Historical Events

The Kabloona eats the largest feast he ever has, describing the seal, fish, and caribou as well as the remaining rice he owned, realizing in the process that the meat really was necessary to stay alive in the cold.

Kabloona

"That night I ate the biggest meal I have ever eaten. I was hungry, I was exhausted, the cold was as severe as ever, and I had taken almost no food since leaving the Arviligjuarmiut camp. Algunerk was already hacking away at a seal when we straightened up in the igloo. The seal had been dragged into the middle of the igloo by a rope run through its nose. Then Algunerk's axe had been thawed out, for otherwise it would not have cut. Now he was going at the seal like a woodman chopping down a tree. We were too hungry to wait until he had finished, and we grabbed at the chips as they flew through the air and swallowed them where we stood. 


We ate for twenty hours. What a farce the white mann's table is! Whole quarters of seal were swallowed, snow and all; and the snow grated between our teeth as we bit into the meat. This cold dish finished, we began on the next course. I had contributed half a sack of rice, which was boiled with ten or twelve pounds of caribout meat; and while we chewed seal blubber from one hand, we dipped the other into the steaming vessel of caribou and rice.


Next morning we had hardly awaken before the feast continued. Frozen fish was our first delicacy, even befor the tea was brewed; and the fish was f ollowed by seal. This time it was one of Ittimangnerk's seals that went; and we were still in our sleeping-bags as we chewed it. The turn of the dogs would come later, and what we had eaten, they would eat. Ittimangnerk, who was well bred, had begun by cutting away the coicest morsels of seal and passing them to his host, and Algunerk had put them aside without a word.


Between meals, as it were, we ate peep-se, dried fish. It tasted as if smoked and made an excellent appetizer. Innumberable mugs of black tea were drunk, and then, our appetite returning, we stripped off long slices of lake fish and passed them round, each taking his bite, cutting the rest off with his knife close to the lips, and handing on what remained. A fish would go round so swiftly that I could scarcely swallow fast enough. I had to pass my turn twice, which made them laugh. There was a little boy of six years, and he was brought into the circle: it would teach him to be a man. 


How I understood Ka-i-o(Father Henry)! How clear it was that if I had tried, in this land, to subsist upon white man's grub, I should long ago have frozen to death!



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