Historical Event

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Date:

November 1, 1926

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Short Description:

When at length the beaver was on the table, done to a turn and delicious, we didn't have a care in the world. The greatest delicacy in the way of beaver meat is the flat tail, which is uncommonly rich and tasty.

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The Land of Feast and Famine - Log Cabin

Helge Ingstad

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Man The Fat Hunter
Facultative Carnivore
Carnivore Diet

Important Text:

Frosty days set in and thin ice formed on lake and tarn. We then threw our guns over our shoulders, and each went his own way into the forest. It was important that we should acquaint ourselves with the lay of the land so that we should have everything clear in our minds when the time should come for us to set out with our dogs upon our winter hunting expeditions. Furthermore, we were in need of meat. 


Whilst scouting about to the south, we came across a large colony of beavers. That there were beaver in isolated numbers up here at the very gate to the treeless plains, we already knew, but the fact that in vast numbers they made themselves as much at home along this modest watercourse as they might under more hospitable conditions was something new to us. Down through the valley beside the river and at the edge of small pools we found one earth mound after another and an occasional ancient, moss-grown dam. The beavers, too, were busy with last-minute autumn chores. Their houses had been smeared over with a fresh layer of clay, and under the water in front of each mound of earth lay a mighty tangle of sticks, branches, and roots of aquatic plants — the winter's food-supply. 


Beaver pelts are not of prime quality until late spring. Hence we shot only enough of these animals to supply us with an occasional beaver steak. Both the dogs and we knew that this was the right thing to do. At nightfall when I trudged home to the cabin bending forward under the weight of a beaver carcass, Trofast, Nigger, and Spike would come loping up to me, sniffing at the bag I was carrying, jumping all over me and almost pushing me over. And when at length the beaver was on the table, done to a turn and delicious, we didn't have a care in the world. The greatest delicacy in the way of beaver meat is the flat tail, which is uncommonly rich and tasty; it is covered with a thick skin, which must first be burned off. A couple of the largest tails we stored away to eat on Christmas Eve or to use for swapping in the event we were to encounter Indians. A redskin will bend over backward to get hold of one of his favorite dishes, such as an unborn caribou calf or the horns of deer in velvet, but for a beaver tail he is willing to sell his soul.

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