The God's Domain
Not only was White Fang adaptable by nature, but he had travelled much, and knew the
meaning and necessity of adjustment. Here, in Sierra Vista, which was the name of Judge
Scott's place, White Fang quickly began to make himself at home. He had no further
serious trouble with the dogs. They knew more about the ways of the Southland gods
than did he, and in their eyes he had qualified when he accompanied the gods inside the
house. Wolf that he was, and unprecedented as it was, the gods had sanctioned his
presence, and they, the dogs of the gods, could only recognise this sanction.
Dick, perforce, had to go through a few stiff formalities at first, after which he calmly
accepted White Fang as an addition to the premises. Had Dick had his way, they would
have been good friends. All but White Fang was averse to friendship. All he asked of
other dogs was to be let alone. His whole life he had kept aloof from his kind, and he still
desired to keep aloof. Dick's overtures bothered him, so he snarled Dick away. In the
north he had learned the lesson that he must let the master's dogs alone, and he did not
forget that lesson now. But he insisted on his own privacy and self-seclusion, and so
thoroughly ignored Dick that that good- natured creature finally gave him up and scarcely
took as much interest in him as in the hitching-post near the stable.
Not so with Collie. While she accepted him because it was the mandate of the gods, that
was no reason that she should leave him in peace. Woven into her being was the memory
of countless crimes he and his had perpetrated against her ancestry. Not in a day nor a
generation were the ravaged sheepfolds to be forgotten. All this was a spur to her,
pricking her to retaliation. She could not fly in the face of the gods who permitted him,
but that did not prevent her from making life miserable for him in petty ways. A feud,
ages old, was between them, and she, for one, would see to it that he was reminded.
So Collie took advantage of her sex to pick upon White Fang and maltreat him. His
instinct would not permit him to attack her, while her persistence would not permit him to
ignore her. When she rushed at him he turned his fur-protected shoulder to her sharp teeth
and walked away stiff-legged and stately. When she forced him too hard, he was
compelled to go about in a circle, his shoulder presented to her, his head turned from her,
and on his face and in his eyes a patient and bored expression. Sometimes, however, a nip
on his hind-quarters hastened his retreat and made it anything but stately. But as a rule he
managed to maintain a dignity that was almost solemnity. He ignored her existence
whenever it was possible, and made it a point to keep out of her way. When he saw or
heard her coming, he got up and walked off.
There was much in other matters for White Fang to learn. Life in the Northland was
simplicity itself when compared with the complicated affairs of Sierra Vista. First of all,
he had to learn the family of the master. In a way he was prepared to do this. As Mit-sah
and Kloo-kooch had belonged to Grey Beaver, sharing his food, his fire, and his blankets,
so now, at Sierra Vista, belonged to the love-master all the denizens of the house.