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Authors: Deborah Davis

The Secret of the Seal

BOOK: The Secret of the Seal
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Beside the hole in the ice, watching him, was a seal.

Her flippers waved slightly. Kyo rose to his knees and aimed the harpoon.

She rolled onto her back. The sun came out and made her belly shine like a silver hilltop.

Baffled by her fearlessness, Kyo heaved the sharp weapon into a mound of snow. He sat back on his heels, rested his chin in his hands, and frowned.

“What is your name?” Kyo asked the seal. She rolled onto her stomach and moved closer to the hole. “Is it Tooky?” Kyo asked, using the first name that came to him.

The seal plunged headfirst into the water. Kyo peered down after her but couldn’t see the animal swimming under the icy waves.

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A BULLSEYE BOOK PUBLISHED BY RANDOM HOUSE, INC
.
Text copyright © 1989 by Deborah L. Davis
Illustrations copyright © 1989 by Judy LaBrasca

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published in hardcover by Crown Publishers, Inc., in 1989.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 88-39533
eISBN: 978-0-307-82885-9
RL: 3.0
First Bullseye Books edition: December 1994

v3.1

Contents
 

T
he settlement houses were small specks on the cove behind him when Kyo saw the hole in the ice. The blue-gray circle a short distance ahead broke into the white glare of the great frozen bay.

Although he was eager to see the hole close up, he moved cautiously. Every few steps he tested the strength of the snow-covered ice with his harpoon.

The opening was almost as wide as Kyo was tall, and he was surprised to find one so large. Inside its thick, ragged edges a brisk wind rippled the water’s surface.

Kyo found a small slab of ice nearby, carried it away from the hole, and lay down on his belly.

Hiding behind the slab, Kyo peered around it at the open water. Now and then passing clouds blocked the spring sun, and snowflakes whirled around him.

He waited and waited in his uncomfortable position. Nothing appeared. He was getting tired, and the excitement faded as his feet got cold. Soon his head dropped onto his arm, the ice blind fell over, and he dozed.

Thwack thwack!
Kyo dreamed that his mother slapped fresh dough with her broad hands.
Thwack thwack!
His mouth watered from the smell of bread baking in the coal stove.
Thwack SMACK!
He opened his eyes.

Beside the hole, watching him, was a seal.

She rolled on her side and clapped her flappy feet—
thwack smack!
Kyo’s pounding heart sounded louder to him than the seal’s clapping flippers. Clutching his harpoon, he crept toward her slowly.

The seal gazed at him. Her flippers waved slightly. He rose to his knees and aimed the harpoon.

She rolled onto her back. The sun came out and made her belly shine like a silver hilltop.

Baffled by her fearlessness, Kyo heaved the sharp weapon into a mound of snow.

He sat back on his heels, rested his chin in his hands, and frowned.

“What is your name?” Kyo asked the seal. She rolled onto her stomach and moved closer to the hole. “Is it Tooky?” Kyo asked, using the first name that came to him.

The seal plunged headfirst into the water. Kyo peered down after her but couldn’t see the animal swimming under the icy waves.

“H
ow does a seal stay under water so long?” Kyo asked his mother, Annawee, that night.

Annawee, Kyo, and his father, Kudlah, were eating dinner in the room that was kitchen, living room, and Kyo’s bedroom. Kyo put down his fork and took a deep breath.

“Do you want more stew?” his mother asked.

Kyo looked at her with his puffed cheeks and shook his head. His father laughed.

“Kyo, your face is turning red!” Kyo let out a
whoosh
and kept eating. He looked sad.

“What’s wrong, Kyo?” asked Annawee.

“I could never be a seal,” he said. His parents laughed.

“No, Kyo. You’re a boy and you’re going to be a man. Soon you’ll kill a seal, not become one.”

“Do you know how a seal stays under the water so long?” Kyo asked his father.

“I don’t know,” Kudlah replied, “but you don’t need to know that to get one. You need patience to wait for a seal to surface and skill to greet her with your harpoon.”

T
he next day Kyo returned to the hole in the ice. He didn’t wait long. Tooky’s whiskers burst out of the water, and her sleek body slithered onto the ice. Kyo inched toward her on his hands and knees.

She leaned away from him but did not swim off. When he was only an arm’s length away, Kyo stopped.

“I want to be your friend,” he said quietly. “I won’t hurt you.”

The seal stretched her head toward his and sniffed the air. Kyo froze and held his breath. Tooky came so close that her whiskers tickled Kyo’s nose and he sneezed.

Tooky jumped backward.

“Wait!” Kyo cried, but the startled seal was already back in the sea.

Kyo knelt beside the hole. Moments later, Tooky’s head popped up.

“I’m sorry I scared you, Tooky,” apologized Kyo.

Tooky sniffed at his face and nuzzled him with her cold, wet nose. Kyo giggled and wiped his cheek with his sleeve.

“I wish I could visit the sea with you,” Kyo said. “I’ve never gone anywhere.”

Tooky slipped under the water. This time she didn’t come back. Kyo shut his eyes and imagined undersea caves and somersaulting seals. They welcomed him to their home and chased each other around seaweed and rocks.

K
yo got restless waiting for Tooky the next day. He fished in his pockets and found a smooth gray stone.

The stone was tapered at one end and almost round in the middle, while the other end was flattened and flared, reminding Kyo of a seal’s tail. He dug his knife out of another pocket and held it tightly.

BOOK: The Secret of the Seal
13.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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