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Animal Stories Of The North
Translated by Fainna Solasko
Illustrated by Y.Rachov
An Eskimo Story told by Kivagme
One day Kainehak the Cub stopped obeying his mother. "I don't want to be a bear! I want to be somebody else," he said and ran away.
Kainehak wandered on and on until he came to the tundra. It was beautiful there. The sun was shining, and there were flowers everywhere. Gopher was sitting outside her burrow. Her front paws were curled under in front as she leaned back on her tail and whistled a song.
"I want to sit up straight like that, too, and whistle like Gopher," Kainehak said.
He climbed a little mound, sat back on his tail and held out his front paws just like Gopher had done. Then he tried to whistle. The sound was quite a roar. It frightened Gopher, who darted into her burrow.
Kainehak was awfully disappointed. He set off again and soon came upon a herd of reindeer. He went up to one of them and said,
"Who're you? I've never seen an animal with antlers before."
"I'll be a reindeer, too."
"All right. Let's race!"
As Kainehak toddled off on his stumpy paws Reindeer galloped away and was gone.
"Being a reindeer's no fun," Kainehak muttered and trudged on. He saw a duck near a lake. "I'm going to be a duck. It just waddles along. Besides, it can fly."
He got up on his hind paws, flapped his front paws, jumped as high as he could and plopped right back down again.
"Want me to teach you to fly?" Duck said. "Let's go to the cliff by the shore. It's easier to practice there."
Duck perched on the edge of the cliff, spread her wings and flew away over the water.
Kainehak followed her example but landed in the water with a great splash and went under. When he popped up again he coughed and thrashed his way back to the shore. He stood there, shaking water off his fur. The water in the lake was ice cold. It was no fun bathing when it made your teeth chatter.
As Kainehak trudged off he saw his mother and brother. They were chatting as they headed slowly for the berry patch.
"I guess I'd rather be a good bear than a no-good something else," Kainehak said to himself.
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