Chapter 6 Summary
Kimki has been gone for one moon. Even on stormy days, someone watches the sea from the cliffs, hoping for their chief’s return. But spring came, and then summer, and there is no sign of Kimki. There had been little rain that winter, and now many of the villagers are fearful they will run out of fresh water. The springs had run low before, but now there is fear in the village. Matasaip, who is the chief since Kimki left, says they have more important things to worry about, as this is the time of year when the Aleuts came last year.
Watchers on the cliffs look for the red sails. Ghalas-at prepares to leave if the hunters arrive, for they will be unable to defend themselves. They store food and water in canoes placed at the south end of the island. The cliffs are steep, but there is a stout rope on which each of them can climb down to the canoes. Once the Aleut ship is sighted, the natives will flee to the cliffs, let themselves down one by one, and sail east for Santa Catalina. The cove is too narrow for a ship to traverse at night; nevertheless, a watch is kept from dusk to dawn as well as during the day.
One clear night a watchman comes running back to the village. Though everyone is asleep, his cries awaken them and he tells them the Aleuts have arrived. There is no surprise among the villagers, for they have been expecting this news. They are prepared, yet they are afraid. Matasaip tells them to pack only what is necessary and to move quickly. Karana brings only her skirt of yucca fiber (for it is pretty and it took her many days to make) and her otter cape. Quietly the village of Ghalas-at empties.
When the procession has walked about half a league away from the village, the messenger who warned them about the ship now speaks to Matasaip; the rest of them huddle around to listen. After warning them, the man went back to cove; when the ship got closer, he realized it had white sails, not...
(The entire section is 560 words.)