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The Hunt
By Nick Jessee
Genre: Visual Arts Level: Elementary 4-6
Category: Student Examples

Nick Jessee's maskThere once was a man named Nick. He was the head hunter of his village and the strongest and best.

It was nearing the time of his village's annual bear hunt. This was the time when 32 hunters went out to hunt 65 bears in ten days. Each hunter had to kill two bears, but Nick had to kill three bears. The hunters would go in five umiaks across a lake to Oncapatia which means, "spirit forest."

When they got to Oncapatia, they set up their camp and rested for one day. The next day Nick stood up and said, "Brothers, come. We have much to do in only ten days."

Then they were off to hunt for bears. David, the village's worst and clumsiest hunter, was the first to sight a bear. He was so excited he tripped over Nick and fell in bear dung. Next, he shot his arrow at the bear but hit a stump 50 feet away.

Then Garren, Nick's best friend, and the second best hunter in the village, shot the bear straight in the heart. The bear died instantly. Garren counted the bear on David's record because he knew that David wouldn't kill two bears in any amount of time, even if his life depended on it.

All the hunters pursued the bears together for safety because in Oncapatia there were evil demons like the "Shakavikon", a cross between a bear, a wolf, a hawk and a clam. His skin was as tough as steel and his face was a pale blue like the moon. His face was as gold as rays of sunlight and hard as a stone. Every hunter in the village dreaded an encounter with the Shakavikon.

On the fifth day of the hunt, every hunter except for Nick and Eli had killed two bears. Nick had killed two of his three and Eli had killed one. Nick told all the other hunters to go back to the village while he and Eli kept hunting. Every hunter agreed except for Garren who said he was going to stay with Nick and Eli. So Nick, Eli and Garren went off to keep hunting.

On the way they found David trying to kill and ant with a rock. "What the heck are you doing, you dimwit!!" yelled Eli.

"Nothing," replied David.

"Well, we can't leave him here," said Nick. "We'll have to let him come with us."

Now the foursome, Nick, Eli, Garren and David, went off to find two more bears. They camped alongside a beautiful stream with just enough trickle to soothe you to sleep. The next morning Nick, David, Garren and Eli went deeper into the woods until Garren said with more alarm than question, "What is that!!?"

"It is I, the Shakavikon. I have come to take your spirit."

"Why are you taking our spirit?" asked David.

"Because you have entered Oncapatia, the spirit forest where I rule all," replied the Shakavikon.

"Then we will make a deal with you," said Eli. "We challenge you to a fight, four on one."

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" laughed the Shakavikon. "I accept!"

The fight began. Nick, Garren, Eli and David drew their arrows from their quivers and positioned them in their bows. Nick shouted, "Fire!"

The arrows flew through the air, straight and true. Nick"s arrow hit the Shakavikon right in the heart. Eli"s hit one of the eyes. Garren"s hit the other eye and, to all their surprise, David"s hit the beast right in the heart.

Normally the arrows would have hit the Shakavikon and just fallen down, but not this time. The power of the four friends was too great, even for the Shakavikon. He fell to the ground with a loud THUD which made them all jump.

"Sorry!" said Eli to David.

"What for?" asked David.

"Everything," said Eli. "Making fun of you. Calling you names."

"Apology accepted," said David.

"Well," said Nick, "I think we all learned an important lesson today."

"Yeah," said Garren, "Team work really pays off." Then the four friends went and very successfully killed two more bears. They honored the animals by each smearing streaks of the bear blood on their faces to symbolize the pride of the animals they killed.

When they reached the shore where they had parked their umiaks they found that their boats were gone!

Now, knowing that they could accomplish anything together, they swiftly built another umiak. In about two days, they were in their own village. They were greeted warmly by friends and family. They hunters told the story of their long journey and the death of Shakavikon.

That night they had a potlatch, not to celebrate the death of the Shakavikon nor to sorrow over it, but to rejoice over their village's successful hunt.

The End

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About the Author: Nick Jessee attends Willard Bowman Optional Elementary School in Anchorage, AK.

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