THE ESKIMO 1. People who do not have trade with other peoples.—Suppose that your family tried to make by hand everything that you have in your home, or that you eat, or wear, or play with, or use in the garden. They would be very busy and every family would have to know more occupations or trades than can be found in some small towns now-a-days. If your family had to make everything by hand, you could not have many of the things, that you now have; indeed, some of the things could not be made by hand at all.
For a long time, a very long time, families all over the world had to make by hand everything they had. It was a hard life. There are even yet some places where people do not use machines and where each family makes everything it has.
The Eskimos live in that way. Their country is far away to the north. It is a yery poor, cold country, where few things will grow; so there are not many Eskimos. The winter is very long and cold; and the summer is so short that no trees grow, and the people cannot have gardens. The northern Eskimo has no animals which give him milk. He has never heard of potatoes or bread, to say nothing of cake. If you talked to him about one of our stores, he would not know what you meant.
2. Eskimo Land.—A white man named Stefansson lived for several years with the Eskimos. He tells many interesting things about them and the way in which they live. He saw people who had never seen a white man before, nor any of the things which white men make. One of Stefansson's Eskimo friends is a man named Alunak. Koak is his wife and Okuk is his boy; his little girl's name is Shoo - e- ging-wa. The Eskimo's hair is coarse and black. His skin is yellow like the Chinaman's. He is not quite so tall as the white man of the United States.
For a winter house, the Eskimo builds a little hut of snow. Many boys and girls in the cooler parts of the United States and Canada have built little snow houses for sport, but Alunak builds such a house to live in, for he finds it the warmest house he can get. He cannot see through the win dow, for it is made of a piece of fish skin that looks like dirty glass. To keep out the cold, he builds, on the outside, a long tunnel which leads up to a low door. The
tunnel and the door are both so small that the people have to crawl on their hands and knees to go in or out. At the outer end of the tunnel, a chunk of snow serves as a door. A curtain of fur makes the inner door. Along the inside wall of the house is a bank of snow, covered with skins. This is both chair and bed.
The Eskimos do not have much fire, and what they ao have is used chiefly for cooking. They have nothing to burn but the melted fat of animals, such as the seal and whale. They use this fat in an oil lamp made of stone and shaped like a dish, with moss for the wick.
One day in the spring, when the ice was beginning to melt a little, but when the snow still covered the ground, Shoo-e-ging wa, the Eskimo girl, was out riding with her sled and her dog Puk. Seeing some thing big and black in the distance, she went to find out what it was. How sur prised she was to find a dead whale that had floated ashore during the night! She went home as fast as Puk could pull her, to tell the great news. Her father and mother felt as rich as we should feel if a carload of coal or firewood should be dumped down in our yard. Soon the family were all busy tearing off strips of the fat, called blubber. It lies under the whale's skin and keeps him warm. Other Eskimos came, a two days' journey with their dog sleds, to share the gcod luck. (Fig. 2.) It is hard for us to see how people could get along with as few things as these people have. They must make everything they use, and that without wood, or nails, or iron, or even a piece of wire. See what good bows and arrows they make out of bone, sinews, and feathers, all of which they get from ani mals. (Fig. 8.) Alunak and his family live along the seashore. There they can catch fish, seals, and walrus. The seal is the greatest wealth they have. The seal eats fish, and keeps warm in the ice-cold water because he has a coat of soft, fine, waterproof fur and a thick layer of fat under his skin. The seal is both bread and meat, clothes and coal to the Eskimo family. For months at a time they eat nothing but seal meat. They cook with seal fat, and make clothes, boots, boats, buckets, and tents of the sealskin.