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Title: Children of the Arctic

Author: Josephine Diebitsch-Peary
        Marie Ahnighito Peary

Release Date: May 17, 2019 [EBook #59527]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Richard Tonsing and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
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Transcriber’s Note:

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.




Copyright, 1903
by Frederick A. Stokes Company
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America


If any one had invited AH-NI-GHI´-TO to go back to the Snowland the day after her return to her Grossmamma’s house, she would not have listened a moment; for there was so much to tell, and do, and see, and learn that in her opinion she could not possibly spare time for another visit to the far-away land.

Yet, the next summer, when her father went off again in the great black ship, to the land where all AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S queer fur-clad friends lived, there was a big lump in her throat, and something that looked very much like tears in her eyes, when she found that she and mother were going to remain at home this time.

10But she was nearly five years old now, and father said she must soon go to school and learn a great deal by the time he returned; and if she would be a very good girl, and do just what mother said, he would tell Santa Claus to bring her a sister.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO was much pleased. She wanted a playmate very much and promised to do all she was told; and father sailed away.

All through that summer AH-NI-GHI´-TO roamed about on a farm, where everything was new to her. She had bunnies to pet; chickens to feed; nests to hunt; cows to be driven to pasture in the morning and brought back in the evening; butter to be churned; flowers to be gathered and arranged; and really so many things to be done of which she had never even heard, that the days were hardly long enough.

The summer came to an end quickly and AH-NI-GHI´-TO returned to her “Grossy’s” home and to her kindergarten, of which she was very fond.

11Then Christmas came bringing many pretty toys for her, and soon afterward, coming home from the kindergarten one day, AH-NI-GHI´-TO found the dearest little sister waiting for her. At first she thought father had brought her, and was quite disappointed to learn that she had been sent, but as sister brought a letter from “dear old Dad” in which he told AH-NI-GHI´-TO that she must be very good so that she might set sister a good example, she began at once to take the part of elder sister.

All through the winter and spring and well into the summer AH-NI-GHI´-TO was a happy little girl. Each day sister grew to be more of a playmate, and the two little girls had merry times together; sometimes on the bed, sometimes on the floor, and often on the white, warm sand of the seashore. But one morning sister was not well and did not care to frolic with AH-NI-GHI´-TO. She would lie still and only smile a little sometimes, too sick to enjoy the fun. The next evening she went to sleep and even AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S kisses could not 12awaken her. Poor AH-NI-GHI´-TO, this was her first grief and she was nearly heart-broken. It was a long time before she could believe it was better for sister to be an angel in heaven where she would have no pain and where AH-NI-GHI´-TO would rejoin her some day and they would never be separated again.

The Black Ship which sailed for the Snowland


AH-NI-GHI´-TO was Six Years old now.

It seemed that AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S happy days were over for a while, for soon after this the big black ship which had sailed for the Snowland early in the summer to bring AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father news of her and his homeland, returned with the sad tidings that he had been caught by the cruel Jack Frost far up in the Snow country during the cold, dark winter and had his feet frozen. Though his letters told AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother that he was quite well now, still they had their doubts, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO said, “Oh, mother, can’t we go to father? I think he must need us to take care of him.” Her mother agreed that when the ship went north again the next June, she and AH-NI-GHI´-TO would go too. AH-NI-GHI´-TO could not see why they must wait so long. Why not go at once? She had quite forgotten that in the far north the long, cold night was now beginning and that all the sea was frozen solid. For four months father would have no sunlight: only the faint light of the stars and once a month the moon. Only when the summer 14came again with its bright warm sun to thaw the ice and allow the ship to plough her way through, could she go to him.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO was six years old now and was going to real school, but all her spare time she spent in getting ready for her coming visit to father in the Snowland.

She made many picture scrap-books, and paper dolls (with dozens of dresses for them) to give to the little Danish children who had been so kind to her when father’s ship stopped at their villages on the way home with the great Star stone. All her pennies were carefully saved that she might buy other presents for her many little friends. So the winter and spring passed, and at last came the day, July 7, when AH-NI-GHI´-TO bade Grossy and Tante good-bye, promising to surely return in the early Fall and perhaps bring father too.



At last We are on Our Way to see Father

On the way to join the ship she stopped to say good-bye to Uncle in New York and to dear old Grandma in Portland, Maine. Here too she promised to return in the Fall and if possible to bring father with her.

Her one wish now was to board the ship and get away, and this she really did on July 20 at Sydney, Cape Breton. That night before going to sleep she wrote in her diary.

July 20, 1900.—Glory, glory, at last mother and I are on our way to see father. I wonder how long it will take us. I can hardly wait.

“We have such tiny rooms here that one of us must stay in bed while the other dresses. Everything is very clean and comfortable and I 16have a little kitty with which to play, and I think I will like our maid too.

A little Kitty with which to play

When a Breeze would fill the Sails

“She is the wife of the steward. She has never been away from her home in Newfoundland before, except to go on the fishing boats to Labrador. They spend the summer there catching codfish, and live on it through the winter.”

During the first week the weather was clear but quite cold. At least AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother thought it was, to what they had had before leaving home.

The old ship, called the “Windward” was very slow, and so they were thankful when a 17breeze would fill the sails and help the engines push the ship ahead.

From Sydney they sailed through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, along the Newfoundland shore as far as the Straits of Belle Isle. Then through the straits, where the last lighthouse was passed, and along the Labrador coast. On July 29th letters for home were given a passing fisherman, who promised to mail them at the nearest place in Labrador where the mail boat would touch. This was AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S last chance to send news home to her dear ones until she returned herself the next autumn, and in one of her letters she wrote the following:

Charlie the Steward

S. S. Windward,” July 29, 1900.

My dear Uncle,—Nearly every day has been fine.

In the Straits of Belle Isle we passed many large cakes of ice. I am glad we had sunshine, because Captain 18Bartlett, whom I like very much, says there are rocks there too. If our ship should strike either of these it would wreck her; and we might easily run against them if the fog was thick and he could not see ahead.

My kitty is very wild and will not come to me, though I feed her milk and bread and try my best to make friends with her. The Captain is very jolly, and helps me have fun. He has had a nice swing put up for me on deck, and when our ship does not roll too much I have fine times there.

Percy, the maid, says she never saw children play, that where she comes from they only sit with their hands in their laps and keep quiet. I am glad I don’t live in that place. I am teaching her to play with my paper dolls and to play tea-party, but as she feels seasick most of the time we do not get along very fast.

Percy the Maid

Mother and I with Percy are at one end of the ship, while the Captain and his men are at the other end. 19We live in what is called the “after cabin” and the Captain and his officers live in the forward saloon, but the sailors are in the forecastle; so, you see, there is the whole length of the ship between us. I can make as much noise at my play as I choose, without any one being able to hear me. Percy serves our meals in our cabin, and it is just as if mother and I lived alone on the ship.

Captain Sam

The Captain comes down sometimes and plays checkers with me, which is very nice of him; and I am going to call him Captain Sam, because father has had two other captains by the name of Bartlett.

To-day it is raining and quite cold, and the poor fishermen look as if they would rather be indoors; but they say it is a good day for fish and they must try to get as many as they can. Mother 20bought enough fish for dinner and breakfast; and now I must close, for Captain Sam is waiting for our mail.

With much love and a bushel of kisses, from


P. S. We don’t have any real night at all now. It is daylight almost all night long.

As soon as the fisherman dropped into his boat with the mail the “Windward” went on her way, but the foggy weather and north winds kept her back a few days along the Labrador shore. Davis Strait was crossed in a wind storm which kept up for days, and one day while AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother was reading to her in the cabin there came a gust of wind wilder than any before. It was followed by a great crash on deck, a shower of broken glass from the cabin skylight and the shouting of the Captain to his men and the running of the sailors obeying his orders. AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother was frightened, but hardly had the glass stopped falling when AH-NI-GHI´-TO cried, “Go on with the story, mother.” She had been in so 21many storms at sea that she was not the least afraid, and took everything that happened on board ship as a matter of course.

A Great Iceberg

Captain Sam said afterwards that the ship had been tossed on the waves like a ball, and in the storm and fog had come so near a great iceberg that when the man on the lookout saw it she had to be brought round the shortest and quickest way, to keep her from being dashed to pieces against its frozen sides.

22This caused the bags of coal lashed on deck, to break loose and slide across the deck, smashing everything in their way.

Four hours later the ship was in a smooth sea with the sun shining brightly.

The bunch of bananas that were taken for father were now getting so ripe that they must be eaten, and it was AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S delight to take an armful on deck and divide them among the sailors. Some of them had never eaten them before.



A few days later the first stop in Greenland was made at Godhavn, the capital of the country. Just outside the harbour the pilot, an Eskimo in his tiny skin canoe or kayak, met the ship and was hoisted on board, canoe and all. Here Captain Sam expected to get some seal-skin clothing 24which had been ordered for AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father.

The Pilot in His Skin Canoe

The sun now shone throughout the twenty-four hours, so there was no night at all.

Godhavn, the Capital of Danish Greenland

When AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother told her Godhavn is the capital of Danish Greenland, AH-NI-GHI´-TO said, “Just as Washington is the capital of the United States? Oh, mother, how funny it is to look over there and see only a few frame houses one and a half stories high, a tiny frame church with a school-bell on top, and then only mounds of turf with a 25window stuck in the end of each and a chimney put on one side, —— and to think this is a capital city!”

But it is true. The Inspector of Danish Greenland, the Governor of Godhavn, and an assistant with their families are the only white people in the “city.”

Huts like Mounds of Grass on which the Dogs sleep

“The mounds of turf” as AH-NI-GHI´-TO calls them, are the native huts. They are only one story high and built of stone and turf half in and half above the ground. The turf with which the stones are chinked is allowed to grow 26until the stones can hardly be seen for grass. Some of the dogs belonging to the household are nearly always asleep on top of the huts, and this makes the huts look still more like mounds of grass. The Danish Governor requires the children of these natives to go to school and to church. The schoolmaster is also the preacher, and he is usually a native Greenlander who was taught in this same school when he was a boy.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO was disappointed because it was two o’clock in the morning when the anchor went down and every one on shore was asleep.

The Captain said we had no time to spare, and he would go ashore at once without waiting for rising-time, and see if the Governor would receive him. While he was gone a few of the natives, who had been roused by the tooting of the “Windward’s” whistle, came on board to find out whose ship it was and whether there was any chance for them to trade their toy kayaks (boats) and sledges for coffee, sugar, and biscuit.



Among them was an old native, named Broberg, who had seen AH-NI-GHI´-TO when she was a baby, and again when she was four years old. He first knew her father in 1886, and asked about him in his broken English. AH-NI-GHI´-TO was much amused, and later wrote in her diary:

August 10.—Came to Godhavn at two o’clock this morning. Could not go ashore. Saw some old Eskimos I had seen before. One old man was very funny. His name is Broberg. He came toward us and shook hands 28with mother and me and said, ‘Me very glad see you. You plenty big now. All you look plenty well. Me hope you find Peary all same well. Me go my house catch you kamiks. You pickaninny feet keep plenty warm in good kamiks. No cold, you wait, me see.’

“Mother teases me by saying that he said, ‘You plenty bad now,’ and not ‘plenty big,’ but I know he did not because he doesn’t know me well enough.”

While old Broberg had gone to see if he could “catch” a pair of warm kamiks (fur-lined boots) for AH-NI-GHI´-TO, she saw a few of her old friends, who as soon as they heard it was Peary’s ship, and that AH-NI-GHI´-TO was on board, showed their delight by bringing her the best they had, and they wanted her to come ashore and visit their pickaninnies.


Eskimo Family at Godhavn

One man brought his family close to where the ship lay, that AH-NI-GHI´-TO might see what fine children he had. The little girl, a child of three years, had on short, white leather kamiks (boots) with long seal-skin stockings coming to the thigh, but the tops of the stockings above the boots were covered with snow-white, lace-trimmed pantalettes made of muslin. Her little seal-skin trousers had bands of white leather embroidered in red, down the front of each leg, and her top garment made like a sweater, was of red and white figured calico, trimmed about the neck and wrists with black 30fur and lined with the soft, warm breasts of the eider duck. The baby was dressed very much like the babies at home, only the feet and legs were put into a fur bag covered with bright calico.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO pleased them by taking their pictures as they stood there hand in hand.

Nearly all the natives of Danish Greenland wear clothing made of woven material, for which they trade their furs and blubber with the Danish people who govern them and teach them.

In a short while Captain Sam returned. With him came the Inspector and the Governor. AH-NI-GHI´-TO heard that the Danish children whom she met here on her last visit were now living somewhere else, and of the two Danish families in Godhavn now only one had children. To these she sent fruit and sweets and said she hoped to see them on her return, for now the Captain was in a hurry to be off while the good weather lasted, and there was no time for visiting.

31Old Broberg returned, but had not been able to “catch” a pair of kamiks to fit AH-NI-GHI´-TO. He felt sorry about it and wished the Captain to wait until his daughters could make a pair, as he said “they plenty quick sew.” But of course this was not to be thought of.

Ivory Necklace, carved from Walrus Tusks and Narwhal Horns

32Just as the “Windward” was ready to leave and had blown her “good-bye” whistle a messenger from the Governor’s wife climbed over the ship’s side and handed AH-NI-GHI´-TO a beautiful ivory necklace as a keepsake.



In Melville Bay

For days after this, when it was clear, AH-NI-GHI´-TO could see no water; nothing but what looked like snow. It seemed to her as if the “Windward” would certainly be stopped by some of the heavy sheets of snow-covered ice. But the bright sun had been shining on it day and night for months, and it was not nearly so strong as it looked to be. When the ship struck it a sharp blow it shivered to pieces and the old “Windward” shoved them aside and pushed on. The sunlight on these great fields of snow-covered ice was so blinding that AH-NI-GHI´-TO was obliged to wear the darkest smoked-glass goggles all the time.

To wear smoked-glass Goggles all the Time

Even if the progress was slow AH-NI-GHI´-TO knew that every night when she 34lay down to sleep she was one day nearer her father’s camp, where she hoped to meet “dear old Dad,” whom she had not seen for over two years.

The ever dreaded Melville Bay, full of icebergs and large sheets of ice, was crossed at last. Captain Sam expected the north water to be free from the large pans of ice. He did not fear the great white icebergs, for the sun shone during the twenty-four hours without setting, and he could keep out of their way. Sometimes he would run the old ship right alongside of one of these “palaces of the Ice King” and fill the water tanks with pure cold water which formed in pools where the ice had been melted by the hot rays of the sun.

Sometimes AH-NI-GHI´-TO saw these large masses of ice turn “somersaults,” as she called it. This was caused by the water washing against 35the sides of the berg until the part in the water was lighter than that above the water, and the berg became top-heavy and tumbled over. At first there was a low rumbling noise, then as it gained headway it grew to a roar, like the increasing sound of an approaching train. This was followed by the boiling and foaming of the water (filled with pieces of ice which had broken off) as far as the eye could see, until at the shore the waves dashed high.

The poor old “ice palace” would roll over and over and rock and sway and totter until at last it regained its balance. But now the part which before had been under water was above it and glistened like polished silver, with lots of little rainbow colours in between, where the sun glinted from drops of sea water.

Here it would stay until some other time when it again became top-heavy by the washing of the waves, and the same thing would happen to it. Each time it would become smaller, until at last it was only a lump of ice floating idly about on the water. Such pieces are liked by 36the seals and walrus to crawl upon out of the cold water into the warm sunshine, and there take their sun-bath.

Iceberg, ‘Palace of the Ice King’

AH-NI-GHI´-TO thought it must be a very cold bed, but these animals all have such a thick 37blanket of fat wrapped entirely around them, just under the skin, that it does not seem cold to them.

One morning about four o’clock AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother came on deck to look around, when just alongside, on quite a large cake of ice she saw a beautiful snow-white bear. He had been swimming about in the hope of finding a seal or two for his breakfast, and coming to this cake of ice, thought he would get up on it, stretch his legs, and get a nice drink of water.

The man on the “lookout” had been looking at ice and water in the glaring sunshine for so long that he had failed to notice the bear who was just the colour of the ice on which it stood, and so it was that AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother was the first one to see it, and call the Captain.

Captain Sam never undressed when he went to bed while the ship was in motion, and so it was only a few moments before he appeared with his rifle. The poor bear did not seem to know that he was in danger for he stood quite still, with his head up sniffing the air, and watching 38the ship slowly nearing him. The Captain fired, and the bear jumped into the water and began to swim away. The Captain fired again, and though the poor brute did not stop, the water about him turned red and we knew he had been hit. Another shot and his head drooped and his body floated on the water. He was dead. A boat was lowered and the animal hoisted on board, where he was hung in the rigging to dry before being skinned and cut up.

Skinning the Bear

39AH-NI-GHI´-TO was very much excited. Her heart bled for the bear, and she hoped all the while the shooting was going on that he would get away. Her mother told her it was necessary to kill these animals for her father, who needed the meat to feed his dogs and his Eskimos, and the skin to make into clothing to help keep him warm during the long, cold winter. But AH-NI-GHI´-TO still grieved for the bear.



A few days later Etah, the place where her father had built his winter house, was sighted, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO thought that in a few hours she would be in his arms; but she was to be disappointed, for before the ship reached the inlet AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother saw that the dear old stars and stripes were not flying from the little red house, and told her this was a sure sign that father was not there.

As soon as the ship’s anchor was down a boat full of Eskimos came off from the shore and they said that Peary had not yet returned, but he had sent letters which were in his house on shore. Captain Sam jumped into the boat and in a short time brought letters from AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father, in which he told the Captain what he 41wanted done at Etah and that he wished the ship to come on to Fort Conger where he would meet it.

A Boat full of Eskimos

Now Etah is on the east shore of Smith Sound and Fort Conger, the place where AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father hoped to meet his vessel, is on the west side and nearly three hundred miles farther north. The ice here was very thick and only small lakes of water were to be seen through it, in the direction in which the ship must go.

42Both Captain Sam and AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother felt that there was little chance of getting to Fort Conger in their small ship. Before leaving Etah the Captain must get hundreds of tins of canned goods, barrels of flour, cases of sugar, rice, biscuit, oatmeal, etc., etc., on board to take with them. These had all been piled near the beach by AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father, ready to be put on the ship as soon as she came.

This took more than twenty-four hours and during this time AH-NI-GHI´-TO was ashore as much as possible meeting some of her old Eskimo friends and getting acquainted with others. That night she wrote in her diary:

August 20, 1900.—Ashore all day. Took a look at father’s house. It is very empty and very small. I also looked into the tents of the Eskimos. They are dirty places. Am so sorry not to find more children here. Only a boy nine or ten years old and a baby. They are going on the ship with us, so I guess I will have a good time. The ‘grown-ups’ thought it was very funny to see me jump rope with the ‘Bosun,’ and also to see me swing. They helped me pick flowers, which I have just finished pressing, and they took me to the glacier which mother 43says is a river of ice that flows down the mountain-side toward the sea just as if it were water, only it moves very slowly; not more than a few feet in a year. They tried to tell me about my father, but I did not understand them very well. I gave one of the women a white cup and she was very proud to have it. Early in the morning we hope to get away from here and take with us five grown Eskimos and two children. I wonder will we meet father soon.”

Father’s House is very small.


Coasted down the Slopes of the Ice Hummocks

Poor little AH-NI-GHI´-TO thought that in a few hours at most the ship would cross Smith Sound and reach her first landing-place on the opposite shore, Cape Sabine, only thirty miles away, where a depot of supplies and coal would be landed for the use of those on board the “Windward” in case she should be crushed in the ice, while trying to get north, and her people 45forced to return to the shore in boats. But it took eight long days to reach this place, and during all of this time there was hardly a moment when the ship was not in danger.

Sometimes the great sheets of ice would hold the “Windward” in their grasp and not allow her to move an inch. Then the current would take her, together with the ice, and drift the whole southward. In this way the ship was often farther south at the end of the day than she was when she started to steam north a few hours before. At these times when the “Windward” was drifting she was perfectly motionless and AH-NI-GHI´-TO, together with Percy and some of the Eskimos, would climb over the side of the ship onto the Hoes and there they would play and slide on the smooth ice; and once Captain Sam lashed two Norwegian skates called “Ski” together, and she coasted down the slopes of the ice hummocks. This was great sport and helped pass the time.

Eskimo Family

There were other times that were not so pleasant when the heavy fields of ice would crush against 46the ship so fiercely that pieces would break off and pile up against her sides till some of them fell upon the deck, and the ship would groan and tremble with the pressure like a person in pain. At times the ship would force her way between mountains of ice so high that the boats hanging at the davits had to be hauled in to keep them from being smashed, and all the seamen climbed out and chopped away the overhanging pinnacles as fast as possible so that the rigging would not be cut or torn away.

At last, after eight weary days in the ice, the little harbour was reached. Here a family of Eskimos had been watching the ship during the last three days, fearing all the time that she would 47be crushed and sink. Now there was great rejoicing, for the Eskimos on the ship had not seen this family since early Spring, and all were eager to gossip.

This family consisted of a man, Accom-moding-wah, his wife, Ah-we-a, a son of seven years, Ne-ah-kwa, and a daughter of twelve, Ach-ah-ting-wah. The boy, though some months older than AH-NI-GHI´-TO, was still a perfect baby; his mother nursing him like an infant; but the girl was a playmate for AH-NI-GHI´-TO and they soon became friends.



The “Windward” was run alongside of the rocks and made fast, and every one except a watchman intended to get a good night’s rest; the first in more than a week, for the next morning coal and provisions must be landed and this meant hard work for the men.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother too were glad go to bed. This they had not been able to do while pounding through the ice, for the big floes might crush the ship at any moment, and every one had to be ready to jump into the boats and leave her.

Now they had a fine bath and told Percy she need not call them for breakfast, as they wanted to sleep.


Lay with one side on the Rocks

At five o’clock in the morning Captain Sam knocked on the cabin door and called to AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother to get up and dress herself and AH-NI-GHI´-TO as quickly as possible. A brisk wind which sprang up towards morning had blown the ship in against the rocks, and here when the tide went out she lay with one side on the rocks, with only a few feet of water under her, and with the other side, where there were no rocks, far down in the water. As no one knew how much lower the tide would fall, Captain Sam thought it best to get every one and everything of value ashore as quickly as possible, for fear the vessel would capsize and sink.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother awoke her. By this time the cabin floor was almost at right angles to what it should have been,—the slant so steep that it was impossible to walk on it.


This was the 30th day of August

AH-NI-GHI´-TO, still in her berth, was quickly dressed in her warmest clothes, and after putting her own clothing on, AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother gathered the important papers and as much warm clothing as possible into a bag; AH-NI-GHI´-TO begging all the time not to leave her dolly and her kitty. When this was done Percy took the bag, and Captain Sam and the steward helped them on deck. This was not very easy, as some of you may find out if you try to crawl up a board with one end on a barrel and the other 51on the ground. Again and again one or the other slipped back, but at last the deck was reached, and now all that could be done was to sit down and slide over the side into a boat held there by the sailors, for the water was on a level with this side of the deck, while the opposite side looked as if it were right overhead.

Although this was the 30th day of August, the snow was falling so fast that the shore, a few yards away, could hardly be seen. Thither the boat was rowed, and there AH-NI-GHI´-TO with her mother and Percy landed.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO did not realize that the ship was in great danger, and so her one thought was to have a good time. Together with the Eskimo girl Achatinǵwah and Percy the maid, she snowballed and made snow forts, which were shot at with cannon-balls made of snow; when tired of this she went off to explore a little valley where Achatinǵwah told her there was a lake.

They were gone about an hour, and when they returned AH-NI-GHI´-TO was much excited and said she had seen footprints of an 52animal, which Achatinǵwah told her were fox-tracks. She followed them for a short distance, when they were crossed by hare-tracks. These she followed up the side of the cliff, and all at once around the corner of a big boulder peeped the hare himself. He was sitting on his hind legs, his nose twitching as he sniffed her,—a fine, large fellow, snowy white all over except the tips of his ears, which were black. AH-NI-GHI´-TO thought he was tame like the little white bunnies at home, but as soon as she came near him away he scampered much faster than the children could follow.

At ten o’clock the good ship was once more afloat and out of danger but not quite upright yet. As AH-NI-GHI´-TO was very hungry by this time, all went on board. The steward had lighted a fire in the cabin stove and swept the water out of the cabin, but everything was still wet. Breakfast was prepared at once and soon every one was feeling better, but very tired. Getting up at five o’clock in the morning and being put out in a blinding snowstorm for five 53hours without anything to eat or drink, and without even a place where one can sit down unless it is on the snow-covered ground, is not at all pleasant.

A large Field of Ice had been pushed across the Entrance to the Harbour

The poor men who had been working waist-deep in the icy water were worn out and could do no more work that day.

Two days later all needed supplies had been landed and the “Windward” was ready to start north again. Captain Sam, who had been carefully watching the ice drift past the harbour day 54and night, now told AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother that a large field of ice had been pushed across the entrance to the harbor and shut the door, so to speak, on the ship, and nothing could be done.

If this field of ice should break up then the ship would be free to go on her way; but unless the wind broke it up or blew it away from the entrance, AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother with all on board would be prisoners for the winter.

This was a dreadful thing to happen, for no one had taken clothing enough to last so long a time. Thanks to AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father, there was food enough for every one, such as it was. AH-NI-GHI´-TO had learned to eat many things that she thought she could never eat, and also to do without things that she had thought were necessary.

One morning AH-NI-GHI´-TO awoke and found it was September 12th. Then there was great rejoicing all over the ship, for this was AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S seventh birthday, and the fourth one spent in the Snowland.

55She jumped out of bed to see what kind friends had given the “Birthday Man” to bring her, and was kept busy as a bee all day long. In her diary she wrote the story of the day.



September 12, 1900, and my birthday. I never expected to spend it in this country when I left home. Grossy promised me a party, but mother gave it to me here instead, and I have had a beautiful day. When I came into the cabin I found such a nice chocolate cake, with seven candles burning around it, and a doll, oh a beauty, all dressed in dotted swiss over pink silk with a pink sash and white stockings and white kid shoes. She is one of my prettiest children, and I have named her Lois, after a little girl I met in Sydney, and who was very kind to me. I also found a pair of doll’s real seal-skin slippers, a purse, a box of chocolates, and a two-and-a-half gold-piece. The sailors asked Captain Sam to allow them to hoist the flag in my honour and he did so. The men gave me three cheers when they hoisted it. Mother had the steward make a pitcher of hot grog and cut up a big cake, and then he and I took it around to all the men and gave them their share. At tea time I invited Captain Sam and the Chief Engineer to take tea with me. The supper-table looked very pretty, with the candles burning about my 57cake, and we had a jolly time playing games afterward, but oh dear, I could not help thinking every little while if only father were here how much nicer everything would be. I had nothing to give the Eskimos except some coffee and biscuit, which they like, and some candy which they don’t care much about, but they seemed pleased, especially with my doll. They thought it was alive because it had real hair and could open and shut its eyes.”


58Achatinǵwah was AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S daily companion, and the two little girls had a merry time together. This little Eskimo girl’s father was dead. A walrus had pulled him into the water and drowned him. But her mother, Aweah, had another husband, who took care of Achatinǵwah. She had two real brothers and a stepbrother.

One of her own brothers was Ahnǵoodloo, who, besides being the “Captain” of all the Eskimos who worked for AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father, was the husband of “Billy Bah,” the Eskimo girl who was AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S first nurse. She came to AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S home in Washington and spent a year with her and then returned to the Snowland.

Ahnǵoodloo was one of the only two left-handed men in the tribe, and he was the best hunter of all. He was very fond of AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father and always stayed with him.

Achatinǵwah also had another brother, Wee-shá-kup-sie, who spent a year in New York City and returned to his country when AH-NI-GHI´-TO´S 59father went there the last time. So Achatinǵwah knew more about the ways of the “Kab´loonahs” (white people) than most of her tribe.


Mrs. Ahnǵoodloo]

Her hair was always smooth and her face and hands clean when she came to play with AH-NI-GHI´-TO.

60She wore yellow kamiks (boots) made of the tanned seal-skin, and these she rubbed with snow to clean them before coming on the ship. Her trousers, made of the skins of the blue fox and the white fox, she also rubbed with snow and beat with an ivory knife made for this purpose out of a walrus tusk, until they looked like new. Her kapetah (coat with hood), made of the fox-skins, too, she took off in the cabin, and her bird-skin shirt looked white and clean.

The days grew shorter and shorter, and soon the day came when the sun did not shine in the little harbour at all, and, looking to the south, the big, round, yellow ball could not be seen on the horizon. This meant that he was on his way south and would keep travelling away from the Snowland until the 21st of December. Then he would start back again, but not until the middle of February would he shine upon AH-NI-GHI´-TO and the ship again.

It was now settled that the “Windward” must stay in her icy bed during the coming winter and spring and part of the summer, and 61every one was busy making things as comfortable as possible; for it grows very cold after the sun leaves, and the north wind blows through every crack and cranny.

During these long months it was dark all of the time, except for the moonlight and starlight, which made deep black shadows on the snowdrifts and ice hummocks. These caused AH-NI-GHI´-TO to have many a tumble, because the ice seemed level where it was full of hollows and holes.

But Achatinǵwah and the two Eskimo boys came every day for AH-NI-GHI´-TO to go sliding and coasting with them, in spite of the cold and darkness.

Many curious things she learned these days, as this extract from her diary will show:

“Clear day. No wind. Achatinǵwah and I were out coasting from eleven to nearly one. The stars were very bright.

“Achatinǵwah told me all about the Eskimo stars. I know only one, the great Dipper. Achatinǵwah says the stars in this are a herd of reindeer in the sky. The 62Eskimos call it TOOK-TOK´-SUE. Then there are three other bright stars which are the stones supporting the lamp of an Eskimo woman up in the sky; and a hunter and his dogs after a bear, and lots more.

“I wish Father were here to tell me what we call them. When we came on board, Captain Sam said the thermometer on deck had been at seventy-two degrees below freezing all day.”

They never went far from the ship, so that they could run on board, into the warm galley (kitchen), where the steward, kind old Charley, was ever ready to give them a hot drink, and allow them to warm their fingers and toes, even if he did threaten to make mince meat out of them if they bothered him too much.

One day he said to AH-NI-GHI´-TO: “Why don’t you have a party on the ice? Get the youngsters to help you fix up a house, and I will help you with the supper.”

This was a great idea for the children, and at first they intended to build a real native snow igloo; but, as the grown Eskimos were too busy to help them, they soon found this was too much for them to do alone.

63Then AH-NI-GHI´-TO went to the Captain and asked him to lend her one of her father’s tents, and have the men put it up for her out on the ice. When this was done, the children shovelled the soft snow up on the sides of the tent as high as they could reach. This kept the wind from blowing under the canvas into the tent.

It took them several days to do this and to furnish and decorate their reception room. Large boxes were brought from the ship and covered as tables; small ones were used as chairs. The walls were draped with flags, and a lantern was hung at each end.

While AH-NI-GHI´-TO wrote the invitations to an “At Home,” her playmates shovelled a path through the deep snow from the tent to the ship.



Just before it was time for the guests to arrive, Charley took out a steaming pot full of chocolate; three plates piled high with cake, cookies, and sandwiches. AH-NI-GHI´-TO came after some taffy she had made the night before, and last of all Charley took out an oil-stove, which he placed in one corner of the tent. “For,” said he, “it is all very well for Miss AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her young Eskimo friends to be out here with the temperature 70 degrees below freezing, for they are dressed in furs from head to feet, but the invited people would have the good things freeze in their mouths with no fire at all.”

Billy, one of the ship’s men, acted as butler, and the party was a great success.

The guests stayed as long as the eatables lasted, and then the Eskimos licked the cups 65and the crumbs, and amid shouts of laughter the dishes were brought aboard. But when Charley asked who would help wash up, every one was much too tired and sleepy.

A Snow Wall all around the Ship.

The “Windward” would not have been taken for a ship now except for her masts and spars. For weeks the men had been cutting blocks of snow from the hard drifts and building a snow wall all around the ship, close to her hull and a few feet higher than her rail. At night water was thrown on this wall until it 66became solid ice, through which no wind could come.

From the top of this wall, across the ship to the other side, canvas was stretched as a roof, and this gave a covered place on deck, where AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her friends played when the wind howled and whirled the snow so fast that it was not possible to stand up against it.

The natives, too, as soon as they knew that they must spend the winter here, said they wanted to go ashore and build their own houses, for then they could keep much warmer with less fuel than on the ship. They were not used to so much room and did not feel at home in it.

Each family built their own igloo; the women working with the men. Achatinǵwah’s mother helped carry the heavy bowlders from far off for their igloo, while Achatinǵwah scraped them free of snow and helped to loosen those that were frozen down, by pounding them with smaller stones.

After enough had been collected a place was scraped free from snow and made level; and for 67this they were glad to borrow the ship’s tools, for it would take much longer to clear the spot with only a rude knife made from walrus tusk than it did with a large shovel.

At one end of the circular space Achatinǵwah’s father built a platform about a foot high.

Building an Igloo.

The walls he put up, just as a stone mason would put them up, only he used turf which Achatinǵwah brought, instead of mortar, to stop the cracks. After the walls were three or four feet high the whole was roofed over. Usually this is done with large flat stones, but as Achatinǵwah’s father was in a hurry to get his family moved into the house he threw a walrus-hide over the top and held it down with heavy rocks to keep the wind from blowing it off.

The igloo was then thickly covered with snow, and the inside of it lined with seal skins.

68The doorway, or entrance, was scarcely two feet high, and opened into a long, low passage-way which ended in a vestibule as high as the igloo itself. This passage-way and vestibule Achatinǵwah’s father built of snow-blocks.

The natives leave their fox-skin kapetahs (coats) in this vestibule if they are covered with snow, for if they took them into the warm igloo the snow would melt, and it would take a long while to dry the heavy fur garments.

After the skins had been put on the platform Achatinǵwah brought in two Eskimo lamps with which to heat and light the igloo.

These were cut out of soapstone by her father with his knife, and were shaped like our dustpans. She filled them with small pieces of blubber from the seal, and then placed dried moss across the straight side. This she lighted, and the heat from it melted the blubber and soaked it up, burning it like a wick. These lamps must be tended all the time, or the smoke from them would soon cover everything with a greasy soot.



70Near the top of the igloo above the lamps, Achatinǵwah’s mother fastened a sort of lattice-work rack, made by lashing sticks together with sinew. On this the members of the family put their wet stockings, mittens, and shirts to dry.

Close down over each lamp she hung an oblong-shaped pot, also made of soapstone, in which the snow is melted for drinking-water. The Eskimos never use water for any other purpose. They had never heard of a bath until AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father and mother came among them, and the most they ever did was to wipe their faces with a greasy bird-skin.

Achatinǵwah now helped her mother bring their stock of bear, deer, and seal skins into the igloo and spread them on the platform, and the family was settled for the winter.

Over the stone lamps Achatinǵwah’s mother cooked their food, and on the platform the entire family slept.

Days when it was too cold and stormy to go to the ship this platform was the playground of Achatinǵwah and her little brother, where they amused themselves with little figures of 71men and women, toy sledges and dogs, and canoes; bears, seals, foxes, walrus, and the other strange animals of the Snowland, carved by their father from the teeth of the walrus; or played “cat’s cradle,” making Toó-loo-ah the raven, Ter-i-a-níah the fox, Oo-kud´-ah the hare, and Ka-lil´-o-wah the great narwhal, with sinew strings. Sometimes they played “cup and ball” with a slender ivory pin and the bone of a seal with two holes drilled in it.

Then at night they snuggled warmly under the thick, heavy furs, hugging each other tightly as they heard their father and mother talking of “Tor-naŕ-suk” the “evil one,” or how “Nan-nook´-soah,” the great white bear, had carried off and eaten one of their relatives.

Very glad they were that the Oo-miak´-soah (ship) was so near, to frighten Nan-nook´-soah away; otherwise at every growl of the wind about their hut they would have thought he was pushing his great head with the little eyes, red tongue, and long teeth, into the entrance after them.



After the stone igloos had all been built, the men built snow huts in which their dogs could find shelter from the fierce north winds, for, except when the wind blew, the Eskimo dog would rather curl up on the snow than be housed.

The sledges and harnesses were put on top of these huts, where the dogs could not reach them. When they get loose the Eskimo dogs chew up everything they can get hold of, no matter how well fed they may be.

The Eskimos on shore made quite a little settlement, and their visits to the ship made things lively on board.


She dressed exactly as the Eskimos did

74AH-NI-GHI´-TO now spoke the Eskimo language perfectly, and every native was her friend. She dressed exactly as they did, except that she wore a woollen union suit instead of the bird-skin shirt. Often her mother looked for her several minutes before noticing that she was right alongside the ship with her Eskimo companions. But when her back was turned it was not an easy matter to know the little white girl among the fur-clad children.

The Eskimo dog chews up everything

In February her mother sent letters for the dear ones at home, by the Eskimos, to a place 75where the whaling ships would stop on their way to catch the big black whales. Then, if the old “Windward” should be held by the ice until it was too late to return home the coming summer, the grandmothers and uncles and aunt would know that all were well, and did not return because the ship could not get out of the ice.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO sent this letter home:

February 21, 1901.

My dear Grossy and Tante and Uncle,—I am afraid you will be worried not to hear from me for so long a time, so I take this first chance to write this letter to you. I will come to see you soon, I hope. I want to see you all very much. I play on the ice every day and have a fine time with Billy and the Eskimo children. We have been in the ice for ever so many days. We have had a good time most always, but I want to see you all.

I will tell you how I spent my Christmas. A week before, we began to get ready for the holidays. Mother baked a whole stack of raisin loaves and cut fifteen stockings out of some canopy lace, and I worked them round with red worsted. These we filled with dates, peanuts, chocolates, home-made taffy, mixed candy, a silver dollar, popcorn, prunes, and oranges.

76At eight o’clock on Christmas eve I went down into the forecastle with Charley and gave each man half a loaf of raisin cake, and a big pot of chocolate for all. They cheered and clapped and I left them to enjoy their feast.

I played parchesi with mother and the Captain until ten o’clock, then I hung up my stocking and went to bed.

In the morning it was full. I jumped out of bed and found in it several pieces of money, two pieces of pink ribbon, a book, a paper doll and her dresses, and a box of chocolates. I was delighted, and could only wish father and Grossy and tante and uncle were here to see how happy I am.

While on deck a little later, playing with the Eskimo children and Billy, Maksangwah handed me a lovely card and a box of beads from Mr. Warmbath.

About two P. M. mother called to me that it was time to invite all hands down into the cabin to get their Christmas stockings.

When we all came down, there, in the middle of the table blazed a beautiful Christmas tree, which Mr. Warmbath had made for me as a surprise. It looked as if it had just been cut in the woods, and yet he made every bit of it. I will tell you how.

First he made a skeleton tree, using a broomstick for the trunk and making the branches out of heavy wire; then he covered the wire with softened wax, until some of the branches were one half an inch thick and others not so big. Some wax was also put on the broomstick, 77and when trunk and branches were entirely covered with wax, they were all thickly sprinkled with coffee-grounds, well pressed into the wax. This made them look just like the branches of a pine tree without its needles. Next he took some hay and laid it out straight on a box and painted it green. When the paint was dry he cut it into pieces about as long as pine needles and with melted wax stuck them all over the branches of the tree. It looked so real that I thought I could smell the lovely pine woods at home.

All around the tree mother had put the stockings. It was a fine sight.

The tree was trimmed in chains made of popcorn, and some of tin-foil, cornucopias, “silver dollars,” and two dozen candles.

The Eskimos were very sober at first because they thought we were worshipping it, but when they saw us laughing and I gave each a stocking, they too shouted and laughed and said “peuk! peuk!” many times. Mother gave them cake and coffee, and I tried to tell them that trees like this grew in the ground where the white man lived; but this they did not believe, and said, “Oh, you can’t fool us, we saw Mr. Warmbath make this one.”

For our Christmas dinner we had roast beef (canned), stewed tomatoes (canned), dandelion greens and corn (canned), and baked beans. Then plum pudding with sauce.

78After dinner we had songs and games, and for a little while I quite forgot that I was thousands of miles away from home and hundreds of miles from any other white people. Mother and I had been invited to take tea with Captain Sam in the forward saloon, and we spent a pleasant evening. I wondered if father had a good Christmas and if he was coming to us soon. This is the first real Christmas tree celebration the natives have ever seen, and I am sure they will never forget it.

So you see I had a good time, only I wanted you all to be with me too. I send you much love and many, many kisses.

Your loving


A tiny baby in the hood

The holidays over, everything went on as usual. AH-NI-GHI´-TO took walks with her mother and some of the Eskimos nearly every day. Once in climbing a steep slope of hard snow AH-NI-GHI´-TO began to slip and could not stop herself. It was very far to the bottom and she was badly frightened, but one of the Eskimo boys ran to her, and digging his feet into the hard snow far enough to catch his heels and keep himself steady, he held on to her until she too had made a place in the snow for her heels. Then together they carefully picked their way off the slippery slope to where the snow was soft and their feet sank into it.

Such little flat noses

Another time they walked farther than they intended, and the moon went behind the clouds, 80leaving it quite dark. In taking a short cut they came to a slope which, in the dim light, looked as if it were not very steep, and they decided to sit down and slide; but no sooner was AH-NI-GHI´-TO seated than away she shot out of sight, the others following her so quickly that no one was able to give the warning. It was a good thing that there was a bed of soft snow at the bottom, into which the youngsters tumbled.

There was a little daylight every day after January 15th, yet the sun did not really shine on the “Windward” until February 21st.

The days kept getting longer and longer; that is, the sun rose earlier and set later each day until on March 21st, Spring’s opening, he shone from 6 o’clock in the morning until 6 o’clock in the evening and there was daylight all night long. Strange to say, it was now very much colder than it had been while it was dark. 81But no one minded the cold as long as the sun shone.

The Eskimos from across Smith Sound came oftener to visit the ship, and every time they brought AH-NI-GHI´-TO either fur mittens or stockings or kamiks; and what pleased her most, numbers of children came with them. She wrote:

I shall get Billy to wash them

“When Achatinǵwah and I came in from coasting to-day, we found eight sledges with Eskimos had come over from Etah, and oh, there are so many children I know we are going to have a good time.

“Three of the women have tiny babies in their hoods. One of them was brought to the mother just before she started for the ship. It is much uglier than the others. Its head wobbles back and forth against its mother’s bare shoulder. She carries it all naked, except for a little tight fur cap and a short fox-skin shirt, in a hood on her back right next her bare skin, which helps keep it warm. Its eyes are never open, and it makes me think of a young kitten.

“The other two must be older, for they can hold up their heads, and they have their eyes open all the time when they are awake.

82“When the mothers want to feed them they take the little naked things out of the hoods, without covering them—right out on deck in the cold, and the babies don’t seem to mind it at all. Then there are some little boys. I shall get Billy to wash them to-morrow so I can play with them.

“They all have black hair and big black eyes and white teeth and such little flat noses, and they wear the funniest little short trousers made of bear-skin, with tiny fur-lined boots and big fox-skin coats. I could laugh every time I look at them.

Funny little bear-skin trousers

“Achatinǵwah told me all about the sun and moon to-day. Ever so many years ago, longer than the oldest Eskimos can remember, a girl ran out of an igloo with a piece of lighted moss in her hand. Her brother ran after her with a larger piece of moss. They ran so long they ran right up into the sky, where the girl became the moon and her brother the sun. Isn’t it funny? We say there is a man in the moon; the Eskimos think it is a girl.”



March went and April came, with “April Fool’s Day” and Easter, of which, of course, AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S Eskimo friends knew nothing.

During April there were many pleasant days, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother were out most of the time.

The Eskimos crossed Smith Sound to the open water off the Greenland shore, where the walrus were plentiful and where most of the tribe gather every spring for the hunt. Each family builds a snow igloo, and there they stay and hunt and feast until the breaking up of the ice warns them that if they wish to return to their settlement before the next autumn they must move on.

84Only one family and an orphan boy remained with the ship. This boy was the son of Magipsu, the seamstress who sewed for AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother the first time she came to the Snowland, and whom she found dying two years later.

This poor little fellow had also lost his father since then and was all alone. No one in particular took care of him, but if he needed clothing the family who could best spare it gave it to him, and his food he got wherever he happened to be.

Koodluk´too, or “Good luck to you” as Charley called him, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO became great friends, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S mother said he could stay on the ship and she would take care of him as long as she remained in the Snowland.

This gave AH-NI-GHI´-TO a constant companion and guide; for he knew the feeding places of the hare and the fox, and the nesting places of the Eider duck, the Brant Goose, and other birds whose eggs would be a very welcome change on the bill of fare.

85Though young, Koodluk’too, like all the Eskimo boys, could drive dogs, and he and AH-NI-GHI´-TO had frequent rides drawn by six or eight dogs that looked for all the world like wolves. She wrote:

The dogs look very pretty going along

April 28.

A beautiful day, and I have had such fun. Koodluk’too took me out sledge-riding way round Elephant Head and back. The dogs were not used to pulling together, so that we did not always go where we wanted to.

“As the dogs are guided by the whip and not with reins like our horses, it kept poor Koodluk’too’s arm going all the time, and he got so excited when they would not obey him that he cut me over the head and round the neck as he swung the whip over his shoulder. But my fur hood is so thick that it did not hurt me at all. It made him feel badly because he says the men don’t do that and he ought to know better.

86“I thought he would surely be hoarse, for he kept shouting to the dogs all the time.

“Once when we crossed a fox’s track on the ice the dogs started off in a gallop to follow it, and the only way Koodluk’too could stop them was to steer the sledge up against a big lump of solid ice. It gave me a fearful bump and would have thrown me off if he had not warned me to hold tight.

“The dogs look very pretty when they are going along. Each one has his bushy tail laid up on his back like a feather duster.

“It is fine sport to skim over the smooth ice, but I don’t believe I should like to ride all day long.”


Before leaving, one of the Eskimo men gave AH-NI-GHI´-TO a puppy with which she and Koodluk’too had great sport. She was reddish-brown in colour and AH-NI-GHI´-TO named her “Cinnamon,” but called her “Cin” for short. She was full of mischief and was known to the sailors as “Sinful.”

87On May 5th AH-NI-GHI´-TO coaxed her mother to have cake baked, so that she could feast her friends the next day, it being her father’s birthday. All day she was busy with Charley getting her feast ready, and when night came she was glad to climb into her bunk and go to sleep. She did not dream that something great would happen before breakfast the next day.

The next evening she wrote in her diary:

May 6. It seemed as though I had only just closed my eyes when I was awakened by Mother, who was sitting up in bed calling, ‘Charley, Charley, unlock the cabin door quickly, Mr. Peary has come.’ At first I thought she was dreaming, but a second later I heard some one rattling at the cabin door, while Charley, half asleep, was trying to unlock it. Then a great giant all dressed in bear and deer skins was coming toward the bed asking for his baby, and here was Father really and truly, safe and well, and on his birthday too; glory, glory, now we could really celebrate, and Mother knew his step even when she was asleep. Dear old Dad, he looks the same. Of course we got right up and dressed, while Father took his bath, and at five o’clock in the morning our whole family sat down to breakfast together, for the first time in three years. The day has been a holiday for every one on board.”



After AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father returned, the time fairly flew.

Ahnǵoodloo and Billy Bah were among the Eskimos who returned with AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father, and they now joined AH-NI-GHI´-TO and Koodluk´too in their play.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father said he would not return home this summer, but would remain another year and once more try to reach the North Pole.

During all the long winter months, while AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S home had been on the “Windward,” the old ship had been as steady as a house on shore, for she was held firmly by the ice and could not move. But on June 7th, while AH-NI-GHI´-TO was at dinner with her parents, they were surprised to hear a loud creaking noise and at the same time feel the ship quiver and then roll slightly from side to side.


A Narwhal

“We are free,” said AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father; “the old ‘Windward’ has broken out of her winter berth and longs to be off again.” Everybody rushed on deck, and surely enough the old ship was afloat once more.

But the ice had only melted away from her sides, leaving her without a support. Nowhere else did it seem inclined to break away, so that while the “Windward” was afloat she was still a prisoner in the ice.

90By the middle of June the sea ice was covered with pools of water, and it was no easy task to get ashore from the ship without getting the feet wet. Snow buntings (our snowbirds) were flitting about the rocks, and small tufts of green grass were to be seen here and there.

The Eskimos harpooned some narwhal out at the edge of the ice, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO is perhaps the only little white girl who ever saw these strange Arctic sea animals, with their long white ivory horns and huge tails.

It was now decided to help free the ship by having the men saw a road through the ice to the open water beyond.

Saws eight and ten feet long were used, and for weeks the sawing went on.

Sometimes a bottle filled with gunpowder was let down under the ice through a hole that had been drilled, and the long fuse that had been fastened to it was lighted. When the fire reached the powder it exploded; but although it cracked the ice for a little distance, very little was broken off.


AHNG´OODLOO and a Narwhal Head with its Long White Ivory Horn

During this time AH-NI-GHI´-TO was over on the island with Koodluk´too and Billy Bah 92every day, gathering eggs, which were plentiful now.

The huge Tail of a Narwhal

The ducks lay their eggs on the ledges of the rocks, in nests made of the down which they pluck from their breasts.

As hundreds of the birds had their nests on this island, it was not necessary to take the eggs from the same nest twice, and this left enough eggs for the birds to breed.

One day a great windstorm swept down from 93the north and broke off all the ice which had been cracked by the blasting and carried it out of the harbour. Only a small pan of one-year-old ice was left between the ship and the open water.

The fires were started under the boiler, and with the help of the saws and the steam, the ship soon pushed out the remaining ice, and on July 3rd, with every living creature in the settlement on board (not forgetting about seventy-five dogs), the “Windward” steamed out of the little harbour where she had been lying for ten months, and reached Littleton Island on the opposite shore that evening.

The next day was Fourth of July, and it was decided to have a holiday.

The ship was dressed in her flags, and all who wanted to go went shooting birds or hunting walrus.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO did neither of these things, but she had a happy day and in her diary tells about it:

July 4, 1901.—A beautiful day. Warm, bright, and sunshiny. The Eskimo men and most of the sailors 94went out after breakfast to see what they could find, and came in at four o’clock with one hundred and twenty-five ducks, three barrels of eggs, and two walrus. The eggs will be packed away for father’s use in the fall. Mother, father, Percy, and I have been ashore gathering flowers and playing tag and having a fine old-time. Dinner at five o’clock, and then I heard mother and father planning to walk across the country to Etah while Captain Sam took the ‘Windward’ around there. I coaxed them to let me go with them. Mother said I could not walk it because there would be so much climbing to do, but father said, ‘Let her try it. I believe she can do it.’ At half-past seven father had two of the sailors put us ashore and with our kapetahs (fox-skin coats) over our arms we started off. Over the rocks we went—up one side, down the other side, of the cliffs. In some places my feet went into the wet moss above my ankles. The steep, hard snowbanks gave me lots of tumbles. In one place we had to climb around the high steep walls of a cliff with the icy water dashing against them twelve feet below. Father said it was about twelve feet, but I thought it was twenty-five. If I had fallen I should have had the coldest bath I ever had. We had to wade through some of the shallow brooks, and they were cold enough for me. I was very tired, but I had made up my mind not to say a word about it. It took us two hours, and father said we had walked about six miles; but we beat the ‘Windward,’ for when we got to the Igloos at Etah, she was just coming 95round the point, and that pleased me, for now I could tease Captain Sam. As soon as the ‘Windward’ got in, mother and I went on board, and mother rubbed me down, gave me a cup of cocoa, and put me to bed, too tired to write up my diary; but I wrote it up this morning so the home folks will know what I did on the glorious Fourth.”



From Etah the “Windward” steamed to Northumberland Island, where the Eskimo women, children (except Koodluk´too), and dogs, with a few of the old men, were landed with their tents and enough food to last them a few weeks.

The ship with the rest on board started for a walrus hunt.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father wanted to get packed away as much meat as possible, with which to feed his natives and dogs during the coming winter. AH-NI-GHI´-TO herself tells how these huge animals were hunted.

Dead Walrus on Ice Cake

“For the last ten days we have been hunting walrus. The walrus is a large animal which lives in the water, but like the whale 97it cannot breathe under water. It comes to the surface and fills its lungs with air by taking deep breaths, then it closes its nose tight and goes under, where it can stay many minutes without breathing.

Hoisting a Walrus on Board

“They love to crawl upon the pans of ice when the sun shines, warming themselves and sleeping for hours at a time. It is then the hunters go after them. The walrus are hunted with both gun and harpoon.


AH-NI-GHI´-TO and Billy standing on the dead Walrus

Cutting up Walrus on the Ice

“Father sends out each boat with one or two white men and their rifles, and four Eskimos with harpoons and floats. They row toward the pan of ice where the walrus are asleep, coming up to them from the side where the wind blows from the walrus to the boat. If they came from the other side the walrus would smell them even in their sleep. When the boat is close enough each Eskimo throws his harpoon at a walrus, and all the walrus slide off the ice into the water. Those struck by the natives have the harpoon head fastened in their skin with a line to it. The other end of the line is fastened to a float. Now the boat follows them, and every time the walrus comes up to breathe one of the men with the rifles tries to shoot him. They are very hard to kill because the hide is so thick and tough and the fat is so thick under it. Sometimes if the walrus are full grown they get mad and make for the boat, which they try to upset with their ivory tusks. Even if they don’t upset the boat they often put their tusks right through it, and frighten the Eskimos very much; and I guess the white men are scared too, only they won’t say so. After a walrus is killed the float is left fastened to him and we come along in the ship and hoist him on board. He is not a pretty animal but very large, and the meat is the best food for the dogs. The walrus weighs more than a thousand pounds, but his ears are tiny holes in his head, so small I can just put my finger into one. But his mustache is terrible. I am glad father’s is not 99like it. The bristles are as big around as one of mother’s knitting needles, but only as long as my finger, and the ends are very sharp. I wonder if Mrs. Walrus kisses him sometimes. Mother said she thought not. After father gets about twenty-five walrus on board we steam alongside of some large ice floe and all the animals are put on the ice and cut up. This saves the mess on deck. The meat and skin and blubber are kept separate, and packed away for dog food in the winter when everything is frozen. When father has seventy-five walrus cut up he says, ‘We will go back to Cape Sabine, if we can, and land the meat and start all over again.’ I hope we won’t get caught in the ice if we go.”

About the middle of July there were nearly ten thousand pounds of clear meat on board, and as the weather was fine it was thought best 100to take the “Windward” back to her winter home and there land the meat.

This was done without meeting any ice; but after reaching the little harbour the wind blew a gale for several hours.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO was on shore during this time and wrote about it in her diary.

July 16.—Fine day. Wind blowing hard in the evening. After dinner mother and father and I went ashore, and I pinned some more pictures on the walls of father’s room and his dining-room. When I got through we went to the lake, where I spent some time sailing my boats and digging in the water among the rocks. About five p. m. my feet were very wet and we started for the ship. We saw her driving away from the shore. The wind was blowing a gale so that we could hardly stand up against it. But the ship sailed off out of sight. We waited and ‘shivered our timbers,’ but she did not come back, so we went to father’s house and a fire was made at once. Mother took off my wet kamiks and stockings and I put on a pair of father’s socks. We had supper in regular picnic style. A box on father’s trunk was our table, a paper on it was our cloth, beans and corn in the can, coffee we drank out of beer-mugs, and biscuit galore made our hearty supper.

101“We were just beginning to plan how we should spend the night, when ‘hoot’ went a whistle, and looking out of the window we saw the old ship in the harbour. The wind was not blowing so hard now, so I put on my kamiks and we went aboard. Here we learned that the ‘Windward’ had actually been blown from her fastenings, and the Captain had to steam out to keep her from going on the rocks.

“To-night I feel as if I had been on a picnic.

“We leave here in a few minutes for Etah, and to-morrow I am going to have a day with father and mother among the bird cliffs near Etah.”

Ah’-wik-so-ah (The Walrus)

I wonder if Mrs. Walrus kisses him sometimes



July 17.—Fine day with a little wind. Arrived at Etah this morning. After dinner I started ashore for the Eskimo tents with mother and father. We had not gone far when we were overtaken by one of father’s Eskimos with sledge and dogs. We all hopped on, and away we dashed, over the ice and through the pools of water until we came around the corner of the cliffs. Here we saw hundreds of little birds called ‘Little Auks’ perched on the rocks. Father said if we could get ashore we might find some eggs, as these birds lay their eggs among the loose rocks, without making a nest. Each bird lays one egg only. After quite a little trouble we reached the rocks and began to look for eggs. I found the first one. After finding a few more we went on to the tents. At them we found that all the men had gone out to catch ‘Little Auks,’ so we went to the bird place. Here the rocks were actually covered with the birds. How they chattered! They would fly so close over our heads that we could see into their little black eyes. One bird was marked exactly like the others. They have black heads, necks, backs, and tails. Their breasts are white. Their wings are black with a 103few white feathers in them. They have black feet and legs. The men hide among the rocks. They have a net on the end of a long pole. They take hold of the end of the pole and throw the net back and forth as the birds fly to and from the rocks. In this way the old men who cannot hunt the walrus or the bear support themselves and their families. The women and children help. Every Eskimo wears a shirt made of these skins, and it takes from seventy-five to one hundred for each shirt. We found a few more eggs here.

Tupics of the Eskimos


Ahng-o-do-gip'-su and his wife In'-a-loo Eskimo couple at Etah

“On our way down to the shore I picked many kinds of flowers. When we reached the ice we saw our team of dogs running away with our sledge. But an Eskimo who was just starting for the ship kindly took me on his sledge. The Eskimos can hop off and on the sledge while the dogs are running. I tried to do it, but once I fell in the ice-cold water and got very wet, and that was enough for me.”

Another trip was made to the old winter home late in July and more meat landed.

August 1st the “Windward” anchored off Etah again, and while awaiting the coming of the ship from home AH-NI-GHI´-TO learned to paddle about in an Eskimo kayak.

105Sunday, August 5th, while AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her parents were below in the cabin they heard the Eskimos shouting, “Oomiaksoah!” “Oomiaksoah!” and hurrying on deck they saw a ship just rounding the point.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO was much excited because she thought she saw her uncle on board, but as the new ship drew nearer she found it was a stranger.

The name of the ship was the “Erik” and she brought many letters from home to AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her father and mother.

In one letter was the sad tidings that AH-NI-GHI´-TO would never see one of her grandmothers again. This grieved her very much, and she wanted to go home at once for fear others would be gone before she could get there.

The “Erik” was a much larger and stronger ship than the “Windward,” and AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father said that the “Windward” should wait here while the “Erik” took him with his party across the now ice-filled Smith Sound and landed him at his winter house.


To paddle about in an Eskimo Kayak

AH-NI-GHI´-TO, her mother, and Percy went on board the “Erik” together with her father and his party, that they might be with him as long as possible.

Charley, the steward, was going to stay and cook, and AH-NI-GHI´-TO told him to be sure and take care of her father.

After fighting with the ice for four days the “Erik” was still twenty miles south of Cape 107Sabine, and there seemed little chance of getting any nearer.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO’S father then said all his party and dogs and meat, with some provisions, should be landed here, and he would work his way to his house later in the season.

Two nights before, the old “Erik” had a narrow escape from being crushed between a heavy floe and the straight, hard walls of a glacier face, against which the ice had driven her.

August 29th, AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother said good-bye to “dear old dad” and to Charley, promising to come up on the ship next summer, and father in turn promised that he would return home with them.

The home voyage on the “Erik” was made in two weeks, landing AH-NI-GHI´-TO in Sydney the day after her eighth birthday, September 13th, in time to catch the only train of the day for home.

Two days later she was in the home of her grandmother, but as that dear one had been called to another home, AH-NI-GHI´-TO did 108not care to stay long, and the next day she and her mother went on to New York where uncle was waiting for them.

Country of the Iceberg and the Midnight Sun

With him they left for Grossy’s home in Washington, where they arrived late at night and found every one asleep. It did not take long to rouse the household, and there was great rejoicing, for they had not seen their “Snowbaby” for fifteen months, and she had so much to tell that it seemed as if no one would go to bed that night.

109Every one felt very sorry that AH-NI-GHI´-TO did not bring her father home with her, but they were glad that she left him well, and that he had promised to come home next year.

AH-NI-GHI´-TO went to school at once and found to her delight that, because she had played at school with mother during the past winter, she was now able to take her place with her little classmates who had been going to school all the time she was in the Snowland.

When July came, AH-NI-GHI´-TO and her mother once more boarded the “Windward,” with good old Captain Sam in command, and sailed for the country of the iceberg and the midnight sun again.

When AH-NI-GHI´-TO returned from this voyage the next September she was nine years old, and instead of sending her diary to her Grossy, who was still in Europe, she tried to write the story of her summer in the Snowland in a long letter to her.



New York City, September 20, 1902.

My dear Grossy,—Here we are back again, and father is with us. But I will begin at the beginning of my trip and tell you all about it.

July 21st mother and I reached Sydney, and the next day at eight o’clock in the evening we steamed away on the “Windward.” A new house had been put on the ship, and we had a suite of rooms in it which made it very nice and comfortable.

I could run on deck any time I liked, without being afraid of being thrown downstairs, because there were no stairs. Mother let me wear boys’ clothes, and I liked it ever so much.

Captain Sam was just as kind to me as last year, and I had a fine time. We made no stops on the way, but just cut a bee line for father’s house. Early on the morning of August 5th we were so near to Cape Sabine, where father’s house is, that we could see the people running about on the rocks, but we could not tell whether they were Eskimos or whites. Oh, but I was excited.


“Cin” and her Pups

At one time I thought I saw father, then I thought I didn’t, and poor mother just stood and looked through the glasses and said nothing except, “If I see father I will tell you.” Well, as we got nearer we could make out Matt, then Charley, then some of the Eskimos, but not until we were almost at the landing did we see father. There he stood, twice as tall as any one else, and we had not seen him because he had on light kamiks, white bear-skin trousers, and gray shirt, and he looked the same colour as the rocks behind him.

I thought we would never land, but at last, father swung himself on board, and I was in dear old dad’s arms, hugged up tight. Of course now I was anxious to go ashore and see Charley and Matt and Koodluk´too and “Cin,” my dog that I left in Koodluk´too’s care. “Billy Bah” was there, too, father said, and they were all waiting to see me. We all went ashore after father had said “How do” to every one on board. We found father’s house as neat and tidy as possible, and mother teased Charley, saying she knew he had been “house cleaning” 112ever since he saw the smoke from the “Windward;” but he said he kept it this way all the time. He then said, “You come with me, Miss, and I’ll show you how I’ve been thinking about you.” The first place he took me was on top of the house, and here in a large box with wire netting across one end he had four of the dearest bunnies I ever saw.

The Woolliest Black Calf


They were gray on their backs, but snow-white on the breast and head, and Charley said when they were grown they would be white all over; that when Koodluk´too found them for me, they were no longer than 113kittens, and as gray as rats, but as they grow older they shed the gray coat and become real white. And you must know they are mine, and Charley has taken care of them for me. All this time Koodluk´too, who was standing by, was asking me every minute to come with him; he wanted to show me something.

After feeding the rabbits some willow, which they are very fond of, I went with him, and what do you think he showed me? A pair of the loveliest pups, and my own old “Cin” is the mother of them. “Cin” knew me too; she licked my hands and face and was as glad to see me as I was to see her and her dear babies.

Charley, “Daisy” the Musk-calf and AH-NI-GHI´-TO at Etah

I could have stayed with them all day, but Charley called, “Come on now; there’s more yet to be seen.” Together we went to a funny-looking place, built up of boxes and wires, and in it was the woolliest black calf, with long hair over its forehead and hanging over its eyes. When Charley said, “Come here, Daisy,” it ran to him and pushed against him until I thought it was butting him, but he said, “She just wants 114her bottle;” and he told Koodluk’too to get the bottle out of the house. When Koodluk’too came back with it the calf acted just like Mrs. S’s baby when he is hungry and his mother shows him the bottle. It was too cute for anything.

Charley told me that Daisy too was mine, and he hoped I would be good to her, for she had been his bottle baby for over two months. Some of the Eskimos brought her back from a musk-ox hunt where her mother had been killed. Charley said I might feed her when she came aboard, and then she would follow me just as she did him. I am glad she hasn’t such horns as the big Musk-oxen.

Many of the Eskimos had died since we left them last year, and all that stayed with father were in a hurry to get over to the Greenland settlements and see their friends. Before I had half time enough to visit all our old-time play-houses with Koodluk´too and “Billy Bah,” father had everything on board and was ready to be off. I hated to say good-bye to this place because I had had some very good times here and would never see it again.


“Gave the Eskimos Presents”

First we stopped at Etah, where Koodluk´too and “Billy Bah” and I went ashore and gathered bags full of grass for Daisy and arms full of willow for the bunnies, while the Eskimo men were out after birds.

After dinner Charley said he would help me take Daisy ashore where she could crop the grass and have a run, for she was not very fond of being penned upon the ship. You should have seen her look round for Charley and bellow when he hid behind the rocks.

After leaving Etah we visited all the places where Eskimos were living, and father gave them presents and said good-bye to them.

The natives who had been with father, about fifty of them, said they wanted to live in Academy Bay at a place called Kang-erd-luk´-soah, so the “Windward” steamed there and landed them with their belongings. Most of them had no seal-skin tupics (tents), and these father gave tents of canvas.

While they were putting them up Charley got one of father’s tents and put it up too, and we used to go ashore with Daisy and get our lunch and stay all day, letting her browse and scamper about.


Listening to the Phonograph

When the tents were all up father gave the natives food enough to last them through the winter except meat. He then told the men that they should come aboard the “Windward,” and he would hunt walrus with them until they had enough for themselves and their dogs for the winter.

While we were on this hunt, one evening we were going to anchor for a sleep (because you know there was no night; the sun shone bright all the time).


The babies are not so pretty

Father and Captain Sam had both come in off the deck when the old ship went “bumpty bump.” We had run aground. Such a time as we had trying to get the “Windward” afloat! She slid away over on one side and everything in the cabin tipped over, and we did not get away until the next evening. I was scared. I thought we should have to stay here all winter.

After we had a hundred or more walrus we steamed back to Kang-erd-luk´-soah and put them ashore. Then father sent some of the natives to hunt deer, so we would have fresh meat on our home trip. The three days they were gone I just lived on shore with my calf. Of course I did not forget to feed my pups and the bunnies too.


The women wear dirty skirts over their fur trousers


I gave “Cin” to Koodluk´too because mother said I had no place to keep her at home. The calf, and the bunnies, and the pups, father says will be kept in the New York Zoological Garden. One day father had the Eskimo women sing into the phonograph, and then made the phonograph sing their song back at them. You ought to have heard them laugh.


“Billy Bah” and Ahng´oodloo wanted to come home with me, but mother would not let them. Ahng´oodloo is very fond of father, and 119when he found he could not go back with us he took “Billy Bah” up on the mountain so they would not have to say good-bye. All the natives felt sad to have father leave them, but after we had all the venison we needed we steamed away. Poor old Koodluk´too felt very badly, and so did I.

I was kept busy caring for my pets on the way home, and one morning I found one of my bunnies dead. He had been killed by one of the others in a fight. They are all white as snow and perfect beauties.

Hard Over

We stopped among the west side Eskimos 120at a whaling station. I didn’t like the looks of these natives at all. I am sure they are not as kind as father’s people. The babies are not nearly as pretty. Their dress looks different too. They have funny long tails to their coats, and the women wear dirty calico skirts over their fur trousers.

The carpenter had to make Daisy’s pen higher before we reached Sydney because she had grown so much. The puppies too have grown and are as playful as kittens. But you must hurry home and see them yourself. I have much more to tell you, but can’t think of it now.

With much love Your Snowbaby.

P. S. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Captain Sam taught me how to turn the wheel, and let me steer the “Windward.” I can “Steady” and “Port” and “Hard Over” just like the sailors.



  1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  2. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.

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