“The Custom” by Charlie Patsauq tells the story of an old man whose sons must decide to either abandon him or take him with them. It is a time of famine for the Eskimos, and the village is forced to move on. It is the custom to leave useless old people behind when the village moves.
When the day to move comes, the old man’s sons load their sled and then sit beside the old man in the igloo. The older son tells him that they love and respect him but that they must leave him behind. They must leave with the others because they need hunters. The father tells them that he understands and gives them his blessing.
The older son then asks his father if he wants to be killed by hanging, by harpoon, or left to starve to death. The old man commands them to hang him.
The sons put a rope through the top of the i...