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White Fang

The Grey Cub
He was different from his brothers and sisters. Their hair already betrayed the reddish hue
inherited from their mother, the she-wolf; while he alone, in this particular, took after his
father. He was the one little grey cub of the litter. He had bred true to the straight wolf-
stock - in fact, he had bred true to old One Eye himself, physically, with but a single
exception, and that was he had two eyes to his father's one.
The grey cub's eyes had not been open long, yet already he could see with steady
clearness. And while his eyes were still closed, he had felt, tasted, and smelled. He knew
his two brothers and his two sisters very well. He had begun to romp with them in a
feeble, awkward way, and even to squabble, his little throat vibrating with a queer
rasping noise (the forerunner of the growl), as he worked himself into a passion. And
long before his eyes had opened he had learned by touch, taste, and smell to know his
mother - a fount of warmth and liquid food and tenderness. She possessed a gentle,
caressing tongue that soothed him when it passed over his soft little body, and that
impelled him to snuggle close against her and to doze off to sleep.
Most of the first month of his life had been passed thus in sleeping; but now he could see
quite well, and he stayed awake for longer periods of time, and he was coming to learn
his world quite well. His world was gloomy; but he did not know that, for he knew no
other world. It was dim-lighted; but his eyes had never had to adjust themselves to any
other light. His world was very small. Its limits were the walls of the lair; but as he had
no knowledge of the wide world outside, he was never oppressed by the narrow confines
of his existence.
But he had early discovered that one wall of his world was different from the rest. This
was the mouth of the cave and the source of light. He had discovered that it was different
from the other walls long before he had any thoughts of his own, any conscious volitions.
It had been an irresistible attraction before ever his eyes opened and looked upon it. The
light from it had beat upon his sealed lids, and the eyes and the optic nerves had pulsated
to little, sparklike flashes, warm-coloured and strangely pleasing. The life of his body,
and of every fibre of his body, the life that was the very substance of his body and that
was apart from his own personal life, had yearned toward this light and urged his body
toward it in the same way that the cunning chemistry of a plant urges it toward the sun.
Always, in the beginning, before his conscious life dawned, he had crawled toward the
mouth of the cave. And in this his brothers and sisters were one with him. Never, in that
period, did any of them crawl toward the dark corners of the back-wall. The light drew
them as if they were plants; the chemistry of the life that composed them demanded the
light as a necessity of being; and their little puppet-bodies crawled blindly and
chemically, like the tendrils of a vine. Later on, when each developed individuality and
became personally conscious of impulsions and desires, the attraction of the light
increased. They were always crawling and sprawling toward it, and being driven back
from it by their mother.
 
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