Monday, June 15, 2009


Si-gä'-hah is an Iroquois storyteller's magic word for "tying" an interrupted folk tale, as if symbolically making a knot in the thread of the narrative so as to mark the place in the story. "If any one for any reason wished to sleep or to leave the room, he must request the narrator to tie the story, 'Si-gä'-hah.' Failing to say this, and afterwards desiring to hear the remainder of the tale, the narrator would refuse him, for if he related it at all it must be from the beginning through, unless tied. Thus si-gä'-hah was the magic word by which a legend might be told as a serial" (Harriet Maxwell Converse, "Myths and Legends of the New York State Iroquois," New York State Museum Bulletin 125, Dec. 15, 1908).

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