An Eskimo tale:

"Sermerssuaq was so powerful that she could lift a kayak on the tips of three fingers. She could kill a seal merely by drumming on its head with her fists. She could rip asunder a fox or hare. Once she arm-wresteld with Qasordlanguaq, another powerful woman, and beat her so easily that she said: 'Poor qasordlanguaq could not beat one of her own lice at arm-wrestling'. Most men she could beat and then she would tell them: 'Where were you when the testicles were given out?' Sometimes this Sermerssuaq would show off her clitoris. It was so big that the skin of a fox would not fully cover it. Aja, and she was the mother of nine children, too!"

(From the Virago book of fairy tales, edited by Angela Carter, London, 1991)

March 04, 2006 | 11:20 PM