Publisher description for Nine visits to the mythworld / Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas ; translated by Robert Bringhurst.


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The nine stories contained in this volume are the finest offerings from one of the last of the traditional Haida storytellers, Ghandl of the Qayahl Llaanas. Ghandl was born in 1851 in a small Haida island community off the coast of British Columbia. His world was devastated by waves of European diseases, which wiped out over ninety percent of the Haidas and robbed him of his sight. He became a skilled listener, taking in the myths, legends, and everyday stories of his people. Creatively adapting them, the blind storyteller became a master of his craft. In 1900 John Swanton, with the help of a translator, transcribed a number of Ghandl's narrative poems.
Nearly all of the poems in this volume are qqaygaang, narrative poems set in the Haida mythtime of long ago. One story, “The Names of Their Gambling Sticks,” is a qqayaagaang, a story that juxtaposes mythtime and historical time and is the property of a Haida family. Each poem creatively enacts a myth in a way that illuminates and celebrates the traditional world of the Haidas and reveals Ghandl's own acute sense of the foibles and great potential of all human beings. Meticulously and sensitively translated and annotated by Robert Bringhurst, these stories have finally been given the attention they deserve.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Haida mythology -- British Columbia -- Queen Charlotte Islands.
Haida poetry -- British Columbia -- Queen Charlotte Islands -- Translations into English.
Haida Indians -- British Columbia -- Queen Charlotte Islands -- Folklore.
Legends -- British Columbia -- Queen Charlotte Islands.