Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived up North. Her granny was handy with a needle. She’d embroidered her granddaughter’s red parka with a ptarmigan, her favorite bird, as protection. Because she always wore the parka, the townspeople had nicknamed her Little Red Parka. Her granny lived outside of town and followed the old ways. It was spring and Granny normally would’ve come in for supplies. Little Red Parka’s mum prepared some treats of freshly clubbed seals and bannock to bring to Granny.
“You go bring Granny some seal meat. It will do her good. Maybe she’s sick; we haven’t seen her in a while. Go straight to her home and stay on firm ice. Stay focused and don’t talk to strangers.” Little Red Parka grumbled as she slipped the bundle in her amauti. It was a nice day, the sun was shining and she thought she had better things to do. However, as soon as she headed off, she started singing and enjoying the walk. She was wearing her lighter boots which made walking, and running, more enjoyable.
Little Red Parka heard some ptarmigans on the rocky outcrop at the seam of the sea. The loud croaking attracted her attention. She thought she might find some eggs and get herself a quick snack. Sure enough, she saw three mottled eggs expertly blending with the ground. There should have been more, but she could not make out the others. As she was studying the situation, intent on stealing one without attracting the parents’ attention, she did not hear the walrus that had hauled itself on the land and crept up behind her.
“What are you doing out here, little girl?” asked the walrus in a gruff voice. Little Red Parka turned around and said politely “Oh hello, Mr. Walrus. I’m on my way to see my granny by the old fishing camp. I’m bringing her food.” Mr. Walrus could smell the fine fresh seal and bannock and his mouth started watering. “Actually,” added Little Red Parka regretfully, “I’m running late. Bye bye.” “Good bye, little girl,” said the walrus as he hurried back to the open water. Little Red Parka was staying on firm ice as she had promised but the walrus cut by the sea and hauled himself quickly on ice and to Granny’s home.
He cleared his voice and Granny said, “Is that you, honey? Come on in” and the walrus rushed in and swallowed Granny whole. He burrowed into her furs and had just enough time to settle in before Little Red Parka arrived, out of breath. “Ananaksak,” she shouted, “I’m here!” Walrus answered, “Come in, come in!” as softly as he could. It was dark inside, and it smelled funny.
“What a strange voice you have,” said Little Red Parka.
“I’ve been poorly,” he managed to say, through a fit of coughing.
“I brought you fresh seal,” she said as she approached the heap of fur.
“What small ears you have,” she said in surprise as she touched her own.
“WHAT? SPEAK UP, I CAN’T HEAR YOU,” said the walrus in a loud voice.
“WHAT BIG EYES YOU HAVE,” she said loudly as she looked at the bed in the half-light.
“The better to see you with, my dear,” replied the walrus.
“But Granny! What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Parka with a quiver in her voice.
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” croaked the walrus as he hurried out of the furs and started chasing her. He was a bit clumsy because of the furs and heavy from having eaten Granny. Plus, he wasn’t used to small spaces.
Little Red Parka finally realized that she hadn’t been talking to Granny at all! She took out her ulu, the small knife she kept on her at all times, but barely had time to call out for help before being swallowed whole. As luck would have it, a hunter was walking towards the fishing camp when he heard the commotion. He ran in to see the walrus contentedly sunning itself by the door, sated by his fine meal. A small voice could be heard coming from the walrus’ stomach, when suddenly it opened up and Little Red Parka and her granny came out, ulus in hand.
“Help us with the walrus, will you?” asked Granny. The hunter butchered him properly and they shared his liver.
“Is that what they call switch and bait, Granny?” asked Little Red Parka.
“Don’t be cheeky, girl. Just be quick, next time.”