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The Seal Hunter (youngsters:adventure, 2057 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: May 29 2007Views/Reads: 6284/2872Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Only a few days had passed since the three of them had emerged into the sunlight from their winter hideaway beneath the snow...

The Seal Hunter 

©2007 Ian Hobson 

The young polar bear ran ahead across the ice and snow, leaving his
mother and sister behind. 'Be careful, Yolli, don't go so fast!' his 
mother called.  She could easily have overtaken Yolli but chose to stay 
beside Meela, the smallest and most timid of her two cubs as she was 
having difficulty walking on the ice without slipping. 

Only a few days had passed since the three of them had emerged into the
sunlight from their winter hideaway beneath the snow.  At first Yolli 
and Meela had been frightened: it was so cold up on the surface, after 
so long snuggled up beside their mother, and the sunlight was so bright 
that it hurt their eyes.  But as their mother squeezed through the 
opening and followed her two cubs out onto the snowy slope and then 
began to slide lazily down it, Yolli had followed her lead and tumbled 
down the slope after her, soon shouting, 'Come on, Meela, this is fun!' 

Yolli stopped and looked back across the ice at his mother and sister.
'Come on, Mother!' he shouted.  'Come on, Meela!' He ran back towards 
them, slipping and sliding and having more fun than he had ever dreamed 
possible.  'Look at me!' he shouted as he ran faster and then 
deliberately slid across the ice until he hit a rough patch and was 
thrown head over heels to land in a heap at his mother's feet. 

'Serves you right,' said the female polar bear, whose name was Eashla. 
'I told you to be careful.  Now be a good cub and walk with me and your 
sister.' She looked lovingly at her two cubs: their coats of thick fur 
were growing whiter and would soon be as white as her own; but she 
wished Meela was a little bigger. 

'Can we have some milk first?' Meela asked as she nuzzled her mother's
flank. Eashla sat back on her haunches to allow Meela to suckle.  The 
two cubs had been raised on their mother's milk and had yet to 
experience any other kind of food. 

'Me too!' exclaimed Yolli, leaping onto his mother and almost knocking
his sister over. 

Eashla swiped Yolli away with a huge furry front paw.  'Don't be so
rough,' she said, 'there's plenty of milk for both of you.'  Though she 
knew that her milk would not last for ever and that she needed to begin 
hunting as soon as possible.  She looked across the ice, turning her 
head from left to right, and wondering if her hunting grounds would be 
any bigger this season.  Perhaps it was just her imagination; but it 
seemed to Eashla that the ice fields were growing smaller and smaller, 
year by year.  She allowed Yolli to suckle beside his sister and then, 
when they had both had enough milk, she led them on across the ice. 

'Where are we going?' Yolli asked as he walked beside his mother and

'Nowhere in particular,' replied Eashla.  'I just want to get you used
to being on the ice.  Then soon I'll have to go and find us something 
to eat.'  While nursing her two cubs, Eashla had not eaten at all. 

'Can't we just have milk?' Meela asked. 

Eashla laughed.  'Not for ever, you can't.  And I need to eat too.' 

'But what will we eat?' Yolli enquired. 

'Whatever I can catch,' replied Eashla, wishing that life on the icecap
was not quite so hard.  'And one day soon,' she said, 'you two will 
have to learn to hunt for yourselves.' 

'But what will we hunt for,' Yolli asked. 

'Seals, of course,' replied Eashla. 'Or fish.  Have you forgotten the
stories I told you?'  During the winter, as soon as her cubs were old 
enough to understand, she had told them all the traditional hunting 

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