Historical Events

twitter-icon_edited.png
Copy Link

Stefansson recounts his hunt for fat in Langton Bay - "This wolverine had lived so well on our stores that he was the fattest animal of his species I have ever seen killed; his meat was correspondingly good eating."

January 21, 1910

rollo-meat-diabetes_edited.jpg

My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 9

Man The Fat Hunter
Facultative Carnivore
Carnivore Diet

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Memoranna was unable to tell us anything about Dr. Anderson, and now that our party was in fair health again I decided to go at once in search of him. We also needed to replenish our store of oil somehow , for the supply that Memoranna had brought with him was sufficient for a week or two only. There were three places where we had fat cached away; the nearest was about thirty miles downstream, where we had covered up with stones the fat of three grizzly bears killed in the fall, amounting to about a hundred and twenty-five pounds; ten miles farther, at Langton Bay, was the fat of one grizzly bear, one polar bear, and about half of a bearded seal, all together something over two hundred pounds; while at Cape Parry was the blubber which Dr. Anderson had gone to fetch, consisting of three or four hundred pounds that Captain Cottle had given us from the whale killed on the Banks Island voyage. 


I took with me the boy Palaiyak of our own party and engaged Tannaumirk of Memoranna's party to go with us. In three days we reached our first cache of blubber to find it thoroughly rifled by wolverines. A day farther north we found that at Langton Bay a wolverine had gnawed its way through a two-inch pine plank, had entered our storehouse and eaten all but fifteen or twenty pounds of the blubber. This wolverine had lived so well on our stores that he was the fattest animal of his species I have ever seen killed; his meat was correspondingly good eating.


January 21st we arrived at the cabin built by the wreck of the Alexander, where we had stored our belongings in the fall, and found it occupied by our entire party. It was a great relief to find them all there and a great surprise too, at the time. I never realized until I actually saw them how strong had been my inclination to expect that I would never see them again. But although they were all there, they were by no means well, for Dr. Anderson and Pikaluk were both in bed convalescing from pneumonia. They had had a pretty hard time. Pneumonia is a serious thing under any circumstances and especially in such a place as they were in, for not only was the house unsatisfactory, but the food at their disposal was not such as is suited to sick men. Ever since their convalescence had begun they had been hungering especially for fresh meat, and this was a place where no fresh meat was to be had, except a few foxes, for which Natkusiak trapped energetically. On an average he was getting about one fox per day. A stray caribou had wandered out upon the cape about Christmas time, and Natku siak had secured him also, which was a great help to them. Pika luk had been taken sick first, and Dr. Anderson had nursed him for a week, after which he was himself taken sick. 


It was clear that Dr. Anderson and Pikaluk would not be fit for traveling for a month at least, and there was immediate necessity that a sled go back to our people inland with a supply of blubber for them. I therefore dispatched Natkusiak and Palaiyak at once off inland, for now that I had found Dr. Anderson I did not care to leave him again while he was sick. Tannaumirk also stayed with us, for there was no special reason for his going inland.