The demise of Joe the trapper
Is as strange as any prose.
But strange things are done under midnight sun
As Robert Service knows.

T'was terrible cold that blasphemous day; it'd been cold for a month and a day.
But the huskies and Joe were out of meat, t'was time for a huntin' foray.
So he bundled up as best he could, with parky, fur hat and mitts.
Fresh grass he folded into his boots so the cold would not cause him fits.

When he ventured beyond the cabin door Joe felt the chill in his eye.
But he had no choice in the task at hand; it was kill a moose or die.
He laced the snowshoes to his feet and picked up knife and gun.
And hoped the cold would ease a bit before the day was done.

There's many a northern trapper
That'd be around here still
If not for relentless hunger
Or the unforgiving chill.

No more than a mile, Joe knew a place where moose were sure to be found.
It had willows and such for them to munch if wolves hadn't run 'em to ground.
So he made his tracks through drifted snow to the place down by the lake,
Where he hoped to find a mulligan moose and convert him into steak.

But every minute that he walked, his bones were feeling older.
This day was not quite shaping up; it seemed it was getting colder.
But look! Over there! A fine young bull. Just perfect for the pot.
He's laying down to beat the cold, just perfect for Joe's shot.

Joe found a brace and took his aim; tried to steady his gun
But could not still his shivering; what now should be done?
He knew the cold was getting the best of him, he'd better wait.
But that moose wouldn't lie there too long, he'd best not hesitate.

So before cold further stiffened joints Joe pulled the trigger tight.
The sound shattered the solitude, but the shot was off a mite
Instead of killing him outright, the bull rose on his knees,
And before another shot was fired he was up and in the trees.

Joe knew the hit was mortal and he always followed his prey.
So despite the cold and stiffening joints he tracked him through the day.
Several times Joe thought it best to stop and build a camp
To thaw his flesh before it froze; to try and dry the damp.

There's many a norther trapper
That'd be around here still
If not for the relentless hunger
Or the unforgiving chill.

But at that northern latitude a man must use what light
Is afforded by the meager sun, so he followed toward the night
And just as Joe was playing out, the tracks a stagger showed
He knew the bull was near his end, and so the tracks were followed.

When the northern lights began to wave and fold across the sky,
He came upon the massive bull, just about to die.
Another shot brought bull to earth, he'd suffered for too long.
As Joe walked up to him at last, wolves howled a mournful song.

The cold was now unbearable, numb were his face and feet.
But he knew that his survival depended on that meat.
So he opened him up from stem to stern, and propped away the skin.
And rolled the guts out on the snow, and quickly crawled on in.

He pulled the belly flap of skin back to its rightful place,
And felt the warmth come over him, felt needles prick his face.
Joe chewed a piece of liver as the warmth thawed out the ice.
It was a tad uncomfortable, but warm and would suffice.

As his body warmed a bit and with his belly full,
Joe dozed a while inside that moose; was fairly comfortable.
But as he slept inside that moose, as an infant in a womb,
The temperature continued to drop, and his bed became a tomb.

I find it hard to even guess what thoughts went through Joe's head,
When he realized his predicament...knowing he was dead.

There's many a northern trapper
That'd be around here still
If not for relentless hunger
Or the unforgiving chill.