Long ago, when the world was very young, there existed a spirit named Ookpik. Each night, when the sun set and the land was cast into shadows, Ookpik would spread her great wings, which were black as the midnight sky on a moonless night, and descend from the spirit world to complete a very important job. Ookpik flew across the land, collecting the spirits of all that had died that day, never touching the ground, and flying them all the way up to the spirit world before the sun could rise and call in the morning.
But Ookpik was not satisfied with her job. She knew it was important, and that someone had to do it, just as she knew that there was no spirit better suited for the job then her, but still, as she listened keenly to the spirits as she collected them each night telling of all the things they had loved and would miss about living on earth, she began to feel envious. Even though she would fly all across its surface each and every night, to her the earth was a mysterious, beautiful thing, forever for her eyes to be seen in the darkness. But more than anything, she longed to see the sun; the thing that the collected spirits had told her was warm and bright and cast off a light that made the land dazzling. This was even more of a mystery to Ookpik than the earth, because when the Creator had made her, he had not intended for the spirit to ever lay eyes on the sun.
But still she longed, and one day, after she was done collecting all the spirits of those who had died, she decided she could stand it no longer. Ookpik would see the sun. She flew down from her home in the sky. Down, down, down, lower then she'd ever gone before and, stretching out the talons the creator had given her for snatching up the spirits of the dead, landed on the earth.
Never having had a need to land before, she was anything but graceful. Ookpik skidded across the ground awkwardly for a moment before crashing into a nearby pile of snow, covering herself in it. When she emerged, she found her feathers had been coated with the flakes, the deep black transformed into a glistening white, only several speckles of her original colour showing through. She ruffled her feathers in distress, and for the first time in her existence she felt the sharp chill of the arctic air.
But she hardly had time to mourn the change in her beautiful feathers or wonder at the sensation of cold, for on the horizon Ookpik could see the light of morning. She huddled down, staring wide eyed at the horizon as it became lighter and lighter, until they became forever wide and staring, and finally the sun rose.
Ookpik had not expected the sunrise to stain the sky such a bright yellow, and she found the colour so beautiful that she looked at it until her eyes turned the same yellow as sunrise. She sat there on the snow, staring at the wonder of day, until the sky turned a bluer blue then she'd ever seen, and she decided it was time for her to go back home to the spirit world. She flew high up, her now white wings beating hard against the air, more difficult than it had ever been before. And try as she might, Ookpik found the way to the spirit world just beyond her reach, just a little too high for her to fly to. It was then that Ookpik realized her mistake in looking at the sun. For the creator and never intended the spirit Ookpik to see the sun, so from the moment she first laid eyes on it, she was the spirit Ookpik, but the creature Ookpik, just as all those who's spirits she'd collected had been creatures. She would never see the spirit world again for as long as she lived. Ookpik screeched in grief, a sound that her voice still holds, and flew back to the ground.
She began to hate the sun for tempting her away from her home and for changing her life forever, so much that she decided to sleep in the day and only go out after the sun has hidden itself from her. Only then would she open her eyes, forever tragically stained the colour of sunrise, to complete the job her and all of her descendants after her would still have to do, even though they were not spirits. And each night, as she had always done, she would spread her glistening white wings, to continue to collect the spirits of the dead and bring them up as high as she could to the spirit world, then let them go the rest of the way without her while she watched in longing, never to return to her home.