White Fang HTML version
As White Fang watched Weedon Scott approach, he bristled and snarled to advertise that
he would not submit to punishment. Twenty-four hours had passed since he had slashed
open the hand that was now bandaged and held up by a sling to keep the blood out of it.
In the past White Fang had experienced delayed punishments, and he apprehended that
such a one was about to befall him. How could it be otherwise? He had committed what
was to him sacrilege, sunk his fangs into the holy flesh of a god, and of a white-skinned
superior god at that. In the nature of things, and of intercourse with gods, something
terrible awaited him.
The god sat down several feet away. White Fang could see nothing dangerous in that.
When the gods administered punishment they stood on their legs. Besides, this god had
no club, no whip, no firearm. And furthermore, he himself was free. No chain nor stick
bound him. He could escape into safety while the god was scrambling to his feet. In the
meantime he would wait and see.
The god remained quiet, made no movement; and White Fang's snarl slowly dwindled to
a growl that ebbed down in his throat and ceased. Then the god spoke, and at the first
sound of his voice, the hair rose on White Fang's neck and the growl rushed up in his
throat. But the god made no hostile movement, and went on calmly talking. For a time
White Fang growled in unison with him, a correspondence of rhythm being established
between growl and voice. But the god talked on interminably. He talked to White Fang as
White Fang had never been talked to before. He talked softly and soothingly, with a
gentleness that somehow, somewhere, touched White Fang. In spite of himself and all the
pricking warnings of his instinct, White Fang began to have confidence in this god. He
had a feeling of security that was belied by all his experience with men.
After a long time, the god got up and went into the cabin. White Fang scanned him
apprehensively when he came out. He had neither whip nor club nor weapon. Nor was his
uninjured hand behind his back hiding something. He sat down as before, in the same
spot, several feet away. He held out a small piece of meat. White Fang pricked his ears
and investigated it suspiciously, managing to look at the same time both at the meat and
the god, alert for any overt act, his body tense and ready to spring away at the first sign of
Still the punishment delayed. The god merely held near to his nose a piece of meat. And
about the meat there seemed nothing wrong. Still White Fang suspected; and though the
meat was proffered to him with short inviting thrusts of the hand, he refused to touch it.
The gods were all-wise, and there was no telling what masterful treachery lurked behind
that apparently harmless piece of meat. In past experience, especially in dealing with
squaws, meat and punishment had often been disastrously related.
In the end, the god tossed the meat on the snow at White Fang's feet. He smelled the meat
carefully; but he did not look at it. While he smelled it he kept his eyes on the god.