The Boy Who Lives in a Snowhouse

The barking of the dogs awakened Akeeko, the Eskimo boy. His mother was already up, making tea over the soft yellow flame that burned in the whale-oil lamp. Akeeko slid from under the warm cover made of walrus skin and pulled on his trousers and his hooded fr jacket, or parka. Underneath all this he wore underwear made of skin from a caribou, with the warm fur turned towards his body. Over his boots he pulled on a pair of heavy outer boots. Last of all he put on his furry mittens.

Now he was ready to go out in the cold. At the doorway to the snowhouse or igloo, Akeeko lifted the curtain and crawled through the short snow tunnel that led outside. There he saw his father and brothers harnessing the dogs to the sled. He laughed while he romped and tumbled in the snow with some of the young sled dogs.

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Akeeko had lived all his life on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, about as close to the North Pole as people can live. Here in the middle of summer the days are so long that the sun never stops shining. It stays light all night! But this was winter and in the winter there is a time when it stays dark all day, as well as all night, with only a little light sometimes from the moon.

Snug and warm under the round roofs of their snowhouses, the Eskimo families had lived through the dark days and nights. But now the frozen fish and meat were almost gone. It was time for the hunters to travel across the fields of snow and ice to look for food.

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Their dogsled was loaded with bundles of animal skins to be used as night covers or windbreaks. The sled also carried knives, spears, bone fishhooks and some frozen fish. Akeeko watched closely until his father nodded and said,” Jump on , Little Seal. You are old enough now to go on your first hunting trips.”

Akeeko rubbed his nose against his mother’s nose(That’s how Eskimos kiss) and waved good-bye. A long whip cracked. The dogs pushed against their harness and away they went, the sled runners making a singing sound on the cold, dry snow.

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