Amaguq fussed around his homestead nervously. It had been hard for the trickster god to find good company over time but pretty young wolf had joined the pack recently though, and Amaguq had invited her to dinner that evening.
Kuluk was soft eyed and friendly, and she smelled like a sunny meadow on a bright spring morning. Amaguq would make fresh roasted fish and roots for her. He hoped to impress her with his cooking and romantic skills.
He set out from his ‘stead with a rod, a net, and a bucket. He left the roots and herbs he had collected on a table by the fire. When he roasted the fish, he would coat them in the delicious fresh herbs he had found. His tongue squinted in anticipation as he walked down to the river.
Now, Amaguq was such a proficient fisher that his full attention wasn’t occupied with the task and he soon noticed young Lynx watching him from the bushes. Lynx was thin and hungry, and every time Amaguq caught another fish, Lynx licked his lips. Lynx had been on his own for quite a while but he really had no idea of how to feed himself. His ribs showed prominently through his fur coat.
Amaguq felt sorry for Lynx so he caught many more fish than he needed so he could leave some behind for the little cat. A short time later, Amaguq packed up his gear and picked up his bucket of fish. He glanced at Lynx, then at the pile of fish he had left by the riverbank. Then he turned and headed home.
The hungry little Lynx barely waited for Amaguq to leave before pouncing on the small pile and devouring it. He hadn’t eaten in such a long time that his stomach had shrunken and now he felt full to bursting. He groaned, lay down in the grass, and fell into a fitful sleep.
In Lynx’s dream, the man he had been watching fish turned into a wolf and ran off with the bucket of fish so fast that Lynx couldn’t follow. Lynx wanted to thank him, and maybe get some more fish, but he couldn’t find the man, or the wolf. Lynx sat down in his dream, wrapped his long tail around himself, and began to cry.
Meanwhile, Amaguq had quietly walked home and started his fire. He peeled and prepared his roots, herbed the fish, and put it all on sticks to roast over the fire. He lit candles in jars and strategically placed torches to romantically light his ‘stead for the big date. A jar with some fresh daisies sat in the middle of the table.
Lynx woke by the river feeling sad. He had taken the man’s gift and he hadn’t even thanked him. He was so hungry that he had forgotten. He vowed to himself that he would do everything he could to find the man and thank him. Then maybe the nice man would share some more fish with him.
Lynx sniffed around. His senses were a little dulled by his full belly but he could still smell the fish. As luck would have it, the man had stepped in a splash of fishy water and every time his right foot hit the ground it left a distinctive odour. It was an easy trail for Lynx to follow.
Amaguq’s date had arrived. Kuluk had beautiful, thick, white fur and he felt that he could fall into the deep wells of her eyes and get lost forever. He showed her the herbed fish and roots. He hoped she was impressed. He hoped she would fall deeply in love with him.
Amaguq was in his wolf form, of course, and he was so taken with Kuluk, that he didn’t smell or hear Lynx excitedly bounding toward them. Boing! Lynx bounced in, expecting to see the fisher man. Instead, he saw two wolves! He stopped dead in his tracks, scared stiff. His long tail puffed out in fear.
Kuluk raised her hackles and growled, scaring young Lynx back to life. He backed away, trying to escape without turning his back to her. Kuluk sprang toward him but Amaguq, who recognized Lynx from earlier, deflected Kuluk’s leap so she only landed beside the little cat.
Kuluk may have landed beside Lynx, but he had already jumped back in fear and his long, beautiful tail landed in the fire. It crackled and sizzled, catching afire like a matchstick. It burned so quickly that most of it was gone before Lynx saw the bucket of fishy water. He quickly plunked his tail and rear into it. He sat there with his burnt stub of a tail flicking in the bucket of fishy water, looking absolutely destitute. He had no idea what was going to happen now.
There was some quiet growling as Amaguq explained to Kuluk that Lynx wasn’t a threat, that he was just an over enthusiastic youngster come to beg for food. Amaguq padded over to the cringing Lynx. As he strode up, Lynx noticed the fishy smell on Amaguq’s right paw and knew that the wolf and the man were one and the same. He sagged in relief.
Amaguq sat down on his haunches and chuckled. “Young Lynx, you have already paid me with your tail. I will forever remember this night and your unexpected gift,” he chuckled again as Lynx ran through his mind with his fluffy tail burning behind him like a sparkler.
“From now on, you can come visit me every day and I will teach you how to hunt and fish until you can do it so well that you no longer need my help. We can be friends who catch food together.
“Now, take a fish from the table and leave me and my lady friend here alone. Come back in the morning.
“But not too early,” Amaguq added with a wink.
From then on, Amaguq and Lynx spent their days hunting and fishing together until Lynx was as proficient as Amaguq. Lynx continued to come by each day long afterwards simply to spend the days with his friend.