Little White Fox Helps Himself
Little White Fox was hungry again, and it was the hard, cold, winter time, when all of the little folks of the tundra have to hunt far and wide for food. He had asked Tdariuk, the reindeer, to invite him out to dinner. Tdariuk was very nice about it, but said he had only some lichens, which men call reindeer moss, to eat. When Little White Fox tasted them, he said they were not one bit good. The truth is they are very bitter, and taste good only to Reindeer and Caribou folks.
So Little White Fox went scratching away over the tundra and hillsides to see what he could find. He was half way up the side of Cape Prince of Wales Mountain when he came on the tracks of a stranger. “He must have come down from the higher mountains,” said Little White Fox to himself.
“I wonder who he is. I don’t believe he is any bigger than I am, for his tracks are very close together.”
He followed the tracks, very curious to know who this newcomer might be.
Pretty soon he came to a tunnel right into the snow. There were several tracks in and out of this, so he could not tell whether the stranger were at home or not. Little White Fox knew now that the other fellow was not so large as he, for the tunnel was almost too small for him to enter. But he gathered his coat close around him and crowded in. He rather hoped that he would not find the stranger at home, but that the table would be set for dinner.
And that was just the way it was! Little White Fox knocked at the door, and when no one answered, he walked right in. No, — the table wasn’t set, but in the storeroom there was plenty of food. Little White Fox did not make the least fuss but set the table himself.
Now you might think that Little White Fox would eat only fresh eggs and fish, but if you think so you are mistaken. He likes berries and roots, and that is just what he had to eat that day,– blueberries from the hillsides and nice juicy roots and bulbs from the tundra! My, they tasted good!
He had just finished eating when something disturbed him. He had been listening to the noise the wind made blowing across the entrance to the tunnel. Now the wind didn’t make any more noise, — not so he could hear it, anyway. That meant that some one had entered the tunnel.
Now Little White Fox was not wishing to see any one just then. “Guess I’d better find the other door to this house and go home,” he said to himself. But there wasn’t any other door. Little White Fox wasn’t afraid, but then, — he just humped himself all up in a corner and wished he didn’t have to meet the stranger, that was all.
Well, sir! he had to laugh when he saw the stranger come in at the door. He was the oddest little fellow you ever saw! He looked just like Thunder, the big white rabbit, only his ears were short, his coat was yellow, and he was ever so much smaller. Little White Fox knew who he was right away, for he had heard his mother speak of the Lemming family. And this was one of the Lemmings! There could be no doubt of it. And the Lemmings are great fighters, if they happen to be in the mood for it. Why, they have been known to jump right into the ocean and try to swim across it.
“Now I wonder what I’d better do,” thought Little White Fox to himself. But just because he couldn’t think of anything at all to do, he did nothing. And that was the very wisest way to behave just then. All bunched up the way he was, he looked very large and strong. The longer Mr. Lemming looked at him, the more sure he became that Little White Fox was some relation of his. And we must be very kind to all our relatives, especially when they are bigger than we are!
Mr. Lemming moved over to one side of the room as if to say, “You may go out if you like.”
Little White Fox moved half way to the door and then stopped, which meant, “I’d like you to move a little farther away.”
Mr. Lemming went back to the other side.
Little White Fox went to the door, but even then he did not go out, not right away, he didn’t. He turned and looked at Mr. Lemming, which meant,”You won’t bite my heels, will you?”
Mr. Lemming didn’t make a move.
Little White Fox put his head out of the door. Then you should have seen him get out of that tunnel! I don’t believe Little White Fox ever went faster in the world. When he was out on the snow, he looked around and felt foolish, for Mr. Lemming was not coming after him at all.
That night Mr. Lemming closed up the tunnel to his house and made a new one under a rock, where he thought Little White Fox would not be able to find it.
Of course Little White Fox should have waited until Mr. Lemming came home, and then asked him for something to eat. But, you know, he was very hungry, and besides he was only a little white fox, after all.
Look up and define these words:
- Lemming –
- Newcomer –
- Fuss –
- Bulb –
YOUR REACTIONS TO THE CHAPTER
In this story, Little White Fox ventures into someone’s home without being invited. Write a story about what you would do if you found a hungry little fox chowing down in your kitchen. When you’re done e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to us.
You can also draw us a picture of a fox, a lemming or any other arctic creature you would like and send it to us.
Our address is: Junior Dispatch, 205 North George St., York, Pa. 17401
YOUR VIDEO FOR TODAY
Learn a little bit about Alaska and lemmings in this video: http://youtu.be/MOl3MI3UnCE
Lemmings are particularly famous for a 1950s documentary where a whole community of them apparently jumped off a cliff to their watery deaths. However, it was later learned that the lemmings were actually thrown into the water by the photographers of the movie. According to the report below, documentary producers frequently make up dramatic situations for their films: http://youtu.be/j06RwPEOWgQ (Embedding not allowed for this video, so you’ll have to click the link.)