The Faith of Men and Other Stories HTML version
The Story Of Jees' Uck
There have been renunciations and renunciations. But, in its essence, renunciation is ever
the same. And the paradox of it is, that men and women forego the dearest thing in the
world for something dearer. It was never otherwise. Thus it was when Abel brought of
the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. The firstlings and the fat thereof were to
him the dearest things in the world; yet he gave them over that he might be on good terms
with God. So it was with Abraham when he prepared to offer up his son Isaac on a stone.
Isaac was very dear to him; but God, in incomprehensible ways, was yet dearer. It may be
that Abraham feared the Lord. But whether that be true or not it has since been
determined by a few billion people that he loved the Lord and desired to serve him.
And since it has been determined that love is service, and since to renounce is to serve,
then Jees Uck, who was merely a woman of a swart-skinned breed, loved with a great
love. She was unversed in history, having learned to read only the signs of weather and of
game; so she had never heard of Abel nor of Abraham; nor, having escaped the good
sisters at Holy Cross, had she been told the story of Ruth, the Moabitess, who renounced
her very God for the sake of a stranger woman from a strange land. Jees Uck had learned
only one way of renouncing, and that was with a club as the dynamic factor, in much the
same manner as a dog is made to renounce a stolen marrow-bone. Yet, when the time
came, she proved herself capable of rising to the height of the fair-faced royal races and
of renouncing in right regal fashion.
So this is the story of Jees Uck, which is also the story of Neil Bonner, and Kitty Bonner,
and a couple of Neil Bonner's progeny. Jees Uck was of a swart-skinned breed, it is true,
but she was not an Indian; nor was she an Eskimo; nor even an Innuit. Going backward
into mouth tradition, there appears the figure of one Skolkz, a Toyaat Indian of the
Yukon, who journeyed down in his youth to the Great Delta where dwell the Innuits, and
where he foregathered with a woman remembered as Olillie. Now the woman Olillie had
been bred from an Eskimo mother by an Innuit man. And from Skolkz and Olillie came
Halie, who was one-half Toyaat Indian, one-quarter Innuit, and one-quarter Eskimo. And
Halie was the grandmother of Jees Uck.
Now Halie, in whom three stocks had been bastardized, who cherished no prejudice
against further admixture, mated with a Russian fur trader called Shpack, also known in
his time as the Big Fat. Shpack is herein classed Russian for lack of a more adequate
term; for Shpack's father, a Slavonic convict from the Lower Provinces, had escaped
from the quicksilver mines into Northern Siberia, where he knew Zimba, who was a
woman of the Deer People and who became the mother of Shpack, who became the
grandfather of Jees Uck.
Now had not Shpack been captured in his boyhood by the Sea People, who fringe the rim
of the Arctic Sea with their misery, he would not have become the grandfather of Jees
Uck and there would be no story at all. But he WAS captured by the Sea People, from
whom he escaped to Kamchatka, and thence, on a Norwegian whale-ship, to the Baltic.