And when they had cared for the dogs and had eaten the supper which Mrs. Abel prepared, Abel Zachariah took his Eskimo Bible from the shelf and read from it, and then they sang a hymn, and when the three knelt in evening devotion he thanked God for the son He had sent them out of the mists from the Far Beyond where storms are born, and had seen fit to call back again into the mists, for the son had been a good son and had made brighter and happier many years of their life. It was God’s will, and God’s will was law, and it was not for them to question the righteousness of His acts.
And that night when Mrs. Abel turned down the blankets on Bobby’s bed for Skipper Ed, she thought of the time when Bobby was little, and she lay by his side of evenings to croon him to sleep with her quaint Eskimo lullabies.
UNDER THE DRIFTING SNOW
Bobby and Jimmy heard the ominous booming that accompanied the parting of the floe from the land ice, and they whipped the dogs to the utmost exertion of which the animals were capable, but they had dallied too long, and when they reached the rapidly widening chasm it was plain that retreat was hopelessly cut off.
“We can swim it! We can swim!” shouted Jimmy, and but for the restraining hand of Bobby he would have plunged into the water and made the mad attempt, so soon forgetful was he of his recent experience.
“You’d freeze! You’d freeze! We couldn’t swim in this cold!” Bobby protested.
“I think we could have made it!” declared Jimmy, when Bobby let go his arm.
“You know how the water treated us the other day, Jimmy,” said Bobby quietly. “We never could swim it. The cold would paralyze us before we got half way across.”
“But now we’re sure to perish!” Jimmy exclaimed. “We’ll be carried to sea, and the ice will break up, and there’ll be no chance for us at all. We’d have had at least a chance if we’d tried! Now our last chance is gone!”
“There wouldn’t have been a chance if we’d tried to swim,” Bobby protested. “Here there is some sort of a chance. The ice may not break up, and it may drift back so that we can get ashore, and if it holds together long enough some vessel may pick us up. Anyhow we’re here, and we’ve got to make the best of it.”
“There’s Partner!” broke in Jimmy. “Poor old Partner! See him out there? I wonder what he’ll do.”
And then they shouted to Skipper Ed, and again and again they shouted, but the wind blew their shouts back into their teeth and Skipper Ed did not hear them, and at last he faded away, and the land ice faded away in the cloud of drifting snow.
“There’s going to be a hard blow, and we’ll have to find a place to build our igloo,” Bobby at length suggested.
“Yes,” agreed Jimmy. “I’m glad we’ve got the snow knives and the lamp. If it comes to blow hard we’d perish in the open.”