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Polar Fish

– a fantasy story “I was fishing at night in the frozen seas. And in the darkness I saw something strange. Something wonderful. And what I found will move the earth and shake the heavens. What I found is the beginning of myth and the end of stories …”

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ISBN 978-91-27-42010-6

9 789127 420106

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Andy Coombs 10-06-09 10.32.53


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Yukon Province, Canada 1887 Winter is a slow and quiet time for us in Hollow Bay. Heavy snows from the north freeze Yu-kunah – the great river – to stone. No trade boats come, bringing news from distant towns. From November to April, our little coastal village has no visitors. We only have each other for company: thirty-nine people, twelve sled dogs and four fishing boats. It is now early March. Canada’s most Northern Province, known as the land of the midnight sun, is still the land of total dark and total boredom. Women wait for washing to unfreeze and men sit in the bar playing draughts and dominoes. Sled dogs sit curled together – using body heat to keep away the arctic winds. Northern lights are just starting to give way to hazy dawn twilights. 3

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Winter’s ice has melted enough so that a few of the braver trawler men are going to start to fish the Arctic Sea.

Martin Smith is not one of the braver, but he did lose all his cash in a game of cards last month, and so he needs the money March salmon can bring. His boat, the Frosty Keeper, is small but tough and he crews solo to avoid paying wages. His Swedish wife, Gunilla, died the previous spring; coughing blood spots on to her scrubbed kitchen floor. The village people miss her large jars of pickled salmon and dill – Maria from the bar tries her best, but it just isn’t the same: too little dill, too much brine. Martin took her death badly, and turned to gambling and drink to fill his empty evenings. Martin is not my father but I live with him as though he were. Now Gunilla is gone, I cook his coffee in the mornings and carry him to bed at 4

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night when he has drunk too much. We don’t talk much – but I know him well enough to stay out of the way when he drinks – and he knows me well enough to tell me a story or laugh at my jokes.

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10-06-15 14.33.08


Polar Fish

– a fantasy story “I was fishing at night in the frozen seas. And in the darkness I saw something strange. Something wonderful. And what I found will move the earth and shake the heavens. What I found is the beginning of myth and the end of stories …”

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

ISBN 978-91-27-42010-6

9 789127 420106

polar_fish.indd 1

Andy Coombs 10-06-09 10.32.53


9789127420106  

Andy Coombs 3 4 night when he has drunk too much. We don’t talk much – but I know him well enough to stay out of the way when he drinks – an...

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