Geography in Luck of the North

Sigvald Grøsfjeld jr. sigvald at
Wed Aug 20 01:08:33 CEST 2003

Hi all!

This summer I brought a quiz with me to the summer-meeting of the Danish
Donaldist Society. One of the sections in this quiz was about geography in
Barks' stories. The task was to tell what real place/country the Ducks went
to in 10 different stories – one place/country in each story. One of these
stories was FC 256-2 – "Luck of the North". Afterwards, when I told everyone
the correct answers, David Gerstein surprised everyone by telling us that in
the US-version of this story the Ducks is said to go Alaska – not to
Greenland as told in the Nordic prints of this story.

Afterwards I looked up that particular story in Soeren Haagerup's nice b/W
CBL-library and really saw Alaska mentioned there. The position mentioned in
the map Doanld drew for Gladstone was also different from the one mentioned
in the Scandinavian version of the story. Later I have checked the
where I have found that in the version printed in several European countries
(Germany, France and The Netherlands) the Ducks neither go to Greenland nor
to Alaska, instead they seems to go the North Pole itself – and that's also
the place used in COA's story description. (My guess is thus that that
description is written by our friend Harry Fluks). In Italy the title seems
to focus on the Viking treasure so I can't say where the Ducks are going in
that version.

So, what's correct then? Normally I'd say that the original version is
correct, but this time I am not sure about that at all. Not that I don't
trust Barks. It's just that I have this strange feeling that the US
publisher's for some reason may have altered/censored this story at this

As no version (AFAIK) uses a fictious place – the correct identity of the
place should be possible to determine by reading and study the story
carefully. First we should agree that the Ducks NEVER reach the North Pole,
nor the Polar icecap. What they do is:
a) Going to a populated area somewhere in the north.
b) Continuing out in the polar sea in kayaks.

So, what possibilities that IMO are left is Alaska and Greenland. What facts
does the US-print of this story provide to help us point out one of these
places as the correct one?
a) The name and position on the map points out Alaska.
b) The natives live in igloo's (ice-houses) *not* in wooden houses.
c) The natives are using Kayaks when they travel at sea.
d) The natives are drawn like, dressed like and are called Eskimos.
e) At sea the Ducks find an iceberg with a Viking-ship frozen in it.

So what does this tell us? The facts mentioned in a) are easily changeable
and ARE changed in the European versions compared to the US-one. Thus IMO
this really tells us nothing.
b), c) and d) does IMO clearly point towards Greenland.
Even though it's theoretical possible for an iceberg to drift of from
Greenland to the Alaska area it doesn't seem very plausible. But if that was
barks' idea I find it strange that it doesn’t confuse the Ducks to discover
a Viking-ship in an area the Vikings as far as is known, never visited or
explored. Thus IMO also e) clearly seems to point out Greenland as the land
in the north that is shown in "Luck of the North".

This leave us with some interesting questions.
- Did Barks mess up with some geographical facts in this story? (This was an
early story - made in 1949 – how big was his collection of National
Geographic by then?)
- Did someone for some reason alter the US version of this story?

Well, I don't know, but what IMO is pretty sure though is that the
INDUCKS/COA presentation of this story needs to be updated.


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