Ted’s share of the potlatch was a beautiful blanket of Tanana’s weaving, and he was delighted beyond measure.
“You’re a lucky boy, Ted,” said his father. “People pay as high as sixty-five dollars for an Alaskan blanket, and not always a perfect one at that. Many of the Indians are using dyed yarns to weave them, but yours is the genuine article, made from white goat’s wool, long and soft, and dyed only in the native reds and blacks. We shall have to do something nice for Tanana when you leave.”
“I’d like to give her something, and Kalitan, too.” Ted’s face looked very grave. “When do I have to go, father?”
“Right away, I’m afraid,” was the reply. “I’ve let you stay as long as possible, and now we must start for our northern trip, if you are to see anything at all of mines and Esquimos before we start home. The mail-steamer passes Nuchek day after to-morrow, and we must go over there in time to take it.”
“Yes, sir,” said Ted, forlornly. He wanted to see the mines and all the wonderful things of the far north, but he hated to leave his Indian friends.
“What’s the trouble, Ted?” His father laid his hand on his shoulder, disliking to see the bright face so clouded.
“I was only thinking of Kalitan,” said Ted. “Suppose we take Kalitan with us,” said Mr. Strong.
“Oh, daddy, could we really?” Ted jumped in excitement.
“I’ll ask the Tyee if he will lend him to us for a month,” said Mr. Strong, and in a few minutes it was decided, and Ted, with one great bear’s hug to thank his father, rushed off to find his friend and tell him the glorious news.
ON THE WAY TO NOME
“Well, boys, we’re off for a long sail, and I’m afraid you will be rather tired with the steamer before you are done with her,” said Mr. Strong. They had boarded the mail-steamer late the night before, and, going right to bed, had wakened early next day and rushed on deck to find the August sun shining in brilliant beauty, the islands quite out of sight, and nought but sea and sky around and above them.
“Oh, I don’t know; we’ll find something to do,” said Teddy. “You’ll have to tell us lots about the places we pass, and, if there aren’t any other boys on board, Kalitan and I will be together. What’s the first place we stop?”
“We passed the Kenai Peninsula in the night. I wish you could have caught a glimpse of some of the waterfalls, volcanoes, and glaciers. They are as fine as any in Alaska,” said Mr. Strong. “Our next stop will be Kadiak Island.”
“Kadiak Island was once near the mainland,” said Kalitan. “There was only the narrowest passage of water, but a great Kenai otter tried to swim the pass, and was caught fast. He struggled so that he made it wider and wider, and at last pushed Kadiak way out to sea.”
“He must have been a whopper,” said Ted, “to push it so far away. Is that the island?”