By Anne Spackman
Copyright 2012 by Anne Spackman
Cover art by Megan Davies, used with permission
Once upon a time, in the Arctic Circle on an ice floe, a small baby harp seal was born. This seal baby we will call Cynthia. Many baby harp seals were born that year. Now, seals are aquatic creatures, though they are mammals. They move around on short, wide flipper fins, and have a large body. Seals are graceful in the water, but not so graceful when they move about on dry land, which they do by using their short flipper fins and stomach muscles. The harp seals were born with a thick layer of blubber, or fat, that protected them against the cold. They were also born with a short, fur coat. So they were quite warm even in the cold of the Arctic Circle.
One afternoon, when Cynthia and the other pups were only two weeks old, three of the seal babies gathered together to swim at the edge of the ice floe. Cynthia and two others glided through the water, playing together and making sounds as they got back up to the ice to take a nap in the afternoon sun.
A week later, an Inuit Indian young man who was out walking came across the baby seal Cynthia. She was still only three weeks old, and still nursing off and on from her mother. The Inuit Indian man saw the seal at a small distance and shrugged. Though the Inuit people often ate seals and used their skin for fur coats against the cold, the Indian man saw that this baby seal was young, and he felt she should not be killed for food. So, the Inuit Indian turned and walked away.