Part 3 Summary
Kapugen, the Hunter
On the tundra, Miyax climbs up to the wolf den. Though the wolves are gone, she feels their presence. Returning to her sod house, she finds Jello raiding her store of meat. Overcoming her initial reaction of fear, she falls upon him angrily and cows him into submission. Gathering her remaining supplies, she then resumes her own journey to the coast.
After traveling many miles, Miyax stops for the night and makes her camp. In the distance, she hears the howls of wolves and recognizes the voices of Amaroq and his family. Suddenly, Jello appears again, baring his teeth threateningly; he then picks up her pack and runs.
Miyax is devastated, because her remaining food and tools of survival are in the pack. Unable to pursue Jello in the darkness, she slides back into her sleeping skin in despair, wondering how long it will take for her to die. Miyax sleeps, and when she awakens, she smells the scent of wolf urine and knows that Amaroq has been there. Setting out in hopes of retrieving her pack, she comes upon the torn body of Jello and understands instinctively that Amaroq had turned on him. Kapugen had once told Miyax that wolves will tolerate a lone wolf "until the day he [steals] meat from the pups."
Miyax finds her pack and continues on her journey, catching small game along the way. One especially cold afternoon, Kapu comes to her, carrying a leg of caribou. Miyax makes a stew, and gives the young wolf a large piece of cooked meat. When Kapu runs off happily, Miyax looks up to the sky and sees, at last, the North Star. That night, it begins to snow, but Miyax is secure, full and comfortable, in her sleeping furs. The wolves had known that the bad weather was coming and had brought food for her.
As Miyax continues on her journey and realizes that her destination is near, she realizes that she enjoys her simple life on the tundra, which is like that of her ancestors. One night, she encounters an enormous grizzly, but her wolves once again come to her aid, heading off the ferocious creature before it can get to her.
Forced to stop for a while during an extended whiteout, Miyax uses her ulo to carve an image of Amaroq from a piece of bone. As she is finishing, she hears a bird calling faintly in the darkness and discovers a young golden plover, clearly lost and starving. Miyax tucks the bird snugly into her sleeping skin and feeds it a bit of caribou meat. She will call the little creature Tornait, and he will be her companion.
Two evenings later, Kapu returns to Miyax's camp, accompanied by Amaroq. Miyax joyfully approaches the leader on all fours and nudges him under the chin. Amaroq accepts her expression of devotion regally, but signals for her not to follow when he and Kapu run off onto the ice. Amaroq is teaching Kapu to be the future leader of the pack, and Miyax cannot accompany them during this serious endeavor.
A short time later, Miyax sees a plane in the sky. Realizing that the men in them are hunting, she takes Tornait and find shelter in a nearby oil drum, so as not to be mistaken for a bear from the air. As she hurries across the snow, shots ring out; the hunters are pursuing Amaroq and Kapu.
Miyax watches in horror as bullets splatter the snow beside the racing Amaroq. The great wolf desperately veers from side to side, but when the plane flies low and its guns emit another volley, Amaroq stumbles and drops on the snow, dead. Kapu runs in the direction of his fallen father, and the guns erupt again. The frantic young wolf heads blindly towards the oil drum where Miyax is hiding, and she reaches out to trip him. Kapu falls and lies still, with the snow turning red all around. As the plane turns to make one more pass, Miyax looks up and sees the men in the cockpit, who are wearing helmets with gleaming goggles. Miyax sobs in furious helplessness while they joke and laugh as they survey the ground.
Miyax stops the flow of blood from Kapu's shoulder and closes the gaping wound...
(The entire section is 1,133 words.)