Illustration by Tess TCsART
Death is white
Gabba and his brother lay on the stomach on the ice. They slowly crawled towards the seal, very slowly. Because they were young and inexperienced in hunting and living, they were very careful to move invisibly to get close to the seal to throw the harpoons - and be sure to hit.
Both had snowgoggles on - with very narrow cracks to look through. For the sun stood white-glowing in the sky.
A few months earlier, a disaster had occurred at their settlement. The three most experienced hunters were killed in an accident. They had sailed in kayaks into the fjord when a large iceberg fell over. They were caught in the tidal wave. So now there was only Gabba, his brother, and a couple of other youngsters, to hunt. They barely kept the famine from the door.
Gabba noticed how the pulse hammered in his throat. They were very close to being so close to the seal that they could throw the harpoons. The seal was still quite quiet - without the slightest suspicion that death was so close.
Suddenly, like a lightning from a clear sky, they were attacked by a young polar bear from behind. The bear broke his brother's neck in a fraction of a second and dragged him by the neck. It all happened without a sound and so fast that Gabba barely understood what happened - he just looked out through the narrow snowgoggles that the bear dragged his dead brother away.
Time after Gabba became very ill. He had no pain anywhere nor fever. He did not throw up, but he did not eat anything either. He did not sleep, he sighed - just lay on the bed and stared into the air or went restlessly around without any goal. Everyone around him did what they could to help - sung and danced and a lot of other things, but nothing helped.
One night, in the deepest darkness, something happened. Gabba got a sight. As in many of the previous nights, he also revived this night the terrible event on the ice again and again in his mind. But this night - in the midst of this terrible revival, he suddenly saw - clearly as if it was on a bright day that his snowgoggles loosened from his face. They moved, all by themselves, into the air, so they hung freely in front of his face. Then the goggles turned around themselves and slowly approached his face again.
The glasses melted through his eyes and into his mind so he could see his own thoughts - completely clear. At that moment it came to him that death was white. A white, ice-cold, lame mist, which slowly broke down his mind, making it impossible to see any useful thoughts and feelings. He understood the reason he had been born was that he should live. It was basically simple enough. He should just do what was possible - every day - for himself and the others - nothing else. The white fog of death had covered almost everything - like snowgoggles, so he could not see what he should see and could not do what he should do.
At that moment it came to him that death came from within. He got up from the bed, stretched out and walked outside. He raised his arms against the northern lights and said quietly: - Qujanaq. Then he went on and made a fishing line ready for the early morning.
Poul & Louise