To my dear grandchildren
The Long-Nosed Narwhal
"The Lord is a great God. . . . The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker."
Only a few hundred Inuit people live in the snow-and ice-covered regions of Greenland. They patiently wait through the cold winter for the return of the short June-through-August summer when they can fish and hunt again. They catch many fish, seals and an occasional polar bear, but what they really look forward to each summer is the return of the gray and white narwhals.
Narwhals can weigh up to 4000 pounds and may measure 18 feet long, not including their tusks. Some live for 50 years. They are hunted, not only for their delicious vitamin-rich meat, but for the valuable oil in their bodies. Of greatest value are the long, ivory tusks of the males. These may measure 8 feet long and are spiraled all the way to the pointed tips.
A tusk is really the narwhal's only tooth. It can weigh as much as 20 pounds and can be sold for a high price. If it is in good condition, such a prize will sell for $1000 or more. This means a great deal to the Inuit people, who, except for the fish they sell and a few furs, have little opportunity to earn money.
In the short summer there is a very rapid growth of aquatic life in the salt water on which many kinds of fish thrive. In ways that only He could devise, the Lord God, the Creator, lets the narwhals know when this will take place. They gather in pods of 10 to 100 at the edges of ice-bound bays and fjords, waiting for the ice to break up so they can get to this food. At such times, the Inuit people make the most of their harpoon hunting skills in thrilling, dangerous hunts for the narwhals.
Like porpoises, narwhals are peaceful, lively and playful and are not know to harm anything with their pointed tusks. However, they are also wary and swift and easily escape when alarmed. As a result, absolute silence is needed when hunting them in kayaks - no outboard motors are allowed and no talking above a whisper. But even so, most narwhals escape being caught by the hunters.
Did you know? The noise a narwhal makes can make humans go deaf.
If these Inuit people read the Bible, they will find in its very first chapter that fish and narwhals are all part of God's creation. If they read further, they will find that people are more important to Him than anything else. In the New Testament they will come to this wonderful verse. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
We hope that many of the Inuits have accepted this loving invitation. What about you?
Love you all,