Ana, Snorri and Rupret walked and walked and walked. They trudged through snow drifts and around places where the trees were too thick for the travois to pass. Ana took point at first, but then decided it was better to follow the dogs since she had already gotten herself lost once that evening. Rupret relished the task of leading and raced back and forth between his brother Snorri and his new friend Ana. Snorri carefully sniffed the snow. He sniffed for Ana's trail back to her house. He also sniffed for danger. The forest holds deadly secrets in the dark of the As they trudged on through the night Ana became more and more aware of her eyelids.
The left one would droop down and then she'd force it back up again. The right one would droop down and then she'd force it back up again. Since Snorri was leading Ana took to watching her feet. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot...
Rupret ran up to Ana and said "How long have you lived in the forest?"
"As long as I can remember." replied Ana. Then Rupret ran off again.
"Ana's lived here in the forest as long as she can remember!" Rupret reported to Snorri before running back to Ana again.
"Do you know how to catch snow otters?" asked Rupret.
"My dad used to trap them down near the river," offered Ana, "but I've only ever watched them play and dig tunnels in the snow. And they never talked to me like you."
Rupret ran off to report the news to Snorri and Ana went back to watching her feet. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. Her eyelids were feeling droopy and she decided closing them both for a few seconds was probably okay. Left foot, right foot, close. Left foot, right foot, close. Then she noticed Snorri had turned around and stopped in front of her.
"You are tired," said Snorri, "we should stop and rest. Are we close to your home?"
"I don't know," yawned Ana, "there's so much snow on everything."
"Rupret can scout the trail ahead to see if we are close while I dig us a burrow in the snpw."
"Scout ahead for the cabin. Got it." said Rupret. Then he ran off ahead into the forest. Meanwhile Snorri found a nice, deep snowbank and started digging. He dug and dug and dug. Soon Ana could only see his back legs sticking out of the hole. Snorri dug and dug and dug. Then Ana couldn't see him at all. She watched the snow flying out of the hole and realized that she could put the travois down now. So she did.
The snow continued to fall in the forest. Each flake made its slow path to the ground or landed on a tree branch. The evergreens had a lot of snow on them. They didn't drop their needles in the fall like the other trees dropped their leaves, so there were plenty of places for the snowflakes to land.
Ana watched the slow flying out of the tunnel. In the distance she started to hear a soft whimper. The whimper got louder and louder and louder. It was Rupret! Rupret had fallen through the snow into a creek and now his paws were very cold.
"I have cold toes!" he whimpered.
They needed to build a fire to warm him. Ana knew just what to do. Soon she had a small fire going and Rupret was cleaning the frozen ice bits out from between his toes with his teeth. All the while Snorri dug and dug and dug. When Rupret's toes were warm and Snorri had finished digging the burrow, the three of them climbed down inside to conserve their warmth. Ana was soon fast asleep snuggled up against her two new friends.
Snorri slept by the entrance to the burrow to block the cold breeze. He was also a light sleeper and knew he would awake if there was any trouble. He had never liked a human before, much less talked to one. This girl Ana was different. Somehow Snorri knew that she would never raise her hand to hit his snout.