I spend many of my days researching, and I often come across strange and fascinating tales that don’t quite fit in my books. Thus, Friday story time is born. Because, really, does a great story need a reason?
I’ve been immersed in survival stories all week, so this tale is more of the same.
In 1913, the Karluk was trapped in the Arctic ice off Alaska and drifted north of Siberia. Then the ship sank, and the crew struggled across the ice to the barren shores of Wrangel Island.
Among the survivors was a two-year-old Alaskan Inuit girl named Makpii. At one point, she almost fell into the ocean in her sleep, saved at the last second when her mother pushed her to the other side of a widening gap in the icepack. When her father despaired, his toddler told him, “we’re living now, and we’re going to keep on living.”
Eleven men died in the ordeal, but Makpii and her family managed to signal a rescue ship in September 1914, more than a year after the Karluk sank. By the time she passed away in 2008, at the age of 97, Makpii’s childhood voyage had become an often-told family tale.