Late that afternoon Jimmy wounded a seal on an ice pan, and it went into the water. He seized a harpoon, but when the seal rose to the surface it was so far away that the line could not reach it.
“Here!” shouted Bobby, laying down his gun and grabbing a paddle which he had brought from Itigailit Island for such an emergency, “jump on this pan. I’ll paddle you out where you can get him.”
They sprang upon a small pan, and, utilizing it as a raft, Bobby paddled a few yards.
“There! There!” shouted Bobby. “There he is. He’s most dead. You can get him!”
Jimmy jumped to the side of the pan upon which Bobby was kneeling with his paddle, and poising the harpoon was about to cast it when the pan, too heavily weighted on that side, began slowly to turn. Bobby did not see this, but Jimmy did.
“Don’t move!” shouted Jimmy. “Stay where you are!”
And, without hesitation, Jimmy slipped from the pan and into the icy sea, though he knew there was small chance for him to swim, and, overcome by the shock of the terrible cold, he sank beneath the waves.
The pan righted itself immediately it was relieved of Jimmy’s weight, and Bobby, realizing what Jimmy had done, and that his friend had sacrificed himself for his sake, stood bewildered and stunned, gazing blankly at the spot where Jimmy had sunk.
WHO WAS THE HERO?
Bobby did not lose his head. After his manner in emergencies, he thought quickly, and acted instantly, and now his bewilderment was for only a moment.
Seizing the harpoon which Jimmy had dropped upon the ice, he gave a yell that brought Skipper Ed to the water’s edge in a hurry, and when Skipper Ed came running down Bobby had already thrown off his netsek and his mittens and was knotting the loose end of the harpoon line around his waist. Grasping the harpoon, he cast it upon the main ice, with the command:
“Grab it, and hold it!”
“My God!” gasped Skipper Ed. “What has happened? Where is Jimmy? Where is Partner?”
“In there! Stand by and help!” directed Bobby, who had not taken his eyes off the dark water where Jimmy had disappeared, save for the fleeting instant when he cast his harpoon to Skipper Ed.
Presently Jimmy, hampered by his netsek, weakly struggled to the surface, already apparently overcome by the awful cold of the plunge. Bobby saw him and instantly sprang after him, seized him about the waist and held him with the desperation of one who fights with death. A moment’s struggle followed and then both lads went down.
Skipper Ed now comprehended Bobby’s suddenly formulated plan of rescue, and he pulled with all his strength upon the line, and as he pulled Bobby, still grasping Jimmy about the body, rose again to the surface, and Skipper Ed giving impetus to the line, drew them to him, seized them and quite easily drew them upon the ice.