The Trail Of The Gods
In the fall of the year, when the days were shortening and the bite of the frost was coming
into the air, White Fang got his chance for liberty. For several days there had been a great
hubbub in the village. The summer camp was being dismantled, and the tribe, bag and
baggage, was preparing to go off to the fall hunting. White Fang watched it all with eager
eyes, and when the tepees began to come down and the canoes were loading at the bank,
he understood. Already the canoes were departing, and some had disappeared down the
Quite deliberately he determined to stay behind. He waited his opportunity to slink out of
camp to the woods. Here, in the running stream where ice was beginning to form, he hid
his trail. Then he crawled into the heart of a dense thicket and waited. The time passed
by, and he slept intermittently for hours. Then he was aroused by Grey Beaver's voice
calling him by name. There were other voices. White Fang could hear Grey Beaver's
squaw taking part in the search, and Mit-sah, who was Grey Beaver's son.
White Fang trembled with fear, and though the impulse came to crawl out of his hiding-
place, he resisted it. After a time the voices died away, and some time after that he crept
out to enjoy the success of his undertaking. Darkness was coming on, and for a while he
played about among the trees, pleasuring in his freedom. Then, and quite suddenly, he
became aware of loneliness. He sat down to consider, listening to the silence of the forest
and perturbed by it. That nothing moved nor sounded, seemed ominous. He felt the
lurking of danger, unseen and unguessed. He was suspicious of the looming bulks of the
trees and of the dark shadows that might conceal all manner of perilous things.
Then it was cold. Here was no warm side of a tepee against which to snuggle. The frost
was in his feet, and he kept lifting first one fore-foot and then the other. He curved his
bushy tail around to cover them, and at the same time he saw a vision. There was nothing
strange about it. Upon his inward sight was impressed a succession of memory-pictures.
He saw the camp again, the tepees, and the blaze of the fires. He heard the shrill voices of
the women, the gruff basses of the men, and the snarling of the dogs. He was hungry, and
he remembered pieces of meat and fish that had been thrown him. Here was no meat,
nothing but a threatening and inedible silence.
His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him. He had forgotten how
to shift for himself. The night yawned about him. His senses, accustomed to the hum and
bustle of the camp, used to the continuous impact of sights and sounds, were now left
idle. There was nothing to do, nothing to see nor hear. They strained to catch some
interruption of the silence and immobility of nature. They were appalled by inaction and
by the feel of something terrible impending.
He gave a great start of fright. A colossal and formless something was rushing across the
field of his vision. It was a tree-shadow flung by the moon, from whose face the clouds