Read CHAPTER VIII of Little White Fox and his Arctic Friends , free online book, by Roy J. Snell, on ReadCentral.com.

TROUBLE FOR LITTLE WHITE BEAR

“Come on,” cried Little White Bear, almost standing on his head in his eagerness to be at play with this new friend.

“Let’s go exploring,” said Little Black Bear. “That’s the most fun of all!”

“All right,” shouted Little White Bear, turning a handspring. And away they went, two little bears out to see what they could find in the great, white world.

They went down by the lakes and saw where Widgeon had made her nests in the warm summer time; they wandered over the hills and said “Woof Woof!” in the doorway to Little Mrs. White Fox’s home; they went here and there, but at last they came upon something really very strange.

“What can it be?” said Little White Bear, standing on one foot and looking very wise.

“What can it be!” said Little Black Bear, scratching his head. And what indeed could it be? It was right down at the foot of the mountain. There was a big, black, square thing right in the snow, and in the middle of that there was another little square that was brown. Did any one in the wide world ever hear of finding such a strange thing in a great white wilderness? There wasn’t a square thing anywhere else on the whole tundra. Things were round and crooked and made of little angles, but who ever saw a square thing in real tundra land?

The two little Bears walked round and round it and tried to think what it could be. At last Little Black Bear put one foot on it very timidly. “There!” he said bravely, “I stepped on it! Do you dare?”

“Of course I do!” said Little White Bear, walking right out on the big square. “See me!” he shouted and went racing right across the thing. That is, he started across, but just when he was on the little brown square, he felt his feet begin to sink. There was a rip ripping of something, and down he went, till he struck kerwhack! on something far below. He jumped to his feet very quickly. Where was he? There were brown walls all about him, like the walls of the cave where his home was. And look as he might, Little White Bear could see no way to get out except to climb back up through the hole he had made when he fell in. And that was far, far above his head. He could never get out that way. And what was worst of all, as he began to look around, he was more and more sure of one dreadful thing. And that was that he was in the house of Omnok the hunter. My! That was a terrible thought. But it was true! They had been playing on Omnok’s roof, and Little White Bear had fallen right through the window in the roof. Omnok had made a curtain out of the coats of many eider ducks, and this was the brown square that Little White Bear had started to run across.

Well, there wasn’t a thing he could do. He just wandered round and round, but he couldn’t find the least little place where he could get out. “What a strange place to live!” he thought to himself. “How does he ever get into it himself?”

But Little White Bear wasn’t the least bit doubtful that Omnok would be able to get into his house when he came home. And you may be very sure he wasn’t a bit happy. He just went way over in the corner under Omnok’s bed and sucked his thumb while he wished he was at home in his own dear cave. All of a sudden he heard a noise. Omnok was coming! Little White Bear heard his voice, very big and very angry, outside! “Who has stolen my ’pooksack’?” Omnok growled. “Who has broken my window?”

How poor Little White Bear trembled. He crouched down under the bed just as far as he could. Now he could hear Omnok come closer to his house. And then he saw Omnok’s face at the side of the wall. Ah! Yes! There was a little curtain there! Why had he not seen it! But suddenly a happy thought came to Little White Bear. Just when Omnok was standing up, with his terrible gun in his hand, Little White Bear rushed right at him and tumbled against his feet so hard that Omnok went sprawling to the floor, and his terrible gun went clattering after.

Little White Bear bounded out of the little door. But there was just a little alley and then another room with a window high up in the wall. He looked quickly, and saw a little shelf, like Omnok’s bed, only higher up, right under the window! Little White Bear jumped up but tumbled back. He tried it again and fell back. But the third time he found himself on the shelf, and in another minute he was out in the fine old world, running as fast as ever he could for home. And you may be very sure he was glad to be with his mother safe in their cave that night.