Glacial Lake Origins

Text: “The story basically goes that long ago when the earth was being made by the gods, when they – “

“Is it a specific god or gods?”

“I’m not sure, I think it’s just whatever god you believe in. But basically when the earth was being created, the gods were painting the sky. They were using different hues and shades of blue and green to color the sky, and while they were doing that, they accidentally spilled some of the sky’s coloring from the sky onto the mountain tops. This then trickled down from the mountain peaks and through the valleys until it collected into small lakes scattered around. These became the glacial lakes that are known today for having a beautiful deep blue green color to their water.

“Is there a specific lake this refers to?

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s just a story of glacial lakes in general, because it’s told when a kid asks why the glacial lakes have their unique color.”

Context: My informant is my younger brother who heard of this tale of how glacial lakes get their bright blue-green color from his trip leader on a backpacking trip in the French alps. He says that while on a hike, he asked his trip leader what gave the glacial lakes their blue-green color. His trip leader provided the real explanation, but also this story, which he would tell on day trips with young children who were curious about the unusual but beautiful color of glacial lakes.

Analysis: I found it really interesting that my brother got to hear the story of how glacial lakes get their color that is meant for young children. This is because I think the simplistic/creation based explanation for how the color is formed is great to both entertain, but also spark curiosity in young children while hearing it. However, when my brother heard it, who was old enough to know the story was not true, the story gained a comedic aspect, as it is funny how the story plays on the children’s innocent curiosity, making it fun for the child hearing it and the teller.