"Much to the surprise of the Eskimo and also to their delight, seeing that I brought a caribou tongue, which was not only a delicacy but also an advertisement of the fact that the reign of the tom cod was over."
April 2, 1910
My Life with the Eskimo - Chapter 9
This evening was one of the most difficult of my entire expe rience on account of the levelness of the country. Our house stood on an island with a cutbank about a quarter of a mile long and so I knew that if I could hit the neighborhood of the house within an area of not more than a quarter of a mile, there was a fair chance of finding the camp. It was chiefly a chance, no doubt, but as a matter of fact I found the cutbank and got home about four hours after dark, much to the surprise of the Eskimo and also to their delight, seeing that I brought a caribou tongue, which was not only a deli cacy but also an advertisement of the fact that the reign of the tom cod was over . Two days later we moved camp about ten miles southeast to the east end of Langton Bay, from which we hunted caribou with such success that within a week we had seventeen carcasses piled up outside our tent.
On one of his caribou hunts from this camp, Natkusiak was caught by just such a blizzard as that in which I had been about a week before, and was awayfortwodays. A man fully dressed at this season of the year wears two coats, a thick outer one and an inner one made of thin fawnskin. Natkusiak on this occasion was wearing only the thin fawnskin one, and we were therefore consider ably worried about him; but on the third morning he came home all safe and smiling, saying that he had had the longest and best sleep of the winter. He had been about four miles away from camp, in a little snow hut, the floor of which was not over five feet in diameter and the roof of which was less than four feet high.
During this time we had good success, not only with caribou but also in the trapping of foxes, the skins of which were valuable both commercially and for scientific purposes. As always at this season of the year, and during other seasons whenever the caribou are poor, we preferred the meat of the foxes to that of the caribou. I find a note in my diary to the effect that we ate all the foxes caught during this time, except one which we found dead from disease, apparently, and there is a complaint set down to the effect that although the skin was in good condition, the flesh was too lean for eating.