Two Old Women

Title: Two Old WomenAuthor: Velma Wallis
Publisher: Harper Perennial, 1993
Number of pages: 136
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
While the writing in this little book is nothing extraordinary, the story is. Two elderly women have been abandoned by their tribe during a terrible winter famine in Alaska. At first, they wonder how they will survive given their limited physical capabilities and wounded emotions. However, they bravely struggle through each day gathering just enough wood, and just enough rabbit, to make it back to the original camp their people had left. Through sheer determination, the women discover that they are not as feeble as The People had assumed. Not only do they survive, they must create caches for the abundance of dried fish and meat they have caught.

When the tribe returns disheartened, hungry and tired, they are astonished to find these two women living so well. It is agreed that they will never be abandoned again, and most importantly, the women have gained respect not only from their families but from the hunters.

In a culture such as ours today, which I find places very little value on the elderly, I am encouraged to read the story of such strength and wisdom. I think it’s important to realize how we can benefit one another, and how valuable each person is regardless of age.

As he spoke, Daagoo realized that in these two women, whom he once thought of as helpless and weak, he had rediscovered the inner strength that had deserted him the winter before. Now, somehow, he knew that he never would believe himself to be old and weak again. Never!