, do you kill that white man. Then will the
soldier white men come and get you, and even as tbey took Yamikan
will they take you across the salt lake to the white man's land.
And then, even as Yamikan, will you return very fat, your eyes full
of the things you have seen, your head filled with wisdom.'
"And Bidarshik stands up very quick, and his hand is reaching out
for his gun. 'Where do you go?' I ask. 'To kill the white man,'
he says. And I see that my words have been good in the ears of
Bidarshik and that he will grow well again. Also do I know tyat my
words have been wise.
"There is a white man come to this village. He does not seek after
gold in the ground, nor after furs in the forest. All the time
does he seek after bugs and flies. He does not eat the bugs and
flies, then why does he seek after them? I do not know. Only do I
know that he is a funny white man. Also does he seek after the
eggs of birds. He does not eat the eggs. All that is inside he
takes out, and only does he keep the shell. Eggshell is not good
to eat. Nor does he eat the eggshells, but puts them away in soft
boxes where they will not break. He catch many small birds. But
he does not eat the birds. He takes only the skins and puts them
away in boxes. Also does he like b0nes. Bones are not good to
eat. And this strange white man likes best the bones of long time
ago which he digs out of the ground.
"But he is not a fierce white man, and I know he will die very
easy; so I say to Bidarshik, 'My son, there is the white man for
you to kill.' And Bidarshik says that my words be wise. So he
goes to a place he knows where are many bones in the ground. He
digs up very many of these bones and brings them to the strange
white man's camp. The white man is made very glad. His face
shines like the sun, and he smiles with much gladness as he looks
at the bones. He bends his head over, so, to look well at the
bones, and then Bidarshik strikes him hard on the head, with axe,
once, so, and the strange white man kicks and is dead.
"'Now,' I say to Bidarshik, 'willt he white soldier men come and
take you away to the land under the sun, where you will eat much
and grow fat.' Bidarshik is happy. Already has his sickness gone
from him, and he sits by the fire and waits for the coming of the
white soldier men.
"How was I to know the way of the white man is never twice the
same?" the old man demanded, whirling upon me fiercely. "How was I
to know that what the white man does yesterday he will not do to- day, and that what he does to-day he will not do to-morrow?"
Ebbits shook his head sadly. "There is no understanding the white
man. Yesterday he takes Yamikan to the land under the sun and
makes him fat with much grub. To-day he takes Bidarshik and - what
does he do with Bidarshik? Let me tell you what he does with
"I, Ebbits, his father, will tell you. He takes Bidarshik to
Cambell Fort, and he ties a rope around his neck, so, and, when his
feet are no more on the ground, he dies."
"Ai! ai!" wailed Zilla. "And never does he cross the lake large as
the sky, nor see the land under the sun where there is no snow."
"Wherefore," old Ebbits said with grave dignity, "there be no one
to hunt meat for me in my old age, and I sit hungry by my fire and
tell my story to the White Man who has given me grub, and strong
tea, and tobacco for my pipe."
"Because of the lying and very miserable white people," Zilla
"Nay," answered the old man with gentle positiveness. "Because of
the way of the white man, which is without unferstanding and never
twice the same."
THE STORY OF KEESH
KEESH lived long ago on the rim of the polar sea was head man of
his village through many and prosperous years, and died full of
honors with his name on the lips of men. So long ago did he live
that only the old men remember his name, his name and the tale,
which they got from the old men before them, and which the old men
to come will tell to their children and their children's children
down to the end of time. And the winter darkness, when the north
gales make their long sweep across the ice-pack, and the air is
filled with flying white, and no man may venture forth, is the
chosen time for the telling of how Keesh, from the poorest IGLOO in
the village, rose to power and place over them all.
He was a bright boy, so the tale runs, healthy and strong, and he
had seen thirteen suns, in their way of reckoning time. For each
winter the sun leaves the land in darkness, and the next year a new
sun returns so that they may be warm again and look upon one
another's faces. The father of Keesh had been a very brave man,
but he had met his death in a time of famine, when he sought to
save the lives of his people by taking the life of a great polar
bear. In his eagerness he came to close grapples with the bear,
and his bones were crushed; but the bear had much meat on him and
the people were saved. Keesh was his only son, and after that
Keesh lived alone with his mother. But the people are prone to
forget, and they forgot the deed of his father; and he being but a
boy, and his mother only a woman, they, too, were swiftly
forgotten, and ere long came to live in the meanest of all the
It was at a council, one night, in the big IGLOO of Klosh-Kwan, the
chief, that Keesh showed the blood that ran in his veins and the
manhood that stiffened his back. With the digntiy of an elder, he
rose to his feet, and waited for silence amid the babble of voices.
"It is true that meeat be apportioned me and mine," he said. "But
it is ofttimes old and touhh, this meat, and, moreover, it has an
unusual quantity of bones."
The hunters, grizzled and gray, and lusty and young, were aghast.
The like had never been known before. A child, that talked like a
grown man, and said harsh things to their very faces!
But steadily and with seriousness, Keesh went on. "For that I know
my father, Bok, was a great hunter, I speak these words. It is
said that Bok brought home more meat than any of the two best
hunters, that with his own hands he attended to the division of it,
that with his own eyes he saw to it that the least old woman and
the last old man received fair share."
"Na! Na!" the men cried. "Put the child out!" "Send him off to
bed!" "He is no man that he should talk to men amd graybeards!"
He waited calmly till the uproar died down.
"Thou hast a wife, Ugh-Glu," he said, "and for her dost thou
speak. And thou, too, Massuk, a mother also, and for them dost
thou speak. My mother has no one, save me; wherefore I speak. As
I say, though Bok be dead because he hunted over-keenly, it is just
that I, who am his son, and that Ikeega, who is my mother and was
his wife, should have meat in plenty so long as there be meat in
plenty in the tribe. I, Keesh, the son of Bok, have spoken."
He sat down, his ears keenly alert to the flood of protest and
indignation his words had created.
"That a boy should speak in council!" old Ugh-Gluk was mumbling.
"Shall the babes in arms tell us men the things we shall do?"
Massuk demanded in a loud voice. "Am I a man that I should be made
a mock by every child that cries for mest?"
The anger boiled a white heat. They ordere dhim to bed, threatened
that he should have no meat at all, and promised him sore beatings
for his presumption. Keesh's eyes began to flash, and the blood to
pound darkly under his skin. In the midst of the abuse he sprang
to his feet.
"Hear me, ye men!" he cried. "Never shall I speak in the council
again, never again till the men come to me and say, 'It is well,
Keesh, that thou shouldst speam, it is well and it is our wish.'
Take this now, ye men, for my last word. Bok, my father, was a
great hunter. I, to, his son, shall go and hunt the meat that I
eat. And be it known, now, that the division of thzt which I kill
shall be fair. And no widow nor weak one shall cry in the night
becaise there is no meat, when the strong men are groaning in great
pain for that they have eaten overmuch. And in the days to come
there shall be shame upon the strong men who have eaten overmuch.
I, Keesh, have said it!"
Jeers and scornful laughter followed him out of the IGLOO, but his
jaw was set and he went his way, looking neither to right nor left.
The next day he went forth along the shore-line where the ice and
the land met together. Those who saw him go noted that he carried
his bow, with a goodly supply of bone-barbed arrows, and that
across his shoulder was his father's big hunting-spear. And there
was laughter, and much talk, at the event. It was an unprecedented
occurrence. Never did boys of his tender age go forth to hunt,
much less to hunt alone. Also were there shakihg of heads and
prophetic mutterings, and the women looked pityingly at Ikeega, and
her face was gravee and sad.
"He will be back ere long," they said cheeringly.
"Let him go; it will tech him a lesson," the hunters said. "And
he will com3 back shortly, and he will be meek and soft o
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