Once more the creature dived, and this time he stayed down only a few minutes, and, when he came up, blood spouted into the air and dyed the sea crimson, and Kalitan exclaimed:
“Pierced his lungs! Now he must die.”
There was one more bright, glancing weapon flying through the air, and Ted noticed attached to it by a thong a curious-looking bulb, and asked Kalitan:
“What is on that lance?”
“Sealskin buoy,” said Kalitan. “We make the bag and blow it up? tie it to the harpoon, and when the lance sticks into the whale, the buoy makes it very hard for him to dive. After awhile he dies and drifts ashore.”
The waters about the whale were growing red, and the carcass seemed drifting out to sea, and at last the Tyee seemed satisfied. He sent a last look toward the huge body, then turned his kiak toward the watchers on the banks.
“If it only comes to shore,” said Kalitan.
“What will you do with it?” asked Ted.
“Oh, there are lots of things we can do with a whale,” said Kalitan. “The blubber is the best thing to eat in all the world. Then we use the oil In a bowl with a bit of pith in it to light our huts. The bones are all useful in building our houses. Whales were once bears, but they played too much on the shore and ran away to sea, so they wore off all their fur on the rocks, and had their feet nibbled off by the fishes.”
“Well, this one didn’t have his tail nibbled off at any rate,” laughed Ted. “I saw it flap at the Tyee, and thought that was the last of him, sure.”
“Tyee much big chief,” said Kalitan, and just then the old man’s kiak drew near them, and he stepped ashore as calmly as though he had not just been through so exciting a scene with a mighty monster of the deep.
THE ISLAND HOME OF KALITAN
Swift and even were the strokes of the paddles as the canoes sped over the water toward Kalitan’s Island home. Ted was so excited that he could hardly sit still, and Tyee Klake gave him a warning glance and a muttered “Kooletchika."
[Footnote 7: “Dangerous channel.”]
The day before a big canoe had come to the camp, the paddlers bearing messages for the Tyee, and he had had a long conversation with Mr. Strong. The result was astonishing to Teddy, for his father told him that he was to go for a month to the island with Kalitan. This delighted him greatly, but he was a little frightened when he found that his father was to stay behind.
“It’s just this way, son,” Mr. Strong explained to him. “I’m here in government employ, taking government pay to do government work. I must do it and do it well in the shortest time possible. You will have a far better time on the island with Kalitan than you could possibly have loafing around the camp here. You couldn’t go to many places where I am going, and, if my mind is easy about you, I can take Chetwoof and do my work in half the time. I’ll come to the island in three or four weeks, and we’ll take a week’s vacation together, and then we’ll hit the trail for the gold-fields. Are you satisfied with this arrangement?”