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"Two people came to stay with the Inuit, right?" he goes on. "They lived there many years."

The figure out on the ice calls to the dogs. They veer around a patch of greasy-looking ice.

"The woman was very pale and somewhat frail. They affectionately called her Aniar, short for aniarayuktok, 'she is often ill.' She had a very gentle and loving manner."

In a singsong voice the driver urges her dogs onward. They're bounding happily over the ice.

"Their first child was stillborn. But their second was a healthy boy. He grew up, married, and had a daughter of his own. And so on and so on."

With a hiss of runners on ice the sled careens up to where the three of you stand. At a word from the driver the dogs all curl up on the ice.

The Inuit woman throws off her hood and walks up to you. "Hello," she nods to William. "Hello," she nods to you. "Hello," she nods to Claudia. "I have something for you."

She draws out a leather pouch and hands it over. "It has been in my side of the family for a long time."

Claudia tips the pouch. Tears well in her eyes. "Thank you, sister." In her hand is an ivory comb, yellow with age, and exquisitely carved with the rolling hills of England.

The End

* * * *

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Read the commentary by
anthropologist Owen Beattie




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