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

LITTLE WHITE FOX COMES HOME

When Little White Fox looked all around him very carefully, this way and that, and didn’t see a thing he had ever seen before and not a person who knew him in all this new tundra and all these new hills, he felt very blue, you may be sure. But he didn’t cry about it. He was too happy at being off that bit of roof to the great ocean for that. So he looked as far as he could see in every direction, and at last he spied some little lakes way down on the tundra. “I’ll just go over there and see if there is any one I know,” he said to himself, and went trotting away as fast as ever he could. He came right down by the lakes and at last he saw some one he had met in his own home land. It was Mr. Widgeon Junior, a son of Old Mrs. Widgeon Duck, who was killed by Omnok the hunter.

“Hello,” said Little White Fox.

Widgeon Junior looked up quick, in a frightened sort of way, but he never said a word. He just stretched out his long neck and flapped his strong wings and began to fly. And all the time he pointed with his bill straight ahead and with his feet straight behind, as if to say, “Follow me; this is the way home.”

“I just believe that is the way home!” said Little White Fox. “His mother had her nest right down on our tundra last summer, and I believe he is going there right now!” So he picked up his feet lively and ran along behind Widgeon Junior but he couldn’t near keep up! It wasn’t any time at all before he was so far behind that he couldn’t see Widgeon Junior at all! And before long he was just as badly lost as before. But he trotted on cheerfully, “For,” he said to himself, “I’ll see some one else I know very soon.”

And sure enough, all of a sudden there was a clap, clap of wings, and some one that looked just like Who-Who, the big white owl, went soaring over his head. But when Little White Fox shouted “Hello” in his very best voice, the great white owl never answered a word, but went flapping on till he lit on the top of a whalebone which one of Omnok’s relatives had put up to mark a grave.

“Well,” said Little White Fox to himself, “I guess that isn’t Who-Who, but anyway, it is one of his cousins, and he is very wise. All the Owl folks are. He will tell me the way home.”

So he hurried over to the foot of the whalebone and said, “Please, Mr. White Owl, won’t you tell me the way home?”

The big white owl never answered a word, but he winked his eye very cunningly, as much as to say, “Look, I’ll show you.” Then he flapped his great, white wings, and away he flew, and away after him, as fast as ever he could trot, came Little White Fox, never once looking this way or that to see where he was going, so proud was he to be able almost to keep up with this new friend. He ran and ran and ran until he was out of breath, when he saw the big, white owl spread his wings out straight and light on a whalebone sticking right out of the ground and looking for all the world like the one he had flown away from just a little while before. Little White Fox ran up to the whalebone and looked up at the big white owl.

The big white owl closed one eye and winked very knowingly as if to say, “Am I not a very wise old owl?”

Little White Fox looked all around at the tundra and the hills, and sure enough, that was the very same whalebone, sticking up out of the ground! The big white owl had led him a long way, all around in a circle! You may be sure Little White Fox was disgusted. He would never ask another thing of a big white owl again, if he lived a thousand years! But away he trotted toward some other little ponds he had seen some time before.

He was slipping along as quietly as he could in the grass when he heard a splash, splash in the water, and there was Mrs. Swan. Of all the people in all the world, besides his own dear mother, Little White Fox liked Mrs. Swan best! Her white gown was always so smooth and tidy, her neck so graceful, and she seemed so kind, that Little White Fox thought she was just the most perfect lady that ever was! To be sure he had been tempted once to steal one of the big eggs out of her great nest, on the beach the summer before, but he hadn’t done it, and now, you may be very sure, he was glad he hadn’t, for perhaps she would tell him the way home.

“Please, Mrs. Swan,” he said, making a very graceful bow, “will you tell me the way home?” Mrs. Swan looked at him very kindly but never said a word. Very soon she flapped her great, white wings, and putting her bill right out before her and her feet straight behind, out she went flapping away to the northward. Then Little White Fox knew that was the way home, for she was going back to his own dear beach to make a new nest and to hatch out some more little Swanfolks.

I wish I had time to tell you of all the adventures that befell Little White Fox on his way home, but I haven’t. Perhaps some other time we will hear all about that. But one day, when the sun was shining brightly and the flowers were beginning to bloom, who should little Mrs. White Fox see come trotting up the path by the big rock but her own long-lost son, Little White Fox. And you may well believe that she was glad to see him! She had thought she would never see him again. And the things he had to tell her! How she did listen, and how the other little Foxes, Violet Blue Fox and Little Cross Fox and the Silver Fox twins and all the rest, how they listened! Oh, Little White Fox was quite a person in his family that evening! But when he had been given a good dinner with a piece of blueberry pie such as only Little Mrs. White Fox can make, and had curled himself up on the moss cot by the side of the great rock, he went to sleep thinking that after all there was no place in all the world like his own home under the big rock, and no one in all the world quite so good as his own mother; and he felt very, very sure that he would be careful in the future and not let anything carry him away from her.