The Qiqirn is a huge dog of Inuit folklore. It is hairless except for its mouth, feet, and ear and tail tips. The mere presence of a qiqirn around men or dogs causes them to suffer fits, a state which ends only when the qiqirn leaves. However, the qiqirn is also extremely scared of humans, and will run away if an angakoq sees it.
Merkur suggests that the “fits” induced by the qiqirn’s presence may be a symbolic reference to shamanic initiation. It shares this feature with the initiatory bear spirit of Baffin Island.
In the Second Jungle Book, the qiqirn – as Quiquern – appears in a snowstorm as an enormous, toothless, and hairless dog, with two heads and eight pairs of legs. He leads two Inuit hunters towards more fruitful lands, and proves to be two sled dogs tied together.
Boas, F. The Central Eskimo. In Powell, J. W. (1888) Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. Government Printing Office, Washington.
Kipling, R. (1921) The Second Jungle Book. Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City.
Merkur, D. (1991) Powers Which We Do Not Know. University of Idaho Press, Moscow.
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