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The qamulek is a being from Yupik folklore. It takes the form of a person with a terrifying face, and it carries around a sled or a sack.

Description Edit

These beings travel in a straight line across the tundra, pulling a sled or a bag behind them. If a person stands in their path, they will not be able to go around, and so will ask the person what they are doing in the way. If they do not respond, the qamulek will start to offer them gifts in exchange for moving, such as wisdom, wealth, or a long life. It is advised that the person only answer once the qamulek has named everything they want, and as long as they leave and don't look back, the qamulek will bestow these gifts upon them.

While occasionally a qamulek has the appearance of an ordinary person, it is usually described as having a horrifying face that defies human imagination. Because of this, it's advised not to look at it directly. Similarly, the sled or sacks they drag have something unspeakable within them, and anyone who looks at what's inside will waste away for the rest of their life, unable to explain what they saw.

If someone asks the qamulek what it is doing in their path, it will respond with "You put me here." This is due to a Yupik belief that people will encounter animals and supernatural beings through their own will; this is how hunters manage to track down animals, and so too how people who desire to meet the qamulek may do so.

The qamulek is sometimes called the human form of the amikuk.

Related myths Edit

One of the most widely told stories about the qamulek describes a man named either Quran or Marallaq who encountered one and shot at it. Before the qamulek died, it told him that whatever he did, he was not to look in the bag. The man ignored its advice and looked inside, but after he returned home, he lost his ability to hunt and started to waste away to nothing. When asked what he saw in the bag, he would burst into tears and refuse to tell. He kept the secret until his death.

These creatures are sometimes used as an explanation for the Klondike Gold Rush. A Yupik person encountered one and ended up with a huge amount of gold. White people, hearing of this, went north in order to strike it rich themselves.