Part 3 Summary
Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1133
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 with her sewing needle. She then ventures into the glowing landscape of the northern lights to pay tribute to Amaroq. Kneeling over his body, she sings softly in Eskimo, holding out the totem she has carved so that his spirit might enter it and remain with her forever. Time passes, and slowly, Kapu recovers his strength. Silver and the remainder of the pack come to the camp, and Kapu establishes himself as their new leader. When he finally takes the pack away over the tundra, Miyax knows it is time again for her, too, to move on.
As she approaches the world of men, Miyax reflects that she no longer cares to go to San Francisco, which is representative of a society which teaches individuals to "kill without reason." Instead, she decides to live as an Eskimo and carves blocks of ice to make a winter house for herself on the tundra. One day, a denizen of the town of Kangik comes by and tells Miyax that Kapugen, "the greatest of all living Eskimo hunters," lives in his village. Hearing the name of her father, Miyax knows that she must go and find him. With his love for all living creatures, he will certainly know how to save the wolves. On the way to Kangik, Miyax hears the unmistakable voice of Kapu, who comes to her, inviting her to go with them. Knowing the danger the wolves are in so close to civilization, she sternly sends them away; this is the last communication Miyax has with her wolves.
Miyax does indeed find her father, who welcomes her lovingly. Although his house is small like their home at seal camp, he is now married to a white woman and enjoys the modern conveniences of the "civilized" world. When Miyax notices the helmet and goggles of his new trade lying on a chair, Kapugen explains that he takes sportsmen out in planes now because "it's the only way to hunt today." Concluding that the Kapugen she once knew is "dead to her," Miyax leaves Kangik and heads back to her igloo on the tundra.
On the way, Miyax's little bird Tornait dies, and she buries him in the snow. Completely alone now, she fingers the totem of Amaroq in her pocket, and as she sings softly to his spirit, she accepts the reality that "the hour of the wolf and the Eskimo is over."
Julie then turns and goes back to the the house of Kapugen.