Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)
TITLE: The Baby Seal of God
By Josiah Kane
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“You are a very strange man, Cree-Sto-fair. You and your friends come here out of choice—you want to live in the snow plains! Yet you do not do the things that men should do. You do not hunt or fish or build. Your food is given to you, so that you can sit and talk. Nevertheless I have tried to treat you kindly. I have shared with you my food, and have invited you into my igloo for shelter. Yet still you shiver as though you had been plunged into the icy waters of the Great Sea in the north and you seem unwilling to taste even the most tender of meat.”
Christopher shuffled nervously around the rim of the igloo, but the big Eskimo’s frame blocked the only door to shield them from the vicious lashings of wind. He could not possibly escape. Nor could he hope to excuse himself. Meekly he waited for the next part of the questioning.
“Then I must mention the other matter that disturbs me. I sent my wife to your home to set up an alliance between you and my family. You were cordial of course, and welcoming. When the sun slipped away you guided the woman to your bed…and left! The poor woman insists that she lay the whole night shivering alone on your bed, but you slept on a mat in another room. Nor did either of your friends take the opportunity. Are you not men? Is my wife’s body unsatisfactory to you.”
Christopher pulled himself into an even tighter defensive ball. He was being chastised for not committing adultery by the entirely serious husband! The situation was terrible—he would gladly eat mountains of raw seal pups if it would allow him to escape. Inwardly he cried out for help from his heavenly father, while the Eskimo continued to rant about the idiosyncrasies of Christopher and his friends. Finally Christopher decided that he would have to explain his motives. They were utterly alien to the Inuit man, and Christopher tried desperately to find a suitable analogy.
“If your son did something wrong,” began Christopher, “such as striking a kinsman or stealing someone’s hunting tools you would punish him. Likewise I know the God who made the world and delicately moulded us. I know that he cares for us and loves us like sons. Therefore he gave mankind some rules that may not be broken. These include not killing another man, and not stealing from him. And another of these is that a man is not to sleep with the wife of another. I cannot disobey my father God. I hope that this helps to explain.”
As Christopher spoke, the Eskimo’s face shone with understanding, but then furrows drove into his scalp and his eyes narrowed in perplexity. “But why did you come here anyway?” the man wanted to know. So Christopher explained some more, detailing the fall of man and God’s requirement of Justice. “But,” he continued, “God loves us like a father loves his son, and he does not want us to be destroyed. So he sent his own child, innocent as a baby seal, to die in our place. I have been sent to bring this news to you and your people, so that you too may believe in God’s sacrifice and be rescued from the punishment God would have to give.”
Before leaving Christopher cleared the last remaining oddity between the peoples, by slowly stomaching the meat that had finally stopped quivering on his platter. He convinced himself that it was a necessary sacrifice if this house was to partake of the body and blood of the baby seal of God.
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