stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-020

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Samara Cary at May 15, 2024 06:33 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-020

- 20 -

December 27th was a day of tragedy and foreboding.
There are in the polar regions a number of insidious diseases which take off
our dogs mysteriously. We have many folklore remedies from Eskimos, sailors
and the miners and dog drivers of Alaska but none of them do anything except
give a temporary peace of mind to those who have faith in them. Next to the
loss of a human member of a party is that of a dog. Even when we have several
teams with half a hundred dogs, each impresses us so strongly with his dis-
tinct personality that the loss of one from such a large number is the loss
of an acquaintance or a friend. But with a team of only seven dogs the intimacy
is closer and the affection warmer. The proportionate loss, too, is
greater when it is one of seven instead of one of fifty. To one who knew both
Knight and the Arctic there is a good deal of restraint in the entry for
December 27th. "I went out to look at the dogs and found one of them dead.
We hauled wood (yesterday) and at one time I thought I saw him stagger
slightly but, as he seemed to be working well later, I paid no attention to
it. When I fed him he was apparently all right. He was one of our best
dogs and, as the Bingville Bugle says, 'his loss will be greatly felt in the
community.'"

On January 1st, 1922, a council of all the members of the
expedition decided that they would discontinue the separate trapping camp until
there was more daylight, for bears and foxes had now become very rare, the
weather was continually stormy and between the inevitable twilight and the
frequent difficulty of clouds and snow the visibility was so poor that there
was little chance of success even with the few bears that came around. A second
dog died and with the team now reduced to five it was more difficult to haul
home firewood. Apparently driftwood was scarce in the vicinity of the hunting
camp and this was given by Knight as one of the arguments for discontinuing
it temporarily. It took too much out of the dogs to be working them constantly

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-006-020

- 20 -

December 27th was a day of tragedy and foreboding.
There are in the polar regions a number of insidious diseases which take off
our dogs mysteriously. We have many folklore remedies from Eskimos, sailors
and the miners and dog drivers of Alaska but none of them do anything except
give a temporary peace of mind to those who have faith in them. Next to the
loss of a human member of a party is that of a dog. Even when we have several
teams with half a hundred dogs, each impresses us so strongly with his dis-
tinct personality that the loss of one from such a large number is the loss
of an acquaintance or a friend. But with a team of only seven dogs the intimacy
is closer and the affection warmer. The proportionate loss, too, is
greater when it is one of seven instead of one of fifty. To one who knew both
Knight and the Arctic there is a good deal of restraint in the entry for
December 27th. "I went out to look at the dogs and found one of them dead.
We hauled wood (yesterday) and at one time I thought I saw him stagger
slightly but, as he seemed to be working well later, I paid no attention to
it. When I fed him he was apparently all right. He was one of our best
dogs and, as the Bingville Bugle says, 'his loss will be greatly felt in the
community.'"

On , a council of all the members of the
expedition decided that they would discontinue the separate trapping camp until
there was more daylight, for bears and foxes had now become very rare, the
weather was continually stormy and between the inevitable twilight and the
frequent difficulty of clouds and snow the visibility was so poor that there
was little chance of success even with the few bears that came around. A second
dog died and with the team now reduced to five it was more difficult to haul
home firewood. Apparently driftwood was scarce in the vicinity of the hunting
camp and this was given by Knight as one of the arguments for discontinuing
it temporarily. It took too much out of the dogs to be working them constantly