Lucy Fitch Perkins

The Voyage

Part 1 of 2

I

[152]

W HEN the twins awoke, the sun was shining as brightly as ever, and Nip and Tup were barking at them through the hole in the roof.

Kesshoo and Koolee were gone!

Menie and Monnie were frightened. They were afraid they were left behind. They sat up in bed and howled!

In a moment Koolee's face looked down at them through the roof.

"What's the matter?" she said.

"We thought we were left," wailed Monnie!

"As if I could leave you behind!" cried Koolee.

She laughed at them. "Hand up the skins to me," she said. She reached her arm down the hole and pulled out all the [153] skins from the bed as fast as the twins gave them to her.

Then she put her head down into the opening and looked all around. "We haven't left a thing," she said; "come along."

The twins couldn't climb out through the roof, though they wanted to, so they went out by the tunnel, and helped their mother carry the skins to the beach.

All the people in the village and all the dogs were there before them. The great woman boats were packed, the kyaks of the men waited beside them in a row on the beach, with their noses in the water.

The dogs barked and raced up and down the beach, the babies crowed, and the children shouted for joy. Even the grown people were gay. They talked in loud tones and laughed and made jokes.

II

At last Kesshoo shouted, "All ready! In you go!" He told each person where to sit.


[Illustration]

[154] He put the Angakok in one boat to steer. He put Koko's father in the other.

In Koko's father's boat he placed Koko and his mother and the baby, Koolee and the twins, the pups, all three dogs, and four of the women who lived in the other igloos. So you see it was quite a large boat.

In the Angakok's boat he placed his two wives, and all the rest of the women and children and dogs. The women took up the paddles. One end of the boat was partly in [155] the water when they got in. The men gently pushed it farther out until it floated.

Then the men got into their kyaks at the water's edge, fastened their skin coats over the rims, and paddled out into deep water.

At last, when all the boats, big and little, were afloat, Kesshoo called out, "We are going north. Follow me."

The women obeyed the signal of Koko's father and the Angakok. The paddles dipped together into the water. The great boats moved! They were off!

The children all sat together in the bottom of the boat, but the twins and Koko were big enough to see over the sides. While the babies played with the dogs, they were busy watching the things that passed on the shores. Soon they passed the Big Rock with little auks and puffins flying about it. They could see the red feet of the puffins, and a blue fox sitting on the top of the rock, waiting for a chance to catch a bird.

Then the Big Rock hid the village from sight.

III

[156] Beyond the Big Rock the country was all new to the twins and Koko. They looked into narrow bays and inlets as the boat moved along, and saw green moss carpeting the sunny slopes in sheltered places.

They could even see bright flowers growing in the warm spots which faced the sun. The sky was blue overhead. The water was blue below.

Beyond the green slopes they could see the bare hillsides crowned with the white ice cap which never melts, and streams of water dashing down the hillsides and pouring themselves into the waters of the bay.

When they had gone a good many miles up the coast, Kesshoo waved his hand and pointed to a strange sight on the shore.

There was a great river of ice! They could see where it came out of a hollow place between two hills. It looked just like a river, only it was frozen solid, and the end of it, where it came into the sea, was broken off like a great wall of ice, and there were cakes of ice floating about in the water.

[157] Suddenly there was a cracking sound. Menie had heard that sound before. It was the same sound that he had heard when he went seal-hole hunting and got carried away on the ice raft. Menie didn't like the sound anymore. It scared him!

Right after the cracking noise Kesshoo's voice shouted, "Row farther out! Follow me!"

He turned his kyak straight out to sea. All the other boats followed.

They had gone only about half a mile when suddenly. there was a loud crick-crick- CRACK as if a piece of the world had broken off, and then there was a splash that could be heard for miles, if there had been any one to hear it.

The end of the glacier, or ice river, had broken off and fallen down into the water! It had made an iceberg!

The splash was so great that in a moment the waves it made reached the boats. The boats rocked up and down on the water and bounced about like corks.


[Illustration]

The twins and Koko thought this was [158] great fun, but the Angakok didn't like it a bit. One wave splashed over him, and some of the water went down his neck.

All the grown people knew that if they hadn't rowed quickly away from shore when Kesshoo called they might have been upset and drowned.