image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Tlingit are an Indigenous Native people of the Pacific northwest of the continent of North America, whose historic land stretches along the coast across the land today designated as Alaska and British Columbia.

In the book American Indian Myths and Legends (1984), edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz, a Tlingit legend entitled "How Mosquitoes Came to Be" is recorded (pages 191 - 193). The story was originally written down in 1883 and the account in American Indian Myths and Legends is based on the 1883 record of the myth.

The account of the origin of mosquitos involves a giant:

Long ago there was a giant who loved to kill humans, eat their flesh, and drink their blood. He was especially fond of human hearts. "Unless we can get rid of this giant," people said, none of us will be left," and they called a council to discuss ways and means. 

One man said, "I think I know how to kill the monster," and he went to the place where the giant had last been seen. There he lay down and pretended to be dead. 

Soon the giant came along. Seeing the man lying there, he said: "These humans are making it easy for me. Now I don't even have to catch and kill them; they die right on my trail, probably from fear of me!"  

The giant touched the body. "Ah, good," he said, "this one is still warm and fresh. What a tasty meal he'll make; I can't waist to roast his heart." 

The giant flung the man over his shoulder, and the man let his head hang down as if he were dead. Carrying the man home, the giant dropped him in the middle of the floor right near the fireplace. Then he saw that there was no firewood and went to get some. 

As soon as the monster had left, the man got up and grabbed the giant's huge skinning knife. Just then the giant's son came in, bending low to enter. He was still small as giants go, and the man held the big knife to his throat. "Quick, tell me, where's your father's heart? Tell me or I'll slit your throat!" 

The giant's son was scared. He said: "My father's heart is in his left heel."  

Just then the giant's left foot appeared in the entrance, and the man swiftly plunged the knife into the heel. The monster screamed and fell down dead. 192

There are numerous details in this account which resonate with details in other myths and scriptures and sacred traditions from cultures found around the globe. For instance, it is notable that the man in the Tlingit story above takes the giant's own great knife and uses that to threaten the giant's son and eventually to slay the giant himself -- this detail would appear to parallel another story involving a man and a giant: the story of David and Goliath. In that account, found in the book of 1 Samuel in the scriptures of what are commonly called the "Old Testament," the text explicitly states that David uses the giant's own sword to slay him (1 Samuel 17: 51).

An even more telling parallel to a myth involving a giant, however, is the description of the giant's weakness, which in the Tlingit myth is found in the left heel of the giant (the location of the giant's heart). When the man in the Tlingit legend stabs the giant in the left heel, it is a mortal wound. This detail has very clear parallels to the story of the bronze giant Talos, from the myths of ancient Greece. 

As discussed in this previous post from June of 2017, in the Greek myth the weakness of the giant Talos is a screw in the heel of the bronze giant, which when unscrewed allowed the ichor which animated the marvelous mechanical man to flow out upon the ground, resulting in the demise of the giant. As explained in that post, I am convinced that this Greek myth of Talos is based upon a celestial foundation: the giant is seen in the form of Orion in the heavens, from whose forward foot the long and meandering constellation known as the River Eridanus flows out, representing the ichor of Talos which runs out and brings about the end of the bronze giant:

orion eridanus animation 03.jpg

Note that the constellation Eridanus originates very close to the lead foot of the constellation Orion, such that the heavenly river could be envisioned as flowing out of the foot of the giant. Indeed, as the above star-chart illustrates, one need only imagine a small connecting line between the bright star in the forward foot of Orion (this is the bright star Rigel) and the Eridanus River nearby. Numerous Star Myths from around the world do indeed incorporate in some way this connection between Orion and Eridanus, and I am convinced that the myth of Talos the bronze giant of ancient Greece and the myth of the slaying of the man-eating giant in the Tlingit tradition are both examples of this celestial pairing.

Note that in the account of the Tlingit myth, which was recorded in 1883, we are specifically told that the heart of the giant is located in the giant's left heel. If you look at the constellation Orion in the heavens (and shown in the star-chart above), you will see that the forward foot of the giant Orion (closest to the River Eridanus) is indeed the left foot of the constellation, if the figure is envisioned as facing towards us. In other words, his upraised arm (on the left side of the constellation as we look at the star-chart above) is Orion's right arm, and the forward foot (marked by the bright star Rigel, on the right side of the constellation as we face the star-chart above) is the giant's left.

The inclusion of this specific detail (that the giant's heart is located in his left foot) provides added confirmation that the Tlingit myth reflects a celestial pattern found in the sky. The similarities between this story and the story of the demise of Talos are not simply coincidental: the undeniable similarities reflect the fact that the world's ancient myths and legends, from virtually every culture on our planet found on every inhabited continent and island, display evidence of being part of an extremely ancient worldwide system, a system built upon celestial metaphor. 

But how does this myth of the slaying of the giant explain the origin of mosquitos? The account of the legend continues, telling us what happened after the man stabbed the giant in the heel and the monster fell down dead:

Yet the giant still spoke. "Though I'm dead, though you killed me, I'm going to keep on eating you and all the other humans in the world forever!" 

"That's what you think!" said the man. "I'm about to make sure that you never eat anyone again." He cut the giant's body into pieces and burned each one in the fire. Then he took the ashes and threw them into the air for the winds to scatter. 

Instantly each of the particles turned into a mosquito. The cloud of ashes became a cloud of mosquitoes, and from their midst the man heard the giant's voice laughing, saying: "Yes, I'll eat you people until the end of time." 

And as the monster spoke, the man felt a sting, and a mosquito started sucking his blood, and then many mosquitoes stung him, and he began to scratch himself. 192 - 193

Thus ends the account in American Indian Myths and Legends.

Thus, anytime you encounter a mosquito from this day forward, it can serve to remind you of the powerful evidence which shows that all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred traditions are in fact closely related -- contrary to what we have been told.