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Tales from Wolf Willow Cottage

The story of how Loon got one of his most distinctive features - Wolf Willow Cottage, Yukon

How Loon got his Spots

by Gail Wilson

  Great Great Grandfather Loon was born on the shore of a Lake named Crag in a land called Yukon.

  He was proud of his beautiful black feathers and spent much time admiring himself in the reflections of the cold clear waters of Crag.

  Near the shore of his birthplace was a sink hole in which fish abound; white fish, ling cod and trout.

  Life was good for Great Great Grandfather. Food was plentiful and the intense, beauty of his surroundings encompassed him.

  But, each and every Autumn just when the Aspen were their richest of gold color and the ground cover its deepest of crimson red, Old Man Winter began to creep down the North Slope and through the valley.

  Ice crystals began forming on the surface of Crag's waters warning of the pending ice cover. Great Great Grandfather Loon would no longer be able to fish at the sink hole and he would be forced to leave.

  Year after year he fled to the coast where waters remain open to await Spring so that he could return to Crag.

  One Autumn, just as Old Man Winter began his descent upon the Lake, Great Great Grandfather devised a plan where by he could remain at his beloved home.

  As the Ice Crystals crept over the Lake, sparkling like diamonds in the late Autumn sun, Great Great Grandfather swam to the sink hole. He had decided that if he swam round and round and round, the Ice Crystals would not be allowed to join together and he would be able to fish all Winter.

  So he swam and he swam and he swam, shattering the Ice Crystals that gathered above the sink hole.

  But, one clear cold night when the moon was full and bright, Great Great Grandfather became tired and fell asleep. By morning the Ice Crystal surrounded him and held him still.

  Heavy gray snow Clouds rambled down the North Slope emptying their burden. By night fall, the ground, the lake and Great Great Grandfather were covered in Old Man Winter's white blanket.

  After many many months, Old Man Winter loosened his grip on the Lake and slowly retreated up the North Slope.

  As the sun rose over the mountains once again, the heavy white blanket began to disappear and the ice on the Lake returned to Crystals, shattering into a million brilliant shards then sinking below the surface.

  Great Great Grandfather was freed. He swam and swam and swam, rejoicing in his freedom and admiring his reflections in the cold clear waters of Crag.

  But, what did he see?

  Why, his beautiful black feathers were covered with an intricately patterned white blanket of snow - a blanket that would remain all during the long hot summer.

  Each time he caught a glimpse of his reflection it was a reminder that with the arrival of Autumn's splendor he must leave his beloved home.

  From that day forward, all loons have been born wearing that same white blanket of snow.

To more Tales from Wolf Willow Cottage

Arctic & Northern Animals

This story was written and created by
Gail Wilson
Wolf Willow Cottage

Box 159
Carcross, Yukon   Y0B 1B0
Phone: (867) 333-1295

A "story bag" containing a copy of the story and a wooden loon are available for $10 Canadian.