shuddered at the sight, but had no time to be afraid, for soon there came an even bigger giant, the biggest of them all, and it came up from his kayak. This time he almost fled, so huge was this mountain in human form. But his fear vanished, when he heard a rolling sound through the air, saying: 'Don't be afraid of me. I am the oldest of us all. We are brothers and we only want to be kind to you.'
* *They stayed a long time together, and Missuarniannga learned many things.
* *They stoked him over the eyes, so that the whole world became brighter to him, and he became clear-sighted, and could detect things, that other people can not see.
* *Then he touched all of them, and they became his spirit-helpers.
* *He then returned to his kayak and paddled away. From the bay, he looked back to see what had become of the giants, and he saw how they all, with bent knees and legs, rose into the air; and as they flew over the mountain, they sang a song and drifted away into the large clouds in the distance.

Not long after his encounter with the giants, Missuarniannga was out kayaking, on the seaward side of Angiitit, and paddled close to the land, because he still hoped to get more 'undergrounders'. It was good weather. Warm sunshine.
* *Then he heard a buzz, as from a fly, and a little later, 'Ii-ii-ii! I will never come up!'
* *'Come up right now, if you can,' replied Missuarniannga.
* *And then she came up. It was a woman from the underground, and she came up with her face turned away from him.
'Visit me,' she said.
* *The sorcerer didn't really know what to reply, but then she stroked over a ravine with three of her fingers, and immediately a large land appeared. An entire settlement arose from the sea, and they saw a large house with four windows.
* *'Surely, you don't live all alone in that big house?' said Missuarniannga.
* *'Yes I do. Now, just watch and see.'
* *They came to the house. At the house-passage, there lay a shiny white piece of wood, which looked like the rib from a narwhale. 'It's something I need to buy me an Ulu for,' she said.
* *Then they went into the house. They had not been there very long, before a face appeared in the window, and immediately the woman said: 'My neighbours have discovered that I have a guest - you must flee at once, otherwise you will be killed.'
* *The sorcerer tried to jump into house-passage, but it closed itself, so he could not get out. Then he jumped over to one of the windows, but it grew together, closed itself to him, and in this way, he was hexed by witchcraft, witch blocked all the exits for him. First at the very last window, did he manage to escape.
* *He jumped into his kayak and paddled with all his strength, and kept on rowing until he came to Amitsuarssuk, at the mouth of the Ammassalik fjord. But before his escape, the underground woman had become his spirit-helper.

At Amitsuarssuk, he again went over land, until he came to a large gorge that is called Uersat. Here, there is a granite block that sorcerers often grind on to summon spirit-helpers. Here, it is said, there lives a grim spirit called Uersat Inuat, the master of the illegitimate born. At this place he began to grind, with his black and white stone, and it was not long, before he heard a whistle and hiss from the gorge. He kept on grinding until a naked man suddenly came out of the rock in the gorge. At the sight of him, he fainted. How long he was unconscious, he doesn't know, but when he awoke, he lay shivering and exhausted.
* *Where?
* *Inside the dark bottom of the gauge, naked and weak.
* *As usual he was awakened by Diskant, who was singing to him. His clothes were lying beside him, and he put them on and went home. But later, he was to seek out the place two more times, to get the spirit as a spirit-helper.
* *Uersat's spirit, shields him against Tupilaat, and brings him back to life, when death has touched him.

Now came the time, for him to seek ghosts as spirit-helpers. He rowed in his kayak from Immikkoortoq across the sound there, when he heard laughter nearby. Soon after, he met two kayaks, who turned out to be rowed by two ghosts of deceased people. For one of them, it was the first time he was rowing a kayak after his death, and therefore he was afraid of leaving the cost. He has stayed so close to the cost, that he had got his oar stuck in a small hollow, and had nearly capsized, and that was what they were laughing about.
* *This took place at midsummer, and it is said that the dead, at this time of the year, can return to their graves, and live there while it is warm and beautiful on earth.
* *Missuarniannga went with the two ghosts, and as they had came into a little bay, he noticed the air was trembling. He almost fainted, and that was because they approached the ghosts house, witch is the grave. They went up to the house, and Missuarniannga saw that it had no house-passage. Inside, it looked like the houses of the living, but the pots hung on strings, which went all the way up to the sky.
* *Inside, on the couch, sat a very old man who greeted them kindly.
* *'We suffer from roof-drip,' said the old man.
* *'Someone has been playing on the roof of our house, and has taken some of the stones away.'
* *He was a good-natured man who didn't get angry; for otherwise, one must beware to never take stones from a grave.
* *The man put forward meat for the guests, and said: 'Missuarniannga. You are now so great a sorcerer, that you can eat the food of the dead.'
* *The meat was hard cooked, and looked like peat, but it was easy to suck. It can be eaten three times, because it grows out on the bone again.
* *These ghosts did not become his spirit-helpers, but they told him about an old grave behind Amitsuarssuk, where an old woman lay buried.
* *'Go there and grind with your sorcerer's stone,' they said, and Missuarniannga went and did so.
* *After he had spent some time at the grave, and ground his stone; he heard a sound from inside the grave that said: 'Hi-ii-ii!' and at the same time the stones, the grave was built of, began to move. Suddenly, a small streak of light became visible, and it showed itself as a rainbow in the sky; a rainbow that led from the sun, and down to the grave, and into the grave. Then the gravestones moved themselves, from the side facing west, and a woman came up from the dolmen. Her face was black, and her body was dried in. Swaying her hips slowly, she turned towards him, but when she was quite near him, he fell over her by accident, and then he fainted.
* *When he regained consciousness, the dwarf Diskant sat beside him, singing magical spells over him.
* *'Why are you here?'
* *'The ghosts have sent for me, so I could wake you. She is now your spirit-helper.'
* *And thus he got his first ghost spirit-helper.

In this way, the number of spirits who followed Missuarniannga, increased every year. He came in contact with all the hidden life, up among the mountains, which shows itself to people who seek the loneliness in nature.
* *Everything became living beings, and came to him in the shape of creatures of flesh and blood. But no one knew about it. His apprenticeship had taken place in deep secrecy.
* *The last spirit-helpers, he got, were also ghosts; who are considered to be strongest in a great sorcerer's service. Corpses and skeletons became alive, when he came to them. Life returned to them as light waves that came drifting down from the sky and into the silent graves; and pillars of northern light flared up, when the dead pushed the stones away, and arose from their graves.
* *Now all that remained was for Missuarniannga to step forth before his people, and reveal to them, all he had learned.
* *When the lights were put out in a hut, and he invoked his helpers, he could make spirit-flights through the air to distant places.
* *If people were sick, because their soul had been thieved, he could steal it back, and heal them.
* *He could fly to the moon, and get good weather, loose ice, or open water; and he could dive down beneath the sea, to the ruler of animals, the dangerous Immap Ukuaa, who distributes the whales, walruses and seals.
* *And to harden his soul, occasionally, his spirit-helper Equngasoq, the famous 'crooked one', took him to the land of the dead, where life continued with good hunting and happy singing.

He must now show what he has learned, and the occasion came quite by itself.
* *He awoke one morning with a sharp pain in the head. His brain grew and swelled inside his scull, and the woes of immense thoughts pressed on to be released. He was compelled to speak, presage, soothsay, and judge; to not be overcome by madness.
* *Then, in accordance with the old traditions of the Inuit sorcerers, he called all his people to a feast, and practised his art, with extinguished lamps, while tied up like a helpless bundle.
* *They heard him sigh and groan in the darkness, and the magic drum that was placed beside him, became alive, and played, as if a thousand spirits were beating it. And when the drum touched his heel, it was, as if he could se the first white dawn rising out of the night. And when the drum touched his hip, daylight it self came to him. Darkness on longer existed for him in the night, and his eyes saw through everything.
* *But when at last the evening came, and the drum was led by invisible hands, and stood trembling and singing on his shoulder, the sun poured in with all its light over his face, and all the lands on earth gathered in a circle in front of him.
* *All distances and all aloofness was no more.

Missuarniannga had become all-knowing, and had the whole world within himself. A new Angakkoq had arisen amongst men.

* *Knud Rasmussen: Myter og Sagn fra Grønland (Denmark). Myths and Legends from Greenland.


'For every new spirit-helper the Angakkoq apprentice acquires, he must make a magic potion.'

* *Jens Rosing: Sagn og Saga fra Angmagssalik (Denmark). Legend and Saga from Angmagssalik.