Lockdown Diaries: Day 9 (The Land of the North-West Wind)

Locked Down in London, Day 9:

Braving the freezing wind and the sudden scattering of hail, gone for a walk with Young Friend of the Elephants. To celebrate the Sunday, we walked to our local beauty spot, from where you can get great views of the centre of London in the distance. It was cordoned off. Why, I’m not sure, because it’s such a spacious area that it was never crowded even in the best of weather. The walk that was meant to raise spirits merely succeeded to reinforce my sense of loss: we can’t even enjoy the views now.

How I miss the great outdoors!

Virtual Escape: The Land of the North-West Wind

(Click the gallery to enlarge the pictures.)

The great outdoors… Today, we’re escaping to the Canadian wilderness with the help of an enchanting, heartwarming children’s story about two Ojibwe children and their beaver kittens. It’s a story about nature, animals, good-will and courage in the face of adversity; a story of the great outdoors, its beauty and its dangers. I recommend it to all children – and all adults young at heart!

I will tell you about an Indian hunter and his young son and daughter, and of two small kitten beavers that were their friends. And you shall hear of their adventures in the great forests of the North, and in the city too; of what good chums they were, and how one of them was lost and found again, and about the dangers they were in and all the fun they had, and what came of it all.

And now we will clean forget the motor-cars, the radio and the movies and all the things we thought we could not do without, and we’ll think instead of dog-teams, of canoes and tents and snow-shoes, and we’ll journey to that far-off, magic land.

And there you’ll see great rivers, and lakes and whispering forests, and strange animals that talk and work, and live in towns; where the tall trees seem to nod to you and beckon as you pass them, and you hear soft singing voices in the streams.

And we’ll sit beside a flickering camp-fire in a smoky, dark-brown wigwam, while you listen to this tale of Long Ago.

(Grey Owl: The Adventures of Sajo and Her Beaver People)

In the preface to the book, Grey Owl claims that the story of Sajo and her beavers is true and in telling it he only made minor changes. Perhaps. 🙂 He was a bit of an impostor. Nor would he be the first author who claimed a fictitious story was real, in order to enhance its appeal!

Grey Owl (1888-1938)

Grey Owl [Public domain via Wikipedia]

“…he had insight, he had vision. This man had a message. Everybody’s green now. He was green when there was nothing to it. His message was ‘you belong to nature, it does not belong to you’.”

(Don Smith)

Despite his name, Grey Owl was not an Indian; he was born in England as Archibald Stansfeld Belaney and emigrated to Canada in 1906, when he was 18. He was fascinated by the Indians and soon created for himself an Indian identity; learned woodcraft and worked as a fur trapper before becoming a conservationist, working for two Canadian national parks: Riding Mountain and Prince Albert. He’s credited with saving the Canadian beavers from extinction and is the author of several books, most of which he wrote while staying in Beaver Lodge in Prince Albert National Park.

Further reading:The Adventures of Sajo and Her Beaver People by Grey OwlGrey Owl: Canada's great conservationist and imposterCanoeing in the Wilderness by Henry David Thoreau (for those of you who don't go in for children's literature!)
Keep safe, keep sane, keep smiling!

And keep looking after the beavers. 🙂

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