Sedna the Sea Goddess: Reading Comprehension
Read the story and answer the questions.
Sedna the Sea Goddess
Sedna was a beautiful Inuit girl who didn’t want to get married. Many hunters wanted to marry her, but she refused their offers. Her father scolded her, saying, “I am getting older, and soon you will need a good husband who can provide you with food and furs. You must marry the next hunter who asks for you.” Sedna still wasn’t interested.
Soon a young hunter from a distant place came to her father’s camp . He was dressed in warm furs, and spoke in a soft voice. He promised to provide a good home and plenty of animals for food and clothing. Although he kept his face hidden under his hood, Sedna was very impressed with him, so she agreed to marry him.
Sedna got into her husband’s kayak and travelled with him to her new home. When they arrived at his island, she saw that her home was nothing but some sticks and bits of moss and feathers clinging to a large rock. Her husband took off his hood, and she realized that he was not a man, but an evil raven. He never hunted, he only caught fish. Sedna was cold, lonely, hungry, and very unhappy. Every day she cried for her father to come and save her.
Her father heard her cries and decided to rescue her. He paddled his kayak to the island where she was living. On their way home, Sedna looked back and saw that the raven was following them. He was gaining on them quickly. As the raven came close, her father took his paddle and struck the bird, who had to fall back. Then the raven flapped his powerful wings at the ocean and caused a huge storm to blow up.
When her father saw that their lives were in danger, he became afraid for his own life. He threw Sedna over the side of the kayak. Sedna tried to save herself. She grabbed onto the kayak with her fingers, but her father took his paddle and beat at her fingers until they broke off. As they sank into the ocean, her fingers turned into seals and fish. Again, Sedna grabbed the kayak with her hands, but her father took his paddle and beat her hands until they also fell into the water. As they sank into the ocean, her hands turned into whales and walrus. Sedna also sank into the ocean.
Sedna lives at the bottom of the ocean. She is the goddess of the sea. She is the one who provides animals for the hunters, but only when she feels generous. When she is angry, and this is often, the hunters can’t find food; and the people go hungry.
Story adapted by Mary Mahoney from a traditional Inuit legend. The Inuit people live in the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland and Alaska.
Audio version performed by Cam Culham
Audio effects adapted under Creative Commons license
Audio credits: Chimes
Clipart under license from Microsoft for educational use
What did her father want Sedna to do?
- get married
- hunt for food
- make clothing from animal skins
How did Sedna react to the hunters' proposals of marriage?
- She refused their offers.
- She said, "Maybe later."
- She was interested.
Why did Sedna agree to marry the young hunter?
- He was the best-dressed hunter.
- He promised to look after her.
- He made a good impression.
What did Sedna find out when she got to her new home?
- Her husband was a fisherman, not a hunter.
- Her husband was a raven, not a man.
- There were no warm clothes for her.
Why did her husband keep his face hidden?
- He didn't want her to know he wasn't human.
- It was a sign of respect.
- So the animals couldn't recognise him.
Because Sedna was so unhappy, what did she do?
- She had to eat fish every day.
- Every day she cried for her father to come.
- She had to hunt.
Why did the raven fly after Sedna and her father?
- He wanted to kill her father.
- He wanted to eat their food.
- He wanted to get his wife back.
How did the raven cause the dangerous storm?
- By calling on the water gods to make a storm.
- By flapping his wings at the ocean.
- By calling on other ravens to help him.
What did her father do when their lives were in danger?
- He beat the kayak with his paddle.
- He threw Sedna out of the kayak.
- He called on the gods to help them.
Why did her father throw Sedna out of the kayak?
- He wanted to give her to the raven.
- He wanted to make the kayak lighter.
- He wanted to save his own life.
How did Sedna try to save herself?
- She asked the raven to help her.
- She gave animals to the hunters.
- She grabbed the kayak with her fingers.
How did the sea animals come into the world?
- Sedna's fingers became the seals and fish, and her hands became the whales and walrus.
- The raven created the sea animals.
- Her father found them in the sea.