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"The meat we had was all lean; we had therefore for some time been living on a diet of exclusively lean meat, which had aggravated the diarrhoea from which Ilavinirk suffered and which had now brought down my two companions." Stefansson fixes the problem by fetching blubber from animal traps.

December 17, 1910

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My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 7

Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Man The Fat Hunter
Hypocarnivory
Facultative Carnivore
Eskimo
Protein
Carnivore Diet

That evening when I came home I found that Palaiyak also, as well as Pannigabluk, was sick. Evidently it was the diet that was telling on them. On our journey up river from the sea we had lived on oil straight, and we had eaten so much of it that by the time we reached our camp we had only a pint or two left in a bag of oil that should, under ordinary circumstances, have lasted us for several months. The meat we had was all lean; we had therefore for some time been living on a diet of exclusively lean meat, which had aggravated the diarrhoea from which Ilavinirk suffered and which had now brought down my two companions. 


Evidently, with two invalided out of three, it was not possible for us to proceed farther with our hunt, and we decided to return home. It was not only the illness of my companions that prompted this, but also the belief that Dr. Anderson and Natkusiak must surely have arrived by now, and I felt that with them to help me, the chances of success in the hunt to the south would be immeasurably greater. 


On our return home, however, there was no sign of Anderson, which caused us worry of two sorts ; for something must have gone wrong with him to keep him away so long, and something was likely to go wrong with us, if he did not come back, with only one able hunter to take care of seven people and six dogs in a country which the caribou seemed to have temporarily abandoned. And the tantalizing thing was to feel that the caribou could not be far away and that if we only had one or two able-bodied men to make up a sled party we were sure to overtake them. Inaction was not to be thought of, however, and Ilavinirk , although he was sick, realized this as keenly as I did, so he urged that we make another attempt to hunt upstream , in which he himself and Palaiyak would follow the river, making camps for me, while I hunted the east bank of the river into the Barren Ground, as I had hunted the west bank through the forest on the first attempt made with Pannigabluk and Palaiyak. On December 22d I happened to think that Natkusiak had, two months before, set some dead-fall traps and baited them with pieces of blubber. I now revisited these traps and found that in some of them the blubber bait was still there. I picked these up and brought them home, and that evening all of us had some fat along with our meat, which did us a considerable amount of good.